Friday, July 31, 2009

Flying Fish bypasses Evolution period!

It is said that land living, airborne birds developed from aquatic fish by evolution. Some present day fish surpass with the reptiles, and compete over birds to take to air by themselves from the seas as if they are birds now! Yes, the fish I refer to here is the Flying Fish (Exocoetus volitans). It is found in warm oceans such as Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This fish 'flies' away to escape from its predators. Actually in doing so, it leaps out of the sea water and glides above the water surface for a short distance of about sixty meters. For this, first it uses its tail fin to leap out of water and then spreads its strong pectoral fins to glide through in the air!

It is a wonder fish that bypasses or skips even the Evolution (period) to take off to the air!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Horned Treehopper to remember about!

In our boyhood days, between our studies we used to explore the environment in the school play ground. We were examining the branches of Mesquite trees (Prosopis juliflora): ants were crawling up and down busily. There were also some black insects sitting on the path of these ants. They had a queer appearance with horn - like extensions on their heads. In side view, they appeared like a bull (student community called it as 'Yerrumbu Maaddu' in Tamil, meaning ant's cow!). This insect is the Horned Treehopper (Centrotus cornutus, Thorn bug). It feeds on the sap of the plants. This sap on digestion is converted into sweet honeydew and excreted out. Ants are attracted towards this honeydew naturally and they extract it for themselves. In exchange ants provide the hopper the protection from its predators.

As I approach this treehopper to hold it between my fingers it runs around the branch and hides itself behind it or flies away. Even if I get it and hold, its thorn - like horns do not injure me, even nowadays! A wonder insect to remember about and show it to the younger generations!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fats determine your health!

Consuming fats in excess in any form whether it is oil, animal fat or dairy products, it surely adds the fats to the body increasing its weight. Apart from this fat deposition, the fats are also seen in blood, causing clogging in the blood vessels and hence, blocking the free blood flow to the organs of action such as heart, kidney, brain and muscles etc. This not only impairs the action of these organs but also makes them to strain at work producing all the illnesses such as Heart attack and Stroke. There are many types of fats among which some are good to the health and others are not - bad. From where do they come into the body?

Saturated fatty acids:Dairy products, Lard, Butter, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Chocolates .... Bad, when you take routinely.
Poly unsaturated fatty acids - cis (PUFA): Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Fish oil .... Good.
Poly unsaturated fatty acids - trans (Transfats): Artificially hydrogenated oils - Margarine .... Bad.
Mono saturated fatty acids: Nuts, Olive oil, Groundnut oil, Sesame oil .... Good.
Triglycerides: Coconut oil, Palm oil, Animal fats .... Bad, if these raise this fat to 150 mg/dL and above in blood.
Low density Lipoprotein (LDL): Animal fats, Plant oils, Chocolates, Margarine .... Bad, if LDL is 100 mg/dL & above.
High density Lipoprotein (HDL): Fish oil, Sunflower oil, safflower oil ... Good, if HDL is 60 mg/dL and above.
Cholesterol: Animal fats, Cheese, Egg yolk, Chocolates, Palm oil, Coconut oil .... Bad, if it is 240 mg/dL and above.

In addition to choosing the good and the best fat diet for the prevention of Heart disease and the Stroke, we should also add the following:
1) Doing Aerobic exercises
2) Taking Anti-oxidants
3) Weight losing

Let us live a
wonderful and healthy life by lowering these fats in our diet, and the body!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Love Sign, Taj Mahal!

One's childhood days are precious. Children love all the things they come across with immaculate mind. It is needless to say about their love towards humans - their parents, peer groups, friends and ..... the boy/girl they see or meet! Family functions, festivals unite such tender hearts at such a tender age: one such a love in an Emperor's palace was continued into adult life, then into marriage and then even after death in a tomb or monument, The Taj Mahal of Agra! This monument is seen till today as the wonderful expression of Love to be seen by the whole world - all the races of mankind and its descendants, century after century.

Taj Mahal as seen in pictures convey you nothing spectacular. Only when you see it in front of you - as you walk towards it at Agra, its architectural magnificence and hence, the magnitude of its creator's intention can be felt in your mind!
Taj Mahal, the wonder of the world was built by the Mughal Emperor,
Shah Jahan (from 1632 AD, and completed in 1653 AD) - as a sign of his love towards his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Now it houses the tombs containing bodies of both these lovers. It has been built with white marble entirely! On full moon days, at night it enthralls all who see it in the shower of moonlight, and makes them feel the 'wonder' about this Wonder of the World!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wonders in Indian Coral Tree and in its seeds!

The Indian Coral Tree (Erythrina variegata, ‘Mul Murungai’ or ‘Sudukaai Maram’ in Tamil) blooms in the cool winter months of February and March, here in India. The flowers are bright red in color. They are seen grouped as bananas are seen. They are rich with nectar. Both their color and nectar attract many birds, like Humming birds and many insects like Honey bees. Whenever my Coral tree blooms, I find the honey bees build their hive even inside scooter’s exhaust pipe! These bees have colonized near the bountiful tree:

The tree is seen blooming even on the hills (for example, the nearby ‘Mahalinga malai’). It’s trunk is studded with short thorns that nobody climbs on it. Even wood cutters are reluctant to cut its wood for fuel!
Though I know about this Coral tree only in the recent years, I know well about its seeds in my early childhood itself:

Our group of children used to take out these seeds from the pods of this tree and brush hard one of it against the rough ground surface once or twice and press it on one another’s skin unwarily – to give the intense burning heat sensation that it produces!

This wonder tree with its seeds enchants me throughout my life! 
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