gk questions and answers

General Knowledge Questions and Answers


The Thames Barrier has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. It is certainly a very impressive work of engineering London was often subjected to flooding in the past. The main possible cause of flooding in the London area is surgeries. This original in the North Atlantic, and generally pass to the north of the British Isles, Occasionally, northerly winds force them down into the North Sea, sending millions of tons of extra water up River Thames. In 1953, floods occurred, during which over 300 people were drowned and 160,000 acres of farmland were flooded with salt water. Several schemes were proposed and rejected. In 1965, a barrier was proposed to be built. The 1,716 feet width of the river is divided by nine reinforced concrete piers to form six openings for shipping and four other openings. The piers are founded on solid chalk, over 50 feet below the level of the river. The four largest steel gates are 200 feet wide and weigh 1,500 tonnes each. In addition, eleven and a half miles of the river, to the east of the barrier, was protected by new walls, to a new defence level of 23 feet.  


A glider is an unpowered aircraft, i.e. Gliders along with most other aircraft are through the air. Early gliders were constructed from wood covered with canvas. Later, aluminium was used but it decreased the performance of the glider. In many modern u gliders, composite construction using materials such as fibreglass aeroplane without a moto ore as smooth as possible to allow the planes to slip more easily designed to have skins the and carbon fibre ore quickly replacing aluminium. A glider has only three main forces acting on it: lift, drag and weight. For a glider to fly, it must generate lift to oppose its weight. Stet lift, a glider must move through the air. But the motion of a glider through the air also generates drag. In a powered aircraft, the thrust from the engine opposes drag. But a glider has no engine to generate thrust. With the drag unopposed, a glider quickly slows down until it can no longer generate enough to oppose the weight 


A boomerang, also known as a throwing stick, is a wooden item often shaped in the form of an open flat V or a cross A boomerang can also take other forms, but only the open V and the X formats are returning boomerangs. A non-returning boomerang was used mostly by Australian aborigines as a hunting weapon or even as a replacement for fighting sticks. When thrown correctly, a returning boomerang flies through the air in a circular path and arrives back at its starting point. Returning boomerangs are not suited for hunting as they are very hard to aim at. Hitting a target would stop it from returning to the thrower, pretty much defeating the purpose of the design. Returning boomerangs evolved out of non-returning boomerangs. These are also curved pieces of wood, but they are usually heavier and longer, typically 1 metre or more across. A non-returning boomerang does not have the lightweight and special wing design that causes a returning boomerang to travel back to the thrower, but its curved shape does cause it to fly easily through the air.   


  Glue is a compound that sticks or bonds two items together. Glue is made from natural sources or synthetically. Early glues were glues made by blending animal products like the use of button hooves. The first glues were natural gums and other plant resins or sops. It was believed that the Sumerian people were the first to use it until it was discovered that Neanderthals, as far back as 50,000 years, made adhesives from birch bark. The Egyptians used animal glues to adhere to tombs, furniture, ivory and papyrus. Today, there are four main types of glues – Natural Glues: These are based on the natural resin (from vegetables) or from animal skins. Synthetic Glues: Glues like thermo-setting glues are synthetic glues. Hot Glues: Applied hot and allowed to harden as they cool. These adhesives have become popular for crafts because of their ease of use. Reactive Glues: Glues that react with the surface they are sticking to. They are often used to reduce the loosening of bolts and screws. rebond Titebond  

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 Clay is a common name for several fine-grained, earthy aluminium silicates, ordinarily materials that become plastic when wet. Chemically, clays are hydrous containing impurities, e.g., potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium or iron in small amounts. Clays often form suspensions when immersed in water, but the clay particles flocculate (clump) and settle quickly in saline water. Clays are easily moulded into a form that they retain when dry They become hard and lose their plasticity when subjected to heat. Since prehistoric times, clay has been indispensable in architecture, industry and in agriculture. As a building material, it is used in the form of brick, either sun-dried (adobe) or fired. Clays are also of great industrial importance, e.g., in the manufacture of tiles for wall and floor coverings, porcelain, china and earthenware, and pipes for drainage and sewage. 


 Yeast is a tiny plant-like micro-organism that exists all around us – in soil, on plants and even in the air. It is capable of reproducing itself. from one tiny yeast cell, tons of can be produced. A piece of Yeast yeast consists of minute cells, with walls composed of cellulose, and an interior of living matter called protoplasm. They are mostly used for beer and wine fermentation and bread production, The main purpose of yeast is to serve as a catalyst in the process of fermentation, which is essential in the making of bread. It was Louis Pasteur 1859 who first discovered how yeast works. The little cells we mentioned ferment the dough and produce tiny bubbles of gas inside it. As a result, the dough gets father and bigger and rises. Thus, when the dough is baked, you have a loaf which is light and airy When you cut it, you can see all the tiny holes formed by the gas, so that it may look like a sponge. 


