India”s Most unusual Post Offices….Our Country Celebrates National Postal Day today…

E-mails may have overshadowed the concept of snail mail, yet post offices still hold a special place in the Indian way of life. Having long had a presence in local communities, they have served as exchange posts for news, gossip and much more.

As the country celebrates the National Postal Day today, here’s a look at three of India’s most unusual post offices.

Send a postcard from any of these unique spots, and you are sure to score some travel bragging rights!

1. The Post Office at Hikkim

 

 

 

Perched at 15,500 ft above sea level in Himachal Pradesh’s strikingly beautiful Spiti Valley, the hamlet of Hikkim is reputedly home to the world’s highest post office.

A small hut with whitewashed walls and a red postbox hanging outside, the quaint post office is 23 km from the town of Kaza and has been functioning since November 5, 1983. With no internet and patchy cell phone signal, the facility is the only conduit to the world for Hikkim’s residents.

This inconspicuous little post office is single-handedly managed by Rinchen Chhering, who has been the branch postmaster for over 20 years. He was chosen for the post when he was just 22 because he could run fast and owned a bicycle!

Every day, two runners take turns hiking to Kaza on foot to deliver mail that is then taken by bus to Reckong Peo, onward to Shimla, further by train to Kalka, from where it is taken to Delhi and sent to its final destination. In winter, everything in the valley freezes – the rivers, the lakes, the mountains. As the snow cover cuts off Hikkim from the rest of the world, the village’s post office also shuts down for six months.

2. The Post Office at Antarctica

Dakshin Gangotri Station                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located in Dakshin Gangotri, India’s first scientific base in Antarctica, this post office first became operational on February 24, 1984, after it was established during the third Indian expedition to the frigid ‘White Continent.’ It was a part of the base’s multi-support systems that also included including ice-melting plants, laboratories, storage and recreational facilities.

The Dakshin Gangotri PO was brought under the Department of Post at Goa on January 26, 1988. Scientist G. Sudhakar Rao, who went to Antarctica as a member of the Seventh Indian Scientific Expedition in 1987, was appointed as its first honorary postmaster. Interestingly, in its first year of establishment, nearly 10000 letters were posted and cancelled at this post office.

However, in 1990, Dakshin Gangotri PO in Antarctica was decommissioned after it got half buried in ice. The post office was then shifted to the new permanent research base, Maitri.

Over the years, the unusual spot has become a favourite stop-off for tourists from cruise ships who came to explore the frozen continent and learn about its unique ecosystem. They send out postcards and letters that take between two and six weeks to reach their destinations via Hobart (in Australia).

3. The Post Office on Dal Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Built on an intricately carved houseboat, the Srinagar’s Floating Post Office claims to be the only one of its kind in the world. Here you can avail all regular postal services while being afloat on the Dal Lake. A heritage post office that has existed since colonial times, it was called Nehru Park post office before it was renamed by the then chief postmaster John Samuel in 2011.

After a pretty little philately museum and souvenir shop were added to it, the Floating Post Office was formally relaunched in August 2011. Interestingly, the seal used on everything posted from the this is unique, and tourist-friendly post office bears a special design — of a boatman rowing a shikara on the Dal Lake — along with the date and address.

While enthusiastic tourists row to the post office every day to send postcards back home, for the locals, the post office is more than an object of fascination. The islets in Dal Lake are home to over 50000 people (farmers, labourers, artisans and shikaraowners) for whom this state-run facility is the nearest source of postal and banking services.

Source…SanchariPal in http://www.thebetterindia.com

Natarajan

 

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The Stockholm Telephone Tower….

 

By the late 19th century, the miracle device called the telephone had been invented but the simple concept of undergrounding telephone cables had eluded engineers. Clumps of telephone wires strung from monstrous towers hung above the heads of pedestrians in all major cities with a sizable number of subscribers.

Telephone service was expensive at that time, and only the wealthy could afford it. In Sweden, the first public telephone exchange was opened in the capital city Stockholm, in 1880, by the Bell Telephone Company. It originally had only 121 subscribers. The telephone company charged subscribers between 160 and 280 Swedish Krona, depending on the subscriber’s location and distance to the exchange. This was equivalent to paying a subscription fee of 9,000 to 16,000 Krona (USD 1,100 to USD 1,966) in today’s value, which was a very high rate.

