General Knowledge Pt.- I

Who is a lexicographer?

THE author or compiler of a dictionary is called lexicographer.

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Most people think that wisdom and knowledge are the same thing but actually they are two different sides of the same coin. Knowledge is nothing but the facts known by a person whereas wisdom is the combination of experience and knowledge, with the power of applying them or soundness of judgement in a person.

What is genome mapping?

A genome is the entire DNA in an organism, including its genes. In human beings the number of genes is between 30,000 to 40,000. Genes are instructions that give organisms their characteristics. The instructions are stored in each cell in the Deox ribonucleic Acid (DNA). DNA is made up of four similar chemicals called bases, which are repeated many times through out a genome. It is estimated that the human genome has more than 3.2 billion pairs of bases. DNA molecules are subdivided into chromosomes and each organism has a characteristic number of chromosomes. For humans, the number is 46 (23 pairs) and this complete set of genetic information is called the genome. Mapping is the process of identifying discrete DNA segments of known position on a chromosome, which are then used for sequencing.

Why do our fingernails grow faster than our toenails?

Fingernails grow two to three times faster than toenails. A fingernail replaces itself in about six months while a toenail takes a year. Feet are farthest a field in the circulatory scheme of things. A better blood supply to the fingers keeps them chugging along at a faster clip. Nails are basically protective and since our fingers are busier than our toes, they are more likely to need replacing. Also, constant exposure to sun and air may aid their growth. Feet are locked up in shoes most of the time.

To which family does the porcupine belong?

Porcupines are large rodents whose bodies are covered with a characteristic coat of sharp spines or quills. Porcupines are divided into two groups, old world porcupines and new world porcupines, Old world porcupines tend be larger than the new world porcupines, live on the ground and the quills on their body are distributed in clusters. They belong to the family Hystricidae. New world porcupines are smaller and tend to live in trees. Their quills grow separately rather than in clusters. They belong to the family Erethizontidae.

What is the difference between a seal and a sea lion?

The scientific name for this group of animals is Pinnipedia, Latin for ‘fin-footed’, and refers to the modification of limbs to flippers. Pinnipeds are mammals with four flippers — one pair in front and one at the back. They are warm-blooded, nurse their young, breathe air and have hair. The sea lion has small, tiny external ear flaps. Seals have no flaps. The front flippers of sea lions are long, have no hair and nails. Seals’ front flippers are short, blunt, covered with hair with nails on the ends. Sea lions can turn their hind flippers forward to move on land but seals cannot do so.

What are nutraceuticals?   

Nutraceuticals are foods, or parts of foods, which provide medical or health benefits, including prevention and treatment of disease i.e. nutrients with medical implications. Nutraceuticals, which are generally made from herbal/ botanical raw materials. are functional foods or food omnocnronic disease, aoove ana oeyond their basic nutritional functions. A functional   food is similar to conventional food, while a nutraceutical is isolated from a food and sold in dosage form, in both cases the active components occur naturally in food.

Why do rain-bearing clouds look black?

The colour of any object depends on its ability to reflect selected wavelengths of light. Consequently, if the object does not reflect any colour, it appears black. The tiny droplets of water in rain clouds scatter the white light of the sun. Red is scattered first, and violet the last. This happens at such a high altitude that no rays of the sun reach the bottom of the cloud. Thus, we do not see the rays of the sun, and this results in a dark effect. As normal clouds have no water, the light is not scattered and thus look white.

Do aliens really exist?

IT is certainly known that at least in our solar system, in the planets revolving around the sun and, in the satellites of these planets, there are no life forms that can pose a threat to mankind.

What is special about polar bears?

The polar bear is the world’s largest bear. During summer, they eat rodents and berries available on the plants there. They are superb swimmers and have been seen in water hundreds of miles from land. Their thick and dense fur keeps their skin dry, and their furry paws give them a non-slip grip on ice. It goes up to the water surface, takes a deep breath, and goes back down again. When the oxygen body finishes, they absorb some oxygen dissolved in the water, which they can keep for only a few minutes, after which they have to go to the surface again. Its scientific name is Thalarctos maritime and found in the Arctic region.

What is the procedure to differentiate between blood groups?

The blood group is found out by adding two chemicals Anti Sera A and Anti Sera B to the sample. If the sample gets agglutinated by Anti Sera A, and not by Anti Sera B, the sample is A. If it gets agglutinated by B, but not by A, the sample is B. If it gets agglutinated by both, the sample is AB, and if by neither, the sample is 0. The Rh factor is found out by adding another chemical, Anti Sera D to the sample. If the sample gets agglutinated, it has a positive Rh factor, else it has a negative Rh factor.

What is hansen’s disease?

Hansen’s disease, commonly known as leprosy, is named after the Norwegian Dr Armadeus Hansen who established the cause of leprosy as Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind and although it is much less frequent today, it still remains a problem in the developing world. Contrary to popular belief, leprosy is not very contagious and is spread mainly by nasal droplets in early stages. Only prolonged skin-to-skin contact will cause the disease. It is completely treatable but treatment is prolonged and cure is slow.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis, popularly known as Well’s disease, is caused by a spirochaete (a special type of bacteria) which usually invades the human body through cuts and abrasions, especially following prolonged immersion in water. Manifestations include generalised weakness, high fever, muscle pain, conjunctivitis, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice. Treatment revolves around general care, antibiotic therapy and attention to life-threatening complications like kidney failure, profuse bleeding, etc.

Why do termites eat wood?

IT is Just like asking you, “Why do you eat cooked rice or chapatis made of wheat flour?” Termites live on cellulose. Wood is mostly cellulose and hence termites fee on wood.

Why is the colour of the blood red? Why is milk white?

THE Colour of the blood is due to haemoglobin. Milk is an emulsion of fat in water. To understand why milk is white, take a few drops of coconut oil in a test tube. Add water. Shake and keep aside. Soon oil will form a layer on the water. Add a couple of drops of liquid soap and shake once again. You will have a whitish fluid. That is an emulsion of coconut oil in water.

How can aquatic animals survive when the lakes and seas freeze?

