BAMBOO

BAMBOO
It is always seen in a cluster. We do not cultivate it ; it grows in isolated spots . How does nature propagate it? It is said that every  twelve years the tree bosoms and the seeds are scattered by wind . That is why we see bamboo clusters here and there. It belongs to the grass family , Pull the grass out and you will see mud sticking to the roots . In the same way, the roots of bamboo are bound strongly in a tuft ; it is not easily broken.
The main trunk is smooth ; but small branches, full of thorns, grow all over the trunk. It is with these branches that we used to make fences. The skilled man(a tribal) climbs up the tree and goes on cutting off the branches  which are collected by his wife. It is she that makes the fence of thorny bamboo shoots into a web. It is also a skilled job. Now bamboos are not available . We have barbed wire fence or walls of laterite or concrete. Near the sea , bamboo is not available. Fences are made of coconut tree leaves woven into a mat.
Scientists have developed a variety , without branches ; the trunk is coloured . This ‘sundary ‘ bamboo is grown in the gardens .
The forests are full of bamboo , a thin variety eaten by elephants. Those in the plains are big ad hollow . They are costly,  used in making platforms and pandals.(tents)
Dead bodies are carried to the cremation ground on bamboo frame

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RAPE

Late Nayanar, who was a popular Chief minister of Kerala State, once remarked in a jovial mood, that ladies are responsible for rape! Why do they dress provocatively?

Now, one should make a distinction between ladies and women. The latter are simple females who have to work, either in the factories or fields or offices. They dress simply, taking minimum time for make up, because they are very busy, both in their work place and at home. How many of them have registered cases against rape?

Ladies are just the opposite. Twenty four hours they are free. They do not know how to while away their long hours of leisure, and so spend most of their time in shopping, because they have fat purses (now ATM cards in several banks), and social gatherings and parties. They may get up very late, take hours for their make up and “dress to kill”. I think Nayanar is right to some extent. if he meant “ladies”

There is a story that such ladies met Pratap Singh Kairon (who was the Chief Minister of Punjab), simply dressed and sitting in front of his house on a charpoy, a bedstead made of bamboo frames and ropes, very popular in the north, to complain about price rice. Kairon simply looked closely at the ladies (Punjabi ladies are the most fashionable in the whole of India) and asked: how much do you spend on your make up? The ladies were thus silenced.

Another important point is freedom for sex. In Calcutta and Bombay, there are brothels. In these cities, rape is rare.

Men are always hungry for sex. It is just biology. God made us like this.

Rape may be a temptation too. Initially a woman may appear agreeable. If caught, she will raise a hue and cry.

If the word means forcing sex on unwilling female, all husbands would be guilty. Have you not seen the hen running away from the cock, which has only one thing in the mind?

I am not advocating free rape. I feel that too much time is spent in the media on this topic. The law should understand human nature.

Rape cases must not be reported in the media, but settled mutually by negotiation in confidence, in the presence of the magistrate or judge.

Allegations of molestation split the Kerala Congress, causing a major storm in Congress circles and Kerala politics !

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.