Coffee is a widely-consumed stimulant beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans of the coffee plant. Coffee was first consumed in the 9th century when it was discovered in the highlands of Ethiopia. According to one story, the effect of coffee beans on behaviour was noticed by a sheep herder from Cafta Ethiopia. His name was Kaldi and he tended his sheep. He noticed that the sheep became hyperactive after eating the red “cherries” from a certain plant when they changed pastures. He tried a few himself and was soon as overactive as his herd. Coffee berries, which contain the coffee bean, are produced by several species of the small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed and dried. The seeds are, then, roasted, undergoing several physical and chemical changes. They are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavour. They are, then, ground and brewed to create coffee. 


 known for its grace and elegance as ballerinas seem to glide across Ballet is one of the world’s most graceful dance styles. Ballet dancing is on the stage almost effortlessly. Ballet is a form of dancing performed for theatre audiences. Like other dance forms, ballet may tell a story, express a mood or may roll the music. A ballet dancer’s technique and skills differ a lot from other dancers Ballet dancers perform many unnatural movements. When all of these movements are well executed, they look natural. Ballet dancers seem to ignore the laws of gravity. They float through the air in long, slow leaps. They keep perfect balance while they spin like tops. During certain steps, their feet move so rapidly that the eye can hardly follow. Female dancers raise themselves even higher by going up on their toes with pointe shoes. Pointe shoes make it possible for ballerinas to dance on the tips of their toes.   

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 The igloo is a temporary winter hunting shelter for the Alaskan Eskimo An igloo is shaped like a dome with a tunnel entrance to trap cold air. It is made of hard blocks of snow. First, the fresh snow is cut into blocks, Then, the blocks are laid on their edges to form a circle and the result is a narrowing spiral, The igloo is blocked with edges cut wider above than below, into the remaining gap in the roof. The gaps between the blocks of snow are covered with additional snow. Then, the Eskimo enters the igloo with a whale blubber lamp. The lamp is lighted to the highest possible setting and the entrance is blocked with a block of ice. Inside the igloo, the snow on the roof begins to melt. Because of its domed design, the water melts down the sides of the igloo and soaks the blocks of snow. When the blocks are almost completely saturated with water, the Eskimo allows the frigid outside air to rush in, transforming the fragile snow structure into one of hard solid ice.  


 A valley is an area of elongated lowland, surrounded by much higher is formed through the separation of the Earth’s crust, caused b hills or mountains. Valleys are formed in several ways. A right Valle violent tectonic movements; the valley is the Great Rift Valle notable example of orit in Africa. River valleys are formed through the slow process of erosion over centuries. The V-shaped formerly typically has a profile. Valleys that are not V-shaped were occupied by glaciers and are characteristically U-shaped, formed by the huge bodies of ice that moved along; they carved the valleys as they passed, carrying away giant boulders and huge amounts of debris. Narrow deep valleys are sometimes called canyons. Valleys usually have rich deposits of alluvial mud, making them ideal for agriculture. As a result, many human civilizations have settled in valleys, taking advantage of the rivers, which of water. often wind through valleys, Os sources 


A tattoo is a puncture wound, made deep in your skin, that’s filled with ink. It’s made by penetrating your skin with a needle and injecting ink into the area, usually creating some sort of design. What makes tattoos so long-lasting is that they’re so deep that the ink isn’t injected into the epidermis (the top layer of skin that you continue to produce and shed throughout your lifetime). Instead, the ink is injected into the dermis, which is the second deeper layer of skin. Dermis cells are very stable. So, the tattoo is practically permanent. Tattoos used to be done manually, that is the tattoo artist would puncture the skin with a needle and inject the ink by hand. Though this process is still used in some parts of the world yet most tattoo shops use tattoo machines these days. A tattoo machine is a handheld electric instrument that uses a tube and needle system. On one end is a sterilized needle, which is attached to tubes that contain ink. A foot switch is used to turn on the machine, which moves the needle in and out while driving the ink about 1/8 inch into your skin.  


  SMS is an acronym standing for Short Message Service. It lets you send messaging gateways on the Internet. SMS is convenient for phones and e-mail addresses, as well as cell phones and public SMS short text and numeric messages to and from digital cell phones, cell effective for several reasons. When you compare it with the cost of airtime for voice calls or wireless web access, SMS is a real bargain, Messages can be received while making voice calls. There are no busy signals to contend with. In addition to this, if you find yourself in a situation where talking on a cell phone is inappropriate, SMS is silent and discreet. Messages generated by SMS are immediately delivered directly to your phone. There is no need to call an access number, as is the case with voice mail. A single short message can be up to 160 characters of text in length. Those 160 characters can consist of words or numbers or an alphanumeric combination of ENE.

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The birds that feed on other animals are called the birds of prey Some of the most common predators are eagles, hawks, vultures, falcons, kestrels and buzzards. Most birds of prey are strong fliers with sharp eyes, hooked beaks and powerful talons or claws. They kill their prey with their strong, sharp claws and, then, pull and tear the flesh with their narrow, hooked beaks. These birds usually swallow large chunks of food. The birds of prey attack in several ways. The kestrel hunts by hovering over open ground and, then, pouncing upon its prey before it can escape. Birds of prey have very good eyesight. As they hover many metres above the ground, they can detect the slightest movement of a mouse in the grass below. The falcon stoops or dives its head first at its prey and catches it in its claws. Vultures are the biggest birds of prey. They do not hunt. Rather, they feed on carrion (dead animals). The peregrine falcon while stooping on its prey can reach speeds of 350 km/hr.  


