Month: August 2019

  • Simulation shows its possible to tow an iceberg to drought areas

    first_img( — Way back in the 70’s Georges Mougin, then an engineering graduate, had a big idea. He suggested that icebergs floating around in the North Atlantic could be tethered and dragged south to places that were experiencing a severe drought, such as the Sahel of West Africa. Mougin received some backing funds from a Saudi prince but most “experts” at the time scoffed at his idea and the whole scheme was eventually shelved. Image credit: Trevor Williams. © 2010 Citation: Simulation shows it’s possible to tow an iceberg to drought areas (2011, August 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Two huge icebergs let loose off Antarctica’s coastcenter_img 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. Cut to 2009 and French software firm Dassault Systemes, who thought maybe Mougin was on to something after all and contacted him to suggest modeling the whole idea on a computer. After applying 15 engineers to the problem, the team concluded that towing an iceberg from the waters around Newfoundland to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, could be done, and would take under five months, though it would cost nearly ten million dollars. In the simulation, as in a real world attempt, the selected iceberg would first be fitted with an insulating skirt to stave off melting; it would then be connected to a tugboat (and a kite sail) that would travel at about one knot (assuming assistance from ocean currents). In the simulated test, the iceberg arrived intact having lost only 38 percent of its seven ton mass.A real world project would of course require hauling a much bigger berg; experts estimate a 30 million ton iceberg could provide fresh water for half a million people for up to a year. There would also be the problem of transporting the water from the berg in the ocean to the drought stricken people. The extraordinary costs for such a project would, it is assumed, come from the price tag for the skirt, five months of diesel fuel for the tugboat, the man hours involved and then finally, distribution of the fresh water at the destination. Scientists estimate that some 40,000 icebergs break away from the polar ice caps each year, though only a fraction of them would be large enough to be worth the time and expense of dragging them to a place experiencing a drought, such as the devastating one currently going on in the Horn of Africa.Mougin, newly reinvigorated by the results of the recent study, at age 86, is now trying to raise money for a real-world test of the idea. Explore furtherlast_img read more

  • Researchers fold origami with light

    first_img Citation: Researchers fold origami with light (2012, May 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The team of mechanical engineers led by Professor Martin Dunn of the University of Colorado at Boulder has published a paper on their simulations and experiments of photo-origami in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.“[We have developed] a non-contact method to bend and fold polymer films in precise, 3D programmable ways, guided by computational simulations,” Dunn told the researchers explain in their study, there are several different methods for creating materials that can fold by themselves in a programmable manner. Most of these methods involve attaching an actuator onto the material and applying an external actuation force. Finding a way to make the material fold by itself without using these “parasitic elements” could greatly simplify the process, which could enable more diverse applications.Because photo-origami only uses light and a mechanical straining force to fold materials, it could potentially serve as a simple, automated sequential folding process. In their study, the researchers experimentally demonstrate how photo-origami works using a flat, two-dimensional polymer that contains photoinitiators. First, the polymer is stretched to create a mechanical strain. Then light is applied to a specific area of the polymer, such as along a line to be folded, which causes the photoinitiators to disassociate into free radicals. The highly reactive radicals then fragment and reform polymer chains, resulting in stress relaxation in the chosen area. This redistribution of stress through the material causes a change of shape as the material strives to achieve mechanical equilibrium, folding along the chosen line.That process results in a single fold. For each additional fold, the irradiation, and potentially straining, steps are repeated. When the steps are performed in a specific sequence, the technique can produce complex shapes. To demonstrate, the researchers fabricated a heart and a six-sided closed box.“In principle, this could make many complex structures consisting of bends and folds in arbitrary directions and sequences,” Dunn said. “The computational simulations can be used to design myriad structures, many that we could not conceive without simulations.”As a form of technical origami, photo-origami could enable applications far beyond origami’s original purpose as a creative art. Technical origami can be used in situations in which an object must be stored and transported and later deployed for use. This need arises, for example, for space-based solar arrays, automobile airbags, tissue engineering, shopping cartons, and photovoltaic cells that optimally capture sunlight throughout the day. Origami could also be used to fold molecules into specific shapes for the purpose of tailoring their molecular properties.Although this demonstration involved macroscopic-scale folding, the approach could also be used at the micro and nano scales. In the future, the researchers plan to further investigate how photo-origami can be extended to manufacturing processes.“We plan to create smaller, more precise mass-fabricated structures and endow them with multiple physical functionalities,” Dunn said. More information: Jennie Ryu, et al. “Photo-origami – Bending and folding polymers with light.” Applied Physics Letters 100, 161908 (2012). DOI: 10.1063/1.3700719 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. Zinc-finger proteins act as site-specific adapters for DNA-origami structures Journal information: Applied Physics Letterscenter_img Copyright 2012 Phys.Org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of ( — Replacing the need for nimble fingers, researchers have demonstrated how to make origami using light of a specific wavelength. They call the new folding technique photo-origami, and it could potentially be used as a way to manufacture 3D structures. Explore further A six-sided box fabricated by photo-origami is constructed by straining and irradiation to form hinges. (a) The photo-origami protocol; (b) a fabricated closed box; and (c), (d), and (e) a simulated box with closed, partially open, and open tops. Image caption: Ryu, et al. © 2012 American Institute of Physicslast_img read more