The Bell Telephone Company with their high rates soon got a competitor in Stockholm General Telephone Company (SAT), which was founded in 1883 by the engineer and businessman Henrik Tore Cedergren. His mission was to put a telephone in every household. Cedergren’s charged very low fees for a connection and monthly subscription, and the number of subscribers increased rapidly. By 1886, Stockholm had more telephones than any of the major cities in the world, with 4,832 subscribers, including about 1,600 at Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, SAT became the world’s largest telephone company, large enough to buy out Bell Company’s business in Stockholm in 1888.

In this early days of telephony, there were no substations and every subscriber was physically connected to the central exchange with an overhead wire. The Stockholm telephone exchange had thousands of wires converging in from every direction. A massive tower held these wires together.

This iconic Phone Tower, or Telefontornet, was opened in 1887, and had over 5,500 telephone lines whose collective length came to around 5,000 kilometers. As you can see from these pictures, it was quite a mess, and the network was extremely vulnerable to the elements. The locals thought the tower looked hideous and even complained that it darkened out the sun.

With the public and the press lambasting the tower at every opportunity, the telephone company decided that the tower needed a makeover. A decoration competition was announced, and in 1890 the tower got the four corner turrets. At all major events in Stockholm, the city’s flags were hoisted there.

However, by the turn of the 19th century, the tower was already on its path to obsolescence. The telephone company realized that laying cables underground was a far more elegant solution than stringing them from towers. By 1913, the entire network had gone underground and the Telefontornet lost its function. The remaining shell stood as a landmark for the several decades. At one point, the telephone company hung advertisement banners from the tower. In 1952, the tower caught fire which weakened the structure, and was demolished the following year on safety grounds.

Source….Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet.com

Natarajan

Norwegian has launched the world’s longest low-cost flight — and it’ll get you to Singapore for less than £150….London to Singapore !

 

Norwegian has launched the world’s longest low-cost flight — and it’ll only cost you £149.90.

The route runs from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport, and departs for the first time on Thursday.

The route takes 12 hours and 45 minutes and will cover 6,764 miles (10,885 km) — making it the longest non-stop flight operated by a low-cost carrier.

The route — announced in April — is scheduled to run four times per week.

Thursday’s flight is due to depart at 10.30 a.m. and land in Singapore at 6.15 a.m Friday morning local time.

The flights use brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, and start at £149.90 for a one-way ticket.

All seats on the Dreamliner have personal 11-inch seat-back screens and USB ports.

A higher price of £699.90 one way will get passengers “Premium” status. That means “spacious cradle seating” with more than a metre of legroom, and free lounge access at Gatwick.

The Singapore route is part of the airline’s continued global expansion.

In February, it announced that it will launch flights from the US Northeast to Europe for as little as $65 (£50). Then, in July, it announced direct flights from London to Chicago and Austin from £179.

In February 2018, Norwegian will also start flying to Buenos Aires.

Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian, said in a press release: “I’m delighted to build upon our popular USA flights and give leisure and business customers more affordable access to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific like never before.

“The 787 Dreamliner has the range to allow us to expand our long-haul services to other parts of the world while keeping fares affordable for all.

“This is just the start of Norwegian’s UK expansion into new markets as we will continue connecting destinations where fares have been too high for too long.”

Source….www.businessinsider.com

Natarajan

 

Why you can’t fly a plane to space…?

 

Why can’t you fly a plane to space?

Turns out, you couldn’t even make it halfway. Part of the problem is Earth’s gravity. You need to escape it in order to reach space.

This requires a minimum speed of mach 33 (25,000 mph). The current world record for fastest plane is only mach 6.7 (5,140 mph). The other problem is the atmosphere.

As you fly higher, the atmosphere grows thinner. This creates two serious issues:

Issue 1: Fewer air molecules means it’s harder for the plane to stay airborne.

Issue 2: Less oxygen means less combustible fuel to power the engine.

So how high can planes actually fly? Commercial airliners generally don’t surpass 45,000 feet. But some pilots have pushed their planes to extreme limits.

In 1977, Alexandr Fedotov flew to 123,532 feet. This is the highest any ground-launched plane has reached. Yet, Fedotov only made it about 1/3 the way to space.

Another plane, SpaceShipOne reached 367,500 feet in 2004. It had rocket engines and was flown to an initial 43,500 feet before launch.