  Scientists estimate people first wore animal skins during the Ice Age people from rocks and thorns. The first suggestion of the foot (5 million years ago). Rough shoes protected the feet of Stone Age coverings that appeared in rock paintings from the late Palaeolithic period (15,000 years ago). Early man, in warmer climates, invented the sandal to protect his feet from sharp rocks. He did so by strapping o mat of woven grass, a strip of animal hide or a slab of flat wood to his feet with thongs’ he cut out of 11212 the animal hide. Spanish cave paintings show humans with animal skins around their feet. In Ancient Egypt, sandals were made from papyrus and palm leaves. The first rubber-soled shoes, called plimsolls, were developed and manufactured in the United States in the late 1800s. Wealthy ancient Egyptians wore sandals as long as 5,000 years ago and designed different shoes for different purposes. 


There are about 80 species of whales. Although they live in the sea yet they are not fish but mammals. They are warm-blooded and give birth to young ones who feed on their mother’s milk. There are two types of whales – the whalebone or baleen whales and the toothed whales. Baleen whales have a comb of thin plates, called baleen, instead of teeth. They feed on plankton, which is made up of tiny sea creatures and plants. The whales strain plankton from the water by sieving them through their baleens which hang from their top jaws. Baleen whales include blue whales, right whales, humpback whales and grey whales. Most toothed whales are smaller than baleen whales. Toothed whales have teeth and prey on large fish and seals. Toothed whales include killer whales, sperm whales, porpoises and dolphins. The black and white killer whale is the most dangerous of all the whales. 


  Balsa wood is used in many applications that require high levels Balsa is the lightest and softest commercially sold wood in the world floatation, life-saving equipment, floats, rolls etc. as well as insulation of ì–´ and sound absorption applications. It is also used in model aircraft building and architectural/engineering models of many sorts. It is used in any type of model building where it is important to have wood that is light and/or easily cut and shaped with hand tools. The secret to the lightness of balsa wood can only be seen with a microscope. The cells are big and very thin-walled so the ratio of solid matter to open space may be as small as possible. Most of the wood has gobs of heavy, plastic-like cement, called lignin, holding the cells together. In balsa, lignin is at a minimum. Only about 40% of the volume of a piece of balsa is a solid substance. Green balsa wood typically contains five times as much water by weight as it has actual wood substance, compared to other hardwood which has little water about contains a very wood substance.

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  Earle Dickson was employed as a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson when he invented the band-aid in 1921. His wife Josephine always cut her fingers in the kitchen while preparing gauze and gauze and, Dickson was food. At that time, a bandage consisting of separate gauze and adhesive tape was available. Earle Dickson noticed that the gauze and adhesive tape she used would soon fall off her active fingers. He decided to invent something that would stay in place and protect small wounds better. He sat down with some tape and a pair of scissors. Then, he cut the tape into strips. In the middle of each strip, he stuck little square of then, and covering the product with crinoline to keep it sterile. Since then, whenever Josephine had an accident, ready-made bandages were there for her to use quickly. At Johnson & Johnson, they heard about these new bandages that could be put on in thirty seconds. Since that day, band-aids came into use on a wide scale. 


The Eiffel Tower is located on the Left Bank of the River Seine in Paris. The lower is 324 metres fall today, which is about 108 storeys. Originally, it had no television tower. So, it was 12 metres shorter. The levels accessible to the public are at heights of 57.63 metres or 19 storeys, 115.73 metres or 38 storeys, and 273 metres or 89 storeys. The base of the tower covers a square area of 100 metres (the length of an American football field) on a side. The tower weighs 7,300 metric tons. The tower was built by the engineering firm of Gustave Eiffel, Eiffel et Cie, a company well established in metallic construction projects. The Eiffel Tower is built of pure iron. Eiffel built it of puddled iron, a type of traditional wrought iron, prepared specially in a special furnace so that the iron may be made very pure and strong. Construction was started on 26th January 1887 and was completed on 31st March 1889. So, it took two years, two months and five days to build this tower. The tower was built as the “theme structure” of the Universal Exposition of 1889, which was held in Paris.   


Opera is a mixture of music and drama, i.e., it is an extended dramatic composition in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniments. The Sydney Opera House is a famous building in Sydney, Australia. It is situated on Bennelong Point, a peninsular, jutting into the Sydney Harbour. It has two sail-like roofs made of overlapping shells. Its remarkable engineering has made it famous across the globe. It is the busiest performing arts centre in the world. In March 1959, the construction of the building started and it took 14 years to complete it. Since 1973, it has provided entertainment to millions of people. The Opera can accommodate 6,600 people. It presents plays, concerts, drama, ballet, films, exhibitions, contemporary dance, and every form of music from symphony to jazz.


When a thunderstorm occurs, lightning also exists. This is because o thunderstorm is classified as lightning. For either of the two to be present in the atmosphere at the same time, clouds must first form. The clouds form when the air near the earth’s surface is warmed, causing it to rise. As we know, warm air rises. Within this cloud, there are many electrons giving off their charges. Charges within a cloud tend to have positive charges gathered towards the upper portion and negative charges at the bottom of the cloud. When the difference between these charges is great enough to overcome the natural insulation of the air, which keeps these charges from mixing, a flash of lightning can take place. This charge difference builds up to millions of volts before the stroke of lightning takes place. The lightning bolt happens because Nature tries to maintain equilibrium, a state of balance between all things That is why the lightning that you see is a discharge of energy in the form of electricity.

