What parts of when we cease to understand the world are fiction?

Covering a spectrum of genres, from riveting mysteries to hitorical fiction, this article pays homage to the art of co-authorship and the remarkable stories that emerge from such dynamic creative collaborations.

Good Omens Recommended age: 12 and up                                                                        

Good Omens is a remarkable literary collaboration between two exceptional English writers. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This imaginative novel is a labour of love that seamlessly blends their distinct narrative styles, humour, and wit into a captivating and unique story. Published in 1990, the story follows the unlikely alliance between an angel. Aziraphale, and a demon. Crowley, who have grown quite accustomed to life on Earth. As the impending apocalypse looms, the duo becomes unlikely allies in their shared goal to avert the end of the world. The novel's charm lies in its satirical take on the forces of good and evil, exploring the complexities of human nature and the absurdities of divine intervention. Gaiman and Pratchett's collaboration has yielded a humorous and thought-provoking narrative that delves into morality, friendship, and the cosmic battle between heaven and hell.

The Talisman Recommended age: 9-12

The Talisman stands as a shining example of collaborative literature, co-authored by two accomplished American writers, Stephen King and Peter Straub. This novel unites their distinct voices to create a mesmerising blend of fantasy and horror, offering readers a gripping narrative that showcases their combined storytelling prowess.

Set in a world that bridges reality and fantasy. The book follows the journey of a young boy named Jack Sawyer. Faced with the daunting task of saving his ailing mother. Jack embarks on a perilous quest through parallel worlds to find a magical talisman with healing properties. As he traverses dangerous landscapes and encounters both allies and adversaries, his determination is put to the test. The novel explores themes of loyalty, bravery, and the power of love.

The Personal Librarian Recommended age: 15 and up

The Personal Librarian is an interesting co-authored novel penned by American authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. Based on the real-life figure Belle da Costa Greene, the novel delves into her role as the personal librarian to American financier J.P. Morgan. Against the backdrop of the Gilded Age (an era of flashy materialism in the U.S.) and the flourishing world of rare manuscripts and art, Belle navigates a world that is dominated by male power and privilege. As she expertly manages her dual identity as an African American woman passing as white, Belle must confront the complexities of her heritage, personal ambitions, and the price of secrecy.

The Personal Librarian is a rich blend of historical fiction and powerful character exploration, shedding light on a hidden figure whose contributions shaped the literary and artistic landscape of her time.

Beautiful Creatures Recommendedage: 12 and up

Beautiful Creatures authored by American writers Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is a remarkable co-authored book that emerged from a playful dare. Friends before collaborators. Garcia and Stohl were dared by Stohl's children to join forces SAMI GARCIA & MARGARET STORIL and write a book together. This casual challenge evolved into the creation of the beloved Beautiful Creatures series.

Set in the Southern Gothic town of Gatlin, the series follows Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes, two teenagers caught in a web of supernatural secrets. ancient curses, and a haunting history. As their bond deepens, they uncover the mysteries of their families legacies and the magical forces that intertwine their fates. The series explores themes of love, destiny, and the struggle between light and dark. Garcia and Stohl's collaborative effort has given birth to an engaging saga that keeps readers spellbound across four novels.

Best Night. Ever.: A Story Told From Seven Points of View

Best Night Ever A Story Told From Seven Points of View is a dynamic co-authored book that showcases the creative synergy of seven American authors Rachele Alpine. Ronni Ammo, Alison Cherry. Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone. Gail Nall, and Dee Romito. This collaborative work weaves together their distinct voices to create a multi-perspective narrative that offers readers a vibrant and engaging storytelling experience In this spirited tale, the authors skillfully interconnect the lives of seven characters who fit themselves linked through a seemingly ordinary middle school dance. As the night unfolds, readers gain unique insights into each character's hopes, fears and aspirations. The diverse viewpoints highlight the complexities of friendship, crushes, and personal growth, all set against the backdrop of a single event that shapes their experiences. This book captures the essence of adolescence showcasing the authors ability to craft a cohesive narrative while honouring the individuality of each character's voice.

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What is habit 7 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers is a tailored guide that offers practical strategies to foster proactive and purpose-driven lives.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has been a part of our home library for as long as I can remember. During a recent trip to the bookshop, I came across The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers At first glance. I thought it was the same as Covey's book. but upon closer inspection. I realised the differences. Since it is tailored for teenagers, I managed to convince my father to purchase it. During the last club meeting, the president shared his personal experience to highlight the importance of reading self-help books. Here are his thoughts as he expressed them

The first thing I did when we got back home was to get the book from the shelf and to look at both of them, as the title was similar. 1, then. noticed that they address two different sets of audiences and are authored by different persons. Opening the first page I saw that the latter is written by Covey's son. Sean Covey.

