A long forgotten scooter that waits for it’s master to return.
Jurong Bird Park, Singapore
Recognize this blue bird? No it’s not the ‘Blu’ from Rio. The beautiful blue bird you see in the film is now unfortunately extinct. That was a Spix’s Macaw. The one in the picture here is just as beautiful. The royal blue Hyacinth Macaw is the largest bird of the parrot family. From the top of it’s head to the tip of it’s long lustrous tail, it would measure as tall as an average four year old child. It’s native to South America and and if not given dedicated care it will quickly disappear from the face of our plane. Perhaps that’s why it is more likely to be seen in zoos than in the wild.
Jurong Bird Park, Singapore is home to various such fascinating birds. Visiting there would certainly worth every penny you spend at the entrance ticket counter( $20 per adult).
Jurong Bird Park has a tram ride for a quick overview of the park but the real fun is to trek through the carefully created habitat for the birds. On a lighter note, you can even dig some dirt to find fossils for a photo op!
A quick guide on the basics of Python
Most people who wish to learn a programming language often cannot find the time or lack the facilities or opportunities. For the past eight years or so, I’ve had such difficulties that obstructed me from mastering one. It wasn’t until last month that I could actually learn python and I figured that I could post some of the things that I learned in the form of a guide.
Before we start, know that a string is line of characters. example – “Hello”
So the first thing one must learn to do when learning a programming language is how to display text using python, i.e. we use the print() method
syntax 1 print("hello world") 2 print(23) <-- the 23 if put like this ->("23") becomes a *string 3 print(2 + 3) 4 print("2"+"3")<--(these nos. are nos. strings(gets *concatenated) output 1 Hello World 2 23
You can assign word(s) or variables . They are called to display a certain string or integer etc.
syntax 1 text = " Hello World" print(text) 2 text = print("Hello World") output 1 Hello World 2 Hello World
String concatenation is useful when you want to merge different strings together.
syntax 1 fruit = "Apples" statement = " are nice!" print (fruit + statement) output 1 Apples are nice!
You can also put items in a list and pull out and add more as you go.
Here you have an empty list:
syntax 1 books = 
To add items to the list we use the .append method :
syntax 1 books =  books.append("Harry Potter") books.append("Wimpy Kid") print(books) output 1 ["Harry Potter" , "Wimpy Kid"]
Another thing to keep in mind is that in a string or list for example ,every piece (word or no. etc) has it’s own index or position no. For example, in “Wimpy Kid” Both “Wimpy” and “Kid” have their own index no. Also remember that the count starts from 0 and not from 1 therefore “Wimpy” has the index no. 0 and so on. this can be applicable to just one word where index positions are alloted to specific characters and even in numericals. the index no. is given in this –> 
syntax 1 text = "Hello World" print(text) 2 word = "littlebanyantreekids" print(word) 3 number = 79936429 print(number) 4 sentence = "You are awesome" print(sentence[-1]) print(sentence[-2] output 1 Hello 2 b 3 6 4 awesome are
Index position [-1] is possible and is the last word character or numerical in the string or integer.
You can use index positions to get data from a list as well:
syntax 1 mylist = ["books","games","movies","programming"] print(mylist) output 1 programming
You can also pick up more than one item by adding a stop index to the start one , [0:2]. The first no. indicates which index position to begin from and the second indicated where it should stop. note, that the no. in the stop index is not counted therefore goes only up to but but excudes it therefore in this case only only index and index are taken and not index.
input 1 names = ['Sam', 'Bob', 'Adam', 'Alice'] print(names[:2]) output 1 ["Sam" , "Bob"]
When assigning a new list by picking entries from another list it is called slicing:
syntax input 1 names = ['Sam', 'Bob', 'Adam', 'Alice'] siblings = names[:2] output 1 ["Sam" , "Bob"]
Here’s an example of how we can manipulate and play with numbers using lists
syntax 1 squares =  for number in range(1, 11): squares.append(number**2) <-------(indent is important) print(squares) output [1,4,9,16,25,36,49,64,81,100,121]
What the code above implies is that : 1. squares is an empty list . For every number from a range of 1 to 11, square the number and append it to squares (the list).
