Geoscientist finds beavers play a role in climate change

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further North American beaver (Castor canadensis) Credit: Wikipedia. © 2013 Beavers: Dam good for songbirds More information: Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/grl.50710center_img Most people are aware that beavers build dams. They’re responsible for river and stream blockage across many parts of North America. What has not been known, until now, is what sort of impact beaver dams and their backed up water have on carbon sequestering.Carbon of course, exists in the wood of trees. When trees die and decompose, that carbon is released into the atmosphere. But what happens when the wood of a dead tree becomes submerged beneath the water of a dam built by a beaver? That’s what Wohl set out to learn.In a field study in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, Wohl took samples from areas known as beaver meadows—the land that has become submerged or wet due to dams backing up flowing rivers or streams. She collected 29 sediment samples from the wet areas around 27 streams in the park. Upon analysis, the sediment turned out to be harboring 12 percent carbon by weight. This was in stark contrast to sediment samples she and colleagues collected last year in beaver meadows where the dams had been abandoned allowing the land to dry. There the samples revealed carbon content of just 3.3 percent. Wood buried beneath water and sediment decays more slowly than wood left on dry land. Thus, by building dams, beavers cause the carbon in the wood to be sequestered—at least until they abandon the dam and allow the water behind it to dry up.Wohl’s data suggests that if all the beaver meadow land now dried due to abandoned dams were still wet, the amount of additional carbon sequestered would add up to 2.7 million metric tons. Much of that carbon was released in the years shortly after the North American continent was colonized—trappers significantly reduced the population of beavers leaving millions of dams abandoned.Carbon sequestered by beaver dams hardly registers on a global scale of course—almost ten billion tons of it is added to the atmosphere worldwide each year. Nonetheless, Wohl’s study shows that at least some of those emissions can come from some surprising places. Ellen Wohl, a geology professor at Colorado State University, has published a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, describing the role beavers play in climate change. In a field study she undertook, she found that carbon is sequestered when beavers build dams and is released after the beavers abandon the dams they’ve built. Journal information: Geophysical Research Letters Citation: Geoscientist finds beavers play a role in climate change (2013, July 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

XPRIZE announces Global Learning XPRIZE—15 million competition to disrupt education

first_img More information: … Explore further ( —XPRIZE chairman Peter Diamandis has announced the launch of a new competition—this time to disrupt education so that children living everywhere, including impoverished countries, can use technology to teach themselves basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. Those interested in competing will have a six month registration period, followed by an 18 month development phase. Five of the top entries will receive $1 million to further develop and test their idea (in cooperation with children in 100 African villages), with the eventual winner receiving $10 million. Citation: XPRIZE announces Global Learning XPRIZE—$15 million competition to disrupt education (2014, September 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Tricorder XPRIZE: 10 teams advance in global competition to develop consumer-focused diagnostic devicecenter_img Officially called Global Learning XPRIZE—Empowering Young Minds Everywhere, the new competition follows others run by the organization which have not only made news, but have contributed to the advancement of science and technology (private spacecraft development, renewable energy, Star Trek tricorder, etc.) and sometimes the betterment of our planet (cleaning up the oceans). Funding comes from donations and its Board of Trustees is made up of movers and shakers from all walks of life.The new competition is meant to attract the attention of educators, technologists or anyone with a good idea, to hopefully come up with a new way to help kids that can’t get a basic education the traditional way, i.e. by sitting in classrooms. Competitors are challenged to come up with a way to employ self-teaching techniques on smartphones and tablet computers—the team at XPRIZE, Diamandis told reporters, believes that trying to get kids living in remote villages or other impoverished places to attend classes is not realistic—the problem is too big. That’s why a new approach is needed, one where the kids (and their family) are able to take charge of their own basic education. All they’ll need is a tablet computer and access to the Internet (the educational system will be open access). The software should be able to take it from there, offering children a system that is easy to use without the need for any prior training. Children should be able to teach themselves how the alphabet works, and then how to read, and they should be able to do the same with basic math principles. That’s the whole idea. Beyond that, presumably contestants are free to add other features, such as a way to share learning with friends or family, if they deem it helpful.Diamandis also said that he and those at XPRIZE would like to see the technology work on every phone and tablet in the world, revolutionizing the way people are educated in the future and making it more democratic in the process. © 2014 Tech Xplore This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Research provides insights into molecular gas in the massive spiral galaxy NGC

