Which is the longest song ever released?

Music has the power to take us on incredible journeys, transporting us to other worlds and allowing us to experience the full range of human emotions. From soaring anthems to introspective ballads, music has the ability to touch us in ways that nothing else can. And for some musicians, the journey is not limited to a few minutes or even hours - instead, they seek to create epic compositions that stretch on for days.

One such masterpiece is A Quantum Christmas Song, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest officially released song. Created by English songwriter Mark Christopher Lee in collaboration with the British indie band The Pocket Gods, this 115-hour-45-minute long odyssey is a spiritual exploration of the mysteries of quantum physics and the meaning of life.

Some more examples of astonishingly long songs include Symphony of the Crown (48 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long) by Canadian artist Earthena; Rise and Fall of Bossnova (13 hours and 32 minutes) by American artist Michael J Bostwick; and Apparente Liberta (76 minutes and 47 seconds) by Italian musician Giancarlo Ferrari.

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What is MRP?

MRP or maximum retail price is the price beyond which a packaged product cannot be sold to a consumer. The maximum price of any commodity in the packaged form includes all taxes local or otherwise, transport charges, and any other costs incurred by the manufacturer or seller.

The Centre regulates MRP to prevent retailers from overcharging customers. The Price Monitoring Division in the Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for monitoring the prices of 22 essential commodities. It monitors the retail and wholesale prices of essential products on a daily basis.

Why was MRP launched?

The MRP was introduced in 1990 by the Department of Legal Metrology, Ministry of Civil Supplies by making an amendment to the Standards of Weights and Measures Act (Packaged Commodities Rules), 1976. It was meant to prevent tax evasion and protect consumers from profiteering by retailers.

Earlier, manufacturers had the freedom to print either the maximum retail price (inclusive of all taxes) or the retail price (local taxes extra). The latter method allowed the retailers to often charge more than the locally applicable taxes. The amendment mandated the compulsory printing of MRP on all packaged commodities.

Filing a complaint

If a shopkeeper charges more than the printed MRP, consumers can file a complaint with the Legal Metrology Department in the State where the shop is located. Besides, they can also file complaints at the Consumer Forum in their respective districts.

Selling a packaged product at a price higher than the printed MRP can attract a fine of Rs 25,000 or a jail term. India is the only country in the world to have a system wherein it is punishable by law to charge a price higher than the printed MRP.

However, hotels and restaurants are allowed to charge higher than the MRP of packaged food items. According to a Supreme Court ruling, restaurant and hotels are allowed to sell a packaged product at a higher cost as they provide extra services for their customers such as the ambience and cutlery, etc.

Meanwhile, the retailer is free to fluctuate the selling price as long as it is below or equal to the MRP.

Why are products at airports expensive?

The products at airports are expensive primarily because running a store at the airport is an expensive affair. Here, the retailers have to pay a high rent which is then added to the final price of the product. Another reason is that as airports are high-security zones, the workforce have to undergo daily background checks and training in security measures. This leads to a product price surge.

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Is IFSC More than just a code?

In case someone enters an incorrect IFSC while making an online transfer, the funds are credited back to the sender's bank account.

If you have a bank account, you must have seen an IFSC reference on the passbook. The unique code forms an essential part of the Indian banking infrastructure. Let us find out more about this unique code.

What is IFSC?

The Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) is an 11-character alphanumerical code that is used by banks to identify the branches where people have their bank accounts. Every bank branch has a unique IFSC and no two branches (even of the same bank) will ever have the same code. In an IFSC, the first four digits tell the name of the bank and the last six characters are numbers representing the branch. The fifth character is zero. The IFSC is assigned by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Purpose of IFSC

The IFSC is used by electronic payment system applications such as Unified Payment Interfaces (UPI). It is used only to transfer or send funds within India. It is mandatory when transferring money from one bank account to another. Without the IFSC, you cannot make online transfers. The IFSC ensures that the money being transferred reaches the right destination bank without any mishap during the transaction process. It also helps the RBI keep track of all digital banking transactions.

