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Tech News

  • Horticulturist implements innovative method to grow plants without soil

    New Delhi, Jan 18: Inspired by an idea from the Internet he began implementing a method to grow plants without soil. Mohan Jogi, a resident of Kotadbury in Champa is a keen horticulturist who always dreamt of innovation in horticulture. Inspired by an idea from the Internet he began implementing a method to grow plants without soil. Plants are planted through plastic pipes and disposals. The pipe is cut from the top in a radius of 3-4 inches.

    After this, coconut filings are planted in them .Teacher Mohan Jogi roof displays this new method in detaill.The plastic pipes contain water circuits attached to a motor and there is a plastic container of 2 hundred liters. Once this is filled with 2 hundred liters of water, it is usable for 5-6 days. If plants are planted initially, then it takes only 5-6 days to grow.

    Apart from cultivation without soil, fruits that grow in low lying areas can also be planted by this method.To keep these plants alive, only water is needed. Some special types of chemicals are also added in the water, so that oxygen and water remain in balance and the plants not only survive, but also grow faster.

    Mohan Jogi's effors are also remarkable in this regard as he did not seek help from anyone to adopt this technique in horticulture. Having made the entire system on his own and even failing twice, his passion for gardening did not stop. All that he needs now is for his method to be broadcast widely so that it can be used by those who really need it.

    ISRO to launch 31 satellites simultaneously on Jan 12

    New Delhi Jan 9: Late last month, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced its first mission of 2018 – the launch of 31 satellites, including earth observation spacecraft Cartosat on January 10. However, the launch date has now been changed to January 12, Friday – two days after the tentative date. "The rocket launch to carry Cartosat and other satellites, including 28 from the US and five other countries, will take place on January 12 at 9.30 a.m.," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Public Relations Director Devi Prasad Karnik said.

    "There is no delay in the schedule as the earlier stated launch date of January 10 was merely tentative," stated Karnik. All the 31 satellites, including India’s own Cartosat-2 series Earth Observation spacecraft, will be launched at a time onboard its Polar rocket. The satellite launch mission will be the first Polar Satellite Launch (PSLV) mission since August. In the month of August, PSLV’s launch of the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H became unsuccessful.

    PSLV mission’s main payload will be India’s Cartosat-2 series earth observation satellite. The PSLV-C40 rocket is finalized to carry the 31 satellites to the lower Earth Orbit, the launch will take place from Sriharikota launch site in Andhra Pradesh. The 31 satellites include 28 nano satellites from countries outside India including the US and Finland. The rest three satellites include a micro satellite and a nano satellite and a larger Cartosat satellite of India.

    Fungi made life on Earth possible: Study

    UK Dec 20: Life on earth would have been impossible without the humble fungi, as they played an essential role in the creation of an oxygen-rich atmosphere, claims a study. The study showed that fungi played a critical part in establishing a breathable atmosphere on Earth by “mining” the nutrient phosphorus from rocks and transferring it to plants to power photosynthesis. The amount of phosphorus transferred could have been very large under the ancient atmospheric conditions, but fungi had the power to dramatically alter the ancient atmosphere, the researchers said.

    “The results on fungal interactions present a significant advance in our understanding of the Earth’s early development. Our work clearly shows the importance of fungi in the creation of an oxygenated atmosphere,” said Benjamin Mills from the School of Earth and Environment, at the University of Leeds. “The nature of the relationship between fungi and plants could have transformed the atmospheric carbon dioxide, oxygen and ultimately global climate in very different ways, depending on the type of fungi present,” added Sarah Batterman, from the varsity’s School of Geography.

    For the study, detailed in the journal Philosophical Transactions B, the team used a computer model to carry out experiments where plants and fungi were grown in atmosphere resembling the ancient Earth — during which plants did not have roots and were non-vascular, meaning they could not hold water or move it around their system. Fungi helped the plants to extract minerals from the rocks to aid their growth. The fungi in return received the carbon which the plants produced as they photosynthesised carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Advanced technologies smarten new subway line in Beijing

    china Dec 18: Advanced technologies have made the newly-constructed subway Yanfang (YF) line smart, which had a trial run without passengers in the Fangshan District of Beijing on Friday.The YF line is China's first completely-automatic subway with the Chinese-owned proprietary intellectual property rights.On this automatic subway line, "drivers" on the trains do not need to operate the devices; they just monitor the devices and the routes where th trains run.

    In fact, the real drivers are the operators at the control center of the subway."The unmanned driving technology will largely cut the time used for operation, shortening it by 15 seconds for each station covered," said Lyu Aiguo, program manager of the signaling system of the YF subway line.Inside the trains, all the systems, including signaling, telecommunication, monitoring, air-conditioning and lighting were produced in China. The lighting system can adjust the luminance in the trains according to the outside conditions, while the air-conditioning system is remotely-controlled.

    "Different from other subways, there are three-on-one backups to guarantee the proper operation of the YF line's central control system, and the other devices inside the trains also have one-on-one backup. That is to say, if one device breaks down, the train can still move safely," said Lyu.When the subway line stops operation at night, the automatic cleaning and charging systems will start working. The trains then leave the parking lot and run automatically the next day.The YF subway line will officially start its operation by the end of December.The YF line, totaling 14.4 kilometers in length, has nine stations. It will improve the traffic condition in the capital city's Fangshan District after it starts serving the public.

    New 'black box' recorder can measure surgeons' proficiency

    US Dec 12: US scientists have developed a novel recorder similar in concept to a black box on an airplane that can be used to objectively measure surgeons' proficiency in robotic-assisted prostate cancer surgery. Creating a sustainable, objective method for evaluating surgeon proficiency and standardising credentialing is a way to help ensure patient safety, said Andrew Hung, from the University of Southern California in the US. The recorder used in the study, called the dVLogger, captures both anonymised video and movement data.

    Developed by Intuitive Surgical, the research tool can attach to the company's da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgical platform approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general laparoscopic surgery. "The dVLogger records the surgeon's movements, capturing where the instruments are and how the surgeon is moving the instruments," Hung said.

    To test the recorder's ability to measure proficiency, four basic prostate surgery steps were analysed. Data from 100 procedures performed by both novice and expert surgeons were recorded. The findings published in The Journal of Urology showed that novice and expert surgeons could be identified by measuring time to complete operative steps, distance of instrument and camera travel and frequency of camera movements. "We now have an opportunity to put surgeon proficiency under the microscope and see what role it plays in patient outcomes," Hung said.

    India successfully launches surface-to-air missile Akash

    New Delhi Dec 6: The Surface to Air Missile AKASH with indigenous radio frequency seeker against target Banshee, has been successfully launched from the Launch Complex-III at ITR Chandipur on Tuesday. The Radars, telemetry and electro-optical systems along the coast have tracked and monitored all the health parameters of the missile.

    This missile is being inducted into Army as Short Range Surface to Air Missile. This is the first Surface to Air Missile with indigenous seeker that has been test fired. With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of Surface to Air Missile.

    Internet should be open and free, says TRAI Chairman

    New Delhi Nov 29: In its much awaited recommendations on Net neutrality, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India upheld the principles of Internet as an open platform. It has recommended prohibiting Internet service providers from making any discrimination in traffic while providing web access, by either blocking or throttling some apps, websites and services or by offering 'fast lanes' to others.

    If the proposals are accepted, the Internet service providers will not be able to block or throttle any web traffic, be it on computers, laptops or mobile phones, and offer fast lanes for content providers who pay for the privilege. Trai's recommendations pave the way to end all sorts of discriminatory practices, that telecom operators may exercise. The regulator has cautioned that discriminatory treatment would include any form of restriction or interference ,including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds. Trai, had last year barred discrimination in Net access through differential pricing.

    TRAI releases recommendations on Net Neutrality

    New Delhi Nov 28: Telecom regulator TRAI on Tuesday proposed restrictions on service providers from entering into agreements which lead to discriminatory treatment of content on the Internet. Issuing the recommendations on Net neutrality, TRAI has also suggested a multi-stakeholder body comprising telecom and Internet service providers, content providers, civil society organisation and consumer representatives for monitoring and investigation of violations. "Service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract by whatever name called... that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content...," it said.

    World's first AI politician is now a reality!

    New Zealand Nov 27: Scientists have developed the world's first artificial intelligence politician, that can answer a person's queries regarding local issues such as policies around housing, education and immigration. The virtual politician, called SAM, was created by Nick Gerritsen, a 49-year-old entrepreneur in New Zealand.

    "There is a lot of bias in the 'analogue' practice of politics right now," said Gerritsen. "There seems to be so much existing bias that countries around the world seem unable to address fundamental and multiple complex issues like climate change and equality," he said. The AI politician is constantly learning to respond to people through Facebook Messenger as well as a survey on its homepage. While Gerritsen acknowledges that humans biases can creep into algorithms, he said that he does not view bias as just a challenge to technology solutions.

    While the system is not perfect, it may still help bridge the growing political and cultural divide in many countries, 'Tech In Asia' reported. By late 2020, when New Zealand has its next general election, Gerritsen believes SAM will be advanced enough to run as a candidate. However, it is not legal for AI to contest elections. "SAM is an enabler and we plan to operate within existing legal boundaries," Gerritsen said.

    Earlier evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

    US Nov 21: Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars, have now been identified as granular flows, according to a new article. It was published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey and said that the granular flow is sand and dust rather than liquid water. These new findings indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water. The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface of the planet.

    Scientists from the USGS, the University of Arizona, Durham University (England) and the Planetary Science Institute analyzed narrow, down-slope trending surface features on Mars that are darker than their surroundings, called Recurring Slope Lineae, or RSL. These RSL features grow incrementally, fade when inactive and recur annually during the warmest time of year on Mars. RSL are mostly found on steep rocky slopes in dark regions of Mars, such as the southern mid-latitudes, Valles Marineris near the equator, and in Acidalia Planitia on the northern plains.

    The appearance and growth of these features resemble seeping liquid water, but how they form remains unclear, and this research demonstrated that the RSL flows seen by HiRISE are likely moving granular material like sand and dust. “We’ve thought of RSL as possible liquid water flows, but the slopes are more like what we expect for dry sand,” said USGS scientist and lead author Colin Dundas. “This new understanding of RSL supports other evidence that shows that Mars today is very dry.”

    Centre's 'BharatNet' phase 2 begins with aim of 100% connectivity by 2020

    New Delhi Nov 14: The second phase of BharatNet project with an outlay of Rs 31,000 crore and a mandate to provide high-speed broadband to all panchayats by March 2019 got off the block. Additionally, the Department of Telecom requested all states to provide a list of unconnected villages so that all of them can be connected with telecom services by 2020.

    Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, along with Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi were present at the launch of the second phase of the project. "Under the project, we will provide 1 gbps (gigabuit per second) bandwidth capacity at panchayat level. The Cabinet in July 2017 approved a modified implementation strategy for BharatNet which include...project completion for all 2.5 lakh panchayats by March 2019," Sinha said at the launch. The telecom ministry expects to complete the first phase of the project covering over 1 lakh panchayats by the end of December.

    'Science can bring world's leading superpowers together'

    US Nov 7: International scientific collaboration in the Arctic can help align common interests among countries experiencing geopolitical conflict, including the US and Russia, researchers say. The assessment builds upon the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation that was signed in May this year by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States, including the US and Russia, despite deteriorating relations between the two countries, according to researchers at Tufts University in the US.

    The agreement, also known as the Arctic Science Agreement, minimises the risks that short-term domestic policy shifts will impact relations within the Arctic by cementing a consensus among the countries that will last beyond political cycles, said Paul Arthur Berkman, professor at Tufts. He noted that the agreement enhances the stability of research platforms across nations to interpret and disseminate previously inaccessible data, and will generate continuous data to interpret marine, terrestrial, atmospheric, and human-centred changes.

    In effect, the Arctic Science Agreement enhances the capacity of all nations to integrate diverse data into evidence and options that contribute to informed decision- making for Arctic sustainability, he said.

    "Governments respond to security issues that involve the risks of political, economic, and cultural instabilities," said Berkman, lead author of the study published in the journal Science. "In a global context, unlike any time in human history, there also is urgency to address issues, impacts, and resources involving present and future generations, recognising that children born today will be living in the 22nd century," he said.

    With 23 'eyes', NASA's Mars 2020 rover to study the Red Planet

    US Nov 1: NASA's numerous probes have given the world a lot to think where space is concerned and each mission sent to outer space has also treated us with never seen before images of the entities that exist in the massive world. With advancing technology, NASA has upgraded the cameras on various spacecrafts as they were sent for their respective destinations and they have delivered data fit for scientists to glean some of the most insightful information from them.

    When NASA's Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997, it had five cameras: two on a mast that popped up from the lander, and three on NASA's first rover, Sojourner. Camera technology, since then, has taken a quantum leap. Photo sensors that were improved by the space program have become commercially omnipresent. Cameras have reduced in size, improved in quality and are now a part of every cellphone and laptop.

    The same evolution can also be seen in space. According to NASA, their Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. They will provide dramatic views during the rover's descent to Mars and be the first to capture images of a parachute as it opens on another planet. There will even be a camera inside the rover's body, which will study samples as they're stored and left on the surface for collection by a future mission.

    All these upgrades will be incorporated while the Mars 2020 rover is built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. After Pathfinder, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers were designed with 10 cameras each, including on their landers; Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover has 17. As per the space agency, these are the features that the Mars 2020 cameras will have. The cameras on 2020 will include more color and 3-D imaging than on Curiosity, said Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, principal investigator for 2020's Mastcam-Z. The "Z" stands for "zoom," which will be added to an improved version of Curiosity's high-definition Mastcam, the rover's main eyes.

    Mastcam-Z's stereoscopic cameras can support more 3-D images, which are ideal for examining geologic features and scouting potential samples from long distances away. Features like erosion and soil textures can be spotted at the length of a soccer field. Documenting details like these is important: They could reveal geologic clues and serve as "field notes" to contextualize samples for future scientists.

    The Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers were all designed with engineering cameras for planning drives (Navcams) and avoiding hazards (Hazcams). These produced 1-megapixel images in black and white. On the new rover, the engineering cameras have been upgraded to acquire high-resolution, 20-megapixel color images. Their lenses will also have a wider field of view. That's critical for the 2020 mission, which will try to maximize the time spent doing science and collecting samples.

    "Our previous Navcams would snap multiple pictures and stitch them together," said Colin McKinney of JPL, product delivery manager for the new engineering cameras. "With the wider field of view, we get the same perspective in one shot." That means less time spent panning, snapping pictures and stitching. The cameras are also able to reduce motion blur, so they can take photos while the rover is on the move.

    NASA plans to use existing spacecraft already in orbit at Mars – the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, and the European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter – as relays for the Mars 2020 mission, which will support the cameras during the rover's first two years.

    India's second mission to Moon Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in first quarter of 2018

    Bengaluru Oct 31: India's second mission to the moon Chandrayaan-2 is in its final stages of integration and will be launched in the first quarter of 2018, according to the ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar. India’s second mission to moon Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in first quarter of 2018 Integration of the orbiter, rower and other tests pertaining to the project are being taken up at the ISRO Satellite Center. Integration of the whole module will be completed and Chandrayaan-2 will be in orbit soon. After the successful mission of Chandrayan - 1 mission ISRO is now all set to launch Chandrayan - 2 . The orbiter integration work is on currently. Few trials of the lander and rover are underway and will be tested in December.

    Addressing a press conferance in Bangalore on Monday ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said chandrayan- 2, will navigate across the moon collecting various rock and soil samples that will be analysed . ISRO’s second moon mission comes nearly ten years after its highly successful maiden attempt at exploring the moon. Chandrayaan 1 was launched in 2008. The spacecraft had orbited around the moon for about a year, mapping the terrain and minerals. It sent back high resolution images and other data. But most crucially, Chandrayaan-1 gave the first direct evidence of the presence of water-ice on lunar surface to the world.

    Chandrayan - 2 will have more advanced role. It will help map specific parts of Lunar surface and study of the atmosphere.Chandrayan 2 will also land a robotic rover on the surface of the moon.Besides this ISRO will launch 28 commercial satellites for its customers, along with another satellite from the CartoSat-2 series satellites in the second half of December this year .

    NGC 2336: A classic spiral galaxy captured in fine detail by the UVIT

    ND Oct 31: NGC 2336 is a magnificent barred spiral galaxy located in the northern constellation of Camelopardalis, or the giraffe. At a distance of 105 million light years away from us, it can even be seen through medium-sized amateur telescopes under dark skies. This galaxy was discovered by the German astronomer Ernst Tempel in 1877. NGC 2336 has a highly developed and splendid spiral arm structure that emanates from a ring of stars surrounding a central bar.
    The spiral arms contain a number of star forming regions, or nebulae. These nebulae shine because of hot young stars that are bright in the ultraviolet.This was one of the first objects chosen to be imaged by the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) on board AstroSat, in order to test its ability to resolve complex structure.
    The Near-UV (200-300 nm) and Far-UV (130-180 nm) images obtained were spectacular, showing details finer than in the image from the GALEX ultraviolet telescope. Astronomers found that the resolution of UVIT was 1.2 arc-seconds in the Near-UV and 1.5 arc-seconds in the Far-UV, which was much better than the initial goal of 1.8 arc-seconds.
    This superior resolving power, along with its large field of view, make UVIT an excellent instrument for investigating star formation in large galaxies like NGC 2336. “AstroSat Picture of the Month” is an initiative of the Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India and the AstroSat Training and Outreach Team. All pictures are archived at http://astron-soc.in/outreach/apom/

    40% dip in firecracker emissions in capital this Diwali: Study

    New Delhi Oct 30: The level of emissions from fireworks fell by around 40 per cent during Diwali festivities in Delhi this time as compared to 2016, according to the findings of a study which assume importance in the light of a region-wide ban on the sale of firecrackers by the Supreme Court. The SAFAR study concluded that, as a whole, the Diwali period (October 18-22) was the cleanest since 2014.

    Level of particulates did shoot up a day after Diwali, but the dispersion was quicker and air quality attained the pre-Diwali level within three days. SAFAR, a central government air quality monitoring agency, based its findings on a detailed study of air quality, sources of emissions and meteorological conditions which prevailed in the national capital during this period.

    As compared to emissions from fireworks in 2016, the dip was significant: 50 per cent on October 19, the Diwali night; 25 per cent on October 20, when pollution peaked and 45 per cent on October 21, SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) said in its report. But if less firecrackers were burnt, what explains the fact that air quality turned "severe" for the first time in 2017, a day after Diwali? The amount of PM2.5, an ultrafine particulate measuring less than 20 times the width of a human hair, recorded by SAFAR during the period went like this: October 18 - 136, October 19 - 174, October 20 - 407, October 21 - 203 and October 22 - 139 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3).

    The 24- hour safe standard is 60 (ug/m3). SAFAR project director Gufran Beig explained that reduction in emissions from a particular source and reduction in levels of pollution are not linearly related or directly proportional. He said that "incredible" amount of fireworks, despite the relative reduction, on Diwali night led to trapping of smoke in the air and a rapid build-up of pollutants, especially between midnight and 4 am on October 20, aided by a fall in temperature and lowering of mixing height (where air and suspended particulates mix).

    "Emissions slow down local wind movement as air becomes heavy. It's like the heaviness in air one feels in a room when the number of occupants go up, say from five to 20. But subsequently, the air cleaned up faster this time due to warmer temperature and dry conditions. "The ban on crackers certainly had an impact. The days that preceded and followed Diwali saw restraint from people. Usually, crackers are set off before and after the actual night of festivities as well. The real impact could be seen on October 20," Beig said.

    He said the post-Diwali air had also been good as compared to last year as the smoke from stubble burning regions in Punjab and Haryana had not reached Delhi because of the wind direction, which was not the case last year resulting in the worst smog episode that the city witnessed in nearly two decades. External contributions, such as stubble burning, did not exceed 10 per cent of the total pollution load during this period, the SAFAR report said.

    The study factored in the observed meteorological data including wind speed, wind direction, satellite estimate of stubble burning emissions among other factors, it said.

    First Jurassic-era 'fish lizard' fossil discovered from Gujarat's Kutch

    Gujrat Oct 27: A study led by a group of researchers from KSKV Kutch University has discovered a near-completely fossilised skeleton of the Jurassic-era ichthyosaur, a type of marine reptile or 'fish lizard' in Greek. The intriguing animal that looks like a mashup of a dolphin and lizard lived alongside dinosaurs and was found from Kutch district of Gujarat.

    Earlier, a group of Indo-German geologists had found a 5.5-metre-long skeleton near the Kaas hills of Bhuj town back in January 2016 and it was believed to be a fossil of dinosaur. The fossil has further gone through a series of high class experiments and the study finally showed that the fossil was of ichthyosaur from the Jurassic era and was the first to be found in India.

    "The present ichthyosaur find represents the first nearly complete articulated skeleton of an ichthyosaur from India and the first record from the Jurassic of India. It further expands our knowledge on morphological diversity and geographic distribution of Late Jurassic ophthalmosaurids, their dietary habits and palaeobiogeography," the study stated.

    "The presence of ophthalmosauridae ichthyosaurs in the Upper Jurassic of India, Madagascar and South America implies that a marine seaway possibly connected the western Tethys with South America via the Indian Ocean in the Late Jurassic facilitating faunal exchanges between Europe and Gondwanan continents," the study added further.

    The 5.5-metre-long skeleton seems to be a member of Ophthalmosauridae family which lived between 165 million years and 90 million years ago, the study showed, published in PLOS ONE journal. The study failed to identify the specimen of the same due to hard coating on it, though the authors are still in search of new more information in remote areas of Kuch district of Gujarat.

    New AI system can decode your mind

    US Oct 25: Scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence system that can decode the human mind, and interpret what a person is seeing by analysing brain scans. The advance could aid efforts to improve artificial intelligence (AI) and lead to new insights into brain function. Critical to the research is a type of algorithm called a convolutional neural network, which has been instrumental in enabling computers and smartphones to recognise faces and objects.

    "That type of network has made an enormous impact in the field of computer vision in recent years," said Zhongming Liu, an assistant professor at Purdue University in the US. "Our technique uses the neural network to understand what you are seeing," Liu said. Convolutional neural networks, a form of "deep-learning" algorithm, have been used to study how the brain processes static images and other visual stimuli. "This is the first time such an approach has been used to see how the brain processes movies of natural scenes - a step toward decoding the brain while people are trying to make sense of complex and dynamic visual surroundings," said Haiguang Wen, a doctoral student at Purdue University.

    Astronauts spacewalk to install new camera system on ISS

    US Oct 23: Two NASA astronauts have successfully completed a spacewalk to install a new camera system outside the International Space Station (ISS), replacing a blown fuse and installing a new high definition camera on the starboard truss of the station. During the spacewalk, which lasted six hours and 49 minutes, the duo of Randy Bresnik, Expedition 53 Commander and Joe Acaba, Flight Engineer at NASA worked quickly and were able to complete several "get ahead" tasks, Melanie Whiting from NASA wrote in a blog post. Acaba greased the new end effector on the robotic arm.

    Bresnik installed a new radiator grapple bar and completed prep work for one of two spare pump modules on separate stowage platforms to enable easier access for potential robotic replacement tasks in the future. "He nearly finished prep work on the second, but that work will be completed by future spacewalkers," Whiting said. This was the fifth spacewalk of Bresnik's career - 32 hours total spacewalking - and the third for Acaba - 19 hours and 46 minutes total spacewalking. Space station crew members have conducted 205 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 53 days, six hours and 25 minutes working outside the station.

    Google celebrates 107th birthday of Nobel-winning astrophysicist S. Chandrasekhar

    New Delhi Oct 20: Google Doodle celebrated the 107th birth anniversary of Indian American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar on Thursday, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 for his theory on the evolution of stars. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1910, Chandra was a child prodigy. He published his first paper and developing his theory of star evolution before he even turned 20. "Today's Doodle illustrates one of the most important of all of S. Chandrasekhar's contributions to our understanding of stars and their evolution: The Chandrasekhar limit," Google explained.

    "A child prodigy, Chandra published his first paper and developed his theory of star evolution before turning 20. By age 34, he was elected to the Royal Society of London, and soon after, became a distinguished service professor of physics." "The Indian-American physicist's honors are astronomical, including the National Medal of Science, the Draper Medal of the US National Academy of Science, and the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Though originally met with skepticism in the 1930s, Chandra's theories and equations won the Nobel Prize in Physics 50 years later.

    In first, scientists detect gravitational waves and light from star collision

    US Oct 17: Scientists in the United States and Europe have for the first time detected gravitational waves, the ripples in space and time predicted by Albert Einstein, at the same time as light from the same cosmic event, according to research published on Monday. "This is the first time the cosmos has provided for us what I would call a 'talking move'. We've moved from the era of 'silent movies' to 'talking movies'," said physicist David Reitze, Executive Director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, during a news conference in Washingotn D.C. to announce the discovery.

    "In this case, the 'audio soundtrack' comes from the chirp of the neutron stars as they are inspiraling - as they are orbiting together and colliding - and the 'video' is basically the light that we see after the collision," Reitze said.

    Planet Nine is for real: NASA

    US Oct 16: The elusive 'Planet Nine' does exist, and may be 10 times the mass of the Earth and 20 times away from the Sun than Neptune, according to NASA scientists. Planet Nine could turn out to be our solar system's missing 'super Earth' - a planet with a mass higher than the Earth's, but substantially lower than the masses of ice giants Uranus and Neptune. The signs so far are indirect, mainly its gravitational footprints, but that adds up to a compelling case, they said. "There are now five different lines of observational evidence pointing to the existence of Planet Nine," said Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the US.

    "If you were to remove this explanation and imagine Planet Nine does not exist, then you generate more problems than you solve. All of a sudden, you have five different puzzles, and you must come up with five different theories to explain them," said Batygin. Six known objects in the distant Kuiper Belt, a region of icy bodies stretching from Neptune outward towards interstellar space, all have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction, researchers said. However, these orbits also are tilted the same way, about 30 degrees "downward" compared to the pancake-like plane within which the planets orbit the Sun, they said.

    4,000-year-old weapons, lunch box discovered in Switzerland

    Switzerland Oct 15: Scientist have discovered pieces of a 4,000-year-old bow, arrows and a wooden food container belonging to a Bronze Age mountaineer in Switzerland. The artifacts along with several items was found in a rock shelter beside a glacier near the top of the nearly 8,800-foot Lotschberg Pass in the Bernese Alps. The items are thought to have belonged to Bronze Age hunters or animal herders who took shelter beneath a large rock near the top of the pass around 4,000 years ago, said Regula Gubler, an archaeologist for the Canton of Bern government.

    The site was discovered in 2011. Archaeologists from the Canton of Bern Archaeological Service surveyed the site that year and recovered several items during an excavation in 2012, but bad weather prevented them from finishing the dig. "Since then we've had snow on the site, but this year we could finish it. It was a warm summer and not much snow in the winter, and this combination melted the snow," Gubler said.

    Science has power to eliminate human sufferings: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

    New Delhi Oct 14: Union Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that Science has the power to eliminate human sufferings. Inaugurating the 3rd edition of the India International Science Festival in Chennai the Union Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken huge efforts to promote a climate of innovation in the country, to realize the dream of a new and developed India by 2022.

    New nanomaterial can create hydrogen fuel from seawater

    US Oct 6: In a breakthrough, scientists have developed a new nanomaterial that uses solar energy to generate hydrogen from seawater, producing the low cost and clean-burning fuel more efficiently than existing materials. The advance may lead to a new source of hydrogen fuel, ease demand for fossil fuels and boost the economy of countries where sunshine and seawater are abundant. It is possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly.

    Researchers from University of Central Florida in the US developed a new catalyst that is able to not only harvest a much broader spectrum of light than other materials, but also stand up to the harsh conditions found in seawater. "We've opened a new window to splitting real water, not just purified water in a lab. This really works well in seawater," said Yang Yang, assistant professor at UCF.

    Twitter set to raise 140-character limit to 280 soon

    San Francisco, Sep 28: Twitter for the first time is expanding beyond its 140-character limit, the company announced this week. The social network says it will now try out a longer limit of 280 characters in select languages including English in order to allow people to share their expanded thoughts without running out of room to tweet.

    The feature will initially be made available to a small group of users for the time being as the expansion is considered more of a test than a large, public rollout for now. Twitter announced it would double its character limit for a random group of users, the move gives the freedom to tweet messages containing up to 280 characters.

    Twitter wants its users to more easily express themselves, and encourage new ones to join up. This update will allow the users to post photos and gifs without taking up the character limit.

    Asteroids found orbiting each other between Mars and Jupiter

    Mumbai, Sep 23: A group of astronomers observed an intriguing and unusual object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with help from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Two asteroids were seen orbiting each other and exhibiting features of comets - the bright coma and a long tail. The findings were published in Science journal 'Nature' on Wednesday.

    "In September 2016, just before the asteroid 288P made its closest approach to the Sun, it was close enough to Earth to allow astronomers a detailed look at it using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The images of 288P, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, revealed that it was actually not a single object, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of about 100 km. That discovery was in itself an important find; because they orbit each other, the masses of the objects in such systems can be measured," a website said.

