HEROIC ADVENTURISM

A young man, tried to squeeze through a tunnel,  of considerable length, near salt springs in America and lost his life, being stuck up. Even the body could not be extricated. Very sad iindeed.

Magellan ventured out into the unknown oceans of the world and was the first man to make a round trip of the world. He could have easily lost his way, as well as  his life.

Most people are happy minding their own business. In business too there are adventurists, who gamble with all their savings invested in untried ventures; some succeed, others lose.

Human nature is inscrutable.

Poet Kumaran Ashan wrote:

WHAT IS MAN STRIVING FOR?

 NO ONE KNOWS THE MYSTERY OF LIFE.

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GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH, TEMPERATURE DATA

With much difficulty, I have collected temperature data, as clinching evidence to prove my point.

 MEAN TEMPERTURE FOR THE YEARS 1951 TO 1980

Station Max Rd

off

Min Rd

off

Temp

2007

          Max Min
Bhuj   44 44  3.8    4   43 9
Veraval 40.5 41 9.1 9 43 11
Bhavnagar   43.5 44 7.7 8 43 12
Surat 43.3 43 9.7 10 43 12
Mumbai 30.9 31 15.4 15 36 18
Panjim 36.4 36 16.4 16 36 18
Karwar 36.2 36 14.7 15 37 17
Honavar 36.1 36 16.9 17 35 15
Mangalore 35.7 36 18.9 19 37 18
Kohzikode 34.6 35 18.7 19 36 21
Kochi 34.4 34 18.9 19 35 20
Alapuzha 35.2 35 19.7 20 35 19
Thiruvananthapuram 35 35 19.8 20 38 20
Kakinada 43.8 44 15.8 16 44 16
Chennai 41.3 41 17.3 17 43 18
Port Blair 34.3 34 17.6 18 34 16
Mini coi 33 33 19.3 19 35 20
Vizagapatnam 41.8 42 13.8 14 41 15
Kolkata 41.4 41 9.6 10 38 11
Inland stations
Srinagar 35.7 36 -7.2 -7 35 -7
Bhubaneswar 43.7 44 10.9 11 41 13
Gaya 45.5 46 4.3 4 45 5
Ajmer 43.2 43 2.1 2 43 6
Pune 41.6 42 6.3 6 42 10
Hyderabad 41.8 42 9.3 9 43 12
Bangalore 36.2 36 11.5 12 36 11
Agartala 38.4 38 5.6 6 36 7
Allahabad 46.1 46 3.8 4 45 3
Kota 45.2 45 5.9 6 45 8
Madurai 40.6 41 17.3 17 41 16
Coimbatore 38 38 15.4 15 38 15
Kolhapur 40.8 41 10.8 11 41 11
Udaipur 42.5 43 1.9 2 43 5
Nagpur 45.6 46 7.1 7 45 10

 The mean temperature has been shown correct to one decimal point in the record whereas figures for 2007 are shown in round figures. So I have rounded off the mean temp. figures too,  for proper comparison.                

 Except in a few cases, there is remarkable similarity in temperature recorded 200 years ago and now ! This exposes the fallacy of global warm-mongers. In big cities like bombay the increase in temp may be due to huge concrete forests constructed and this can in no way be called global.                         

  Statement 2  (Mean temp. in degree Fahreheit)

Station 200 years ago                 Temp 2007
Cairo  72.3              71.4
Algiers  69.8              66
Rome   60.4                61.2
Milan    55.8             56.3
Cincinnati  53.6              52.55
Philadelphia 53.45            54.5
NewYork                  53.8               53.9
Beijing     54.7               51.3
London  51.8              54.2
Paris  51.1               51
Geneva                      49.3               53.1
Dublin  48.6                49
Edinburgh 47.8               48.9
Copenhagen  54.7 48.2 ( ? 42)     
Stockholm   42.3          47.3(?)
Quebec    41.9              38.65
Petersburg   38.8               37.1
+Bordeau(winter)     42.1               39.2
+Bordeau(summer)  70.9              69.8
Paris  (winter)          38.7              (?)57.6
Paris(summer)      65.3              69.6
Vienna  (winter)       38.7               34.5
Vienna (summer) 71.6              71.1      

 

Statement 3: Latitude and mean temperature

 

Latitude Mean temp. – 200 Yrs ago Name of station             Max  Min  Mean Temp now

 