AS you know when heat is applied a metal, a liquid or even a gas, it expands. Hence it is said that heat expands and cold contracts. There is, however, one exception to this rule. When the temperature of waterfalls below four degrees Celsius, it does not contract, but expands. It keeps on expanding till it reaches zero degrees Celsius. As a result, ice is formed on the surface and since it is lighter than the water below, it floats on the surface. The fish and other animals freely move about in the water “below. Isn’t it a miracle of Nature?

When someone talks about a delicious dish, why does our mouth water?

YOUR mouth will not water when I speak of a sweet called Jangiri made in South India. It waters only when you hear about jalebi, laddoo, rasgulla or barfi. This is because you have already eaten such sweets and have enjoyed eating them. When someone describes such sweets in words, you can either recall a mental picture or you can recall the experience, of tasting that sweet. In anticipation of eating that sweet, your mouth waters.

What is meant by tt injection? Why is it necessary to have this injection when we get a wound or a scratch?  

TETANUS is an acute bacterial infection caused by the tetanus bacillus, Clostridium tetani. It is widely distributed in the soil and in the dust in the form of spores and in the faeces of animals and even humans. If there is an abrasion or a wound, the bacillus can enter the body at such points. It may take from two days to three weeks for the symptoms of this infection to manifest. When they do, the first symptom is stiffness of the jaw. Hence this condition is often referred to as lockjaw. The initial signs could be spasms of the muscle after every twenty-four hours and a general feeling of indisposition. The disease can be fatal, if timely action is not taken. There is an effective vaccine against tetanus. These days, children are immunized by giving a total of five doses of the vaccine, starting at 8 to 10 weeks, with intervals of 4 to 6 weeks between the first three doses. The fourth is given at nine months and the fifth one at the school-going age. Thereafter it is advisable to take this every three years. Many are under the impression that a wound or abrasion caused by iron implements or objects alone can cause tetanus. This is not true. As soon as there is a wound or abrasion, particularly outside the home, consult your family physician. 

I have read that people with a fair complexion find it more difficult to bear the heat of the sun. How can that be? After all, the dark colour absorbs more light and heat than lighter colours? 

THE dark colour absorbs heat. A dark colour of the skin means abundance of melanophore cells that contain a pigment called melanin. Because a dark skin absorbs heat, it prevents the heat from reaching the inner sensitive parts. The melanin serves as a barrier against the effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Have you noticed how the skin becomes dark (it is called tanning), when it is exposed to sunlight for long periods? This is a defenses mechanism. This happens because of the increase in the melanin pigment, which can absorb more heat and thus provide more protection. Overexposure for long periods can result in skin cancer.

What is the chemical name of honey? 

THE table salt that is used in cooking is a chemical conlpound called Sodium Chloride. The soda that we use in cooking is a chemical compound called Sodium Bicarbonate. The lime (choona) that is used on betel leaves is Calcium Hydroxide. But honey is not a chemical compound. It consists of a number of chemical compounds like fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose. It dontains about 18 % water, the chemical name for which is Hydrogen Oxide. It also contains chemical compounds in minute quantities, which lend if antiseptic propierties.

What are kidney stones? How can one protect oneself from such a painfful ailment?                 

All that we eat is not nutritive. Part of it is not good for our health. Part of it may be toxic. These unwanted substances are eliminated through urine, faeces and perspiration. Kidneys are organs, which help us to eliminate unwanted and waste products from body in the form of urine. Kidney stones are actually lumps of chemical compounds like uric acid, calcium oxalates, `phosphates, etc. The exact cause of stone formation is not known. It is believed that when there is heavy sweating or when a person does not take adequate water, the urine gets concentrated and stones are formed. It is-always advisable to drink at least six glasses of fluids every day, the include lassi, juices etc.

Non-vegetarians are those who kill living beings and eat them. But it is said that plants, too, have life. In that case, aren’t people who eat plants and grains also non-vegetarian?

IT is true that plants have life. Even in the Chhandogya Upanishad (part of the Vedas), this is acknowledged. Grains like rice and wheat have the potential to sprout and grow in the presence of moisture and sunlight. Long ago, man killed man and ate him. Then he gave it up and ate only other living animals. Many people felt unhappy with this also and restricted their meals to only birds, fish, plants and food grains. Some rejected even birds and fish and lived only on plants and food grains. How can you refer to such people as non-vegetarian? In any case, they show much greater respect for life than those who eat meat.

When water is boiled, it keeps on evaporating. When milk is boiled, it spills. Why is it so?

WAIER is a chemical compound called hydrogen oxide. As you boil it, it turns into steam and evaporates, Milk is not a single chemical compound, but consist of many chemical compounds – fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. Milk contains proteins from which nourishment is derived by the young ones of mammals. It contains sugars in the form of lactose. It also contains vitamins of the B group and Vitamin A, in addition to important minerals like calcium and phosphorus, needed during growth. Heat has a different effect ‘on milk. When heated, milk is precipitated. Even addmg a. little acid curdles milk in the stomach of mammals, milk gets curded because of the acid in the gastric juice. Thanks to this property of milk, the soft curd encloses globules of fat enabling the  digestion to proceed smoothly.

How is it that a spider does get caught in its web?

A spider constructs its web from silk-like threads, given out from a group of spinnerets on its underside. At first, the spider builds a sort of scaffolding or framework of non-sticky thread. Only after this, it lays down the closely-knit spiral of I silky threads, distinguished II with beads along each I thread. On these sticky threads the prey is caught. But the spider uses the nonstick threads to move about.

Name the father of modern taxonomy?

The science of naming living organisms is called taxonomy. Carolus Linnaeus is the father of modern taxonomy. In 1735, he developed a novel system of classifying biological specimens in a systematic manner.

Which mammal has the highest period of gestation?

Elephants lead the pack in this regard. Their period of gestation is almost 22 months long. The giraffe is second with a gestation period of 15 months. Horses, zebras, donkeys take about 340 days while the big cats deliver cubs after 100 days. By comparison, mice breed at breakneck speed – their period of gestation extending to a mere 20 to 30 days.