List comprehensions are a shorter way but not necessarily most readable ways to create lists the objective if used is to minimise the space taken up by code:
syntax 1 squares = [number**2 for number in range(1, 11)] print(squares) output [1,4,9,16,25,36,49,64,81,100,121]
And that is all that we have for this months edition. More from me next month. I hope you found this useful . 🙂
A world for LGBT
Life has never been easy, at least not for everyone. There has always been a community of people who have not been treated by the “equal eye” of others within the society. There has always been a lot of people who were not considered part of the general public as a whole. Years back in India for instance, it was the “Dalit community” that translates to “untouchable” in English. The name given to these people is self explanatory as to how much discrimination they faced. A pinch of religion here and there to spice it all up, making it even worse for those who were considered Dalit. Even the shadow of a Dalit was considered a bad omen if it were to fall on some one else (especially if he or she were brahmin). It didn’t take long for people to protest against this kind of discrimination and soon after India attained independence, people were granted equal rights and discrimination of caste would be a punishable offense. Moreover people were more than willing to to help people who face the brunt of poverty due to discrimination of caste and now have several NGOs for their aid. Nonetheless, discrimination has come around in many ways and one can agree that the LGBTQ community could be among one of the most discriminated lot of people in the world.
The abbreviation LGBT stands for lesbian gay bisexual and transgender. Although minority they are equally a part of our society. Not many people fall into this group and the people who do shouldn’t feel any lesser than those who don’t. No matter what their sexual orientation is, or their gender identity might be, they are still part of this society, or at least they should be. People don’t like what they don’t understand and being part of this minor community brings you to the top of the “hate list”.
The injustice and difficulties these people faced have been taken to a whole new level, and if someone were to go ahead and make a list of what these people faced, the list could go on endlessly. Violence for one is something that is now more or less common to those who fall under the LGBTQ community. Hate crimes against the LGBT individuals still exist across most parts of the world. In the U.S for example, one in five hate crimes that were committed were because of differences in sexual orientation, and another 2% of crimes were committed because of their gender identity. Every second citizen believes that homosexuality is a disease and every tenth, that one has the “wrong” sexual orientation must be rewarded with beatings. It was considered a greater shame if one’s child turned out to be gay, than if he ended up being a criminal or murderer. Being part of the LGBTQ community was sufficient enough to receive a “death sentence”. Young children were not very welcome at school and ended up being victims of bullies that targeted them just because they were different. There was a time when is some countries being part of the LGBTQ community made you legible for a capital punishment such as Death penalties.
Moreover, this was not the only way they were discriminated . One of the earliest and easiest ways society discriminated against LGBTQ people is via housing. In 2017, a study claims that gay men and transgender people are less likely to be shown apartments by landlords. In the united states, there are more states were there is no protection for people who come under this community when it comes to housing. There are around 28 states that legally allow people to deny housing whatever the reason can be. A survey says that about 75% of the people on average are shown lesser units when compared to others.
People who are a part of this society worry about not receiving proper medication. They worry about being mistreated, harassed, and denied service overnight. For example, there was this instance where a hospital denied a man who suffered from HIV, proper medication when they learnt that he was gay. A pediatrician refused to treat an ill infant just because she had same-sex parents.
People in the LGBT community also often go on without any employment. Offices refuse to employ them just because they had a different sexual orientation or gender identity. They fail to put it into their stereotypical minds that being different makes no difference on one’s performance and doesn’t mean that he or she don’t have the required skill set, and then deny them basic necessities.
There also existed if it doesn’t now, a hic-cup in the child adoption possibilities for LGBTQ couples. Same sex parents aren’t always given an opportunity to raise children by orphanages. They think that LGBT couples won’t be able to give as much care as the conventional couple would be able to give. Such thoughts are what make life hard for people who happened to fall under this community. Children of LGBT couples often find themselves in a difficult situation of ragging and bullying just because of the fact that their parents were different.
And it sure doesn’t end there. There is still a long way to go before they can be considered equal on a global scale. That said, people are now more than willing to help these people and change is more than evident when considering their condition even upto 10 years ago.
