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imageScience in India Past and Present
Various authors, Rs 695
Popular Prakashan

A compilation of lectures, part of a series called Science in India: Past and Present, this book is an essential reckoner for not only developments in science in India, but also history, philosophy, and medicine. Eminent scientists, technologists and scholars featured include mathematician R Sridharan, senior medical advisor at Himalaya Drug Co Dr Rangesh Paramesh, and former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation MGK Menon.

There’s a lot to learn from this book. Did you know that Japan is the most advanced nation in Ayurvedic studies with a large-scale copy of Susruta Samhita in Japanese? Or that despite great advancements in science and technology, 35 per cent of the Indian population is still illiterate and 25 per cent does not have access to clean drinking water? Extensive, packed with references and further reading, and armed with helpful books and websites, this book is a must-have for students and teachers alike.

Ifitweremyhome.com

The lottery of birth is responsible for much of who we are. If you were not born in the country you were in, what would your life be like?

imageimageIf you were living in Turkey instead of India – you would have 3.6 times more money, but you would spend 6.8 times more on healthcare; consume 5.3 times more electricity and 3.6 times more oil and experience 11.41 per cent more of class segregation. On the bright side, you would be 49.44 per cent less likely to die as an infant and 66.67 per cent less likely to die of AIDS. If you have ever wondered what exactly it would be like to live in any other country in this world, ifitweremyhome.com has all the answers you have wanted. Apart from a nifty country comparison, they have valuable insights on each country and further reading resources. Topped up with a disaster page to visualize the extent and effect of the damage from natural (Pakistan floods) or man-made disasters (BP oil spill). Accuracy is suspect, but it will keep you engaged.

Crapshoot: The Gamble with Our Wastes

imageimageDirected by Jeff McKay,
English/2003, 52 min 43 s

Have you ever wondered where all the water, cleaners, solvents, waste, food and other chemicals that you flush down the drain go every day? Produced by the National Film Board of Canada and shot in Italy, India, Sweden, the US and Canada, this film goes looking for answers in… where else?

The sewers. It takes you back in history to the efficient sewerage systems of the ancient Romans and then brings you to back to modern-day Rome and Mumbai. When you discover what lies beneath the surface of the city, it will send a chill down your spine; more so when you find out where most of the waste ends up.

With simple narration, clean and effective shots, Crapshoot is a thinking film that delves into layers of crap to get to the truth.

Learn to compost

image35 to 40 per cent of municipal waste we generate consists of organic matter. Did you know that you can reuse this organic matter, at the same time, reducing the burden of our landfills? That’s why we ask you to – learn to compost!

Step 1, find an old bucket or plastic crate. Better yet, scope out some unused bit of your back yard at home or playground in school, this becomes your compost pit.

Step 2, introduce some earthworms before you put in organic waste in one portion of the compost pit. Cover the waste with dried leaves and sprinkle some water.

Step 3, over the next few weeks, keep adding waste and sprinkling water till your compost pit is full.

WARNING:  Never fill up the pit with water and protect it when it rains or your worms might drown. For more on composting tips, log on to www.compostguide.com or find a local composter in your neighbourhood.
 

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