What is the cause of bald-ness?    

THE fall of hair after a debilitating attack of typhoid is common. The antibiotics prescribed for typhoid destroy the intestinal flow of bacteria, which synthesize Vitamins of the B group. These vitamins play a vital role in hair growth and maintenance. If your physician had not prescribed B -complex vitamins when you were recouping from typhoid that could be one of the causes for your losing hair. Heredity, too, plays an important role in maintaining the hairline. High levels of testosterone (the male hormone) in the blood and high blood pressure also can lead to balding. Take adequate dosage of Vitamin B complex, in consultation with your physician. Massage the scalp gently with your favorite hair oil. This will improve circulation to the hair follicles. Stop worrying. Most people grow hair back lost during typhoid.

What are the causes of conjuctivitis? How can we protect ourselves from the disease?

CONJUCTIVITIS is an inflammation of conjuctiva; the delicate Mucous membrane    that lines the eyelids and covers the front part of the white portion of the eye. The inflammation may be caused by a physical injury or allergy or by an infection. Often both the conjunctiva and cornea (the covering of the eye ball) are inflamed. What is known as ‘Madras Eye’ is caused by infection? To avoid this infection, you should not use a towel or handkerchief, which is likely to have been used by a person having this infection. Since this infectious disease can spread through water also, do not use a swimming pool when the disease is rampant. Keep your eyes clean and during daytime, use eye drops, prescribed by your physician. In addition to the eye drops, eye ointment, prescribed by your physician m ay he used at night, before going to bed.   

What is a mirage?   

MANY who travel through deserts sometimes see a lake in the distance. But when they approach, it disappears. This is called a mirage. You can have a similar experience while walking along long roads, particularlythose covered with asphalt or bitumen. Pools of water seem to appear, even though   the road is dry. This happens ” because there is a layer of hot thin air just above the surface of the road: This layer bends the light from the sky and as a result it seems to come from the road. Thus there would be an image of the sky on the road leading you to believe that you are seeing a, reflection of the sky in water.

Why do we age? Can’t ageing be stopped?  

These are questions that have haunted mankind from the very beginning of civilization. Thanks to awareness about health and nutrition and the discovery of drugs to fight infections diseases, the average life expectancy in India has increased from around 30 in 1930’s to at least 60. There is usually a cause for death: failure of the heart, malfunctioning of vital organs like liver, kidneys and glands and of course, fatal infections. Much work has been done in recent years in the field of Geriatrics (medical science dealing with old age and the aged). It has been noticed that people living in the Caucasus mountain range of Europe has greater life expectancy than those living elsewhere. In India, people living in the Hunza region of Kashmir are believed to live long. Those who lived long had a few things in common: (1) They did not rush through life (2) Their diet was mostly vegetarian, taken in much lesser quantity than the diet in civilised societies of the West (3) They lived in cold, mountainous regions, and (4) they continued to be engaged in physical activities till they died. Perhaps you know that continuous wear-and-tear goes on in the human body when the skin tissue or the bone tissue is worn or damaged, new tissue takes its place. But Leonard Hayflick, a researcher form Philadelphia, first proved that cells couldn’t multiply all the time. No matter how carefully he examined human cells in the Laboratoiy, they died after dividing into two about 50 times. This is now called the Hayflick limit. Every time we feel threatened, our mind comes under stress and the body releases stress hormones (hormones secreted by the adrenal glands to meet crisis and threat). Every situation perceived as a threat ages people. Perhaps the greatest single contribution to the study of ageing came from Michael West, a molecular biologist at the University of Texas, Dallas, who isolated from tissue-cultured human cells, two “mortality genes”, whose effect is to speed the aging process in these cells. He labelled them M-l and M-2. By turning off the M-l gene, West; was able to restore the cell’s youth and double its overall life-span. Many, including Dean Omish (who wrote the book. Reversing the Heart Disease), Herbert Benson (author of Relaxation Response) and Deepak Chopra (an Indian resident in the United States) believe that meditation helps reverse the ageing process. According to a study, involving 138 African-American adults with borderline or high blood pressure, reported in the March, 2000 issue of Stroke, Journal of the American Heart Association, meditation practised twice a day, can help reduce atherosclerosis (accumulation of fatty plaques on the walls of the arteries). Deepak Chopra has discussedthe phenomenon of ageing in depth in his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. He is of me opinion that enhancing your happiness and fulfilment, you can defeat ageing in a lasting, meaningful way, without chemicals and their potential side effects”

I would like to know how bats could find their way in the dark. Hey are blind.

Have you seen blind persons moving about with a stick painted with red at the tip? They gently tap the ground ahead and try to find out whether there is any obstruction or a pothole on theroad. Bats make shrill sounds, which cannot be heard by the human ear. This is called ultrasound. The sound waves sent by these screeches are called ultrasonic waves. When there is an obstruction or an object in front, these waves are reflected. By listening to the reflected sound, the bats can make out, what is in front and fly accordingly.

What is saliva made of?

SALIVA is the colourless fluid constantly present in the mouth of man. It is alkaline and is composed of water, mucus, mineral salts, protein and a digestive enzyme called Ptyalin. Three pairs of salivary glands in the mouth secrete this enzyme. The surface tissue of the cheeks, the tongue, palate and lips, continuously secretes small amounts of saliva. Ptyalin also helps digest the starch content in food.

How can aquatic animals survive when the lakes and seas freeze?

AS you know when heat is applied a metal, a liquid or even a gas, it expands. Hence it is said that heat expands and cold contracts. There is, however, one exception to this rule when the temperature of water falls plow four degrees Celsius, it does not contract, but expands. It keeps on expanding till it reaches zero degree Celsius. As a result, ice is formed on the surface and since it is lighter than I the water below, it floats on the surface. The fish and other animals freely move about in the water below. Isn’t it a miracle of Nature?

Why do doctors wear masks and green-coloured clothes while conducting operations?

Cleanliness is extremely important, particularly while conducting operations. During an operation, there are chances of the surgeons passing on viruses or bacteria to the patients. Hence the surgeons wear spotless white clothes. Even coughing and sneezing can carry infection. Hence masks are worn. Green aprons are increasingly being used on the white clothes, because the green colour does not reflect the light, used during the operation and does not affect the vision of the surgeon.  

