New computer model shows Titan atmosphere more Earthlike than thought

first_img © 2011 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — Two scientists from the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris have built a computer model that simulates the atmosphere on Titan, one of Saturn’s sixty two moons, and as a result now believe that Titan has two different atmospheric boundary layers, the lower of which appears to impact the formation of methane clouds, dune movement on the surface and wind patterns. The researchers, Benjamin Charnay and Sébastien Lebonnois have published their findings in Nature Geoscience. Journal information: Nature Geoscience More information: Two boundary layers in Titan’s lower troposphere inferred from a climate model, Nature Geoscience (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo1374AbstractSaturn’s moon Titan has a dense atmosphere, but its thermal structure is poorly known. Conflicting information has been gathered on the nature, extent and evolution of Titan’s planetary boundary layer—the layer of the atmosphere that is influenced by the surface—from radio-occultation observations by the Voyager 1 spacecraft1 and the Cassini orbiter, measurements by the Huygens probe and by dune-spacing analyses. Specifically, initial analyses of the Huygens data suggested a boundary layer of 300 m depth with no diurnal evolution4, incompatible with alternative estimates of 2–3 km. Here we use a three-dimensional general circulation model7, albeit not explicitly simulating the methane cycle, to analyse the dynamics leading to the thermal profile of Titan’s lowermost atmosphere. In our simulations, a convective boundary layer develops in the course of the day, rising to an altitude of 800 m. In addition, a seasonal boundary of 2 km depth is produced by the reversal of the Hadley cell at the equinox, with a dramatic impact on atmospheric circulation. We interpret fog that had been discovered at Titan’s south pole earlier as boundary layer clouds. We conclude that Titan’s troposphere is well structured, featuring two boundary layers that control wind patterns, dune spacing and cloud formation at low altitudes. Titan gives clues to Earth’s early history Explore furthercenter_img Titan’s hazy orange globe hangs before the Cassini spacecraft. Image credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute. Titan has long held interest for scientists because of its promise, as the only known moon in the solar system that has a dense atmosphere, there has been hope that perhaps some form of life might be found on it. Information provided by three separate spacecraft sent to the area has only stirred more speculation about the moon, which is roughly twice the size of our own (which, quite inexplicably, still has no name) but is nine times farther away from the sun. Because of that, it’s cold, -180°C. First up was Voyager 1, which flew by in 1981. Next was Cassini in 2004, followed the next year by the Huygens probe, which actually landed on its surface. Despite the massive amounts of data collected by all three vehicles, scientists have still not been able to get a good handle on just what is going on with Titan’s atmosphere. It’s just so dense that it’s difficult to see what’s actually going on at the lower levels.To help clear things up the research duo put together a three dimensional computer model that incorporates information collected from all three space vehicles that includes among other things, chemical compositions, dune movement and measurements of wind and cloud formations. In running their simulation, they team was able to see that Titan’s atmosphere very clearly has at least one boundary, which is the part of an atmosphere that is impacted by the surface (friction, heat, etc.) and vice-versa. But interestingly, they also found evidence that there appears to be a second boundary as well that is likely caused by changes in seasonal air circulation.Such findings are somewhat surprising considering the great distance of the moon from the sun; it was thought that there would be little heat buildup on the surface, thus constraining the possible impact on an atmospheric boundary. The computer model shows otherwise however, which suggests that there likely are other components at work.None of this goes anywhere near showing that life could possibly exist on Titan of course, but it does provide more insight into the inner workings of an atmosphere that is apparently, in some ways, eerily like our own. Citation: New computer model shows Titan atmosphere more Earth-like than thought (2012, January 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-titan-atmosphere-earth-like-thought.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.last_img read more

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Field study suggests islands and forest fragments are not as alike as

