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 ....


Suddenly I felt two tear drops fall from above on my forehead. Dark clouds had converged over the Arali Hills on that day. The dark forests and Shusta's waters stood absolutely still as a precursor to some impending disaster. Water, land and sky suddenly shuddered, and a maniac storm unexpectedly swept through the woods screaming in grief. The doors of the large empty rooms of the palace thrashed wildly and wailed in agony.

All the servants were still in the office; there was no one to light the lamps. On that dark new moon night I clearly felt that a maiden was lying on the carpet on the floor beneath the bed and tearing at her hair; blood freely trickled along her brows. Sometimes she broke into a wild laughter and sometimes she sobbed and beat her chest in despair. The wind blew into the room from the open windows and the relentless rains drenched her.

The rains and the wailing continued throughout the night. I continued to pace the rooms; there was no one. Whom could I console? Who was expressing such immense sorrow? From where was this inconsolable grief emerging?

The mad man called out, "Stay away, stay away. Everything is false."

I saw that it was already morning and Meher Ali, even on this terrible wet day, had not abandoned his normal activity of going around the palace and shouting out his favourite refrain. It suddenly occurred to me that Meher Ali too might have at one time resided in this palace and had turned mad. This stony devil continued to draw him to it and it is this fatal attraction that caused Meher Ali to go around it every morning.

I ran out in the rain and asked him, "Meher Ali, why do you say everything is false?" He however did not give me any reply but pushed me aside and continued with his circumambulation.

I rushed to the office and confronted Karim Khan. "What is the meaning of all this?" I demanded to know from him.

This is what the old man told me: Once upon a time the palace was witness to many unfulfilled desires and flames of delirious affairs. The curse of those unfulfilled desires has fallen on every stone of the palace and they have become hungry and thirsty - they fall upon a living person like a greedy ghoul. Among those who have spent three nights in that place, only Meher Ali has escaped their clutches but has turned insane; no one else has been able to escape them.

"Is there no way I can escape their clutches?" I asked Karim Khan.

"There is only one way; it is very difficult," the old man said, "I will tell you - but before that I have to tell you the history of a Persian slave girl. You may not have heard of a stranger and more heart-rending tale".

Just then the coolies arrived and informed that our train was approaching. So soon? Even as we were hurrying to gather our things, the train arrived. An Englishman in a first class compartment had thrust his head out of the window in order to read the name of the station. When he saw our fellow-passenger, he hailed him and took him into his own compartment. My relative and I got into a second class coach. We could not discover who our fellow-passenger was, nor did we hear the end of the story.

"The man took us for fools, and dished out a tale just for amusement. The whole story is a figment of his imagination," I told my relative. This argument however did not find favour with my theosophist relative, and it has caused a life-long rift between us.


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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