SCIENCE REPORTER

ISSN: 0036-8512                                                                                              

VOLUME 47                                                      NUMBER   8                                AUGUST   2010

Total visitors:5136 since 10-08-2010

CONTENTS

 

COVER STORY

 

There Goes ‘The Elixir Of Life’…Water!

 K.P. AGRAWAL

 

8

FEATURE ARTICLES

 

Shoring Underground Water Reserves

M. V. SUBBA RAO

 

19

Aha! Moments

POORNIMA MANI

 

29

Epigenetics: New Buzzword in Biotechnology

ARVIND MISHRA

35

 Cancers In Children

Vishwas B. Chavan

 

40

Dendrimers: New Hope For Cancer

SUBHA SANKAR GHOSH

 

43

Role of Bioinformatics in Cancer

APARNA CHAUDHURI & SANTANU CHAUDHURI

 

46

SHORT FEATURES

 

Are You Ready for the “Medi-Soup”

S. BHANUMATI, SHYAM S. SHUKLA & ALKA SHUKLA

 

14

Curse of Land Mines

SABAHUDDIN AHMAD

 

32

THE FORSAKEN WATER CHESTNUT!

V.K. HARIDASAN & G. RAVI

 

53

DEPARTMENTS

 

REACTIONS

6

EDITORIAL       

7

 

SPECTRUM       

16

POINT-COUNTERPOINT

22

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

26

 

 

PUZZLE CORNER

50

 

LIVING FOSSILS                                                                                 

55

NATURAL HAZARDS

56

 

FUN QUIZ

58

WHAT’S NEW   

60

CROSSWORD                     

62

 

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 8-13

 

There Goes ‘The Elixir Of Life’…Water!

 K.P. Agrawal

Extreme water scarcity in the country’s metro cities could be a reality sooner than expected. Delhi is a prime example. Communities, individuals, and industries will have to join hands with government agencies to ward off this not so distant possibility. Water is the greatest gift of nature. But, unfortunately, a gift that humans are squandering away. The world is fast heading towards a water crisis. Its shortage is likely to be so acute that the next world war may be fought on sharing of water resources among various countries. The tensions are all too visible even now. And at the local level even lives have been lost owing to quarrels on water sharing.

                

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 14-15

 

Are You Ready for the “Medi-Soup”

S. Bhanumati, Shyam S. Shukla & Alka Shukla

 

DO you ever wonder what happens to the medicines that you take for headaches, ulcers, infections, depression, and epilepsy?  Does the body use all of the medicine that you take and, if not, where does the unused portion of the medicine go? 

Well, the portion used by the body is metabolized to something else.  Both unused medicines and their metabolites are excreted to eventually appear together in our water systems.  The unused (surplus or expired) medicines that we dump also appear in our ecosystem.  The water thus becomes a medi-soup.  Would you want to drink water that contains all these medications together? 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 20-22

Shoring Underground Water Reserves

M. V. Subba Rao

With taps running dry and erratic rainfall patterns, the coming years will witness extreme water shortage. Shoring up underground water reserves could play an extremely important role in warding off extreme water scarcity in the near future. With water scarcity slowly becoming the order of the day, management of water resources has assumed gigantic proportions. This has become extremely important not only to meet the increasing water needs but also to reduce the flood hazard.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010,  pp 29-31

 

Aha! Moments

 

Poornima Mani

 

How often have you had an Aha! Moment – when the solution to a problem has suddenly emerged after hours of labouring over it? Read more about it.

One hot afternoon at home, I was making an Origami (paper folding) frog. Origami books describe complex 3D folds with 2D drawings. However good the illustrations and descriptions maybe, some folds end up being very hard to understand. That afternoon I was stuck on one such difficult fold. After a long struggle trying out different folds, I was about to give up and close the book, when I had this sudden moment of revelation and I knew how to make the fold. Until this day I have no idea how I arrived at the solution. The answer suddenly ‘clicked’ to me and the frog was done.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 32-33

Curse of Land Mines

Sabahuddin Ahmad

Almost 40 people were killed recently when a land mine blast perpetrated by Maoist rebels blew up a civilian bus in the Dantewada district of the state of Chattisgarh. Innumerable unsuspecting lives are lost every year to such land mine blasts. Children, curious by nature, are the most at risk. According to a report by the United Nations, children in at least 68 countries are today threatened by mines planted on the land they live on. Over 110 million land-mines of various types — plus millions more unexploded bombs, shells and grenades — remain hidden around the world, waiting to be triggered by the innocent and unsuspecting, the report says. So common are mines in Cambodia that they are now used for fishing, to protect private property and even to settle private disputes.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 35-37

Epigenetics: New Buzzword in Biotechnology

Arvind Mishra

 

Many environmental factors like diet, stress and prenatal nutrition can make an imprint on our genes, which can then get passed from one generation to the next through these epigenetic marks. Epigenetics examines the inheritance of characteristics that are not set out in the DNA sequence. A renowned science writer and the author of the book, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You Have Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong, David Shenk, calls “epigenetics the most important discovery in the science of heredity since the gene.” The journal Science too published a special issue on Epigenetics as early as in 2001.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 40-42

Cancers In Children

Vishwas B. Chavan

Childhood cancers can occur suddenly, without early symptoms, but fortunately have a high rate of cure. Although it is painful to see children, who should be playing at their age, being confined to cancer wards, it is true that just as adults children too can get cancer. Childhood cancers can occur suddenly, without early symptoms, but fortunately have a high rate of cure.

 

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 43-45

Dendrimers: New Hope For Cancer

                                                            Subha Sankar Ghosh

When the full potential of dendrimers is determined, the agonies of cancer patients could be alleviated to a large extent. A class of nanomaterials called dendrimers have been found particularly useful in cancer treatment. Dendrimers have often been refered to as the “Polymers of the 21st century”. The name ‘Dendrimer’ comes from the Greek dendron, meaning, "tree". They are nearly perfect monodisperse (a consistent size and form) macromolecules with a regular and highly branched three-dimensional architecture having an average size of around 5×10-9m, which can be artificially synthesized.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 45-48

 

Role of Bioinformatics in Cancer

Aparna Chaudhuri & Santanu Chaudhuri

 

Bioinformatics has today come to the aid of cancer research to seek out the mysteries of cancer progression and has also contributed to the development of targeted therapies. Bioinformatics is the art and science of electronically representing and integrating biomedical information, that is, the genetic makeup, in a way that makes it accessible and usable across the various fields of cancer research.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, August 2010, pp 45-48

 

THE FORSAKEN WATER CHESTNUT!

V.K. Haridasan & G. Ravi

Singhara is known by various names like ‘bull nut’, ‘European water chestnut’, ‘water chestnut’ and ‘water nut’.  T. natans L., an annual plant introduced from Asia, has become abundant in north-eastern United States where it creates a nuisance in lakes, ponds, canals and other slow-moving water bodies. It grows best in shallow, nutrient-rich lakes and rivers and is generally found in waters with a pH range of 6.7 to 8.2. This obnoxious weed out-competes native plants for sunlight and spreads either by the rosettes detaching from their stems and floating to another area, or more often by the nuts being swept by currents or waves to other parts of the water bodies.