0   29   Nairobi 25.6    11.5         18.5
28.78                  Accra 32.7    23.4         28.5        
6   28.78                 Galle    30.6    22.8         26.7
6    28.78                Porto 25  5.1         15.05
10 28.13                 Kochi    35 20  27.5
11 27.94                 Kozhikode 36 21  28.5
12     27.75                Port Blair                         34 16    25          
12 27.75                Lima 26.5    14.6        20.5
13 27.53               Chennai 43        18         30.5
15 27.06               Karwar 37 17 27
16   27.06              Panaji    36  18 27
17  26.52             Kakinada 44         16 30
18   26.23              Vishakhapatnam   41         15 28
19  25.93              Bombay  36          18 27            
19  25 Pune 42 10 26
21 25.98                Veraval 43 11 27
23 24.57                Kolkatha 38         11 24.5  
28 22.61                Brisbane Bayside             29 9            19
35 19.46                Buenos Aires                 30.4      7.4         18.9
36   18.98                Chongqug 32.8    5.6          19.2       
57 8.6                  Daurgarpils (Latvia)        22.5   -9.7           6.4
60 7.25                Oslo  21.5     -6.8           7.35
47 13.49               Quebec 25 -17.6          3.7
56  9.07             Grand praire Alberta         22.1   -20.5       0.8

 

ANALYSIS OF TEMPERATURE DATA

 Figures speak the truth. The temperature data, comparing previous periods with the current period in respect of Indian and foreign cities are available in the statements above. Statement-1 shows temperature of Indian cities (both coastal and inland).

These have been collected from the meteorological department library at Mausam Bhawan, Delhi.

 You will see that in the cities mentioned below, the temperature has remained stable during the last 50 years.

 Bhuj, Bhawnagar, Surat, Punjim, Honavar, Alapuzha, Kakinada, Port Blair, Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata (temperature has actually decreased by 3 degrees), Bhubneswar (decreased by 3 degrees), Ajmer, Pune, Bangalore, Agartala, Alhabad, Kota, Madurai, Koimbature, Kolhapur, Udaipur, Nagpur.

 The increase in temperature by 5 degrees in Mumbai is glaring, especially when we see the temperature in Surat remaining stable. In other words, for Mumbai the reasons my be local and not global. This requires investigation. My guess is that the huge increase in concrete buildings in Mumbai has contributed to the increase in temperature.

 So far, I have been speaking about the maximum temperature. A scrutiny of the minimum temperatures reveals a certain trend of distinct increase.

 Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Mumbai, Ajmer, Pune, Hyderabad, Udaipur and Kanpur show increase in minimum temperature by 3 degree. If you total the minimum temperatures of all the cities,  then and now, there is an increase of 20degrees in respect of 15 inland stations whereas the maximum temperature in respect of the same stations show a decrease of 8 degrees. It should be remembered that the minimum temperature are recorded during winter months (December, January) when the sun is far away in the Southern hemisphere and this cannot be assigned to the heat radiated from the sun.  Mr. Milner has also written about the winter becoming milder over a period of time. In my younger days, I use to find it difficult to take bath in cold water in winter in Delhi. Now, excepting some days of severe cold mostly caused by heavy snowfall in the Himalayas, the water is not so cold.   The obvious inference is that this is actually global defreezing caused by geothermal energy.

 Statement 2 shows temperature variation over a wider period of 200 years. The figures for the previous period have been taken from Milner’s book which was published in 1853. As these figures are in Fahrenheit scale, current figures too are shown in the same scale. The figures in respect of the following stations indicate stability.

 Cairo, Algiers, Cincinnati, New York, Beijing (decrease of 3 degree), Paris Dublin, Copenhagen (decrease of 6 degree), Quebec, Petersburg, Bordeaux, Vienna (decrease of 4 degrees) – 12 out of 20 cities. London, Geneva and Paris show exceptional increase. However, it should be remembered that the increase is over a period of 200 years.

 A word of caution: the current data have been extracted from the website “World Weather Information Service” and so the authenticity has to be verified independently.

 A very reliable and scientific method for evaluation of the temperature of the globe, is latitude wise mean temperatures. Milner’s book shows 29 degree centigrade at equator, gradually and linearly decreasing to zero degree centigrade at the poles. I am unable to get corresponding figures for the current period. However, I could see from the website that figures remain almost constant, even though the figures for the polar region,  now shows as approaching minus 20 degree centigrade. This may be due to better technology being employed by scientific team exploring the polar regions. I have calculated the value of current mean temperatures in respect of a few stations, comparing this value with that shown in Milner’s book. These are given in statement 3.

