Month: August 2019

Asus Introduces its First GlideEnabled PDA Phone

first_img Citation: Asus Introduces its First Glide-Enabled PDA Phone (2008, September 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-09-asus-glide-enabled-pda.html The ASUS P552w is the latest PDA phone that features, Glide innovative, touch responsive user interface that makes navigating on this mobile phone more intuitive and interactive than ever before. Photo courtesy of Mobile Burn This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. ASUS P552w incorporates a revolutionary touch-responsive user interface that uses cutting-edge Gester technology which enables users to perform a variety of navigational actions such as selecting, zooming, scrolling and flipping with the simple flicks of their fingers.The ASUS P552w also has applications that enable users to access a wide range of functions such as looking up the latest news, checking the weather forecast, viewing photo slideshows and listening to music all with a few taps of their fingers. These applications, dubbed Multi-Home, Anytime Launcher, EziPhoto, and EziMusic. EziPhoto enables users to flip through their photo collection with their fingertips, similar to how they would with a real photo album.EziMusic has an interactive interface that allows you to play and manage your music. The ASUS P552w also houses applications that enable easy access to web content like RSS news-feeds, YouTube movies and photos on Flickr. The ASUS P552w features Google Maps which not only facilitates navigation, but also capable of supplying users with POI´s (points of interest). The ASUS P552w´s navigation capabilities feature ASUS SMS Location Link. This exclusive feature allows users at two different locations to locate each other by sending each other SMS messages. Clicking on the URLs, which are automatically embedded in the sent messages, will link the phones up to Google Maps, giving users clear directions on how to get to each other´s positions.The Asus P552W is equipped with a 624MHz processor, 3.5G HSDPA connectivity, GPS and seamless Google integration. It also offers Bluetooth, WLAN 802.11b/g, GPS, USB and other connectivity standards to enable easy data transfers to and from other devices.ASUS has yet to announce pricing and availability information for its P552w phone.Via: Cool Gadgets Zone and Mobile Burn last_img read more

Googles CO2 Emissions Some Puff Lies Good Old Fashion Hype

first_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (PhysOrg.com) — A January 11, 2009 article in the London Times (on-line version) entitled, Revealed: The Environmental Impact of Google Searches quoted Harvard Physicist, Alex Wissner-Gross that “two Google searches generate the same carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea.” As one might expect, the Google Team went into overdrive to correct the perception that Googlers are energy hogs. Citation: Google’s CO2 Emissions: Some Puff, Lies & Good Old Fashion Hype (2009, January 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-google-co2-emissions-puff-lies.html Google kettle. Image (c) PhysOrg.com Modeling platform shows environmental impact of retrofitted buildings As it turns out, the study of the environmental impact of web searches authored by Wissner-Gross soon to be published is not about Google, except in a very general way. It would appear, the London Times was trying to sell newspapers and Google always generates interest on the Web. According to Wissner-Gross in an exclusive interview with Technology News, the tea kettle analogy, “They (London Times) did that, I have no idea where they got those statistics”.Harvard Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross manages a web site CO2stats.com whose aim it is to educate Web site owners about reducing energy consumption and offers a seal of approval logo for compliant sites. Wissner-Gross did say, “a Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power.” Additionally, Wissner-Gross stated, “Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site.” As one might expect, there was an immediate rebuttal from Google posted by Urs Holzle, Senior Vice President, Operations. First, Google disputes that a typical Google search produces 7g of CO2, instead Google asserts that a typical search produces 0.2g green house gases. Secondly, Holzle points out that Google has made great strides to reduce the energy used in its data centers and plans to do more. In 2008, the philanthropic arm of Google invested $45 million in breakthrough clean energy technologies. Google co-founded the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a group with the goal of reducing energy consumption by computers 50-percent by 2010 thereby reducing global CO2 emissions by 54 million tons per year. There’s more from Google’s perspective, if you are interested see: googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/0 … g-google-search.html .In other rippling effect news from the blogosphere about the London Times Google CO2 story other cracks may have occurred. Apparently, the Times reporters did interview a Google engineer whose job it is to review and analyze Google’s data centers, but it failed to include any of the information supplied to them in the published article, according to Google spokesperson, Jamie Yood. Comments about the story, include “What about the Google private wide-body jet and questions the lack of transparency of Google’s server infrastructure.” Other comments include, the ‘greenwashing’ of Google’s energy consumption by its public display of cute electric cars and more. In conclusion, the Times story opened up a discussion on the high energy demands of all Web data centers. Going Green is not a logo, TV commercial or press release. A little transparency would go a long way to dispel rumors and perhaps allow cooler heads to prevail in reporting the news.© 2009 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

