The diminutive house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is perhaps one of the earliest birds you can remember from your childhood. Their nests dotted almost every house in the neighbourhood as well as public places like bus bays and railway stations, where they lived in colonies and survived on food grains and tiny worms. Many bird watchers and ornithologists recall with fondness how the house sparrow gave flight to their passion for observing birds. The association between humans and the house sparrow dates back to several centuries and no other bird has been associated with humans on a daily basis like the house sparrow. It is a bird that evokes fond memories and has thus found mention in folklore and songs from time immemorial.
Unfortunately, the house sparrow is now a disappearing species. But like all other plants and animals which were once abundant and are now facing an uncertain future, their numbers are also declining across their natural range. The reasons? Certainly, there is no one single reason for the decline of house sparrow. Its slow but noticeable disappearance has been labeled as one of the biggest mysteries of recent times. A leading newspaper in the United Kingdom – a country that has witnessed one of the biggest declines of the house sparrow population in recent times – declared a cash prize to anyone who could solve the mystery. Needless to add, the reward lies unclaimed.
The house sparrow is believed to be declining for various reasons ranging from the destruction of its habitat to lack of insect food for the young and even the increasing microwave pollution from mobile phone towers.
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Last year, the world produced nearly 54 million tons of electrical and electronic products, but only a fraction of it was reused, refurbished, or recycled. With a relatively short lifecycle, e-waste now litters dumpsites all over the world, exposing humans and the environment to toxic materials.
Some eco-conscious offices use industrial desks made mostly from recycled materials, while a number of homeowners have turned to reclaimed barnwood to create sustainable desks and entertainment centres. However, despite any sustainable intentions, there’s no stopping the constant influx of new and improved technology. In a world where a single year renders a cellphone obsolete, electronic waste is a big and growing problem.
[Data my be outdated]
Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn’t make it through a book anymore. The benefits of reading from an early age through late adulthood have been documented by researchers. A study of 300 elderly people published by the journal Neurology last year showed that regular engagement in mentally challenging activities, including reading, slowed rates of memory loss in participants’ later years. Reading habits have declined in recent years. In a survey this year, about 76% of Americans 18 and older said they read at least one book in the past year, down from 79% in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center.Continue reading “Benefits of Reading and How to Read in the Mobile Era [Infographics]”
By Dr. Mehmet Oz on Oprah.com
From the Japanese to the Russians, the Greeks to the Kuna Indians of Panama, every culture has its own secrets to better health and longer life. These traditional remedies and practices—like drinking a calming herbal tea or cooking with a particular spice—might seem inconsequential, but researchers are discovering that these little things can make a world of difference. Try importing these six habits, all worth bringing home.