    Three-member crew reaches ISS for five-month mission

    Kazakhstan, Sep 15: Three astronauts docked at the International Space Station (ISS) for a five-month mission Wednesday, following a night-time launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio includes two United States astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut. Russia's Roscosmos space agency said the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft "successfully docked" at the ISS at 0255GMT (10.55am, Singapore time), in a statement on its website.

    The Soyuz rocket carrying Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) first-time flier Mark Vande Hei and his veteran colleague Joe Acaba launched as scheduled from Baikonur at 5.17am, Singapore time. The trio will now join Italy's Paolo Nespoli, Russia's Sergey Riazanski and the US' Randy Bresnik aboard the orbital lab.

    The launch marked the first time two US astronauts have blasted off together on a mission to the ISS from Baikonur since June 2010. NASA stopped its own manned launches to the ISS in 2011, but recently moved to increase its crew aboard the ISS as the Russians cut theirs in a cost-saving measure announced last year. Space is one of the few areas of international cooperation between Russia and the US that has not been wrecked by tensions over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The ISS orbits the Earth at a height of about 400 km, circling the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of about 28,160 kmh.

    ISRO's navigation satellite IRNSS-1H mission fails

    Bengaluru, Sep 1: ISRO launched the navigation satellite IRNSS-1H from Sriharikota on Thursday. The launch will augment the existing seven satellites of the NavIC constellation. IRNSS-1H would be a back up navigation satellite for IRNSS-1A one of the seven satellites of the constellation, as its three rubidium atomic clocks on board had stopped functioning.

    The launch vehicle PSLV-C39 rocket carried the satellite. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional system developed by India on par with the US-based GPS, Glonass of Russia, and Galileo developed by Europe.

    ISRO all set to launch IRNSS-1H

    Bengaluru, Aug 31: The stage is set for the launch of PSLV-C39, carrying IRNSS-1H, the eighth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) into a sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO) at 1900 hrs from ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, on Thursday.

    Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee and Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) had cleared the 29 hr countdown of PSLV-C39/IRNSS-1H Satellite mission which began at 1400 hrs IST on Wednesday, sources in Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said. The 1425 kg spacecraft is similar to seven other IRNSS series of satellites which have already been launched. The launch will take place from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) of SDSC, ISRO's space port, a cresent shaped island overlooking Bay of Bengal.

    NASA's next Mars mission to probe red planet's deep interior

    US, Aug 29: NASA's next mission to Mars, scheduled to launch next year, will focus on examining the deep interior of the red planet, according to the US space agency. Information gathered by the Insight mission will boost understanding of how all rocky planets formed, including Earth, NASA said. "Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth's in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets' infancy better than our home planet does," said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

    The mission will place a stationary lander near Mars' equator. With two solar panels that unfold like paper fans, the lander spans about six metres. Within weeks after the landing, InSight will use a robotic arm to place its two main instruments directly and permanently onto the Martian ground, an unprecedented set of activities on Mars, according to NASA.

    Millions pour into US towns for solar eclipse

    US, Aug 21: On Monday, when a total solar eclipse sweeps across the United States for the first time in 99 years, people gathering in Charleston, South Carolina will be the last on the continent to experience it. They are ready. Historic Charleston, with its cobblestone streets and elegant antebellum mansions, was clearly a-bustle on Sunday, in full pre-eclipse mode. Its restaurants were packed and downtown parking was at a premium as excited locals and tourists possessors of the prized solar glasses that make eclipse-viewing safe strolled cheerfully along the seafront Battery promenade.

    Weather predictions for Monday were iffy with clouds and scattered thunderstorms predicted through the hours when the eclipse is due, from the moment when the moon first obscures a small arc of the sun, to totality, and through the end of the whole cosmic viewing experience.

    For locals, and for those who have come from far away, it is a big deal. "We're very excited," said Brandy Mullins, a 38-year-old stay-at-home mother who moved to Charleston six weeks ago with her family. She and her three children all have solar glasses and are planning to watch the eclipse from an open area weather permitting. "It's not looking very good," she said of the weather forecasts, "but it's OK - we still get to experience it and see the darkness."

    ISRO developing Hyspex imaging satellite

    Bengaluru, Aug 13: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to develop a new set of future satellites called hyperspectral imaging satellites is set to add teeth to the way India is gleaned from about 600 km in space. ‘Hyspex’ imaging will enable distinct identification of objects from space. ISRO says it plans to launch a full-fledged niche Earth observation (EO) satellite called the Hyper-spectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS, which uses a critical chip.

    As of now, there is no specific time-frame decided for its launch. The new chip is technically known as an “optical imaging detector array,” which will be used in the HySIS. The space organisation said that it is trying to enter the field of operational hyper-spectral imaging from earth orbit" with a satellite that can see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above the ground.

    The Hyper-spectral or hyspex imaging is said to be an Earth observation trend which is being experimented globally. The Hyspex is a new dimension to plain-vanilla optical images, it can be used for an array of activities from monitoring the crops, environment, looking for minerals and oil, as well as even for the military surveillance, all of which need visuals that show a high level of differentiation of the scene or object.

    TRAI explores personal data privacy issues within apps

    New Delhi, Aug 11: Telecom regulator TRAI is studying the issue of protection of privacy and ownership when an individual needs to share personal information while downloading and using an app. You may often find it frustrating that to use a popular app, you are required to allow the app maker access to a host of personal data such as your location, contacts list and pictures. And if you decline an approval, then you are not able to use that app. The regulator also wants to find out whether personal data that mobile subscribers share while using popular apps, is effectively protected and not exploited or monetized. It also wants to know whether individuals need to have ownership of their shared information and have a right to access it whenever they want to.

    In a consultation paper, 'Privacy, Security and Ownership of the Data in the Telecom Sector', the regulator has raised a series of questions on how privacy of data should be protected and whether there should be a closer scrutiny of the manner in which data is exploited by companies and other agencies through monetization as well as segregation of user data. "While recognizing the vast business and efficiency potential of data analytics, it is also vital to assess whether the data protection rights of individuals are being adequately protected in this changing environment. Data protection in this context can be broadly understood to mean the ability of individuals to understand and control the manner in which information pertaining to them can be accessed and used by others," the consultation paper says.

    On ownership of the data being generated by individuals, it also seeks answers to a variety of questions. TRAI has also sought comments on the manner in which app makers solicit personal information, especially when much of it may not have any direct co-relation with the service being offered by them. "The permission granted by the user to allow access to these various categories of information is often given under circumstances where the user does not fully understand the implication of granting the consent. Moreover, the one-sided nature of these arrangements with an uneven bargaining power between the provider and the user implies that the user often does not have an effective choice in the matter --the app may not available for use without authorising those permissions," the consultation paper added.

    Milky Way might be dotted with 100 million black holes: Study

    US, Aug 9: There may be as many as 100 million black holes in the Milky Way galaxy, according to scientists, who conducted a cosmic survey to calculate and categorise the enigmatic, dark objects. The celestial census began more than a year and a half ago, shortly after the news that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) had detected ripples in the space-time continuum created by the distant collision of two black holes, each the size of 30 suns.

    "Fundamentally, the detection of gravitational waves was a huge deal, as it was a confirmation of a key prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity," said James Bullock, University of California, Irvine (UCI) in US. "But then we looked closer at the astrophysics of the actual result, a merger of two 30-solar-mass black holes. That was simply astounding and had us asking, 'How common are black holes of this size, and how often do they merge?'"

    Bullock said. Scientists, including one of Indian origin, assume most stellar-remnant black holes - which result from the collapse of massive stars at the end of their lives - will be about the same mass as our Sun.

    Karakoram glaciers growing in spite of climate change: study

    J&K, Aug 8: A summer 'vortex' of cold air over the Karakoram, a large mountain range spanning the borders of India, Pakistan and China, is causing the glaciers in the region to grow in spite of global warming, scientists say.

    Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK have identified a large scale circulation system - or vortex - centred over the Karakoram mountain range. In winter, the vortex affects the temperature over the whole 2,000 kilometre mountain range, but in the summer the vortex contracts and has an effect only over the Karakoram and western Pamir, a mountain range in Central Asia.

    This induces an anomalous cooling in summer which is different to the warming seen over the rest of the Himalaya, researchers said. This Karakoram vortex goes some way to explaining why the glaciers in this region are behaving differently to those in most other parts of the world, they said.

    "While most glaciers are retreating as a result of global warming, the glaciers of the Karakoram range in South Asia are stable or even growing," said Hayley Fowler, professor at Newcastle University.

    "Most climate models suggest warming over the whole region in summer as well as in winter," said Fowler. "However, our study has shown that large-scale circulation is controlling regional variability in atmospheric temperatures, with recent cooling of summer temperatures. This suggests that climate models do not reproduce this feature well," he said.

    New drug may inhibit cancer cell growth

    US, Aug 5: Scientists have discovered a new drug which may inhibit the growth of cancer cells by zeroing in on mutated nuclear receptors that promote tumours. The anti-cancer agent could have broad therapeutic applications as it prevents activation of the PI3K pathway, which is common to many cancers.

    "K-80003 binds specifically to a truncated form of the retinoid X receptor-alpha (tRXRa) protein that promotes tumours," said Xaio-kun Zhang, professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in the US. "When it binds tRXRa, it freezes the protein into an inactive (tetrameric) configuration that prevents it from stimulating the PI3K pathway," said Zhang.

    Asteroid flyby to help NASA test global tracking network

    US, Jul 31: A small asteroid that is expected to fly close to the Earth in October will help NASA to test its network of observatories, a group of NASA researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, has said. The flyby would also benefit scientists who work with planetary defence. According to a press statement on NASA’s website earlier this week, the target of all this attention is asteroid 2012 TC4 — a small asteroid estimated to be between 10 and 30 metres in size.

    Asteroid TC4 will safely fly past the Earth on October 12, and scientists are certain it will come no closer than 6,800 km from the surface of the Earth. The asteroid has been out of range of telescopes since 2012 when it sped past the Earth at about one-fourth the distance from the Earth to the Moon. For Indian-origin scientist Vishnu Reddy, this is an opportunity for the collaborative observation campaign to utilise the international aspect of the network.

    “This is a team effort that involves more than a dozen observatories, universities and labs across the globe so we can collectively learn the strengths and limitations of our near-Earth object observation capabilities,” said Reddy, Professor at the University of Arizona. Scientists believe that asteroid 2012 TC4 may be slightly larger than the space rock that hit the Earth’s atmosphere near Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013.

    NASA will use large telescopes to detect and re-establish the asteroid’s precise trajectory. The new observations are expected to help refine knowledge about its orbit, narrowing the uncertainty about how far it will be from the Earth at its closest approach in October.

    ISRO sets unique record for satellite launches

    Bengaluru, Jul 19: Indian Space Research Organisation has set a unique record... of launching the most number of satellites. The premier space agency had successfully launched 130 foreign satellites, more than any other country in the world. The record breaking successes of Indian Space Research organisation came into focus, in Lok Sabha today. While replying to a question, Minister of State, department of atomic energy and space, Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted the achievements of ISRO in a short span of time. These include its earning foreign exchange and developing a reputation that puts it among the leading space agencies of the world.

    Indian Space Research Organisation has set a unique record... of launching the most number of satellites. Minister of State in the department of space, Dr. Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that in the first half of this year itself, the premier space agency had successfully launched 130 foreign satellites, more than any other country in the world. Dr. Jitendra Singh also said that ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission had completed 1,000 days, and ISRO is preparing for more such space missions in the future.

    Russia launches 73 satellites into orbit

    New Delhi, Jul 16: An imaging satellite and 72 micro- satellites were launched into orbit on Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and research centre Glavcosmos announced.

    The Soyuz 2-1A rocket successfully lifted off with the satellite payload, Roscosmos said in a statement. According to Russian news agencies, Glavcosmos, charged with putting the satellites into orbit, later reported that all the satellites had successfully separated.

    They were released into three different orbits. "For the first time in the world, such a complex and large mission has been developed and implemented," said Glavcosmos. The primary payload, the Kanopus-V-IK satellite, is to provide wide-angle images of the Earth and will be used especially to detect forest fires or to update the topography of maps. The 72 small satellites include those made by Japan, Germany and Canada along with 62 nanosatellites known as CubeSats, developed by the United States.

    Indian scientists discover 'Saraswati' -- a supercluster of galaxies

    New Delhi, Jul 15: A team of Indian astronomers has discovered an extremely large supercluster of galaxies -- as big as 20 million billion suns -- which they have named Saraswati, Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) said on Thursday.

    This is one of the largest known structures in the neighbourhood of the universe, 4,000 million light-years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old, IUCAA said. Its mass extends over the scale of 600 million light years, it said. Scientists of this institute were also involved in the path-breaking discovery of gravitational waves last year.

    The supercluster was discovered by Shishir Sankhyayan, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, Pratik Dabhade, IUCAA research fellow, Joe Jacob of the Newman College, Kerala, and Prakash Sarkar of the National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur.

    Their findings were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society. "Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web. They are a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies," the IUCAA said in a statement.

    Sankhyayan said this "newly-discovered Saraswati supercluster" extends over a scale of 600 million light-years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns. A cluster could roughly have galaxies ranging from 1000 to 10,000. A supercluster could have clusters ranging from 40 to 43, he added. "Our own galaxy is part of a supercluster called the Laniakea supercluster," the IUCAA said.

    Joydeep Bagchi from IUCAA, the lead author of the paper in the journal, and co-author Sankhyayan said they were "astonished to spot this giant wall-like supercluster of galaxies", visible in a large spectroscopic survey of distant galaxies, known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Sankhyayan said the data was then analysed, following which the discovery was made. "This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids," Bagchi said.

    He said previously "only a few comparatively large superclusters" had been reported, such as the Shapley Concentration or the Sloan Great Wall in the nearby universe. "The Saraswati supercluster is far more distant," Bagchi said. The two hoped that the work would help shed light on "perplexing questions" like how such matter-density clusters had been formed billions of years ago.

    Huge iceberg poised to break off from Antarctic ice shelf

    Antarctic, Jul 7: A huge crack in the Antarctic ice shelf - poised to produce one of the largest icebergs at the South Pole - is growing faster than ever, with the rift tip now within five kilometres of breaking all the way through, scientists say.

    The deep crack in the Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf continues to cut across the ice. While the iceberg remains attached to the ice shelf, its outer end is moving at the highest speed ever recorded on this ice shelf. It has tripled in speed to more than ten metres per day between June 24 and 27, according to scientists of Project MIDAS, a UK-based Antarctic research project.

    When it eventually gives way, one of the largest icebergs on record will be set adrift. Monitored by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar pair, the crack in the ice is now around 200 kilometres (km) long, leaving just five km between the end of the fissure and the ocean. European Space Agency's (ESA) CryoSat Earth Explorer satellite carries a radar altimeter that will measure the height of the ice surface before the 6,000 square kilometre iceberg is spawned. The information is used to work out how the thickness of sea ice and land ice is changing and, consequently, how the volume of Earth's ice is being affected by the climate.

    "Using information from CryoSat, we have mapped the elevation of the ice above the ocean and worked out that the eventual iceberg will be about 190 metres thick and contain about 1,155 cubic kilometres of ice," said Noel Gourmelen from the University of Edinburgh in the UK. "We have also estimated that the depth below sea level could be as much as 210 metres," Gourmelen said.

    Perfect storm led to mass bleaching in Great Barrier Reef

    Australia, Jul 5: The mass coral bleaching that devastated Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef last year was caused by a 'perfect storm' of factors produced by unprecedented oceanographic conditions, scientists say. Even in very warm years with a summer El Nino event, such as 1998, there was no massive coral bleaching in the Torres Strait and only small to moderate bleaching in the northern Great Barrier Reef, said Eric Wolanski, professor at James Cook University in Australia. "So, the extensive coral bleaching in these areas during the summer of 2016 was an unwelcome surprise," Wolanski said.

    A 2016 aerial survey of the northern Great Barrier Reef showed that 90 per cent of reefs in some of these areas were severely bleached. Wolanski said satellite data showed the 2016 El Nino heating started in the Gulf of Carpentaria, with patches of water reaching an exceptionally high 34 degrees Celsius. The water then flowed east onto the Torres Strait reefs and south to the Great Barrier Reef.

    The 'residence time' of the very warm water in the Torres Strait and the Northern Great Barrier Reef was exceptionally long, which increased the thermal stress on the coral. All of these factors enabled local solar heating to proceed unrestricted. "Examining surface currents suggests that the North Queensland Coastal Current in the Coral Sea, which would normally flush and cool the Northern Great Barrier Reef, actually did the opposite. It reversed course and brought very warm water to the Northern Great Barrier Reef," said Wolanski.

    ISRO to launch earth-observation Cartosat-2E and 30 nano satellites on June 23

    New Delhi, Jun 21: India on Friday will launch its Earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series weighing 712 kg and 30 co-passenger satellites (29 foreign, one Indian) with its rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the Indian space agency said. According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the PSLV rocket’s XL variant is expected to lift off on Friday morning at 9.29 a.m. from the Sriharikota rocket port. The 30 satellites will together weigh 243 kg and the total weight of all the 31 satellites, including Cartosat, is about 955 kg, ISRO said.

    The rocket will sling the satellites into a 505 km polar sun synchronous orbit (SSO). The co-passenger satellites comprise 29 nano satellites from 14 countries – Austria, Belgium, Britain, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and the US as well as one Indian nanosatellite. The 29 international customer nanosatellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between ISRO’s commercial arm, the Antrix Corporation Ltd and the international customers.

    NASA to launch world's first mission to Sun in 2018

    US, Jun 1: NASA is set to launch the world's first mission to the Sun next year, that will explore our star's atmosphere and answer questions about solar physics that have puzzled scientists for over six decades. "This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, is loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve many of the largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the Sun's corona is so much hotter than its surface.

    Parker Solar Probe will travel through the Sun's atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions - and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star, NASA said. To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun's heat by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield. The spacecraft is set to be launched during a 20-day window that opens on July 31, 2018 from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

    "The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before," said Parker, Professor at the University of Chicago in the US. "It is very exciting that we will finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what is going on in the solar wind. I am sure that there will be some surprises. There always are," Parker said. In the 1950s, Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars - including our Sun - give off energy.

    He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Parker also theorised an explanation for the superheated solar atmosphere, the corona, which is - contrary to what was expected by physics laws - hotter than the surface of the Sun itself. Many NASA missions have continued to focus on this complex space environment defined by our star - a field of research known as heliophysics. "Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we have puzzled over for more than six decades," said Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins University.

    DoT launches portal for info on mobile tower radiation

    New Delhi, May 3: The Telecom Department on Tuesday launched a portal that will allow people to track radiation emitted from mobile towers within a locality and check their compliance with the stipulated norms. Launching the 'Tarang Sanchar' web portal, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha hoped the site will help in clearing "myths and misconceptions" about mobile towers and emissions from them.

    He said the portal will empower consumers to know, at the click of the mouse, about the towers working in a particular area and whether they are compliant to the Electromagnetic field (EMF) emission norms defined by the government. The government has maintained that the mobile tower emissions rules in India are ten times more stringent than the global norms.

    NASA's Cassini completes final flyby of Saturn's moon Titan

    US, Apr 26: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has completed its last close flyby of Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is beginning its final set of 22 orbits before the probe plunges into the ringed planet to bring an end to its 20- year-long journey. The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan on April 21, passing at an altitude of about 979 kilometres above the moon's surface.

    Cassini transmitted its images and other data to Earth following the encounter. Cassini's radar team will be looking this week at the final set of new images of the hydrocarbon seas and lakes that spread across Titan's north polar region. The planned imaging coverage includes a region previously seen by Cassini's imaging cameras, but not by radar.

    The radar team also plans to use the new data to probe the depths and compositions of some of Titan's small lakes for the first time and look for further evidence of the evolving feature researchers have dubbed the "magic island." "Cassini's up-close exploration of Titan is now behind us, but the rich volume of data the spacecraft has collected will fuel scientific study for decades to come," said Linda Spilker, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.

    The flyby also put Cassini on course for its dramatic last act, known as the Grand Finale. As the spacecraft passed over Titan, the moon's gravity bent its path, reshaping the robotic probe's orbit slightly so that instead of passing just outside Saturn's main rings, Cassini will begin a series of 22 dives between the rings and the planet on April 26.

    The mission will conclude with a science-rich plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15 this year. "The spacecraft is now on a ballistic path, so that even if we were to forgo future small course adjustments using thrusters, we would still enter Saturn's atmosphere on Sept.

    NASA-ISRO to develop Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

    US/India, Mar 31: ISRO and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/ NASA are jointly working on the development of Dual Frequency (L & S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite named as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).

    The L-band SAR is being developed by JPL/NASA, while ISRO is developing S-band SAR. The L & S band microwave data obtained from this satellite will be useful for variety of application, which include natural resources mapping & monitoring; estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle; assessing soil moisture; monitoring of floods and oil slicks; coastal erosion, coastline changes & variation of winds in coastal waters; assessment of mangroves; surface deformation studies, ice sheet collapses & dynamics etc.

    The data obtained from NISAR mission is not meant for building climate resilience. However, the data acquired from this mission will be useful in developing certain applications, which include - (i) identifying crevasses in the glaciers hidden by fresh snow, where human movement takes place, (ii) identifying the snowpack parameters as an input in Avalanche forecasts, (iii) studying Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) hazards, (iv) identifying inundated area due to floods/ cyclones. These applications could help in taking measures to minimize loss of human lives.

    As per the information received, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) under Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has been working with National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop high resolution seasonal and long-term climate forecasts. During 2010 to 2015, IITM and NOAA together developed high resolution Models for seasonal climate predictions of Indian Summer Monsoon and long term climate forecasts under a Memorandum of Understanding. Extension of this MoU till 2020 to further pursue such studies is under consideration.

    This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

    New wi-fi system to provide 100 times faster internet

    Netherlands, Mar 27: Scientists have developed a new wireless internet based on harmless infrared rays that is 100 times faster than existing wi-fi network and has the capacity to support more devices without getting congested. low wi-fi is a source of irritation that nearly everyone experiences. Wireless devices in the home consume ever more data, and it is only growing, and congesting the wi-fi network, researchers said.

    The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity - more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s) - but also there is no need to share since every device gets its own ray of light. The system is simple and cheap to set up. The wireless data comes from a few central 'light antennas', for instance mounted on the ceiling, which are able to very precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.

    The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles ('passive diffraction gratings'). Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. Since a safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the vulnerable retina in your eye, this technique is harmless. If you walk around as a user and your smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna's line of sight, then another light antenna takes over, researchers said.

    The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction, they said. It is a simple matter to add devices: they are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity. Moreover, there is no longer any interference from a neighbouring wi-fi network.

    Current wi-fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz. The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher. This light has frequencies that are thousands of times higher, some 200 terahertz, which makes the data capacity of the light rays much larger. Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres. Even if you have the very best wi-fi system available, you would not get more than 300 Megabit/s in total, which is some hundred times less than the speed per ray of light achieved by the new system.

    The system has so far used the light rays only to download; uploads are still done using radio signals since in most applications much less capacity is needed for uploading.

    Mars volcano, Dinosaurs went extinct about the same time: NASA

    US, Mar 21: The last volcanic activity on Mars ceased about 50 million years ago, around the time when large number of Earth's plant and animal species, including dinosaurs, went extinct, according to a new NASA study.

    he research reveals that the giant Martian volcano Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every one to three million years during the final peak of activity. The last volcanic activity there ceased about 50 million years ago - around the time of Earth's Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

    "We estimate that the peak activity for the volcanic field at the summit of Arsia Mons probably occurred approximately 150 million years ago - the late Jurassic period on Earth and then died out around the same time as Earth's dinosaurs," said Jacob Richardson of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt in the US. It's possible, though, that the last volcanic vent or two might have been active in the past 50 million years, which is very recent in geological terms," he added.

    Researchers mapped the boundaries of the lava flows from each of the 29 volcanic vents and determined the stratigraphy, or layering, of the flows. They also performed a technique called crater counting - tallying up the number of craters at least 100 meters in diameter - to estimate the ages of the flows.

    Researchers, including those from University of South Florida in the US, combined the two types of information to determine the volcanic equivalent of a batting order for Arsia Mons' 29 vents. The oldest flows date back about 200 million years. The youngest flows probably occurred 10 to 90 million years ago. The study was published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

    India's 1st lunar probe Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft still orbiting Moon: NASA

    US, Mar 11: India's first lunar probe - the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft - which was considered lost, is still orbiting the Moon. NASA scientists have found the satellite, using a new ground-based radar technique. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with Chandrayaan-1 in August 2009, almost a year after it was launched in October, 2008.

    Now, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California have successfully located the spacecraft still circling some 200 kilometres above the lunar surface.

    Canadian conservationist warns of "cyber poaching"

    Canada, Feb 25: Photographers, poachers and eco-tour operators are in the crosshairs of a Canadian conservationist who warns that tracking tags are being hacked and misused to harass and hunt endangered animals. Steven Cooke, a biology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, says that the very tools used by scientists to study and protect animals and fish are being hijacked to do just the opposite.

    Cooke, the Canada research chair of environmental science and biology, is the lead author of a paper published this week in the journal Conservation Biology. The research paper cites the example of anglers in the US state of Minnesota who petitioned for access to data on northern pike movements, arguing that it should be publicly available because the research was publicly funded.

    Australian authorities have used tags to locate and cull sharks while in India, attempts were made to hack the global positioning system (GPS) collars on endangered Bengal tigers in a case of "cyber poaching." Cooke said that it is a new phenomenon and there is no data available to quantify this "troubling and unanticipated" problem. But he provides a broad range of anecdotal evidence in his scholarly article.

    Scientists are scheduled to meet in June in Australia to discuss the problem as well as potential fixes. In the meantime, Cooke is calling for encryption and strict rules to secure data and limit the use of telemetry tools for non-research activities.

    In an interview, Cooke noted that natural history, ecology, conservation and resource management have all benefited from the use of electronic tagging technology. But if left unchecked, abuses could not only cause harm to animals, it could significantly hamper research. "Just think about all the weird ways that people might try to exploit this technology," Cooke said.

    The idea for this research came during a family vacation last summer to Banff National Park in Canada. It was then that he learned that the park authority had imposed a public ban on VHF radio receivers after photographers used telemetry to track tagged animals.

    Astronomers find 7 Earth-size planets where life may be possible

    Chile, Feb 24: Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, raising the prospect of life, research published on Wednesday showed. The star, known as TRAPPIST-1, is a small, dim celestial body in the constellation Aquarius.

    It is located about 40 light years away from Earth. Researchers said the proximity of the system, combined with the proportionally large size of its planets compared to the small star, make it a good target for follow-up studies. They hope to scan the planets' atmospheres for possible chemical fingerprints of life.

    TRAPPIST-1 is named for the Transiting Planets And Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. The latest discovery is from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The discovery, published in this week's issue of the journal Nature, builds on previous research showing three planets circling TRAPPIST-1. They are among more than 3,500 planets discovered beyond the solar system, or exoplanets.

    Researchers have focused on finding Earth-sized rocky planets with the right temperatures so that water, if any exists, would be liquid, a condition believed to be necessary for life.

    GSLV's Cryogenic upper stage tested successfully

    Mahendragiri, Feb 19: The ISRO on Saturday said it has successfully tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage for GSLV MkIII. It said the cryogenic stage, designated as C25, was tested for a flight duration of 640 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, on Friday.

    C25 stage had earlier been tested successfully for 50 seconds on January 25, 2017 to validate all the systems. Stating that prior to stage development hot tests, three CE20 engines were realised and two engines were subjected to qualification tests in sea level conditions, ISRO said, this included 800 seconds duration hot test and the third engine identified for flight was tested in high altitude conditions for a duration of 25 seconds.

    This stage test is a significant milestone as it is the last in a series of engine and stage development hot tests before the first development flight of GSLV MkIII, it said.

    GSLV MkIII, the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO, is capable of launching four ton class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The GSLV MkIII vehicle integration activities are in progress at Satish Dhawan Space Centre or Sriharikota for its first development flight (GSLV MkIII-D1) targeted for April 2017.

    The space agency described the C25 stage as the "most powerful" upper stage developed by ISRO which uses Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellant combination. It said the stage carries 27.8 tonnes of propellants loaded in two independent tanks. According to ISRO, development of a cryogenic stage has unique design challenges, with liquid Hydrogen stored at -253 deg C and liquid Oxygen stored at -195 deg C in its tanks.

    The Cryogenic Stage development tests were carried out in two phases; first stage was subjected to fluid mock-up, wherein the stage preparation and servicing at launch complex in SDSC, SHAR, Shriharikota was completed to prove all the ground facilities established for servicing the cryogenic stage. This was followed by testing of the Stage at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri. From the Stage realisation to completion of testing, the process was accomplished in four months.