Where to find the IFSC?

The IFSC of a bank's branch can be found in the cheque book. Besides, it can be found on the first page of the passbook. Another simple way to find out the IFSC is to refer to the official website of the RBI or the bank's website.

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Making mendelevium, one atom at a time?

The discovery of mendelevium was announced at the end of April in 1955. It was described by one of its discoverers as "one of the most dramatic in the sequence of syntheses of transuranium elements".

The search for new elements is something that scientists have been doing for hundreds of years. Once Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev organised the elements known at his time according to a repeating, or periodic (and hence the name periodic table), system in the 1860s, the search became a little easier.

This was because the gaps in Mendeleev's periodic table pointed to elements that weren't known yet. The properties of these elements, however, could be predicted based on their place in the table and the neighbours around them, thereby making it easier to discover new elements. Mendeleev's table has since been expanded, to make space for other new elements

One of those new elements discovered was element number 101, named mendelevium after. Mendeleev. American Nobel Prize winner Glenn Seaborg, who was one of the discoverers of the element, wrote that the discovery of mendelevium was "one of the most dramatic in the sequence of syntheses of transuranium elements", in a chapter co-written by him for The New Chemistry. Additionally, he also wrote in that chapter that "It was the first case in which a new element was produced and identified one atom at a time."

Begins with a bang                                                                       

Ivy Mike, the first thermonuclear device, was dropped for testing on the Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Ocean in 1952, sending a radioactive cloud into the air, from which samples were collected. The lab reports suggested that two new elements-elements 99 (einsteinium) and 100 (fermium) - were discovered from the debris. The discoveries came at a time when there was a race to discover new elements.

 The leading researchers of the U.S. involved in this race were camped at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, under the direction of physicist Ernest Lawrence A team of scientists which included Albert Ghiorso, Stanley Thompson, Bernard Harvey, Gregory Choppin, and Seaborg, came up with a plan to produce element 101 using a billion atoms of einsteinium-253 that were formed in a reactor.

The idea was to spread the atoms of einsteinium onto a thin gold foil. As its half-life was about three weeks, the researchers effectively had a week to perform their experiments after receiving it. Based on Ghiorso's calculations, they were aware that only about one atom of the new element 101 would be produced for every three hours the gold foil was bombarded with alpha particles.

Race against time

As the experiment would yield only a very small amount of the new element, the scientists set up a second gold foil behind the first to catch the atoms. It was a race against time as well as the half-life of element 101 was expected to be a few hours only.

With the Radiation Laboratory atop a hill and the cyclotron at its base, there really was a mad rush to get the samples to the lab on time. The samples "were collected in a test tube, which I took and then jumped in a car driven by Ghiorso", is how Choppin put it in his own words.

On the night of the discovery, the target was irradiated in three-hour intervals for a total of nine hours. By 4 AM on February 19, 1955, they had recorded five decay events characteristic of element 101 and eight from element 100, fermium. With conclusive evidence of element 101's existence, Choppin mentions that "We left Seaborg a note on the successful identification of Z =101 and went home to sleep on our success."

At the end of April 1955, the discovery of element 101 was announced to the world. The university's press release stated that "The atoms of the new element may have been the rarest units of matter that have existed on earth for nearly 5 billion years... The 17 atoms of the new element all decayed, of course, and the 'new' element is for the present extinct once again."

Cold War era

As element 101 marked the beginning of the second hundred elements of the periodic table, the scientists wanted to name it after Mendeleev, the man behind the periodic table.

Despite the discovery happening during the Cold War era, Seaborg was able to pull enough strings to convince the U.S. government to accept the proposal to name the element after a Russian scientist. The International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry approved the name mendelevium and the scientists published their discovery in the June 1955 issue of Physical Review Letters.

