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Scientists create Artificial Life in Lab

21 May

Three Indian-origin scientists are part of a team that has for the first time created a synthetic cell, controlled by man-made genetic instructions, which can also reproduce itself.

The 24-member team included Sanjay Vashee, Radha Krishnakumar and Prashanth P. Parmar.”We call it the first synthetic cell,” said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. “These are very much real cells.”

Developed at a cost of $30 million by the researchers at J. Craig Venter Institute, the experimental one-cell organism opens the way to manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to experts, scientists have been altering DNA piecemeal for many years, producing genetically engineered plants and animals, but the ability to craft an entire organism offers a new power over life.

“This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature,” said molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University who wasn’t involved in the project.
“It has the potential to transform genetic engineering. The research is going to explode once you can create designer genomes,” David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, was quoted as saying.

The new cell, a form of bacteria, was conceived solely as a demonstration project, though several biologists were certain that the laboratory technique used to birth it would soon be applied to other strains of bacteria with commercial potential.

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Brain Mapping,Narco-analysis,polygraph tests

7 May

On May 5th,Supreme Court of India said “No” to forced “Brain Mapping”,”Narco-Analysis” and “Polygraph” tests on victims! It said,these tests can be conducted only after procuring consent from the victims.

Before,we argue on this ruling,lets take a sneek-peek on the definition and uses of these tests:
These tests, which are often used as aid during investigations by probe agencies, are different from each other, but are all aimed at collecting vital information.

1>Narco-analysis is a controlled administration of intravenous hypnotic medications called truth drugs on a suspect to procure vital information.

2>A polygraph, popularly referred to as a lie detector, is an instrument that measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and breathing rhythms and skin conductivity while a suspect is asked a series of questions.

Deceptive answers are said to produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers.

3>Brain-mapping is a comprehensive analysis of brainwave frequency bandwidths. In this test, forensic experts apply unique neuroscience techniques to find out if a suspect’s brain recognises things from a crime scene which an innocent person’s brain will have no knowledge of.

In brain-mapping, sensors are attached to the suspect’s head and he or she is made to sit in front of a computer screen. The suspect is then made to see images or hear sounds.

The sensors monitor electrical activity in the brain and register certain waves which are generated only if the suspect has any connection with the stimulus (image or sound).

Information Courtesy:Deccan Herald

Time Travel

5 May

Last week while switching tv channels,we came across a documentary “Stephen Hawking’s Universe” being aired on Discovery Channel.

In this documentary,Stephen Hawking explained how “Time Travel” is possible! The facts and justifications provided by him were enthralling. I would love to share the same with you all.

What is “Time Travel”?
Time travel is the concept of traveling forward and backward to different points in time, much as we do through space.

Time is a fourth dimension. The key to time travel into the future is to think of time as a river. As you look across a river you will notice that in some places it is moving faster than in other places. Time does the same thing. Time speeds up on a satellite orbiting the earth by one third of a billionth of a second every day.

Albert Einstein realized that matter drags on time and slows it down like the slow part of a river. So the reason time is slower on the surface of the earth than on the satellite is because earth has so much mass. The heavier the object, the more it drags on time.

Stephen Hawking explains “Time Travel” can be possible in 2 methods:


1>Black Holes: He says “Black Holes” act as “Natural Time Machine”. Assume that you are travellling in a spacecraft across the “Black Hole” [lets assume that the space craft is not sucked into the black hole], then when the space craft orbits the black hole,then the travellers inside the space craft will be travelling in time.

The time inside the space craft will be exactly 1/2 of the time on earth. Suppose this space craft rotates around the black hole for 10 days and returns back to the earth, then the time on earth would be 20 days.
This means that people returning from the space craft to the earth will be entering the “Future Earth”.

