Did a frigid apocalypse drive out humans from Europe ?

A big freeze previously unknown to science drove early humans from Europe for 200,000 years, but they adapted and returned!

Scientists at University College London (UCL) and the 185 Center for Climate Physics Pusan National University South Korea have found that around 1.12 million years ago. A colossal cooling event in the North Atlantic triggered shifts in climate. Vegetation and food resources, the big freeze likely caused the extinction of early humans in Europe, they said in a study publish in Science.

Our discovery of an extreme glacial cooling event around 1.1 million years ago challenges the idea of continuous early human Occupation of Europe.

Archaic humans, Homo erectus moved from Africa into central Eurasia around 1.8 million years ago from there on, they spread towards Western Europe, establishing a foothold in the Iberian peninsula around 1.5 million years ago.

Researchers combined data from deep ocean sediment cores from the eastern subtropical Atlantic with supercomputer climate and human habitat model simulations covering the period of the depopulation event. Scientists discovered that around 1.12 million years ago, the climate over the Eastern North Atlantic and the adjacent land suddenly cooled by seven degrees Centigrade. The habitat model determined environmental conditions were unsuitable for early H. erectus "We found that over many areas of southern Europe. Early human species such as H. erectus would not have been able to survive.

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Can the eggs we consume be used to produce chicks?

No, The eggs we buy from the market cannot produce chicks. But why?

The eggs that we buy from the market cannot be hatched to produce chicks. This is because these eggs are not fertilized.

A hen begins to lay eggs when she is about 18 to 20 weeks old. She does not necessarily need to mate with a rooster to produce eggs.

These eggs are produced in response to daylight patterns. Usually a healthy hen lays one egg every 26 to 28 hours for a period of 4 to 6 days. Then she rests for a couple of days before resuming her job! The rate of egg-laying slows down naturally as the days become shorter in winter. Therefore commercial poultries provide artificial lighting to ensure optimal production of eggs. Only the fertilized eggs that are produced after mating can be hatched after about 21 days.

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What is vampire power?

Though it has nothing to do with vampires. Read on to know why it is a cause for concern Vampire Power, also known as Standby Power or Phantom Load is the electricity consumed by electronic gadgets when they are switched off or kept un-standby mode Printers TVs and computers are said to be electricity vampires because they suck power in the standby mode. Similarly, cell phone chargers and other adapters continue to draw power even when nothing is plugged into them, although the amount of power consumed in standby mode and switched-off state is less, the total electricity used by all appliances is a cause for concern as it generates a hefty bill and leads to wastage of power.

The best way to fight impure power is to unplug devices from the switchboard when they are not in use. Another alternative is to use a power strip (a common strip having many sockets) for plugging in devices that are used together like computer, printer etc. This way you could turn them off simultaneously by simply switching off the strip.

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What are the Astronomers, who helped enhance our understanding of the cosmos?

We have always been looking up, peering into the sky, trying to find answers to the many questions about the universe. Many astronomers have tried to unravel the mysteries of the universe. From believing that Earth was flat and the planets revolved around it, we have come a long way. Let's take a look at some of history's greatest astronomers who helped enhance our understanding of the Cosmos.

From believing that the Earth was flat and the planets revolved around it, we have come a long way.Some 2000 years ago, when it was widely believed that the world was flat, Greek mathematician and astronomer Eratosthenes (276 BC-194 BC) calculated the Earth's circumference. In those days, the very act of coming up with scientific thoughts which were at odds with the ones in existence was not encouraged. The theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun was itself considered heretical by the religious and after a trial, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was kept under house arrest until his death. Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus didn't publish his magnum opus "De revolutions orbium coelestium" (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) until he was on his deathbed. Let's take a look at some of history's greatest astronomers who threw new light on the cosmos.


 Astronomer and mathematician Claudius Ptolemy authored several scientific teas and is noted for his Ptolemaic system. It was a geocentric (Earth-centred) model of the universe, where the sun, stars, and other planets revolved around Earth. This model was used for a long period, for over 1200 years, until the heliocentric view of the solar system was established. Although his model of the universe was wrong, his work and the scientific texts he authored helped astronomers make predictions of planetary positions and solar and lunar eclipses. "The Almagest, a comprehensive treatise on the movements of the stars and planets, was published in the 2nd Century. It is divided into 13 books. This manual served as the basic guide for Islamic and European astronomers. He also catalogued 48 constellations. 


