A new research has looked in to the chances of how plants respond to low levels of gravity and a particular hormone that can help the plants to grow in the challenging conditions of space. The research has succeeded in growing plants in high-tech planters that make use of artificial soil that is made from lava rock. The focus of the research is to find a way for plants to grow directly in water and the nutrients supplied through water instead of the soil.
Since there is a short of soil in the space it is important to find a way to get nutrients to the plants without relying on earth. A team at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space which is a part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Social research department (NTNU), has collaborated with the researchers from France and Italy to find new ways to grow and cultivate plant-based foods in space. The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space has been testing the high-tech planters that are made by the NTNU’s technical workshop.
The planter helps to regulate water, nutrients, gas, and air that the plants require. The tests are conducted in the climate-regulated chambers in Netherlands, where the team has been investigating how the plants use nitrogen in particular and how the levels of nutrients that are available affect the amount of water that the plants consume. Silje Wolff, a plant physiologist at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space had explained, “We found that plants can, in a way, ‘smell’ the amount of nutrients available to them”.
Wolff added that when the nitrogen concentration is too low the plant will absorb more water and thus more nitrogen until it reaches an optimal level. The plant also has a mechanism that turns on when the nitrogen level is adequate. It then adjusts the nitrogen as well as water absorption down.
Photo Credits: Digital Trends
For English speaking natives, there are many languages in the world that can look and sound like hieroglyphics or some kind of undecipherable code. However, some are comparatively easier than others. While French, Spanish and even German and Italian for that matter are considered easier to learn depending on one’s ability to understand complexities of a language and its nuances.
Some of these difficult languages are so because they need one to memorize a lot of characters or have incomprehensibly difficult words to pronounce.
Here is a list of some of these complicated to learn languages:
Chiefly spoken in countries like Afghanistan and Iran, this is a language spoken by more than 100 million people worldwide and has its origins in Indo-Italian influence. Though for Arabic and Urdu speakers, speaking in Persian may just be a way of life or an inspiring code of conduct but for native English speakers, only because the language is grammatically different from English, French or other European languages. There are different versions of the language with different alphabets used for different dialects as well as a right to left Perso-Arabic script that one needs to follow in a calligraphic Persian writing.
This is a language that originated in West Germany and is the native language for South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia among some others. Though the language bears some similarities with Dutch dialects, Afrikaan is a language with its own set of rules, grammar and complexities.
Korea being a country marking its own significance in the world history, its official language is spoken roughly by more than 75 million people worldwide. However, a single sentence construction can seem to be the toughest task for a native English speaker. Both verbally and in the form of writing, Korean has different levels, a unique writing system and a vocabulary consisting of alphabets and syllables together, making it an unfamiliar, isolate sort of a script.
The origin of Sanskrit can be traced to an ancient period when neither Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism nor Bengali or Thai existed. In fact, this is one language that is considered to be the mother of all these languages as all these languages extensively borrow some words from this language. Many old religious, philosophical and even historical texts in India are found to be in Sanskrit. Artists from ancient and even medieval periods are known to have created drama and poetry in this language.
The language for about 120-125 million people in the world, Japanese is deemed to be one of the most difficult to learn languages of the world, especially because of its unique script and honorific system. The Japanese culture adds more nuances to the language which makes it all the more difficult for a native English speaker to learn Japanese. The vocabulary and alphabets, both seem alien to English speakers as the characters have been taken from Chinese, another difficult language of the world that also includes different syllables.
Photo Credits: Pixabay.com, Unsplash.com and Stocksnap.io
Steven Spielberg is a name that has inspired and influenced generations and different age groups of people. Not only that, his movies through four decades have spanned several themes, path-breaking concepts and experimental genres. With adventure thrillers and science fiction movies like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the 1970s, Spielberg’s directorial ventures in Hollywood began and since then there was no looking back. He started off with directing for the television and it was Universal Studios that offered him his first TV films and then the director’s chair for the horror-thriller, Jaws that became his first step to the showbiz world.
Here are some more lesser known facts about the renowned and highest-grossing director of Hollywood who has produced and written many of his films:
Empire of the Sun is his darkest film, said Spielberg
Christian Bale’s debut film, Empire of the Sun is believed to be Spielberg’s darkest movie till date. He said, “I made a movie to satisfy me, not the audience,” adding that “It’s as dark as I’ve allowed myself to get.”
