Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Blogger Buzz: Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Intelligent Dog


Border Collie is rated as the most intelligent dog. It is a medium-sized very energetic dog and a “workaholic. In fact, it is happy when working because it loves working whether it is herding, agility, dog sports, or even tasks such as search and rescue by the narcotics and bomb detection police. This breed can be easily trained in such activities too. In fact because of its craving for work, sufficient exercise must be provided to them.

Originated in Northumberland in England, this dog was earlier called the “Scotch Sheep Dog”.

Interestingly, its body is a bit longer that its height. While biting, its strong teeth meet in a scissor. Brownish eyes and erect/semi-erect ears, short hairs on the face, ears, and front legs are quite prominent.

Border Collie is bred mainly for its working ability and intelligence and not for its beauty. It very intelligent and is quite aware of its surroundings. This dog exhibits a high degree of skills and obedience; it has high stamina and is therefore energetic. It is an ideal pet in dog sports when provided with sufficient exercises. Interestingly, this breed will get along well with other dogs, children, and other family pets. It is very demanding in matters of attention and recognition from their masters. Its life span is 10 to 15 years.

These dogs are found to be unsuitable for apartment life; and unsuited for being chained.
Poodle, e German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Papillon, Rottweiler, and Australian Cattle Dog are some of the remarkable varieties of dogs.
Source: Google
Images: Google

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flowers Under Threat


“Plants are the basis for much of the life on Earth with virtually all other species depending on them.” But the plants are facing a loss of habitat threat and human activity. A rough estimate forecasts extinction of 25% of the flowers. The Royal Society B in its latest report warns that several flowers that are yet to be classified (around 35,000 to 70,000 plans still to be classified) are likely to be lost even before even before they are discovered.

This is so depressing, but each one of us can arrest this impending catastrophe by planting at least some native plants in our homes. This way, we can hope to live in sustainable atmosphere and leave a healthy Earth to our progeny.

Preservation of global ecosystem and eco-sustainability can well be achieved by educated and organized ecological resistance and protests against its damage by human activity due to unchecked population explosion.
Source: Google
Image: Google

Sunday, July 11, 2010

China’s Supercomputer Power!! A challenge to the US?


Supercomputers are extensively used in complex projects such as weather system modeling, simulation of nuclear explosions, and designs of jetliners. China has now muscled into No. 2 rank among the world’s fastest supercomputer nations overtaking European and Japanese systems. It is just behind US Department of Energy’s Jaguar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

China’s Dawning Nebulae system at the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen province reports an astounding computing speed of 1.27 petaflops, which is the equivalent of one thousand trillion mathematical operations per second. Last year, China came out with its supercomputer named Tianhe capable of more than 1 petaflop or 1 quadrillion operations per second. The latest version is a step ahead of this and costs 600 million yuan ($88 million). China-made CPU is expected to be added to the Milki Way supercomputer in the future for boosting its speed further.

The latest Chinese achievement pushes its ranking higher among the world’s fastest 500 competitors. This list was compiled jointly by Germany’s University of Mannheim, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, US and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

This supercomputer was introduced to the world at the International Supercomputer Conference held recently in Hamburg, Germany. The use of the Nividia GPU (graphic processing unit) accelerator enabled this success.

But the US still leads the rest of the nations in the field of supercomputers.

Source: Google
Image: Google

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Studies on Near-Death Experiences

Recent studies at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington report quite interesting findings. A surge of electrical activity in the brain just moments before death is recorded by the anesthesiologist Dr. Lakhmir Chawla of the team that conducts the study there.

The study also suggests that about 15% of the patients who suffer cardiac arrest and clinical death experienced good thought process, reasoning, and at times recall vivid memories of their encounter with death.

In Britain too, similar ongoing studies are reported. The Science Daily reported in September 2008 a similar study titled The AWARE (Awareness During Resuscitation) by the Southampton Hampton University under the guidance of the visiting fellow Dr. Sam Parnia and his teammates Dr. Peter Fenwick and Professors Stephen Holgate and Robert Pevler. Dr. Parnia is an expert in the field of consciousness during death.

There are numerous teams like Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF), International Association for Near-Death Studies doing research on the near-death experiences.

However, these conclusions do require further exhaustive studies before they are accpted by the competent experts and the society. for arriving at any scientific conclusions. Also these studies do not suggest or deny any afterlife. But these do seem to indicate that there could still be God!!!

Source: Times London
Source: Google

Dophin Therapy For Autism In Children

Dolphins as therapeutic healers to treat autism in children

Autism as we all know is a neural disorder with impaired social interaction, repetitive behavior, and communication deficiencies.. Chinese attempt to treat autism with dolphins is proving effective as per initial experiments.