first_img Ecological Armageddon in forest fragments The findings by the team could potentially impact biodiversity studies the world over and cause changes to the way land is managed. With a constant tug-of-war going on between those involved in efforts to preserve plants and animals in native environments and those who see land as a resource to be plowed under to feed people, it’s critical that all involved have accurate information when plans are made. The work done by the team in this latest study may offer new ways to help both sides achieve their goals. Explore further More information: Predicting biodiversity change and averting collapse in agricultural landscapes, Nature (2014) DOI: 10.1038/nature13139AbstractThe equilibrium theory of island biogeography is the basis for estimating extinction rates and a pillar of conservation science. The default strategy for conserving biodiversity is the designation of nature reserves, treated as islands in an inhospitable sea of human activity5. Despite the profound influence of islands on conservation theory and practice3, 4, their mainland analogues, forest fragments in human-dominated landscapes, consistently defy expected biodiversity patterns based on island biogeography theory. Countryside biogeography is an alternative framework, which recognizes that the fate of the world’s wildlife will be decided largely by the hospitality of agricultural or countryside ecosystems. Here we directly test these biogeographic theories by comparing a Neotropical countryside ecosystem with a nearby island ecosystem, and show that each supports similar bat biodiversity in fundamentally different ways. The island ecosystem conforms to island biogeographic predictions of bat species loss, in which the water matrix is not habitat. In contrast, the countryside ecosystem has high species richness and evenness across forest reserves and smaller forest fragments. Relative to forest reserves and fragments, deforested countryside habitat supports a less species-rich, yet equally even, bat assemblage. Moreover, the bat assemblage associated with deforested habitat is compositionally novel because of predictable changes in abundances by many species using human-made habitat. Finally, we perform a global meta-analysis of bat biogeographic studies, spanning more than 700 species. It generalizes our findings, showing that separate biogeographic theories for countryside and island ecosystems are necessary. A theory of countryside biogeography is essential to conservation strategy in the agricultural ecosystems that comprise roughly half of the global land surface and are likely to increase even further. Bats in the countryside and island ecosystems were captured, tagged, and released on-site to measure biodiversity patterns and test biogeographic theories. Pictured is an ominvorous bat, Phyllostomus hastatus, a bat that feeds on fruit, insects, and occasionally other bats. Credit: Matthew Champoux Citation: Field study suggests islands and forest fragments are not as alike as thought (2014, April 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-04-field-islands-forest-fragments-alike.html For many years, scientists who study biodiversity in different geographical regions have relied on assumptions that forest fragments that exist in a sea of crops are similar to islands that exist in rivers, lakes or oceans. In this new study, the research team working in Cost Rica, challenges such assumptions.Scientists know that islands more distant from continents are generally less diverse than those that are closer. At the same time, it has seemed intuitive that an island in the middle of a small lake would likely have the same makeup as a forest of roughly the same size surrounded by a sea of cropland. To find out if that is indeed the case, the researchers conducted field studies in two regions in Costa Rica, separated by just a few miles. One was an island in a lake, the other a forest “island” surrounded by a coffee plantation. Specifically, they counted bats, both their numbers and how many species were present. Afterwards, they compared the numbers found for the two sites and found striking differences. Not only were there far more bats living on the land-based island, but there were more species as well.Suspecting they were on to something, the researchers turned to database information regarding biodiversity in 52 other cases as part of 26 studies—all told more than 700 species were included. They report generalized findings that suggest that separate biodiversity theories be developed for true islands versus forest fragment islands. An international team of biogeographers has found that assumptions about similarities between biodiversity in forest fragments and true islands are not as clear-cut as has been assumed. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team reports on the results of a field study they conducted along with a comparative analysis of data from a much wider source. Human-made habitats provide resources for bats to carry out vital parts of their life cycles, including roosting and breeding for some species like Carollia perpicillata. Credit: Daniel S. Karp Journal information: Nature © 2014 Phys.org Artibeus literatus feeding on a fig fruit in an island ecosystem in Panama. Credit: Christoph F. J. Meyer 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

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Study shows corpse removal in ant colonies is a survival advantage

first_img Citation: Study shows corpse removal in ant colonies is a survival advantage (2014, July 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-07-corpse-ant-colonies-survival-advantage.html It seems intuitive, removing dead bodies from places where social organisms congregate helps those that are still alive, live longer, presumably healthier lives. Dead bodies, after all, attract a host of organisms that feed off of them, some of which might be dangerous for those still living. Scientists have observed social organisms of many different species removing dead bodies from nests on many occasions, but until now, the researchers report, there has been very little research conducted to prove what everyone seems to think is so obvious—that doing so helps those that live there, live longer. To learn more, they focused their efforts on the common red ant (Myrmica rubra) which normally lives in a variety of areas in nests as large as a thousand members. Prior research has found the ants to be highly social with different ants performing different roles, one of which is to keep the nest clean by removing the carcasses of ants that die while inside—they drag and dump them outside. To better understand how carcass removal might benefit the ants, the researchers set up several nests in their lab. Some of the nests had normal sized exits, while others had openings that were so small it was difficult for ants to drag dead ants through.The researchers placed dead ants in each of the colonies and then monitored mortality rates. They found that such rates rose dramatically in the nests when the ants couldn’t remove the dead ants, starting after just eight days. After 50 days, the rate rose on average from 6 percent to 13 percent. They noted that larvae were impacted as well, but not as dramatically—likely, the researchers report, because the dead bodies were moved to locations as far from them as possible inside the nest.The researchers conclude that removal of dead ants from colonies is an important survival technique. (Phys.org) —A trio of researchers in Belgium has found that if red ants are prevented from removing dead ants from inside of their nest, survival rates go down. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, Lise Diez, Philippe Lejeune and Claire Detrain describe a study they conducted where they restricted red ants from removing their dead and the impact it had on their survival rates. Explore further More information: Keep the nest clean: survival advantages of corpse removal in ants, Biology Letters, Published 9 July 2014 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0306AbstractSociality increases exposure to pathogens. Therefore, social insects have developed a wide range of behavioural defences, known as ‘social immunity’. However, the benefits of these behaviours in terms of colony survival have been scarcely investigated. We tested the survival advantage of prophylaxis, i.e. corpse removal, in ants. Over 50 days, we compared the survival of ants in colonies that were free to remove corpses with those that were restricted in their corpse removal. From Day 8 onwards, the survival of adult workers was significantly higher in colonies that were allowed to remove corpses normally. Overall, larvae survived better than adults, but were slightly affected by the presence of corpses in the nest. When removal was restricted, ants removed as many corpses as they could and moved the remaining corpses away from brood, typically to the nest corners. These results show the importance of nest maintenance and prophylactic behaviour in social insects. ‘Bone-house wasp’ uses dead ants to protect their nestcenter_img (a) Survival curves of workers (mean ± s.e.). (b) Survival curves of larvae (mean ± s.e.). Squares, FR colonies; circles, LR colonies. Credit: Biology Letters, Published 9 July 2014 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0306 Journal information: Biology Letters © 2014 Phys.org 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