The main reason behind this concept is “As mass increases,time slows down”. Since “Black Hole” is an extremely denser object, it slows down the time inside the spacecraft orbiting the “Black Hole”

2>Building a Train and accelerating it to magnetically travel equal to the “Speed of Light”. As the train accelerates,it travels around 99.9% of speed of light. If it does,then the travellers inside the train will be travelling in “Time”

Another Blogger,Venky has also written a post on “Time Travel”. Do visit his blog:
http://bit.ly/Timetravel

Akrit Jaswal India’s Genius Surgeon

3 Feb

Today Pradeep,showed me this video of a “Akrit Jaswal”,India’s Genius Child Surgeon who had performed surgery when he was 7 years old!!
He was invited to London and his IQ was tested. It is believed that he has an IQ of 146!! He was also invited on Oprah Winfrey’s show and the audience were “Awe-struck” by his Intelligence!

Ankrit’s Biography:

He started speaking in his 10th month and was reading Shakespeare at the age of 5.

Akrit developed a passion for science and anatomy at an early age.
Doctors at local hospitals took notice and started allowing him to observe surgeries when he was 6 years old.

When he was 7 years old an impoverished family heard about his amazing abilities, they asked if he would operate on their daughter for free. Her surgery was a celebrated success.

At age 12, Akrit was admitted to a Punjab University. He’s the youngest student ever to attend an Indian university.
That same year, he was also invited to London’s famed Imperial College to exchange ideas with scientists on the cutting edge of medical research.

Akrit says he has millions of medical ideas, but he’s currently focused on developing a cure for cancer. “I’ve developed a concept called oral gene therapy on the basis of my research and my theories”, he says, “I’m quite dedicated towards working on this mechanism.”

Growing up, Akrit says he used to see cancer patients lying on the side of the road because they couldn’t afford treatment or hospitals had no space for them. Now, he wants to use his intellect to ease their suffering.

He became India’s youngest university student and is currently studying for a BSc in a Punjab University, Chandigarh, India. He possesses books such as Gray’s Anatomy, and textbooks on surgery, anaesthesia, anatomy, physiology, cancer, and others. Akrit claims to have mastered them with his daily habit of studying for an hour.

Unmade beds makes us HEALTHY!

25 Jan

I read this article agape on BBC News!




Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.
Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

The average bed could be home to up to 1.5 million house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a millimetre long, feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep.

The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply.

The scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds.


 Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.
 Dr Stephen Pretlove Researcher said: “We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.

In the next stage of their research, the scientists are putting mite pockets into beds in 36 houses around the United Kingdom to test their computer model and will investigate how people’s daily routines affect mite populations.

Building features such as heating, ventilation and insulation will also be altered to monitor how the mites cope.

Dr Pretlove said the research had the potential to reduce the £700m spent treating mite-induced illnesses each year in the UK.

“Our findings could help building designers create healthy homes and healthcare workers point out environments most at risk from mites.”

Dr Matt Hallsworth, of the charity Asthma UK, said: ‘House-dust mite allergen can be an important trigger for many people with asthma, but is notoriously difficult to avoid.”

Professor Andrew Wardlaw, of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, agreed.

He said: “Mites are very important in asthma and allergy and it would be good if ways were found to modifiy the home so that mite concentrations were reduced.

“It is true that mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry (desert like) conditions.

“However, most homes in the UK are sufficiently humid for the mites to do well and I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity.”

First Tweet from SPACE!

22 Jan

Expedition 22 Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer made first use of the new system Friday, when he posted the first unassisted update to his Twitter account, @Astro_TJ, from the space station.

“Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! 🙂 More soon, send your ?s”

This personal Web access, called the Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web. The system will provide astronauts with direct private communications to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions by helping to ease the isolation associated with life in a closed environment.

During periods when the station is actively communicating with the ground using high-speed Ku-band communications, the crew will have remote access to the Internet via a ground computer. The crew will view the desktop of the ground computer using an onboard laptop and interact remotely with their keyboard touchpad.