 Nicolaus Copernicus changed the way scientists viewed the solar system. Back in the 16th Century, he came up with a model of the solar system where the Earth revolved around the Sun: it was the revolutionary heliocentric model. He removed Earth from the centre of the universe and replaced it with the Sun! He also didn't believe in the Ptolemaic model of the planets travelling in circular orbits around the Earth. He also explained the retrograde motion of the planets (retrograde motion is when planets appear to move in the opposite direction of the stars). When the Polish astronomer was 70, he published his book "De Revolutions Orbium Coelestium" ("On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"), on his deathbed. It took over a century for his idea to gain credence.


Optical astronomy began with Galileo Galilei. Born in Italy, Galilei is credited with creating the optical telescope. In fact, what he did was improve upon the existing models. He came up with his first telescope in 1609, modelling it after the telescopes produced in other parts of Europe. But here is the catch. Those telescopes could magnify objects only three times. Galileo came up with a telescope that could magnify objects 20 times. He then pointed it towards the sky, coming up with the greatest discoveries ever. He discovered the four primary moons of Jupiter which are referred to as the Galilean moons. He also discovered the rings of Saturn. Even though the theory of Earth circling the Sun had been around since Copernicus’ time, when Galileo defended it, he was kept under house arrest till the end of his lifetime.


Danish astronomer Johannes Kepler modified the Copernican view of the solar system and changed it radically. He deduced that the planets travelled in elliptical orbits, one of the most revolutionary ideas at the time, replacing Copernicus view that they travelled in circular objects. He came up with three revolutionary laws involving the motions of planets these three laws make him a towering figure in astronomy. Kepler also observed a supernova in 1604. It is now called Kepler's Nova.

EDMOND HALLEY (1656-1742)

"Halley's comet is perhaps a term you would have heard quite often. English astronomer Edmond Halley never saw the comet named after him. Officially called 1P/Halley, Halley's  comet  is a periodic comet that passes by the Earth once every 76 years (roughly). This famed comet will return in 2061. It was Halley's mathematical prediction of the comet's return that made him a towering figure among the list of astronomers. He said that the comet that appeared in 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682 were all the same and that it would return in 1758. Halley was never around to witness this, but the world saw the comet and its return. The comet was later named in his honour. One of the earliest catalogues of the southern sky was also produced by Halley. In 1676, he sailed to the island St. Helena, South Atlantic Ocean. There he spent a year measuring the position of stars and came up with the first catalogue of the southern sky! Seen here is a painting of the astronomer. 


Musician-tumed astronomer William Herschel started exploring the skies with his sister Caroline quite late in his career but eventually, he compiled a catalogue of 2.500 celestial objects The German astronomer discoverest the planet Uranus and several moons of other planets it was during his mid 30s that he startet looking up and exploring the cosmos In 1759. Herschel left Germany and moved to England where he started teaching music When Herschels interest in astronomy grew, rented a telescope. He then went ahead and built himself a large telescope to watch the celestial bodies. His sister Caroline assisted him until Herschel's death and also became the first woman to discover a comet. She eventually discovered eight of them. When Herschel found a small object in the night sky, he explored further and found out that it was a planet. The Uranus was thus discovered. He was knighted by the monarch after the discovery and was appointed the court astronomer. Following this he gave up his music career and devoted himself to the skies. He found the moons of Uranus and Saturn Craters on the moon. Mars and Mimas (Saturn's moon) are named after the astronomer.


Known as the "census taker of the sky, American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon made stellar contributions to the field of astronomy. She classified around 3,50,000  stars manually. At a time when gender representation in astronomy was  skewed. Cannon with her impeccable contributions inspired many women to pursue astronomy. During that time, stars were classified alphabetically, from A to Q. based on their temperatures. She built a new classification system with ten categories and forever changed the way scientists classified stars by developing the Harvard system which is in use even today.