While only small quantities of mendelevium have ever been produced, more stable isotopes of the element have since been made. The most stable version known as of now has a half-life of over one-and-a-half months, allowing for better opportunities to further study heavy elements and their properties.

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What is a pictopedia?

A pictopedia is a pictorial encyclopedia that aims at making learning fun. With pages full of interesting pictures and interesting information, these innovatively curated books are designed to ignite wonder and curiosity.

Our club announced on the notice board about a week ago for volunteers to make presentations on "A Book that Liked Very Much" in its regular meetings. We were surprised by the huge response, and we selected a student from the eighth class who wanted to speak on pictopedia. As this was totally a new area, we thought many of us would benefit from his input. The following report sums up some of the key ideas he presented.

He began his presentation, "When I was randomly running my eyes over the books on a shelf in a bookshop which was labelled children's literature, I found the expression pictopedia, with the title. What About....Great Personalities? I am familiar with encyclopedias but not this, and hence out of curiosity I flipped through the book. As it was a slender one with only 50 pages and priced at just Rs.150, I asked my father to buy it for me."

This made us realise how visiting libraries and bookshops, rather than merely surfing the net could enable us to identify interesting titles.

As he had brought the book with him, he quoted a few lines from the preface and blurb to emphasise the purpose of this publication: The coinage pictopedia.

indicates a pictorial encyclopaedia...It is meant for young readers who want to open their eyes in wonder to see the world as they see it for the first time; it is also meant for the adult who wishes to recollect what is lost in the corners of the memory.... Making learning fun is the sole aim of the pictopeda' series." Going through the book, he said, he found it useful to whoever wanted to know and recall some of the important details of the personalities included in it.

After reading out the names of a few personalities from the content page, namely, aristotle. Thomas Alva Edison. William Shakespeare, Napoleon, zakir hussain, Archimedes, and osho (Rajaneesh), he pointed out that there are 45 personalities included in the book. For each of them, one page was allocated to cover the most significant details - unlike the usual encyclopedias, it gave only the vital information of a personality in about 100 words. To illustrate it, he read out the details of Nelson Mandela and drew our attention to the details such as his birth, the position he held, his education, the years he spent in prison, and his status as a world leader. These factual descriptions gave us a comprehensive view of his personality, instead of being cluttered with too many details leading to confusion and often forgetting them. The page on Mandela also carried two other features, viz., a large circle highlighting his most distinguishing deeds- half of his salary was donated to the welfare of poor children and the other. Did you Know? which in the form of bullets mentioned the awards and the honours he had received. Along with these, two of his pictures were placed to concretise the portrayal. The same format was observed for all the personalities dealt with

The most noteworthy aspect of the book was the selection of personalities, chosen from different periods multiple walks of life and who excelled in their fields: the timeline chosen extended from the ancient time to the present, for instance, from Aristotle of 384 BC to Aryabhatta of 476 AD to Sachin Tendulkar and to A. R. Rahman, including a large number of the contemporary personalities. Further, they were identified from various fields such as politics, philosophy, technology, painting to films, sports, writers, and music and there were at least four of them representing a particular domain, the range of areas covered brought added value to the book.

Reading about any personality, he observed, took a maximum of five minutes which helped to absorb almost all the details. He proudly mentioned that after becoming familiar with these celebrities, he had turned out to be a popular conversationalist as he was able to refer to them on appropriate occasions while interacting with his friends.

The series, What About is published by navneet Education Limited, based in Mumbai and they have brought out several interesting titles. He concluded by acknowledging the claim made in the blurb of the book that the attractive pictures and unique presentation made the book worthy of possession by any.

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Are heatwaves Present 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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Fiternational Coffee Day is more than just a celebration of a popular beverage its a global recognition of the diverse calluns, economies, and sustainability efforts assodant with coffee. This day serves as a reminder of the millions of individuals who work tirelessly to bring coffee from hean to cup. As we raise a toast to this belowe drink on Cictober 1 lets also take a moment to appreciate the traditions ad compitens that male caffee a symbol of connection and community ammoud the world.

