To your knowledge, has it made a lasting impression

The eye is a wonder of evolution that has resulted in our abilities to sense the world around us in a way that blind mole rats can only imagine!  Light comes in to the eye through the cornea.  That light is then perceived by the retina and its images are sent to the brain via the optic nerve.  The amount of light that gets to the retina is controlled by the pupil.  Should it be a bright sunny day, the pupil constricts and only allows a small amount of light in.  On dark nights, the pupil dilates and becomes quite large to allow as much light in as possible.  Sitting between the retina and the sclera (the white part of the eye) lays a layer of connective tissue called the Choroid.  This layer provides oxygen and nutrients to the outer part of the retina.  Compared to the retina, the Choroid is an extremely vascular area containing copious amounts of blood vessels.

When the light from a camera flash goes off, the pupils do not have time to constrict, and so a large amount of light is reflected off of the Fundus (the interior surface of the eye).  Due to the large amount of blood in the Choroid, the light picked up by the camera lens appears red.  Since the angle the light goes in to the eye is the same angle that it will reflect out, the closer the flash is to the camera lens, the greater chance the reflected light will be seen by the lens.  The darker the environment a person is in, and thus the wider their pupils are, the greater the chance of having eyes of the damned.

Other factors contributing to the red-eye effect is the amount of melanin in the layers behind the retina, and the age of the person being photographed.  Light skinned people with blue eyes tend to have less melanin in the fundus. This leads to a more pronounced red-eye effect, compared to dark skinned people with brown eyes.  The same is true for other animals as well.  The role melanin plays can be seen in pictures of animals with heterochromatic eyes (two different colored eyes).  Should the animal have one blue and one brown colored eye, the blue eye will show a pronounced red-eye effect while the brown will not.

Children will also tend to get a red-eye effect more readily then do their adult counterparts.  This is because a child’s pupil will dilate faster than adults, in low light situations.

There are a few very simple things you can do to prevent the infamous red-eye.  One technique is to constrict the pupils just before the picture is taken.  For instance, camera’s with red eye reduction settings use a two flash system in which the first flash causes the pupil to constrict, and the second flash is when the picture is actually taken.  Should you simply turn on more lights, your pupils will also constrict.  Another technique is to move the flash away from the lens.  This will increase the angle at which the light enters the eye, and thus decreasing the chance it will reflect back to the camera lens.

Apple is finally launching its much-awaited tablet iPad in India. The company has tied up with government-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to launch the tablet in the country.

The Wi-Fi version of the iPad will be priced between Rs 26,000 and Rs 33,000,  while the 3G+Wi-Fi version will be priced between Rs 33,000 and Rs 44,000. Both versions will come in three capacities, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

India has never been the most important market for Apple so it has always delayed its India launch. It is finally launching in India when there are already rumours of the iPad 2 launch just few months away.

The big question is will iPad really woo Indian techies?  We don’t think so. At a time when the market is flooded with tablets from Samsung, Dell and Notion Ink, iPad doesn’t give the customers anything different. Little wonder that in India, iPhone hasn’t been a best seller yet.  At best, the device might eat into Apple’s iPod touch sales compared to other branded PC sales.

With its reputation preceding it, it has already evoked price-cuts from rivals – the Samsung Galaxy Tab, for instance, is now available at Rs 29,500, down from the launch price of Rs 36,499.

However, the android bug is rather big in India. So will have to wait and see if the iPad can outdo the Android


Today I found out the color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.   Before then, the English speaking world referred to the orange color as geoluhread, which literally translates to “yellow-red”.

The word orange itself was introduced to English through the Spanish word “naranja”, which came from the Sanskrit word nāraṅga, which literally means “orange tree”.  The English dropped the leading “n” and eventually we got the word “orange”.

In the early 16th century, the word orange gradually started being used to not only refer to the fruit, but also what we now know of as the color orange.

