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History's Mysteries
Hanging Gardens

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (present Iraq) are considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. They were built by Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland. The land she came from was green, rugged and mountainous, and she found the flat, sun-baked terrain of Mesopotamia depressing. The king decided to recreate her homeland by building an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens. The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.

The Hanging Gardens probably did not really "hang" in the sense of being suspended from cables or ropes. The name comes from an inexact translation of the Greek word kremastos which means not just "hanging", but "overhanging" as in the case of a terrace or balcony. The Greek geographer Strabo, who described the gardens in first century BC, wrote, "It consists of vaulted terraces raised one above another, and resting upon cube-shaped pillars. These are hollow and filled with earth to allow trees of the largest size to be planted. The pillars, the vaults, and terraces are constructed of baked brick and asphalt." One of the more common mysteries has been how the plants were given water. Babylon, after all, is in the middle of a desert. Excavations in recent years have shed light on this question. Archaeologists now think that a sort of pump system was designed, utilizing buckets of water on a sort of pulley. No such object has been found, of course, but the evidence that has been found fits in with this theory.

There is some controversy as to whether the Hanging Gardens were an actual creation or a poetic creation due to the lack of documentation of them in the chronicles of Babylonian history. A newer theory proposes that the garden was actually constructed under the orders of Sennacherib, who took the throne of Assyria in 705 BCE681 BCE. During new studies of the location of Nineveh (Located on the eastern bank of the Tigris in ancient Assyria) his gardens were placed close to the entrance of his palace, on the bank of the river Tigris. It is possible that in the intervening centuries the two sites became confused, and the hanging gardens were attributed to Babylon. Whatever the case may have been, the lush green gardens of Babylon will mystify each generation.

By Nishita Aurnab
(Source: Ancient Wonders and Encarta)

Math box
The unicorn

The unicorn is a legendary creature like a horse, but with a slender, usually spiral, horn growing out of its forehead. The popular image of the unicorn is that of a white horse differing only in the horn. In medieval lore, the spiraled horn of the unicorns was called the alicorn, and was thought to neutralize poisons. In popular mythology, unicorns were hunted for their horns, which were said to protect one against diseases, or, if made into a cup, would protect on deform any poison that might have been added to one's drink. Perhaps the earliest mention of the Unicorn is by Herodotus, who in the 3rd century BC wrote of the 'horned ass' of Africa. By the 4th century B.C., the Unicorn had become a very popular animal in the Western world.

Traditionally, the unicorn had a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves. Ironically, this perception was more realistic, as only cloven-hoofed animals have horns. Unicorns were once thought of as nasty, easily provoked creatures, unlike the gentle perception we have of them today. Claude Levi-strauss, a French anthropologist, said that "The unicorn is the only fabulous beast that does not seem to have been conceived out of human fears. In even the earliest references he is fierce yet good, selfless yet solitary, but always mysteriously beautiful. He could be captured only by unfair means.” The unicorn was often likened by the early church as a symbol of Christ, who raised up a horn of salvation for mankind and dwelt in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This is the basis for the medieval belief that the only person that could tame a unicorn was a female virgin. The unicorn has been portrayed in many places in different ways. But most agree that the unicorn is seen as a symbol of purity. The perfect form, the faraway light that all of mankind hope to achieve one day.

Law of cat embarrassment

A Cat's irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.
1. Law of Cat Landing
A cat will always land in the softest place possible.
2 .Law of Fluid Displacement
A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.
3. Law of Pill Rejection
Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
4. Law of Cat Composition
A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn't Matter.
5. Law of Selective Listening
Although a cat can hear a can of tuna being opened a mile away, she can't hear a simple command three feet away.
6. Law of Equidistant Separation
All cats in a given room will locate at points equidistant from each other, and equidistant from the center of the room.
7. Law of Cat Invisibility
Cats think that if they can't see you, then you can't see them.
8. Law of Space-Time Continuum
Given enough time, a cat will land in just about any space
9. First Law of Concentration of Mass
A cat's mass increases in direct proportion to the comfort of the lap she occupies.
10. Second Law of Concentration of Mass [2]
The mass of a cat is inversely proportional to her desire to be picked up.
11. Law of Cat Washing
A cat will wash herself at any time which is appropiate, which includes especially the moment after something has been jumped and escaped.
12. Law of Cat Probability (Cat's Uncertainty Principle)
It is not possible to predict where a cat actually is, only the probability of where she "might" be.

Love Lines

Something's fishy
A fisherman's wife was sitting by a tent in a clearing on the bank of a river when along came the park ranger and said, "Excuse me ma'am but I need to speak to your husband. Can you tell me where he is?"

She replied, pointing to a clump of reeds. "Go over there and look for the pole with a worm on both ends."

Business sense
A man who owner a local grocery store was out delivering orders in his station wagon when he hit and injured a little, old lady. The lady sued and was awarded an amount large enough to drive the man out of business.

After difficult times he managed to accumulate enough to try again. But a few months after opening his doors he struck an old gentleman with his delivery truck. The gentleman sued and collected big damages, enough to ruin the merchant yet again.

On a peaceful Sunday the grocer was sitting in his living room when his little boy entered and called out, "Father, Father, Mother's been run over by a great big bus."

The grocer's eyes filled with tears, and in a voice trembling with emotion he cried, "Thank the Lord, my luck's changed at last."

Quick thinking
Resolving to surprise her husband, an executive's wife stopped by his office - and found him with his secretary sitting on his lap.
Without hesitating, he dictated, "...and in conclusion, gentlemen, shortage or no shortage, I cannot continue to operate this office with just one chair that is safe to use."

I see dead waiters
Six months after a French waiter died, his widow went to see a medium, who promised she would contact the man in the great beyond.

During the seance, the widow was sure she saw her husband standing in the corner, dressed in his waiter's outfit.

"Arnold!" she cried. "Come closer and speak to me!"
A ghostly voice drifted from the corner... "I can't. It's not my table."

Art with heart

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organized their second annual art competition for charity at the Shilpokala Academy on August 25. The competition, titled 'Singapore in my imagination' boasted 50 schools and over 200 contestants this year.

Kang Siew Kheng, Regional Director South Asia, Middle East & Africa, and Kenneth Lim, Area Director, STB inaugurated the event. Sitting in on the judges panel were Prof. Samarjeet Roy Chowdhury, Prof. Rafiqunnabi, renowned cartoonist Shishir Bhattacharya, and Prof. Abul Barak Alvi.

Sadia Sultana Tasnim from Maple Leaf International School clinched the 1st place, while Mosaddeq Ahmed Sijan from SFX Green Herald School and Tasneem Mohammad Zarif from British Columbia School were 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively. The prizes were handed over by Kok Nam Tan, Hon'ble Consul General of Singapore in Bangladesh.

The top 100 images were displayed at the Shilpokala Academy for two days following the event. All proceeds from the sale of the artwork went to the International Centre for Diarrhoea Research, Bangladesh, ICDDR,B.

The Sea
The sea has a design
Which a river doesn't have
It has an expression
Which a pool doesn't have.
I have an expression about the sea,
Which I can see
Around myself
By Nawshin Tabassum Binte Alim

Handle with Care
Keep the environment clean, the nature's beauty
We should keep it safe, from the enemies who make it dirty
We should beat the rest
And make our environment the best
Our world should be clean, and also green
Fulfill your duty, give our Earth some beauty
We should take an oath not to pollute
Our beautiful environment

Wafeeqa Azam Khan





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