first_img © 2019 Science X Network Explore further SDSS r-band image of the central 4′ × 4′ region of NGC 5908. The circles are the location of the IRAM 30m beams with the size indicating the beam size at 12CO J = 1−0 band. The black solid circles have twice the exposure time as the white solid ones. The two dashed circles (“8” and “9”) are taken in the 2018B semester, with “9” has an exposure time comparable to the black solid circles while “8” has much shorter exposure time. Most of the observations are along the dustlane, except for position “8” which is on the galactic center and slightly offset from the dustlane. The scale bar has a length of 20 kpc assuming a distance of d = 51.9 Mpc. Image credit: Li et al., 2019. Citation: Research provides insights into molecular gas in the massive spiral galaxy NGC 5908 (2019, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Massive spiral galaxies, with stellar masses few times greater than that of the Milky Way, often have relatively low star formation rates (SFRs), even lower than that of our home galaxy. This baffles astronomers, as it is impossible for these galaxies to build up such huge stellar mass with just continuous star formation at this SFR. Hence, some other mechanisms that influence galactic evolution are likely taking place in massive spiral galaxies.In order to gain more insights on this topic, further research on overall content and spatial distribution of molecular gas in galaxies of this type are required. Such studies could disclose how molecular gas builds up the stellar content of these massive objects.With that aim in mind, a team of astronomers led by Jiang-Tao Li of University of Michigan, used the IRAM 30m millimeter radio telescope, located in Spain, to conduct observations of molecular lines of carbon monoxide and its isotopologues from NGC 5908. The target of the observational campaign, carried out under the Circum-Galactic Medium of MASsive Spirals (CGM-MASS) project, is a highly inclined massive spiral galaxy about 170 million light years away from the Earth, with a stellar mass of around 256 billion solar masses and SFR of approximately 3.81 solar masses per year.”In this paper, we focus on the initial results from the IRAM 30m observations of NGC 5908, which has the highest-quality data and is the nearest galaxy in the CGM-MASS sample,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.The study found that the total mass of molecular gas in NGC 5908 is about 8.3 billion solar masses, while with the addition of atomic hydrogen, the total cool gas mass is at a level of 13 billion solar masses, which makes it one of the most massive isolated spiral galaxies. However, although these results confirm that the cool gas in NGC 5908 makes a significant contribution to the galaxy’s gas budget, it is still far from sufficient to account for the galaxy’s expected total baryon mass of around 2 trillion solar masses.The observations also revealed that NGC 5908 has a dark matter halo with the mass of approximately 10 trillion solar masses. This, together with other results, indicates that NGC 5908 is one of the most massive spiral galaxies yet known in the local universe, and suggest that it evolved largely in isolation.Furthermore, the researchers found that one of the studied molecular lines and the estimated gas temperature indicate a relatively weak star formation in NGC 5908. The results also suggest that radiative cooling of the hot circum-galactic medium (CGM) or any other external gas supplies are probably insufficient to compensate the gas consumed in star formation.Therefore, analyzing all the results of IRAS observations, the researchers concluded that NGC 5908 is probably now at an early stage after the starburst, with plenty of leftover cool gas. “Since there is no signature of recent triggering of star formation (such as galaxy merger, gas transfer, or enhanced cooling of the CGM etc.), we conclude that NGC 5908 is not completely quiescent, and it may be in the early stage after the previous starburst, before the star formation is completely extinguished and the ejected gas cools and falls back to the galaxy,” the astronomers wrote. More information: Jiang-Tao Li et al. Molecular Gas of the Most Massive Spiral Galaxies I: a Case Study of NGC 5908. arXiv:1904.05413 [astro-ph.GA]. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Astronomers study star formation and gas flows in the galaxy NGC 1365 In a recently published research, which is part of a broader observational campaign focused on studying massive spiral galaxies, astronomers have investigated molecular lines of carbon monoxide and its isotopologues in NGC 5908. The study, detailed in a paper published April 10 on, sheds more light on properties of molecular gas in this galaxy, what could be helpful to better understand the evolution of such massive objects.last_img read more

Russian website reportedly selling science article authorships

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain Citation: Russian website reportedly selling science article authorships (2019, July 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Scientists call on funders to make research freely available immediately Explore further © 2019 Science X Networkcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The name of the entity accused of selling authorships is International Publisher—translations made by Science Chronicle suggest the group behind the site is selling authorships on finished articles listed in Scopus—and also some listed by Web of Science. There are apparently authorship guarantees and tiered pricing.The website also reportedly has listings for 344 articles that are currently ready for publication for which interested parties can purchase first, second, third or lower authorships. Science Chronicle notes that 73 of the papers are to be published in India-based journals, 54 based in Venezuela, 48 in the U.S., 33 in Russia and 28 in Pakistan—the names of the journals are not given. They also note that the site claims that all of the papers have already been approved for publication, though they do not name them or the original authors.Science Chronicle spoke with the Web of Science group’s external communications director, Amy Bourke-Waite, about the site in Russia, and say she believes that the website is dealing in authorships on real papers. She reportedly also told them that they are continuing to investigate the site and the group behind it.Meanwhile, the team at retractionwatch is reporting that they have found evidence of 10,000 researchers paying to have their names added to over 2000 published articles they played no role in creating. They further claim that they have found evidence of paper authorships being sold for as much as $500 for first authorship. They also claim to have received ideas on how the website works from Web of Science Editor in Chief Nandita Quaderi—junior level people working for a publisher are called with requests by a “professor” claiming to have forgotten to include a certain co-author. Because such papers have already been accepted for publication, names can be added after editorial review. Several websites are reporting that a Russian website is selling authorships for research papers being published in several journals. Sites making such claims include and Science Chronicle—they are further claiming that the Web of Science group Clarivate Analytics has been investigating the Russian-based website—called—and has found evidence that the group behind the site is selling authorships on research papers that are set for publication in scientific journals.last_img read more

Facebook finally wants to help humans build meaningful connections

first_imgAfter 15 years of homage to the idea that more connection is always better, Facebook seems to be waking up to the reality that quality matters and humans are not designed to be hyper-connected. “Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks,” he wrote, suggesting of course that we have been very much not-ourselves for the past 15 years. “Humans need others to survive,” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. “Regardless of one’s sex, country, or culture of origin, or age or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival.” Her research found that being disconnected posed comparable danger to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and was more predictive of early death than the effects of air pollution or physical inactivity. Read the whole story: Quartz On Wednesday (March 6) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a post outlining Facebook’s latest pivot, away from the town square model of very publicly sharing videos, pictures, and status updates with everyone, to something more akin to your living room. The question is whether trying to connect people in more intimate settings can promote actual social connection, which appears to be fraying in contemporary culture. Connecting is a biological imperative, honed over millions of years to protect us from being eaten by lions, but also to help us thrive as humans. Indeed, the absence of social connection can lead to profound loneliness, which is on the rise and deemed a public health threat by some countries. Facebook has just done an about-face. After turning the world into one big, aggressive, competitive, depressing, hyper-connected community that shares tons of information nobody needs to know about their personal lives, the social network is now emphasizing privacy.last_img read more

