What is the summary of ‘The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet’?



No teenage girl, no matter how devoted her parents are to Shakespeare, deserves to be named, Hamlet. It’s so unfair. To their credit, her parents did consider naming her Ophelia, but desisted because they thought she was too tragic a character! Hamlet’s younger sister is Desdemona, a math and science prodigy at age seven, is in Hamlet's grade 8 class. She was actually supposed to go to college but wasn't allowed to pick a major because they had not taken art and music classes. The ultimate tragedy, however, is that whenever their parents visit them in school, they dress in 16th Century Elizabethan finery!



Hamlet Kennedy thought she had nothing in common with her weird family. But the perfect recitation of a Shakespearean, passage wins her the part of Puck in the school’s staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream". Through, the rehearsals and various other experiences involving her family and classmates, she realises she is every bit as special as her family is. She was struggling to ‘fit in' when all she needed to do was be herself.



 



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Which forest is home to the largest number of wild Asiatic lions?



One of the very few places in the world for spotting lions in the wild, the Gir forest is home to the largest number of wild Asiatic lions. Located in southern Gujarat, the region was first declared a reserve forest, and eventually granted the status of a sanctuary in 1965. The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a dry scrubland spanning 1,400 sq.km. Around half of the forested area of the park is teak. The other half mostly has broad leaf and evergreen trees. The entire region is covered with dry deciduous forests, acacia scrub and grassland, and fed by rivers and reservoirs. Dominated by vegetation ideal for fauna, it is no surprise that over 250 species of birds are found in and around the area. This includes a whole variety from teals, kingfishers, nightjars and swifts to eagles, vultures, harriers, ibises and the oriental white-eye. While the lion is the most popular inhabitant of the Gir forest, the region also hosts the leopard, hyena, wild boar, spotted deer, nilgai, jackal, jungle cat, honey badger, porcupine etc. and reptiles such as Indian cobra and the marsh crocodile.



An unusual journey



The last time a tiger roamed Gujarat’s forest was in 1992. However, that changed in February 2019 when a school teacher saw a tiger crossing a road and took a photo on a phone. Having a big cat back in Gujarat was a huge moment of ecological victory. While the image went viral, the forest department got into action – camera traps were set up. Within a week, the tiger was spotted again; it was a young male. The same one that had started its journey from Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary in neighbouring State Madhya Pradesh back in 2017. When it reached Gujarat, it had travelled about 300 km, one of the longest journeys for tiger. The hope was that the tiger could eventually reach Gir forest, where it would settle in a conductive environment full of prey. However, the tiger died within weeks – of starvation. When it roamed the forests in Gujarat, the State became the only one to host the lion, the tiger and the leopard. That joy turned out to be short-lived. However, the tiger also left behind hope that someday someone else from his species would follow him and perhaps ensure that the joy lasts forever.



Lion deaths



On June 10, 2020 Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that “Population of the majestic Asiatic Lion, living in Gujarat’s Gir forest, is up by almost 29% Geographically, distribution area is up by 36%.” While this was comforting news, a report released by the government around the same time wasn’t. it said that as many as 92 lions had died in Gujarat’s Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL) since January 2020. ALL includes Gir National Park and Sanctuary, among a few other regions. These numbers are worrying, especially due to the canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak that occurred in 2018. The virus infection had claimed the lives of more than 20 lions in Gir forest division in a matter of weeks. While the 92 lions “reportedly died of unnatural causes” this year, the State government has denied the presence of CDV.



 



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According to the latest report from the government, which tiger reserve has recorded the highest tiger density in the country?



Uttarakhand’s Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) has reported the highest tiger density among India’s 50 reserves with 14 tigers per 100 sq km, followed by Kaziranga, Nagarhole and Orang tiger reserves, according to the 656-page report ‘Status of Tigers Co-predators and Prey in India’, released by Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday on the eve of Global Tiger Day.



Corbett Tiger Park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative and also the oldest national park in India. As per the current tiger counting Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve sheltering a healthy population of tigers and other rare species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna including crested serpent eagle,Himalayan black bear and great Indian elephants.



