© 2010 PhysOrg.com According to the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, the space probe has successfully fired its thrusters for its third Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) to set it on course for a landing at the Woomera Test Range in the South Australian outback. Only one more correction maneuver remains, and is scheduled for later this week.The spacecraft’s sample return capsule containing any samples is scheduled to detach from the probe and land at Woomera at about 1400 GMT on June 13. The US space agency, NASA, is sending a DC-8 flying laboratory from California to South Australia to record the re-entry and landing using its barrage of image and spectrographic cameras.There is no guarantee of success of the return mission but Hayabusa has already transmitted detailed images and scientific observations from on and around the asteroid Itokawa, which will help scientists to better understand the asteroids. Until the capsule is opened scientists will not know for certain if the probe succeeded in gathering any samples, but scientists are hopeful the capsule may contain at least small residues for analysis.The asteroid Itokawa was discovered in 1998 and named after a Japanese scientist Hideo Itokawa, a pioneer of the Japanese space program nicknamed “Dr Rocket”. It is a mere 540 meters wide and orbits about 300 million kilometers from Earth.Hayabusa cost around 138 million USD to develop. It reached Itokawa in 2005 and landed twice to collect samples of surface materials, but it apparently failed to fire a metal bullet that was designed to dislodge samples for collection. It left behind a time capsule wrapped in film and bearing the names of 880,000 people from 149 countries who had all responded to JAXA’s public invitation to be listed.The craft has had other problems including a leaking thruster, battery problems, broken wheels, and a fuel leak in 2005 that drained the craft’s propellant tanks, leaving only the ion thrusters to guide the craft back to Earth. The ion thrusters have low acceleration, which has meant each trajectory correction has taken longer than it would have done with the chemical engines. The problems and malfunctions resulted in the mission lasting longer than originally planned because communications with Earth were lost for several weeks in late 2005 when the craft was due to head home. When communications were restored it was too late, and the craft had to wait until April 2007 for the positions of the asteroid and Earth to be ideal again.Hayabusa, which means falcon in Japanese, is currently around 3,600,000 km away from Earth. The sample return capsule will land on Earth but the spacecraft itself will burn up as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. The mission has fueled the public imagination in Japan, and the spacecraft has a large following of fans. There are also proposals the spacecraft be granted a National Honor award. Hayabusa is the world’s first spacecraft to land on a body other than the moon and take off again. (PhysOrg.com) — Hayabusa, the Japanese space probe launched in 2003, is returning home from its five-billion-kilometer round-trip journey to collect samples from the asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Explore further Artist’s impression of Hayabusa in proximity to Itokawa’s surface. Japanese spacecraft to land in Australian outback Citation: Japanese space probe Hayabusa close to home (2010, June 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-japanese-space-probe-hayabusa-home.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Corvus brachyrhynchos or Corvus caurinus. Image: Wikipedia. Citation: Research shows crows comparable to humans when it comes to waiting (2011, September 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-09-crows-humans.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Crows demonstrate their cleverness with tools (w/ Video) Explore further The researchers, led by Dr. Valerie Dufour from the Universite de Strasbourg, began their study by training 12 birds to exchange tokens for food. They gave each bird a piece of food. Keeping their giving hand closed, they showed the birds the reward in their other hand. After a waiting period, the researchers opened their giving hand again. The birds then received the reward if they gave back the initial piece of food.The maximum waiting period the researchers used was five minutes and the quality of the reward varied in each exchange. What the birds did during the waiting period varied with some birds leaving the food on the ground or hiding it and checking on it during the time period.This study shows that the crows are able to wait before making a decision and that this behavior is not limited to only humans and apes. While the researchers believed that the birds would be able to wait a few seconds, they were surprised that the birds were able to wait as long as they did.The destructive behavior, such as hiding the food and checking on it, enabled the crows to wait a longer period of time. Those birds with the longest waiting times all displayed this particular destructive behavior. © 2011 PhysOrg.com More information: Corvids can decide if a future exchange is worth waiting for, Biol. Lett. Published online before print September 14, 2011, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0726AbstractEvidence for time-dependent calculations about future rewards is scarce in non-human animals. In non-human primates, only great apes are comparable with humans. Still, some species wait for several minutes to obtain a better reward in delayed exchange tasks. Corvids have been shown to match with non-human primates in some time-related tasks. Here, we investigate a delay of gratification in two corvid species, the carrion crow (Corvus corone) and the common raven (Corvus corax), in an exchange task. Results show that corvids success decreases quickly as delay increases, with a maximal delay of up to 320 s (more than 5 min). The decision to wait rests both on the quality of the prospective reward and the time required to obtain it. Corvids also apply tactics (placing the reward on the ground or caching it) that probably alleviate costs of waiting and distract their attention during waiting. These findings contrast previous results on delayed gratification in birds and indicate that some species may perform comparably to primates.via ABC (PhysOrg.com) — In a new study published in Royal Society’s Biology Letters, researchers have discovered that crows and raven birds show the same ability to complete delayed exchange tasks as monkeys and humans do.