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A force is a push or pull. Force is applied to make something start to move, slow down or speed up, change direction or change shape or size. The greater the force applied, the more effect it has. Force is also applied when we bite, twist, stretch, lift and in several other actions. When something moves, there are several forces involved in it. When we throw a ball, the force of our throw hurls it forwards. The direction and speed of movement also depend on the combined effect of all the forces involved. There are four basic forces which operate throughout the Universe. They are gravitational forces, electrical forces, magnetic forces and strong and weak nuclear forces. The gravitational, electrical and magnetic forces together are called electromagnetic forces. Force is measured in newtons. The force needed to speed up a mass of 1 kg by 1m/sec (every second) is 1 Newton.


A chemical reaction takes place when two or more elements or compounds meet and interact to form new compounds or separate out some of the elements. The chemicals in the chemical reaction are termed as reactants and the result is termed as products. The products contain the same atoms as the reactants, but in different compositions. The mass of the products is all the same as that of the reactant. There are various chemical reactions. For example, burning of a candle, rusting of anail or cooking of a cake. Some reactions are reversible, which means that the products can be brought back to the original reactants Whereas some chemical reactions are irreversible like making toast. A substance that speeds up or enables a chemical reaction to happen is called a catalyst. But a catalyst remains unchanged at the end. All reactions involve energy. Most involve heat whereas some involve light or electricity.


Sir Isaac Newton was the first who discovered how light is divided. We usually think that light is white, but it is only when light strikes the edge of a glass-prism or the surface of a soap-bubble that we can see the different colours of light. Actually, the white light can be broken up into different wave lengths that can be seen. These wavelengths form a band of parallel stripes. This band is called a spectrum. In other words, a spectrum is a range of different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. The prism bends short wavelengths of light more thanlonger wavelengths. So, the light is spread out in bands ranging from violet to red. The order of colours in a spectrum is always the same-red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. In a spectrum, the red line is always at one end and the blue and violet lines at the other.


Spacesuits are worn by astronauts, also called cosmonauts, when they go outside their spacecraft. They need spacesuits to protect themselves from harmful radiations, extreme temperature and fast-moving dust particles that could tear through regular clothing and flesh. The spacesuit is also called EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit). It is a suit made up of many different layers of material and is equipped with a main and reserve supply of oxygen, half a litre of drinking water, a urine collection device and climate control. The middle layers of a spacesuit are blown up like a balloon to press against an astronaut’s body. Without this pressure, the astronaut’s blood would boil. The soft inner lining of the spacesuit has tubes of water in it to cool the astronauts body or warm it up. Astronauts wearing the EMU suits can work outside in space for up to seven hours. The gloves of the suit have silicon rubber fingertips in order to provide a sense of touch.

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When a massive star dies, its heavy core may become a neutron star. Neutron stars are made when enormous forces compress the star atoms, forcing protons and electrons in the atoms to make a solid ball of neutrons. Some stars collapse further and disappear into an amazingly dense point, called a singularity or black hole. A black hole is the densest object in the Universe. Its gravitational pull is so massive that even light cannot escape. Black holes may exist at the heart of every galaxy. The gases swirling around a black hole turn into an electrical generator, making it spout jets of electricity up to billions of kilo. metres out into space. Matter spiralling into a black hole is torn apart and glows so brightly that it creates quasars, which are the brightest objects in the Universe.


Lunar 9, an unmanned Soviet probe, touched the Moon’s surface in 1966 for the first time. The first men to orbit the Moon were the astronauts on the US Apollo 8, in 1968. But the first men to walk on the Moon were American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin on the Lunar Module ‘Eagle on 20th July, 1969. They hoisted the American flag and collected 21.7 kg of rock and dust samples. They remained there for 21 hours. Only twelve men have so far walked on the Moon. All these astronauts together have brought back 380 kg of the Moon rock. The last person to stand on the Moon was Eugene Cernan who flew in the Apollo 17. He stayed there for the longest time – 74 hours 59 minutes. Gravity on the Moon is so weak that astronauts can leap high into the air wearing their heavy space suits.


An eclipse is when the light from a planet or a star like the Sun is temporarily blocked off by another space object. There are two types of eclipses – lunar and solar. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow a few kilometres wide onto the Earth’s surface. Sometimes, the Moon covers part of the Sun. This is known as a partial eclipse. Total eclipses are rarer and only a narrow stretch of the Earth’s surface sees the sun blocked out completely. There are one or two solar eclipses every year. The longest duration for a total solar eclipse is 7.5 minutes. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes in between the Moon and the Sun. Lunar eclipses happen once or twice every year and last only for a fewhours. In a total lunar eclipse, theMoon turns rust red.