Naked And Unafraid 6 Wild Facts About Naked M

first_img Gregory G Dimijian Naked And Unafraid: 6 Wild Facts About Naked Mole Rats by NPR News Pien Huang 8.21.19 2:03pm Naked mole rats don’t look like they’d be one of nature’s superstars. They’re about the size and shape of small sweet potatoes. These rodents are native to the grasslands of East Africa, and are mostly hairless, wrinkled, and blind. And yet, they’ve evolved some special behaviors and features that help them thrive in harsh environments in which other mammals (humans included) would wither.Kenton Kerns, assistant curator of small mammals at The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC, says visitors often scurry past their naked mole rat exhibit in disgust. “I always feel like, ‘No, come back! Let us tell you what you’re running away from,’ ” he says.When they were new to science, in the 1970’s, researchers studied them for their unusual behavior and social structure. In the past two decades or so, scientists have been looking into their super survival traits — long life spans and apparent lack of aging — for lessons on how humans can stay healthy and live longer.And for some of us — they’re just one of nature’s most delightful, weird wonders. Here’s a primer on what makes them so amazing:It’s just one big naked mole rat colony.They’re eusocial, which means they live all crowded together underground, in a colony, like bees or ants, with a queen who has babies and a bunch of workers who do everything else — tend to the nursery, dig out new tunnels, find new tubers to eat, and guard the den.”If you think about being the size of a cocktail hot dog, and everyone out there on the African plains wants a snack, it’s not an easy life,” says Stan Braude, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis who studies naked mole rats in the wild. Living in groups, he says, allows them to divide up the labor of staying safe, finding enough food, and birthing and raising baby mole rats.Does your skin hang low? Yes, if you’re a naked mole rat.Naked mole rats have physical traits that seem uniquely suited to their environments.Their skin hangs wrinkly and loose on their bodies — it snags like a sweater, but doesn’t tear, on pebbles and other hindrances in their underground tunnels.It’s consistently hot and humid in those tunnels — generally about 90 degrees F, with up to 70% humidity. Naked mole rats are cold-blooded, which saves them the trouble (and energy) of thermoregulating.They chew like a beaver. A quarter of their muscle mass resides in their jaws, and their lips close behind their teeth, so they don’t get mouthfuls of soil while digging. They use their two front teeth to burrow underground in the East African grasslands, through hard-packed dirt. They have even been known to chew through concrete with their teeth-shovels.They’re icons of resilience.They don’t drink water, and can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen with no apparent brain damage. They don’t feel pain from injury and inflammation.”It just seems like now, they do everything,” says Eileen Lacey, biology professor and curator of mammals at the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers are studying the biology and physiology of naked mole rats, in hopes of finding new treatments that could help humans lessen pain, prevent cancer, and live longer. They’re just gonna live forever.Or it seems like that, to other rodents. Naked mole rats are the longest-living rodents we know of. While mice and rats live for a maximum of four to five years, some naked mole rats are over 30 years old and going strong.They also don’t seem to exhibit the typical mammalian signs of aging. The queen can have babies throughout her life. And while they do slow down as they get older, they appear to be resistant to aging-related diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s (Scientists caution that we haven’t been studying them long enough to know the natural end to their lifespan). Day and night? It’s all the same.The National Zoo and the Pacific Science Center have live 24-hour feeds of their naked mole rat exhibits. They’re active around the clock, so you can catch them eating, napping, doing their business, moving piles of shavings, and generally hanging out anytime. They’re here for you, when you’re ready to give them a second look.Pien Huang is NPR’s Reflect America Fellow. She fell in love with naked mole rats on first sight at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

