Know : Grow and Shrink inside an Ames Room

Do you know how the normal sized humans transformed as Hobbits in the movie The Lord Of The Rings? You too can shrink and grow back as they did 🙂 Because they used several Ames room sets in Shire sequences to make the heights of the diminutively-sized hobbits correct when standing next to the taller Gandalf.

What is an Ames Room? Well before getting into the detailing watch this video by The Royal Institution

A diagram of the true and apparent position of a person in an Ames room, and the shape of that room

An Ames room is a distorted room that is used to create an optical illusion. Probably influenced by the writings of Hermann Helmholtz, it was invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. in 1934, and constructed in the following year.

An Ames room is constructed so that from the front it appears to be an ordinary cubic-shaped room, with a back wall and two side walls parallel to each other and perpendicular to the horizontally level floor and ceiling. However, this is a trick of perspective and the true shape of the room is trapezoidal: the walls are slanted and the ceiling and floor are at an incline, and the right corner is much closer to the front-positioned observer than the left corner (or vice versa). (See overhead view diagram to the right)

As a result of the optical illusion, a person standing in one corner appears to the observer to be a giant, while a person standing in the other corner appears to be a dwarf. The illusion is so convincing that a person walking back and forth from the left corner to the right corner appears to grow or shrink.

Studies have shown that the illusion can be created without using walls and a ceiling; it is sufficient to create an apparent horizon (which in reality will not be horizontal) against an appropriate background, and the eye relies on the apparent relative height of an object above that horizon.


Courtesy : The Royal Institution via YouTube, Wikipedia

Eco Preservation : Palmyra Palm Trees

Borassus_flabelliferBorassus (Palmyra Palm) is a genus of six species of fan palms, native to tropical regions of AfricaAsia and New Guinea. They are tall palms, capable of growing up to 30 m high (98 ft). The leaves are long, fan-shaped, 2 to 3 m in length. The flowers are small, in densely clustered spikes, followed by large, brown, roundish fruits.

Palmyra palms are economically useful, and widely cultivated in tropical regions. The palmyra palm has long been one of the most important trees of Cambodia and India, where it has over 800 uses. The leaves are used for thatchingmatsbaskets,fanshatsumbrellas, and as writing material. In Cambodia, the tree is a national flora symbol/emblem that is seen growing around Angkor Wat. The sugar palm can live over 100 years. 

In ancient Indonesia and ancient India, the leaves were used as paper to write on, as a kind of papyrus. In India, leaves of suitable size, shape and texture, and sufficient maturity are chosen. They are then preserved by boiling in salt water with turmeric powder. The leaves are then dried; when they are dry enough, the faces of the leaves are polished with pumice stone. Then they are cut in the proper size. A hole is cut out in one corner. Each leaf will have four pages. The writing is done with a stylus. The writing is of a very cursive and interconnected style. The leaves are then tied up as sheaves.

palm_treeRiver will go dry if you destroy Palmyra palm trees:

“According to Tamil culture, Palmyra palm trees played an important role in water management in the ancient times. The ancestors had a planned vision for the future water needs of the generations that followed, but most importantly a well balanced ecosystem was maintained.

Unlike other trees, Palmyra palm’s roots go vertically into the ground, which in turn brought the ground water to various levels along the path. It irrigated the land, played a significant role in the circulation of water in the aquifers, river beds and rivers. Since the process is natural and balance of consumption was well maintained. Rivers remained perennial those times and these trees had its own significance. That is why these trees are considered as “celestial trees”  You could find all the traditional ponds or lakes they had dug with Palmyra palms around like a fence.”

The stalks are used to make fences and to make a strong, wiry fiber suitable for cordage and brushes. The black timber is hard, heavy, and durable and is highly valued for construction, such as for wharf pilings. The tree also yields many types of food. The young plants are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal. The fruits are eaten roasted or raw, and the young, jellylike seeds are also eaten. A sugary sap, called toddy, can be obtained from the young inflorescence, either male or female ones. toddy is (called “kallu” in Telugu. The toddy is fermented to make a beverage called arrack, or it is concentrated to a crude sugar called jaggery/palm sugar. It is called Gula Jawa (Javanese sugar) in Indonesia and is widely used in the Javanese cuisine. The roots can be dried to form Odiyal, a hard chewable snack. In addition, the tree sap is taken as a laxative, and medicinal values have been ascribed to other parts of the plant.

