GPS satellites get a serious upgrade

first_imgNavstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Image: USAF Explore further © 2010 Citation: GPS satellites get a serious upgrade (2011, April 22) 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.center_img ( — GPS has become such an integral part of the new technology in our lives that we really do not give it much of a thought. It gets us to our destination without getting lost. It helps the ambulance to find us when we dial 911 on our cell phones. It lets you become the mayor of your gym for all those check in’s. GPS System Could Start Failing by Next Year When you get down to it, all of that technology is powered by a set of 24 satellites, and most of them have been up there for quite some time. The time has come for an upgrade. The newest version of a GPS satellite is called the GPS IIF and it is enhanced with more than one new upgrade.The GPS IIF is expected to double the accuracy of GPS, which is just as good of news for fans of Foursquare as it is for the FAA. One has to wonder exactly what doubling that accuracy really means. Well, currently GPS can estimate your location to an area of about 20 feet. When the next generation satellites are in place, this location will be narrowed down to an area of two to three feet, making pinpointing locations less like a range, and more like the spot you are standing on.This enhancement means that the next generation of GPS technology may be able to work with augmented reality technology indoors. Imagine having a virtual docent at the Met, or a guide to help you around your new college campus. The possibilities with this level of accuracy are intriguing.Currently, only one of these satellites, the GPS IIF SV-1, is in orbit and fully operational since August 2010. The second GPS IIF satellite, SV-2 is planned to launch this year. Eventually 10 other units will join them, and that is when you can expect to see the upgrades.last_img read more

Late Pleistocene evidence that crocodiles preyed on giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll

first_imgSize comparison of crocodylian and gianttortoiseremains. Credit: Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171800 Citation: Late Pleistocene evidence that crocodiles preyed on giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll (2018, January 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests the giant tortoises living on the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles may have once had to watch out for crocodile attacks. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes fossil evidence they found on the atoll that suggests crocodiles large enough to cause harm may have once feasted on the giant tortoises. 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. New study suggests some ancient bite marks from crocs not stone tools Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: Royal Society Open Science More information: Torsten M. Scheyer et al. Trophic interactions between larger crocodylians and giant tortoises on Aldabra Atoll, Western Indian Ocean, during the Late Pleistocene, Royal Society Open Science (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171800AbstractToday, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll is home to about 100 000 giant tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea, whose fossil record goes back to the Late Pleistocene. New Late Pleistocene fossils (age ca. 90–125 000 years) from the atoll revealed some appendicular bones and numerous shell fragments of giant tortoises and cranial and postcranial elements of crocodylians. Several tortoise bones show circular holes, pits and scratch marks that are interpreted as bite marks of crocodylians. The presence of a Late Pleistocene crocodylian species, Aldabrachampsus dilophus, has been known for some time, but the recently found crocodylian remains presented herein are distinctly larger than those previously described. This indicates the presence of at least some larger crocodylians, either of the same or of a different species, on the atoll. These larger crocodylians, likely the apex predators in the Aldabra ecosystem at the time, were well capable of inflicting damage on even very large giant tortoises. We thus propose an extinct predator–prey interaction between crocodylians and giant tortoises during the Late Pleistocene, when both groups were living sympatrically on Aldabra, and we discuss scenarios for the crocodylians directly attacking the tortoises or scavenging on recently deceased animals. © 2018 Today, the giant tortoises that live on Aldabra Atoll pass their days relatively stress-free due to an absence of predators. Their thick, dome-shaped shells offer them a very secure defense against creatures that might seek to harm them. But their peaceful existence is also thanks to laws that ban humans from harming them, and perhaps events that led to the demise of crocodiles that were big enough to attack them.The researchers report that during a visit to the atoll, they found parts of giant fossilized tortoise shells with large tooth bite marks on them. More importantly, they also found a jawbone that had once belonged to a large ancient crocodilian—one that was bigger than those represented by previously found fossils. Testing showed that both fossils were from a time period approximately 90,000 to 125,000 years ago—putting them in the late Pleistocene. The size of the fossilized jawbone, the team concluded, suggested that the crocodile would have been larger than the others that had lived on the atoll, but smaller than modern Nile or saltwater crocodiles. They further estimated by examining the jawbone that the crocodile would have been approximately 11.5 feet long—big enough to tear limbs or a head from an exposed tortoise. The tortoise would have weighed approximately 550 pounds.The researchers suggest that the bite marks on the tortoise shell indicate one of two possible scenarios. In the first, the croc had hidden itself beneath the water and then pounced when it saw the tortoise stretch its neck out to get a drink of water. The other possibility was that the tortoise died from another cause and the crocodile left marks as it attempted to get at the remains inside the shell.last_img read more