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Large amount of gold and silver found in reservoirs under volcanoes in

first_imgA small team of researchers with members from institutions in the U.S. and New Zealand has found that there are large deposits of gold and silver in at least six reservoirs beneath several volcanoes in New Zealand. In their paper published in the journal Geothermics, the team describes their investigation into geothermal systems in the V-shaped Taupo Volcanic Zone on New Zealand’s North Island and just how much of the precious metal they believe is hiding down there. As part of their study, the team found that magma heating water in the volcanic zone had been breaking down rocks for quite some time, releasing the gold and silver in them. Those metal particles then fell to the floor of reservoirs that are hundreds of meters deep. The natural process is similar to the way modern precious metals are obtained—lode bearing rock is crushed and then sifted using water—the heavier metals land at the bottom where they are retrieved. In their studies, the team found examples of gold at over 20 parts per billion, and silver at 2,000 ppb. The team believes the precious metals could be mined, yielding perhaps nearly three billion dollars worth of gold and three and a half billion in silver annually. Of course, companies hoping to take advantage of the find would have several hurdles to jump—new technology would have to be developed to get at the source (the research group suggests it would likely entail a two-phase pipeline that would allow for capturing the metals as the accumulate, rather than digging in the sediment to retrieve what has already fallen) and agreements would have to be made with others already tapping into the heated water—they use it as a geothermal energy source. It has been known for some time that precious metals were embedded in subsurface rocks in the area, but in concentrations too low to make mining worthwhile. Testing samples below using hole sampling revealed much higher concentrations in deposits at the bottom of the reservoirs. The team noted that testing at two sites, Rotokawa and Mokai revealed even high concentrations, suggesting production of 680 to 7,500 kg of gold a year might be possible. Recovering low-grade platinum metals Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Citation: Large amount of gold and silver found in reservoirs under volcanoes in New Zealand (2015, August 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-large-amount-gold-silver-reservoirs.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. More information: Gold and silver resources in Taupo Volcanic Zone geothermal systems, Geothermics, Available online 14 August 2015. AbstractEarlier investigations show that some geothermal systems of the Taupo Volcanic Zone are sites of precious metal transport and deposition. Gold and silver precipitate in hot springs, in subsurface hydrothermally altered rocks, and in two-phase pipelines associated with production wells, as a result of gas loss due to flashing and adsorption on to As and Sb-rich sulfur phases. The amounts of Au deposited in subsurface rocks may exceed several hundred thousand ounces, but the concentrations appear to be very low grade (<1 ppm Au). High-grade deposits are forming in hot springs, containing >500 ppm Au and >700 ppm Ag, but small metal inventories (<10,000 oz Au) and very high conservation value eliminate these sites as potential resources.Down hole sampling of production wells shows that deep reservoir waters have Au concentrations that range from <0.1 to >20 ppb and Ag concentrations that range from <2 to >2000 ppb. The limited data suggest that at modest concentrations, production wells could produce 0.3 to 3.0 kg Au/year, but that wells in Rotokawa, might produce 19–70 kg Au/year. For modest Ag concentrations, production wells could produce 3–100 kg Ag/year, but wells at Mokai and Rotokawa might produce 680–7500 kg Ag/year. The total amounts of aqueous Au and Ag in reservoirs could be on the order of tens of thousands of ounces Au and hundreds of thousands of ounces Ag, or more.New technologies need to be developed to extract the metals from the flow stream of production wells without interfering with geothermal energy production for continued metal extraction to be feasible. The alternative is to let precious metals accumulate in two-phase pipelines, to be recovered in intervals, when practical for steam field operations and optimal in terms of profitability.via Sciencenews.org Mount Ngauruhoe is the tallest peak of the Tongariro complex in the North Island of New Zealand. Credit: Photo by Don Swanson, 1984 (U.S. Geological Survey). via Wikipedia.last_img read more

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Warm Saturn exoplanet discovered by astronomers

