Which is the biggest school in the world?

The biggest school in the world is located in India in the city of Lucknow, Utter Pradesh. The name of this school is City Montessori School. This school was founded in 1959 by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi and his wife (with monetary loan of Rs. 300 at the time).

City Montessori School, Lucknow

The City Montessori School started with only 5 pupils. Today the number of pupils in the school is around 59000. It has 1050 classrooms, about 4000 computers, and the staff - including teachers, peons, cleaners, electricians, gardeners, auto-drivers - of 3800.

The school was declared as the world's largest school by Guinness Book in 2013. The record is unbroken till day.

What is the connection between insulin and body fat?

While people are dying of starvation in many parts of the world, obesity is the threat to another group of people. The world is becoming obese, numerous health reports say. And most of the fat people blame the hormone insulin rather than their less than ideal eating habits.

Insulin plays a huge role in our health matters. It is a hormone released by pancreas when the blood sugar rises above the normal level i.e. when we eat food. Our normal diet includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. The food we consume needs to be broken down into basic nutrients for our body to metabolize them. The protein breaks down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and carbohydrates into glucose. They all make their way into the bloodstream.

These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and it is facilitated by insulin. The rise in sugar levels in blood stimulates the beta cells in pancreas to release insulin which signals the fat cells, muscles and liver to absorb the nutrients, especially glucose. The insulin level drops once the nutrients are absorbed, and maintains a normal level. This is a constant cycle. Every time we eat food, pancreas releases insulin which is essential in regulation of the blood sugar levels. The glucose is stored in cells in the form of glycogen.

Insulin has a significant role in controlling the body fat storage. As said above, insulin discourages the breakdown of fat cells and enhances the creation of body fat. If we consistently consume more amount of calories than we burn, it gradually results in insulin resistance. It means the muscles and liver stop responding to the pancreas' release of insulin. They have only a limited capacity to store glucose and send it to the fat cells, creating more and more body fat.

The insulin resistance prompts the pancreas to release more insulin, and finally the cells fail to respond to the pancreas. This leads to pancreas stopping the release of insulin, making the blood sugar levels go high and result in type-2 diabetes.

Considering its duty, insulin tends to take the blame for making people overweight. However, the problem lies in the eating habits. It is the excess amount of glucose that is stored as body fat. So the simple way to regulate the body weight is controlled diet.

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Why nuclear explosions create mushroom clouds?

Those who have watched the videos of atom bomb explosions must have noticed the different type of smoke created by the explosion, rising in the shape of a mushroom and spreading out. The first thing to be noted is that mushroom clouds are not exclusive to nuclear explosions. Mushroom clouds are created in any explosion that releases sufficient energy for certain conditions to develop. It can be formed from the explosion of vacuum bombs or even volcanic eruptions.

Mushroom clouds can be formed only from the explosions occurring in a gravitational field. Without the gravitational force, the resulting gas cloud will retain its initial form of sphere. As for the nuclear detonation, it is conducted at some distance above the ground to maximize its impact. Immediately after the explosion, a pyrocumulus cloud is formed. This massive fireball made of hot gases spread outward swiftly. Since the fireball is much hotter and less dense than the surrounding air, it will begin to rise rapidly. It is the same principle behind the working of a hot-air balloon. And it is this rising ball of burning gases that eventually forms the mushroom cap.

As the fireball rises, a scientific phenomenon called Rayleigh–Taylor instability is formed. It happens when two fluids of different densities are merged and subjected to acceleration. It propels the lighter fluid upwards. As a result, the air is drawn upwards and into the cloud, similar to the case of a chimney. It causes the volume of gases to form the shape of an inverted cup. The upward acceleration of the fireball produces strong air currents known as afterwinds, and these afterwinds will draw the debris from the ground to form what is perceived to be the stem of the mushroom. Once the rising fireball reaches an altitude where its density is equal to that of the surrounding air, it begins to disperse, and the debris drawn upward from the ground will scatter and drift back down. The stabilization point will depend upon the atmospherical features of the place and the altitude at which the detonation takes place.

Mushroom clouds would mainly consist of the fission materials and debris. It would not be formed in the explosions that take place much above the earth's surface and underground. Mushroom clouds are often accompanied by short-lived vapour clouds, known as 'Wilson clouds', which form a ring around the mushroom cap. It is a result of the low pressure created by the negative phase of the shockwaves from explosion which lowers the dew point as well, triggering the formation of temporary clouds.

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Why is uterus removed? How is it done?

Uterus can be removed for various purposes. Some women remove uterus from family planning point of view, while sometimes it is recommended by doctors as a preventive measure against cancer or other diseases. Before we move ahead in the topic, let us understand the basic anatomy of uterus and other aspects related to it.

What is uterus?

Uterus is a complex organ which is a part of reproductive system of female anatomy. It is also referred as womb. It is roughly the size of a pear and is located in the pelvic region beneath navel or belly button. It holds fetus and expands numerical times its original size. 