While many countries observe national coffee days at different times of the year, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) officially declared October 1st as International Coffee Day in 2015. The ICO, which comprises 77 member states, dedicated the day to celebrating coffee's diversity, quality, and the millions of people involved in its production and trade.

The day is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a cup of joe and celebrate with fellow connoisseurs worldwide. The choice of October 1st as the date for this celebration was not arbitrary. It was chosen to coincide with the start of the coffee harvesting season in many coffee-producing countries, Since its inception, this annual event has grown in popularity and significance, highlighting coffee's global reach and influence.

Though Coffee's birthplace is considered to be Kefa in Ethiopia, by the 15th century it was placed under cultivation in Arabia. Its popularity grew amongst the Arabs, and became the quintessence of cultural bonding, via the coffeehouse. By the 16th and 17th centuries, coffee slowly got its entry into European countries, which started flourishing by the 17th century across Britain, the British colonies in America, and continental Europe. Before the 17th century ended, Yemen's southern province was the only source of coffee in the world. However, due to the beverage's rising popularity, the plant quickly spread to Java and other islands in the Indonesian archipelago during the 17th century, and to the Americas during the 18th century.

In 1825, coffee cultivation was initiated in the Hawaiian Islands. During the 20th century, the highest amount of coffee production was focused in Brazil. Coffee is cultivated in regions near the equator, commonly referred to as the bean belt. Due to their favorable equatorial climates that make them ideal for coffee production, countries like Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, spread across three continents, are considered coffee capitals.

Brazil stands out as the world's primary exporter of coffee beans, accounting for 45% of all coffee bean exports globally. On the other hand, the US tops the list as the world's largest importer of coffee. Finland is considered the coffee capital of the world, though it doesn't produce any, due to its long-standing relationship with coffee, dating back to the 19th century when the country was under Russian rule. After gaining independence in 1917, Finland embraced Western customs and traditions. In contrast to Russia's preference for tea, Finns opted to challenge the norm and consume coffee instead.


When it comes to coffee, the type of bean used plays a big role in determining the flavour. For a coffee aficionado or someone who is beginning to explore the specialities of coffee, knowing the differences between types of coffee beans can help in finding the perfect brew to suit the taste.

Growing coffee beans is a complex process that requires significant effort. Unlike crops like corn or soybeans that can be rotated annually, coffee plants can take up to five years to produce fruit and around ten years before they're ready for commercial harvesting. However, once they begin producing, they can continue to do so for up to 30 years, so choosing the right type of plant is crucial for planters. There are two main types of coffee plants that provide the world's coffee supply: Coffea arabica and C. canephora. Arabica coffee is known for its mild, flavourful, and aromatic qualities, while Robusta coffee, which comes from the main variety of C. canephora, has a less complex taste.

The Arabica bean is flatter and more elongated, but also more fragile and vulnerable to pests. It requires a cool subtropical climate and grows at higher elevations of 2,000-6,500 feet.

Arabica coffee needs a lot of moisture and specific shade requirements. Arabica plants are currently grown in over 50 equatorial countries, and the beans' taste and aroma differ significantly between nations and regions. It is commonly produced in Latin America, eastern Africa, Asia, and Arabia.

On the other hand, Robusta coffee has a rounder, more convex bean and is hardier. It can grow at lower altitudes from sea level to 2,000 feet.

Robusta coffee is cheaper to produce and has twice the caffeine content of Arabica. It is often used in commercial coffee brands, ie, the instant coffee that is less expensive. Major producers of Robusta coffee are Western and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Brazil.