What are the causes of diarrhoea? How can it prevented?

DIARRHOEA is generally caused due to infection. The agent causing ibis particular infection could be bacteria, a virus or even a parasite. Sometimes, Diarrhea can also be caused if you move from .one place to another, due to the difference in the mineral content of the water. However, the most common cause of Diarrhoea is bacterial inlection, eg E.coli or shigella.

Is a burp after a meal really an indicator of filled stomach?

NORMALLY a burp indicates a full stomach. But suppose you eat in a hurry, then you may burp even though your stomach is not full: This is because the sound of burp is caused by the gases in the stomach escaping from between spaces in the food that has been eaten. If you eat in a hurry, you would be gulping down some air also. Moreover some air may get entrapped in the stomach. 

Are only dogs colour blind? Why?  

ALL the mammals except man and the Ape family are colour blind. That means cats, rats, dogs, rabbits, foxes, tigers, lions, cows, buffaloes, etc. are colour blind.

Why do plants have roots?

ROOTS spread far and wide in the soil and enable the tree to stand firmly. They also transport water and nutrients in the soil through the stem to the leaves.

How come insects get attracted to the tubelight? I see them dead the next morning.

MANY insects which come out at night find their way by the light of the moon. When they see the artificial lights in our homes, they get confused and lose their sense of direction. So they go round and round the light and try to come closer to it. Many die in the process.

How is it that food travels down the digestive tract, even when we lie upside down?

AS soon as you start eating, the digestive system, the stomach wall and he intestinal wall start a kind of action similar to waves of water coming towards the shore. This is called peristalsis. This peristalsis movement is such that whatever you eat moves only down the digestive system. Even if you do Shirshasana (stand on your head) the food will move the same way. However when you develop acidity, or when too much bile is secreted, you may throw up. Then the contents of the stomach enter your mouth.

Bananas is good for health. Bananas are full of calories, have no nutritional value and make us put on weight.

Bananas are full of calories. If you eat half a dozen bananas every day, you are likely to put on weight. The ripe fruit contains 22 per cent of carbohydrates, mainly sugar. In the growing years, you can certainly eat a banana or two every day. Banana is low in protein and fat, but is a good source of vitamins A and C. It is also rich in calcium, needed by the bones and teeth of growing youngsters. Ladies past the middle age are also advised to take calcium because it helps to maintain the bone density. A banana a day is certainly good for your mother.

How is it that the average height of man remains the same all along?

How tall a child would be is coded in the genes. Of course depending on the kind of food consumed and the exercises taken, height can be increased to some extent or a person may not be able to reach the height, coded in his genes. It is not correct to say that the average height of humans has remained the same. The average height of man, wherever there is knowledge of nutrition and health, has gone on increasing. Look at the Japanese. Their average height today is many centimeters more than what is it was five decades ago. Even in India, in cities, the average height has been increasing.

How can snakes swallow large animals?

SNAKES do not have jaw “bones. They can stretch their mouth   wide   open   and swallow frogs, larger in size than their mouth.

Where does my weight go when i lose it?

The building bricks of the human body, called cells are made up mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. When you lose weight, these get converted into carbon dioxide and water. Carbon dioxide is thrown out along with the exhaled air Water is thrown out via perspiration and urine.

Why is it that when chabled water is poured into a stainless tumbler. Water drops appear on outside of the tumbler?

THE atmosphere around us is filled With air. It contains mainly nitrogen and oxygen and also water vapour, in weather reports, water content is referred to as humidity. Humidity is very high in places close to the sea. When you pour chilled water into a steel tumbler, moisture in the air condenses and forms water droplets. The water droplets formed, close to the surface of the tumbler can be seen easily. They flow down from the sides of the tumbler.

What is meant by icu in a hospital?

ICU IS the abbreviation for Intensive care Unit. After a heart attack or immediately after an operation, the patient is kept in ICU for some time before shifting him or her to a ward or a room.   

Why do medicines come in the form of tablets, liquid mixtures, capsules, injectables, etc?

MEDICINES are substances, which are given by physicians for obtaining relief or cure from pains, discomfort and diseases. Even turmeric has medicinal value. It can be converted into a paste and applied. Acetyl Salicylic Acid, popularly known as Aspirin, provides relief from headache, pain, etc. It is administered in the form of powder. Medicines, when taken orally, have to travel from the mouth to the stomach and from there, to the intestines where they are absorbed in the blood to yield the desired results. Sometimes the chemical properties of medicine are affected by the alkaline saliva in the mouth and, by the acidic gastric juice. That is why many medicines are given in the form of coated tablets to provide safe passage right up to the intestines. The stomach and intestines do not function well in some cases. There fore medicines, which have to provide immediate relief, are given in the form of intravenous injections, some injectables like iron can have unpleasant reactions given via the vein. They could be administered in the form intramuscular injection. There are some medicines, which can easily absorb if placed below the tongue (sublingual).      

From where do plants and trees draw sustenance when all the leaves are shed in autumn?

IT is true that leaves are like mini factories that manufacture food for the plants from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and water from its roots, using chlorophyll. When the weather becomes cold, the food that has been produced and stored in leaves in the form of starch is transported to the branches and the trunk. Before the leaves fall, the stalk is sealed by a compact layer. The stored food is used by the plants in winter.

Which is the fastest moving bird?

The spin-tailed Swift flies at a speed of 170 kmph. But amazingly there is something even quicker: The swooping dive of a Peregrine falcon reaches a top speed of 290 kmph.

Why do babies suck their thumb?

BABIES are suckled by their mothers till they are about one year old. Then slowly (sometimes even from the age of six months) they are given baby food. Babies derive immense satisfaction when they are suckled. It gives them closeness to their mother and they feel secure. If the babies feel insecure they may continue to suck the thumb even at the age of five.

Why don’t we feel any pain when hair is cut? They are part of our body.

