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 must be very high.

 

So with Saraswati which existed once upon a time in the North India and went underground and is which is said to be flowing underneath, becoming imaginary, Yamuna has joined it. First of these was catapulted underground by Nature and Yamuna has been killed by the humans.

Anyway let us continue with journey. So we see amidst this greenery crops like wheat in winter, sugarcane, mustard, green fodder, maize and rice according to the season. The soil of region is enriched by Ganges and Yamuna rivers. But in addition to these crops, there is a tree which is straight in shape cultivated on the peripheries of fields. There sheer number is mind boggling and some of them have become full fledged while others are in various stages of growth.

poplar3 poplar1(1) poplar1 poplar5 poplar4

This is called agro-forestry. The trees along with crops. These trees are very fast growing and are used to make timber and cardboards. The trees are cash crops making many farmers rich.

At the time of journey, I relished and admired the results of hard work put in by the farmers and landowners. This vista continues unabated up to Haridwar. I was becoming curious where all the wood from these trees goes for processing.

We learned this in a hard way. We were returning from Chandigarh to Dehradun after a weekend by our car. We always follow the route which runs from Panchkula to Naraingarh to Kalaamb to Nahan bypass to Paonta to Dehradun. It has been raining last two days in the region. We have some inkling of land slides after Nahan and as we reached about 10 kilometers from Nahan bypass, there was mud all over the road and road was blocked ahead due to blockage.

We returned back and from Kalaamb took the road to Yamuna Nagar to follow the old traditional route to Dehradun from Yamuna Nagar to Saharanpur and Dehradun. As soon as we crossed the timber processing units in Yamuna Nagar, we thought we taken a wrong road. But no. There was almost no road. It was shreds of road in the craters and pools of water. There was worst kind of jam. And the car, it would completely left to God’s mercy. Its underbelly grinded against the edges of craters. The reason for all this was before us. Coming from the opposite side were countless tractor trolleys over loaded with the poplar logs. These were so heavy that tractor’s front wheels went skywards whenever it lunged forward from the rest. What was more threatening was the precarious way these trolleys dipped to one side or the other whenever one of its tyres fell into the craters. It seemed that they will fall on us and crush us alongwith car to death. All these were coming to Yamuna Nagar where a number of processing mills have been established. Many trolleys have turned turtle and blocked the road. Situation was such that we crossed ten kilometer hell of the road in more than 2 hours. It was not until we crossed the bridge over Yamuna that road become worthy of travel.

Incidentally, the agro-forestry was started during 1980’s by an enterprising person called Surinder Singh Hara. He owns about 180 hectares land called Hara Farms near Yamuna Nagar which he made suitable for agriculture by clearing the jungle. He produces crops which belong to this region along with turmeric, many fruits and poplar and specially cloned variety of Eucalyptus.

I think it is the duty of the Government and those who are adding extra burden on the road to contribute and make the road good. This will ease the life of persons who are driving these vehicles and labors. It will also save the fuel and maintenance of the vehicles which will ultimately go for the good of people.

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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. The malaise of obesity is the result of those extra pounds generally come from the over consumption of soft drinks, snack foods, and fast foods.

Of course, the food companies do not want their customers obese because in that case they may start avoiding the fast food. But they want the “stomach share” in the food market. But processed-food companies increasingly turn to their legions of scientists to produce foods that we can’t resist. These food geeks tweak their products by varying the levels of the three so-called pillar ingredients—salt, sugar, and fat.

It turns out that although we generally do like such food more but after a certain intake, we like to take less. That optimum amount of salt, sugar, or fat is called the “Bliss Point”. Scientists also adjust these ingredients as well as factors such as crunchiness to produce a mouth feel—that is, the way the food feels inside a person’s mouth—that causes consumers to crave more. Technologists can also induce a flavor burst by altering the size and shape of the salt crystals themselves so that they basically assault the taste buds into submission.