© 2012 Phys.Org The peroxiredoxin active site is highly conserved in all domains of life. Image: Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11088 Up till now, researchers have not been able to find any kind of common biorhythmic clock among the Earth’s varied organisms, each class seemed to have its own. They did find though that one common feature of most was a feedback loop, which is where genes are transcribed before being translated into proteins which then build up until they reach a tipping point. Once that happens, transcription is turned off and the enzyme goes dormant. This cycle, for most organisms occurs on a twenty four hour basis, and is responsible for such things as the feelings of sleepiness or hunger in people that occur at roughly the same time each day.But now, this new research suggests that the true clock controlling behavior in virtually every imaginable plant, animal, fungus, etc. has its roots in an enzyme whose purpose is to help clean up residue left over from the ravages of antioxidants.Peroxiredoxins, which exist in virtually all life forms, are enzymes that cycle between two states depending on whether they have reacted recently with hydrogen peroxide, or not. The researchers found that this cycle occurs on a roughly twenty four hour cycle in all of the organisms they’ve tested to date. What’s more, the cycle continued even in the absence of light, proving that it’s not part of a feedback loop. Unfortunately, the team has not yet been able to show how or if the enzyme controls other clock mechanisms that are a part of feedback loops.The team suggests that peroxiredoxins developed their cyclical behavior just after organisms began to develop some two and half billion years ago that were able to handle the increased amounts of oxygen that had begun to appear in the atmosphere in a time period known as the Great Oxidation Event; the time when bacteria developed photosynthesis and began pumping out oxygen. Those organisms that managed to survive had to develop a means of dealing with the damage caused by antioxidants, and thus was born the role of peroxiredoxins. And because oxygen levels rose and fell on a regular daily schedule, the enzymes developed a clock over time to help predict when to go to work, and when to remain dormant, thus paving the way for the first circadian clock. Citation: Group finds circadian clock common to almost all life forms (2012, May 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-group-circadian-clock-common-life.html More information: Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms, Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11088AbstractCellular life emerged ~3.7 billion years ago. With scant exception, terrestrial organisms have evolved under predictable daily cycles owing to the Earth’s rotation. The advantage conferred on organisms that anticipate such environmental cycles has driven the evolution of endogenous circadian rhythms that tune internal physiology to external conditions. The molecular phylogeny of mechanisms driving these rhythms has been difficult to dissect because identified clock genes and proteins are not conserved across the domains of life: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota. Here we show that oxidation–reduction cycles of peroxiredoxin proteins constitute a universal marker for circadian rhythms in all domains of life, by characterizing their oscillations in a variety of model organisms. Furthermore, we explore the interconnectivity between these metabolic cycles and transcription–translation feedback loops of the clockwork in each system. Our results suggest an intimate co-evolution of cellular timekeeping with redox homeostatic mechanisms after the Great Oxidation Event ~2.5 billion years ago.Press release Journal information: Nature
Coal renaissance is bad news for greenhouse gas mitigation efforts More information: King Coal and the queen of subsidies, Science 18 September 2015: Vol. 349 no. 6254 pp. 1286-1287. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0674AbstractCoal is the most important energy source for the Chinese economy. Other rapidly growing economies in Asia and Africa also increasingly rely on coal to satisfy their growing appetite for energy. This renaissance of coal is expected to continue in the coming years (1) and is one of the reasons that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing despite the undisputed worldwide technological progress and expansion of renewable technologies (2). The implications for long-term GHG emissions are serious because, once installed, a coal power plant will emit for decades. Fossil fuel subsidies support investments in coal capacities around the globe and thereby threaten the achievement of climate change mitigation goals. Targeted reform of these subsidies could yield benefits for climate change mitigation as well as other development objectives. Citation: Economist suggests world needs to price coal correctly to reduce reliance on it (Update) (2015, September 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-economist-world-price-coal-correctly.html Over the past decade, coal use has come to replace oil as the leader in greenhouse gas emissions— Edenhofer suggests there is a very simple reason for that, burning coal is the cheapest way to produce electricity. But, he also notes, that is only because its cost does not truly reflect reality. He suggests there are two main reasons why the cost of using coal is understated. The first is because of governments subsidizing coal and other fossil fuels by allowing them to be sold in domestic markets below market prices. The other