THE root of the hair is in the hair follicle, below the scalp. That is alive and from it grows the hair. The portion of the hair above the scalp is dead. As the hair grows, the growing portion near the root pushes up and the portion above the scalp becomes lifeless.

Why do we need cylinder of oxygen while climbing a mountain peak? 

The percentage of oxygen near the surface of the earth is about 20 per cent and about 80 per cent is nitrogen. But the molecules of oxygen are heavier than the molecules of nitrogen. Therefore, the atmosphere much above the surface of the earth is poorer in oxygen, which is so  essential for sustaining life. Hence oxygen cylinders are carried with them by mountaineers.

Some people have a dark complexion and some have fair. Why is it so? What should i do to have a very fair skin?

THE amount of Melanin pigment in the skin determines die complexion. The more the pigment, the darker the skin. Those living in tropical areas and for a long time in the sun, slowly develop a dark complexion. More melanin in the skin provides greater protection. That does not mean that you have to expose the skin to a lot of sunshine, because that too is not good for the health of the skin.

Where did life originate on earth?

In the oceans. In the form of amoeba (primitive but simplest animal life form) or algae (primitive, but simplest vegetarian life form). They can produce food from simple elements like carbon and oxygen, in carbon dioxide, and hydrogen in water.

Why does an object or animal get sucked into quicksand?

QUICKSAND is just sand or even mud, which is not hard enough for you to walk on, but with not enough water for you to swim in. It is like a suspension of sand or mud in water. Its density is so thick that human beings or animals can- not swim across it. If a person stands on it, his feet will begin to sink. The more he struggles to get out, the more he would sink and would ultimately be drowned.

What is heparin?

Heparin is an important chemical produced in the liver. It prevents clotting of blood within the vascular system. For treating thrombosis and haematoma (blue-black patches on the skin due to minor injuries), heparin, extracted from lungs of domesticated animals, is the major constituent of the drugs used as anti-coagulants.

What is a coenzyme?

Coenzyme is a term used in biochemistry to describe a biocatalyst required by certain enzymes to produce their reactions.

What causes sickle cell anemia?

A sickle cell is a blood corpuscle or an erythrocyte having an abnormal shape due the presence of a abnormal hemoglobin. The anemic condition is caused by excessive fragility of the deformed cells. It is characterized by ulcerations on the legs.

What is vegetable butter?

Any fat originated from plant that is normally solid at room temperature is described as vegetable butter?

What are proteins? What the sources rich in protein?

THE building blocks of the human body are called cells. The building material for these cells is protein. Milk, lentils (daals), grams (chana), soyabean, fish, chicken and meat contain proteins. When digested in the body, proteins get converted into simpler compounds called amino acids like lycine, leucine, isoleucine and tryptophan. In the small intestines, the digested products are assimilated in the blood stream and carried to the. Parts of the body where growth or repairing of the wear and tear is taking place.

What is meant by the term post mortem, often used in newspapers?

Post mortem literally means after death. But in normal usage, it means the examination of the body after death.

Why doesn’t aids spread through mosquito bites?

Strictly speaking, it is not AIDS but HIV that spreads through blood, semen and from a mother to child. Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV for two reasons. Firstly, when the mosquito bites with its probosis, it draws blood and injects saliva, which contains antiviral factors and immunoglobulins and hence cannot transmit HIV. The blood from one person is not injected into the mosquito s next victim. Secondly HIV dies in the mosquito’s body because the mosquito after sucking the blood digests the blood and doesn’t immediately need to feed on another. Therefore, it takes a while to digest this blood and by then, it has also digested all the virus containing cells.

What is the difference between ice and snow ?

Though ice and snow are both made up of water, there is a difference between the two. Snow is nothing but the frozen atmospheric vapour, which falls in winters on earth as light, flakes whereas ice is simply frozen water. Another difference is that snow fall can be seen only in winters at areas of high altitudes and places near the Polar regions whereas ice can be seen in any season of the year in our refrigerator.

Who discovered the human sperm cell?

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch microscopist, was the pioneer who discovered numerous organisms including protists, bacteria and sperm. This 17th century scientist also identified the sperm cell as the source of reproduction.

Why does one never hear of heart cancer?

Skin, intestine, bone marrow and other tissues are more prone to cancer because of a large presence of dividing cells. On the other hand, heart is less prone to tumors because its muscle tissue is essentially non-dividing. Therefore, we usually do not hear about heart cancer. Tumors of the heart muscle are rare but they do sometimes develop. These are called cardiac sarcomas, the most common tumor of the heart, and 30% of these are angiosarcomas. The heart could also be a target organ for metastatic (spreading) cancer from other organs, like cancer of the breast, the lungs, and also melanoma (skin cancer). 

Describe cryosurgery?

Cryosurgery is a technique that uses cold temperatures to freeze tissues. An example of this techims term means Heart attack. The blockage of blood supply to the heart muscle causes death of heart tissues. The affected heart muscle is not replaced in most cases, instead scan tissue builds up. This results in the reduction of the pumping action of the heart.

What is paleontology?

Paleontology is the study of ancient bio-forms. After studying the preserved remains of animals and plants or the fossils, it is possible to infer the past—the environment, climate and the living organisms. Unfortunately, most organisms decay before they are fossilized. Therefore, the fossils found today represent only a tiny fraction of billions organisms that inhabited the earth.

Name the parasite that causes cerebral malaria.

Malarial parasites are found in different strains:  Vivax and Falciparum. The Falciparum strain causes cerebral malaria.

Do you know the meaning of syzygy?

Syzygy is a condition when three celestial bodies form a straight line. Solar and lunar eclipses are the famous examples of syzygy, when the sun, moon and earth are aligned.

Why the blockbuster movie on dinosaurs was named jurassic park?

The evolution of earth has been divided into (different time zones by scientists. The classification depends on geographical conditions as well as on the types of organisms that dominated during a period.     The Jurassic period was part of the Mesozoic era dominated by giant reptiles such as dinosaurs. At the end of this period, dinosaurs   became extinct. That was about 135 million years ago.

Why is the money-plant called so?

