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FLORENCE     Florence –  the capital of the Tuscany region and the cradle of Renaissance   We opted for Flix Bus while traveling from Venice to Florence. The road journey takes about three and a half-hour. In Florence, it terminates at the rear end of Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station. One of Italy’s busiest stations, it got its name from Santa Maria Novella Church just across the plaza from the main entrance. We debarked at the station and refreshed ourselves at McDonald's before hiring a cab for our hotel. Florence, popularly known as ‘Firenze’ by the Italians, is located in central Italy. This dreamy city with a romantic name is the regional capital of the lovely Tuscany region.   Columbus Hotel, where we stayed, is located in Lugarno District. We always prefer to book our hotels through as we always land up getting good hotels at good locations. Despite being a little away from the heart of the city and Santa Maria Novella station

LED in general lighting ? Not quite yet

LED in general lighting - an update   Biswajit Sengupta Despite rapid developments in LED as an efficient source of light it has not been able to capture even 5% of the market share in general lighting application which still is being dominated by the conventional light sources. It is true that apart from high power LED chips there has been great progress in enhancing reliability of drivers and heat sinks. At least the chip manufacturers can safely claim that their products are not going to betray the useful lives declared by them. LEDs do have some unique properties which no other light source can ever have. They are highly efficient, converts almost the entire electrical energy input into light energy; requires very little power to operate ( a green energy ) as it is seen in India almost 18% of the power generated is consumed by artificial lighting ( rest of the world, particularly the developed nations, may be even higher ); smaller solar panels can be used to provide po

Journey to the formidable Antarctica plateau

Indian Expedition to South Pole  One hundred years ago, on December 14 1911 a Norwegian explorer Amundsen and his team achieved a historical feat by becoming the first humans to set foot on the formidable South Pole. After about a month Robert Scott the famous British explorer also made it to the dreaded Pole, after having failed in his earlier attempts from 1901 to 1909. But tragedy struck Scott and his four companions during their return journey. They perished after getting trapped in a fearsome blizzard. This typical Antarctica phenomenon strikes without warning and is so blinding that even objects at a distance of three feet become invisible. Unlike any other storm, a severe blizzard may last for a week at a time with winds blasting at over 100 miles per hour. Antarctica is the coldest, highest, windiest, driest and iciest continent on earth. South Pole is a table top at a height of 2500 M on this icy continent of Antarctica. The continent remains dark, without sunlight for alm

food - great tastes

IN SEARCH OF TASTE - A TALE OF FOUR CITIES A food aficionado’s mouthwatering journey over the years in cities he lived. Read  Rana's memoir with food. Cooking has been regarded as one of the greatest arts right from the time of Julius Caesar. Although elements of the art of cooking are easy to define, I have discovered over the years that the tastes which still linger on my tongue are the tastes that mattered. In that respect, my nanny still remains unbeatable as the greatest cook in my life. We called her ‘nannabhai’ derived from the Bengali word ‘ranna’ for cooking. Be it a simple Hilsa egg fry or peas pulao or stuffed chicken or quail (bater) roast, mutton, or chicken stew the food always used to be a gastronomical delight. My mother inherited some of her skills and tickled our senses with dishes like Tomato fish, Mutton kofta curry, and Pudding. Now it's my wife who has mastered the art of tickling my senses. Her talent for improvisation has created a


The name GRAND PRIX conjures in my mind the classic 1966 movie I saw as a youngster on 70 mm screen.The film which follows the fate of four Formula One drivers through a fictionalized version of the 1966 Formula One season went on to win three Academy Awards for its technical achievement in showing speed and spectacle with unique racing cinematography.Some famous Hollywood actors of yesteryear like James Garner, Yves Montand and Eva Marie Saint starred in this movie. I still remember the concluding scene. The game is over, the stands empty and one of the drivers walks on the track kicking dust.Suddenly he is engulfed with onrush of events which had taken place - cheers from the spectators as the cars whizzed past the stands, the thundering roar of the attractive looking speed machines all creating wonderfully nostalgic waves of crescendo which finally die down to swirls of dust blowing silently over the empty track. On October 30 2011 I got the opportunity to watch a Grand Prix agai