Like father, like son was the idiom that crossed my mind and I remembered the fathers-and-sons duos. namely, Charles Dickens and Charles Dickens Jr., H.G. Wells and Antony West. Stephen King and Joseph Hillman King, and a few more, who take after their fathers. In fact, there aren't many such duos, which puzzled me because we believe writing runs in the genes. If it were true, what happened to the centuries of Shakespeare's family members or Mulk Raj Anand's sons? There must have been a huge lineage of writers, but the reality contradicts. So, unique talents such as singing. dancing, drawing, writing. and so on, seem to be individual talents and hardly are they inherited. And even the sons listed did not parallel their fathers popularity.

The duo. Stephen Covey and Sean Covey, however almost matched each other, which compelled me to dig out the reasons for their successes. The obvious reason appears to be the son's adherence to his father's footprint. On the contents page. I noticed both of them are dealing with the same seven habits such as 'Be Proactive. Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First. Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand. Synergise, and Sharpen the Saw.

Sean Covey, finding the overwhelming success of his father's book published in 1989, realised that teenagers' life and their challenges are varied from the grownups and decided to write this book ten years later. His father records the variations between them as. "Unlike my book on the 7 Habits, this book, by my son, speaks directly to teens in an entertaining and visually appealing style."

Though their Paradigms and Principles exhibit similarities, they approach them differently. Let me illustrate their distinctions using Habit 1-Be Proactive as an example. Both stress its significance as it's foundational, yet the way they explain it varies based on their audiences experiences and cognitive levels. They effectively relate the concept to their respective age groups. Sean Covey highlights the contrast between "two types of individuals in the world: the proactive, who take charge of their lives, and the reactive. who place blame."

They, obviously, argue for being proactive, "I am the force. I am the captain of my life. I can choose my attitude. I am responsible for my happiness or unhappiness. I am in the drivers seat of my destiny, not just a passenger." Both of them powerfully argues for becoming proactive, quoting real-life people they had come across Defining the characteristic features of being proactive Sean Covey states taking responsibility for ones own life and having a "can-do" against a "no-can-do" attitude He dismisses the misconception that proactive people are 'pushy, aggressive, or obnoxious, but they are the ones who are 'courageous. persistent, and smart

To transform people to become proactive they closely analyse the language that these two categories employ in their communication; the reactive people say, I'll try and "I have to" but the other category contrarily says. "I'll do it and choose to". They persuade the readers to understand the meaningfulness of becoming proactive to craft a meaningful life.

I would without any hesitations state that these two books have a tremendous influence on me.

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What are 3 interesting facts about Enid Blyton?

Enid Blyton's birth anniversary was observed recently. Though the British author who has penned more than 600 books has been called out for racism in recent years, the magic she wielded over generations of young readers cannot be disputed. Let's sift through the pages of six of her famous series.


The Secret Seven

The Secret Seven constitute a group of seven adventurous duldren who go about solving mysteries. They have their own set of rules. There is a shed with a door that has "SS" marked on it. This is where the children meet. One can access this space only through a password and one needs to wear badges as well. The group comprises Peter, his sister Janet, and their friends Jack, Colin, George, Pam and Barbara. They hunt for clues and solve mysteries and suspicious occurrings in their local community such as burglaries, cases of missing children and so on. All thanks to the Secret Seven, there are such societies all over the world formed by children inspired by the book series. The series consists of 15 books and the first in the series titled "The Secret Seven" was published in 1949. Time to form your own secret society, is it?

St. Clare's series

The first St. Clare's book "The Twins at St Clare's" was published in 1941. Even today, the books are popular among the children. The plot of the book series revolves around the many adventures a group of girls go through as they navigate life in a boarding school. St Clare's is a boarding-school for girls and our stories follow the twins Pat and Isobel O'Sullivan, who arrive at the school in the first book. The book follows them from first form and upwards and ends at the fifth form. Amidst midnight feasts, sports matches, exams, and fun and friendship, Enid Blyton weaves a bewitching story that can hook the young readers. Another similar series that you can check out is the "Malory Towers".

Noddy Series

"The Noddy" series by Enid Blyton is famous to a point that Noddy is an icon. For many children. Noddy is the first character that introduces them to the author's world. Noddy was created in wood by Old Man Carver. He then goes to Toyland and this is where the adventure starts. The many colourful characters in Toyland, a land that brims with towns and villages populated by toys, add charm to the series and makes it a wonderful read for kids. The first title "Noddy Goes To Toyland" was published in 1949.

The Wishing-Chair

Picture this. A chair which will fly you to wonderful places. The stories revolve around the adventures of Peter and Mollie. One fine day, the duo walk into an antique shop to buy a present for their mother's birthday. But their lives change with just one visit. They acquire a wishing-chair which develops wings and flies them wherever they want to. They travel to many unique lands and interact with a multitude of vibrant characters who take the children as well as the reader on a journey laden with adventures. The first book in the series "The Adventures of the Wishing Chair' was published in 1937. Pick up the book and traverse the Land of Dreams, Village of Slipperies and Land of Goodies, besides indulging in the exploits with the children.