CARL SAGAN (1934-1996)

American astronomer Carl Sagan was not just a science poster boy but he was one of the most influential voices in the scientific  realm  who  made the cosmos a subject of interest for the masses. Sagan played a huge role in in the American space program. He popularised astronomy and through his talks and books motivated many to become sky watchers. He also founded the Planetary Society, a non-profit that is focussed on advancing space science and exploration. He was a professor of astronomy and space sciences and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. His contributions include explaining the high temperatures of Venus and the seasonal changes on Mars. His book "Cosmos" is a bestseller that was also turned into a television show (hosted by Sagan) which was watched by a billion people in 60 countries. He also wrote a science fiction novel "Contact" which was adapted to the screen.

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What is foreshadowing ?

At its core, storytelling aims to grab reader's attention and keep them engaged until the end. One valuable literary tool that can help writers build suspense and keep readers hooked is foreshadowing.

What is foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing is like a secret code- intentional hints or clues that the author scatters throughout the narrative to suggest future events or outcomes. These subtle clues create a sense of anticipation, making readers eager to read and to know how the story's mysteries unravel. It can appear in various forms, such as a character's dialogue, symbolism, or even a seemingly innocent event with hidden significance. The key to using this tool is providing hints without explicitly revealing the plot's

outcome. Effective foreshadowing can surprise readers with plot twists they may not fully grasp until the story's conclusion. For instance, in a tale where a character sees ghosts, various events could foreshadow the revelation that the character is, in fact, a ghost herself, leading to a powerful and unexpected twist for readers.


Foreshadowing can be categorised into two basic types:

Direct foreshadowing

This type involves openly suggesting an upcoming problem, event, or twist in the story. It can be achieved through the characters' dialogue, the narrator's comments, a prophecy, or a prologue. For example, in English playwright William Shakespeare's Macbeth, the witches' prediction that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and, later, the king is a form of direct foreshadowing.

Indirect foreshadowing

This type of foreshadowing involves dropping subtle hints throughout the story about an outcome without explicitly revealing it. Readers may not realise the significance of these clues until they witness the foreshadowed event. A classic example of indirect foreshadowing is seen in the film The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke Skywalker's vision foreshadows the revelation that Darth Vader is his father.

Mastering the technique of foreshadowing enables writers to craft immersive and compelling stories. By planning the story arc carefully and planting subtle hints throughout the narrative, authors can create an emotional rollercoaster for readers, eliciting surprise, empathy, and excitement in equal measure.

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What are bubbletrons?

While it is nearly impossible to say with certainty, the moments following the Big Bang will probably be unmatched in the universe. We do know that it featured the most energetic and transformative events that have ever Occurred.

A new study published on the preprint database arxiv on June 27 suggests that massive bubbles emerged and collided with each other, may have powering up colossal energies in the early universe. The researchers are calling these ultra-energetic, early universe structures as "bubbletrons."

Four fundamental forces of nature

 There are four fundamental forces of nature - electromagnetism, strong nuclear, weak nuclear and gravity. These, however, aren't always different and they tend to merge at high energies. Powerful particle colliders have already detected electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force merging into a "electroweak" force.

Even though there is no proof, physicists suspect that all forces could merge into a single, unified force at extremely high energies. The only time the universe had such energies, however, was in the moments after the Big Bang. The splitting of the forces from those instances might have either been serene and smooth, or incredibly violent.

Extraordinary amounts of energy

This research suggests that if the transitions had indeed been violent, then the universe could have been filled with gigantic bubbles, only briefly. Before eventually colliding, expanding and converting the universe into the new reality, these bubbles would have carried extraordinary amounts of energy. According to the researchers, the bubbletrons could have in fact reached the energies required to trigger the formation of hypothetical dark matter. The researchers also discovered that the expansion and collision of these bubbletrons would have created gravitational waves capable of persisting till this day.

A recent research has already expressed that our universe is flooded with a background hum of gravitational waves. Even though most of these are likely due to supermassive black holes colliding, some might be a result of other processes in the early universe, including the creation and distortion of bubbletrons. Future analysis and upcoming gravitational wave detectors might be able to provide evidence for the existence of bubbletrons.