Uterus comprises three layers of tissue- perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium.
  • Perimetrium: It is the outermost layer of uterus.
  • Myometrium: It is the middle layer of uterus that consists of soft muscles.
  • Endometrium: This is the innermost lining of uterus which is formed over course of a month. It is this lining that is shed during menstruation period. If pregnancy occurs, endometrium layer plays an important role in supporting placenta and supplying nutrients to the fertilized egg.

How does uterus function?

Ovary releases egg into fallopian tubes and through fallopian tubes, it reaches into the lining of uterus. Fertilization is union of female gamete (egg) and male gamete (sperm). If fertilization doesn't occur in this stage, uterus lining that has been formed over course of weeks will slowly begin to slough away and pass out from female body through menstruation. If fertilization occurs, zygote will be formed and will stick to the inner lining of uterus. This zygote will slowly develop into a baby over gestation period of nine months.

During natural childbirth, fetus is pushed out of the womb by contraction action of uterus. Even after the baby is born, uterus contracts further to regain its original size and help in restricting blood flow that happens during childbirth

Why is uterus removed?

Uterus can be removed for multiple purposes. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove uterus. Let us see the reasons for which uterus can be removed. 

  • Treat chronic pelvic pain
  • In case of uterus cancer, cervical cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Infection in uterus lining
  • Benign tumors (fibroids) formed in uterus
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease- disease of reproductive organs
  • Uterine prolapse- Condition wherein uterus slips from its original position into vagina or birth canal
  • Adenomyosis- Thickening of uterine walls when endometrial tissue encroaches muscles of uterus. It causes pain and heavy flow of blood during menstrual cycle.
  • Endometriosis- Condition wherein endometrium layer grows outside the uterine cavity.

How is hysterectomy performed?

To perform hysterectomy, you will be administered either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia will only make the part which is to be operated numb whereas general anesthesia will make your whole body numb and you will sleep throughout the operation. You may be required to stay in the hospital for few days after the surgery. Let us see different ways in which hysterectomy is performed:

  • Abdominal hysterectomy: Vertical or horizontal incision is made on the patients abdomen. Uterus is removed through this incision. The marks are healed in short period of time and scars are not visible.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: A small incision is made inside the vagina through which uterus is removed. Since, there are no external cuts, this procedure doesn't leave any visible marks.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: This procedure makes use of laparoscope- a long, thin instrument to which high resolution camera and high intensity light are attached in the front section. Instead of one large incision, three or four small incisions are made on the abdomen. Laparoscope is inserted through these incisions to remove the uterus.

What are the risks of hysterectomy?

Though hysterectomy is uber safe, it does have some minor and rarely occurring risks associated with it. Here are some risks associated with hysterectomy:
  • Chances of infection around incisions
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Injury to tissues and blood vessels
  • Injury to surrounding organs like intestines, bladder etc.

Post hysterectomy recovery tips:

Recovery time depends upon the type of hysterectomy performed. If you have had abdominal hysterectomy, then recovery time is more as compared to other types of hysterectomies. There are few recovery tips that you must follow in order to accelerate healing process.
  • Try walking as soon as possible as it will reduce chances of blood clots in lower body
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Bending exercises should be refrained
  • Sexual intercourse should be avoided for at least few weeks after hysterectomy

Laparoscopic hysterectomy cost and hospitals in India:

If you search on the Internet, you will come across many websites that provide information about laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Many hospitals in India offer cost-effective laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Cost of treatments count upon which type of hysterectomy you are recommended by doctor. For more information about hospitals and cost, click here.

It is important to note that once you undergo hysterectomy, menstrual periods will stop and you won't get pregnant. Generally, women and their partners who do not wish to have children, undergo hysterectomy.

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How are oases formed in deserts?

Deserts are not ideal place for humans to inhabit. The harsh conditions are not suitable for any creature, let alone humans. Yet, there is something that could make the human habitat possible in the vast sea of sand. Those are the oases. In geological terms, an oasis is an isolated area of fertile land, a patch of vegetation. Would you believe that without oases, the world wouldn't have been like now? Many great journeys in human history have been through deserts and the travelers wouldn't have made to the other end of the desert if not for the oases.

An oasis is a green patch of land formed around a water source. This makes possible the growth of vegetation and the development of an ecosystem, albeit small, around it. If it is large enough, the environment also provides living conditions for humans, helping to evolve as a civilization.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the formation of oases that individually or in combination with other factors facilitate the formation. For an oasis to form there should be a water table beneath the land. Depending in the geographical features, the water source can be an underground river or an aquifer or an above ground river in the proximity of the desert. Lakes and seas lying near the deserts are also able to trigger the creation. The water can seep to the surface with enough pressure and form an oasis. Man-made wells are also utilized to access the water in many places.