Satellites are objects that orbit planets and other space objects. Moon is a natural satellite. Artificial satellites are spacecraft which are sent up to orbit the Sun and the Earth. The first artificial satellite was Sputnik 1, which was launched on 4th October, 1957, by the Russians. Sputnik 1 was a metal ball 58 cm across that orbited the Earth every 96 minutes, sending back radio signals. It was burnt up in the Earth’s atmosphere after 92 days. Satellites are designed to obtain information and communicate it back to the ground stationson the Earth via radio transmitters. Most satellites are carried into orbit in a rocket. Once a satellite has reached the correct height, the rocket releases it. The rocket falls and cannot be used again. Once in orbit, a satellite travels at a speed which keeps it at a considerable distance from the Earth. This prevents the satellite from falling back.

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During the 1960’s, manned missions into space were short, but with the launch of semi-permanent space stations, people are able to spend more time in space. The Soviet Salyut 1 was the first space station launched in April 1971. The first US space station was Skylab. There were three crews on it and they stayed there for 171 days during 1973 1974. Both Salyut and Skylab had one docking port to receive incoming space flights. The Soviet Mir is the longest serving station which was launched in 1986 and it has six docks. Mir weighed about 125 tons. It orbits 390 km above the Earth and has made more than 82,000 trips around the Earth. Another space station is the ISS (International Space Station) which is being built by 16 nations including the USA, Britain, Russia and Japan. The ISS will be 108 m long and 90 m wide and will weigh 450 tonnes. It is being built in stages.

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Earlier rockets could be used only once which was extremely expensive. So, space engineers built reusable space shuttle. The first space shuttle was Columbia which was built in 1981. It was launched by NASA. It consisted of an orbiter craft, two solid fuel rocket boosters and a giant external fuel tank 47 m long and 8.4 m in diameter. At the time of take-off, the engine of the shuttle and two booster rockets provide power equal to 130 jumbo jets. Within two minutes of the launch, the boosters are emptied and they fall down. They can be recovered and used again. After completing its mission, the shuttle re-enters the atmosphere and glides back through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands on wheels like a plane. NASA has built other space shuttles like Columbia, Atlantis, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and Enterprise. It takes about 55 days to prepare a shuttle for launch.

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Soot, also called lampblack or carbon black, is a dark powdery deposit of unburned fuel residues, usually composed mainly of amorphous carbon. This soot accumulates in chimneys, automobile mufflers and other surfaces exposed to smoke, especially from the combustion of carbon-rich organic fuels in want of sufficient oxygen The combustion is thus incomplete. Lamp-black is sometimes used only to refer to carbon deposited from incomplete burning of liquid hydrocarbons, while carbon black may be used to refer to carbon deposited from incomplete burning or pyrolysis of gaseous hydrocarbons such as natural gas. Soot is formed when carbon containing fuels such as coal, wood or oil do not burn completely Airborne soot is a form of air pollution. Soot can be harmful to the respiratory system, particularly the lungs. Smoke which blows leaves soot on buildings, making them look dirty. The soot can eventually damage the surfaces of buildings by chemically reacting with them.

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Rust is a brownish-red substance which is formed on the surface of iron or steel when it is exposed to damp air. Rust is formed when the oxygen in the air combines with iron by a process called oxidation. Rust Is nothing but hydrated iron oxide. The rusting process is an electro chemical reaction that is paced up by the existence of salts and acids. That is why rusting is more severe in coastal and industrial areas, where the air may consist of acidic sulphur dioxide vapours. Rust not only corrodes the surface but also weakens the metal. A longer exposure to damp air causes rusting in iron materials and holes in iron sheets. There is a simple method to avoid rusting. The iron or steel may be covered with paint, plastic or corrosion-resistant metal like tin or zinc so that oxygen may be barred from reaching the iron or steel beneath.

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Meteors are small pieces of rock and dust that enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere forming streaks of light in the night sky called shooting stars. At such times, the sky seems filled with a shower of sparks. Hence, we see a meteor shower. The most brilliant meteor shower took place on 12-13 November, 1833. It was one of the Leonid showers which occur every November and seem to come in the direction of the constellation Leo. The heaviest showers are the Perseids which occurred on 12th August, Geminids (13th Dec) and the Quadrantids (3rd Jan). Meteorites are larger meteors or chunks of debriswhich do not burn up completely and penetrate through the Earth’s atmosphere and reach the ground. The biggest meteorite found on the Earth is in Namibia, Africa. It measured 2.7 m by 2.4 m and weighed 60 tonnes.

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Comets are huge, dirty balls of ice that orbit the Sun. They are bright objects with long tails which we, sometimes see streaking across the night sky. The head of a comet contains a nucleus which contains the jets of gas. These jets escape from the sur face and are blown by the solar wind to form a tail. A comet is usually named after the person who discovers it. The most famous comet was discovered by an astronomer Edmund Halley in 1682. He predicted that the cometwould return after every 76 years. It passed close to the Earth in the 1980’s and will be back in the 2050’s When we look at a comet in the night sky, it does not appear to be moving much, but it may travel at over 1,60,000 km /hr. In 1997, the Hale Bopp comet had given the brightest view of a comet since 1811. The Shoemaker-Levy comet smashed into Jupiter in July 1994 with a big crash.

