Italian scientists claim to have demonstrated cold fusion w Video

first_img Citation: Italian scientists claim to have demonstrated cold fusion (w/ Video) (2011, January 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-italian-scientists-cold-fusion-video.html (PhysOrg.com) — Few areas of science are more controversial than cold fusion, the hypothetical near-room-temperature reaction in which two smaller nuclei join together to form a single larger nucleus while releasing large amounts of energy. In the 1980s, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion – which could potentially provide the world with a cheap, clean energy source – but their experiment could not be reproduced. Since then, all other claims of cold fusion have been illegitimate, and studies have shown that cold fusion is theoretically implausible, causing mainstream science to become highly speculative of the field in general. This image from the video below shows the reactor at last Friday’s demonstration in Bologna. Image credit: Rossi and Focardi. More information: Explore further The scientists explain that the reactor is turned on simply by flipping a switch and it can be operated by following a set of instructions. Commercial devices would produce 8 units of output per unit of input in order to ensure safe and reliable conditions, even though higher output is possible, as demonstrated. Several devices can be combined in series and parallel arrays to reach higher powers, and the scientists are currently manufacturing a 1 MW plant made with 125 modules. Although the reactors can be self-sustaining so that the input can be turned off, the scientists say that the reactors work better with a constant input. The reactors need to be refueled every 6 months, which the scientists say is done by their dealers.The scientists also say that one reactor has been running continuously for two years, providing heat for a factory. They provide little detail about this case. China’s fast reactor set for tests in 2010center_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com via: Pure Energy Systems 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. One of three videos of last Friday’s demonstration shows the reactor. The clicking sound is made by the water pump. The responseRossi and Focardi’s paper on the nuclear reactor has been rejected by peer-reviewed journals, but the scientists aren’t discouraged. They published their paper in the Journal of Nuclear Physics, an online journal founded and run by themselves, which is obviously cause for a great deal of skepticism. They say their paper was rejected because they lack a theory for how the reaction works. According to a press release in Google translate, the scientists say they cannot explain how the cold fusion is triggered, “but the presence of copper and the release of energy are witnesses.”The fact that Rossi and Focardi chose to reveal the reactor at a press conference, and the fact that their paper lacks details on how the reactor works, has made many people uncomfortable. The demonstration has not been widely covered by the general media. However, last Saturday, the day after the demonstration, the scientists answered questions in an online forum, which has generated a few blog posts. One comment in the forum contained a message from Steven E. Jones, a contemporary of Pons and Fleishmann, who wrote, “Where are the quantitative descriptions of these copper radioisotopes? What detectors were used? Have the results been replicated by independent researchers? Pardon my skepticism as I await real data.”Steven B. Krivit, publisher of the New Energy Times, noted that Rossi and Focardi’s reactor seems similar to a nickel-hydrogen low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) device originally developed by Francesco Piantelli of Siena, Italy, who was not involved with the current demonstration. In a comment, Rossi denied that his reactor is similar to Piantelli’s, writing that “The proof is that I am making operating reactors, he is not.” Krivit also noted that Rossi has been accused of a few crimes, including tax fraud and illegally importing gold, which are unrelated to his research.Rossi and Focardi have applied for a patent that has been partially rejected in a preliminary report. According to the report, “As the invention seems, at least at first, to offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories, the disclosure should be detailed enough to prove to a skilled person conversant with mainstream science and technology that the invention is indeed feasible. … In the present case, the invention does not provide experimental evidence (nor any firm theoretical basis) which would enable the skilled person to assess the viability of the invention. The description is essentially based on general statement and speculations which are not apt to provide a clear and exhaustive technical teaching.” The report also noted that not all of the patent claims were novel.Giuseppe Levi, a nuclear physicist from INFN (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics), helped organize last Friday’s demonstration in Bologna. Levi confirmed that the reactor produced about 12 kW and noted that the energy was not of chemical origin since there was no measurable hydrogen consumption. Levi and other scientists plan to produce a technical report on the design and execution of their evaluation of the reactor.Also at the demonstration was a representative of Defkalion Energy, based in Athens, who said that the company was interested in a 20 kW unit and that within two months they would make a public announcement. For the Rossi and Focardi, this kind of interest is the most important.“We have passed already the phase to convince somebody,” Rossi wrote in his forum. “We are arrived to a product that is ready for the market. Our judge is the market. In this field the phase of the competition in the field of theories, hypothesis, conjectures etc etc is over. The competition is in the market. If somebody has a valid technology, he has not to convince people by chattering, he has to make a reactor that work and go to sell it, as we are doing.”He directed commercial inquiries to info(at)leonardocorp1996.com . Despite the intense skepticism, a small community of scientists is still investigating near-room-temperature fusion reactions. The latest news occurred last week, when Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W. Last Friday, the scientists held a private invitation press conference in Bologna, attended by about 50 people, where they demonstrated what they claim is a nickel-hydrogen fusion reactor. Further, the scientists say that the reactor is well beyond the research phase; they plan to start shipping commercial devices within the next three months and start mass production by the end of 2011.The claimRossi and Focardi say that, when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20°C water into dry steam at about 101°C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80°C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31. As for costs, the scientists estimate that electricity can be generated at a cost of less than 1 cent/kWh, which is significantly less than coal or natural gas plants.“The magnitude of this result suggests that there is a viable energy technology that uses commonly available materials, that does not produce carbon dioxide, and that does not produce radioactive waste and will be economical to build,” according to this description of the demonstration.Rossi and Focardi explain that the reaction produces radiation, providing evidence that the reaction is indeed a nuclear reaction and does not work by some other method. They note that no radiation escapes due to lead shielding, and no radioactivity is left in the cell after it is turned off, so there is no nuclear waste.last_img read more

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Big Bang simulated in metamaterial shows time travel is impossible

first_img Explore further Time travel experiment demonstrates how to avoid the grandfather paradox (Update) © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: Big Bang simulated in metamaterial shows time travel is impossible (2011, April 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-04-big-simulated-metamaterial-impossible.html In their study, electrical engineers Igor Smolyaninov and Yu-Ju Hung from the University of Maryland have built a metamaterial by patterning plastic strips on a gold substrate, which they then illuminated with a laser. Because the mathematics of electromagnetic spaces (which describe the metamaterial) is similar to the mathematics of general relativity (which describe spacetime), the way light moves in the metamaterial is exactly analogous to the path – or “world line” – of a massive particle in (2+1)-dimensional Minkowski spacetime.As the researchers explained in their study, a Big Bang event occurs in the metamaterial when the pattern of light rays expands relative to the time-like z-dimension. This instance marks the beginning of cosmological time, which moves forward from the Big Bang in the direction of the Universe’s expansion. After the Big Bang event, the light rays expand in a non-perfect way, scattered by random defects in the plastic strips until they reach a high-entropy state. This behavior represents the thermodynamic arrow of time, showing that entropy tends to increase in an isolated system.The significance of these observations is that the cosmological and the thermodynamic arrows of time coincide, with both of them pointing “forward” (just as we perceive them). While most scientists theorize that the statistical and the cosmological arrows of time are connected in this way, this experiment is one of the few ways in which scientists can “replay the Big Bang” and experimentally demonstrate the connection. The researchers also showed that this novel model of time could provide insight into time travel that involves closed timelike curves (CTCs). CTCs are world lines of particles that form circles so that they return to their starting points. At first, the researchers thought that, if they could build a metamaterial in which light could move in a circle (and so that its mathematical description were identical to particles moving through spacetime), then they could create CTCs. But when further analyzing the situation, they found restrictions on how light rays could move in the model. Although certain rays could return to their starting points, they would not perceive the correct timelike dimension. In contrast, rays that do perceive this timelike dimension cannot move in circles. The researchers concluded that Nature seems to resist the creation of CTCs, and that time travel – at least in this model – is impossible. (PhysOrg.com) — By observing the way that light moves inside a metamaterial, researchers have reconstructed how spacetime has expanded since the Big Bang. The results provide a better understanding of why time moves in only one direction, and also suggest that time travel is impossible. In the toy Big Bang model, light rays spread out as a function of time, similar to the expansion of spacetime in a diagram of the real Big Bang. Image credit: Smolyaninov and Hung. More information: Igor I. Smolyaninov and Yu-Ju Hung. “Modeling of Time with Metamaterials.” arXiv:1104.0561v1 [physics.optics] 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

