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November 15, 2019

Top 22 places to visit in Rajasthan Tour


Rajasthan is well known for its rich culture of ancient Indian history, dramatic folk dances, elegant royal sceneries of the grand palaces, forts and the simplistic lifestyle of some villages reveal a lot about Rajasthan makes the state attract a swarm of tourists from all over the world. If you were planning for Rajasthan tour, then the best time to visit Rajasthan would be in the winter from October to March. This is the definite time to witness the wildlife, endure the pleasant weather and take part in the cultural tours offered by several Rajasthan tourism packages at Sushant Travels. From desert tours and camel rides to artistic handicraft shopping in the liveliest marketplaces.

Here is a list of things to do in Rajasthan:

1) Hawa Mahal: Visit Hawa Mahal, the most distinctive monument of Jaipur is a particularly captivating destination spot, painted with radiant hues of pink portraying delicate and honeycombed gathering that is peaked at a great height. Built by a noble ruler Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799, Hawa Mahal was constructed to allow the household women of the superior and royal family to witness the processions and life of the place.

2) The City Palace: It is one of the best tourist places to visit in Rajasthan. It is a palace in Jaipur that houses the popular Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal. The Chandra Mahal is one of the most attractive tourist places in Rajasthan.

3) Jal Mahal: It is one of the most peaceful and tranquil places to visit in Rajasthan located amid the wild city of Jaipur. Jal Mahal is asymmetric deep surge royal mansion which was once a shooting toll house for the Maharajah. The bright sand blended with the stone walls of the gorgeous architecture Jal Mahal defines to be an evident contrast to the cerulean waters of the inland lake.

4) Birla Temple: This temple in Jaipur is profoundly studied and inspired by the fine art or artwork of modern architecture. The design adorned on the Birla Temple is said to have inspired by a Scottish castle artwork. The major three arches in the complex represents three crucial religions that are followed in our country.

5) Jantar Mantar: The Jantar Mantar is found in Jaipur. It is a compilation of structural astronomical instruments. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is the well-preserved among all the memorials that have been included in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

6) Lake Pichola: It is an artificial lake which has been named after the Picholi village and was built in 1362 AD. It was built to meet the irrigation and drinking requirements of the local people. There are four islands on the lake and palaces have been created on these lakes to provide a better view of the region of the lake. The four islands and the palaces built on them are Jag Niwas, Jag Mandir, Mohan Mandir and Arsi Vilas.

7) Kumbhalgarh Fort: It is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. It is known as the birthplace of the greatest warrior of India, Maharana Pratap. The fort was built during the 15th century. The fort is now open to the public and is lit up in beautiful lights every evening.

8) Fateh Prakash Palace: It was established in the early 20th century and is titled after Maharana Fateh Prakash, who was the king during the development of the palace. The palace has now been transformed into a hotel. The Fateh Prakash Palace is still owned by the Mewar Royal Family of Udaipur.

9) Mehrangarh Fort: It is one of the biggest forts in India, located at a height of 440 feet from the city. The fort is surrounded by high and resolute walls and embeds several palaces and temples within. The Mehrangarh Fort is pretty famous among tourists. The Fort also has a museum which is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan.

10) Bishnoi Village: It is a village which allows the tourist to traverse the rich cultural beauty exhibiting the ethnic customs in and around Marwar. Bishnoi Village portrays the true essence of Rajasthan. Therefore, if you are zealous to encounter the venture of the tribal village culture, then you must surely visit Bishnoi Village.

11) Umaid Bhawan Palace: Originally known as the Chittar Palace, is one of the world‚??s greatest private residences. A part of the palace is still used by the Jodhpur Royal Family, another part has been hired by the Taj Group of Hotels and handled as hotel. The palace is divided into three parts, One part of the palace is the royal residence, the other part is a heritage hotel and the third part is a museum. The museum showcases the 20th-century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family. The museum gallery showcases the automobiles owned by the royal family.

12) Osian Village: It is one of the popular places to visit in Rajasthan. Osian is known as a place where tours and outings can be carried out. Experiential things like camel riding, overnight safaris, and dune camping are popular in Osian Village.