The Famous Five

 The Famous Five is a mystery-solving gang of five siblings. They go about on a range of adventures. The famous five includes Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. They embark on an adventure every school holiday. The first book in the series was published in 1942 and the adventure began with the book "Five on a Treasure Island". The book became a huge hit and Enid Blyton went on to write 20 more books in the series. Their adventures include finding hidden treasures, stumbling upon secret passageways, caves and so on as the children go about to catch the villains. Here, the children have absolute freedom as they solve mysteries, hopping on from one adventure to another.

The Naughtiest Girl series

There is a naughty girl in every classroom. The spoilt and defiant Elizabeth Allen is every bit the naughtiest girl you will encounter. Tired of her antics, her parents decide to send her off to a boarding school. That's how the Naughtiest Girl series begins. The first book in the series "The Naughtiest Girl in the School" was published in 1940. Elizabeth hatches a plan to be very rude and disobedient so that the she will get kicked out of the school. But Elizabeth is in for a sweet surprise at the boarding school "Whyteleafe" which is unlike any boarding school one comes across. Join Elizabeth as she embarks on a whirl-wind journey and even starts to enjoy life at the school.

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Which plastic plates are microwave safe?

Can you believe that we are swallowing plastic along with the food and drink we consume every day? But how do microplastics infiltrate our food? Read on to fund out..

Did you know that microplastics, tiny bits of plastic invisible to the naked eye are taken up by the roots of plants and eventually end up in the fruits and vegetables we eat?

Microplastics are everywhere. They have been found in Antarctica. buried in the sea ice and in the stomachs of creatures living in the deepest ocean trenches According to a recent study, there are around 24 trillion fragments of microplastics adrift in the world's oceans.


Food front

The unpalatable truth is that not only are microplastics present in Earth's water bodies they are on land too. in the soil in which we grow our food. In fact, we are swallowing plastic along with the food and drink we consume every day, including tra salt milk honey, sugar, vegetables fruits drut soft strides Tap water contains plastic and bottled water oven m The main reason why food crops airsorb microplastics is the use of sewage sludge as an alternative to chemical fertilizers by farmers. Sewage Since sludge contains sludge is left behind after a number of nutrients beneficial to soil it is used as organic fertilizer. wastewater is cleaned. Since it is costly to dispose of sludge and it contains a number of nutrients beneficial to soil, the sludge is used as organic fertilizer

From soil to food

Microplastics can remain in the soil for a long time. leaching harmful chemicals into it Ploughing also enables the plastic to reach areas where sludge is not applied in fact. scientists say that the amount of microplastic particles in agricultural soil is equal to what is found in surface ocean waters. Rainwater run-off containing topsoil and irrigation run-off also contribute in a big way to microplastic pollution in rivers, seas and in groundwater.

Research shows that crops absorb the particles from surrounding water and soil through tiny cracks in their roots. Most of the plastic collects in the roots with only a tiny amount travelling up to the shoots and leaves. Root vegetables such as carrots, radishes and turips may thus pose a bigger health risk when consumed. In leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage, the concentrations are very low.

A surprising finding is that microplastics can stunt the growth of and lead to weight loss in earthworms! Microplastics may clog up the earthworms digestive tracts, hampering their ability to absorb nutrients. It is a well-known fact that earthworms are important for soil health.

Though the impact is not fully understood yet, studies show that the chemicals added during the manufacture of plastics can disrupt the hormone-producing endocrine system and cause other health problems and diseases.

Some European countries have banned sludge on farmland, but that may not be the best solution. It may force farmers to use synthetic fertilizers. Depositing it in landfills or burning it also poses environmental hazards.

Worth of sludge

Also called biosolids, treated sewage sludge has elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential for plant health. The U.S. and countries in Europe have used sludge for decades on farmland.

In Europe, it is part of an EU (European Union) directive to promote a circular waste economy. Around 10 million tonnes of sludge is produced annually, of which 40 per cent is spread on fields. Researchers estimate that due to this practice, 31.000-42.000 tonnes of microplastics could be contaminating European farmland every year. This works out to 86 million to 720 million particles of microplastics! About 650 million microplastic particles, measuring 1 mm to 5 mm in size. entered one wastewater treatment plant in the UK on a single day and almost all of these ended up in the sewage sludge. forming one per cent of its total weight

In the US, an analysis by an environmental non-profit group in 2022 found that sewage sludge had contaminated 20 million acres of cropland. The contaminants were PFAS in plastic products that don't break down easily. They are termed forever chemicals

*PFAS is short for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances which are a group of man-made chemicals.

