ARE CHEETAHS COMING BACK TO INDIA?

Cheetahs to prowl India for the first time in 70 years! The country will be home to the world's fastest land animal for the first time since 1952, when the indigenous population was declared extinct.

Eight cheetahs are set to arrive in August from Namibia, home to one of the world's largest populations of the wild cat. The first arrivals will make their home in the State of Madhya Pradesh at Kuno-Palpur National Park, selected for its cheetah-friendly terrain.

Separately, India is also expected to get 12 cheetahs from South Africa, for which a draft agreement has already been signed, with a final one expected soon, officials familiar with the matter said.

 The Asiatic cheetah could once be found in areas stretching from the Arabian Peninsula to Afghanistan. It is now known only to survive in Iran, where in 2022 only 12 were reportedly still alive.

 Only about 7,000 cheetahs remain in the wild globally, with most of them in African savannahs. The animal is classified as a vulnerable species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species. The arrival of the cheetahs is expected to coincide with India's 75th Independence Day celebrations on August 15.

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WHAT IS MISSING MAN FORMATION?

A missing man formation is executed by the fighter pilots of a country's Air Force. It is an aerial manoeuvre that honours a colleague who has died or is missing in action. The manoeuvre is also carried out for astronauts and Heads of State.

The practice originated in World War I. Britain's Royal Air Force pilots returning from battle would fly in strict formation to alert the ground crew of their arrival. The ground crew recognised the formations and would note the missing aircraft. This warned them of the number of pilots who had been brought down.

The first pilot to be honoured with an official missing man formation was Baron von Richthofen, a German flying ace known as the Red Baron. Pilots put on a spontaneous flyby with a missing aircraft. By 1938, the U.S. and other countries had adopted the practice, and it became common at the funerals of high-ranking military or government officers and at commemorations of war events.

A missing man formation can either lack one plane or have a pilot pull away from it when flying over the site of the funeral or memorial.

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DID YOU KNOW THAT BONDAGE HAD ITS BEGINNINGS IN AMERICAN EARLE DICKSON’S KITCHEN?

When American Earle Dickson married in 1917, he discovered that his new bride Josephine was so clumsy in the kitchen that she cut herself umpteen times a day. Being a solicitous husband, Dickson I would rush to her aid with gauze and sticking tape. Soon, Dickson thought of a better idea. He placed small strips of gauze in the centre of the pieces of sticking tape and then lined the tape with crinoline (a stiff fabric) so that it wouldn't stick to itself. He re-rolled the tape so that Josephine could unwind and cut off whatever she needed. Dickson worked at Johnson & Johnson, which produced cotton and gauze bandages for hospitals and the military. They were impressed with his idea, but the first versions of the bandage they made did not sell very well because they were too big.

Eventually Band-Aid was popularised by distributing them free to Boy Scouts. The company also began machine-cutting them in different sizes in 1924. By 1939, Band-Aid was sterilised, and in 1958, a completely waterproof version was in the market. Today, the company sells millions of dollars worth of the little sticking plasters every year.

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HOW A CHOIR SINGERS IDEA LED TO THE INVENTION OF THE UBIQUITOUS POST-IT NOTES?

In 1968, an American undergraduate student named Art Fry who worked with a company called 3M, invented Post-It Notes-small pieces of paper that can be stuck to any surface, but leave no mark when they are peeled off. The company had been researching a super glue. An adhesive had been invented but its sticking power was so weak it was dismissed as a failure. Fry, who was a choir singer, used the weak glue to make flags for his hymn book. The flags could be removed when needed without damaging the paper, and reused many times.

Post-It Notes became all the rage among Fry's colleagues, but it was not until 1980 that 3M began selling pads of notepaper with a strip of adhesive along one edge for office use. It was an instant success.

The chemist who actually invented the adhesive was Spencer Silver, Fry's senior colleague at 3M. He did not know what to make of it until Fry accidentally discovered its utility.

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WHAT IS A BILDUNGSROMAN?

A bildungsroman is a testament to how literature deals with the souls of individuals. It highlights how our lives are a multi-dimensional confluence of revenge, tragedy, comedy, and satire, seasoned with age and made amicable by experience.

A bildungsroman is a jargonic term used for a coming-of-age story. It is a literary genre that focusses on the protagonist's spiritual journey from a point in his or her childhood to adulthood. Coined in 1819 by Karl Morgenstern a philologist, this term is a combination of two German words 'Bildung' meaning education, and Roman' which means "novel." The first book to ascribe to this genre was Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Published in 1796, this German classic records the titular character Wilhelm Meisters journey to self-discovery through the medium of theatre and art.

The Shift

Literary works of this genre are character-centric and lay special emphasis on the shifts in prespective that accompany life-altering experiences and help mould a more realistic worldview of the character.

A bildungsroman is a testament to how literature deals with the souls of individuals. It highlights how our lives are a multi-dimensional confluence of revenge, tragedy, comedy, and satire, seasoned with age and made amicable by experience. Some popular literary works of this genre include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, and The Lord of the Ring" series by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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