13) The Jaisalmer Fort: It is one of the most magnificent forts in the world. It is termed - the Sonar Qila in the regional language as it is made of yellow sandstone. The Fort takes on a yellow hue in the sun rays and turns a beautiful honey-gold colour at sunset.

14) The Sam Sand Dunes: It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Rajasthan. It is the place where you can completely lose yourself in the stunning beauty of the Thar Desert. From this point, there is only a vast stretch of dunes with rare or no vegetation. Sam sand dunes safari and jeep safari are activities that should not be missed in Rajasthan tour.

15) Dilwara Jain temple: The beautiful temple is located near Mount Abu. The temples are known for their exquisite architecture and elaborate carvings. The temples were constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries by Chalukya.

16) Guru Shikhar: It is one of the peaks in the Arabuda Mountains of Rajasthan and also the highest point in the Aravalli Range, Rajasthan. Guru Shikhar extended to a height of 5,676 feet. There is a temple devoted to Dattatreya and Lord Vishnu, at the top of Guru Shikhar in a cave.

17) Junagarh Fort: Originally named the Chintamani Fort which is not built on a hilltop. The Junagarh Fort is placed in central and the city of Bikaner has expanded around it.

18) Karni Mata Temple: Solemnly devoted to Karni Mata located at Deshnoke, Rajasthan. Popularly known as the Rat Temple. It is the home for around twenty-five thousand black rats that are worshipped daily in the temple.

19) The Keoladeo National Park: It is also known as the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, was previously known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The park plays host to a large number of migratory birds during the winters, it is also been added in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

20) The Chittorgarh Fort: It is the largest fort in India. The fort, which is also called Chittor, was the place of power of the rulers of Mewar. The fort was attacked three times between the 15th and the 16th centuries and was captured by enemies. The fort is emblematic of the spirit and values of the brave Rajput rulers who ruled over Mewar.

Garadia Mahadev Temple: It is located at around 500 feet at a distance from the sea level near the canyon through which the Chambal river runs. On either side of the temple lies colossally large massive cliffs. Ranthambore National Park: One of the famous national parks in Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is the main tourist attraction. Ranthambore National Park is deemed to be a popular hunting grounds especially discovered for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Best time to visit Ranthambore National Park is open for the tourist every year on between 1st October to 30th June. Rest of the time it remains closed.

Sushant Travels - Rajasthan Tour Packages, India Tour Packages
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December 2, 2011

Online NRSC 2100- Is it a Good Idea?


Over the last semester we have all participated in a class with a very different learning format from that which we are used to. Whether we signed up for an online class or not, almost all of the educational content of this class has been presented online. Independent, online learning, presents a very different learning experience than the traditional university course. Rather than seeing and hearing a professor lecture and discussing our learning in a social, classroom setting we have obtained most of our information through online textbooks, tutorials and videos and have discussed it using Facebook, Hootcourse and this blog. The question is: Is this new form of education that does not revolve around the face-to-face social experience between a teacher and a classroom bring the same benefits? Is social interaction important for learning? Do the social capabilities of the internet (i.e. Facebook) sufficiently replace in-person communication?
In her article, "The Developing Social Brain: Implications for Education, (http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(10)00173-X )" Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explores the research that has been done on the role of social interaction in learning. Humans have a social brain; we are capable of intuitively knowing what certain facial expressions and body language mean. Babies developing language skills depend on social interaction for learning. Blakemore highlights a study (Kuhl et al., 2003 ) in which American babies are exposed to Chinese Mandarin through three different methods: 1) social interaction (reading and playing) with a native speaker, 2) videos of that same speaker or 3) audio recording of that same speaker. The only group that displayed the learned ability to distinguish between Chinese sounds was the group that experienced social interaction. The benefits of social interaction in learning are not yet understood. It could be that the infants are more motivated by social interaction or that the adult speaker is able to tailor their behavior to the child's needs in a social experience.
This doesn't necessarily point to the absolute necessity of social interaction for academic learning; language acquisition is different from the type of learning done in a university classroom and the age of the participants and their brain development is significantly different from that of the typical student enrolled in this class. Blakemore explores one of these issues by examining the difference in brain activity in adults and adolescents. The brain undergoes significant changes in Medial Prefrontal Activation during adolescence. This area is active in social cognition tasks. Research suggests that the development of social learning skills is still taking place late into adolescence and that continuing to learn and have real-life social interactions during this period is crucial for the development of the brain.
She concludes her exploration with more questions and an analysis of implications of this research for education. It is clear that some types of learning do require social interaction and that this is true even into late adolescence (and perhaps beyond?). For now, the question as to whether classes such as this one are as educationally valuable for the human brain is waiting on more research . For now, we get to be the judges of that.
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October 23, 2011