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Scientists embark on Mongolia icemaking experiment

first_img Mongolian Cabinet holds meeting in Gobi desert © 2011 PhysOrg.com Ulan Bator The Anglo-Mongolian engineering firm ECOS & EMI will recreate the natural ice-formation process by drilling bore holes into the ice that has started to form on the Tuul river. They are to repeatedly bore hole throughout the winter to grow the ice blocks. Engineers refer to these as “naleds.” They are thick slabs of ice that continue to expand for as long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. As the slabs melt in the summer, they will, according to the plan, reduce city temperatures and save on energy otherwise used on air conditioners. They will also help regulate irrigation supplies and drinking water.Mongolia is fitting for such an experiment, as a land of extremes. Its capital Ulan Bator is listed as the coldest capital city in the world yet has hot summers as well.The Ulan Bator government is funding the project at an estimated cost of over $700,000. If successful, the engineers believe the process can be applied to other cities facing similarly difficult climate conditions.Numerous aspects of environmental conditions need attention and there is reported to be a limited supply of safe water. Reports note that the river Tuul, which flows through Ulan Bator, is beset by pollution. Some observers point to pollution from gold mining as well as insufficient sanitation facilities to accommodate an influx of residents. A third of the population lives in the capital. Traditional nomadic lifestyles have been upset by forces of climate change and urbanization. Observers point to a difficult environmental history where former Communist regimes promoted quick industrial growth with insufficient environmental laws resulting in serious pollution, deforestation, overgrazing, and soil erosion.Nonetheless, some web blogs stared at the news report in disbelief that money could be spent on such an idea, suggesting it sounded wacky. Still, Mongolia-based scientists are confident the concept is sound. Robin Grayson, a geologist in Mongolia, said that naleds can be used to provide “cool parks” in cities. Grayson is the author of an earlier paper, “Asian Ice Shields and Climate Change” in which he says that protecting naleds would enable the mitigation of climate change across vast regions of Asia. Explore furthercenter_img 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: Scientists embark on Mongolia ice-making experiment (2011, November 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-scientists-embark-mongolia-ice-making.html (PhysOrg.com) — Confronting temperature extremes of harsh winters and hot summers, Mongolia will now be the site of an experiment to address climate extremes and bolster supplies of water for its people. According to a report in The Guardian, scientists will get busy this month creating ultra-thick slabs of ice that will be used to cool this country’s capital city during its hot summer. The Ulan Bator plan has excited numerous science sites. The effort is billed as one of the world’s biggest ice-making experiments.last_img read more

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New insights into ancient life Chromosome segregation in Archaea

first_img Copyright 2012 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Initially termed Archaebacteria (due to their typical but not universal morphological similarity to bacteria), the Archaea – found in a wider range of extreme as well as surprisingly mundane environments (such as bovine intestines) than first thought – are biochemically and genetically distinct from bacteria and eukaryotes, resulting in the current three-kingdom system of Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryota. (Note that viruses are not organisms as defined by these three groups, and so constitute a fourth biological group.) Being hard to culture, little has been known about the genetic process by which they undergo chromosome segregation – a crucial step in species survival in which chromosomes pair off with their similar chromosomes, thereby ensuring that genetic material is accurately distributed to the next generation. Recently, however, scientists at the University of York and the Max Planck Institute in Marburg found that the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus uses a hybrid segrosome consisting of two proteins known as SegA and SegB.The research team, led by Daniela Barillà in the Department of Biology at the University of York, and including lead author Anne K. Kalliomaa-Sanford and other researchers, faced several challenges in studying Archaea. “When we started this project,” Barillà tells PhysOrg, “all we knew was that the chromosome of Sulfolobus solfataricus harbored a gene, sso0034, related to bacterial genes involved in genome segregation. By inspecting the nearby DNA region, we noticed that the gene was followed by a short gene of unknown function, named sso0035. The intriguing thing was that the two genes were partially overlapping and, specifically, the end of sso0034 overlapped with the start of sso0035.” To the scientists, this architecture suggested that the two genes encoded proteins involved in the same biological process – meaning that one of their major challenges was to discover the function of the two proteins starting from scratch. “It’s like being at a crime scene,” says Barillà. “You have a few clues and you build on them to construct a jigsaw that reveals the final picture.” “We made an educated guess based on what is known for bacterial DNA segregation proteins and found out that SegB binds to specific sites on the chromosome,” she continues. “We employed microscopy to visualize cells in which we induced, if you will, an overdose of SegA and SegB, which resulted in numerous cells without chromosomes. When we induced a corresponding overdose of the DNA-binding protein SegB only, we observed fragmented, split chromosomes.” These findings indicated that the SegAB complex is involved in chromosome segregation in the thermophilic, or heat-loving, archaeon S. solfataricus. One of the team’s key insights was the discovery that SegA polymerizes into filamentous structures upon binding ATP together with the finding that SegB promotes SegA assembly into polymers. “To investigate this aspect,” Barillà recounts, “we used dynamic light scattering. This method allowed us to determine the size of particles in solution on the basis of the amount of light that the particles scatter.” In fact, when a beam of laser light hits molecules in solution, each molecule will scatter back a certain amount of light that is proportional to its size: the larger the molecule, the higher the intensity of scattered light. “This technique is great, as it allowed us to detect SegA polymerization in real time. As soon as the protein binds the small ligand ATP, it instantaneously grows into polymers – that is, long particles scattering a large amount of light. It’s quite exciting to see this process in real time, while it’s actually happening.” 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. The team used genetics and biochemistry to shed light on the role of the two proteins that they named SegA and SegB for chromosome segregation. “It was relatively straightforward to characterize SegA, as the protein contains a distinctive signature, known as Walker motif,” Barillà explains. “This consists of a short stretch of building blocks or amino acids that bind a small ligand called ATP. We’ve shown that SegA is able to bind ATP and to convert it into a smaller molecule, ADP.” While the binding of ATP and the conversion into ADP are crucial activities for the function of SegA, understanding the role of SegB was trickier: they suspected that this protein might be a DNA-binding protein. However, the problem was to find the site that the protein potentially bound to on the chromosome. Recognizing blood poisoning quickly (PhysOrg.com) — The effort to classify life into various groups has been a bumpy ride. Prior to the 1900s, living things were usually pegged as either plants or animals – period. By the middle of the 20th century, however, it was asserted that this scheme did not adequately represent fungi, bacteria and protists, leading to a five-group classification – Monera (bacteria), Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. At roughly the same time, however, a fundamental distinction between prokaryotic bacteria and the four eukaryotic kingdoms (plants, animals, fungi, and protists) based on nuclei, cytoskeleton, internal membranes, and other shared eukaryote characteristics – for example, unlike eukaryotes, their genetic material is not wrapped by a membrane into a separate compartment – was acknowledged, resulting in a different system – and considerable confusion. Then, things changed anew when an entirely new prokaryotic group – the so-called third domain of life, living in high temperatures and producing methane – was discovered in the late 1970s. Increased gene dosage of segA and segB results in a high rate of anucleate cells and anomalousnucleoid morphology in S. solfataricus. Phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy of stained cells expressing higher levels of segAB and segA (A) or segA-K14Q (C). The arrows point to anucleate cells. Bar Ľ 2 μm. (B) Examples of aberrant chromosome segregation phenotypes observed for the strain with increased levels of SegAB. Bar Ľ 1 μm. Image Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113384109center_img Explore further More information: Chromosome segregation in Archaea mediated by a hybrid DNA partition machine, Published online before print February 21, 2012, PNAS March 6, 2012 vol. 109 no. 10 3754-3759, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113384109 Going forward, Barillà points out, there’s a lot that can be done to investigate the nature and dynamics of the SegA polymers with dynamic light scattering. “In parallel, we’d like to visualize the filaments using electron microscopy, which is able to provide high-resolution images of individual particles. Moreover, we’d like to further investigate the interplay between SegA and the partner SegB to understand how the latter protein affects SegA behavior. The fact that SegA assembles into filaments in vitro suggests that in vivo it may form cytoskeletal structures involved in moving and delivering newly duplicated chromosomes to specific subcellular locations – so that, when the cell divides, each daughter cell inherits one chromosome. Therefore, we also intend to examine the localization of the proteins in S. solfataricus cells to shed light on what happens in vivo.”Barillà also points out that in silico modeling is a possible avenue of investigation. “However,” she adds, “I think that this step would be a bit premature at this stage, as we need to learn more about this system. If we discover that SegA functions as a cytoskeletal motor protein in the cell, then a bioinformatic model would help to rationalize the potential dynamics of this factor within the cell.”In addition, Barillà notes that the team’s discoveries are basic science findings that will not lead directly to new therapies for combating pathological conditions, because S. solfataricus and all the other members of the archaea phylum are non-pathogenic microorganisms that cause no infectious diseases. However, she adds, from an evolutionary and biotechnological standpoint, archaea are a terrific and exciting group of organisms. “They’ve generated considerable interest because of their ability to adapt to life under extreme conditions like very high or low temperatures, very acidic and alkaline pH and high salinity. Their unusual properties make these organisms a valuable and, so far, under-exploited resource in the development of novel biotechnological processes.” Potential industrial applications span from thermostable proteolytic enzymes to food-processing enzymes, from biomining to cellulose degrading enzymes, from bioremediation to the use of archaeal liposomes as carrier vehicles in vaccine formulation, or as delivery systems for drugs or genes.“Going back to our findings,” Barillà concludes, “I think that SegA is an interesting object from a biotechnology viewpoint, as it is extremely thermostable – it remains a nicely folded and functional protein at high temperatures – and is able to polymerize. These two properties make SegA an interesting biocompatible material for a new generation of scaffolds for tissue engineering.” Phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy of stained S. solfataricus showing cells without chromosome. Bar = 2 μm. Image courtesy D. Barilla. Citation: New insights into ancient life: Chromosome segregation in Archaea (2012, March 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-insights-ancient-life-chromosome-segregation.html Phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy of stained cells expressing higher levels of either segAB or segA. Examples of aberrant chromosome segregation phenotypes observed for the strain carrying the segAB (A), the segA (B), or segA-K14Q (C) expressing construct. Bar Ľ 1 μm. Image Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1113384109last_img read more