  • Researchers use light projector and singlepixel detectors to create 3D images

    first_img( —Researchers from the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge have devised a unique method of capturing three-dimensional images. As described in a paper published in the journal Science, they used an ordinary light projector, four single-pixel photodetectors, an analog-to-digital converter, and a computer to capture 3-D images of a mannequin head. Single-pixel power: Scientists make 3-D images without a camera More information: Science 17 May 2013: Vol. 340 no. 6134 pp. 844-847 DOI: 10.1126/science.1234454 The idea is based on the concept of ghost imaging where paired light sources, such as a split laser beam, are used to create 3-D images. Prior efforts have involved shooting a target with one part of the split beam, then capturing the reflected light with a photodetector. The other part of the beam is recorded by a traditional camera. In this new effort, the researchers took a much more pragmatic approach—they accomplished the same thing using simpler equipment.To create the 3-D image, the researchers set up a light projector—the same kind used for viewing slides on a screen—with the light projected onto a mannequin head. Next, they placed a transparent screen capable of displaying light-blocking speckle patterns (generated by the computer) between the projector and the mannequin head. Light able to pass through the speckle pattern would eventually strike the mannequin and bounce off. Four single-pixel photodetectors were set up to capture the bounced light—one each above, below and to each side of the projector. The photodectectors were connected to an analog-to-digital converter which sent results to the computer. Once everything was in place, the researchers caused the computer to send different speckle patterns to the screen while the photodetectors captured the reflected light. Each pass allowed the computer to capture more information. As the total number of speckle patterns reached a million, individual 2-D images emerged—each one based on data from a single photodetector. Software on the computer then used the four 2-D images to create a single 3-D image. How such a system might be used is still up for debate, as some issues still need to be worked out. The slow refresh rate, for example, means it takes half an hour to create one image. The researchers are confident they can refine the design, however, to speed up the process. Once that happens, they suggest, their imaging system might be useful for detecting gas fields, building medical systems or catching terrorists at airports.Original press release. Journal information: Science Citation: Researchers use light projector and single-pixel detectors to create 3-D images (2013, May 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further © 2013 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

