Category Archives: Weather

Forest Harvesting; Comparison of American Style and Sri-Lankan Style

Forest Harvesting; Comparison of American Style and Sri-Lankan Style

I was bit inquisitive why there are so many tornadoes and hurricanes in America.

I just went to Google Earth and had a little peep from above of North America’s, the West and the East.

There is hardly any difference in tree cover over the land, East or West.

Mostly farmland and build up areas.

That did not give me any clue to the state of the forest cover.

Then I went and searched deforestation.

Americans harvested 90% of the land in 70 years from 1850 to 1920.

Entire East was covered with Forest and fair proportion of the West was covered with primary forest. The deforestation continued to this century and America now has mainly secondary forest covering 10% of the land.

American knew that the CO2 problem started around 1920 and continues even today due to their exploitation of fossil fuel.

Did they tell the truth to the world?

Big No.

In Sri-Lanka we had 90% forest cover until around 1850 and British started deforestation for coffee and tea cultivation. By the time they left in 1948 forest cover was over 60% but before they left they pass a law prohibiting encroachment of the Crown Land.

From 1948 to 2000 we have decimated another 40 percent especially after 1970.

We are now below the minimal threshold of 25% to maintain our rivers.

This land now can be called the People’s Land instead of the Crown Land and the tree felling and the development go on.

When the thermal power plant is operational we will be approaching 10% level which is the cut off point for desert classification.

Acid rain will do the rest even we stop cutting to Zero.

Then we can say we are better than America in case of deforestation and go for an IMF loan.

Very soon we will be no different from Dubai.

Regards to American tornadoes and hurricanes trees act as a wind breaks and control the water cycle better. They should reforest America back to 1920 or continue to have this cycle every year.

Problem is there is no country rich American can go to avoid hurricanes since rest of the world is no better including China.

This is what I call the development of the Earth Crisis.

The prediction that world ends in 2012 should be rephrased that irreversible loss of biodiversity is in full swing from now onward with global warming well established.

We Sri-Lanksn will be drilling oil with Indian help till sun goes down.

The cycle of destruction has begun and it is irreversible unless there is global consensus.

Next biggest crisis will be food crisis and that will be worse than 1973 (due to oil crisis and poor foreign balance) since this time it is related to failure of rain and land becoming desert.

We are at a cliff edge.

Problem is politicians obsessed with development and energy do not want to see that in that way.

We have no plan for food security but have a big plans for 100% energy supply which we will never achieve.

Children who are born today will see the consequences but we do not even have a population plan.

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Onion Saga-02

Now that cricket fever is over and I do not watch the I.P.L (gallery cricket or name it people cricket with cheap betting activated-for CEOs who do not have any worthwhile hobby to engage in, when he comes home and watch it on a potato couch) cricket anyway, and it is time to come down to earth with New Year celebration round the corner.

I neglected my pet fish and the tiny garden and even forgot to water them.

When onion was fetching Rs.300/= and above and when we were buying some rotten onions a few of them were thrown away in the dustbin in the kitchen, I retrieved them from the bin and planted in few pots to see the onion saga really emerging.

Except two all of them sprouted well and I watered them liberally.

They were healthy with my dog adding useful urea (his urine as a fertilizer) spurts in his rounds with me.

Mind you dogs love the smell of fresh plants growing and my dog has the habit of smelling the leaves of the young plants and enjoying the smell and fragrance of flowers (I have Jasmine too) and as a stamp of approval of my work he does the yeoman service of spurting some urea (he is a bit of a young natural scientist unlike our kids who learn only from government published books not updated for ages-and certainly have no idea of, from where the beans and onions come from) and he never does the big job on the plants (he lets me know when he wants to do the big job and never on the plant beds-that is why call him a young scientist).

So sorry for the diversion and my dogs rounds has to be appreciated in best of terms since I had no intention of using onions in the kitchen but as a plant to watch and make my simple observation of using them as bio-indicators of atmospheric temperature.

In no time they started blooming with long stems and I gradually reduced the amount of water and abruptly stopped watering them to see what happens next.

This is the same ploy I applied to pineapples plant after flowering but stated watering it to see from where the next stem comes. It has grown a stem with a wild plant accompanying it’s root and growing strongly in spite of bearing a fruit once.

Incidentally another pineapple plant started flowering after two years.

The real surprise came today.

As I said I neglected my routine and due to intermittent inter-monsoon rain (not heavy) I did not bother to water other plants.

The surprise is on top of the flower stem there were tiny onion bulbs growing and the slender stem bearing their weight. The intermittent rain had caused the seeds to germinate.

I immediately took it out with the young bulbs and planted in another pot.
Another flower stem was separated and put it on a pot with soil soaked with water.
The other to were left alone to see what happen next.
This is how I learned my biology and science as a kid.

I did not have a science teacher till I was about 15 years old and when I got a science teacher, I was well advanced in my own discoveries, he could not spoil my natural instinct and discoveries.