is because of governments ignoring other costs associated with the use of coal, such as the price in lives of those that succumb to air pollution, associated medical costs and other problems associated with such pollution—and of course the costs, whatever they may be, of global warming. He claims that data from the IMF suggests that if the true costs of coal use were used in decision-making, that its cost would climb higher than that for renewable resources such as solar and wind.The real problem, he adds, is that keeping coal use prices artificially down now, is very likely to cause much bigger problems for the world later. Emerging countries that are not among the big emission producers right now, are building coal fired power plants—plants which once put online, will not be shut down simply because it has become cheaper to produce it in other ways. Many such plants are being built, with many more to come, a problem that could be exacerbated by even lower global prices if more developed countries move from coal to renewable resource technology. That means the artificially low cost of coal right now is going to cause huge long-term increases in emissions later, along with an associated rise in global warming.We need to do something to change this, he warns, before it is too late. (Phys.org)—Economist Ottmar Edenhofer with Technische Universität Berlin, has published a Perspectives piece in the journal Science outlining the reasons for coal dominance as a means for producing electricity around the world, and the problems that it is causing. He suggests it is time for world governments to start looking at the actual cost of coal use as a means for deterring its use before emerging countries build coal fired plants that will almost assuredly cause the world to go over its goal of holding global temperature rise to just two degrees Celsius. Credit: Grant Wilson/public domain Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Science 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.
© 2016 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society A Citation: Statistics suggests that unanimous agreement in witnessed events may be sign of an error (2016, March 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-03-statistics-unanimous-agreement-witnessed-events.html Overwhelming evidence? It’s probably a bad thing (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with The University of Adelaide and one with University of Angers has found that the probability of a unanimous agreement in witnessed events is low enough that instances of such are likely a sign of an error. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the researchers suggest their findings could have an impact on fields as diverse as legal proceedings, archaeological assessments and even cryptographic testing. Explore further When a jury is given testimony by many witnesses to a crime, all fingering the same person, the consensus is generally that the police have caught the right person. But, a statistical assessment of such instances by the research team suggests that may not always be the case. They suggest that the opposite may in fact be true, that the more witnesses fingering the same person, the greater likelihood there is that the wrong person has been caught.The reasoning by the team goes along the lines of logic; if 100 people observe an apple sitting on an otherwise bare table and all confirm it was an apple, than there is a strong likelihood that it was an apple sitting there. But, what happens when the observation is not so simple—for example, what if 100 people see a man carrying a bag of money out of a bank after a robbery, and all 100 agree that it was the man police have identified as the robber. That might be a problem because prior research has shown that when asked to identify a person that witnesses have seen for just a few seconds, especially if that person is running away, can be as low as 50 percent correct. When performing Bayesian analysis on such scenarios, the team reports, the numbers grow worse as the number of people unanimously agrees on something they believe they have seen. Put another way, statistically speaking, it is nearly impossible for 100 people to all correctly identify a person in such a situation—thus, if they do, it calls into question the validity of the results.The researchers note that their findings apply to other areas as well—if 100 archeologists agree on the source of a find, for example, the odds are great that there is an error somewhere, because statistics suggests there should be at least some differences in the results. More information: Lachlan J. Gunn et al. Too good to be true: when overwhelming evidence fails to convince, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2015.0748AbstractIs it possible for a large sequence of measurements or observations, which support a hypothesis, to counterintuitively decrease our confidence? Can unanimous support be too good to be true? The assumption of independence is often made in good faith; however, rarely is consideration given to whether a systemic failure has occurred. Taking this into account can cause certainty in a hypothesis to decrease as the evidence for it becomes apparently stronger. We perform a probabilistic Bayesian analysis of this effect with examples based on (i) archaeological evidence, (ii) weighing of legal evidence and (iii) cryptographic primality testing. In this paper, we investigate the effects of small error rates in a set of measurements or observations. We find that even with very low systemic failure rates, high confidence is surprisingly difficult to achieve; in particular, we find that certain analyses of cryptographically important numerical tests are highly optimistic, underestimating their false-negative rate by as much as a factor of 280. Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