  • Using quantum measurements to fuel a cooling engine

    first_img 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. Journal information: Physical Review Letters Michele Campisi, one of the researchers involved in the study, has been studying quantum phenomena for several years. In his recent work, he investigated whether quantum phenomena can impact the thermodynamics of nanoscopic devices, such as those employed in quantum computers. “Most colleagues in the field were looking at coherence and entanglement while only few were looking at another at genuine quantum phenomenon, i.e., the quantum measurement process,” Campisi told “Those studies suggested that you need to accompany measurements with feedback control, as in Maxwell’s demon, in order to exploit their potential. I started thinking about it, and eureka—since quantum measurements are very invasive, they are accompanied by energy exchanges, hence can be used to power engines without the need to do feedback control.”The second law of thermodynamics states that heat naturally flows from hot bodies to cold ones. Past studies found that there are two ways to reverse this natural flow of heat: using work supplied by an external, time-dependent driving force or by implementing a Maxwell demon, which steers the heat via a feedback control loop. In their study, Campisi and his colleagues showed that there is, in fact, a third method to reverse the flow of heat, which is based on quantum mechanics. This technique entails the use invasive quantum measurements as a fuel that powers refrigeration, without any feedback control. The researchers refer to this mechanism as quantum measurement cooling (QMC). “The general mathematical framework is standard quantum mechanics, but we had to use a mix of advanced numerical and analytical methods to investigate all facets of quantum measurement cooling,” Lorenzo Buffoni, another researcher involved in the study, told “For example, in order to assess its the robustness to experimental noise we used extensive Monte Carlo sampling of the high-dimensional space of possible measurement projectors, and used machine learning techniques to analyze and visualize the data.” Citation: Using quantum measurements to fuel a cooling engine (2019, March 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Campisi and his colleagues illustrated QMC by means of a prototypical two-stroke two-qubit engine. This engine interacts with the measurement apparatus employed by the researchers, as well as with two heat reservoirs set at different temperatures.”We also embarked on the task of finding the optimal thermodynamic performance by analytical methods, which was very challenging,” Andrea Sofanelli, another researcher who carried out the study, told “We employed Birkhoff theorem to express the so-called transition matrix (containing all relevant information about the energy exchanges in our problem) in terms of permutations, which simplified the problem. But we remained stuck with that until we found a little-known theorem of linear algebra dating back to the early 1990s, which finally led to the solution.”Campisi, Buffoni, Cuccoli, Solfanelli and their colleague Paola Verrucchi demonstrated that the invasiveness of quantum measurements can be used to fuel a cooling engine via the QMC mechanism they have reported. QMC does not require feedback control, but entanglement must be present in the measurement projectors. The researchers calculated the probability that QMC will occur when the measurement basis is randomly selected. They found that this probability can be very large compared to the probability of extracting energy (i.e. operating the heat engine), yet it is smaller than the probability of the least important operation (i.e. dumping heat in both baths). “Showing that measuring a quantum system made by two qubits can produce by itself (i.e. without feedback control) useful thermodynamic effects surely represents the most meaningful outcome of our research,” Alessandro Cuccoli, another researcher involved in the study, told “This follows from looking at the quantum measurement process from a wider perspective, where both the system and its environment, and the energy exchanges accompanying the measurement, are considered.”According to Cuccoli, the two-quibits thermal engine developed by the researchers could easily be engineered to work as a cooling device. This would, among other things, enable the fabrication of a quantum computer’s processing units to be integrated with auxiliary devices that can keep them at the required low temperature, as both can be achieved using qubits. “A further insightful observation is that in order to get useful thermodynamic effects, the measurement process has to involve ‘entangled’ states, i.e. peculiarly quantum correlated states of the two qubits, thus revealing the intimate connection between information and energy exchanges,” Cuccoli added. “Deepening our understanding of such relationship in nanoscopic quantum engines is one of the major challenges driving our current and future research in the field of quantum thermodynamics.”The study carried out by Campisi, Buffoni, Cuccoli, Solfanelli and Verrucchi introduced an entirely new mechanism that can reverse the natural flow of heat, intervening with the second law of thermodynamics, without feedback control requirements. In the future, their findings could have many applications, for instance, aiding the development of devices to cool quantum computers. The team of researchers involved in this study is part of a collaboration consortium that involves 12 world-class research groups, including experimentalists and theorists from eight E.U. countries. They are currently seeking the resources necessary to support their work in the forthcoming years. “We are looking forward to collaborating with experimental groups that might be interested in building a functioning quantum-measurement cooler,” Campisi said. “The full understanding and mastering of the energetics of quantum systems and devices is urgently needed, and calls for a joint international effort in order to speed up technological development.” Explore further In quantum measurement cooling, the heat current is powered by energy provided via invasive measurements on an appropriate measurement basis fjψkig, without performing feed- back control. Solid arrows represent flow of energy. Credit: Campisi et al. Maxwell’s demon extracts work from quantum measurement More information: Lorenzo Buffoni et al. Quantum Measurement Cooling, Physical Review Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.070603 Researchers at the University of Florence and Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, in Italy, have recently proved that the invasiveness of quantum measurements might not always be detrimental. In a study published in Physical Review Letters, they showed that this invasive quality can actually be exploited, using quantum measurements to fuel a cooling engine. © 2019 Science X Networklast_img read more

