Mirror Magazine
12th December 1999

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Warm the heart at Hallmark

By Laila Nasry

"Dear Natasha.....Loads of love and kisses, Roshan xxx." What better way to express special sentiments than to say it with a card. Be it to warm a heart, light up a face, lend an ear, ease a pain, pat a back or wave goodbye, cards sure do help us out. For all you sentimental people out there who just love to send cards to anyone or everyone for anything or every thing...well there is a new Hallmark card shop in town.

Situated at Crescat Boulevard this, the second Hallmark shop to be established in Sri Lanka, is your answer if you are looking for cards that are different. For they have more than 2000 in store. Along with the flowery cards, they've got those tongue-in-cheek fun cards, plain humourous cards and cute black and white ink links. There is a standard pricing for Hallmark cards, from Rs.12 and above averaging at Rs. 30.

The Hallmark shop is a gift buyers' dream come true. They've also got posters, soft toys, fun mugs, porcelain ornaments and general stationery. The shop offers Christmas decorations, party items like napkins and tableware and fancy candles. If you are stuck for ideas on what to give your boyfriend, a brother or even your dad for Christmas, how about picking a CD from their CD card which ranges from Frank Sinatra to Backstreet Boys?

It's that time of the year when the longest list in your bag seems to be for cards. So if you care enough to send the very best, the Hallmark shop is a "must go" place this season.

What's the weather like today?

By Wathsala Mendis

It does not take a genius to look at that occasionally glum overcast sky and predict it's going to rain or to sing "I can see clearly now the rain is gone" when the sky is a clear blue. But when it comes to sudden storms, tornadoes (like the first of its kind we had a few months ago!), hazardous winds or other weather phenomena which we know nothing or little of, you and I could well be at the mercy of the Weather God! Well, not to worry.

It's the meteorologist's job to study the atmosphere's physical characteristics, motions and processes, and the way they affect the rest of our environment. The best known application of this knowledge is forecasting the weather.

The meteorologists who forecast the weather are professionally known as operational meteorologists. They study information on air pressure, temperature, humidity and wind velocity, and apply physical and mathematical relationships to make short and long-term weather forecasts. For this they use data gathered from weather balloons, weather satellites, weather radar, remote sensors and observers from various parts of the country. These forecasts are useful not only to the general public but also to those who need accurate weather information for both economic and safety reasons such as shipping, air transportation, fishing, agriculture, utilities industries, and defence.

A strong background in mathematics and physics plus good communication skills are important to prospective employees in this field. Since meteorology is a small field, relatively few job opportunities are available in Sri Lanka. Becoming a broadcast meteorologist for a radio or television station could be a really exciting job with a little bit of glamour as well. But, unfortunately, not in our country. A combination of experience plus good academic background backed up by excellent communication skills developed through speech, journalism or related fields should be able to land you a job abroad.

Those who wish to pursue a career in meteorology must meet formal education requirements such as a special B. Sc degree with a major in physics or maths or a general degree with a first or upper second class with either physics, pure math, or applied math as a subject. Although positions in operational meteorology call for only a B. Sc. a Master's degree will be preferred and required for research positions, a facility which is not available in our country.

Amateur meteorologists will often carry out routine data collection, computation, or analysis, and also some basic forecasting. Entry-level operational meteorologists are usually placed in intern positions for training and experience. During this period, they learn about forecasting equipment and procedures, while rotating to different offices to get an idea of various working environments and weather systems.

Some may work in research. For example: study the atmosphere's physical and chemical properties; the transmission of light, sound, and radio waves; collect, analyze, and interpret past records of wind, rainfall, sunshine, and temperature in specific areas or regions.

The Department of Meteorology operates around the clock seven days a week, 365 days a year which means you have to be on call, often involving night, weekend and holiday work with rotating shifts. During times of weather emergencies such as cyclones, depressions or flash floods, you may have to work overtime.

However much you try to do a good job, there are times when the weather plays havoc and you are in for flak. Maybe it has something to do with that habit of ours of "blaming it on the weatherman."

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