Showing posts from 2017

First supermoon of 2018 coincides with New Year's Day

According to NASA, January's first full moon -- nicknamed a wolf moon -- will take place on January 1 and it will be a supermoon. It'll be the first of 2018 and it will be closely followed by another just weeks later. In case you don't remember, a "supermoon" occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. A supermoon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day that it reaches its perigree, the point in the moon's elliptical orbit when it is closest to Earth. During these events, the moon generally appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon. They typically occur around every 13 months, according to NASA. But if you miss the supermoon on New Year's Day, don't worry. The big event is coming on January 31, when another supermoon is set to light up the sky -- making it, as some have pointed out, a "blue supermoon." As NASA notes, some folks call the second full moon in a single month a blue moon, and they o…

Water Art: Phytoplankton Bloom Turns Ocean into a Masterpiece

It may look like a painting by Vincent van Gogh, but this mass of swirling colors is really a satellite image depicting a huge bloom of phytoplankton, or microscopic marine plant life, in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. NASA acquired the image on Sept. 23 using its Suomi NPP weather satellite. The spacecraft is equipped with a special imaging tool known as the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which collects visible and infrared imagery. To create this artful picture, NASA combined data from the red, green and blue infrared bands of VIIRS with additional data about the levels of chlorophyll (green pigments found in algae and plants) present in the North Atlantic Ocean. Like terrestrial plants, phytoplankton contain light-absorbing chlorophyll and need sunlight to live and grow.
“The image does a beautiful job of showing the close link between ocean physics and biology,” Michael Behrenfeld, a phytoplankton ecologist at Oregon State University, said in a statement

Muslim women can now travel for Haj without male guardian: Narendra Modi(Prime minister of India)

NEW DELHI: Terming the policy of allowing Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a male guardian as "injustice", Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government has removed the restriction+ following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage.
According to the ministry of minority affairs, now Muslim women aged above 45 will be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without 'mahram' in a group of at least four.

In his monthly radio address of 'Mann ki baat+ ', the prime minister said removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or 'mahram' may appear as a "small thing", but such issues "have a far reaching impact on our image as a society".

He said when he first heard of the restriction, he was surprised as to who would have drafted such a rule.

"Why this discrimination? And when I went into the depth of the matter I was surprised to find that even after 70 years of o…

Global warming: NASA tool predicts which city will flood first; Mangalore, Mumbai at risk

Mangalore in Karnataka is at a higher risk of flooding from rising sea levels because of melting glaciers than coastal cities such as Mumbai and New York, data released by Nasa shows. Over the next 100 years, glacial melt could push up Mangalore sea levels by 15.98cm compared to 15.26cm for Mumbai and 10.65cm for New York, says the study carried in the journal Science Advances. Mumbai and New York are traditionally believed to be the most vulnerable. The findings are based on a forecasting tool, gradient fingerprint mapping (GFM), developed by the scientists at the US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It allows planners to see exactly how melting glaciers can push up sea levels for 293 major port cities, including three from India – Mangalore, Mumbai in Maharashtra and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. “This is the first time our method will enable planners and engineers to retrieve data about sea level in their area, and get updated numbers when new data about glacial melting becomes a…

Draped in a sari, world’s first robot citizen makes India debut at IIT Bombay

Sophia, a lifelike robot and the first one to be granted citizenship of a country, made its first appearance in India at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) on Saturday, during its cultural extravaganza, TechFest. Draped in a sari, the humanoid robot had a 15-minute conversation with a student in front of an audience of more than 3,000, on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the issues facing the world. However, after answering a few initial questions, Sophia went silent due to an unexplained technical snag. It started functioning again after the organisers intervened. Known for its human-like appearance and behaviour, Sophia was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and activated in 2015. Using artificial intelligence, it imitates human gestures and facial expressions, and is able to make conversation on predefined topics.The robot was granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia in October. The presence of Sophia had created much buzz among students and technology en…

Iran cuts internet as protests against unemployment, living costs enter third night