first_img More information: EPIC247098361b: a transiting warm Saturn on an eccentric P=11.2 days orbit around a V=9.9 star, arXiv:1802.08865 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1802.08865AbstractWe report the discovery of EPIC247098361b using photometric data of the Kepler K2 satellite coupled with ground-based spectroscopic observations. EPIC247098361b has a mass of MP=0.397±0.037 MJ, a radius of RP=1.00±0.020 RJ, and a moderately low equilibrium temperature of Teq=1030±15 K due to its relatively large star-planet separation of a=0.1036 AU. EPIC247098361b orbits its bright (V=9.9) late F-type host star in an eccentric orbit (e=0.258±0.025) every 11.2 days, and is one of only four well characterized warm Jupiters having hosts stars brighter than V=10. We estimate a heavy element content of 20 ± 7 M⊕ for EPIC247098361b, which is consistent with standard models of giant planet formation. The bright host star of EPIC247098361b makes this system a well suited target for detailed follow-up observations that will aid in the study of the atmospheres and orbital evolution of giant planets at moderate separations from their host stars. Citation: ‘Warm Saturn’ exoplanet discovered by astronomers (2018, March 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-saturn-exoplanet-astronomers.html The top panel shows the phase folded Kepler K2 photometry (black points) as a function of time at the time of transit for EPIC 247098361 b, and the model constructed with the derived parameters of exonailer (blue line). The bottom panel shows the corresponding residuals. Credit: Brahm et al., 2018. Using data from NASA’s prolonged Kepler mission, known as K2, astronomers have found a new “warm Saturn” exoplanet. The newly discovered alien world, named EPIC 247098361 b, is similar in mass to Saturn, but much hotter. The finding is reported February 24 in a paper published on arXiv.org. Explore further The new extrasolar world was first spotted by K2 as a planetary candidate during the spacecraft’s Campaign 13 between March and May 2017, when it obtained the light curve of the star EPIC 247098361. In order to confirm the planetary status of the newly identified object, a team of astronomers led by Rafael Brahm of the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics in Chile has carried out follow-up observations using ground-based telescopes at ESO La Silla Observatory in Chile.For the follow-up spectrographic campaign, the researchers employed the Coralie spectrograph mounted on the 1.2m Euler/Swiss telescope, the FEROS spectrograph installed on the MPG 2.2m telescope, and the HARPS spectrograph on the ESO 3.6m telescope. The observations with the use of these instruments, conducted between October 2017 and January 2018, resulted in confirmation of a planetary nature of the transiting signal identified by K2 mission.”We report the discovery of EPIC 247098361 b using photometric data of the Kepler K2 satellite coupled with ground-based spectroscopic observations,” the researchers wrote in the paper.According to the study, EPIC 247098361 b is the size of Jupiter and has a mass of nearly 0.4 Jupiter masses. Given that this planet is only 33 percent more massive than Saturn and has an equilibrium temperature of 1,030 K, it was classified by the researchers as a “warm Saturn.”EPIC 247098361, the host of the newly found exoplanet, is a bright, late F-type star about 16 percent larger and 19 percent more massive than the sun. EPIC 247098361 b orbits this star every 11.2 days at a distance of approximately 0.1 AU from the host.Furthermore, the astronomers found that the heavy element content for EPIC 247098361 b is at a level of about 20 Earth masses, consistent with standard models of giant planet formation. “These properties are consistent with the core accretion model of planet formation in which the planet starts a runaway accretion of gaseous material as soon as the solid embryo reaches a mass of 10 Earth masses. In this process, the planet keeps accreting rocky and icy planetesimals that have been decoupled from the gaseous disc,” the paper reads.The authors of the paper call for more observations of the EPIC 247098361 system, regarded as an excellent target to study the atmospheres of moderately low irradiated giant planets. The system could also be helpful in studying orbital evolution of giant planets at moderate separations from their host stars.”The bright host star coupled to the nearly equatorial declination of the system makes of EPIC 247098361 one of the most promising warm giant planets to perform detailed follow-up observations using Northern and Southern facilities,” the researchers concluded. © 2018 Phys.org Two new inflated ‘hot Jupiters’ discovered by astronomers 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

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Stellar stream of galaxy NGC 5907 has a morphology different than previously

first_imgDragonfly imaging of the NGC 5907 field, with North up and East to the left. Credit: van Dokkum et al., 2019. Using Dragonfly Telephoto Array, astronomers have revisited the spiral galaxy NGC 5907 and provided more insights into the morphology of its stellar stream. The new observations indicate that this feature has a qualitatively different morphology than when it was observed about a decade ago. The new findings are reported in a paper published June 26 on arXiv.org. Explore further Citation: Stellar stream of galaxy NGC 5907 has a morphology different than previously thought (2019, July 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-stellar-stream-galaxy-ngc-morphology.html © 2019 Science X Network More information: Pieter van Dokkum, et al. Dragonfly imaging of the galaxy NGC5907: a revised view of the iconic stellar stream. arXiv:1906.11260v1 [astro-ph.GA]: arxiv.org/abs/1906.11260 Tidal tails detected around dwarf galaxy DDO 44 Stellar streams are remnants of dwarf galaxies or globular clusters that once orbited a galaxy but have been disrupted and stretched out along their orbits by tidal forces of their hosts. So far, more than 40 stellar streams have been identified in the Milky Way, just a few in the Andromeda galaxy, and about 10 outside the Local Group.For astronomers, stellar stream could provide important information on the frequency of the accretion of small objects onto larger ones. Given that their morphologies reflect their orbits, they could serve as probes of the gravitational potential. Moreover, they could be also used as a tool to constrain the mass and structure of dark matter halos.One of the bes-known stellar streams outside the Milky Way galaxy is the one associated with NGC 5907, a spiral galaxy located some 55.4 million light years away, with a stellar mass of around 80 billion solar masses. The stream was detected in 1998 when sections of a loop around the disk of NGC 5907 were identified. Further observations of this feature, conducted 10 years later, showed that the stream exhibits not one but two complete loops, enveloping the galaxy in a giant corkscrew-like structure.Now, new observations performed by a group of astronomers led by Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University, delivered more detailed images of NGC 5907’s stellar stream. The new data, collected by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, indicate that the morphology of this feature is different than that in the study published a decade ago.”Here, we report on new low-surface-brightness imaging of NGC 5907 over a wide field as part of an imaging campaign of nearby galaxies with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.In general, the study found that NGC 5907 is a relatively straightforward system composed of the remnant of a progenitor galaxy, a leading tail and a long, faint trailing tail. The astronomers said that the stellar stream of this galaxy is similar to the Sagittarius stream around the Milky Way in terms of its spatial extent and stellar mass.However, the most puzzling aspect of the study is that it has not confirmed the presence of the second loop in NGC 5907’s stellar stream. The researchers noted that the leading tail in the image obtained by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array falls in between the two loops identified in the observations conducted in 2008.Furthermore, by comparing the new images with these acquired ten years ago the extent of the Western stream was found to be greater. Additionally, the stream was found to have more substructure and brightness variations, and the ratio of the apparent width of the stream to the apparent width of the disk of the galaxy turned out to be much smaller.Trying to find a possible explanation of such discrepancies in the data, the authors of the study point out to the image processing procedures that were applied to the data as the images collected in 2008 were processed by an amateur astronomer.”Amateurs have played an important role in this field as they convincingly demonstrated the power of small telescopes for low surface brightness imaging. However, the methods that are used by the amateur community typically do not allow for quantitative analysis, as their image processing is generally optimized for aesthetic qualities rather than preserving the linearity and noise properties of the data,” the researchers concluded. 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