A new research from the Williams Institute at the UCLA school of law finds that the average acceptance and the rights of LGBT people have increased over the years. Researchers have developed a new ground-breaking measure of LGBT inclusion called the Global Acceptance Index. A lot can be expected to change if the living conditions of these people were to be considered normal in today’s world. Even if it may take years to find it’s way to normalcy there is still a ray of hope for them to have happier lives in the future. Support from world icons like Prince William certainly helps too.
The kitten in a boarding school – The story
Candy was born in a boarding school two other siblings. Sadly the three of them did not turn out to be very healthy and so were unfortunately on the mother’s hit list. The mother managed to incapacitate her two siblings within two to three days of their birth. Luckily we were able to get Candy out of her imminent death and gave her sanctuary in our dorm rooms.
If you are wondering why the name doesn’t really match her appearance, her name stuck that way because when she was born she had almost no hair and she had exposed pink skin bringing to mind pink cotton candy, not to mention she was very cute too.
At first she wouldn’t be able to stand on all fours properly and would often shake probably because she was weak. We all being very new at this, didn’t know what we were up against. How are we even supposed to know what it wants and needs, and when?
We figured that we had to find a way to feed the poor thing lest it starved to death. We found one of those medicine droppers that were small and mouth sized for the cat. It seemed to do the trick. For the next few weeks, it would feed on milk, sit in a cardboard box loaded with old clothes, until it was able to move about without any problem.
After that, the rate at which that cat grew in size was mind-boggling, and soon enough the cat was running, jumping, and pretty much making friends with the plants in the nearby garden.
Candy still lives there even though we left for our year end vacations and continues to enjoy her life to the fullest.
The kitten in a boarding school
This adorable kitten is Candy. Abandoned by her mother, she is now cared for by a group of sixteen year old boys. How was she found? What adventures did she have with her rompus caregivers?
Find out more in July.Click ‘Like’ if you think she is cute!!
Lonely and stray
Animal welfare groups and NGOs sure have made sure that stray dogs are not harmed. Yet there are so many on Indian roads that simply have no home to go to. They remain lonely and distrusted.
Blue waters photography
PC: LBT archives: outdoor expedition
Well, it happened to me…
As the story goes I had missed my flight and there was nothing I could do. I mean not quite. I found myself trying to persuade the airline officer to get the gates open. Precious minutes lapsed and I could see the plane back up onto the runway.
Nope, it was nothing like in the movies! If I had been anyone but myself ( as in a movie), I probably would have had a humorous showdown keeping the flight delayed while I miraculously hustled into it. Well, I blame the movies for letting me down, for nothing of the sort happened.
I was perplexed. The plane had gone and I was unsure of my next move. Whom was I to ask what to do? I scanned the departure hall and wondered whom to approach or worse whether I was to call my dad! I shuddered at the thought.
My dad is not a talker so perhaps I was not going to receive a ” How could you miss the flight lecture”. However, I sure could picture his face when I told him what happened. And that was not good.
To me, it seemed like my brain needed more time to digest the information. I finally got myself talking to an airline official who felt bad for me. She volunteered to help, or so I thought.
She made a few calls at first and then guess what? She wanted to speak with my father! There was no escape for me now. I swallowed the lump in my throat. My heartbeat quickened. This was it.
First I miss my flight in a most bizarre manner and then now, I have to speak to my dad about it. I figured it was a day in Abaddon.
I dialled my dad’s number and handed my phone to the lady. She spoke with him and then said the words I had been dreading, ” your dad wants to speak with you.” My hands trembled. All my energy draining, I managed to mutter ” Hello”. I was preparing to encounter a poltergeist.
I heard a soft, cool and calm voice on the other end. Was that my father? Yes, it was. He was quick to give me instructions. He asked me to stay alert until he figured out how to help me. His voice was especially firm when he said, ” Don’t daydream.” He asked me to hold on until he called back and cut the line.
Talk about being surprised! That was not what I had expected.
