Manned vs Unmanned Space Exploration Part 2

first_imgWatching the Apollo landings on the moon as a child I could hardly have imagined I was seeing the end of an era – that of manned exploration of space. Shuttle trips to low earth orbit not withstanding; the human race has stopped reaching for the stars – with manned missions, of course. Now, the new explorers are robots. Will they be the ultimate space traveler? Or will man, with all faults and flexibility, take back this role? Read Part 1 Citation: Manned vs. Unmanned Space Exploration (Part 2) (2005, November 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Right: Japan’s failed Nozomi (Planet B) missionCrewed missions are more costly, but also more effective. Human calibrated experiments setup up on the moon by Apollo missions functioned perfectly for 8 years until shut down for fiscal reasons in 1977. Robotic missions, while they may carry similar instruments, are incredibly difficult to place and calibrate. Ruggedness wins over accuracy so instruments are less sensitive and deliver fewer details in the data they collect. Robots must rely on redundancy to deal with any problems while astronauts can creatively solve almost any problem. The Hubble Space telescope was repaired by teams from the Space Shuttle making it one of the most successful missions ever. Geologists make up the most vocal group of proponents for manned missions. While probe data is useful, they contend one mission with a live geologist could answer all their questions in a few weeks, while endless robotic probes may never be able to provide a clear picture of Mars. A geologist can apply all his or her senses to quickly make determinations as to what to study and what to ignore. Robotic probes could easily miss important clues and waste time on unproductive lines of exploration and study. A human still has much acuter vision than even the best video cameras and, more importantly, can process data with to the solar system’s best supercomputer – the human brain – on the spot.It’s understood the shuttle has outlived its usefulness and new programs are needed. Even NASA Chief Administrator Michael Griffin has suggested the development of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station was a mistake by saying, “It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path. We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can.”Scientists aside, public opinion has done much to keep manned spaceflight alive. Poll shows a resounding 80% or more people support continuation of manned programs like the shuttle on and the International Space Station despite accidents and lack of worth as space labs. Humanity sees itself conquering space directly, not by proxy.Indeed, support for astronauts extends well beyond simple polling. People are spending money to go into space as tourists. Chapters of the Mars Society exist in almost every major country – all pushing for manned missions with goals like the human exploration of Mars.“Although some aspects of exploring and colonizing Mars still need refining and fine tuning, the lion’s share of the technology and the understanding of the human condition are already in existence. The major missing factor is simply the realization and the commitment necessary to begin. The people of the Mars Society are working to educate and convince the political powers, the industry leaders, and you and me. We all have a stake in this.” – Dr. Robert Zubrin, author “On to Mars 2”, founder Mars Society. 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. Low-cost Moon mission puts India among lunar pioneers Part 2The Case for Human Spaceflight While no scientist can deny the value of robotic space exploration, many feel the need for complementary manned programs. Most agree that, for basic survey missions, robotic probes produce dramatic results. It’s in field study that scientist crewed missions could do better. Ironically, it is the same people who run the unmanned space missions that are clamoring for human crewed missions to follow them up.Part of the problem is the limited abilities and scope of each robotic mission. To save money and reduce failure rates to a minimum, robotic probes are stripped down to essentials. Although these probes gather important data, much of it is ambiguous for lack of the probe’s ability to do follow up tests. Today’s robots cannot start up new lines of investigation. Raw data is useful but often raises more questions. Even worse, the data is often completely unexpected leaving the scientists at a loss to explain the results. They need further missions to run different tests and, the cornerstone of all good science – verification by repeatedly testing the same area over time.This repeated testing of results becomes difficult with unmanned mission failure rates. Take the Mars exploration programs: out of 31 missions by the USSR, Russia, the US and Japan since 1960, all but 10 failed and only 5 met their original goals. Compare that to the high success rates of astronaut crewed missions – almost 90%. Right: FMars habitat undergoing tests at Devon Island, Nunavut, CanadaPresident Bush has even stepped up with a promise finish the International Space station by 2010 – only five years late – and for a manned mission to the moon by 2020. Much political wrangling will need to be done, however, if the funding is to materialize. Safety problems with the shuttle program continue to dog NASA as well, further putting in doubt these goals.It will take more than just the words of a few politicians to keep manned spaceflight alive. The will of the people needs to be felt through their representatives on Congressional budget committees – we have the money and the technology. Do we have the will?One avenue now being actively explored by space enthusiasts is private funding. Corporate spending in spaceflight has been grater than governments since 1996 when $77 billion dollars was invested. Private industry has more than 1,200 launches – mostlycommunications satellites– before 2007. Like in the days of early pioneering, private initiative is becoming the mainstay of space exploration. The question is: can manned space exploration pay? After all, corporations are about by profit for their shareholders.We must go to space – if not now, later, as the living area and resources on Earth dry up. Will we be on the forefront of this exploration, living in space and adapting it to our will like the hardy pioneers of old? Or will we stay at home to see these new horizons via virtual reality – only moving in to our new space bound homes when they are safe and comfortable?by Chuck Rahls, Copyright 2005 Explore furtherlast_img read more

RIM Working on a Tablet For November Release

first_imgAccording to Apple Daily Quanta has won a bid to manufacture a 9.7 inch tablet for RIM. The tablet, called BlackPad, will have Bluetooth, WiFi, and front-and rear-facing cameras and will also be compatible with 3G using a BlackBerry phone. Explore further In a document discovered August 9 in a Chinese tech news story, RIM’s BlackPad will be running Android, and that it will come out sometime in November.There have also been rumors circulating for months that the BlackBerry Tablet would not be running BlackBerry OS 6. The Chinese document discovered August 9 seems to confirm what OS will be running on RIM’s BlackPad.Why would RIM use Android instead of running BlackBerry OS 6? This is a major change from tradition but could be because RIM may not have an OS in place in time to compete with other manufactures that will have their own tablets out in time for this holiday season.According to Apple Daily, Quanta who won the bid to manufacture the tablet plans to ramp up production for 2 million units starting in September for a November release and another 8 million planned for 2011. The price is targeted to be $499. None of this has been confirmed by RIM but news sources all seem to be in agreement about the tablet’s capabilities, OS, and release date. RIM making new touchscreen smartphone, tablet device © 2010 PhysOrg.comcenter_img More information: … 122/IssueID/20100809 (in Chinese) Citation: RIM Working on a Tablet For November Release (2010, August 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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

