Monday, April 27, 2015

Mass Extinction


Mass Extinction
Mass Extinction – Unsolved 

Over 90% of all organisms that lived on the planet Earth are extinct and as new species evolve to take place of the ever changing ecological place, the older ones have faded away though the rate of extinction is not constant. In the last 500 million years around 50 to over 90 percent of the species on the Earth seemed to have disappeared with great speed.

Although these mass extinctions seemed to be deadly events, they have given way to new life forms to emerge in the planet. Dinosaurs showed up after one of the biggest mass extinction events on Earth and the Permian-Triassic extinction around 250 million years back. The mass extinctions which were most studied between the Cretaceous and Paleogene period around 65 million years back, had killed off the dinosaurs making space for mammals to diversify and evolve rapidly.

 The reason of these mass extinctions event seemed unsolved though the prime suspects for the cause of these mass extinctions events are volcanic eruptions and the impacts of large asteroid or comets in several cases.Both are the cause of ejecting tons of debris in the atmosphere, darkening of the skies for at least a month on end and deprived of sunlight, plants and plant eating creatures would definitely die quickly.

Extinction & Global Warming 

Moreover the space rocks together with volcanoes could also be responsible in giving out toxic and heat trapping gases which once the dust got settled would enable runaway global warming. The most closely linked to the Cretaceous extinction event is an extra-terrestrial impact where a huge crater off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula dated about 65 million years back had coincided with the extinction and global warming which could have been fuelled by volcanic eruptions at the Deccan Flats in India could have aggravated the event.

Whatever could be the reason, dinosaurs together with about half of the species on the planet were extinct. Regarding the Triassic-Jurassic extinction, massive floods of lava came from the central Atlantic magmatic province around 200 million years back where around 20% of the marine families were extinct together with most mammal like creature as well as other large amphibians and non-dinosaur archosaurs. The impact of the asteroid could be another possibility of the extinction and the tell-tale crater is yet to be identified.

Heading – Sixth Mass Extinction

About 250 million years ago, the deadliest of the lot was the Permian-Triassic extinction where over 90% of all the species suffered. Several scientists were of the opinion that an asteroid or a comet could have triggered the massive die-off, where again no existence of a crater was found.

Another possibility was the flood volcanism from the Siberian Traps which is a large igneous province in Russia and the impact triggered volcanism. About 440 million years back, the Ordovician-Silurian extinction involved huge glaciations which locked much of the world’s water as ice causing a drop in sea levels which took its hardest toll on marine organisms like shelled brachiopods, eel-like conodonts as well as the trilobites.

Presently scientists are of the opinion that the evidences are heading for a sixth mass extinctions and the blame for it, probably the fastest in Earth’s history, lies on humans. By 2100, human activities like pollution, clearance of land together with overfishing could drive more than half of the world’s marine as well as land species towards extinction.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Can Classical Music Make Us Smarter?


Mozart_Effect
Image credit:blog.lib.umn.edu
Classical Music Developed in 18th Century

Classical music is usually seen as a choice of the refined, music for clever people having stylish taste and since many tend to listen to classical music regularly to relax, there have been claims that listening and playing classical music could do more than entertaining. Research has recommended that the music of Mozart could boost the power of the brains enabling us to grow more intelligent. Suzy Klein, writer and broadcaster visits the Royal College of Music Museum to explain toher, power of classical music and find out if it has made her smarter.

Classical music developed in the 18th century due to a way of writing music down which was accepted all over Europe. It not only enabled complex musical instruction on what to play, how to play and who played it but also helped to preserve music for the future generations. Classical has its own term like symphony, sonata and concerto which baffles those who are untrained. Music tends to have its own language with strange symbols and musicians need to be able to read these musical notations prior to picking up an instrument to play a piece of music.

Classical Music Associated with Intelligence

Plenty of practice is essential in order to play classical music of good standard. The reason to think that classical music is associated with intelligence is due to a study dubbed the Mozart Effect. Researcher carried out an experiment in 1993 and volunteers were divided into two groups with each group asked to perform complex origami style tasks.

Each group, in the experiment were asked to listen to different music and had their speed and efficiency measured while carrying out the task. It was found that the group which had listened to Mozart’s music excelled in the task and their IQs boosted for the duration of time they had performed the task. The discovery was published by the researchers in the respected science journal – Nature which unexpected started a phenomenon.

The classical music soon unlocked the doors of untapped reserves of the mind and gave way to the Mozart Effect. There were several issues that came up when other researchers struggled to duplicate the Mozart Effectwith some who produced a similar effect but not with Mozart’s music.