The formula of successful junk-food science is the vanishing calorific density. Such food melts in your mouth so quickly that the brain is fooled into thinking it’s hardly consuming any calories at all, so it just keeps snacking. In the process, packaged-food scientists want to avoid triggering sensory-specific satiety, the brain mechanism that tells you to stop eating when it has become overwhelmed by big, bold flavors. Instead, the real goals are either passive overeating, which is the excessive eating of foods that are high in fat because the human body is slow to recognize the caloric content of rich foods, or auto-eating: that is, eating without thinking or without even being hungry. (The opposite problem is being overhungry, where you’re so ravenous that you’ll basically eat anything that’s put in front of you.) Either way, if you end up with a food baby, a distended stomach caused by excessive overeating, you’ve made a fast-food executive somewhere very happy.

All this is explored by Pulitzer award winning Journalist Michael Moss in his book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Companies Hooked Us”

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 water. This caused the chains to disperse in the water increasing its viscosity. Such starch is called pre-gelatinized starch.

On the other hand, cellulose structure is such that chains are not dispersed and wood remains unaffected in water. Glucose is the basic unit of sugar which is used by animals like humans for obtaining energy to keep the body running.

How do then we assimilate higher sugars like starch. They have to broken down to glucose units. The enzymes found in humans and other animals allow them to digest and metabolize many, but not all, biomolecules. Cellulose is one example of a molecule that defies digestion in many animals.

But the slight difference in the way the glucose molecules are hooked together in starch compared with how they are hooked together in cellulose makes a big difference in their digestibility.

Humans and many other higher animals have the enzyme required to break the bonds in starch, releasing glucose. The particular enzyme is called alpha-amylase.But because the shape of the linkage is different in cellulose, the same enzyme will not work. In fact, where cellulose is concerned, humans do not have an enzyme that will work.

As it turns out, most humans eat a fair amount of cellulose in the form of fruits and vegetables. Although we cannot digest it, the cellulose serves as roughage or fiber that gives food bulk and keeps it moving through the digestive system. In the end, all of the undigested material ends up being eliminated as feces.

Maybe you are wondering how animals such as cattle, sheep, deer, and goats thrive on a diet of grass or other cellulose-rich food. Can they digest cellulose when humans cannot? The answer is no. None of these animals have the enzymes required to digest cellulose. Instead they rely on colonies of microorganisms living in their digestive systems.

These simple microorganisms have the correct enzymes to digest the cellulose and to reassemble the products into starches and proteins. From these products, grazing animals acquire their nutrients. The special relationship between these animals and their resident microbes is called symbiosis—two organisms living with each other to the benefit of both.

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 irrigation: basin irrigation, in which water channels were allowed to flood but prevented from draining.

2500 B.C.

Pesticides

The Sumerians create the first pesticide, in the form of sulfur, which was dusted on crops. (No historical evidence is available on whether this was followed by a demand for appropriate cuneiform-tablet labeling.)

1500 B.C.

Aquaculture

The development of aquaculture in China focused on carp, leading to the accidental creation of the goldfish and the later emergence of the concomitant toilet-side funeral service.

475

The horse collar

After its invention in China, the introduction of the horse collar to Europe about 400 years later led to the horse becoming the go-to source of animal labor, replacing oxen as plow animals and leading to higher food production levels.

900 — 1300

Crop rotation

Sustainable agriculture took a huge leap forward with the introduction of three-field crop rotation, resulting in the one fact about medieval farming that modern schoolchildren are likely to retain into adulthood.

1799

Steam-powered farm machines

The slow industrialization of agriculture started with the introduction of fixed steam-powered machinery for threshing wheat. Making this machinery more and more portable would lead to the first farm tractors.

1810

Canning

Glass bottles were initially used for canning, but it is Philippe de Girard’s invention of the tin can that really put this food technology on the map. (The invention is often attributed to de Girard’s French friend Peter Durand, who secured the English patent on de Girard’s behalf, as France and England were inconveniently at war at the time.)