How do supermassive black holes get so big

first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — At the center of most galaxies lie supermassive black holes that can grow to become more than a billion times larger than our Sun. However, astrophysicists don’t fully understand the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes – specifically, how swirling gas from the galaxy loses its large angular momentum to allow it to be consumed by the black hole. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In a new study, astrophysicists Philip Hopkins and Eliot Quataert from the University of California, Berkeley, have proposed an explanation for how gas loses its angular momentum and successfully crosses the last 30 light years to the black hole. Their idea stems from previous observations that the supermassive black hole in the center of the Andromeda galaxy is orbited by an old lopsided stellar disk. Hopkins and Quataert suggest that when gas flows toward a black hole, it initially forms this stellar disk due to gravitational instabilities. Eventually, the stellar disk grows in size to stretch over a distance of dozens of light years from the center of the galaxy. Once it becomes large enough, its eccentric shape pulls unevenly on the incoming gas. This torque causes different gas streams to collide, reducing the gas’ momentum and allowing it to flow close enough to the black hole (less than one light year) to allow the black hole’s gravity to dominate and swallow the gas. The researchers’ simulations showed that this process could enable black holes to consume several solar masses of gas each year, which could have helped Andromeda’s black hole to gain much of its mass.Since Andromeda is not a unique galaxy, other supermassive black holes may also have orbiting stellar disks that transport the angular momentum of gas to the black hole’s vicinity, helping to “feed” the black hole. In addition, the eccentric stellar disk’s self-gravitational forces might reveal insight into active galactic nuclei and the cosmic X-ray background. Citation: How do supermassive black holes get so big? (2010, April 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-04-supermassive-black-holes-big.html More information: Philip Hopkins and Eliot Quataert. “The Nuclear Stellar Disk in Andromeda: A Fossil from the Era of Black Hole Growth.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Available at arXiv:1002.1079v2 [astro-ph.CO].Via: New Scientist Explore further Chandra data reveal rapidly whirling black holes This illustration of the black hole in Andromeda shows an old lopsided stellar disk (red) orbiting a black hole (black dot). An inner ring of younger stars (light blue) also orbits the black hole. The stellar disks may drag swirling gas close enough to the black hole to be consumed. Credit: A. Field, NASA, ESA.last_img read more

Avatar may soon be keeping your safe in the skies

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Lie detection is coming to a whole new level. Soon we will not have to rely on the work of individual agents to figure out who is just trying to get on a plane and who is a criminal mastermind in the making. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. 3-D avatar may help doctors improve care Researchers at the University of Arizona are working on a deception detection machine that will eventually be put into airports. The machine, which hast been dubbed the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-time, or Avatar for short, is about the size of an standard ATM.Avatar’s job to is to see the things that the border agents can’t. The Avatar machine features a high definition camera equipped with infrared sensors and a microphone. This set is designed to capture and measure the facial expressions and voice of the subject. The machine looks at facial features, with a specific emphasis on the eyes. The infrared sensors are designed to detect eye dilation and movement, two signs of untruthfulness, while the microphone assesses not only what is said, but how it is said.The accuracy of the scans could, of course, be effected by a number of medical conditions, prescription drugs that effect the users sensitivity to light and a number of other factors, so it will have to be paired with a human agent to ensure accuracy.The Avatar machine is currently in its testing phase. The project will require some fine tuning, and possibly a new version of the prototype before you see it in an air port near you. Avatar is part of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Border Security and Immigration project. Explore further © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: Avatar may soon be keeping your safe in the skies (2011, March 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-03-avatar-safe.htmllast_img read more

New model suggests early humans lost fur after developing bipedalism

first_img More information: Avoidance of overheating and selection for both hair loss and bipedality in hominins, PNAS, Published online before print December 12, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113915108AbstractTwo frequently debated aspects of hominin evolution are the development of upright bipedal stance and reduction in body hair. It has long been argued, on the basis of heat-balance models, that thermoregulation might have been important in the evolution of both of these traits. Previous models were based on a stationary individual standing in direct sunlight; here we extend this approach to consider a walking hominin, having argued that walking is more thermally challenging than remaining still. Further, stationary activities may be more compatible with shade seeking than activities (such as foraging) involving travel across the landscape. Our model predictions suggest that upright stance probably evolved for nonthermoregulatory reasons. However, the thermoregulatory explanation for hair loss was supported. Specifically, we postulate progressive hair loss being selected and this allowing individuals to be active in hot, open environments initially around dusk and dawn without overheating. Then, as our ancestors’ hair loss increased and sweating ability improved over evolutionary time, the fraction of the day when they could remain active in such environments extended. Our model suggests that only when hair loss and sweating ability reach near-modern human levels could hominins have been active in the heat of the day in hot, open environments. (PhysOrg.com) — Two of the most basic questions in the study of human evolution revolve around why early people started walking around on two feet instead of four and why they lost their fur, especially in light of the fact that most other primates have kept their coats, and still make extensive use of their hands in walking and especially so, when running. Some have postulated that early hominins began walking upright as a means of helping them keep cooler. A new model by Graeme Ruxton and David Wilkinson disagrees, writing in their paper published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, that research they’ve done shows that it was only after early humans began walking upright that they began to lose their fur coats.Ruxton and Wilkinson don’t offer any new theories as to why early humans started walking upright but they say after studying mathematical models that describe how humans or animals lose body heat based on different postures during different times of the day, that as expected, it appears a crouched posture does conserve body heat more so than does a fully erect one, especially in direct sunlight, suggesting that walking erect would indeed seem to be a way to keep cooler. Unfortunately, they say, that doesn’t take into account the body heat that is created internally by the very act of moving around. Thus, they say, models that suggest humans started walking upright as a means to cool off aren’t looking at the whole picture because in addition to the metabolic heat generated, the cooling effect gained in losing body hair would be much more profound in a person walking upright, than would be the case for one who remained crouching.Thus, they argue, it was only after hominins started walking upright that they began losing their fur, though they do agree that the latter change came about as a means of keeping cooler.No one really knows why hominins became bipedal, whether because it helped see threats and food options better, or because it helped them reach up into trees for fruit or whether as previous models suggest it helped in cooling down in the hot African climate, but, regardless, it seems models that seek to explain the change will be forever intricately linked with the reasons that they lost their fur as well. Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Model predictions for the amount of heat that must be dissipated by sources other than normal respiration (such as sweating) to maintain heat balance, as a function of time of day for a gracile male hominin. We model four situations involving all combinations of quadrupedal versus bipedal stance and full body hair versus loss of hair to near-modern human levels. Image (c) PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1113915108center_img Citation: New model suggests early humans lost fur after developing bipedalism (2011, December 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-early-humans-lost-fur-bipedalism.html © 2011 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Carry on walking!last_img read more

