Tagged: Amita Vadlamudi

A Brief History of Pottery and Its Importance in Cultures

Pottery

Pottery is the process by which an individual uses clay fired at high temperatures to create durable figures and vessels. These can be of any shape or size with varying functions.

Pottery has acted as a doorway into the past for us to learn about history and prehistory of mankind. The durability of the materials used for pottery have stood the test of time and carry the stories from past millennia, giving us a snapshot of how people lived and the general view of civilizations over time. Pottery plays such an important role in learning about the past that many archeological sites and ancient civilizations are recognized by the name of the pottery itself.

Heating the clay at different temperatures will give you a different final result, with the lowest temperatures giving you earthenware, mid-temperatures, resulting in stoneware and high temperatures for porcelain. Early civilizations used fire pits with low temperatures, so most ancient artifacts that are found are hand-shaped earthenware.

Earthenware was the earliest form of pottery from the Neolithic era and is still seen today. It is created at temperatures as low as 600˚C and can be made using a variety of different clays, including terracotta. Earthenware is mostly seen unglazed and usually undecorated.

Stoneware is fired at high temperatures in a kiln; temperatures can go up to 1200˚C. The results are a lot less porous than earthenware, meaning the finished product could be used to hold liquids and as tableware. This method was first seen in China, but carried through to Europe starting in Germany and making its way across the continent post the Renaissance.

Porcelain, which is also produced in kilns with temperatures of 1400˚C, was first discovered as part of the Tang Dynasty in China between the 7th and 8th century. This type of pottery was so popular that it was exported to all parts of the world until the 18th century when it was finally able to be produced outside of East Asia.

Pottery today is made with all sorts of materials, with a variety of tools and fired up at different temperatures. The uses of pottery, nowadays, range from elaborately-decorated pieces for homes to simple tableware.

Author: Amita Vadlamudi,    https://amitavadlamudiblog.com

 

Origami as a Hobby

origami

Origami is widely known throughout the world today. Most commonly used by people to make different animal sculptures by folding pieces of paper, origami is both a recreational activity as well as an art form. This art form said to have originated from ancient Japan, roughly a millennium or so ago. Some scholars debate that the art form originated back in the 6th Century AD, while others believe that it could be even older.

The term “Origami” derives from two Japanese words “Ori,” which means folded, and “Kami,” which means paper. Origami is an art form that  incorporates the aspects of creativity, games, and mathematical puzzles into a single craft. In its art form, origami is able to attract a lot of people today. A simple activity, people are able to produce the most ingenious sculptures and designs by doing nothing more than intricately folding a piece of paper.

Several art and crafts forms involve the use of paper, but origami is a technique that stands out. The unique quality about origami is that you just need to use paper without the help of any other material to form sculptures.

Through a series of well-planned folds and creases, people can make anything from the simplest of animal sculptures to highly sophisticated structures. There is no cutting,  gluing or any other technique involved.

Many people think origami has little more use than being a pastime for children, but this art form carries more weight than it is generally given credit for. Mathematicians, architects, medical professionals, computer programmers, and engineers are just some of the professionals at the top level who are able to take inspiration from origami in their fields.

Traveling from Japan to China, and then to the rest of the world over the centuries, the art of origami is now an internationally practiced craft. It is used as a pastime for children and adults alike. This art of paper-folding even extends from use as a leisure activity to use in various professional fields.

 

After retiring from computer technology job, Amita Vadlamudi now likes pursuing hobbies, fitness, reading and occasionally tweeting. The following is Amita Vadlamudi’s Twitter Page.

https://twitter.com/AmitaVadlamudi

Crossword Puzzles Make a Good Hobby

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With the digital technology dominating contemporary times, pursuing crossword puzzles as a hobby may seem like a primitive activity, a relic left over from ancient times. But even in this computer dominated age doing crossword puzzles on the paper is a major hobby for many people – young and old alike. For many enthusiasts crossword puzzles are an integral part of their morning ritual. They are as welcoming as the morning light and as stimulating as the hot sip of freshly brewed coffee.

This seemingly old-school hobby is more relevant today than ever. Aside from simply keeping the people occupied, crossword puzzles have many healthful benefits such as stimulating minds, keeping the brains sharp, and helping people connect with others. Following are some of the benefits that the crossword puzzles can bring.