His net worth has been estimated to be worth three billion dollars by Fortune and he is the highest-grossing director whose early film, E.T. is one of the highest grossing films of Hollywood, the writer-director chose not to take a single penny for his role in making Schindler’s List only because he believed that the money he would receive would be ‘blood money‘.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was an adventure thriller that motivated the film craftsman to create its sequel in the form of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as he strongly believed that if he did not create the sequel, somebody else will. These insecurities and “pangs of separation” as he called it, were responsible for the direction and creation of Temple. He was quoted saying, “I got a little bit jealous, and I got a little bit frustrated.”
Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. were different from how they are now known as
It was UFOs, political scandals and a whistle blower’s act of creating awareness about government’s move to conceal about aliens that formed the initial script of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, after much rewrites that also involved Paul Schrader of Taxi Driver fame that had been rejected by Spielberg and his team, after which the final script of the movie was penned down. E.T., meanwhile, was initially set to be a horror flick where aliens petrify a family living in the villages.
Steven Spielberg’s creativity is indomitable and unsurpassed. A movie adapted from H.G. Wells’ novel, War of the Worlds was originally intended to document the apocalypse of 9/11 and the aftermath of the tragedy that finally came out to be a family movie. He said about the film, “I never made War of the Worlds for a family audience, it was a very intense post 9/11 apocalyptic movie about the end of everything.”
He described the time between his graduation days and finally his degree for B.A. in Film and Video production in 2002 as the longest post-production schedule. To secure the degree, he submitted Schinder’s List as his student film.
Spielberg had to direct Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to apologize for Temple of Doom.
A director truly becomes a mastermind of films when he can critique his own work. Spielberg found his film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to be “too horrific” which is why as an apology for his second Indiana Jones film, he created the third one, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
As shocking as it may sound, Spielberg never drank a cup of coffee in his lifetime as he dislikes the smell of coffee. “I don’t drink coffee. I have never had a cup of coffee in my entire life. That’s something you probably don’t know about me. I have hated the taste since I was a kid.”
It is even more difficult to believe but is true to the T that Spielberg could not complete his education as he became the youngest director to be signed for a seven-year contract by Universal Studios for TV films and finally got his degree in 2002 at the age of 55. He was a victim to massive bullying in his school days because of his inability to read due to dyslexia which he was not diagnosed with until late.
Parent to seven kids
Spielberg first married Amy Irving, his actress from Close Encounters, who he started dating early on in her career, but separated after their professions started creeping in to their personal lives and later again revived their romance to get married in 1985 to get divorced four years later. Spielberg for the second time married Kate Capshaw, the lead actress in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and is a parent to seven children of the Spielberg – Capshaw family.
Apart from these, Spielberg is also known for his active contributions to video games – he was responsible for building on an idea for a WWII shooting game that came to be the first “Medal of Honor” game.
Photo credits: Shutterstock.com
HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 7 is going straight for the ice and the fire. While there are number of clues as the story progresses, there was one major hint dropped by Jon Snow about the Children of the Forest. From what we know from the book series A Song of Ice and Fire written by George R R Martin, it was these Children who created the Night King. Jon Snow brings the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen into the caves under Dragonstone for two reasons: he wants to show her the dragonglass he’s about to form into weapons, and also the drawings left behind by the Children of the Forest. Though the moral of that part of the story is that unity will help humanity survive against the undead, it also could mean that the Children of the Forest may play a pivotal role in things to come, now that the Great War is here.
The Children of the Forest were the first inhabitants of Westeros. This was a time when there were no men in sight, and the giants lived with these tiny magical creatures in forests that were abundant with weirwood trees out of which were carved faces of the old gods. The first sign of trouble came thousands of years ago when the First Men landed on the shores of Westeros, ready to make war.
It took two thousand years of battle between the Children and the First Men, until they finally signed a treaty of peace on the Island of Faceless Men that made them come together. However, according to Westeros history, the White Walkers were created by the Children at least two thousand years before the signing of the treaty. Where were the White Walkers for two thousand years? Were they building their army, or were they just waiting for the long winter to come?