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How can clothes be recycled sustainably?

When the word waste' is mentioned, people immediately think of plastic, electronic or food waste. There is another type of waste that pollutes the environment almost as much. This is waste produced from clothing.

Globally, 13 million tons of discarded or used clothes are generated every year. Almost all of this waste can be reused or recycled.

Used clothing can be donated or repurposed to make mattresses, furniture, coarse yarn, paper, and clothes. Clothes that cannot be repurposed usually end up in landfills. The best way to manage this waste is by textile recycling.

Clothes can be recycled using machines. Warehouses first separate the clothes according to material and colour. Then the fabric is shredded and broken down into smaller fibres. The waste fibres are spun again along with bits of new fibre to make fabric. Usually clothes made of natural fibres like cotton and linen can be recycled this way.

Chemical processing

Clothes made of synthetic fabric require chemical processing. The materials are broken down using chemicals and then the fibres are rewoven into yarn and fabric. This process of recycling creates new fabric of the same quality as the original cloth. Many countries around the world, including India, have started producing recycled clothes using these methods.

Though reusing and recycling clothes are the best ways to reduce textile waste, it's important to ensure that the processes are environmentally friendly. Recycling is better for the environment as it uses fewer resources and less energy, but it still relies on fossil fuels for Er powering the machinery.

The good news is that the textile recycling industry is planning to shift to greener energy alternatives. This will make the entire process more sustainable.

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What is kitchen sink drama?

In the annals of world cinema history, certain movements have left an indelible mark but one often overlooked gem is the British Kitchen Sink Realism. commonly referred to as "Kitchen Sink Drama." This unique cinematic revolution placed a spotlight on deep. relatable characters and the complexities of everyday life. adding a profound layer to the drama genre. The roots of Kitchen Sink Realism can be traced back to an expressive painting by John Bratby featuring an ordinary kitchen sink. This artistic departure from Bratby's usual subjects, which depicted the struggles of working-class individuals. piqued the interest of critics. The term "Kitchen Sink School was coined by critic David Sylvester to describe a group of artists who depicted scenes of domestic life with a social realist flair. As the influence of this style extended beyond the realm of painting into film and television, it evolved into a distinctive genre.

Portraying everyday struggles

The aftermath of World War II (1939-1945) left countless individuals facing harsh realities. Rationing persisted until 1952, and the destruction caused by wartime bombing raids resulted in a severe housing shortage Even as the 1950s brought about gradual improvements, life remained a challenging journey for many working-class people. This adversity was the catalyst for the Kitchen Sink Drama movement, a genre that focused on social realism and portrayed the domestic lives of ordinary people. These narratives explored issues like divorce, turbulent relationships, economic inequality, and homelessness. The settings were often cramped apartments and tiny houses. At the heart of this movement, protagonists often embodied the archetype of "angry young men." individuals disenchanted with modern society and serving as the voice of the era This term also extended to authors and playwrights of the time who shared these themes in their works.


Central to the Kitchen Sink Realism movement was a commitment to depicting the everyday struggles often overlooked by traditional art. These works stood in stark contrast to the polished narratives of upper-class lifestyles that were prevalent in mainstream cinema. Notable literary examples include John Osbome's Look Back in Anger, which was later adapted into a film, and Arnold Wesker's trilogy of plays featuring titles such as Chicken Soup with Barley. Roots, and I'm Talking About Jerusalem.

In the intricate tapestry of world cinema, the British Kitchen Sink Realism movement stands as a testament to the power of film in portraying the complex fabric of human existence.

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What is the psychology of languages?

Is there a “right age” to learn a new language? When are we most receptive to learning a language? How do children learn languages? What are the benefits of picking up a foreign language? Let's find out...

How do children learn language?

