Trivia Thursday: Companies Connected With Nazis

Trivia Thursday: Companies Connected With Nazis

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let’s have a look at some really big companies that were connected with the Nazis of Germany.

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at some companies that were connected with the Nazis:

Associated Press
Domain: News Agency
Activity: Censoring and cooperating with Nazi Germany

Domain: Automobile
Activity: Used slave labour from concentration camps to work in their factories

Barclays Bank
Domain: Multinational Bank
Activity: During the Vichy regime, officials of the Barclays Bank in France gave the Nazis information about their Jewish employees

Deutsche Bank
Domain: German Bank
Activity: Provided financial help and construction loans for Auschwitz concentration camp

Hugo Boss
Domain: Luxury fashion house
Activity: Made Nazi uniforms and propaganda items

Domain: Technology
Activity: Developed early computers used by Nazi Germany to commit the Holocaust

Domain: Multinational food and drink processing conglomerate
Activity: Profited from slave labour

Domain: Jewelry company
Activity: Members of the executive board were also Nazi Party members

Take a look at our last week’s Trivia Thursday here: Trivia Thursday: Structures In The New Indian Currency Notes

Bizarre Taxes You May Not Know

Bizarre Taxes You May Not Know

Do you know that the Entertainment tax charged by the Indian Government is not a very common practice worldwide. Keeping that in background, here’s a list of some bizarre and most uncommon taxes that we doubt you would have ever heard of.

Crux of the Matter

Chopstick Tax

Country: China
China as of 2006 used ~45 billion pairs of chopsticks per annum, utilizing 1.7 mn cubic metres of timber. Hence to go sustainable, the Chinese authorities levied 5% tax on disposable wooden chopsticks.

Shadow Tax

Country: Italy
Implemented in 1993, restaurant owners in Conegliano, Veneto end up paying €100 each year if their signs cast a shadow on public walkways.

Shelled Nut Tax

Country: England
Salted, shelled (shells removed) or roasted nuts face a VAT of 20%. However, shelled peanuts which are not roasted or salted are an exemption to the rule.

Beard Tax

Country: Russia
Adopted in 1968 by Peter the Great to get the Russain society in congruence with the European role models. A beard tax ranging from 30 rubles – 100 rubles per year was charged. A Russian beard token was carried to indicate that the owner had paid the beard tax.

Cow Fart Tax

Country: Ireland
Cow Flatulence releases a hefty amount of methane – one of the key greenhouse gases. Charged at $18 per cow, it is also levied in Denmark, New Zealand, Estonia, California.

Fat Tax

Country: Japan
Introduced to control obesity rate and its related diseases. Citizens between 40 – 75 years of age have to get their waistline measured once a year. Men and women with waistlines above 85 cm and 90 cm respectively are fined.

English School Tax

Country: Bangladesh
Schools running in English Medium are charged a Value Added tax (VAT) of 15% in Bangladesh.

Junk Food Tax

Country: Hungary
It is officially known as the Public Health Product Tax. Foods high on sugar, calories and salt are all taxed at 20 cents higher than their retail price.

  • The motto of the Income Tax Department of India is “Kosha Moolo Dandah”, coined by Chanakya. It means “Treasury is the root of administration”.

How To Differentiate Between Norovirus & COVID-19

How To Differentiate Between Norovirus & COVID-19

Amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a new virus called norovirus has emerged. Till now, 150+ cases have been reported in England. Let’s know more about its symptoms and how it differs from Covid-19.

Crux of the Matter

‘The Winter Vomiting Bug’
As per the CDC, Norovirus can spread in 3 ways:

  • Coming in direct contact with an infected person.
  • Eating contaminated water or food.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces putting hands on your mouth or nose.

What Are Its Symptoms?
This infection mainly causes inflammation in the stomach intestines (gastroenteritis), fever, dry cough, headache and nausea.

What’s Its Incubation Period?
This period is the time taken from the moment of exposure to an infectious agent till symptoms of the disease appear. For norovirus, incubation is 12-48 hours after getting infected and recovery happens in 1-3 days.

How Covid-19 Is Different?
Even though Coronavirus causes similar symptoms like norovirus, the former majorly leads to upper respiratory symptoms. This includes loss of smell and taste, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, dry cough, headache and nausea.

When Did It Originate?
The virus was initially called the Norwalk virus, after the first outbreak happened in the city of Norwalk, US in 1972.

How Many Cases Arise Each Year?
Norovirus causes 19 million – 21 million cases of gastroenteritis in the US each year. There are are 25 different strains of noroviruses and exposure to one strain won’t protect you from the others.