Technology: Virtue or Vice to Our Brains?


It is undeniable that our daily lives are inundated with technology. Our society and this world work hand in hand with technology on a close, almost dependent level. It is only in the last few decades that we have become so co oriented with technology, and it is becoming a more pressing issue than ever that we question the effects of this change. As humans, who we are is shaped by our experiences, and knowing and acknowledging this fact means we have to question both the pros and cons of such a new and close relationship with technology. When looking at this relationship it is not a question of whether or not humans are being affected by technology but how technology is affecting us.

Technology includes a multitude of different things and cannot be considered one single entity. Because it is so multidimensional it is not necessarily a good or a bad thing; a greater breakdown is necessary to determine potentially harmful technology from proven positive facets of technology. It is verified that technology as a whole has the ability to manipulate mood and arousal. It has also been proven that attention, and vision and motor skills can be enhanced while using technology. These improvements are highly dependent based on the type of technology being used and whether or not there is active or passive interaction.

Television has been around for more than sixty years but it's relevance to everyday lives and learning has never been so great. There are learning benefits to technology but three reoccurring traits have surfaced in accordance with being wired. Studies have shown that people are more likely to be violent, exhibit addictive behavior, and get distracted easier. Once again the context of the technology must be taken in to consideration. Influences of technology are starting at earlier and earlier ages these days. In children the television show Telletubbies, research showed a decrease in language proficiency in children who watched this show. However, there was a language proficiency increase seen in children who watched Dora the Explorer.

These numerous concerns and detrimental findings in research also have a flip side. New research shows indications that playing video games is associated with a number of improvements in attention, cognition, vision, and motor control. Playing video games heightens ability to pinpoint small details in chaotic scenes. Playing video games and improving these skills has shown to help people in careers such as pilots or surgeons.
Part of making technology more beneficial than detrimental is learning how to use it and how to allow it to challenge and improve our brains as opposed to letting it become a route to mindlessness. We are seeing that the attractive features of video games such as emotional context, arousing experiences, and richly structured scenarios are what boost our intellectual brain and educational technology tends to exploit the repetitive nature of practice makes perfect. Making moves to shift educational technology toward the more interactive nature of technology could only improve our relationship with technology. It is difficult to study the ways that technology affects the human brain but considering the growing reliability and interaction humans have with it, research in this field is both necessary and critical to society.

Full article can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627310006781
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October 22, 2011

Sleep and spines modulate your mind...and your brain?


"The mind is the brain doing its job." - Simon LeVay, 1994

We know that sleep is good for us: it's a daily, regularly- or irregularly-scheduled body and brain maintenance check. The sleep/wake cycle maintenance staff in particular is profoundly important in synaptic renormalization (homeostasis) by modulating (decreasing) synaptic size and/or strength in the adult brain. In the adult brain; surprisingly, this doesn't exactly hold for the adolescent brain, where sleep/wake cycle maintenance staff is responsible for more synaptogenesis (synaptic formation) and synaptic pruning (synaptic elimination).