Overclockers can celebrate Raspberry Pi turbo mode

first_img More information: www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2008 (Phys.org)—Up to now, overclockers hungry for more processing power had to trade off on the possibility of a shorter life of the SoC and a voided warranty. Eben Upton, a founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, had remarked earlier this year, that “This is a mobile phone chip. The voltage this chip runs at, you can’t just give it a significant voltage overhead without harming the overall chip lifetime.’ The Raspberry Pi designers have good news for power enthusiasts this week, however. The team has developed a turbo mode that boosts performance by about 50 percent while keeping warranties intact. The turbo mode is a key feature of its latest firmware update. Its blog headline is “Introducing turbo mode: up to 50% more performance for free.” Photograph taken of a Raspberry Pi computer Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Overclockers can celebrate Raspberry Pi turbo mode (2012, September 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-09-overclockers-celebrate-raspberry-pi-turbo.html Raspberry Pi will roll with Android 4.0 © 2012 Phys.org The team notes that since the device’s launch, the designers supported overclocking and overvolting the Raspberry Pi by editing config.txt. They acknowledged how overvolting was going to provide those who did it with more headroom, but voided the warranty. “We were concerned it would decrease the lifetime of the SoC; we set a sticky bit inside BCM2835 to allow us to spot boards which have been overvolted.”Not that they were going to leave it at that—support yet no warranty. The whole point of the little, low-priced, device is to explore. The team said they did a lot of work to understand the impact of voltage and temperature on lifetime. The result is the “turbo mode.”A new technique can dynamically enable overclocking and overvolting under the control of a cpufreq driver with no effect on the user’s warranty. “We are happy that the combination of only applying turbo when busy, and limiting turbo when the BCM2835′s internal temperature reaches 85°C, means there will be no measurable reduction in the lifetime of your Raspberry Pi.”Users are told that the level of stable overclock that can be achieved will depend, though, on the specific Pi and on the quality of the user’s power supply. Raspberry Pi recommends Quake 3 as a stress test to check if a particular level is completely stable.The new upgrade brings a number of attractions to light for computer enthusiasts. These include a choice of one of five overclock presets in raspi-config, the highest of which runs the ARM at 1GHz, and better analogue audio quality. The Raspberry Pi team says there is “Wi-Fi support out of the box”—well, if your WiFi driver is supported by the default linux tree, or is based on the popular RTL8188CUS chipset, then WiFi should work out of the box.Instructions say, Boot the image with the WiFi dongle plugged in. Run startx and select “WiFi Config”. You can scan for wireless networks and enter your wireless password and connect from the GUI. There is no need to install additional packages or scripts, they add.Another attraction is a pre-installed Penguins Puzzle, with the instructions to “guide the penguin to the exit without falling in the water,” and a pre-installed SmartSim. SmartSim is a cross platform digital logic circuit design and simulation package for Windows and Linux. Ashley Newson, a sixth-form student, first developed a home-grown circuit design and simulation package and subsequently polished it off and released it for public consumption under the GPLv3.last_img read more

Chemists use high speed camera to fully explain high school explosion demonstration

