The Ancient Wollemi Pine


Wollemi Pine pic

Wollemi Pine

Amita Vadlamudi is an IT veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Amita Vadlamudi also has a wide range of interests ranging from astronomy to the world of plants.

One of the most important discoveries in the plant world in recent times is the Wollemi Pine. In 1994, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officer David Noble was on a hiking trip in the Wollemi wilderness of the Blue Mountains, a forest found 150 kilometers west of Sydney, Australia. The Wollimi wilderness is the most inaccessible area in the rugged mountains. It has over 400 plunging canyons.

As he hiked along, Noble noticed a group of unfamiliar-looking trees thriving in a deep rainforest canyon. The trees had barks resembling bubbles of chocolate and were up to 38 meters in height. He gathered some leafage and had them examined at NPWS and the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney.

What Noble discovered was eventually called Wollemia nobilis (or Wollomi Pine), belonging to an ancient family of trees. In the world of botany, it was the equivalent of finding a living dinosaur. The tree was prevalent in the southern hemisphere forests for over 100 million years. Around 2 million years ago, dramatic climate change caused their demise.

It was astonishing how a very small number of the pines were found relatively close to a major city. A project was launched in the mid 2000s to commercially propagate and sell the pines to ensure their survival.

Brief History of the Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail pic

Oregon Trail

A computer science graduate of St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, Amita Vadlamudi has led a successful career in the information technology industry. Among Amita Vadlamudi’s many interests outside of computer science is American history.

One significant undertaking in American history that led to the mass settlement of the western United States was the discovery and use of the 2,000-mile Oregon Trial. This stretched from Missouri to Oregon. In 1800, what was known as Oregon Country still belonged to the British Empire. In 1803, the U.S. government secretly funded the Lewis & Clark expedition with a plan for the eventual settlement of Oregon Country, but the route that Lewis & Clark made was too hazardous for travel by wagon.

Fur trader Robert Steward took an opposite approach starting from Fort Astoria in western Oregon to Missouri. What became known as the Oregon trail covered 2,000 miles from Fort Astoria to St. Louis. This was undertaken by Steward in 1810 and took 10 months to accomplish. The bigger accomplishment was that the route allowed for possible family travel by wagon.

In 1843, close to 1,000 people formed a wagon train beginning in Missouri and were able to successfully reach Oregon Country using the South Pass, a 12-mile-wide valley that allowed crossing through the harsh Rocky Mountains. With thousands of people settling in Oregon Country, England ceded it to the U.S. government in 1846. Thousands of people used the trail in search of cheap farmland or for gold mining in California.

The Ancient Development of Pottery Techniques

Pottery Techniques pic

Pottery Techniques

Amita Vadlamudi has a background in information technology that includes providing computer systems analysis support for distributed system and mainframe platforms. Amita Vadlamudi has a strong interest in ancient civilizations and traditions that developed, such as the craft of pottery.

With humans’ use of clay dating back as far as 30,000 years, the oldest place of pottery manufacture discovered so far is the Odai Yamamoto site in Japan. Fragments found at the archaeological site have been dated as far back as 16,500 years. By about 13,000 years ago, the Jomon culture of Japan was creating intricately patterned clay vessels that were used in food preparation. The Jomon employed an open-fire technique that involved relatively low temperatures.

Pottery was taken to the next level in the Near East during the early Neolithic era. The same high-temperature ovens used for baking bread and parching grains were used to fire pottery and create a superior end product.

Amelia Earhart’s Accomplishments in U.S. Aviation

Amita Vadlamudi

With a background in IT spanning three decades, Amita Vadlamudi served as a computer systems analyst and provided support for a diversity of mainframe and Unix systems. Amita Vadlamudi has a longstanding interest in ancient cultures as well as more recent American history.

One of the most dynamic public figures of the early 20th century was Amelia Earhart, who started flying as a hobby in 1921. Progressing quickly, she broke the women’s altitude record the following year, exceeding 14,000 feet. In 1928, she became ingrained in the American consciousness as the first woman to fly transatlantic, though she did so as a passenger.

Earhart continued to open doors in aviation for women in the 1930s and set increasingly ambitious goals. In 1932, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo, and in 1935, she was the first person to pilot a plane from Hawaii to the continental United States. Two years later, she embarked on what turned out to be her final adventure: a 22,000-mile flight that would span the globe at the equator. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the way through her journey, Amelia Earhart and her navigator disappeared in the Pacific Ocean, en route from New Guinea to tiny Howland Island.

The Evolution of Roman Architecture

Roman Architecture pic

Roman Architecture

With more than 35 years of experience working in the information technology industry, Amita Vadlamudi is knowledgeable about computer mainframe products and programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, Perl, and others. When not immersed in building and installing operating systems, Amita Vadlamudi enjoys learning about the Roman Empire and its ancient architecture.

The ancient architecture still found in Rome was paramount to its success back in earlier centuries. Even though the Empire may have fallen over 1500 years ago, its extraordinary builders and engineers evolved culture and architecture in a way that was unmatched for hundreds of years.

Sanitation and public health presented challenges to early Roman cities, and fresh water was required from farther distances. Around 312 BC, Roman engineers realized that stone, concrete and lead pipelines could move clean water into the cities. Although the Romans didn’t necessarily invent aqueducts, their civil engineers did such a great job of refining them that some are still used today.

