Why does dry soil emit an odor when water falls on it ?
The peculiar smell is produced by the soil-inhabitting bacteria called streptomycetes. They are abundant in dry warm soil – a million or so of them are present in a pinch of soil. They release compounds such as goesmin and 2-methy isoborneol, which vaporize easily when water falls on them after a dry spell. That’s why dry soil emits an odor when water falls on it.

What is the difference between judo and aikido?
Developed in the 19th century, judo is a Japanese system of wrestling. It was developed from jujitsu in 1882 by a Japanese educator. It tries to develop the skill of using an opponent’s own weight and strength against him. Techniques include throwing and grappling. Judo fighters learn how to fall safely when they are thrown to minimize injury. Aikido is (ai – harmony, ki – spirit, mind or universal energy, do – the way) the way of Harmony with Universal Energy. Created by Morihei Ueshiba (1882 – 1969), it’s based on bujutsu with an emphasis on self – defence and spiritual growth. In aikido, an attack is avoided with flowing, circular movements and it uses grappling, throws, and mainly non-resistance to tackle opponents.

Who was India’s first cricket Test captain ?
Lala Amarnath was independent India’s first Test captain and led India on the tour of Australia in 1947. He was a swashbuckling all rounder and an outspoken personality who was not afraid to speak his mind. After his retirement from the game, he was appointed to the board of selector.

Why are dogs, unlike cats, supposed to be loyal ?
Dogs were domesticated for hunting and herding some 14,000 years ago. While they evolved from wolves, they displayed sociable characteristics that resemble those of human beings, particularly affection and loyalty. On the other hand, cats are domestic creatures but not domesticated, that is why they are not considered as loyal as dogs. In fact, it is said that we don’t own cats, cats own us.

How did clapping of hands originate as a gesture of appreciation ?
In public performances like concerts and during sports events, the audience and spectators have always needed some way of communicating their appreciation to the performers. The communication should be loud enough to reach the performers, the sound should be language independent. Clapping satisfies these requirements. In fact, it is the easiest way of producing a non-verbal loud sound with the human body, and hence crowds must have resorted to it to convey their approval even in ancient times. Clapping at public performance must have also been inspired by the fact that in musical concerts, clapping was used sometimes as a substitute for percussion instruments. Further, the act of expressing joy through clapping is partly instinctive to human beings, as seen in excited children.

What is the Whistle Blower Bill ?
The Whistle Blower Bill was introduced in the US parliament in 2003. To bring into effect an Act related to enabling citizens to disclose, in public interest, any unlawful behavior on illegal action on the part of others that is noticed by them. The person making such a disclosure is called a whistle blower. The Bill describes the kind of public interest disclosures that are permitted under it, who can make such disclosures and in what form, to whom such disclosures can be made, the responsibility of the person to whom a disclosure is made, the protection to be offered to the whistle blower, and several related issues.

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