first_img Citation: Chemists use high speed camera to fully explain high school explosion demonstration (2015, January 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-chemists-high-camera-fully-school.html First experiments of the alkali metal explosion in water performed at the balcony of the Institute in Prague provided important clues for later more rigorous laboratory studies (and lots of fun). Credit: Phil Mason This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Play This video provides footage from high speed cameras place of the explosion of a sodium/ potassium alloy drop in water compared to a water drop hitting a water surface. Footages from cameras aiming both from above and below the water surface are provided. Credit: Mason et al. The team allows that there is likely little real world application for what they have discovered, but hope that in the future, high school teachers will be able to give the full story as they attempt to wow future chemists. Explore further PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Journal information: Nature Chemistrycenter_img More information: Coulomb explosion during the early stages of the reaction of alkali metals with water, Nature Chemistry (2015) DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2161AbstractAlkali metals can react explosively with water and it is textbook knowledge that this vigorous behaviour results from heat release, steam formation and ignition of the hydrogen gas that is produced. Here we suggest that the initial process enabling the alkali metal explosion in water is, however, of a completely different nature. High-speed camera imaging of liquid drops of a sodium/potassium alloy in water reveals submillisecond formation of metal spikes that protrude from the surface of the drop. Molecular dynamics simulations demonstrate that on immersion in water there is an almost immediate release of electrons from the metal surface. The system thus quickly reaches the Rayleigh instability limit, which leads to a ‘coulomb explosion’ of the alkali metal drop. Consequently, a new metal surface in contact with water is formed, which explains why the reaction does not become self-quenched by its products, but can rather lead to explosive behaviour. © 2015 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from Czech Republic and Germany has found that the general explanation given to high school chemistry students regarding the reasons for an explosion when alkali metals are dropped into water, is insufficient. In their paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the group explains how they filmed such reactions and discovered what really happens. Play This video shows an ab initio molecular dynamics simulation of a cluster of 19 sodium atoms immersed in a water cluster. Credit: Mason et al. Laser-generated surface structures create extremely water-repellent metals Most chemistry students have seen it—an instructor drops a bit of alkali metal into a beaker of water and a flashy explosion occurs—up till now, the explanation has been that as electrons leave the metal, hydrogen is formed which then ignites. The researchers in this new study do not dispute that claim, but have found that there is more to it.The researchers note that the traditional explanation for the cause of the explosion has not really been fully explained, after all they note, there is little surface area for the reaction to occur and as the hydrogen forms, it would appear to form a barrier between the two materials, further squelching the possibility of an explosion. To find out what really goes on, they filmed drops of a sodium-potassium alloy as they hit the surface of a container of water. Slowing down the reaction revealed that just microseconds after the drops hit, tiny spikes of metal protruded from the impact zone. That, the researchers noted caused more surface area between the two materials coming into contact, and also allowed for piercing the layer that formed between them, allowing the explosion to proceed.High school teachers, the team notes, correctly tell their students that electrons leave the metal and enter the water, but generally neglect to mention that the metals then become highly positively charged. It is that charge that is responsible, they suggest, for the formation of the spikes, which are the real reason for the explosion. The team created a computer simulation of what they observed and found the same results, verifying that they had found the real process involved in such explosions.last_img read more

Study shows wind erosion may have more impact on river canyons than

first_img To better understand the impact wind erosion may have on the shape of river canyons, the research trio studied satellite images of sections of Chile—one where there were a lot of river canyons. They looked at two groups of river canyons, one where the canyons were exposed to wind and its impact, and the other where canyons were protected from wind by nearby mountains. Examination of the images revealed stark differences—those canyons that had been exposed to wind were longer and smoother and had on average grown ten times faster than those canyons shielded by mountains over their millions of years of history. Those canyons exposed to the wind, the team noted, looked like large gouges in the surface of the Earth, whereas those that were protected were stubby and softer looking.The team is not suggesting, as Perron points out, that some similar canyons may have come to exist due solely to wind erosion, rather that it appears that both wind and water contribute significantly to the shape of river canyons.The researchers note their findings could have implications beyond river canyons here on Earth, pointing out that similar canyons exist in other places, such as on Mars. Space scientists, they note, use canyon geography to try to estimate how much water may have been present in a given area during a given time period, but little consideration has been given to how much impact wind on the Red Planet may have contributed to the way the canyons look today. They suggest that wind conditions on and around Martian canyons be taken into consideration before attempting to make water impact estimates. Star Trekish, rafting scientists make bold discovery on Fraser River This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further More information: Amplification of bedrock canyon incision by wind, Nature Geoscience (2015) DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2381AbstractBedrock canyons are ubiquitous on Earth and Mars, and river canyon morphology is commonly used to interpret the climatic and tectonic histories of landscapes. On both planets, however, many bedrock canyons exist in dry, wind-dominated environments. Although wind abrasion can significantly influence the evolution of arid landscapes, the role of wind in shaping arid bedrock canyon systems is poorly understood and thus typically neglected. Here we exploit a natural experiment on the western slope of the central Andes that allows direct comparison of wind-affected and wind-protected canyons. Through a combined analysis of the morphology of 36 canyons and topographic wind simulations, we show that wind abrasion can amplify bedrock canyon incision rates by an order of magnitude above fluvial rates. Our results imply that wind can extend bedrock canyons—landforms traditionally thought to evolve only from flowing water. Furthermore, our analyses reveal a direct relationship between aerodynamics and landscape evolution on varying scales. Topographic shielding of high winds by mountains modulates the pace of canyon retreat, while individual canyon profiles become aerodynamically streamlined. We conclude that wind abrasion can significantly modify the morphology of bedrock canyons and suggest that wind may have similarly reshaped fluvial landscapes on the martian surface. Satellite images showing evidence for wind abrasion along martian bedrock canyons. Credit: Images courtesy of: a,b, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; c, ESA/DLR/FU Berlin. via Nature Geoscience (2015) doi:10.1038/ngeo2381center_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers has found evidence that suggests wind erosion on river canyons may have more of an impact on the shape of such canyons than scientists have previously thought. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Jonathan Perkins and Noah Finnegan with the University of California, and Shanaka de Silva with Oregon State University describe their study which compared river canyons in South America, some of which were subjected to wind, and some of which were shielded by mountains. Taylor Perron with MIT offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. © 2015 Phys.org Citation: Study shows wind erosion may have more impact on river canyons than previously thought (2015, March 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-erosion-impact-river-canyons-previously.htmllast_img read more