The kind official who called dad led me to their staff quarters and asked me to wait outside. She was talking to a man who had a stark resemblance to Rowan Atkinson. He lifted his eyebrow and gave me a sideglance. He would perfectly fit the role of the Indian movie comedians who often became sidekicks to the hero. The lady kept referring to him as Peter, and Peter was not interested in ‘funny’. Apparently, he was her boss.
The lady came out and said, ” No seats dear”. They were out of seats on every other flight. There was no flight for me not only that day but every day for the rest of the week. It was, after all, the holiday season.
My luck could not go drier. Like everyone else at the airport, I wanted to reach home too. I glanced at my watch and it was already five hours since the time I missed the flight.
My dad called and I filled him in on the bad news. He said he has arranged for my uncle to pick me up. I was to spend the night at my uncle’s. There was no point anymore in staying back at the airport. It was another hour and a half before I could stretch myself on a bed.
As I lay there, I thought to myself, ” When was I going home and how?” Just then dad called again. He had arranged a car to transport me from my uncle’s house in Bangalore to my grandmother’s house in Kerala. I looked up the route on the GPS. It was going to be nine long hours to my destination.
The plan was that my mom and sister would join me by the time I got to grandma’s house. When I did get there, my sister was the first to receive me. She immediately said I looked like a walking zombie.
Well, I don’t blame her because the bumpy ride had turned my stomach into soup. My facial expression must have amply reflected how I felt.
It really was quite something that happened to me but then, in the end, I did learn something.
There may have been bad roads, but the scenic beauty was almost worth the journey.
What could have been a fifteen-minute flight, became a journey of gigantic proportions. It was fateful but could have been avoided if I had been more careful.
If anyone was to ask me about a memorable experience, this one could truly be called ‘the king.’
Well, it happened to me…
Our world has come a long way in the past 20 to 30 years. Railways, metros and aviation have taken huge leaps in the realms of transportation. This advancement may be thanks to the human traffic that needs to get to places FAST and without any HULLABALOO. But,… mainly FAST. The problem is that the whole system hasn’t been perfected yet. There are still bad times when chaos and mayhem take control of centres such as airports and railway stations, where the crowd and crew go completely nuts. You would never to know why a flight delay would cause so much discomfort and distress unless you happen to be in such a scenario, also only proving to be making the place a lot more packed. Such bad times are extremely evident around times of worldwide celebrated holidays like Christmas and the time of the new year. And there is nothing more frustrating and sad than having to have missed a flight because of times just like these. And believe me, because that is exactly what had happened to me this Christmas.
It all started on the 21 of December. I was to take a flight from Cochin to Bangalore. As I had mentioned, it is one of the busiest times of the whole year. The airport was so crowded, that I’m pretty sure, that no one had seen it that jam-packed in the past two to three years. Well, I was sure to anticipate that it would be something like this at this time of year, and I had arrived at the airport way ahead of time. In fact, I was so early that I still had about two hours or so even after I had dropped all my luggage. I walked through security without any rush as if I had all the time in the world, and strolled through the duty-free and looked for something that I could gift my friends and family as if I had all the time in the world , and once it was time for the gates to open, I looked for a seat and sat by the gates.
Once the gates had opened, people rushed to the queue like an angry mob and I was pretty much left at the very end. At that point in time, it pretty much seemed like a good idea to stay seated until the queue got smaller because the queue looked a lot longer than the actual length of the plane itself. Well, I should have kept an eye on the queue at all times because when I did, I had no clue as to what had happened. There wasn’t a plane-sized queue any more. Nor were any flight officials at the gates. Was I dreaming? No, not really. Did I magically move to another gate? No, I didn’t. then where did the queue go? I was confused. There was no way that I could have missed a flight. Or so I thought. I asked a few people who were sitting next to me and they said the gate had closed three minutes ago.
The story after that has a lot of sad bitter feelings involved and wouldn’t have been the way I would have wanted that to have ended. But that’s not the important part. Its the thing that I learnt from such an experience, like on a day such as this, you must be alert and assess the situation properly. And it is ALWAYS a good idea to join a queue no matter how long it may be. And most important of all, now that it had happened, never let it happen again.
(… to be continued)