    The performance of the Stage during the hot test was as predicted, ISRO said, adding, successful hot test for flight duration qualifies the design of the stage and "robustness of the facilities conceived and established towards its development." The flight cryogenic stage is in advanced stage of realisation and forms upper stage of GSLV MkIII, it added.

    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) creates history

    Sriharikota, Feb 15: The Indian Space Research Organisation has scripted history today. ISRO has launched a record 104 satellites in one go on board a single rocket PSLV from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The 39th mission of ISRO PSLV-C37 was successful as it placed the 104 satellites in the orbit. Of the 104 satellites.

    101 satellites were from international clients. Of these-96 belong to USA, 5 from International customers of ISRO - Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, respectively. Two other Indian nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B - were also placed in orbit. India now surpasses the record of Russian Space Agency which had earlier launched 37 satellites in one go. The highest number of satellites launched in a single mission is 37, a record that Russia set in 2014. The US space agency, NASA has launched 29.

    President Pranab Mukerjee has tweeted his congratulations on the great feat by the ISRO. In a tweet the President said "This day shall go down as a landmark in the history of our space programme. Nation is proud of this achievement, which has demonstrated, yet again, India's increasing space capabilities." He also urged ISRO to continue to strive for the progress of our space capabilities. PM Narendra Modi also congratulated the ISRO scientists.

    ISRO to carry a record 104 satellites in a single mission

    Bengaluru, Feb 14: Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse PSLV will carry a record 104 satellites in a single mission tomorrow i.e. February 15 from the space centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. "PSLV-C37/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission is scheduled to be launched on February 15, 2017 at 9.28 hours IST from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota," ISRO said. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 39th flight (PSLV-C37), will launch the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation along with 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift off.

    It will be launched into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). ISRO said the co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano- satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from United States of America (USA), as well as two from India. The two Indian nano-satellites are ISRO's INS-1A and INS-1B.

    INS-1A and INS-1B will carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments, the space agency said. Last year, ISRO had launched a record 20 satellites at one go.

    The highest number of satellites launched in a single mission is 37, a record that Russia set in 2014. The US space agency, NASA has launched 29. The 101 international customer nano-satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), the commercial arm of ISRO and the international customers.

    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans rover on lunar surface

    Bengaluru, Feb 10: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface in the Chandrayaan-2 mission. The Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.

    The six-wheeled Rover will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil. Collection of soil and rock sediments is not planned in this mission.

    ISRO is working towards the launch of Chandrayaan-2 during the first quarter of 2018.

    This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

    Facebook's Oculus ordered pay USD500 mn in suit on stolen tech

    California, Feb 2: The Texas jury made the award yesterday in a trial in which Oculus was accused of basing its Rift headset on technology stolen from ZeniMax's virtual reality software, court documents showed. The lawsuit claimed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and his colleagues developed the virtual reality gear using source code illegally obtained from the gaming firm. Luckey was ordered to pay USD 50 million of the award and another former Oculus executive, Brendan Iribe USD 150 million. The two executives were accused of violating a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax and copying the source code and other documents on a USB storage device.

    ZeniMax had sought USD 4 billion in damages in the case, in which Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg testified to defend his company. Maryland-based ZeniMax said it was "pleased" about the award for "unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks, and for the violation of our non-disclosure agreement with Oculus pursuant to which we shared breakthrough VR technology that we had developed and that we exclusively own."

    Robert Altman, ZeniMax's chairman and chief executive, said in the statement: "Technology is the foundation of our business and we consider the theft of our intellectual property to be a serious matter." Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for more than USD 2 billion and last year began selling the Rift headsets as part of the social network's push into virtual reality. According to the ZeniMax allegations, the four founders of Oculus had no expertise or backgrounds in VR other than Palmer Luckey. But ZeniMax said Luckey "could not code the software that was the key to solving the issues of VR."

    The ZeniMax statement added that "we will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax's's copyrights."

    The news came as Facebook was releasing its earnings for the fourth quarter. Zuckerberg, in his opening statement to analysts, sad Facebook would "keep making big investments in VR content, and I am excited about what is coming in 2017 from games to more immersive experiences."

    Students of Dhanbad's IIT(ISM) roll out hot wheels

    Dhanbad, Jan 28: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the Make in India campaign he inspired many across the country to take up the challenge to fulfill that dream in many different ways. An example are these youngsters from Dhanbad's IIT-ISM who have constructed a one of its kind racing car. It's a one of its kind indigenously built formula racing car. Manufactured by students of Dhanbad's iit ism and christened machismo mrx-01. Weighing just 230 kgs it can touch a speed of 210 kms in just 4 seconds.

    This speed machine was built at a cost of nearly 8 lakhs entirely contributed to by students here and seniors who had passed out. Its makers fully intend to make it a participant in the upcoming national racing car competitions slated to be held in Coimbatore between 26-29 January. With increasing interest in formula 1 racing in the country the initiative taken by these bright young minds seems to be totally in tune with the times not just within the country but beyond as well.

    Rare meteorites challenge our understanding of solar system

    Sweden, Jan 25: Researchers have discovered minerals from 43 rare meteorites that landed on the Earth 470 million years ago, which challenge our understanding of the history and development of the solar system. More than half of the mineral grains are from meteorites completely unknown or very rare in today's meteorite flow, researchers said.

    These findings mean that we will probably need to revise our current understanding of the history and development of the solar system, they said. The discovery confirms the earlier hypothesis in which geology professor Birger Schmitz at Lund University in Sweden revealed that he had found what he referred to as an "extinct meteorite" - a meteorite dinosaur.

    The meteorite was given the name Osterplana 065 and was discovered in a quarry outside Lidkoping in Sweden. The term 'extinct' was used because of its unusual composition, different from all known groups of meteorites and because it originated from a celestial body that was destroyed in ancient times.

    The discovery led to the hypothesis that the flow of meteorites may have been completely different 470 million years ago compared to today, as meteorites with such a composition no longer fall on Earth. "The new results confirm the hypothesis. Based on 43 micrometeorites, which are as old as Osterplana 065, our new study shows that back then the flow was actually dramatically different," said Schmitz.

    "So far we have always assumed that the solar system is stable, and have therefore expected that the same type of meteorites have fallen on Earth throughout the history of the solar system, but we have now realised that this is not the case," he said.

    Schmitz noted that something so far unknown but of fundamental importance in the history of the solar system occurred nearly 500 million years ago. The new study shows that it is possible to make highly detailed reconstructions of the changes that have occurred in the solar system, Schmitz said.

    "We can now recreate late history of not only the Earth but of the entire solar system. The scientific value of this new report is greater than the one last summer," said Schmitz. In the search for the mineral grains (chromium oxides) that fell on Earth together with the meteorites, the researchers used different acids to dissolve several tonnes of sediment from the ancient seabed.

    The chromium oxides were subsequently analysed to identify their composition and oxygen isotopes. This made it possible to determine from which type of meteorites the grains originated.

    ISRO realigns orbit of Mars mission spacecraft 'Mangalyaan'

    New Delhi, Jan 19: Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully realigned the orbit of its Mars Orbiter Mission 'Mangalyaan' so it is not affected by long-duration eclipse, ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said. "The duration of the eclipse was so long that had we done nothing, the Mangalyaan's battery capacity would have got exhausted due to lack of sun rays. No effect of the eclipse was felt on Mangalyaan on Wednesday.

    "On the evening of January 17, we manoeuvred to change the orbit of Mangalyaan and reduced the duration of eclipse," Kumar told reporters on sidelines of Gujarat Technological University's convocation. "The experiment was successful. The spacecraft still has 30 kg fuel left, and with realignment we expect it to work for a very long time to come," he said.

    The correction in the trajectory of Mangalyaan was required to keep the power supply strong during the eclipse - caused by shadow of Mars falling on it for 7-8 hours - so that it could continue to function longer, as Mangalyaan's battery cannot support long-duration eclipse. Kumar also said work on ISRO's ambitious South Asia satellite project has begun. The satellite is expected to be launched by March this year, he said.

    Robot reporter gets its first news article published

    China, Jan 18: A robot journalist made its debut in a Chinese daily newspaper today with a 300 characters long article written in just a second, scientists say. The article was focused on the Spring Festival travel rush. Its author, Xiao Nan, took only a second to finish writing the piece and is able to write both short stories and longer reports, according to Wan Xiaojun, a professor at Peking University who leads the team studying and developing such robots.

    "When compared with the staff reporters, Xiao Nan has a stronger data analysis capacity and is quicker at writing stories," he said. "But it does not mean intelligent robots will soon be able to completely replace reporters," Xiaojun was quoted as saying by 'China Daily'.

    At present, robots are unable to conduct face-to-face interviews, cannot respond intuitively with follow-up questions and do not have the ability to select the news angle from an interview or conversation, Xiaojun said. "But robots will be able to act as a supplement, helping newspapers and related media, as well as editors and reporters," he said.

    Gene Cernan, last astronaut to walk on the moon, dies at 82

    New Delhi, Jan 17: Cernan was with his relatives when he died yesterday at a Houston hospital following ongoing heath issues, family spokeswoman Melissa Wren told The Associated Press. His family said his devotion to lunar exploration never waned. "Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the Moon," his family said in a statement released by NASA.

    Cernan was commander of NASA's Apollo 17 mission and on his third space flight when he set foot on the lunar surface. On December 14, 1972, he became the last of only a dozen men to walk on the moon and he traced his only child's initials in the dust before climbing the ladder of the lunar module the last time.

    It was a moment that forever defined him in both the public eye and his own. "Those steps up that ladder, they were tough to make," Cernan recalled in a 2007 oral history. "I didn't want to go up. I wanted to stay a while." Cernan called it "perhaps the brightest moment of my life. It's like you would want to freeze that moment and take it home with you. But you can't."

    Decades later, Cernan tried to ensure he wasn't the last person to walk on the moon, testifying before Congress to push for a return. But as the years went by he realised he wouldn't live to witness someone follow in his footsteps still visible on the moon more than 40 years later.

    "Neil (Armstrong, who died in 2012) and I aren't going to see those next young Americans who walk on the moon. And God help us if they're not Americans," Cernan testified before Congress in 2011. "When I leave this planet, I want to know where we are headed as a nation. That's my big goal." Cernan died less than six weeks after another American space hero, John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962.

    Their flights weren't the first or last of the Mercury and Apollo eras. Yet to the public they were the bookends of America's space age glory.

    Indian, French space agencies ink pact on satellite launch technology

    New Delhi, Jan 11: Indian Space Research Organisation and French Space agency (CNES) signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology. The agreement was signed between ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall in the presence of visiting French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault. Space cooperation between France and India spans over 50 years and is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership.

    Ayrault, accompanied by the French delegation, was given a guided tour of ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network) by the ISRO chairman, according to a French Consulate release. ISTRAC monitors Indian space missions, including the two Indo-French satellites currently in orbit for collecting data to track climate change.

    ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA. Of comparable size and sharing similar objectives, the space programmes of both countries are complementary, it was noted. Strengthening the CNES-ISRO partnership will enable France to benefit from the Indian model of streamlining the costs of space programmes.

    Later, Ayrault met Rahul Narayan, CEO of leading Indian "NewSpace" start-up, Axiom Research Labs. This start-up put forward TeamIndus, the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.

    USD 20 million will be granted to the first private company that successfully lands a module on the Moon, places a robot that explores at least 500 metres and transmits high-definition videos and images back to Earth. As TeamIndus races to design an all-terrain rover by end-2017 for this lunar mission, the French Space Agency will provide it with cameras, the release said.

    New tech to make credit cards, mobile transactions hack proof!

    Singapore, Dec 29: Scientists are developing better ways to prevent everyday radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology used in passports, credit cards and mobile transactions from being hacked. The technology, which allows fast, automated identification of physical objects, is also a staple for many industries - factories and warehouses use it to track inventory and manage supply chains, pharmaceutical companies deploy it to track drugs, and courier services use it to tag deliveries.

    "A security breach in RFID applications would leak valuable information about physical objects to unauthorised parties," said Li Yingjiu, associate professor at the Singapore Management University (SMU). Since RFID tags work by broadcasting information to electronic RFID readers, security breaches can occur if hackers eavesdrop on this conversation, and manage to gain access to or tamper with information.

    To protect communications between tags and readers, researchers are designing and testing new RFID protocols with enhanced security features. These strategies include making the protocol's output unpredictable, making two tags indistinguishable to the hacker, and preventing hackers from obtaining useful information even if they manage to interact with the tags.

    In addition, there are many instances where sharing of RFID information - between suppliers and retailers, for example, or between various components of an Internet of Things - would have obvious benefits, said Li.

    India successfully test fires Agni-V

    Newq Delhi, Dec 28: India test-fired its longest range indigenously developed surface-to-surface nuclear ballistic missile 'Agni-5' from the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on Monday. The indigenously-developed missile, Agni-5, is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km away. It is about 17-metres long, 2-metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

    Reacting to the test-launch of Agni 5, former spokesperson, DRDO Ravi Gupta said that with this weapon the current adversaries will not dare to attack india with any nuclear weapon. He also said that as India has a policy of deterrence and to continue with this, we need to be powerful. Brigadier (Retd) SK Chaterjee said that for a country like ours it is very important that our deterrence is strong, and for which this missile is appropriate.

    President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated DRDO for successfully test firing Agni V. He said it will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated DRDO and its scientists for their hard work that resulted in the successful test firing of Agni V missile. Such a feat makes every Indian very proud. He said that it will add tremendous strength to India's strategic defence.

    Close to 10 lakh people trained on e-payment in 4 days

    New Delhi, Dec 18: IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said nearly 10 lakh people have received training in digital payment system in the last 4 days. While speaking at FICCI's 89th Annual General Meeting, he said government has chalked out a plan to train 1.2 crore people under awareness and training programme on digital payments. He added that government is paying Rs 10 per individual, Rs 100 for a training camp and Rs 200 for training each shopkeeper.

    I&B ministry holds state information ministers conference

    New Delhi, Dec 10: The government is holding a state information ministers conference SIMCON after a gap of seven years in a bid to discuss key policy issues in the films & broadcasting sector and new initiatives undertaken in the information domain. I&B ministry hopes the conference will promote partnership in information dissemination process between the Centre and states which will in turn enable effective communication with the people.

    Govt is coming up with a new communications policy with the aim of taking accurate information to the common man. The govt hopes to strengthen its outreach and contact with masses as well as effectively impart information about the welfare schemes that it has undertaken via this new policy. The focus is also to ensure better co-ordination between the Centre and states in the field of communication.

    ISRO launches RESOURCESAT-2A on board PSLV-C36

    New Delhi, Dec 8: ISRO has successfully sent the Resourcesat-2A into the orbit this morning from Sri Harikota. The satellite will serve nation for next five years. The satellite blasted off from the satish Dhawan Space center on Wednesday morning.

    The Indian Space Research Organisation launches Remote Sensing satellite, RESOURCESAT-2A today, using its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

    The satellite was earlier planned for launch on November 28. The spacecraft mass is around 1,200 kilogram with a power generation capacity of 1,250 Watt and a mission life of five years.

    'Wearable robot' to help paralytic patients walk

    Denmark, Oct 27: Scientists have designed a wearable lower-limb robot exoskeleton that features natural knee movement to help stroke and spinal cord injury patients regain ability to walk and strengthen their muscles. Wearable "robot-assisted training" is quickly emerging as a method that helps improve gait rehabilitation. Now, researchers from Beihang University in China and Aalborg University in Denmark have designed a lower-limb robot exoskeleton - a wearable robot - that features natural knee movement to greatly improve patients' comfort and willingness to wear it for gait rehab.

    The robotic exoskeleton is intended to help stroke patients strengthen their physical fitness, aid the rehabilitation training of paralysed patients, or to assist those who need help performing daily activities.

    Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for MSMEs in India

    New Delhi, Oct 22: Country's young scientists and engineers are exploring new possibilities in the country with the help of new technology. Many scientists have taken such initiatives in the fields of water and energy which will prove to be beneficial for general public's health. One such initiative Global Cleantech Innovation Programme is engaged in dealing with climate change and is getting support from MSME Ministry.

    New technology is necessary for development and progress but more often than not, this new technology brings many types of problems too along with it. Industries and factories do increase employment opportunities but industrial smoke and waste have become a major problem. They are a big cause of pollution and climate change. To deal with these problems and develop new technology, UNIDO and Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises has started Global Cleantech Innovation Programme.

    Eight countries of the world are part of the Cleantech Programme which focuses on building clean environment through clean energy, waste management and proper utilisation of water. Apart from India, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Armenia and Pakistan are also part of Global Cleantech Innovation Programme in India.

    Entries were invited to identify the most promising entrepreneurs to launch sustainable clean technology ventures. Scientists & entrepreneurs put forward the merits of their projects. Now two teams from India have to go to California to further advance the Cleantech Programme. If scientists are able to bring in good quality products based on new technology, it will be a big achievement.

    In a first, driverless cars hit London streets

    London, Oct 12: Driverless vehicles carrying passengers took to Britain's streets for the first time on Tuesday in a landmark trial which could pave the way for their introduction across the country. The compact two-seater cars trundled along a pedestrianised zone in Milton Keynes, north of London, in a trial by Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) which plans to roll out 40 vehicles in the city. Neil Fulton, programme director at TSC, said it represented a "major milestone" for autonomous vehicles in Britain. "The special thing about today is that this is the first time that a self-driving vehicle has been tested in a public place" in Britain, he said.

    Although the system is currently only being trialled on pedestrianised streets at speeds of around five miles per hour, self-driving cars on British roads "are not that far away", he added. The "Selenium" autonomy software running the vehicle, developed by Oxford University's Oxford Robotics Institute and its spinoff company Oxbotica, uses data from cameras and lasers to navigate the route.

    Baby robot 'Kirobo Mini' unveiled in Japan

    Japan, Oct 4: A baby robot designed to invoke an emotional connection has been unveiled in Japan, as the country stands at the forefront of world's aging population. Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday unveiled a doe-eyed palm-sized robot, dubbed Kirobo Mini, designed as a synthetic baby companion in Japan, where plummeting birth rates have left many women childless.

    The Kirobo Mini was created by Toyota's non-automotive department and is equiped with artificial intelligence and a camera so it can recognise the face of the person speaking to it and respond. Toyota's non-automotive venture aims to tap a demographic trend that has put Japan at the forefront of aging among the world's industrial nations, resulting in a population contraction unprecedented for a country not at war, or racked by famine or disease.

    "He wobbles a bit, and this is meant to emulate a seated baby, which hasn't fully developed the skills to balance itself," said Fuminori Kataoka, Kirobo Mini's chief design engineer. "This vulnerability is meant to invoke an emotional connection."

    'Kirobo Mini' joins a growing list of companion robots, such as the upcoming Jibo, designed by robotics experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that resembles a swivelling lamp, and Paro, a robot baby seal marketed by Japanese company Intelligent System Co Ltd as a therapeutic machine to soothe elderly dementia sufferers.

    Around a quarter of Japan's population is over 65 with a dearth of care workers putting a strain on social services. In the past half century births in Japan have halved to around a million a year, according to government statistics, with one in 10 women never marrying. Births out of wedlock are frowned upon in Japan and much less common than in Western developed nations.

    Japan is already a leading user of industrial robots. It has the second-biggest concentration after South Korea with 314 machines per 100,000 employees, according to the International Federation of Robots. New technology to help them better interact with humans means robots have begun moving beyond factory floors into homes, offices, shops and hospitals.

    10 Indian startups to participate in Japan's largest IT forum

    Japan, Oct 4: Indian startups will take part in Japan's largest IT forum 'Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technology (CEATEC)' this week. Facilitated by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), these 10 Indian startups will participate in the IT and electronics exhibition and conference to be held on October 4.

    The startups are developing solutions in domains such as agriculture, logistics, and industrial automation, Nasscom said in a statement. Nasscom's Centre of Excellence for IoT (CoE IoT) had recommended 65 Indian startups for the programme. Of the 10 selected startups, nine were nominated by Nasscom's CoE IoT.

    The 10 selected Indian startups will get a full funded trip to Japan, along with an exhibition booth at CEATEC where they can display their products to potential investors/ partners, enterprises and customers. Nasscom's CoE IoT has been conducting events and program, along with its enterprise partners, across India to identify the top IoT startups in India. It has curated over 300 startups to select these 65 startups and then sent them the invitation to participate in the selection process for CEATEC, Japan.

    Internet of Things or IoT refers to a network of inter-connected devices that can be accessed through the internet. For instance, with IoT, street lights will automatically go off when they sense no traffic on the roads and consequently, save power. Another application could be a smart band that will automatically alert a physician when body vitals go to abnormal levels.

    "I am extremely proud to announce that nine out of 10 who got selected were a part of Nasscom's CoE-IoT connect programme. With the advent of new technologies and changing essence of 'things', IoT is bringing new value to innovation in the world," Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said.

    He added that a platform like CEATEC will prove to be a great contributor in the journey of these selected startups. CEATEC aims to bring global recognition and changing the perception towards transforming technology in India and also signifies growing Japan-India cooperation in the field of emerging technologies.

    Quantum computers a step closer to reality

    Oz, Oct 2: Physicists have brought quantum computers - which could solve problems too complex for today's most advanced machines - a step closer to reality by successfully stopping light in a new experiment. Lead researcher Jesse Everett from Australian National University (ANU) said controlling the movement of light was critical to developing future quantum computers.

    "Optical quantum computing is still a long way off, but our successful experiment to stop light gets us further along the road," said Everett. He said quantum computers based on particles of light - photons - could connect easily with communication technology such as optic fibres and have potential applications in fields such as medicine, defence, telecommunications and financial services.

    The research team's experiment - which created a light trap by shining infrared lasers into ultra-cold atomic vapour - was inspired by Everett's discovery of the potential to stop light in a computer simulation. "It's clear that the light is trapped, there are photons circulating around the atoms," Everett said.

    "The atoms absorbed some of the trapped light, but a substantial proportion of the photons were frozen inside the atomic cloud," he said. Everett likened the team's experiment to a scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens when the character Kylo Ren used the Force to stop a laser blast mid-air.

    "It's pretty amazing to look at a sci-fi movie and say we actually did something that's a bit like that," he said. Associate Professor Ben Buchler, who leads the ANU research team, said the light-trap experiment demonstrated incredible control of a very complex system. "Our method allows us to manipulate the interaction of light and atoms with great precision," said Buchler.

    Co-researcher Geoff Campbell from ANU said photons mostly passed by each other at the speed of light without any interactions, while atoms interacted with each other readily. "Corralling a crowd of photons in a cloud of ultra-cold atoms creates more opportunities for them to interact," said Campbell. "We're working towards a single photon changing the phase of a second photon. We could use that process to make a quantum logic gate, the building block of a quantum computer," he said. The research was published in the journal Nature Physics.

    New tools to help search habitable environments on Mars

    US, Sep 29: NASA scientists have developed a set of five instruments that can take surface measurements on Mars to help understand weather conditions on the red planet as well as search for potentially habitable environments. When human explorers embark on the journey to Mars, they need to know the natural conditions of the red planet before they arrive. One of the future rover missions may host the Martian Aqueous Habitat Reconnaissance Suite (MAHRS), a set of instruments specifically focused on searching for wet brine environments in the shallow subsurface of Mars.

    "Brine environments are where you would look for life. Any water that exists today on Mars would likely be in the form of a brine if is in a liquid state," said Project Manager Dan Vento. Developed at NASA Glenn Research Centre in partnership with the University of Michigan, MAHRS research hardware includes an optical microscope to study the size and characteristics of settling dust on Mars.

    The 4x4 inch cube is outfitted with a sensor, a circuit board and a microscope lens turned upward. When Martian dust settles on the top of the settling glass, the lens can take high-resolution images for scientific evaluation. "The interesting feature about the microscope, is that the electronics architecture can support a camera lens or hyperspectral sensor depending on the scientific goals of the mission," said Norman Prokop, NASA Glenn engineer.

    Mounted to the microscope, a radiometer measures the amount of solar energy absorbed at the surface to study the amount of dust in the Martian atmosphere. Less energy making it to the surface means more dust in the atmosphere is absorbing the solar energy. A saltation probe, which would hang vertically off the bottom of a rover, measures the impact of soil and dust swirling on the Martian surface.

    Since it is close to the ground, it can measure the impact, mass and velocity of soil as it hits the probe, giving researchers an indication of wind energy and soil movement. Scientists have also developed a soil wetness sensor, which measures water content on the surface and detects the formation of liquid brines.

    They testing an electric field sensor to measure electrical charges in the atmosphere caused by airborne dust. As it sits and spins on a rover arm, it will measure weather patterns and indicate the level of erosion on Mars. This integrated suite of instruments can potentially advance our understanding of wind and weather conditions on the surface of Mars and the implications for habitability, NASA said.

    ISRO launches SCATSAT-1 mission

    New Delhi, Sep 26: Indian Space Research Organisation successfully put into orbit its own weather satellite SCATSAT-1 this morning at 9.12am. In the second phase of its mission, the rocket launched seven other satellites - five foreign and two Indian - between 11.25 to 11.28 am, in a different orbit. This was the first mission of PSLV in which it launched its payloads into two different orbits.

    The co-passenger satellites were from the US, Canada and Algeria besides from Indian Universities. ISRO's SCATSAT-1 can generate accurate data on wind patterns over the ocean surface. It is a continuity mission for the Oceansat-2, which has exhausted its operational life. The expected lifespan of SCATSAT-1 is expected to be five years.

    President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated ISRO for successful launch of SCATSAT-1 and 7 co-passenger satellites.

    Govt clears deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets

    New Delhi, Sep 22: The government has cleared the much anticipated deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets. Sources in the Defence Ministry said, the two countries will sign the final deal tomorrow in the presence of French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian. Mr Drian is arriving in New Delhi today. The contract for the deal was already cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier.

    Computer programme beats doctors in brain cancer diagnoses

    US, Sep 18: A new computer programme developed by scientists including those of Indian origin, has outperformed physicians at spotting brain cancer. The programme, developed by Case Western Reserve University in the US, is nearly twice as accurate as two neuroradiologists in determining whether abnormal tissue seen on magnetic resonance images (MRI) were dead brain cells caused by radiation, called radiation necrosis, or if brain cancer had returned. "One of the biggest challenges with the evaluation of brain tumour treatment is distinguishing between the confounding effects of radiation and cancer recurrence.

    On an MRI, they look very similar," said leader of the study Pallavi Tiwari, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve. However, treatments for radiation necrosis and cancer recurrence are far different. Quick identification can help speed prognosis, therapy and improve patient outcomes, the researchers said.

    With further confirmation of its accuracy, radiologists using their expertise and the programme may eliminate unnecessary and costly biopsies, Tiwari added. Brain biopsies are currently the only definitive test but are highly invasive and risky, causing considerable morbidity and mortality. To develop the programme, the researchers employed machine learning algorithms in conjunction with radionics, the term used for features extracted from images using computer algorithms.

    The engineers, scientists and physicians trained the computer to identify radionic features that discriminate between brain cancer and radiation necrosis, using routine follow-up MRI scans from 43 patients. The team then developed algorithms to find the most discriminating radionic features, in this case, textures that can not be seen by simply eyeballing the images.

    "What the algorithms see that the radiologists do not are the subtle differences in quantitative measurements of tumour heterogeneity and breakdown in microarchitecture on MRI, which are higher for tumour recurrence," said Tiwari. More specifically, while the physicians use the intensity of pixels on MRI scans as a guide, the computer looks at the edges of each pixel, said Anant Madabhushi, professor at Case Western Reserve.

    "If the edges all point to the same direction, the architecture is preserved," said Madabhushi. In the direct comparison, two physicians and the computer programme analysed MRI scans from 15 patients from University of Texas Southwest Medical Centre in the US. One neuroradiologist diagnosed seven patients correctly, and the second physician correctly diagnosed eight patients. The computer programme was correct on 12 of the 15. The study appears in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

    August equals July as hottest month in modern times: UN

    Geneva, Sep 17: August equalled July as the hottest month in modern times, the UN's weather agency said, warning that extraordinary temperatures were "set to become the new norm". The United Nations Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also forecast that 2016 will prove to be the warmest year on Earth over 137 years of record-keeping. "It is looking likely that 2016 will (be) the hottest year on record, surpassing the incredible temperatures witnessed in 2015," WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

    The August figures were an especially jarring reminder of soaring temperatures on the planet, since July has typically proven to be the hottest month of each year. Citing data from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting and the US space agency NASA, the UN said August "wound up tied" with July "for the warmest month ever recorded."

    The average temperature last month was 0.16 degrees warmer than the previous hottest August, which was in 2014. Last month was also 0.98 degrees warmer than the average August temperature from 1950-1980, the WMO said.

    New material to block mobile radiation developed

    Seoul, Sep 13: Scientists have developed a new material that can effectively block electromagnetic waves emitting from mobile phones, televisions, microwave ovens and other appliances. Researchers led by Gu Jong-min from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul and Drexel University in the US manufactured the material made out of MXene.