Best of Last Week – Study backs Standard Model splitting an electron

first_img Three-decade quest backs physics’ ‘Standard Model’ (Phys.org)—It was a pretty big week for physics as a team of researchers working at CERN’s LHC reported that a three-decade long quest backs physics’ Standard Model. They detected a revealing change in a sub-atomic particle that further backs a key theory about the universe. Also, some other researchers reported progress in answering the question: What happens when Newton’s third law is broken? Apparently, sometimes extreme temperature gradients can be generated on the particle scale. © 2015 Phys.org Meanwhile, another team of physicists found mysterious anti-electron clouds inside a thunderstorm—they noted a big cloud of positrons, the electron’s antimatter opposite, that should not have been there and the discovery may help explain how lightening gets its start. Also, a multinational effort has resulted in the creation of a new shield that makes certain types of searches for physics beyond the Standard Model possible for the first time—the device offers more than 10 times better magnetic shielding than previous efforts. And another team of researchers looked into what happens when an electron splits in two and developed a method for allowing observations of single-electron fractionalization at the picosecond scale.In other news, Fixstars announced a six-terabyte solid state drive that is now for sale—the world’s first. Some scientists looking at simple Leonardo da Vinci experiments added some advanced theory that helped reveal new atomic-level insights into rubber—more specifically, what goes on with friction when tires meet pavement. Another team discovered a drug that perks up old muscles and aging brains, by reinvigorating stem cells in both. And new work by researchers at NOAA Fisheries revealed the first warm-blooded fish—the silvery opah was found to circulate heated blood throughout its body, similar to the way it is done with mammals.And finally, if you have been finding your mind wandering more of late, you might not be alone, as a Microsoft study claims human attention span now lags behind goldfish—apparently our digital devices are cutting into our ability to focus on any one thing for very long—seems we are down to just eight seconds compared to twelve back in 2000. The goldfish is holding steady at nine seconds. Explore furthercenter_img Event displays from the CMS (above) and LHCb (below) experiments on the Large Hadron Collider show examples of collisions that produced candidates for the rare decay of the Bs particle, predicted and observed to occur only about four times out of a billion. Images: CMS/LHCb collaborations This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Best of Last Week – Study backs Standard Model, splitting an electron and human attention span now shorter than goldfish (2015, May 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-05-week-standard-electron-human-attention.htmllast_img read more

Hybrid device harvests both mechanical and magnetic energy

first_img Journal information: Applied Physics Letters The hybrid energy harvester consists of a cantilever beam made of a magnetostrictive/piezoelectric material that harvests both magnetic and mechanical energy. Credit: Xu et al. ©2018 American Institute of Physics A new hybrid energy-harvesting device may one day replace the need for batteries in certain low-power electronics devices. The new device collects ambient wasted energy from both mechanical vibrations and magnetic fields to generate sustainable electricity, which could potentially provide enough power to run wireless sensors, cardio pacemakers, and other applications. Hybrid nanogenerator harvests hard-to-reach ocean energy This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Xueping Xu et al. “Hybrid energy harvesting from mechanical vibrations and magnetic field.” Applied Physics Letters. DOI: 10.1063/1.5038412center_img Citation: Hybrid device harvests both mechanical and magnetic energy (2018, July 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-hybrid-device-harvests-mechanical-magnetic.html The researchers, led by Fulei Chu at Tsinghua University in Beijing, have published a paper on the new hybrid energy harvesting device in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.Over the past several years, energy harvesting has become an increasingly attractive option for replacing the batteries that are used in low-power devices. Whereas batteries have a limited lifetime and must be replaced or recharged on a regular basis, energy-harvesting devices can ideally operate autonomously for much longer periods of time. One of the greatest challenges facing energy harvesters is generating enough power for practical applications. One way to increase the output power is to harvest more than one type of energy. For example, although there are a variety of devices that harvest either mechanical energy or magnetic energy, very few devices can harvest both, despite the fact that ambient mechanical and magnetic energy often appear together in industrial settings, such as near rotating electrical machines.In the new study, the researchers showed that mechanical and magnetic energy are “interactive,” so that, when combined, they increase the optimal output power above the level that is possible using each type of energy alone. They demonstrated the improvements both theoretically and experimentally using a cantilever beam made of a magnetostrictive/pieozoelectric laminate material, which moves in response to both magnetic fields and vibrations.”We have proposed the idea of taking advantage of two different energy harvester approaches and showing their interactions,” Chu told Phys.org. “As we know, energy harvesters have been investigated for decades and many methods are involved. However, each approach has its shortcomings. It is difficult and interesting to break through the single energy harvester limitations. Moreover, revealing the interactive relationship is important for the work as a whole.”Among their results, the researchers found that the power output depends on whether the mechanical and magnetic excitations have the same or different frequencies. If the frequencies are the same, then their phase difference (how much one wave is shifted with respect to the other) directly affects the output voltage. On the other hand, if the frequencies are different, then the phase difference has little effect on the output voltage, and in fact the hybrid output voltage is no longer a simple sine wave.With these insights, the researchers demonstrated improvements in the energy capacity, reliability, and optimal output power of the hybrid energy-harvesting device. Overall, they believe that the device performance suggests that the hybrid approach offers a promising alternative for powering low-power electronics in the future.”We plan to conduct deeper research in the energy harvester field in the future,” Chu said. “Wind energy, wave energy, and more smart material applications in energy systems will be the focus of our research besides the further investigations of this paper.” Explore further © 2018 Phys.orglast_img read more