Astronauts will be subject to the same computer use guidelines as government employees on Earth. In addition to this new capability, the crew will continue to have official e-mail, Internet Protocol telephone and limited videoconferencing capabilities.

To follow Twitter updates from Creamer and two of his crewmates, ISS Commander Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi, visit:

http://twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts

Information Courtesy:NASA

“Great Wall of Chocolate”

15 Jan

China has built the replica of “Great Wall of China” using Chocolates!
Check this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/?bcpid=25500650001&bctid=61842629001

or..see this video:

Chandrayaan-1 SARA discovers how Moon generates Water

16 Oct

Another moment of Pride for All Indians!
A month after ISRO’s Chandrayaan-I discovered the traces of water on Moon’s surface, on Oct 15th 2009, Chandrayaan-1’s SARA (Sub-kilo electron volt Atom Reflecting Analyser) discovered how Moon generates Water!
The Moon acts as a Sponge and absorbs the electrically charged particles spewed out from the Sun.
These particles interact with the oxygen present in some dust grains on the lunar surface, producing water. The water, however, is present in molecular form. It is not seen as liquid water, ice or moisture

Click here to read Full article in Deccan Herald

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Indian Scientists develop RICE that require No Cooking!

6 Oct

Indian Scientists have developed a new variety of rice that requires “No Cooking”,but gets cooked after just soaking in water!
Click Here for Full Details of this article in Deccan Herald

ISRO Bhuvan a threat to Google Earth???

24 Sep

A moment of PRIDE for all Indians!!
Familiar with the features of Google Earth,now its time to check INDIA’s new ISRO ‘Bhuvan‘!!!

A>What is ISRO Bhuvan?

ISRO’s Bhuvan (which means Earth) is a satellite mapping tool similar to Google Earth and Wikimapia. It was developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It offers resolution up to 10 metres and is considered as a rival to Google Earth and Wikimapia.A prototype (beta) of this application was launched on 12th August 2009.
ISRO Bhuvan’s screenshot:

B>Basic Features of ISRO Bhuvan:
• Access, explore and visualise 2D and 3D image data along with rich thematic information on Soil, wasteland, water resources etc.

• Visualise multi-resolution, multi-sensor, multi-temporal image data
• Superpose administrative boundaries of choice on images as required
• Visualisation of AWS ( Automatic Weather Stations) data/information in a graphic view and use tabular weather data of user choice
• Fly to locations ( Flies from the current location directly to the selected location)
• Heads-Up Display ( HUD) naviation controls ( Tilt slider, north indicator, opacity, compass ring, zoom slider)
• Navigation using the 3D view Pop-up menu (Fly-in, Fly out, jump in, jump around, view point)
• 3D Fly through (3D view to fly to locations, objects in the terrain, and navigate freely using the mouse or keyboard)
• Drawing 2D objects (Text labels, polylines, polygons, rectangles, 2D arrows, circles, ellipse)
• Drawing 3D Objects (placing of expressive 3D models, 3D polygons, boxes)
• Snapshot creation (copies the 3D view to a floating window and allows to save to a external file)
• Measurement tools (Horizontal distance, aerial distance, vertical distance, measure area)
• Shadow Analysis (it sets the sun position based on the given time creating shadows and effects the lighting on the terrain)
• Urban Design Tools (to build roads, junctions and traffic lights in an urban setting)
• Contour map ( Displays a colorized terrain map and contour lines)
• Draw tools (Creates simples markers, free hand lines, urban designs)

C>Comparison between ISRO Bhuvan and Google Earth

Google Earth

* Zoom levels up to 200 mt
* Single layer information
* Images upgraded every 4 years
* No alternate viewing options
* Uses international satellites
ISRO Bhuvan
* Zoom levels up to 10 mt
* Multi-layer information
* Images upgraded every year
* Options of viewing on different dates
* Uses Indian satellites

E>Videos of ISRO ‘Bhuvan’

Information Courtesy: http://isrobhuvan.in/