Looks like its best to leave spaceflight to the real rocket ships.!!!

Source….NATHANIEL LEE,JESSICA ORWIG  in http://www.businessinsider.in

Natarajan

THE MAN WHO ACCURATELY ESTIMATED THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE EARTH OVER 2,000 YEARS AGO….

 

pillars

Today I found out about a man who fairly accurately estimated the circumference of the Earth well over 2,000 years ago: Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

Born around 276 B.C. in Cyrene, Libya, Eratosthenes soon became one of the most famous mathematicians of his time. He is best known for making the first recorded measurement of the Earth’s circumference, which was also remarkably accurate.  (And, yes, people at that point had known for some time that the world wasn’t flat, contrary to popular belief.)

Eratosthenes was able to accomplish this in part because of his education in Athens. There, he became known for his achievements in many different fields, including poetry, astronomy, and scientific writing. His activities became so talked about, in fact, that Ptolemy III of Egypt decided to invite him to Alexandria to tutor his son. Later, he would become the head librarian of the Library of Alexandria.

The mathematician must have been thrilled to have this opportunity. The Library of Alexandria was a hub of learning at the time, attracting scholars from across the known world. Eratosthenes was able to rub shoulders with the likes of Archimedes while continuing his own learning.

It was probably in the Library of Alexandria that he read about a curious event that took place in Syene (now Aswan, Egypt) at the summer solstice. Syene sat to the south of Alexandria. At high noon, the sun would shine directly overhead and there would be no shadows stemming from the columns. However, Eratosthenes realized that at the same moment in Alexandria, columns clearly did have shadows. Being a good mathematician, he decided to use this knowledge to do a few calculations to figure out the circumference of the Earth.

To do this, Eratosthenes measured the shadow of an obelisk on June 21 at noon. He discovered that the sun was about 7°14’ from being directly overhead. He realized that, because the Earth is curved, the greater the curve, the longer the shadows would be.

Based on his observations, he hypothesized that Syene must lie 7°14’ along a curve from Alexandria. Furthermore, he knew that a circle contained 360°, which meant that his calculation—7°14’—was roughly one fiftieth of a circle. Therefore, Eratosthenes thought, if he multiplied the distance between Syene and Alexandria by 50, he would have the circumference of the Earth.

The missing information was simply how far away Syene was from Alexandria. He measured the distance in stadia. There isn’t an exact modern day conversion to stadia, and it isn’t perfectly clear which version of the stadia Eratosthenes was using, but regardless, from what is known, his estimation was remarkably accurate.

There are two theories as to how Eratosthenes figured out the distance: first, that he hired a man to walk there and count the steps. Second, that he heard a camel could travel 100 stadia a day, and it took a camel about 50 days to travel to Syene. Whatever the case, he estimated the distance between Syene and Alexandria was 5,000 stadia. If that was the case, then using his formula, the earth was 250,000 stadiaaround.

Due to the uncertain distance that stadia represents (and particularly which stadia he was using), historians believe that Eratosthenes’ conclusion was between .5% and 17% off the mark. Even if the latter case was true, it was astoundingly accurate given the limited technology he was dealing with at the time. But many scholars think it likely that he was using the Egyptian stadia (157.5 m), being in Egypt at the time. This would make his estimate only about 1% too small.

There had been previous attempts at discovering the Earth’s circumference (which don’t count as “first recorded” because their methods didn’t survive, though we have references to them) which resulted in a 400,000 stadia figure, 150,000 more than Eratosthenes’—obviously far from accurate.

While finding the approximate circumference of the Earth was probably Eratosthenes’ largest contribution to scholarship at the time, it was by no means the only one. Eratosthenes is also credited with coming up with a way to map out the known world by drawing lines north-south and east-west—early latitude and longitude lines. However, these lines were irregular and often drawn through known places, meaning they weren’t entirely accurate. Nevertheless, it provided a precursor for maps we know today.

He is also remembered for the Sieve of Eratosthenes, a simple algorithm that makes it easy to find all prime numbers up to a certain limit. Though none of Eratosthenes’ personal work on the sieve survives, he was credited with the creation of the algorithm by Nicomedes in his Introduction to Arithmetic.

Not only that, but Eratosthenes estimated the distance to both the sun and the moon, and measured the tilt of the Earth’s axis all with amazing accuracy.