An ocean amusement park, the Royal Ocean World (ROW) in the Northeast China bought four dolphins at a cost of $738,000 (five million yuan) for this therapy. After initial adaptation of the dolphins in their new home, the Dolphin therapy for a month to young patients aged between 2 and 10 years showed remarkable improvement in their reactions and behaviors. It is reported by the ROW that each child-patient undergoes 12 sessions of treatment for one month.

Many children would enjoy playful interaction with a dolphin because the dolphins are of their friendly appearance and loveable attitude. But no scientific proof is available to justify the efficacy of this dolphin therapy for autism.

The treatment which used to be free now costs 2000 yuan per month and less for patients from poor families. Many kinds of illness and disability are being treated with this therapy now. In addition to this Chinese attempt, a Florida-based program involves dolphins, sea turtles, otters, and fish to help treat the disabled children.

Source: Google

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Simulated Mars Mission For 520 Days


“See you in 520 days!”, “Happy New Year 2011”. These are some of the pleasantries exchanged between the six men and a scientist who sealed the iron door of a mock spacecraft at a Moscow research center on June 3, 2010. These six men will be locked up in a simulated Mars cruise for 520 days. A Mars mission takes 250 for the onward flight, 30days on the Mars surface, and 240 days for the return flight.

Yes, six men from Europe, Russia and China were locked away for the next 520 days in a simulation of a manned mission to Mars. To be exact, one Frenchman, one Italian, one Chinese, and three Russians will spend the next one-and-a-half years in the mock spacecraft. They swill live on food rations like real astronauts. Their only source of contact with the outside world will be via the email but with a delay of about 40 minutes. The hatch will open only when the mission ends or when one member of the team dies in which case the body will be pushed out to the space.

The mission captain Alexie Sitev is newly married. Imagine the agony of his separation from his newly wed wife. All the members of this team are between ages 27 and 38. Their job will be divided into eight hours of work, sleep, and leisure.

Source: Google
Images: Google

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mission Clean Ganga


Yes, India’s famous river Ganga or the Ganges as it is known to the world is going to be a clean river by 2020. The river Ganga originating from the famous Gangotri glaciers of the Himalayas is pure till human population on this holy river’s course pollutes it extensively. The degradation of this river calls for urgent measures to clean it up and save the aquatic life.

The Indian Government has now called upon the group of seven IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) jointly to prepare a detailed river basin management plan for this river to clean up this river. The deterioration in the quality of the river’s water is due to toxic effluents caused by urbanization and industrial growth.

Dr. Vinod Tare of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India is heading this team. The National Ganga River Basin Authority headed by India’s Prime Minister is sponsoring this study with all the seriousness and urgency that the situation warrants. This ambitious project will cover 11 Indian States as well as some other rivers also and will cost the exchequer $8 billion (Rs. 40,000 crores). Its final report is expected in one year.

The team is expected to advise proper water use and also enough provision for water and energy in the Ganga basin for future population, industrialization, agriculture, and urbanization without ignoring the sanctity for the river system.

Perennial flow and clean water are the two thrust areas for this group of experts. The experts’ group will coordinate with the other related professionals in various related areas like ecology and diversity, socio-cultural aspects, public participation, etc. A basin-wise approach is proposed as against an earlier suggestion of city-wise approach.

Earlier efforts to clean up the Ganga did not yield much desired results despite huge expenditure. There is a general impression that such river-cleaning projects are a source of minting money.

Let us hope this latest effort will clean up India’s mighty river GANGA.

Source: Google
Image: Google

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Human Brain Improves With Advancing Age

Yes, scientists have discovered this truth that is totally contrary to the popular belief that mental faculties decline with advancing years.

Of course short-term-memory dwindles as a person ages, but long-term memory remains unchanged or unaffected. In fact, it is observed during the study that as person’s vocabulary, emotional intelligence, and social skills may get better. Probably this conclusion is best explained by the number of successful elderly persons past fifty in business, science, politics, etc.

The study suggests simple methods to sustain and sharpen the mental ability in old age. Walking 40 minutes three times a week definitely improves the mental caliber greatly. Reaction time in critical situations is much less with such walking. Dr. Peter Connely an expert in old age at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the U.K. states that the old people can handle a situation objectively with their vast experience in life as against younger generation who only try to rush to conclusions.

Judges in the UK now want to work beyond the age of 70. While this sounds nice, the society at large may face greater unemployment among the younger generation, which may pose a problem to those in power.

Source: Times of India

From various sources

A postcard reached its destination after 95 years thanks to an American antique collector who delivered it personally to the addressee’s grandson in Sarajeva, Bosnia. It had been sent from Villany, Hungary and bore a Hungarian stamp. (Source AP)

Unlike a wound, you cannot see a heart disease. It is a silent killer, in a sense. We need to appreciate that the HEART is a gift of God. It beats 1,00,000 times a day. So take care of it.