Bonus Factoids:

  • There is an orange tree in Europe called “Constable” that is estimated to be almost 500 years old.
  • Lightning kills more orange trees annually than any disease.
  • Temple Oranges and Murcott Honey Oranges are actually hybrid oranges, being crossed with tangerines.
  • Over 25 billion oranges are grown in the United States every year.  That’s enough oranges for every American to eat about 83 oranges a year.
  • Christopher Columbus brought the first orange seeds to the New World on his second voyage in 1493.  On this same voyage, he also brought seeds for lemons and citrons.
  • Navel oranges are named for their belly-button-like formations on the opposite side from the stem.  As a general rule, the bigger the navel in the orange, the sweeter it will be.
  • There is no single English word that rhymes with orange.  There are however half rhymes such as “hing”, “syringe”, “sporange”, etc.  There are also proper nouns that come very close to being a perfect rhyme with it, such as “Blorenge”, which is a mountain in Wales, and “Gorringe”, which is the last name of the US Naval Commander who discovered and named Gorringe Ridge in 1875.

Today I found out that dolphins don’t breathe automatically, rather it is always consciously done.

An interesting consequence of the fact that they need to be conscious to control their breathing is that they can never be truly unconscious; so when they sleep, they must still have some level of consciousness.  However, being mammals, their brains do need to enter a type of unconscious state every now and again in order to continue to function properly.

How dolphins handle this is to put one half of their brain to sleep, while the other half is still conscious and functioning.  They then alternate which side is sleeping periodically.  They stay in this state approximately eight hours a day.  This way they are still conscious to control their breathing and periodically swim to the surface and get air, while still giving their brain the rest it needs.


Today I found out that a tiny shrimp known as the Snapping Shrimp or Pistol Shrimp, is on one of the loudest creatures in the World.

This tiny shrimp species (Alpheus heterochaelis) belonging to the Alpheidae family grows to only 1-2 inches (3-5 cms) long, but don’t let its size fool you. The tiny finger sized critter is capable of producing a sound louder than a jet engine!

These crustaceans are often a dirty-green color. They prowl the shallow waters of tropical seas like the Mediterranean. They can be easily identified as it sports one normal claw and one noticeably larger snapper claw. Its disproportionately large claw can be up to half its body size which makes it look like it’s wearing an overgrown boxing glove.


Today I found out what a.m. and p.m. stand for.  And no, it’s not, as my first grade teacher told me, “After Midnight” and “Past Midday”. LIES!!!  Though, funny enough, not really that far off the translated versions of the Latin words for which a.m. and p.m. actually do stand for.

It turns out, a.m. stands for “ante meridiem”, which is Latin for “Before Midday”; p.m. stands for “Post Meridiem”, which is Latin for “After Midday”.

Interestingly, this finally clears up for me one of the interesting quirks of the 12 hour clock system where time counts from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m. and likewise goes from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., which always seemed odd, but now makes perfect sense given what a.m. and p.m. stand for.

Vegetranism reduces toxins

Sticking to vegetables for five days a week can significantly reduce the body’s amount of antibiotics and phthalates – a common chemical added to plastics – says a new research.

To come up with the conclusion, researchers in Korea quizzed participants to stay at a Buddhist temple for five days, during which time they ate a vegetarian diet.

The researchers analyzed urine samples before and after the stay, and found that levels of the chemicals dropped dramatically by the end of the experiment, reports Discovery News.

The boffins also measured the participants’ diets before the study and found that what they ate 48 hours prior to the study was related to the amount of the chemicals found in their urine.

“A significant correlation was found between food consumption and the urinary levels of several antibiotics and phthalates,” they said. “Although the exposure to target compounds might be influenced by other behavioral patterns, these results suggest that even short-term changes in dietary behavior may significantly decrease inadvertent exposure to antibiotics and phthalates and hence may reduce oxidative stress levels.”

Read more: Veg diet can help keep toxins away – The Times of India

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