Large scale qubit generation for quantum computing

first_img Pfister is a physics professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Working with Matthew Pysher, Yoshichika Miwa, Reihaneh Shahrokhshani, and Russell Bloomer, Pfister is using quadripartite cluster entanglement in order to make a breakthrough in the scalability for the number of qubits available for use in a quantum computer. The work is presented in Physical Review Letters: “Parallel Generation of Quadripartite Cluster Entanglement in the Optical Frequency Comb.”“There are several ways to make qubits with light,” Pfister explains. “One is to use a resonant mode of a cavity. A single laser cavity has millions of harmonic modes, and if you can design it, your scalability problem is solved.”The team at the University of Virginia made use of an optical frequency comb in their design to emit light fields that to be used as qubits. “We excite a great number of them. These are Qmodes, and can be used as qubits. I can control where I put them, and then also entangle them,” Pfister says. “We use a two-photon emission medium, putting one photon in a given frequency, and the other in another. The Qmodes are well separated in frequency.”Since the set up allows for entanglement, it is possible for Pfister and his colleagues to create a cluster entangled state designed especially for quantum computing. “Our design has correlations for all the qubits, and you can do measurements on them and implement quantum gates for one-way quantum computing,” Pfister says.Pfister points out that quantum computers of this sort cannot actually replace classical computers. However, quantum computers can be used for processing some types of information faster. “This is an attractive model for experiments that need cluster states. The big deal is that we got all these little quantum registers, and the entanglement is remarkably consistent.”The next step, Pfister says, is to entangle the already-entangled qubits into a bigger register. “It requires additional complexity to entangle them all together, and we’re on our way to this. We have shown that our control of entanglement is pretty good, but we need even better control to make entangled sets bigger than four.”Pfister thinks that the results of this experiment will result in increased interest in Qmodes of light. “People will start thinking differently about Qmodes of light,” he says. “We are driving the field, and hopefully we’ll make them on a single large scale, rather then make many small scale ones. Once that happens we will be ready to start with quantum processing.”“There are a lot of tools available right now to make qubits, and this is one of them,” Pfister continues. “Our experiment shows a great potential for scaling up the number of entangled qubits that can be used in quantum processing. We are another step closer.” More information: Matthew Pysher, Yoshichika Miwa, Reihaneh Shahrokshahi, Russell Bloomer, and Olivier Pfister, “Parallel Generation of Quadripartite Cluster Entanglement in the Optical Frequency Comb,” Physical Review Letters (2011). Available online: Measuring light and vacuum fluctuations from a time flow perspective ( — “Many people are trying to build a quantum computer,” Olivier Pfister tells “One to the problems, though, is that you need hundreds of thousands of qubits. So far, scalability has been something of a problem, since generating that many qubits is difficult.” Explore furthercenter_img Copyright 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of 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: Large scale qubit generation for quantum computing (2011, July 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Devils Hole pupfish found to be a lot younger than thought

first_imgDevils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis). Credit: Olin Feuerbacher, USFWS / Wikipedia The existence of small, goldfish sized, dark blue fish living in a water filled fissure in the Mojave Desert has led to many theories regarding how they got there and how they have survived. For many years, the consensus has been that they got there due to flooding during the Pleistocene epoch, approximately 10 to 20,000 years ago. How they managed to survive for so long in such a remote, small and hot environment has been a mystery. But now, new evidence suggests that the pupfish may not have been living in the Hole for nearly that long.Prior research has shown that the pupfish are a unique species—with features that are unique to them alone among pupfish, such as the lack of a dorsal fin, bigger eyes and darker scales. To learn more about the origins of the species, which scientists have described as having the smallest range of any vertebrate on Earth, the group conducted a genetic analysis of 56 pupfish from around the Death Valley area (including one of the pupfish from Devils Hole which was found dead) and other parts of the world, sequencing over 13,000 different stretches of DNA—a process that allowed them to create a family tree. To gauge the historical age of the pupfish from Devils Hole, the team averaged the rate of gene mutations in its cousins. Doing so showed that the fish likely first inhabited their isolated environment approximately 105 to 830 years ago and then evolved very quickly to allow them to survive.The researchers did not find any evidence that might explain how the fish got there during that time frame, but suggest it is possible that people living in the area put them there as a means of maintaining a food source in the desert, or perhaps birds carried fish eggs from other, less remote water sources. Biological sciences professor publishes pupfish research Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Explore further © 2016 Phys.orgcenter_img (—A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.S. has found evidence that suggests that pupfish living in Devils Hole are not nearly as ancient as has been previously assumed. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes a genetic study they conducted on the fish and others that are related to them, and what they found as a result. More information: Christopher H. Martin et al. Diabolical survival in Death Valley: recent pupfish colonization, gene flow and genetic assimilation in the smallest species range on earth, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2334AbstractOne of the most endangered vertebrates, the Devils Hole pupfish Cyprinodon diabolis, survives in a nearly impossible environment: a narrow subterranean fissure in the hottest desert on earth, Death Valley. This species became a conservation icon after a landmark 1976 US Supreme Court case affirming federal groundwater rights to its unique habitat. However, one outstanding question about this species remains unresolved: how long has diabolis persisted in this hellish environment? We used next-generation sequencing of over 13 000 loci to infer the demographic history of pupfishes in Death Valley. Instead of relicts isolated 2–3 Myr ago throughout repeated flooding of the entire region by inland seas as currently believed, we present evidence for frequent gene flow among Death Valley pupfish species and divergence after the most recent flooding 13 kyr ago. We estimate that Devils Hole was colonized by pupfish between 105 and 830 years ago, followed by genetic assimilation of pelvic fin loss and recent gene flow into neighbouring spring systems. Our results provide a new perspective on an iconic endangered species using the latest population genomic methods and support an emerging consensus that timescales for speciation are overestimated in many groups of rapidly evolving species. Citation: Devils Hole pupfish found to be a lot younger than thought (2016, January 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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