The oasis formation is also helped by heavy rains and storms in the desert. Since the sand is porous, the rainwater would ooze down the pores and it might be trapped by the various layers of rocks and stones, thus creating a water source for the oasis. Powerful storms displace huge amount of sand which lowers the level of land and bring the waterbed closer to the surface and easily accessible.

The vegetation growth is often aided by the migratory birds who drop seeds which sprout in the presence of water. Date palms, figs, peaches and apricots are amongst the most common plants found in oases. These plants, particularly date palms, help to trap the water further and better the conditions for organic life.

Oases have played important role in the course of trading and cultural exchange between various civilizations, and the progress of human lives. The notable ones include Kharga in Egypt, Tutua in Algeria and Kufra in Libya.

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What was the Cold War? And why is it called Cold War?

Despite the phrase, the cold war was not actually a continuous armed conflict. Rather, it was a tense political situation created by the aggressive policies of both the United States of America and the Soviet Union (USSR). It virtually ended with the dissolution of the USSR.

After the second World War, the USA and Soviet Union emerged as the two superpower nations in the world. They were powerful and influential economically and militarily but polar in ideologies, one an avid practitioner of capitalism and the other a staunch supporter of communism. Even though they fought the war on same side, their relation was filled with mutual distrust and suspicion. The two powers gradually began to extend their spheres of influence and and the world began to split into two blocs, the Eastern Bloc, led by Soviet Union and the Western Bloc, headed by the US. The USA formed military alliances such as NATO and SEATO. At the same time the Soviet Union began to practice their expansionist propaganda, leaving both the powers in a race for domination.

The term cold war was first used by renowned writer George Orwell in in his essay You and the Atomic Bomb in 1945. The first specific use of the term to denote post-war confrontation between the USSR and the United States was in a speech by Bernard Baruch on 16 April 1947. The term got wide popularity with the book The Cold War by newspaper columnist Walter Lippmann.

The Berlin Blockade (1948–49) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. It expanded with the Chinese Civil War and the Korean War (1950–53). The USSR and USA tried to assert their domination and bring the countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia to their respective blocs.

Major crises, such as the Suez Crisis (1956), the Berlin Crisis (1961), and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) followed. The Cuban crisis was particularly noted for escalating the tension almost to a direct confrontation between the two powers. Later, the USSR crushed the Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the US suffered a defeat in the Vietnam War that had been going for two decades.

During the 1980s, the Soviet economy began to suffer a stagnation. It was only aggravated by the two reforms introduced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Glasnost and Perestroika. Gorbachev also ended the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. At the same time, various republics in the USSR witnessed rising waves of national sentiments. Freedom revolutions hit the countries and the communist regime was peacefully overthrown in most East European countries. The only nation that witnessed bloodshed was Romania.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union lost control of things and it led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. Parallely, communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia and Cambodia also collapsed.

The cold war inspired a new movement as well, the Non Aligned Movement. It was spearheaded by India, Egypt and Indonesia and included primarily the nations of Asia and Africa liberated from colonial rules. These nations didn't align themselves with any of the blocs and stayed neutral in the situation.

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Who invented bubble wrap? And what is the story behind it?

All of you must have come across that bubbly sheet at one point of time. Fragile things often come packed in it, and children and adults like to blow those bubbles with same enthusiasm. The bubble wraps, as they are called, provide safety for the things by cushioning them from impacts. These kinds of things are those we take for granted, seemingly irrelevant but play significant roles in our daily lives.

Like with a fair number of inventions, bubble wrap was supposed to serve an entirely different purpose. It was invented by two engineers named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes in 1958. They were actually attempting to create three-dimensional wallpaper while they made the bubble wrap.

What they did was a simple thing. They sealed two shower curtains together in such a way that air bubbles were captured. It gave the wallpaper a textured appearance. But contrary to the inventors' hopes this idea of wallpapers failed to make an interest in the market. However, the two inventors found another use for their product, and decided to market it as greenhouse insulation. Though the material provided some kind of an insulating effect, this idea didn't connect with the customers either.

It took a couple of years for the product to find itself a relevant use. And, it was the idea of Frederick W. Bowers, a marketer at Sealed Air, a company co-founded by Fielding. It was then the IT giant IBM introduced their new 1401 variable word length computer. Bowers was consumed by the idea that Bubble Wrap could be used as a good packaging material to protect the computer during the shipment. He presented his idea to IBM and demonstrated the advantages of using Bubble Wrap to cover the computers. Satisfied with Bower's presentation, IBM began purchasing Bubble Wrap to cover their 1401 and other fragile products they manufactured. The new use of bubble wrap became extremely popular and many companies came forward to use the product to protect their products.

Bubble Wrap is now a generic trademark owned by Sealed Air Corporation. The bubbles on the sheet come in various shapes, even that of heart. There is even an International Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, observed on the last Monday of January. Believe it or not, the annual sale of bubble wrap is worth $400 million.

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