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Is Switzerland known for chocolate or cheese?

From soaring Alps to beautiful lakes, Switzerland has breathtaking scenery. The country has for centuries been a neutral state and is one of the world's wealthiest countries. Let us find out more about this beautiful country in Europe.


The earliest stones discovered in Switzerland are more than 250,000 years old. During the last glacial period in Alpine Europe, the Wurm stage, which began around 70,000 years ago, the region was covered with ice. At about 12,000 BC. Homo sapiens appeared after the melting of the glaciers, Neolithic cultures established com growing and animal breeding in parts of the Rhone and Rhine valleys.

The region that constitutes present-day Switzerland became part of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the 3rd Century BC With the end of the Western Roman Empire. the Roman administration in the region dismantled in the 5th and 6th centuries. In the Middle Ages, the region witnessed migratory flows. Various peoples also settled in Switzerland, bringing with them new ways of life and languages

Switzerland was formed in 1291 and became an independent country in 1815. Though the country faced tensions and armed conflicts like the rest of Europe, it developed its unique characteristic of being neutral in wars. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the country experienced periods of peace and rising prosperity.


Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy. It is the nexus of the diverse physical and cultural geography of Western Europe.

It has deep Alpine lakes and grassy valleys with farms and small villages. Among the snow-covered Swiss Alps, Matterhorn is the most famous peak. The highest among them is Dufourspitze at 15,203 feet.

In the past several decades. the country has faced severe environmental stress, resulting in pollution and debates over the exploitation of natural resources. During the 1970s and 1980s. environmental policies were adopted by the municipalities that led to an impressive progress on pollution abatement. For example, air pollution emissions here are among the lowest in industrialised countries.

Flora and fauna

In the warmer months, Switzerland is graced with a variety of flora. The most beautiful blooms can be found high in the mountains.

The vegetation here is a mix of four European climatic regions that converge in the country. It includes the beeches and oaks of the maritime west; hornbeam and larch trees in the more continental east, predominantly in the Engadin and the dry Valais; extensive spruce forests in the northern subalpine region; and chestnut groves in the south. The most famous flower in the country is the edelweiss (native to alpine areas of Europe and South America).

Though the country's animal life is primarily Alpine, it has a mixture of species familiar to southern and north-central Europe. Here, one can find ibex, which is a species of mountain goat that was hunted to near extinction in the early 1800s. It was reintroduced and more than 15,000 ibex now live in the Swiss Alps. Besides, one can find marmots in the high meadows, and chamois. The forests of Switzerland are also home to deer, rabbits, foxes, badgers, squirrels, and many bird species.


Most of Western Europe's culture has its presence in Switzerland. The Swiss constitution recognises German, French, Italian and Romansh (a Rhaeto-Romance language with Latin roots) as official languages. Though English is not an official language, most of the country's official documents are in it.

Most of the citizens live in towns and cities. The cities are international centres of industry and commerce.

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, the population of Switzerland has more than doubled. The foreign-born population here increased in the 1990s as it provided refuge to those fleeing the violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo.

The country boasts an impressive list of contributors to the arts and sciences. It has won more Nobel Prizes and registered more patents per capita than any other country.

Switzerland's neutral stance In wars and laws of political asylum have attracted many creative persons during times of unrest or war in Europe. For example, the rise of fascism in the 1930s and 1940s caused a number of German, Austrian, and Italian writers such as Thomas Mann, Stefan George, and Ignazio Silone to seek refuge in Switzerland.

Traditional Swiss cuisine is marked by important cultural and regional variations. Cheese dishes are an integral part of the country's cuisine. Its famous and national dish is fondue neuchateloise, which is a mixture of melted Emmentaler and Gruyere cheeses and wine into which bread cubes are dipped.

The Swiss chocolate industry is also world-famous. Meanwhile, the western region of the country is influenced by French cuisine and culture, and in Ticino, pasta, polenta, and risotto from Italy are popular.

Typical Swiss folk culture such as yodeling and playing the alphorn is practised in some rural regions. Folk arts here include music, poetry (usually song), dance, wood carving, and embroidery. The traditions can be seen in the country's many holidays and festivals. For example, Fasnacht is celebrated in late winter throughout the country. It exhibits regional variations such as in some places people wear masks to chase away evil spirits. Masks are also part of Sylvesterklause (New Year) celebrations, particularly in rural Switzerland.

The country has made a significant mark in science. The famous Swiss scientists include Paracelsus, who introduced chemistry into the field of medicine in the 16th Century. Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology has produced many Nobel Prize winners, among them physicists Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli, and Heinrich Rohrer. The Swiss are well known for their watches and clocks.


The 1848 Constitution of Switzerland, modelled on the United States, was revised in 1874 and then in 2000. It does not allow for troops to be sent to serve in foreign wars. During both World Wars, the country remained neutral.