New magnetoresistance effect leads to fourstate memory device

first_img The researchers, Can Onur Avci et al., at MIT and ETH Zürich, have published a paper on the new memory concept in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.”With some device and structural optimization, the bit density of existing random access memory devices may be increased by several factors, with the possibility of all-electrical operation,” Avci told effects date back to around 1850, when Lord Kelvin demonstrated that applying a magnetic field to a metal object increases the object’s electric resistance in one direction and decreases it in the perpendicular direction. Since then, several other types of magnetoresistance have been discovered. Most notably, Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of giant magnetoresistance, which is used to make magnetic field sensors that are found in many of the hard disk drives in today’s computers.In 2015, scientists discovered the newest magnetoresistance effect, called unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance. This effect differs from other kinds of magnetoresistance in that the change in resistance depends on the direction of either the magnetization or the electric current. As the scientists explain, this direction-dependent effect occurs because the spin-polarized electrons created by the spin Hall effect in a nonmagnetic layer are deflected in opposite directions by the magnetization of the adjacent magnetic layer. Previously, this new effect was demonstrated in two-layer structures consisting of a nonmagnetic and a magnetic layer. But by adding another magnetic layer, the researchers achieved a great potential advantage for memories: the ability to distinguish between not just two, but four magnetic states. Other types of magnetoresistance effects are only sensitive to the relative orientation of the magnetizations (parallel or antiparallel), although it’s possible to have four distinct magnetic states. Because the new effect is sensitive to the magnetization direction of individual layers, it can distinguish between all four states.The researchers then demonstrated four distinct resistance levels corresponding to the four different magnetic states in their three-layer device. They showed that the four resistance levels can be read out by a simple electric measurement, paving the way for the development of an all-electrical multi-bit-per-cell memory device.The researchers expect that it will be possible to scale up this memory device to higher bit densities by adding more layers, which could realistically enable eight different magnetization states, each with its own unique resistance level. In the future, the researchers also plan to look for materials that exhibit a larger unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance effect, which would further enhance the performance of these memory devices. (Left) With a single ferromagnetic layer, the system has two resistance levels. (Right) Adding another ferromagnet to the system creates four levels of resistance, corresponding to the four different magnetic states indicated by the arrows. Credit: Avci et al. ©2017 American Institute of Physics (—In 2015, scientists discovered a new magnetoresistance effect—that is, a new way in which magnetization affects a material’s electric resistance—but hadn’t yet found a promising application for the discovery, beyond the existing technologies. Now in a new paper, the same researchers have demonstrated that the effect can be used to design memories with four distinct stable magnetic states, allowing the memories to store four bits of information in a single magnetic structure. More information: Can Onur Avci et al. “A multi-state memory device based on the unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance.” Applied Physics Letters. DOI: 10.1063/1.4983784ABSTRACTWe report on a memory device concept based on the recently discovered unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance (USMR), which can store multiple bits of information in a single ferromagnetic heterostructure. We show that the USMR with possible contribution of Joule heating-driven magnetothermal effects in ferromagnet/normal metal/ferromagnet (FM/NM/FM) trilayers gives rise to four different 2nd harmonic resistance levels corresponding to four magnetization states (⇉⇉, ⇄⇄, ⇆⇆, ⇇⇇) in which the system can be found. Combined with the possibility of controlling the individual FMs by spin-orbit torques, we propose that it is possible to build an all-electrical lateral two-terminal multi-bit-per-cell memory device. © 2017 Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switchcenter_img Journal information: Applied Physics Letters Citation: New magnetoresistance effect leads to four-state memory device (2017, June 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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.last_img read more