Beyond the picture postcards

first_imgBattling the scorching summers of Delhi, pigeons take refuge where once cannons struck Kashmiri Gate. 11 May 1857: the saga of Mangal Pandey, the followed up Sepoy Mutiny, the first war of Indian independence, and the post war catastrophic fall of the Mughal era; the date stands for a tumultuous epoch in the history of Indian independence. The carousel of life oscillates between time, bringing back the memories of 1857 and its imprints on Delhi post 156 years. It was in the sweltering heat of May that the sepoys blitzkrieg-‘ed’ into  the walled city of Shahjahanabad to strengthen Mughal power under Bahadurshah Zafar and overthrow Britishers. Roused by the incident of animal fat on cartridges, they marched to topple British power in Delhi. The remnants of Shahjahanabad’s walls, the confines of Kashmiri gate, the shrouded telegraph memorial, and the garden of Qudsia beckon you into history.Saddle up your horses to gallop into the lanes of Kashmiri gate and witness some of its vignettes this May. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Kashmiri Gate Swerving through the lanes of Old Delhi, his school bus travelled from Ludlaw castle, passing by Qudsia Bagh, through the then open gates of Kashmiri gate back in 1954, revels the 63 year old Chartered Accountant, Suresh Malik. The gate is now confined, literally, to the four walls under the Archaeological survey of India.Leading to the road to Kashmir, walled city’s northern gate was built by Shahjahan in 1638 AD. Withering through the onslaught of 1857, it came under the downpour of cannon balls; marks still visible in the holed up façade taken over by the pigeons to rest in peace now. A plaque inside the monument entails the story of 1857; how the mutineers assembled and strategized here, and how on the morning of 14 September, 1857 the left bridge and the right leaf of the gate were bombarded by British forces, gradually marking the end of the siege in Delhi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSt. James ChurchOne of the oldest churches of Delhi lies a stone’s throw away from Kashmiri gate. The copper ball and the cross atop its dome bore the scathing attack from sepoys in 1857. The marks may not be visible as the replicas took over but the magnificence of British era emanates through its grandeur. Telegraph Memorial and the magazineShrouded by trees stands Telegraph Memorial: the site from where the revolt was signaled off to Ambala before the officers on duty evacuated their cabin in fear. The magazine next to it was blasted by the Britishers  in fear of loss of weaponry to the mutineers. Interestingly one plaque  calls the mutineers as rebels and the other below bestows an honor of ‘patriots’ to the sepoys  Nicholson CemeteryLike Pere Lechaise in Paris, it doesnt have violonists but it  still conjures up lives of people in 19th century. Walk through its carved tombs, read through its epitaphs; the moss grown gravestones turn into expression of poetry in mourning;, offering a peaceful experience dedicated to the British Brigadier General John Nicholson who was mortally wounded in 1857.   Qudsia BaghA wisp of elegance en-wraps it. Once Yamuna ran through its sides, breezing in air through its corridors. Though the river changed its course, the garden still dots with men playing cards, laborers  catching up noon’s nap, and tired travelers. A mosque, a gateway and some domes carved in diamond cut style, is what remains of the sprawling palace of Qudsia, made by Mohammad Shah Rangeela in honor of his begum.  The palace bore the brunt of the British forces during the seige of 1857. Perhaps, one can take down bricks and mortar, but the signature of splendor stays on.last_img read more

Weaving in winter

first_imgDastkar, in partnership with Delhi Tourism, presents the winter season handloom textiles special the Dastakar Winter Weaves 2013. This exhibition brings together the best of the diverse and rich regional handloom weaving and embroidery traditions from across the States of India. The focus of the exhibition is on seasonal Silks and Wools in a wide range of sarees, dupattas, running fabric, shawls, knits and made-up garments. Tussar silks will come from Chhattisgarh and Bihar, as well as tussar and  wools from Uttrakhand where the silk worms are raised in groves of Himalayan walnut trees.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Single and double weave ikat silks will be present in both the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh traditions. Banarasi brocades will gleam in winter sunshine and the tiny dotted designs of finely worked bandhini silks will amaze the eye. Light and multi-hued Maheshwari cotton-silks will be available too.Lovely kullu and kinnauri wool shawls from Himachal Pradesh will be showcased alongside the colourful Kutch shawls and stoles of the expert Vankar weaver community. Khadi handlooms, organic wools from Uttrakhand and patchwork quilts and bags will be available, as well as knitted sweaters, capes, gloves and socks.Authentic quality pashmina in both traditional and innovative modern designs will come from Kashmir and the famed Changthang plateau of Ladakh. Kashmiri, Kutchchi and kantha embroidered textiles and accessories will be present as well as dhurries from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, along with the revived namda felt rug tradition from Kashmir.last_img read more

Fresh cyclonic circulation to bring in thundershowers MeT

first_imgKolkata: Kolkatans as well as those residing in the South Bengal districts may witness thundershowers for the next few days starting on Thursday as a fresh cyclonic circulation has formed in the north-east of Jharkhand. The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore on Wednesday predicted that cyclonic circulation is moving towards the Gangetic West Bengal ushering in some more rain in some of the South Bengal districts in the next few days. It may be mentioned that last Saturday and Sunday, several parts of South Bengal including the city witnessed thunderstorms accompanied with rain. This brought down the temperature by a few notches. It again started soaring in the city from Tuesday. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAccording to the latest weather office prediction, the temperature may again go down from Thursday due to the thunderstorm. Some of the South Bengal districts may also witness hailstorm, the MeT office predicted. It was learnt that a strong wind will be sweeping through various parts of the districts like Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda in North Bengal and East Burdwan, West Burdwan, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, Murshidabad, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram and Birbhum in the southern parts. There is also a prediction of thundershowers in many of these districts. A senior official of the Alipore MeT office said that strong winds may be blowing in South Bengal in the next few days which will bring the temperature further down giving a relief from the hot and humid conditions.last_img read more

Over 200 BJP workers switch over to Trinamool in S Dinajpur

first_imgBalurghat: Ahead of the rural polls in Bengal, district general secretary of BJP’s South Dinajpur unit Uttam Dutta, along with 200 of his followers, joined Trinamool Congress. They attended a programme at Tapan School on Tuesday evening, where the chairman of Gangarampur civic body and Trinamool leader Prasanta Mitra handed over the Trinamool flag to Dutta and his followers. Dutta was the former secretary of BJP’s state committee’s farmers cell (Kishan Morcha). “I was in the wrong party, which stressed division and polarisation of people instead of development. I have joined Trinamool Congress as it is a party that works for development, beyond the lines of religion. Also, Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee always backs farmers for their overall development, which has also inspired me to shift,” he said. Dutta had distanced himself from the party’s activities for the past six months and did not attend meetings of the cell. A rumour broke out some days ago that Dutta is likely to join the ruling party. He had also expressed his desire to join Trinamool then. Dutta, who worked for the development of local farmers in Tapan block, is very popular in the region. Some other workers from different political parties including BJP, Congress and Left Front might join Trinamool soon.last_img read more