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According to historians, the Chinese built the first working rockets about 1,000 years ago. In 1232 AD, some ingenious military leaders used arrows powdered by small gunpowder rockets to defend the city of Kai-Fung-Foo success fully against the invading Mongols. But it was only in the 20th century that rockets were used to send objects in space. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 1935), a Russian scientist, was the first to suggestthe idea. Development was performed by many scientists including Herman Oberth, Robert H. Goddard and Wernher Von Braun. Finally, Goddard, a US scientist, was able to launch the very first liquid fuel rocket in 1926. Wernher Von Braun designed the German V2 rocket which was the first rocket capable of reaching space.

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The first man-made lighthouse was the Pharos of Alexandria, which was built in the 3rd century between 285 and 247 BC. Shortly after the death of Alexander the Great, his commander Ptolemy Soter assumed power in Egypt. He founded Alexandria, Off the coast lay a small island Pharos. The island was connected to the mainland by means of a dyke which gave the city a double harbour. Because of dangerous sailing conditions and flat coastline in the region, the construction of a light house was necessary. This light-house was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With a height of approximately 117m, it was among the tallest man-made structures on the Earth for many centuries. Lighthouses insured a safe return for sailors to the Great HarbourFor scientists,was the mysteriousmirror that fascinated them most. Themirror whose reflection could be seenmore than 50km off shore.

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Tobacco was first cultivated by the Indians of North America and South America. It was cultivated and widely used by the people of America long before the arrival of the Europeans. The accounts of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage in 1492 speak of the natives of Cuba using ‘smoking reeds’ – kinds of primitive pipes. Tobacco is a plant that contains nicotine, an addictive drug with both stimulant and depressant effects. Tobacco is most commonly smoked in cigarettes. It is also smoked in cigars or pipes chewed as chewing tobacco, sniffed as dry snuff or held inside the lip or cheek as wet snuff. Souza Cruz, in Brazil, is among the world’s biggest exporters of tobacco. About a fifth of its production goes to cigarette makers in the United States. Britain, Japan and Germany are also major customers. Zimbabwe has become the world’s biggest tobacco exporter. Tobacco is Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign-currency earner.   

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The potato chips were invented in 1853 by George Crum who was a cook at the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs in New York. George Crum was a Hough, crusty old man who had previously been a trapper. If any of the diners at the Moon Lake Lodge had the audacity to complain about their food, Crum would inflict his wrath upon them. It was said that he would send back any foo that had been returned to his kitchen. One day, a person came into the Lodge and ordered French fried potatoes. The man complained that the potatoes were too thick. Hoping to gain personal satisfaction and annoy the complainer at the same time, Crum took some more potatoes. He, then, took his sharp knife and sliced them as thin as he possibly could. Crum, then, fried the sliced potatoes in grease until they were hard and crunchy. He, then, piled them on a plate, sprinkled a large amount of salt on them and sent them back to the disgruntled diner. The customer loved the thin, hard slices of fried potatoes. Since that day onwards, the potato chips have been in existence. 

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Cotton candy is o soft confection that looks like a fully mass of cotton Cotton candy is made from finely granulated sugar that is heated and spun into slim threads John Wharton and William Morrison invented the first electric cotton candy machine and patented it in 1899. The manufacturing concept was simple: their machine melted the sugar down and then spun it around rapidly. The result was a light, airy, threaded candy that was eniginally called, “Spun Sugar” or “Fairy Floss”. The finished product was twirled onto a stick or paper cone so that it might be held and eaten with a minimal amount of mess. To make the sweet confection more appealing to the eye, food colouring was added to it. Apart from this, flavourings have also been added. Soon after Wharton and Morrison had invented their cotton candy machine, o man named Thomas Palton secured a patent on a different way to make the sugary confection. Instead of melting the sugar, Patton caramelized it. He, then, formed light threads by using a fork

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The baobab tree is a strange looking tree with an upside-down’ look. It! grows in low-lying areas in Africa. It! con grow to an enormous size. Carbon dating indicates that it may live to be 3,000 years old. It is fabled that the gods took the tree out of the ground and planted it upside down with the roots in the air. The rotund, glossy frunk sprouts a crown of thick branches which look more like roots since they are bare of leaves for most of the dry season. A baobab tree has an enormous thick trunk, between 5- 7 metres (15-20 feet) and can grow up to a height of 25 metres. It has large whitish flowers which open ai night. The fruit, which grows up to a foot long, contains tartaric acid and vitamin C and can either be sucked or soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. It can also be roasted and ground up to make a coffee-like drink The fruit is not the only part of the baobab tree that can be used. The bark is pounded to make rope, mats, paper and cloth; the leaves can be boiled and eaten, and glue can be made from the pollen of the baskets, flowers of this tree.   

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A zoological garden, shortened to zoo, is an institution in which living animals are exhibited in captivity. The collections of wild animals existed already in the ancient civilizations of Meso- potamia, Egypt and China Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut established a 200 in Thebes around 1490 BC Hatshepsut’s zoo contained exotic animals collected from what is loday Somalia. It included cheetahs, leopards, monkeys and a giraffe. In ancient China, wild animals, especially exotic species, held the interest of rulers and the wealthy class. Starting with the founder of Shang dynasty (1500 BC), China’s ruler established animal reserves. However, it was Wen Wang, founder Zhou dynasty (1000-200 BC), who established the first well-known animal reserve, which he called Lingyou, commonly referred to as the “Garden of Intelligence”. This reserve and similar parks owned by the wealthy class of Zhou period were large, walled-in natural areas. The rulers of Qin, Han, Tang and Song dynasties continued the fashion of large royal parks, where birds and mammals were kept in cages sonal pleasure and the demonstration of wealth and power. al d or 9 1 for per-   

