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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Baggout- Blog and Win Contest

Link to Baggout Homepage- Baggout.com
Link to the contest blog page- Contest
Blogger_Contest_2 May


So, I get this mail from Baggout.com. Seems like a new Indian startup and the contest sounds fun too. Ok, so here is my entry-

Rajnikant's Shopping Experience on Baggout

Rajni sir once decided to buy a brand new pair of sunglasses for himself so that he could add more to the swag. He had heard of this new website called Baggout.com and thought to give it a try. He threw a cigarette in the air and opened his laptop, browsed the site, checked out all the deals from flipkart, saw that there is upto Rs. 210 cashback on purchases from Myntra.com, 6% cashback from Jabong and upto Rs 188 cashback from Indiatimes Shopping. Impressed with the deals on Baggout, he took a round of Earth, spread the news in other solar systems, came back and caught the cigarette he had thrown in the air with his teeth.

As the news spread that Rajni sir has come online, the web traffic was paused and all mere mortals were made to log out from the net so that he could have a swift browsing experience. The Facebook closed, the Twitter bird flew away, Pinterest's pins got loose and fell down, Tumblr went down the hill tumbling, Google + became Google -... You get the point!

"Whoosh! Whhoosh!" He adjusted his hair and put his hand inside his computer to grab hold of the sunglasses he liked. The laws of physics tried to restrict his advances but he slapped them around and showed them their place. Then he threw all the sunglasses he had chosen in the air. The first one landed swiftly on his face. He kicked the sofa in front of him which tilted to hit the table which shifted a little to hit the vase which reclined on a rocking chair which rocked just 30 degrees to hit a mirror so that it could turn in Rajni's way so that he could see how he looked.

He didn't quite like the shades so he flicked them away with his little finger, just in time for the second pair of shades to land on his face. He smirked in the mirror but soon grew tired of the glasses, he flicked them too as the next pair landed. This went on for a while. Of course for a normal eye, it was all too fast to record. This was all recorded on a camera and played on super slow motion so that a mere mortal can visualize it.

Finally he came to like one pair of shades. He kicked the rest of the shades and they all went back to the website. The web traffic which had paused so that Rajni sir could shop easily went back to normal and the Internet bowed to him for his precious time. Of course, the righteous man he is, he didn't just take the shades. He took them and threw them in the air with a smile. And since his hands were tired from all the trying, he leaned back and let his toes do the transaction.

He got cashback which he immediately donated to charity being the generous one that he is and then took a nap, shot a movie, took a shower, had his lunch, dinner, slept, woke up, took breakfast and the next day came back to sit in the same spot. The shades landed right on time. People from Earth and all other planets with life gave him a hearty applause. He raised his hand to receive their greetings.

Mind it!! #TrueStory!

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Post by Abhyudaya Shrivastava.

Twitter-
My entry for Baggout contest http://t.co/RKK3CaMU91

Monday, 26 May 2014

My role model- Myself

I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com.



Well, at the cost of sounding like a narcissist, I would like to say that my role model is myself. Trust me, it is not an arrogant statement. I don't say that I am so impressive that the World should bow to me or that my only competition is me because I am so awesome. I am not the most humble and modest guy in the World but I know if I say that my role model is me myself, I sound more like a WWE wrestler entertaining people in the ring with my arrogance. I mean in the most humblest, introspective and modest way that I continuously impress myself with all my capabilities and potential. Again, it's not pride, it is just me marveling at all those things that God can endow to a mortal being.

Even in ancient Indian philosophy, this thought is reflected as "Aham Brahmasmi" i.e. I am God. To confuse it with false notions about self would be wrong. The idea incorporates thankfulness, being at peace with who you are and a wish to be the best that you can be.

Ok, I think that is enough philosophy for now. All those who dozed off during my lecture please wake up!

When I look back at my childhood, I remember all those times when I felt awesome. Be it performing well at exams. Consistently. Being a junior voice artist in All India Radio, drawing all those sketches which won me many prizes and accolades; all those nice and mature things I did during my tumultous love life- handling a breakup with maturity, holding in my emotions, I even played Agony Aunt... well Agony Uncle to so many of my friends going through tough times. ALSO... having a sense of humour in times of calamity... All those things make me proud of myself and I want to be the person that I am always.


It is not easy though. It is a constant effort, to do stuff that you love, not to give in to the pressure. I have all the values that I have imbibed from my grandparents- Babaji and Dadiji, the discipline taught to me by my Dad, the compassion and stoicism from my mother; plus all my friends who help me be the way I am by being a constant encouragement; and last but least, all my ex-gfs who tolerated me and made me realize how much I still have to learn.

All these elements come together to form me and I wish that I never stop this process of constant evolution. So, my role model, a mix of all these little values, wisdom and qualities.. is me!

Thanks for watching.

And here is a #Selfie of my clicked by me as me and me pose for the camera-

PS- Here is a link to a more high resolution version of the same video:

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Apptastic Meet

This entry is a part of the #VelfieOnNokiaXL meet experience contest
Nokia XL IndiBlogger Meet

Indiblogger meets are always an amazing place to be. There is a lot of chanting, people show solidarity, passion. It is a fresh change from the routine; plus you get to take photos with celebs and then later show them off on your Facebook profiles.