One researcher called Noam Chomsky believed that the ability to team language is innate. Every child instinctively knows how to combine nouns and verbs to form the structure of sentences, and he will learn to do so regardless of whether he is taught to do so. The researcher had observed that children all over the world, no matter what language they speak, acquire language at around the same ages-they will learn their first words at the same time, speak bwo-word phrases at the same time and start speaking in sentences at the same age

Another researcher B. F. Skinner disagreed. He believed that children learn language through experience and rewards and punishment. For instance, if there is a dog in the room and the child says 'dog, his mother will reward him with a smile. The child thus learns that dog is the correct term for the creature and will use it the next time. Similarly, teachers and parents will criticise incorrect grammatical constructions and reward correct ones, and that is how the child learns to speak correctly.

Is there a right age to learn a language? One can learn to speak a language at any time. However, there seems to be a 'critical period for language development-about age 5, when we are most receptive to learning a language. It is easier to pick up a language at this age.

Learning foreign languages

Research has demonstrated many benefits of learning a foreign language. Apart from the obvious benefits of learning about a new culture and being able to communicate better with people from different countries, it also helps to develop several mental skills. When you learn a new language, you tend to pay more attention to grammar rules and sentence construction, and through this, you get a better understanding of the structure of language. Ultimately, this helps you to use your original language more effectively. Learning French will thus make you a better English speaker as well. Individuals who speak more than one language have been found to have better attention spans. They may be better at multi-tasking and decision making.

Learning a language can also boost our memory. Some researchers have found that learning a new language helps to enhance the development of certain areas of the brain-you actually build grey matter, just as exercising helps to build muscles! Bilinguals, i.e., people who can speak two languages, have been found to develop Alzheimer's disease (a disorder in old age where people lose their memory) at a much later age than those who speak just one language.

Quick tips

We can use psychological principles to help us leam a foreign language. Here are some tips.

  • Language is best learnt in the natural surroundings where it is spoken, rather than in a classroom. Hence, speaking to others who speak the language and leaming conversational phrases, is more effective than mere rote repetition of words and grammatical structures.
  • Exposure is key-it is useful to immerse yourself in the language, rather than devote one hour per day to studying the language. The reason why people who go to a foreign country learn to speak the language quickly is that they are surrounded by it. Watching movies, listening to songs, reading books and talking to people in the language will be of great help. You can also keep little vocabulary chits around your house write a cand saying the French word for mirror and place it next to the mirror, the word for ‘toothbnish' near the toothbrush, etc.
  • Working on all aspects of the language speaking, listening, reading and writing is helpful to understand how a word is written and pronounced.
  •  Practise-One of the best ways to learn a language is to keep speaking it, rather than passively listening. Do not worry about making mistakes. Talking to native speakers of that language, forming a study group where all of you converse in that language completely, is very effective. Online groups are also available.
  • Have fun with it-Having fun with learning helps to keep you motivated. Singing songs, playing word games, enacting plays in the language, etc. will help you learn it better.

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How did life spring up?

You must have wondered at some point or other how you popped into existence. Maybe your teacher. parent, friend, or your own mental investigation told you that everything is born from its parent. So. a calf is born to a cow, a kid is born to a goat, and so on, depending on the species. You may then have tumbled further and further in your mind's tunnel of inquiry, and soon realised there had to have been an organism that took birth first. from which all of us, all races, species, and varieties of creatures proliferated and branched out. According to scientists, when space and matter (stars and dust) emerged out of the Big Bang, it carried in it the seeds of life, even though these were in themselves inanimate or non-living. Scientists have two main theories about how life began to form.


is the scientific term for the study or process of how life came or comes into being. The word is formed from the Greek phonemes a (meaning non) bio (meaning life-related) genesis (meaning birth or origin). And it denotes the process by which biological creatures sprang out from non-living matter that was formed from interstellar dust. It explores how lifeforms emerge as a gradual recombination of carbon atoms with one another or hydrogen atoms. This occurs naturally as a chemical process forming organic compounds. As these organic compounds form increasingly multifaceted patterns and varieties of structures, they begin to acquire the complexity needed to harbour life All lifeforms are made of cells, each a piece that makes the jigsaw puzzle of an organism come to life, carry out the functions of respiration, movement, digestion, and reproduction. These complex structures form the necessary components for building the vessel for containing life. This is why another term for any loving creature is organisation  we are all made of an organisation of atoms into molecules, cells, tissues, and organs.