1836

Gas stoves

The first gas stove factory opens. The stoves give chefs a much greater degree of temperature control in cooking but would ultimately lead to the deep charcoal-versus-propane barbeque schism.

1849

Artificial flavors

The advent of organic chemistry opened the door to artificial flavors, although not without some misfires, such as the promotion of nitrobenzene, once considered usable as a replacement for bitter almonds in confectionary with “perfect safety.” Alas, it’s now known to be a toxin capable of causing kidney, liver, and brain damage.

1851

Refrigeration

Artificial refrigeration made it possible to warehouse food for long periods of time and transport it over previously impossible distances, such as with the SS Dunedin, the first refrigerated cargo ship to be commercially successful. In 1882 it carried meat from New Zealand to London.

1855

Can opener

Forty-five years after the invention of the tin can, the other shoe drops with the invention of the can opener.

1864

Pasteurization

The introduction of pasteurization was a huge leap forward for food safety, if something of a sad moment for cheese gourmets.

1879

Artificial sweeteners

Saccharin, the world’s first artificial sweetener, is discovered by accident when chemist Constantin Fahlberg forgets his parents’ advice and doesn’t wash his hands properly before eating.

1889

Instant coffee

Recent research shows that instant coffee, the bane and blessing of modern office life, was first created by David Strang in New Zealand—not, as previously believed, in 1901 by Satori Kato in Chicago.

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 irrigation: basin irrigation, in which water channels were allowed to flood but prevented from draining.

2500 B.C.

Pesticides

The Sumerians create the first pesticide, in the form of sulfur, which was dusted on crops. (No historical evidence is available on whether this was followed by a demand for appropriate cuneiform-tablet labeling.)

1500 B.C.

Aquaculture

The development of aquaculture in China focused on carp, leading to the accidental creation of the goldfish and the later emergence of the concomitant toilet-side funeral service.

475

The horse collar

After its invention in China, the introduction of the horse collar to Europe about 400 years later led to the horse becoming the go-to source of animal labor, replacing oxen as plow animals and leading to higher food production levels.

900 — 1300

Crop rotation

Sustainable agriculture took a huge leap forward with the introduction of three-field crop rotation, resulting in the one fact about medieval farming that modern schoolchildren are likely to retain into adulthood.

1799

Steam-powered farm machines

The slow industrialization of agriculture started with the introduction of fixed steam-powered machinery for threshing wheat. Making this machinery more and more portable would lead to the first farm tractors.

1810

Canning

Glass bottles were initially used for canning, but it is Philippe de Girard’s invention of the tin can that really put this food technology on the map. (The invention is often attributed to de Girard’s French friend Peter Durand, who secured the English patent on de Girard’s behalf, as France and England were inconveniently at war at the time.)

1836

Gas stoves

The first gas stove factory opens. The stoves give chefs a much greater degree of temperature control in cooking but would ultimately lead to the deep charcoal-versus-propane barbeque schism.

1849

Artificial flavors

The advent of organic chemistry opened the door to artificial flavors, although not without some misfires, such as the promotion of nitrobenzene, once considered usable as a replacement for bitter almonds in confectionary with “perfect safety.” Alas, it’s now known to be a toxin capable of causing kidney, liver, and brain damage.

1851

Refrigeration

Artificial refrigeration made it possible to warehouse food for long periods of time and transport it over previously impossible distances, such as with the SS Dunedin, the first refrigerated cargo ship to be commercially successful. In 1882 it carried meat from New Zealand to London.

1855

Can opener

Forty-five years after the invention of the tin can, the other shoe drops with the invention of the can opener.

1864

Pasteurization

The introduction of pasteurization was a huge leap forward for food safety, if something of a sad moment for cheese gourmets.

1879

Artificial sweeteners

Saccharin, the world’s first artificial sweetener, is discovered by accident when chemist Constantin Fahlberg forgets his parents’ advice and doesn’t wash his hands properly before eating.