Liberica and Excelsa are the less preferred coffee beans which were in existence earlier. Liberica coffee beans are rare and have a unique "woody" taste. They became popular when a plant disease called "coffee rust' wiped out Arabica plants worldwide. The Philippines were the first to harvest Liberica, but when they declared independence, the U.S. imposed sanctions, causing the beans to almost disappear from markets.

Excelsa is the newest type of coffee bean and is mostly grown in Southeast Asia. It has a fruity, tart flavour and combines the attributes of both light and dark roast coffees.

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What is metafiction?


Metafiction is a literary style that invites readers to step into a world where the lines between reality and fiction blur. In this self-conscious narrative approach, the narrator and characters are keenly aware of their existence within a work of fiction. As a result, metafiction often departs from traditional storytelling conventions, offering a unique reading experience that prompts introspection about the nature of storytelling itself.


Breaking the fourth wall

Metafiction boldly shatters the fourth wall that typically separates the creator of a story from its audience. This literary technique involves direct interactions with the reader, with the narrator or characters openly acknowledging their role in a fictional world. This blurring of boundaries invites readers to question the authenticity of the narrative and their own position within it.


A hallmark of metafiction is its self-reflexivity. Authors employ this technique to draw attention away from the storyline and toward the very process of storytelling. By doing so, they encourage readers to contemplate the construction of the text itself. This self-awareness can manifest in various ways, from characters questioning the nature of their existence to authors commenting on their creative process within the narrative.


• The Canterbury Tales (1387) by Geoffrey Chaucer is an early example of metafiction, using interconnected stories to parody conventional fiction elements. He addresses the audience directly, adding a metafictional layer to the narrative.

• Don Quixote (1605) by Miguel de Cervantes explores the relationship between fiction and reality as the protagonist, Don Quixote, embarks on a quest influenced by his reading. The book invites readers to reflect on the impact of stories on our lives.

Metafiction also appears in children's literature. Here are a few examples:

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992) by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith: This picture book playfully twists classic fairy tales, with characters interacting and the narrator intervening for humour and self-awareness.

• We Are in a Book! (2010) by Mo Willems: Part of the Elephant & Piggie series, this book features characters realising they're in a book, engaging in a humorous, metafictional conversation that introduces young readers to interactive storytelling.

Through humour, wordplay, and interactive elements, such books make reading an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

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What is the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act in India?

The new traffic rules under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019, came into force in many states on September 1. Under the Act, heavy fines are imposed for offences such as over-spreading, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without states are not happy with the hefty fines and have opted to reduce the quantum of fines as suggested. What is the scope of the penalties imposed under it? Let’s find out in this week’s Five Ws & One H....

The Motor Vehicles Act is an Act of Parliament which regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles. The Motor vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which sought to make changes to the 1988 Act, was passed in the Rajya Sabha in July and in the Lok Sabha in Aught. The new traffic rules with sticker penalties, under the 2019 Act, came into effect on September 1.

How have the penalties been increased under the recently amended Act?

  • The penalties for breaking traffic rules have gone up multi-fold. For driving without a license, the new fine is ?5000, which is 10 times the earlier fine of ?500.
  • The maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol has been increased from ?2000 to ?10000.
  • For speeding or racing, the fine has been increased from ?500 to ?5000.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt while driving would attract a fine of ? 1000 as against the earlier fine of ?100.
  • If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to ?1Lakh.
  • The Central government may increase the fines by 10% every year.

Why are the other provisions as per the new Act?

  • The new Act has extended the period for renewal of driving licenses from one moth to one year after the date of expiry.
  • The Act also promises to protect those who render emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim of an accident, from any civil or criminal liability.
  • The minimum compensation for death or grievous injury in hit-and-run cases has been increased from ?25000 to ?2- Lakh in case of death, and from ?12500 to ?50000 in case of grievous injury.
  • The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the ‘golden hour’ – the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • The Act requires the Central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in the country.

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What is aircraft de-icing?