One of the unique aspects of the Constitution is that it allows citizens to have a direct say in their own affairs under Switzerland's system of direct democracy. The citizens can also call a national vote on any issue by collecting 100,000 signatures.

The leader of the government is the President. Both the President and Vice-President are elected by the Federal Assembly from the Federal Council. They serve a one-year term and elections are usually held in December. Ruth Dreifuss was the first woman to serve as President, holding the office in 1999.

Though the country has been a member of the United Nations since 2002, it is not a member of the European Union.

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What is the theme of the Teachers Day celebration?

Teaching is one of the noblest professions And a teacher is the biggest cheerleader of a shutent But teaching is also a thankless job. This Teachers Day lets read up on a few ways to make your teachers feel appreciated and values.

Celebrate Teachers Day

This may seem like the most obvious of all the things you ou do to make a teacher feel appreciated Indeed, how else to appreciate teachers than celebrating them? Teachers Day falls on September 5 So go ahead and make them feel special on this day You can write a note, make a cant make a speech, or even hold a small activity where you can share how your teacher has made an impact on your life. A heartfelt thank you will be sufficient for the teachers. Throwing such a surprise celebratory event is sure to make your teacher feel highly appreciated and valued. PHOTO R. RAGU/THE HINDU

Form study groups

Ever thought of helping out your peers? A teacher cannot always give attention to all the children in the class equally. Remember that theorem the maths teacher taught that you could quickly grasp but which turned out to be a tough nut to crack for most of the students? How about helping out the students and teaching them instead of waiting for the teacher to explain it again in the next class? You can easily form a study group and either use a free penod or vase the break to teach the students. If you are academically good, you can also form a study group to help the students who fair poorly in their academics. This will be beneficial for the students as well as the teacher and is one way to help your teacher. By teaching a concept you will also get thorough with it. This is because you have to fully understand something to be able to explain it to someone else. PHOTO: RAD GN

Say Thank You

We often undermine the power of a simple Thank You A heartfelt thank you is sometimes enough to warm the cockles of the heart of another person. So go ahead and say thank you to the teacher. You can share how much you appreciate them by either writing a letter, using a hand-drawn picture or just walking up to them and saying thank you Any small gesture will be appreciated by them. PHOTO: A.M. FARUQUI

Talk proudly about them Every individual needs praise. This helps them know that whatever they are doing is appreciated. While teachers may not necessarily need reassurance and validation, having chosen one of the thankless yet wholly satisfying professions themselves, it will definitely make a difference if you can make them feel appreciated. Talk about your teachers to your parents, friends, and even their parents. Praise their efforts and complement them wherever you can.


Everyone can use a little bit of help. And this includes teachers as well. Be ready to volunteer whenever some extra activity comes up in class. For instance, if there is an activity happening in the class where you can pitch in with your services, make sure you offer to volunteer. It may be as simple as rearranging the desks or washing the beakers in the lab or as taxing as helping with the organising of class programmes. In short, be helpful in class and the extra effort will definitely be appreciated by the teacher.

Be attentive in class

Nothing will make a teacher feel appreciated than a student who is highly attentive and responsive in class. Be a good student and always ask questions if you don't understand something.

Participating in class means that you are taking extra effort to focus on the topic being taught. Further, you will also have fewer chances of getting distracted or missing out on any topic on account of sitting farther from the chalkboard. Being attentive in class ensures that you understand concepts well and a teacher will surely feel appreciated seeing a class packed with students eager to learn.

Become a good, successful individual

 One of the most heart warming things for a teacher is to see their stulent coming out with flying colours not only during exams but in life as well. That's the biggest and loudest thank you any student can ever offer to a teacher. So go ahead, be attentive in class, do your best at academics. be good at extracurriculars, and become a goodl human being. Make sure you are consistent, and put in the time and effort to bring: your best self out at eams, extra-curricular, and even otherwise PHOTO ANI PHOTO/SANJAY SHARMA

Be up to date with homework and classwork

Students who finish their homework and assignments on time and who are always ready by bringing specific textbooks or workbooks to class is the dream of any teacher. If you finish all your homework on time, as stipulated by the teacher, not only does it benefit you by being academically up to date with what is being taught in the class but it ensures that you are prepared for the class and eventually, the exams. Further, it also helps the teacher as precious time gets wasted when children come unprepared for the classes. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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How are diamonds formed?

Diamonds are the only gems that are made up of a single element- carbon. Natural diamonds take millions of years to form.

The diamonds that we get today were formed millions of years ago about 120-200 km below the earth's surface.

The rocks in the earth's upper mantle contain carbon. Due to variations in temperature, this carbon gets pushed deeper down where it melts under high temperature and pressure. When the temperature reduces, the carbon again gets solidified into a new rock.

