Friday, March 3, 2017

Interesting tidbits!

A few interesting facts.

 1. How Big Ben sounds its 'Bong'.

     Scientists have used lasers to analyse how the Big Ben produces its harmonious sounds. The
     'bong' is produced when its 200 kg hammer hits the side of the bell, setting off vibrations in the
     metal and causing the entire bell to pulsate. Big Ben, incidentally, is the largest of five bells that
     hang in the belfry of the Elizabeth Tower at the Westminster palace. It's thicker than other bells of
     a similar size, weighing more and as a result having a bigger pitch than expected. Though the
     'bong' was perceived as a single sound, it's actually made up of a series of distinct frequencies!

     The scientists employed a technique called, "Doppler vibrometry" which involved creating a 3D
     computer model of Big Ben, used two lasers to map the vibrations as it chimed 9, 10, 11 and 12
     o' clock.
     Note. The Big Ben was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1858. It weighs 13.7 tons and is
               one of the largest bells in the UK.

 2. A 'Magic' Computer that grows.

     Scientists have designed a new, super fast form of a 'magic' computer made of DNA molecules
     that grows as it computes and can outperform all standard systems in solving practical problems.
     The researchers from the University of Manchester continue, "Imagine a computer is searching a
     maze and comes to a choice point - one path leading left, the other right. Electronic computers
     need to choose which path to follow first but the new computer doesn't need to choose for it can
     replicate itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster!" This
     magical property is possible because the computer's processors are made of DNA rather than
     silicon chips.

     In DNA computing, information is represented using the four character genetic alphabets viz.
     A(Adenine), G(Guanine), C(Cytosine) and T(Thymine) rather than the binary digits which is a 
     series of '1's and '0's used by the traditional computers!


And the pachyderms sleep just for two hours! This is either at night or in the wee hours of the morning. The findings are based on the observations, by researchers, on two female African elephants, who appear to sleep least among the mammals. Researchers fitted the elephants' trunks - the most active appendage of the animal - with movement trackers and their necks with GPS collars, complete with gyroscopes and monitored their activities for 35 days.

It was a delightful day because the Laburnum in our courtyard has bloomed for the first time. It took almost three years for this event to take place. I remember the small sapling that was planted by the gardener, Ramesh and Pushpaakaran, the farmhand, had replanted it in the courtyard saying that that was the right place for the Laburnum because it had to be viewed, first thing in the day, when it bloomed!........ Just a bunch, but it did make our day!

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