Nanophotonic light sails may travel at relativistic speeds

first_img Designing light sails is a major engineering challenge, however, requiring conflicting features that sound nearly impossible: an ideal light sail should be several meters wide and mechanically robust enough to withstand intense radiation pressure, yet be merely 100 nanometers or so thick and weigh just a few grams. Further requirements arise from the mechanism by which light sails work. According to Maxwell’s equations, light has momentum and as a result can exert pressure on objects. However, light sails are not simply pushed by radiation pressure like a sailboat is pushed by the wind. Instead, the push results from the light sail reflecting the radiation. As a result, an optimal sail should reflect the majority of the radiation in the laser beam’s near-infrared spectrum, while simultaneously emitting radiation in the mid-infrared range for efficient radiative cooling.Nanophotonic sailsIn a new study published in Nano Letters, researchers Ognjen Ilic, Cora Went, and Harry Atwater at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, have shown that nanophotonic structures may have the potential to meet the stringent material requirements for light sails capable of traveling at relativistic speeds.Previous light sail designs have used materials such as ultrathin aluminum, various polymers, and carbon fiber. Unlike these materials, nanophotonic structures have the ability to manipulate light at subwavelength scales, giving them an advantage in addressing the simultaneous requirements of efficient propulsion (reflection) and thermal management (emission). As an example, the researchers showed that a two-layer stack of silicon and silica shows promise due to the combined properties of both materials. Whereas silicon has a large refractive index—which corresponds to efficient propulsion—but a poor cooling ability, silica has good radiative cooling properties but a smaller refractive index.In their paper, the researchers also proposed a new figure of merit that measures the trade-off between achieving a low sail mass and a high reflectivity. In the future, this concept will help to minimize constraints on the laser power and the size of the laser array. Background on light sailsAlthough conceptualized for nearly a century, only in the past few decades has technology caught up to scientists’ early visions of propelling a spacecraft with the pressure of light. Inspired by the way that the Sun’s radiation pushes a comet’s tail in the opposite direction, the earliest concepts were of solar sails that use the radiation pressure from sunlight rather than from lasers. The first solar sail was launched in 2010 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and successfully reached the orbit of Venus in six months, powered only by the radiation pressure of sunlight. Now researchers are working on designing solar sails capable of greater accelerations that are competitive with rocket acceleration, offering the possibility of launching spacecraft without the billion-dollar cost of conventional propellants.Although solar sails may achieve rocket-like speeds, sunlight radiation is relatively weak compared to a high-power laser array. As a result, a laser array offers the potential for much faster propulsion, up to relativistic speeds—but more work is needed before such laser-powered sails are demonstrated. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2018 Researchers develop new solar sailing technology for NASA More information: Ognjen Ilic et al. “Nanophotonic Heterostructures for Efficient Propulsion and Radiative Cooling of Relativistic Light Sails.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02035last_img read more

Very soul full this

first_imgThis could have turned out to be a column full of raves and rants, but that was thankfully averted by more than a mile. So one super cold evening, I undertook the journey from Delhi to Gurgaon, to check out this new place which is very intriguingly called Spoonful of Soul. The twists and turns of roads took me through sleeping neighbourhoods and I finally arrived at what looked like a traveller’s inn of yore. As I walked into the cobbled courtyard, I could see restaurants and designer boutiques around me. What made it even more interesting was was that the only way to reach the restaurant was a glass lift — nothing extraordinary but nice nevertheless. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Spoonful of Soul has been designed more like a cafe and as I walked in, warm hues of blue and purple and pink greeted me. The furniture is cane and wood, with rattan sofas filling up the cosy corners. A lot of soul has indeed gone into the décor. The walls have scooped shelves which house crockery — adding a nice touch.The menu is a mix of Continental and Mediterranean and a board lists the Thai dishes of the day (you can also order Chinese). Though it has not opened very long back, the liquor license is already in place.But the alcohol list is not exhaustive and they would do well to add more brands. The restaurant has mostly the regular cocktails and some of the mocktails are quite good (though why the Peanut butter shake is listed as a mocktail is beyond comprehension). But among the mocktails, you can try the Virgin Cosmopolitan. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe food is mostly good. I was quite impressed with the way the Awesome foursome — which comprises kebabs made from chicken, fish and prawns — was served on skewers. Though it was served overcooked and slightly burnt. I also liked the idea behind the Prawn and apple salad — chunks of apple served with bits of prawns. If you don’t have any problem eating bacon, the Saltimbocca (see recipe) is a must eat.   Those with a sweet tooth, do not leave without gorging on the Sweet Zebra — a vanilla ice cream and Oreo biscuit sandwich. It is served slightly hard so that the ice cream doesn’t melt, but it is worth it.DETAILAt: Spoonful of Soul, 27 Nathupur Road, DLF Phase 3, Gurgaon Timings: Noon to 3.30 pm (lunch); 7 pm to 11.30 pm (dinner) Phone: 0124 30146022Meal for two: Rs 1,000 (without alcohol)last_img read more