    Mxene is a class of two-dimensional inorganic compounds made of titanium and carbon and a single layer is only about one nanometre. Researchers found that Mxene can block the electromagnetic waves from mobile phones, televisions, microwave ovens and other appliances

    One of the strengths of the material is it is easy to process and the cost is relatively cheap, they said. "It is hoped that the developed material can be used not only to block electromagnetic waves but for other various purposes," said Gu. The research was published in the journal Science.

    Delhi-Mumbai Talgo train final trial conducted

    Mumbai, Sep 12: To reduce the travel time between Delhi and Mumbai to less than 12 hours, the final trial run of Delhi-Mumbai Talgo train at 150 km per hour speed was conducted. Spanish Talgo train aims to reduce travel time between Delhi-Mumbai by four hours. Currently, the super-fast Rajdhani Express train takes around 16 hours between New Delhi and Mumbai.

    Railways had conducted the first trial run of Talgo trains on the Bareilly-Moradabad stretch in Uttar Pradesh followed by the second trial run conducted on the Palwal-Mathura section of the North-Central Railway. The nine-coach Talgo train consists of two Executive Class cars, four Chair Cars, a cafeteria, a power car and a tail-end coach for staff and equipment.

    Ambani's datagiri: Jio to come with free calls, cheap data

    Mumbai, Sep 1: Reliance Jio has set a target to bring onboard 100 million customers in the "shortest possible time" as it rolls out its 4G network across the country, RIL chief Mukesh Ambani said today. To reiterate, here are the key announcements from today's landmark meeting with respect to Reliance Jio.

    Preview launch of services on September 5, commercial launch on December 31; Voice calls, SMS, national roaming to be completely free forever; VoLTE-enabled 4G LYF phones starting at Rs 2,999; Router at Rs 1999 for 2G, 3G phones; JioFY devices at Rs 2,999; Free access to Jio apps ecosystem, worth Rs 15,000, till December 2017.

    This will give access to 300 live channels, 6000 movies, 60,000 songs, 1 lakh television channels, Jio magazine and Jio newspapers, Jio Money; To accept customers on Aadhaar-based e-KYC shortly; Data tariff plans to be 1/10th of current market plans; Rel Jio to charge Rs 50/gigabyte for data at the highest slabs; No more blackout days; no surge pricing on busy days; Rel Jio price point starting from Rs 19/day for occasional data users; Unlimited night-time 4G data; Rel Jio maximum monthly Rs 4,999 plan for heavy data users; To rollout WiFi hotspots across India; Special offer for students, will get 25 percent more data; Jio to connect most Indian schools & colleges with WiFi,

    "Indians have been used to Gandhi-giri. Now is the time to embrace data-giri," Ambani said.

    ISRO successfully test fires scramjet engine

    New Delhi, Aug 29: The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully conducted scramjet engine test on Sunday at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh around 80 km from Chennai. The rocket took off at 6 am on Sunday. The scramjet engine, used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket's flight, will help in bringing down the launch cost of weather satellite INSAT-3DR by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel.

    Speaking exclusively to DD News, ISRO Chairman Dr A S Kiran Kumar has said that whatever plans they had of verifying the engine's performance went off successfully and that they were very happy with the development. ISRO Chairman termed it a unique achievement. President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated ISRO for the successful test. In a tweet, he said: "Hearty congratulations ISRO on successful test of futuristic scramjet rocket engine, India is proud of you" Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed ISRO scientists on the successful testing of scramjet rocket engine, saying they have again made India very proud.

    Navy takes up Scorpene document leak with France

    New Delhi, Aug 26: The Navy on Thursday said it has taken up the Scorpene document leak matter with France's Directorate General of Armament and has asked the French government to investigate the incident with urgency and share their findings with the Indian side. An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken, the Navy said in a statement, a day after it stressed that the leak appears to be "from overseas and not in India".

    "The documents that have been posted on the website by an Australian news agency have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out," the Navy said. The Australian, a newspaper based in Australia, had put out only few of the 22,400 pages that is in its possession.

    Citing security concerns of India, the paper had itself blacked out vital information. Officials had earlier sought to play down the impact of the leak. "The government of India, as a matter of abundant precaution, is also examining the impact if the information contained in the documents claimed to be available with the Australian sources is compromised.

    "The detailed assessment of potential impact is being undertaken by a high level committee constituted by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any probable security compromise," the statement by the Navy said. Defence experts had raised concerns over the leak, irrespective of the leak compromising Indian security or not.

    App economy expected to double by 2020

    New Delhi, Aug 17: Billions of people the world over couldn't imagine life without a smartphone. It's been 20 years since the first such gadget hit the markets. The IBM Simon was the first ever mobile phone to feature software applications. The app economy that sprung up around smartphones is 50 billion dollars and that's expected to double by 2020.

    There are now about 1.9 billion smartphone users globally, and that number is still rising steadily. Worldwide 349 million units were sold in the first quarter of this year alone, marking a 3.9 percent increase over 2015.

    ISRO gearing up to launch INSAT-3DR by end of August

    New Delhi, Aug 1: Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are gearing up for the launch of geostationary weather satellite INSAT-3DR sometime by the end of next month, a top official of the agency said on Sunday. "The GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) Mark II will carry the geostationary weather satellite INSAT-3DR. We are looking to launch it by end of next month," ISRO Satellite Centre Director Mayilsami Annadurai said on the sidelines of a function.

    The space agency had successfully launched INSAT-3D, a satellite aided search and rescue satellite, from French Guiana in 2013. ISRO made its last successful launch of 20 satellites, including its earth observation Cartosat-2 series, in a single mission on board ISRO's workhorse PSLV-C34 from the spaceport of Sriharikota last month.

    Many space applications not being fully utilised: Minister

    New Delhi, Jul 15: ISRO and the Department of Space have wide range of applications to offer but many of them are not being fully utilised, Union Minister for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh said on Thursday.

    These applications, which went beyond the confines of simply launching of satellites or rockets, were unfortunately, either not fully understood or not fully utilised, he said during an interaction with Assam Science and Technology and IT Minister Keshab Mahanta.

    Singh explained to Mahanta how in the Ministry of DoNER (Development Of North Eastern Region), he had introduced the use of satellite imaging not only for survey of roads and building construction but also for preparation of utilisation certificates with fool-proof accuracy, an official release said. This helps in saving time and also reduces the possibility of any manipulation or manoeuvring, it added.

    Both the ministers discussed issues related to the priority projects of the Assam government in the fields of Science and Technology and IT.

    The Union Minister said with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special focus on the Northeast, the region should also be benefited by the advancement through satellite communication, remote sensing and capacity building.

    World's largest telescope poised for trials in China

    China, Jul 5: The world's largest telescope built in China is poised for a trial-run as installation work has been completed after the last of 4,450 panels was fitted into the centre of the big dish on Sunday. It was a landmark step for the telescope's planned launch of operations in September.

    The telescope which is aimed at observing deep space was stated to be most visible project of China's plans to transform into high-tech nation focussing on research in advanced science and technology moving away from cheap manufacturing.

    Gravitational waves can tell how black holes are born

    United Kingdom, Jun 28: Gravitational waves or ripples in space-time captured by space detectors could soon be used to discover when and how some of the universe's largest black holes were born, scientists say. Scientists led by researchers at the Durham University in the UK ran the huge cosmological simulations that can be used to predict the rate at which gravitational waves caused by collisions between the monster black holes might be detected.

    The amplitude and frequency of these waves could unveil the initial mass of the seeds from which the first black holes grew since they were formed 13 billion years ago and provide further clues about what caused them and where they formed, the researchers said.

    The study combined simulations from the EAGLE project - which aims to create a realistic simulation of the known universe inside a computer - with a model to calculate gravitational wave signals. Two detections of gravitational waves caused by collisions between supermassive black holes should be possible each year using space-based instruments such as the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) detector that is due to launch in 2034, the researchers said.

    BRAHMOS integrates cruise missile on Su-30

    New Delhi, Jun 25: BrahMos Aerospace on Saturday successfully demonstrated the integration of the world's most formidable supersonic cruise missile system BRAHMOS on the frontline strike fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30. With Saturday's successful flight, the Brahmos air version programme now inches closer towards actual test firing when a 2.5-ton BRAHMOS air-to-ground missile will be fired from the Sukhoi-30 in the coming months.

    This technological feat will go down in the history as first in the World combination of supersonic cruise missile with a long range fighter aircraft. The powerful missile will enable the IAF to penetrate deep inside the enemy territory to deliver a deadly blow to their vital installations from stand-off ranges. The Sukhoi-BRAHMOS combination will carry out air combat operations within and beyond visibility range and will provide the IAF with the capability of attacking targets protected by powerful air defence assets.

    The Floating Piers Opens on Lake Iseo Allowing Visitors to "Walk on Water"

    Italy, Jun 22: Visitors to the Italian Lake Iseo can 'walk on water', through bright-orange fabric pathways, which connects over 2 lakh floating cubes to create a triangular dock on the coast of Italy. The Floating Piers, which is the work of 81-year-old Bulgarian-American artist Christo, has been built using one hundred thousand square meters of shimmering yellow fabric.

    The walkable artwork connects two points on the coast of Lake Iseo. It proceeds across a village then extends back onto the water, where it merges at an angle and encompasses a small island in a perfect, golden square. The Floating Piers sits just above water level and undulates with the movement of the lake.

    Govt decides to allow export of 10% missile systems to friendly countries

    New Delhi, Jun 18: Government has decided in principle to allow export of missile systems to 'certain' countries who have friendly relationship with India. Talking to reporters in Bengaluru today Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the government had taken a very conscious decision that 10 per cent of the missile capacity will be permitted to be exported if producers manage to get export orders subject to parameters set by the union government and External Affairs Ministry.

    About Rafale fighter plane deal, the Defence Minister said discussion between both sides had concluded and he was waiting for a report from the Indian team which had held negotiations.The deal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April last year during his visit to France.

    Apple opens up assistant Siri to outside applications

    San Francisco, Jun 14: Apple on Monday it was opening up its Siri digital assistant to outside applications, stepping up its artificial intelligence efforts to compete against rival services from Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The new feature will enable iPhone users to connect with non-Apple services to send messages, make payments and search photos, for example. Now you'll be able to tell Siri send a WeChat, said Apple vice president Craig Federighi, referring to the Chinese messaging application.

    Federighi said Siri will also work with apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Uber and Lyft, for example. The announcement at Apple's annual developer conference in San Francisco marks a new approach for Apple, which has largely kept its services self-contained on the iOS mobile operating system. The new feature will debut on the iOS10 operating system expected later this year.

    India denies Google's Street View

    New Delhi, Jun 10: India has rejected Google's plans to put Indian cities, tourists' spots, hills and rivers in an application in which one can explore through 360-degree, panoramic and street-level imagery. The Home Ministry has conveyed to Google that its plans to cover India through the Google Street View are rejected.

    Security establishment got wary of allowing such image-capturing given that planning for the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai is believed to have involved photographic reconnaissance of targets by Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley. Official sources said the rejection came after a detailed analysis by security agencies and defence forces which feel that allowing Google to cover India would compromise country’s security interest.

    Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said once the proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 comes into force, issues related to internet-based application would be resolved. The internet services giant wanted to cover most of the Indian territory through the Google Street View. It explores places around the world through 360-degree, panoramic and street-level 3D imagery.

    Everything taken under it posted online. It has been extensively used in the United States, Canada and many European countries, its applications in India was initially permitted for a few location.

    Google had on an experimental basis launched Street View in some of the tourist sites like Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Varanasi river bank, Nalanda University, Mysore Palace, Thanjavur temple Chinnaswamy stadium besides others in partnership with the Archaeological Society of India.

    ISRO, Other World Space Agencies Unite to Monitor Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Bangluru, Jun 6: For the first time, under the impetus of the Indian Space Research Organisation and the French Space Agency, space agencies of more than 60 countries agreed to engage their satellites, to coordinate their methods and their data to monitor human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The key to effectively implementing the Paris Agreement lies in the ability to verify that nations are fulfilling their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

    Only satellites can do that. Invited to New Delhi by ISRO and CNES on April 3, 2016, the world's space agencies decided to establish an independent, international system to centralise data from their Earth-observing satellites through the New Delhi Declaration that officially came into effect on May 16, 2016.

    The goal now will be to inter-calibrate these satellite data so that they can be combined and compared over time. In other words, it is to make the transition to closely coordinated and easily accessible 'big space data'.

    World's longest rail tunnel to be inaugurated in Switzerland

    Switzerland, jun 1: In Switzerland, the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel, running under the Swiss Alps, will be inaugurated today. The 57-kilometer long Gotthard Base Tunnel will connect northern and southern Europe and shorten travel time for many rail routes. It overtakes Japan's Seikan tunnel, which measures 53.9 kilometers, as the longest rail tunnel in the world.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will join Swiss authorities for a ceremonial first run through the tunnel today. Full service will begin in December. The tunnel was built in 17 years by 2,400 workers, at a cost of over 12 billion dollars.

    Science is back on track; innovation is key to progress

    New Delhi, May 25: Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan today asserted that the Government has successfully mainstreamed science & technology for the growth and development of the country. Stating that India's challenges are many and solutions complex, the Minister said that ambitious plans have been made in many new areas and that the need of the hour is to move ahead and scale up.
    "We have moved from policy paralysis and worked with our brilliant scientific community to connect with our people and what India needs," the Minister said while addressing a National Video-link Press Conference from New Delhi, linking 13 cities including Mumbai and Pune.
    Asserting that "Science is back on track", Dr. Harsh Vardhan listed out key initiatives taken by his ministry in the fields of scientific weather forecasting, formulation of new vaccines, biotechnology, energy research and eco-system for innovation.

    Bread products found cancerous in Centre for Science & Environ study

    New Delhi, May 24: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study has found that breads being sold are laced with toxins such as potassium bromate and potassium iodate. As per press reports, the study is limited to the geographical area of Delhi.

    Potassium bromate is a Category 2B carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer. Potassium iodate could trigger thyroid disorders. Meanwhile, as per reports, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said it had decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives, while it was examining evidence against potassium iodate before restricting its use. CSE had urged the food regulator to ban the use of the two chemicals with immediate effect.

    Have a difficult dream: Harsh Vardhan to young graduates

    Dharwad (Karnataka), May 22: Union Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has called upon young educated graduates of Universities to pursue a dream with killer instinct. Delivering his speech in the 66th in Dharwad Convocation of Karnataka University today, he asked the young graduates to have a difficult dream, the success of which will make their teachers and parents proud.

    He assured them that Central Government will extend all help in realizing their dreams as these dreams once realized, will do the country proud and help the mankind.

    Dr. Harshavardhan added that pursuing selfish ends with the sole purpose of making money leads to rampant corruption and erosion of social values. He pointed out that honesty, social values, compassion, good behavior and retrospection are qualities that build character, transforming educated into a human being.

    During the occasion, the Governor who is Chancellor of the University Waju Bhai Wala gave away degrees in various disciplines to over 23,000 students. The Minister for Higher Education in Karnataka T B Jayachandra was present on this occasion.

    Hubble takes image of Mars making close approach to Earth

    Washington, May 21: Earth and Mars get closest to each other than at any other time in the previous ten years during May this year. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope had a new image of the red neighbour, showing some of its famous surface features. This image supplements previous Hubble observations of Mars and allows astronomers to study large-scale changes on its surface.

    On May 22, Mars will come into opposition, the point at which the planet is located directly opposite the Sun in the sky. This means that the Sun, Earth and Mars line up, with Earth sitting in between the Sun and Mars.

    Millions of hacked LinkedIn IDs advertised 'for sale'

    London, May 19: A hacker is advertising what he says is more than one hundred million LinkedIn logins for sale. The IDs were reportedly sourced from a breach four years ago, which had previously been thought to have included a fraction of that number. At the time, the business-focused social network said it had reset the accounts of those it thought had been compromised. LinkedIn now plans to repeat the measure on a much larger scale.

    One expert said the service should have reset all its accounts the first time round. LinkedIn is often used to send work-related messages and to find career opportunities - activities its members would want to stay private. "We encourage our members to visit our safety centre to ensure they have two-step verification authentication and to use strong passwords in order to keep their accounts as safe as possible."

    Hypersonic technology flight to reduce travel time

    Sydney, May 18: A two-hour flight from Sydney to London is a step closer to reality after the latest successful test today of hypersonic technology in the Australian desert. A joint US-Australian military research team is running a series of trials at the world's largest land testing range, Woomera in South Australia, and at Norway's Andoya Rocket Range.

    Scientists have said hypersonic technology could cut travelling time from Sydney to London to as little as two hours for the seventeen thousand kilometre flight. Hypersonic flight involves travelling at more than five times the speed of sound. The experimental rocket in the trial on Wednesday reached an altitude of 278 kilometres, Australia's defence department said.

    India-US brain trust to boost scientific development

    Washington, May 16: India and the US have formed a Brain Trust aimed at deepening and strengthening cooperation between the best and brightest in the scientific community of the world's two largest democracies. The partnership between the Indian and American scientific community, researchers, academicians, businesses and entrepreneurs is a "win-win" for not only the two countries, but also the entire world, said Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh.

    Dr Krishna K Banaudha, an Indian-American scientist and the brain behind the project, said Indo-US Brain Trust intends to assemble some of the finest minds and friends who - by their very actions and livelihoods - support a deepening of US-India collaboration in science, research, academia, entrepreneurship and innovation.

    The Indian envoy further added: "Several major US companies have developed products in India, which their CEOs have said to me they could not have developed in the US because researchers and scientists here approach the problem from different perspective with different resource availability, they are targeting with different objective."

    "The idea is to create a platform which partners scientific minds from both countries to explore and create timely solutions to pressing global challenges," said Ron Somers founder and CEO of India First Group welcoming the guests at the inaugural dinner.

    New IPR policy endeavors for a Creative India and Innovative India

    New Delhi, May 14: The new intellectual property rights (IPR) policy will foster creativity and innovation, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development. Its objective is to create awareness about economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society. Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley was briefing about the new IPR policy after it was approved by the Union Cabinet.

    The Minister said, the IPR policy will also focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection. The Minister said Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India. The Finance Minister said, IPR will lay future roadmap for intellectual property and it recognises abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India.

    Each person must sell his or her product under his/her own name and identity under IPR. The Minister said, there is need for capacity building to implement IPR policy effectively. National IPR policy endeavors for a Creative India and Innovative India.

    BHEL develops gas insulated switchgear

    Bhopal, May 12: bhel has developed gas insulated switchgear for 33kV 31.5 kA Basic Short circuit duties. Tests were conducted at KEMA, Netherlands. These duties tests are conducted to verify capabilities of switchgear comprising of key elements such as mechanism, vacuum interrupter with suitable linkages.

    This is a new range of product added into BHEL's product range. Requirement of GIS is growing fast in India due to its inherent advantage of low space requirement, higher safety and lower outages due to switchgear failure, compared to AIS. Such equipment are gaining ground mainly in metro, refineries and hydro sites.

    New discovery gives hope of presence of another Earth

    Houston, May 11: NASA has announced the largest trove of planets outside the solar system. A total of 1,284 was announced yesterday. Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington said, it is more than double the number of known exoplanets found with the Kepler space telescope. He said that the new discovery has given hope that eventually another Earth can be discovered.

    The unmanned Kepler space observatory, which was launched in 2009, has been scanning 150,000 stars for signs of orbiting bodies, particularly those that might be able to support life. NASA said, of the nearly 5,000 total planet candidates found till now, more than 3,200 have been verified, and 2,325 of these were discovered by Kepler. Of the new trove of 1,284, nearly 550 could be rocky planets like Earth, based on their size.

    Air, water, noise pollution gone beyond permissible limits

    New Delhi, May 10: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forest in its 283rd report said the Environment ministry could not achieve the physical targets relating to Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations and new noise monitoring stations.

    The committee said that whether it was air, water or noise pollution, it has gone beyond permissible limits during the last few years and has serious consequences for health and well-being of the citizens. The committee said that growing urbanisation, rapid industrialisation and increasing population during the last few years have also tremendously impacted the environmental concerns of the country.

    It said that the ministry needs to be adequately funded for taking all necessary steps in pursuit of the discharge of its mandate which includes ensuring better environment management and preservation of biodiversity including wildlife.

    The dwarf planet is loaded with surprises

    New Delhi, May 4: NASA's New Horizons' Pluto flyby is providing viewers with amazing discoveries. Be it icy volcanoes that adorn the planet or the activity of its five moons, New Horizons spacecraft bears testimony to the fact that the dwarf planet is loaded with surprises.

    In its latest release, NASA has shared an image of Pluto that puts it in a global perspective. This means that it has released Pluto's updated global map in a panchromatic version.

    As per NASA, the map of Pluto, produced by the US space agency includes all resolved images of Pluto's surface acquired between July 7-14, 2015, at pixel resolutions ranging from 18 miles (30 kilometers) on the Charon-facing hemisphere (left and right edges of the map) to 770 feet (235 meters) on the hemisphere facing New Horizons during the spacecraft’s closest approach on July 14, 2015 (map center). The non-encounter hemisphere was seen from much greater range and is, therefore, in far less detail.

    Empower the poor to fight, defeat poverty themselves: PM

    Ballia (UP), May 2: Poverty can be eradicated only if poor are empowered, given resources and opportunities as well as education, jobs, houses, electricity and drinking water. Prime Minister launched Rs 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connections to poor families across the country. Mr Modi said under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free LPG connections will be provided in the name of women members of BPL households. In the first year, one crore and fifty lakhs such connections will be given and the target of 5 crore will be completed in three years.

    Prime Minister also launched 11 solar-powered "e-boats" at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi. He said this step is in line with his govt's focus on making long-term interventions to empower the poor in their fight against poverty.

    The Prime Minister said his government has made schemes, which empower the poor to fight and defeat the poverty themselves. Reaching out to the backward fishermen and boatmen communities and addressing them as brothers, the Prime Minister said his government is for the poor.

    Petrol or diesel taxis cannot ply in Delhi, NCR: SC

    New Delhi, Apr 30: The Supreme Court today ruled that only CNG taxis will be allowed to run in Delhi and NCR from tomorrow. It said, all radio taxis, app-based cab operators will have to switch to CNG from tomorrow. The top court said, refusing to extend the April 30 deadline for taxis to convert into CNG.

    Taxi owners had pleaded before the court that there is no technology available in the market to convert a diesel car into one that uses CNG. The apex court told the operators that it gave sufficient time for private taxis to convert to CNG and it is not inclined to extend the deadline.

    India successfully launches seventh navigational satellite IRNSS 1G

    Sriharikota, Apr 28: India has successfully put into orbit its seventh and final navigation satellite called IRNSS-1G with its own rocket. Indian scientists can be proud that the constellation of the Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to GPS (global positioning system) of the US, Glonass of Russia, and Galileo of Europe as well as China's Beidou.

    The system will provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. The full system comprises of nine satellites -- seven in orbit and two on the ground as stand-by.

    It was a historic occasion at the Indian space centre even as PSLV C 33 rocket carried the seventh satellite of the IRNSS series precisely at 12 50 this afternoon. The 1425 kilogram satellite was ejected by the launch vehicle around 20 minutes after take off. The simmering heat of summer could not prevent the usual crowd of onlookers and the media to witness the launch.

    India can take pride in formally joining the select group of nations once IRNSS is declared operational after checking the systems-space (satellites), ground (ground stations) and the user end signal receivers. Only on declaration of the system as operational, user end signal receiver makers will seriously get into manufacture of the equipments for use at the retail end

    The applications of IRNSS are: terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, terrestrial navigation for hikers and travellers, disaster management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and visual and voice navigation for drivers.

    Ford recalls 42,300 Figo, Aspire for software error

    New Delhi, Apr 24: US carmaker Ford is recalling 42,300 units of its small car Figo and compact sedan Figo Aspire in India to fix a software error that could result in malfunctioning of airbags during a collision. Ford India is proactively issuing a voluntary safety recall for the two models built at the Sanand plant since the launch until April 12, 2016, the company said in a statement.

    "The affected vehicles may contain a software error, which could result in the airbags. The software upgrade will be carried out free of charge through Ford dealerships. A corrective action has already been undertaken on all Figo and Figo Aspire vehicles at Ford dealerships. Deliveries have resumed to customers, the company said.

    Retrieve mails deleted as long as 30 years ago: BSNL

    New Delhi, Apr 20: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, BSNL has said that the customers using its hosting and email services will soon have a facility to retrieve their mails deleted as long as 30 years ago. In a statement, BSNL Director NK Gupta said, the company has started offering service to retrieve e-mail deleted in last 15 days and it will start service for longer duration soon.

    He said, this capability guarantees more security of data for users and provides power to recover from accidentally deleted emails at his own web-based email platform. Gupta said, now the customers do not require any administrator of BSNL or an expert of data recovery and this facility is available for each and every user in his email. The facility is now available for customers using @bsnl.in , @sancharnet.in, @dataone.in and domains hosted with BSNL.

    Daily Mail owner considering Yahoo bid

    London, Apr 12: The owner of the Daily Mail newspaper is in talks with other parties about a bid for the struggling US internet company Yahoo. A spokesman said discussions were "at a very early stage" and there was no certainty a deal would take place. The Wall Street Journal, where it was first reported, said the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) was discussing an offer with private equity firms.

    Yahoo is under pressure from shareholders to turn itself around. The activist hedge fund investor Starboard Value recently called for the replacement of the entire board at the loss-making company. The spokesman for Daily Mail said: "Given the success of DailyMail.com and Elite Daily we have been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders.

    SpaceX launches inflatable space habitat to ISS

    Washington, Apr 9: An experimental inflatable space habitat has been sent to the international space station (ISS) on Friday. The California-based company SpaceX also made history by landing the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean, after it launched the Dragon spacecraft at 4:43 p.m. (2043 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Xinhua reported.

    This was SpaceX's eighth cargo mission to the ISS. It also marked the first flight of Dragon to the ISS since June, when the Falcon 9 rocket exploded about two minutes after liftoff. As usual, SpaceX attempted to land the Falcon 9's first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. Minutes later, the company posted a photo via Twitter in which the first stage was clearly seen standing on the deck of the ship.

    It is the first time SpaceX has been able to stick a landing on a droneship after four previous such attempts ended in failure. It also achieved one successful soft landing on a land-based pad at Cape Canaveral in December last year.

    List problems of people & solve them technologically: PM

    New Delhi, Apr 7: Prime Minister today called upon the scientific community at CSIR to list at least one hundred problems being faced by people in various parts of India, and take up the challenge of solving them technologically within a specified time period. Chairing a meeting of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) society, the PM called for laying down parameters to assess the performance of CSIR labs; and a mechanism whereby there could be internal competition among various labs.

    Mentioning key areas where CSIR could take the lead in providing breakthroughs, the Prime Minister spoke of sickle cell anemia among the tribal people, defence equipment manufacturing, life-saving equipment for the jawans, innovations related to solar energy, and innovations related to the agriculture sector. Modi emphasized that he would like to see CSIR oriented towards making the life of the common man better, and providing technological solutions to the problems of the poor and downtrodden sections of society.

    The PM was given an overview of the work done by CSIR in addressing national challenges, and its recognition as a major Indian innovator. CSIR members stressed the importance of converting lab research to commercial applications.

    AIR discontinues SMS news service, saying it is not viable

    New Delhi, Apr 7: All India Radio (AIR) which had launched a news SMS service in English on Sept, 2013, to provide AIR News on mobile handsets free of cost, has decided to discontinue the same. According to information, a review of the "cost effectiveness" of the SMS service had pointed to the need for its discontinuation as more viable alternatives, like a mobile news app, are available.

    The cost being incurred on the service was Rs. 10 crores per year and the need was not felt as a lot of people already access AIR news through its mobile app.+

    The AIR website is another digital platform which also provides news. The SMS service was initiated in many regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Dogri and Nepali.

    Heat exchanger group of BHEL develops OFWF coolers for transformers

    Bhopal, Apr 6: Heat Exchanger Group of BHEL Bhopal is manufacturing double tubed type Oil Forced Water Forced (OFWF) type coolers for use in transformers. These are designed and manufactured with special care for cooling of transformer oil and prevent mixing of water in oil under any circumstances i.e. even in case of any tube failure. Hence, the application is very critical.

    In this process, special profiled ferrules are passed sequentially in the increasing order of their sizes to ensure smooth and uniform tube expansion throughout the length thus ensuring uniform metal to metal contact between inner and outer tubes. Besides, the HCM group has also developed process to carry out the functional test to assess the heat transfer in the fluids flowing on tube side and shell side.

    This test is carried out by pumping water from both shell and tube side of this exchanger. In this process temp changes in the two fluids are measured using thermo-couples and the temp variations are recorded in the recorder.

    Cut in spectrum usage charges to benefit consumers, ser. providers

    New Delhi, Apr 4: The government, in a move to benefit the consumers and telecom companies, has cut spectrum usage charges (SUC) from 5 per cent of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) to 3%. The decision could free up as much as Rs 3,200 crore for debt-laden mobile service operators.