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Of noise and neurons Sensory coding representation and shortterm memory

first_img Citation: Of noise and neurons: Sensory coding, representation and short-term memory (2012, October 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-noise-neurons-sensory-coding-representation.html Copyright 2012 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Researchers link neural variability to short-term memory and decision making Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: Fundamental limits on persistent activity in networks of noisy neurons, PNAS October 23, 2012, vol. 109 no. 43 17645-17650, doi:10.1073/pnas.1117386109 Explore further Recently, however, scientists at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harvard University and University of Texas, Austin used statistical and dynamical approaches to investigate how neural noise interacts with neural and network parameters to limit memory. They derived a series of unanticipated results – including the implications that short-term memory may be co-localized with sensory representation – by establishing a fundamental limit on the network’s ability to maintain a persistent neural state.Assistant Professors Ila R. Fiete and Yoram Burak described the various challenges they encountered. “The dynamics of spiking neural networks are in general highly nonlinear and involve a very large number of degrees of freedom,” Fiete tells Phys.org, addressing their analysis of how stored memory in continuous attractor networks will stochastically degrade over time. She adds that most work on such networks is focused on deterministic dynamics. “A priori,” she continues, “it wasn’t obvious that one could evaluate precisely how noise affects the state of the system,” pointing out that investigations into noise affecting a memory state in such networks was previously done for very simple systems with linear neurons (those with no nonlinearity in the neural response), with noise being externally injected and having simple statistical properties. “By contrast,” Burak explains, “we wanted to understand the role of noise that originates within the network – that is, noise intrinsic to single neurons or synapses, as opposed to simple external noise.” Intrinsic neuronal noise has a more complicated form, and its properties vary in each neuron, based on the neuron’s firing rate at that moment in time. “Unlike external noise, which is assumed to directly affect the memory state, internal noise must be passed through the nonlinear dynamics of the system, to derive its effects on the memory state. We wanted to obtain a general theory, without making particular assumptions about network connectivity and neural nonlinearity.” Their work began with an intuitive idea they had before doing calculations about continuous attractor networks, says Fiete. “The network’s limited ability to read its own past state from its spikes, so to speak, must limit its ability to maintain that past state into the future. This must limit the accuracy of persistent activity. The biggest challenge here was to translate this intuitive idea into a rigorous formal statement about a concrete model of spiking neurons. The formal statement is given by a combination of a statistical limit with a dynamical property, in the form of an information-diffusion inequality.”Among the study’s unexpected consequences, Fiete continues, was that despite the long persistence time of short-term memory networks, it does not pay to accumulate spikes for much longer than the short time-constant of individual neurons, to read out the contents of the network. “This result was born out of our attempt to understand the consequences of the gradual loss of accuracy in storing a variable in a memory network due to diffusive dynamics. Our initial intuition was that in a network with persistent memory, the longer one observes the spikes generated by the network, the better one should be able to infer its state to arbitrary precision. However, while one is collecting spikes to improve statistical precision in estimating the network’s state, the state itself drifts due to diffusion. As a result, the state of the network cannot be inferred to arbitrary precision.” What surprised the researchers was that there was actually no benefit to collecting spikes for any appreciable length of time beyond a very short time scale – that is, the intrinsic time constant of single neurons.”This is actually quite a satisfying result,” Burak points out, “because it means that one does not need a separate memory network that collects and remembers spikes over a long time to read out what is encoded in the memory network. Moreover, while the derivation is quite straightforward, in order to see that the relevant time scale is short, it is necessary to use the information-diffusion inequality that was derived in our study.”Another surprise was that for certain neural transfer functions, the conditions for optimal sensory coding coincide with those for optimal storage. This suggests that short-term memory may be co-localized with sensory representation. “This is a direct outcome of the information-diffusion inequality and the observation that in some networks, the inequality is saturated,” Burak explains. “One of the goals of our work was to understand how the structure of the network affects its ability to maintain a persistent state. The relationship with the internal Fisher Information allows us to immediately use previously derived results, on optimality of tuning curves for sensory coding.” (Fisher Information is a particular Riemannian metric, definable on a smooth statistical manifold, that quantifies how much uncertainty remains about the parameters of a probabilistic process after a finite number of observations.)An interesting outcome of this result – i.e., that the same conditions (for example, tuning curve shapes in the neural responses) are needed for accurate sensory representation and for maximally persistent memory – is that the same network may be performing both sensing and memory functions. Fiete and Burak devised a number of innovations to derive their results. “The first innovation in our work is that we were able to calculate exactly the stochastic dynamics of the attractor state under very general conditions – specifically, arbitrary weights and neural transfer function.” Fiete recounts. “The key insight of the work is that the degradation of the stored memory, a dynamic property of the network, is intimately related to the noisiness in network spikes as seen by an external observer that considers these spikes to be encoding a variable.” In fact, the latter point of view – looking at spikes generated in a certain brain area and asking how much information they carry about a stimulus or a stored memory – is very common in computational neuroscience. The researchers showed that the ambiguity in the encoded variable, as seen by an external observer, is linked to the network’s own ability to maintain a persistent state through an information-diffusion inequality.The scientists have also identified other innovations they might develop and apply to the current experimental design, as well as the planned next steps in their research. “We derived our results for a fairly simple model of spiking neurons, so it will be very interesting to see whether our key insights apply also to more realistic neural models,” Fiete continues. “We’re also interested in applying these ideas to concrete brain areas where the underlying dynamics are believed to be governed by a continuous attractor, such as the occulomotor system that maintains a stable position of the eye.” More broadly, they’re interested in encoding continuous variables in noisy, spiking neural networks. “We also want to see if