Trying natural ways for pearly whites Research first

first_imgUchenna Okoye, clinical director at London Smiling Dental Group, doles out guidelines, reports Mash up a ripe strawberry, dip your toothbrush in it and brush carefully over teeth. Within two weeks, your teeth will be whiter.Dentist’s Verdict: True. Strawberries contain citric acid, which can weaken the surface hardness of your teeth. But it also contains the more gentle malic acid, and the riper the strawberry becomes, the higher the concentration of malic acid compared to the more harmful citric acid. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’So choose a really ripe strawberry, rub it on your teeth and just like exfoliating the skin, it does remove superficial debris. The malic acid won’t actually break down the stain molecules, but the surface clean gives your teeth a whiter appearance. A gentle and effective natural whitener.Turmeric powder Claim: Mix half a teaspoon of dried turmeric powder with a few drops of water and stir to create a thick paste. Dip your toothbrush in (it will be stained yellow) and clean teeth. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe usual cleaning time of two to three minutes is doubled, because of the time it takes to rinse the yellow from your teeth and gums. The abrasive qualities of the bright yellow spice (derived from a root) will clean your teeth.Verdict: False. This is a recipe for disaster. The rule in dentistry is that anything that will stain a white shirt will stain your teeth. All spices stain teeth but yellow spices are the worst. Far from whitening your teeth, using turmeric will make them even more discoloured. Banana peelClaim: High levels of potassium, magnesium and manganese in bananas can help remove stains from teeth. Simply peel a ripe banana, and rub your teeth with the insides of the peel for about two minutes. After three weeks, your teeth will have whitened.Verdict: True. If you rub the skin it can act as a gentle exfoliator and will remove some surface stains, but the banana will not reach inside the pores on the surface of your enamel – so no true ‘deep’ clean will take place.Cider Vinegar Claim: Rinsing with apple cider vinegar (mixed two parts of water) will make teeth whiter and protect teeth and gums from bacteria.Verdict: False. Cider vinegar is a favourite of ‘detox’ devotees. Once swallowed, it mixes with pancreatic secretions in the intestines and turns alkaline, but when it hits your teeth, it is an acid, albeit a weak one. This makes the enamel on your teeth less resistant to damage – like wetting a chalk and then scraping off the surface.Coconut oil Claim: A 3,000-year-old Ayurvedic way to clean teeth is to swish a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut, sesame or olive oil) around your mouth for 20 minutes every morning. The coconut oil sticks to the oil in the cell membranes of any bacteria in your mouth, so when you spit it out, you are ridding your mouth of unwanted micro-organisms. Used by stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, who claim it whitens teeth and improves complexion.Verdict: False. There is no scientific evidence at all that ‘oil pulling’, as it’s called, will whiten teeth, or even remove bacteria. It’s possible that the act of swishing the oil around your mouth will dislodge some bacteria or debris, so followed by a careful brushing session, your teeth may look cleaner. But no science shows that oil pulling will make your teeth any whiter.last_img read more

KMC to crack down on packaged milk adulteration

first_imgKolkata: The food safety wing of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will start drive against packaged milk soon after the Pujas. The decision of the civic body comes in the wake of complaints over the quality of packaged milk of a few reputed brands.”We have been receiving complaints regarding a few brands. We will be picking formal samples from shops and conduct test in our food safety laboratory. If we find any irregularity, action will be taken as per laws of violation of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Act,” a senior official of the food safety wing said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSources in the food safety wing informed that Member Mayor-in-Council (Health) Atin Ghosh has instructed his officers to pick up samples along with bills from various outlets so that it is easy to locate the supply point. It may be mentioned that in the recent past there have been reports of adulteration of milk from some parts of the country, particularly from north India. The adulterants include caustic soda, detergent, glucose and refined oil among others. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedDetergent and other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose and formalin are also being used as adulterants as they provide thickness and preserve the milk for longer periods.A recent report by the Animal Welfare Board has revealed that 68.4 percent of milk production in the country along with milk by-products were found to have polluting ingredients.”Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and is consumed from the young to the old because of its nutrient value on a regular basis. More than six billion people consume milk and milk products across the world. It is our duty to ensure that milk quality is not compromised with,” the official added.The World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently issued an advisory to the Government of India stating that if adulteration of milk and milk products is not checked immediately, 87 percent of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases like cancer by the year 2025.last_img read more

Family date with chefs

first_imgLike every form of art, cooking requires skill and training. Delhiites can now sign up for cooking classes with masters chefs from Le Meridien and learn details about the art of gastronomy. Family Cooking Dates, season 3 aims to teach family members about the history of spices in India, quick tips and kitchen secrets alongside some new dishes. The event will be inaugurated by 2012 Olympics qualifier and ace trap shooter, Shagun Chaowdhary at Le Meridien today. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Interested candidates can register for the session which will run till the month of August every Saturday for about two hours. An individual candidate needs to pay Rs 1000 per class while a couple can register with Rs 1500 per class. One can learn a lot about food here- tidbits about food preservation, the magic behind the mix of spices and some quick fixes during cooking. After the session completes it is expected that one will be able to prepare delightful dishes for their loved ones with the information provided to them by the master chefs. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixA special skill development training programme jointly run by Le Meridien and Joining Hands-an NGO, will also be held at the same event. It is an initiative taken for urban underprivileged, women under the age of 25, who had not completed education or are jobless, which the WCD Minister, Maneka Gandhi had inaugurated few months ago. As part of the training programme, about 15 underprivileged women will participate in a special cooking session Shagun Chaowdhary.  Their training is not only bound to learning various cuisines and food art but also the mannerisms and procedures to handle the busy kitchen and celebrities who come over for meals at hotel restaurants.When: July 9 onwards Where: Le MeridienTimings: 11 amlast_img read more

