June 2014



Thwaites Glacier Melting glaciers: A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. Read more ....

Squid Symbiosis: The small but charismatic Hawaiian bobtail squid is known for its predator-fooling light organ. To survive, the nocturnal cephalopod depends on a symbiotic association with a luminescent bacterium that gives it the ability to mimic moonlight on the surface of the ocean and, in the fashion of a Klingon cloaking device, deceive barracuda and other fish that would happily make a meal of the small creature. Read more ....

Coral reef Protective corals: Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, diverse and delicate ecosystems on the planet. A new study by an international team of scientists reveals that reefs also play the tough guy role in protecting hundreds of millions of people from rising sea levels and damaging wave action. Read more .....

Sea anemone Oceanic life: A deep-water creature once thought to be one of the world's largest sea anemones, with tentacles reaching more than 6.5 feet long, actually belongs to a new order of animals. Read more ....

Batteries Harnessing waste heat: Vast amounts of excess heat are generated by industrial processes and by electric power plants; researchers around the world have spent decades seeking ways to harness some of this wasted energy. Most such efforts have focused on thermoelectric devices, solid-state materials that can produce electricity from a temperature gradient, but the efficiency of such devices is limited by the availability of materials. Read more ....

Aircraft Brain-controlled flight: Pilots of the future could be able to control their aircraft by merely thinking commands. Scientists of the Technische Universitat Munchen and the TU Berlin claim to have demonstrated the feasibility of flying via brain control - with astonishing accuracy. Read more ....




Troublesome queue

I distinctly remember the shrill whistles that pierced through the auditorium and threatened to shatter the ear-drums when Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan delivered the dialogue "Hum jahan khade ho jaate hain, line wahin se shuru hoti hain (the queue begins from where I stand)".

It is okay for celebrities to make such declarations; for ordinary mortals like me, the queue does not start from where I stand even if I happen to be the first person to line up before a counter.

Now, consider this incident. A few days ago I had to visit the civic administration's office. There was a big queue in front of the counter, and I dutifully took my position at the tail. At long last my turn arrived, but before I could even mumble my query the window was closed shut. It was lunch time, and the window would remain closed for an hour.

Can anything be more frustrating than this? Anyone knows that to stand in a queue is like participating in a wrestling match. Your are pushed and prodded from behind, your toes are stepped upon, and your stomach is jabbed by the person in front who in his haste to scratch his nose moves his elbows at lightning speed as though there were acres and acres of empty space around him. Then, you have the person behind breathing down your neck, and sometimes even breaking out in a coughing fit without putting a handkerchief to his mouth. To have experienced such a situation for an hour, and, finally, to be told that it is lunch time when you reach the window can be very depressing!

By that time there were only three or four persons, including me, in the queue, and no one thought it reasonable to remain standing at the window for an hour just for nothing. The people dispersed - some went to have a cup of tea, some others went for a smoke, and few others even went back home. I made a beeline for the nearest tea stall.

Upon returning, I sat on a bench and waited patiently for the lunch hour to end. There were many others like me who were sitting on benches which were placed irregularly in the lobby.

Looking at my watch I saw there were still 15 minutes before the window would open. Not relishing the thought of standing at the tail of a queue again, I went and stood at the window. Just a few minutes before the window was to open, the others, who had remained sitting on the benches or strolling around, came up and, then, began an argument.

"Hey, I am the first person in the queue; you move back," one of them told me.

This claim astounded me. How could he be the first person in the queue? At the time when I came up to the window, no one had been standing there.

I pointed this out to him.

"That isn't relevant. I have been here since morning. When the window closed during the lunch hour, I went home for my own lunch," he explained and asserted that it was his right to be at the head of the queue.

As far as I could recall the window had closed on me. Anyway, what had happened was past; this was a new queue and I was definitely the one heading it.

I thought over his ludicrous claim for a while, and told him that I had been to the office yesterday (this was a lie, of course), but just when my turn came, it was closing time. So, in fact, I had been standing in a queue since yesterday and, hence, I had a better claim over his, I told him.

Fortunately, no one else came up claiming to be standing in the queue since the day before yesterday. Just then the window opened and I swiftly thrust my papers to the clerk on the other side. The clerk accepted the papers and began processing. My challenger to the first position therefore had to remain content with the runner-up position.



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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