Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, March 11, 2004








Study: Asteroid Couldn't Have Wiped Out Dinos

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

A Mexican crater, caused by an asteroid crash that many scientists thought led to the extinction of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, has just been dated to 65.3 million years ago, three hundred thousand years before dinosaurs disappeared off the face of the Earth.

The time gap between the asteroid impact and the extinction of dinosaurs suggests that it is unlikely animals and organisms were wiped out by a single asteroid collision with our planet, according to a paper published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers who recently analyzed the Chicxulub crater near Merida, Mexico, now believe a combination of events, including volcanic eruptions, climate warming, and another asteroid hit closer to the Cretaceous-Tertiary period 65 million years ago, led to the mass extinctions.

The determination was made after tests were conducted on a crater sample, which was a core recovered from between 1,312 feet to almost a mile below Chicxulub's surface.

Gerta Keller, lead author of the paper and professor of geosciences at Princeton University, outlined for Discovery News the key pieces of evidence supporting the age of the asteroid hit.

Keller said fossils of Cretaceous species are present in sediment overlying breccia, or molten rock, created when the asteroid crashed into what was once a shallow sea. This fossil layer lies above the breccia but below the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, which is marked by a layer of iridium-rich clay. Iridium is an element that commonly is present in asteroids.

Dating based on magnetism, sediment deposition, carbon isotopes, and analysis of the other minerals present at the site, such as glauconite, all point to an asteroid crash in the area at around 65.3 million years ago, according to Keller. The age is relatively close to the great dinosaur die-off, but not close enough.

"300,000 years is a small time interval when we talk about 65 million years, but a long interval when we talk about extinctions," Keller told Discovery News. "The Chicxulub impact caused no species extinctions. It occurred during a time of major greenhouse warming that was caused by massive volcanic eruptions known as the Deccan Traps in India."

She added, "This volcanism, impact, and climate warming caused a high stress environment that led to dwarfing and the decline of many tropical species and predisposed them to extinction at the time of the second large impact at the K-T boundary."

Keller and her colleagues suggest that a possible site for this second asteroid hit is the Shiva crater in India.

In a report issued by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Buck Sharpton, a planetary geologist with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, agreed that dinosaurs likely were not erased in an instant, but rather over a longer period. Sharpton believes that Earth's atmospheric chemistry underwent changes, due to rock vaporization linked to asteroid hits. The changes occurred over centuries, and slowly led to extinctions.

Sharpton told NASA, "But as to the particular cause of the extinction, be it dust, sulfur, CO2, or smoke, we don't know. When you roll all those things up together, it's a wonder that anything on the planet survived!”


An interview with the new alternative rock band

By Maliha Bassam and Rohini Alamgir

Let us introduce Icons-- a young alternative-rock band consisting of four talented youngsters: Rizu (vocals and guitars), Amit (bass and backing vocals), Shawkat (guitars) and Tona (vocals). Not only have these guys landed themselves a track on the latest mixed album "Din Bodol", which features 19 new bands. In this special interview with the RS, though, they talk about their music, inspiration and everything else that they are made up of, without giving off any air of being superficial. That is probably one of the best things about this band; their devotion to being real is most refreshing.

RS: What does the name "Icons" symbolise?

Rizu: The word "Icons" means role models and that is precisely what we aspire to be; role models in music, whom people will follow.

RS: If not the "Icons", what would you have named the band?

Amit: We did think about changing the name a couple of times. But by then, our track, "Nishpaap Oporadh" was going into the album and Duray Bhai had done much publicity already. I had thought of "Temperamental"…

Rizu: "Point Blank Range" was a possibility as well.

RS: In what genre would your music belong to?

Rizu: Alternative/rock. But our music is more inclined towards rock than alternative.

RS: How did the band start out?

Rizu: The band started out in 2001. In the beginning, Amit and I would mainly jam together. Then Niton joined us as a drummer. Amit, Niton and I, together composed the track for Din Bodol. We needed extra support and so auditioned around ten guys. Then we took up, Shawkat and Tona as permanent members. Niton, our drummer, is part of our regular line-up but he left in January, 2004 for studies in Australia. He had done quite a many shows with us. Robin, from Scarecrow, is playing as our guest drummer right now.

RS: How old were you all when you started out?

Rizu: I guess, the average age was around 22.

RS: How often does the band get together and practice?

Amit: We gather twice a week for practice and more when there is a show coming up. Besides that, most of us hang out together almost everyday.

RS: In the list of your top ten priorities, where would you place "Icons"?

Rizu: Right after studies.

RS: Do you all have your own instruments, or do you often have to share?

Amit: Yeah, we all do have our own instruments.

Rizu: We have a Fender Stratocastor, RP Processors, Boss ME8, an Ibanez GO, a Yamaha Bass and an Ibanez Sound Gear. Since our drummer is currently away in Australia for his studies, our guest drummers use the drums provided by the practice pads.

