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happy reads

A Laboratory under Water?

How much do we know about our ocean floor? It is surprising to note that currently, we know more about Mars than we know about our deep seas on Earth. More than 90% of our oceans are unmapped and unexplored.

To understand our deep seas better, renowned ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau is working on PROTEUS – the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station. Along with Swiss designer Yves Béhar, he has envisaged and created the design for this underwater laboratory. 

Let’s know more about PROTEUS –

  • Fabien aims to make PROTEUS an underwater version of the International Space Station (ISS).
  • PROTEUS will be situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of the island of Curacao (which is part of the Netherlands).
  • PROTEUS will be a 4,000-square-foot, two-storey lab. The lab will be attached to the ocean floor with the help of legs designed to adapt to underwater conditions.
  • It can have up to twelve people for up to 31 days at a time. It will be fully powered by wind, solar and thermal energy. The lab will have the latest technology for research, WiFi, and even a studio for scientists to make videos on their findings.
  • PROTEUS will also have the world’s first underwater greenhouse, where fresh food can be grown.

Fabien says that the design is ready and will take three years to be installed.

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happy reads

A Vending Machine for Pizza!

Vending machines are often found in parks, offices, airports and shopping malls. From hot drinks to crunchy snacks to chilled beverages – a vending machine offers a wide range of items to choose from. All you need to do is feed coins or notes into the money slot and make your selection. 

Makers have used this technology to design a machine that can deliver freshly baked pizzas in under 3 minutes! Fascinating, isn’t it? Best bit? You can select toppings of your choice and craft your own pizza.

This machine is called ‘Mr. Go Pizza’ and can produce four types of pizzas, each costing about US$5 to US$7.

The modern pizza that we eat nowadays was originated in Naples, a city in Italy. Since the Italians take great pride in their pizzas, this vending machine has paved the way to a great controversy!

Some people think this idea is pretty good; others are horrified by this. 

What do you think of ‘Mr. Go Pizza’ vending machine?  

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daily buzz

Why Do We Celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day?

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands

Did you know germs on your hands can survive for up to three hours?

If you look around, you will see that washing hands before a meal comes naturally to some people. Then there are some who forget about these habits altogether.

It takes practice and a true understanding of the benefits of good hygiene for these habits to sink in completely.

World Hand Hygiene Day is celebrated on the 5th of May to spread awareness about maintaining proper hand hygiene.

The theme for World Hygiene Day 2021 – Achieving hand hygiene at the point of care, draws inspiration from the 2009 ‘SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands’ global campaign. This day serves as a yearly reminder that washing hands regularly is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.

It is necessary to wash your hands with soap and water properly for at least 20 seconds to remove dirt, germs, viruses and bacteria.

Always remember, ‘A handwash a day keeps germs away!‘. 

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daily buzz

Touchdown Confirmed: Perseverance Rover

NASA’s Perseverance rover left Earth in July 2020 and successfully landed on Mars on 18th February! 

It landed in the most challenging terrain on the Martian surface – a deep crater near the planet’s equator called Jezero. Jezero is thought to have been the spot of a giant lake billion years ago.

Landing on Mars is not easy, and so, NASA was nervous about it. But it went well, and the spacecraft is in great shape. It also sent back its first images of Mars.

This is the 5th rover that NASA has sent to Mars. The previous one, Curiosity, was landed in a different crater in 2012.

The rover will now study the rocks in the crater to know more about the planet’s geography. Its mission is to look for signs of life on Mars in the past.

One of the NASA scientists leading the mission is Dr. Swati Mohan, an Indian-American engineer. She has also earlier worked on projects like Cassini (a NASA mission to Saturn).

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happy reads

Saturn: The Ringed Planet

If there’s an alien invasion ever, Saturn is the planet they would love to build their kingdom on! 

Saturn, the second-largest planet in our solar system, is adorned with seven magnificent rings around its equator. These celestial hula hoops are made of ice and rock chunks. What’s more? Each ring orbits around the planet at its own pace. The outermost rings move the slowest while the inner rings move the fastest. The ringed planet Saturn is also known as the ‘jewel of the Solar System‘.

Astronomer James O’Donoghue recently made an animated video on how the Saturnian ring system is like a mini Solar System – Saturn is like the Sun at the centre with planet-like rings circling it.

