August 2013

Mars Science: A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere's composition by NASA's Curiosity rover, providing evidence about loss of much of Mars' original atmosphere. Read more ....

Solar System It's widely thought that the Earth arose from violent origins: Some 4.5 billion years ago, a maelstrom of gas and dust circled in a massive disc around the sun, gathering in rocky clumps to form asteroids. These asteroids, gaining momentum, whirled around a fledgling solar system, repeatedly smashing into each other to create larger bodies of rubble - the largest of which eventually cooled to form the planets. Read more ....

Picture of sea Greenhouse gases emitted today will cause sea level to rise for centuries to come. Each degree of global warming is likely to raise sea level by more than 2 meters in the future, a study now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows. Read more .....

Image of brain A research team led by scientists from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco has identified circuitry in the brain that drives compulsive drinking in rats, and likely plays a similar role in humans. Read more ....

Image of brain Sensory processing disorders (SPD) are more prevalent in children than autism and as common as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, yet the condition receives far less attention partly because it's never been recognized as a distinct disease. Read more ....

Why I got myself a mobile phone

In the early years I was rather scared of the telephone. In those days telephones were a novelty and I don't ever remember having picked up a telephone till after my college days.

After completing college and finding myself a job, there was no escape from this instrument. Initially, when I was alone in the office and the telephone rang, I used to be scared stiff!

Gradually, I overcame my fear and the good old telephone became an integral part of life. Many years later, came the age of the mobile phones. Yet, I did not buy a handset for a long, long time. It was only when I was transferred to a different city that I was forced to get myself a mobile phone in order to remain in touch with home.

I would still not have got myself a mobile phone had it not been for an embarrassing incident. This is what happened.

As I have already mentioned I was transferred to a different city. One day I fell ill and did not feel like going to the office. This had to be communicated to my boss. So I went to a shop which sold all kinds of things, from stationery to chocolates and cigarettes. The owner had also kept a landline phone for public use and charged according to its usage.

I went to the shop and sought permission to use the phone. After making the call I walked out. The owner called after me, "Hey you, hey you. Come here."

The manner in which he shouted would have put any constable, chasing a thief, to shame. I was perplexed.

I returned and asked him the reason for this outcry.

"Who is going to pay for the call?" he asked, his nostrils flaring in anger.

Oh boy! I had completely forgotten that I had to pay him for the call. Believe me it was a genuine mistake. I had become so used to picking up the telephone at will in the office and making calls without having to pay for them, that it had become second nature.

It was just a matter of one rupee and I would not have avoided paying it. Believe me. It was very embarrassing (there were a few other customers at the shop at that time). I smiled in embarrassment and tried to explain that it was a genuine mistake and I had no intention of cheating him. I was not a complete stranger to the shop-keeper as I had occasionally purchased a pen or a soap-cake or something like that from him. Perhaps it is for this reason that he did not say anything more. But, then, he did not have to say anything more .... His eyes said it all! "Yes, I know people like you very well," his eyes seemed to say, "I haven't managed a shop all these years without having learned to recognize people who lift things the moment you turn your back to them". The few customers who were there also had that all-knowing smile on their faces.

I handed over a one-rupee coin to the shop-keeper, stepped out and made straight for a shop selling mobile phones!

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission -
  • IIT-Kharagpur -
  • Indian Statistical Institute -
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras -
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad -
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission -
  • IIT Bombay -
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad -
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi -
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training -
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) -
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi -
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai -