Month: August 2019
(PhysOrg.com) — On February 3, the Indian government will display a prototype of the Rs 500, a $10 laptop that will hopefully give more young people the opportunity to learn and help increase the country’s school enrollment. UPDATE (February 4, 2009):On Tuesday, February 3, India’s national Mission on Education Program clarified that the $10 laptop is actually not a laptop, but a storage device. The storage device contains megabytes of data that can be accessed by a user by connecting the device to a laptop. The 5-inch by 10-inch Rs 500 storage device is now priced at $30. Joint Secretary N. K. Sinha, who made the announcement, did not explain why the device was being called a laptop when it was not. via: Times of IndiaThe $10 laptop project is the product of a collaboration among institutions including the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, and IIT-Madras. The project began about three years ago in response to the proposed $100 laptop (the “One Laptop Per Child” project), an idea from MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte, which was going to cost $200. Currently, the $10 laptop is projected to cost $20, but India’s secretary of higher education R. P. Agarwal hopes that price will come down with mass production.The $10 laptop will be equipped with 2 GB of memory, WiFi, fixed Ethernet, expandable memory, and consume just 2 watts of power. The unveiling of the laptop will occur at the government’s launch of the National Mission on Education through Information and Technology, held next Tuesday in Tirupati. The Indian government is working with publishers to provide e-content on educational subjects which will be available free of cost. The government is also considering a plan to subsidize internet connections for schools.Currently, the government is consulting with different production agencies, and hopes to make the computers commercially available in the next six months.via: Engadget© 2009 PhysOrg.com Explore further High-speed network for first responders raises concerns Citation: India’s $10 Laptop to be revealed Feb. 3 (Updated) (2009, January 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-india-laptop-revealed-feb.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.
It should be pointed out that many genetic therapies now on the table are based on treatment of somatic cells. If heritable changes to the genome can be introduced via predictable breaches in Weismann’s barrier, as many now presume exist, that is something we probably want to know more about. We need look no further than plants to see that genetic changes in germ lines can be produced as a result of genetic changes in somatic lines. Here somatic cell lineages (vegetative meristems) may be old enough to have accumulated many mutations subject to natural selection since seed germination.Neurobiologists are more interested in those heritable skills or experiences that can be packaged quickly into the germ line, almost perhaps, instantaneously. In many species, sperm are produced at a tremendous rate and practically speaking, they turn over daily. For his fly experiments, Ziv paired different odors with either an aversive or an appetitive stimulus, and trained them over the course of a few days to make the proper associations.The aversive stimulus was an electrified copper grid which presumably was distasteful enough to be seen as a non-lethal assault, but not so powerful as to prevent any formative interactions. Electrical shock may not be the cleanest stimulus (after all we know from the experiments of Miller and Urey that electricity of sufficient voltage can spawn amino-acids from gases), it seems to have what it takes to make a good impression. The appetitive stimulus in this case was of an appetitive nature—corn meal and sugar. While the opposite of shock may not be a sugar snack, the pair do provide a clear choice between good and evil.If precise mechanisms of inheritance are to be attributed to specific details of a stimulus, then the particulars of the odors themselves (3-octanol (OCT) or 4-Methylcyclohexanol (MCH)) are important in these studies. Other experiments, like those in mice, used acetophenone because a fair bit is already known about the receptors and circuitry involved in detecting it. Using a T-maze setup, Ziv was able to show that after the parents had mastered associations of odors with good and evil, the offspring of those flies later showed heightened sensitivity to them as well. However, for whatever reason, the effect was only strong with the MCH stimulus, and in the aversive pairing. Not only that, but the response to MCH was the opposite from the response that the parents had learned: the offspring preferred to move toward MCH instead of avoiding it.Ziv suggests that since the sensitivity to MCH was inherited, but the seemingly useful response (avoidance) was not, there is no inheritance of change at the neural circuit level going on. While that may be a fair enough conclusion, we really can’t make any sweeping conclusions at this point as to what is really going on. Ziv, like other explorers of Lamarckian inheritance, merely offers his controlled study with error margins in the same spirit as nearly every other scientific study put on the charts. If we take any of them at face value, we take all of them.Scientists look for inheritance of specific experiences because they can be quickly inserted into animal, and then later measured to clear effect. To further probe these behavioral