According to All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July last year in July, there are 442 tigers in Uttarakhand. 



The population of India's national animal in the hill state has registered an increase from 178 in the year 2006, 227 in 2010, 340 in 2014 and 442 in 2018.



 



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What is cliffhanger?



A cliffhanger is a literacy device used to create an element of suspense in the story. When the plotline ends suddenly or is left unresolved. It leaves unanswered questions that make the reader or viewer want to come back to learn what will happen.



Origin



The phrase comes from the idea of “hanging off a cliff”. Cliffhangers were first popularized in the serials of the 1920s and 30s, and were often accompanied by the text “To be continued.”



Binge watching



Today, cliffhangers are widely used in television, web, and book series. They encourage people to come back for each new segment or episode. Usually, a cliffhanger doesn’t lend itself well to standalone films. But with the popularity of franchises and sequels, the use of cliffhanger endings in films has increased over the years.



The suspense maker



A cliffhanger is a great technique to use in a thriller because it builds up the action and then leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. Authors frequently build suspense throughout their stories to keep their reader’s attention and increase anticipation for what is to come.



Popular cliffhangers




  • ‘Harry Potter’ series: Author J.K. Rowling is a master of cliffhangers, and she has employed them cleverly throughout all seven books in the “Harry Potter” series. One of the biggest cliffhangers in the series is the ending of the fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – in the graveyard, Voldemort rises again with the help of peter Pettigrew, and summons his fearsome Death’s Eaters.

  • “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018): The penultimate “Avengers” film packed quite a punch towards the end. Having acquired all six infinity Stones, Thanos uses his newfound powers to snap his fingers and wipe out half of all life in the universe. Half of their team turns to dust and vanishes from existence, including fan-favourite characters such as Drax, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. The last scene shows Thanos sitting peacefully on a rock with a satisfying look on his face as he has fulfilled his dream.

  • “The Dark Knight” (2008): Though Batman defeats the Joker, he is unable to save Harvey Dent, who dies in the aftermath of his kidnapping of James Gordon’s family. Seeking to spare the people of Gotham City from learning the horrible truth about Dent’s crimes, Batman takes the fall for Dent and becomes a wanted fugitive, with the film’s final scene showing him on run from the police.



 



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Do you know what makes a chameleon change?



Chameleons are reptiles found predominantly in Madagascar, and some parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. There are over 150 species, in varying sizes and inhabiting rainforests, deserts, etc. While some reside close to the ground, many of them live in trees. And that would explain their grouped toes for climbing and prehensile tails curled around branches for balance. But what sets chameleons apart from most creatures is their colour-changing ability.



Myriad colours, but…



Yes, chameleons do change colour and this may help in camouflage. But most of them already have skin colour that help them blend well with their surroundings. For instance, it is said that tree-dwelling chameleons are in shades of green while their cousins in deserts are more in shades of brown. So it’s a misconception that they can match the colours of their background. Reports say these reptiles predominately change colour for defence, to communicate. Attract mates, display anger, fear, threat, etc., and as a response to changes such as light or humidity in their surroundings.



Here’s how it’s done. The chameleon skin has a few layers. The outermost is said to be transparent. The layer beneath this has special iridescent cells with different colour pigments that also reflect light. The reptile has the ability to change the arrangement of these cells – “by relaxing or exciting the skin”.



All-seeing eyes and long tongues



In addition to a colour-changing skin, they have another rare ability – eyes that move independently of each other, giving these reptiles the chance to look in two different directions simultaneously. When they want to look at something specific, both eyes focus on that object together. Not just that, their cone-shaped eyes rotate, giving them a 360-degree view of their surroundings. Another interesting aspect of the chameleon is its tongue. The sticky tongue is said to be almost twice the length of its body. When it spots its prey, the tongue shoots out with incredible speed, acts as a suction cup and pulls the prey in before the unsuspecting victim has any time to react!



 



Picture Credit : Google