Oxford Bookstore celebrates 1st birthday

“You missed the best part!” exclaimed the doctor as I entered the hall, an hour late. His lecture was a part of Oxford Bookstore’s first anniversary celebrations. The doctor was Mr G. Lakshmipathi, an eminent humor writer and doctor, and his speech on humor writing was totally hawesome!

I have never met a writer before, and perhaps this was why I found his lecture quite inspirational…he talked about how his friend  had gone bald at a very young age, about how he discussed about sexual problems due to marriage in a marriage hall just before a marriage …and it was all so funny, that I had to laugh until my stomach hurt.

Way to go Oxford…there are not many good bookstores in Coimbatore.  The prices here are quite astronomical, but still there is a much richer collection of books here than anywhere else in the city.  They run fun workshops and programs almost every weekend (This Saturday at 3 – 5 o’ clock they will run an activity on anagrams.) This is where I started reading my first science fiction – my first Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. I couldn’t imagine how running a bookstore is difficult….but thats what they had to say.

Dear Booklovers and Bookworms,
Its birthday time at Oxford Bookstore and Cha Bar. Yes, we have completed one year.
We thank all of you who have supported us in the past year. Though the first year has been tough, your support ensured that we hung in and moved ahead.If not for your patronage and support, we would not be in a position to celebrate our anniversary.
Good luck, booksellers!

Fantasy Sky

The past week has been glorious with spectacular sunsets during the evenings. I have always been an avid sky-watcher, and a sunset is one of the best moments during a day. No two are alike…some are really cool and specia. Take this one for example, which I saw a few days ago…

The sun rays started from the west just after the sun set (left and right pics), reached the top of the sky, and almost converged at the east. (Centre and last pic)(OK, they don’t converge – rays of light are really parallel). Thats a complete one eighty degrees of arc from horizon to the opposite horizon. You don’t know how supercool that was!

I’m still thinking why the rays at the east are multi-colored, like a rainbow…maybe its something caused by scattering of light (then again , it could be my camera…I’m not a professional photographer, you see). I wonder if meteorologists have a name for such phenomena. If not…well, might I suggest arclight?

PS: Here is a picture of a triple sunrise. You really don’t want to miss that!

Edit: Turns out that people did name this phenomena as “anti-crepuscular rays” (LOL, that sounds much cooler than “arclight”). Looky here for more info.

Anticrepuscular rays are not rare but they must be sought carefully. When ordinary crepuscular rays are visible, turn around and search for their opposite numbers. More rarely, sunrays pass along great circles right across the sky.

Dina Malar doomed

Tamil dailies rarely get it right when it comes to scientific news, but for the the newspaper Dinamalar, well… it seemed to have scaled new heights in its stupidity.

Here’s a summarized translation…

Sky watchers in Coimbatore were able to see Saturn during midnight, quite close to the moon. I was visible around 12.33, and disappeared at 1 o clock. The Geography teacher at Government Arts College explains that planets move around th sun in orbits and sometimes they approach quite close to the earth. There are 9 planets and many more have been discovered. Yesterday, Saturn which is greenish in colour , came close to the earth. Using a powerful lens camera he photographed the incident.

Umm, what?

Oh come on people….it seems completely obvious that the ‘green orb’ in the picture is a lens flare…something that happens in your camera when you take a photo of bright objects such as the sun, or in this case the moon. (It is strange how in in this and in UFO sightings you tend to ignore explanations that are inches in front of your face and jump to the supernatural and paranormal). And thats nothing to say of the fact that Saturn is much much farther than the moon is from the earth, so far that you wouldn’t notice it at all – you would just think that it was a star. Besides, Saturn is a yellowish in colour…I can imagine the students at Government Arts College laughing their heads off.

There is really a widespread interest in all astronomical and meteorological phenomena, and it saddening to see that it is being mixed with misinformation. I mean – all the interesting stuff about astronomy goes completely unreported and it is replaced by the ramblings of crackpots. When the Eta Aquarid meteor shower started two weeks ago, the event went largely unreported in the media (The Hindu reported it after the event was over). But I saw it, I saw more than five meteors within the same day – and I would have seen more if I paid proper attention. People need to know about science, about what is real and what is not.