RIP CASSINI 

Cassini probe finally plunged in the rings of Saturn at a speed of 120000 kilometres/hour to say goodbye. But before its glorious end, it help in demystifying so many secrets of the most beautiful planet Saturn.

Some of the milestones:

Launched in 1997, Cassini arrived at an orbit around the planet in 2004. Ended on 15 September 2017. During this time from 2004 to 2017, it took hundreds of thousands pictures. Here are salient achievements:

Distance traveled: 7.9 billion kilometres

Orbits around Saturn: 284

Images sent: 453048

Data compiled: 635 GB

Scientists associated: 5000 from 27 countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Findings:

  1. Discovered 6 out of 60 moons of the planet. Some look like potatoes and others have colourful streaks. Different textures, composition and shapes.
  2. Discovered Global ocean of salty water beneath ice surface on one of its moons called ENCELADUS. These are pointers towards possibilities of life.
  3. One season on the planet is of 7 years duration of earth. It entered in winter, spring and summer.
  4. In one of its moons called Titan , discovered hidden oceans of water and liquid methane.
  5. Beautiful rings are made of ice. Moons and moonlets interact with rings and feed them with required material to maintain the shape.
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Internet Data is Mind Boggling

Scale of data generated and used is astronomical in the internet. It becomes fruitless to figure out this on yearly, monthly even day basis. The scale is so mammoth that even 1 minute data will send your head spinning.

What happens in 1 minute on internet 

  1. Facebook: 9,00,000 logins
  2. Whatsapp: 16 million text messages sent
  3. YouTube: 4.1 million videos viewed
  4. Google Play Store: 34200 app downloaded
  5. Instagram: 46200 posts updated
  6. Twitter: 452000 tweets
  7. Tinderbox: 990000 swipes
  8. Emails sent: 156 millions
  9. Spotify: 40000 hrs listened
  10. Amazon Echo: 50 devices shipped
  11. Linkedin: 120 new accounts opened
  12. GIFs sent via Messenger: 15000
  13. Snapchat: 1.8 million snaps created
  14. Spent online: $751522
  15. Netflix: 70017 hours watched
  16. Google: 3.5 million search queries.

Rare Foods Series : Ash Yoghurt 

Some communities of West Poker County of Kenya make this Yoghur. They add the ash of cromwo tree known in local dialect as “mala ya kienyeji” or “kamabele kambo. The ash acts as a disinfectant and gives Yoghurt a unique aromatic taste and bright Grey color.

Yoghurt for men is made from Cow’s (crosses between local breeds and zebù) and for women and children is made from local galla goat’s milk which is rich in nutrients.

Raw milk is collected in a calabash, a traditional container made from pumpkin and gourd varieties, and let stand for at least three days. Cromwo tree ash is added when the milk is fermented. Flavor depends upon the degree of fermentation.

Rare Foods Series : Reed Salt

Can we imagine any food without salt? In addition to the taste it adds, Salt is an essential nutrient for the human body. It is an electrolyte which helps the transmission of the messages from different parts of the body to the brain and vice versa. It is present in the cells. Any imbalance in its concentration whether in the form of deficiency or excess can play havoc with our body. When dehydration occurs, the salt has to be replenished by the intake of oral rehydration solution. It is lost from our bodies during perspiration and blood becomes thicker and our bodies require water.

In addition salt is used as preservative for pickles and other foods. It acts as a barrier to the bacteria which attack the food and decompose it.

Salt comes from the evaporation of the seawater collected in the salt pans. After water evaporates the salt is left behind which is then made to undergo the processes of purification. Those who live in the urban areas and especially near sea coasts never feel it’s importance.

But still there are people living in the remote areas where access to this commodity is impossible. Some of such communities live in Kenya. These tribes, as the saying goes : “Necessity is the mother of invention ” has developed a way to compensate this by extracting the salts from the REED STALKS.

Method

Bunches of river reed are cut into smaller pieces and dried on the hot stones for about a period of 3 days to reduce the inherent moisture. Then the stalks are put on very slow fire. When organic ingredients burn, the ash is left behind. Ash is collected and boiled with water and filtered to get pure salts dissolved in the filtrate while impurities are left behind.

The filtrate is then boiled till only the salt is left behind. Sometimes they add a pinch of pepper powder to add flavor to it.

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This picture has been taken from the beautiful website from Luke Duggleby an ace photographer. URL to his website is given below.

http://www.lukeduggleby.com/

(if the picture is not for free use, I will delete it)

Rare Foods Series :Yubari Melon 

Yubari melons are the costliest melons around. It is a hybrid melon developed from Earl’s “favorite” and Burpee’s “Spicy” variety. It is raised in the greenhouses in Yūbari.

These melons are worth their weight in gold.

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What makes them so special?
These are Prized for its juicy sweetness, perfect spherical shape, extra smooth rind and T-shaped stalks.

A couple of melons went for $27000 (17 lakh rupees) last year.

CHILLIES

Chillies are not native to India and came to India in 15th century. Chillies are native to Mexico where these were cultivated since 3500 BCE. Christopher Columbus although took voyage to India in search of spices especially Black Pepper reached America in 1493 and thought it to be India. He and his companions also mistook chillies for black pepper. He brought back the chillies pepper with him.

Portuguese reached in India in the end of 15th century and introduced it in India. This gave the birth to red hot Goan curries. Cultivation of chillies took India by storm and use of chillies in food became very popular.

Some chillies of India 

  1. Dhani lanka or Bird’s eye Chilli: Grown mostly in North East and Bengal
  2. Bhoot Jhalokia: Native to Assam and Nagaland. Hottest chilli in the world. 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. In Nagaland these are known as Raja Mircha.
  3. Kashmiri Chillies: Mild and famed for aroma and color. Add lovely colors to many Indian dishes.
  4. Mundu Chillies: Grown mostly in Tamilnadu and Andhra. They have very delicate skin and nice flavour. Mild in nature
  5. Guntur chillies: Known for their powerful taste. Used for adding heat to Andhra and Madhya Pradesh cuisine.

Earth’s ICE RECORDS 

Earth’s ICE RECORDSIce cores preserve climate history of million of years. Most of the ice cores are taken from the ice deposited in Antarctica and Greenland. Some interesting facts…

Ice cores have been preserved in US National Ice Core Library (NICL) in Denver Colorado.

  1. Oldest ice core record kept there is 420000 years old.
  2. In the library are ice cores collected and preserved from a single hole 3.6 kilometres.
  3. Total length of all the ice core samples preserved in the NICL is 20 kilometres.

Dust and chemicals trapped inside the ice samples can delineate the climatic conditions prevalent in the different times in the past. Climatic Histories upto 850000 years has been recreated.
How the age is determined??
Water like any other chemical contains normal oxygen 16 (O16)atom as well as a very small fraction of  oxygen 18 (O18)atoms. Water evaporation is a function of temperature. At higher temperatures O18 water evaporates more along with O16 water which means when these vapors condense will be richer in O18 . From the ratios of hydrogen
O18 and O16, temperature can be deduced.
Similarly trapped CO2 inside the cores gives the CO2 levels at different times in the past.