 MELTING OF POLAR ICE CAP

 The density of water at zero degrees centigrade is 0.9999 grams per cm. The density of ice at zero degree centigrade is 0.9150. In other words, 1 cc of ice weights only 0.91 gm and hence will displace only 0.915cc of water, when the ice is floating in water. When the ice float, almost the whole of body sinks below the surface of water, expect a small portion projecting above the surface. In the North Pole area, there is no land. The crust of the earth forms a huge bowl filled with seawater and a huge mass of ice floating in it just like an ice cube placed in a bowl of water. The volume of ice submerged below the ice may be almost 9 times more than the icecap which we observe above the surface of water. The molecules covering the underwater portion of the icecap absorb heat from the sea water in which it floats and melt into water. This is a continuous process happening round the clock, allover the year, irrespective of summer or winter. As I have explained in my booklet, the necessary energy is supplied by the earth itself. The role of the Sun which shines only for a limited period is too insignificant to have any impact on this process. As the density of water is more than that of ice, the volume of water generated by the melting of ice is less than that of water originally occupied by the ice block in the ratio 9999:9150. Therefore the sea level will actually  come down because of the melting process. In practice, this may not happen because of the continuous deposition of snow in the polar region which will continuously push down the ice cap.

 A lot has been talked about the rising of sea level because of Global warming. This is a misconception. In some places, the sea level goes up and in other places, it recedes. This phenomenon has been extensively discussed in Milner’s geography.

 My contention can be tested by a simple experiment. Place ice cubes in a tumbler and fill it with water until the water overflows. Leave it until all the ice melts. Watch for any overflow of water during this process.

 I quote from Milner-page-513

 

Excessive summers

In 763 the summer was so hot that the springs dried up.

In 870 the heat was so intense ,that near Worms the reapers dropped dead in the fields.

In 993 and again in 994,it was so hot that the corn and fruits were burnt up.

The year 1000 was so hot and dry ,that, in Germany ,the pools of water disappeared ,and the fish ,being left in the mud ,bred pestilence.

In 1022 the heat was so excessive ,that both men and cattle were struck dead.

In 1130 the earth yawned with drought. Springs and rivers disappeared ,and even the Rhine was dried up in Alsace.

In 1159 not a drop of rain fell in Italy after the month of May.

The year 1171 was extremely hot in Germany.

In 1232 the heat was so great ,especially in Germany, that it is said that eggs were roasted in the sands.

In 1260 ,many of the Hungarian soldiers died of excessive heat at the famous battle fought near Buda.

The consecutive years of 1276 and 1277 were so hot and dry as to occasion a great scarcity of fodder.

The years 1293 and 1294 were extremely hot ;and so were likewise 1303 and 1304,both the Rhine and the Danube having dried up.                    

In 1333 the corn fields and vineyards were burnt up.

The years 1393 and 1394 were excessively hot and dry.

In 1447 the summer was extremely hot.

In the successive years 1473 and 1474 the whole earth seemed on fire. In Hungary , a person might wade across the Danube

The four consecutive years  1538, 1539 ,1540 ,and 1541 were excessively hot ;and the rivers dried up.

In1556 the drought was so great that the springs failed. In England wheat rose from 8 shillings to 53 shillings a quarter.

The years 1615 and 1616 were very dry all over Europe.

In 1646 it was excessively hot.

In1652 the warmth was  very great, the summer being the driest ever known in Scotland. A total eclipse had happened that year, on Monday the 24th of March,which hence received the appellation of ‘Mirk Monday.’ 

The summer of 1679 was extremely hot.It is related ,that one of the minions tyranny ,who in that calamitous period, harassed the poor Presbyterians in Scotland with captious questions, having asked a shepherd in Fife ,whether the killing of a notorious Sharp, Archbishop of  St.Andrews, which had happened in May,was murder; he replied , that he could not tell, but there had been fine weather ever since.

The year 1700 was excessively warm, and the two following years were of the same description.

In 1718 the weather was extremely hot and dry all over Europe. The air felt so oppressive that all the theatres were shut in Paris. Scarcely any rain fell for the space of nine months and the springs and rivers were dried up. The following year was equally hot. The thermometer at Paris rose to 98 degree Fahrenheit. The grass and corn were quite parched.

In some places the fruit trees blossomed two and three times.

Both the years 1723 and 1724 were dry and hot.

The year 1745 was remarkably warm and dry; but the following year was still hotter insomuch that the grass withered, and the leaves dropped from the trees .Neither rain nor dew fell for several months ; and ,on the continent, prayers were offered up in all the churches to implore the bounty of refreshing showers.

In 1748 the summer was again very warm.

In 1754 it was likewise extremely warm.

The years 1760 and 1761 were both of them remarkably hot, and so was the year 1763.

In 1774 it was excessively hot and dry.

Both the years 1778 and 1779 were warm and very dry.

