July 2013

Poplar cultivation

We traveled by Shatabadi Express from Delhi to Dehradun. First it was in winters and second only in June of this year. As soon as the train crosses the industries out side Delhi, the dead river called Yamuna, the green fields begin to span both sides of the train line. Yamuna river, one of the three rivers-Ganges, Yamuna & Saraswati- forming the holiest trinity of Indian rivers is a cesspool of industrial waste, floating dead animals. Its color is almost black and it seems like a corpse. Its chemical oxygen demand (COD), a parameter to indicate the industrial waste pollution… Read More »Poplar cultivation

Junk Foods Technology

“Our limbic brains love sugar, fat, salt.… So formulate products to deliver these. Perhaps add low cost ingredients to boost profit margins. Then “super size” to sell more.… And advertise/promote to lock in “heavy users.”” —Bob Drane, former vice president for new business strategy and development at Oscar Mayer. From this statement, it is clear that foods containing Sugar, Fat and Salt appeal most to the human brain. Armed with this knowledge, the fast food companies design feel good foods and hook so many of us, particularly, the younger generation. It is the right combination of these that is important.… Read More »Junk Foods Technology

Animals cannot digest Cellulose

Most plants synthesize cellulose which they use to give strength to their bodies and make them withstand the vagaries of storms. It gives the shape to the trees and branches then expand the tree. Cellulose becomes the wood when trees become mature. Furniture is made of this material. It is obvious that cellulose is insoluble in water otherwise no one will use it in construction and furniture. Cellulose and starch and other carbohydrates consist of glucose molecules which are arranged in chains of different styles. In starch, two chains are intertwined. These chains get separated on boiling the starch in… Read More »Animals cannot digest Cellulose

Milestones in Food Technology

18000 B.C. Pottery vessels Invention of pottery vessels. The earliest vessels were probably used just for cooking before the development of impermeable ceramics made them suitable for long-term storage. (“Dishwasher safe” is, however, still a work in progress.) 7500 B.C. Agricultural revolution The beginning of the agricultural revolution. Raising crops allowed people to shift away from a migratory existence. And with our feet up after a good meal, all sorts of other ideas started to occur to us, setting the stage for civilizations to develop. 6000 B.C. Irrigation The regular flooding of the Nile begat the earliest form of artificial… Read More »Milestones in Food Technology

Code of Controversy

Lui Liu is a painter of Chinese origin and lives in Canada. He mostly paints nudes. His paintings seems like dreams. Some critics call his paintings magic realism. But he says that magic realism is a genre of writing invented by South American writer most notably Gabriel García Márquez whose novel “Hundred years of solitude” is written in this genre. Lui Liu says that magic realism in strict terms is a way of telling surreal stories in which even dead people converse with living but these do not contain any political message. Lui Liu seems to be a person often… Read More »Code of Controversy

Energy Saving Dye

Scientists at Oregon State University have developed a blue pigment. Mas Subramanian and his students have this to their credit. The dye is environmentally friendly and nontoxic. This is good news, because many inorganic blues are toxic or cause cancer, such as Prussian blue, cobalt blue, or ultramarine blue. There is yet another property this dye possesses. It reflects light from sunlight especially in the infrared (heat) part of the spectrum. It is about 40% higher in reflectivity than most blue colors. This could prove to be ideal for paints used on cars, roofs, and other applications where keeping cool… Read More »Energy Saving Dye

Freak Weather

I remember when we were young in late fifties and sixties, weather transitions were fairly uniform. The farmers whose hard work can turn to dust till the crops are harvested and safely brought home, were fairly confident about weather. We saw only poor monsoons once in a while and crops failing badly and food scarcity. In those days farming was dependent on the blessings of nature especially for water. The variety of crops and food items was not much. Only native seeds were used and often mixed crops were raised. For example, wheat alongwith sprinkle of barley or mustard. Only… Read More »Freak Weather

Tragedy of Hill People in Uttrakhand

Uttrakhand is called Dev Bhoomi or the abode of Gods. The state was carved out of erstwhile Uttar Pradesh and comprised of hilly areas situated both in Himalayas and Shiwalik. Lord Shiva is the God who is associated with the region. There are places and temples related to him. The two rivers namely Mandakini and Bhagirathi which merge at Devprayag to form Ganges flow through these hills. All through the year, tourists, most of them being the pilgrims, are the mainstay of the people living in the Uttranchal. The region is dotted with temples of great Tourists, most of them… Read More »Tragedy of Hill People in Uttrakhand