Amazing Dragon unearthed in China pushes back date of earliest sauropods in

first_img Two technicians measuring a large in situ shoulder bone of Lingwulong shenqi Credit: Xu Xing One of the four quarries producing Lingwulong fossils Credit: Xu Xing Prior evidence has suggested that millions of years ago, the continents were just one supercontinent, which scientists have named Pangaea. Prior evidence has also shown that dinosaurs were living in Pangaea, but researchers suspect that a large inland sea had cut off parts of what would later become eastern Asia. The evidence for this is the absence of diplodocids, a species of sauropods.Sauropods are a class of dinosaur—they are known as very large vegetarians with long necks and massive bodies. Diplodocids are regarded as a super-family of sauropods representing some of the largest animals that have ever lived on land. They have been classified as neosauropods because of their more recent evolutionary history compared to other sauropods. But their absence in eastern Asia suggested something had prevented them from moving into that area. But now, it appears that assumption is wrong. The researchers working at the Lingwu dig site in China found several fossilized bones, some of which belonged to a creature they named “Lingwulong shenqi,” which translates to “Lingqu amazing dragon.” Testing of the fossils indicated that they were from 174 million years ago, putting them in the Middle Jurassic. The find proves that diplodocids did exist in what is now eastern Asia, during the time before Pangaea broke apart. That means they had to have arrived at least 15 million years earlier than previously thought. Giant dinosaur bones get paleontologists rethinking Triassic period More information: Xing Xu et al. A new Middle Jurassic diplodocoid suggests an earlier dispersal and diversification of sauropod dinosaurs, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05128-1AbstractThe fragmentation of the supercontinent Pangaea has been suggested to have had a profound impact on Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrate distributions. One current paradigm is that geographic isolation produced an endemic biota in East Asia during the Jurassic, while simultaneously preventing diplodocoid sauropod dinosaurs and several other tetrapod groups from reaching this region. Here we report the discovery of the earliest diplodocoid, and the first from East Asia, to our knowledge, based on fossil material comprising multiple individuals and most parts of the skeleton of an early Middle Jurassic dicraeosaurid. The new discovery challenges conventional biogeographical ideas, and suggests that dispersal into East Asia occurred much earlier than expected. Moreover, the age of this new taxon indicates that many advanced sauropod lineages originated at least 15 million years earlier than previously realised, achieving a global distribution while Pangaea was still a coherent landmass. An artist’s rendering of Lingwulong shenqi Credit: Zhang Zongda One of the four quarries producing Lingwulong fossils Credit: Xu Xing 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. A team of researchers from China and the U.K. has unearthed the remains of the earliest diplodocoid ever found in eastern Asia. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes the place where the fossil was found and what the find revealed about the history of the large dinosaurs.center_img © 2018 Two technicians measuring a large in situ shoulder bone of Lingwulong shenqi Credit: Xu Xing Journal information: Nature Communications Citation: ‘Amazing Dragon’ unearthed in China pushes back date of earliest sauropods in Asia (2018, July 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The researchers report that when alive, the dinosaur would have been approximately 15 meters long—making it smaller than others of the same period found in other places. It would also have had the characteristic long neck and very long, whip-like tail. They suggest their finding will force a rethink of the history of sauropods, most particularly diplodocids. They also suggest the timing of the breakup of Pangaea played a bigger role in the evolution of sauropods than has been thought. They note that their find suggests the possibility of other sauropods living in the same vicinity prior to the breakup of the supercontinent. Explore further Lingwulong skeletal silhouette showing preserved bones Credit: Shi Aijuanlast_img read more

Do it like the Koreans do

first_imgKorean Cultural Centre presents 2nd Pan India K-POP Contest, the festival invites all the K- POP lovers around India to join the global competition and celebration of Korean popular song and dance. K-POP is a part of celebrations of Indo-Korean 40th Diplomatic year. Finalists from the 13 countries will be invited to Korea to perform in the Grand Finale, which will be held in Gangwon, South Korea on 28 September. The event is going to be held on 17 August from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’K-POP Contest provides a platform for all to prove their mettle in Korean singing and dancing. K-POP is a musical genre originally from South Korea that is characterised by a wide variety of audiovisual elements, the term is more often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of South Korean pop music covering mostly dance-pop, pop ballad, electronic, rock, hip-hop, R&B and the like.The jury members of the 2013 festivals are Kim Kum Pyoung, the Director of Korean Cultural Centre India; Sanjeev Bhargava, Aleksandra Michelska Singh, Dancer, Natya Nectar Dance Academy and Sangwon Donald Kwag, Marketing Head, Star CJ. Last year Paul 5 from Timarpur slums, a 7 member team were announced winners from India.  Winning team from the semi-finals at New Delhi will get an all expenses paid trip to Korea to participate at the finals in Wonju. Wonju is the most populous city in Gangwon province, South Korea with rich historical and cultural significance.  The festival has a lot more to offer to its audiences as well.last_img read more

Bringing the village to life

first_imgMithilanchal Chitraleela – an exhibition of select paintings by village artists of Madhubani is being organised by Lokatma at The Ashok Hotel. The exhibition features exquisite paintings on handmade paper, cloth and canvas. Forms are outlined freehand, using a paintbrush or bamboo pen with/without a metal nib. A variety of vibrant and muted colours, innovatively combining plant/mineral extracts, gum, fabric paints and bazaar powders are used. While each painting expresses individual creativity, all celebrate the Mithilanchal world-view and are organised around five related themes: Devi-Devata: Vedic, Puranic and folk gods and goddesses; Prakriti: Nature as seen in Mithilanchal; Dehaati Jivan: Village Life in the Region; Shubh Parv: Traditional Social and Religious Celebrations; Mahakavya Prasang: Scenes from Four Epic Tales – the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Lorikayana and the Legend of Raja Salhesh.WHERE: The Ashok Hotel, ChanakyapuriWHEN: 9 to 18 August, 10.30 am to 7.30 pmlast_img read more

In step with Mother Earth

first_imgTheme of her dance was Bhumi – the four pillars of mother nature which she performed on Indian classical music. The background score for the show was done by musician Jayant Luthra.Prema took three years to script Bhumi, while she acquired perfection through Natya Nectar. Her dance was devoted to spirituality and mother nature. The dance basically portrays the four elements of nature – air, water, earth and fire which are basics to sustain human life. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘I feel as though I am an instrument and dance is being channelised through my body. I see dance as service to the divine, a language to express my truths and love for God and his creations. Dance is my voice in this lifetime,’ said Prema. She hopes to match in her endeavour, to take productions like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and Bhumi to a global audience.As she aspires to the electric stage presence, grace, precision and exquisite choreography skilled through Natya Nectar. The classically trained Kathak dancer, acrobatic aerialist and yoga teacher trains her dancers from a perspective of prayer and meditation.Her production Natya Nectar Dance Company blends classical Indian dance forms with acro yoga and aerial aasanas.Bhumi is a collaborative experience which weaved together fashion and Indian classical dance. Prema adds ‘Being my choreographic debut production, it is very close to my heart.’last_img read more