One's blog gets a lot of social media attention and exposure and there is always the advantage of meeting old friends and making new ones. It would be mighty selfish not to click selfies with them in the meet.
My expression on the prospect of winning a brand new Nokia XL

My expression while trying to woo the judges into giving me the prize

My expression on realizing that I didn't get anything

Me scheming to get the Nokia XL somehow.
The meet started at 5 in the evening and it was a jam packed house. The venue was Oberoi so I was really looking forward to the food and trust me, if I had the patience, I would surely have taken photos of the food and instagrammed it like a normal netizen but when I finally got my platter, I think I turned into a vicious wolverine. Anyway, as I was saying, the meet started- Vineet, Nihal, Swati, Renee and gang were entertaining us with their witty lines and the bloggers' intro session was going on. We were busy 'giving a big hand' to our favourite bloggers- old and new but there was anticipation toward seeing Rajeev Makhni and Vikas Khanna- the two distinguished guests of the evening.

Finally the guests arrived and as always (this was the first time I was seeing them) Rajeev was at his candid best. He broke hearts when he divulged the fact that he was married, the crowd went "aww" when he introduced us all to his sweet lil daughter. Vikas was running a fever and was not talking much but girls sitting by my side found his fever cute too. I do not quite understand...

Then started the bout of activities and giveaways that only stopped until the time got too short and girls started getting restless because of the Cinderella curfew time was fast approaching and the tummies started grumbling. The dizzying number of activities were actually smart ways to introduce smart apps to us smart bloggers. People were made to jump in a pool of colorful balls, do push-ups, make chapatis and even strip (unintentionally) for the grand prize that was Nokia XL. Here are a few screenshots from the Indiblogger photo album from the candid moments that were the highlight of the evening.




There was one disappointment in this otherwise perfect evening and that was that the IndiCamera took no picture of mine through its beautiful, shiny lens. I think it was too busy covering all the pretty ladies or perhaps it was my fault that I was sitting among so many beauties that the camera couldn't possibly cover me among all of them. *Makes sad puppy face*

Anyway, the meet went on and took a non-veg turn when the contest regarding completing a caption starting with "Bigger is better because.." started. We will not go into the details of that contest but let's just say that in a meet that was mostly about software, a little mention of hardware was there. :P

The apps on display were the Profanity Filter which could beep out the profane words in a video and save you the embarrassment. The workout apps offered timers and tech support for the health nuts. Some myths regarding the Nokia XL's multitasking abilities- doubts regarding it were also busted. 

Food was as always good and the bar counter was full because it was Delhi. The barkeeps must have had their hands full. The drunkenness test app seemed a useful measure to check blood alcohol levels. 

Then people hounded the guests and demanded autographs and photographs like their birthrights. It was heartening to see Vikas being so polite and humble with all the requests despite his ill health. Also, if you're conducting a meet in Delhi, you have to have some uninhibited desi moments and yes, there were many.

There was a boy claiming to be 18+, looking 13, competing in push-up competitions with full-grown adults. We also had his mother shouting about his credentials from the back. Then there was a middle aged man showing up repeatedly and shouting in Vikas Khanna's face about the injustice that had been done unto him. Now here's an uncle who takes his culinary skills seriously. Rajiv joined in with the uncle and started pulling Vikas's leg. That was the most hilarious part for me. Then there was the girl who mentioned "boyfriends" and Rajiv was not one of those who'd let that slip of tongue go easily. People jumping in the pool of balls was the scariest. As it was not water, but solid balls, people were advised to take proper care and be gentle; contrary to the appeal, we saw people go face first, head first, all uninhibited fun. 

With those memories, I bid adieu to the Indiblogger and Nokia India team.I hereby thank them for this wonderful opportunity. I wish that next time I get the courage to participate and win too! :D

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My Role Model- Thomas Alva Edison



I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com

This is my third entry to the video blog contest and this time I have chosen Thomas Edison as my role model. I don't think I can arrange for a selfie with him for the selfie contest but I will try my best. :P

Please use headphones if it becomes inaudible, do not try boosting the speakers because the sudden spike in the volume later might get annoying.

Thank you. :D

Book Review- Herzog by Saul Bellow

One of the Penguin classics, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, I don't think this book needs any of the routine introduction that I do for my other reviews. I picked up this book from the American Center Library in New Delhi and was enchanted by the sweetness of its melancholy. There is a hauntingly beautiful, tragic and comic, bittersweet tale of Herzog and then there are stories. This loser-by-choice has had a life full of events and due to his intellectual faculties, he is almost driven to the point of insanity. His friends and family are worried about him but there he is tumbling down the emotional alleys with his brain still intact, wearing it like a helmet as his ex-wife and her lover leave to stones unturned to humiliate him and mutilate his conscience. 

