I Wonder Why by Neeraja Raghavan

By Neeraja Raghavan

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Light energy can be converted into electricity not only in solar cells, which you may have seen, but also within our own bodies. Nerves carry messages rather like electric wires carry electricity. These electric impulses, as they are called, are nothing but packets of electrical energy. It is these electrical energy packets that make up nerve messages. Take a simple example. If a person sees a tiger on his path, it will not take him/her long to run for his/her life! The person's reaction may take only an instant, but the reaction actually is the result of many complicated processes within the nervous system.

Not all obstacles can cause echoes, however. Some objects absorb the sound instt \d of reflecting it. This means that the sound does not bounce back and there is no echo. Sometimes, you may hear more than one echo. This happens when there are many such barriers, and each barrier sends back the sound waves at different intervals to your ears, depending upon how far away each barrier is from you. In a small room, the first sound and its echo are so close to each other in time that we hear them together.

Hit the top of your left knee with a light hammer. You will find that your knee jerks out of its own accord. This is an example of a reflex action. Laughter and tears are acts that sometimes take place without a thought. They are reflex actions, though sometimes we can control our laughter and tears. Nest building, food-gathering, mating, attack and escape movements are all examples of instinctive behaviour. Some of these behaviour patterns are so firmly set, that they are completed even when it is clear that they will fail to produce the desired result.

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