Mamata congratulates magnificent Mary Kom

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated M C Mary Kom for winning her sixth gold medal on Saturday to become the most successful boxer in the history of Women’s World Championships. “Congratulations Mary Kom for winning a record sixth world title. “We are proud of your golden achievement at the Women’s World Boxing Championships…” Banerjee posted on her official Twitter handle. Mary Kom on Saturday became the most successful boxer in the history of Women’s World Championships by winning her sixth gold medal with an unanimous 5-0 result over Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota at the AIBA World Championship in New Delhi.last_img read more

Illuminating lives To make an environmental impact

first_imgWorld Earth Day is celebrated every year as an annual event all across the world on Apri 22. Schools, in particular, celebrate the day in an attempt to spread awareness among students about environment safety, and demonstrate environmental protection measures. In and across Kolkata, many schools set up activities to make this process of learning as much fun as possible for the students this Earth Day.Cheerful students of Akshar, a renowned school headed by Neena Singh, the Executive Director, celebrated Earth Day in the most versatile and innovative way possible. Each class decided to do their bulletin boards on an international or national environmental activist. The students chose various activists and then put up a performances based on them and their history. They were given a span of one week to prepare. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfOn April 28, the students showcased it on the stage, highlighting the efforts of the activists who worked hard to make a tangible environmental impact. Some of the activists included were Parvati Barua from India, Steve Irwin from Australia, Winona Laduke and Rachel Carson from the US, among various others. It portrayed a global participation in the conservation of the environment. Although the program lasted for less than an hour, it was a success and highlighted Akshar’s motive and inspiration of being a green hub. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSpeaking on the occasion, Navneet Khullar, the Principal of the school said: “It was a great day to impart environmental education, reflect efforts to green the entire school and most importantly engage the whole student community in making a difference.”When asked in what ways can we save our planet, Megha Lahiri, a student of class 7 said, “I mostly avoid using plastic bags and switch off lights and fans whenever I come out of my room because energy conservation is a necessity.” This is an extended program under ‘The young leaders for change project’ where Akshar is collaborating with CEE (Center for Environment Education) and the American Center. Under this project, Akshar has partnered with an Australian NGO “Solar Buddies”. The project undertaken by Akshar is called ‘Illuminating Lives’ and through this project, their students will make and distribute solar lamps to make the environment more sustainable by reaching out to the community at large. It is now imperative to make students understand the importance of conserving planet Earth through various tangible and intangible ways.last_img read more

Healthcare crisis across state forces emergency meeting at Swasthya Bhawan

first_imgKolkata: A complete shutdown of Outpatient departments (OPDs) and various non-emergency wards at various state-run medical college hospitals in the state caused due to the prolonged ceasework by junior doctors prompted the state Health department to hold an emergency meeting at Swasthya Bhawan on Wednesday.Even the emergency departments at the various medical colleges in the city did not function properly, with the doctors threatening not to attend to a patient unless his/her condition is critical. Health services in the medical colleges in the districts has taken a major blow as various doctors’ organisations observed ceasework for 12 hours on Wednesday to protest against the attack on junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataMinister of state for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya convened the meeting with senior officials of the department in presence of medical superintendents and principals of various medical colleges in the city, to review the security system in and around the hospitals. It has been a long-standing demand of the junior doctors to ensure adequate security arrangement inside the hospital campus, so that they are not assaulted by the family members of patients. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateHealth Secretary Rajeeva Sinha, Director of Health Service (DHS) Dr Ajay Chakraborty, Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr Pradip Mitra and other departmental officials were present during the meeting. Discussion on how to tide over the crisis also took place in the meeting. The agitating doctors demanded the intervention of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and an assurance from her to check the assaults on doctors. Sympathy has poured in for the agitating junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital from various doctors’ organisations, which have extended moral support to their ceasework. The Health department has urged the agitating junior doctors to stop the ceasework and join their duties. It has been learnt that Bhattacharya enquired in detail how many police and security personnel are deployed at each medical college in the city. The minister has asked the health officials to chalk out an elaborate plan on how to check the incidents of assault on doctors. The department is eyeing a complete overhaul of the security system in hospitals. Earlier, the NRS doctors had demanded the introduction of a panic button, with which the doctors will be able to draw the attention of security personnel in case of an emergency. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee said during a press conference that he condemns the attack on doctors and is praying for their speedy recovery. However, in the same breath he said that the junior doctors must introspect if they are doing right by denying treatment at the hospitals. “Who will take the responsibility if someone dies after being denied treatment?” Banerjee asked.last_img read more

Technology to remove iron arsenic and fluoride in water to help tide

first_imgKolkata: Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has invented new technologies of purifying water contaminated with iron, arsenic and fluoride.On Tuesday two private companies were handed over the technological details using which they will manufacture water purifiers for commercial and community purpose. Professor Harish Hirani, Director of CMERI on Tuesday stated that keeping the water crisis in mind, their institute had taken up the project long time ago. After long research they have found the way to serve quality of drinking water. He said: “In India ground water is a major source of drinking and agricultural use. At a number of locations in rural as well as some urban India contaminants like arsenic, iron and fluoride in groundwater exceed the permissible limit causing health hazards. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAlso, there is continuous depletion of ground water.” According to Hirani apart from purifying iron, arsenic and fluoride contaminated waters, CMERI has also invented technologies to recycle and purify sewerage water with intention to reuse for daily purpose other than drinking. But that technology is yet to get commercialised. Also installing the purifier is very easy with hand pumps in rural belts as it needs to be attached only. Hirani expressed his hope that in future these technologies will be popular and effective for water conservation across the country.last_img read more