There is no big plot or narrative in the novel and it is written in a laid back style with emphasis mostly on Herzog's life and occasional plight. The inner dialogue and the letters that he writes to random people are the highlight of the book. The academic knowledge and the critical thinking mind of his have both perks and perils. His thought brings him to reality and helps him reflect critically on his own mental situation and gives him strength to battle it out but the same mind makes him vulnerable to snap judgement and comic insanity as he is able to deduce people's motives and intentions from their actions. 

The language is florid and yet simple. The descriptions are particularly vivid and the characters are brought out nicely. There is an intentional ambiguity in the book about the correctness of facts, I think. It lends flavour to the overall theme of the book which displays the world through the eyes of Moses Herzog. 

The characters of Madeleine and Ramona are the two other somewhat pivotal characters of the novel. Madeleine on one hand has been given the shape of the hole that lies in Herzog's heart yet, the tragedy is comic because she is not the only one who happens to have done so. He also has an army of people like his previous wife, his in-laws, his own psychiatrist and a host of other characters who fail to soothe his already ailing heart; Ramona on the other hand is the gooey, disorderly mush that Herzog is unsure can fill the hole in his heart. Our loser is not so unlucky and has his fair share of experiences with women of all sorts. One gets the feeling that Herzog has somehow grown an affinity towards the pathos. The novel is a road to self discovery and it helps one grow as a person. There are situations which are complex, subtle and the wordsmith has just chosen the right words for them. 

A perfect novel for a lazy Sunday afternoon, do not gulp it all down at once, enjoy it sip by sip.


Friday, 16 May 2014

My role model- The average nice guy

This video is a part of the My Role Model activity by Gillette India in association with Blogadda.




In this video, I describe my role model by drawing him out on MS Paint. I hope you guys enjoy the video and excuse me for the slow pace, I tend to speak at a slower pace while drawing.

blogpost (2)


I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

My Role Model - My Dad (Special Free Pass)



Thank you Blogadda and Gillette India for this amazing opportunity. Here is my video entry for the contest and also for the special free pass to directly submit the entry without going through the application process


I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com

Text from the video-

Hi,

My name is Abhyudaya and just like Rahul Dravid, my father is my role model too.

His life is testimony to the fact that impossible is nothing. He started off as an English literature post graduate, resources were scarce and there was pressure on him to start earning.

He switched jobs, took risks, worked hard and steadily climbed up the ladder of success.

From there to a State Bank branch manager has been a long journey.

He kept on growing personally throughout these days of struggle too. He obtained a law degree and that too with distinction in the meantime.

His life has taught me that impossible is only something which you cannot visualize. If you can bring yourself to dream, that's half the job done.

I also learned from him the art of staying calm in calamities. Suppose you're on a countryside road, driving, and suddenly you hear the sound of a flat tyre. What'd you do? Panic? Get angry at your luck? Well, in these situations, i find him smiling, laughing and calmly thinking of solutions.

One more thing I admire in my Dad is his belief in himself. He never talks about failure or loss but always moves ahead with positive energy that he exudes.

Those are just few of the things that make my dad my role model.

Thanks Blogadda and Gillette for the opportunity.

P.S.
Here's a selfie of me with my Dad for the selfie activity. I am all tanned from the Andaman trip. It's the only one I have right now.


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Reading Faces

This post is one of  Spicy Saturday



Go to a public place and look around. A library, a bus stop, a railway station- you'll see faces. Faces that will differ from each other. With the human natural urge to classify and typify them, your mind will start reading them. It is so easy to like or dislike something which in reality is so neutral and uncoloured that it almost defies logic. Almost because face reading is supposed to be a quasi-scientific field of study. One sees all kinds of eyes- eyes that beam piercing gazes, eyes that radiate indifference, nonchalance, sympathetic, friendly eyes. Then there are types of gazes. One can almost strip you naked with a stern, sharp gaze; and then there can be people who'd look lost, their eyes reflecting purposelessness coupled with a bit of restlessness- those wandering eyes scare me the most because they are the kind of people who'd infringe on your privacy without concern to your comfort level. A wanderer, by nature is serene and calm because he has seen most things, nothing excites him easily- wandering eyes however, are in the process of learning that calmness and so restless they are to reach out and grasp every ounce of knowledge bit out there that they'd trample over anything to get there.

Then there are noses. Short, round noses which go well with a smile but there is a hint of unwise goofiness in them; they'd make friends you can keep but cannot trust always. A well-formed, sharp nose has the opposite interpretation for me- someone who'd laugh less but is more trustworthy. All these are manifestations of the subconscious and they are subject to evolution according to one's encounters with faces. Faces are the places where we look for keys to the soul which are by logic, not supposed to exist, or if the keys do exist, their retrieval is not supposed to be that easy.

All these judgments are meaningless and hold no water once the communication barrier breaks. But, once the barrier breaks, you do get to build more concrete, more logical walls, to define, to organize and to judge the personalities you meet. I have met many kinds of people. People who were independent, reasonable, selfish, indifferent, jolly, faithful, unfaithful but the best kind of people were the ones who could laugh at themselves and could share a perspective about their own actions. Now, this cannot be something innate, it comes with reflection and a certain sense of judgement about what is important and what is not. This process, is helped by travel and reading as both of them stimulate parts of the brain that are otherwise untouched by day-to-day chores. A hunger that develops within the person due to this brooding makes him humbler and more pleasing. Someone who is not looking to receive or accept anything is often snooty and unpleasant. You'd rarely find an indignant beggar or a disrespectful shopkeeper.