phenomena, Ziv suggests that olfactory processes could be blocked at various stages in the adults. Reversibly altering specific pathways using dominant temperature-sensitive transgenes like UAS-Shi for example, would perhaps be one way to do this.Ultimately scientists want to look beyond transient effects and explore the inheritance of actual physical characteristics, like longer necks in giraffes or bigger hands in farmer’s sons. Opponents may argue that any significant results that one might obtain would merely uncover previous genetic pathways already built into the organism. In a way we have the same bottleneck that sensory neurobiogists decry when they try to account for the massive compression of information in a visual stimulus through the retina, and unto the digital output of the optic nerve spike train. However if we figure the entire retina, or the entire body, as a molecular computing volume down to the samllest scale, rather than just considering a few membrane-constrained channels, we hint at the source of power. Personality is the result of nurture, not nature, suggests new study on birds 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 © 2014 Phys.org Journal information: arXiv More information: arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1312/1312.7331.pdf However those mechanisms that first generated life, and by implication continue to refashion it as fast as we try to comprehend, are still unknowns of a nature we have scarcely imagined. Strict adherence to the concepts of random genetic mutation followed by natural selection thrusts up a steep barrier to a full understanding of variation in the natural world. In order to push beyond this cusp, scientists have now turned to the ideas of Lamarck. The latest installment in the genetic saga of individual experience has just been published on the arxiv preprint server by Harvard neurosurgeon Ziv Williams. Ziv’s new results were obtained with flies, and they shadow the recent provocative data on murine (mouse) inheritance of ancestral fears. The latter study raised the roof on what is now possible in a scientific experiment. In demonstrating not only a mechanism for sperm-specific transmission of acquired traits from the father, but also precision modification of neural circuitry, that report set the bar extremely high for what might be proved in a study—and also for what might be swallowed by the larger community.With mice, it is possible to isolate the mechanism of transmission of a particular experience to the father’s sperm by doing in vitro insemination. While that is not so simple in flies, there is one big advantage to working with them—experiments can be more easily done at high n factor (number of flies). This is critical for discerning complex, but often weak, effects. The principle that information of a hereditary nature ratchets only in the direction from germ cells to somatic (body) cells is known as Weismann’s barrier. It is expected that any breakdown of this evolutionary diode (such as feedback from somatic to germ cells) would be a weak effect because the bandwidth for transmission of experience to germ cells would, at first glance, appear to be severely limited. Citation: Fly dreams and the boundaries of evolutionary science (2014, January 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-boundaries-evolutionary-science.html In 2002, Secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld made a statement regarding weapons of mass destruction that today is still well known. He famously parsed the evidence (or lack thereof) into “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” In squeezing virtually all that it can from the ideas of Darwin, evolutionary biology has produced a mountain of facts and ideas that fall squarely in the realm of Rumsfeld’s first two categories. Jean-Baptiste LamarckCredit: Wikipedia
© 2015 Phys.org A research team from the University of Illinois and colleagues in China found earth’s inner core has an inner core of its own, with crystals aligned in a different direction. Credit: Lachina Publishing Services In other news it was recently noted that some researchers are using the DOE’s Fermilab Dark Energy Camera to unveil small objects in our solar system—the 570-megapixel camera is being used by some to track space junk, asteroids and other objects. Also a team of geologists described how they are attempting to unlock the mysteries of the planet’s inner core by applying a novel application of earthquake reading technology and have found that our planet’s inner core itself has an inner core, too.In other news, the world’s first rotary 3-D printer-cum-scanner was unveiled at the AAAS meeting—called the Blacksmith Genesis, it allows novices to scan an item, edit it and then print it. Also another team of researchers found that coral snake venom revealed a unique route to lethality—turns out it is a toxin that activates a certain kind of nerve cell protein that prevents cells in victims from resetting and ultimately leads to seizures in prey. And yet another team found amber fossil links to the earliest grasses, dinosaurs and fungus used to produce LSD—in Myanmar. Another team has found that a common plant extract fights brain tumors—silibinin, used to treat victims of poisoning and some liver diseases has been shown to be effective in treating Cushing’s Disease, where a tumor grows in the pituitary gland.And finally, if you have been taking medications to get rid of an infection, it might interest you to know