Reduction in wood burning by rural people in China results in less

first_img The when, where and what of air pollutant exposure Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2018 Science X Network Credit: CC0 Public Domain China is struggling to reduce the amount of atmospheric pollutants that the country emits—the various types, such as fine particulate matter, have been found to cause illness and death in people across the heavily populated nation. To combat the problem, the government has instituted new policies that force polluters (such as power plants, cars and other industrial entities) to clean up their operations. In this new effort, the researchers sought to find out if the government’s efforts to reduce air pollution have been working, and how such efforts affect the health of its people.To learn more about changes in emissions, the researchers carried out chemical transport simulations, conducted ambient household exposure evaluations and finished up with a health-impact assessment. Their assessment of changes in health related to pollutants was based on the amount of fine particulate matter that people were breathing. They report that rates of exposure to particulate matter smaller than 2.5 μm, weighted by population, decreased by 47 percent over the decade they studied.The researchers found that the biggest difference was due to rural residents burning less wood, grasses and other materials when they cook. In all, reductions in rural burning accounted for approximately 90 percent of the reductions in fine particulate matter emissions. Interestingly, rural citizens were one of the few groups in the study that did not face new emission reduction policies. The researchers suggest the reductions came about mainly due to large numbers of people moving from rural areas to urban areas and to reductions in the cost of alternative fuel sources for rural dwellers. A team of researchers from China, the U.S. and Norway has found that urging rural residents to switch from burning wood and grasses to cleaner fuels for cooking has resulted in less fine particulate matter being spewed into the air. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of air quality for the period from 2005 to 2015 in China and its impact on the health of the people living there.center_img More information: Bin Zhao et al. Change in household fuels dominates the decrease in PM2.5 exposure and premature mortality in China in 2005–2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1812955115 Explore further Citation: Reduction in wood burning by rural people in China results in less fine particulate matter pollution (2018, November 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-reduction-wood-rural-people-china.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Landscaping the cultures

first_imgGallerie Ganesha has a treat in store for art lovers. A solo show of recent works in watercolour on paper by Kolkata-based artist Bikash Poddar.Bikash Poddar is one of our best known landscape painters from Bengal. His landscapes reflect the flow of colour that Bengal art assimilated from Chinese and Japanese calligraphy art and blended it with the detailed depiction of monuments and human figures we find in our own miniatures. The artworks span the hiatus between two great neighbouring cultures, those of India and China, Japan, one highlighting detailed forms bursting with life while the other evokes a sense of the essence of aesthetic expression of the human presence at its most minimal. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’There are his boldly coloured works that concentrate on objects of daily use, another important trend in Bengal art that he manages to balance with large areas of formless space. His works are an contribution to the art of Bengal.Art critic Suneet Chopra says, ‘What struck me was the proportions of the human figures that blended beautifully with the landscape and yet held their ground in a symbiotic relationship that evoked the relation between man and his creations together’. Head over! When: 4 April-7 MayWhen: Gallerie Ganesha, Greater Kailash II  Timing: 11am-7pmlast_img read more

Suo motu FIR registered in Kolkata Metro incident

first_imgKolkata: Police have registered a suo motu FIR to probe the recent incident of alleged moral policing in the Kolkata Metro Railway, following a mass petition in this regard. “We have registered an FIR. We have already started taking action so that those who were involved in the incident can be identified and nabbed,” DC (North) Debasis Sarkar said.Police started the case on Friday after the petition, signed by several passengers, was forwarded by Metro Railway authorities. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAccording to media reports, a few people on Monday objected to a man hugging his woman friend in a Metro train coach. An argument ensued between the two sides and the protestors heckled the couple, pushed them out of the train and beat them up at Dum Dum Metro station. Protests was held outside Tollygunge and Dum Dum Metro stations on Wednesday against the incident. There was alleged assault of some girls protesting against the moral policing by unruly Metro Railway passengers on Thursday evening near Dum Dum metro station, and a complaint was lodged with the police. Police were trying to procure CCTV footage to investigate the case of the alleged assault. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedA senior officer at the Kolkata Police headquarter in Lalbazar said police was also planning to record statements of witnesses.Earlier, a Kolkata Metro spokesperson, said: “We did not receive any complaint, and nothing could be found in the CCTV footage either. The security official present at the station did not report anything.” However, many lashed out at the attackers on social media. Although a few objected to “people getting intimate in public”, they were outnumbered by those speaking in support of the couple.last_img read more