It is called the money plant simply because it has round, plump, flat leaves that might, with a bit of imagination, look like a coin! This plant is usually kept as a dwarf in the house but can be grown in the garden too. The belief is that while it thrives, one would never be short of money. It is also called a friendship plant, as it is easy to propagate. One can take a stem/ leaf and just let it dry for a day or two then pot it into a sandy gritty soil mix and water and this will eventually grow into a healthy plant.

What is bulimia?

The psychological condition under the influence of which an individual eats excess food in response to stress and depression, rather than hunger, is called bulimia. It was diagnosed as an eating disorder in the 1980s. It is believed that bulimia begins with dissatisfaction, helplessness, and low self-esteem. Bulimia normally leads to dental problems, changes in bowel habits, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, heartburn, bloating, indigestion, constipation, stomach ulcers, etc. It is found to be common among females and is a corrective disorder.

How do ants locate their food?

An ant colony is divided into three classes: the queen, winged males and wingless in-fertile females. Infertile females are also called as workers. The worker class include a few scouting ants. Scouts are always moving randomly in search of food. As soon as a scout locates food such as sugar, it returns to the nest, laying down a scent trail by repeatedly pressing its abdomen to the ground. The other ants sense the secretions with the help of their smell organs and follow the scent trail towards the food discovered by the scout ant. In this way, they are able to locate their food.

What is a butterfly dance?

The butterfly dance is the traditional social dance of the Hopi tribe of North Arizona, USA which is held in August and September after the gathering of the harvest. It is a thanksgiving dance, mainly for the corn crop and features dancing by young Hopi maidens wearing elaborate head dresses which is accompanied by a chorus of singers comprising relatives of the dancers. It is a beautiful dance, full of colour and meaningful lyrics. The dance celebrates the butterfly for its beauty and contribution   in   pollinating plant life.

When aids was first reported?

On June 18, 1981, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US reported a cluster of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (now known as Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia) in five gay men in Los Angeles. It was first called GRID, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency. But later as it was confirmed that about 50 per cent of the people with the syndrome were not gay, the name was changed. Gaetan Dugas is suspected to be the first carrier.

What is aerodynamics”

Aerodynamics is the study of force and resulting motion of objects through the air and is sometimes used as a synonym for the science of flight. It is the science of air in motion and the motion of objects in air. One of the major goals of aerodynamics is to predict the aerodynamic force (such as lift, weight, thrust, and drag) on objects. Aerodynamics is also important in vehicle design, design of small components such as hard drive heads. Civil engineers use aerodynamics particularly aero elasticity to calculate wind loads in the design of large buildings and bridges.

Why do leaves fall off in autumn?

A tree’s roots, branches and twigs can endure freezing temperatures, but most leaves are not so tough. As sunlight decreases in autumn, the veins that carry sap into and out of a leaf gradually close. A layer of cells, called the separation layer, forms at the base of the leaf stem. When this layer is complete, the leaf is separated from the tissue that connected it to the branch, and it falls. The only exception is oak. The separation layer never fully detaches the dead oak leaves, and they remain on the tree through winter.

Why is it that the flame of the candle always points upwards, even when the candle is bent sideways?

You must have seen that balloons filled with a gas like helium rise in the air. You must have read ‘that heavier gases like carbon dioxide settle down nearer the ground. When a candle burns, it is actually I a chemical reaction, which generates heat. The heated gases naturally go up.       

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

A psychologist is a person who has studied the science of mind, i.e., how works, how and when it can be in disorder. A psychiatrist is a person ho is qualified to treat disorders of ‘the mind.        

Sometimes, i get a cut in my tongue due to eating something with a rough surface. It remains uncured for many days. The physicians^ say no medicine is necessary since saliva is a mild antiseptic. But the pain is not negligible. If i eat a plantain and the remnants stick to the tongue then the pain is unbearable. What should i do?

True, the saliva is a mild antiseptic. But you must be on guard. If there is a tooth with a sharp edge, it may cause a cut in your cheek or tongue. Your dentist can smoothen it. If the pain persists, I suggest you consult an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) specialist. If there is abrasion of the tongue or cheek every now and then, it might lead to a benign or malignant growth.

Why does the moon keep on changing its shape?

The Moon does not give out any light of its own. It shines only because it reflects some of the sunlight that falls on it. At new moon (amavasya), the moon is between the earth and the sun. It cannot be seen because the side facing the earth is dark. As the moon moves around the earth, we begin to see more and more of the sunlit part. First we see a thin crescent. When the moon reaches the opposite side of the earth from the sun, its side facing the earth is fully seen. Then we have the full moon (poomima).

Why are kangaroos found only in australia? What is so special about the country?

What you mean by the question is not very clear. There is nothing special about Australia, just as there is nothing special   about   New Zealand, because the bird, Kiwi is found only in that country. There has been free communication and transport   between even America and the countries of the old world (Asia and Europe) only about five hundred years ago. As regards Australia, there was no free movement of humans or animals from the countries of the old world to this continent. The first to explore Australia were the Dutch in the 17th century. This was because the continent is far removed frorn the known countries of the old world. Kangaroos are native to Australia, just as Kiwis are native to ^ New Zealand. You can find these animals outside this continent, only in zoos.                       

Why doesn’t a balloon filled by mouth not rise much? Isn’t carbon dioxide lighter than air?

You have presumed while asking this question that what we breathe out is mainly carbon dioxide and that carbon dioxide is lighter than air. Both assumptions are wrong. The air that we breathe in as well as the air that we breathe out consists mainly of nitrogen (about 80%). The air that we.breathe in has less than 20% of oxygen. Part of the oxygen in the air that we breathe in is used in the lungs and there will be some carbon dioxide in the air that we breathe out. There will be a little more moisture (water) also, in the air that we breathe out. Nitrogen is lighter than oxygen; Carbon dioxide is heavier than even oxygen. A molecule of carbon dioxide consists of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. A water molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. Therefore moisture too is heavier than oxygen and nitrogen. In brief, the air that we breathe out is a little heavier than the air that we breathe in.

Why do crocodiles lay their eggs under the ground?