that a team of researchers has found that the unwanted impact of antibiotics is broader and more complex than previously known—they found that the drugs have a much bigger impact on the microorganisms that live in our gut, than has been thought, further complicating their use. Journal information: Physics Letters B 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. (Phys.org)—It was an intriguing week for physics as a pair of theorists suggested that their quantum equation predicts the universe has no beginning and thus there was no Big Bang. In their paper published in Physics Letters B, Saurya Das and Rajat Bhaduri, suggest their math shows that the universe has existed forever and that it may also account for both dark energy and dark matter. Also, some at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting have been hinting at the possible discovery in 2015 of a new particle in physics—due, they suggest, to the LHC coming back online, twice as powerful as before. Meanwhile, another group suggested that on quantum scales, there are many second laws of thermodynamics—they think there are whole families of them at extremely small scales. Citation: Best of Last Week: Big Bang singularity, unlocking Earth’s inner core and another problem with antibiotics (2015, February 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-week-big-singularity-earth-core.html No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning Explore further
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. In order for life to have existed on Mars (or if it still does in a place we have not found yet) it would have to have an energy source of some kind. Prior research has suggested such a source might be nitrogen, the same energy source for most plants here on Earth—a recent report by researchers studying data from Curiosity rover, describes nitrates found in the soil. In this new effort, King takes a different approach, he believes that carbon monoxide may hold the key to life on Mars.King took soil samples from three places here on Earth that have very dry climates and very salty soil, the Atacama desert in Chili, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and a part of the big island in Hawaii. In studying the samples, he found that the soil did indeed pull carbon monoxide out of the air and held onto it. He suggests the same process could occur on Mars, as its atmosphere has more carbon monoxide in it than does ours. He goes further to suggest that the mysterious, recurring slope lineae—dark streaks that change color seasonally on Mars, might be due to carbon monoxide being pulled into the soil. He believes that carbon monoxide could represent the missing piece in the search for life on Mars: the energy source. As evidence of the possibility, he points out two microbes (Halorubrum str. BV1 and Alkalilimnicola ehrlichii MLHE-1) that live on Earth that use carbon monoxide as an energy source, one of which has also been shown able to tolerate salt concentrations that are similar to those found in Martian soil.Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for testing King’s ideas, neither of the rovers on Mars has the equipment needed for that kind of test. He will have to wait until 2021, when NASA plans to send a probe to the Red planet that is capable of detecting microbes in the soil. Explore further Valles Marineris, Mars. Credit: NASA (Phys.org)—Gary King, a biologist at Louisiana State University has put forth the idea that if life did exist on Mars, it very possibly could have survived by using carbon monoxide. In his paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he discusses his study of microbes in soil samples collected here on Earth that are able to pull in carbon monoxide and why it might relate to life on Mars. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: Carbon monoxide as a metabolic energy source for extremely halophilic microbes: Implications for microbial activity in Mars regolith, Gary M. King, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1424989112AbstractCarbon monoxide occurs at relatively high concentrations (≥800 parts per million) in Mars’ atmosphere, where it represents a potentially significant energy source that could fuel metabolism by a localized putative surface or near-surface microbiota. However, the plausibility of CO oxidation under conditions relevant for Mars in its past or at present has not been evaluated. Results from diverse terrestrial brines and saline soils provide the first documentation, to our knowledge, of active CO uptake at water potentials (−41 MPa to −117 MPa) that might occur in putative brines at recurrent slope lineae (RSL) on Mars. Results from two extremely halophilic isolates complement the field observations. Halorubrum str. BV1, isolated from the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah (to our knowledge, the first documented extremely halophilic CO-oxidizing member of the Euryarchaeota), consumed CO in a salt-saturated medium with a water potential of −39.6 MPa; activity was reduced by only 28% relative to activity at its optimum water potential of −11 MPa. A proteobacterial isolate from hypersaline Mono Lake, California, Alkalilimnicola ehrlichii MLHE-1, also oxidized CO at low water potentials (−19 MPa), at temperatures within ranges reported for RSL, and under oxic, suboxic (0.2% oxygen), and anoxic conditions (oxygen-free with nitrate). MLHE-1 was unaffected by magnesium perchlorate or low atmospheric pressure (10 mbar). These results collectively establish the potential for microbial CO oxidation under conditions that might obtain at local scales (e.g., RSL) on contemporary Mars and at larger spatial scales earlier in Mars’ history. Citation: Biologist suggests carbon monoxide as an energy source for microbes on Mars (2015, March 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-biologist-carbon-monoxide-energy-source.html Video: What makes carbon monoxide so deadly? © 2015 Phys.org
