Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

Erm… Dinosaurs?

I love watching the tailless lizard squirming on the wall… The agony, the anguish is creepily entertaining...or maybe I am just a very bad person. The point is, those squirmy sick brown little creatures have this myth of being the descendant of the dinosaurs. Just imagine dinosaurs shrinking down and becoming a lizard. I know I will not dare to laugh at it…

Now that I think of them dinosaurs, their extinction was caused by the Gas-belching volcanoes. As some scientists said, a series of eruptions that formed the Deccan Traps in what is now India, and probably Bangladesh pumped huge amounts of sulphur into the atmosphere 65 million years ago, with likely devastating repercussions for the Earth's climate. So the lizard in your house can be a dinosaur…

There have been doubts about the killing power of volcanoes because, until now, researchers have struggled to measure just how much toxic gas would have been released. There is however, another theory of the extinction that involves asteroid impacts.

Writing in the journal Science, the scientists concluded that the massive of amounts of both sulphur and chlorine released would probably have had a "severe" environmental impact. The volcanoes may have spewed 10 times as much sulphur into the atmosphere every year as humans have done recently by burning coal in power stations and through other industrial activities. The result would have been widespread acid rain and aerosols of sulphuric acid in atmosphere, cooling the surface of the Earth and upsetting normal patterns of circulation. No wonder the world is close to extinction…

Now think about a teenage dinosaur. What were its activities, did it play any sport? Yes, teenage dinos did have a sport. Butting their heads in violent clashes. With such hard heads, the dinosaurs may have butted one another like bighorn sheep, over mates, food or territory, according to researchers Eric Snively of the University of Alberta and Andrew Cox of Villanova University. They made a simulation to show this “bashing”.

The simulated the animals were movin with closing speeds of both 6.7 mph and 15 mph (3 meters per second and 6.7 m/s). The resulting force would rattle any football player today, but in the dino world, human linebackers would have packed a wimpy punch. "The highest forces we got for a large pachycephalosaur were about 14,000 Newtons, or about as much as T. rex would exert with one of its back teeth," one of the researchers said.

So, my conclusion is lizards are not the descendants of dinos… They are too wimpy and gross to be that!

By Raida Kifait


The inheritance

I tumbled out of my car, the dust still swirling around, and shielded my eyes from the dying summer sun with one hand. With the other hand I held my cell phone to my ear.

'Just a few hours more,' I was telling my secretary. 'I have some business I need to take care of.'

The entire village had turned up to gawk and ogle at me. I pointedly turned my back on them, and unnecessarily prolonged the conversation. I thought that if I kept them waiting, they'd wander off. I was wrong. A visitor from the city was still very much a spectacle.

When I was done, I slipped my cell phone into a pocket of my tailored suit. Well, I told myself, better to get this over with.

'Hello,' I told the crowd at large.

The women giggled. The children shrieked and clapped their hands. One or two of the men nodded in acknowledgement. One of them piped up, 'Are you the landlord's grandson?'

'Yes, I am.' So, they knew who I was.

The crowd continued to stare at me. I stared back at them. Then I uncrossed my arms and took a step towards the well-trodden road that snaked around the village pond and disappeared in the midst of the little brick-and-mortar houses that had replaced the thatched mud huts of my memory. If these people weren't going to help me, I figured, I might as well just help myself.

The crowd parted to let me pass. Then, as one body, they followed close by my heels.

I picked my way through the cluster of houses. Chicken coops, heaps of hay stacked in every compound, smoke from kitchen stoves wafting over the villagethese were still the same. I occasionally passed someone, usually a woman, sitting out in the sun, talking on a cell phone. Some of the homes had electricity. Canned audience laughter, flickering television screens, radios blaring the latest Dhaliwood item songs. Faces appeared at windows as I passed by. I felt their eyes boring holes into my back.

I nearly hollered 'stop looking at me!' but I stopped myself. Barely.