RS: Are you planning on purchasing new instruments?

Shawkat: If we get an album deal from G-Series, may be.

Amit: Individually, we are thinking of adding some more but right now, we have the basic things for the shows.

RS: Where do you hold your jamming sessions?

Amit: Usually, SAS is booked for our jamming sessions. Sometimes, we hold them at our friends' house or at my cousin's house in Dhanmondi.

Rizu: So far, we do not have a well set-up place.

RS: Since when have you been taking lessons in your respective instruments?

Amit: I started in 1997, so it has been almost 7 years.

Rizu: Since 1999.

Shawkat: Same time around then, in 1999.

RS: What music did you grow up listening to?

Amit: Warfaze, Scorpions, Pearl Jam, Nirvana.

Rizu: I listened to mostly Miles and Guns N Roses.

Shawkat: A lot actually, Megadeth, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Pearl Jam and a lot of Satriani

Tona: I would listen to Miles, Warfaze, Anjan Dutta, Moushomi Bhoumik, Creed, Godsmack, Pearl Jam and a lot more.

RS: Who are your influences?

Shawkat: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, System of a Down, Lifehouse, Godsmack, Nickelback, Oasis, Three Doors Down, Creed to name a few…

RS: Are these the bands you cover in the concerts?

Shawkat (laughing): We hope to cover all these bands someday.

RS: When did you play live for the first time?

Rizu: When we started out, we did mainly mainstream shows. Our first underground concert was on 21st November, 2003.

RS: Did you feel nervous playing live?

Amit: Not really.

Rizu: I guess, there is a little amount of nervousness that a band feels before each show but nothing major that could mess us up. In our cases, it was not that scary since we had performed in concerts before.

RS: How did the audience react?

Amit: We didn't mess up and since our music was good, the audience responded well. There was a really good crowd.

RS: How do you prepare before every concert?

Rizu: We are notified about the concert at least two weeks before it takes place. We sit together and prepare a song list. We actually select a few more songs than what we plan to sing; so we can perform songs that are in accord with the general mood among the audience. Song selection is not a problem since there are so many good alternative songs. We hold around five practice sessions before a major concert.

RS: How did you get your big break?

Amit: Mainly, due to Duray Bhai. Rizu and I were practicing one day when we came up with Nishpaap Oporadh. We liked it and thought of recording it. So we went to Sound Garden, where Duray Bhai was our recordist and he thought our song was good and suggested that we appear on Din Bodol, an album he himself was coordinating.

RS: Will you be trying to appear in more albums in the future?

Rizu: "Icons" is launching itself in the underground circle through the album "Din Bodol". We will give up demos for Aguntuk 3. It all depends on the feedback on "Din Bodol" The thing is, as musicians, we have started out a long time back, much before many others. But as a band, we are relatively new.

RS: What was the inspiration behind "Nishpaap Oporadh"?

Amit: It was quite spontaneous. As we were jamming, the band members each suggested something to add to the song.

Rizu: What we do when we compose is, along with our lyricists, we create the lyrics and the music simultaneously, so that we can at once see the total output together. "Nishpaap Oporadh" had a degree of melancholy to it when we started and we continued composing it, keeping that in mind.

RS: Was this your first recording?

Amit: As "Icons", this was our first recordings.

Rizu: Personally, Amit and I have recorded a few times before.

RS: What was the experience like of the recording?

Amit: It was great!

Rizu: Technically, we faced some tonal problems, but Duray Bhai helped us so much that we managed pretty well. Duray Bhai provided suggestions and helped so much throughout the complete recording, that it took us very little time to record; just one full shift which was around 8 hours.

RS: Tell us about the guest vocalist for "Nishpaap Oporadh".

Amit: Actually, the song demanded female vocals. We thought Armeen's voice suited the part. Shawkat and I have played for her band as guest players so we happened to know her. Armeen has a very nice voice with a classical touch to it that we liked.

RS: Who are your official lyricists?

Rizu: Joyonto and Ether write our songs, including "Nishpaap Oporadh".

Shawkat: Amit Bhai writes the lyrics as well.

RS: Why do you think people will like the song?

Rizu: When they listen to "Nishpaap Oporadh", people will realise that there are certain elements that run through our music. Normal songs have some heavyweight stuff. Our songs have a blend of Indian Classical influences with modern rock; but the blend is very subtle, not something like that which is dominant in today's fusion music. We use all modern instruments, mainly for the reason that we want to perform on stage exactly in the same way that we have performed on the album.

RS: What are some of your previous bands?

Rizu: I belonged to "X's"

Amit: I played for "Fumes" and "Lime Rain".

Shawkat: I was in "Psychokinesis" and "Illusive Dreams".