Who Are The Most Affected?
Kids under the age of 5. Consequently, in this age group, 50,000 deaths occur globally, commonly during winter season.

Treatment Of Norovirus
There is no specific medicine to treat people with this illness. One should drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, which may exacerbate the symptoms.

Sources: CDC, NHS and NFID
Disclaimer:  The content you read here is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For actual cases, consult your doctor.

  • Edward Jenner created the smallpox vaccine, the first-ever vaccine. He is often regarded as the Father of Immunology.

Scientists Create the World’s Toughest Self-Healing Material

Scientists Create the World’s Toughest Self-Healing Material

A transparent, self-healing material, that can be useful in making smartphone screens has been created by researchers at IISER Kolkata and IIT Kharagpur. Let’s read more about how they achieved this scientific feat.

Crux of the Matter

Advent Of Self-Healing Robots
In the past, American Chemical Society researchers had developed swimming robots that can magnetically heal themselves. A team from NUS, Singapore had created a smart foam material that allows robot hands to sense objects and self-repair.

What’s New About This Latest Research?
As opposed to conventional self-healing material, Indian researchers used a harder material: piezoelectric organic material. It converts mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa, to make needle-shaped crystals which are less than 0.2 mm wide.

How Strong Is It?
“Our self-healing material is 10 times harder than others, and it has a well-ordered internal crystalline structure, that is favored in most electronics and optical applications”, says lead researcher Professor Chilla Malla Reddy of IISER

How Was It Created?
Due to the molecular arrangement in the specially designed crystals, a strong attractive force develops between two surfaces. Every time a fracture occurs, the forces join the pieces back again, without any external agent like heat.

Inspired By Nature
As published in the coveted journal AAAS, the research adds how piezoelectricity initiates self-healing in mechanically wounded natural biomaterials, like bone and collagen protein in the human body.

No More Broken Screens
If used in mass scale, such self-repairing materials can enhance the longevity of electronic devices like smartphones and laptop, without human help.

Future Usage

  • Auto-repair of any tiny part of a spacecraft, that gets damaged after landing
  • Self healing bridges and buildings 
  • Cars that flex back to shape after low-speed collisions. 

Curious to know about nitinol? Click here to know more: Heard About This Alloy That Has A Memory?


Peter Tsai invented the material for the N95 mask. N stands for non-oil which means that the mask can be used for work in non-oil environments and 95 stands for the 95% efficacy of the mask.

Drowning In Oil Venezuela’s Economic Crisis

Drowning In Oil Venezuela's Economic Crisis

Amidst the ongoing fiasco between UK and Venezuela over gold, let’s have a look at how Venezuela ended up in the world’s worst hyperinflation situation under Maduro’s regime.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Venezuela Gold Case
With Bank of England (BoE) holding ~$2 bn of Venezuela’s gold, Nicolás Maduro’s Govt demanded access to gold for the country amidst the pandemic. However, BoE refused, as UK recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuelan President.

British Govt claims Guaidó is authorized to make decisions regarding gold held in BoE. Guaidó wants to keep the gold in BoE
vaults, believing that the gold will be used for corrupt purposes by Maduro.

Venezuela In 1998
With ~30% annual inflation, nearly 50% population was below poverty line. The oil-dependent economy was enduring falling oil prices.

Hugo Chávez’s Presidency (1999-2013) was characterized by alienation from US, promise of redistribution of oil wealth, and economic stability.

Maduro’s Presidency
Chavez’s Vice President Nicolás Maduro replaced him in 2013, under whom Venezuelan economy collapsed, and inflation reached 50%. After losing majority in Parliament and protests against him, Maduro established more powerful National Constituent Assembly loyal to him.

Economic Downfall

  • 2016: Inflation reached 800%.
  • 2017: Pro-Maduro Supreme Court tried to dissolve the Parliament.
  • 2018: Maduro elected with majority, which were called rigged by opposition.

    Maduro’s autocratic rule prompted sanctions from NATO, aggravating the economic crisis.

Presidential Crisis

Petrostate Perils
Petrostates are oil-dependent economies with some having widespread corruption and extreme income inequality. ~90% of Venezuela’s earnings come from oil exports, making its economy susceptible to oil price fluctuations.

Bolivar Plummets

  • Venezuela faced oil bust in 2016, when international crudeoil prices collapsed.
  • Oil prices plunged from $100 per barrel in 2014 to $30 in 2016.
  • Combined with depreciation of Venezuelan currency, Bolivar, inflation rate there reached over 10,00,000% in 2018.

  • In Venezuela, a litre of petrol costs just $0.02, making it the cheapest in the world. Petrol prices in Hong Kong are the highest in the world with 1 litre of petrol costing $2.40.