Again, when the Andals crossed the Narrow Sea with their newly-formed weapons and their new gods, the First Men and the Children of the Forest came together to fight the new enemy. The Children were pushed away into oblivion, and now seem only a myth to the current generation. The First Men moved to the North, where they continue to live and serve their own gods and king. The Night’s Watch was created to protect the realm from enemies far to the north, aka land of the White Walkers. Meanwhile, the Andals began to rule what we now know as the Seven Kingdoms.
If the Children created the White Walkers, it is highly likely that they will know how to destroy them. What we know is that the White Walkers helped crush the Children, their own weapon turned against them. It is still left to be seen if any are alive, after what happened with Bran when he went to first meet with the Three-Eyed Raven.
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Imagine a world without Harry Potter. Thanks to the imaginareums of its creator, author J K Rowling, our childhood was transformed from ordinary happenstances to the magical world of wizardry! Though Harry Potter fans may know the ins and outs of the boy wizard, how much do you really know about his creator, J K Rowling?
J K Rowling and Harry Potter actually share the same birthday, July 31!
Before J K Rowling became one of the richest people in the United Kingdom, she was an ordinary citizen like you and me. One night, she was travelling by train and was suddenly struck by the wonder of the boy wizard. So she jotted her ideas down on a napkin.
It’s not that Rowling didn’t try for success. Unfortunately, 12 publishing houses rejected her book proposal. Then Bloomsbury agreed to publish Harry Potter and well, you know what happens next!
Quidditch is one of the most popular fantasy games out there today. Did you know that the author filled up five notebooks full of made-believe names starting with the letter ‘Q’? Amazing!
What is J K Rowling’s full name? That’s right. Very few know it. Her full name is Joanne Kathleen Rowling. And get this…she actually doesn’t have a middle name. She just borrowed the name “Kathleen” from her grandmother!
Though J K Rowling is the godmother of children’s novels, she actually wrote a book for adults, called The Casual Vacancy in 2012.
In case you see a book by author Robert Galbraith, know that it is actually J K Rowling’s “pen name”. Yes, she has written another book under that pen name.
How come she picked King’s Cross Station of every station in the United Kingdom? It holds a special place in her heart, because that is where her parents first met!
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Think you know your international politics? Maybe you’re more familiar with those topics that were once taught to you in school, like the First and Second World Wars, or more recently, the US Presidential elections. Today, one of the most prominent political figures in the world has to be Vladimir Putin. The President of Russia, now in his third term, a man who was responsible for bringing his country out of severe economic depression and making it a substantial player on the world political stage.
More recently, he was in the news for allegedly ordering a smear campaign against then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, instead siding with Donald Trump.Who is this man? And what makes him such a force to reckon with? Here are some ordinary and maybe not-so-ordinary facts about Vladimir Putin –
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on October 7, 1952 in a communal apartment block in what is now St. Petersburg. The Putins stayed on the fifth floor of the complex. Before Vladimir’s birth, the death of his two elder brothers, one still in infancy and the other due to diphtheria caused his mother a lot of heartache.
Once upon a time, Vladimir Putin was actually married. He and Lyudmila Putina tied the knot in 1983 and were together for over 30 years. They divorced back in 2014. They have two daughters together, Maria Putin and Katerina Tikhonova, an acrobatic dancer.
Putin was named TIME Person of the Year. His mugshot was on the cover of the magazine, shot by renowned photographer Platon. That image of Putin went on to win the World Press Photo of 2008. Legend has it that the Platon was so enamoured by Putin, that he spent over $2000 calling up his acquaintances and boasting about his experience!
At the age of 11, a young Vladimir Putin began training in judo, much to his mother’s chagrin. He went on to earn his eight black belt in 2014.
Putin is actually an avid animal lover. He held a nation-wide competition to name one of his dogs, and settled on Buffy. His Akita Inu he named Yume. His admirers have gifted him a number of animals, including a Siberian tiger, a dwarf horse and a goat.
The Russian President is one for adventure sports. While he is not ruling the country, he is out in the wilderness swimming, riding horses, hiking and keeping himself fit in nature.
Putin was once a part of the KGB, the Russian Secret Service. He even rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
His paternal grandfather, Spiridon Putin, once worked as a chef in the house of Lenin, and even in the house of Stalin. He was also a great influence in Putin’s life.