Perfumed fine dinning on Orient Express

first_imgVanilla bean-scented baby leeks soup, scallops in jasmine jus, artichokes with thyme and lavender honey glazed chicken. Brought to India by an unusual person, Nicolas De Barry, who studied sociology and politics and then entered the world of perfumery while in Brazil. That is not the only thing unusual about Nicolas, but the fact that he replenishes the senses with an assortment of scents while one is fine dinning at the Orient Express. The legendry Orient Express at Taj Palace, New Delhi is hosting an exclusive perfume festival where the sensorial feast stylishly blends with gastronomy as master perfumer, Nicolas De Barry travels through exotic destinations of the traditional Orient Express train. The guests are taken on a perfume trail through Paris, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and Istanbul while exploring exotic, legendry and luxurious fragrances inspired by their unique cultures. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Complimenting the perfumes, the April menu created by Executive Chef of Taj Palace, Rajesh Wadhwa at the award-winning Orient Express restaurant is infused with the delicate fragrance of roses. Some of the must tries are sandal wood smoked balic salmon with bergermot dust and oil and agar wood scented pan seared fresh duck foie gras with marigold and fig relish. For the vegetarians, the angel hair pasta with saffron and micro greens is recommended. The rose petal sorbet is an absolute treat of a palate changer while the chamomile tea parfait, morello cherries and peach compote serve as the perfect dessert! Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixNicolas De Barry organizes work shops and master classes world wide and has created ‘very own fragrances’ for celebrities around the world. He has published 15 books and before starting in the perfume business in 1992, he was a diplomat. Nicolas sources his ingredients from all over the world including Agar and sandalwood from various parts of India. The perfumes used by the Mughals in India are one of his favourites.Great care is taken to find the best natural ingredients for his scents from the best sources around the globe. Nicolas is developing hundred percent natural perfumes, which are rare and use precious oils from blue lotus in Thailand and rose from Grasse or Crimea. In 2003, Nicolas had the distinction of recreating with the utmost fidelity the genuine perfumes of King Louis XV, Empress Sissi, etc.The Agar perfumes used by Nicolas can set you back by over Rs. 1 million for a kilogram! (Suvendu Banerjee is President and CEO of Business Images, one of India’s leading PR and Communications agencies and can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more

Thanks for all the fish

first_imgA big news day and pending work can only mean one thing, a very heavy and spicy lunch. That is exactly what we set out to do heading for West Bengal Bhavan.Delhi’s probashi Bengalis (non-residential bengali’s if you may) have always retreated to the comfort of Banga Bhavan (as it is better known) or the Ma Tara Hotel in CR Park to get a taste of home. Then there is always Oh! Calcutta and City of Joy in Alaknanda to offer a slightly better dining experience. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’While Oh! Calcutta turns you off with the completely ludicrous prices, City of Joy offers a substantially better deal. But beating it all I comes Banga Bhavan, you can sit in the air-conditioned interiors and enjoy your fill of Bengali food along with very good service.The menu is a fish lover’s delight – right from the crabs and the prawns and the monsoon special Hilsa – you will instinctively reach out for a well made fish fry. We decided to take the path oft not taken and ordered Mutton Cutlets. We wanted to savour the fish later. The cutlets were quite good and while we debated whether we should order round two, the Prawn Kabiraji came in. Basically a prawn cutlet fried in a thick layer of eggs is quite heavy, but sadly we were left disappointed. The prawns were not marinated enough and the coating, which is supposed to be light and fluffy was very oily and heavy on the tongue. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe Chicken Kosha did not do justice to the expectations we had off it and compared rather poorly to the fish. Both the Fish Kalia and the Ilish Bhapa were perfect to say the least. The fish was fresh and the gravy perfect, not to spicy but full of taste.The Ilish was a part of the special monsoon Hilsa festival that is on in the bhavan and might not be easily available throughout the year – but all other items on the menu are. Including the much loved Luchi and Alurdom. But as luck would have it – office calls! While all the items in the menu will not blow you away, they have their spectacular hits and more than anything – eating at Banga Bhavan is definite value for money. We are going back again for sure!last_img read more