There are also people who'd open up easily and then there are those who are choosy and picky about the company they keep. Well, extremes of both types are dangerous and one should steer clear of them but then it is inevitable to  align oneself with one or the other type of ideology. I, for one, tend to lean towards the former types. They are generally more romantic people and it is nicer to be in their company. Yes, there is the fickleness of feelings and the sudden rush of emotions that can change the equations easily but the later type (picky ones) are also emotional and driven by much stronger emotions; they indulge in much serious theatrics when their fortress goes down to shambles. Also, faith is not associated with whether the person was nice to you initially or not; it is independent and develops over time no matter how you choose to let it come to you. Then why not choose the more pleasant way- is my question.

Thank you for bearing through my ramblings. :-) 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Nothing wrong with being crazy

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity by starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.
blogpost-image1

It was the time of the 2011 world cup and the day India brought the cup home with Dhoni's helicopter shot. The moment is etched in every Indian fan's memory and I too have my story about it. I was sitting in the common hall of my hostel watching the match with the hollering and hooting of more than 500 students and mess-workers. There was no South Indian- North Indian, religion based or any other divide as cricket was our religion and we were its followers.

But as the innings reached its end, the people on the front benches got excited and stood up. That blocked the view for us back benchers and it became quite difficult in the darkness of the common hall to make ourselves heard. The crowds were going mad and so were we, now in order to watch the match, I jumped like a kangaroo, hopping up and down until the last bowl was bowled, with no mercy to my calf muscles or toes. After Dhoni hit that shot, we all hugged as if it was us in the field playing and winning. Such is the magic of cricket. I danced and celebrated with people that I did not know that day but it was cricket and it was world cup. I later realized that I might have hugged some people I had some grudges against and for that moment, there was no past, no history, only present and only victory. Cricket is India's respite. You can imagine how cricket is more than just a game in India.

Talking about the new starsports.com website, they have done some excellent work for the Indian fan who is always looking to just 'watch the match' any way possible. They have the fastest scoreboard and now you can be the geek even in office, work or even in slow traffic-- telling everyone the score! You'll the go-to guy to so many followers! They also have the zip clips where they show the snippets from the matches, which matter the most, the exciting moments etc, your one stop destination but wait there's more! You have cool features like Action recap and Infografix for a more complete cricket viewing experience. Also... if that wasn't enough, you can also watch the match live deferred by just five minutes, online!! They have kind of just slapped the competing sports channels out of the stadium for a six. :P Check 'em out! And keep rollin'!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Once upon a time on Yahoo! Answers

Some of my answers that I gave on Y! Answers. Just showing off!

1. What is the evolutionary pressure that caused polynucleated cells to form in some protists?
I also would like to know (and this may be cheating asking another question here but...) Does each nucleus contain an identical set of DNA? How does mitosis work with these little guys??? Thanks!!!!

Answer- Great question! And no, I won't call it cheating if you add another follow-up query. It's good to be inquisitive. 

Now, to answer your question precisely, there was no evolutionary pressure that caused polynucleated cells to form in protists as such. The factors that affect evolution viz. natural selection, genetic drift, gene migration, recombination and mutation cannot (with the exception of mutation) cause the appearance of a certain morphological trait as effectively as they can help the organism to sustain it. 

The answer actually lies in the second question you asked. Yes, mitosis. To state it briefly, yes, each nucleus *does* contain an identical set of DNA. 

The reason why cells are different functionally in multicellular organisms is because of the effects of certain gene mechanisms that "switch off" and "switch on" the production of enzymes under specific conditions thus, altering their functionality. 

Now, to answer your primary query-- as you already might be aware that during the cell-division, it is the nucleus that first divides into two: (Mitosis). Sometimes, the outer membrane of the protist fails to separate due to the lack of phospholipid membrane material. This delay in cell division back in the days of the beginning might have resulted in a polynucleated cell. 

The success of this polynucleated cell may be easily justified due to the increased efficiency of the metabolism as the decentralisation of regulating power i.e. nuclear material could have resulted in division of labour and thus, in perhaps the first *ever* "pseudo"-multicellular animal. 

As for your follow-up queries, I think I have provided enough detail in the paragraph above, which you can use as a *very* basic outline and explore the subject further by studying the topic in detail in your book(s).

Q2- What is the exothermic natural process that keeps the heat inside the Earth's atmosphere? 
Answer- That's a nice question in my view. 

In few words, the answer is-- "the exothermic process of air molecules moving towards the earth keeps the heat inside the Earth's atmosphere." 

Ok, now, here's my answer in detail- 

Your question can also be read as- "Work must be done to hold heat and keep it from escaping earth's atmosphere. By whom is this work done and how?" 

Now, as you already might be knowing that heat is held by gases on earth's surface and the gases (atmosphere) in turn, are held by the gravitational pull of earth; I think it might be enough just to give you a background on "HOW" greenhouse gases hold heat and what energy is spent in doing so. 

