Category Archives: Free Falling

Allergies make for big business!

About 250 million Indians suffer from one or more allergic diseases. Only 60 million are suffering from cardiac problems. The sale of antihistamine or anti allergic tablets is between Rs 600-800 crore a year in India. About 40 per cent of the global population has food allergies.

Pic: isitthattime.com

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Ivory prices hit the sky, push poaching up

In just the last eight years the price of illegal ivory has increased 15 fold from US $100 a kg to $1500 a kg.

In 1999 Japan was the only legal buyer of ivory. In 2008 it was joined by China. The three biggest illegal ivory markets are in China, Japan, and Thailand. Continue reading

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African elephant: what a beast!

The African Elephant is the largest living terrestrial animal, normally reaching 20-24 feet in length and 11.5 to 13 feet in height at the head. An adult weighs between 6-9 tonnes.

The elephant normally moves at a rate of 6 km/h), but it can reach a top speed of 40 km/h when scared or upset. Continue reading

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Alexander Parkes & that plastic thing…

It was Alexander Parkes who invented plastic in 1855; little did he know that it would turn into a curse polluting every thing it touched. 150 years later we are still trying to get rid of it. Tons enter the world’s oceans annually and endanger marine life. Continue reading

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Jumbo deaths in Tanzania: is poaching metric accurate?

The poaching metric in places like Tanzania, as in most parts of Africa, is window-dressed. To claim that their elephant population is in good health it’s calculated at the ratio of carcass to live elephants. Tanzania claims it has a poaching metric of just two per cent. Continue reading

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Too small, too many

India comprises just 2.4 per cent of the world’s inhabitable geographical area. Yet it supports 16.7 per cent of the world’s population. This leads to tremendous pressure on its natural resources.

(Pic source: internet)

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This ‘Chatting Toilet’ is now the rage

They called it the Mahila Gappa Shauchalaya. Which roughly translates as the ‘women’s chatting toilet’. It was an instant success when the model was put up. It offered a safe and healthy experience to women. They could talk to each other as they went about their business. And there was fresh air.

The village is Deolgaon Mali. In Mehkar tehsil. The district is Buldhana in the bowels of rural Vidarbha, of eastern Maharashtra.

It began about three years ago with a regular tussle that the villagers had with the BDO for they refused to offer the money for a community toilet. Continue reading

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It’s an unequal world, alright!

There was not one single year between 1952 and 1986 in which the richest 1 per cent American families earned more than one-tenth the national income.

Yet after rising steadily since the mid-1980s, in 2007 the income share of the richest one per cent reached a staggering 18.3 per cent of the total American wealth. The last time America was such an unequal place was in 1929 when the equivalent figure of the richest percentile was 18.4 per cent.

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Oil demand surges, production cost falls

The world oil consumption is rising again. The price of a barrel is moving towards $100. By 2035, demand may reach 110 million barrels a day, about 20 per cent more than in 2009.

The interesting thing is that the cost of production has been falling. A few years ago, most firms thought that the breakeven price was $75 per barrel. But now companies such as Shell say new developments are economical at $50.

There are obstacles mainly because of the sheer dirtiness of the business. In America, objections to the import of bituminous oil are loud; domestic opposition to exploiting tar sands and building pipelines which has long been fierce is gathering strength. Global production of conventional oil, the stuff that can be recovered easily using drills and wells is near or already at its peak. Only a leap in output from unconventional sources will prevent new surges in price.

Even if countries around the world agree on measures to control CO2 emissions, tar sand oil, like Canada’s, must fill a supply gap in the future. With more than 70 per cent of the world’s remaining oil in the hands of OPEC, half of its free oil is in the tar sands.

And that’s a good reason for the Americans to want to exploit these tar sand reserves of Canada.

(Pic source: internet)

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Fine wine and crude oil dance in step …

A bottle of the best wine can cost over $5000, whereas an equivalent volume of crude oil (about a liter) sells for a dollar or less. The bottle of wine may taste a little rough, yet fine wine and crude oil have more in common than you may think. Their prices have risen and fallen in step in the last 15 years.

Wine experts usually explain the price movement by supply-side factors such as weather and age. But supply has only a small impact on prices. Continue reading

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