Author : Sneha Verghese


Who owns the river?

Who owns the river?

May 01,2017 , 10:44 PM IST | Hans
The Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer ) or the Yangtze river Dolphin of China, also called the white-fin dolphin, is the first dolphin to be declared “extinct” in today’s times. Within a few decades of rapid industrialization and the setting up of hydro-electric projects on the Yangtze river, the population of the Baiji went from 6000 in the 1950s to zero in the last decade. 
A date with carbona

A date with carbona

Apr 24,2017 , 10:46 PM IST | Hans
Radiocarbon dating is a method of estimating the age of organic material. It was developed right after World War II by Willard F. Libby and his team. Some examples of the types of material that radiocarbon can determine the ages of are wood, charcoal, marine and freshwater shell, bone and antler, and peat and organic-bearing sediments. 
A Beri beri bad problem!

A Beri beri bad problem!

Apr 17,2017 , 10:41 PM IST | Hans
Beriberi is a disease caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. It affects a variety of organs and systems of the body, including the nervous system, digestive system, heart, and muscles. If untreated, it is fatal.  
Costly mischief or a dangerous mistake?

Costly mischief or a dangerous mistake?

Apr 10,2017 , 10:31 PM IST | Hans
Arsenic poisoning is a medical condition that occurs due to elevated levels of arsenic in the body. If exposure occurs over a brief period of time symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, encephalopathy, and watery diarrhea that contains blood. Symptoms of arsenic poisoning begin with headaches, confusion, severe diarrhea, and drowsiness. 
The Stepping Stone to Success!

The Stepping Stone to Success!

Apr 03,2017 , 10:20 PM IST | Hans
Epiphytes, also called "air plants", are plants that grow on top of other plants, such as on tree bark. Most orchids are included in this category. One of the first orchid genera described, Epidendrum, literally translates as "on top of trees.") Having the ability to not grow in dirt gives orchids access to places with little competition, and/or to elevates them closer to the light. 
Penny wise, Pound foolish?

Penny wise, Pound foolish?

Mar 28,2017 , 01:29 AM IST | Hans
Organophosphates(OPs) are chemical compounds which are the basis of many insecticides, herbicides and nerve agents. Initially developed by German researchers in the 1940s as agents of chemical warfare, they later started being used as pesticides, especially after the ban of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in the 1970s, as they were found to be effective, with minimum damage to the environmen
The Sorcerer’s apprentice!

The Sorcerer’s apprentice!

Mar 20,2017 , 10:46 PM IST | Hans
“Take that! And that!”Akoni the crab brandished his arms fiercely at his enemy. Surprisingly the creature, whatever it was, seemed least bothered about the stinging weapons he held in his pincers. 
Stolen Sorrow

Stolen Sorrow

Mar 06,2017 , 11:46 PM IST | Hans
Botulinum toxin, one of the most poisonous biological substances known, is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The clinical syndrome of botulism can occur following ingestion of contaminated food, from colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract, or from a wound infection. 
Making an informed choice!

Making an informed choice!

Feb 27,2017 , 11:49 PM IST | Hans
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells intact.  The symptoms of muscle weakness usually begin around the age of four in boys and worsens quickly. 
Glowing in the dark, dying in the light

Glowing in the dark, dying in the light

Feb 20,2017 , 11:28 PM IST | Hans
Marie and Pierre Curie, Polish and French chemists, discovered radium in 1898, which won them the Nobel Prize, but cost them their lives. Radium is a highly radioactive element and can be extremely dangerous. 
The Coat of Corpses

The Coat of Corpses

Feb 13,2017 , 11:26 PM IST | Hans
And once all that's left is the insect's empty shell, the assassin bug attaches those exoskeletons to its back using a sticky secretion, piling them high to create a thick layer of protective armor that also serves to confuse its enemies. 
When the invisible turn invincible

When the invisible turn invincible

Feb 06,2017 , 11:17 PM IST | Hans
Multiple drug resistance (MDR), or multidrug resistance is the resistance shown by a species of micro-organism (bacteria, viruses or fungi) against multiple antimicrobial drugs. 
The Last Polar Bear

The Last Polar Bear

Jan 30,2017 , 11:04 PM IST | Hans
The polar bear (Ursus  maritimus) is a carnivorous bear and a marine mammal, that is generally found in the Arctic region. Its body characteristics are adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals— especially ringed seals and bearded seals, which make up most of its diet. 
The Good Luck Sparrows

The Good Luck Sparrows

Jan 23,2017 , 11:10 PM IST | Hans
The house sparrow is one of the most commonly found bird species in urban cities. It is a small brown-coloured bird, with black streaks on its back. It is a social species, found in groups of eight to 10, chirping and chattering to communicate with each other. 
The riddle of the ocean

The riddle of the ocean

Jan 16,2017 , 10:32 PM IST | Hans
The Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is named for the generally greenish color of its skin and shell, or carapace. It weighs up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and reaches only about 2 feet (65 centimeters) in shell length. 
Two fugitives and a plate of Fugu

Two fugitives and a plate of Fugu

Jan 10,2017 , 12:03 AM IST | Hans
The Puffer fish, also known as a blowfish, attempts to make itself inedible by ingesting enormous amounts of water (or air) and swelling to several times its size, in order to shake off its predators. 
Dreaming of a white Christmas!

