Satisfaction of One's Curiosity is one of the Greatest Sources of Happiness in Life

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People Propose, Science Studies, Technology Confirms

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Book Hangover

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Thank You

Life is a Gift - Live Each Day as a Thank You Note!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dolphins Hush When Killer Whales Lurk

Research has suggested killer whale predation may affect cetacean vocal behavior; however, few data exist to test this hypothesis. Data collected for 19609 km of visual and acoustic shipboard surveys in the tropical Pacific Ocean were examined to determine if changes in dolphin vocal activity could be attributed to the presence of killer whales.

These surveys included 346detections of three highly vocal dolphin species (genus Stenella),whose whistles can be detected at ranges over 4.6 km. Random forest analysis was used to model vocal behavior based on sea state, visibility, fog rain, thermo cline temperature depth, mixed layer depth, chlorophyll, distance to shore, species, group size, perpendicular distance, and presence of killer whales.

The results show that the presence of killer whales significantly inhibited vocal activity in these tropical dolphins (p = 0.02). Killer whales are rare in the tropics, and this disruption in communication may not have a significant impact on interactions necessary for survival. However, in temperate climates, where increased productivity supports a greater abundance of killer whales, this interruption in communication may have a greater impact. The lower incidence of whistling dolphins in temperate waters may be related to the greater abundance of killer whales in these areas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nobel Prize and Wonder Material Graphene

Russian born duo Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov shared the Noble prize in Physics 2010 for their work on a carbon compound called Graphene.

Graphene may not common to the man now, but experts believe that its amazing mechanical and electrical properties will prove as transformative to coming generations as the television, atomic bomb and silicon chip did in the decades after the Nobel committee first honored the scientists who made those inventions possible.

Graphene is a single-atom-thick planner sheet of carbon atoms (sp²-bonded) arrayed in a honeycomb pattern. Graphene is the basic structural element for all other graphite materials including graphite, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. It is the strongest material ever discovered, yet flexible like rubber. It conducts electricity better than silicon, and resists heat better than diamond. And it allows for physics experiments that would otherwise require miles-long particle accelerators to be performed on a desktop.
“It’s an amazing material with the incredible electronic properties and mechanical strength,” said Paul Sheehan, head of the surface nanoscience and sensors section at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

As an ultra-light but nearly indestructible material, graphene (and graphene composites) could drastically alter the aerospace and automotive industry, said Rodney Ruoff, a professor of engineering at the University of Texas, Austin.

Research has already accelerated to the point where laboratories can mass-produce the material, Ruoff said. Soon companies will be able to produce sheets of graphene hundreds of feet wide; embed it in other materials as a strengthening composite; or create microscopic flakes of it for use as a conductive ink.

Since electrons behave as waves in graphene, not as rubber balls as they do in silicon and metals, researchers can use graphene as a platform for observing particle behavior previously consigned to the world of theory, said Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, a professor of physics at MIT.

“Graphene has enabled us to study in small-scale experiments, cheap enough to do on your kitchen counter," Jarillo-Herrero said. “It created a whole field – condensed matter quantum physics – that wasn’t there before.”

Carbon is one of the most versatile elements in the periodic table, forming the base for diamonds, pencils and all life on Earth. Given that diversity, it is likely that the most transformative uses for graphene have yet to be discovered, Sheehan of the Office of Naval Research said.

Dr.Andre Geim
Born: 1958, Sochi, Russia
Research Professor
Director of Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology
Chair of Condensed Matter Physics
School of Physics & Astronomy
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK

Dr. Kostya Novoselov
Born: 1974, Nizhny Tagil, Russia
School of Physics & Astronomy
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nikola’s Death Ray Mystery

Thomas Edison gets all the credit as the father of electricity, but the real credit should go to a man named Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) born as an ethnic Serb in the village of Smiljan, Croatian Military Frontier in Austrian Empire (now Croatia). He was a subject of the Austrian Empire by birth and later became an American citizen. He was an inventor and also one of the most important contributors to the birth of commercial electricity, and is best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Aside from his work on electromagnetism and electromechanical engineering, Tesla contributed in varying degrees to the establishment of robotics, remote control, radar and computer science, and to the expansion of ballistics,   nuclear physics and theoretical physics.