My ancestral home, the sprawling red-brick house with the walled-in courtyard, was at the far end of the village. If you stood on the verandah that ran along the entire length of the house, you had a sweeping view of the pond, the paddy fields that dipped and ultimately faded away into the horizon, and a tiny sliver of the river. On summer nightswhen a steady rain slammed the earth and the moss crept up the wallsmy grandparents (now dead and buried in the family graveyard a stone's throw away from the ancestral home) would sit out on the verandah with their six children and drink tea. This they continued to do even after their children grew up and moved to the city. In fact, my grandfather had been drinking his tea and hotly arguing with one of the village elders when he keeled over and died of cardiac arrest. Two months later my grandmother died, apparently from loneliness.

The house had lain uninhabited for the last five years. None of my grandparents' children had returned to the village. They only came on the days of the funerals, and stayed long enough to see their parents buried. Then they boarded their SUVs and returned to their 3,000-square-feet-flats in the city. Now, now that the matter of the property could no longer be ignored, my father sent me along to 'take care of things'.

Yes, being the first-born grandson had its perks.

I stood at the dilapidated gates. I took in the sagging roof, the courtyard overgrown with weeds. The pondsunk into the center of the yardwas scummy. Frogs frolicked from one mossy stone to another.

The rest of the village spilled into the compound. The crowd, I noticed, had been joined by one of the village elders.

'So, son!' he hollered, slapping me good-naturedly on the back. 'You've come back!'

'Yes. My father sent me…'

'Ah, yes, your father.' The elder laughed lightly. 'He doesn't come by these days. I really wish I could see him and your uncles again. Used to run around this very yard, him and his brothers. They're doing well, I hope?' His eyes held a mist of memories long lost.

'Oh, yes. Very much so.'

'Good. Very good. You know, I remember when this house was first built. Nearly eighty years ago, when your grandfather was your age. Grandest house I've ever seen' there was a murmur of agreement from the crowd'and it's still standing. All it needs is a little work, and…'

I turned to the elder blankly. 'A little work?'

The elder looked back at me. 'Well, yes. Rebuilding it will just cost too much.'

I smiled at him, as if he were a child with big dreams, 'No, no. We've decided not to keep the house.' Every villager gasped and the elder looked faint.

'What do you mean? But-'

'It's of no use to us now. We live in the city. We never come here. What's the point of keeping this dump? Who's going to pay for maintenance?'

'But it's been in your family for four generations now' the elder argued.

I frowned slightly- it was the heat, the dust, and the hundred pairs of eyes staring at me. 'Yes, it has,' I admitted. 'And it's an inheritance that we don't need.'

By Hu


O'Levels results
A story of laughter and tears!

IF you ask an O'Level candidate what he dreads the most, he won't say Pure Maths Questions paper, nor Organic Chemistry! No!! The answer is “Thursday”. The day which his results will come out.

During the exams, everything seems to go on so smoothly. It seems nothing can go wrong. But when the exams are over and we are on holiday, it seems that we've made a big mistake. If I've forgotten to write my candidate number or name? If I messed up all the answers and formulas? An O'Level candidate, at that period of time possesses maximum imagination power and can be write a book entitled “100 Reasons to Screw an exam!!”

And then again, thanks to British Council, because they can never give a specific date or time before the results are announced. So sometimes, it's over even before you realize that it has started. It's like being assassinated. One moment you
are enjoying life. The other- you are dead meat!!

The result themselves has a hype around it. This may seem a little partial, but the British Council site becomes nearly inaccessible during this time. Also, friends who don't have internet access at home call you to check their results. Yes it's not really a tough job, it can become a really difficult when your friend doesn't get good grade, and may cry his/her heart out when you tell your friend he results!

And then………..the party begins!! Cold drinks and fast foods are passed all around; hands are shaken, and as a good friend of mine (who is a girl) said, “You are a murrubi!! You just love to advice others” I spend the day running around, calling my friend to show some sympathy, to the ones who didn't get satisfactory results!!

But what can we do if we get a “B” in one of the subjects by 1mark (like I did)? Can we get back the Daily Star Award by staying gloomy? Life moves forward, it waits for no one. So what if you missed the award on O'Levels, there's always the A'Levels!

The Dark Lord


 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star