The Mozart Effect 

The Mozart Effect could have been generally de-bunkedbut with science’s attraction with music together with its effect on the brain led to a sincerely fascinating encounter where playing music was at the forefront. Boosting our brains with music may not depend on listening to it but in learning to play it and learning a musical instrument had indication of sharpening the learning skills, improve our motor coordination as well as our memories.
Besides teaching new useful skills, playing a musical instrument could also permanently activate our brains. Scan done on professional musician’s brains have indicated that there has been great development in areas which involve sound processing, coordination and movement when compared to non-musicians.

Though there is no confirmation that musicians could be more intelligent due to playing an instrument or singing, it is clear that musicians’ brains have improved for the better by their dedication and love for music. Often people tend to enjoy listening and playing music which enables them to relax and discover more about themselves. Music does help to change the overall mind set.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why Switched to Alkaline Ionized Drinking Water?


Hydro-jal_plus
Purified Water – Rapid Loss of Electrolytes/Minerals 

Most of the water consumed whether it comes from tap water, bottled water, distilled water or reverse Osmosis water,has contents of acid pH which could cause acid in our body. The water intake has a positive Oxidation Reduction Potential -ORP and hence most of the members in a household tend to suffer from various health issues like acidity, headaches, constipation, fatigue, arthritis, immune dysfunction, cancer, hangovers as well as premature aging.

Some consider purified water is beneficial only when the person intends cleansing or detoxifying the system for some time. Cooking food in purified water could eliminate the minerals from it and lessen the nutrient value. Purified water tends to be an active absorbent and when it comes in contact with the air, it tends to absorb the carbon dioxide thus making it acidic.

 Fast purified water could pose as a problem due to the rapid loss of electrolytes and minerals resulting in deficiencies, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats and the more consumption of purified water, more acidic contents get into the system which affects the overall health of the person.

Dr. Otto H Warburg is of the opinion that the main cause of cancer is oxygen deficiency that creates an acidic stage in the body and has found that the cancer cells are anaerobic and does not survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen which is found in an alkaline state

Reputed/Advanced/Stylish/Affordable Water Ionizer 

Service provider in the form of Hydro-Jal Plus is one of India’s most reputed, advanced, stylish and affordable water ionizer, with high quality ionizer that is efficient, fully featured and powerful where the conversion of regular water is turned into the healthiest alkaline water wherein consumers could consume healthy alkaline water without any doubt.

It provides the most prefect ionized alkaline water with India’s most advance ionization technology. It is an automatic alkaline water ionizer that tends to turn harmful acidic water to beneficial alkaline water by increasing the pH value through the process of ionization. Consumers could change their water thereby bringing about a change in their health by requesting a demo at their desired location for a better and improved health conditions. Some of the benefits of this amazing choice are:

  • An alkaline atmosphere could nurture healthy blood cells and thereby increase the overall immunity
  • It enters the body at a cellular level and hydrates the body better
  • Ionized alkaline water re-establishes alkalinity and flushes out the acidity toxin present in the body
  • With high level of oxygen it has the capabilities of delivering nutrients to the various body cells efficiently thereby keeping a person more energized the whole day.
  • Helps in the prevention of diseases like asthma, allergies, arthritis, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, digestive problems osteoporosis, skin disorder and acid reflux.
  • Slows down the aging process like wrinkles and saggy skin with more years of youthful and radiant looks
  • It is economical and budget friendly combined with a good health and wellness
  • Prevention of bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Consumption of ionized alkaline water is an effective way in gaining fast recovery time and instant energy after heavy workouts




Mimizuka


Mimizuka
Mimuzuka – Memorial Constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi 

Mimuzuka is the memorial;ToyotomiHideyoshi had constructed to hold the ears and noses of some of the 38,000 Koreans who had been slain during the 7th year war fought between the Korean and the Japanese.

It literally means Hill of Ears or Ear Mound. The reason for the memorial which was dedicated in 1597 is not known and some say Hideyoshi wanted to honour the Korean soldiers who were slain while others say that he meant it as a warning for Japan’s enemies not to resist conquest.

According to tradition, Japanese warriors had to return with the heads of their slain enemies though the distances involved between the two made this unreasonable and hence they cut off their ears and noses as a confirmation of their deeds to receive rewards.

Their facial parts were placed in barrels of brine and returned to the Imperial capital and due to several barrels which were discarded; it will never be clear how many Koreans perished in Hideyoshi’s invasions. Some historians have made an estimate between 40,000 and a million on the Korean alone.