Most scholars acknowledge that Tesla’s obscurity is partially due to his eccentric ways and fantastic claims during the waning years of his life, of communicating with other planets and death rays. Many of these fantastic inventions of Tesla are scientifically accurate and workable. It has simply taken mankind this long to catch up to the astonishing ideas of a man who died in 1943. It is now known that various governments were extremely interested in Tesla’s ideas for weapons and limitless energy. So much so that after his death, the U.S. military confiscated boxes full of Tesla’s research and writings. Much of this material has never been revealed to the public. What is not so widely known is that Tesla often suffered from financial difficulties, forcing him to move from hotel to hotel as his debt increased? Many times Tesla had to move, leaving crates of his belongings behind.

Tesla made statements during his lifetime that he had invented a Death Ray, which would be of benefit to warfare. According to Tesla the ray was capable of destroying up to 10,000 enemy aircraft at a distance of 250 miles away! Tesla’s Death Ray was featured in the July 23, 1934 issue of Times Magazine, which stated that Nikola Tesla had announced a combination of four weapons that would make war ‘unthinkable’. The article went on to describe how the weapons would work: “the nucleus of the idea is a death beam of submicroscopic particles flying at velocities approaching that of light”.

This may sound like a fantasy, but it may surprise the reader to learn that we use Tesla’s Particle beam everyday in the modern world. Particle beams are simply light beams, constructed of a special combination of electromagnetic waves. Unlike naturally occurring light the waves in a particle beam are very special, because they all end at the same point, creating a sort of imaginary ‘knife edge’ of light waves. Particle beams are utilized in hospitals in delicate micro-laser surgeries such as brain surgeries or cauterization within deep tissue, to determine distance, cut diamonds or guide missiles. So the question arises about Nikola’s Death Ray invention – the source of the mystery.

After the death of Nikola Tesla, when the room in which he passed was searched, the papers had disappeared. All traces of the papers he claimed to have written on the subject vanished. In 1947 the military intelligence service identified the papers as extremely important, but no one has claimed possession of them or knowledge of their whereabouts. There are a number of people who suggest that the documents remain unfound that they were never lost in the first place. But, it has not been able to complete the work Tesla begun. Another reasonable theory would be that someone close to Tesla might have taken them to prevent the creation of such a weapon of mass destruction.

Whatever became of Tesla’s brilliant invention, were it to surface now in any form it would likely be used to devastating effect. Already we have seen evidence by the invention of nuclear power. If it is truly lost, then perhaps we are better off without it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Place Where Things Seems To Roll Uphill

Friends you may find or hear of a mysterious place where objects can apparently roll uphill. Actually this is a common illusion which is found in numerous locations around the world. These spots where the illusion is especially powerful often become tourist attractions. Tour guides may like to claim that the effect is a mystery or   that it is due to magnetic or gravitational anomalies or even that it is a paranormal phenomenon which science cannot explain.

But, friends this is not true of course. Natural anomalies can only be detected with sensitive equipments and cannot account for these places but science can easily explain them as optical illusion. If you observe the uphills, usually it is a stretch of road in a hilly area where the level horizon is obscured. Objects such as trees and walls which are normally provide visual clues to the true vertical, may be leaning slightly. This creates an optical illusion making a slight downhill look like an uphill slope. Objects may appear to roll uphill. Sometimes rivers even seem to flow against gravity.

There are several things which enables us to sense which way is up. The balance mechanism in our inner ears is one system we have, but visual clues are also important and can be overriding. If the horizon cannot be seen or is not level then we may be fooled by objects which we expect to be vertical but which aren’t really. False perspective may also play a role. If a line of trees get larger or smaller with distance away, our sense of perspective is thrown off. Objects far away may seem smaller or larger than they really are. People often overestimate the angle of a slope. If you are standing on a slope of 1 degree it will seem like a slope of 5 degrees and if you stand on a slope of 5 degrees it may seem like you are on a slope of 30 degrees. Because of this effect the anti-gravity illusion can seem stronger be even when you know the cause.