Under perfect temperature and pressure conditions (a rare phenomenon), the carbon atoms in the molten rock get crystallised to form diamonds. If the temperature rises or the pressure drops, then the diamond crystals may melt partially or completely. Thousands of years after diamonds are formed, they are transported to the surface by volcanic eruptions.

Diamonds may also be formed due to the high pressure and temperature at the site of meteorite impacts.

How and Why do flowers develop their scent?

Flowers produce scent to attract pollinators or to keep harmful insects or animals away.

When a plant grows, it produces certain essential oils that decompose to form volatile oils. These oils are usually present in petals but they can also be found in fruits, leaves, barks and seeds. When the oil evaporates, the flower gives off smell. The type of fragrance depends on the chemical composition of the volatile oils.

No two flower species have the same scent although their colour and petal structure may look quite similar.

The purpose of the scent is to lure pollinators. Plant species pollinated by bees and flies have sweet scents, while those pollinated by beetles have musty or fruity odours. Large flowers such as Rafflesia arnoldii and Titan arum smell like decomposing corpses and the smell attracts their pollinators, the flies.

Flowers give off scent only when their prospective pollinators are most active. Thus plants like the jasmine that are pollinated by moths and bats bloom at night and emit a sweet fragrance.

While some plants emit strong scents to keep animals away, the Venus flytrap uses its scent to attract insects which are then 'eaten' by the plant!

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What is cross-dominance?

Most of us are either right or left-handed. But some people may write with their left hand and throw a ball with their right hand. Such a mixed preference for different activities is called cross dominance.

Well, just like we show natural preference to either of the two hands (exceptions being ambidextrous people), our ears, eyes and feet also have one dominant part. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and is more dominant in right-handed persons and vice versa. Normally, therefore, a right-handed person would be right-footed, right-eyed and so on. But some right-handed persons may have a more dominant left foot or left eye. This is called mixed laterality and such persons also show traits of cross-dominance.

Hand-eye cross-dominance can be quite problematic for sportspersons especially shooters and athletes.

More than 20% people have some cross-dominance or the other and it can be overcome by training oneself to use the non-dominant part more often.

Many well-known people are cross-dominant. Sachin Tendulkar bats, bowls and throws with his right hand but writes with his left. Rafael Nadal plays tennis with his left-hand but uses his right hand to throw and write. The foot you use normally to kick the ball is your dominant foot.

The ear you naturally turn toward a soft sound is your dominant ear.

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Did the Milky Way shape-shift?

Embark on a journey to Verona and meet the dedicated volunteers preserving the legacy of one of Shakespeares greatest heroines

The House of Juliet also known as Casa di Gillette" is Italian, is more than just an old building in Verona Italy It is believed to have once belonged to the Cappello family which according to the legend inspired the famous Capulet family in English playwright William Shakespeare's play Romen & haliet This is the very house where Gulietta Capuleti the supposed inspiration behind, the tragic heroine of Shakespeares play, is said to have livest

A global love connection

But the House of Juliet is not just a tounst attraction it is a hub of heartwarming connections from around the world Thousands of people lene letters addressed to Juliet. expressing their deepest feelings about love, relationship and life when they visit this medieval 13th Century palace Some letters are placest in a postbox at the house itself. while others are simply addressed to Juliet, Italy and sent from all corners of the globe

Juliet Club

The Juliet Club, a hidden gem tucked away in the backstreets of Verona since 1972 is a place where the timeless spirit of romance thrives. The dubs heart and soul lie in the dedicated committer of a dozen local women who affectionately call themselves The Secretaries of Juliet These volunteers take on the heartwanning task of responding to the staggering 50.000 letters Juliet receives annually. They diligently strive to answer every letter, even those written in languages beyond Italian or English, seeking local speakers to help bridge the communication gap. Stepping into the workroom fillest with boxes of handwritten letters, the secretaries embark on their mission to provide solace, wisdom, and advice on matters of the heart

This unique experience is not just limited to the dedicated team: anyone can be a part of Juliets legacy A visitor can drop in for a day and become Juliet's secretary reading and responding to letters that resonate with their hearts. Each response is penned on official Club di Giulietta stationery and signed off as Secretary of Juliet."

The first secretary of Juliet

The tradition of answering Juliet's letters has a history dating back to the 1930s when the guardian of Juliets grave in Verona, Ettore Solimani, first began replying to letters left for the literary character. Handwritten letters have retained their allure, despite the prevalence of modem communication methods. The clubs archive stands as a treasure trove of countless love stories and a testament to the enduring power of love expressed through pen and paper

The Juliet Club and its Secretaries carry forward the legacy of Shakespeare's iconic character, extending love hope, and empathy to countless hearts seeking solace and connection.


Did the Milky Way shape-shift?