(Phys.org)—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly dug it up in a cave in the Judean Desert approximately three years ago. The claim of its authenticity has been challenged, however, by Christopher Rollston (as reported by Live Science) a professor with George Washington University in the U.S.—he contends that the wording on the document suggests it might be a forgery. Credit: Shai Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority If the document turns out to be authentic, it will be notable for a line that translates from Hebrew as “from the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, (which was near Jericho)—jars of wine, to Jerusalem.” This sentence would mark the second-oldest reference to Jerusalem—the Bible is the oldest. It would also be important because it suggests the lines were written by a woman from the time of the First Temple (which King Solomon had built in 957BC—but it was destroyed by soldiers working for King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, approximately 400 years later), who held an important position in society.Klein outlined the means by which he and his team tracked the looters and eventually caught them in the act of looting a cave. He did not give specifics as to how the scroll was found, but hinted that it might have been purchased after being tracked to an antiquities market somewhere in Jerusalem. The scroll has already been carbon dated, but as Rollston noted, if it were a fake, the forger would have simply obtained a blank scroll from that time period and written on it using the same type of ink used thousands of years ago. In response, Klein has offered to listen to evidence by Rollston, but suggests that he and his team are very nearly certain the papyrus is an authentic document because they have proof that it was dug up by looters from a cave in the Nahal Hever valley—they are not revealing its exact location for fear that other looters will descend on the scene. The papyrus and the lines written on it will no doubt be studied in more detail by other researchers who may or may not come to a consensus on the authenticity of the scroll. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel (2016, October 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-10-important-ancient-papyrus-seized-looters.html © 2016 Phys.org Explore further 11 ancient burial boxes recovered in Israel (Update)
Italy is renewing its historical ties with India by commemorating the legacy of one of its iconic Oriental scholars and Indophiles Luigi Pio Tessitori, who unearthed the Indus Valley site of Kalibangan in Rajasthan in the early 20th century.In a special ceremony, the Italian Cultural Centre in the Capital dedicated its multi-purpose hall to Tessitori, naming it after him. It was followed by a series of presentations on Tessitori by historian Nayanjot Lahiri and professor Furio Honsell, the mayor of Udine and the former vice-chancellor of University of Udine, who is lecturing in the Capital throughout the week. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Tessitori, born in Udine in Italy in 1887, died of pneumonia in Bikaner in 1919 at the age of 32. He documented the Bardic traditions of Rajasthan as a photographer, researched extensively on The Ramayana, and wrote comparative treatises.While studying the ancient civilisations and history of India, Tessitori discovered that some ruins around Bikaner showed a pre-Mauryan character dating back to the Indus Valley. He sought the help of John Marshall of the Archaeological Survey of India and identified the ancient Harappan lineage known as Kalibangan. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixTessitori is a local hero in Bikaner — with a landscaped grave and a bust in the city — was invited to Bikaner by former ruler, Ganga Singh. The Italian carried the ancient culture and traditions of India to his homeland at a time when awareness about the country’s rich heritage between 1900-1914.His works were subsequently published in both Italian and English. They were preserved in both Italy and India.Tessitori, who was a scholar of Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Marwari, also a collector of Indian antiquities and manuscripts. He explored nearly 100 historical sites in Rajasthan. The mayor of Udine, Furio Honsell, an authority on Tessitori and his work, said he was determined to ‘connect Bikaner and Udine as twin cities in memory of Tessitori’s work.’‘Several years ago, the government of Italy had initiated the process to declare Udine and Bikaner twin cities. The process never really came through but I am determined to revive it,’ said Furio Honsell.This Indo-Italian exchange will continue through October with an exhibition of Islamic paintings and artefacts, ‘Akbar: The Great Emperor of India’, that will open at Palazzo Sciarra, Fondazione Roma Museo on 22 October.An exhibition of about 60 rare photographs of Indian freedom fighters by early Italian modernist and revolutionary Tina Modotti also opened at the Italian Cultural Centre .