Let's take the most common greenhouse gas -- carbon dioxide (CO2) to demonstrate the process. Here we go!! First, UV rays and visible light enter earth's atmosphere. UV rays are absorbed by ozone and visible light reaches and heats up the earth. 

Now, an exothermic process takes place. Earth cools down and releases heat in the the form of infra-red waves or IR waves. Now, these IR waves have a heating effect. They strike the molecules of CO2 and other gases in air and heat them up. 

The excited molecules of CO2, methane and others are kept from escaping the atmosphere by the gravitational attractive force. 

Now, this gravitational attractive force attracts the greenhouse gases which are loaded with heat. Attraction results in an energetically stable state of the earth-air system. Stability can be attained only by reaching low-energy state. 

So, the movement of greenhouse gases TOWARDS the earth DUE TO earth's gravitational force of attraction is the EXOTHERMIC natural process required to keep the heat inside earth's atmosphere. 

You might ask that what's the use of moving towards earth and losing energy if the sole purpose of the process is to KEEP energy. The answer is-- the movement isn't a mass movement. The molecules that constantly feel the attraction but don't move towards earth are actually the ones waiting for the molecules under them to heat up and move upwards so that they can come down and release their energy ONLY to gain the energy AGAIN from earth's surface. 

Also, it's not that no heat is ever lost from the atmosphere. The atmosphere is ever-dynamic and all the heat which enters the atmosphere, constantly leaves it too. It's just that it leaves a little late. That's all. 

I hope my answer made sense.

Q3- Inflated balloon is put in a refrigerator and it shrinks. How does the first law of thermodynamics apply?
Answer- Good question! 

First law of thermodynamics states that the internal energy change ΔE of a system is equal to (Q - W). Where Q is the heat absorbed by the system and W is the work done BY the system on the surroundings. 

Now, as you already might be knowing that work can also be expressed in terms of pressure and volume as- 

W = PΔV (where P is pressure of the gas inside the system and ΔV is the change of volume) 

[Here: "system" = balloon; and "surroundings" = refrigerator] 

And as the change in volume (ΔV) in the case of balloon stated above is negative i.e it deflates, work must be negative i.e (minus W). 

Now, as Q is also negative (heat is given off by the balloon), the equation of First Law of thermodynamics reads- 

ΔE = -Q - (-W) 
ΔE = W - Q 

Now, if the balloon was large in volume, the change in internal energy ΔE would be positive and the balloon will either burst or move frantically in the refrigerator shelf. 

But, if the balloon was a small one, it'd slowly become limp and deflate as the Q will overpower W (PΔV) in the equation and the internal energy ΔE will decrease and become negative. 

Please note that I have made a lot of assumptions here that perhaps, might not be so easy to apply practically. 

The points you'd have to consider are:- 

1-How tightly the balloon is wound so that air doesn't leak out of it. 
2- Whether or not there's a leakage in the balloon. 
3- The temperature of the balloon. 
4- The material of the balloon. 

Strictly speaking, the first law isn't even applicable in this case because the condition in the law is that the system (balloon) shouldn't be allowed to move. Its kinetic and potential energies should both be zero which clearly is not the case with our experiment. 

I hope this answer helps! 

Good luck!

Q 4- What is the difference between contemporary, literary and mainstream fiction?I'm just curious. I believe literary is more towards magazines, right? I'm just curious in what work might novel might be under other than thriller and general adult fiction.

Answer- Good question. I wonder what has kept others from answering it. Anyways, I'll give it a shot. Hope you like my answer. 

Contemporary fiction, as the definition of the word "contemporary" implies, belongs to or is about the issues and scenarios of the same times in which it is composed. Aside for serving as a pleasurable read, this type of fiction is often used as a tool to awaken the masses. 

Robert Browning, William Wordsworth et al used their pens to address the sociological issues of their times and helped invoke a sense of awareness about the ongoing political scenario among the readers. 

Contemporary fiction is "with the times, for the times" type of material with a picture of sociological scenario of its age. 

Literary fiction is appreciated and read by a niche audience. It can fall into any of the sub-generes viz., Mystery, Romance, Sci-fi, Women's fiction, Horror etc. but, it has a certain unapproachable aura around it that the common man commonly decides not to indulge much into. Literary fiction has a small and intellectually adventurous audience which appreciates its intricacies, originality and the adroit narration. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997) is an example of Literary fiction. 

Mainstream fiction is the one for the masses. It can be literary or commercial, horror or comedy, suspense or romance. Vaguely, all the best-sellers of 20th or 21st century are considered to be mainstream. Sue Grafton, Arundhati Roy, Michael Crichton and David Guterson are a few of the "mainstream" authors. This fiction mostly addresses personal conflicts, coming of age stories and love matters etc. The plot is intended to be identifiable by a common people from the world over. 

~Now, lemme answer your follow up questions~ 

Literary isn't more towards magazines. The term you might be looking for is "commercial fiction". This attracts a broader audience and can fall under any sub-genre. Most important attribute of it is its sellability or marketability. The quality is compromised for brevity and emotional drama factor in this type. 