our results – in particular the information-diffusion inequality – applies more generally to any dynamical system with attractors, continuous or not, and related to neuroscience or not.”In addition, adds Burak, other areas of research might benefit from their findings. “There’s a long history in physics of relating concepts from thermodynamics, such as noise and fluctuations, to memory,” In biology this is an important issue, since biological systems require memory for their function – and they’re often noisy:—the limited resources in a biological system often dictate a certain amount of stochasticity. “Therefore,” Burak concludes, “it’s very likely that our ideas can be applied to memory storage outside the context of neural systems – for example, in gene regulatory networks within a living cell. In fact, the type of noise occurring in these systems is quite similar from a mathematical point of view to the Poisson noise assumed in our model neural networks.” (Phys.org)—While much is known about the limiting effect of neural noise on the fidelity of sensory coding representation, knowledge about the impact of noise in short-term memory and integrator networks has remained more elusive. (Integrator networks are networks of nodes – in this case neurons in a biological network – often recurrently connected, whose time dynamics settle to stable stationary, cyclic, or chaotic patterns, that can integrate or store memories of external inputs.) 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. Numerical validation of the diffusivity result in different attractor networks. (A) Ring network: Schematic of a memory network representing a periodic variable such as orientation. (B) Simulation of a 1,024 neuron network, with exponential neural transfer function. Inset: snapshots of population activity at two times separated by 10 s. (C, D) Mean squared displacement of the attractor state over elapsed time intervals Δt]. Circles: numerical simulations with exponential (gray) or sigmoidal (black) neural transfer function (see Inset). Solid lines: theoretical prediction of Eq. 2. Dashed lines: bound on D from the information-diffusion inequality for sigmoidal nonlinearity. (E) Mutual-inhibition network. Schematic of a memory network representing a nonperiodic 1-d variable. Two neurons or two populations, inhibit each other with equal weights. The difference of the two firing rates represents the stored variable. (F) Random drift of the firing rates (in 1∕ms) in the mutual-inhibition network. (G) Mean squared displacement of the attractor state over an elapsed time Δt. Circles: simulation of mutual-inhibition network, with linear transfer function. Solid line: theoretical prediction of Eq. 2. Credit: PNAS.last_img read more

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Geckos found to have skin mechanism that flings off water w video

first_imgImages of various sized static water droplets interacting with the gecko skin and snapshots of droplets self-propelling off the gecko skin. Credit: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Published 11 March 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1396 Researchers uncover morphological and biomechanical consequences of geckos losing adhesion Everyone knows that geckos can walk on ceilings and walls, scientists have been studying them closely to see how they do it so their skill can be mimicked by us humans. Now it appears that they have another feature that might provide us benefits as well—skin that automatically ejects water off its surface.In studying the wild box-patterned gecko, native to Australia, the researchers noted (using a scanning electron microscope) that its skin was covered with tiny spines, each just a few micrometers in length. Using other techniques they also found that the skin of the gecko actually ejected water droplets, causing the skin to dry quickly (which could be useful in preventing disease and warding off mold).Analysis of the process showed that as water made its way to the skin, via rain, humidity, dew, etc. it was forced into drops by the spines, rather than forming a layer across the surface. As more water was collected, the drops grew bigger, and then, at a tipping point, they were ejected, pushed out as if a kernel of popping corn on the stove. The ejection mechanism, the team found was in the hydrophobic spines. The researchers also noted that the tipping point could also be reached very quickly by an external drop colliding with one already present on the skin—and very small drops could also be ejected as well. © 2015 Phys.org Multiple droplets merging and propelling laterally along the surface. Captured at 1200 fps and played back at 15 fps. Credit: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Published 11 March 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1396 Explore further Self-propulsion of water droplets from the skin (orientated horizontally) when cooled below the dew point. The field of view is 9.73 mm x 3.624 mm. Captured at 400 fps and played back at 30 fps. Credit: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Published 11 March 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1396 It is not known if other types of geckos have the same abilities, as they have not been tested, though the researchers point out that others have been found to have similar skin spines, which makes the possibility of water ejection likely. In any case, it is likely that some future researches will move their focus from the special feet of the lizards to their skin in hopes of finding a way to use its water ejecting skill for use in human products, such as windows, etc.center_img 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. Journal information: Journal of the Royal Society Interface Citation: Geckos found to have skin mechanism that flings off water (w/ video) (2015, March 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-geckos-skin-mechanism.html A small team of researchers with members from institutions in Australia and the U.K. has found that in addition to being able to walk on walls, at last one type of gecko has a skin feature that causes water to be thrown off its body. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the team describes their close up study of the lizard’s skin and the features and forces at work they discovered. More information: Removal mechanisms of dew via self-propulsion off the gecko skin, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Published 11 March 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1396AbstractCondensation resulting in the formation of water films or droplets is an unavoidable process on the cuticle or skin of many organisms. This process generally occurs under humid conditions when the temperature drops below the dew point. In this study, we have investigated dew conditions on the skin of the gecko Lucasium steindachneri. When condensation occurs, we show that small dew drops, as opposed to a thin film, form on the lizard’s scales. As the droplets grow in size and merge, they can undergo self-propulsion off the skin and in the process can be carried away a sufficient distance to freely engage with external forces. We show that factors such as gravity, wind and fog provide mechanisms to remove these small droplets off the gecko skin surface. The formation of small droplets and subsequent removal from the skin may aid in reducing microbial contact (e.g. bacteria, fungi) and limit conducive growth conditions under humid environments. As well as providing an inhospitable microclimate for microorganisms, the formation and removal of small droplets may also potentially aid in other areas such as reduction and cleaning of some surface contaminants consisting of single or multiple aggregates of particles.last_img read more