Panspermia. means seeds spreading all over. This theory holds that basic lifeforms evolved on other celestial bodies and were transported across space via asteroid ricochets, become seeded on Earth after meteorite strikes, and resume breeding after adapting to the new habitable environment. This could be 'directed panspermia, proposed by Nobel laureate Francis Crick and chemist Leslie Orgel, where intelligent beings supposedly deliberately dispatch lifeforms to spread life throughout the cosmos. Soft panspermia theory does not go as far as proposing that whole living organisms are transported through space, but only that the basic building blocks of life, such as amino acids, sugars, and the building blocks of RNA, are formed or moved through space. Scientists at MIT and Harvard are seriously exploring the likelihood of life having spread from Mars to Earth and vice versa. Greek philosopher Anaxagoras mentions 'panspermia' in 5th Century BC to evoke the idea of seeds travelling between planets.

Life is chemistry in the language of biology...

Simple organic compounds were formed very early on even in the prebiotic (before biological life) stages of evolution. All we needed was hydrogen and oxygen to combine for water vapour (the ultraviolet radiation energised this chemical reaction) and nitrogen, which is the key element in the formation of DNA and RNA, the heart of a cell.

Spontaneous origin

In ancient times, people thought life occurred by chance, when inanimate stuff decayed Microorganisms even today, such as bacteria and other microbes are known to sniff out a rotting piece of food and swarm all over it in an instant. But this did not explain how they developed Hoses and mouths, did it? By the 17th Century, a simple experiment disproved it-when Italian physicist Francesco Redi placed fresh meat in three jars, maggots came up only in two open jars, into which flies would have been able to lay eggs, and not in the sealed jar. In another experiment. French chemist Louis Pasteur found that life did not form around dead yeast cells kept in a pre-sterilised flask, but did when they were exposed to air.

Chumming the pot...

US chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey tried to simulate the conditions that would have existed in the prebiotic soup in the laboratory in 1952. They applied electrical discharges to a mixture of water vapour, methane, hydrogen and ammonia (all of these ingredients would have been present in the ancient soup) And they obtained simple amino acids, the building blocks of protein, which is the fundamental nutrient that forms muscles that help an organism move and grow As this years Chemistry Nobel-winners found, a coating of fat helps protect RNA and the other contents of a cell Oxygen, carbon and hydrogen would have bonded to form lipids, which would make the walls of a cell sturdy and safe. An organism then needs energy, which it gets through carbohydrates (no prizes for guessing which atoms make this happen).

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What is the basic information about Libya country?

Though Libya's economic future changed with the discovery of petroleum in the late 1950s, today it faces political turmoil.

Ranu Joardar

Libya is an oil-rich desert country, which in the past couple of years has become an important crossover for migrants intending to reach Europe. It is currently ranked 92 among the major economies. Let us know more about this North African country.


Historically, Libya was never heavily populated or a power centre. Before the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, the country was seen as poor in natural resources. It was mostly dependent upon foreign aid and imports for the maintenance of its economy.

The discovery of petroleum changed the fate of Libya. The country's first productive oil well was struck in 1959 at Amal and Zelten, now known as Nasser. The country began exporting oil in 1961.

The first settlers of Libya were the Berbers during the Late Bronze Age, around 1200 BC. The land was then home to the Phoenicians (an ancient Mediterranean civilisation). They established coastal trading posts in the 7th Century BC

The name 'Libya' was given by the Greeks when they occupied the eastern part of the country. The country was also once part of the Roman empire.

Around 700 AD, the Arabs came and introduced Islam to the area. From the 16th Century, the country was under the Ottoman Empire until Italy conquered it in 1912. The French and British took over Libya during the Second World War in 1943.

Libya finally gained its independence in 1951. However, it was ruled by monarchs till 1969 when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi overthrew King Idris I.

Gaddafi controlled Libya until the 2011 revolution when he was killed. Despite achieving independence from autocratic rule, the country continues to rebuild its government.