  1. Shortcut to Smartness

Crossword puzzles flex cognition, boast verbal skills and prepare peoples’ brains for challenges they face. They trigger connections between ideas and words, stimulate brain activity and help hone the memory and recall skills.

  1. Therapy without Cost

The satisfaction that comes after solving a puzzle is not as short-lived as you think. It triggers the production of dopamine – a neurotransmitter which gives feelings of pleasure and uplifts your mood instantly. This intellectually demanding activity can take your mind off everyday worries and help you deal with stress as well. Solve puzzles, solve problems!

  1. Maintain Social Bonds

When pursued as a group hobby, crossword puzzles help strengthen social ties by creating shared memories and a sense of group accomplishment. It nurtures the ability to collaborate strategically and manage conflicts. If you feel lonely too often, this hobby will turn your spare time into an opportunity to socialize!

Choosing the right kind of hobby can completely transform your outlook on life. Crossword puzzles could be just what the doctor would have ordered for individuals who have free time to fill, who would like to keep their minds and brains sharp and who would like to make and keep healthy social connections. Start your crossword puzzle journey today and see their wholesome impacts unfold.

Amita Vadlamudi is the author of numerous articles on this site as well some of her other web sites.  Following are the links to some of Amita Vadlamudi’s other articles dealing with hobbies:

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/stamp-collecting/

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2019/06/01/candle-making/

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/the-hobby-of-coin-collecting/

 

 

British versus Metric Measurement Systems

measurements

Introduction

There are two major measurement systems in the world that are used to gauge distances, weights and volumes. These are the Imperial (British) system and the Metric system.

The vast majority of countries worldwide employ the metric system of measurement, which is comprised of units like meters, liters, and grams. Magnitudes of 10, 100, 1000 of these units are represented by the addition of appropriate prefixes such as deci, centi, and milli. Ex: centimeter, kilogram.

In the United States, the old imperial system of measurement is employed, which consists of units such as feet, inches and pounds.

History

The imperial system, which is also called the British imperial since it originated in the British empire that ruled several regions across the globe from the 16th to the 20th century. One of these regions gained independence and later became the United States of America in the 18th century. The government of the nascent country decided to retain the Imperial measurement system, despite the popularity of the metric system in that era.

Comparison

Following are some of the corresponding values between the Metric and British systems:

  • A single mile is approximately 1.6 kilometers
  • 1 inch is approximately 25 millimeters or 2.54 centimeters
  • One meter is the same as a three foot measurement
  • A kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds
  • 1 pound is equal to 454 grams
  • A 100 pounds is the same as 7.14 stones

Variations

There are other differences that arise when considering either of the measurement systems. For example, let us look at the way of observing temperature. Americans measure temperature in Fahrenheit, whereas people of other countries do so in centigrade.

Conversions for temperature include 0 degrees Celsius being equal to 32 degree Fahrenheit, which is essentially the freezing point. 24 degrees Celsius is tantamount to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the weather is likely to be pleasant. The formula for conversion from C to F is, C multiplied by 1.8 and adding 32 to that number.

Future

As it stands, there is no reason to expect the United States to follow suit and change to the metric system. As there are no imminent plans for the change, visitors traveling to USA should familiarize themselves with the British measurement system.

 

About the Author:

After her retirement from the IT career, Amita Vadlamudi now spends her time writing online articles on science, technology and history. Ms. Vadlamudi’s resume and other articles may be found on her personal web sites listed below:

amitavadlamudiblog.com

aboutamitavadlamudi.org

Facts about Viruses

virus

A virus is a small, infectious parasite that recreates itself inside the cells of living beings. Viruses affect all kinds of living creatures from humans to animals to plants to microorganisms. When a living host is infected by a virus, it is forced to replicate its innumerable copies at a staggering rate.

Mostly, viruses consist of either RNA or DNA, as their genetic structure. The virus particle is known as virion that primarily contains the nuclei acid (single or double-stranded), and an outer wall of protein. The least complex virus only has an RNA or DNA to encode the shell of proteins. But the most complicated virus may be able to encode about 100 to 200 proteins.

The scientific study of viruses started at the end of the 19th century. In 1892, Dmitry Ivanovsky used a filter that contained small pores, powerful enough to hold bacteria. Ivanovsky used this kind of filter to examine a diseased tobacco plant.  The infectious substance rooted in the plant was named as a “virus”. And this discovery was the start of virology.