Part of deaning an airplane is the dearing loose chunks of frozen vapour off its surface to ensure safety during flights. In cold regions, aircraft face the risk of ice-formation taking place on their surface. Ice causes the aircraft's surface to become rough and uneven. This disrupts the smooth air flow and increases the drag. If large pieces of ice break up into loose chunks during flight, these can get into the engines or hit the propellers and cause them to malfunction and spell disaster.

A thorough thaw

De-icing, which ensures that an aircraft can fly safely in such conditions, involves simply the removal of existing ice or snow from a surface. De-icers are usually chemicals that dissolve the ice. Sometimes, infrared rays are also used for de-icing.

Aircraft de-icing is done on the ground before take-off. The plane's surface is sprayed with the de icing fluid so that the engine inlets, wings and various other sensors are free of condensed precipitation. After this the aircraft is generally sprayed with anti-icers to prevent the water on the surface from refreezing.

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What is a Blue dragon?

Also known as blue sea slugs, blue angels, and sea swallows, the blue dragons, or Glaucus atlanticus, are part of a group of creatures known as nudibranchs or sea slugs.
A few weeks ago, a beautiful blue creature was spotted in large numbers on the coast of the Indian city of Chennai. This occurred after the floods following the cyclone Michaung that hit the city. This poisonous deep sea creature called blue dragon attracted much attention among the public who were warned not to touch them. Now what is the blue dragon?

They are seen to drift away in the temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. But what helps the blue dragons stay afloat? It is an air bubble stored in their stomach that helps the sea creature in this.

While these creatures are tiny, growing to just about 1.2 inches long, they consume creatures that are many times their size, such as the Portuguese man o' war. When threatened, the blue dragons will sting. Their sting is venomous because of their diet which includes  venomous creatures such as the Portuguese man o' war. They store the stinging nematocysts from the creatures they feed on and release these stinging cells when threatened. Even after they die, their venom remains active.

The creature is known for its camouflage capabilities. When floating, the blue underbellies against the ocean's blue colour camouflage them from predators above water. Meanwhile, the dull-coloured backside blends in with the bright surface of the water. This gives them protection from predators below. Blue dragons are hermaphrodites, that is, they have both male and female reproductive organs.

In many locations worldwide, blue dragons are being spotted for the first time and experts attribute reasons such as the warming ocean, increased storm activity, changes in Portuguese man o' war populations, and so on.

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Why aren't the letters on the keyboard in alphabetical order?

Unravel the curious tale behind the QWERTY keyboard! Explore its origins and discover why the jumble of letters isn't as random as it seems in this captivating journey through typewriter history.
Have you ever wondered why the jumble of letters on your keyboard doesn't follow a neat alphabetical sequence? The journey of our familiar QWERTY keyboard layout harks back to the pioneering days of typewriters.

Picture this

It's the late 1800s, and the ingenious American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes, along with his partners Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule, set out to perfect the typewriter. The initial models faced a thorny issue-jamming. Typists, zipping through the keys, caused these clunky contraptions to tangle up their type-bars in a jiffy.

A stroke of genius

To ease this chaos, Sholes concocted a brilliant solution: a layout that deliberately slowed typists down. The QWERTY arrangement scattered commonly used letters across the keyboard, cleverly separating frequently paired letters to reduce jamming.

By shuffling the position of commonly tapped keys, this arrangement aimed to prevent the collisions of type-bars and offered a smoother typing experience, albeit at a slower pace. His design became known as the QWERTY layout, derived from the sequence of letters in the top left corner of the keyboard.


Fast forward through time, and the QWERTY keyboard has seamlessly transitioned from typewriters to our sleek computer keyboards. Yet, debates still simmer over its efficiency and comfort. leading to the emergence of alternatives like Dvorak and Colemak layouts, meticulously crafted to enhance typing speed and hand comfort. Despite these advancements, the QWERTY layout remains the norm in most corners of the world due to its familiarity. It is a curious testament to the enduring legacy of design choices made over a century ago that continue to shape our digital interactions today.