The fourth-largest country in Africa is mostly a desert and most of its population lives along the coast and its immediate hinterland (region lying inland from a coast). The de facto capital, Tripoli, and Benghazi (second-largest city) are on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Egypt. As the country is part of the Sahara desert (the world's largest hot desert), the country has no permanent rivers.

To access the water below the desert, the Great Man-Made River was constructed to deliver fresh water to the cities through a network of underground pipelines.

Flora and fauna

As the country's coastal plains have high precipitation, these regions are home to herbaceous vegetation and annual grasses such as asphodel (a herb of the lily family).

The north of Akhdar mountains is covered with a dense forest of juniper and lentisc. Though the semiarid regions lack vegetation, the most commonly found plants here include saltwort (a plant used in making soda ash), spurge flax (a shrubby plant), goosefoot.

Asida is a popular traditional dish served in Libya during celebrations such as births or Eid. Wormwood, and asphodel.

The country is home to wild animals like desert rodents (desert hare and the jerboa), hyenas, foxes (fennec and the red fox), jackals, skunks, gazelles, and wildcats. Its largest national park, El Kouf National Park, is known for its sand dunes, wetlands, and hilly terrain.

The country's native birds include wild ringdove, partridge, lark, and prairie hen.


About 97% of the country's population consists of the Berber and Arab ethnic groups. Most Libyans speak Arabic, which is the country's official language. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the country saw a rise in the number of foreign migrant workers, mainly from sub-Saharan African countries. About 25% population live either in Tripoli or Benghazi and the rest live near desert oases, where they can access water.

The country is famous for its weaving, embroidery, and metal engraving. Traditional Libyan food is a blend of North African.  Berber,  and Mediterranean cuisines. Couscous, lamb, dates, and olives feature heavily in the Libyan cuisine


Following independence, Libya was ruled by monarchs. After overthrowing King Idris I in 1969 and suspending the constitution in a military coup, the country turned into an authoritarian state. Till 1977, Libya was ruled by a 12-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) with Colonel Gaddafi as secretary-general. Though he resigned from the post in 1979, he continued to be the de facto ruler of the country and head of the revolution until he was killed during the 2011 revolution.

Since 2014, the country has had competing political and military factions fighting for power. Though the two sides signed a permanent ceasefire in 2020, political rivalries continue leaving the country in a turmoil. Currently, the Prime Minister of Libya is Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, leader of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

Libya Revolt of 2011

On February 15, 2011, anti-government protests were held in Benghazi after the arrest of human rights lawyer Fethi Tarbel. The protesters demanded the resignation of Gaddafi and the release of political prisoners. The protests gained momentum despite the Libyan security forces using lethal force against demonstrators. Soon, international pressure for Gaddafi to step down increased and sanctions against the regime were imposed by the UN Security Council. On October 20, Gaddafi was killed by rebel fighters in his hometown.

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How are snow rollers formed?

Snow rollers are freak weather phenomena that require the combination of many factors to occur: the snow on the ground must be icy and crusty to prevent falling snow from sticking to it; temperature should be around o degree Celsius and the wind speed should be just right to gently scoop the fresh layer of loose snow into a roll. It helps if the area has a natural slope.

As chunks of snow break loose from the icy ground, they start rolling and pick up additional snow along the way to form cylindrical rolls sometimes as - large as 1 metre in diameter. As the inner layer of the snow roller is usually loose and less compact, it gets easily blown away by the wind to form a hollow roll which looks like a snow doughnut. While most snow rollers are delicate and may crumble when touched, some are icy enough to play with! Snow rollers are a rare sight and therefore make headlines whenever they occur.

What is a sting operation?

A sting operation is often carried out to expose corruption. A sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a criminal in the act Typically, the police lay a trap for the suspect wherein he/she is induced to commit a crime Usually the criminal act is recorded on a video camera so that the police can build a foolproof case against the offender. For example, an undercover police officer may approach a suspected drug dealer posing as a prospective buyer in order to catch him red-handed. Or the police may keep a bait car in an area where large-scale car theft is happening. Often a sting operation is carried out to expose corruption. It may, for example, expose a politician taking bribe, or a govemment official demanding money to do his duty.

