thanks: Times of India
dedicated by: Kavignar Thanigai.
- The satellite was selected through a competition called ‘Cubes in Space’, jointly organised by NASA and ‘I Doodle Learning’
- This will be the first time an Indian student’s experiment – a 64 gm satellite – will be flown by NASA
The satellite, called KalamSat, will be launched by a NASA sounding rocket on June 21 from Wallops Island, a NASA facility. This will be the first time an Indian student’s experiment will be flown by NASA.
What can we say. This is something simply extraordinary. The Prime Minister of India should take notice of this boy’s intellectual ability and provide him all necessary support to continue his appeti…
Speaking to TOI from Pallapatti, Rifath said it will be a sub-orbital flight and post-launch, the mission span will be 240 minutes and the tiny satellite will operate for 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space. “The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fibre,” he explained. He said the satellite was selected through a competition called ‘Cubes in Space’, jointly organised by NASA and a organisation called ‘I Doodle Learning’.
The main challenge was to design an experiment to be flown to space which will fit into a four-metre cube weighing exactly 64 grams. “We did a lot of research on different cube satellites all over the world and found ours was the lightest,” he said. Rifath said the satellite is made mainly of reinforced carbon fibre polymer. “We obtained some of the components from abroad and some are indigenous,” he said.
The working of the human brain has always fascinated scientists. One of the questions concerning the brain is whether it works like a classical computer or not. University of Colorado researchers now seem to have an answer to this question. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of the U.S.,they have described experiments that show a similarity of the working of the human brain to computers. In a particular, our ability to make sense of known objects placed in unfamiliar contexts — recognising a familiar face in a new crowd, for example. The brain employs a system very similar to the “pointer” system used by computers – a pointer indicates to a computer in which location a piece of information is stored.
To perform the test,the team made up sentences in which known words are used in an unfamiliar way,not even necessarily used in a sensible way , and tested the brains ability to recognise them in this unfamiliar context.
For instance in the sentence “I am going to desk you”the noun “desk” is used as a verb; even though the sentence does not mean anything,we recognise word “desk” and that it is used as a verb here.
So it is clear that the brain processes sentences in terms of its parts. But the way it does this has not been understood so far.
The scientists in the University of Colorado, Trenton Kriete et al, show that the connections in the brain between the prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia perform the role of the pointers. The brain, however differs from a computer in the sense that while a computer can simply be programmed to use a pointer, this ability has to be learned by the brain.
Shubashree Desikan to The Hindu sep.26.13.
Dedicated by :KAVIGNAR THANIGAI.
“Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits.” Unknown
What is the meaning and origin of ‘go against the grain?’
This expression was in existence long before Shakespeare started writing his plays. According to scholars, however, it was the dramatist who popularised the use of the idiom. He first used it in his play Coriolanus. When you tell someone that he is ‘going against the grain’ you mean that he is doing the exact opposite of what he normally does. He is not doing what is expected of him.
*Swetha doesn’t like asking people for help, it goes against the grain.
*He is going against the grain by trying to be an honest politician.
According to one theory, the expression comes from the world of carpentry, . The fine lines that you find on a piece of wood are called ‘grain’. If you wish to smoothen wood,for best results,you are using ‘along’ the grain,and not ‘against’ it.
Why is a women sometimes referred to as ‘black widow?’
In the insect world, a black widow is a poisonous spider that usually consumes or eats its partner after mating with him. In the case if human beings, the term is frequently used to refer to a woman who murders her husband or her significant other. There is a term to refer to a man who murders his wife -bluebeard- . It is the name of a character from a literary folktale (LaBarbe Blue Bleue,). In the story , the villain is a vicious French aristocrat with an ugly blue beard. This individual is in the habit of killing the woman he marries.. When he marries for the seventh time,his new wife turns the tables on him – with the help of her family, she manages to kill him , Some believes that the story is based on the life of the French aristocrat Giles de Raise, a serial killer who made many women disappear.
When you call someone ‘calculating’ are you being complementary?
No, you are not ; you are not; you are being the exact opposite. When the word ‘calculating’ is used with an individual , it suggests that the person is devious or crafty. You are saying he is a scheming individual, always driven by self-interest.Most people disapprove of those who are calculating.