For the longest time, astronomers have been trying to unlock the mystery surrounding our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers have known that our galaxy looks like a spiral ever since the 1950s. Galaxies are classified based on their shapes and physical features. activity in their central regions, and so on. The presence of spiral anns in our galaxy has placed it in the category of spiral galaxies

What are spiral galaxies?

Galaxies are generally categorised as spiral (like our Milky Way). elliptical and irregular. Spiral galaxies have winding spiral arms. It makes them look like pinwheels and the cosmic entities comprise stars, gas, and dust.

Their spiral arms are composed of gas and dust from which bright younger stars are born. Stars are actively being formed in the spiral galaxies. The younger stars are formed in the arms that are rich with gas while the older stars occur in the halo, in the disk and within the bulge. And this is happening in our neighbouring galaxies as well The spiral galaxies are further grouped into normal spirals and barred spirals. A barred spiral galaxy has ribbons of stars, gas, and dust running across their centres. Our galaxy as well as Andromeda galaxy belong to the subtype of a barred spiral galaxy But here is a new spin on the story. New observations have shown that our galaxy was not always a spiral Reporting in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomer Alister Graham observed that galaxies evolve from one shape to another. He used old and new observations to show how the evolution of galaxies from one shape to another takes place. This process is called galactic speciation. The clashes and subsequent mergers with other galades result in the process of cosmic evolution.

So our galaxy transformed from a dust-poor lenticular galway to the spiral galaxy we know it as today. In future, between 4 billion and 6 billion years, our galaxy is all poised to merge with its neighbouring galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy Following this collision and merger, the daughter galaxy resulted will be a dust rich lenticular galaxy, with an intact disk but without the spiral structure.

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Heatwaves in the ocean?


High temperatures and heatwaves across the globe saw records broken in July 2023 on land and in the oceans. The oceans serve as the Earth's heat reservoir, absorbing substantial amounts of thermal energy as a result of their continuous interaction with the atmosphere. Under specific conditions. prolonged periods of unusually high temperatures in the oceans are called marine heatwaves. much like their atmospheric counterparts.

These higher temperatures could be driven by increased heat input from the atmosphere. decreased heat losses from the ocean or the transfer of warmer water masses through currents Over the past two decades these events have become more prevalent and widespread, having been observed in various areas of the global ocean, in both regional and large scales, at the surface of the ocean and at depth

In particular, recent data shows the occurrence of marine heatwaves surged by 34 percent between 1925 and 2016. While the exact mechanisms triggering marine heatwaves vary from region to region. there are two primary factors. In some instances, the atmospheric conditions themselves play a pivotal role. During such episodes. stagnant air masses and prolonged high temperatures in the atmosphere conspire to heat the ocean's surface. setting the stage for a marine heatwave event. This pattern was notably evident during a 2012 North Atlantic event, which saw one of the highest sea surface temperatures ever recorded.

In other cases, the main driver is the movement of ocean currents, which transport relatively warm water masses to new areas. When these warm masses converge in specific regions, they cause a rapid and abrupt increase in the sea's surface temperature. This was witnessed in the 2015 Tasman Sea (situated between Australia and New Zealand) event.

As the impacts of marine heatwaves reverberate across the globe, understanding the complex interplay between the oceans and the atmosphere is crucial for predicting the Occurrence of these extreme events. In the face of climate change, conserving and protecting our oceans becomes ever more critical. Therefore improving marine heatwave predictability is crucial to empower communities and ecosystems alike to adapt and build resilience. By better understanding the science behind marine heatwaves and taking collective action, people can work towards a more resilient and sustainable future for the oceans. (With inputs from agencies)

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What is an FIR ?

If you have followed the news. you must have often read about police making arrests on the basis of an FIR (First Information Report). However, do you know what FIR is?

What is an FIR?

An FIR is a written document prepared by the police in India. Pakistan and Bangladesh. Interestingly, it is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law, but is part of police regulations or rules.

An FIR is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim or by someone on his or her behalf about an offence. The informant is given a copy of the FIR free of cost.

After an FIR is filed, the police start investigating the case and can arrest the alleged persons as per law. If there is sufficient evidence to support the complaint, then a chargesheet is filed. Or else, a Final Report mentioning that no evidence was found is filed in court.

Filing an FIR

The procedure for filing an FIR is mentioned under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code. 1973. Anyone can file an FIR either orally or in writing to the police.

People can also lodge an FIR online. Following the filing of an FIR, the police are bound to commence investigation into the case.

Here is the process to file an FIR: One has to visit the nearest police station and inform the police of all the details of the offence either verbally or in writing. If it is a verbal statement, the duty officer writes it down and makes an entry in the General Diary or Daily Diary. If it is a written complaint, one must carry two copies - one for the duty officer and the other for one's personal record.

The police will go through the details after submission of the complaint. Then the information recorded by the police is read over to the complainant.

Then one needs to sign the FIR after verifying that the information recorded by the police is as per the details given.