Now I wonder how I came this far with minimal help from the teachers except the mathematics teacher and physics teacher.

Biology teacher was horrible to say the least.

Now coming to my inference.

In Kandy we could not grow the following 40 years ago.

1. Pineapples
2. Pumpkins (no flowering)
3. Papaw
4. Lemons and Oranges (no fruits and flowering fails)
5. Some type of orchids ( I do not have a single orchid now which was a hobby of my father when we were in Kurunagala and with his demise, the hobby died a natural death and in Kandy we could have only a few of the orchids growing that were plenty when we were in Kurunagla).

All of them are growing (except orchids which I have not tried) and flowering now and the global warming has hit us real.

It is time for me to transfer my interests to orchids now with retiring age approaching fast.

Onion Saga -01

Onion saga is much better topic than the Coconut saga.

Coconut saga was deliberate attempt by Americans (Jimmy Cater included) to undermine coconut oil (which they have succeeded until perhaps I came into the writing scene quite by accident- to promote peanut oil and peanut butter).

The lesson in history is not to believe Americans if he or she happens to be an American diplomat male or female.
I am made to believe that the woman scientist who published the coconut theory (bad for heart) had an untimely death (was made to commit suicide by her very own masters) is not a tragedy in human sense but a discovery in science.

Now even the coconut go up to Rs.100= I am not inclined to write anything on coconut but Onion Saga is welcome reminder for me to get into full gear and explode if possible.

This time it was not American intervention.

This time it is coming from and booming Indians who have spawned a Scientific Inquiry and few pertinent questions.

According to economic pundits Indian economy is booming but despite the rocket carrying satellite burst in air, Indian farmers for the first time in Green Revolution initiated by Mrs.Gandhi have failed to take into account of the average Onion Bargjji Eaters.

But I was happy they did not.

When Indian market sneezes we have a political hiccoughs.

I was given strict instruction by my wife not to come home without Bombay Onions even if I have to go to Bombay for that (Sorry my Mumbaians -we still call onions Bombay Onions and Bombay Mutai is our sweet- we do not read or see global name changes).

I did find a place to by Onions and just before the fellow started weighing I took a big onion in my hand and asked him to weigh and tell me the price.

Believe it or not it was 50 (fifty fifty), the price of a coconut.

I asked the fellow to parcel that onion separately and got a kilo of onion and came home happily.
My wife opened the parcel and asked me why one is separately wrapped.

My answer was that is fifty rupees and rest are multiples of fifty.

And I told her that it has poison weight for weight and do clean and wash them before cooking and eating.

But I thought the saga would end there but it did not,

My wife left home for some work outside and today the servant lady was doing the honours at the kitchen and she dropped the entire remaining (let’s say 750 grams of it to be precise) lot into the dustbin right under my nose.

They were sprouting!

Hold it I told her; Give me my Onions!
Why Sir.
I am going to plant them today in a pot.
She did not have any answer back.

Then I looked for any pots to plant them but I could not find any.

So jumped into my Denim and raised to Kandy and had a haircut in the shape of coconut with an onion ring shape of hair in the middle.

That is my hair style for the Cricket World Cup and Tharunnayata Hetek Boys Brigade if would you like to copy it?

But the style is my copyright, you boys brigade.

Happy New Year with plenty of Onions and Coconuts!

Incidentally, I had a haircut today and the barber told me there were few blisters and a moonate (green pea) sized ulceration on my top. Then I remember I was walking down the Trincomale Street in front of the Maligawa and something watery stuff fell on my head (it was not a bird’s- not crow’s -dropping) from the Queens hotel building. I thought must be from the air conditioner cooling but three hours later, I washed my head thoroughly in case it was something nasty.

I still wonder what it is and we cannot now walk in front of the Maligawa (without an unnatural accident of some sort) and this building is managed by Indians and I do not know what the hell they are storing upstairs.
Is it a curse or an accident I do not know.
In any case I come to Kandy to browse some books in the bookshops and not for shopping now but certainly or a haircut at my regular place which is surviving still.

Putting on Top of a Murunga Tree

I manage to find a two Murunga saplings and wanted to look after them till big enough and relocate them in a suitable place. I could not water them for three days and one wilted and whithered away. The other survived and started blooming prematurely. I resisted taking the flowers for a vegetable curry. I let them pollinate (which is rare with no bees around) and only one flower produced a pod.

Side by side there were two cocoa plants which germinated out of over 100 rotten seeds.
Similar fate descended one of them and I kept on watering it in spite of its stem looked like fire wood.
Murunga sapling disappeared but the stem which looked like tiny black wood after about 3 months started sprouting and few leaves appeared.
My gut feeling was correct. I thought this would happen because it is not a native plant but that comes from mid Africa.
African plants can stand adverse weather for long period of time.
Our slender plants cannot withstand adverse weather. Murunga was an example.

So my prediction is that we will lose lot of our biodiversity much more and faster than Africa loses.
Come coal power plant when operational that will aggravate the context much faster and swiftly.
I heard our energy minister thinking of a nuclear plant here.
I wish he looks at pictures of Hiroshima first and the current pictures coming from Japan.