Also, please note that thriller and general adult fiction can fall under any of the broad genres of commercial, literary or mainstream fiction. 

I'd say it'd be better and safer to call Romance, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror, Adult, Young Adult etc. as sub-genres of fiction instead of genres. "Genre" refers to a broader array of classification under any of which these "sub-genres" can fall. For example, a "Thriller"can belong to any "genre" from commercial to literary and from mainstream to contemporary! 

Happy reading. 

I hope my answer didn't bore you. I tried to explain the best I could and yes, I did consult a few books before answering

Q 5- How do u remove the jaws from a shark? 
Update : for u there, that's cause u don't have one!
and for the rest, its not like i'm going to do it or anything, its just my teacher wants me to find out, for extra credit.
Update 2: if they are in a shark's mouth
Answer- Actually, your teacher has asked a very good question. First of all, you would need to know what type of teeth are found in a shark's mouth and whether or not you could use a pair of Mr. Dentist's tongs to pull the teeth out. 

A shark has backwardly directed acrodont teeth. Acrodont teeth are those which are directly attached to the jaw bone (unlike our thecodont teeth which are pitted in the sockets of the jaw bones).

One more thing to note is that sharks belong to the class Chondrichthyes (the class of marine fishes with cartilaginous endoskeleton) of subphylum Vertebrata. In simpler terms, the skeleton of a shark is made up of cartilages and not bones.

With that much information, we can say that it is not possible to pull out a shark's teeth because it is directly attached to the jaw bone. But, you can use a sharp object to saw the tooth out as (being cartilaginous) it is softer than that of a bony fish.

P.S. Please understand that it'd be very inhumane to deprive a shark of its only weapon of defence and offence i.e its teeth. It'd die without them.Your teacher intended to know how much you know about a shark's endoskeleton while posing the question. What? You already knew that? oh okie..

Good luck!

Q 6- How do you go about taking the pulse of a city? 
not literally, but figuratively: what do you look for to see if a city is happy, healthy, ALIVE?
Answer- The "pulse of a city" is a pretty subjective term and can be read differently by different people. (Don't be disappointed yet! I am coming to the point....!) However, those who live, commute and socialize in a city over a substantial period of time form common opinions about its citizens, its literature, its civic amenities, its crime rate, local politics etc etc. 

These opinions, when discussed over a cup of coffee in the city's busiest restaurant are overheard and ruminated over by the relatively unexperienced denizens of the city.

Face-to-face discussions (if you call sitting in front of an old guy and listening to all that he has to say- "discussion") with retired professors, teachers, writers, journalists and others whose jobs involved an awareness of "what's going on these days" can also fill you up with a sense of the current pulse of the city and can also lend you with the ability to detect the fluctuations in the pulse in future.

To detect whether a city is alive and happy is easy. I would call it looking around instead of feeling the pulse. The pulse is something else (at least to me).

If people help you out, shopkeepers smile and say thank you, neighbours treat you as family (Yes, that still happens; here in small-town India)... the city would be considered happy and alive.

Every city has its own pace. Metros like New Delhi or Mumbai are busy fast-paced cities. Smaller cities like Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi have more time on their hands. You'd see tastefully decorated drawing rooms in Delhi and think professional home decorators but, in Gwalior, you'd expect that the housewife of the home, or the elder child has crafted those woodworks, decoratively knit fabrics and paintings etc.

These differences in decor give you a sense of the pulse and pace of the city. I believe that the (model) drawing rooms, if closely examined, can serve as great indicators of the pulse of the society. (Do not base your judgement on one or two examples though).

The percentage of youth in malls, cafes, restaurants, parks etc. can also help. The more the young faces, faster is the city!

It is easy to form opinions about the city on the basis of its overall look. What is tricky is to "know" what the crowd thinks. It is just too many opinions, too many voices.

If there is an urgency in your endeavour to detect the pulse, you can go out on one Sunday afternoon and observe faces. If you mingle well enough, you'll return with the threads of city's pulsating linen stuck in your nails and between your teeth (figurative... :)).

Q 7- What initiates parthenogenesis? 
please don't tell me what parthenogenesis is. i already know. what i want to know is what causes it? thanks in advance.
Answer- 

Really interesting question this one. Let me try and answer it- 

In 1936, Gregory Pincus induced parthenogenesis in mammalian (rabbit) eggs by temperature change and chemical agents. While keeping in mind the possibility of artificially introducing parthenogenesis, let's discuss the conditions that might cause parthenogenesis- 

In colonies where males and females live together, there is slim chance of occurrence of parthenogenesis as once sexual reproduction is underway, it is difficult to turn back. The complex mechanisms of sexual reproduction make it evolutionarily difficult for an organism to go back to asexual or vegetative forms of reproduction. 

Also, the presence of a male negates the need of parthenogenesis. 

But in aphids where some species like Brevicoryne brassicae (cabbage aphids) are all females, parthenogenesis is the only way. When in nature, a female population or individual is deprived of male intervention, natural selection and evolution make way for parthenogenesis. 