In recent years many media houses have made effective use of stings to expose highly-placed corrupt persons. But sometimes the media is also accused of carrying out sensational sting operations in which innocent persons may be victimised.

Some people think it is unethical to tempt a person to commit a crime which he/she may not have otherwise committed.Sting operations in India were able to expose malpractices in the medical profession such as illegal sale of kidneys or pre-natal sex determination tests.

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What is the cherry blossom festival?

The Japanese call it 'Sakura Matsuri' It is a festival held in spring every year all over Japan and also in a number of other countries. It celebrates the blooming of the cherry trees and is a time for locals to have a picnic or hanami and enjoy the pleasant weather outdoors. There are blossom-viewing parties held both in the cities and the countryside.

The tree that is so revered is the Yoshino cherry tree or sakura that puts out exquisite pale pink blossoms. The cherry blossom is Japan's national flower. It is grown for its ornamental beauty and does not bear fruit.

Short but colourful life

To the Japanese, cherry blossom symbolises the ephemeral or transient quality of life. It features prominently in Japanese art, literature and folklore. At the picnics and parties, guests compose short poems or create brush paintings on the spot in celebration.

Cherry blossom festivals are a Occasion for street fairs, with stalls selling local craft and food. Visitors can also relish traditional theatre and dance performances.

The arrival of the cherry blossom is tracked closely with round-the-clock - news reports providing updates on exactly where and when the fabled flowers will appear. The blossoming begins in January in Okinawa and reaches Kyoto and Tokyo in April. It blooms last in Hokkaido in the northern reaches a few weeks later. The flower was used to whip up patriotic fervour during World War Il with the soldiers' sacrifice compared to the falling of the blossoms. Japanese pilots on suicide missions painted the cherry blossom on the side of their planes.

Blooming friendship

Japan has gifted thousands of cherry trees as a goodwill gesture to several countries. The cities which have nurtured these cherry orchards hold a cherry blossom festival every spring, just like in Japan. One such city is Washington D.C. which received 3,000 trees from Japan in 1912.

Every spring, the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River in Washington DC erupts in a shower of white and pink as thousands of cherry blossom trees bloom in all their glory.

Picture Credit : Google

How vital are “connector” species ?


When the topic of conservation comes up for discussion, it is inevitable that there's mention of how within an ecosystem, each organism has a role to play in keeping the environment together. With climate change dealing a blow to our natural world, such roles become even more important. In such a scenario, researchers have discovered something significant- an interconnectedness between different ecosystems that could be "a new way to increase resilience to climate change". What is it? Come, let's find out.

Isolated from mainlands, islands have evolved to have unique ecosystems. For long, both plant and animal species globally have lived undisturbed on islands. But this very isolation could also mean doom. One of the causes for this doom could be the deliberate or accidental introduction of invasive species. And the elimination of invasive species could be a key factor in improving nature on both land and sea. How?

When islands are rid of invasive species, they have a positive impact not just on land but on sea too through "connector" species such as seabirds, seals, and land crabs, "which transfer nutrients from oceans to islands and vice versa". Here's an example. "On Floreana island in the Galapagos, invasive species have devastated not just bird and plant species, but also livelihoods, with farmers losing up to 100 percent of their crops due to invasive rats that started to spread on the island. Some 13 species have gone locally extinct on the main island, while 54 species are critically endangered, endangered, or threatened. The island, which is almost entirely a national park, eradicated invasive pigs in the 1980s in a bid to save the critically endangered seabird the Galapagos petrel, and then in 2019 non-native goats were removed, leading to a regrowth in local vegetation. The 10-year battle to rid the island of rats continues. It is said that once they are gone, at least a dozen species that went locally extinct largely because of invasive species will be returned to the island, including giant tortoises and mockingbirds."

In essence, loss of connector species populations "often results in ecosystem collapse-both on land and in the sea". So, "carefully chosen conservation actions on islands can lead to really stunning changes in the neighbouring ocean ecosystem, because everything is connected". This also becomes vital due to the climate crisis because healthy populations of connector species can "transfer some of the lost nutrients to the water', encouraging plankton growth, potentially easing the effects of El Nino, the unusual warming of ocean surface waters.

Picture Credit : Google