1889

Instant coffee

Recent research shows that instant coffee, the bane and blessing of modern office life, was first created by David Strang in New Zealand—not, as previously believed, in 1901 by Satori Kato in Chicago.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1893

Electric toasters

Although beginning a breakfast revolution, early electric toasters had a habit of melting their heating elements.

1893

Electric toasters

Although beginning a breakfast revolution, early electric toasters had a habit of melting their heating elements.

1893

Electric stove

The electric stove was a breakout hit of the Chicago World’s Fair, as part of the Electric Kitchen Exhibit. “Kitchen of the Future!” exhibits have remained a fixture of such fairs ever since.

1913

Haber-Bosch process

The Haber-Bosch process for producing ammonia allowed nitrogen-based fertilizer to be synthesized on an industrial scale. The result was incredible growth of the food supply—globally, 40 percent of the protein in our diets is due to the Haber-Bosch process—which in turn fueled human population growth.

1927

Sliced bread

Setting a new benchmark for bright ideas, Otto Frederick Rohwedder invents a machine for slicing loaves.

1930

Frozen food

The fruits of refrigeration are brought home with the first retail sales of prefrozen food, laying the groundwork for its apotheosis 53 years later, in the form of the Hot Pocket.

1930 — 1940

Battery cages

Originally intended to improve the welfare of chickens, the introduction of tightly confining battery cages in the 1930s led to abuses that has resulted in many countries banning them in recent years.

1939

DDT

DDT’s effectiveness as a pesticide is discovered. Following World War II, it is applied worldwide. Later, its use is severely restricted after its environmental toxicity becomes evident.

1947 — 1949

Food extruders

By cooking and shaping food simultaneously, extruders made the mass production of many modern snacks, cereals, and processed cheeses possible. This forever transforms the eating habits of children left to fend for themselves on Saturday mornings while their parents try to get a bit of a lie-in.

1947

Microwave ovens

Two years after radar engineer Percy Spencer discovers a melted chocolate bar in his pocket after working on an active antenna, the first microwave ovens go on sale, another seminal step toward the creation of Hot Pockets.

1951

Animal antibiotics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the use of antibiotics in animals, including prophylactic use in feed. This looks to have been another bad idea, with current concerns about drug resistance prompting FDA attempts to reduce the use of animal antibiotics.

1954

Teflon

Teflon was discovered in 1938, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was used to coat frying pans. Shortly thereafter, “Use the plastic spatula!” would become a universal cri de coeur in kitchens around the world.

1957

Irradiated food

The first commercially irradiated foods are sausage spices produced by a plant in Germany. The process was banned by the German government in 1959. However, the technology was taken up elsewhere, ultimately allowing irradiated apples to provide the best joke in the 2002 zombie-apocalypse classic 28 Days Later.

1958

Instant noodles

With Japan still suffering from postwar food shortages, Momofuku Ando invents instant noodles as an alternative to bread, feeding generations of college students, editorial assistants, and open-source programmers.

1961

Asceptic packaging

Tetra Pak launches its aseptic packaging. Combined with the later introduction of the Tetra Brik, it had a huge effect on how liquid foodstuffs were stored and distributed, despite occasionally drenching consumers struggling to tear open the packaging correctly.

1966

Green Revolution

The International Rice Research Institute, in the Philippines, breeds the IR8 strain. This “miracle rice” helps kick off the agricultural green revolution in developing countries, which involves modern farming techniques, including the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides.

1968

Freeze-dried ice cream

Apollo 7 is the first—and last—NASA mission to take freeze-dried ice cream into outer space, creating a staple of science museum shops everywhere.

1969

The kitchen computer

The recipe-storing Honeywell 316 Kitchen Computer is the first computer ever offered to consumers. Nobody buys one, but marketeers continue to tout the virtues of recipe retrieval throughout the home-computer revolution of the 1980s.

1972

Remote sensing

The first Landsat satellite is launched to perform remote sensing of agricultural and other resources from orbit.