The year 1788 was also very hot and dry ;and of the same character was 1811 ,famous for its excellent vintage, and distinguished by the appearance of a brilliant comet.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

PHILOSOPHY SHOULD LEAD SCIENCE

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

 Any high school student will tell you that leaves of plants use carbon dioxide of the atmosphere and water absorbed by the roots to make starch in the presence of sunlight for use by the cells of plants. As a layman, certain doubts arose in my mind which I discussed with senior students and a professor in university. I should confess, instead of clearing my mind, it only helped to confirm my thesis that every cell in the plant (except dead cells !) re-uses the CO2 and H20 , released during respiration, for synthesizing starch. This is purely a philosophical conclusion,as I lost touch with the world of science in March 1957 after B.Sc. examination.I shall enumerate some of my points :

1)      The extremely tender, minute root tips are always growing and require continuous supply of starch.In very tall trees,the distance from top leaves to the root tips may be as much as 300 metres.There is no proper mechanism for transport of starch over such distance,unless we can locate different channels for upward movement of water and downward movement of starch in dissolved form, right from root tip to leaf tip and back. Xylem and phloem tissues are mentioned as responsible for this movement,but in trees like teak, jackwood etc all tissues inside the bark except perhaps a thin  layer of cortex, are absolutely dead and impervious to water, being filled with wood oil and compressed by the weight of the trunk. That is why we are able to make furniture,boats,ships etc with wood. Actually, the clever tree is making use of the dead cells as a skeleton-like support for its branches and leaves ,the latter being mercilessly dropped after making use of them!

2)      In Silent Valley in Kerala, I was shown a very tall tree, hollow inside, with two convenient natural holes, one at the bottom and the other at the top. We can see the sky, looking up from the bottom hole! The tree is alive. How is water and starch transported when xylem and phloem are absent?  

3)      In Australia, ring cutting was extensively resorted to, for felling trees. The bark and a small part of cortex was removed by making an eight inch deep cutting round the trunk at the bottom. After about six months, the tree falls down dead. This clearly proves that the outermost live cells are responsible for water transport.

4)      We plant rose cuttings. The cells on one end develop into a shoot and cells on the other side produce roots .Plant cells are remarkably versatile.Every cell can split and produce all chemicals required for making a duplicate cell . It is impossible to believe that a root cell will wait for starch to come from leaves, when raw materials are available as a result of its own respiration, and it has the necessary technical know-how for making even complicated proteins. Do we not re-use waste in a space station? Are we cleverer than plants?

5)      There is no way for a plant cell , except in the leaves, to get rid of CO2 produced during respiration. When I, earlier, circulated my doubts in this regard, via email,I got only one response .The botanist had only one word-‘diffusion’ to desciribe the process. In the humans, is it enough if we just say ‘respiration’? We study all detailed mechanism in human physiology. In the same way, should we not describe the method used by plants to obtain oxygen and get rid of CO2? The professor also said the same thing.As adjoining cells are also producing CO2, how is diffusion possible?The area surrounding the roots will become saturated with CO2.The root will die. The conclusion is inescapable: cells are recycling water and CO2 produced during respiration.

6)      When mango fruits are produced in bulk during the season,the number of leaves are actually curtailed! Will farmers curtail production of food grains when it is required in bulk? Laburnum tree becomes almost yellow with flowers in the season, leaves hardly visible. How is starch produced when leaves are reduced?

7)      Bamboo, papaya tree etc are hollow,in the case of the former, there are segments,each one a waterproof compartment . Coconut tree mysteriously carries gallons of water to make toddy. If you cut the tree, not a trace of water is found. Are trees using nano technology?

8)      In my view,the main function of leaves is to pump water up for which lot of energy is required.Naturally,they make large quantities of starch which attracted the attention of botanists who hastily came to the conclusion that only leaves are concerned in this process.

9)      Maximum number of fish thrive in the deep oceans eating planktons which make starch in strata which receive practically no sunlight.

In view of the above, I feel more research is needed before we come to a firm concusion about the mechanism for production of starch and its transportation.

Today, institutions like NASA have all the technical capabilities to study this issue which should not be left to the comparatively ill equipped botanists.

CHILDHOOD MEMOIRS

 MEMOIRS (Abridged) Includes articles and essays on various topics in SCIENCE, GEOGRAPHY, PHILOSOPHY, STATECRAFT etc. in addition to Travel notes.  Price Rs. 1oo, postage extra.  

                                                                                          By K.K.Subramanian

Waterfriend remembers his childhood

 Kunnathur Mana


My mother was born in a very illustrious family Kunnathur Padinjaredath.You can see the ancestral house near the Peruvanam temple south gopuram (gate)

I have vague memories of sitting upstairs; looking at the road. I must be four at that time.