A recent article published in Nature Neuroscience examined the process of cortical development (that involves synaptogenesis and pruning) in adolescent YFP-mice (through two-photon microscopy) as a function of different sleep/wake cycles: W1S2 mice (wake followed by sleep), and S1W2 mice (sleep first followed by wake). Mice were allowed to sleep or kept awake for each behavioral state (sleep/wake) for durations that mimic physiological sleep/wake cycles (6-8 h) and then imaged. Interestingly enough, they found overall decreased spine density in W1S2 mice and increased spine density in S1W2 mice; there was no variation observed in mice in early or late adolescence. Waking results in a net increase in cortical spines, and sleep is associated with net spine loss.
A third experimental group of W1SD2 mice (wake followed by sleep deprivation), to control for decreased spine density as a function of the passage of time showed a net increase in synaptic density.


In summary:
Wake followed by sleep (W1S2) = spine loss
Sleep followed by wake (S1W2) = spine gain
Wake followed by sleep deprivation (W1SD2) = spine gain

Sleep might actually be bad! (...for dendritic spines, that is)


The wake-sleep deprived group presents an interesting case. Sleep-deprivation, akin to pulling an all-nighter, shows a net increase in spine density. Therefore, sleep deprivation is one way to keep your dendritic spine density (that is, until you crash of exhaustion). Sleeping for the recommended 8 hours a night is also a default option. For those of us in adolescence, retaining spine density though sleep-deprivation is still theoretically a viable option. A different experiment conducted by the same researchers imaged the mice after 2-3 hours of sleep (short sleep) or wake (short wake). Both groups showed no net changes after short sleep or short waking. It may be theoretically possible to maintain spine density through a sleep-deprivation following wake with short sleep sleep/wake cycle (power naps anyone?).


This article concludes by suggesting that behavioral state modulates spine turnover in a manner consistent with the need for synaptic homeostasis; in the adult brain this translates into synaptic renormalization, and in the adolescent brain (regardless of exact developmental stage of adolescence) this translates into synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning. Sleep may therefore facilitate spine elimination or spine loss in certain phases of development. Sleep deprivation during adolescence may affect synaptic turnover, as it blocks sleep-related spine pruning; however, it does not result in a further increase in spine density. It is currently unclear to what extent the role of sleep in spine elimination is permissive and/or instructive.


So what does sleep and spine density have to do with anything? In the adult brain, it decreases synaptic size and/or strength; in the adolescent brain, it modulates synaptic pruning during a period of massive synaptic remodeling. Synaptic spine density is a part of how the brain does its job. Spine density therefore affects the mind (the brain doing its job that feeds to the mind). Changes in our minds are therefore a result of the brain doing its job differently, and how the brain does its job differently can involve changes in synaptic spine density. Spine density subsequently affects the different jobs of the brain; spine density affects the mind. Sleep (the sleep/wake cycle), therefore, is especially critical in cortical development during adolescence in modulating synaptic spine density (long-term potentiation anyone?)

I should probably get more sleep myself...

Source: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.2934.html
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July 31, 2011

Subjective Diagnosis


As the teacher speaks in front of the class, the majority of the students are attentive and taking notes. But there is one student in the classroom looking out the window daydreaming about being outside and able to run around, free, not trapped in his chair. He has attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). More and more students are being diagnosed with this disorder. Why? Does it have to do with our genes, the environment? Is this just a reflection on our society always needing an answer and diagnosis for why we are different or is it the doctors wanting more money?

Currently the only way to diagnose this disorder is through a series of physiological tests and accounts from your teachers and parents. These methods are very subjective and may be leading to over diagnosis of children and overmedicating (2). These students may just need to learn discipline and learn how to motivate themselves to sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture or study for an exam. Just like many other psychological disorders the most logical answer to this is to study the differences between the brain structures of those with ADHD and those without.

In a recent study (1), the researchers were after the answer to see if there is a significant difference in the adolescent brain with ADHD with and without medication and without ADHD. The researchers wanted to determine if using an MRI of a child's brain would lead to better diagnosis of ADHD. The researchers studied the participants for ten years and took a total of four MRI's for each child. The researchers concluded that there is a significant difference in brain volume and specifically the white matter and the caudate nucleus. These two differences were seen to be developed at a young age due to genetics or environment and the growth of the brain paralleled the control participants. This means that as a child you have ADHD and do not generally develop it later in life.