Dreaming of a white Christmas!

Dec 21,2016 , 06:33 AM IST | Hans
Pseudomonas syringae is a rod-shaped bacterium which produces ice nucleation active (INA) proteins on its outer membrane which cause water (in plants) to freeze at fairly high temperatures (-4 to -2°C), resulting in injury. 
A sunny journey across the world

A sunny journey across the world

Dec 14,2016 , 12:39 AM IST | Hans
The common sunflower or Helianthus annuus, is a large annual herb that is grown as a crop for its edible oil and edible fruits (sunflower seeds). The plant was first domesticated in the Americas. 
It takes a Team to Tango!

It takes a Team to Tango!

Dec 06,2016 , 11:33 PM IST | Hans
Myxococcus xanthus is a rod-shaped species of bacteria, that exhibits various forms of self-organizing behavior as a response to environmental cues. 
The mercurial mishap at Minamata

The mercurial mishap at Minamata

Nov 30,2016 , 12:40 AM IST | Hans
He caught her in his hands and gently set her down in front of her bowl of milk. The kitten purred and lapped up the milk. “Very good, Neko-chan”, said Natsume happily. 
Quills and spines are absolutely fine!

Quills and spines are absolutely fine!

Nov 23,2016 , 05:16 AM IST | Hans
He lay there quietly, warm and comfortable. “Spike, you won’t get any acorns today if you don’t get up”, warned his mother. “Everyone else is going to finish it off before you come.”
The cunning perfume-makers of Mexico

The cunning perfume-makers of Mexico

Oct 18,2016 , 11:43 PM IST | Hans
The Bucket Orchid and the Orchid bees are said to have evolved together, thus developing a mechanism of mutual dependency called Mutualism. The Euglossine bees are not ‘eusocial’, i.e., living in a honeycomb with organized hierarchy like the common honeybee we know- they are more solitary, and most species are coloured in brilliant metallic hues of green, gold and blue. 
The mysterious room in Mrs Cell’s house

The mysterious room in Mrs Cell’s house

Oct 05,2016 , 01:18 AM IST | Hans
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has gone to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for Autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components. The word Autophagy comes from the Greek language, where “auto” means ‘self’ and “phagein” means ‘to eat’- thus translating as ‘self-eating’. 
The gardener in the brain

The gardener in the brain

Sep 20,2016 , 11:06 PM IST | Hans
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is evident as abnormal social behavior, and the inability to differentiate between the real and the imaginary. Symptoms include confused thinking, a suspicious attitude, false beliefs, anxiety disorders and depression. 
Sugar and spice, who’s saying lies?

Sugar and spice, who’s saying lies?

Sep 13,2016 , 11:04 PM IST | Hans
Opossums are marsupials (pouched mammals) found in USA and Canada. A variant- called Possum- is found in Australia, and is more closely related to the Kangaroo. Opossums have a unique defence mechanism. 
Fooling the air borne pirates!

Fooling the air borne pirates!

Sep 06,2016 , 11:02 PM IST | Hans
The Christmas frigate bird is a large lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. It has a wingspan of around 2.15 m (7.1 ft). The male has an egg shaped white patch on its belly and a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. 
Practicals project work in short shrift in colleges

Practicals project work in short shrift in colleges

Aug 31,2016 , 12:55 AM IST | Hans
A few colleges in the twin cities offering bio-sciences courses- MSc Microbiology/Biotechnology in the self-finance mode with ill-equipped or no labs are not only burning a hole in the pockets of the guardians, but are churning out students with no practical exposure or experience in project work. 
A web comes undone

A web comes undone

Aug 30,2016 , 11:48 PM IST | Hans
Human activity has always caused serious disturbances in the ecosystem, and affects food chains and food webs all around the world. Krill, tiny shrimp like creatures which are found all over the world, are abundant in the Antarctic waters, and form a major link in the food web existing in the Antarctic ocean. 
On a magical misadventure!

On a magical misadventure!

Aug 23,2016 , 11:04 PM IST | Hans
Mandrake, or Mandragora officinalis, found growing most abundantly in the Mediterranean region, has been a subject of folklore for ages. The plant is a small herb with ovate leaves arranged as a rosette, and has a thick, upright root, shaped akin to human form, leading to superstitious beliefs. 
An accidental explosion of luck!

An accidental explosion of luck!

Aug 16,2016 , 10:55 PM IST | Hans
Bombardier beetles are ground beetles that are found in every continent in the world except Antarctica. They have a unique defence mechanism: it squirts a boiling toxic chemical solution at its enemies from its rear! The chemical can cause injury, or atleast confuse bigger predators for a while.