Ultimately Hideyoshi’s war seemed meaningless and Korea was abandoned after his death. Towards 1970, the Korean government called for the levelling off the mound which according to them meant nothing more than Japanese cruelty and brutality.

Mound Topped with Sanskrit Inscribed Stone Stupa

The mound was topped with a Sanskrit inscribed stone stupa and is next to a nondescript playground on a street leading to the tori gate of the shrine where the mound and the shrine form ironic neighbours for the man who was the cause of the death of thousands of Koreans and the Buddhist burial site which was dedicated to them and the Toyotomi Hideyoshi is enshrined at this place.

Mimizuka’s original name was Hanazuka or Nose Mound since this was the limit which denoted a dead Korean whether he was a soldier or a hapless non-combatant. According to Tadashi Takahashi of the Nippon Christian Academy Kansai Seminar House states `the reason that the grave was called `ear grave’, though there were more noses than ears is the good proof of Japanese government’s cunning strategy since the image of cutting off one’s nose was much more cruel or inhuman than the image of cutting off ears’.

He further claimed that the Japanese Government tried to portray Mimi-zuka, in the early 20th century, as a symbol of Hideyoshi’s mercy for mourning the souls for the Koreans though he dismissed this as government propaganda to create Hideyoshi as a merciful hero.

Mound to Stay in Japan 

As per the New York Times article, some Japanese debated that Koreans and Chinese greatly exaggerated the scale of the suffering and in any case atrocities were simply an unfortunate part of any war. At one point of time, there was a plaque in front of the ear mound which read `One cannot say that cutting off ears or noses were so atrocious by the standard of the time’.The article further explains that the Koreans had different views on what had to be done with the mound.

While some of the officials of Park Chung Hee, the dictator of South Korea in the 1970s, urged that the Ear Mound be levelled since it was shameful for Korean, there were others who suggested that the mound be relocated to Korea to soothe the spirits of the dead. Most of them were of the opinion that the mound should stay in Japan as a reminder of past savagery and Japan has been treating the Ear Mound as a national landmark and were unwilling to return it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hoboglyphs


Hobo
Hobo – A System of Symbols or Codes

To manage with the difficulty of hobo life, a system of symbols or code was developed by hobos who would write these codes with coal or chalk in order to provide directions, information and warning to the other hobos.

Hobo is used interchangeably with `bum’ or `drifter’, though hobos was a type of homeless traveller. Hobo used to travel around for the purpose of work and in every new place they visited; they were forced to leave home for the purpose of jobs. Bums usually avoided work and preferred drinking heavily while `tramps’ only worked when the need arose.

Due to their willingness to work on jobs which were rejected by others, they followed a strict moral code where they were tolerated by some and life as a hobo was dangerous and difficult. In order to help each other they developed their own secret language to direct the other hobos and help them in finding food, water or work.

The Hobo Code thus added a small element of safety whenever they travelled to a new place. They played an important role in the history of America which was often overlooked. They comprises of a group of nomadic workers who moved in the country from early 20th century, through the Great Depression and took their work wherever they travelled, never staying too long at any particular place.

Leaving Notes Behind for Other Hobos

In their travels, hobos learned to leave behind notes for each other, providing information on some of the best places to camp or locate a meal or even on dangers of what lies ahead. The unique Hobo Code became known to the brotherhood of freight train riders and then used by all to keep the community of travelling workers safe, well fed and in work.

Hobo_1
The pictographic Hobo Code is an amazing system of symbols which is understood among the hobo community. Since they were not welcomed, they were often illiterate and the messages left behind for them had to be easy for them to understand though they looked like random markings to others with an element of secrecy.

The features of the code had certain elements which appear in more than one simple symbol like the circles and arrows which made up for the directional symbols while hash marks or crossed line meant danger of some kind.

Cryptic & Difficult

Most of the hoboglyphs seems to be cryptic and difficult for people other than the hobo community to understand even if it was spotted. Diverse symbols in the Hobo code were found scrawled in chalk or coal all over the country near rail yards or in places where hobos were likely to meet and the purpose was to reach out to them and their community.

They helped the hobos against authorities whenever they would crack down on vagrants and save them from any trouble. In due course of time the hobo subculture declined, the reason being that the community were intricately connected with the American railway. It was very difficult to hop on and off on a freight train unnoticed than it was many years ago and hence rail-loving hobos steadily reduced in number.