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Reducing Climate Change by Making It Less Abstract

first_imgThe fundamental problem is that people experience abstract information differently than concrete information. Abstract information often leads to wondering and thinking, but no action. Concrete information tends to convey greater urgency, triggering the belief that “we need to act now.” Concrete information is also more likely to activate strong emotions such as joy, frustration, or empathy. We are happier with a bonus that we receive the next day than exactly the same bonus two months from now. And concrete experiences often trigger changes in our behavior. Seeing a small leak makes us renovate our house. Hearing a friend’s story about malaria may be enough to decide not to visit a tropical country. Small-but-concrete events can have powerful effects. Read the whole story: Scientific American There is no longer any doubt: the world is getting warmer, and humans are partially to blame. Unless we make significant changes at both the individual and societal level in the coming years, the consequences could be catastrophic. However, such changes are inherently difficult to enact because they cut directly against human nature. Humans are naturally prone to making short-term decisions (for instance, taking the plane rather than the train) as opposed to pursuing longer-term collective interests. In other words, they often prefer benefits in the concrete “here and now” to those that occur in the abstract future. But how can this tendency be overcome? How can concrete outcomes—cash, time, comfort—compete with a threat as abstract as climate change?last_img read more

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Who knew nomads could inspire fashion

If one could express what Paras and Shalini’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection is about in a nutshell, one could say it is about a woman drenched in the idyllic romance and draped in the modern ethos. The inspiration for this collection comes from the nomads and the rustic charms of the Edwardian era. The collection is fresh, feminine, with rich fabrics and fine detailing, reminding us of the Victoran life.

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Starting today ATM use over 5 timesmonth will attract fee

first_imgUsing ATMs to withdraw money or for other purposes like balance enquiry beyond five times in a month will attract a levy of Rs 20 per transaction from Friday. As per the Reserve Bank’s new guidelines that comes into force from Saturday, bank customers in six metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore – are allowed to withdraw money and/or carry out non-financial transactions like mini-statements at ATMs of banks, where they hold saving/current accounts, free of charge only five times a month. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIEvery transaction beyond this threshold will be charged Rs 20 per use. Besides, the number of free transactions at ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) of non-home banks has been cut to three times a month from five times. ‘Taking into account the high density of ATMs, bank branches and alternate modes of payment available to customers, the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other banks? ATMs is reduced from the present 5 to 3 transactions per month (inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions),’ RBI had said in a notification issued in August this year. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThe RBI, however, clarified that nothing precludes a bank from offering more than three free transactions at other bank ATMs to its account holders if it so desires. The cap in the number of free ATM transactions will not apply on small/no-frills or basic savings bank deposit account holders who will continue to enjoy five free transactions.At places other than the six metro centres, the facility of five free transactions for savings bank account customers will remain unchanged upon using other bank ATMs. India has a total of 1.6 lakh bank ATMs across the country as of March 2014. The new guidelines were issued in pursuance of a representation made to the RBI by Indian Banks’ Association on the back of growing cost of ATM deployment and maintenance incurred by banks as well as rising interchange outgo due to free transactions.last_img read more

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Howrah Station receives coveted CIIIGBC Silver Rating

first_imgKolkata: In a major impetus to Indian Railways’ green pursuits, Howrah Railway Station was awarded CII-IGBC Silver Rating under IGBC Green Railway Stations Rating System.Howrah Railway Station, the largest in the country in terms of number of platforms, was awarded the CII-IGBC Green rating for incorporating some of the finest green buildings and passenger-friendly features such as installation of station rooftops, water management, mechanised cleaning, no artificial lighting during daytime, solid waste management, fresh air ventilation, universal accessibility, pedestrian friendliness and first and last mile connectivity. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAt a programme organised at Howrah Station on Sunday, T K Sain, senior divisional environment and housekeeping manager, Howrah Division, Eastern Railway, received a CII-IGBC Silver Rating certificate and a plaque from Shakuntala Ghosh, Chairperson, IGBC Kolkata Chapter, in the presence of the Mayor of Howrah, Rathin Chakraborty and Manu Goel, divisional railway manager, Howrah Division.”Howrah Railway Station’s achievement will encourage other railway stations and PSUs to go green and in the process, build a greener and healthier India,” Shakuntala Ghosh said, adding that CII is working closely with Indian Railways in several green initiatives such as green buildings, GreenCo (Green Companies) and energy efficiency. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”This partnership will go a long way in facilitating meeting the green priorities and priorities set by Indian Railways,” she added.According to Ghosh, with support from all the stakeholders, IGBC is spearheading the green building movement in India. “Today, India, with over 5.27 billion sq.ft, stands No. 2 in the world in terms of largest registered green building footprint. IGBC aspires to facilitate 10 billion sq.ft of green building footprint by 2022 (75th year of India’s Independence),” she maintained.last_img read more

