Richest Person on Each Continent

  1. Jeff Bezos: $92.6 billion, technology, North America
  2. Jorge Paulo Leman: $30.8 billion, Food and beverage, South America
  3. Amancio Ortega: $77.8 billion, fashion,real estate, investment… Europe
  4. Aliko Dangote: $13.7 billion, cement, sugar, flour,salt,. … Africa
  5. Mukesh Ambani: $41.9 billion, Oil & Gas, Asia
  6. Gina Rinehart, $16.6 billion, Mining, Oceania

Annatto (Bixa orellana L.)

Mysore is a famous city in Karnataka. It has a rich history and also pleasant climate. Due to this there are always flowers everywhere. It is city of gardens. There are numerous monumental buildings and temples. Near by is the Sangam where Cauvery river segments again merge. Also the famous palace of Tipu Sultan and his fort which was surrounded by a deep moat on all sides. But he was killed there.

I came across these shrubs first time in the campus of CFTRI Mysore. The institute is doing  research to increase the yield of flowers and seeds. Seeds are used as natural dye for food coloring. Seed coating contains carotenoids which impart red color and terpenes give the scent.

The trees are natives of South America. Small numbers grow in Karnataka and adjoining states of South India. Flowers come in bunches and have tough spiny hairs. When you open the the flower case, inside are seeds and your hands will be colored red with the dye. South Americans used it for many purposes like lipstick, body painting and medicine. I took some photos.

Seeds inside the flower
Shrub with flower


Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier, son of a wealthy lawyer,  was a social climber, tax collector and widely held to be the founder of modern chemistry. He was born in 1743 and was put to guillotine in 1794 on the charges of selling the adulterated tobacco which was a luxury and was very costly. It came from colonies in South America established by Europeans and employed black people as captives.

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife (Marie-...

He discovered oxygen gas and named it so. Joseph Priestly, English scientist had also discovered this gas but named it “dephlogisticated air“. Both knew that the gas was closely associated with combustion in or around 1774. Priestly even demonstrated the synthesis of the gas by heating the mercury oxide with focused sun rays before Lavoisier when the former was a guest of the latter’s family on a tour to France. After some time of this event, Lavoisier also synthesized oxygen by an entirely different method.

He also demonstrated that water which was considered an element to be made of two elements oxygen and hydrogen. He devised a very brilliant method to split the water into

Chem ical ex pe ri ments in In tro duc tion to...
Chem ical ex pe ri ments in In tro duc tion to Chem istry (Seimi Kaisō). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

its forming elements. The water was boiled and steam was passed through a coiled pipe made of iron. The box containing the coil was joined to another pipe which was dipped into the water at other end.The steam reacted with iron forming oxide thus subtracting the oxygen from water. Another component, namely Hydrogen, went out and bubbled through water and was collected by displacement above water.

Similarly he showed that air which again was considered an element was in fact a mixture of gases.

He is credited with starting the nomenclature of the elements known during his time. He even put the heat also among the elements list. He is thus responsible for initiating the process of documentation of chemsitry.

His another great achievement was what is now known as Stochiometry in chemistry. It is in a way is conservation of mass. He decomposed the salts of known weight and weighed the products and found that total amount remains the same. This audit of the mass has been responsible for the discovery of new compounds and elements and research chemists regularly make use of the this technique to pinpoint the missing mass.

Such a great scientist met with a very sad end. He was hanged when he was barely 50 years old.

Silk Floss Trees

The Silk Floss Trees are the native to South America. They belong to the same family as Baobab and Kapok trees. Like so many other species of trees and plants, due to ease of navigation, have been brought to another countries and have adapted to themselves to the local climate. Many explorers brought species found in the newly discovered lands to their country as a mark of the success of the voyage and also out of human curiosity to try and propagate the species in their own country.

Due to the change in climate many traits undergo some differences from the original variety. Some traits that may be affected are height, volume, color of flowers and fruits and yield. Plants show a remarkable ability to adapt and propagate in alien environs. Thus tomatoes and potatoes are not the natives to India but grow in copious quantities in India. Similarly, when the Portuguese arrived and inhabited Goa and its neighborhood, they introduced the Pineapple to India. They called it Ananas a name which is still used by natives to describe the fruit.  Although it is another matter that Portuguese being the most adventurous explorers brought the fruit from Peru where it is called nanas.

Anyway, coming to the point, I was attracted to the pink flowers in copious numbers on the trees in Dehradun. There are five to six trees in the compound of ONGC hospital. These days they are in full bloom. Flowers are pinkish white in the center and pink in the outer parts of the sepals. A lot of birds visit these trees and flowers continuously fall to the ground. These trees are doing very well here as is evident from the size and girth covered with big thorns. These thorns are reservoirs in which water is stored for the dry season. Some of these trees has green covering on their trunks indicating the abundance of chlorophyll which is used to synthesize the food when the leaves dry and trees become shorn of them.

Here are some of pictures of the trees I took with my HTC HD desire camera.

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