The family came there in search of livelihood and became the tantry (main priest-they still are) of the temple. I can imagine mother (kali was her name-a goddess) walking towards the temple, holding the hands of the maid servant, almost naked, with only a plantain leaf strip to cover nakedness, not knowing what fate awaited her…tears swell in my eyes, even as I write these lines

She was married off at the tender age of thirteen or so to Subrahmanian Nambudiripad, aged forty plus, already having two wives, one living and the next one and her son still fresh in memory, and a daughter of mother’s age whom her brother married the same day, probably. Mother was dark, uncouth and short; my step sister was fair, lean and very handsome whom mother hated heartily!

I do not remember any one caring for her,  except her younger sister and some cousins. Uncle (eldest) never talked to her or even to her children (in all six, two died early). She had a sharp tongue and was outspoken but had a heart of gold. She was very lazy and father was the laziest!

I digressed…

Around 150 years ago, mother’s ancestor was married to the sister of the king of erstwhile Cochin State who was known as Shaktan Thampuran. He bestowed on the Kunnathur family tax free land. The family became rich.

Maternal grandfather was very intelligent, so too was my uncle. At that time a rich local Nambudiri of Chittoor mana established a school, where we all studied, and uncle was the first student, duly initiated before a lighted lamp etc. Of course the student was without a shirt! I had a few classmates, topless, in primary school. Grandmother was wise, cultured and well versed in puranas (old legends of Hindu religion).When she got angry and shouted like a lioness, her husband shivered like a mouse! She did like my mother, always told me to look after her well but did nothing when she needed assistance. In fact no one accompanied her when she left the house built by father, and we were travelling in a country boat, through the swollen river. Being a fool, I enjoyed the trip!…

Earliest memories centre around a small village Thalore, near Trichur. I was about four. Mother had given birth to a dead baby and so she continued to feed me. I just came in from the spacious orchard where I was playing, lay down in my mother’s lap and started sucking her big breast. (In those days our women folk did not wear blouse.) “Ma, who put sugar in your milk?” -I asked. She just pushed me off and that was the end breast feeding !

I had a playmate Bhagi about eight years or so . She was attached to our maid servant Madhavi. I always thought she was her daughter.

 One day the girl was mopping the kitchen floor. I said something .She didn’t listen and I gave a blow on her back with an iron ladle. The poor girl cried out aloud inviting the attention of mother and paternal grand mother I felt guilty and wretched. Perhaps that was the only time I used violence against any living creature…..

With just a piece of cloth tied like lady’s bikini, I used to accompany Madhavi to the grocery shop owned by a Tamil Brahmin .He would give a piece of jaggery. We never got chocolates in those days.

Father and mother slept in the upstairs bed room. I slept with them. Mother used to tell stories. Elder brother used to sleep with grandmother. He was her favourite. Paternal uncle Krishnaphan was an occasional visitor. We loved him, as he was a good storyteller. About Lilliputs we heard from him. He was dark and fat unlike another p. uncle Vasudevaphan who was slim and fair, the first person to go to school from K.K. family. He was teacher and a close friend of E.M.S. Namboodiripad.

One day an old lady came, covered up to the neck in pure white dhoti (in north India only a widow will dress in white) Do you know her? –they asked. When I blinked, they all laughed . I felt ashamed. It was mother’s ma. As a girl, she was born and brought up in the same house where we were staying temporarily-the great Veembur Kadalayil Mana (which was lying vacant at the time. Mahatma Gandhi visited the house in 1929). Father who was a good architect and astrologer was making our house near the river, about four miles away. One day brother and I accompanied him to see the construction work. My legs were paining like hell. I earned the reputation of having walked four miles when four years old.    

 At that time , another paternal uncle, Parameswaran by name, took me with him to fort Tripunithura where royal family members lived. By custom, only a nambudiri may marry a princess. And, in a nambudiri family only the eldest can marry; others may have legitimate relationship with women of other upper castes, the latter not entitled for a share of nambudiri property. They are not allowed to share meals with us.(My grandfather’s younger brother’s daughter was my schoolmate .I never knew about the blood relationship, though I somehow liked her. Of course I was too shy to talk to her! )

That is how uncle married a real princess and lived in Palace no.11. I was too small to notice the clean bed, the sumptuous food (at home we had it only on birthdays or during Onam) The great festival was going on at the Poornathrayeesha (Krishna) temple and there were any number of elephants (I wanted to become a mahout-I am never tired of watching these majestic animals)

An elephant was being fed. Uncle asked me-do you want to mount it . I shook my head. The mahout lifted me and handed over to his colleague sitting on the elephant. He placed me on its neck. I felt uncomfortable, its hair pricking my naked bottom and I being lifted up and down by the motion of its head while eating; still I enjoyed it .

One day we were taken to Akavoormana near river Periyar. We enjoyed playing in the shallow swift flowing water. I lay down in the water and was carried away some distance. Flapping my arms I managed to remain floating. Thus I learnt the rudiments of swimming. I do not know how to swim really. Like cattle only my head remains above water.