Heart diseases and strokes can now be more easily avoided or reduced by taking beetroot juice, according to the study by a team led by Amirtha Ahluwalia (Indian origin) in Queen Mary University in London. The findings are available in the latest “Hypertension” journal of the American Heart Association. (Times of India June 30, 2010).

University of California in US and the Keio University of Japan have jointly developed a simple saliva test to detect a bunch of cancers like pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and oral cancer. The advantage of this test is that the saliva can be more easily sampled than blood and stool. (AFP)

Europe’s sophisticated GOCE satellite has now mapped the earth’s gravitational force, which reveals quite astonishingly that the gravitational force is not uniform throughout the earth’s surface. This is a real-time mapping.

A lock of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair was auctioned in New Zealand recently for $1900 while his sketch on the death bed was auctioned for $21,000, as per reports from Radio New Zealand.

Source: Times of India

Friday, July 2, 2010

Huge Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan

Yes, Afghanistan is going to be the richest nation in the world with huge reserves of minerals discovered recently. These deposits reportedly include huge reserves of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium, all untapped till date. All these are of course essential in modern industry.

This recent discovery of nearly $1 trillion mineral deposits is going to change the politics of Afghanistan with vested political interests vying with each other to exploit them.

This discovery could distract and change the course of the present war and turmoil in Afghanistan, and instead attract huge foreign investments. New equations of war in this region are foreseen.

Will this discovery lead to peace in the region or will the Taliban fight more vigorously? Will this change the fortunes of Afghanistan with a GDP of only $12 billion? But this strife-torn nation is going to play a vital role in world economy. Let us watch and see how it goes.

Source: Google

Monkeys Enjoy Watching TV


Yes, human beings are not alone in watching the idiot box. Monkeys too enjoy the idiot box. This interesting report of the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute team led by Professor Nobuo Masataka is published in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the Swiss online scientific journal.

During the study the Japanese scientists studied the changes in the frontal lobe of the brain of a three-year-old male rhesus monkey while it was watching TV. Quite interestingly, the study found out that the monkey thoroughly enjoyed a video of a circus elephant, giraffe and a tiger in action, and another monkey grooming itself. The technique used by the scientists is called the Near-Infrared Spectroscopy that enabled them to visualize the blood flow to its brain while watching TV. Its facial expressions also revealed feelings of anger and fear. The psychological make-up of monkeys and human beings is reflected in this study.

Of late, several zoos across the world are providing TVs for the animals to break up the monotonous living environment, and the effectiveness of this exposure to TV is confirmed by the research team. But the study states that feelings of joy could only be induced.

What more similar interesting studies are forthcoming? Let us wait and watch.

Source: Google
Image: Google

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oceans Are Affected By Global Warming!!!


Next to overfishing and coastal pollution, global warming is causing great damage to the oceans. The damage is greater since the last 60years or so. The earth’s ecosystem is very fragile to withstand this onslaught by mankind. These revelations are brought out by two environmental organizations, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute. These reports clearly highlight the impact of global warming on tropical reefs, polar-ice edges, zooplankton, polar bears, and other marines.

A two-degree rise in temperature is sufficient to wipe out almost all the existing coral reefs, say the experts. It is authoritatively reported that the loss of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef due to global warming would cost a whopping $37.7 billion during the next century. The climate scientists predict that this reef could lose 95% of its living coral by 2050 if ocean temperature rises by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The latest finding on greenhouse gases is startling indeed. Choking oceans due to rising greenhouse gases cause elimination of marine ecosystem thus affecting the food chain of millions of people. And the damages are irreversible. This affects the natural marine habitats and marine food supply in addition to changing the ocean chemistry. Migration of the marine life along the east and west coasts as also the extinction of some organisms are also happening now. Also the ocean circulation changes due to global warming would be disastrous for the marine fisheries.

Kelp forests, marine life and coral reefs decline. Disease among the marine life is on the rise.

Yes, such changes that have not occurred for millions of years are now happening due to global warming. Fossil records reveal a similar ocean warming about 50 million years ago and it was only after 100,000 years that the oceans recovered from this.

Can we prevent this and save the marine life? Yes of course, if only we implement some simple suggestions provided by experts.

These are: Eat eco-friendly fish. Avoid or at least restrict the use of plastics, disposables and single-use projects. Adopt energy-efficient measures. Do not release balloons, which are a danger to wildlife. Do not leave the fishing lines into the water as it takes about 600 years to degrade thus endangering marine life for 600 years.

And finally, try to take part in marine conservation efforts.

Image: Google
Source: Google



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