Tona: As a vocalist, "Icons" is my first band.

RS: Aside from what you already play in the band, what other instruments can you play?

Tona: I play the drums as well, (pointing to Rizu) and he plays the flute very well.

Shawkat: I play the drums too.

RS: Were your families supportive when you started out?

Amit: My family had no problem from the beginning.

Rizu: In my family, music is new. I had to convince everyone about myself but overall there were no problems.

Shawkat: I was the first to be involved in music in my whole family, but I was supported by my parents and younger brother.

Tona: My parents said they were okay with it provided my grades remained fine. I also got a lot of support from my older brother.

RS: Is it always easy to accommodate music along with your studies?

Amit: It's pretty easy for me.

Rizu: It's pretty easy for all of us. The thing is, it is not always possible to maintain a perfect balance between the two. When there is a concert, there is no choice but to make some compromises.

RS: What are your future plans?

Rizu: We will try to appear on the upcoming G-series mixed albums and eventually, try to land a full album for ourselves. Mainstream concerts do not get much importance nowadays; we'd be moving more to the underground circle and trying to do much more concerts.

Amit: The Mafc Metal Alter Part 2 concert is coming up.

SpellForce: The Order of Dawn

Gamespot score: 7.9 in 10, Publisher: Encore Software, Developer: Phenomic, Genre: Strategy, Release Date: Feb 11, 2004, Difficulty: Medium, Learning Curve: About 1 hour, Stability: Stable.
Requirements: 256 MB RAM, 32 MB VRAM, 2000 MB disk space

Real-time strategy games let you harvest resources, build a base of operations, and commission an army to flatten your enemies as quickly as possible. Role-playing games let you play as a character who gradually gains power by attaining fabulous treasures and powers, while also earning experience levels from adventuring. Real-time strategy games have attempted to use more and more role-playing elements recently, and Encore and Phenomic's SpellForce: The Order of Dawn is the latest example of this trend. This colorful strategy game lets you play as a warrior or wizard in a fantasy world while leading an army of elves, dwarves, orcs, and trolls to victory against a powerful foe. It may have a familiar-seeming premise, and it may have a few noticeable shortcomings, but SpellForce's unique combination of role-playing and strategy elements makes it worth a look for fans of either kind of game.

SpellForce lets you start out by creating a character who acts as a powerful military unit in the game. You can choose to be a male or female character that specializes in various types of melee combat, ranged combat with bows, or one of a few different schools of magic. As you complete your adventures and defeat enemies, your character may attain new levels of expertise in these fields, in addition to acquiring new weapons, armor, and magic spells. The game's character advancement is paced well enough to let you create either a focused specialist character or a well-rounded generalist character. And like with any good role-playing game, you may find yourself fighting just one more battle to accomplish just one more goal. You may be trying to gain a level and some new abilities; you may be trying to save up enough coin to purchase a new spell or item from a merchant in a town area; you may be trying to explore the wilderness for hidden treasure chests full of loot; or you may be trying to finish up one of many side quests you'll receive in each level.

SpellForce features six different playable races that you'll eventually be able to recruit in the single-player game (and these races are also available in multiplayer play), which ultimately lets you mix and match your troops so that you can create interesting battalions of healers, wizards, archers, and melee units with different abilities. Multiplayer lets you choose from one of 10 prebuilt characters with various high-level specializations. You then recruit multidimensional armies for competitive play in one of 12 maps.

Movie Review

Welcome to Mooserport

Monroe Cole: Gene Hackman
Handy Harrison: Ray Romano
Sally Mannis: Maura Tierney
Grace Sutherland: Marcia Gay Harden
Charlotte Cole: Christine Baranski
Bert Langdon: Rip Torn
Bullard: Fred Savage

"Let me get this straight," says The Eagle. "I'm running for mayor against the man who is repairing my toilet?" That's Gene Hackman commenting against his mayoral opponent, Handy Harrison, played by Ray Romano. Handy (very appropriate name) is a plumber who owns the local hardware store.

The Eagle is the nickname for the character played by Hackman who is a former president of the United States. He has moved to a small town called Mooseport and suddenly finds himself running for mayor. His problem is he knows way too much about politics in the bigger arena and the movie uses that to comic effect by relating it to politics in the small town.

The movie deals with romantic complications and let's face it, a silly comedy becomes a good silly comedy only when there is a romantic botch-up in the works. Handy has been dating local beauty Sally Mannis (Maura Tierney) for seven years. In all that time he has never had the guts to propose to her because he is a commitment phobic person.

In the beginning of the movie Handy rushes to Sally with a joyous face with the news that he has come into some money. Sally is full of expectations. He goes on to hesitantly explain that the extra money finally lets him do something he has been meaning to do for a long time. But don't expect the guy to bend on a knee with a diamond ring. Yes, Handy can finally buy that pickup truck he always wanted.