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Observing distinctive geologic features on asteroid Toutatis

first_img More information: Chang’e-2 spacecraft observations of asteroid 4179 Toutatis, arXiv:1511.02131 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1511.02131AbstractOn 13 December 2012, Chang’e-2 completed a successful flyby of the near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis at a closest distance of 770 meters from the asteroid’s surface. The observations show that Toutatis has an irregular surface and its shape resembles a ginger-root of a smaller lobe (head) and a larger lobe (body). Such bilobate shape is indicative of a contact binary origin for Toutatis. In addition, the high-resolution images better than 3 meters provide a number of new discoveries about this asteroid, such as an 800-meter depression at the end of the large lobe, a sharply perpendicular silhouette near the neck region, boulders, indicating that Toutatis is probably a rubble-pile asteroid. Chang’e-2 observations have significantly revealed new insights into the geological features and the formation and evolution of this asteroid. In final, we brief the future Chinese asteroid mission concept. (Phys.org)—Asteroid (4179) Toutatis, an Apollo-type near-Earth object (NEO) was thoroughly studied by Chinese Chang’e-2 spacecraft in 2012, when the space rock flew by Earth at a distance of 18 lunar distances. The probe, imaging the asteroid in high-resolution, has provided compelling information regarding Toutatis’ geological structure. Now, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a paper on arXiv that sums up the findings about the asteroid’s distinctive geologic features. Chinese flyby of asteroid shows space rock is “rubble” Various geological features on the surface of Toutatis. (a) Craters (blue circles),boulders (red squares), lineaments (green lines) as well as the flow direction of regolith (blackarrows) are outlined. (b) A morphological-integrity crater shows a sharp bowl shape, with dozens of boulders distributing around. This figure is reproduced from Huang et al. (2013a). The Chang’e-2 spacecraft completed a successful flyby of the Toutatis at a closest distance of 770 meters from the asteroid’s surface. The observations show that Toutatis has an irregular surface and its shape resembles a ginger root, with a smaller lobe (head) and a larger lobe (body).”Such bilobate shape is indicative of a contact binary origin for Toutatis. In addition, the high-resolution images better than three meters provide a number of new discoveries about this asteroid, such as an 800-meter depression at the end of the large lobe, a sharply perpendicular silhouette near the neck region, boulders, indicating that Toutatis is probably a rubble-pile asteroid,” Jianghui Ji of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the co-authors of the paper, told Phys.org.The observations revealed that Toutatis is covered by abundant concavities indicating that impact cratering may play an important role in shaping the asteroid’s present surface. Most large craters show shallow depths and obscure shapes, which may result from a resetting process. For instance, seismic shaking from subsequent impacts can cause regolith displacement to erase craters’ rims.For researchers, the most interesting feature on Toutatis is the previously mentioned giant 800-meter depression. It is estimated that the energy of the impactor for this depression would be 500 GJ. This result is fairly greater than the energy required for breaking up a bulk rock with the same size of Toutatis. Therefore, they infer that this asteroid might not bear a monolithic structure but a rubble pile with fragments accreted.”The present investigation shows that Toutatis, like many other asteroids, may bear a rubble-pile structure rather than a monolithic rock, providing abundant information of this kind of asteroids,” Ji said.In addition, they calculated the seismic attenuation factor for the largest depression of Toutatis, which is higher than those of other porous asteroids. This may greatly attenuate the heavy shock wave so that abundant large craters are unlikely to lead to global disruption of the asteroid.The researchers have also identified more than 200 boulders scattered across the asteroid’s surface. They have dimensions ranging from 10 to 61 meters, with an average size of 22 meters, and as the scientists noted, 90 percent of them are less than 30 meters wide. The two largest boulders are located in the Toutatis’ “neck” region. According to Ji and his colleagues, most of the asteroid’s boulders are probably fragments from the parent body but are not generated by impact cratering.Chang’e-2 has also provided detailed images of linear structures like troughs and ridges. The scientists believe that the origin of the troughs on the surface may arise from the impact of other asteroids.Chang’e-2, the second Chinese spacecraft dedicated for lunar exploration, was launched on Oct. 1, 2010. It orbited the moon for six months and after the successful lunar mission, the spacecraft was sent to the sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L2) to explore the space environment. After an over 230-day stay at L2, the probe started its mission to Toutatis on June 1, 2012 and on Dec. 13, 2012, it made the closest approach to the asteroid. The spacecraft obtained a total of 425 images of Toutatis.Encouraged by the success of Chang’e-2 mission, Ji would like to see more spacecraft exploring this geologically interesting asteroid.”Sending another probe to Toutatis may entirely reveal its detailed information, which was not exposed by ground-based radar measurements and Chang’e-2 flyby mission,” he said.Meanwhile, China is planning an asteroid mission, named Multiple Asteroids Rendezvous and in-situ Survey (MARS) that will visit three NEOs. Asteroid (99942) Apophis and (175706) 1996 FG3 are the potential candidates. MARS’ main goals will be to provide insights on the formation of planets, the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life on Earth. 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.center_img Journal information: arXiv Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Citation: Observing distinctive geologic features on asteroid Toutatis (2015, November 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-distinctive-geologic-features-asteroid-toutatis.htmllast_img read more

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Study suggests less rainfall in western US likely major contributor to increase

first_img © 2018 Phys.org NASA examined Tropical Cyclone Bud’s rains in the US southwest Citation: Study suggests less rainfall in western U.S. likely major contributor to increase in wildfires (2018, August 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-rainfall-western-major-contributor-wildfires.html More information: Zachary A. Holden et al. Decreasing fire season precipitation increased recent western US forest wildfire activity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1802316115AbstractWestern United States wildfire increases have been generally attributed to warming temperatures, either through effects on winter snowpack or summer evaporation. However, near-surface air temperature and evaporative demand are strongly influenced by moisture availability and these interactions and their role in regulating fire activity have never been fully explored. Here we show that previously unnoted declines in summer precipitation from 1979 to 2016 across 31–45% of the forested areas in the western United States are strongly associated with burned area variations. The number of wetting rain days (WRD; days with precipitation ≥2.54 mm) during the fire season partially regulated the temperature and subsequent vapor pressure deficit (VPD) previously implicated as a primary driver of annual wildfire area burned. We use path analysis to decompose the relative influence of declining snowpack, rising temperatures, and declining precipitation on observed fire activity increases. After accounting for interactions, the net effect of WRD anomalies on wildfire area burned was more than 2.5 times greater than the net effect of VPD, and both the WRD and VPD effects were substantially greater than the influence of winter snowpack. These results suggest that precipitation during the fire season exerts the strongest control on burned area either directly through its wetting effects or indirectly through feedbacks to VPD. If these trends persist, decreases in summer precipitation and the associated summertime aridity increases would lead to more burned area across the western United States with far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Wildfires in the western U.S. have been increasing in number and have been getting bigger over the past several years. Prior research has suggested that the primary reason for the change is an increase in temperatures in the region. In this new effort, the researchers wanted to know if changes in precipitation were also playing a role. To find out, they studied data collected from weather stations across the region for the years 1984 to 2015. They compared the data to satellite maps showing where wildfires had occurred and how big they had grown over the same time period.Before conducting their analysis, the group proposed three main possible factors contributing to the increase and size of fires—that they were due to reduced snowpack, that they were due to higher temperature, or that they were due to lower rainfall.Their first finding was that a reduction in snowpack was not a factor, either in the increase in fires or how big they grew. Their second finding was that there did seem to be a correlation between higher average temperatures in the area and the changes in wildfire patterns. Their third finding was that there appeared to be an even more pronounced correlation between declining amounts of summer precipitation and the number and size of wildfires. More specifically, they found that between 82 and 94 percent of the land area they surveyed experienced less summer rainfall over the time period they studied. They also found that the average forest in the area under study had 4 percent less rainfall per decade, and the worst of them had a 47 percent decline. They also found that the average number of days that rainfall exceeded 2.5 mm in the impacted areas fell, as well—and that the average length of dry spells increased.The researchers suggest their data shows declines in rainfall in the western United States are a major factor causing an increase in the number of wildfires and how big they grow. Explore furthercenter_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found that reduced rainfall in western parts of the U.S. may be playing a more important role than increased temperatures in spreading more and bigger wildfires. In their paper published in Proceedings of that National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of rainfall and fires in the area, and what they found. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 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