Explore the Taj Mahal online

first_imgNow people around the world can explore certain national Indian monuments online through Street View on Google Maps.The 360-degree online imagery initiative includes a paranomic imagery of 30 iconic Indian heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Agra Fort. This initiative taken by Google and ASI is to assist in making 100 of India’s most important heritage sites more accessible for the world to experience. These monuments which are over a 100 years old can now be explored virtually sitting in any part of the world through Google Maps and Google Cultural Institute. Through this initiative Google aims to help share more of the Indian culture and heritage with people at home and abroad. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Commenting on the initiative, the Union Minister of Culture, Chandresh Kumari Katoch said, ‘Today, this partnership with Google makes it possible for billions of people across the world to see and explore our magnificent heritage, to take a walk at the Rock Cut Jain Temple, to marvel at the Nagarjuna Konda Buddhist Stupas and to relive history in Fatehpur Sikri. With the release of these new panoramic images, we aim to create a dynamic, immersive online experience by which people within India and around the world can understand and engage more of India’s diverse cultural heritage.’Explaining the purpose behind this step Google’s Vice President and Managing Director, India said, ‘Google is deeply committed to helping preserve and showcase cultural heritage across the world. India is unique in terms of the sheer wealth of heritage and iconic historical monuments, and it has been our privilege to work with the ASI in collecting new 360-degree photos of 30 Indian heritage sites.’last_img read more

Laughter on hold

first_imgThird World Comedy, a stand up comedy show designed for the third world countries is going to be staged in the Capital on 23 August. Behroopiya Entertainers in association with Loony Goons and Comedy has organised the show that will feature comedians like – Abijit Ganguly, Nishant Tanwar and Zakir Khan. Third World Comedy is a comedy that highlights the facts from all the third world countries and India also happens to be one of the them. The artistes, with their own perspective, will bring out how Indians don’t realise the difference between our nation and the other developed nations. It will also feature interactions, sketches, improvisation and parody songs. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Ganguly has been performing as a stand-up artiste for three years now. Mostly, his sets are anecdotes and he relies on audience relating to what they hear in order to get the laughs.Tanwar is known as ‘Joke Singh’ in the stand-up comedy circuit. He takes digs at stereotypes and Indian culture. Interacting effortlessly with his audience, Tanwar’s humor is universal – connecting with all segments of people breaking social and age group barriers. Khan is the winner of Comedy Central’s hunt for Best Stand Up Comic of India. A cartoon by heart, comedian by nature, a writer by profession and performer by birth, he will take you to a laughter ride. So head over!Where: Alliance Francis de Delhi, Lodhi Road When: 23 AugustTiming: 6.30 pm and 8 pm  Ticket Price: Rs 700, 500 and 300last_img read more

Post church fire Christmas to be low key affair this year

first_imgDespite assurances from law enforcement agencies to ensure safety and security of the churches after the arson at Dilshad Garden church, Christmas celebration in Delhi will be a low key affair this year.The churches will organise prayers and perform other rituals but some argued the recent tragedy has marred the festivity to maximum extent. The sense of fear in the mind of community people can be judged from the fact that they hesitate to discuss the upcoming festival and its preparations. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 crore“We saw massive arson at St Sebastian Church with the intention to disrupt communal harmony. Lack of security arrangements and mishandling of the incident by concerned authorities have also added to the woes. While the security was strengthened after the incident, hardly any police personnel can be seen around churches these days. The public-police meeting for restoring confidence among the community has also been scheduled after Christmas,” said Saji, one of the care-takers of St Stephens Church in Dilshad Garden. Also Read – Man who cheated 20 women on matrimonial websites arrestedA visit to churches in Dilshad Garden corroborates Saji’s fears. The churches wore a deserted look with no visitors. “Every year, the devotees would throng to churches days before the Christmas. We are going to organise street prayers and have invited people from different communities to participate in that. But we are doubtful about people’s attendance at the prayers”, said Mathew, an attendant at St. Sebastian Church where the massive arson had taken place a couple of weeks ago.On the other hand, police officials claimed to have taken adequate security measures to avert any untoward incident. “We have instructed senior police officials to deploy necessary force outside each church in the city to ensure safety of the community. Surprise checks by officials are also being conducted to check security measures,” a senior police official, requesting anonymity said.last_img read more

Bengal polls Independent candidates supporter killed TMC leader held

first_imgKolkata: A supporter of an Independent candidate for the coming panchayat polls was killed in West Bengal’s Bhangar on Friday, following which police arrested local strongman of the ruling Trinamool Congress Arabul Islam.Hafizul Molla (26), a resident of Bhangar’s Machibhanga in South 24 Parganas district, died after an armed attack on a political rally brought out by the “Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee” (committee to protect land, livelihood, ecology and environment)’, which has been leading a movement against the construction of a power grid sub-station in the area. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsBhangar has been on the boil for over a year now on the issue of construction of the sub-station.According to the leaders of Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee, the deceased was shot in the head while walking in the rally, taken out in support of the Independent candidates backed by the committee for the polls.”Hafizul Molla, a resident of Bhangar’s Machibhanga has been shot dead allegedly while walking in a rally taken out by the committee in Polerhaat-2 in South 24 Parganas district’s Kashipur,” Sarmistha Chowdhury, leader of CPI-ML Red Star, that has been backing the movement, told IANS. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”The attack was conducted by a group of miscreants backed by local Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam, who opened fire and hurled bombs at the rally,” she said.Following the killing, a huge contingent of state police launched raids at various pockets in the area in search of Islam and his associates.Arabul was finally arrested at around 10.30 p.m from a field behind his residence at Gazipur, said Baruipur Superintendent of Police Arijit Sinha. According to Sinha, Arabul — a former MLA — was nabbed by the police after tracking his mobile location.Meanwhile, Chowdhury said a local resistance group called “Bhangar Andolan Sanghati Committee” would hold a rally on Saturday from Kolkata’s Moulali to Esplanade to protest the killing.Nine Independent candidates backed by the local committee and the ultra-left parties are contesting in eight Gram Panchayat and one Panchayat Samiti seats in Bhangar after the Calcutta High Court directed the State Election Commission to accept their nomination papers submitted through WhatsApp, as they were allegedly physically restrained from completing the paperwork.last_img read more