Turning Urine into Silver – The Accidental Discovery of Phosphorus

first_imgTracing its roots from Hellenistic period Alexandria, the hermetic art of alchemy became a popular obsession among numerous men of science throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, claiming in many cases to have reached its final goal ― the production of gold and silver through the use of basic metals like lead. This manipulation of elements was believed possible only through the use of a mystical device called the “philosopher’s stone.” However, the philosopher’s stone proved to be nothing more than a myth wrapped in early scientific explanations which often dwelled in magic and religious mysticism.The Alchemist by Thomas Wijck.On the other hand, while the alchemists spent sleepless nights experimenting with no success, an interesting side-effect of their work quickly arose. Even though they were unable to produce gold from worthless substances, once in a while they managed to accidentally discover chemicals, or establish processes that were unknown prior to their experiments.Among the most famous of such discoveries was the one made by Hennig Brand, a 17th century soldier-turned-alchemist from Hamburg, Germany, who managed to separate phosphorus from human urine, while searching for an alchemy solution to produce silver.Isaac Newton left behind alchemical notes amounting to an estimated one million words written in his own hand. This page shows two steps (“periods”) in the manufacture of the philosophers’ stone that were drawn from a work by the obscure German alchemist Erasmus Rothmaler.Brand was born in 1630 and grew up as a glass-maker’s apprentice when the Thirty-Year War caught up with him. Recruited as a junior officer as soon as he reached fighting age, the future alchemist was forced to fight for his life as the war raged across Germany.Luckily for him, one of the longest-lasting European conflicts in history was reaching its final stage at the time he was old enough to contribute.After the war, Brand returned to Hamburg and thanks to his first wife’s inheritance managed to pursue a largely non-profitable career ― that of an alchemist.The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and Prays for the Successful Conclusion of his Operation, as was the Custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, by Joseph Wright of Derby – now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby, U.K.Like so many others, Brand too was obsessed with finding the philosopher’s stone. But during his search, his wife passed away, and with her went the depleted fund which financed his quest for turning lead into noble metals.To overcome this economic crisis, Brand quickly remarried to one Marghareta, a wealthy widow enchanted by his endeavors ― and the cash flow was restored.Philosopher’s stone, movie prop from the making of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Photo by Karen Roe. CC By 2.0It was around that time that the Hamburg-based alchemist started experimenting with water by studying how it reacts with other materials. This provided numerous combinations and subsequently led him to focus on the use of human urine, as he somehow began to believe that it was going to help him to hit the alchemist’s lottery.Inspired by a recipe he found in an alchemist hand guide, which were popular at the time, Brand combined alum, saltpetre (potassium nitrate) and concentrated urine in hopes of producing silver.Waxy white (yellow cut), red (granules center left, chunk center right), and violet phosphorus. Photo by Weißer_Phosphor. BXXXD CC BY-SA 3.0Following this recipe Brand conducted an experiment in 1669, during which he boiled urine on his furnace, waiting for the laboratory retort to become red-hot. To his great surprise, glowing fumes appeared with liquid jumping out of the glassware and bursting into flames while falling.It must have appeared to him that he was on the brink of discovering something huge. And he was, for a matter of fact, just not as “huge” as turning pee into silver.He gathered as much of the liquid he could and enclosed it in a jar. As the liquid matter cooled down, it assumed a solid aggregate state, accompanied by a strange glow. This result further perplexed the alchemist who decided to name the substance ― Phosphorus, from the Greek word for Light-bearer.White phosphorus exposed to air glows in the dark. Photo by Endimion17 – CC BY-SA 3.0The Latin variant for the word is actually Lucifer ― signifying the Biblical fallen angel ― as it goes to show how alchemists were indeed fascinated with the darker side of Christianity, often using terms which could in those times land them an accusation for heresy. Brand kept his discovery a secret, further experimenting in extracting phosphorus from urine.But what is today’s scientific explanation for this phenomenon?Well, human urine contains sodium phosphate, together with various carbon-based organics. Once heated, the oxygen atoms from the phosphate engage in a reaction with the carbon. The reaction produces carbon-monoxide while releasing elemental phosphorus in the form of gas.Victorian words we should be using todayThe gas then condenses, producing phosphorus in a solid state. Essentially, this is the reaction used when extracting phosphorus from various phosphate ores.As for the glow, it comes from vapors surrounding white phosphorus. During the chemical process, vapors become oxidized, releasing a large amount of energy which excites phosphorus atoms, producing the otherworldly glow.In the 1840s, world phosphate production turned to the mining of tropical island deposits formed from bird and bat guano. These became an important source of phosphates for fertilizer in the latter half of the 19th century. Pictured: Guano mining in the Central Chincha Islands, c. 1860.Allegedly, the alchemist used the glow instead of candles when studying his books late at night.According to Brand’s own recipe, however, one should “discard the salt” from the rest of the mixture while extracting phosphorus.Robert Boyle.What he failed to realize that discarding the salt also meant removing most of the phosphate. His process was thus flawed, as it took much more urine to produce a very small amount of phosphorus.Read another story from us: The Human Remains of Skeleton Lake – Visible Only when the Ice MeltsHennig Brand encountered the reaction accidentally but entered history as the first person ever to do so. Since he refused to share his discovery, English chemist Robert Boyle independently came to the same results in 1680, suppressing the German alchemist into obscurity.Nikola Budanovic is a freelance journalist who has worked for various media outlets such as Vice, War History Online, The Vintage News, and Taste of Cinema. His main areas of interest are history, particularly military history, literature and film.last_img read more