According to the results even though there are differences in the anatomical brain structure, this still is not a clear answer to whether or not an MRI will be able to diagnose anyone with ADHD any time soon. The limitations to the study are the participants themselves. They are unable to keep still for the MRI and many of the images had to be thrown out because of movement. Also the lack of twin and sibling studies in the topic cause us to not be able to determine how much of the differences are die to environmental or genetic influences or if it is merely a correlation.

Similarly to other imaging discussions about the validity of the images and what they tell us we are unable to definitively say. At this point much more research needs to be done on the topic of ADHD and how brain imaging can enhance one's ability to be diagnosed with ADHD and allow the subjective tests to be replaced by a more concrete method of diagnosis.

1. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/288/14/1740.full.pdf+html
2. http://www.hs-zigr.de/~wirsing/ASH%20Sozialmedizin09/ABPapersPDF/ADHD1%20Kopie.pdf
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July 30, 2011

Saying No to the Death Penalty: The Excuses of Adolescence


Most adolescents spend their time going to school. But some adolescents spend their time murdering people.
Most adults spend their time working. But some adults also spend their time murdering people. In many states, these adults are often executed.
So where, and more importantly, with what reasoning, do we draw the line between adolescent and adult? And, especially in cases of murder, what should that line mean?

Usually in cases such as this we want to turn to scientific evidence. But in issues of law it is never that simple.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has made many rulings regarding the death penalty, there have been two prominent cases regarding juveniles. Thompson vs. Oklahoma (1988) outlawed the death penalty for individuals who were under sixteen when a crime was committed, and Roper vs. Simmons (2005) outlawed the death penalty for individuals who were under eighteen when a crime was committed. With Roper vs. Simmons, the courts finally had some scientific data (although still not completely conclusive) to work with. But the issue of the death penalty is far from over. That ruling was 5-4.

"Crime, Culpability, and the Adolescent Brain" is an article written for "Science" in 2004 by Mary Beckman, just before the Roper vs. Simmons decision was made. It clearly outlines the neurological data compiled to support the case of Christopher Simmons.
Although there is more data relevant to the case now, this article is particularly interesting because we can look at the 2005 ruling that followed.
His case was quite grisly, involving robbing, tying up, and throwing a woman off of a bridge.

The defense presented the argument that the death penalty was cruel and unusual because the defendant's brain was not functionally identical to that of an adult. The article states, "Structurally, the brain is still growing and maturing during adolescence, beginning its final push around 16 or 17" (Beckman, 2004). Neural connections of adulthood are shaped during the teen years, involving a decrease in gray matter and an increase in white matter. Perhaps the most significant data presented was that on frontal lobe maturation. There is an apparent, "wave of brain change moving forward into the front of the brain", seen using MRIs in an NIMH study (Beckman, 2004). This is integral to the case because the frontal lobe is linked to impulse control. Erratic behavior is also more prevalent in adolescents; "the brain switches from relying heavily on local regions in childhood to more distributive and collaborative interactions among distant regions in adulthood" (Beckman, 2004).

Arguments for and against the death penalty always seem to be a muddled combination of personal belief, religion, experience, science, and history. And to complicate the matter, we're talking about some very grisly crimes. In the 2005 opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "The age of 18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood. It is, we conclude, the age at which the line for death eligibility ought to rest" (Kennedy, 2005). There is no doubt that the scientific evidence presented had an effect on the ruling. But, unfortunately, it is not likely that such evidence will ever provide us with an infallible answer. The 2004 article ends with a quote from neuroscientist Elizabeth Sowell of UCLA, "We couldn't do a scan on a kid and decide if they should be tried as an adult" (Beckman, 2004). Six years later we have more data, but this remains true.

Beckman, Mary. "Crime, Culpability, and the Adolescent Brain." Sciencemag.org. AAAS, 30 July 2004. Web. 30 July 2011. .
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