There were two young elephants there. As a baby Ramankutty used to roam about in the house and snatch things from the kitchen. Even now I like to have a baby elephant ….

Vasudevan uncle (the youngest among five brothers, father being the eldest) was working as teacher in Namboori Vidyalaya at Trichur. I would look with admiration  the fat books in his shelf. One day when I grow up I shall read them!

Savithri was born. I refused to see the baby. I wanted a brother. This dislike of girls remained for a long time to come.

When Vas uncle brought a wife I was too shy to meet her. Afterwards the words “cheriamme “automatically escaped from my mouth and all exclaimed “today it will rain” 

   Recently, during morning walk I reached the church and, turning right, easily located the arch, proclaiming entry towards the Shiv temple. I went through it and turned right. A little further, I had hardly turned left when I could easily spot the old gate as it was in 1937! It was something like a flashback in TV screen! The front yard was very small. (in my mind it was very big.)The main building was intact, though concretised. I saw mother’s bedroom upstairs where I slept. Through the left side I traced a few steps and saw the workplace where women husked rice .It was locked. I could easily see the rope swing and Bhagi and I playing there. The reddish brown cow must be somewhere nearby. Bhagi showed me how to pick silky smooth, egg shaped thing (she called it pattunni) from the cow’s skin. She would place it on a stone and crush it with another stone spilling blood. Ma must be in the kitchen. The great surprise was when I turned to the east courtyard and looked to the flight of steps leading to the orchard. I was expecting at least thirty steps. I could count hardly four! To the child everything appears on a mega screen. To the grown up, it is all on TV screen. The surroundings had been cut into plots and sold. There are flats now. But the main structure is unoccupied till now.

Originally, it belonged to Moothedath Kadalayil which was merged with Veembur Kadalayil. On shifting to Pazhai, the house was sold to Akavoor Mana, my paternal grand mother’s maiden house (illam). We were just living there. The Akavoor namboodiri even suggested,” sister, why don’t you live here, why build a new house?” But father wanted to be near our village. 

 

ELIMINATE FLOODS FOREVER

In India, millions of people are affected by floods every year. I have a program of work,very briefly written below, to make strong embankments using river bed soil in dry season.
Rivers in the Gangetic plain have no borders They carry tons of soil which slowly fills the rivrbed. It is absolutely necessary to dredge the rivers continuously to avoid floods. The excavated sand can be used to make permanent embankments, sufficiently high and at least 50 feet wide at the top, so that these can be well developed as bamboo groves, in addition to accommodating wide roads.
While digging the riverbed, care should be taken to leave a patch of it untouched, which may even be slightly raised so that these may be used as cozways in summer. The cozways, too, must have 50 feet width at the top and sufficient slope and must be strengthened by planting long grass, which grow naturally.
Each lake thus formed must have level bottom so that ,where the terrain permits, we can have long stretches of waterways.
The advantages of the above scheme of river landscaping are:
1.Store water.
2.Recharge ground water.
3.Prevent soil erosion.
4.Prevent rivers changing course.
5.Prevent floods.
6.Use as water transport.
I have read about a system road net work, along the river embankments, well maintained, in Desai district of Assam, which is crisscrossed by rivers and streams. After the coming of British raj, alas, community efforts came to a halt .

I hope my voice will be heard. Floods cause human displacement and consequent misery which can be avoided.

GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH Contd.

CLIMATE :

 As discussed above, generation of heat is a function  of  gravity, which in turn depends on mass. As long as the mass of the earth is constant, the quantity of geothermal energy produced is also constant. Initially, heat is transferred to the  seas and, thence, to the atmospheric H2O, and  ultimately to the outer  space, when the latent heat is   released on formation of water droplets which form clouds. Simultaneously, heat is being radiated continuosly from the surface of the earth ,both land and sea, as the outer space is considerably cooler  than the earth.

The heat generated by the earth is converted into kinetic energy in a big way, when ocean currents are working round the clock. The volume of water involved in this process  is thousands of times  more than that of  all the rivers of the world.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes  etc. also eat up considerable quantity of geothermal energy. Diffusion of water in the seas takes place continuously because of hot bottom and cool Polar regions. Part of the energy is also used up by cyclones, tornados etc. (the circumstances in which these are caused by hot steam emanating from the seas will be discussed in BUT-Volume III).

If the total quantity of geothermal energy is T, the energy converted into kinetic form is K and heat lost by radiation R,

T – K – R = the net increase or decrease in the warmth of the globe

From the table given below, it is clear that during the last 200 years there has not been any appreciable change in the warmth of the globe.