    The move is expected to be a confidence booster ahead of mega auctions, slated for July, which will see the government sell over 2,000 MHz of spectrum across seven frequencies, including the lucrative but highly-expensive 700 MHz band that will go on sale for the first time.

    The telecom commission has cleared the reduction of SUC. SUC is a charge levied annually as a percentage of the AGR that mobile companies make from telecom services. Currently, it is charged at 5 per cent on spectrum that has been acquired through auctions while there is a weighted average method to calculate the charge where operators hold spectrum under the previous administered rate regime.

    Gluten-free noodles made of non-allergenic buckwheat

    New Delhi, Mar 31: Gluten-free noodles and other buckwheat-based foods might get tastier, prettier, and non-allergenic as researchers have fully mapped the buckwheat genome opening up the possibility of developing a gluten-free flour alternative.

    Yasuo Yasui of Kyoto University and colleagues have sequenced the full buckwheat genome for the first time, identifying genes which could be modified for improved cultivation capabilities and taste appeal. Buckwheat is a central ingredient in soba noodles - a traditional Japanese favorite - and is also used to make other noodles from China and Korea.

    In Europe, buckwheat is used in Italian pizzoccheri, French gallettes, and Slovenian struklji, and in other regions of the world it used to make pancakes and other foods.

    Asia's biggest telescope launched

    Brussels/Nainital, Mar 31: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel launched Asia's biggest telescope, the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences or ARIES built with Belgian assistance at Nainital remotely from Brussels.

    Referring to the cooperation between the two countries on various projects, the PM said even sky is not the limit. He also congratulated the scientists of both the countries for the successful inauguration of the telescope.

    In a major technological advancement for astronomy in the country, Asia's largest and first of its kind optical telescope was unveiled on Wednesday evening at height of 2500 meters above sea level at Devasthal near Nainital.

    During his one-day visit to Belgium, Prime Minister Narendra Modi activated Asia's largest 'general purpose' optical telescope 'Remote Technical Activation' from Brussels ,Belgium. The 'general purpose' optical telescope of diameter 3.6 meter and with 150 tonnes will help in the study and exploration of starts, planets, magnetic field and astronomical debris.

    The Aries telescope has been a joint international effort by the Indian, Russian and Belgian scientists. Prime MInister congratulated the scientists and said that nothing is impossible if a joint effort is made. He also quipped that even the sky is not the limit for success in mutual cooperation.

    The mirror of the 3.6 diameter optical telescope has been entirely 'coated' in by the scientists and technicians of ARIES in the coating facility which became operational in January 2015.

    Belgium funded 7 per cent of the project whose total cost is estimated to be more than Rs150 crore.The telescope can be operated with the help of remote control from anywhere in the world. The feat is touted to be a great achievement for the nation and whole of scientific community.

    Smart Cars for the Smartphone Generation

    New York, Mar 30: By incorporating new features, as in smartphones, the auto industry is giving a new look to its products. The auto makers are taking their cues from smartphones, incorporating new services and features that work with a quick tap or swipe. The technologies being bundled into today's vehicles are turning ordinary cars into smart cars.

    "We all enjoy those kinds of experiences wherein you want something and by the push of a button, everything gets taken care of for you. You do not have to go here and there and piece a bunch of things together by yourself," said Jim Buczkowski, director of Ford electronics systems.

    Ford recently introduced FordPass, a mobile platform that lets car owners access services like finding and paying for a parking spot.

    Over at Buick, the OnStar RemoteLink app connects owners to their cars no matter how far away they are. "This car in Detroit, I could start from here in New York. Or let us say I have the only key to it and my wife in Detroit needs to get in the car, I can unlock it for her from here," said Stuart Fowle, manager of Buick communications. The feature harnesses the car's 4G LTE connectivity. Up to seven mobile devices can connect to it at any given time.

    Spacecraft carrying cargo to International Space Station launched

    Dulles, Va. Mar 24: Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, successfully launched its Cygnus spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle with approximately 7,900 pounds (3,600 kilograms) of cargo and small satellites that will be deployed directly from the spacecraft.

    The launch marks the beginning of the company's fifth operational cargo resupply mission (OA-6) for NASA, and the first Cygnus to conduct scientific experiments onboard the spacecraft. Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and experiments to astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of its Commercial Resupply Services-1 (CRS-1) contract with NASA.

    "Today's successful launch continues our great progress and momentum under the CRS contract with NASA," said Frank Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group

    Microblogging website Twitter enters 11th year

    New Delhi, Mar 22: One of the most powerful communication tool Twitter has completed its 10 successful years on March 21. Fighting all odds, the famous microblogging site has achieved some important milestones over the years documenting the world in just 140 characters.

    According to Twitter, it documents more than 300 million active users across the globe till now. It has managed to attract a significant number of scientists, politicians, journalists and celebrities from all over the world who use the platform to convey their thoughts in 140 characters. Twitter has managed to push the right buttons giving us more of what we actually want.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that while a number of changes are being planned for Twitter, its 140-character limit represents a beautiful constraint which helps deliver strong statements.

    Hackathon will inspire young talented individuals, hopes Prez

    New Delhi, Mar 21: The week-long Festival of Innovations in Rashtrapati Bhavan concluded recently with a 12 hour long coding competition to develop web and mobile applications in hackathon style (non-stop rapid development). The topics on which applications were developed were 1) teachers taking attendance after every class 2) examination authentication for students, 3) monitoring entry into public monuments and 4) monitoring of public toilets. The President felicitated the winners of the completion in each category in presence of Mohandas Pai and Karl Mehta of Code for India and other dignitaries.

    Speaking on the occasion, the President said a country like India may have reached a certain level of technological advancement. It may have promoted the development of a scientific bent of mind and temperament amongst its citizens, especially the young ones. However, unless young minds are sensitized to the need for finding creative solutions to top-ranging socio-economic problems of our country, the goal of inclusive development will remain elusive. Unless the young creative minds are driven by commitment, devotion, empathy and sensitivity, a just social order envisaged in our Constitution will remain evasive. If we are able to leverage ingenuity to address social needs, it will result in social innovations beneficial to the society. He expressed hope that the hackathon will inspire young talented individuals to contribute to social change.

    BHEL makes Substation Automation System for coal plants

    Bhopal, Mar 19: BHEL-Bhopal has for the first time engineered, manufactured and supplied Substation Automation System (SAS) along with Control and Protection system of 400/132KV switchyard for 2x600 MW coal based thermal power plant of M/s Singareni Colleries Co. Ltd M/s NTPC.

    Unit-1 of 2x600 MW Singareni was synchronized successfully and brought to full load recently on Mar 13. Power was evacuated through 400/132 KV switchyard. This switchyard is controlled and protected by Substation Automation System supplied by BHEL-Bhopal.

    Substation Automation System (SAS) consists of control and protection intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) mounted on panels, located in AC kiosks in the switchyard. These IEDs are networked through Fiber optic and Ethernet cables to control room and hooked up to Human Interface PC's (HMI).

    'Festival of innovations' from Mar 12 to 19 at Rashtrapati Bhavan

    New Delhi, Mar 12: Rashtrapati Bhavan will host from March 12 to 19 a week long Festival of Innovations in collaboration with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF).

    The Festival will open with the inauguration of an Exhibition of Innovations on March 12 by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The Exhibition will remain open between 1000 and 1700 hrs for the public including all visitors to the Mughal Gardens during the above Festival.

    Besides the above, the Festival of Innovations will included three exhibitions, two workshops, four group discussions, two award presentation ceremonies and a roundtable on different topics.

    Total solar eclipse turns day into night in Indonesia

    Jakarta, Mar 9: Millions of people across Indonesia and the Pacific experienced a total solar eclipse today, with parts of the region falling into complete darkness. The eclipse began at 06:19 local time as the Moon started to pass directly in front of the Sun.

    As the eclipse reached totality, the Moon blocked all direct sunlight, turning the day into night. The eclipse was total in Indonesia and in the Central Pacific, while parts of Australia and Asia experienced a partial one.

    Europe's largest floating solar farm to open near Heathrow

    London, March 4: A floating solar farm, the size of eight football pitches, is being constructed on a reservoir near Heathrow. More than 23,000 solar photovoltaic panels are being laid on the surface of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

    The farm is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. The energy will be used to part power a nearby water treatment works. Thames Water said construction of the solar farm, which is within five miles (8 km) of Heathrow, will be completed by the end of March.

    The previous largest floating solar farm in Europe was opened in Hyde, Greater Manchester, at Christmas. Japanese company Kyocera is building what will be the biggest floating array on Yamakura Dam in Chiba Prefecture, which will measure 180,000 sq m when completed.

    New NASA images may solve mystery of Mars moon Phobos

    Washington, Mar 1: NASA scientists are closer to solving the mystery of how Phobos was formed, by using the spectral images of the Mars' moon captured in ultraviolet by the MAVEN mission. In late November and early December last year, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission made a series of close approaches to the Martian moon Phobos, collecting data from within 500 kilometres of the moon.

    Among the data returned were spectral images of Phobos in the ultraviolet. The images will allow MAVEN scientists to better assess the composition of this enigmatic object, whose origin is unknown, NASA said.

    Comparing MAVEN's images and spectra of the surface of Phobos to similar data from asteroids and meteorites will help planetary scientists understand the moon's origin - whether it is a captured asteroid or was formed in orbit around Mars. The MAVEN data, when fully analysed, will also help scientists look for organic molecules on the surface.

    Evidence for such molecules has been reported by previous measurements from the ultraviolet spectrograph on the Mars Express spacecraft, according to the US space agency said. The observations were made by the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument aboard MAVEN.

    World's pollinators at risk, food supply threatened, study says

    London, Feb 27: 75 per cent of the world's food supply relies on bees, birds and other pollinators, and they're increasingly threatened. That is part of the conclusion of a two-year study conducted and released Friday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

    Tens of thousands of species of insects, birds and bats are a vital part of the natural cycle of pollination, and the study found that a significant percentage of them are at risk.

    Sixteen percent of vertebrate pollinators - birds, bats, anything with a backbone - are threatened with global extinction. For isolated populations on islands, like Darwin's finches, the number is nearly double that.

    On a local level, in any given community, up to 40 percent of invertebrate species, like bees and butterflies, are threatened.

    National Science Festival to showcase 200 projects on Feb 27

    Mumbai, Feb 26: In line with the global trend of conducting science festivals, NES International School Mumbai has been organizing NES National Science Festival every year in association with the IB schools of South Asia International Baccalaureate Schools Association (SAIBSA). Two hundred projects by students of NES SVB group of 62 Institutions and 15 other IB participating schools will be on display at the one-day event on Feb 27.

    The 1 -day festival hosts a Science Exhibition with working models by students from Grades 5 to 12, a quiz competition, a scientific drawing and painting contest, a dance competition on space science, a Bio - Jewellery competition of designing jewellery using eco-friendly and bio-degradable material, a Science Skit, Debate, Filmmaking, a NES National Science Quiz, NES International Youth Green Parliament. A seminar on 'Science as an Interdisciplinary Subject' will also be held.

    Hello Kitty and Mazinger Z team up to boost Japanese toy industry

    Tokyo, Feb 25: Popular fictional cat Hello Kitty and iconic robot Mazinger Z are coming together in an exclusive collaboration as part of the Chogokin product line to boost Japan's battered toy sector, which has been on the decline in recent years.

    Japan's toy industry fell 1.2 percent last year to $ 5.79 billion turnover, according to data from the Japanese institute of market research, Yano, which also expects the sector to slip another 3.5 percent in the 2015 fiscal, which ends March 31 in Japan.

    Astronauts Scott & Mikhail to return after one year stay at ISS

    Washington Feb 24: In a week's time, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko would be completing their one year stay at the International Space Station (ISS). The year-long endeavour has seen Kelly accomplishing several key missions, including growing the first space vegetable and flower, the US space agency said in a statement.

    NASA has partnered with other space agencies to conduct numerous human research investigations to see how the human body changes during a year in space.

    Coinciding with the one-year mission is the twins study. Scott's identical twin brother Mark, himself a former astronaut, is spending the year on Earth, enabling researchers to focus on a near-identical comparison of the brothers' genomics profiles--something never captured before in human space research.

    Volvo recalling 59,000 cars across 40 markets over engine fault

    Sweden, Feb 22: Swedish car maker Volvo is recalling 59,000 cars across 40 markets over a fault that can temporarily shut down the engine. The software fault is restricted to five cylinder diesels from the 60 and 70 series constructed from the middle of last year.

    Group spokesman Stefan Elfstrom said, the fault could be unpleasant for drivers. He, however, said there had been no recorded accidents as a result. The glitch can shut down the engine and electrical system while the car is in motion, but Elfstrom said, they would then both restart immediately.

    freedom251: Questions raised over experience of the company

    New Delhi, Feb 19: The website of the world's cheapest smartphone Freedom 251 (freedom251.com) had crashed after receiving just 30,000 bookings. The website apparently crashed due to immense traffic amounting up to 6 lakh hits per second. The company is looking to partner with a bank to ease the backend load of the transactions.

    During the launch event, Ringing Bells director Mohit Goel also announced that the company intends to launch a SIM card. The company also said that it plans to sell 50 lakh units by June. Of these 25 lakh online and 25 lakh offline.

    The mobile was launched by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday. Now, the BJP MP and noted chartered accountant, Kirit Somaiya has raised questions over the Rs 251 smart phone. I have apprised the TRAI chairman and advised him to stop its bookings. He has raised questions over the capacity and experience of the company.

    INS Vikramaditya reaches Maldives on four-day goodwill visit

    Maldives, Feb 16: India's largest aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, accompanied by two battleships, INS Mysore and INS Deepak reached Maldives yesterday on a four-day long goodwill visit. Maldivian Foreign Minister has termed the visit a powerful symbol of the strength of relationship between India and Maldives. Later, Maldivian Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar Adhi visited the ship and held interactions with the officers.

    This is the second international port of call for the pride of India's fleet, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, since its commissioning in Indian Navy last year. India's largest Naval ship had visited Colombo port last month before participating in the International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatanam last week.

    During the visit to Male, the officers and sailors aboard INS Vikramaditya and the two accompanying warships will have professional interactions with the personnel of Maldivian National Defence Force for enhancing the close defence co-operation. They will also be involved in a number of sports and social engagements before leaving for the country on Thursday.

    World celebrating Radio Day with zeal, enthusiasm

    Mumbai, Feb 13: Today is World Radio Day. The day celebrates the Radio as a medium to improve international cooperation between broadcasters. This Year theme is 'Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster. On the occasion of World Radio Day, News Services Division of AIR invites its listeners to express their Radio-story on official AIR news Twitter and Facebook accounts. You are requested to use hashtag#ThankYouRadio for your comments. AIR twitter handle is @airnewsalerts, and you can also post your comment on AIR official Facebook page All India Radio News.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted Radio lovers on the occasion of World Radio Day. In his message today, Mr Modi said, Radio is a beautiful means of communication that has touched several lives through the years. He said, his Man ki Baat experience on All India Radio has been special. The Prime Minister said, it has deepened his bond with people.

    Making treatment affordable, a challenge before scientists

    Bengaluru, Feb 11: Laboratories should start brainstorming with youngsters to generate fresh ideas which can help the country said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology.

    Inaugurating the 16th edition of the Bangalore India Bio-2016, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that providing affordable healthcare solutions to the common man is a challenge before scientists and technologists. Experienced scientists should start afresh out-of-the-box process of brainstorming with our young scientists he added.

    Addressing on the Startup India initiative of the govt, the minister said, "an amount of Rs 10,000 crore has been kept only to support the young people in the country who have bright and brilliant ideas, and I think this is where the country needs to use the young people."

    Stating that India needs more affordable medicines and technology, the minister said that there are lots of advancements taking place in healthcare sector. Every advancement takes the healthcare delivery system a little distance away from the common man because of the cost." The challenge before scientists, technologists and others is to make it affordable for people, he said.

    US fears cyber threat from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea

    Washington, Feb 10: President Barack Obama has unveiled a cyber security national action plan as his intelligence chief warned of growing risks from new technologies that open more doors to hackers.

    Obama asked for $19 billion for cybersecurity efforts in his budget request, a 35 per cent increase from current levels, with $3 billion earmarked to help modernise the patchwork of computer systems used in government agencies.

    The Obama cyber initiative responds to an epidemic of data breaches and cyber attacks on both government and private networks in recent years. The US intelligence chief James Clapper has named Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as leading threat actors which pose risks for US security.

    TRAI rules in favour of Net neutrality, blow to Facebook

    New Delhi, Feb 9: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday barred telecom service providers from charging differential rates for data services, effectively prohibiting Facebook's Free Basics and Airtel Zero platform by Airtel in their current form. It marks the end of an intense and very public 11-month national debate. The new regulations published by India's Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) ban differential pricing for data services, and make it easier for smaller firms to compete with established companies including Facebook.

    TRAI said a fine of Rs. 50,000 would be levied per day, subject to a maximum of Rs. 50 lakh, for any violation of these regulations by the service providers. An exemption, however, has been made for offering emergency services.

    "We had issued a consultation paper just about 60 days ago on differential pricing …We deliberated on the issue for quite some time … Anything on Internet cannot be differently priced. This is the broad point that we have highlighted in the regulation," TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma told reporters at a conference.

    TN govt confirms meteorite strike killed man in Vellore college

    Chennai, Feb 8: The Tamil Nadu Government has confirmed that the blast at the Engineering College near Vellore was due to a meteorite strike. One person was killed and three others sustained injuries when the incident had happened on Saturday. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced Rs 1 lakh ex gratia to the person's family who was killed in the incident.

    ISRO officials and Officials of the Indian Institute of Astro physics visited the site and inquired the eye witnesses and the college officials for a detailed analysis of the burning stone which fell from the sky creating a 5 ft depth and 2 ft wide crater.

    Policemen had recovered a black pockmarked stone weighing 11 kg from the blast site. A bomb squad had also took the debris samples for detailed analysis at the Forensic Science Lab at Mylapore. Meanwhile the final autopsy report on the body of the person who was killed is also awaited.

    GM crops: SC seeks Centre's response within 2 weeks

    New Delhi, Feb 2: The Supreme Court has sought response from the Centre within 2 weeks, over the issue of Genetically Modified or GM crops. The direction came on Monday while hearing on a contempt petition filed by an activist claiming that Government was seeking to approve GM Mustard, going against the report of a Technical Expert Committee.

    The petition alleged, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee disobeyed the apex court's orders and willfully proceeded with numerous field trials in GM food crops. The plea said, these field trials have ignored fundamental bio-safety precautions as ordered by the court.

    ESA begins to roll out data superhighway in orbit above the Earth

    Darmstadt, (Germany), Jan 30: The European Space Agency has begun to roll out a data superhighway in orbit above the Earth. The first node in the network is a telecommunications satellite that has just launched from Kazakhstan.

    It will use a laser to gather pictures of the planet taken by other spacecraft and then relay them to the ground. One benefit will be to put information on natural disasters, such as flooding and earthquakes, into the hands of emergency responders far faster than has previously been possible.

    Phase III Delhi metro to have driverless trains

    New Delhi, Jan 27: Testing for operation of driverless metro trains is going on at the Mukundpur depot here. The first set of five trains had arrived at Mukundpur depot from South Korea in December. Another three are expected to reach Delhi by February this year. "The trains are under commissioning, that is, testing and integration with signaling system, electrical fittings.

    Meanwhile, a train built on the same specifications, manufactured in Bengaluru, has also arrived in the depot. The trains are designed by Hyundai Rotem. As part of a tie-up between South Korea and Delhi Metro, 61 trains of six coaches-are being built in the BEML factory in Bengaluru.

    No ill-effect due to radiation from mobile towers

    Kolkata, Jan 23: At an interactive session on Effects of EMF Radiation on Human Health here, experts have claimed that radiation from electro-magnetic fields (EMF) of mobile towers does not appear to have "adverse health effects" either on adults or on children in the country.

    "A number of judgements delivered by the High Courts in Gujarat, Kerala, Allahabad, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh have ruled that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that EMF radiation emitted from mobile towers has adverse effects on health. Thus, they cannot potentially harm humans," TRAI Advisor (B&CS) Agneshwar Sen said.

    The emission levels in the country are kept at 1/10th of the global standards recommended by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and recognised by the World Health Organisation, the experts said.

    Possibility to set up 75 units of plastic products in Plastic Park

    Bhopal, Jan 21: A delegation of All India Plastic Manufacturing Association called on Industries Minister Smt. Yashodhara Raje Scindia here yesterday. It was informed that there is possibility to set up over 75 units of plastic products in Plastic Park at Tamot in Raisen district. Investment of about Rs. 773 crore is expected in proposed units.
    The units will provide direct employment to about 5000 persons and indirect employment to 15 thousand persons. Commissioner Industries Shri V.L. Kanta Rao and MD of TRIFAC Shri D.P. Ahuja were also present. The delegation comprised President of Manufacturing Association Shri R.K. Agrawal and Chief Advisor Shri Deepak Balani.

    PSLV-C31 inserts 1425 kg satellite in sub-geosynchronous orbit

    Sriharikotta, Jan 20: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched the fifth satellite of its regional navigation system, the IRNSS 1E, this morning. The highly versatile launch vehicle PSLV-C31 lifted off from the second launch pad of the nation’s spaceport at Sriharikotta, at 9-hours, 31 minutes. It inserted the 1425 kg satellite in its intended sub-geosynchronous orbit in 19 minutes, 30 seconds, precisely as planned.
    This is the 32nd successively successful flight for the PSLV, which took off today in its extended version. Its passenger is the fifth in the series of seven satellites aimed at providing seamless flow of accurate information about the position of objects on land, air and sea. ISRO chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar congratulated the scientists for the success. The navigation system IRNSS is expected to help multimodal transport and disaster mitigation efforts in addition to providing accurate mapping services for common users.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated ISRO scientists for the successful launch of navigation satellite IRNSS-1E.

    Countdown for PSLV-C31, carrying Indian equivalent of GPS system

    Sriharikota, Jan 18: The 48-hour countdown for the launch of the rocket PSLV-C31, carrying the fifth in the series of seven satellites meant for navigation system, began at Sriharikota this morning. The rocket carries the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite Systems, IRNSS-1E.

    The system will be the Indian equivalent of the Global Positioning System GPS and provide road, air and maritime navigation services over a vast area when all the seven satellites are made operational. PSLV-C31 will be the first mission to be undertaken by ISRO this year. Its passenger IRNSS-1E will be complementing the four other satellites of its class that are already in operation in space. The ISRO has said two more satellites under the system would be made functional by the end of March this year.

    With the earlier four satellites in space, standard positioning information of moving and non-moving objects are being gathered for 18 hours a day with the accuracy of 20 metres.

    Minister assures citizens on nuclear power plant safety

    New Delhi, Jan 16: Minister of State for Atomic Energy, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant would restart by the end of this month. Inaugurating the Hall of Nuclear Power at National Science Centre in New Delhi today, Dr Singh said, the 2nd Unit of the power plant would become functional by the end of March this year.

    He said, it is the high time to do away with all myths surrounded around the safety of nuclear power. He assured citizens that India is as good as any other developed country in nuclear safety standards.

    Speaking about the Hall of Nuclear Power Mr Singh said, the Department of Atomic Energy is not getting its right share of popularity as it is headquartered in Mumbai and this hall would compensate it.

    IPS decides to set up solar-stellar observatory in Gujarat

    Ahmedabad, Jan 7: Making a headway in the study of the solar system, Indian Planetary Society (IPS) has selected Kutch district for setting up solar and stellar observatory in the state of Gujarat. This ambitious project is expected to cost Rs 12 crore. The Solar Observatory would be utilized to study the Sun as well as the Solar System, while the Stellar Observatory would collect crucial information by studying various galaxies, Planets and stars.

    High-efficiency telescopes, along with other high-end equipment, would be installed at these observatories under PPP (public-private-partnership project) model. The project would take 3-4 years to get completely operationalised.

    IPS selected Kutch district, as the sky is very clear there, which is very essential for accurate results. Budget for the Solar observatory is 2 crore while the Stellar observatory will need 10 crores. The Govt recognized NGO will raise funds through donations and well as government fundings.

    The observatories are likely to set up near Bhuj as the Tropic of Cancer passes from near Bhuj. It gives ample sunlight necessary for solar observation.

    The NGO has been running a community science centre in the region for last 10 years and is active in popularizing science and scientific temper among the students.

    N Korea claims hydrogen bomb test; World condemns the act

    United Nations, Jan 6: The North Korean authorities say they have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb amid reports of a tremor near the main nuclear test site. State media announced the test after monitors detected a 5.1 magnitude quake close to the Punggye-ri site.

    The North is thought to have conducted three previous underground nuclear tests there since 2006. A hydrogen bomb uses fusion to create a blast far more powerful than that of a more basic atomic bomb.

    Strong reaction started pouring after the North Korean announcement of the hydrogen bomb test with South Korea saying it was a serious challenge to global peace and a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

    British Foreign Secretary said any nuclear test would be a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions. After previous tests, the international community has responded with economic and political sanctions.

    Print media in India strong and growing, says I&B Minister

    New Delhi, Dec 29: Information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley today said that the growth of print media is a favourable factor for democratic functioning of the country. He said this while releasing the 59th Annual report on print media compiled by Registrar of newspapers for India.

    Mr Jaitley said, though the print media all over the world is shrinking, India stood as an exception from this trend. He said the print media has registered a growth of around 6 per cent and the daily news paper segment registered growth of more than 8 per cent. He opined that the reason for growth of print media in India is due to the drive of regional news and regional news papers.

    Mr Jaitley also cautioned the public against the blurring of the distinction between news and views by few sections of media. He also said, due to the decreasing life span of news itself, the magazine journalism is coming down in India and it needs to revive itself in a new format.

    The press in India report claimed that the total circulation of publications has crossed 50 crore copies per publishing day. Hindi publications continued to lead with over 25 crore copies followed by English with 6 crore copies and Urdu with just above 4 crore copies.

    The report also acknowledges that out of more than 1 lakh registered news publications, less than a quarter of them have filed their annual statements with registrar of newspapers for India.

    ISRO launches six Singapore satellites from Sriharikota

    Sriharikota, Dec 17: In its last rocket launch mission in 2015, India's PSLV-C29 rocket carried six Singapore satellites from the spaceport of Sriharikota on Wednesday evening. So far in the year, ISRO has launched 14 satellites (three Indian and 11 foreign) from this rocket port. This was the 32nd flight for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
    It released the six satellites one by one into a 550 km circular orbit. Of the six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kgs whereas the other five satellites include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites. TeLEOS-1 is the first Singapore commercial earth observation satellite. It would be launched into a low Earth orbit for "remote sensing" applications. Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has provided launch services in PSLV for 51 customer satellites from 20 countries so far.

    Mark Zuckerberg promises to support Muslims on social network

    San Francisco, Dec 10: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is offering words of support for Muslims who fear retaliation for the recent violent attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and San Bernardino.
    In the wake of those attacks, Zuckerberg wrote on his personal Facebook page Wednesday that he wants to assure Muslims they are welcome on Facebook and that "we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you." Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proposed barring all Muslims from entering the United States. Other political leaders have condemned Trump's proposal as discriminatory.
    Zuckerberg did not refer specifically to any proposal, but the co-founder of the world's biggest social network said, "As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities."

    Apolitical nature of Armed Forces major stabilising factor: Raha

    New Delhi, Dec 9: The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and the Chief of the Air staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is on a three day visit to Malaysia for the SASEAN Defence Chiefs dialogue from Sunday.
    Air Chief Marshal Raha on Monday addressed the gathering of fellow Defence Chiefs from ASEAN, SAARC and the observers from China, Russia and United States of America. The topic of the talk was on "Addressing Dynamic Challenges' from the perspective of Indian Armed Forces.
    While talking on the subject on 'Regional Security Environment', the Air Chief said a broad scan of the evolving geo-political environment clearly indicates a pre-eminent shift in Global strategic centre of gravity to the Asian - Pacific regions. As India is strategically located in South Asia the Air Chief said, "We hope to see increased cooperation and collective action to exchange information, build infrastructure and strengthen capabilities. In this manner, we would gain from each other's strengths and understand each other better towards lasting peace, stability and prosperity in the ASEAN region".
    The Air chief further said, "Indian Armed Forces being the 3rd largest military force has the largest volunteers Army. The professionalism and the apolitical nature of the Indian Armed Forces is a major stabilising factor in the Indian Subcontinent. The terrain and climate in India is quite diverse and offers a unique opportunity to our Armed Forces to train and operate in some of the most hostile environments in the world. India has the highest air field in the world, DBO in the Mighty Himalayas which is at an elevation of 17,000 feet, 2 lakh square Kms of Deserts, inhospitable tropical forest in the North East, and vast coast line with added challenges posed by high humidity, salinity and corrosion."
    Speaking on the challenges the Air Chief spoke on exploitation of technology by the Armed Forces mentioning that the DRDO is working towards self reliance in defence systems and strategic independence.