  • New Research From Psychological Science

    first_imgPsychological Constellations Assessed at Age 13 Predict Distinct Forms of Eminence 35 Years Later Infants acquiring language must learn word meanings, which can be cued by the rules for combining words into sentences (syntax). But this poses a chicken-and-egg problem: Infants need words to learn syntax and syntax to learn words. In two experiments, de Carvalho and colleagues found that 18-month olds may learn syntax by relying on function words (e.g., the, a), which signal that the following word is a verb or a name, and phrasal prosody (i.e., the rhythm and melody of speech). They showed French infants videos of a penguin cartwheeling or spinning, accompanied by spoken sentences with two novel words (bamoule and doripe) used as either names (e.g., bamoule referred to the penguin) or verbs (e.g., bamoule referred to the act of spinning). In accordance with standard syntax, a function word (e.g., the) appeared before the novel word when it was used as a noun but not when it was used as a verb. Afterward, the researchers switched the videos associated with each sentence and measured how long infants looked at the videos. Infants looked longer when the new video/sentence combination suggested that the initially learned word was used incorrectly — indicating that they were surprised. The same pattern of results occurred when instead of a function cue before the novel words, only prosody changed. Infants thus seem to use function words and prosodic cues to infer the syntax of sentences and then use the syntax to acquire word meanings. Alex de Carvalho, Angela Xiaoxue He, Jeffrey Lidz, and Anne Christophe ​ Spatial attention is thought to bind visual object features (e.g., color, shape, orientation) that co-occur at the same location and integrate them into a coherent object representation. But what happens when attention is split across different locations or shifted from location to location? Participants reported the color and orientation of a visual target, which was presented with three distractors of different colors and orientations. Before the target appeared, participants either (a) held their attention to the future target location, cued by a black square outline; (b) shifted their attention from one cued location to a second cued location where the target would appear; or (c) split their attention between two locations cued at the same time. Participants made more errors when their attention was split or shifted. However, the nature of those errors differed: When attention was shifted, participants reported both the color and orientation of the nontarget presented in the first attended location; when attention was split, participants mixed up the features of target and nontarget objects. This indicates that splitting attention across multiple locations degrades object integrity and the ability to bind features, but shifting attention preserves bound objects. Moreover, participants also inadvertently had their attention lapse to noncued locations and reported the color and orientation of the nontarget at that location, preserving object identity but at the wrong location. These data emphasize the importance of attending one location at a time for feature binding and intact object perception. Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science: Emma Wu Dowd and Julie D. Golombcenter_img Brian O. Bernstein, David Lubinski, and Camilla P. Benbow ​ Math/scientific and verbal/humanistic profiles assessed at age 13 predict forms and fields of eminence at age 50, this research suggests. Value orientations of 13-year-olds who scored among the top 1% on SAT-Mathematical Reasoning or SAT-Verbal were measured with six scales: Theoretical, Aesthetic, Social, Economic, Political, and Religious. The combination of their abilities and values resulted in scores on a math/scientific function (high mathematical ability and theoretical values with low social and religious values) and a verbal/humanistic function (high verbal ability and aesthetic values). The researchers assessed the same participants at age 50, focusing this time on whether they had achieved eminence, defined as attaining a consequential and creative career (e.g., full professor at a research-intensive university, a Fortune 500 executive, or an award-winning journalist), and if they had, placed them in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) group, a humanities and social sciences group, or an “other” group, according to their field. Results indicated that eminent participants had scored higher on one or both of the functions than noneminent participants. STEM leaders scored higher on the math/scientific function than their peers, and humanities leaders scored higher on the verbal/humanistic function than their peers. Individuals who were leaders in other fields (e.g., medicine or law) had a balanced score between the two functions. The authors replicated these results in a study that assessed graduate students in STEM fields 25 years later. Thus, looking at children’s preferences and abilities by the time they are 13 years old may to some degree predict their future eminence and field of work. Prosody and Function Words Cue the Acquisition of Word Meanings in 18-Month-Old Infants Object-Feature Binding Survives Dynamic Shifts of Spatial Attentionlast_img read more