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IT dept forms body to build repository of used AI cases

first_imgKolkata: The state Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E) department has formed a core group which will interact with various stakeholders and prepare a repository of used cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI), that can be adapted by various departments of the state government.”We have already conceptualised and kickstarted a Centre of Innovation to leverage emerging technologies like Fintech, AI and Blockchain. The state government believes that they can use AI for improved public service. So, our department has formed a core group which will interact with various stakeholders and prepare a repository of used cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI), that can be adapted by various departments of the state government,” state IT minister Bratya Basu said, addressing a Knowledge Workshop on AI at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre on Friday. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe core group, consisting of four members and headed by state Additional Chief Secretary (IT) Debashis Sen, will work upon good practices of AI and try to form a strategy on machine training at the various IT parks of the state government in districts. “AI is not like Microsoft office. It requires a huge amount of data customisation, for which we require a reasonable amount of workforce. This is referred to as medium level workforce and has immense job potential, particularly in our IT parks in Tier II and Tier III cities,” Sen said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe minister said that the state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is committed to make the state a leader in emerging technologies like AI, Fintech, Blockchain and Cyber security. “We believe that these emerging technologies will help to promote the huge technology potential of the state and create further opportunities for employment and wealth generation for the people,” Basu said.A senior official of the IT department said that every year, there are around 800 PhD students who pass out from the universities. “We have to train them properly and to cater to this medium level workforce,” a senior IT department official said. Dr Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director of IIT Kharagpur, who delivered the keynote address at the workshop, talked about how IIT KGP has been applying its research in AI for solving industrial, scientific and social problems such as retail, industry 4.0 and manufacturing.The workshop, that deliberated on the use of AI in business, governance, industry and in transforming processes, saw participation from students, young and experienced professionals, academicians, entrepreneurs and industry representatives.last_img read more

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Carcass meat case Committee calls for clearance of police Health dept officials

first_imgKOLKATA: The high-powered committee set up to evolve a foolproof mechanism to bring an end to the menace of selling of carcass meat has recommended allowing police, Health department officials and authorities of civic bodies to carry out raids.At present, only food safety officers carry out the raids and collect samples for necessary tests. But with the problem of carcass meat coming to the surface, the need of engaging police, Health department officials and civic body authorities for the same is being felt. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt may be recalled that the state government had set up a high-powered committee headed by Chief Secretary Malay De, to immediately evolve a foolproof mechanism to bring an end to the menace of carcass meat sale. The other eight members of the committee are Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya, Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha, Commissioner of Kolkata Police Rajeev Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary of Panchayat and Rural Development department and Principal Secretaries of Health department, Urban Development and Municipal Affairs department, Food and Supplies department and Animal Resources Development (ARD) department. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedMembers of the committee held meetings and tried to come up with a solution so that the menace of carcass meat can be completely uprooted.It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the setting up of the high-powered committee after the central level administrative review meeting held in Nabanna Sabhaghar on May 8. The Chief Minister had said: “A nine member high powered committee has been formed to ensure that incidents like what has happened over carcass meat do not recur in future.” The committee also recommended that eateries, meat and chicken sellers have to give a declaration that they will not get involved in any such activity that will hamper food safety. Trade licences will be cancelled if any trader is found flouting the norms.Moreover, a toll-free number will also be introduced in which common people will be able to pass information to concerned authorities to inform if they find anyone compromising with the quality of food. A WhatsApp number will also be provided to send photographs or videos directly from the spot.Meanwhile, civic bodies in different parts of the state have carried out raids and collected samples of meat from different eateries. The same have been sent for tests to laboratories. Besides taking the preventive steps, the police have also arrested several people, including the kingpin of the rackets which were behind the carcass meat business.last_img read more

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Benefit under Swasthya Sathi enhanced to Rs 5 L

first_imgKolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government has increased the limit of benefit under Swasthya Sathi scheme from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.As per a notification issued by the state Finance Department on Thursday, “…the basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care (including critical illness) shall be up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum, for all cases under Swasthya Sathi”.This comes as a major initiative of the state government as it is going to benefit lakhs of people from different walks of life. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt has been stated that “Swasthya Sathi”, a comprehensive group health insurance scheme introduced by the state government on February 25 in 2016, is being implemented by the department of Health and Family Welfare. After evaluating the performance of the scheme, the matter of raising the financial limit for basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care from the existing limit of Rs 1.5 lakh per family per annum, has been under active consideration of the state government to further reduce the burden of the beneficiaries.” As a result, steps were taken to increase the amount for the same to Rs 5 lakh. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt has been stated in the notification that bringing a partial modification to the previous order, “the Governor is pleased to decide that the basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care (including critical illness) shall be up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum, for all cases under Swasthya Sathi. All other aspects of the scheme, as notified from time to time, shall remain unchanged.”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had launched the scheme on December 30 in 2016. The scheme was first announced following a cabinet meeting on February 17 in the same year. A State Level Implementation Committee (SLIC) under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, was formed to supervise implementation of the scheme. It may be mentioned that the Mamata Banerjee government has brought retired sports personalities, one lakh cable TV operators, television artistes, civic volunteers and ICDS and ASHA workers under the scheme.Thousands of people have reaped benefits of the scheme and it has helped them a lot. Now, the increase in the health cover up to Rs 5 lakh is going to benefit people immensely.It may be mentioned that the state government has taken a series of steps to ensure that people do not face any problem in getting better treatment, including free treatment in state-run hospitals.last_img read more