* I don’t like Nalini and suja both are cold and calculating.
thanks: Manoj Das,Cuttack,K.Sunitha.Bhopal,Dinesh Kumar, New Delhi and S.Upendran …sources from The Hindu.
Dedicated by : KAVIGNAR THANIGAI.
SCIENCE & TECH
Amino acids formed when steel balls impacted an ice mixtures.
A crash of a comet (icy body) on rocky surfaces or rocky body on icy surface may be all that is required for seeding planets or satellites with amino acids – the basic building blocks so very essential for life. This was predicated using computer simulations in 2010 and 2013.
Though comets harbour the organic precursors – some kind of carbon like methane or carbon dioxide, a nitrogen source like ammonia and water ice – of amino acids, the conversion of the precursors to amino acids would happen only if the impact has a specific speed, and hence , a specific shock pressure.
A study published a few days ago in Nature Geoscience has for the first time experimentally produced amino acids by mimicking the impact of a rocky body on an icy surface. “Our impact -shock experiments support a revival of the hypothesis of the role of comets in exogenous delivery to the early earth,” notes Zita Martins from the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering , Imperial College, London and the first author of the paper.
To mimic the way amino acids are produced by impacting comets, the researchers prepared several ice mixtures found on comets and shocked the mixtures by impacting them with 2 mm steel balls fired at high velocities. “Several amino acids, including linear and methyl alpha amino acids” were produced.
Detectable levels of amino acids were formed only when the ice contained a mixture of ammonium hydroxide, carbon dioxide and methanol in a certain ratio (9:1:8:1) and was impacted by steel balls at 7.15 kilometers per second and 7 kilometres per second speeds. These velocities produced a pressure of 50 gigapascal (500,000 bar).
This is the “approximate pressure required for the dissociation and recombination of the dissociation and recombination of the ice molecules,”
To make sure that it was only the impact of the steel balls that produced the amino acids, the researchers split a block of ice into two and only one was impacted with balls. No amino acids were seen in the control ice mixture that did not undergo shock synthesis. They also repeated the process a year later using freshly prepared ice mixtures with identical compositions as in the experiment carried out a year before.
The suite of amino acids produced was the same in both the ice mixtures impacted with steel balls. The only difference between the first experiment and the second was in the abundance of certain amino acids produced.
Since the alpha amino acid is produced by a two- step process, the initial composition of the ice – ammonia, carbon dioxide and methanol – is very important, they note. Another important, they observation has been the respective roles of impact shock and impact heating in the formation of alpha amino acids. They stress that impact shock (pressure) produced by the steel balls converts the ice mixture into amino acid precursors; the impact heating then changes the precursors into alpha amino acids.
“Our findings suggest a pathway for the synthetic production of the components of proteins within our Solar System, and thus a potential pathway towards life through icy impacts, . Since many of the icy bodies in the Solar System have the compounds used in this study, the probability of amino acids being present is quite high, considering that these bodies are bombarded comets.
Report of R.Prasad to The Hindu 19th sep.2013.
Dedicated by : Kavignar Thanigai
The UN Assembly has designated September 16 as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. Each one of us has the responsibility to do preserve it.
WHAT WE CAN DO
1. Reduce the use of vehicles as vehicular emissions are harmful to the ozone layer. Car pool, take the public transport, walk or cycle instead.
2. Use eco-friendly household cleaning products. Toxic chemicals in cleaning agents harm the ozone.
3. Encourage growth of plants in your house / neighbourhood.
4. Tell elders to keep the CFCs from the refrigerators and air-conditioners in check. If they’re being discarded, do so responsibly.
5. Create awareness by talking about this environmental issue with your friends, at school and at home.
Agreeing for a cause:
It was not a very good morning when one fine day scientists discovered an actual ozone hole. They knew stronger steps needed to be taken to protect the ozone layer. In 1987 an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol was made between 180 nations to stop making and using the ozone -depleting gases. If these countries keep their promise., the ozone layer will recover over time. Some scientists estimate that it will take about 50 years.
Ever heard of blanket protection? Imagine if all of us were covered uniformly, cosily drawn away from the harmful and powerful radiation around us. The ozone layer in the atmosphere is our very own warrior that protects earth from the sun’s powerful ultra violet radiation. However, over the last three decades this buffer is being bombarded by pollution and has resulted in the breaking down of this protective layer. Scientists have discovered that chemical compounds called CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), found in aerosol sprays and refrigerants are the main reason for the depletion of this protective shield.