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What's the story behind the Lazy Susan tables?

 As you and your friends are enjoying a good talk at a restaurant, they unintentionally interrupt by requesting to pass the salt. Seems like a distraction, right? The Chinese understood the assignment and designed a rotating, circular tray, usually made of wood, that was placed on a table so that people could have access to different foods with no break in the flow of the conversation. This table goes by its name, Lazy Susan.
 Did you know that the original purpose of those tables was not for eating? They were, actually, used to arrange Chinese characters at printing presses - for easy access. Lazy Susan's origins can be traced back to Wang Zhen, a Chinese official who helped pioneer moveable type, in the 700-year-old Book of Agriculture, which has the earliest known description of a Chinese revolving table.

Thousands of Chinese characters needed to be arranged in order during the printing process. So, Wang Zhen decided to create a moving table, thus saving trouble for the typesetter. Wu Lien-Teh, a Chinese physician, repurposed the revolving table a.k.a. Lazy Susan, as dinner tables.

For his work, he studied several pneumonia and tuberculosis outbreaks and had developed a critical eye toward Chinese hygiene norms, particularly about eating habits. One of his articles from 1915 described group Chinese lunches as a potential source of infection and suggested a "hygienic dining tray" as a cure. A medical historian at Taiwan's Academica Sinica recently rediscovered his invention, and Wu's 1915 description was close to the Lazy Susan table.

But the name Lazy Susan' had nothing to do with Chinese cuisine because in the early 1900s, to reduce household labor during meals, these rotating tables were utilized throughout Europe and America to replace the waiters. Some historians attribute the name "Lazy Susan" to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison. According to The Los Angeles Times, the two Thomases named their invention after their lazy children; nevertheless, without a piece of reliable evidence, this story is often regarded as doubtful.

The Lazy Susan phenomenon began to gain popularity in the 1900s as a significant dining item in households and Chinese-American restaurants started to feature lazy Susans regularly. With a side order of hygienic dining etiquette for which the Lazy Susan was created, it went global for its easy-to-use facility during dinner. Lazy Susan is a groundbreaking creation with a mysterious name.

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What is the patent for the game Monopoly?

On December 31,1935, American game designer Charles Darrow received a patent for the now ubiquitous Monopoly board game. While Darrow has long been credited with the invention of one of the world's most popular board games, he was merely borrowing ideas from another American game designer Elizabeth Magie in reality.

Did you play board games during this vacation? While they are no longer as popular now in an uber-connected world as they used to be, board games continue to be one of the best means of offline entertainment. They not only get friends and families to sit across a table and have a jolly time, but also ensure that there is some takeaway, especially for the younger players.

Played by millions

Most board games are, in fact, designed with some element of learning along the way. If you think about the board games that you've played and liked, you might be able to realise what you took away from it as well.One of the most popular board games of all time is probably Monopoly. A game of competition, capitalism, and business strategy, Monopoly has been a bestseller for decades. Played by millions of people in over 100 countries across the world, it has been translated into many languages in order to produce localised editions.

The origin story

For many decades, the origin story of Monopoly was as popular as the game itself. This story talks about an American game designer Charles Darrow, who, being unemployed during the Great Depression, came up with the idea of Monopoly in the 1930s. He set about making a home-made version of this game and sold them for $4.

When he could no longer keep up with the demand in 1934, Darrow wrote to American toy and game manufacturers Parker Brothers, asking them to make it instead. While they initially shot it down, they bought the rights to the game in return for loyalties after hearing about the massive orders over the Christmas season. The jobless Darrow - who had received the patent for his Monopoly game on December 31, 1935 - ended up as a millionaire, giving the story a near-perfect ending.