Apart from being fluent in Russian (obviously), he is also well versed with German. When Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel visited his country, he acted as her translator. However, Putin isn’t that great with English, though he learnt bits and pieces during his time with the KGB.
Putin never cared for religion, and considered himself an atheist during his younger days. But then after his wife met with an automobile accident, and there was a fire in his house, he turned his sights on God. Now, he is a devout follower of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Thanks to his love for all things sports, he managed to convince F1 boss Ecclestone to bring F1 racing to Russia.
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Probably one of the most celebrated filmmakers we are lucky to have in our generation, Martin Scorsese has come up with some cinematic gems for posterity. From Taxi Driver to Gangs Of New York, Scorsese has managed to captivate audiences for decades now. He also help establish the acting careers of the likes of Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. Though it’s difficult to actually pick only five of Martin Scorsese’ best films, since they’re all so good, here is the final list. Presenting the best of the best –
Gangs Of New York
Daniel Day-Lewis plays the role of a veteran gang leader in New York during the Civil War. His new mission is to eradicate all immigrant gangs from ruining his beloved city. Enter Leonardo DiCaprio, an Irish immigrant who makes it his own mission to eradicate the rot of Day-Lewis and his band of thugs. Scorsese manages to re-create a picturesque backdrop of the ever-beautiful New York. This was also the start of a long cinematic partnership with DiCaprio.
This was reportedly the first time that Martin Scorsese was given full creative control of what would become a modern cinematic masterpiece. The film is set in New York’s Little Italy, and launched the career of Robert De Niro as well as Harvey Keitel. Though the film didn’t gain as much commercial publicity as his future films, it truly shows the mettle and movie-making capabilities of its creator.
People thought it was extremely unfair when Scorsese wasn’t given a single Oscar award for his previous works like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. But he finally managed to earn a golden statuette for his 2007 film, The Departed. Starring his latest muse, Leonardo DiCapro, and based on the thriller Internal Affairs, the film kept the audience at the edge of their seats and earned over $300 million at the box office.
Robert De Niro has long been an acting powerhouse, so when he says that he put everything into recreating the life of boxer Jake LaMotta, and backed by Martin Scorsese, imagine the cinematic experience for the audience! The film takes inspiration from LaMotta’s memoir, Raging Bull: My Story and is a heartbreaking tale of reality. Joe Pesci, who played LaMotta’s brother in the film, launched his career and established him as an acting powerhouse as well. All thanks to Scorsese.
“You talking to me?” That famous line from Taxi Driver has become a favorite in Hollywood. The psychological thriller and neo-noir film earned him 4/4 from film critic, Roger Ebert, who claimed it was the best film he had ever seen. The direction genius of Scorsese travels through the mind of a Vietnam war veteran, infatuated with a woman, desperate to help an under-age call girl, and going crazier by the minute.
There is no Martin Scorsese list complete without, of course…
Ray Liotta stars as an Italian gangster living the lavish life. With his partners, played by Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, the fast paced film takes viewers on a high through the life and times of a typical gangster, living the life of a movie star, but with muscle. A must-watch, any time, any day.
Image Credit: IMDb.com
Probably known as one of the most successful rulers in history, his Mongol empire stretched out from modern day Europe to China, the largest that we have ever seen. Thanks to his many military raids, he managed to become extremely wealthy. However, Genghis Khan was as rich as he was generous. According to history, whenever he conquered any territory, the loot would be noted down and then distributed to his soldiers, officers and their families. So in truth, he was more of a real estate holder than actual wealth.
The Microsoft founder will one day become the first trillionaire of the modern world. It is reported that he is worth nearly $79 billion! Yes, with a B. And his success also extends to his philanthropy, where he and wife Melinda Gates use their influence to make the world a better place and are trying to eradicate diseases in developing nations.
Another historical figure who ruled during the golden age of the Moghul Empire. It is said that Akbar I actually had 25% of the world’s GDP during his time. He was a man of great influence, almost as much as his affluence. He build some of the most beautiful structures that still stand as testament to his glorious rule.
It seems that conquering and looting nations is the only way to become a wealthy man. Another historical figure who can probably be considered one of the top five richest men in history is Augustus Caesar. His worth, in today’s figures, is estimated to be $4.6 trillion! He conquered all the productive, prosperous lands, including Egypt that made him so rich.