The layer above above the Antarctic has been the most impacted, due to multiple factors. One is that the industralised nations in the northern hemisphere like the U.S. and those in Europe are responsible for having emitted a lot of CFCs into the atmosphere. The scale of the damage here has been measured to be as much as 65 per cent.
EFFECTS of depletion
The ozone depletion has led to a worldwide concern as the thinning down of this protective coal is allowing harmful ultra violet light to pass through, which in turn is impacting the environment and has led to many health hazards in humans. Some research also shows that further shrinking of the ozone layer will result in an increase in the number of cases of malaria, cataracts and other infectious disease.
The depletion of the layer impacts the lifestyle of plants, leading to a disruption in the food chain. Animals and water bodies are also affected.
Even the most basic microscopic organisms such as plankton may die out. And this only means that all other animals that are above plankton in the food chain will be wiped out in time ,along with other ecosystems such as forests and deserts.
With every one per cent depletion of the ozone layer an additional two per cent of the ultraviolet rays can reach the surface of the planet. Governments across the world are taking proactive steps to make sure we don’t wipe away the ozone layer entirely and to prevent earth from becoming a barren land with just traces of life in it. If proper steps are not taken, the southern hemisphere could be in grave danger as an additional 20 per cent depletion could result in natural calamities like tornadoes and tsunamis.
Archana Subramanian Reported to Young World sep.17 2013.
DEDICATED BY:-KAVIGNAR THANIGAI.
Voyager 1 leaves Solar System.
Around August 25, 2012 ,over 19 billion km from the Sun, the Voyager 1 Space probe became the first human -made object to cross out of the Solar System and into interstellar space.
Voyager 1, a testament to durable engineering, was launched by NASA in 1977 alongside its identical sister probe Voyager 2 to study the outer Solar System and the intersteller medium – what ever occupies the gigantic chasms between stars in the universe.
The event was confirmed to have happened by a report published in the journal Science on September 12. It included an analysis, of the data, beamed back by the probe, by scientists from the University of Iowa among others.
Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980, concluding its primary mission. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two planets and their moons. In 1990 , 9.6 billion km from Earth, it turned around and photographed the entire Solar System.
Ever since, it has been drifting toward its edge at some 17km/s surrounded by a hot ‘sea’ of charged particles called plasma. To detect the crossover, which isn’t at an exact boundary, scientists were looking for some telltale signs: the plasma’s density would increase, its temperature decrease, and the direction of the surrounding magnetic field would change.
A report published in the Science on September 12 confirmed that these changes in Voyager 1’s environs had kicked in around August 2012, meaning the probe has been in the interstellar medium for the last year.
“It ‘s like the first time a satellite [Sputnik] went beyond the Earth’s atmosphere to an altitude of some 600 miles; Voyager is now leaving the solar bubble at an altitude of 11.3 billion miles. It;’s another historic milestone”, announced Stamatios Krimigis, principal investigator for Voyager’s Low Energy Charged Particle (LECP) experiment, in a NASA statement.
Since the probe doesn’t have a plasma sensor that can take readings continuously, scientists looked at the magnetic field direction,. It hadn’t changed for a long time even though, by 2011, the intensity of particles originating from within the Solar System had begun to drop off.
Then, on March 2012, the Sun released a massive burst of charged particles into the Solar System, called a coronal mass ejection. When this wave of particles reached the plasma around Voyager in April this year, it set off disturbances in the medium that set off Voyanger’s sensors.
“We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw these [disturbances],” said Don Gurnett, who led the analysis efforts from the University of Iowa, in the statement. This providential gift from the Sun exposed the plasma around Voyager to be much denser and cooler than what was found inside the Solar System, confirming the probe’s crossover into the interstellar medium.
The probe is now just beyond the heliosphere, an imagined bubble of space beyond whose borders the Sun doesn’t have a dominating influence.
Scientists from NASA’s jet Propulsion Lab, which built and now operates the probe, expect the particle science instruments on board Voyager 1 to continue to send radio signals home until 2020. These signals will be the first of their kind for the voyager has gone where no human-made machine has gone before.