Aug 4, 2016

Krishna's Butter Ball

At Mahabalipuram, a massive 20-feet-high-5-meter-wide rock stands unbalanced on a slippery slope of a hill. Renowned as ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’, the rock is said to be Lord Krishna’s favourite food, ‘butter’ fallen from above. In Tamil, it's called 'Vaanirai Kal', which means the 'Stone of the Sky God'.

The rock’s position is quite astonishing as it looks like it’s about to roll down the slope. However, it stands firm and tourists can even take shade under it. It is estimated to weigh over 250 tons! A part of the rock is sheared off, making it look like a half circle. The reason for the erosion is still unknown. Krishna's Butter ball challenges modern technology today, as it fails to answer an important question - how does a 250-ton rock stand on a less-than-4-feet base?

It is said that in 1908, Governor of Madras Arthur Lawley decided to remove the ball from its position. Seven elephants were brought to remove it, but that did not move the stone by even an inch! A myth also suggests that the Pallava King Narasimhavarman tried to remove this rock because he gave orders amounting to the "heavenly rock" never being touched by sculptors.  

Nov 21, 2015

Lake Baikal’s Water in Siberia is Clean and Emerald green.

Lake Baikal is the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water.  With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), Baikal is the world's deepest lake. It is considered among the world's clearest lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake at 25 million years. It is the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area. With 23,615.39 km3 (5,700 cu mi) of fresh water, it contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

Like Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi). Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle, and sheep, where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F)

We all know, Siberia is extreme cold. These temperatures are so low that Lake Baikal, situated in eastern Siberia and representing the oldest freshwater lake on Earth, and one of the largest and deepest, containing around one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, freezes over. Giant ice blocks, also called ice hummocks, form through movement of ice flow, extreme winds and cold temperatures can reach a height of 15m (50ft).  When the lake freezes during the winter, an amazing phenomena takes place: large shards of transparent ice form on the surface of the lake, giving the amazing appearance of turquoise ice.

For more details  -  Lake Baikal

Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains Walk Across a Clear Ice

Walking on water sounds like the stuff of miracles, but there’s nothing supernatural at work in the clip above. Watch as two hikers in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains walk across a lake that’s frozen so clearly, they look to be walking on water.

Walking on water sounds like the stuff of miracles, but there’s nothing supernatural at work in the clip above. Watch as two hikers in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains walk across a lake that’s frozen so clearly, they look to be walking on water.

Temperatures this cold may make for some spectacular phenomena, but natural wonders are hardly in short supply in the Tatra Mountains, a region that Pope John Paul II visited on a detour from an 11-day pilgrimage to his homeland in 1997. The mountains, which form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, are home to a huge variety of winter sports. The Low Tatras range (highest peak 2,043m) and the High Tatras (highest peak 2,564m) both come highly recommended for their natural beauty and their affordability as a skiing destination.

Watch video on Youtube

Nov 20, 2015

Flying Fish

The Exocoetidae are a family of marine fish in the order Beloniformes of class Actinopterygii. Fish of this family are known as flying fish. About 64 species are grouped in seven to nine genera. Flying fish can make powerful, self-propelled leaps out of water into air, where their long, wing-like fins enable gliding flight for considerable distances above the water's surface. This uncommon ability is a natural defense mechanism to evade predators.

The oldest known fossil of a flying or gliding fish, Potanichthys xingyiensis, dates back to the Middle Triassic, 235–242 million years ago. However, this fossil is not related to modern flying fish, which evolved independently about 66 million years ago

Flying fish live in all of the oceans, particularly in tropical and warm subtropical waters. They are commonly found in the epipelagic zone. This area is the top layer of the ocean that extends 200 meters from the surface down. It is often known as the "sunlight zone" because it's where most of the visible light exists. Nearly all-primary production happens in this zone as there is enough light for photosynthesis to occur. Therefore, the vast majority of plants and animals inhabit this area and can vary from plankton to the sharks. Although the epipelagic zone is an exceptional area for variety in life, it too has its drawbacks. Due to the vast variety of organisms it holds, there is high number of prey and predation relationships. Small organisms such as the flying fish are targets for larger organisms. They especially have a hard time escaping predators and surviving until they can reproduce, resulting in them having a lower fitness. Along with relationship difficulties, abiotic factors also play a part. Harsh ocean currents make it extremely difficult for small fish to survive in this habitat. Research suggests that difficult environmental factors in the flying fish's habitat have led to the evolution of modified fins. As a result, flying fish have undergone natural selection in which species gain unique traits to better adapt to their environments. By becoming airborne, flying fish outsmart their predators and environment. This increase of speed and maneuverability is a direct advantage to flying fish, and has given them leverage when compared to other species in their environment.

Research has shown that the flying fish has undergone morphological changes throughout its history, the first of which is fully broadened neural arches. Neural arches act as insertion sites for muscles, connective tissues, and ligaments in a fish’s skeleton. Fully broadened neural arches act as more stable and sturdier sites for these connections, creating a strong link between the vertebral column and cranium. This ultimately allows a rigid and sturdy vertebral column (body) that is beneficial in flight. Having a rigid body during glided flight gives the flying fish aerodynamic advantages, increasing its speed and improving its aim. Furthermore, flying fish have developed vertebral columns and ossified caudal complexes. These features provide the majority of strength to the flying fish, allowing them to physically lift their body out of water and glide remarkable distances. These additions also reduce the flexibility of the flying fish, allowing them to perform powerful leaps without weakening midair. At the end of a glide, it folds its pectoral fins to re-enter the sea, or drops its tail into the water to push against the water to lift itself for another glide, possibly changing direction. The curved profile of the "wing" is comparable to the aerodynamic shape of a bird wing. The fish is able to increase its time in the air by flying straight into or at an angle to the direction of updrafts created by a combination of air and ocean currents.