1983

Hot Pockets

Hot Pockets are introduced. Sadly, it will be another 15 years before your humble timeline compiler moves to the United States and discovers the joys contained within the microwave crisping sleeve.

1991

Lean, finely textured beef

Beef Products Inc. gets the okay to sell lean, finely textured beef, later known derisively as “pink slime.”

1992

Molecular Gastronomy

The molecular gastronomy movement kicks off at a scientific workshop in Sicily, Italy. Agar, once just the gunk used to grow bacteria in petri dishes, now gets a starring role in TV cooking shows.

1994

Genetically modified food

The Flavr Savr tomato is the first genetically modified food to be licensed for human consumption. It is too costly to produce profitably.

1996

Roundup Ready

Genetically modified to be herbicide resistant, Roundup Ready soybean plants are introduced by Monsanto, provoking protest and controversy, especially in Europe.

2000

In vitro edible meat

The first in vitro edible meat (goldfish muscle) is grown as a possible food supply for astronauts on long missions. Astronauts are silent on whether they would have preferred the freeze-dried ice cream research to have continued instead.

2002

Rice genome

The genome of rice is sequenced, revealing that rice plants have more genes than human beings.

2007

Printed food

3-D printers are used to make the first printed food, hopefully marking the first step toward Star Trek–style food replicators.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

1892

Petroleum-powered tractor

The invention of the petroleum-powered tractor would sweep away the centuries-long association of horses and farming in a just a few decades, and so inspire several poignant James Herriot stories.

Code of Controversy

Lui Liu is a painter of Chinese origin and lives in Canada. He mostly paints nudes. His paintings seems to 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 in a daze, for he cannot recite his home address and is likely to give a wrong phone number. However, when he talks about things like psychology and ongoing world issues, he is totally another person, with abundant ideas and clear analysis.

It’s hard to believe this man knows about the outside world so well when he spends almost every day at home painting and has few social activities. He doesn’t even have a mobile phone.

He said casual chats with a few close friends and surfing on Sina Weibo provide him with enough information to keep up with the latest happenings around the world. Amazing thought-provoking painting “Beijing 2008” by Chinese-Canadian artist Liu Yi.

He made the following painting called Beijing 2008. Although it first seems that painting has something to do with games but it is entirely a painting with political meaning. Although every spectator of the art interprets the painting according to his or her beliefmahjong

No two interpretations can be the same.
Many interpretations have been given like the one given below:
There are 4 women playing the Chines Mahjong. The woman with the tattoos on her back is China. On the left, focused intensely on the game, is Japan. The one with the shirt and head cocked to the side is America. Lying provocatively on the floor is Russia. And the little girl standing to the side is Taiwan.

China’s visible set of tiles “East Wind” has a dual meaning. First, it signifies China’s revival as a world power. Second, it signifies the military might and weaponry that China possesses has already been placed on the table. On one hand, China appears to be in a good position, but we cannot see the rest of her hand. Additionally, she is also handling some hidden tiles below the table.

America looks confident, but is glancing at Taiwan, trying to read something off of Taiwan’s expression, and at the same time seems to be hinting something at Taiwan.
Russia appears to be disinterested in the game, but this is far from the truth. One foot hooks coyly at America, while her hand passes a hidden tile to China, both countries can be said to be exchanging benefits in secret. Japan is all seriousness while staring at her own set of tiles, and is oblivious to the actions of the others in her self-focused state.

Taiwan wears a traditional red slip, symbolizing that she is the true heir of Chinese culture and civilization. In one hand she has a bowl of fruit, and in the other, a paring knife. Her expression as she stares at China is full of anger, sadness, and hatred, but to no avail; unless she enters the game, no matter who ends up as the victor, she is doomed to a fate of serving fruit.

Outside the riverbank is darkened by storm clouds, suggesting the high tension between the two nations is dangerously explosive. The painting hanging on the wall is also very meaningful; Mao’s face, but with Chiang Kai Shek’s bald head, and Sun Yat-Sen’s mustache.