  • When markets down drink up

    first_imgTaking over the property that earlier housed V Spot, Charlie’s is one of those rare concept bars in town.Created with the omnipresent character of Charlie, from Charlie’s Angels in mind, Charlie’s is about keeping an eye on the stocks as you drink it up. The bar has screens all over that constantly update the prices of liquors as and how the market prices drop. The drops could be monumental or minimal, but it reflects on the prices on the screen and the guests can order a fresh round in those prices. Could it get any cooler? Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Ok, we admit that keeping an eye on the screen constantly is a little distracting when you are out with friends – feel free to ask the staff! They have some incredibly friendly people working there. The main idea behind a bar like Charlie’s Bar Exchange is to provide the aspiring young Delhiite a place where he can come and try liquors he would have otherwise drank at home or in his car before he hit the parties, explains Nereen Tewari, one part of the brain behind Charlie’s. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSo for people who want to have their Jack Daniels at very easy prices, Charlie’s could just be the spot! But then it all depends on the market! Keep an eye out!They also have a great food spread and some insane cocktails. Do try the she Devil and the Bell Pepper Margarita for sure! The hot dogs have an excellent gourmet touch to it, full marks to the simple spaghetti they dished out – we loved it! Basic herbs and olive oil is a sure fire hit, always! The non-vegetarian and the vegetarian platters are great too – they offer an impressive array. Head over to Charlie’s for their great prices. The location is convenient and the ambience is excellently casual for a group of friends to put their feet up. Tewari also gave us a heads up on some great music nights they have planned for the spot so keep an eye on their Facebook page. A meal for two comes to Rs 1200 (without taxes and without alcohol) – but worry not! The food is quite worth the price and the liquor prices won’t pinch your pockets! Promise!last_img read more

  • No transport woes on April 13 assures govt

    first_imgKolkata: The top brass of the state Transport department held an immediate meeting on Wednesday with all transport operators, soon after a 6-hour bandh was called by Left Front on April 13 and assured that the transport services will remain unaffected. The meeting was held with representatives of all the transport operators and owners’ associations in Paribahan Bhavan at 8 pm on Wednesday. The operators assured that transport services will remain normal on April 13.The State Transport undertakings will deploy 3,700 buses and there will be special stress to ensure proper service from major transit points. There will be special monitoring for Howrah Station, Sealdah Station and Kolkata Airport. Moreover, there will be insurance coverage for vehicles in case of damage.last_img read more

