As a kid, this used to be one of my fav quotes:

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and that is why left handers are right minded people.

It is true yknow.


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froggie delight

Frogs fascinate me. I just love them. While most people consider them ugly and warty, I think they are beautiful creatures. Toads could get a little ugly, I concede, but frogs are usually quite good looking.

dyeing dart frog

 See more beautiful frogs here

There is a lot of frog related trivia floating around. For example, Japanese consider them as good luck. They believe that bullfrogs can suck all the mosquitoes out of a room in one breath. Now that’s exactly what we need in dengue stricken India.

Here’s a charming frog folk story:
The frogs complaint against the sun
Once upon a time, when the Sun announced his intention to take a wife, the frogs lifted up their voices in clamour to the sky. Jupiter, disturbed by the noise of their croaking, inquired the cause of their complaint. One of them said, “The Sun, now while he is single, parches up the marsh, and compels us to die miserably in our arid homes. What will be our future condition if he should beget other suns?”

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colourful words

Some words sound just like what they mean. Words like gush and mumble for instance. I found some obscure words decribing colour:

Brunneous: Dark brown
Eau-de-nil: Light green (literally, the water of Nile)
Ferruginous: Iron rust coloured
Cesious: Blue gray

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what’s in a name?

Taxonomy might have been a bane to many, but I have always enjoyed it. I loved the way plants and animals were named, most of them so eloquently. Names like Quisqualis indica (Rangoon creeper) and Gloriosa superba Gloriosa(Glory lily, a plant with really glorious flowers) used to roll off my tongue. It was a hobby to find out scientific names of all the plants and trees in the neighbourhood and identify them to my friends (who often accused me of making up the names!). We also made up our own scientific names like Horribula terribulatum and Dreadfullia horrendosia for teachers we didn’t particularly like.Even after all these years, I find that taxonomy still fascinates me. Trawling through the internet, I realise that taxonomists have a sense of humour. Here’s what i dug up:

  • Agra vation Erwin (carabid). Though Erwin (the taxonomist) says that there is nothing aggravating about it.
  • Apopyllus now Platnick & Shadab (spider)
  • Carmenelectra shechisme Evenhuis (fossil mythicmyiid)
  • Cyclocephala nodanotherwon Ratcliffe (scarab) Ratcliffe described several others in this large genus.
  • Eubetia bigaulae Brown (moth) pronounced “youbetcha bygolly”.
  • Eurygenius (beetle)
  • Heerz lukenatcha Marsh (braconid)
  • Hunkydora Fleming (clam) 
  • Verae peculya Marsh (braconid)
  • Ytu brutus Spangler (water beetle). “Ytu” comes from the Brazillian word for waterfall.
  • Spottobrotula amaculata Cohen & Nielsen (fish). Literally means “Spotted cusk-eel without spots”.
  • Boselaphus tragocamelus (nilgai). This translates to “ox-deer goat-camel”
  • Megapnosaurus Ivie, Slipinski & Wegrzynowiwicz (dinosaur). Translates as “big dead lizard.”
  • Pulchrapollia Dyke & Cooper (Lower Eocene parrot). Translates to “Pretty Polly”.
  • Vampyroteuthis infernalis Chun (squid relative) “Vampire squid from Hell”.
  • Metallichneumon neurospatarchus Sime and Wahl (ichneumonid wasp) “Neurospatarchus” translates as “Master of Puppets,” which is the seminal album by the heavy metal band Metallica. The name refers to the larval ichneumonid’s manipulation of its host insect. (This one is just for you Vic)
  • And finally…
    Afropolonia tgifi Goff.
    “Thank God it’s Friday”


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Omen revisited

I have come to believe that the nth sequel of Omen is going on in our house just as you are reading this. No, we haven’t adopted the devil’s progeny or anything; this is the Omen with a twist. Tired of being foiled all the time by religious zealots, the devil decided to outsmart them all by sending a dog this time. And by some strange twist of fate, or because of some unthinkable past misdeeds, we were the chosen surrogate parents.

No, I am not over reacting; the sweet puppy we got has turned out to be the devil in disguise. I have thought about it deeply and here’s what I have realised.

Firstly, this pup was rejected by its original owners because they couldn’t cope with it. It was brought to my parents’ home by my brother. All those who know him, know about his rabid interest in morbid things and his propensity for death metal. That should have given me an idea, but I was too preoccupied then to realise it. His move from my parents’ home to our home was at the insistence of K. I have a strong feeling, he has had something to do with this but I still have to confirm this. I mean, why insist so much on flying a four month old pup from Bangalore to Bombay? Anyway, he got his way and now Robin (who should have been named Damien) is here to make my life hell!

Why do I think he’s the Devil’s spawn? Well, for one he doesn’t sleep all night. He sleeps throughout the day (when we aren’t home) and thinks that we are there for his entertainment during the night. And entertainment for him is watching us suffer as he gnaws us to death. He has terribly sharp teeth and I’m pretty sure, he has someone come over to sharpen them when we are away and tries them out on us soon as we get home. Where did that sweet, loving pup go? Or is it all a myth propagated by pet food companies, veterinary doctors and other dog owners?

He demands to be fed all the time, it’s almost like he’s fatting up to take over the world later. Like the kid in the movie, he has the most innocent demeanour. People look at him and fall for those sad, puppy dog eyes. Little do they know what hides behind them! We leave him alone for a few hours so we can go out for dinner, and when we come back the house looks like its been visited by a tornado. Not just any tornado, a vicious tornado that picks out your favourite things and then destroys them one by one. Just when you fall asleep after cleaning up the house, you wake up to the sound of gnawing. In your semi-comatose state, you don’t even realise that it’s your own hand/leg/whichever body part he seems to prefer that night is being chewed up.  By the time you realise it, it is too late and some part of your body has been irretrievably chewed up. I have several chunks missing from my body, thankfully it’s not showing. Yet.

look at that innocent face.. 

His favourite game is something that he has invented. I'm sure he calls it 'go for the jugular'. Yes, he loves to put his paws on my shoulders and bite me on the neck. His big alligator jaws can accomodate my entire neck. I think he could be a vampire dog, if not the devil's offspring. 

Some wise dog owner told me that this is all a phase and when he grows up, you’ll miss all his crazy antics. Well, all I can say is if he grows out of thinking that he is the devil’s incarnate, then I will surely be one happier and definitely a more rested person.


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Art of science competition

The Princeton University Art of Science Competition is an annual event where images from science and engineering with aesthetic value are submitted by members of the Princeton University community.

This is my favourite one

Check out the others here


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Robin, the dog wonder!!

We just got ourselves a new family member. A really smart and handsome labrador retreiver called Robin. He's all of four months, and its been a week since he came home.

Robin, the smiling dog

He's very naughty and barks at us if we don't give him the attention he thinks he deserves. And he's also clever enough to tell us when he wants to poop or pee, to save me the trouble of cleaning up after him!




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