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Young Asian elephants form allmale groups to survive

first_img Asian elephants are not doing well—as humans increasingly encroach on their territory, elephants find survival more difficult. Some die due to poaching, but others are killed when they damage croplands or wander into populated areas. The researchers with this new effort report that some of the young male elephants have been adapting their behavior to give themselves a better chance of surviving—they have been forming groups instead of hanging out alone.In the past, as male elephants grew old enough to become sexually mature, they would wander away from their families and head off alone into the wild. Typically, they would look for an area with enough food and locally available, sexually mature females. But now, conditions are changing, the researchers report—instead of heading off alone, young males have started joining up with other young males, forming groups.The researchers began their study after hearing about groups of young male elephants running around together like human gangs. To learn more, they looked at photographs taken of elephants all across India during the year 2016 to 2017—from farmlands, forests and urban centers. In all, they analyzed 1,445 photographs of 248 individual young male elephants. They report that they did find evidence of young males forming groups. They also found a particular behavior pattern—the more dangerous a given area was for a young male elephant, the more likely he was to join a group. Thus, elephant groups in areas with more people were larger than groups in other areas. And in some places where elephants are known to be relatively safe from human harm, the males continued to head out on their own. The researchers conclude that the elephants in India are forming groups out of behavioral necessity. A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in India has found evidence of young Asian elephants forming all-male groups as a way to survive. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the group describes their study of the elephants in different parts of India, and what they found. The older you get, the harder you seek: The mating secrets of Africa’s bull elephants Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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 furthercenter_img © 2019 Science X Network More information: Nishant Srinivasaiah et al. All-Male Groups in Asian Elephants: A Novel, Adaptive Social Strategy in Increasingly Anthropogenic Landscapes of Southern India, Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45130-1 Citation: Young Asian elephants form all-male groups to survive (2019, July 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-young-asian-elephants-all-male-groups.html Journal information: Scientific Reportslast_img read more

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Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

first_img More information: Weizhong Xu et al. “Efficient Water Transport and Solar Steam Generation via Radially, Hierarchically Structured Aerogels.” ACS Nano. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.9b02331 Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport system that uses capillary forces to drive dirty water upward through a hierarchically structured aerogel, where it can then be converted into steam by solar energy to produce fresh, clean water. Aerogels capped with carbon nanotubes pull water upward and transform it into steam, purifying it for collection. Credit: Xu et al. ©2019 American Chemical Society Dyed water flows upward through forked branches of the aerogel. Credit: Xu et al. ©2019 American Chemical Society This design is very similar to the one that plants use. Plants contain many tiny xylem vessels that draw water from the ground up through their branches and leaves—sometimes hundreds of feet in the air. Once the water reaches the leaves, solar radiation causes the water to evaporate through tiny pores in the leaves, similar to the carbon solar steam generator. Recreating an efficient tree-like water transport system has been challenging, with most previous attempts exhibiting relatively slow transport speeds, short transport distances, and a decrease in performance when transporting sewage and seawater compared to clean water. With the new aerogel design, the researchers demonstrated improvements in all these areas, achieving upward flow performance of 10 cm in the first 5 minutes and 28 cm after 3 hours. The system also works equally well with clean water, seawater, sewage, and sandy groundwater. In addition, the carbon heat collector achieves a high energy conversion efficiency of up to 85%. Journal information: ACS Nano Explore further © 2019 Science X Network The key to the improvements was the careful design of the aerogel’s architecture. To fabricate the material, the researchers poured the aerogel ingredients into a copper tube, which they then subjected to a temperature gradient where the cold end of the tube was a cool –90 degrees Celsius. This caused ice crystals to grow in a pattern within the aerogel along the temperature gradient. After freeze-drying the tube, the resulting aerogel displayed a hierarchical structure with radially aligned channels, micro-sized pores, wrinkled inner surfaces, and molecular meshes. These tiny structures all contributed to the aerogel’s good performance. In the future, the researchers plan to further improve the performance of the system to prepare for applications.”We hope to further optimize the experimental scheme and carry out large-scale production,” Liu said. “We also hope to further improve the length of water conveyance, the speed of water conveyance, and the efficiency of water collection, so as to better carry out practical applications.” 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. Solar steam generators could be made with wood, fabric or sponges The researchers, led by Aiping Liu at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Hao Bai at Zhejiang University, have published a paper on the new water transport and solar steam generation method in a recent issue of ACS Nano. In the future, efficient water transport methods have potential applications in water purification and desalination. “Our preparation method is universal and can be industrialized,” Liu told Phys.org. “Our materials have excellent properties and good stability, and can be reused many times. This provides the possibility for large-scale desalination and sewage treatment in the future.”The new system consists of two main components: a long, porous, ultralight aerogel to transport water, and a carbon nanotube layer on top of the aerogel to absorb sunlight and turn the water into steam. The system is enclosed in a glass container. Water travels upward through the pores in the aerogel due to capillary forces, which are caused by adhesion between the water molecules and the inner surface of the pores. Once the water reaches the top, the solar-heated carbon nanotube layer heats the water into steam, leaving any contaminants behind. The steam condenses on the sides of the surrounding glass container, forming water droplets that flow down to the bottom of the container into a reservoir for collection. Citation: Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees (2019, July 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-antigravity-trees.htmllast_img read more

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BJP creates ruckus in Bihar Assembly over power tariff hike

first_imgOpposition BJP on Tuesday created ruckus in the Bihar Assembly over hike in electricity charges by 15 paisa per unit in urban areas and 10 paisa per unit in rural areas and urged the government to immediately roll back its decision.Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav cornered the Nitish Kumar government over the hike and sought immediate roll back of the increase in power rates. “When prices of coal and diesel are going down, the Bihar government has decided to raise power tariff,” he said. Yadav rubbished the argument that the hike was needed to narrow the gap of loss to power companies and said their loss was basically due to “inefficiency” to bring down transmission and distribution losses to the tune of 44 per cent.The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Monday approved an increase by 2.5 per cent across all categories of consumers except agriculture, public water works and street light consumers.last_img read more