    Japan vying to construct India's first bullet train

    Tokyo, dec 8: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to visit India this week. Among his major announcements include constructing India’s first bullet train.
    According to the Nikkei business daily, Japan will offer more than 1 trillion yen ($8.11 billion) in loans to construct India's 980 billion rupee fast train. Japan recently lost the bid to build Indonesia's first fast-train because Beijing provided a $5 billion loan without guarantees.
    Tokyo was picked to assess the feasibility of building the 505km (313 miles) corridor linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad. Construction of the high-speed railway link will start from 2017 and will be completed in 2023, the Nikkei reported.

    Naxal-hit villages to be illuminated with solar power

    Raipur, Nov 27: As many as 140 remote villages and hamlets in Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh will soon be illuminated with solar power. These areas have had no electricity supply even 68 years after the country's independence.
    The villages, mostly located in the dense forests of Bastar division and some in Sarguja division, will soon have solar power through a project being executed by the state-run Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) under the Remote Village Electrification Programme.
    CREDA has provided power in around 1,700 villages/hamlets across the state since 2003, where there is no reach of conventional source of electricity. These villages fall under the Maoist-hit Sukma, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Sarguja and Dantewada districts. Number of electrified villages has increased to around 19,567 from 17,682 at the time of formation of the state in 2000. Similarly, the number of electrified hamlets has gone up to around 25,168 from 10,375 during the same period. Solar power systems were installed in 102 villages between 2000 and 2003.

    Mark Z. couple wants all children to achieve their full potential

    California, Nov 7: Mark Zuckerberg has a lot on his plate right now--including a baby girl on the way. His wife, Priscilla Chan, is expecting their first child. In a new Facebook post published on Thursday afternoon, Zuckerberg rattled off the numerous philanthropic projects the couple is juggling. Soon we're going to be parents," he wrote. "And we care deeply about doing everything we can so all children -- not just ours -- can grow up and achieve their full potential."
    This isn't the first time that Zuckerberg has written openly about his personal investments. But the new post gives more context about why he and his wife are focused on education, and is also a more comprehensive list of what they've been working on. "These are long term goals," he emphasized. "But if we start now then over the course of our children's lives I believe we can achieve them."

    Microsoft keen to help new generation entrepreneurs in India

    Mumbai, Nov 6: Overwhelmed by the start-up culture in India, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that the tech giant will fund hundreds of new generation entrepreneurs in India's 'smart cities' space. Unveiling the new cloud start-up initiative to empower the smart cities, Nadella said start-ups can apply for individual access up to Rs 80 lakh worth of Azure computing to help India's smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots.

    Microsoft keen to help new generation entrepreneurs in India

    Mumbai, Nov 6: Overwhelmed by the start-up culture in India, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that the tech giant will fund hundreds of new generation entrepreneurs in India's 'smart cities' space. Unveiling the new cloud start-up initiative to empower the smart cities, Nadella said start-ups can apply for individual access up to Rs 80 lakh worth of Azure computing to help India's smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots.
    He explained start-ups aligned to smart cities will be able to use Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL and also Microsoft Surface Pro 4 to develop solutions for farming, healthcare and education.
    Describing the pace of growth of e-commerce and start-up ecosystems as "pretty mind boggling", Nadella said most of these start-up ideas are pretty good and seriously innovative. The Microsoft CEO said he is extremely impressed with the adoption level of cloud computing in the country since it opened three data centres in Pune, Mumbai and Chennai 12 months ago.
    According to Microsoft, this initiative is anticipated to impact over 50 smart cities in the next year through a catalogue of over 50 start-ups and ISV solutions. Meanwhile, Nadella informed that 2 pilot projects are already running in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh since the past few months.
    Addressing growing concerns over security of emails and mobile phones, Nadella said Microsoft is working on ways to rid tech users of their worries over passwords. He said efforts are on to have other biometrics that really help users secure their computing interfaces. Nadella suggested that all leaders should use digital tools to augment judgement, ingenuity and productivity.

    Microsoft's Future Unleashed': Nadella meets industry leaders

    Mumbai, Nov 5: Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, on a one-day visit to India, today met industry leaders like Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, Axis Bank head Shikha Sharma and Tata Starbucks CEO Avani Davda. The India-born CEO also delivered a keynote address at 'Microsoft's Future Unleashed' event here that will bring together 3,000 industry leaders, enterprise heads, developers and entrepreneurs.
    Anand Mahendra, Chairman at Mahindra & Mahindra said, "Social Mobile and Cloud is today's new formula. Digitisation has enabled old economy to come back". He also spoke about the importance of 3D printers and they will change many industries. Mukund Rajan of Tata Sons, said, "The Tata approach is not a short term approach. We don't think about the next quarter, but the next quarter of century." He went on to talk about Tata's mission to help community, CSR and skill development. The company has also announced an award called 'Dare to Try' for good ideas, even if they've failed.
    Next on stage was CM of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis along with Microsoft India chief Bhaskar Pramanik. Fadnavis stated, "Maharashtra has always been a preferred destination for businesses.
    But getting 76 permissions takes around 1 to 3 years." He says, "We want to bring that down to around 23 permissions. We have brought down hotel permissions from 120 to 25."
    Fadnavis also said that, "We have brought a lot of services online and we want Maharashtra to be a role model for other states."

    We are big believers in net neutrality: Skype

    New Delhi: Microsoft's video calling service Skype has asserted that it continues to be in favour of affordable Internet access to consumers. We believe that net neutrality serves the interest of consumers and we will continue to push for that position, said an official of Skype.
    Earlier this year, a proposal to regulate calls on Internet-based apps like Skype, Whatsapp and Viber had stirred a national debate on the issue of net neutrality.
    India, which has the second highest number of Internet users globally, is also among the top 5 markets for Skype, the official said.
    Skype is a great medium to uplift the standard of the people. There is a huge potential in terms of using video communication to connect people to services like agriculture, healthcare, education. Globally, over 300 million people and businesses use Skype every month.
    Skype has also announced partnership with Indian studios -- Yash Raj Films and ErosNow -- to develop custom Mojis for its users, especially in India.

    Internet a great medium to provide jobs, lift nation

    New Delhi, Oct 28: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today said connecting people in India is one of the most important thing that the social networking giant can do. Interacting with students at Townhall in IIT Delhi, Mr Zuckerberg said people's enhanced access to the Internet could provide a great opportunity to them to contribute to country's economy.
    Highlighting the importance of Internet, Mr Zuckerberg said for every ten people that get access to Internet, one job is created and one person is lifted out of poverty. He said, without connecting everyone in India, the whole world couldn't be connected. Saying that India is the most important market for Facebook, he stressed that Internet can provide education, health information and access to job listings.
    The Facebook CEO said he is going to work on availability, affordability and awareness as four billion people in the world still do not have access to the Internet.
    Replying to a question on Artificial Intelligence, AI, Mr Zuckerberg said much smarter computers will be built soon. He said, Facebook is working on a project where AI can describe photographs to blind people. He said the target is to build computer systems, which conceive better, translate and understand language better, in the next five to ten years.
    Speaking on the future trends in the area of Information Technology, Zuckerberg said the trend is moving from text based to graphics, video and animation, which will enable better communication and enable sharing of experiences by users

    UN climate deal: Final round in Bonn today before Paris Conf

    Bonn, Oct 19: UN climate negotiators will meet today for their last session ahead of a major conference in Paris to hammer out the details of the most ambitious agreement ever to fight global warming. Delegates at the week-long talks in Bonn, Germany, are expected to start editing a 20-page draft that still contains multiple options on how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.
    Around 150 countries including top emitters - China, the United States, the European Union and India have already made voluntary pledges to cut or curb their emissions after 2020, when the deal is to take effect. The five-day gathering marks the final round of United Nations talks before envoys, ministers and leaders from around the world meet in Paris in six weeks to attempt what a 2009 summit in Copenhagen failed to do: reach a global agreement on how to cut fossil-fuel use.
    Christiana Figueres, who’s leading the UN effort to broker a climate deal in Paris in December, said the world has "progressed enormously" in battling climate change since the failed Copenhagen summit. Today, the risk is in the range of 3 degrees, "still dangerous but better than where we were before," she said earlier this month.

    Infosys profit at Rs. 3,398 cr; declares dividend of Rs 10/share

    Bengaluru, Oct 12: The country's second largest software services firm, Infosys today reported a 9.8 per cent year-on-year increase in its consolidated quarterly net profit, to Rs. 3,398 crore. Consolidated revenue was up 17.2 per cent.
    Infosys has declared an interim dividend of Rs. 10 per equity share. The company said its Executive Vice-President and CFO Rajiv Bansal has resigned. He will be replaced by M. D. Ranganath today.
    For 2015-16, Infosys gave a revenue guidance of between 13.1 per cent and 15.1 per cent in rupee terms. In dollar terms, the company forecast growth of between 6.4 per cent and 8.4 per cent.\
    Infosys CEO and MD Vishal Sikka said he was seeing the company's focused execution starting to produce encouraging results for its clients, shareholders and Infoscions.

    India’s own observatory in space, 'Astrosat' launched

    Sriharikota, Sept 28: India's first dedicated astronomy research satellite Astrosat has been successfully launched this morning. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C30 blasted off from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 10 am and inserted it within 22 minutes, 52 seconds into the low earth, equatorial orbit of 650 km height. The 1531 kg satellite has a planned lifespan of five years. With the launch, India has joined a select league of nations having their observatories in space.
    ISRO says, Astrosat has the ability to observe various celestial objects in different wavelengths simultaneously, giving it an edge over its peers. The rocket PSLV-C30 in its extended version also positioned six small satellites of foreign customers from the US, Canada and Indonesia into their orbits. This marks the first commercial launch of US payloads from India.
    Astrosat adds a new dimension to India's space programmes, laying the foundation for a deeper understanding of the Universe and its various exciting phenomena, ISRO chairman AS Kirankumar said.

    India's Mars mission completes one year

    ISRO/Bengluru, Sept 25: India's globally acclaimed Mars mission has completed one year on Thursday with Indian Space Research Organisation releasing the Mars Atlas to mark the feat of the Orbiter whose life is now expected to last many more years.
    It contains a compilation of images acquired by Mars colour camera and results obtained by other payload in a form of scientific atlas.
    ISRO will also be bringing out a book, 'Fishing hamlet to Mars' on November 5 to mark the anniversary of Mars Orbiter Mission, whose success has boosted India's global standing as a space power.
    It was on this day last year that India scripted space history when it successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet on its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club of three nations.
    The space probe entered the Mars orbit on September 24, almost a year after its launch, and made its home around the Red Planet.

    Indian Railways develop hybrid vacuum toilets

    New Delhi, Sept 19: The prototype consists of a custom designed Vacuum toilet adapted from a commercially available vacuum toilet that is used in aircraft which evacuates its discharge into a biodigester tank which is now successfully proven in the biotoilets of Indian Railways.
    The biodigester tank is fitted underneath the coach and contains anaerobic bacteria that converts human fecal matter into water and small amount of gases before discharging the same on the ground/track.
    Typically, a conventional toilet or Biotoilet uses 10 – 15 liters of water per flush whereas the vacuum toilet consumes only appx. 500 ml of water for flushing. Water is a very precious natural resource therefore this innovation shall save water to the tune of at least 1/20th of the quantity that is used in the current design of biotoilets/conventional toilets.
    Further, in foreign countries where the train coaches that are fitted with Vacuum toilets, there is a “retention tank” underneath the coach that holds all the human waste that is flushed out by the toilet. These are very large tanks that need to be evacuated at the terminals stations. Since Indian Railways trains traverse the length and breadth of the country with journey times as long as 72 hours and generally over 50 passengers per coach, it is nearly impossible to hold the human waste in retention tanks on trains that travel such long distances.
    Also, the stationary facilities for evacuation of these holding tanks need to be maintained very carefully and meticulously or else their malfunction will render the entire train’s toilets unusable. The Municipal Corporations at cities where these ground-handling facilities are to be created have to be taken into confidence to allow one-shot rapid discharge of human waste of an entire train into their sewer systems, which may not be possible at all stations due to constraints in existing sewer system that are already in place.
    By transferring the discharge of the vacuum toilets into biodigester, the need to create separate ground handling installation and creating additional sewer load on the Municipal Corporation will be done away with.

    Electronic version of Mahatma Gandhi's work launched

    New Delhi, Sept 8: Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley today unveiled the electronic version of Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi.
    All this is now available in a CD. A CD that will be launched by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley on Tuesday at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. Ms. Dinaben Patel - A renowned Gandhian Scholar and co contributor of the CD version says this will help maximise the reach of Gandhianism at a time when the world is facing number of manmade crises.
    The 3 Gandhian scholars behind the electronic version of Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi met with Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajhyevardhan Rathore on Monday.
    This contains all the words Gandhiji spoke and wrote, day after day, year after year, beginning from 1884 till his assassination on January 30, 1948.
    The work will maximise the reach of Gandhian philosophy at a time when the world is facing number of man made crises. These books represent the history and ideology of a man who the world remembers as Mahatma Gandhi from more than 130 years ago.
    Publications division of the I &b ministry worked together with Gandhian scholars to ensure that the e version is completely authentic and factual.
    The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG), published by the Publications Division, is a monumental document of Gandhiji's words which he spoke and wrote, day after day, year after year, beginning from 1884 till his assassination on January 30, 1948. It took 38 years for Prof. K. Swaminathan to compile it.
    This content will be free to be viewed on internet at Gandhi Heritage Portal. Master copy is also to be preserved in National Archives so that Gandhi's legacy is not lost.

    GSLV successfully launches GSAT-6: ISRO

    Sriharikota, Aug 28: India achieves another milestone in its space programme; Country's cryogenic GSLV rocket successfully places latest communications satellite GSAT-6 into orbit; With this ISRO can now undertake commercial launch of heavy satellites of 2 tons and above weight through cryogenic GSLV rocket.
    Country's latest Communications satellite GSAT-6 launched from Sriharikota on Thursday through cryogenic GSLV rocket. It was successfully launched at 4:52PM. The programmes is a part of an ongoing process to test India's mastery of cryogenic engine technology necessary to put heavy duty satellites in space.
    The mission is part of a process to validate complex cryogenic technology that is currently the preserve of an elite club including the US,Russia,China,France,Japan and the European Space Agency.
    ISRO has used Russian cryogenic engines in GSLV flights from 2001 but had to create its own version after the US successfully mounted pressure against transfer of technology.
    Cryogenic engines make use of hydrogen and oxygen liquefied at temperatures of upto minus 253 degrees to power space rockets carrying payloads above two thousand kilograms into an earth orbit of upto 36000 kms and can prove especially valuable for interplanetary missions.
    The success of GSLV D-6 will go a long way in proving that the indigenous cryogenic engine is ready for commercial use opening up a lucrative new global market for space launches estimated at 4 billion US dollars for India.

    NASA releases spectacular image of melting sea ice off Greenland

    Washington, Aug 25: In a latest, the US space agency NASA has released a new satellite image that shows bits and pieces of ice floating about in the Greenland Sea.
    The true-color image of sea ice off Greenland was obtained by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 16, 2015. As the northern hemisphere experiences the heat of summer, ice moves and melts in the Arctic waters and the far northern lands surrounding it, said NASA.
    'Large chunks of melting sea ice can be seen in the sea ice off the coast, and to the south spirals of ice have been shaped by the winds and currents that move across the Greenland Sea. Frigid air from interior Greenland pushes the ice away from the shoreline, and the mixing of cold water and air allows some sea ice to be sustained even at the height of summer,' added NASA.
    According to NASA, 2015 is on track to be another low year for arctic summer sea ice cover based on observations from satellites.

    Japan to launch HTV-5 cargo ship to space station today

    Tokyo, Aug 19: Japan is all set to launch a robotic cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday after a three-day delay. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will roll out its H-IIB rocket this afternoon at the Tanegashima Space Center, according to US space agency NASA. JAXA is scheduled to launch the "Kounotori" HTV-5 cargo craft at 7:50 a.m. EDT (11:50 a.m. UTC) Wednesday for a five day trip to the space station.
    If all goes well as planned, the HTV-5 will arrive at the space station on Monday, August 24, after a five-day flight, delivering more than 4.5 tons of research and supplies, including water, spare parts and experiment hardware. Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 44 crew participated in a wide array of science today as Japan gears up for the launch of its fifth resupply mission to the ISS.

    Proposal to regulate domestic calls on Internet-based apps

    New Delhi, July 17: An official panel on net neutrality has proposed regulation of domestic calls on Internet-based apps like Skype, Whatsapp and Viber by putting them on par with services offered by telecom operators, a recommendation that came under immediate attack from industry bodies.
    The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) Committee opposed platforms like Facebook's Internet.Org that allow access to certain websites without mobile data charges, while suggesting that similar plans by Bharti Airtel be allowed with prior clearance from TRAI. However, the committee suggested liberal approach to app-based international calls.
    In the case of Over-The-Top (OTT) VoIP international calling services, a liberal approach may be adopted. However, in the case of domestic calls (local and national), communication services by TSPs (telecom service providers) and OTT communication services may be treated similarly from a regulatory angle for the present.
    The Committee is chaired by DoT Advisor for Technology AK Bhargava and members in the panel include AK Mittal, V Umashankar, Shashi Ranjan Kumar, G Narendra Nath and RM Agarwal.
    Net neutrality implies that equal treatment be accorded to all Internet traffic and no priority be given to an entity or company based on payment to content or service providers such as telecom companies, which is seen as discriminatory.

    'Nano' failure due to a bunch of mistakes, says Ratan Tata

    Chennai, July 16: 'Nano was made to reach out to people but it never has due to our bunch of mistakes', said Ratan Tata, former head of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Conglomerate. It was a mistake to brand Nano as cheapest car as it created a negative impact on the market, added Tata.
    There are some lessons to learn from the Nano experience, Ratan Tata said addressing students at a convocation ceremony of an institute here. He advised students to be firm, bold and adventurous while taking decisions that they think are right. Despite of their facing negative response in West Bengal, the launch of Nano was a great success, one that went beyond expectations, Tata said adding that success comes if one took decisions that one thinks are the right ones.
    Answering the students' queries, Ratan said they were fortunate to get good education and tools for advancement and asked them to implement them in life to reap rich rewards.
    Tata said 'the situation in India today is akin to that in the USA during the 60s and 70s. The e-commerce space, in which the company has invested, is full of potential for growth in the country'.
    The promoters of any company should work for a cause rather than exit in short term after making some gains, he advised.

    PSLV C28 successfully launches five UK Satellites

    Sriharikota, July 11: The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its thirtieth flight (PSLV-C28), launched three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), United Kingdom (UK).
    The three DMC3 satellites, each weighing 447 kg, launched into a 647 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) using the high-end version of PSLV (PSLV-XL) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota (SDSC-SHAR), the spaceport of India. PSLV-C28 will be the ninth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration.
    The PSLV-C28, in addition to the three DMC3 satellites, also carried two auxiliary satellites from UK, viz., CBNT-1, a technology demonstrator earth observation micro satellite built by SSTL, and De-OrbitSail, a technology demonstrator nano satellite built by Surrey Space Centre.
    With the overall lift-off mass of the five satellites amounting to about 1440 kg, this mission becomes the heaviest commercial mission undertaken by Antrix/ISRO till date.
    Accommodating the three DMC3 satellites each with a height of about 3 metre within the existing payload fairing of PSLV, was a challenge. To mount these satellites onto the launcher, a circular Launcher adaptor called as L-adaptor and a triangular deck called Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2 (MSA-V2), were newly designed and realized by ISRO for this specific purpose.
    These international customer satellites have been launched as part of the arrangement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSTL, UK; and Antrix Corporation Ltd (Antrix), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a GoI Company under Dept of Space.

    Azim Premji gives half of his stake in Wipro for charity

    Bengaluru, July 9: IT czar Azim Premji (69) has given away an additional 18% of his stake in the IT company for charity, thus earmarking 39% of stake (worth Rs 53,284 cr) for a charitable trust. Premji is the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, sponsored by billionaires Warren Buffett & Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to invite the world's wealthiest to donate majority of their wealth to charity.
    'Over the past 15 yrs, I have tried to put this belief into action through my personal philanthropic work.' Premji said in a letter to shareholders published in the company's annual report. Premji was considered the 'most generous Indian' of 2014 according to the Hurun India Philanthropy List. The company's Social & Sustainability Initiatives are driven by the conviction that corporations should play a significant role in contributing to building a better society, Premji said.

    Gmail launches an `undo send' option for its users

    Washington, July 1: Technology giant Google will now help its users avoid misdirected or inappropriate emails with the 'Undo' option that allows them to cancel delivery of an email within 30 seconds of hitting the send button. `Previously a popular feature in Gmail Labs, and recently added to Inbox by Gmail, we're adding 'Undo Send' as a formal setting in Gmail on the web,' the company said.
    The new tool delays delivery of emails from five to 30 seconds after the send button is pressed to give users a chance to stop an email that was sent, it said. The feature is turned off by default for most users and can be enabled from the general tab in Gmail settings. Meanwhile, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has given its nod to start-ups for using the social network twitter to drum up interest in future stocks and debt offerings, engadget.com reported.

    Glass deposits show Mars once had life

    Washington, June 24: Google has announced that Play Music will now offer a free, ad-supported version of the service to users who do not want to pay USD 9.99/month.
    Google's Play Music is a music streaming service. According to the Techcrunch.com, unlike the paid version, the free version will not let users choose their own songs to play on-demand. Instead users will have the option to choose from pre-curated playlists which is similar to Pandora or iTunes Radio.
    Users will be able to choose from themed stations like 'Driving' or 'Working Out,' or search by genre, artist, or song to create a station of similar music. These playlists will be crafted by Songza, the music curation service that Google acquired in 2014. If users upgrades to the paid version, they will have unlimited access to the music library, offline listening and background features for music videos on YouTube and no ads. Moreover, users on both the free and paid tiers will now have access to remotely store and play up to 50,000 songs in their own collection for free. The free version of Google Play Music is rolling out on the web and iOS and Android version will be launched in next week.

    Glass deposits show Mars once had life

    Washington, June 9: In a pioneering feat, researchers have discovered glass deposits on the Red Planet, providing a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet. Using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the team from Brown University detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars formed in the searing heat of a violent impact. Previous research has shown that ancient biosignatures can be preserved in impact glass.
    `Knowing this, we wanted to go look for them on Mars and that is what we did here. Before this paper, no one had been able to definitively detect them on the Martian surface,' said Kevin Cannon, PhD student at Brown University. Cannon and co-author professor Jack Mustard showed that large glass deposits are present in several ancient yet well-preserved craters scattered across the Martian surface. Mars missions to rest as Red Planet hides behind Sun
    Washington: From June 7 to June 21
    NASA's Mars Missions will not beam any new data to the Earth as the Red Planet goes behind the Sun and the spacecraft and rovers take their biennial rest.
    The sun will block Mars from the earth snapping communication with the satellite. India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) during this period will go into an `autonomous mode' and will take its decisions.
    The positioning of the Sun between the Earth and Mars is called Mars-solar conjunction. This month, the Red Planet will swing almost directly behind the Sun from the Earth's perspective.
    This celestial geometry, that happens about every 26 months, will lead to diminished communications with spacecraft on or around Mars. "Because the Sun disrupts radio transmissions between the Earth and Mars during conjunction, communications are curtailed," the US space agency said.

    Jaipur Metro rolls out on tracks; 1st phase covers 9.6 km

    Jaipur, June 3: The long cherished dreams of Jaipurites came true when Jaipur Metro started its operations today.Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje inaugurated the Metro services this morning. In the first phase, the metro will run on 9.6 kilometre stretch covering nine stations from residential area in Mansarovar to business hub in Chandpole. The project was completed in four-and-a-half-years.
    Jaipur is be sixth city in the country to have metro services. Jaipur Metro has added three unique features in its service, firstly, passenger will enjoy jerk free journey because of Wheel Mounted Disk Braking System.
    It has Bolster less Bogies which will ensure good speed of train. Each Coach equipped with LCD which will continuously display information for the passengers. Even facilities for special challenged people and senior citizens have been made.

    Animation film highlighting concern of Mobile addiction

    Mobile addiction is becoming a concern for all. An art student in China has come up with an animation film highlighting the concern of Mobile addiction.
    One of the hazards that the information technology revolution has given the human race is addiction to gadgets to the extent that cell phone addiction among people is now becoming a major concern, especially among youth.
    A recent study in China revealed that obsessive phone use is turning out to be a driving factor in tearing Chinese families apart. People take their phones everywhere, to work, school, to bed, while having meals, crossing roads and even to the bathroom. Why is this addiction? 20 year-old Li Chenglin, an Art student in China, raises the question through his animation.
    During an animation course at his university, the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Li was given the task of making a film on a `societal problem. Li took the chance to depict the horrors of mobile phone addiction with his short three-minute feature entitled `Head-Bowing Life.
    The film featuring cartoonish `head-bowers'--addicted to mobile phones shows how they unconsciously cause a range of accidents, from car crashes to industrial catastrophes.
    The film is becoming extremely popular over the internet.

    Ministers to interact directly with netizens through Twitter

    New Delhi, May 29: As part of its initiative to highlight the achievements of the Government in the last one year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is organizing `Talkathon'. In the first of its kind, the Talkathon platform would involve the participation of three Union Ministers simultaneously. Minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of State for Power, Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman will be participating on the Talkathon platform together. The Talkathon programme is scheduled to be held for a duration of 90 minutes tomorrow i.e. 30th May, 2015 from 6 PM onwards. The program would be live from National Media Centre, New Delhi.
    Talkathon is an initiative by the New Media Wing of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which connects the virtual space with physical world. Under the platform, participants in the social media space can post questions on Twitter which would be answered by the guests in real-time. The users may use the hashtag #AskYourGovt to post their queries to the Twitter handle of the Ministry @MIB_India.
    The speakers/experts shall reply to the queries posted on Twitter, in real time. The event would be webcasted LIVE on YouTube channel of the Ministry (www.youtube.com/inbministry), pib.nic.in, india.gov.in, www.youtube.com/DDNewsofficial and DD News.

    Important documents can be safely maintained in digital locker

    Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel dedicated to the nation, INS Sardar Patel, the new naval base of the Indian Navy at Porbandar.
    The commissioning of INS Sardar Patel- the new naval base on Gujarat coast, will increase the maritime security on western coast. Its aim is to beef up security along the vast state coastline.
    Gujarat has a coastline of 1600 km and 70% of the country's oil and 73% of gas is imported though the ports in the state. The ports of Gujarat handle 40 to 50% of the total maritime trade handled by the various ports of India.
    The naval base will also enhance the logistic support being provided to the Indian Navy units deployed in the Northern Arabian Sea, including along the International Maritime Boundary Line with Pakistan.
    The 2008, Mumbai attacks have added a new dimension to the coastal security, which has enhanced responsibility, and the need for continued naval presence in this area in the entire coastline of India, 46 coastal radar stations and 74 automatic identification systems have been put. To give a push to the Make in India initiative, 48 ships and submarines will be developed indigenously.
    The economic importance of this frontal maritime state, in the overall national security dynamics, is the core factor governing sustenance and operation of naval assets from the Forward Operating Naval base at Porbandar.

    Important documents can be safely maintained in digital locker

    Bhopal, May 5: Facility of digital locker has been introduced to concretise concept of paperless governance. Through this facility, space will be available to every citizen on government cloud. In it, he can safely store his scanned or digitalized copies of important documents including academic certificates, driving licence, passport etc.
    To avail this facility, one should register himself with the help of his Aadhar Number on www.digitallocker.gov.in or www.digilocker.gov.in. It is noteworthy that Government of India has introduced digital locker to provide facility to people for smooth and safe maintenance and receipt of records. If one's mobile number is not linked with Aadhar Number, he should visit nearest Aadhar registration centre, MP Online kiosk, Public Facilitation Centre or any other authorized agency to avail facility of digital locker.
    Secretary to CM and Science &Technology Hari Ranjan Rao has desired from all government departments, heads of departments and collectors to ensure benefit of digital locker to people in the context of Government of India's directives.
    People have to produce copies of their important documents on a number of occasions. Apart from maintenance of these documents, authenticity of these documents is also a challenging task. Objective of the scheme is to digitally empower people by providing them space on government cloud, minimize use of hard copies of documents, provide facility to maintain their electronically and digitally signed documents online, determine authenticity of documents through e-signature, curb fake documents, ensure safe access to government documents issued to people through web portal or mobile, minimise expenditure on maintenance of physical records, make available their documents to people anywhere and anytime, ensure secrecy of data and its use only by authorized persons and institutions and ensure use of open and standard structure.
    For availing digital locker facility, one should have Aadhar Number and mobile number integrated with Aadhar. He should log in entering Aadhar Number. OTP will be received on entering Aadhar-integrated mobile number. Following this, identity of applicant will be verified by Unique Identification Authority of India through "e-KYC (e know your client)". After this, applicant can see URLs of certificates and documents in his digital locker.
    It has been desired in the circular issued in this regard that all departments, government agencies and organizations will also maintain digital records of documents issued by them to people and take necessary action for paperless governance. E-mail id ceo@mapit.gov.in or vinay.pandey@mapit.gov.in or mobile number 9425180624 may be contacted for further details.

