Please Treasure Trees

Treasure-Tree-Newhalem-WashingtonTrees are nature’s wonders, the greatest gift to mankind which the human race has exploited to its benefit, to such an extent that Earth has become a concrete jungle when it must have been going green and clean. Instead, the earth has been cleared of plants, trees, wildlife and all which are parts of nature’s beauty.

I am sure; there isn’t a requirement for me to list out the benefits or rather blessings which the human race has been graciously endowed with, due to trees. Trees have helped man from times immemorial, satisfying man’s need and have now been cleared in large numbers to satisfy man’s everlasting greed.

Can’t we humans realize that we have unknowingly, adversely affected our living conditions as we have now started to borrow our children’s world? We are using up all that is available on Earth in huge amounts and are thereby 012TreasureTreeensuring that nothing or very negligible amounts of resources, one of them being trees and our immediate surroundings are left for our future generations. This, my dear friends, is a major cause for concern for all.

All that I would like to say is…Please Treasure Trees as these are our lifelines. Without these, we cannot survive. So, friends, for your survival, for your children’s survival, for the world’s survival, let trees also survive and form a major part of our immediate environment. Let’s not make them antique pieces to only be found in museums or just some little patches but let them be a part and parcel of our lives, our environment, and our earth.


The Perfect Present?

gift-certificateBirthdays, Festivals, Marriage Anniversaries…what do these remind one of? Yes, you thought right, Gifts! We all have found ourselves not once, not twice but several times looking for gifts to present our loved ones with on various occasions. Always, we try to present something different, something unique yet something useful, in other words the ‘Perfect Present’. We want the gifts presented by us to be the best, to be first class and also low on the pocket. Well, now we have an easy option – A prepaid gift card

 Fashioned after a gift voucher and a debit card, a prepaid gift card is worth a fixed sum of money and can be swiped at any store. The value or the amount loaded on is entirely up to you. 

A gift card can be used multiple times at various stores until the amount loaded is exhausted. It is unique in terms of the flexibility it gives to the user in relation to what they can shop for and most importantly where they can shop for. Another advantage it offers is that one can check the amount left in it at any ATM centre.

However, a gift card may be used for purchases only and cash cannot be withdrawn.

Also, the card cannot be topped up again – meaning once the amount loaded is exhausted, one cannot load more money onto the same card.

 These cards come with an expiry date, which range from 5 months to a year, depending on the bank which issues it. If there is any amount left after the expiry date, the banks usually return the amount after deducting bank charges. However, banks impose a specific time period after the date of expiry within which the card must be returned in order to collect the balance. And in case, if the amount is exhausted before the expiry date, the card must be simply returned to the bank.

Till now, we have only seen how the card can be used if we are the receivers. Now, the question of purchasing the card arises. Not all banks offer this system of prepaid gift cards. Infact, there are only a handful which do so, namely, HDFC, IDBI, SBI, ICICI, IndusInd Bank and a few others.

However, one can buy the card from the bank at a fee ranging from Rs.100 to Rs. 200, even if one does not hold an account in the bank. (Some banks charge 1% of the amount loaded if the value of the gift card is more than Rs.10, 000.)

I hope this piece of news makes things easier for you, my dear reader as, instead of searching for gifts for hours together, one can now gift these pre-paid gift cards and also give the receiver a choice to select gifts for themselves and buying it from stores they prefer.

To Give is to Live

In today’s world, everyone wants to be famous, everyone wants their name to be known world over, their name to be recalled and recalled with respect, but none realize what once Martin Luther King quoted – “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve”.

We don’t realize that people whom we consider to be great and famous personalities, have, in their own way, given and served the society.

We have long forgotten the art of giving, the art of spreading wealth, happiness and most importantly, the thing the world needs most – love. Giving can hardly be described – but if I were to do it in a single word, the word which first comes to my mind is Joyous. Yes, I believe that, Giving is Joyous.

Unfortunately, today, we can count on our fingertips, the number of people who give – give from the bottom of their heart, and not give to show to the world, that they are being extremely generous and great, not give to gain something in return, not even respect. They are many people who give but very few who give truly.

I am deeply saddened at this state of affairs, even in India – a country which has produced several people who have not only always strived but have succeeded to serve truly and give back what they have acquired from the society. Our own Father of the Nation – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, has struggled, endured so much, to give freedom, free his beloved country from the clutches of the British. Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose are again examples – they have sacrificed their lives for India, for Indians.

Today Indians can sleep peacefully, because the freedom strugglers have had sleepless nights. We can speak without restraint, walk wherever we want, do almost anything and everything at our own time, own pace, all because of them, their determination, their perseverance and their sacrifice.

When our forefathers and other people all around the world like scientists, philosophers, educationists, leaders, and so many other people have given so much to the world, just so that we lead a comfortable or rather a luxurious life, can’t we give a little in order to make someone else’s life who is not as privileged as us, better?

Give, Give my dear friends and notice the satisfaction you get. Test the power of giving for yourself.

Hands-free devices while driving?