As I enter Aleph Book Company’s subtly done-up office space in Yusuf Sarai, its co-founder and MD David Davidar walks in, exuding a candour that comes from years of multi-fold experience spent, in a way, formulating India’s publishing scene. The conversation begins instantly, picking up from the last time we met – when he set up Aleph two years back.Recalling his ‘smooth’ journey with this relatively new publishing venture, Davidar says, ‘We didn’t have to fight for the authors we wanted. A lot of them came to us and the others who we wanted to target, we had no problem in getting them to sign with us. In these two years, we have probably published about 20 books, signed on about 100 authors and aim to publish 50 books a year from 2014. We have signed on Shashi Tharoor, who we will publish by next year. We want to be a very exclusive publishing house which brings out only select numbers of very up-market novels and quality fiction. We have done what we wanted to do and now let’s see how the market responds to us.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Maintaining his quintessentially calm demeanour, when queried about Aleph focusing on a particular genre of books, especially on being a niche up-market publishing house, he goes on to say, ‘We are a specialist publisher and I am very clear about that. Having spent most of my life being a general publisher, I know how it works. For example our sister publisher, Rupa, is exactly like the company I used to run, Penguin, which, again, is similar to HarperCollins. These are very large companies which publish hundreds of books a year. They have to do so to maintain their turnover. They have to publish everything under the sun – from chic-lit to very high quality books. Aleph, however, is an extremely focused publisher. We only publish literary fiction and high quality non-fiction and nothing else.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSo, with quality as a benchmark, would he be ever venturing into publishing poetry? Davidar instantly replies, ‘I will never publish poetry because I don’t know how to publish poetry. Anyone can sell poetry but I don’t know how to make it sell.’With the current onslaught of social media, what is the format of narratives dominating the publishing scene now? Davidar mulls over the question for about a second or two, and then goes on to say, ‘The minute people stop reading long-form narratives, we might as well all pack up and go home. I don’t think that is ever going to happen. You know all the stuff people talk about, on our attention span waning and so on, that is not completely true because from the beginning of time, we have always fallen back on story-telling that uses long-form narrative. When you watch television serials, you are willingly submitting to the long format.’ He pauses awhile, then adds, ‘Just forget these classifications – of book, movies, television serials, magazine articles that are in long format – they have just been packaged in different ways. The minute we stop feeling involved in it and our interest absolutely shifts to the Twitter kind of short form narratives, then, naturally, these forms will go away. So, I don’t think there is any fear about that. Yes, the forms might change. You might read in the e-book form. At that time, book published might vanish, movies produced might vanish, but how does that really matter? Somebody still has to make money. I think the question to ask is till how long the long form narrative would last. And the answer to that, I think, is, forever. People will always want a good story. And there will always be people who make up stories.’Rupa has their Chetan Bhagat, has Aleph found its own? Davidar chuckles and says, ‘Well, Chetan Bhagat is the commercial end of the spectrum. He is an exceptionally good storyteller, but, we too have our own storytellers. They may not sell in the same number but let’s not forget we are exactly two years old and Rupa is 77 years old. So give us time. I am sure we will find our Chetan Bhagat.’But would he really want to find someone like him for Aleph? ‘I would love to sell a million copies, who would not? But we are proud of every single book we publish. Because if we publish only 25 new books a year, each one has to count, make a real difference, whereas when you publish hundreds of books a year, you tend to get a little more relaxed about one book which does not do well. Right now, I am not at all in that frame of mind. For me, every book has to count,’ comes Davidar’s frank answer.When is his next book coming out? ‘I know what I want to write, but I think I am going to give myself one more year for Aleph to settle down. When I was running large companies, I did not do much actual hands-on work. I just spent time telling other people what to do. But now, I actually have to do hands-on work. Now, if I don’t edit a book, then it does not get published. So, I am very busy actually editing books. Because I am doing so much of first hand editing myself, I can’t find time to write my own books. I will have to wait for at least another year for that,’ confesses Davidar.How does he manage to separate the editor-publisher from the writer? Davidar remarks, ‘I realise that I am able to compartmentalise the disparate traits quite well. I don’t think too much and now I don’t care. I don’t read any reviews of my books. I don’t care about how my books are received. So, that helps.