These incredibly fast-moving rings are also very long and thin. They constitute only about 1/5,000th the mass of our moon, which means our moon could be used to make 5,000 Saturn rings!

O’Donoghue has made other animation videos about our Solar System as well – there’s no “dark side” of the moon, the true centre of the Solar System isn’t the Sun, and Earth has two types of day.

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happy reads

Dolphin Mom Adopts Baby Whale

A group of biologists at the Far Out Ocean Research Collective organization, New Zealand, spotted a bottlenose dolphin that was nursing a melon-head whale calf. 

Adoption among mammals usually occurs within the same species; hence, this relationship between a dolphin and her non-biological calf was unusual and supposedly the first known case of such an adoption. The dolphin treated the whale as if it were her baby!

Researchers presumed that the doting mother might have lost her calf, and the orphaned whale accentuated her maternal instincts bigtime. 

The adoption is assumed to have happened nearly a month ago.

The whale belonged to a family of long-finned pilot whales. While it was named a ‘whale’, it was actually a type of dolphin. 

The duo showed unparalleled commitment and was seen together for nearly three years!

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daily buzz

Pink African Violets?

One of the most beautiful indoor plants, the African violet, is a low-growing flowering plant that blooms several times a year. They are bright, vibrant and are available in a multitude of colors. So far, nearly 106 variants of this plant have been documented, out of which 26 are present in Northeaster India.

Recently, botanists at the Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) discovered a new species of the African violet plant in Mizoram. The newly-found species has clusters of light pink flowers over fuzzy leaves and blossoms during monsoons only. 

This variant of the African violet has been named Didymocarpus vickifunkiae, in honor of the late Dr Vicki Ann Funk, a renowned American botanist.

The new flower has been found only at three locations in Mizoram and has already been declared endangered. Researchers have confirmed the presence of this species in adjacent areas of Myanmar also.

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happy reads

This DC Comic Is Worth a Fortune!

Isn’t growing up all about trying to emulate your favorite superhero and team up with him in his quest for justice? Regardless of one’s age or gender, there is something so gripping about these comic books that engage children and older people alike.

If you are a comic enthusiast and have comic books, then don’t let go of those. You don’t know how much they may be worth someday.

A rare Superman comic book was recently sold for a record-setting price of US$3.25 million (about ₹24 crores), making it the world’s most valuable comic book.

The iconic superhero who sports a blue uniform, a flowing cape and an ‘S’ shield on his chest made his first appearance as A man of steel in Action Comics #1.  Initially released in 1938, the book was sold for 10 cents (about ₹7 today). Today, only about 100 copies of the comic still exist.

The all-time favorite superhero – Superman, is seen as the ultimate symbol of hope, truth and justice.

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happy reads

Who Names Cyclones?

Cyclones are powerful swirling winds that rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere around an epicentre of low atmospheric pressure.

It is interesting to note that cyclones can be named too, just like other things in the world! 

Let’s find out how these names are kept!

Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) and Regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) track cyclone developments and name cyclones. IMD’s RSMCs headquartered in Delhi is among them. 13 countries fall in its ambit. The countries are Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Each of these countries is allowed to suggest names, the cycle of proposing names for cyclones goes in alphabetical order. RSMC New Delhi then chooses a name based on the recommended list.

Each country gets a chance to name the cyclone one after the other.

Bangladesh suggested ‘Onil’ the first in the list in 2004. Thailand named cyclone ‘Phethai’ (originated in 2018).

64 names have been suggested by these thirteen countries so far, out of which 57 names have been utilized.

The names also have individual meanings – recent cyclone Tauktae suggested by Myanmar means gecko.

DID YOU KNOW?

Even an ordinary person can suggest a name for a cyclone; the proposed name must fulfil some of the basic norms. The name has to be communicated to the Director-General of the IMD (India Meteorological Department).

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happy reads

Impressive Benefits of Drumsticks

You must have heard your grandmother asking you to eat drumsticks at your house. Loaded with the goodness of iron, calcium, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants, drumstick, also called Moringa, is considered a superfood in India.

A recent discovery by Bengaluru scientists has found out as many as 8 things in its sticks, leaves, flowers, stem and root that make it healthy!

Some of the names sound funny! Can you read them all?

  • Moringine – helps in losing weight and maintains hormonal balance in our body
  • Quercetin – essential for energy metabolism
  • Kaempferol and Oleanolic acid – help fight cancer