Recently, we came to hear that the government is mulling ban on use of hands-free and Bluetooth technology while driving. Well, just like a coin this topic too has two sides to it. One that we should encourage use of hands-free devices and not ban them while ‘A ban is the correct move’ will be the counter view. In this post, I will justify both the views.


‘Encourage use of hands-free devices’

While a ban on using a cell phone while driving without hands-free or Bluetooth is vouched for, it’s just going too far to ban people from using Bluetooth and other hands-free devices to conduct conversations while behind the wheel. Talking directly into handset does split the driver’s attention and accidents are more probable as the person behind the wheel is physically incapacitated and this will slow down reaction time. But making or taking calls via hands-free devices makes it easier for the driver to concentrate on his driving too as he doesn’t have to hold the phone.

Moreover, if the government decides to ban the use of hands-free devices while driving, it is like banning talking to somebody sitting beside you in the car or listening to the radio. When technology is at our door step, making it possible for a modern convenience to be used without compromising, why should we pass laws to curb use of technology while driving? The government should spend more time tracking down people who don’t use hands-free devices than banning people who use them.


The counter view: ‘A ban is the right move’

The government is in the right path by ensuring that no loopholes are left in its laws and including ban on hands-free devices. The assumption that being physically incapacitated distracts the driver is at fault. It is the mental distraction that causes most of the accidents. The people supporting the notion may argue that having a conversation with a fellow passenger should also be banned. But there is a huge difference in having a conversation via a hands free device and talking to a co-passenger.

The difference is that a fellow passenger will keep an eye on the road and will stop or have a pause when needed, while a person on the other hand of the device, has no such clue as to what is happening on the road and the conversation will remain unchanged, demanding the driver’s attention and lessening his focus on the road at the moment, he need it most. Thus, the ministry of road transport and highways is right in banning hands-free devices along with handsets.

Having given you both the sides of this topic, I leave it to you to decide which view you would prefer. After all, perceptions differ.

New fuel of the New era

510_03131337bransleskolan1In this era, when we all are dependent upon exhaustible fossil fuels for transport, Lars Stenmark of Uppsala University (Sweden) has come up with a green alternative – Hydrogen balls. He believes that by storing hydrogen gas in small balls, we can overcome the risk of fires and explosions as storing the gas in a spherical form, will help it to withstand twice the pressure that a cylindrical form can. If the car crashes and the tank breaks, the hydrogen-filled balls would just spread out and roll away and the gas from any broken balls would simply seep out and disappear into the atmosphere, thus causing no harm to the environment.

So do you all agree with him? Can small ping-pong balls replace our fossil fuels and help us save the environment from further harm? Think about it.

Turn your car’s waste heat into energy

Scientists Produce New Thermoelectric Substance That Can Increase Mileage By 5-10%

Washington: A Northwestern University-led research team has identified a promising new material that could efficiently convert waste heat into electricity to help power cars and improve gas mileage.

The researchers discovered that adding two metals, antimony and lead, to the well-known semiconductor lead-telluride, produces a thermoelectric material that is found to be more efficient at high temperatures than existing materials.  “We cannot explain this 100%, but it gives us a new mechanism — and probably new science — to focus on as we try to raise the efficiency of thermoelectrics,” said Mercouri Kanatzidis, Charles and Emma Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Current thermoelectric technology is only used in niche markets, such as solid-state refrigeration and cooling, because the materials are not very efficient.
With new materials and increased efficiency, devices based on thermoelectrics could find widespread use in the automotive industry, solar energy conversion and the conversion of waste heat from nuclear reactors, smokestacks and industrial equipment.

“It’s a big accomplishment to recover some of the heat or energy that would otherwise be lost and convert it into useful energy,” said Kanatzidis. “That’s what thermoelectrics can do, but we need to make them more efficient to really be practical,” he added.
A thermoelectric device, for example, could be attached to a car’s tailpipe. The side of the material in contact with the tailpipe would be the hot side, and the side exposed to the air would be the cold side. The temperature difference would be enough to generate electricity, which would be returned to the car’s engine for additional torque. Such devices also could be used in large industrial plants, such as those for power, chemical production and glass making. Researchers hope to raise mileage by 5 to 10% per gallon using thermoelectrics, which would be significant.

Source: Times of India

Antarctica ice shelf hanging

Yesterday, while reading the newspaper, I got the shock of my life when I read about a large plate of floating ice shelf which is known by the name ‘Wilkins Ice Shelf’ attached to Antarctica was breaking up and just hanging by its last thread. You may ask me now ‘How is that possible?’ Well, I am sure most of us know the answer as it is the same cause which we read about almost everyday as if it were a part and a parcel of our life. You must have guessed it by now. Yes it is none other than Global Warming.

We all know that the Antarctica peninsula has had one of the highest rates of global warming anywhere in the world in the recent decades. But now even the scientists are beginning to get concerned and puzzled as to how this latest breakup occurred when atmospheric temperatures were at their lowest, I repeat lowest, in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to the newspaper sources – David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said “Current events are showing that we were being too conservative, when we made the prediction in the early 1990s that Wilkins Ice Shelf would be lost within 30 years. The truth is it is going more quickly than we guessed.”