Interestingly, even when true cause is understood it can be difficult to believe. In some cases the sea horizon is partly visible and it seems incredible that the effect can be an illusion. If you think there is a magnetic anomaly just using two plumb lines, one made of iron and one of stone. They would hang at different angles if a strong magnetic field was acting horizontally. In fact magnetic anomalies are never that strong and are never the cause as is easily shown.

However friends, it is not always easy to demonstrate that a slope which appears to go uphill is really going downhill. Plumb lines and spirit levels cannot be relied on if you think there is a gravitational anomaly.   If the slope runs parallel to a sea view it would be possible to compare a plumb line with the horizon. Otherwise the only reliable way of determining the true horizontal is by careful surveying.  Gravitational anomalies are always very small. In any case, if there was a gravitational anomaly you should wonder how you notice it. There would be an equal effect on your sense of balance as there is  on any object.  The anomaly would not be apparent unless there was a clear view of the sea behind the slope, which there never is.

Mystery Spot Road, off Branciforte Dr. Santa Cruz, CA, USA.
Mystery Spot, Putney Road, Benzie County, Michigan, USA.
Gravity Hill, Northwest Baltimore County, USA.
Gravity Hill, Mooresville, Southwest Indianapolis, USA.
Gravity Road, Ewing Road exit ramp off Route 208, Franklin Lakes, USA.
Mystery Hill, Blowing Rock, hwy 321, Carolina, USA.
Confusion Hill, Idelwild Park, Ligonier, Pennsylvania, USA.
Gravity Hill, off of State Route 96 just south of New Paris, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, USA.
Oregon Vortex, near Gold-Hill, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA.
Spook Hill, North Wales Drive, North Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida, USA.
Magnetic Hill, Near Neepawa in Manitoba, Canada.
Gravity Hill, on McKee Rd. Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Electric Brae, on the A719, Near Croy Bay, South of Ayr, Ayeshire, Scotland.
Anti-Gravity Hill, Straws Lane Road, Wood-End, Near hanging rock, Victoria, Australia
Morgan Lewis Hill, St Andrew, Barbados.
Hill South of Rome, in Colli Albani, near Frascati, Italy.
Malveira da Serra, on N247 coast road West of Lisbon, Portugal
Mount Penteli, on a road to Mount Penteli, Athens, Greece
Mount Halla, on the 1.100 highway a few miles south of the airport, near Mount Halla, on the island of Cheju Do, South Korea

Friday, September 17, 2010

Top Ten cars could help to save the planet

Sunday, September 5, 2010

25th anniversary of Bucky Ball

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of discover of Bucky Ball – known as fullerene. Fullerenes are new class of carbon allotropes. They are spheroidal in shape and contain   even number of carbon atoms ranging from 60 – 350 or above. The C60 fullerene is the most stable and was the first to be identified. It contains 60 atoms which are arranged in the shape of a football or a soccer ball, therefore, it is called buck ball.
It contains 20 six – membered rings and 12 five – memebered rings but five – membered rings are fused only to six – memebered rings. In other words, no two five – memebered rings are fused together. Further, because these allotropes look like geodesic by the US architect Buckminister Fuller, they are called Buckminster fullerenes or fullerenes.

Bucky ball is a dark solid at room temperature. Unlike diamond and graphite which are giant molecules containing thousands and thousands of carbon atoms, C60 fullerene is a very small molecule containing only 60 carbon atoms.

Bucky balls or Fullerenes were discovered by H.W.Kroto, R.F.Curt and R.E.Smalley. The 1996 Nobel Prize was awarded to above scientists for the discovery of fullerenes.
The popular search engine giant Google released popular doodle on the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the Bucky ball on Saturday, September 4.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Symmetries of Things

Human have used symmetrical patterns for thousands of years in both functional and decorative ways. Now, a new book by three mathematicians offers both math experts and enthusiasts a new way to understand symmetry and a fresh way to see the world. In The Symmetries of Things, eminent Princeton mathematician John H. Conway teams up with Chaim Goodman-Strauss of the University of Arkansas and Heidi Burgiel of Bridgewater State College to present a comprehensive mathematical theory of symmetry in a richly illustrated volume. The book is designed to speak to those with an interest in math, artists, working mathematicians and researchers.

