Answers to Baby Steps …..
a. Why doctors and nurses in hospitals wear white aprons?
Answer .. Doctors and nurses come in direct contact with patients in course of their duty. As a result, they are exposed to infection of many types. Wearing a white apron makes the medical staff aware of the stains from the patients’ body waste like blood, phlegm, posh, urine, stool etc.. They can then change it and wear a fresh one. The apron also prevents their garments from being infected due to the contact with the patients.
The second reason is related to identification of the medical staff. In hospital wards, visitors often move around and crowd round their patients. A person wearing white aprons is instantly identified as medical personnel on duty. This gives them the desired respect, priority, and attention, both from the visitors and the patients.
b. Why diesel engines are preferred to steam engines for hauling trains?
The answer is simple. Diesel engines are more powerful and have higher hauling power. The steam engines are messy, slow, and give out a lot of black smoke. In hauling power, they are no match for the diesel engines. So, for rapid movement of goods and passenger trains, diesel engines are the preferred option.
c. Why eating cut fruits from street vendors is not a good idea at all?
The hygiene is the problem. Exposure to flies, contact with human hands, cleanliness of the vessels, and dirt in wind are the major concerns. Most commonly, eating cut fruits causes stomach upsets due to germs. In times of epidemics like cholera, eating cut fruits from vendors is a sure recipe for disaster.
d. Why do mountaineers carry oxygen cylinders?
At high altitudes, air is thinner. So, oxygen availability in a certain volume of air is less than what we get at ground level. It causes breathing difficulties. To get over this problem, climbers carry oxygen cylinders.
e. Why are CCTV cameras installed in public places?
The CCTV cameras record the movement of people and objects continuously. For crime investigators and prosecutors, CCTV footages give invaluable clue about the involvement of criminals in the crime. The evidence is irrefutable and courts accept it. CCTV cameras are the 24×7 sentinels dedicated to our security.
f. Why do empty ships carry a good quantity of sea water?
Empty ships tend to be unstable while floating in the sea. To make them stable, they need to become heavier. The weight for this purpose is provided by the load of sea water purposely carried by the ship. When the ship is loaded later by goods, this water is emptied into the sea. Such water that provides stability to a ship is called ‘ballast’.
g. Why do onion prices skyrocket and crash sometimes?
It is a demand and supply question. When there is a bumper crop in onion-producing states like Maharastra, UP. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka etc., the mandis overflow with onion bags. Inevitably, prices fall. The reverse happens when the crops fail and demand exceeds supply. Prices soar causing hardship to consumers.
h. Why do some farmers commit suicide?
Farm income has progressively declined in the last two to three decades. Farm holdings have also become smaller, and price of inputs like those of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc. have gone up sharply. The farmers have to borrow to raise a crop. In those years, when rains fail, the harvest dwindles leaving the farmer with a debt burden. When the drought comes in successive years, farmers find themselves in an un-sustainable position. They can neither feed themselves, nor can they repay the loans. Lenders come in to humiliate them for their default. The hopelessness of the situation drives them to take their lives.
i. Why is an aluminum plate embedded to the bottom of a stainless steel pressure cooker?
Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat. This is the reason, aluminium plates are embedded to the bottom of pressure cookers. It makes cooking quicker and saves fuel.
j. Why have oil prices crashed in recent months?
The main reason is the widespread availability of shale gas in America and elsewhere. The United States is soon going to be self-sufficient with regard to its energy needs. Its oil import will taper off. The other reason is the entry of Iran to world oil market after the lifting of international sanctions. Iran is a big seller of crude oil. The third reason is the slowing down of the Chinese economy. It no longer imports as much crude oil as it used to before. The OPEC led by Saudi Arabia has not reduced its oil output. All these factors have contributed to the fall in oil prices in recent months.