    Japan's Maglev train breaks its own record at 603 kph

    Tokyo, Apr 22: A Japanese maglev that is the fastest passenger train in the world has broken its own speed record. The train reached 603 kmph in a test run on Tuesday, surpassing its previous record of 581 kph set in 2003. The train traveled for just over a mile (1.8 kilometres) at a speed exceeding 600 kph.Unlike regular shinkansen or `bullet trains' that run on steel rails, magnetic levitation trains hover above rails, suspended by powerful magnets.
    The maglev trains, begun as a project of Japan Airlines and the national railways with government support, have undergone decades of testing. The line, which will mostly run under mountains, is due to begin operations in the late 2020s. The Maglev Test Line, near Mount Fuji about 80 kms west of Tokyo, is developing technology for use on a future 410-km link that will reduce travel time between Tokyo and Osaka to just over an hour.

    El-Nino unlikely to affect monsoon, impact to reduce after summer

    New Delhi, Apr 18: The southwest monsoon this year will be normal, with many parts of north India expected to receive good rainfall. Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency has predicted that the El-Nino is unlikely to affect the monsoon as its impact will reduce after summer.
    It said, good amounts of rainfall is expected in Punjab, Haryana, west Uttar Pradesh and over the west coast. Monsoon is expected to arrive in Kerala on May 27, four days before its normal date.
    The forecast agency, however, predicted weak monsoon in some parts of south India. It said, there seems to be weakness in Tamil Nadu, Rayalseema, south interior Karnataka, east Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. Skymet CEO Jatin Singh said, monsoon onset is expected to be early and fairly strong.
    He said, pre-monsoon rain will also be strong across the country.

    Third user trial of Agni-III N-ballistic missile successful

    Balasore (Odisha), Apr 17: India today successfully test fired its nuclear-capable Agni -III ballistic missile with a strike range of more than 3,000 km from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher at launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island by army at about 0955 hrs,
    Logistic support for the test was provided by the (DRDO). According to a DRDO official it was the third user trial in the Agni-III series carried out to establish the `repeatability’ of the missile’s performance.
    The Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system. With a length of 17 metres, the missile's diameter is 2 metres and launch weight is around 50 tonnes.
    It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonne which is protected by carbon all composite heat shield.

    Internet neutrality gets boost as Flipkart calls off talks with Airtel Zero

    Apr 15: The Internet neutrality campaign got a major boost yesterday after Flipkart, an Indian online retail giant, decided to not be a part of the new Airtel Zero platform that was attacked for allowing users to access partner applications without any charges for data. Flipkart took the decision following a massive public campaign to support net neutrality in India.
    Talking to reporters, the company's CEO, Mukesh Bansal said, the company has always put the consumer first and believed in net neutrality. He said that Airtel could have compromised net neutrality in the future and company will not take part in any deal that jeopardises internet freedom.
    Airtel's Zero platform asks partners or content providers to pay for the data consumed by users of the application. That means smaller companies who cannot afford those costs, would be left out of the mix.

    Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet runs full version of Windows

    New Delhi Apr 7: Chinese tech giant Lenovo plans to launch its dual-sim affordable phone –the Lenovo A7000 in India on Tuesday. The Lenovo A7000 was unveiled at MWC 2015 in March. It features 5.5-in HD display with ultra-wide viewing angles and moving audio technology from Dolby. The company says that it is the world's first smartphone to feature Dolby Atmos technology. The technology also makes playback volume more consistent across all types of content.
    The multimedia smartphone runs Android 5.0 on a MediaTek MT6752m 1.5GHz True8Core processor paired with 2GB RAM and 4G LTE. The A7000 is 7.9mm thin and just 140 grams light. It comes in two colors -Onyx Black or Pearl White.
    The phone has 8-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and LED flash and a 5-megapixel front camera. It has 8GB storage expandable up to 32GB with battery capacity of 2900 mAh. The price of the phone is expected to be at Rs 10,000.

    Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet runs full version of Windows

    Washington, Apr 1: Microsoft has refreshed its tablet line-up with a new entry-level device that runs more software, but is also more expensive than its predecessor. The Surface 3 is powered by an Intel processor, unlike the ARM-based chip in the Surface 2. That means it uses the Windows 8 operating system, rather than the more limited Windows RT.
    The bigger tablet, which was launched 10 months ago, features a 12in (30.5cm) screen, compared with the 10.8in display of the new Surface 3. The release date is 7 May.
    The basic version of the Surface 3 - featuring 64 gigabytes of storage, 2GB of RAM and an Intel Atom x7 processor - costs £419. Experts suggest the move could help Microsoft replicate the success of its higher-specification Surface Pro 3.

    Govt to invest $10 bn in Chip making facilities in Gujarat, UP

    New Delhi, March 27: Infrastructure for chip manufacturing and designing will be considerably strengthened in India to cater to the growing domestic demand and to cut down the imports in the next few years.
    Addressing the first Indian Electronics Expo organized by Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) in New Delhi yesterday, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, GoI RS Sharma, revealed that the government would be investing US$ 10 billion in the chip manufacturing facilities coming up in Gujarat and UP, where a consortium of manufacturing firms have come up to set up the production bases.
    India would also be investing US$ 400 million in developing an Indian version of micro-processor. These are part of the initiatives that are under way to create an eco-system that lays focus on high ended innovation. A dedicated fund, known as Electronics Development Fund had been created to leverage the use of venture capital funds to promote more start-ups in the country, he added.

    Mentioning about the advantages that India is endowed with in the production of electronics goods in the country, Shri Sharma said that the frugal technologies that it has evolved has a higher value quotient and are suitable for many countries which are at the same level of development.
    The Secretary said that India provided an exciting hub for electronics investment mainly on account of the surging domestic market and infrastructure, logistics and financial support being provided to the investors, be they from India or abroad. China undoubtedly is the major producer of electronic goods in the world. Of late, many of the electronics giants are embarking on a China plus strategy, mostly focusing on India.
    Coupled with Make in India and Digital India program initiated recently by the government, the renewed interest in electronics production in the country can help India achieve the target set for zero import of electronics into the country by 2020. The expo is attended by over 125 delegates from 26 countries. More than 30 Indian companies are displaying their electronics hardware products at the two-day expo.

    SC strikes down section 66 A of IT Act calling it unconstitutional

    New Delhi, Mar 24: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court today struck down the Section 66A of the Information Technology Act calling it unconstitutional and untenable. The court said it interferes with freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution.
    Terming liberty of thought and expression as cardinal, a bench of justices J Chelameswar and RF Nariman said, the public's right to know is directly affected by section 66A which gives the police power to arrest a person for posting offensive content online and provides for a three-year jail term.
    Elaborating the grounds for holding the provision as unconstitutional, the court said terms like "annoying","inconvenient" and "grossly offensive", used in the provision are vague as it is difficult for the law enforcement agency and the offender to know the ingredients of the offence. It said what may be offensive to a person, may not be offensive to others.
    The apex court pronounced its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of certain sections of the Information Technology Act. The first PIL on the issue was filed in 2012 by law student Shreya Singhal. She had challenged the Section after two young women were arrested that year for posting comments against the shutdown in Mumbai after the death of then Shiv Sena Chief, Bal Thackeray. The Centre had defended the Section 66A, saying the possibility of its potential abuse cannot be a ground for declaring it unconstitutional.

    Sale of 2G, 3G airwaves - Govt garners bids worth Rs 77,000 cr

    New Delhi, Mar 7: Government has garnered bids worth around Rs 77,000 cr at the end of three days of spectrum auction as telecom operators continued to bid aggressively.
    Department of Telecom said, till now, 17 rounds of bidding have taken place in three days. It said, there is still spectrum, which is yet to be sold and the auction will continue today.

    The government is expecting to raise over Rs 82,000 cr from the auction, but the final amount is expected to go much higher if bids continue at such an aggressive pace. The auction is the biggest ever sale of 2G and 3G airwaves where government is selling spectrum in four bands 2100 megahertz (Mhz), 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz.
    The government will not release results of the auction because of a court ruling. Incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with Reliance Jio to protect their spectrum they need to carry voice and data in the world's second-biggest smart phone market. In all, eight bidders are in fray.

    Delhi will be made a WiFi enabled digital capital

    New Delhi, Feb 24: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has said that the government is committed to work on the foundation of transparency and will bring Janlokpal Bill to end corruption in the city.
    Addressing the maiden session of Delhi Assembly today, Mr Jung said, services have to be given to people with full honesty as it needs to reach everyone. He said, people have given a huge and clear mandate which is very conducive to the development. Mr Jung said, the government wants full statehood for Delhi as people have wanted this for a long.

    The Lieutenant Governor said, Delhi police needs to come under the Delhi government to take care of the law and order properly. He also said that Delhi Development Authority should come under the government to provide cheaper houses to the people. Mr Jung said, women safety is very essential and the government will constitute fast track courts for speedy justice to them.

    The Lieutenant Governor said, Delhi will be made a WiFi enabled digital capital. He said, government wants to make Delhi more investor-friendly and it is looking forward to create better employment prospects for the people. He added that government will construct new health centres and also increase hospital beds in secondary and tertiary hospitals including specialist maternity beds.

    TCS hopes to hire 35,000 from college campuses in FY16

    New Delhi, Feb 12: TCS is among a handful of information technology services companies that have stayed the course in terms of hiring in large numbers from campuses. The company is on target to add 55,000 employees for FY15.
    For 2015-16 it plans to hire 35,000 students for which it will visit 350-400 institutes. For the quarter ended September, utilisation was at an all-time high of 86.2 per cent (excluding trainees). Including trainees, it was 81.3 per cent.
    TCS has also managed to maintain a relatively low (staff) attrition rate. It was 12.8 per cent for the quarter.
    It reported growth of 13.6 per cent for the July- September quarter profit at Rs 5,288 crore and revenue growth of 13.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis at Rs 23,816 crore. The quarter’s dollar revenue missed market estimates but the management has remained bullish about demand.

    NASA budget proposal to initiate Europa mission plan

    Houston, Feb 4: "Jupiter's moon Europa is one of the most likely places to find current life beyond our Earth," noted NASA in its overview of upcoming budget priorities.
    “For over 15 years NASA has developed concepts to explore Europa and determine if it is habitable based on characteristics of its vast oceans (twice the size of all of Earth's oceans combined), the ice surface – ocean interface, the chemical composition of the intriguing, irregular brown surface areas, and the current geologic activity providing energy to the system," noted the budget overview documentation on Monday.
    "In FY 2016, the project will formulate requirements, architecture, planetary protection requirements, risk identification and mitigation plans etc.

    Record 1.10 lakh cr ($18bn) profit by Apple Inc

    San Francisco, Jan 29: Apple Inc, leading in smartphone market, posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion, earning $3.06 per diluted share, for its first fiscal quarter of 2015. Apple's net profits of $18.9 billion sets a new record for quarterly profits, blowing away previous record holder Exxon's $15.9 billion performance.
    The company was led by a blockbuster quarter for the iPhone, in which it sold nearly 75 million units — a year over year increase of 46 per cent. Mac sales were also at an all-time high at 5.52 million units, edging the company's previous-best in the preceding September quarter. The company's Mac hardware saw its numbers increase 14 per cent year over year.
    iPad sales continued their decline, however, falling to 21.4 million units in the December frame. That was down 18 per cent from the same period a year prior.

    "We'd like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high," said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook.
    Apple also announced that its App Store set a record performance in the holiday quarter. The company's "Services" revenue category, which includes the App Store, iTunes Store and other digital storefronts, reached $4.8 billion.
    "Our exceptional results produced EPS growth of 48 percent over last year, and $33.7 billion in operating cash flow during the quarter, an all-time record," said Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri.

    Dubai unveils World's largest vertical maze

    Jan 23: Dubai has set yet another world record for the largest vertical maze. The 55 story Maze tower in Dubai’s financial district has been now confirmed by the records tally-keeper Guinness World Records as the world’s largest vertical maze.
    The design on the façade of the building is actually a puzzle made from intricate lines of balconies on the front and rear, and there is another garden maze on the roof top. The design uses natural stones and lights up in different colours making it appear light and reflective.

    It looks like as if it has been carved out of one single massive piece of rock; with the constant play of light and shadow to render it alive. The tower has four other unique features - the Maze Eye which is an eight-meter circular video wall at the top of the building to beam images. It has LED lights built into the exterior of the maze pattern that can display colours and patterns.
    Plus it has a garden floor in the middle of the building; and a maze garden at the rooftop. Even the pool is maze-shaped. The maze tower has 25 floors of office space and 24 floors of living space. With its latest acquisition, Dubai now holds more than 100 Guinness World Records.

    Work towards technological innovation, exhorts BHEL CMD

    Bhopal, Jan 14: 'BHEL', during the last fifty years has established itself to be one of the reputed engineering organizations in the global arena. Ensuring quality of the product and bringing newer technologies into practice is essential for the growth of the company", said B Prasada Rao, CMD, BHEL addressing the large number of employees gathered at the Hydro laboratory premiseswhile inaugurating the Centre of Excellence-Hydro Machinery.
    On this occasion Shashi Ranjan Prasad, Executive Director; Vishwas Bhave, senior officials of BHELCorporate office were specially present.
    Rao in his address, citing the challenges prevailing in the industrial world, said thatafter the “Make in India" call given by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, situation is turning favourable for the industry and BHEL has started receiving orders from the power sector. He said that at present times when work load is not much upon us, we should try to develop our systems, work towards technological innovation and further strengthen our capabilities. BHEL has recently doubled its capacity and has an experience of 50 years in the heavy engineering sector.
    We have to reap benefits from the experience as no other organization has an experience of commissioning anymajor power project. We shall try to offer commissioning of projects in as less time schedule as possible and deliver on the commitments made. He further said to avoid the ‘Jugar' technique and ‘Chalta hain' attitude. No job manufactured should come back for rework. Rao stressed on developing designs and cut down cost on all fronts.
    Earlier, Rao accompanied by Prasad along with Bhoomipujan for the serviceroad parallel to Raisen road inaugurated the newly built Swarna Jayanti Dwar, Gate No.01. Later, he visited Transformer block, CET Laboratory and inaugurated the Restored Transformer testing unit. Prasad welcoming the guest said that in between the Swarna Jayanti of Bhopal unit and Swarna Jayanti of BHEL Corporation capacity of the unit has doubled. He briefed about the new facilities available in Electric motor, Traction and Transformer Division.

    Nobel laureates among others focus on S&T for mankind

    Bombay University: Jan 7: Curtains will come down on the 102nd Indian Science Congress being held at the Mumbai University campus today. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will be present for the valedictory function. The 5-day mega event which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saw many eminent scientists and researchers, Nobel laureates and Nobel equivalents presenting their views and findings on issues ranging from agriculture to space science.
    The 2001 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine Paul Nurse from London, 2002 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Kurt Wuthrich from Switzerland, 2009 Chemistry Nobel laureate Ada E Yonath from Israel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Randy Schekman of University of California, Berkeley, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh were notable among participants.

    Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary M/o Earth Sciences and currently Chairman ISRO, DG, Indian Council of Medical Research, V M Katoch and eminent nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar were the other big names at the ISC 2015. Today’s session at the Congress include sessions on Science and Technology for Inclusive Development, Tissue Banking and Tissue Engineering, Recent advances in Cancer Biology and Research needs in the field in Environment Sciences.
    The earlier sessions covered science & technology in SAARC countries, biodiversity conservation and use of Genetically Modified crops. The Congress stressed on popularising science and technology for human development and fostering a scientific temperament. At the ‘Pride of India Expo’ which too ends today, ISRO and DRDO showcased cutting-edge technologies, leading scientific products and services and path breaking R&D initiatives. Major attraction was real-scale model of Mangalyaan. University of Mumbai also made arrangements to web-cast some of the key sessions of the Indian Science Congress.

    Mangalyaan completes 100 days; sending pics of Red Planet

    Jan 2: India's first inter-planetary mission MOM or Mangalyaan has completed 100 days around Mars. The Mars Orbiter launched on Nov 5, 2013 on board ISRO's PSLV C25 from Sriharikota entered the Martian orbit on the 24th of September last year after a nine-month long odyssey. Since then, the spacecraft has been sending data, including pictures of the terrain of the Red planet to the ISRO, which are being received at Bangalore and being sent to Ahmedabad based Space Application Centre and Physical Research Laboratory for analysis.

    A senior ISRO official said, though the design of Mangalyaan is for a year i.e. next September, it will continue to orbit around Mars depending on the fuel left in it. India has become the first country in the world to succeed in such inter-planetary mission in the maiden attempt itself. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet but after several attempts. The Rs 450-crore Mars mission is also the cheapest inter-planetary mission embarked on by any country. 'TIME' magazine adjudged the MOM as one of the 25 innovations made in 2014 which will allow India to flex its interplanetary muscles.

    New non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer's early

    Researchers, including those of Indian origin, have developed a noninvasive method that can detect Alzheimer's disease in a living animal, well before typical symptoms appear.
    An interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers have developed a noninvasive MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) probe that pairs a magnetic nanostructure (MNS) with an antibody that seeks out the amyloid beta brain toxins responsible for onset of Alzheimer's disease.
    The accumulated toxins, because of the associated magnetic nanostructures, show up as dark areas in MRI scans of the brain.
    "We have a new brain imaging method that can detect the toxin that leads to Alzheimer's disease," said neuroscientist William L Klein who led the research team along with materials scientist Vinayak P Dravid.
    "Using MRI, we can see the toxins attached to neurons in the brain. We expect to use this tool to detect this disease early and to help identify drugs that can effectively eliminate the toxin and improve health," Klein said.

    The new MRI probe technology is detecting something different from conventional technology: toxic amyloid beta oligomers instead of plaques, which occur at a stage of Alzheimer's when therapeutic intervention would be very late.
    Amyloid beta oligomers now are widely believed to be the culprit in the onset of Alzheimer's disease and subsequent memory loss.
    In a diseased brain, the mobile amyloid beta oligomers attack the synapses of neurons, destroying memory and ultimately resulting in neuron death.
    As time progresses, the amyloid beta builds up and starts to stick together, forming the amyloid plaques that current probes target. Oligomers may appear more than a decade before plaques are detected.

    In animals with Alzheimer's, the toxins' presence can be seen clearly in the hippocampus in MRI scans of the brain. No dark areas, however, were seen in the hippocampus of the control group.
    Researchers Ruchi Sureka, Mrinmoy De, Shaleen Vasavada, Sreyesh Satpathy, Summer Wu, Hrushikesh Joshi and Pottumarthi Prasad also worked on the study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

    GSAT-16 rescheduled for launch

    India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 will be launched early on Saturday from Kourou in French Guiana after it was deferred due to inclement weather at the launch base, ISRO said on Friday.
    "Launch is rescheduled on early morning of Dec 06, at 02:09 hrs (IST) from French Guiana," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on its website.
    ISRO had last night announced that due to inclement weather, the launch of GSAT-16 onboard Ariane 5 VA221 which was scheduled for 02.08 am on Friday (IST) had been deferred to a later date.
    GSAT-16 is designed to augment the national space capacity in communication services.

    In the dual satellite mission, along with GSAT-16, DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, is also being launched.
    With lift-off mass of 3,181 kg, GSAT-16 is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by the ISRO so far.
    Facing capacity crunch, ISRO has leased 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of private TV broadcasters.
    The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
    GSAT-16, which would replace INSAT-3E, decommissioned prematurely in April, has a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years. It will be the 18th satellite to be launched by Arianespace for ISRO.

    NASA creates first 3D printed object in space

    This first print is the initial step towards providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth," said Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the ISS 3-D Printer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. "The space station is the only laboratory where we can fully test this technology in space," said Werkheiser.
    NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, Expedition 42 commander aboard the ISS, installed the printer on November 17 and conducted the first calibration test print. Based on the test print results, the ground control team sent commands to realign the printer and printed a second calibration test on November 20.
    These tests verified that the printer was ready for manufacturing operations. On November 24, ground controllers sent the printer the command to make the first printed part: a faceplate of the extruder's casing. This demonstrated that the printer can make replacement parts for itself, NASA said.

    The 3-D printer uses a process formally known as additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low-temperature plastic filament and extrude it one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine. Wilmore then removed the part from the printer and inspected it. Part adhesion on the tray was stronger than anticipated, which could mean layer bonding is different in microgravity, a question the team will investigate as future parts are printed.
    Wilmore installed a new print tray, and the ground team sent a command to fine-tune the printer alignment and printed a third calibration coupon. When Wilmore removes the calibration coupon, the ground team will be able to command the printer to make a second object. The results from this first print are contributing to a better understanding about the parameters to use when 3-D printing on the space station.
    "This is the first time we've ever used a 3-D printer in space, and we are learning, even from these initial operations," Werkheiser said. "As we print more parts we'll be able to learn whether some of the effects we are seeing are caused by microgravity or just part of the normal fine-tuning process for printing. When we get the parts back on Earth, we'll be able to do a more detailed analysis to find out how they compare to parts printed on Earth," said Werkheiser.

    Artists from 5 countries create art from industrial scrap

    Artists from five countries have come together at Vijayanagara in Karnataka for a three-week long residency to create artworks fashioned out of industrial scrap. At the residency 'Abhisaran', which began on November 10 and stretches to the end of the month, a total of 10 artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal are creating paintings, installations, video and sound.
    Artists make use of site-specific material like metal scrap, local pottery, local crafts and material at the residency, which is being supported by the JSW Foundation. Artist Baptiste Coelho attempts to "collect the psyche of a steel plant worker inside a jar."

    "Baptiste has been going around with his artistic process that is quite overwhelming," says Amit Jain, who has curated the event. Jain, a museum professional, says he conceived the event with Sangita jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation.
    The artists, he says, have been encouraged to visit nearby towns to create art pieces, which benefit the community at large. Visual artist Sheelasha Rajbhandhari, from Nepal has chosen to work with local banjaran women and her artwork touches upon issues of women's empowerment. Also Chinthaka Thenuwara from Sri Lanka, says Jain has created a massive 14 ft x 9 ft enclosure where everything has been fashioned out of found scrap.

    "Mahbubur Rahman from Bangladesh has created a video art, which is a monumental work. He placed it in the local market and got a lot of responses from the community," says Jain. At the end of the residency, says the curator, the artworks would be placed in communities in and around Vijaynagara. "The idea is to inspire artists to push their boundaries and create works that engage with the community and how they can communicate with general audiences," says Jain.

    'Govt likely to carry out expansion of FM radio'

    Government intends to carry out Phase III expansion of FM radio hopefully in the current financial year to rake in more revenue, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley said. The I and B ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are considering aspects related to this process, he said. "Some aspects are being considered between the I&B ministry and the regulator. And I'll like to see that happen quite early.
    "If I could have my way, it should be in this financial year because I now speak in both capacities. March 31, and some more revenue to the government has some relevance to me," said Jaitley. "Besides doing things expeditiously which is one good reason, I have an additional reason to do it fast. And I can't be more candid," he added apparently referring to the next budget.

    The minister was interacting with PTI journalists at the agency's headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday when he was asked about the status of the much-awaited proposed auction of Phase III expansion of FM Radio channels. Under phase III, more than 800 new FM radio channels are proposed to be allowed to come up in nearly 294 cities across the country. Asked about the proposal to allow broadcast of news on private FM radio stations, he said, "Let me consider this at length."

    He gave a similar reply when asked about justification for moves to allow broadcast of news on private FM stations based on what was being broadcast by AIR FM station bulletins which themselves were largely based on news provided by agencies like PTI. At the interaction, Jaitley was asked about his being given the unusual combination of Finance and I and B portfolios in the recent reshuffle. The minister, who held the I and B portfolio 15 years ago under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said it had come to him "as a bit of information, if not surprise".
    He dwelt at length about the change in the media scene ever since, including the explosion of television media and the advent of social media with technology. Jaitley said a lot of the role of the I and B ministry is about communication of the government, especially when important political decisions are taken or important political debates or controversies arise. "So they needed somebody to communicate on behalf of the government. So this probably would have weighed with the Prime Minister. May have weighed....I don't know," he said.
    Asked as to what is the Modi government's approach to media, whether it considers it as a necessary evil or a pillar of democracy, however, flawed, Jaitley, "I don't think evil or flawed is the correct word. "If newspapers do not come out for a day, like on a festival day, the average Indian feels lost in the morning. I don't think flawed or evil is the real word. I think it is an essential component in a democracy. It is an essential element in a democracy."

    He was asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent outreach to journalists in the capital and promise of more interactions. "In the first place, why was he (Modi) upset with the media," was the question to the minister. Jaitley replied he did not think 'upset' is the right word. As a party functionary, Modi had come to Delhi from Gujarat and in the late 90s, he used to deal with media everyday along with him.
    "He's had his own experiences with the media as everybody else has had. I think, he's also learnt that does media lay down the agenda and politicians respond to it or politicians lay down the agenda and media reports it," the minister said on Sunday. Asked what was the conclusion about Modi's choice, he quipped, "I think it's the second." To a question about what he thought about a proposal to expand the ambit of the Press Council of India (PCI) by including electronic channels and renaming it Media Council, he said, "I am not saying that Press Council hasn't functioned well. But the last several years have not really added....I would say, to the authority of the Press Council itself."
    On whether he was in favour of a proposal to turn PCI into a Media council, he said such drastic steps are taken only if there is a menace. "The system is working fairly well," he added. Speaking about public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, Jaitley said the news programmes of Doordarshan cannot afford to have "TRP centric shrillness", an apparent reference to the way programmes were being conducted in private channels.

    He, however, added that in his view, both the entertainment and news content of Doordarshan can find a quality response to the present situation. "The shrillness of the private news channels actually gives to the print media an opportunity to strike back. Because the volume of news is getting lost. That I have created this news today and therefore must build it over the next three days, that's policy of a private channel.
    "So conventional news, in which there will be forty news items....so why can't Prasar Bharati news channels go in and look for that space. After all what does the BBC do," the I&B minister said. He said that there is a space for Prasar Bharati to get back to that role and though it may have a lesser audience to start off, but it will be a niche audience.

    Microsoft drops Nokia brand from Lumia phone;eyes low-cost mkt

    Eyeing emerging markets for its affordable smartphones, Microsoft on Tuesday launched its first Lumia device without the iconic brand name of Nokia, acquired by the global technology giant for USD 7.2 billion.
    The first phone launched by Microsoft with its own brand name has been priced at 110 euro (about Rs 8,400).
    Incidentally, much before being taken over, Nokia had partnered with Microsoft in 2011 to launch its Lumia range of smartphones based on latter's Windows Phone operating system.
    Nokia had lost a considerable part of its market share to Samsung and Apple as it struggled to position itself among the fast changing needs of consumers. Affordable smartphones (sub Rs 10,000 category) from the stables of Asian handset makers like Huawei, ZTE, Micromax and Karbonn have been driving the growth in emerging markets of Asia and Africa.
    According to research firm Gartner, Microsoft (with mostly Lumia devices) had a 3.2 per cent share of the smartphone sales in 2013, up from 2.5 per cent in 2012. Android and iOS (Apple devices), on the other hand, had shares of 78.4 per cent and 15.6 per cent.
    Featuring the Microsoft logo, the Lumia 535 has a 5-inch display, 1.2GHz quadcore processor and 1GB RAM. Along with 8 GB internal storage and 15 GB of free One Drive storage, the device supports expansion up to 128 GB through microSD cards. It has a 5 MP front and 5 MP rear camera and 1,905 mAh battery.
    "The Lumia 535 3G Single SIM and Lumia 535 3G Dual SIM will be available in selected markets in November. Pricing for Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM will vary by market and operator, but is estimated to be around EUR 110 before taxes and subsidies," Microsoft said on its blog.
    Both the devices will come loaded with Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and the Lumia Denim update right out of the box, it added.

    Blue LED invention a painstaking effort of trio

    It was their painstaking efforts and not giving up easily that finally led to the invention of blue LED. Hiroshi Amano, 54, Isamu Akasaki, 85, & Shuji Nakamura had faced disappointments in several of their experiments. When Amano first succeeded after failing more than a thousand times, he was speechless.
    The Nobel committee honoured the three for their pioneering work on energy-efficient blue LED lights, which it said were a potent weapon against global warming and poverty.

    Red and green diodes had been around for a long time, but devising a blue LED was the Holy Grail that would allow the cheap and efficient production of white light - and achieving it took three long decades.

    The breakthrough came in the 1990s when the three researchers coaxed bright blue beams from semiconductors.
    LED lamps emit a bright light, last for tens of thousands of hours and use just a fraction of energy compared with the incandescent light bulb invented by Thomas Edison in the 19th century.
    The most advanced LED lamps now consume around five per cent of the electricity of regular light bulbs and their performance is improving constantly.
    Akasaki said he remembered the day Amano "dashed into" his laboratory. "He was the first student who showed interest in my study of a blue LED," Akasaki said.
    "I thought he was my type, a student who never gives up." LEDs are now also commonplace in computers, TVs, watches and mobile phone screens.