“Symmetry and pattern are fundamentally human preoccupations in the same way that language and rhythm are. Any culture that is making anything has ornament and is preoccupied with this visual rhythm,” Goodman-Strauss said. “There are actually Neolithic examples of many of these patterns. The fish-scale pattern, for example, is 22,000 years old and shows up all over the world in all kinds of contexts.” Symmetrical objects and patterns are everywhere. In nature, there are flowers composed of repeating shapes that rotate around a central point. Architects trim buildings with friezes that repeat design elements over and over. Mathematicians, according to Goodman-Strauss, are latecomers to the human fascination with pattern. While mathematicians bring their own particular concerns, “we’re also able to say things that other people might not be able to say. “The symmetries of Things contribute a new system of notation or descriptive categories for symmetrical patterns and a host of new proofs. The first section of the book is written to be accessible to a general reader with interest in the subject. Sections two and three are aimed at mathematicians and experts in the field. The entire book, Goodman-Strauss said, “is meant to be engaging and reveal itself visually as well.” 

Book Information:

Authors: John Horton Conway, Heidi Burgiel, Chaim Goodman- Strauss
Publisher: A K Peters Ltd
Keywords: things, symmetries
Number of Pages: 448
Published: 2008-05-02
List price: $75.00
ISBN-10: 1568812205
ISBN-13: 9781568812205

EBook link here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Excellent Snaps ...

The photographs collected by NAINA KAUR and posted by me. I just captured the snaps on behalf of NAINA KAUR for her excellent collections.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Big is Infinity?

Most of us are familiar with the infinity symbol – the one that looks like the number eight tipped over on its side. The infinite sometimes crops up in everyday speech as a superlative form of the word many. But how many is infinitely many? How far away is “from here to infinity”? How big is infinity?

You can’t count to infinity. Yet we are comfortable with the idea that there are infinitely many numbers to count with: no matter how big a number you might come up with, someone else can come up with a bigger one: that number plus one – or plus two, or times two. Or times itself. There simply is no biggest number. Is there?

Is infinity a number? Is there anything bigger than infinity? How about infinity plus one? What’s infinity plus infinity? What about infinity times infinity? Children, to whom the concept of infinity is brand new, pose questions like this and don’t seem to have very much bearing on daily life, so their unsatisfactory answers don’t seem to be a matter of concern.

At the turn of the century, in Germany, the Russian – born mathematician George Cantor applied the tools of mathematical rigor and logical deduction to questions about infinity in search of satisfactory answers. His conclusions are paradoxical to our everyday experience, yet they are mathematically sound. The world of our everyday experience is finite. We can’t exactly say where the boundary line is, but beyond the finite, in the realm of the transfinite, things are different.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mathematics of DNA

Why is DNA packed into twisted, knotted shapes? What does this knotted structure have to do with? How DNA functions? How does DNA ‘undo’ these complicated knots to transform itself into different structures? The mathematical theory of knots, links and tangles is helping to find answers.

 In order to perform such functions as replication and information transmission, DNA must transform itself from one form of knotting or coiling into another. The agents for these transformations are enzymes. Enzymes maintain the proper geometry and topology during the transformation and also ‘cut’ the DNA strands and recombine the loose ends. Mathematics can be used to model these complicated processes.

The description and quantization of the three-dimensional structure of DNA and the changes in DNA structure due to the action of these enzymes have required the serious use of geometry and topology. This use of mathematics as an analytical tool is especially important because there is no experimental way to observe the dynamics of enzymatic action directly.

A key mathematical challenge is to deduce the enzyme mechanism from observing the changes the enzymes bring about in the geometry and topology of the DNA. This requires the construction of mathematical models for enzyme action and the use of these models for enzyme action and the use of these models to analyze the results of topological enzymology experiments. The entangled form of the product DNA knots and links contains information about the enzymes that made them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Martian moon mystery

The Martian moon Phobos is cratered, lumpy and about 16.8 miles long. According to a study, the moon is also unusually light. Planetary scientists found that Phobos is probably not a solid object, and that as much as 30 percent of the moon’s interior may be empty space.