He also wrote the poem Hermes, correctly sketched the route of the Nile, and even gave a more-or-less accurate account of why the Nile flooded, something that had baffled scholars for centuries. He worked on a calendar that included leap years and he also estimated and corrected the dates of various historical events beginning with the Siege of Troy.

Despite these accomplishments and many more like them, Eratosthenes was often nicknamed “Beta.” Beta is the second letter in the Greek alphabet and referred to Eratosthenes being second-best in everything he did.

Eratosthenes died around 194 B.C. and is thought to have starved himself to death. It is believed that he started going blind in his later years and, unable to continue his work, he simply stopped eating.

Bonus Fact:

  • A man named Posidonius copied Eratosthenes’ basic method about a century later, using the star Canopus, Rhodes, and Alexandria as starting points. However, he didn’t measure the distance between Rhodes and Alexandria correctly, resulting in a circumference that was smaller than Eratosthenes’ estimation. It was this circumference that was recorded by Ptolemy in his geography treatise and later used by explorers looking for a quicker way to the Indies.

Source…www.todayifoundout.com

Natarajan

வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை ….” தூரத்தில் கேட்குது ….”

 

தூரத்தில்  கேட்குது ..
———————-
அம்மா உன் குரல் முதன் முதல் கேட்டேன்   தூரத்தில்…
உன் கருவில்  நான்  மலர்ந்து வளர்ந்த  போது !
இப்போதும்  உன் குரல் நான் கேட்கிறேன்
தினமும் …தூரத்திலிருந்தே !
அயல் நாட்டு மண்ணில் நான் இன்று  இருந்தாலும்
நம் நாட்டு  மண் வாசம் மறக்கவில்லையே அம்மா  நான் !
தூரத்திலிருந்து உன்  குரல்  நான் கேட்டாலும்
அம்மா..பாசமுடன் மண் வாசம் கலந்து ஒலிக்கும்
உன் குரல் நான்  அன்று  கருவில் கேட்ட
அதே குரலாக இன்றும் ஒலிக்கும் மாயம் என்ன அம்மா ?
தூரத்தில் கேட்குது உன் குரல் என்று என்னிடம்
இது வரை நீ சொன்னதில்லையே அம்மா !
எங்கே நீ இருந்தாலும் நீ இருக்குமிடம் என்
இதயத்தில்தான் என்று எனக்கு சொல்லாமல்
சொல்லுகிறாயா  அம்மா ?
Natarajan …..in http://www.dinamani.com dated 24th July 2017

This 30-Year-Old Indian Pilot Is the World’s Youngest Woman to Captain a Boeing 777!

Currently based in Mumbai, the young aviator had always dreamed of becoming a pilot and did so at the age of 19

“Since my childhood, I wanted to be a pilot. Other children used to make fun of me for this. Kids, at that time, were pushed to pursue engineering or become a doctor but not a pilot,” Anny told to HT.

Coming from an army background, one would think Anny must have had it easy. While she had rock-solid support from her parents, dissent often cropped up in form of family friends and relatives.

“Luckily, my parents never forced their choice on me. They were supportive and progressive in their thinking. My mother always used to encourage me. However, my relatives and my family friends were against my decision to become a pilot. Also, at that time, being a pilot was not considered as a profession for woman,” she said.

After her father took voluntary retirement, the family moved to Vijayawada, where Anny did her schooling. Hailing from a modest background, their family had their share of financial shortcomings. “Since I grew up in Vijayawada, I could write and read English but speaking English was a major challenge that I had to overcome,” Anny said.

Post her school education, the 17-year-old Anny made it to Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), one of the premier flying schools in the country.

The cultural change from a small town to a big city was overwhelming for me. I had difficulty adjusting and speaking English. People used to mock me for my poor English and that hurt me a lot. At times, I had even thought of going back. However, backed with my parents’ support, I worked hard enough to win a scholarship,” she added.

Completing her training by the time she was 19, Anny bagged a job with Air India and since then, there has been no looking back. Post her training, she kickstarted her flying carrier with Boeing 737.

“When I turned 21, I was sent to London for further training. It was then when I started to fly Boeing 777. Since then, my life has changed. It’s been a great experience so far. I’ve got the opportunity to travel to various countries. My journey so far has taught me a lot,” Anny added.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Source….LekshmiPriya .S  in http://www.betterindia.com

Natarajan