Demonstrators attacked a town hall in the Iranian capital Saturday as protests continued for a third night despite government warnings against any further “illegal gatherings” and moves to cut off the internet on mobiles. Unverified videos on social media appeared to show thousands marching through the western cities of Khorramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz, while reports spread rapidly that several people had been shot dead by police in the town of Dorud. A swirl of wild rumours, combined with travel restrictions and a near-total media blackout from official agencies, made it difficult to confirm the reports. The authorities appeared to respond by cutting internet access to mobile phones, with the main networks interrupted at least in Tehran shortly before midnight, AFP reporters said. Several Iranian news agencies warned Telegram, the most popular social media service in the country, might soon be shut down after communications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused one popular channel, …

Rajinikanth confirms entry into politics, to form party and contest Tamil Nadu assembly elections

Actor Rajinikanth said Sunday he will float a new party and contest all assembly seats in Tamil Nadu in the next elections, putting an end to speculations among fans in the state that has seen cine stars dominating the world of politics. Addressing a packed house at Sri Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai, the 67-year-old said: “It is the compulsion of time that I have to start out with a new political party for the next assembly general elections.” In his short speech, Rajinikanth said democracy in Tamil Nadu was suffering and the need of the hour was to start changing the system from the base. He indicated that his focus area will be fighting corruption. “At this juncture if I don’t enter politics, it will be a shame on me since people showered me with so much love and affection.” He requested people to join his “political movement” and stressed that he will visit “each village and each street”. “This is not cinema. It is reality,” he said amid a huge round of applause. Speculations t…

BJP leadership in no mood to entertain sulking satraps

NEW DELHI: Deputy Gujarat chief minister Nitin Patel's reluctance to join office due to unhappiness over his apparent "downsizing" underlines aftershocks for BJP in the state, close on the heels of reports about veteran Prem Kumar Dhumalrefusing to reconcile to the Himachal Pradesh election defeat and opt out of the CM race.
Dhumal's resistance to Jai Ram Thakur's appointment as chief minister in Himachal and Patel's public sulk represent two challenges to the authority of the BJP leadership. So far, PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have faced little resistance in the affairs of states.

The protests are seen to represent the unsettled equations in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, where the recent assembly polls have dealt a heavy blow to veterans. The results have also been read by the BJP leadership as a clear indication that some heavyweights do not enthuse voters and must gradually make way for younger and newer faces .

Party sources said the brass wa…

10 injured in Russian supermarket bombing

SAINT PETERSBURG: A homemade bomb blast at a supermarket in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg injured 10 people Wednesday, officials said, sparking a probe into attempted murder.

"According to preliminary information, an explosion of an unidentified object occurred in a store," a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigative Committee, Svetlana Petrenko, said in a statement.

The blast was caused by a "homemade explosive device with the power equivalent to 200 grammes of TNT filled with lethal fragments," she said.

"The investigation is looking at all possible causes of what happened," she said, adding that a probe for attempted murder had been launched.

The incident comes several months after Russia's second city was rocked with a metro bombing in April which killed 16 people and amid concern that hundreds of Russian citizens who travelled to fight alongside jihadists groups abroad could pose a mounting security challenge back home.

"Ten people have b…

After UN vote, India readies red carpet for Netanyahu

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to spend four days with Benjamin Netanyahu in January, weeks after India's recent Jerusalemvote in the UN prompting a diplomatic protest by the Israeli government which "expressed its comments and sentiments" through diplomatic channels.
Netanyahu's visit, the first by an Israeli PM after the 2003 trip by Ariel Sharon, is expected to mark a new high in bilateral relations, with the Israeli PM having a packed schedule for four days beginning January 16. While the formal part of the visit will be in the national capital where he will also deliver a keynote address at the Raisina Dialogue, Netanyahu will take a break from his official engagements to see the Taj Mahal in Agra with his wife. Modi will then accompany him to Ahmedabad, where, as chief minister, he had intensified ties with Israel.

Netanyahu will meet India's business leaders in Mumbai and spend some emotionally charged moments with young Moshe, who will be …