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Bus catches fire in Rashbehari

first_imgKolkata: A running bus that caught fire on Rashbehari Avenue on Friday afternoon triggered panic among the passengers and locals.The incident also triggered chaos near Triangular Park. None was, however, injured in the incident. According to the preliminary investigation, police and fire officials suspect that the bus might have caught fire following some technical glitch in the vehicle.According to locals, smoke was suddenly coming out of the frontal portion of the vehicle. The passengers, who were travelling in the bus, were immediately evacuated from the vehicle. According to police, a bus of 3C/1 route caught fire. Before the bus caught fire, the passengers were removed from the bus. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAfter being informed, a fire tender was swung into action top douse the flames. Senior police officers also rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. The incident caused traffic congestion in the area. The fire was brought under control within half an hour. The bus was taken to the Gariahat police station. According to the preliminary investigation, police and fire officials suspect that the bus might have caught fire due to overheating of the engine. A probe has been initiated.last_img read more

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24yearold youth from Karaya drowns while bathing in Digha

first_imgKolkata: A 24-year-old youth from Karaya in Kolkata drowned while bathing in Digha. His body was recovered on Wednesday morning.Police said the victim, Azhar Ali, was a resident of Karaya. He went to Digha with six other friends on Tuesday.He drowned while bathing on Tuesday. His friends sought help of the police. Policemen from Digha police station initiated a search. They found the body in Old Digha on Wednesday morning. The body was sent for an autopsy. Police are trying to find out how he drowned. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIn another incident at Regent Park in Kolkata, a class XII student, Sanjay Saha, drowned while bathing in a pond.Locals informed police that he went missing. Police searched all the places in the area. They finally searched the pond and fished out his body. Police sent the body for an autopsy and initiated a probe in this connection. He was a resident of Anandapalli at Regent Park and the incident took place in a pond close to his house.last_img read more

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Rare glimpse into Singapore

first_imgFor this very reason and to commemorate the fact that Singapore has stepped into its 50th year while also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the India-Singapore relations, the Singapore High Commission along with the Directorate of Film Festivals, India inaugurated the Singapore film festival at the Siri Fort auditorium on Thursday.The ceremonial lighting of the lamp by the High Commissioner of Singapore, Lim Thuan Kuan set the three-day event into motion. “People will be surprised to know that the film industry of Singapore, though developing, has started making an impression on the international scale in the last few years.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to present these films made by the immensely talented directors, in front of you” he said. He also added that these films would bring a great sense of understanding between India and Singapore and make the ties even stronger.The festival titled, ‘Stories from the Heartland’ as pointed out by one of the directors Sun Koh, deals with the stories, which offer a glimpse into the daily lives, the culture as well as the history of Singapore. “As you know, Singapore is a very young state compared to India. So the film industry is also in the developing stage. Through these films, we will show you the stories of the middle class families of Singapore.” The heartland referred to in the title of the film festival is a very important term to Singaporeans. It signifies the neighbourhood or towns where people live, gather and play.” she explained. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAfter the opening ceremony, the doors to Singaporean culture were opened before the audience with the screening of the 99 minutes film Ilo Ilo. The film takes an intimate look into the lives of a middle-class Singaporean family in the 1990’s. With the mother heavily pregnant and the financial pressure beginning to form cracks in her vision of a perfect family life, the family decides to hire a maid from the Philippines to look after their young son. Set against the backdrop of the ‘97 Asian financial crisis, the movie showcased how a middle- class family had to struggle to make all ends meet, with the father falling victim to downsizing, which forces the family into an uncertain situation.  Amidst all these problems, the maid Teresa, begins to form a strong bond with the mischievous yet lonely boy. This relationship forms the basic crux of the story which is masterfully depicted by the director, Anthony Chen. After the film, Sun Koh discussed the topic of Immigration, Multiculturalism in Singapore cinema after which the floor was opened for audiences’ questions.The next two days will also be jam-packed with events such as the screening of two short films The Outing directed by Jow Zhi Wei and Singapore Panda followed by a production talk and an interaction with the director of the latter film, Sun Koh. These two films will be followed by the screening of the film 881, also followed by a discussion comparing 881 and Indian musical films. This will take place on Friday. The last day of the film festival is on Sunday and will start with the screening of a ten minute short film titled Katong Fugue, directed by Boo Junfeng followed by a master-class on the same. The last film of the festival will be 12 Storeys, a comedy followed by a panel discussion with Sun Koh, Boo Junfeng and Jow Zhi Wei about the future of contemporary Singapore cinema.last_img read more

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Two artists to perform in the Capital every month

first_imgTaking forward their aim of providing a platform for promising young Indian artists, the Raza foundation’s Aarambh series has now entered into their second month. “Aarambh” will invite two artists from different genres from various parts of India every month to perform before audiences in the capital. A total of 25 artists will perform under the series in the next one year. The idea behind this series is to bring performers of music and dance who have not been seen or presented in Delhi. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIn the second month, Hindustani Classical Vocalist Meenal Natu and Kathak Dancer Vishavdeep will perform for 45 minutes each at Civil Services Officers’ Institute on October 23 and Triveni Kala Sangam the following day.On the question of how important it is to promote classical art forms among young artists, Ashok Vajpeyi, Managing Trustee of the Raza Foundation said, “When it comes to classical arts, the younger generation needs support because these arts are not very popular and they require very hard, long training. If young artists don’t get opportunities for showcasing their skills then it could create a problem. Such a platform can add to their confidence or skill.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn contrasting views, Vishavdeep, a scholarship holder of Ministry of Culture in kathak dance and a math graduate says, “I am also from the current generation and I don’t believe that people’s interests in Indian classical art forms are diminishing. I see more and more of parents enrolling their children into learning an art form. I have seen them consider classical art as a serious career prospective.” A senior disciple of Guru Narain Prasad, Nandini Singh and Prerana Shrimali will start off with Shiv Vandana and then he will get into the technicalities of Kathak or ‘shudh nritya’.A disciple of Dr Usha Parkhi and a well-known exponent of Jaipuri-Atrauli Gharana, Meenal Natu is elated to perform at such a huge platform and feels that every genre of music is equally important and interesting. The Raza Foundation provides support and platforms for various arts, and fellowships, especially aimed at young talent.last_img read more

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Premier artifact collectors to travel to Bdesh for showcasing rare collections on

first_imgKolkata: Five artifact collectors from Kolkata will be travelling to Bangladesh, to display their rare collections for a showcase exhibition.It is for the first time that artifact collectors from Kolkata have been invited in Bangladesh to showcase their collection. The programme titled “Chinhamela” will be held at the Shahidullah Kalabhavan of Rajsahi University, one of the premier academic institutions in Bangladesh. The team will leave for Bangladesh on March 9. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseGopal Biswas, a well known picture post card collector in India, is going to Bangladesh with his collection. Picture post cards used to play an important role in the social life of people in the non-digital era. People travelling to other states or countries used to send picture post cards to their near and dear ones, narrating their experience. Many receivers of the picture post cards used to preserve them. Biswas has in his possession a few thousand picture post cards and he will be taking some of the rarest and best ones to Bangladesh. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataSouvik Mukherjee will display his collection on the development of transport system in Bengal. Some of the tickets of trams and buses will be displayed, along with photographs of horse-driven carriages. People from East Bengal on reaching Sealdah station used to go to the houses of their relatives in horse-driven carriages in the 1930s and 1940s. There were very few taxis and American car brands like Chevrolet, Hudson and Pontiac were used for the purpose. Ujjal Sardar, collector of manuscripts will display some of the rare manuscripts in his collection. Falguni Dutta Roy will display some of the newspapers which carried interesting news items during the freedom movement in Bangladesh in 1971. Chandranath Chattopadhyay, editor of Kinjal magazine and a well known collector, is also travelling with the group. Many rare stamps used before the Partition in 1947 will be displayed, along with letters including those written by the Governor General, matchboxes used during the Swadeshi movement in 1905, letters written by Nawab Salimullah of Dhaka, advertisement designs made by important personalities and booklets of Bengali cinema and theatre. Till the late 1970s, the audience visiting cinema halls could collect the booklets and lobby cards free of cost, containing the storyline of the movie, along with details of the songs. Satyajit Roy had designed the lobby cards of some of his famous films like Nayak and Parash Pathar. “It will be a wonderful exhibition and will strengthen the cultural ties between India and Bangladesh,” Chattopadhyay said.last_img read more

