Revealing True Colours… and then Some!

Published: 16th February 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2014 12:00 PM   |  A+A-

Okay, time for the great flashback first: The reason a chameleon changes its colour depends on a lot of things such as light, temperature, mood and health. Also it’s used for mating displays and territorial protection. Sometimes a chameleon turns dark just to absorb more heat. Cold-blooded, remember? And finally, to camouflage and blend in with its immediate surroundings. Thus, keeping that in mind as the most popular sentiment, what colour would a chameleon turn if you placed it on a mirror? Or would it simply go neurotic after a few hours of trying to blend in with itself?

 So . . . Did you know that Edwin Land, the inventor of Polaroid cameras, once accidentally discovered that he could create a full colour picture with only two colours? What he did was he took one black and white picture through a #25 red filter and the other black and white picture (of the same subject) with at #58 green filter. He then projected each picture on a screen and moved the projectors until the two pictures blended into one – which obviously was still a black and white picture. Then he held a red gelatine filter in front of one of the projectors and there on the screen was a full colour picture. (The red gelatine went over the picture taken with the red filter.)

 But the man was a real sharpy, or so he thought. For long he kept his discovery secret hoping to incorporate this into his photography process. But to his chagrin he found the process only worked with projected light. After years of trying to make a practical use of his discovery (and finally realising that he couldn’t), he handed it over into the public domain. I once thought I saw this technology used in an early Sony projection TV way back in the god-only-know-when era but when I went back to the store to confirm, the TV was gone and no one seemed to know what I was talking about.


 (The idea was to make a perpetual motion machine by strapping a buttered toast to the back of a cat and tossing the combo out of a hi-rise. Apparently soon they would develop into a fast rotating turbine with the cat trying to land on its feet and the buttered toast on the butter. And I had wondered it such an invention would make me rich. -- MS)

 After reading your idea, couldn’t help stop everything to reply. Your idea is a great success! It achieved both -- it works and also made you rich beyond the trillionaires of this world. Let me explain. Firstly, your idea generated the energy which made our family laugh. This laughter would have otherwise taken so many litres of laughing gas. And your idea will continue to generate the energy whenever people read (down the ages also)!! Secondly, how you became rich is by making us laugh, you gave us health (I’m sure you might have heard of the laughing clubs). And we all know health is wealth. You couldn’t have made us wealthy if you were not in the first place. Imagine how many thousands of people you made wealthy! More than that, for giving all of us good health, God would have bestowed upon you a lot of punya (don’t know the English equivalent) which cannot be bought by any amount of earthly riches. So you see how rich you became? – A V R Murthy,

 This concerns Juliette and her sister (who have to catch a bus). They can do it at any point between 16.6 meters to 30 meters  (towards Montreux) from the point (say P) from where the girls left the road to walk across the field. Assuming x is the additional distance from P towards Montreux the bus travels, and y is the slant distance the girls must travel so as to catch the bus, we have, from Pythagoras’s theorem, y^2 = 40^2 + x^2 and since they are travelling half the speed of the bus, 2y = 70 + x. Solving the resultant quadratic equation, we find the girls can hope to catch the bus if they rush a slant distance of 43.3 metres (minimum)/50 metres (maximum). Lucille has no chance of catching the bus if she starts from 41 metres, so I assume she has joined Juliette before sighting the bus. Am I right? -- M Rafique,


 Did you know that applying a balm ointment on the forehead does actually help in relieving a headache? But how does it do so?

— Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine.


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