Sally is needless to say enraged and when The Eagle asks her out to dinner, she accepts. Of course the Eagle has no idea Handy and Sally have been dating. For that matter, the only reason he's in Mooseport at all is that his annoying complaining ex-wife Charlotte (Christine Baranski) got the big house in the divorce settlement so he is out of a home.

Handy initially offers to pull out, but when he realizes the ex-president's amorous intentions, he campaigns for the mayoralty and his girlfriend as if these bids were one and the same.

Marcia Gay Harden plays Eagle's loyal, increasingly exasperated secretary who wants his attention to land on her instead of Sally. Rip Torn adds some spice with his cynically evil ways in this guileless town as Eagle's savvy political strategist.

At times you will wonder whether such a naive and innocent town could exist in America. But hey, the movie never has anything to do with gross bodily functions or demented sexual relationships. It's a rare type of movie, one that can be called a civilized comedy. The only concession is a naked elderly jogger.

Welcome to Mooseport is a good movie for the family and offers a lot of laughs although it moves slowly at the pace of a turtle on holiday.

Music Review

Dinbodol: Unleashing the Magic

The latest craze for all music fans was unleashed on the 25th of February. This deadly magician was none other than the newest mixed album DINBODOL! Impatiently awaited for a long time, this album has helped new bands step out into the lime light, and enchant all of us with their originality and freshness!

This album's biggest attraction was the fact that it's very first track comprises of ABC (Artcell, Black and Cryptic Fate). Their song "Aashirbaad" was certainly very entertaining, and it is really wonderful to see that all these artistes were able to work so harmoniously together, without any problems, and hopefully there will be more work of this sort, with other bands.

The second track was "Osthir Shomoy" by Metal Maze. It was certainly not up to their usual stands but I guess it will not stop fans from looking forward to a much better performance next time!

Aashor's "Shunno" was, as a start, pretty good, and most alternative fans will enjoy this, and surely we will get even more capturing work in the future!

"Obhishap" by Arbovirus, was pretty intense, but the song was a bit too Linkin Park type, and that really does not seem too popular with the music-fans nowadays!

Much as we all love FBR, their song "Tarpor" was hardly their standard! It sounded more like a children's song, but the words and the meaning were well appreciated!

"Dushopno" by Nemesis, was not all that bad, but is somewhat similar to their old song "Obocheton", but even then, this song was very catchy, and certainly has everyone tapping their feet along to the music.

The sixth track which was by Breach, called "Boshonto" was unfortunately another let down! The chorus was the only enjoyable part of the song…….in fact; it seemed to make up much of the song!

We must certainly put our hands together and applaud Stentorian, because they have really made their fans proud with their captivating song "Onek Bhoy."

Icons brought about a wonderfully fresh mix of Indian classical music and alternative rock, and the beauty of the song was further enhanced by Armeen, who did a really good job and helped make this song an even bigger success!

Poizon Green certainly have lost some of that old charm, because this song, "Ekhaney Mrittu", was hardly as entertaining as their previous one had been. Nevertheless, they still do seem to have put in a lot of work, and that must be appreciated.

Reborn seem to have moved towards alternative in this song "Shobkichu", and this was certainly disappointing, as we were all expecting something totally metal, after "Kritodash" but I am sure that they will do well in whichever genre of music they decide to play, because they are truly a promising band!

Striking's song "Nishiddho Shonglaap" was very different and the beat was very catchy and the lyrics very "striking." So, as a beginning, they have done a pretty good job!

Music Zoo was a big surprise! "Tritio Bishash" was by far the most different song performed! In its way, it was fun to listen to. Music Zoo has made a good start…..hope they can keep up their originality!

Bivishika's song "Mohakal" was really soothing and went well with people who prefer slow songs and overall, they deserve all the praises they get!

As a debut song "Dure Kothaow," by Scarecrow was ok, but nothing great, and the song certainly lacked tune, which was a major drawback!

"Obosheshe" by Vinyl N' Sugar was unfortunately not a very well performed song, but the effort was good, and they deserve to be praised for that!

Moshpit's "Aasroy" was not a bad effort…..in fact, it was an entertaining song, and they certainly did manage to capture our attention!

Helldrivers brought us a fresh change from all the metal and alternative songs, and had us spell-bound with "Jokhon"!

Bloodoria seem to be very patriotic…patriotism goes well with people, and so "Tarporeo Bangladesh" gets a thumbs up!

Overall, Dinbodol was a disappointment in some ways, because though some of the bands have done well, most have not performed up to our expectations, and have let us down. Hopefully, in the future, we will receive much better work, but even then, all the debutantes deserve to be applauded, because their efforts and originality is helping to take Bangladesh a step further in the world or music!

By Rohini Alamgir


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2003 The Daily Star