Friday, November 30, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
This documentary is the biggest evidence showing the true plight of Indian farmers. I'm a journalism student and I see how the aspiring journalists run away from development journalism(due to less income). I really hope people begin to consider P Sainath as their role model and follow ethics of journalism. Sharing what needs to be shared can make a lot of difference.Media is termed as the fourth pillar of democracy after Legislature, executive and judiciary but its the only one with a clear FOR PROFIT mandate, media will report celebs weddings for hours, it will allow itself to be exploited by the rich and powerful for swaying public opinion in any desired direction BUT MEDIA WON'T report the true mess in our "GREAT" country because no one will buy it so why sell it. Media in its current form is just a profit making machine.
Amartya Sen delivers keynote address at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET's) Paradigm Lost Conference in Berlin. April 14, 2012.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Meaning of Blue
The most intense color in the biological world belongs to a tiny African berry. Iridescent blue and metallic, it literally outshines any other plant or animal substance in the world.
The plant itself is called Pollia condensata, and researchers have now explained the material magic underlying its marvelous hues: layers of cells that refract light in a manner usually seen in butterfly wings andbeetle shells.
"Structural colors come about not by pigments that absorb light, but the way transparent material is arranged on the surface of a substance," said physicist Ullrich Steiner of Cambridge University. "This fruit is one of the first known examples in plants. We compared it with some other structural colors, such as the morpho butterfly wing, which is often described as the strongest structural color. This is stronger."
On the following pages, Wired talks to Steiner about the findings, which were co-authored with fellow Cambridge physicist Silvia Vignolini and published Sept. 10 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.If P. condensata's circular polarized properties have no obvious function, their visible coloration is rather less mysterious. It's likely an evolutionary adaptation to catch the eyes of birds, which eat the berries and disperse their seeds. Though the berries are actually near-fleshless and nutrient-poor, the bright color may make them appear juicy and rewarding.
Steiner's team is now looking to learn how P. condensata coloration evolved and whether other examples of structural color can be found among plants.
An Invisible Marvel
When light hits the berry's deepest surface layer, some is absorbed. The rest is reflected. These photons, which have linear, up-and-down wavelengths, can be seen by the naked human eye. Some reflected photons, however, have spiral wavelengths.
Known as circular polarized light, or CPL, it's invisible to our eyes. Instead we rely on technological imaging to detect and represent it, as in the picture above. With eyes that could see CPL, the berries ofP. condensata would look something like this.
P. condensata's berries not only reflect CPL, but two types of it -- photons that spiral to the left, or to the right. This has never before been observed in any living tissue, writes Steiner's team, and may be just as remarkable as the berries' singularly intense hues.
As illustrated above, the cellulose fiber layers are not arranged haphazardly, but in precisely aligned configurations. These generate the berries' circular polarizations.
"The planes of the fibers rotate around," Steiner said. "Sometimes they rotate clockwise, at other times counterclockwise."
NASA’s Curiosity rover hasn’t been doing much roving lately. Instead, it’s been sitting pretty on Mars for the last week or so, waving its robotic arm all over the place.
One of Curiosity’s calibration targets can be seen in this image, zoomed in close using MAHLI. It is part of a larger plaque that helps adjust the camera’s color scheme (below).
I wonder why over those 45 years no one thought of carving out ice from the himalayan glaciers and sending it down to Bengal. I am pretty sure the shipment costs would have been less than the north america to calcutta route. Like
Sept. 13, 1833: Imported Ice Chills, Thrills India
1833: Nearly 100 tons of ice, cut in blocks from frozen New England lakes earlier in the year, arrives in Calcutta. The first shipment of ice imported to India soon fires up a market for cold drinks in a country unaccustomed to such a chilly luxury.
The historic four-month trip of the precious, perishable cargo was made possible by advances in ice harvesting and storage adopted and pioneered by Frederic Tudor, aka Boston’s “Ice King,” member of an influential Boston Brahmin family that had already built a lucrative business shipping Northeastern ice to the Caribbean and Europe.
Chief among the technological leaps was a horse-drawn metal ice plow invented byNathaniel Jarvis Wyeth that allowed mass-production of the substance.
Previously, slabs of ice had been hand-harvested by workers, who used axes and saws to hack the frozen water from Northern lakes during winter months. The labor-intensive undertaking made ice a luxury item that only the wealthy could afford.
Refrigerated merchant vessels hadn’t yet been invented, but advances in storage during shipping decreased the amount of ice lost due to melting.
An article titled “The Ice Trade Between America and India,” published in an 1836 edition of Mechanics’ Magazine, laid out in great detail the practices employed to prevent the ice from liquefying during months at sea:
For the voyage to India, a much longer one than had been hitherto attempted, some additional precautions were deemed necessary for the preservation of the ice. The ice hold was an insulated house, extending from the after part of the forward hatch, about fifty feet in length.It was constructed as follows: A floor of one-inch deal planks was first laid down upon the dunnage at the bottom of the vessel; over this was strewed a layer, one foot thick of tan; that is, the refuse bark from the tanners’ pits, thoroughly dried, which is found to be a very good and cheap non-conductor. Over this was laid another deal planking, and the four sides of the hold were built up in exactly the same manner. The pump, well, and main-mast, were boxed round in the same manner.The cubes of ice were then packed or built together so close as to leave no space between them, and to make the whole one solid mass: About 180 tons were thus stowed. On the top was pressed down closely a foot of hay, and the whole was shut up from access of air, with a deal planking one inch thick nailed upon the lower surface of the lower deck timbers; the space between the planks and deck being stuffed with tan.
The arrival of pure U.S. ice in Calcutta signaled the end of “Hooghly ice,” a dirty, slushy substance made by freezing water in shallow pits in the Indian town of Hooghly-Chinsurah on the Hooghly River in West Bengal. While the inferior Hooghly ice could be used to cool containers, it wasn’t fit to be added to a drink — gin and tonic, for instance.
The imported ice, on the other hand, was pristine. Locals marveled at the giant, icy cubes as they were unloaded from the specially outfitted seafaring vessels.
“One of the first of the shipments to India … brought disbelief and amazement to the large crowd of natives gathered at the wharf to witness the unloading of these ‘crystal blocks of Yankee coldness,’” wrote historian Philip Chadwick Foster Smith. “One of the Indians braved to touch a piece of the ice, and, believing that he had burned himself, wrapped his hand in his robe and rushed away, followed by a number of the alarmed onlookers.”
As trade took off, ice was stored in ice houses built in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. (The sole remaining storage center — dubbed Vivekanandar Illam, or Vivekananda House, in 1963 in honor of Hindu leader Swami Vivekananda — is in Madras.)
Over the next two decades, India became Tudor’s most lucrative market for ice exports.
It was a short-lived victory of shipping over science, however: The Bengal Ice Company, India’s first artificial-ice manufacturer, began production in 1878. The availability of cheaper domestic ice killed the Boston-to-India ice trade within four years.