CROCODILES lay their eggs on the banks of rivers under the ground, simply to protect them. In the case of fish, eggs are laid in thousands. As a result, in spite of hundreds and thousands being eaten by other fish, thousands still survive.

Why do old people have wrinkles on their skin? Why does the mage?                   

THERE are five different; ways in which the skin ages. 1. Over the years the skin loses its elasticity. It wears away and stretches as the years go by. This causes wrinkles. 2. Changes take place, in the nerve endings. 3. The sweat glands begin to decrease. As a result, old people sweat less than young people. 4. The colour pigment is spread evenly. The pigment conglomerates at some places and forms blotchy patches. 5. The skin of the scalp begins to thin with age.

Why does our mouth smell when we wake up in the morning?

THE mouth smells because the bacteria, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, act upon the food particles stuck in the crevices between the teeth and cause fermentation, particularly if the food eaten is full of starch and sugar. Brush your teeth well before going to bed and you may find improvement.

What is syndrome x?

Syndrome X is a condition common among obese people and is linked with hypertension. The cause of hypertension is the increased level of insulin in the body.

What is tribology?

Tribology is a branch of mechanical engineering, which deals with friction.

Some people have the habit of walking in their sleep. What is the cause of sleepwalking?  

IT is true thai some people H ‘have the habit of walking in their sleep. A few even actually engage in some activity while in this state. There are a few theories to explain why people walk in their sleep. An incident in a person’s life that is unpleasant may get deeply etched in his or her mind. The person may try to bury it in the mind and after some time, he may not be consciously even aware of it. Such incidents may find expression during sleepwalking. For example, a child whose parents have separated may walk in his sleep to his mother’s house.

Is it true that milk is good for health? Is it true that milk improves memory?

IT is unlikely that memory is affected just because you do not take milk or for that matter, any protein lor a lew weeks. Protein deprivation over a period of time could affect memory. What is important for memory is a diet with at least some proteins and vitamins of the B group. When digested, protein breaks down into amino acids. But there are certain amino acids which are essential amino acids, because the human body cannot synthesise them, eg. lycine, leucine, isoleucine, cysrtine, tryptophane, etc. Milk is a good source of proteins, including essential amino acids and also vitamins of the B group. But there are many dais, particularly green gram and black gram, as well as fish, which are rich in protein. Therefore, it is not correct to say that one’s memory depends on the intake of milk. 

Why is the sea water salty?

Sea water is a complex solution of mineral salts and of decaying/ decayed biological matter that results from the abundance of life in the seas. Most of the sea’s salts were derived from gradual processes such as the •breaking up of the cooled igneous rocks of the Earth’s crust by weathering and erosion; the wearing down of mountains, and the dissolving action of rains and streams which transported their mineral washings to the sea. Some of the sea’s salts have been dissolved from rocks and sediments below its floor. Other sources of salts include the solid and gaseous materials that escaped from the Earth’s crust through volcanic vents or those which originated in the atmosphere. The saltiness is the result of several natural influences and processes; the salt load of the streams entering the ocean is just one factor.

How is a parrot able to mimic human speech?

Relative to body weight, parrots have brain sizes that are on par with chimpanzees and orangutans and they are considered to be the most intelligent animals (excluding humans). Due to larger brain size, parrots brain possesses cognitive abilities and they can mimic human speech and a variety of sounds and can solve complex puzzles.

Why is the virus h5n1 called so?

The influenza A (H5N1) virus — also called the H5N1 virus — is a subtype that occurs largely in birds. It is very contagious and can be deadly there are many different subtypes of type A viruses. These differ because of certain proteins on the virus surface — hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins. All known subtypes of flu A viruses can be found in birds. However, influenza A subtypes are chiefly found in birds. They do not usually infect humans, though they can. When we talk about human flu viruses, we refer to those subtypes that occur widely in humans. There are only three known subtypes of human flu viruses (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2); it is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza A viruses came from birds originally.

Milk, cheese, curd, paneer are animal products, but why are they considered vegetarian?

A vegetarian is one who does not consume any animal product or by-product from a slaughtered animal. As dairy products and eggs, honey, etc. are taken from living creatures, they are classified as vegetarian. It is a strict vegetarian or ‘vegan’ that does not consume any animal product, either from a living or slaughtered animal.

Why do we yawn?

While it is widely believed that people yawn when they’re tired, bored and/or when their brain simply needs more oxygen, the truth is these are only conjecture. There is no proven explanation as to why people yawn. Dr Provine likens yawning to stretching, an involuntary activity that increases blood pressure, heart rate and also serves to flex joints and muscles. Scientists also theorise that yawning could be a symptom of multiple sclerosis. Also, since even animals and birds yawn, scientists believe yawning could be a form of communication. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure — if you see someone yawn, chances are you’ll yawn too.

Which is the smallest mammal?

The smallest mammal is the shrew. Some species of the shrew are less than two inches long, excluding the tail. The shrew is found the world over, except in the polar, region and some islands in the southern hemisphere.

What will happen if a clot is formed in the brain?

EVEN a small clot can result in a stroke and affect the functioning of extremities on one or both sides. The person may feel dizzy, may have difficulty in breathing and in expressing himself. Immediate medical attention is called for.

Do animals, like humans, have different blood groups?

In man, blood group is applied to a single factor, the agglutinogen and is found on the surface of red blood corpuscles. A person with ‘A’ antigen is designated one with A-group, with ‘B’ antigen as B-group, with both A and B antigens as AB-blood group and a person without any antigens is designated as 0-blood group. In animals, blood group is applied to combinations of blood factors. It is preferable to call them ‘blood group systems’ rather then blood groups. Each system has many factors which are together called blood group factors. Dr J Moustgaard of Copenhagen identified in cattle ten group systems namely A, B, C, FV, J, L, M, SU, Z and R’S’. Except J and L, all the other group systems have more than one group factor.

What is a kymograph?

Kymograph is an instrument that records variations in pressure. It is used for monitoring sound waves or successive positions of a moving body.

Why do crocodiles lay their eggs under the ground?