Now GroupA officers to submit Self Appraisal Report online

first_imgKolkata: In a unique initiative, Bengal government is all set to introduce an online system of ‘Self Appraisal Report’ for all the Group-A officers from June this year, bringing more transparency in the entire system of administration.The new system will help the government to access, through a centralized format, the data of every individual officer, their performance and qualities at the click of a mouse. State Finance department has given the platform where Group-A officers have to submit data of their achievements, the areas where they performed exceptionally or in areas they lagged behind, from June this year after the portal goes live. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThis move will not only fix the accountability of the bureaucrats but also enable the government to recognise the best performing officers in each department. For the smooth management of the ‘Self Appraisal Report’, a concept of nodal officer has been introduced.According to a recent notification issued by the state Finance department, the nodal officer shall be a Group-A officer who will create the chain of ‘Self Appraisal Report’ (SAR) flow in the system and specify the reporting channel in online mode. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThere shall be at least one nodal officer for each cadre of a department. The nodal officers may be created in the department, directorate, district, sub-division or block level depending upon the stakeholders created in the system, who will authenticate the SAR flow from employee to reporting, reviewing or accepting authorities.The nodal officer shall also be responsible for defining the system i.e whether the flow of SAR will be offline or online. The nodal officer may also change the reporting/reviewing/accepting authorities with specific reason.Only one SAR shall be written by an officer for any particular period of the appraisal year and there will be a single reporting, reviewing or accepting authority at each level of assessment who will be specified in the reporting chain/hierarchy by the concerned nodal officer. There would not be more than one person assessing an SAR in the capacity of reporting, reviewing or accepting authority for a given a period of time under any circumstances. In case of a delay in appraisal by any of the reporting, reviewing or accepting authorities or for any other reason, the nodal officer may take away the SAF from that authority and allot it to his successor or to his higher authority to make the assessment. The appraisal including assessment against the attributes will be made by the reporting authority with respect to the self appraisal submitted by the concerned officer. The reviewing authority shall record his remarks in the SAR, while accepting authority will accept the self appraisal report by making his own assessment appropriately. The cadre controlling authority for the cadres will decide whether the SAR is to be disclosed to the officer.After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government has stressed on the comprehensive development of e-governance to bring in more transparency in the administration and also to make officers accountable.last_img read more

Delhi govt MCDs on collision course over taxing unauthorised colonies

first_imgWhile the Kejriwal government has issued an advisory putting a restraint on the collection of taxes from unauthorised colonies, the MCD has gone against the Delhi government and proposed the collection of property taxes from these colonies. Notably, there are as many as 243 unauthorised colonies in East MCD with over 400 colonies each in South and North MCDs.The Delhi government has asked the MCDs not to collect taxes from these unauthorised colonies till approval of the layout plan by them. In an advisory issued to the Commissioners of all three Municipal Corporations earlier, the Delhi government had directed that the property tax should be levied on unauthorised colonies from the date of approval of the layout plan of these colonies by the MCD. In other words, it means that property taxes should be collected from unauthorised colonies once they are duly regularised.  “On one side the government is pressurising Corporations to raise revenue while on the other, it is trying to curtail their rights. It is not possible to improve financial condition without collecting property and other type of taxes from unauthorised colonies,” Lata Gupta, Chairman of Standing Committee of East MCD said.Leader of the House of EDMC, Ram Narayan Dubey, pointed out that while the property tax is being collected from two lakh families, it should ideally be fetched from at least nine lakh families. He also added that while property tax is one of the main sources of revenue for the MCDs, enough attention is not being paid to ensure its collection.“Corporations are authorised to provide civic services in their areas. Apart from sanitation works, Corporations provide health and primary education, maintain parks and street lights along with other essential services and hence, they must be authorised for tax collection. “The government’s advisory will not only affect civic services in unauthorised areas but will result in huge losses of revenue to the ailing MCDs,” said MP Bhardwaj, Chairman of North MCD.last_img read more

Situation heats up at Daribhit School again as family members of deceased

first_imgKolkata: Tension broke out at Daribhit High School of Islampur in North Dinajpur again on Friday, which witnessed unprecedented violence in September this year, leading to the death of two students.The family members of the two deceased students, along with some local residents, put up a block at the main gate of the school on Friday morning and later locked the gate, demanding a CBI investigation into the death of the duo. As a result of this, the students who were supposed to sit for an examination, were seriously inconvenienced. The demonstration was later lifted following the intervention of senior school officials, who urged the agitators to lift the movement as otherwise the students would not be able to sit for the examination. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAfter being requested, the family members of the deceased duo lifted their sit-in demonstration and unlocked the main gate of the school. The examination was later conducted by the school authorities. However, the family members of the victims have threatened to continue the movement if the case is not handed over to CBI. The family members said that after the death of the two students they had demanded a probe by the Central agency and they were assured that their demand would be met. Almost three months have passed but the case has not been handed over to CBI yet, alleged the family members of the deceased. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned here that two students – Rajesh Sarkar and Tapas Barman, were killed and many others including some policemen injured, when violence broke out at the school’s premises in September over the appointment of teachers. A clash broke out inside the school campus after some students, allegedly backed by some outsiders, resorted to violence while protesting the recruitment of some teachers. They also attacked the police contingent that had rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. During the incident, the family members of the two deceased students allegedly ransacked a portion of the school, prompting the District Inspector of School and the sub-divisional officer to the spot. The school reopened and started its operation on November 10 amidst controversy, as some of the local residents shouted slogans demanding the arrest of the headmaster and assistant headmaster of the school whom they held responsible for not doing enough to check the violence.last_img read more