Korean Culture Centre has organised an exhibition titled Hanji Impression that introduces ‘hanji’ to India by Korean and Indian artists Park Yeo-Sang and Sharmi Chowdhury that commenced on January 15. Hanji literally means ‘the paper of Korea’. The main material is the fibrous skin of the mulberry.Hanji is not simply paper. It is used in a variety of ways, and has a different name according to its use. Both the artists uses Hanji as the base for their artistic interpretations. Even with changing times and the dominance of smart phones and digital culture, nothing can completely replace paper. As a medium of expressing emotions, the artists hope that hanji undergoes a transformation at the hands of the artists to become a valuable piece of artist. As a part of exhibition, workshops on Hanji making, Hanji book making and Hanji calendar making also took place. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Taking a look back at the history of mankind, one can say that the invention of paper marked the beginning of civilization. It is on paper that letters and characters were carved and books written and this material has been a source of progress for man. Through the invention of paper, man was able to leave behind wonderful works of art instead of leaving artistic imprints only in caves. Korea’s traditional hanji boasts a history of over a thousand years. The world’s oldest book printed with a metallic printing type was printed on hanji. This book was published in the 14th century and has been preserved for over 600 years in its paper form to exhibit the high preservation quality of hanji. The hanji that is produced traditionally and the type that is machine-produced both have a soft and warm quality. Hanji has the unique feature of being able to transmit the emotive qualities and thus provides attraction to today’s artists.When: On till February 5 Where: Exhibition Hall, Korean Cultural CentreTiming: 10 am – 5 pm
An 18-year-old married woman was crushed to death by a speeding truck, which hit the motorbike on which she was pillion riding, in South Delhi’s Sarita Vihar area on Sunday night. Two other persons – her husband and sister-in-law – also suffered injuries but were reported to be in a stable condition by Monday evening.The deceased was identified as Shilpi (18). She was reportedly pillion riding with her husband, Govind (24), on a motorcycle. Govind’s sister, Babita (14) was sitting between Govind and Shilpi. The accident was reported around 11.30 pm as they were heading for their residence in Sant Nagar in Old Faridabad, said a police official. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 croreHe further said that they were hit by a speeding truck from the back and Shilpi, consequently fell off the motorbike. She landed under the gigantic wheels of the truck, which dragged her across a few metres on the road. She died on the spot and her skull was split open.Locals gathered immediately and one of them informed the police. All three of them were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre, where Shilpi was declared brought dead and the other two were admitted with several injuries. Also Read – Man who cheated 20 women on matrimonial websites arrestedLocals also got hold of the truck driver, identified as Raj Kumar (44) and handed him over to the police. Raj Kumar is a resident of Panipat. He was taken for a medical test, but he was not found to be driving under the influence of alcohol. A case under Sections 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of IPC was registered immediately at the Sarita Vihar Police Station.“It is also not clear whether the pillion riders were wearing helmets or not. It is possible that Shilpi’s helmet – if she was wearing one, was crushed due to the immense pressure,” said the police official.The three of them – Govind, Shilpi and Babita – had gone to visit Shilpi’s parents at Ganesh Nagar near East Delhi’s Mother Dairy area and they were approaching Faridabad through the Aasram Chowk, intending to take the Mathura Road.