CROCODILES lay their eggs on the banks of rivers under the ground, simply to protect them. In the case offish, eggs are laid in thousands. As a result, in spite of hundreds and thousands being eaten by other fish, thousands still survive.

What is earology?

Earology also known as otomorphology, is the study of the physiognomy of the external ear, which like fingerprints shows a unique design from person to person. It is highly specialised knowledge that has been developed as a distinctive branch of forensic medicine to supplement identification by fingerprints. This helps to trace the criminal by matching earprints left at the crime scene with the existing earprint records or the print taken from the accused. Unlike fingerprints which have high chances of being removed by the criminal at the crime scene, earprints such as those left on doors while eavesdropping, etc. are more likely to remain unnoticed. 

How does a pedometer work?

A pedometer counts your steps as you walk. Some pedometers can take that number and run with it — converting steps into distance. Most pedometers have a tiny spring-set horizontal arm that moves up and down as you walk and measures the vertical movement of your hips. Electronic pedometers can detect the impact of your foot hitting the ground. A pedometer is a motion-sensitive electrical circuit that switches on and off, activating a digital counter. It tends to function best during vigorous walking, when the motion of the hips is more pronounced.

Who is a histo-technologist?

A histotechnologist prepares slices of body tissues for examination by pathologists. Their work includes identifying tissue structure and cell components, relating the test results to physiological functions and implementing new testing techniques and procedures. They are responsible for performing complex procedures for processing tissues.

How do we get goose bumps on our body?

When we feel cold or frightened, tiny bumps causing a tingling sensation appear on our skin. Attached to each hair inside the skin is a tiny muscle. When you get scared or feel the cold, messages go shooting off from nerve endings that pick up       the cold feeling. In a flash, signals come back to the muscles, and as a result each muscle gets taut. The skin around each hair also gets pulled up. The result is little bumps.

Why are kangaroos found mostly in australia?   

Kangaroos are found mostly in Australia because they developed when Australia had already become an island and as they were terrestrial mammals and could not swim or fly, they remained there only as they could not migrate out of there. A few islands off Australia also have kangaroos as they were once a part of Australia.

Where are anacondas found in large numbers?

Anaconda or water boa is the giant of the boa (boidae) family It is anew-world, semi-aquatic, non-poisonous constrictor seen in tropical northern South America and Trinidad in swamps, marshes and river valleys. Found in large numbers in South American equatorial forest and east of the Andes, an anaconda is a much heavier-bodied serpent (130 kg) than a python. South America has its huge anaconda of which there are several species. It feeds mainly on mammals and birds. It seizes its prey in the powerful jaws, throws one or more coils around it and squeezes it until it suffocates.

What is the lifespan of an orangutan?

The only Asian great ape, found in the lowland rainforests of the Southeast Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, orangutan newboras weigh less than 1.5 kgs. Slow growth and development are consistent with an orangutan’s long lifespan — 60 years has been documented in captivity. Its lifespan in the wild is only 30-40 years due to poaching and destruction of the natural habitat.

What is the bombay blood group?

This is an extremely rare ABO group, called so because it was first discovered among some people in Bombay (now Mumbai). Although the group is more likely to occur in East Indians, it is a very rare group even here. It is not restricted to East Indians but found in Caucasians, Japanese, etc. Their red cells lack ABH antigens and their sera contain anti-A and anti-B and anti-H. The anti-H would not be detected in the ABO group but would be detectable in pretransfusion tests.

What is guano?

Guano is the term used for the droppings of sea-birds and bats. It is rich in nitrates and phosphates and is an excellent fertiliser. However, the term is also used in a derogatory sense. In 1925, when the British Prime Minister (Austen Chamberlain) signed the Locarno Treaty; his critics wrote: ‘Good Sir Austen at Locarno, / Fell into a heap of guano’.  

When was the cow domesticated? 

It is impossible to pinpoint when the cow was first domesticated but it’s likely that this would have happened around 10,000 B.C. when man went from being a huntergatherer to becoming a farmer-domesticator. However, in 1940, wall paintings and carvings of seemingly domesticated cows were found in caves in south-western France. These reproductions, perfect in every detail, were later carbon dated and found to be around 20,000 years old. Although it may not be possible to say when the cow was domesticated, there is no doubt whatsoever, that it was one of the first animals to enter the service of man.

What is glaciology?

Glaciology is the science of geological action of ice.

What is morphology?

Morphology is a science that deals with the shapes of objects. This term is normally used in the life sciences while describing the exterior of an animal or plant.

How did dinosaurs suddenly become extinct?

Scientists have not yet established what caused the sudden extinction of dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. There are many theories. One is the sudden change of the temperature of the earth. According to Velikovsky, the planet Venus came very close to the earth around this time and the heat burnt away much of life. A major cycle of mountain building began in the Cretaceous period. This reduced lower land areas where dinosaurs flourished Decline in herbivorous (plant eating) dinosaurs led to the extinction of flesh eaters that depended on them. Eating of the dinosaur eggs by the mammals that had appeared around this time on the earth is believed to be another reason for the extinction of dinosaurs.

What is arachnophobia?

Arachnidan is a subclass of Arthropod or the animal with joint legs. This class of invertebrates includes animals like spiders. The fear of these animals is called arachnopodia.

Which is the biggest lizard in the world?

The biggest lizard is found in South-East Asia. This monitor lizard is called the Komodo dragon. According to information it grows up to 10 feet and weighs over 150 kilograms.

What are ductless glands?

The endocrine glands secrete chemicals known as hormones. The hormones are essential for the integration of the individual organs of the body. They also promote and stimulate growth. The pituitary, the thyroid, the parathyroid, the suprarenal, the thymus, the pancreatic tissue and the primary sexual organs are collectively called the circulatory system. The endocrine glands are also known as ductless glands.

What is an electron microscope?

It is an apparatus utilising a beam of electrons- tiny subatomic particles, instead of the light beam in a conventional microscope. The resolving power of this gadget is thousand times better than that of an optical microscope.

Do flying fishes really fly?

No, almost all flying fishes skim over the water. Their fins as gliding wings propel them. Only one species of African sweet water fish use their pectoral fins as actual wings.

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