Humanitarian obligation to give refuge to migrants Mamata

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said that it was a humanitarian obligation to give refuge to migrants. On International Migrants Day, she stated that her government to the best of its abilities would take care of anyone seeking shelter in West Bengal. “Today is International Migrants Day. It is our humanitarian obligation to give refuge to migrants. In #Bangla we will take care of anyone who seeks shelter in our state, to the best of our abilities,” Banerjee tweeted. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress supremo had been critical of the the BJP-led Central government after over 40 lakh people were left out of the complete draft of Assams National Register of Citizens (NRC). She had also expressed her willingness that people whose names were not included in the list can come and stay in West Bengal. International Migrants Day is observed on December 18 in accordance with Resolution 55/93 of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted on December 4, 2000.last_img read more

Research activities to be thrust area for JU in terms of utilising

first_imgKolkata: Jadavpur University (JU) has identified research activities on the part of both teachers and students as its thrust area when it comes to utilisation of the grant it has received under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). The first installment of Rs 41.66 crore of the total Rs 100 crore Central grant had reached the varsity in the month of November.”We have identified five areas with a thrust on research. The details are still being discussed and it will be finalised soon,” JU pro vice-chancellor Pradip Ghosh said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA senior official of the university said that the RUSA grant will allow both teachers and students the liberty to go for national and international conferences and at the same time, organise programmes in the varsity by involving foreign visiting faculties. Travelling allowance and certain other costs has often been an impediment for the university in academic and research exchanges. “This problem will be sorted out to a great extent with this fund,” the official said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe university has already formed a Project Monitoring Committee (PMC) under RUSA, which will examine projects on the basis of tangible outcome and give the nod for going ahead with the project. “The infrastructural cost for it can be borne from the RUSA fund,” the official added. It may be mentioned that at present JU has around 100 doctoral fellows and 50 post-doctoral fellows engaged in studies and research at the institute. JU is the first institute of higher education in the state to have received the grant, based on its NAAC accreditation for five years, beginning in September 2014. RUSA is a scheme that provides financial aid to selected state universities to upgrade research facilities.last_img read more

Why is yawning so contagious

first_imgEver wondered why we catch a yawn even if we are not tired? An area of our brain responsible for motor function may be to blame, a study suggests. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK have found that our ability to resist yawning when someone else near us yawns is limited. Our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning. However, no matter how hard we try to stifle a yawn, it might change how we yawn but it would not alter our propensity to yawn, they said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study suggests that the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex – an area of the brain responsible for motor function. The researchers also found that the urge to yawn – our propensity for contagious yawning – is individual to each one of us.”These findings may be particularly important in understanding the association between motor excitability and the occurrence of echophenomena in a wide range of clinical conditions linked to increased cortical excitability and decreased physiological inhibition such as epilepsy, dementia, autism, and Tourette syndrome,” said Professor Stephen Jackson, who led the study. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveContagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when we observe another person yawn. It is a common form of echophenomena – the automatic imitation of another’s words (echolalia) or actions (echopraxia). It is not just the humans who have a propensity for contagious yawning – chimpanzees and dogs do it too. To test the link between motor excitability and the neural basis for contagious yawning, the researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). They recruited 36 adults to help with their study. These volunteers viewed video clips showing someone else yawning and were instructed to either resist yawning or to allow themselves to yawn.The participants were videoed throughout, and their yawns and stifled yawns were counted. Using electrical stimulation they were also able to increase the urge to yawn. “This research has shown that the ‘urge’ is increased by trying to stop yourself,” said Georgina Jackson, professor at Nottingham. “Using electrical stimulation we were able to increase excitability and in doing so increase the propensity for contagious yawning,” said Jackson.last_img read more

Byomkesh returns with season 2

first_imgAfter a massive success of the inaugural season of the first ever web series on Byomkesh, hoichoi, the world’s largest digital Bengali entertainment content platform, announced the launch of its Season 2 today. The one-hour-long first episode of Byomkesh Season 2 will start streaming on hoichoi globally from December 16 followed by the second episode on December 25.Aryann Bhowmik, most recently seen as Santu in Yeti Obhijaan joins the cast of Anirban Bhattacharya (Byomkesh), Subrat Dutta (Ajit), and Ridhima Ghosh (Satyabati) in Season 2. Aryann Bhowmik, who plays Satyakam, has premonitions of being killed and turns to Byomkesh for help. Byomkesh will be seen solving the mystery of Satyakam’s murder in this adaptation of Rakter Daag (literally Blood Stain) and directed by Soumik Chattopadhyay. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHoichoi is running a social media contest #AmioByomkesh on Facebook wherein one has to simply tag a friend and send the correct answer related to Byomkesh movies, as a message at the @hoichoitv page. The duo with the highest number of correct answers stand a chance to win hoichoi Lifetime Free Membership.hoichoi is also celebrating #BishoyByomkesh – a week-long film festival on Byomkesh wherein viewers have a treasure chest of Byomkesh movies available at their fingertips, with 17 hours of runtime and an average IMDb rating of 7.0.last_img read more