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There are many different Aygmy people such as the Bambuti, the Batwo, the Beyaka and the Bagyeli (Ba – means people’) who live scattered over a huge area in central and western Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. In many places, they are recognised as being the first Inhabitants of the region. The different Pygmy groups speak different languages, mostly related to those of neighbouring non-Pygmy people. Pygmies refer to the members of any human group whose adult males grow to less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) in average height or less than 155 cm. The ‘Pygmy’ people are forest dwellers. They know the forest, its plants and animals intimately. They live by hunting animals such as antelopes, pigs and monkeys, fishing, and gathering honey, wild yams, berries and other plants. For them, the forest is a kindly personal god, who provides for their needs.   

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Myristica (a tree that yields nutmegs) is a genus of evergreen trees indigenous to tropical southeast Asia and Australasia. It is generally found in the Banda Islands of Indonesia, Grenada, New Guinea, Mumbai of India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc. Grenada is known as Nutmeg Island. A nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. The nutmeg tree is evergreen and can reach up to 20 metres high. It yields fruit when it is about eight years old and continues to do so for sixty years or more. The tree needs a warm, moist climate and grows much better if it is near the sea. A Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 1 inch (2,030 mm) long and 3/4 inch (1,518 mm) wide. It weighs between one quarter and one half ounce (5 and 10 grams) dried, whereas mace is the dried “lacy! reddish covering or arillus of the seed. Nutmegs are used for various purposes, i.e. culinary, essential oil production and butter production. In India, it is called the jaiphal’.

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Bolonists are in general agreement that potato species originated in the Andes, from Colombia and Venezuela to Chile and northern Argentina. But genetic diversity, both in wild and cultivated species, is concentrated in the area of Peru. The evidence so far shows that the potato was first cultivated in Peru some 7,000 years ago. Potato is the world’s most widely grown tuber crop, and the fourth largest food crop in terms of fresh produce after rice, wheat and maize (corn). China is now the world’s largest potato producing country. Nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India Nutritionally, potatoes are besi known for their carbohydrate-content lapproximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. The potato plant has a herbaceous stalk about 60 centimetres long and oval leaves that are whitish underneath. The part of the plant that is eaten is not the fruit, but merely the underground part of the stalk. 

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Chess is a recreational and competitive game played between two players. The game is played on a square chequered chessboard with 54 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight squore. At the start, 5 each player lone cont rolling the white pieces, the other controlling the block pieces) controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight powns. The object of the game is to checkmate the oppo- hent’s king, whereby the king is under immediate attack and there is no way to remove it from the attack on the next move. Chess originated in India where its early form in the 6th century was chaturanga, which translates as four divisions of the military’. These divisions are infantry, cavalry, chariots and elephants. They are represented by pawns, knights, bishops and rooks respectively. In Persia around 600, the name became shatron; and the rules were developed further. Shatranj was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia. The pieces largely retained their Persian names. Around 1200, the rules of shatrani started to be modified in southern Europe. Around 1475, several major changes as regards the rules of shafranj were introduced. Today, chess has become popular in all the parts of the globe. 

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Origami (from oru meaning “folding” and kami meaning “paper”) is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. The goal of this art is to create a representation of an object using geometric folds and crease patterns preferably without the use of glue or without cutting the paper. Only one piece of paper (usually square or rectangular) is used Origami only uses a small number of different folds, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate Designs. Today, we think of origami (the art of folding paper) as a “opanese craft. But the skill originally came from China where it was he custom to make household items from paper so that they might be burnt at a person’s funeral and that person could have the objects in the after life. The art reached Japan in the seventh century, when Buddhist monks from China carried paper to Japan. They gave the skill the name origami and perfected it. 

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The budgerigar, commonly colled parakeet, is o small parrot belonging to the tribe of the brood toiled porrots. Budgerigors are nomadic birds found in open habitats, primarily in Ausiralion scrubland, open woodland and grassland. The birds are normally found in small flocks, but conform very large flocks under favourable conditions. These parrots are extremely nomadic. The movement of the flocks depends on the availability of food and water. Parakeeis come in over 100 colourfu forms but primarily in green (typical in the wild), various shodes blue, grey, white, yellow (combination in one bird) and in variou shades of these colours. A parakeet is 7″ to 9″ in length from its tip the bill over the head to the tip of its fail. The tail by itself is 3 1/8″ to 4 1/2″ long. A parakeet weighs anywhere between 30-40g. If eats the seeds of a variety of grasses, the fresh shoots of plants and any small insects it may discover while foraging.

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Bees are four-winged, flower-feeding insecis. They have enlarged hind feet, branched or leathered body – hair and stingers. Honeybees and bum- blebees are the most common Bumblebees are larger and stronger than honeybees. Bees are beneficial insects because they produce honey and pollinate crops. A bee keeps its sting at the end of its abdomen. At the tip of a bee’s abdomen, there is a shaft where its stinging thorn is to be found. It can sting several times. Once it has left the thom in its victim’s flesh, it will not be able to sting again. It is not true to say that a bee will automatically die once it has lost its thorn. Only female bees can sting. Male bees or drones can’t protect themselves by stinging others. But there is one female species which cannot sting. These bees which live mainly in Africa and South America are not defenseless. If disturbed, they fly at the intruder in great numbers, crawl into his eyes, ears and hair and smear him with a sticky substance, causing him to retreat in great discomfort. 