As you already might be knowing, in higher mammals, progesterone secreted from corpus luteum raises the body temperature and helps in converting the proliferative endometrium into a secretory lining receptive for implantation. If in a chance occurrence, the secretion of progesterone stays there for a longer period and the body temperature as a result also, is higher and thus optimized for implantation-- the ovum might undergo mitosis and act as a zygote. 

The ovum already has the cytoplasmic content and the genetic information. It is just that it is haploid (which also might not be the case if the parthenogenesis is apomictic i.e. non-meiotic). The only reasons for it to not act as a zygote are genetic. It is supposed to wait for the sperm but what if it doesn't? There is nothing stopping it from chancing upon parthenogenetic reproduction. 

So, if one chance occurrence of the ovum being developed parthenogenetically gets successful, it may lead to a whole bunch of parthenogenetic individuals living happily ever after! 

You might observe in the third link given in the source section that some species like humans and apes cannot reproduce parthenogenetically because the embryo dies due to genetic reasons but still, the development of a haploid embryo shows that there IS a possibility always. 

Now, coming to the Gregory Pincus experiment where he experimentally made parthenogenesis possible, you can easily see that regular administration of progesterone and higher body temperature can provide continuous suitable conditions to the rabbit's ovary which ultimately results in parthenogenesis. 

I hope I was able to answer at least a part of your question.



Q 8-  What is the best way of making a protagonist seem morally questionable without having them be instantly 'bad'? 
I have an idea for a new written project in which the protagonist must have questionable moral fibre but not be instantly unlikeable, or roguishly appealing either.

What is the best way of accomplishing this? And if they are to die, how can I make them finally redeem themselves without it seeming 'corny'? Is it perhaps best for them to remain unchanged by the events of their story and, if so, does this make them automatically villianous?

Thanks!
Answer- Hey! 

Nice intriguing question, David. Hmm.... questionable moral fibre and we can't justify the means too little or too much, eh?

Here are a few ways, in my opinion, to do that-

1) Tie the protagonist to one incident.
Many authors do that so, in that way, it is a bit stereotypical but you can try it and have the readers think with the character's viewpoint too. Then, at one point or the other-- have the protagonist do something which was a tad extreme a response to that particular incident.

Let the character have a fixation with a tragedy in his life and justify his doings on the basis of it. Then, at points-- let the reader think that the character should let bygones be bygones now. I don't know... am I clear enough?

2) Give the protagonist a psychological disorder.
A disorder like schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or any of the sort may cover up the character's abnormal or slightly dark behaviour just about right. In addition to that, it will intrigue the reader as he'd like to know what goes through the mind of someone who's not psychologically normal.

3- Give the protagonist a philosophy about life.
A different philosophy like hedonism. Spread out the word about this new philosophy by the impressive dialogues and quotable quotes from the protagonist in the beginning. Later, the reader will begin to follow and at the same time, dislike the character.

4- An extremely good sense of humour can help.
The protagonist may make jokes that can make up for the lack of morality but, for that, first you need to have a good sense of humour which only comes from observation. Don't go over the top with sick or extremely derogatory jokes... just let the reader know that the protagonist has emotions and is observant of all the fear and agony that surrounds him. He just refuses to be frightened or agonized anymore.

Ok, I am out of ideas for now. Good luck with your project.

Coming to the second part, I don't think making them redeem themselves it a great idea. There's no way to make it possible without drastically changing the character sketch of at least one character which is always risky.

This doesn't make your character automatically villainous. A good villain, if you call him villain, is never all black. So, maybe the funny protagonist dies not before churning out one last funny joke or the philosophical protagonist dies with full faith in his thinking and philosophy and that'd do it. Rest lies in your execution of all this.

Good luck and have fun!!

Love,

Abhyudaya (Batman)
Gwalior, India

Q 9- Has Anyone written a poem about the brain? 
I need to write a poem and was wondering if anyone has a poem i could refer too Thanks
Answer- In which year was Mahatma Gandhi slain? 
what is the name of your favourite restaurant chain?
Answers to all these, and much more,
are stored in my head, within my brain.

Oh what a magnificent organ,
is the brain.
It reminds you to take the umbrella,
when it's about to rain.

It helps solve those math sums,
without much strain.
You can memorize stuff,
and throw it down the drain.

It's like a giant corn cob,
our small little brain,
with inscriptions in each,
and every small little grain.

Q 10- Modern Human Evolution? How did all populations of humans advance at the same time? 
For approximately 150-200,000 years, humans essentially lived like very smart animals, then fairly suddenly, about 10,000 years ago, we all seemed to have discovered agriculture and "civilization"..a few thousand years later we were all writing. I have never seen a decent, logical explanation for how all the populations of the Earth took this "great leap forward" at the same time-After 150-200,000 years, suddenly within about 1% of that time frame, there are cities everywhere from the Middle East, to China, to North and South America? Writing starting independently everywhere? For me, this is the most mysterious event in all of history-any ideas?
Answer-  I'll try to make sense while talking about a topic that I know little about. 