You probably haven’t heard of his name, but this guy had a lot of wealth. He ruled Timbuktu back in the day and was leader during the time of the gold flow. The shiny metal was in high demand, as it is to this day, and he was sole collector of the fortune. Historians say they can’t even estimate his wealth, because it is way beyond counting.
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Hate them or love them, fidget spinners are the coolest gadgets of the moment. Whether you’re absent-mindedly twirling them or coming up with fun games for your friends, or even if you’re balancing them on the nose of your sleeping pet, these viral little spinners are ruling social media and millennials.
Behind the famed fidget spinner are fabulous facts you probably don’t know about yet –
Fidget spinners go way beyond just their basic three-sided design. Cooler, more high fashion varieties include many more arms, designs and even LED lights with Bluetooth technology. Instead of just randomly spinning it, you can listen to music and watch the trippy lighting blink along to the rhythm.
Fidget spinners remind us of how important social media marketing is these days. The creators began mass producing the thrifty device and advertising through their social media page. They even managed to collect a significant amount of money through popular crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. It is said that online searches for the device exceeded even Kim Kardashian and US President Trump!
And speaking of Kim Kardashian, the reality star is also cashing in on the trend. Her brand, Kimoji, began selling fidget spinners with the star’s face plastered on all three ends. Not only that, but she also has dollar sign ones at a higher price.
The product got a celebrity endorsement from none other than Goop founder, Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The sassy mother had given out fidget spinners on her son, Moses’ 11th birthday. Since then, its popularity has spread far and wide in Hollywood.
According to Forbes, fidget spinners are the latest office trend for 2017. Though schools have tried to get their students to concentrate more on studying and less on this distracting device, offices are an ideal place to spin away and pass the day!
Creator of the fidget spinner, Catherine Hettinger, was inspired to create a device after vacationing in Israel. She was made aware of children pelting passersby with stones, and decided to create something that would help them channelize their energy. And the trending device was born!
One of our favorite shows, ever, That 70s Show was last aired a decade ago, in May of 2006 (can you believe it?!) The show was about a bunch of teenagers growing up in the 70s, a time when American society was just opening up and evolving into something more “modernized”. The cast itself was brilliantly put together, and each character lived up to expectations. All have moved on, some to A-list careers, but they still remain friends to this day, the closest being Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who are now married with 2 children.
Here are some super awesome facts on your favorite TV show that you probably didn’t know about already…
The “stoner circle” is one typical of a group of friends sitting for a session of pot smoking. Due to censors, the show couldn’t actually show a joint being passed around, so smoke was let off in the room and the camera went around the circle, though each character really did act stoned and even a noob could tell you that it is the epic puff, puff, pass way of doing things.
Kurtwood Smith, who plays Red Forman was the only member of the cast who is actually from Wisconsin and probably grew up in the same era that the show is about. And, the character of the Forman patriarch was supposed to be played by Chuck Norris, but he was too busy with Texas Ranger. Looks like Smith did a pretty good job, though we never saw the foot up anyone’s *ass!
Mila Kunis, who played Jackie Burkheart was only 14 years old when she got the part, though she lied to producers and said she was 16 at the time. Danny Masterson, who played Steven Hyde was the eldest kid in the circle, 22 at the time. So, when the show actually ended, Kunis was then 22 years old!
Love was in the air! During the filming of the show, Laura Prepon who played Donna Pinciotti, was datinf Danny Masterson’s brother. Though Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkheart were steady as a couple on-screen, off-screen actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had their own separate lives. Mila has famously said that it was long after the show was over that the two began to hook up as friends with benefits, which slowly turned to love. Now, the two are married with 2 kids!
FEZ, played by Wilmer Valderrama, is actually a short-form for Foreign Exchange Student. No one really knows his full name throughout the show, neither from where he comes. Jackie is the only character who calls people by their names, while everyone else refers to the other by their last names.
And last but not least, there would never have been the name, “That 70s Show”. Originally, the writers wanted to name it after song titles by The Who – Teenage Wasteland or The Kids Are Alright. Due to copyright issues, they settled for their simple title, which, as you would have it, created history.