  • 18 canines set to join Kolkata Police dog squad

    first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Police has started off with its preparation to add 18 new dogs to its existing squad of 48.It may be recalled that a proposal was made in September 2011 when the added area came under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Police to add 30 more dogs in two phases in the squad. The plan was to bring in 12 dogs into the service in the first phase and 18 in the second phase. According to a senior police officer, the 12 dogs were brought into service in mid 2017 and there training programme has completed recently. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”With completion of the training programme of the 12 dogs those were brought into service in the first phase, all necessary work to bring in the next 18 new dogs has started,” the officer said adding that committee comprising senior police officers and doctors will be formed to bring in the new members of the dog squad. The committee will take decision on crucial matters including the breed of dogs that will be procured. Based on the decision of the committee, a detailed proposal will be placed before the state government for further necessary sanctions. There are several issues like construction of kennel and recruitment of constables for the 18 new dogs that need to be carried out before the dogs are brought into the Dog Squad at the Police Training School (PTS) of the Kolkata Police. The officer said two constables need to be recruited for each dog. At present, there are total 48 dogs in the Dog Squad of the Kolkata Police and it includes the 12 newly added ones those are German Shepherd and Labrador. The dogs of different ages between 6 months to 10 months were procured from Hyderabad and sent to Gwalior for training by the Border Security Force (BSF). They dogs underwent the training for around six months and have been brought back to Kolkata. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”But we are yet to engage them in work as they need to get acclimatised to the weather condition here and it would take at least two months, then only they will be pressed for frisking operations as and when required,” the officer said. The dogs have been named as Dingo, Piki, Lara, Copper and Topper. Officers of the dog squad had prepared a list containing around 20 names and sent it to senior officers, who had finally chose 12 names out of it. This comes at a time when there will be a separate dog squad for the state secretariat, Nabanna.last_img read more

  • Reviving Sanskrit

    first_imgSanskrit, considered to be a difficult language, is losing its relevance today. But the language was brought centre stage by a New Delhi based organisation called NectarLand with the launch of Re-discovering Sanskrit, Volume 1 on February 14 at India Habitat Centre. The event was attended by over 65 participants from across the world with different walks of life. The book is an approach towards Sanskrit, loaded with artwork of international quality – with English to Sanskrit translation and transliteration accompanied with noteworthy facts and developments related to Sanskrit across the world.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The book was launched by an esteemed panel of guests including Girish Jha, (Associate Professor, Special Centre of Sanskrit Studies, JNU), Lalit Das, (Ex-head, Industrial Design, IIT Delhi), Rajeshwari V Pandharipande, (Professor Emerita of Sanskrit, Linguistics, at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA). We have tried to integrate ‘Design’ and ‘Sanskrit’ to make the learning process interesting so that the youth can connect with the language”, said Arya, Director, NectarLand. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“This initiative is a much awaited direction to introduce innovative and attractive language teaching tools for Sanskrit language. Popularising of Sanskrit calls for more initiatives to integrate technology like e-learning platforms, animations and digitisation of Sanskrit scriptures,” said Dr Girish Jha, Associate Professor, Special Centre of Sanskrit Studies, JNU. “Through beautiful illustrations, this book has really kept me engrossed. As Sanskrit is perceived to be a difficult language to learn, it becomes imperative to integrate such methods so as to keep the learners and tutors excited about it,” Das said.last_img read more

  • Death of Majid Ansari College students protest demanding arrest of accused

    first_imgKolkata: There was tension in Cooch Bihar following demonstrations led by students demanding arrest of those involved in the killing of Majid Ansari, a second year student.Ansari, who was injured after miscreants fired at him from a point blank range on July 13, died in a private nursing home in Siliguri on Wednesday night.Ansari (21) was a second year college student and had protested against the collection of money by some students assuring admission. He along with some of his friends had put up posters inside the college campus asking the freshers not to pay anything extra. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWhen he was returning home on July 13, the miscreants came in two motor cycles and fired shots at him. They rode off leaving him on the road in a pool of blood. Majid was admitted to a private nursing home and the doctors was thinking of taking him to Delhi in an air ambulance. The students took out processions as soon as Majid’s mortal frame reached his house on Thursday afternoon.The students said the police did not arrest the main accused following pressure from some political bigwigs.Describing the incident as “most unfortunate”, Rabindranath Ghosh, state minister for North Bengal development said those involved in the incident will be arrested and no one will be spared.last_img read more