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Showing posts from July, 2013

Is Sci-Fi turning into reality? The Story of Suspended Animation

From sleeping beauty to dragons; grizzly bears and squirrels to viruses and bacteria, hibernation seems like nature’s best way to keep tough times at bay. Come to think of it, the idea of putting the protagonist in sci-fi movies, in a state of suspended animation in order to transport him to far off planets or reemerge when the time is right is not something unimaginable. This hyper sleep that the characters are put through is something that happens quite a lot in nature!
If you are getting a little confused with the whole concept, let me put it simply- hibernation (or hyper sleep) is when an organism’s metabolic activity is reduced to the minimum (almost zero), where by it enters a state of suspended animation. In mammals there is a drop in temperature (almost 2-4 degree C), oxygen consumption drops down to 2% and there is a serious fall in the heart rate as well. And how does it help, you may ask, well imagine you are waiting your turn to get a table in a fancy restaurant on a Saturd…

Its not the complex talk but the attitude that matters!

On a lazy Sunday evening, I stepped out of the house for some weekly chores and on my way back, saw a couple of kids play in the open. Irrespective of the size of the open space, kids in India are usually seen playing cricket, but these two 5-7 year-old kids, were doing something different! With some readily available materials like a polythene bag, a small plastic skateboard and a thin string, these kids were attempting a scaled down version of kite boarding.
If you do look up kite boarding, it is an adventure sport and needs all sorts of complex safety gear. But the science behind kite boarding is quite simple. Wind that gets caught up in the kite/ sail, pushes the boarder forward.  The kids got this right; and by neatly tying up the polythene bag at its mouth it created a giant sail for a toy skateboard that was merely 5 cm long. Taking advantage of the monsoon winds, this toy skateboard tethered to the polythene sail, slowly inched forward as the winds picked up, giving immense j…

Survival of the smallest!

In a billion years from now, the Earth will be inhabited just by microbes. Not animals, not cockroaches but microbes. This conclusion is a result of a computer model used by researchers to predict the status of life on Earth after a few billion years.

As years pass by, the augmenting luminosity of the Sun will create an unfavourable rather intolerable environment for humans, plants and animals alike on our planet. The increased temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius  will lead to the evaporation of oceans which in turn will lead to increased salinity of large water bodies, high atmospheric pressure and a drastic reduction in oxygen and carbon dioxide content. The poisonous, high pressure, high salinity and zero-oxygen condition will only be withstood by organisms that already survive under such extreme conditions and are called “extremophiles”.
Desert ants sprinting on scorching sand, spiders in snowy areas and beetles with antifreeze blood are some of the creatures identified as ext…