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Chino doy, one of the purest of the days, is composed chiefly of the mineral kooline is usually formed when gronite is changed by hydrothermal meto morphism. It is one of the most abundant clays available in the earth’s crust. It is light in weight and super white in colour It has a high degree of brightne low plasticity, ease of dispersion and good oil. absorbtion quality kaolinite is one of the most common minerals; it is mined, as koolin, in Brazil, France, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Australia, Korea, the People’s Republic of China and the USA, China clay is the heart of pofteries, tiles, ceramics and many other industries. China cay is used in the wide varieties of paints like distemper, cement primer, wood primer, emulsion paint, texture coating, spray plaster, putties, fillers and undercoats. It is used in varieties of papers, cardboards, hard boards and others. It is used as a filler in combination with others to impart strength and smoothness. To make porcelain (the finest kind of china), it is fused with china stone or petuntse at a very high temperature. 

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Romans played dillerent versions of tennis. The drawings and Some people believe that the ancient Egyptions, the Greeks and the descriptions of any tennis-like games have not been discovered, but o low Arabic words dating from ancient Eg yptian Ilmes ore ciled os ovidence. The theory goes that the name tennis has been derived from the Egyptian town of Tinnis alongside the Nile. The word racquet evolved from the Arabic word for polm of the hand, rohot. Most historians credit the first origins of the game to the 11th or 12th century French monks who began playing a crude handball against their monastery walls or over a rope strung across a courtyard, By the year 1500, a wooden frame racquet strung with sheep gut was in common use. A cork-cored ball also came into use. It weighed around three ounces. Then, ofter 1650 to 1750, the popularity of tennis waned a bit, until Goodyear invented a vulcanized ball more similar to that is used today, In 1874, Major Walter C. Wingfield patented in London the equipment and rules for a game very similar to modern tennis, In the same year, the first tennis courts appeared in the United States

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Everybody knows that tulips come from Holland. Although tulips are associated with Holland yet both the flower and its name originated in the Ottoman Empire. The tulip is actually not a Dutch flower as many people tend to believe. The tulip, as it is called in Turkey, is a flower indigenous to Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia. Tulips are cultivated in Holland in great numbers and in huge fields. The tulip is the national flower of Iran and Turkey. Tulips come in a huge variety of bright colours, including white, yellow, pink, red, black, purple, orange many more. grow best in climates with long cool springs and early summers, but they are often grown as spring blooming annual plantings in the warmer areas of the world. Tulip plants have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12 leaves. The cauline foliage is strap-shaped, waxy- coated, usually light to medium green and alternately arranged. Tulips grow up to 2 inches after being cut. They grow and curve towards the light. and They

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Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree Cinnamonum camphora. Camphor has been used for many centuries as a culinary spice, o component of incense and as a medicine. Cinta monum camphora is native to Taiwan, sou thern Japan, southeast China and Indo-China, where it is also cultivated for camphor and timber production. Camphor tree, Camphorwood or camphor laurel is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 20-30 metres tall. The leaves have a glossy, waxy appearance and smell of camphor when crushed. In spring, it produces bright green foliage with masses of small white flowers. It produces clusters of black berry-like fruit around one centimetre in diameter. It has a pale bark that is very rough and fissured vertically. In ancient and medieval Europe, Camphor was widely used as ingredient for sweets but it is now mainly used for medicinal purposes. 

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The 2008 Olympics took Republic of China, from 8th Beijing, People’s ploce in August (except football, which started on 6th August) to 24th August 2008. A total of 10,500 athletes competed in 362 events in 28 Sports, ne event more than what was on the schedule of the 2004 Games. The 2008 Beijing Olympics marked the first occasion when either the Summer or Winter Gomes were hosted in China, making it the 22nd nation to do so. A total of 37 venues were used to host the events including 12 newly constructed venues. 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records were set. 87 countries (a record number of countries) won medals during the Games. No other country except for China has won the maximum gold medals in the Olympic competition since the soviet break-up. China finished the medal tally with 100 medals, 51 of which were gold medals. 

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cave temples situated in Ellora temples, the largest in India, are Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Ellora cove temples are o perfect example of Indian rock cut architecture. Ellora iso World Heritage Site. The name Ellora itselt inspires world. Ellora is also world famous for the largest single monolithic everyone as it represents one of the largest rock-hewn monastic-temple complexes in the entire excavation in the world, the great Kailasa (Cove 16). There are a total of 35 caves. These caves are comprised of Buddhist, Hindu and Join cave temples and monasteries, which were built between the 5th century and 10th century. There are 12 Buddhist coves, 17 Hindu coves and 5 Jain caves. The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures, created between the fifth and seventh centuries. These consist mostly of viharas or monasteries. The Hindu caves were constructed in the beginning of the 7th century. The temple is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. The Jain temples reveal the specific dimensions of Jain philosophy and tradition.  

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