For a proper study of this subject, a distinction has to be made between the temperature of the earth and the temperature of the atmosphere. The latitude-mean temperature graph fairly represents the temperature of the earth, as the sea surface is not much affected by weather conditions. On the other hand, land stations will be subjected to violent fluctuations in the weather like extreme summers and winters, especially if the stations are much above the sea level.

The land mass contains lakes, surface soil water, water chambers, sub-terrainian water channels etc. which retain considerable quantity of water. Because of the peculiar structure of the H20 molecule, heat is retained in water for a longer period than other materials. This is the reason why summer extends much beyond the date 21st June in the northern hemisphere. In the absence of water on the earth the peak temperature will end on that day and we may experience pleasant weather by August. Similarly, but for snow and the water layers lying just below the surface of the earth, the winter will start waning right from 21st December.

In spite of these differences, data in respect of land stations, too, prove my contention that the globe is not warming!

 

 

When we look back

“It is an inquiry of some interest, whether the general temperature of the globe is stable, or is gradually undergoing change through diminution or addition. We have no means of deciding this point, because our thermometrical determinations are confined to a comparatively modern date. The instrument was not brought to perfection until the year 1724, by Fahrenheit, and therefore beyond that period we are dependent upon the recorded experience and sensations of observers, and upon the details of agricultural failure or success, for our knowledge of temperature in former times. We are not warranted to infer from these casual notices any changes of physical climate generally within the era of authentic history, though in particular localities, there is strong reason to suppose that an alteration has taken place; but this has been the very reverse of an impressions that once prevailed respecting it. The existence of a colony on the east coast of Greenland cut off from communication with the external world, and destroyed by the gradual accumulation of the ice upon its shores –the fact of immense forests anciently clothing the highest parts of Britain, and other northern countries, where a tree now can scarcely be made to grow –of the period of the vintage formerly commencing several weeks earlier in France than at present-of vineyards having been planted in the south of England during the time that the Romans held possession of the island, where hops can only be raised with difficulty- and of the sides of the Scottish hills bearing evident traces of the plough, which have long been surrendered to the heaths as incapable of cultivation;-these circumstances have been appealed to, as evidence of a milder and more genial climate having once characterized the northern regions of Europe. Sir John Leslie has remarked upon these details, “that a patch of wood will not thrive in cold situations, merely for want of the shelter which is afforded by extensive plantations. In Sweden and Norway, which are mostly covered with natural forests, it has become an object of police to prevent their indiscriminate destruction. The timber in those sylvan countries is cut at stated periods of its growth, and in detached portions; the vacant spaces being left as nurseries, embosomed amidst an expanse of tall trees.  Some places in Sweden, where the forests have been accidentally destroyed by fire, present the image of sterility, and of wide desolation. It is probable, the vines grown in ancient times were coarser and hardier plants than those which are now cultivated. A similar observation extends to all the productions of gardening. A succession of diligent culture softens the character of the vegetable tribes, and renders them more delicate, while it heightens the flavor of their fruits. The Roman soldiers stationed in Britain would naturally prefer wine, their accustomed beverage, however harsh and poor, to the cervisia, or unpalatable ale brewed by the rude arts of the natives. The marks of tillage left on our northern hills evince only the wretched state of agriculture at a remote period. For want of a proper system of rotation, and the due application of manure, the starving tenantry were then tempted to tear up with the plough every virgin spot they could find, and after extracting from it  a pitiful crop or two of oats, to abandon it to a lasting sterility”. With reference to the colony supposed to have been planted on the east coast of Greenland, now an uninhabitable region of glaciers, there is reason to believe that its name, Oestre Bydg, the eastern settlement, simply refers to its position in relation to another settlement, both of which were on the western coast, now occupied by the Danish factories. From the name of Snowland, afterwards supplanted by that of Iceland, given by the roving pirates of the Baltic to that island upon its discovery in the ninth century, it may certainly be concluded that the climate of the north was then analogous to what it is at present.

