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Etcetera

     Print Edition: July 10, 2011

Chasing the monsoon
This year the south-west monsoon arrived in Kerala three days ahead of the June 1 date predicted for it by the Indian Meteorological Department, or IMD, raising fears of an uneven monsoon. But predicting the monsoon down to the date on which it will strike is quite a task. Here is how it is done:

Collating data: Meteorologists use their knowledge of existing weather conditions to plot the 'Weather Map', the basic forecasting tool. It depicts the distribution patterns of atmospheric pressure, wind, temperature and humidity. Of the two types of basic weather maps, the surface map - the one used to forecast rains - is made once every six hours and provides data on distribution patterns of precipitation and cloudiness.

Analysing data:
The data is plotted on the weather map and analysed isobarically - links established between the atmospheric pressure and direction of the wind at different places. Through this analysis, high or low pressure areas, forthcoming cyclones, and weather events are then identified.

It's a date: The data is then compared with that from previous years. Looking at atmospheric distribution patterns and cloud formations of previous years, an approximate date for the arrival of the monsoon is reached.
 
JUST WONDERING
Cleaning the Slate
Anything and everything bearing the imprint of her predecessor M. Karunanidhi and his Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, or DMK, seems to be anathema to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Since returning to power in May, she has scrapped one popular scheme after another of the DMK's and replaced them with her own. These include the rural housing and health insurance schemes, the latter named after Karunanidhi. Wherever it was not possible to undo the work carried out by the previous regime, as in the case of the Rs 1,020-crore legislative assembly complex, she has hit back by launching a probe into alleged irregularities during the construction. She is said to be planning to soon scrap another scheme, a pet one of Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin - that of cleaning up the smelly Cooum and Adyar rivers in Chennai. Is the exercise just political vendetta at its worst? Or, a smart way to start with a clean slate?

QUIRKY
Archie goes desi

There are limits to Indianising foreign material. When McDonald's recently unleashed its Paneer (cottage cheese) Burger hoping to cash in on the widespread popularity of paneer in India, no one complained. McDonald's invested much time and money to come up with a paneer patty that would sit tight in a bun. However, Archie Comic books set in an Indian locale, are another matter: the thought of Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty going desi in the Hindi and Malayalam avatars of the iconic comic book, tucking into samosas and bhelpuri and belting out Bollywood numbers is hardly palatable. The producers of Archie Comics, though, believe they are no eggheads, and their plan makes perfect business sense.

SNOOT CORNER
Quality Time

Timepieces are a collector's delight. A watch's look, feel and weight are its signature traits. The screwing crown is different in every luxury watch. The scratch-proof shield is usually made of sapphire crystal, which means that only a diamond can scratch this shield. The Basel, named after the Swiss city it was developed in, is the moveable circumference placed around the dial of a watch. It can be turned in either direction usually but as a signature trait, high-end luxury brands design it to be unidirectional. Luxury watches use the 316L steel, which is also used to make surgical equipment, because it is a form of steel that does not provoke allergic reactions.

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