Saluting the experts

first_imgHandicrafts Export Awards to 68 companies for excellence in exports were distributed by  Santosh Kumar Gangwar,  Union Minister of State for Textiles along with launching of Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affair. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Member of Parliament, S K Panda, Secretary (Textiles) and S K Biswas, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) were also present during the ceremony beside luminaries from the trade and industry exporters of handicrafts.   Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’With the distribution of handicraft export awards, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs also launched the new institution called Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council which has been set up to promote skill development amongst artisans, craft persons and workers of handicrafts and carpet products.  While launching the Handicrafts and Carpet Sector Skill Council, Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, ‘The role of skill development in Indian economy is very important keeping in view of the fact that percentage of skill manpower in India is very low as compared to China, Korea, Japan and Germany. There is a great need to develop skill of all sectors of the economy so that India become competitive in production of good quality products.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixUnion Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, ‘Although exporters are doing excellent job of achieving high rate of growth, yet there is big scope of further improvement, the exporters need to develop new lines, new products and give emphasis on good skill, good quality to make products more competitive in world market.’ M/s C L Gupta Exports Ltd, Moradabad received trophy of top export award for their performance in all product categories of handicrafts. Whereas, World leader in Shawls, Ahujasons won the ‘Highest Export Award’ in ‘Shawls as Art ware including scarves and stoles’ category. Karan Ahuja, Director, Exports, Ahujasons said ‘It is a matter of great delight and pride to receive this award for the third time in a row. This is very encouraging and acknowledges our world class products in the global market.’  Trophies were also given under each product category which included Woodwares, Zari Handicrafts, Lace, Laces and Embroidery, India Items, Textiles based handicrafts, fashion jewellery and crafted stone, iron crafts, jute handicrafts, glass, artware, ceramic artwares and aluminium artwares.‘Handicraft export has been growing at an average annual growth rate of 15% during the last decade. However, growth during the current year was 30.80% in rupee terms and 17.55% in dollars terms as compared to previous year. Exports of handicrafts during the year 2013-14 was Rs. 23,504.42 crore,’ said Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director – EPCH (Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts).last_img read more

Why diet foods dont satisfy us

first_imgEvolution has trained our brain to expect calories or energy from sweet-tasting foods and that is why low-calorie cookies or diet drinks do not satisfy us, suggests a research.The results could explain why dieting may backfire, leading us to eat more until the body meets its energy needs.We may even have hormones that help the brian distinguish real sugar from artificial sweetener, the study published the journal Neuron, said.“We knew that the human brain could tell the difference between real and fake sugar, we just did not know how,” said first author Monica Dus, assistant professor at the University of Michigan in the US. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’For the study, researchers deprived fruit flies of food for several hours and then gave them a choice between diet, non-nutritive sweeteners and real sugar.When the flies licked the real sugar, it activated a group of six neurons that released a hormone with receptors in the gut and brain.The hormone fuelled digestion and allowed the fly to lick more of the nutritious food.On the other hand, when the fly licked the diet sweetener, it never produced this hormone/digestive reaction because zero-calorie sweetener has no nutritional or energy value. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn every case, the flies abandoned the artificial sweetener and chose the regular sugar because the starved flies needed the energy provided by the calories in the real sugar.From an evolutionary perspective, sweet taste means sugar (traditionally from fruit or high concentrate carbohydrates) and a subsequent big energy boost.“Fruit flies cannot call out for pizza – their brains expect calories if they eat something sweet, and that is why they chose the regular sugar,” said Dus. “Fruit flies and humans share about 75 percent of the same disease-causing genes.”If our brains work the same way, this helps explain why diet foods do not satiate or satisfy us, and we gain weight while dieting, Dus said.It is analogous to a person eating that entire sleeve of low-calorie cookies and the body telling her she is still hungry.She keeps snacking until she eats something with nutritional value that meets her energy needs, the study said.last_img read more

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg wife expecting baby girl

first_imgFacebook’s billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are expecting a baby girl, the social networking site’s founder announced, using the opportunity to throw light on the traumatic and emotional issue of miscarriages that the couple had suffered thrice.“Priscilla and I have some exciting news: we’re expecting a baby girl! This will be a new chapter in our lives,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.“We’ve already been so fortunate for the opportunity to touch people’s lives around the world – Cilla as a doctor and educator, and me through this community and philanthropy. Now we’ll focus on making the world a better place for our child and the next generation,” he said. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanThe post had been liked by over a million people, with about 70,000 people commenting on it and over 28000 people sharing the post in the nine hours that it was first posted.The 31-year-old technocrat said that he and his wife had been trying to have a child for a couple of years and had had three miscarriages along the way.“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience,” he said. Also Read – Separatists vacate key offices in Yemen’s Aden, says MinisterDescribing the experience of going through miscarriages as a lonely one, Zuckerberg said most people don’t discuss miscarriages but the connected world of today provides an opportunity to people to share their concerns and apprehensions and get the much-required support.He said people don’t discuss miscarriages?because “you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you –as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own. “In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.” Zuckerberg shared with his over 33 million Facebook followers that he had his wife started talking to their friends about their experiences and “realised how frequently this happened –that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.”last_img read more