In Tamil culture

The Palmyra tree is the official tree of Tamil Nadu. In Tamil culture, it is called karpaha,”Nungu” “celestial tree”, and is highly respected because all its parts can be used. The recently germinated seeds have formed fleshy sprouts below the surface which can be boiled and eaten as a fibrous, nutritious food. The germinated seed’s hard shell is also cut open to take out the crunchy kernel which tastes like a water chestnut but is sweeter. The ripe fibrous outer layer of the fruits is edible after boiling or roasting. When the fruit is tender, the kernel inside the hard shell is an edible jelly that is refreshing and rich in minerals. When the crown of the tree from which the leaves sprout is cut we get an edible cake. In ancient times, dried palm leaves were used to write manuscripts.

Palakkad,Kerala

Palakkad District of Kerala State is popularly known as land of Palmyra trees.Palmyra trees are known as the Icon of this district and has got vast cultural, heritage & literary association. Many novels, stories and poems revolve around these trees. The path-breaking Malayalam novel written by the Indian writer O. V. Vijayan, ‘Khasakkinte Itihasam’ mentions Palmyra trees in various angles. Many people, especially in eastern Palakkad live on earnings by tapping Pamyra Toddy, which are sold in outlets controlled by Co-op Societies.The district authorities are taking the very action to preserve these trees & maintain Palakkad’s Identity.

A Traditional Irrigation System Using Palmyra Palm (Borassus flabellifer) in Kerala, India

traditional irrigation system palm

The multipurpose palmyra palm, is still very important in village culture in India. This paper describes a hitherto undocumented traditional water engineering system prevalent in the Palakkad District of Kerala, India, involving the palmyra palm. (Read more…)

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Courtesy : Wikipediadavesgarden.comRamachandran :Palmyra Irrigation Systemwww.eegarai.net

Know : Can you walk the glass walkway on 4000ft drop ?

Tianmen Mountain (Chinese: 天门山; pinyinTiānmén Shān) is a mountain located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China.

scary_skywalk_china_01 scary_skywalk_china_09

On one side a sheer rock face, on the other a 4,000ft drop – and all to separate the brave traveller from a deadly plunge is a 3ft-wide, 2.5in thick walkway. And if that is not enough to bring terror into the pit of your stomach, the path running alongside a Chinese mountainside is made out of glass, allowing a crystal-clear view of where one false step can take you. So it was perhaps understandable that this woman tackled the walkway by sticking as close to the cliff as possible, feeling her way along with tentative steps.

The skywalk is situated 4,700ft above sea level on the side of the Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, China.

The 200ft long bridge joins the west cliff at the Yunmeng Fairy Summit, the summit of Tianmen Mountain and Zhang Jiajie. And it would appear to be too scary for the cleaners – tourists are asked to put on shoe covers before passing to help keep the path clean. The pathway, built earlier in the summer echoes the glass-bottomed walkway at the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

The 70ft bridge is 4,000ft above the natural wonder and allows tourists to look through 2.5in of crystal-clear glass to the Canyon floor below. The Tianmen mountain, literally translated as Heavenly Gate Mountain is so called because of a huge natural cave that occurs halfway up to the summit. Situated in the Hunan Province, Its highest peak is around 5,000ft above sea level and it is home to a wealth of rare species of plants.

A four-mile-long cable car was constructed in the park, which is said to be the longest of the same type in the world.And no matter how terrifying the glass walkway may be – it can only be an improvement from another sky high mountain walkway located in the same province. The Shifou Mountain, located 82 miles away, offers sightseers a 3ft-wide road made of wooden planks thousands of feet high. When finished the wooden ‘road’ – which is the width of a dinner table – will stretch for 1.8miles making it China’s longest sightseeing path.

A cablecar was constructed by the French company Poma from nearby Zhangjiajie railway station to the top of the mountain. Tianmen Mountain Cableway is claimed in tourist publications as the “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world”, with 98 cars and a total length of 7,455 metres (24,459 ft) and ascent of 1,279 metres (4,196 ft) The highest gradient is an unusual 37 degrees.

Tourists can walk on kilometres of paths built onto the cliff face at the top of the mountain, including sections with glass floors. An 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) road with 99 bends also reaches the top of the mountain and takes visitors to Tianmen cave, a natural hole in the mountain of a height of 131.5 metres (431 ft).

A large temple is also located on the summit with chairlift or footpath access. The original temple here was built in the Tang Dynasty. Today a more recent construction with Tang dynasty architecture occupies the site and includes a vegetarian restaurant in the 10000 sq mi of setting.