A free-of-cost copy of the FIR will be given to the complainant with an FIR number, date of FIR and the name of the police station. Both copies of the FIR are stamped bearing a Daily Diary number. It is a proof that the complaint has been received by the police.

These details can be used to access the FIR online for free if the copy is lost.

After an FIR is registered, its contents cannot be changed. However, additional information can be given to the police later on at any point

Zero FIR

The provision of Zero FIR was recommended for the first time in the report of the Justice Verma Committee. It was constituted to make amendments to the Criminal Law in order to speed up trial and enhance punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.

The objective of a Zero FIR is to ensure the victim does not have to run to different police stations to get a complaint registered.

A person can even file a Zero FIR which means a police station can receive a complaint regarding an alleged offence that has been committed in the jurisdiction of another police station. The FIR can then be transferred to the concerned police station for further investigation.

If a person is refused by the officer in charge of a police station to register an FIR, he/she can send the complaint to the Superintendent of Police/DCP concerned.

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What’s causing the Panama crisis ?

The Panama Canal Authority has reduced maximum ship weights and daily ship crossings in a bid to conserve water. Maritime transportation experts fear such events could become the new normal as rainfall deficits in the world's fifth-wettest country spotlight climate risks affecting the ocean shipping industry that moves 80% of global trade

Ship owners have the options of carrying less cargo, shifting to alternate routes that can add thousands of miles to the trip or grappling with queues that earlier this month backed up 160 vessels and delayed some ships by as much as 21 days.

The restrictions already are sending China-U.S. spot shipping prices up as much as 36% amid soaring sea temperatures that climate scientists warn could supercharge extreme weather.

Canal operators are on a tightrope as they work to manage maritime trade disruption and prepare for what is shaping up to be an even drier period next year. More than 14,000 ships crossed the canal in 2022. Container ships are the most common users of the Panama Canal and transport more than 40% of consumer goods traded between Northeast Asia and the U.S. East Coast


Barbie dolls, auto parts, BYD solar panels, water treatment equipment, diabetes testing kits and other goods pass through the canal Restrictions at the canal started earlier this year, affecting about 170 countnes and virtually every type of good- including soybeans and liquefied natural gas from the United States, copper and fresh chemies from Chile, and beef from Brazal Bulk carriers that transport commodities from com to iron ore, as well as tankers that move oil, fuel gas and chemicals also are affected some energy companies are rerouting vessels laden with coal and liquefied natural gas to the Suez Canal


A naturally occurring El Nino climate pattern associated with warmer-than-usual water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean is contributing to Panama's drought.

The area around the canal is experiencing one of the two driest years in the country's 143 years of keeping records. Water levels in Gatun Lake, the rainfall fest principal reservoir that floats ships through the Panama Canal's lock system, have remained below normal despite accumulation from the current rainy season.

A potential early start to Panama's dry season and hotter-than-average temperatures typical of major El Nino events in the country could increase evaporation from Gatun Lake and result in near-record low water levels by March or April 2024.

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Does Saturn have a storm spot?

The Great Red Spot is the largest storm in our solar system. An anticyclone that is over 16,000 km wide-large enough to engulf the entire Earth-the Great Red Spot has been on Jupiter's surface for hundreds of years.

A new study has shown that Satum Jupiters neighbour, also has long-lasting megastorms. While these are less colourful and blander than those on Jupiter, they do have impacts deep in Saturn's atmosphere that remain for centuries. The study was published on August 11 in the journal Science Advances

Similar to hurricanes

Similar to hurricanes on Earth but much much larger, megastorms on Satum occur every 20 to 30 years. The causes for these megastorms in Saturn's atmosphere. which is made up mainly of hydrogen and helium along with traces of methane ammonia and water, remains unknown. Based on radio emissions from Satum. astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, noticed anomalies in the concentration of ammonia gas in the atmosphere. While the concentration of ammonia at mid-altitudes is lower, it was enriched at lower altitudes. 100 to 200 km deeper in the atmosphere.

Precipitation and re-evaporation

The researchers were able to connect this to the past occurrences of megastorms in Satum's northern hemisphere. According to them, ammonia is being transported from the upper to the lower atmosphere. This effect, which they believe can last for hundreds of years, occurs through the processes of precipitation and re-evaporation.

Additionally, this study reveals that Saturn and Jupiter are very dissimilar despite the fact that both gas giants are made of hydrogen gas. The tropospheric anomalies in Jupiter have been connected to its zones (whitish bands) and belts (darkish bands), while those on Saturn are caused by cyclones.

These differences between Saturn and Jupiter challenge scientists on what they know about the formation of megastorms on gas giants and other planets. Understanding this would not only further our knowledge of terrestrial meteorology, but may also inform us as to how they are formed and studied on exoplanets in the future.

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