February 2014

Bee Science: Huge swaths of the agricultural industry depend on the humble honeybee. According to the USDA, "about one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination." Biologists at Stanford are now looking into how the tiny ecosystems in the nectar of flowers affect the bees' dining preferences. Their work suggests bees may be picky pollinators, and their fussiness could confound complications from colony collapse disorder. Read more ....

Mono Lake Buried deep in the mud along the banks of a remote salt lake near Yosemite National Park are colonies of bacteria with an unusual property: they breathe a toxic metal to survive. Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered the bacteria on a recent field expedition to Mono Lake in California, and their experiments with this unusual organism show that it may one day become a useful tool for industry and environmental protection. Read more ....

Cross-section of hippocampus Suppose you heard the sound of skidding tires, followed by a car crash. The next time you heard such a skid, you might cringe in fear, expecting a crash to follow - suggesting that somehow, your brain had linked those two memories so that a fairly innocuous sound provokes dread. Read more .....

NASA's Opportunity rover New findings from rock samples collected and examined by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have confirmed an ancient wet environment that was milder and older than the acidic and oxidizing conditions told by rocks the rover examined previously. Read more ....

Kornberg In a finding that directly contradicts the standard biological model of animal cell communication, UCSF scientists have discovered that typical cells in animals have the ability to transmit and receive biological signals by making physical contact with each other, even at long distance. Read more ....


After reading the newspaper and finishing my meals, I extinguished the lamp and lay down to sleep. A bright star millions of miles away, piercing through the darkness, was intently inspecting the tax collector on his humble bed from an open window. While watching the star in wonder I fell asleep. I cannot say for how long I slept but I woke up suddenly. It was not owing to any sound, nor did I see anyone in the room. The star that had been scrutinizing me had long since disappeared, and the faint light of the moon entered the room guiltily as if afraid of trespassing.

I could see no one and yet I felt as if someone was gently nudging me. When I woke up, I felt as if that person, without uttering any words, was instructing me through signs to follow her.

I got up slowly. Although there was no one in that large room excepting me, yet I experienced a fear lest I should wake up somebody. Almost all the other rooms in the house were kept closed and I had never before entered them.

I cannot say where I was going that night. The paths were dark and narrow, and the verandahs were wide. I do not know how many secret rooms I crossed while following the invisible escort.

Although I could not see the invisible guide, yet I had formed an image in my mind - an Arab maiden, the strong and supple hands could be seen through the loose sleeves; a veil, attached to the cap, fell over the face, and a curved dagger hung from the waist. I thought a night out of the 1001 Arabian Nights had made its appearance before me. It was as if I had embarked on a perilous adventure on a dark night in Baghdad.

Finally, the journey came to an end. The guide halted abruptly in front of a heavy dark blue curtain and made signs to me. She said nothing, but my blood chilled in fear. I thought I could see a shiny black-skinned sentry, sitting on the floor with his legs spread and an open sword on his lap, dozing. My guide nimbly leaped over his legs and lifted a corner of the curtain. A part of the room's interior came into my view, and I saw there was a thick Persian carpet on the floor. I could not see who was sitting on it - but I caught a glimpse of the lower portion of a saffron-coloured puffed pajama and a pair of beautiful feet, adorned with laced slippers, emerging out of them. The person was seated on a rose-coloured velvet cushion. At one corner of the floor there was a blue-coloured crystal tray containing few apples, pears, and plenty of grapes. By the side of the tray were two smaller cups and a golden-hued crystal wine glass which were awaiting the arrival of the guest. The rich fragrance of incense sticks emanated from the room and made my head swim.

I was quivering all over and as I made to leap over the spread legs of the sentry, he woke up instantly - his sword dropped on the stone floor making a clattering noise. Suddenly I heard a loud scream, and saw that I was sitting on my bed and my whole body was drenched in sweat - in the light of the dawn the moon appeared like a weary patient who had spent a sleepless night, and our crazy Meher Ali, in his usual manner, was walking along the solitary road while screaming at the top of his lungs, "Stay away, stay away."


Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu

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