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Kolkata tramcar reinvents itself to offer a culinary ride

first_imgKolkata: The trams in the City of Joy may not have kept up with the fast pace of the metropolis, but they refuse to quietly roll off into the sunset. A newly refurbished tramcar, designed as a fine-dining 28-seater restaurant, will trundle out from October 13, offering a culinary ride to customers. Named “Victoria on Wheels”, the service, an innovative way to keep the tram service alive, will run from Shahid Minar to Kidderpore, offering non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals and some sightseeing on the way. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Aimed at generating revenue for the loss-making Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), the restaurant on wheels — decked up with artwork depicting various famous tourist spots in the city — is also equipped with air-conditioning, a music system and bio-toilets to attract tourists who seek the unique experience of dining in a moving tramcar. The Victoria, a catering chain, which has bagged the contract for 10 years through a tender, will pay Rs 1.6 lakh per month to CTC. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “We are adopting various innovative approaches to generate revenue for the tram company as our fare collection has gone down over the years,” a senior CTC official told IANS. Patronage of the tram service, considered one of the oldest modes of public transport, has fallen drastically because of the onslaught of taxis, private buses and India’s first Metro service – and its routes have also been reduced to less than 30 from more than 50 earlier. Once upon a time the tram service was the main mode of transport in the city, but not any more – even though the tram fare is still at the lowest at Rs 6 and Rs 7. “From a mode of transport it has become a ‘mode of experiment’,” said J.P. Mishra, a CTC employee. Somnath Das, another employee, said though various factors have led to the tram service being curtailed, attempts are being made to continue its operation. “Besides allowing two tramcars to become a restuarant,” Mishra said, “We also offer exclusive tram rides on popular routes during Durga Puja at special rates.” Victorial on Wheels will make two rides each covering the lunch and dinner hours, and during Durga Puja there will be three rides in the evening. The package offer is Rs 999 for a non-vegetarian meal and Rs 799 for vegetarian food, including a welcome drink, starters, main course and dessert during a 90-minute ride from Shahid Minar to Kidderpore and back.last_img read more

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Investors meet for Bhorer Alo held

first_imgDarjeeling: The state Tourism department held an investors’ meet in Siliguri on Saturday inviting investments for “Bhorer Alo” at Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri district. The project is dubbed as India’s largest integrated tourism location and is expected to emerge as a major attraction.The project was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on October 3. Spread across a sprawling 210 acres of land, the project, located 20 km away from Siliguri, will include a bird sanctuary “Pakhibitan,” jungle safari, sun set point, orchid park, amphitheatre, camping facility, jungle trek route, adventure cycling and boating facilities along with a golf course, star category and budget accommodation facilities and food court. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We will soon float tenders for six important components for this project and are inviting investments for the same,” stated state Tourism minister Goutam Deb. The six components include a nine hole golf course and resort spread across 63.77 acres; star category eco resort spread across 6 acres; high-end eco lake resort on 13.12 acres; budget category eco resort on 1.6 acres and a food court on 2.50 acres of land. Local investors were present in Saturday’s meet. There are a number of investors who have been showing interest in “Bhorer Alo”. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedSatyam Roychowdhury, MD of Techno India Group, has shown interest in investing in the star category eco resort. Local entrepreneurs including Norden Lama who owns a chain of hotels in this region and Summit Group of Hotels have shown interest in opening up budget category resorts. Abhaya Bose has shown interest in opening up a boutique hotel cum resort at “Bhorer Alo”. “We will have similar investors’ meet in Kolkata and Delhi in the near future to attract more investors for Bhorer Alo,” stated Deb. The state government has already invested Rs 373 crore on infrastructure development including electricity, drinking water and roads.last_img read more

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Digital screen use may up wellbeing in teenagers

first_imgSpending hours in front of digital screen may be harmful for adolescents. However, but moderate use may not harm but increase their well-being, researchers say.“Digital screens are now an inextricable part of modern childhood. Our findings suggest that adolescents’ moderate screen use has no detectable link to well-being and levels of engagement above these points are modestly correlated with well-being,” said lead researcher Andrew Przybylski, psychological scientist at the University of Oxford. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe findings showed that as a result of a digital “sweet spot” between low and high technology use, moderate screen time can increase teenagers’ well-being. This sweet spot benefits teenagers’ well-being by providing opportunities to develop social connections and skills, the researchers said.For the study, the researchers examined data measuring screen time and well-being collected from 120,115 teenagers, with an average of 15 year olds.  Nearly all of the participating adolescents reported spending time using at least one type of digital technology on a daily basis. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe also reported spending more time engaging in digital activities on weekend days than on weekdays and that they spent more time using smartphones in overall compared with watching TV.Using statistical methods to determine the tipping point for each type of activity, the researchers found that on weekdays, teenagers’ well-being peaked at about 1 hour and 40 minutes of video-game play, about 1 hour 57 minutes of smartphone use, about 3 hours and 41 minutes of watching videos, and about 4 hours and 17 minutes of using computers.However, above these tipping points, screen time turned potentially harmful and was associated with decreased well-being.The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.last_img read more

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Man found dead with injury marks on body

first_imgKolkata: Tension triggered at Rathtala in Burdwan after a civic volunteer’s body was found under a bridge on Monday morning. The deceased was identified as Rabindranath Ghosh (37). He was posted at the Dewandighi police station in Burdwan.According to his family members, Ghosh left his home on Sunday around 2 pm. He told his family that he was going to Kanchan Utsav for duty. As he did not returned home till late night, his family members started looking for him at their relative’s homes. They also tried calling him but they said his mobile was switched off. Ghosh’s family decided to seek help from the police on Monday morning. Some local residents identified Ghosh, who was lying unconscious on the bank of Banka canal under the canal bridge and the police was also informed. Police recovered him and sent his body to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. Later, Ghosh’s family identified Ghosh at the hospital. A source said his body bore multiple injury marks.last_img read more