Typically, the term “viruses” is used along with bacteria. To some, they may appear the same but the two are poles apart. As compared to bacteria, viruses are tiny. In fact, studies show that the largest virus is smaller than the smallest bacterium. Bacteria can exist all by themselves. On the other hand, viruses need a host to replicate themselves – They can’t survive all alone.

Unlike bacteria, viruses can cause illnesses and they are also quite certain about the cells they want to eliminate. For instance, most viruses attack cells present in the liver, respiratory system, or blood. Sometimes, viruses target bacteria and kill it.

Some of the diseases caused by viruses are contagious in nature such as the flu, the common cold, HIV, and herpes. Other types of viral diseases are caused by other ways such as the bite of an insect. Respiratory viral diseases are cured on their own. However, you can consider over-the-counter medications such as cough syrups, pain relievers, nasal decongestants etc.

Viruses may also cause gastrointestinal diseases including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Gastrointestinal viral diseases resolve by themselves within a couple of days. Meanwhile, it is advised to drink plenty of fluids to compensate what is lost from diarrhea and vomiting.

Exanthematous viruses result in skin rashes such as measles, rubella, and chickenpox. To cure these diseases, fever-minimizing medications should be used. For chickenpox, antiviral drugs like acyclovir can be given.

 

About the Author:

Amita Vadlamudi, whose professional resume can be found at https://www.f6s.com/amitavadlamudi is a former Computer Engineer. Ms. Vadlamudi’s current interests are writing about science and technology. Some of her other articles can be found on the following web sites:

http://amitavadlamudi.net/

https://medium.com/@Amita_Vadlamudi

 

 

Libraries of Clay Tablets

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Amita Vadlamudi an Information Technology professional volunteers at a local public library working as a shelf reader. Amita Vadlamudi finds it interesting to learn how information has been recorded and disseminated throughout human history.

Libraries have existed for thousands of years. In the 1850’s British archaeologists discovered two of the oldest libraries in Northern Iraq, the region that was part of ancient Mesopotamia. It is believed that the libraries belonged to King Sennacherib of Assyria who ruled from 704 to 681 b.c. His grandson Ashurbanipal was credited with assembling the huge collection of records from kingdoms and empires prior to his time.

The collections contained in these libraries were in the form of clay tablets. The ancient people of Mesopotamia recorded information on wet clay that was later baked and dried. The writings on these dried clay tablets remained durable for thousands of years, although modern scholars are unable to translate the meaning of them.

Libraries of clay were also found during excavations in the ancient cities of Syria and Turkey.

Amita Vadlamudi’s other articles may be found at Amitavadlamudi.org. Her favorite images may be found at her Alternion site.

The Majestic Mayan Empire

Mayan_Empire

The Mayan Empire, which thrived in modern-day Guatemala, was the epitome of power and prosperity during the sixth century A.D. It was one of the most superior societies of Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America). The Mayans showed excellence in the fields of agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar development, and mathematics.

The earliest Mayan settlements that have been recorded date back to 1800 B.C., which may be referred to as the start of Preclassic Period. What set them apart from the other civilizations was their place of residence. Whereas, a majority of the civilizations before, during, and after Mayan times were often dispersed in several different areas or even cities, the Mayans would remain in one block of an area; this was the geographical block that would cover the Yucatan Peninsula along with Guatemala. This also meant that the Mayans remained secure from any attacks of the other empires and tribes present in the Mesoamerican region.

The Mayans would show great advancement in their agricultural techniques and were able to harvest crops such as corn, beans, squash, and cassava. They were also very apt at building pyramids, constructing cities, and etching stone monuments.

The golden age of the Mayan Empire came during A.D. 250 when the Mayan society inhabited around 40 cities at the time. Each of its cities would hold up to 5,000 or more people, and the entire population of the Mayan empire racked up to 2,000,000 people.

Mayan excavations have helped with the discovery of palaces, temples, plazas, and pyramids being built by the Mayans. The farmers of the Mayan Empire made up the major segment of the population and they would often use advanced irrigation and terracing methods.

The Mayans also proved to be extremely devout and would worship several gods. Their gods had been categorized into different worldly elements such as the God of Sun, God of Moon, God of Rain, and God of Corn. The kings of the empire would come in second in the hierarchy, after the gods. The kings would claim and be considered people related to the gods and acted as the messengers of gods and the people. They would come in power through hereditary succession and also performed religious ceremonies and rituals pertaining to the culture.