A different opinion, that the climate of the midland part of the temperate zone, especially in Europe, is less rigorous now than it was sixteen or seventeen centuries ago, appears to be supported by sufficient evidence. After making allowances for inaccuracy and exaggeration in the statements of the classical writers, they will still be found descriptive of a cold in various districts, as a feature of the ordinary temperature, which is not realized at present. The epistles written by Ovid from Pontus, whither he was banished by order of Augustus, describe the rigour of the climate there, in terms which suit the winder of Hudson’s Bay. He mentions, among other instances of the extreme cold, The Euxine Sea being frozen over, so as to bear men and cattle upon it. Tertullian, one of the Christian fathers in the second century, writing in the style of the fierce zealot and florid rhetorician, against the herectic Marcion, thus refers to the same region:- “That tract, which is called the Pontus Euxinus, the hospitable sea, has been refused all favours, and is mocked by its very name. The day is never open, the sun never shines willingly, there is but one atmosphere- fog; the whole year is wintry; every wind that blows comes from the north; liquors are only such before the fire; the rivers are blocked up with ice, the mountains are heaped higher with snow; all things are benumbed, all things are stiff with cold, nothing but cruelty has there the warmth of life; that kind of cruelty, I mean, which has supplied the stage with fables concerning the sacrifices of the Tauri, and the loves of Colchis, and the tortures of Caucasus. But there is nothing so barbarous and miserable in Pontus, as that it has given birth to Maricion; he is more savage than a Scythian, more unstable than the wild inhabitants of a wagon, more inhuman than the Massageta, more audacious than the Amazon, darker than the mist, colder than the winter, more brittle than the ice, more treacherous than the Danube, more precipitous than Caucasus”. Virgil refers to the winter on the banks of the Ister of the Greeks, the modern Danube, in the third Georgic, in a manner which at present is inapplicable to any part of its course:-

“ The sun from far peeps with a sickly face,Too weak, the clouds and mighty fogs to chase,

When up the skies he shoots his rosy head,

Or in the ruddy ocean seeks his bed.

Swift rivers are with sudden ice constrain’d

And studded wheels are on its back sustain’d;

A hostry now for wagons, which before

Tall ships of burden on its bosom bore,

The brazen cauldrons with the frost are flaw’d.

The garment, stiff with ice, at hearths is thaw’d.

With axes first they cleave the wine; and thence

By weight, the solid portions they dispense.

From locks uncomb’d, and from the frozen beard,

Long icicles depend, and crackling sounds are heard.

Meantime perpetual sleet, and driving snow,

Obscure the skies, and hang on heards below.

The starving cattle perish in their stalls;

Huge oxen stand enclos’d in wintry walls

Of snow congeal’d; Whole heards are buried there

Of mighty stags, and scarce their horns appear.

The dexterous huntsman wounds not these afar

With shafts or darts, or makes a distant war

With dogs, or pitches toils to stop their flight,

But close engages in unequal fight;

And, while they strive in vain to make their way

Through hills of snow, and pitifully bray,

Assaults with dint of sword, or pointed spears,

And homeward on his back the joyful burden bears.

The men to subterranean caves retire,

Secure from cold, and crowd the cheerful fire:

With trunks of elms and oaks the hearth they load,

Nor tempt th’ inclemency of heaven abroad.”

The allusions to the climate of Itay in the Georgics, referring to the Augustan age, are in several respects irreconcilable with its present character. The writer speaks of the freezing of the rivers in the southern part of the peninsula as an ordinary occurrence, and gives frequent directions for the protection of sheep and goats from snow and frost, as if addressing a shepherd of the plains of Holstein or the highlands of Scotland. It is a well-attested fact, that the savage inhabitants of Gaul and Germany usually selected the winter-season for their warlike incursions into the Roman provinces, on account of the facility afforded by the ice for the transport of their armies, horses and baggage, across the grate rivers, which have never been frozen in modern times as to admit of such an occurrence. In the time of Ceasar, also, the rein-deer, now confined to the colder regions north of the Baltic, was found, along with the elk and the wild bull, in the Hercynian forest, which then over-shadowed a grate part of Germany and Poland. A volume published at Vienna in 1788, contains some remarkable passages concerning the state of the weather for more than a thousand years back, gathered from the old chronicles, which detail the state of the harvest, the quality of the vintage, or the endurance of frost and snow in the winter. From this work, Sir John Leslie, in an article furnished to one of the public journals, quoted the following record of excessive winters and summers, to which some additions have been made.”

NOTES:

  1. All quotations are from the phenomenon known as Rev. Thomas Milner, M.A’s Physical Geography, re-published in Delhi in 1975. I could not find any other details about his life.

      In the next instalment – TEMPERATURE  DATA

SETHU PROJECT

Any proposal involving dredging of the sea bottom, should be approached with abundant caution.

They are finding it very expensive to maintain the Panama canal, because of the continuous silting by the streams, from the sides of the canal.

The Palk Strait connects two powerful oceans of the world, the Indian ocean of the south and the Pacific ocean of the east, the latter one notorious for tsunami. Can we forget the last one?

Engineers have the habit of miscalculating the disadvantageous parameters. They now admit that the silting of Tehri dam is more than what they assumed. As if, it is the fault of the river, not their fault!

The sea bed is subjected to sudden changes caused by undercurrents, earthquakes, bulging or withdrawal of the sea bottom etc. which are yet to be understood. Somewhere the sea bottom goes down, at other places islands come up, indicating upward movement of the bottom level.

The displacement of some islands in the Andaman archipelago was noticed after the last tsunami.

Politicians should keep away from decision making.