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EC likely to send 125 companies of CRPF for 1st phase of

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission is likely to send 125 companies of Central forces for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Bengal, in which Alipurduar and Cooch Behar will be going to polls. A source in the EC said that 15 out of the 125 companies will be kept as reserve and will be used for manning the counting centres.”The forces for the first leg of the election will come in two or three phases. The first batch of the jawans will come in the first week of April and will be used for the purpose of area domination and confidence building of the voters,” a source in the EC said. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe source maintained that the deployment pattern of the 2014 elections will be followed. There will be two CRPF jawans in a polling station with a single booth, three in polling stations with two booths and five in those with more than two booths. “One company of the forces will be allocated for each Assembly constituency, dedicated for flying squad and patrolling purpose,” he added. It may be mentioned that the two parliamentary constituencies have 3,844 booths spread over 3,002 polling premises. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataMeanwhile, 10 companies of CRPF will reach the state on Friday, who will be pressed into action in the pockets where there have been disturbances in the Panchayat polls. As per sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Bengal, the forces will be deployed in Basanti and Kultali in South 24-Parganas, Deganga in North 24-Parganas, the bordering areas of Malda, Murshidabad, East Midnapore, Birbhum and Asansol in West Burdwan. They will conduct route march as a measure of confidence building among the voters. A high-level team from ECI led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain is expected to reach Bengal on Saturday to take stock of poll-preparedness across the state. The delegation will hold a meeting with senior officials from the CEO’s office, police superintendents from districts and the commissioners of various commissionerates. The team will also meet the political parties on Saturday. The CEO’s office in the state will be deploying six divisional commissioners as observers to take measures towards accessibility in the elections. Till date, the CEO Bengal office has received 351 complaints in connection with violation of the model code of conduct. The complaints have been lodged through the cVIGIL app and National Grievance Service Portal.last_img read more

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Forest cover in Bengal has gone up by 429 Mamata

first_imgKolkata: Marking the International Day of Forests on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said forest cover in the state has gone up by 4.29 per cent. “Today is #InternationalDayOfForests. In #Bangla, the forest cover has been growing — between 2010 and 2015, it has gone up by 3,810 sq km, one of the highest in the country, up by 4.29 per cent. My best wishes to all,” Banerjee tweeted. On March 21, the International Day of Forests is celebrated worldwide to increase public awareness about the values, significance and contributions of forests to balance the life cycle on the earth. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseAlso, the day also celebrates the arrival of spring with the World Planting Day. This day gives an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the world’s plant species. “Today is World Planting Day. In Bangla, we distributed 15 lakh saplings to every new born child. This is done under the unique Sabujshree scheme to inculcate emotional bonding between the child and nature,” Banerjee wrote. The Chief Minister further mentioned how the above initiative “provides an incentive for the future.”last_img read more

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Redesigning the India story

first_imgIn the heart of Germany’s business capital, four Indians showcased a facet of the country’s soft power: handicrafts. With India the partner country of one of the world’s biggest consumer goods trade fairs, its pavilions are serving as a window to its diverse cultures and deft craftspeople. At Ambiente 2019, that brings together global manufacturers, traders and buyers of innovatively designed products, designers Sunil Sethi, Sandeep Sangaru, and Ayush Kasliwal – who presented India’s campaign Hand Make in India here – have created an India experience at the event, where over 515 Indian exhibitors are showcasing products in the Living, Giving and Dining categories. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe Frankfurt exhibition grounds saw, for the first time, four Indian award-winning craftspeople giving demos of the crafts they championed over decades. Tapas Kumar Jana, a recipient of 2016 National Award, demonstrated the centuries-old Masland mat weaving. He painstakingly wove away on these grass-based chatais, as global visitors stopped in awe and often video-recorded the elaborate procedure. “The grass we use grows in West Bengal. We make thin strips of it with our teeth, and then weave these manually using our instruments. One simple mat can take several weeks, with the time going up as designs get complicated,” Jana said, adding that these chatais were gifted during weddings as a norm. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveDisplaying woven grass mats as soft and malleable as pashmina fabric, Jana said the craft is changing as per the modern consumer demands. Not just gifted mats, the finished Masland sheets can now be used to create folders, bags, wall hangings and table decor products – customised versions of a traditional craft to suit modern needs. The contemporary use of Jana’s mats draws from India’s larger showcase at the trade fair. Handmade, which is touted as India’s strength, is often thought of as products incapable of competing with the industrially produced modern consumer goods. Is modernising Indian handicrafts the way forward? Sunil Sethi said yes. Speaking on the intricacies of Indian design, he emphasised that the world needs to wake up to its strengths, and platforms like Ambiente provide a visibility like no other. “Indian design doesn’t lack the talent, but the exposure. If we are competing in a global market, designers from the country must come and see what the world has to offer. It is an eye-opener,” Sethi said, during a walkthrough of the pavilion designed by him. Displaying modular furniture done in the traditional Ikat style, a sofa with wood blocks as the upholstery, and a beautiful and minimalist peacock glass installation, Sethi said the homes, globally, are changing and modern versions of handicrafts become a way of expanding markets and also retaining the future generations in the trade. Inder Singh Kudrat, a veteran Rajasthani craftsperson, who was awarded the top artisan honour of Shilp Guru, stressed the importance of global visibility to “keep children’s dwindling interests in crafts alive”. Also exhibiting are Amrit Lal Sirohiya, a gemstone carver from Rajasthan and Naseer Ahmad Mir, a Kani shawl maker from Jammu and Kashmir. All the four handicrafts are Geographical Indication (GI) listed, which identifies each product with its place of origin to promote regional crafts. Listing sustainability, high-end material, and handmade, healthy products as future design trends, as compared to luxury and branding, the Fair’s vice president Nicolette Naumann iterated her belief in Indian products. The Fair, which concluded on February 12, has gone a long way in cementing India’s strengths as a mass manufacturer of handicrafts, which suit modern living traditions.last_img read more

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AAI organises 2nd Music and Dance in the Park

first_imgTo celebrate composite heritage, and to bring awareness about a peaceful and clean environment, the second edition of Dance and Music in the Park was organised by Airports Authority of India in collaboration with Spic Macay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth). The event was held on March 23 and 24, 2019 at Nehru Park.The two-day event started with Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI lighting the lamp in august presence of Anuj Aggarwal, Member (HR), AAI. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfOn the first day, the audiences were mesmerised by vocal music recital by Pandit Jasraj, the doyen of Hindustani Classical Music and captivating performance of the noted Kutiyattam Dancer Kapila Venu. On the second day, programme began with a flute recital by Classical flutist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia followed by a performance by Malvika Sarukkai, an accomplished Bharata Natyam Dancer. With an objective of promoting Indian culture and generating awareness of the cultural traditions and heritage of India, Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Spic Macay for organising a two-day event for three years. The first in this dance and music in the park series was organised on December 2 and 3, 2017 at Nehru Park.last_img read more

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