For More Information - Flying Fish

Nov 15, 2015

Living Rock: Pyura chilensis

Pyura chilensis is a tunicate that somewhat resembles a mass of organs inside a rock. It is often found in dense aggregations in the intertidal and subtidal coast of Chile and Peru. It is a filter feeder that eats by sucking in seawater and filtering out microorganisms. P. chilensis has some basic characteristics common to chordates, such as the notochord and a perforated pharynx. It is born male, becomes hermaphroditic at puberty, and reproduces by tossing clouds of sperm and eggs into the surrounding water. If it is alone, it will procreate by self-fertilization.

Its blood is clear and can contain high concentrations of vanadium, which may be ten million times that found in surrounding seawater; although the source and function of this element's concentrations are unknown.

The earliest mention of the "P. chilensis" was in 1782 by Juan Ignacio Molina in his book "Saggio Sulla Storia Naturale del Chili." Molina, a Chilean abbott who was shunned from Chile along with the rest of the Jesuit missionaries, wrote this book to describe the life lived by the Chileans in the Chiloe Archipelago. He briefly describes the natives for their fondness of fishing and that the Piure was another form of sustenance for the people.Inside the living rock is a mass of organs surrounded by a layer of skin and muscle. It is called a filter feeder because it inhales seawater, removes and feeds on the algae and microoganisms in the water, before exhaling the filtered water back into the sea.

May 1, 2015

Art Basel

Art Basel stages art shows for Modern and contemporary works of the highest quality, sited annually in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Each show has participating galleries, exhibition sectors, artworks and parallel programming produced in collaboration with the host city's local institutions.

Art Basel provides a platform for galleries, giving them access to an international audience of collectors, museum directors and curators. The shows attract people with an appreciation of modern and contemporary art who experience Art Basel as a cultural event.Art Basel was founded in 1970 by Basel Gallerists (also known as art dealers and connoisseurs of art) Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt and Ernst Beyeler. Three years after its launch, Art Basel welcomed 281 exhibitors and over 30,000 visitors. While other emerging art fairs partnered in the 1970s, specifically in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Art Basel remained independent.

In 2002, Art Basel was launched in Miami Beach, under the leadership of former director, Samuel Keller.
Art Basel debuted in Hong Kong in May 2013. In July 2011, MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd. – the parent company of Art Basel – acquired 60% of Asian Art Fairs Limited, which launched ART Hong Kong and has the option of acquiring the remaining 40% in 2014.

for more information please check - Art Basel

Apr 18, 2014

Dragon's Breath, Namibia

The Dragon's Breath Cave is a cave located 46 kilometres (29 mi) northwest of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia.

Inside this cave lies the largest non-subglacial underground lake in the world, with an area of almost 2 hectares (4.9 acres).The lake is located around 100 metres (330 ft) below the surface.Its depth is unknown, though exploration to date suggests it is at least 100 m. The underground lake is inhabited by one of the world's rarest fish species, Clarias cavernicola, also known as the golden cave catfish, according to BBC's documentary film Africa.

On the farm Hariseb, 46 km north - west from Grootfontein off the C42 to Tsumeb, is the world's largest known underground lake. It lies about 60 m below ground level in a cave referred to as Dragon's Breath, an enormous tavern of solid rock that is accessed from the top using ropes and caving equipment. The lake has crystal-clear water and a surface area of almost two hectares. An easier approach needs to be developed before this interesting natural phenomenon can be viewed freely by tourists.

Burj Khalifa, The Tallest Bulding In World

Burj Khalifa, known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m (2,722 ft).

Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010,and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) development called Downtown Dubai at the 'First Interchange' along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district. The tower's architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.

 Burj Khalifa was designed to be the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that would include 30,000 homes, nine hotels (including The Address Downtown Dubai), 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 12-hectare (30-acre) man-made Burj Khalifa Lake.

The decision to build Burj Khalifa is reportedly based on the government's decision to diversify from an oil based economy to one that is service and tourism based. According to officials, it is necessary for projects like Burj Khalifa to be built in the city to garner more international recognition, and hence investment. "He (Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) wanted to put Dubai on the map with something really sensational," said Jacqui Josephson, a tourism and VIP delegations executive at Nakheel Properties.

For more Information- Burj Khalifa

Dec 25, 2013

The Great Barrier Reef Islands

Great Barrier Reef's islands are simply enchanting, one visit is just enough to keep you coming back for more. You have the choice of over 100 islands, from unique and exotic islands to the Whitsundays and the remarkable Northern Islands. The Great Barrier Reef will redefine your idea of paradise.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland.

A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish. According to a study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985.

The Great Barrier Reef has long been known to and used by the Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is an important part of local groups' cultures and spirituality. The reef is a very popular destination for tourists, especially in the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns regions. Tourism is an important economic activity for the region, generating over $3 billion per year.

For more Info- Great Barrier Reef