Brine Shrimp aka Sea Monkey

Brine shrimp is an unique animal. It is called Artemia, a class of aquatic crustaceans. First unique trait of brine shrimp is that since the Triassic period, it has changed little externally. This fish possesses the ability to lay eggs which are called cysts which can lie dormant for long periods of time. They are hatched when the conditions in the environment become suitable.

These animals are able to avoid cohabitation with most predators like fish by their ability to survive and thrive in highly saline waters. They are found in the enclosed bodies of saline water like Great Salt Lake where the conditions for other forms of life are quite hostile.

The ability of dormant eggs has led to its use in aquaculture. When required the dormant eggs are activated by creating required conditions and brine shrimps are produced as a feed for fish.

In addition, the resilience of Artemia makes them ideal animals for running biological toxicity assays and is now one of the standard organisms for testing the toxicity of chemicals.

Some unique facts about brine fish are:

1. The Great Salt Lake brine shrimp population can produce four or more generations per year.

2. Brine shrimp are crustaceans. Their closest relatives include fairy shrimp, triops and water fleas. More distant relatives include crabs, lobsters and shrimp.

3. Brine shrimp are used in the laboratory for testing the toxicity of chemicals.

4. Brine shrimp cysts have been found in Great Salt Lake geologic core samples up to 600,000 years old, so we know they’ve been in the area for a long time.

5. Brine shrimp cysts are packaged and sold as Sea-Monkeys.

6. Brine shrimp cysts can remain viable for up to 25 years.

7. Brine shrimp come in many colors. From white to pink to green, the different colors are probably an effect of diet and environmental conditions.

Nature is so fascinated and diverse that we know but a fraction of it. Many life times are not enough needed to understand. In fact, it can be comprehended. Only our collective wisdom from many generations can help us to understand more and more about nature. Brine fish is an example of strange things nature produces.

A Glimpse of Punjab in Winter

The advent of winter in the North India brings in its wake many things. The biting cold requires us to fend off the winter with lots of warm clothes. But all are not so lucky. There are poor who let alone the warm clothing are not able to procure the sufficient food to survive. They face the hunger pangs perpetually. Many of them cannot withstand the bitter cold wave and perish.

Then there is fog. Many a times it is so thick that there is no visibility beyond a few meters. This creates many problems for the transportation. So many flights are cancelled and trains crawl late. Many a times, unfortunate accidents happen. Fog creates a thick veil of white color. Sun is barely visible and its energy is very feeble.

Yet, there are good things also in the winter. You can enjoy many kinds of food like carrot’s halwa. There is a glut of vegetables in the market. Truck loads of these vegetables arrive in the vegetables market and sell dirt cheap. There are cauliflower, carrots, radishes, turnips, green peas. Potatoes are forming below surface under the plants. The wheat stalks in the fields are persistently trying to ward off the winter and grow rapidly.

Here are some pictures of the Punjab in the winters.

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A whiff of Freshness: Poetry of Irshad Kamil

I am sure many young people may not be knowing his name but humming the songs written by him. The young writer hails from Malerkotla, Sangrur, Punjab. His name is Irshad Kamil. He has breathed a freshness in the Bollywood film songs. It is just a beginning. I am sure, he shall blaze a trail in this field.

Man of many gifts, he has dabbled in various professions like a reporter for newspapers in Chandigarh. He wrote scripts of many serials for television. Some of the films he had written the songs for are Jab We Met, Rockstar, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.

Recently, I watched his interview on Rajya Sabha television. Besides discussing so many things, he told the interviewer about a popular romantic song from Jab We Met. He met a woman who told him that she listens this song daily in the morning as a prayer song. Just have a look at the lyrics.

Na hai yeh pana,

Na Khona hi hai,

Tera Na hona jane Kyun,

hona hi hai
Tum se hi din hota hai,

Surmaiye shaam aati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi
Har ghari saans aati hai,

Zindagi kehlati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi

It is just a matter of perspective. Lyrics are just like a prayer. Kamil said he was himself surprised and went through the lyrics in his mind and realised that they are really like a prayer in the praise of God.
Well done.