Inca and Aztec Architecture

Inca and Aztec Architecture pic

Inca and Aztec Architecture

Amita Vadlamudi earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey. After completing her studies, she went on to work in the information technology industry for more than 35 years. In her free time, Amita Vadlamudi enjoys reading about history, and she takes a special interest in the Inca and Aztec civilizations.

The Aztec lived in Central Mexico from 1325-1523 BCE, while the Inca lived in Peru from 1425-1535 BCE. The Inca people mainly resided in the Andes Mountains, and the Aztec lived in Mexico Valley.

Though geographically different, the two civilizations shared architectural similarities. The Inca were known to build practical, uniform structures that were nice to look at. It is believed that they used three kinds of stone— limestone, diorite porphyry, and black andesite—that they beat into shape with bronze or other stone tools. The Aztec used primitive-like tools too in building their cities, and used an easy-to-cut volcanic stone, called tezontle, at the base of their foundations. Like the Inca, they also built their structures from limestone and other rocks in the area.

Exercise is Essential

An experienced information technology professional, Amita Vadlamudi dedicated the latter part of her career to a prominent financial services company, where she served as a computer systems engineer. In her spare time, Amita Vadlamudi takes interest in exercise and fitness.

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and depression. In addition, physical activity plays a crucial role in maintaining a person’s weight.

The CDC recommends people participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities each week to maintain their weight. Moderate-intensity activities include biking leisurely and walking briskly. Likewise, chores, such as light snow shoveling and yard work, apply. Less time can be allotted to physical activity if completed at a vigorous pace. In fact, people can cut the recommended time by half if they swim or run. Skiing and jump roping are considered vigorous-intensity aerobic activities as well. The best way a person can gauge the intensity of their activity is to try to carry on a conversation. Activities done at vigorous-intensity does not allow for conversation. The opposite is true of moderate-intensity aerobic activities.

Where Did the Maya Live?

Mayan Civilization pic

Mayan Civilization

Amita Vadlamudi is a computer systems engineer who has spent 35 years in the information technology industry. Additionally, Amita Vadlamudi enjoys studying and learning about ancient cultures, such as the Mayans and the Incas.

The Mayan civilization flourished in Mesoamerica (the name used to describe Central America and Mexico as it existed before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century). Unlike other indigenous populations of the time, the Maya were centered in one region, covering what are now known as the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and parts of the Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco. Because of this concentration, the Maya were relatively safe from invasion by other Mesoamericans.

Within this region, the Maya occupied three different areas, each with its own environment and culture. One group lived in the northern lowlands on the Yucatan Peninsula, while another group resided in the southern lowlands in what is now the Peten district of northern Guatemala as well as nearby parts of Mexico, Belize, and Honduras. A third group lived in the southern highlands in the mountains of southern Guatemala.

Health Benefits of Swimming

Health Benefits of Swimming pic

Health Benefits of Swimming

A former computer systems engineer, Amita Vadlamudi now focuses on pursuing her personal interests. Amita Vadlamudi maintains an interest in personal fitness and regularly attends her local gym.

Swimming offers a variety of health benefits to the fitness-conscious individual. A high-quality cardiovascular workout, it raises the heart rate and increases circulation of blood through the body. Studies have shown that the adoption of a swim training regimen can increase the volume of blood pumped per beat by as much as 18 percent while strengthening maximum oxygen consumption by 10 percent.

Also a good strength-building workout, swimming engages almost all major muscle groups. It improves overall muscle tone and power while potentially building mass. Muscles further benefit from water’s inherent 12 to 14 percent resistance increase, which makes the muscles work harder and increases the gains from each movement.

While a number of activities offer these benefits to heart and muscle health, swimming is unique in that it minimizes stress and strain on the joints. The sport involves no ground impact and thus has earned the recommendation of the Arthritis Foundation as a beneficial activity for those with joint disorders. The low-impact nature of swimming also makes it an ideal workout for those with injuries of the knee and other lower extremities, whose prescribed recovery often includes water workouts.

The American Middle Class

American Middle Class pic

American Middle Class

A computer systems engineer who supported numerous distributed system and mainframe products, Amita Vadlamudi does volunteer work such as grocery shopping for the homebound and shelf reading at her local library. An avid reader, Amita Vadlamudi’s interests include a diversity of topics, ranging from environmental issues to American history.

American history is the history of the American people, the majority of whom are considered “middle class.” For the first hundred years of that history, though, there was no real middle class in the United States. Before the 19th century, economic classes in the country consisted of:
1) the wealthy
2) professionals, like doctors and lawyers, whose interests aligned closely with those of the wealthy
3) a relatively small merchant class composed of shopkeepers and artisans
4) farmers, who comprised the majority of Americans.

A host of social and societal changes can be traced to the 19th-century introduction of factories and retail stores, which employed scores of blue-collar and white-collar workers, many of them women who’d never before worked outside the home or earned money. Factory and office jobs, though, remained low-paying occupations, even for their salaried managers.

The credit for creating an affluent middle class in the United States is often given to Henry Ford, who in 1914 began paying workers in automobile assembly plants $5 for an eight-hour day of work. His objective in doing so was to attract and retain workers who were more reliable, because absenteeism was a significant problem that slowed production rates.

By paying more than double the prevailing factory wage of the day, Ford not only stabilized his workforce, but he also enabled his workers to buy the cars they were producing, thus significantly increasing the market for his product. Other employers were forced to follow suit if they wanted to retain their best workers. This phenomenon created the industrial-based middle class and a consumer economy that throughout the 20th century made the United States an economic powerhouse.