Real reason for writing this is not for that reason.
I cannot go to sleep without a swipe at the local elections.
We have a saying in Sinhala put a man on a Murunga Branch (unfortunately not on the moon to bring rice some of them promised to bring) to mean let him eventually tumble down quickly.
I wish all the present candidates land on Murunga Branches.
Then we can see them falling off quickly with the cost of living going up by the minute.

Actually when we elect them that is what we want them to be (on a Murunga Branch) but they have devised and engineered some other methods to stay longer on the Murunga branch and unfortunately we cannot have the last laugh.

This one chance we have that we can give them a Murunga Treat and it will be a Maru or Mara (Devil) Treat.

Sri-Lankan Cricket and Weather

One of my predictions for the Cricket World Cup is coming good.

That prediction is weather is going to be a spoiler.

Another prediction is that the ground preparation is going to be a key factor.

What ever the inspections done prior the commencement of the tournament and whatever reports may suggest and what ever the officials in charge may say we have prepared poor wickets.

It is obvious even Kumar and Mahela are finding difficult to bat in home conditions at Colombo. Because of their shear skills, cricketing knowledge and determination we are surviving the hiccups.

Please do not blame the players.
They are a good lot and determined it is our politicians and officials who are killing the game.
There fellows who have no understanding of the game and the ground situation are waiting for the kickbacks to pocket which the players deserve and should get.

It is obvious that because of the political will more money was channeled to Hambantota and less money was spent on Colombo and Kandy.

These grandiose dreams of politicians are killing the game and in the long run real cricket lover’s dreams and players welfare.
Coming back to weather playing Day and Night Cricket in Sri-Lanka was an extremely bad decision going by the prevailing weather conditions.
The team playing second is always at a distinct disadvantage and the history speaks itself.

I cannot agree with the argument more crowd will come for the Day and Night game (it may not be true for poorly attended games, too. Nobody will come for those games in any case).
In any case tickets are sold well in advance and a real cricket lovers have to buy tickets in the black market.
The Day and Night games are for the arm chair pundits who engage in their daily activities and return home bit early and after shower sit in front of the TV.
They are not the real cricket fans.
Poor people cannot come anyway. Tickets are priced to discourage them. Even if they come there is no way to return home after the day and night game. There isn’t a proper public bus service at night in the entire country.
Politicking’s should know it better.
We see them prior to elections and never see them till the next round comes.
They go to Colombo or to the nearest city and make money for them and their kith and kin.
That is the name of the game and cricket and other games included.
The sports administration has been worse than political administration over the past 15 years and especially during the last decade.
Please do not blame sportsmen and sportswomen for their poor performance.
The Common Wealth game was the best example.
We get a kick out of demoralizing the players but never the politicians who have got into sports!

I have written about weather pattern, global warming and how weather men keep bogus records (one month record is done in 2 to 3 days-cooked up records) elsewhere and the reader can refer them at leisure.
Many of them do not know how to make a weather balloon and if they have relevant data, they do not know how to report or interpret them.

Most of the seniors in administration are arts graduates who have done geography (without science subjects or background) and have a cushy job in Colombo without the will to run the affairs.
If the Cricket Administration got reports from them (Weather Men) and decided (I do not think-there aren’t any brainy ones there but crooks in Cricket Administration) and decided the time and venues, they are in for run.
The fact of the matter is with global warming has drastically changed over weather.
Unless we keep accurate record for the next decade or so we won’t be able to predict the trends.

I will illustrate few points that are my personal observation in Kandy.
1. Kandy weather is like Kurunahgla (when I was a kid we briefly stayed near Kurunagala) now.
2. Kurunegala must be like Pollonnaruwa now.
3. Inter monsoon rain that used to come in 10-14 days on a regular basis do not come.
4. When it comes the amount of precipitation is 3 to 4 times and the volume has increased.
5. That is why we have earth slips in the hill country.
6. Temperature hits 90 to 95 Fahrenheits in between rains.
7. Rain only brings cooling to Kandy.
8. If I do not water plants for three days, they whittle away.
9. Plants that never able to germinate in Kandy are germinating
10. Mosquito menace is no different to Colombo.
11. Monsoon rain comes at odd times of the day and there is a mixture of Monsoon and inter-monsoon rain.
The list can go on.

There is no way one can predict weather without accurate data.
Do not believe our weather men. They are like any other government servants, stooge to politicians and survive.
Only thing they never become a laughing lot like our politicians in sports.

What I am raising here is there is no place for Day and Night game in this Island unless we are able to predict it accurately in advance.
It is a disservice to foreign team visiting us.
We did that to West Indies.
Now we are doing it to Australians and out team.

There is a strong case against Day and Night Cricket in Sri-Lanka.

Vising teams take a note of what I say before agreeing on the time and schedules in future.
Cricket is your life and you are paid for that.
Do not say yes to our administrators without studding the pros and cons.