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Why flight attendants are at high risk of cancer

first_imgDue to regular exposure to carcinogens, disrupted sleep cycles and possible chemical contaminants, flight attendants may be at a higher risk of developing several forms of cancer than others, finds a new research.These include breast, uterine, gastrointestinal, thyroid and cervical cancer.According to the study, flight attendants are also regularly exposed to the largest effective annual ionizing radiation dose relative to all other radiation workers because of both their exposure to and lack of protection from cosmic radiation in the plane. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Our findings of higher rates of several cancers among flight attendants is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in our study population, which highlights the question of what can be done to minimize the adverse exposures and cancers common among cabin crew,” said Irina Mordukhovich from the Harvard University’s T.H Chan School of Public Health.The study, published in the journal ‘Environmental Health’, included data from a survey of 5,366 US flight attendants, who were then compared the prevalence of cancers among the general public. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe results showed that flight attendants had a higher prevalence of every cancer that was examined, especially breast cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer among females.The findings suggest that additional efforts should be made to minimize the risk of cancer among flight attendants, including monitoring radiation dose and organising schedules to minimize radiation exposure and circadian rhythm disruption, the researchers suggested.last_img read more

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Working in shifts may increase heart disease risks

first_imgPeople who work in shifts are at heightened danger of heart disease and the risk increases with years they work in shifts, finds a Chinese study of more than 300,000 people. Shift work “can earn more profit, but it can also cause harm to the health of employees. Thus, employers should reduce shift work as much as possible,” lead author Weihong Chen, a researcher in occupational and environmental health at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, was quoted as saying to the Health Day. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfWhile the reason is unknown, disruption in the normal sleep-wake cycle could increase stress. In the study, published in the journal Occupational Medicine, the team analysed data from 21 earlier studies involving over 320,000 people and nearly 20,000 cases of coronary heart disease. The study was not designed to prove the cause and effect, but the data showed shift workers were 13 per cent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than daytime workers. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFor every year spent working in shifts, there was a nearly one per cent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease, the report said. According to Weihong, employers should pay attention to staff members who are experiencing symptoms of heart problems as well as those with a family history of heart disease. Employers could provide health promotion, such as information on how to prevent and deal with ischemic heart disease, she said. Companies could also consider providing health check-ups to detect early signs of heart problems, Weihong said.last_img read more

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That Time Keith Richards Snorted his Father

first_imgKeith Richards, the man who, against all odds, won’t die. The man who has seen it all and been through it all.The man who has created some of the most lasting melodies and catchy riffs in popular music history.Keith Richards live in concert, June 10, 2003, Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, Milan.Born in 1943 he grew up to become a bad boy legend. Yet he has seemed tortured over something missing throughout his life.Music journalist Nick Kent dubbed Richards, who as a boy soprano sang before the Queen in Westminster Abbey, “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”Even his bosom singing buddy Mick Jagger was the victim of this love-hate dynamic.Keith Richards in 1965.“I think of our differences as a family squabble,” Richards said of Jagger. “If I shout and scream at him, it’s because no one else has the guts to do it or else they’re paid not to do it. At the same time, I’d hope Mick realizes that I’m a friend who is just trying to bring him into line and do what needs to be done.”The Rolling Stones, 1965.Richards has also cheekily stated that the only things he disagrees with Mick on are the band, the music and what they do with their lives.However among all the crazy stories from Richards’ life, among all the near-death experiences and gratuitously excessive behavior, one incident stands out as being even over the top for him.Trade ad for 1965 Rolling Stones’ North American tour.In 2002 Keith’s father, Bert, passed away at the age of 84. He had been a factory worker and veteran of World War II.In typical Keith fashion, with a mixture of respect and irreverence, he decided the best thing to do would be to snort his father’s ashes mixed with a healthy dose of cocaine.The Rolling Stones at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, July 2006. Photo by Severino CC BY 2.0What apparent insanity caused Keith Richards to snort his father? Let’s hear from him in his own words as he told The Guardian:“The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father, I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared, he didn’t give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”Richards with the Rolling Stones during the 50 & Counting Tour in December 2012. Photo by SolarScott CC BY 2.0Keith Richards was two-years-old when his dad came back wounded from war, and he later tried to talk his son out of a musical career.After his parents divorced in his teens, he didn’t speak to him for twenty years. Was snorting his ashes a closure ritual?However, this act wasn’t the most life-threatening experience in ol’ Keith’s impressive repertoire of self-destructive behavior.Jagger, left, with Richards 1972. Photo by Larry Rogers CC BY-SA 2.0In Switzerland, as Richards tells it, someone added the poison strychnine into his dope. He goes on to say “I was totally comatose, but I was totally awake. I could listen to everyone, and they were like, ‘He’s dead, he’s dead!’, waving their fingers and pushing me about. I was thinking, ‘I’m not dead!’”Richards playing Micawber, a 1953 Fender Telecaster, in 2006.Richards has put down his amazing longevity in the face of seemingly nonstop brushes with death to pure luck. However, he’s not flippant about his survivor status and advises others not to follow his lead. “I’ve no pretensions about immortality … I was number one on the ‘Who’s Likely To Die’ list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list,” Richards said.Guitarist Keith Richards and singer Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones in New York City, May 1978. Photo by Michael Putland/Getty ImagesAnd perhaps his best line about on his indestructible constitution: “Some doctor told me I had six months to live, and I went to their funeral.”Throughout his decades living the quintessential rock n’ roll lifestyle, Richards has kept an elusive smile on his face and scraggly strands of hair on his forehead.His reinvention into one of the godfathers of the wisdom of excess, providing comical inspiration and serious musical chops to generation after generation, has been a remarkable journey.Read another story from us:  The Hidden Political Intrigue Which Derailed Grace Kelly’s Big Screen ComebackAs Richards himself said: “If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.”last_img read more

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