Goes back even further

Even though most of what is mentioned in this story is true, it doesn't suffice, especially as an origin story. This is because the roots of the game don't just stop at Darrow and the 1930s, but in fact go back even further. It was a woman by the name Elizabeth Magie, more popularly known as Lizzie Magie, who laid down the basics of this beautiful game. Born in 1866, Magie was exposed to journalism at a young age thanks to her father, James Magie, being a newspaper publisher. The idea of the Monopoly game started taking shape after her father shared his copy of American political economist and journalist Henry George's best-selling book Progress and Poverty with her. James, an anti-monopolist, drew from the theories of George and was able to inspire his daughter.

The Landlord's Game

Magie worked as a stenographer in the early 1880s and pursued her literary ambitions in the evenings. She also spent a lot of time thinking about creating a game that would convey the ideas of George. Magie applied for a patent for her game-the Landlord's Game - in 1903 and received it on January 5, 1904.

Magie had designed her game as a kind of protest against the monopolists of her time. In fact, she had two sets of rules for the game. While one of them created an anti-monopolist set that rewarded everyone with the creation of wealth, the other was a monopolist set where the players were encouraged to crush each other and create monopolies. She created this binary approach as a teaching tool to enable players to realise that the anti-monopolist way was morally superior.

Uncovered by accident

And yet, it was the monopolist version that caught the imagination of the people, with a version of it surviving to this day. It was one such version that Darrow too had played while visiting a friend of his late in 1932. Darrow freely borrowed from Magie's core ideas and created his own version, which he went on to sell to the Parker Brothers.

Magie's role in the invention of Monopoly was uncovered by chance when Ralph Anspach, an economics professor, began a long legal battle against Parker Brothers in the 1970s. Until then, Magie's contributions were either lost to history, or maybe even intentionally omitted. Even now, nearly half a century later, Darrow's name is more often associated with Monopoly than Magie's.

Picture Credit : Google

What is the history behind QR code?

"Can you please scan the code," is one of the most common phrases used during transactions in today's digital world. QR codes are ubiquitous these days-in cafes, bazaars, roadside fruit carts, and even at pani puri stalls. A whole range of consumer and businesses have adjusted to the digital world that has brought QR codes back, especially in the last few years with the advent of the cashless economy. However, have you ever wondered who designed the QR Code and for what purpose?

The invention of the QR Code

Similar to the evolution of several technologies, QR Codes originated from necessity. In 1994, a Japanese company called Denso Wave invented the QR code, which was used to label car parts. The idea was to replace the numerous bar-code labels that had to be scanned on each box of auto parts with a single label that contained all of the data from each label, making it easier to keep track of the different kinds and quantities of car parts. Following that, there was an increased interest in more product traceability across the world, particularly in food and pharmaceuticals.

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) added the QR Codes to their list in the year 2000, giving it international certification. They rapidly understood the significance of the QR code and began using them in production, shipping and transactions. Later on, with the development of smartphones, there was no slowing in increasing the utilisation of the QR codes' popularity.

How QR Code is helping the world?

Undoubtedly, using QR Codes to access websites, networks, and payment details is the quickest method. To get started, all someone has to do is scan the code and do not need to enter any URL.

Among the numerous advantages of QR codes are their increased sustainability and the ability to update information without having to print brand-new materials. They are also utilized to communicate information on leaflets, packaging, and store displays in addition to serving as mobile menus and facilitating contactless payments. Without requiring prior knowledge or financial education to utilise them for payments, QR codes facilitate the digital shift and provide a positive user experience. The three steps of starting an app, scanning a QR code, and entering an e-PIN are easy and fast. A digital revolution is endlessly possible with QR codes' innovative and engaging way of bridging the real and virtual worlds.

Know how to create a QR Code

Interested in making your QR Code? Follow the steps given below:

1. Visit the QR Code generator on any browser

2. Insert your URL into the space provided

3. Customise your QR code if the generator provides the service

4. After customising and creating, download your QR Code

5. Use the QR Code for advertising, marketing and promotion

Picture Credit : Google