Passengers on Puribound train fall ill after eating stale food

first_imgKolkata: Fourteen passengers of Howrah Jan Satabdi Puri Express fell sick after consuming the food supplied to them on train.The Railways has ordered an inquiry into the incident. The passengers took the food at Bhubaneshwar station. Shortly after the train left, the victims complained of nausea and acute stomach ache. Many also complained of sweating along with diarrhoea. The fellow passengers tried to treat them and finally contacted senior railway officials. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThey felt nervous as no railway doctor was available on board. When the train reached Kharagpur, the victims were taken to the Railway Hospital where they were treated.Senior railway officials said they will try to find out whether the ailment was because of the food supplied by the railways or they had taken something that were available on the station. They assured that those guilty will be pulled up.The passengers alleged that stale food was supplied and despite being pointed out to the catering firm, those serving food refused to replace. They further alleged that the quality of food has gone down and no hygiene is maintained. However, the condition of the victims are stable after treatment.last_img read more

DMK postpones fast over Jallikattu

first_imgIn an expression of faith in the assertion of Union Minister Pon Radhakrihnan that permission will be secured to hold bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’ in Tamil Nadu, DMK on Friday postponed its proposed hunger strike over the issue.“I feel that the proposed hunger strike (to seek nod for Jallikattu) at Alanganallur (Madurai) on December 28 to be led by party treasurer M K Stalin can be postponed considering the letter of Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan (that permission would be obtained to hold the event),” Karunanidhi said in a release here. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeRadhakrishnan had said on Thursday, replying to Karunanidhi’s letter to him over the issue, “I am confident that we will be getting permission to hold Jallikattu on Pongal day based on the talks held for the past one month… Our efforts have the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” Citing the assurance, the DMK chief also appealed to pro-Jallikattu groups who had sought his party’s support, “to accept the postponement of the protest by accepting the confidence expressed by Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan.” An annual affair in southern parts of rural Tamil Nadu, it has socio-economic and cultural dimensions to it.last_img read more

Man beaten to death while dissuading grandsons from fighting

first_imgKolkata: A 54-year-old man from Malda died at a hospital after he was beaten up by his two grandsons who were fighting with each other over some dispute.It was learnt from police sources that the victim, Yusuf Ali (54), had received injuries on his head when he tried to dissuade his two grandsons from fighting. The victim was a resident of Jadupur area under English Bazar police station in Malda. On Sunday morning, the two youths got involved in a heated altercation over some family dispute. A scuffle soon broke out between the two. The incident occurred at the courtyard when the victim was taking rest inside the house. On hearing the quarrel, he rushed to the spot and tried to calm them. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDuring the scuffle, the victim was beaten up and he received fatal injuries on his head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in a serious condition. He was put under observation and in the afternoon, the victim succumbed to his injuries. The incident triggered tension among the locals. The body has been sent for an autopsy. After being informed police reached the spot and detained the youths for interrogation. A detailed probe has been initiated. The other family members of the victim and some locals are also being interrogated in this connection. A specific complaint was also lodged at the local police station in this regard.last_img read more

Seven die 16 hospitalised in Bengal after consuming spurious liquor

first_imgKolkata: Seven persons died and 16 others were hospitalised after consuming spurious liquor at Shantipur in West Bengal’s Nadia district on Wednesday, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra said. The state government ordered a CID inquiry into the incident and details on whether the victims consumed country liquor would be confirmed only after chemical examination, Mitra said in the assembly premises. The government also suspended 11 excise officials – the present Shantipur officer-in-charge (excise), his immediate predecessor, the deputy excise collector of Ranaghat range and eight excise constables, he said. “The government wants to send a strong message that no one who is responsible for the incident will be spared,” he said. He also announced Rs 2 lakh each as compensation to the kin of the dead in the incident. The CID investigations would also reveal whether spurious liquor is being smuggled into rural Bengal from Bihar and Jharkhand, Mitra said.last_img read more