Three Indians, alleging forcible conversion to Hinduism by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have joined a Sikh rights group in filing an amended lawsuit appealing a US court to designate RSS a “terror group”.Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) said the three are victims of the “Ghar Wapsi” campaign of alleged forcible religious conversions launched by the RSS. The amended compliant has been filed by Micheal Masih, Hasim Ali and Kulwinder Singh, belonging to the Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths along with SFJ and seeks the terror label for the RSS. The complaint alleges that after the BJP came to power in 2014, its “ideological mentor” is “attempting to forcibly convert their families to Hinduism.” The complaint filed before Judge Laura Taylor Swain cites the 2015 report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) which in December 2014 noted that Hindu nationalist groups announced plans to forcibly “reconvert” at least 4,000 Christian families and 1,000 Muslim families in UP as part of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ programme.
Kolkata: Statues of two legendary musical personalities, S D Burman and Kishore Kumar, will be installed on Southern Avenue on October 1.The statues will be installed by Amit Kumar Fan Club. This was announced by Sudipta Chanda, general secretary of the club on the 89th birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar on Saturday.The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has provided a plot where the statues will be installed.Amit Kumar Fan Club has already installed a statue of R D Burman. The statue of the duo will be installed on a plot situated opposite Nazrul Mancha. It is a thematic garden where both the full busts will be installed on October 1 this year. Sculptor Sanjib Kumar Das is giving the final touches to the statues. The place where the statues will be installed is close to South End Park where S D Burman used to live before he moved to Mumbai in the early 1950s. He used to come to Kolkata twice or thrice every year. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe 89th birthday of Kishore Kumar was celebrated with much enthusiasm. A rally was taken out from Salkia to Esplanade by Salkia Kishore Kumar Memorial Cultural Association. The association members demanded that Bharat Ratna be awarded to Kishore Kumar posthumously. People from all walks of life took part in the rally.Laxmi Ratan Shukla uploaded a 13-minute video of Kishore Kumar’s songs sung by him along with Iman Chakraborty and Shovan Ganguly.The statues of Kishore Kumar were garlanded by his fans at Tollygunge and Baisanabghata-Patuli. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedChief Minister Mamata Banerjee also remembered the legend and tweeted: “Remembering the legend Kishore Kumar on his birth anniversary.” The state Information and Cultural Affairs department organised a programme at Rabindra Sadan to pay respect to Kishore Kumar and some of his contemporaries including S D Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Hemanta Mukherjee, R D Burman and Mukesh. Indranil Sen, noted singer and the Minister of State, Information and Cultural Affairs, and Vivek Kumar, Principal Secretary of the department also sang a few of Kishore’s timeless classics.
The Joint Committee of Parliament examining the contentious land bill was today granted a fresh extension till the end of the first part of the Budget Session.Committee chairman SS Ahluwalia moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha in this regard which was adopted by a voice vote. Its term was extended earlier on November 30 by the Lok Sabha till Wednesday.The resolution said: “That this House do extend time for presentation of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation amd Resettlement (2nd Amendment) Bill 2015 upto the last day of the first part of the Budget Session, 2016.”