Starting from the later eighth century to the end of the ninth century the Mayans had slowly started to abandon their homes in the Mayan cities and dispersed. No one really knows the reason for such a move but some scholars assume that this was possible because of the exhaustion of the natural resources of the cities.

 

About the Author
Amita Vadlamudi writes extensively on history and ancient cultures. Her resume and her various other works and interests may be found at the following sites.

https://www.cakeresume.com/amita-vadlamudi

https://foursquare.com/amitavadlamudi

https://www.xing.com/profile/Amita_Vadlamudi

Owning a Dog as a Pet

dog

Dogs by far make the best pets. They are affectionate and loyal to their owners and bring great companionship and happiness.

There are hundreds of breeds of dogs. Retrievers, poodles, terriers, collies, German shepherds, Dalmatians, and beagles are some of the most popular breeds. Dogs come in many sizes. Smallest is the Chihuahua which weighs around 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds).  St. Bernard breed is the heaviest at around 90 kilograms (200 pounds). Dogs vary greatly in appearance. Some barely look like dogs. Some dogs have so much hair that they look like small wooly mammoths. Some have no hair at all. Some have so much skin that they look like they are wearing a thick quilt. Some dogs look mean when in fact they are docile. Other dogs look attractive, when in fact they might be troublesome.

Physical appearance is only one of the characteristics that go into the selection of a dog as a pet. Their temperament and their behavior is what is even more important. One thing for certain is that people love their dogs regardless of the dog’s look.

Dogs are loving, loyal, and comforting. However, they are not always obedient or easy to take care of. They demand much time. They need to be walked in all types of weather. Their food, grooming, kenneling,  and medical bills could be costly. Prospective pet owners much do a thorough research on the suitability of the dog before they decide to take on the responsibility. They must clearly weigh the pros and cons of owning a pet and prepare to make a serious commitment. There are many good books available on dogs and pets in the book stores, libraries, and online.Dogs certainly make great reading, and if properly chosen, dogs make great pets.

 

About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi spent her entire professional career working on the computers and computer related jobs. When she is not working, Amita Vadlamudi likes to unwind with books on other, more lively subjects. Ms. Vadlamudi’s professional resume may be found on the following web sites:

Resumonk Site

Edocr Site

 

The Central Asian Plains’ Ancient Oxus Civilization

 Oxus Civilization pic

Oxus Civilization
Image: discovermagazine.com

Amita Vadlamudi served as an IT professional for more than 30 years, undertaking large-scale engineering projects spanning Unix and mainframe systems and performing complex coding assignments. An avid reader of history books, Amita Vadlamudi is particularly interested in ancient cultures.

Beyond the ancient Greeks, Sumerians, and Egyptians, there were a number of early advanced cultures whose accomplishments have largely remained a mystery. These include the Oxus civilization, who lived on the Central Asian plains 4,000 years ago.

Spanning 1,000 square miles in what is now Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, the civilization was concurrent with the emergence of complex societies along the Yellow, Indus, Nile, and Tigris-Euphrates rivers.

The civilization was named Oxus, after the Amu Dar’ya River, which at the time was known as the Oxus River. Bronze Age sites reveal distinctive art forms and regularly proportioned thick-walled mud brick structures that indicate a level of advancement previously thought to have reached the region 1,000 years later. A major find of the late 20th century that has generated significant interest is a 350-by-600-foot citadel in Gonur that was surrounded by towers and a high wall, and had canals and an irrigation system in place.

An Overview of Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint pic

Carbon Footprint
Image: carbonfund.org

Amita Vadlamudi, a computer systems engineer with a major financial services provider, is an active environmentalist. Amita Vadlamudi enjoys spending her time researching a variety of topics, from matters of climate and weather to the characteristics of earth’s landforms and waterways.

There are a number of steps environmentalists can take in order to minimize their carbon footprint. One of the most effective actions an individual can take involves finding a workable alternative to driving an automobile. Walking or cycling is a viable option in many scenarios, while further distances can be achieved through public transportation or carpooling, all of which can help lower carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Any person concerned about the environment should also look into low carbon vehicles, including electric cars.

An individual’s carbon footprint can also be reduced at home. Installing proper insulation not only help maintain heat during the winter and cool air in the summer, but can yield financial gains in the form of state programs such as Energy Upgrade California. Homeowners may further optimize the energy efficiency of their home by installing solar panels and LED lighting systems.