Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry-go-round, Earth and train are interrelated!

Science teacher at school explained why trees grown along the sides of railway track seem to 'run' back as one travels in a train. But I did not expect at that time that that explanation and my realisation will help me later in life to understand easily a mega event that happens daily! What is it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A crawling wonder on back!

At school, as boys we used to play on its sandy ground. Then we were often stunned by feeling some creature crawling up between our shirt and the back. As soon as we understood it to be a 'biting ant' we pulled out our shirts and brushed away this ant - to avoid its agonizing bite. Yes, this is a special type of 'ant' that looks like an ant; but it is a different one: a Flightless Wasp! (Eupelmus vesicularis, 'Rail vandi erumbu, Soogai erumbu' in Tamil).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Garden Wonders!

Though some plants are thorny, they bear beautiful flowers and have also medicinal properties; you see a flower of Tack weed (Tribulus terrestris, 'Nerunji' in Tamil).
A blue flower with thin petals from a weed that has also tinnier leaves:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another visual treat from garden!

If we get something unusual we are amazed. You see here the flowers of hybrid Cluster beans that were robust and grew up tall over a meter!

Garden has often winged visitors that it invites with its plants. Here are the pictures of a

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Appealing wonders - Garden pictures!

An unusual colour excites and sticks well to your mind - a Yellow Shoe flower shows itself here:

Delicious fruits that were offered by my tree (that was uprooted by a downburst) - Guava fruits invite you here:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Downburst - a mighty nature of Nature!

On one of the days in June 2010, the Guava tree in my garden was uprooted by the windy rains. That tree yielded delicious fruits twice each year; it gave me the fruits through the window of my house - I plucked them through the window itself! The tree was a wonderful place to both birds and animals that I used to click many pictures and posted them in this blog. It was a tall tree that had grown up for almost eight years then. I was sorrowful about the incident. How could it have been uprooted on a single day?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The admirable marble wonder - Taj Mahal!

My elder brother preserved rare articles that he collected. On demand by me (myself then a school-going boy), he shall take out them carefully and show them to me. He won't give them to me to handle; he will point and show their parts and describe about their beauty; then he will place all of them at the earliest inside his bureau and lock it. So, this bureau remained as a wonder chamber having many wonders within it! One of those articles was a Taj Mahal miniature model.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Protective strip, the Band-Aid!

In my boyhood days I used to spend summer vacations
at my brother-in-law's house. Being a pharmacist, he gave me cute medicine boxes from his medical shop. One of those boxes contained samples of medicated bandage strips. I took out one of the them and peeled out the plastic covers from it. It exposed a reddish orange coloured cotton gauze in its centre. The plaster-like outer parts of the strip stuck to my fingers. I wondered how this small pad containing the antiseptic, Mercurochrome 'heals' wounds and abrasions.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Living fossil in evolution - the Lancelet!

The first animal was taught about to me in the first class of my first Science College I studied. I was not able to get a clear idea about it in the lecture. Earlier I had been taught only about fish, frog and rabbit in Pre-University Course. This animal was a different one - it was neither like a worm or a fish! It is the Amphioxus (Bronchiostoma lanceolatum, Lancelet). It is a primitive animal from which vertebrate animals developed by evolution. It is fish-like and of 2 inches length. It has a transparent body without fins. But has no eyes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A bird hunting on birds - Shikra!

One day at forenoon I heard a bird's call, "tit titee..tit titee." I was curious to locate its source and went on searching for the bird. But I could not. Suddenly I heard the cry of other common birds of the locality accompanied by their helter-skelter flying away. This is to avoid the attacking by a bird of prey. It had perched on the nearby tree - unseen: I saw it fly after a prey from my side! It is the Shikra (Accipiter badius dussumieri, 'Vairee' in Tamil).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adapting with this animal - the Sloth!

In boyhood days I wondered how the Slender Loris lives with its slow movements. Later on, I viewed an animal that was more sluggish than Slender Loris and is having different and unusual body unlike that of other mammals. Luckily it lives on the tree tops escaping its predators like jaguar and eagles. I refer here only to this animal: Sloth (Bradypus variegatus, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Playing bright and dark on the sky!

Before 1960s, it was then a routine
for the family members of the house to sit on the veranda or steps of the house at dusk and engage in gossips. Elders go on narrating about deeds and stories to the kids. In the midst of it they don't miss to point out at the bright stars shining on the sky. (My mom was then a guide to me apprising me about the 'Belt Stars' of the sky!). Messages about these wonders on the sky were passed on by mouths in such a way. At present also such wonders are shown to the public through daily news papers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Insect rolling for welfare - Dung beetle!

On walking along the one foot path in rural areas, I often find black beetles moving hurriedly with a small ball of earth. They actually rolled back the ball with their hind legs placed on it; at the same time they also walked back with their fore legs on the ground! These beetles are the Dung beetles (Orthophagus gazella, Scarab beetle, 'Piee vurutti vandu' in Tamil). The ball is nothing but bits of faeces or dung of cattle rolled into a sphere!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Leaf-drinkers in water scarcity!

In school class room it was taught that transpiration is one of the plant's physiological functions. But do we know that 'reverse transpiration' is also a physiological function? Yes, it is so - in certain plants! In them leaf takes in water and sends it to the stem - reverse of what we learnt and expect - root takes in water and sends it to leaves via stem. These plants are described as 'Leaf - drinkers,' as their leaves are 'drinking' water.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rolling back with Roll Films!

My childhood excitements were much as my sisters and brothers showed me all the wonders in this world. My eldest brother used to enter into darkened room whenever there was a family function. When I tried to peep into the room he shouted at me to close the door. Later he explained me after coming out of the room thus: he was loading his camera with a Roll film that would have been spoiled if it was done outdoors in daylight!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Mini Liver for saving lives!

We live, and are alive as we have our body organ, the Liver. Liver does many functions for our body. In its own illnesses such as Cirrhosis and Hepatitis C, it functions lesser than normal. Here this it has to be replaced with a donor liver by transplantation. But lo, donors are not readily available.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Explicit mother care of Surinam Toad

I have seen tribal women carry their children on their back in pouches of cloth. I was reminded of this when I was informed about a different kind of frog (toad) that carries its young ones on its back! It is the Surinam toad (Pipa pipa, Star-fingered toad). It is also remarkable that it carries young ones from their embryo stage itself!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mind stirring Nightjar!

At dusk we see birds that fly
fast to their nests. But there are certain birds that hunt only in night's darkness and sleep at daytime. One such bird is the Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus, Goatsucker, Common Indian Nightjar, 'Pakki' in Tamil).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The munificent tree - Palmyrah Tree!

Each year in summer we expect the arrival of a delicacy in the market. It takes the heat off our head and cools down the whole body. In my childhood I had also relished on a sweet drink related to that delicacy. These two products are from our Palmyrah tree (Borassus flabellifer, Double palm, Lontar palm, 'Panai maram' in Tamil). The tree has multiple uses from making huts to making palm sugar and what else not? Its black fruits contain the soft, jelly-like delicacy (that I mentioned earlier here) called 'Nuongu' in Tamil (Ice-apple).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Flying dracula - the Mosquito!

Mosquitoes have been made villains to me. As young, I heard a musical ringing sound over my ear when I retired to bed. That sound quickly shifted to the other ear! It is produced by nobody but by our mighty mosquito flying around. Though its name in Tamil language, 'Kosu' is used also to mean an easier work or a small sized person, the mosquito still remains the strongest giving nuisance and causing diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria. In 2006, when there was Chikungunya epidemic in India, the electric mosquito killing bat (zapper) was introduced to us by the increased population of these mosquitoes.

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