The four women’s state of undress represent the situation in each country. China is naked on top, clothed with a skirt and underwear on the bottom. America wears a bra and a light jacket, but is naked on the bottom. Russia has only her underwear left. Japan has nothing left.
At first glance, America appears to be most composed and seems to be the best position, as all the others are in various states of nakedness. However, while America may look radiant, her vulnerability has already been exposed. China and Russia may look naked, yet their key private parts remain hidden.

If the stakes of this game is that the loser strips off a piece of clothing, then if China loses, she will be in the same state as Russia (similar to when the USSR dissolved). If America loses, she also ends up in the same state as Russia. If Russia loses, she loses all. Japan has already lost everything.

Russia seems to be a mere “filler” player, but in fact is exchanging tiles with China. The real “filler” player is Japan, for Japan has nothing more to lose, and if she loses just once more she is immediately out of the game.

America may look like she is in the best position, but in fact is in a lot of danger, if she loses this round, she will give up her position as a world power. Russia is the most sinister, playing along with both sides, much like when China was de-occupied, she leaned towards the USSR and then towards America; as she did not have the ability to survive on her own, she had to weave between both sides in order to survive and develop.
There are too many of China’s tiles that we cannot see. Perhaps suggesting that China has several hidden aces? Additionally China is also exchanging tiles with Russia, while America can only guess from Taiwan’s expression of what actions have transpired between Russia and China. Japan on the other hand is completely oblivious, still focused solely on her own set of tiles.

Taiwan stares coldly at the game from aside. She sees everything that the players at the table are doing, she understands everything that is going on. But she doesn’t have the means or permission to join the game, she isn’t even given the right to speak. Even if she has a dearth of complaints, she cannot voice it to anyone, all she can do is to be a good page girl, and bring fresh fruit to the victor.

The final victor lies between China and America, this much is apparent. But look closely; while America is capable, they are playing Chinese Mahjong, not Western Poker. Playing by the rules of China, how much chance at victory does America really have?

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 is desirable.

This will help in reducing the amount of energy consumption in cooling the vehicles as lesser air conditioning wil be required because it will reflect away much of the heat from the falling light. Because the paint is reflecting much of the energy, it tends to last longer as it is not broken down by the absorbed energy.

The compound was discovered by chance in the laboratory when a student heated a sample of manganese oxide (which is black) to 2,000 degree F. When it came out of the oven, it had been transformed into a bright blue color.

Subsequent analysis showed the compound had a trigonal bipyramidal structure—the shape of two pyramids pointing in opposite directions and joined at a triangular base. The central manganese atom is surrounded by five oxygen atoms. But other compounds—yttrium oxide and indium oxide—are required to stabilize the blue crystals.
Another application wil be paint the roof tops with this dye and save much energy.

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 those crops were raised in the same field which did not use the same nutrients. Number of crops raised were limited and land was kept fallow in cycles to restore its fertility. In those days agriculture was not considered a business.
Slowly all this has changed. Land has been drained of its nutrients by raising two or three crops in a year. It is in fact never given time to take a break.
Over the years, the weather is becoming highly wayward or unpredictable. It seems that old theory about how the monsoons in the North India began in Assam and water laden clouds were then directed towards western India from Bengal to Bihar and then Uttarpradesh and Punjab side. Rajasthan however remained a dry area, is not true anymore. Rains can precipitate anywhere. For example many areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat were innundated while states which were regular recipients of monsoon remained devoid of.
Environmentalists say all this is happening due to our activities. Global warming due to carbon dioxide blanket is told to be the culprit. It is the same carbon dioxide which once was the only gas in the atmosphere alongwith water at the beginning of the Earth. The bacteria changed it all fixing the carbon dioxide in the form of oxide minerals and sugars in plants. All this seem to be too true. Such events had taken place many times in the life span of the Earth. Nature is too big to be manipulated by the humans. May be there are minor additions. We see now more rains, floods and more cold weather in India.