Last of the Tsars – The Vicious Final Night of the Romanov

first_imgIn 1917 the tragic events of the Bolshevik Revolution brought the Russian Empire — and the rule of the Imperial Romanov family — to an end, thus beginning a whole new chapter in the history of the country. The Bolsheviks seized power and, forcing Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate, arrested the Romanovs and sent the family into exile.They requested asylum from Nicholas’ cousin King George V of England but for internal political reasons were denied.Bolshevik forces marching on Red Square.The Romanovs were arrested at their palace in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and then delivered to the city of Ekaterinburg 1,250 miles away where they were imprisoned in a two-story house under strict security.According to historian and biographer Edward Radzinsky, Nicholas’ daughter Grand Duchess Tatiana described the new accommodation as “a small but cozy house with a tiny garden.” She wrote to her friend: “They separated a part of the street in front of the house for us to stroll i.e. walk back and forth 120 steps.”The Tsar also felt confined and wished to go out but most of the townsfolk, fresh from the horrors of WWI, hated the Romanovs.The Romanovs. From left to right: Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913.Members of the family made regular entries in their journals that allow us to imagine their life in exile. They kept themselves busy with work and studies.Nicholas II managed to persuade the supervising officer to provide tutors for his children – Grand Duchess Olga (22), Tatiana (21), Maria (19), Anastasia (17) and Tsarevich Alexei (13). They would take daily classes and help the staff around the house.The Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Children of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Photo from chronicles how Anastasia wrote to her mother’s lady-in-waiting: “There are no changes here. It’s wet and dirty outside. There is a barn here where we all bring the wood. So much for fun. Nothing exciting, right? May Christ be with you, my darling.”In the evenings, the family gathered in one of the rooms to read and study the Bible. The Romanovs were devout Christians and when in despair, found solace in God.Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia; restoration completed by Crisco 1492.The surviving correspondence between the family members is full of tenderness. They gave each other nicknames, shared funny stories about their pets, some of which accompanied them in exile.Young Alexei especially loved his dog Joy and by a remarkable twist of fate, the spaniel was the only member of the family to survive the Revolution, make it to England and be buried at the Windsor Castle cemetery.Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia.The Romanovs were followed everywhere by the watchful eyes of armed soldiers. Their correspondence was censored and strictly limited. In spite of this, they never treated their captors as enemies, which is confirmed by numerous memoirs and letters.Ipatiev House, with the palisade erected just before Nicholas, Alexandra and Maria arrived on April 30, 1918. On the top left of the house is an attic dormer window where a Maxim gun was positioned. Directly below it was the Tsar and Tsarina’s bedroom. Photo by Alexei Nametki CC BY-SA 4.0On December 12th, the Imperial children’s tutor, Pierre Gillard, made an entry in his journal as detailed by “The Grand Duchesses, in their charming simplicity, loved talking to these people. They would ask the soldiers about their families or battles they were in during the war. Alexei also won their hearts, and they tried their best to make him happy.”Apart from lack of fun, there was a much more significant factor that made imprisoned life unbearable. Alexei, the heir to Nicholas II, suffered from haemophilia, a rare genetic disorder in which blood doesn’t clot normally.Pierre Gilliard and Alexei.This ailment could make any injury deadly, and a minor bruise could sometimes be followed by days of painful recovery.His condition was a constant concern for his parents. It was one of the main reasons why Alexandra requested the help and guidance of Rasputin, who possessed an unexplainable power to relieve Alexei’s pain.Rasputin, sometimes referred to as the “Mad Monk.”Life in exile toughened when the Provisional Government commissioned a new group of shooters to replace the old guards of the imprisoned family.The group consisted of recent political prisoners and members of anarchist gangs that formed the new power structure.From left to right: Grand Duchesses Maria, Olga, Anastasia, and Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia in captivity at Tsarskoe Selo in the spring of 1917. One of the last known photographs of Tsar Nicholas II’s daughters.They forced the former Tsar to take off all military insignia and issued numbered ID papers for every family member. It was not allowed for the children to play on their ice-slide or use their camera anymore.Soon after, the Romanovs met the new house commandant named Yakov Yurovsky. In Radzinsky’s biography of Nicholas II we find his first impression: “If this hadn’t been the detested imperial family, one could have considered them as simple people of no arrogance.” He sent away the royal entourage including the tutor Gillard, which is when the Empress began to suspect that something terrible was about to happen.Yakov YurovskyOn the dreadful day of July 16th, Yurovsky took the cook boy from the kitchen and Alexandra wrote in her journal: “Completely out of the blue Lika Sednev was sent away to meet his uncle. I wonder if it is true and if we will ever get to see the boy again.” The events of the following night have been described in numerous memoirs of eyewitnesses. From Yurovsky’s notes: “Having called the shooters who were chosen for the execution, I assigned the roles and directed who will shoot whom.” (Radzinsky, Nicholas II)At midnight, Yurovsky told Dr. Botkin to wake the family up and, having explained that there were disturbances in the city, told them to follow him down to the “safe place” in the basement. Nicholas II was carrying Alexei who had previously hurt himself and wasn’t able to walk. The girls brought some pillows, along with their little dog.One of the last photographs taken of Nicholas II, showing him at Tsarskoye Selo after his abdication in March 1917The basement was a small room lit up by a single lightbulb. The Empress asked for some chairs as it was painful for her to stand. Yurovsky’s assistant rushed out and remarked to his comrade with a smirk: “They want to die in chairs… Very well, we shall bring them the chairs.”Empress Alexandra and Alexei sat down. Yurovsky started explaining that he wanted to take a photograph of the family to put an end to the rumors about their escape and began to position them in a specific order.The last photograph ever taken of Alexandra. With her are her daughters Olga (right) and Tatiana (left). They are sitting on the balcony of the Governor’s Mansion, Tobolsk, in Siberia in spring of 1918.The Empress and Alexei sat in front with Nicholas standing beside them, the Duchesses stood behind and the servants, including the faithful Dr. Botkin, were at the very back. These actions didn’t cause any suspicion as everyone knew that the commandant was a keen photographer and there was a camera in the house. Yurovsky then gave a sign for the execution squad to come in.Alexei and his favorite dog which they named Joy.The Tsar stepped forward, protecting his family while Yurovsky read out the sentence: “Nikolai Alexandrovich, in view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you.”The Tsar looked at him in astonishment and asked: “What? What?” According to one of the shooters who was standing close by, Nicholas turned to his family and said: “forgive them for they do not know what they do!”In a split second, the shooting began. The Tsar fell to the floor immediately as most of the shooters aimed at him. The Empress, the doctor and the servants were killed as the rest of the squad started firing their guns chaotically from the doorway over each other’s shoulders.The Romanov entourage. From left to right: Catherine Schneider, Count Ilya Tatishchev, Pierre Gilliard, Countess Anastasia Hendrikova and Prince Vasily Dolgorukov. They were barred from joining the Romanov family at Ipatiev House. All but Gilliard were later murdered by the Bolsheviks.The daughters were thrashing about the room, crying for help in the thick smoke, with bullets ricocheting from their bodies. Yurovsky wrote: “I couldn’t stop shooting for a long time and it acquired a disorderly character. I realized that many were still alive.” The squad had to wait for the smoke to die down while crying and moaning could be heard coming from the room. One of the shooters recalled: “two of the younger girls were sitting on the floor by the wall, covering their heads with their arms, with two shooters firing directly at them.”Another executioner reported: “Blood was dripping in streams. When I returned I saw the heir still alive, he was moaning when Yurovsky came up close and shot him three times. The scene made me sick.” The shooters brought bedsheets and began to carry the bodies to the truck that had been previously prepared.The squad was carrying the bodies outside when all of a sudden one of the Duchesses rose up from her stretcher, looked around, gave a shrill cry and covered her face with her hands. At the same time, her three sisters started moving around on the floor, covered in blood. The shooters were horrified by this mysterious survival.The basement where the Romanov family was killed.The doors to the house were open so it was decided to bayonet the daughters instead of firing the guns again.However the dull blades couldn’t penetrate their garments and it was discovered that the Duchesses and Alexei had a large amount of diamonds and jewelry sewn into their clothes, protecting them from the bullets and bayonets.Their suffering was put to an end when one of the men grabbed his revolver and shot each of them in the head.Yekaterinburg’s ‘Church on the Blood’, built on the spot where the last Tsar and his family were killed. Photo by Vlad2000Plus CC BY-SA 3.0Finally, all the mutilated bodies, which had also been doused with sulphuric acid, were unceremoniously thrown into an unmarked pit. The commandant noted that when all the children were stripped, they had handmade sacks containing bits of Rasputin’s teachings along with his portrait around their necks.Tsar Nicholas and his son Alexei sawing wood while in exile.For a while afterward, a rumor was spread around the country and abroad that only Nicholas II had been executed whilst the family had been evacuated to a safe place. It was only in 1926 that the extent of the executions became known to the public.The burial site remained hidden until 1979 and little by little the remains of the Romanovs were unearthed, with the final discovery happening only in 2007.Read another story from us: The Violent End of Rasputin – Details of his Fateful Last NightIn 2000, Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and their five children were recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church as saints. As Empress Alexandra had once written to her friend: “All of us share the simple desire to live in peace, like an ordinary family, away from politics, conflict, and intrigue.”last_img read more

