Oriental Honey Buzzard

It is also called crested honey buzzard with scientific name as Pernis ptilorhynchus. It  is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, eagles, and harriers.

It is quite big raptor with a long tail. It’s head is very small like that of pigeon. It is a specialist bird feeding on the larvae of bees. It also consumes crumbs of the honeycomb. Additionally it take cicadas.

It’s flight is very stealthy. In a forest it is possible to spot it only when it is perched on top of very lofty trees.

Again I spotted it quite a number of times in the forest near my home. Here are some pictures.

 

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Front view
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Side and top
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Oil and Gas

Although researchers all over the world are working on the technology to harness the alternate resources of energy like solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear energy, the conventional resources of oil, gas and coal are still the major resources of energy. These resources are fast declining since they are non renewable. Rapid industrialization and urbanization are responsible for this. In addition, these conventional resources add pollutants to the atmosphere.

Presently the positon of energy producers is like this

World’s Biggest Oil & Gas Companies
(Production in millions barrels per day)

  1. SAUDI ARAMCO: 12
  2. GAZPROM: 8.33.
  3. NATIONAL IRANIAN OIL: 6
  4. EXXONMOBIL: 4.7
  5. ROSNEFT: 4.7
  6. PETROCHINA: 4
  7. BRITISH PETROLEUM: 3.7
  8. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: 3.7
  9. PETROLEOS MEXICANOS: 3.6
  10. KUWAIT PETROL CORP: 3.4

Top 5 countries with highest Oil Reserves
1. Saudi Arabia:
265 billion barrels (19.1%)
Remaining reserves: 72.4 years
2. Venezuela:
211 billion barrels(15.3%)
Remaining reserves: 234.1years
3. Iran:
137 billion barrels(9.9%)
Remaining reserves: 88.4 years
4. Iraq:
115 billion barrels (8.4%)
Remaining reserves: 128.1 years
5. Kuwait:
102 billion (7.3%)
Remaining reserves: 110.9 years

Global Energy Sources
Fossil Fuels
Oil: 33%
Coal: 30%
Natural Gas: 24%
Renewable and Nuclear Energy
Hydropower: 7%
Nuclear Power: 4%
Renewable energy: 2.7%

(The data is from visual capitalist)

Shaheen Falcon 

There is a forest near my home. It is maintained by Department of Forests. The department has converted a small portion of the forest into a Nature Park. I am a regular visitor to this park where sometimes very different birds make their appearance. One day, I was lucky to spot this beauty perched on the branch of a leafless tree.

It was sitting very patiently perhaps inviting me to take as many pictures as I liked. I took so many pictures. When I processed them, I had some confusion between Eurasian Hobby and Peregrine Falcon because the former was spotted many times by me.

But it turned out to be Shaheen Falcon juvenile.

The shaheen falcon with scientific name Falco peregrinus peregrinator is a subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. It is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. Other common names for the subspecies include the Indian peregrine falcon, black shaheen falcon, black shaheen, Indian shaheen. It is a master hunter and usually takes the prey in the air. It can achieve horizontal speeds up to 240 kilometres per hour and when it descends, can attain a speed of 300 kilometres per hour.

Peregrine falcons were greatly prized by Mughal kings especially emperor Jahangir. It appears on the emblem of Pakistan Air Force. Pakistani cricket team is also nicknamed after this raptor.

Staring at me
In full glory

Greater Cormorants: Fishing Experts

During these winter months, a number of migratory birds visits India from the countries where winter is very severe and also food availability is low. These annual visitors add colour to the season.

Many of the migratory birds are water waders and land in the lakes , big pools and other water bodies. Amongst these are greater Cormorants. They are huge birds and expert fishers. They hunt in groups and there is great jostling and fighting for the catch snatching.

In older days the trained Cormorants were used for river fishing in Japan and China. A snare was tied at the end of the neck which in addition to keeping the cormorant under leash also prevented the Cormorants from eating the fish except for smaller ones. As soon as the bird caught a fish, it was taken out from water and made to spit out the fish.

Nowadays, it is only a tourist attraction.

These days a number of these big birds have descended on Sulkhna Lake in Chandigarh. I took some pictures.

 

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A group fishing
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Sun soaking on a tree

DEGRADING STANDARDS IN PUBLISHING

A literary fan and writer Serge Volle has conducted a damning experiment. He sent 50 pages of French author Claude Simon’s 1962 novel ‘The Palace’, set during the Spanish civil war, to 19 French publishers touting it as fresh material to be considered for publication. The submission was rejected by 12 publishers outrighly, while seven never replied despite the fact that Simon won the Nobel prize for literature in 1985.

One editor claimed in a rejection letter that the book’s “endlessly long sentences completely lose the reader”, and that it failed to have a “real plot with well-drawn characters”.

Simon is often identified with the ‘Nouveau Roman’ movement, which explicitly experimented with literary styles. Simon was particularly noted for his wandering prose, with sentences that went on for several pages, a noted feature of his most acclaimed work, 1981’s ‘The Georgics’.

The experiment exemplified degrading standards in publishing, “abandoning literary works that are not easy to read or that will not set sales records”. Paraphrasing Marcel Proust, he added that you must already be “famous to be published”.

 

CHINA RULES THE WORLD IN SUPERCOMPUTERS

The Sunway TaihuLight is the fastest supercomputer as of November 2017 ranked number one in the Top500 list. It has a speed of 93 petaflops on LINPACK benchmark rating (1 petaflop=10 raised by 15) . FLOP stands for “floating point per second”.
It is in China and was designed by National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering And Technology. It is located at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi in Jiangsu province of China.
China beat the US in global rankings done by website Top500 which tracks the supercomputers. Benchmark tests are done by experts from Germany and US.
Some 202 supercomputers are in China as compared to 143 in US. China leads not only in numbers but aggregate computing power.

List of top 5 is as under

  1. Sunway TaihuLight……. China
  2. Tianhe-2 (Milky way-2)….. China
  3. Piz Daint… Switzerland
  4. Gyoukou…… Japan
  5. Titan…….USA

The fastest supercomputer is being used in climate modelling and science research.

WHAT CAN BE MADE WITH ONE BARREL OF CRUDE OIL

With 1 barrel of oil with 32 API or 7.21pounds per gallon(specific gravity=0.864) , this much can be made and done.

1. Wax for 170 birthday candles or for making 27 crayons

2. Lubricants to make 1 quart of motor oil

3. About 4 pounds of charcoal briquettes

4. Gasoline to drive a medium sized motor car (7.2 km/litre) for 451 kilometres

5. Distillate to drive a large truck (2 km/liter) 64 kms. If jet fuel fraction is included then 80.5 kms.

6. Asphalt to make 3.785 liter of tar for roof patching

7. 70 KW hours of electricity at a power plant

8. Liquified gases such as propane to fill 12 small (14.1 ounces) cylinders.

After all this, there would be enough petrochemical left in the same barrel for making
540 toothbrush
750 pocket combs
65 plastic drinking cups
11 telephone housing
39 polyester shirts
65 plastic dustpans
23 hula hoops
135 four inches rubber balls
195 one-cup measuring cups

Thanks to Infographics website