1- It all started with the arrival of the first bipedal- Australopithecus anamensis. (some might argue that it was Ardipithecus ramidus). Ok, the point is, as our ancestors started to learn to walk on two feet, they had some challenges to face as bipedalism reduced their speed considerably putting them at a clear disadvantage against their predators.
Now, as this problem was faced by all the hominids all over the world at the same time, it led to some parallel thoughts (and thus inventions and discoveries) all over the world e.g. building homes, making weapons and tools etc. (The stone tools were first made by the handy man i.e. Homo habilis and not Australopithecus).
This tool technology was spread by Homo ergaster as they migrated outside Africa.

2- Then, in the course of evolution, the early humans started to have a complex cultural lives and they grew emotionally, e.g. the Neanderthals (who aren't our direct ancestors) started to bury the dead.

3- As the homo species like homo erectus, homo neanderthalis, homo heidelbergenesis and ancient homo sapiens (Cro Magnon) made further advances in creativity and productivity, they all felt a natural need to pen down their thoughts. This led to the cave painitngs and carvings. All of those paintings can be interpreted as diary entries as you may see that the paintings and carvings simply depict what the early men "did" i.e. hunting, using tools etc.
So, I guess it is understandable why the "pictorial-scripts" developed contemporarily to each other.

4- But the question still remains: Why were the origin of world's ancient scripts so contemporary to each other? I guess, as man found the pictorial depiction of thoughts and emotions more and more unconvenient and tedious due to the diverseness of thoughts and situations to be depicted, it started taking help of symbols. Perhaps, this behaviour was so "human-like" that every sub-species of the homo sapiens followed this pattern of 'depicting thoughts symbolically' universally.

5- Another reason of this might be migration. Before the ancient civilizations like Inka, Mesopotamia, Egyptian etc. even came into existence, the early hominids led a nomadic life. According to the "Out of Africa Hypothesis", all the modern humans "Homo Sapiens" originated from Africa. Later, they migrated to Africa, Asia and Europe and formed groups.
So, I guess due to their similar ancestral origins, the human beings had a common problem solving approach and hence, attempted the problem of inconvenience of pictorial scripts in a nearly identical manner.

The scientific difference in the scripts can explain that they were devised on completely different grounds but, the approach was similar due to common origins and creative grounds.

Q 11- Physicists and chemists: Strength of nuclear string? 
Just from a science-fiction idea viewpoint. If one could construct a string or rope from nuclear material only (in other words, an atomic nucleus that was very long in one dimension), how would you calculate the physical strength. This is a question of converting nuclear binding force to physical "Kg weight" force. Thanks
Update : Ah-Good start-My question was very poorly stated, because one would have to know the binding energy between two nuclei, not the binding energy normally found in molecules, such as covelant binding. I had once read that the strongest physical material would be hydrogen nuclei directly binding, but I cant find anything to address this, so I dont know if it's even physically possible. Thank you for answering though, at least I have a mathematical framework.

Answer- Well, I can't even imagine what you are trying to let us picture but, at the same time, I feel this question must have at least one answer so, here I go without having a clear picture in my mind and perhaps lesser knowledge than required to answer this question- 

Lets first imagine that this fictitious rope is made up of x number of neutrons and y number of protons.

Now, Mass of x number of neutrons = "x" multiplied by 1.00864 atomic mass units.

And mass of y number of protons = "y" multiplied by 1.00727 atomic mass units.

Now, total "expected" mass of the rope = "x" multiplied by 1.00864 atomic mass units + "y" multiplied by 1.00727 atomic mass units

To Convert total "expected" mass of the rope from a.m.u. to kilograms :-
Use the relation- 1 a.m.u. = 1.66 * 10 raised to the power (-27) kg.

Now, weighing the rope, we will find that the actual mass of the rope is lower than the expected mass. Let the diference between the Actual mass and the expected mass be [M], now as Einstein told us:
E = mc^2

We can express this mass difference as:
Binding energy = [M] c^2

I think that to determine the physical strength of this rope, one shall have to divide the Binding energy obtained above by the total lengh of the rope.

After doing so, you'll get the value of the physical force that is keeping the rope intact.

Q 12- "Biochemistry" of alien silicon creatures? 
Silicon is much like carbon chemically, but the Si-O bond is much stronger than the C-O bond, and that is thought to result in reduced possibility that silicon creature would exist. Are there conditions under which the stronger Si-O and Si-H bonds would be as easily broken and organic chemicals, such as high heat? This is another science fiction-like question. Thanks
Update : Thanks Batman-please feel free to answer anything else- It sounds like you are describing a Venus-like planet...though would that be too extreme (800 C)?
Answer- Wow! another brain-tickling question from Neuro-Prof! What imagination! Yeah, that would be pretty interesting to see. I think a planet with such conditions will be a home for people who'd be considered super-heros by us on earth. Silicon would make their skin rough and abrasive. That would be just awesome! 

Now, coming to your question, I think the conditions that would favour such an atmosphere should be-
1- Extremely high pressure. Pyrolysis is one of the methods to break Si-H bonds.

2- Extremely high temperature.

3- Reducing Atmosphere / Abundance of Dihydrogen. As compared to our earth's oxidising atmosphere, a reducing atmosphere would contribute a lot more in breaking the Si-O bonds.

Great question, I must say.