Albert Einstein was Offered the Presidency of Israel – He Turned it

first_imgNobel Laureate Albert Einstein, though best known for his genius and the theory of relativity, was also an outspoken political activist throughout his life. He used his fame and influence to back causes he truly believed in, denouncing Nazism in Germany, campaigning for the State of Israel, and criticizing racism in the United States.Towards the end of his life, he was even offered the chance to become the second president of Israel but respectfully declined. The first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, stated that Einstein was “the greatest Jew alive” and wished him to be his successor. However Einsten, who was 73 at the time, and not even an Israeli citizen, cited old age, inexperience, and insufficient people skills as reasons why he wouldn’t be the proper choice.Einstein during his visit to the United States.Einstein’s involvement in politics and social causes had early beginnings. In 1919, after Einstein’s theory of relativity was confirmed, he became a well-known celebrity almost overnight.Rather than restricting himself to only talking about science when he was interviewed, he also aired his political views.However, The Smithsonian reports that, from the beginning, even his friends cautioned him against using his new celebrity to speak out, urging him to stop because he didn’t know what he was talking about.Einstein in 1947.Einstein was a pacifist at heart and championed many different causes. Before Hitler came to power, the physicist denounced compulsory military service in Europe as well as cautioning against anti-Semitism and the ideals of the Nazi party.He spoke out about the racism he observed on trips to the United States and protested injustices such as the Scottsboro Boys trial, where nine black teenagers were falsely accused of raping a white woman, and eight of them were sentenced to death.Photo of Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin at the Los Angeles premiere of the film City Lights. Einstein said Chaplin was the only person in Hollywood he wanted to meet.When Hitler came to power in January of 1933, Einstein was in the United States, safe from the repercussions of being Jewish in Germany at the time, having accepted a job in California just the previous month. As it had become clearer that the Nazi party was rapidly rising to power, Einstein’s views had evolved.Einstein with his wife Elsa.According to The Atlantic, he came to realize that pacifism was no longer an option and the most important issue facing Europe was how to defeat Hitler, no matter the means. His outspokenness and outright criticism angered the German government, who then attacked both his science and the fact that he was Jewish.This didn’t dampen Einstein’s fervor for speaking out against Hitler and the atrocities his government was committing. In 1939 and 1940, he even wrote to President Roosevelt, urging him to support the atomic bomb project despite the fact that Einstein was not a part of it.Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933.The scientist felt that the US needed to be able to counter Germany if they were also able to develop one.He is said, however, to have reacted with great sadness when he learned of the atomic bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima.The job Einstein had originally held in California when he first arrived permanently in the US was only a temporary position, but he eventually found a job at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, where he worked until his death in 1955.Einstein, Flexner, John R. Hardin, and Herbert Maass at the laying of the Fuld Hall cornerstone, at the Institute for Advanced Study on May 22, 1939. Photo by Unknown photographer – Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, USAIn Princeton at the time when Einstein moved there, churches, schools, and neighborhoods were strictly segregated.However, he frequently visited black neighborhoods, befriending black children with candy and speaking with their parents while he went on regular walks.Eventually, Einstein joined the American civil rights movement thanks to the connections he’d originally made during his walks in Princeton.Thomas Mann with Albert Einstein, Princeton 1938.He was so influential that an entire case against W.E.B. Du Bois was dropped when the judge heard that Einstein was coming to his defense.According to National Geographic, this particular strain of his activism caused the FBI to compile a 1,427 page file on him.Nehru and Indira Gandhi visit Einstein.Einstein was also a significant person when it came to the creation of the State of Israel. The Guardian recounts how Israel asked Einstein’s help in convincing India to support Israel’s statehood. One Israeli statistician at the time jokingly told Time magazine: “He might even be able to work out the mathematics of our economy and make sense out of it.”Although Einstein was unsuccessful, he corresponded with, and received a considered reply from, India’s prime minister at the time, Jawaharlal Nehru.Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s First Prime Minister.Israel did receive its statehood, and later, when the first president died in 1952, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States approached Einstein, asking if he’d be willing to serve as the president’s successor. Despite his long career of activism as a champion for social justice, Einstein declined.Einstein was quoted as saying in response to the offer: “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it.”Read another story from us: The Stolen Brain of Albert EinsteinEinstein’s political activism throughout his life allowed him to use his fame for good and to champion causes he truly believed in. However, he seems to also have known his limitations, turning down a position when he felt he was not the right person for the job despite being unquestionably great at other things.last_img read more

Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn Sets Eye on Apple

first_img Register Now » The latest apple of Carl Icahn’s eye is Apple.The billionaire investor took to Twitter on Tuesday to tease his latest target, Apple, which he said was “extremely undervalued.” He also disclosed he had taken a “large position” in the company, which soared on the news.Icahn said he spoke with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company launching a larger buyback of its shares. Apple, in a statement, acknowledged the two had spoken, calling the conversation “very positive.”Apple has been under fire to return more cash to its shareholders. In April, the company said it that, through a combination of buybacks and dividend payments, it would give $100 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015. Had a nice conversation with Tim Cook today. Discussed my opinion that a larger buyback should be done now. We plan to speak again shortly. — Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 13, 2013 We currently have a large position in APPLE. We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to Tim Cook today. More to come. — Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 13, 2013Related: Apple Expected to Reveal New iPhone September 10 1 min read August 13, 2013center_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.last_img read more