Hidden Sketches Underneath Da Vinci Masterpiece Revealed After 500 Years

first_imgSketches hidden underneath a famous painting by Da Vinci that hangs in London’s National Gallery, The Virgin On The Rocks, recently revealed secret treasures for art historians. It was fairly common in the artist’s day for painters to draw sketches on the canvass before committing paint to it, but in this case, those sketches have shown that he changed his mind about the positioning of his subjects, the Virgin Mary and Christ. Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks (1491–99, 1506–08). Photo courtesy of the National Gallery, London.How the sketches were revealed was explained by gallery officials in a press release sent out in mid-August: “These new images were found because the drawings were made in a material that contained some zinc, so it could be seen in the macro-xray fluorescent maps (MAX-RF) showing where this chemical element was present, and also through new, infrared and hyper-spectral imaging.” The gallery was examining the painting as it prepares to launch a new Da Vinci exhibit in November.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsThe lines show the sketches for the first composition. Photo courtesy of the National Gallery, London.Notable changes revealed by the sketches that Da Vinci first considered using were to how the subjects, Mary and her infant child, the baby Jesus, as well as a protective angel who hovers nearby. The gallery explained: “The angle of the infant Christ’s head was changed so that he was seen in profile, while some parts of the angel’s curly hair were removed.Related Video:“In the abandoned composition,” the press release continued, “both figures are positioned higher up, while the angel, facing out, is looking down on the infant Christ with what appears to be a much tighter embrace.”Detail from imaging data of Leonardo’s painting revealing the drawing for the angel and baby of the first composition. Photo courtesy of The National Gallery, LondonThe gallery’s exhibit, entitled “Leonardo: Experience A Masterpiece,” runs from November 9th until January, 2020. It will explore The Virgin On The Rocks in four ways; light and shadow, how the artist was feeling and thinking when he painted it, and other unique approaches to the masterpiece. The just-revealed compositions will also be shown to viewers. The painting itself was done twice by Da Vinci, once in 1483, which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, and the one at the National Gallery, which experts say was painted between 1495 and 1508.Self-sketch of Leonardo da VinciDa Vinci is considered one of the finest paintings of all time, though relatively few (about 20) of his painting still exist. They are mostly in museums, at least the framed paintings, in Europe, in Italy as well as London and Paris. His two most famous paintings, perhaps, are The Last Supper, painted on a wall at the Santa Maria delle Grazie, and the Mona Lisa, which hangs at the Louvre and is seen by approximately six million people per year.Unlike many artists of his time and of course even today, Da Vinci was not a cliche in the “starving artist” mode; he had many clients, including royals and church officials. The Mona Lisa, art historians say, was Da Vinci’s favorite painting; he continued adding touches and minor changes to it until his death in 1519, at the age of 57.Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da VinciWhen he died, he left the painting to his assistant, who then sold it to the king of France. It was in the collection of the French royal family for years, then sent to the Louvre after the French Revolution. It is perhaps the most-discussed and studied painting in the world, because of the subject’s mysterious smile, and her identity. Like so many matters in today’s conspiracy-obsessed world, some thought her to be based solely on Da Vinci’s imagination, or – unbelievably – a man in drag. What most experts believe to be the truth is much less provocative; his subject was the wife of a wealthy silk merchant, who was a patron of Da Vinci.Related Article: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Only Finished Sculpture Finally IdentifiedNot all of his painting are subject to such silly rumor and speculation, thankfully, but all are admired, treasured and even loved by art experts and the general public alike. The exhibit at the National Gallery will offer viewers the chance to truly examine, experience and understand one of Da Vinci’s greatest works, up close and personal, the way all great art is meant to be experienced.last_img read more

Pittsburgh Assistant Joey Porter will coach this weekend following bar arrest

first_img Advertisement Former Steelers linebacker and current assistant coach Joey Porter was cleared by the team to coach this weekend following his arrest for an alleged altercation outside of a Pittsburgh bar following last weekend’s playoff game against the Dolphins.Porter was placed on leave by the team following the arrest, and many speculated that he would be fired or face further discipline from the team. He was initially charged with assault, but yesterday it was announced by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office that those charges would be dropped. Porter still faces public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges.The team released a statement regarding the decision to reinstate Porter for Sundays’ Divisional Round playoff game in Kansas City.#Steelers announce LB coach Joey Porter will return to the coaching staff, as expected. The statement from Art Rooney II— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 13, 2017 Here’s the video of Porter’s arrest from TMZ.last_img read more