    India eyes Finland for tech cooperation to boost manufacturing

    With the new government keen on making the country a global manufacturing hub, India is seeking to engage with Finland, known for its knowledge-based economy and clean technology, official sources said on Monday ahead of President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to this key Nordic nation.
    "India views Finland as an important member of the European Union and a repository of modern technology and Finland sees in India a large market for its products and a favourable investment destination for its high technology industries," they said on the eve of Mukherjee's visit to Finland, the first by an Indian president in 26 years.
    "In Finland we also have a reliable trade partner, heavily industrialised in a very green way.
    We have USD 1.5 billion of trade and there are over 100 Finnish companies in India which are working here including in R&D," they said.
    India is one of the centres which hosts one of the five global centres of innovation run by Finland known as FinNode.
    The main focus areas of FinNode India are clean tech, education and learning, health care and wellbeing, and innovations to base-of-the-pyramid markets.
    A number of agreements covering education, energy, fishing and other sectors, both on government-to-government, business-to-business as well as institution-to-institution are expected to be signed during Mukherjee's three-day state visit beginning on Tuesday.
    "The prospects for the already active Indo-Finnish cooperation on science and technology look promising with increasingly diverse opportunities opening not only for the authorities but also for research organisations, technology companies and sponsors," Finnish officials said.
    Finland was a largely agrarian society up until World War II, when it transformed itself into a post-industrial society with a strong focus on education and research.
    Industrialisation began late but the process from primary production to labour and capital-intensive manufacturing and then to a knowledge-based economy has been rapid.
    Today Finland ranks among the most competitive economies in the world.
    The country is highly globalised and foreign trade forms an integral part of the business culture.
    In the 1990s, knowledge drove economic growth and transformation and in less than a decade Finland became an information and communications technology specialised economy.

    World's first water-based nuclear battery developed

    Researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used as a source of reliable energy in automobiles and space flight.
    The battery uses a radioactive isotope called strontium-90 that boosts electro-chemical energy in a water-based solution.
    A nano-structured titanium dioxide electrode (the common element found in sunscreens and UV blockers) with a platinum coating collects and effectively converts energy into electrons.
    "Betavoltaics, a battery technology that generates power from radiation, has been studied as an energy source since the 1950s," said Jae W. Kwon, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and nuclear engineering.
    Water acts as a buffer and surface plasmons (collective oscillation of the electrons) created in the device turned out to be very useful in increasing its efficiency.
    "The ionic solution is not easily frozen at very low temperatures and could work in a wide variety of applications including car batteries and, if packaged properly, perhaps spacecraft," Kwon noted.
    The research was published in the journal Nature.

    Guj FSL to tie-up with US-based firm for ballistic testing

    Gujarat Forensic Science Laboratory, which provides services to various companies for testing of armour panels and bullet-proof jackets, is likely to soon tie-up with a US-based firm to share best practices in the field of ballistic testing. The Gandhinagar-based FSL has it own ballistic testing centre where it tests products for Indian Army and now it is also providing this service to private defence companies and is also in touch with other companies to test their products.
    "We, here in Gujarat FSL, have conducted tests for US-headquartered company DuPont for their products like Kevlar and Tensylon which are being used as ballistic-proof jackets and ballistic-panels used in armoured vehicles," FSL's deputy director H P Sanghvi said. Upbeat by the experience with the FSL, DuPont is eyeing better ties with the local lab in the form of an 'agreement'. "We are in discussion for a mutual collaborative effort with FSL which would include sharing of knowledge and best practices in the field of ballistics testing.
    The nature of the agreement is not finalised yet," a senior official of the company said in an e-mail reply. Sanghvi also confirmed that an agreement with the private company is in the pipeline. To a query over US-based company selecting Gujarat FSL, the official said, "Testing at FSL Gandhinagar was done to validate the internal results and also offer third party independent reports to our customers." He said, "DuPont has its own ballistics range and R&D (research and development) team at DuPont Knowledge Centre in Hyderabad. We design the armour solutions, make prototypes and test them internally before offering to customers."
    On their association with the forensic lab, the official said, "Our experience with FSL Gujarat was very good. They have a good infrastructure in place backed by a competitive and responsive team. We tested soft armour panels and hard armour panels made of DuPont Kevlar XP and TensylonT."
    'Kevlar' is a ballistic fibre for the military soft body armour and is also used in products like bullet-proof jackets for military and police persons, as per DuPont's website. 'Tensylone' is an Ultra High Molecular Weight, High Performance Polyethylene Material (UHMWPE) that is being used in hard armour panels.
    "Tensylon is being used in theatre as a spall liner in more than 2,4000 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles. It is currently integrated in shield system solutions and body armour protection and has been successfully tested for use in maritime, aerospace and architectural armour applications," the website said regarding Tensylon.
    Elaborating further, the official said, "DuPont made Kevlar brand fibre is extensively used by military and police organisations across the world for making bullet resistant jackets and helmets." "DuPont has recently introduced Ultra High Modulus Polyethylene brand TensylonT for hard armour panels," he added.

  • Your smartphone may be recording your journey!

    A mapping device on your smartphone may be allowing it to track your every move, monitoring and recording each part of your journey, experts say. ell phones are now constantly hooked up to the internet via mobile signal and owners can be tracked to within inches of their actual location.
    For owners of an Android device or anyone who's signed up to Google Now, this detailed data is instantly beamed to their Google account, where it can be stored for months. These movements can now be viewed on a fully interactive location history map, 'Express.co.uk' reported. Once logged into a Google account, users simply click on a day, week or month and the map lights up with red dots and lines showing exactly where they have been. However, Google said that the service they provide is not compulsory and users can turn location services off.

  • New material that can twist light developed

    Scientists have found how to twist light at will - and the answer lies in a new material. The material shows extraordinary properties not typical of regular material and can lead to development of photonics, the faster, more compact and less carbon-hungry successor to electronics.
    A random find in the washing basket led the team to create the latest in a new breed of materials known as metamaterials. "Our material can put a twist into light - that is, rotate its polarisation - orders of magnitude more strongly than natural materials," said lead author Mingkai Liu, a PhD student at The Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE).
    "And we can switch the effect on and off directly with light," said Liu. Electronics is estimated to account for two per cent of the global carbon footprint, a figure which photonics has the potential to reduce significantly.
    Already light carried by fibre optics, has replaced electricity for carrying signals over long distances. The next step is to develop photonic analogues of electronic computer chips, by actively controlling the properties of light, such as its polarisation, researchers said. The ability of a material to rotate polarisation, as in this experiment, springs from the asymmetry of a molecule.
    However the remarkable properties of this artificial material might first be put to use in the budding photonics industry, suggests co-author Dr David Powell, also from RSPE. "It's another completely new tool in the toolbox for processing light," he said. "Thin slices of these materials can replace bulky collections of lenses and mirrors. This miniaturisation could lead to the creation of more compact opto-electronic devices, such as a light-based version of the electronic transistor," said Powell.
    The metamaterials are formed from a pattern of tiny metal shapes, dubbed meta-atoms. To obtain optical rotation Liu and his colleagues used pairs of C-shaped meta-atoms, one suspended above the other by a fine wire. When light is shined on to the pair of meta-atoms the top one rotates, making the system asymmetric.
    "The high responsiveness of the system comes because it is very easy to make something hanging rotate. The idea came to me when I found a piece of wire in my washing one day," said Liu. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

  • Emotional robot set for sale in Japan next year

    Tokyo: A cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son who says robots should be tender and make people smile.

    Son's mobile phone company Softbank said Thursday that the robot it has dubbed Pepper will go on sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900). Overseas sales plans are under consideration but undecided.
    The machine, which has no legs, but has gently gesticulating hands appeared on a stage in a Tokyo suburb, cooing and humming. It dramatically touched hands with Son in a Genesis or "E.T." moment.
    Son, who told the crowd that his longtime dream was to go into the personal robot business, said Pepper has been programmed to read the emotions of people around it by recognizing expressions and voice tones.
    "Our aim is to develop affectionate robots that can make people smile," he said.
    The 121 cm tall, 28 kg white Pepper, which has no hair but two large doll-like eyes and a flat-panel display stuck on its chest, was developed jointly with Aldebaran Robotics, which produces autonomous humanoid robots.
    Besides featuring the latest voice recognition, Pepper is loaded with more than a dozen sensors, including two touch sensors in its hands, three touch sensors on its head, and six laser sensors and three bumper sensors in its base.
    It also has two cameras and four microphones on its head and has Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking capabilities. Up close, it bears a resemblance to C-3PO in "Star Wars," especially in its clueless look.
    But a demonstration Friday at a Softbank retailer in Tokyo highlighted the robot's shortcomings as much as its charm.

  • Revolutionary solar plane makes inaugural flight

    A revolutionary solar-powered plane, that will try to fly around the world next year, has successfully made its inaugural test flight in Switzerland.

    The Solar Impulse 2 vehicle lifted off from Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland on Monday and returned two hours later.
    The single-seater aircraft, with which Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg are attempting to carry out the first solar-powered flight around the world in 2015, is the first able to fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions.
    For 2 hours and 17 minutes, professional test pilot Marcus Scherdel was able to trial the aircraft's performance in the skies.
    The initial results are in line with calculations and simulations. There will be several other flights taking place in the coming months in order for this experimental machine to attain certification.
    "This inaugural flight is an important stage - a step closer towards the round-the-world flight. It is also a huge emotional step for the entire team and all our partners who have worked on the aircraft," said Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder, CEO and pilot.
    "Si2 incorporates a vast amount of new technology to render it more efficient, reliable and in particular better adapted to long haul flights.It is the first aircraft which will have almost unlimited endurance," said Borschberg.
    The aircraft made of carbon fibre has a 72 meter wingspan, larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I, for a weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.
    The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors with renewable energy.
    During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.

  • Centre clears electronics projects for MP

    Bhopal: The Central Government has sanctioned Rs 88.65 crore electronics manufacturing projects in Badwai near Bhopal and Purva near Jabalpur. These projects will provide employment to over 17000 people. Cost of cluster project sanctioned for Badwai is Rs 48.34 crore. The Central Government’s share will be 50 per cent while 25 per cent each will be contributed by units to be established there and the state government through MPSIDC. For the project, 50 acre land has been allotted where world-level high-quality facilities of power, water, road and other infrastructure will be provided. The project will be operational within 2 years 3 months. Investment worth Rs 260 crore through units is expected in the clusters. In them, 3,000 people will get direct and 9000 indirect employment.
    Project cost of cluster project sanctioned for Purva is Rs 40.31 crore. Pattern of cost sharing for this project will also be the same as Badwai cluster. For the project, 40 acre land has been allotted where high-quality facilities will be provided. Investment worth Rs 110 crore through units is expected in the clusters. The project to be operational within 2 years 3 months is expected to provide direct employment to1365 people and indirect employment to 4095 people.
    Under electronics system design and manufacturing vertical, manufacturing units of laptops, tablets, set-top boxes, solar modules, LED lighting and medical electronics will be promoted in both projects. The projects have been brought under the purview of cluster development approach through which common facilities will be provided various electronics hardware manufacturing units.

  • Apple launches 8 GB iPhone 5c in India

    Finally, Apple has launched the 8GB version of its iPhone 5C in India for Rs 37,500, a move aimed at capturing a larger share of the burgeoning smartphone market in India. The new device will be available in the market over the next few days. The iPhone 5C, along with Apple's flagship iPhone 5S, was launched globally last October. The 8GB variant of the device was launched in the UK and France under partnerships with telecom operators O2 and SFR.
    Industry analysts suggest that steep pricing of its devices in India has been one of the reasons that Apple is still to figure among the top 3 players in the smartphone market, even though globally it ranks second to Samsung in terms of shipment.
    The iPhone 5S is selling the 16GB version for over Rs 46,000, while 32GB is retailing for over Rs 62,000. iPhone 5C, the colourful devices that Apple brought out for price sensitive markets like China and India, is selling for over Rs 37,000 (16GB) and more than Rs 53,000 for the 32GB version. In comparison, players like Motorola, Nokia and Intex have launched devices priced below Rs 12,000 in the country, which industry players feel is a Rs 28,000 crore opportunity.
    Apple iPhone 5C features 4-inch Retina display that is seen in iPhone 5 and has almost identical internals, including Apple's A6 chipset, an 8MP rear camera with flash and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. On the outside, it sports a polycarbonate shell with five colour options and a glossy finish. Previously, Apple had also introduced the 8GB variants of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in India.

  • Aliens could be discovered within 20 years

    Want to know if life exists beyond the Earth? You may have to just wait for 20 more years! Life may exist on at least half-a-dozen other worlds - besides the Earth - and it may just take us another two decades to discover it, according to scientists.

    Scientists are searching for life beyond Earth using three different methods, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer with the California-based SETI Institute, said during a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee.
    The first method involves the search for microbial extraterrestrials or their remains. Most efforts, so far, to find alien life have focused on Mars and potential life-bearing moons in the outer solar system, the 'Discovery News' reported.
    "At least a half-dozen other worlds (besides Earth) that might have life are in our solar system. The chances of finding it, I think, are good, and if that happens, it'll happen in the next 20 years, depending on the financing," Shostak said.
    A second scientific initiative scans the atmospheres of distant planets to search for telltale signs of oxygen or methane, which, on Earth, are mostly associated with life.

    Shostak said these investigations could likewise yield results in the next 20 years. The third method involves hunting for technologically advanced extraterrestrial life that is sending radio or other signals out into space, the report said.
    The idea behind the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, is to eavesdrop on signals that are deliberately or accidentally leaked from another world.
    "That makes sense because in fact even we, only 100 years after the invention of practical radio, already have the technology that would allow us to send bits of information across light years of distance to putative extraterrestrials," Shostak said.

  • No Indian varsity in top-10 of Asian ranking list; IIT-D at No.38

    No Indian university features among the top 10 varsities in Asia in the latest QS university rankings with IIT Delhi securing the best standing for an Indian institution at the 38th position on the list.

    In all, 10 Indian institutions have found a place in the rankings, which was released in New Delhi on Monday.
    The first copy of the rankings was presented to President Pranab Mukherjee by a delegation from QS, ICAA, British Council, FICCI and KPMG, who have partnered in the programme.
    The President had time and again regretted the presence of any Indian university on the global rankings list.
    After IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay came in at the 41st position while IIT Kanpur secured the 52nd spot on the list.
    National University of Singapore (NUS) topped the rankings for the first time, while Korea's KAIST rose from the sixth to second place. University of Hong Kong was at third place.
    As far as Indian institutes are concerned, IIT Madras was No.53, IIT Kharagpur No.60, IIT Roorkee at No.70 and IIT Guwahati at No.95.
    Compared to last year and barring IIT Delhi, all of these institutes have slipped in the rankings.
    Amongst traditional varsities, University of Delhi took the lead and placed at No.81, a slide of one spot from last year.
    It is ranked in the top 25 in Asia by employers and in the top 40 by academics, but is handicapped on some indicators due to its large size and low levels of international faculty and student exchange.
    Only the University of Calcutta ranks high in terms of students' exchange, coming second in Asia for outbound exchanges and 52nd for inbound ones.
    The report though mentions the growing interest in international rankings among Indian institutions.
    Updated on : 15-05-2014 09:31 AM

  • NASA scientists recreate space dust in the lab

    NASA scientists have recreated, right here on Earth, dust grains similar to those that form in the outer layers of dying stars.

    A team of researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, has successfully reproduced the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.
    Using a specialised facility, called the Cosmic Simulation Chamber (COSmIC) designed and built at Ames, scientists now are able to recreate and study in the laboratory, dust grains similar to the grains that form in the outer layers of dying stars.
    Scientists plan to use the dust to gather clues to better understand the composition and the evolution of the universe.
    Dust grains that form around dying stars and are ejected into the interstellar medium lead, after a life cycle spanning millions of years, to the formation of planets and are a key component of the universe's evolution.

    Scientists have found the materials that make up the building blocks of the universe are much more complicated than originally anticipated.
    "The harsh conditions of space are extremely difficult to reproduce in the laboratory, and have long hindered efforts to interpret and analyse observations from space," said Farid Salama, project leader and a space science researcher at Ames.
    "Using the COSmIC simulator we can now discover clues to questions about the composition and the evolution of the universe, both major objectives of NASA's space research programme," Salama said.
    The team started with small hydrocarbon molecules that it expanded in the cold jet spray in COSmIC and exposed to high energy in an electric discharge.
    They detected and characterised the large molecules that are formed in the gas phase from these precursor molecules with highly sensitive detectors, then collected the individual solid grains formed from these complex molecules and imaged them using Ames' Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).
    "During COSmIC experiments, we are able to form and detect nanoparticles on the order of 10 nm size, grains ranging from 100-500 nanometers and aggregates of grains up to 1.5 micrometres in diameter, about a tenth the width of a human hair, and observe their structure with SEM, thus sampling a large size distribution of the grains produced," said Ella Sciamma-O'Brien, of the BAER Institute and a research fellow at Ames.
    These results have important implications and ramifications not only for interstellar astrophysics, but also for planetary science, researchers said.
    For example, they can provide new clues on the type of grains present in the dust around stars.
    That in turn, will help us understand the formation of planets, including Earth-like planets.

    Updated on : 12-05-2014 02:36 PM

  • President dedicates India's own payment gateway 'RuPay'

    India on Thursday launched its own payment gateway 'RuPay', equivalent of Visa and Mastercard, which will work on ATMs and mechant outlets and help in reducing cash transactions.

    President Pranab Mukherjee unveiled the indigenous card at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
    Dedicating it to the nation, Mukherjee said India is one of the few countries in the world to have its own card payment gateway.
    The RuPay platform -- developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)-- is being used by certain banks like ICICI, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, among others, for clearing and settlement.
    RuPay, which works on three channels -- ATMs, Point of Sales (POS) and online sales, is the seventh such payment gateway in the world.
    A variant of pre-paid RuPay card would shortly be launched by IRCTC, which will help in booking railway tickets.
    RuPay will not only reduce dependence on cash, but will offer users diverse set of payment option within the country, Mukherjee said.
    NPCI Chairman Balachandran M said the NPCI board plans to take RuPay card overseas and is already in talks with Discover Financial Services in the US and JDC in Japan for partnership.
    Speaking on the occasion, Financial Services Secretary G S Sandhu said RuPay would be available at a cost which is much less than those of international cards.
    For clearing and settlement of each transactions, banks will have to pay 40 per cent lower fees in RuPay platform compared to other international platforms.
    The public sector banks have already installed 25,331 RuPay cards enabled ATMS and 9,000 more ATMs would be installed in the current fiscal, Sandhu said.
    The RuPay card is accepted at all ATMs (1.6 lakh plus), 95 per cent of PoS terminals (9.45 lakh plus) and most of the eCom merchants (about 10,000) in the country.

  • 73% Indians from big cities on FB despite being under age 13

    Notwithstanding the strict norms that prohibit children under age 13 years from opening an account on social networking site Facebook, a whopping 73 per cent kids aged between 8 and 13 from tier-I & tier-II cities in India are using the site, according to an Assocham survey.

    The trend is dangerous as it can make children vulnerable to cyber bullying and online sexual abuse, the survey said.
    "Minors lack the experience or judgement to use a social network and this raises the scary possibility of predators tracking down kids who reveal their age in an online chat, to cyber bullying and sexual abuse," Chairman of Assocham Health Committee B K Rao said.

    As per the survey findings, nearly 25 per cent kids aged 13 years, 22 per cent aged 11 and 15 per cent aged 10 are on Facebook, while 5 to 10 per cent kids aged 8 & 9 years are also active on the site.
    Terming the statistics as "sad and shocking", the survey found that majority of the parents help kids lie to get on Facebook, only to repent later as the kids become addicted to the social networking site.
    In fact, 75 per cent parents are aware of their child signing up for the site, and 82 per cent out of these parents helped create the child's account, it pointed out.
    The survey was conducted on 4,200 parents of children aged between 8 years and 13 years in major metropolitan cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Dehradun, among others.

  • 3D structure of malaria parasite genome generated

    For the first time, scientists have generated a 3D model of the human malaria parasite genome at three different stages in the parasite's life cycle, an advance that could help identify new anti-malaria drugs.
    A research team led by University of California, Riverside has generated the first such 3D architecture during the progression of the life cycle of a parasite.
    According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 207 million people were infected with malaria in 2012, leading to 627,000 deaths, researchers said.

    "Understanding the spatial organisation of chromosomes is essential to comprehend the regulation of gene expression in any eukaryotic cell," said Karine Le Roch, an associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience, who led the study.
    Her research team also found that those genes that need to be highly expressed in the malaria parasite - for example, genes involved in translation - tend to cluster in the same area of the cell nucleus.
    On the other hand genes that need to be tightly repressed - for example, those involved in virulence - are found elsewhere in the 3D structure in a "repression center." Virulence genes in the malaria parasite are a large family of genes that are responsible for the parasite's survival inside humans, researchers said.

    Le Roch's team found that these genes, all organised into one repression center in a distinct area in the nucleus, seem to drive the full genome organisation of the parasite. "We successfully mapped all physical interactions between genetic elements in the parasite nucleus," Le Roch said.
    Scientists used a 'chromosome conformation capture method,' followed by high throughput sequencing technology - a recently developed methodology to analyse the organisation of chromosomes in the natural state of the cell.
    They then used the maps of all physical interactions to generate a 3D model of the genome for each stage of the parasite life cycle analysed.

    To understand the biology of an organism or any cell type, scientists need to understand not only the information encoded in the genome sequence but also how the sequence is compacted and physically organised in each cell/tissue, and how changes in the 3D genome architecture can play a critical role in regulating gene expression, chromosome morphogenesis and genome stability.
    "If we understand how the malaria parasite genome is organised in the nucleus and which components control this organisation, we may be able to disrupt this architecture and disrupt, too, the parasite development," Le Roch said.

    "We know that the genome architecture is critical in regulating gene expression and, more important, in regulating genes that are critical for parasite virulence.
    Now we can more carefully search for components or drugs that can disrupt this organisation, helping in the identification of new anti-malaria strategies," said Le Roch. The study appears in the journal Genome Research.

  • Nano 'fingerprints' to make credit cards counterfeit-proof

    Scientists have developed invisible nano 'fingerprints' that could be embedded into money, gadgets and credit cards, making it impossible to counterfeit the objects. Unique patterns made from tiny, randomly scattered silver nanowires have been created in an attempt to authenticate goods and tackle the growing problem of counterfeiting.
    The nanoscale 'fingerprints' are made by randomly dumping 20 to 30 individual nanowires, each with an average length of 10 to 50 micro metre, onto a thin plastic film, and could be used to tag a variety of goods from electronics and drugs to credit cards and bank notes.
    According to the researchers, the fingerprints are almost impossible to replicate because of the natural randomness of their creation and the difficulty associated with manipulating such small materials.
    "It is nearly impossible to replicate the fingerprints due to the difficulty in trying to manipulate the tiny nanowires into a desired pattern," lead author of the research Professor Hyotcherl Ihee, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Institute for Basic Science (IBS), said.
    "The cost of generating such an identical counterfeit pattern would generally be much higher than the value of the typical product being protected," said Ihee.

    Researchers estimate that the fingerprints could be produced at a cost of less than USD 1 per single pattern, which was demonstrated in their study by synthesising a solution containing individual silver nanowires, coating the nanowires with silica, doping them with specific fluorescent dyes and then randomly dropping them onto a transferable film made from flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
    The fluorescent dyes allowed the patterns, which are invisible to the naked eye, to be visually identified and authenticated under an optical microscope and could add another layer of complexity to the 'fingerprints' if a number of different coloured dyes are used.

    The researchers believe the fingerprints could also be tagged with a unique ID, or barcode, which could facilitate a quick search in a database and ease the process of authentication or counterfeit identification.
    "Once a pattern is tagged and stored on a database using a unique ID, a certain substrate, whether this is a bank note or a credit card, could be authenticated almost immediately by observing the fluorescence images and comparing it with stored images," said Ihee.
    "These authentication processes can be automated by employing an algorithm that recognises the positions and colours of the silver nanowires and digitises that information in a database.
    "Such digitised information could significantly reduce the size of the stored data and reduce the time required for the authentication process," said Ihee. The research was published in the journal Nanotechnology.

  • ISRO set to launch its navigational sat IRNSS 1B on 4th April

    The Reserve Bank of India, inAs part of its aspirations to build a regional navigational system equivalent to Global Positioning System of the US, ISRO is set to send its second satellite from Sriharikota on Friday, which would help put in place the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System.
    The second of the seven planned satellites for the system, IRNSS 1B would be launched at 5.14 PM from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, where the countdown for the launch was presently proceeding smoothly, ISRO officials said.
    The 1,432 kg weighing satellite is being sent on board an XL version of ISRO's workhorse PSLV, as it was done during the IRNSS 1A launch. This is the sixth time, ISRO is using the XL version of the 44.4 metre-tall PSLV.
    IRNSS 1B has a mission life of 10 years from the date of launch. ISRO needs to launch at least four of the seven satellites to start the operations of the IRNSS. The national space agency already launched IRNSS 1A, its first satellite on 1st July last year and it is presently in orbit. Being developed by India, IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.
    IRNSS' applications include terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management. IRNSS is similar to US' Global Positioning System, Russia's Glonass and Europe's Galileo.
    China and Japan too have similar systems named Beidou and Japanese Quasi Zenith Satellite System respectively, ISRO officials said.

  • Journey of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella so far

    The Microsoft that Satya Nadella inherited was in a state of disarray. Steve Ballmer's tenure had been full of crazy leaps in profit and revenue but very little in the way of consumer-facing innovation.
    This strategy would suit a company like Oracle or IBM, which are solely based on the needs of the enterprise market, but for Microsoft it looks more like error than careful strategic judgement on the part of management. The task that Nadella has inherited is herculean and his success cannot possibly be fully gauged from his first 70 or so days on the job.
    However, signs are already emerging from Redmond about the type of leader Nadella is. His part of the main keynote at Microsoft's Build 2014 conference in San Francisco was delivered convincingly. But tellingly there wasn't much drama, something Ballmer was - of course - famous for.

    Nadella has reshuffled Microsoft's executive team, removing Mark Penn (the man responsible for the "Scroogled" ad campaign) and introducing Stephen Elop (a one-time contender for the CEO position at Microsoft) as the head of Microsoft's devices division. These moves are bold and can only usher Microsoft into interesting new places, for good or for bad.
    Under Nadella, the entire focus of Microsoft is likely to change. In an interview released by Microsoft moments after he was named CEO, Nadella pointed to Microsoft becoming a "mobile first, cloud first" company, investing in software such as Windows Azure and Office 365.

    "I would say the first thing I want to do and focus on is ruthlessly remove any obstacles that allow us to innovate. And then focus all that innovation on things that Microsoft can uniquely do," he said. The thing that Microsoft can "uniquely" offer is a selection of productivity apps unparalleled across the field and tie those apps in with their cloud services, which many enterprises rely on.

    Working on a dream
    Within just 52 days of his appointment as CEO, Nadella unveiled Office for iPad. The suite offers users the ability to view and present documents for free but requires an Office 365 account to edit and create them. The very fact Microsoft is now offering a meaningful Office experience on anything other than Microsoft-controlled environments shows just how different the company could become under Nadella.

    Office for iPad was reportedly developed two years ago before being killed by Ballmer. From this announcement we see Nadella's ideas about "mobile first, cloud first" are more than just smoke and mirrors as Microsoft scrambles to find something cling onto beyond enterprise; they represent a meaningful ideology that could propel Microsoft forward.

    Office for iPad Office for iPad proves that Microsoft is working towards being mobile first, cloud first Office for iPad achieved a top-ten ranking in the majority of countries it launched in with Word receiving over 400 reviews in its first few days. Apple promoted the suite on its front page, driving users to the app and showing just how happy it is to allow Microsoft's services onto iOS.
    In slightly more niche news, Microsoft has also introduced OneNote onto the Mac, showing even more clearly just how intent Nadella's company is on integrating with people other than itself. Microsoft is also rumoured to be building tablet-specific apps for their Surface products, and it's telling that they chose to prioritise iOS over Surface.
    As Casey Newton of The Verge described it after the Office for iPad event, Microsoft's future "lies in the intersection between work and play." This area is currently up for grabs and could prove vastly popular with both consumers and enterprise.

    Over one billion people around the world use Office, that's about one in seven people. To give them the same experience at home and on an iPad as they do on their desktop PC at work could be the seamless edge that Microsoft needs.

    Going forward, Nadella will need to make some bold and risky moves. Part of the problem of "old Microsoft" was that the company became risk-averse. While Google and Apple were risking billions of dollars on bets in smartphones, tablets and other areas,
    Microsoft was sticking to its guns, living in the glory days. That approach can no longer fly if Microsoft wants to be a driving force in today's "mobile first, cloud first" world.


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