That doesn’t mean that Phobos is an empty shell where we could, say, set up a rest stop for spaceships on their way to the outer planets. But the new finding probably does mean that Phobos was not an asteroid that got caught in Mars’ gravity as it floated by the planet.

Phobos is the larger of Mars’ two moons, and astronomers have had many ideas about where it came from. Previous studies have suggested that Phobos was an asteroid. Other studies suggest the moon formed from bits of Martian rock that were sent into space after a giant object, like an asteroid, crashed in Mars. The new study suggests that neither of these ideas is completely correct. The truth might be some combination of the two.

Scientists may never know how Phobos came to be a Martian satellite, but the new study may help eliminate some possibilities. A planetary geophysicist is a scientist who studies physical properties, such as rocks and appearance, to understand more about celestial bodies such as planets and moons.

The Mars Express, a spacecraft that orbits Mars and takes measurements. That spacecraft left Earth in 2003 and is a project by the European Space Agency. In March, Mars Express flew closer to Phobos than any spacecraft ever had before, ESA reports.

The scientists wanted to learn the density of Phobos. Density measures how close together, on average, are the atoms in an object. If two objects are the same size but have different densities, the denser object will have more mass — which means it will feel heavier when you’re holding it on Earth. Density is found by dividing mass by volume. Since the scientists already had a good idea of the volume of Phobos, they just had to find its mass in order to figure out its density.

They made their mass measurements by studying the gravitational force of Phobos. Gravity is an attractive force, which means anything with mass attracts anything else with mass. The more mass an object has, the stronger its gravitational force. Since a large body like the Earth has a lot of mass, it has a strong gravitational force.

When Mars Express flew close to Phobos, the small moon’s gravity attracted the spacecraft. By studying changes in the motion of Mars Express, the scientists were able to estimate the gravitational tug of Phobos. Once they knew the strength of its gravity, they could find its mass.

They found that Phobos has a density of about 1.87 grams per cubic centimeter. The rocks in the crust of Mars, for comparison, are much denser: about 3 grams per cubic centimeter. This difference suggests that Phobos is not made of rocks from the surface of Mars.

Some asteroids have densities of about 1.87 grams per cubic centimeter, but those asteroids would be broken apart by Mars’ gravity — a fact that probably rules out the possibility that Phobos was once a free-floating asteroid.

Some scientists don’t mind giving up the idea that Phobos was once an asteroid. Finally we’re drifting away from the idea that the Martian moons are captured asteroids. We happy to see that Phobos and Deimos [Mars’ other moon] are getting a lot of attention these days.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mathematical Proof of God's Existance

Catherine the Great (Catherine II) was a woman of culture who reigned the 34 years from 1762 to 1796. This is a story when Empress Catherine II invited Denis Diderot, a distinguished French philosopher and appointed him as first librarian of St. Petersburg Academy.  At that time Leonard Euler, famous mathematician, returned to St. Petersburg at the request of Catherine II from Prussia in Berlin and was the chair of mathematics at the Academy of St. Petersburg.

Empress Catherine II was alarmed when Diderot’s arguments for atheism were influencing members of her court. So Euler was asked to confront Diderot. Diderot was informed that a learned mathematician had produced a proof of the existence of God. He agreed to view the proof as it was presented in court.

Euler appeared, advanced toward Diderot, and in a tone of perfect conviction announced, "Sir, $\frac{a+b^n}{n}=x$ , hence God exists—reply!". Diderot, to whom all mathematics was gibberish, stood dumbstruck. The peals of laughter erupted from the court. Embarrassed, Diderot asked to leave Russia and was graciously granted by the Empress.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If You Can …

Hlelo if you can raed tihs tehn taht maens that your barin is mroe poerwufl tehn others cool huh? Yuor barin olny raeds the frist and lsat letetr of each wrod. If it tkaes you mroe tehn 15 scenods to raed tihs taht maens you can tehn maens you are a fckuning rtaerd if you can tehn tuhmbs tihs up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Origin of Universe

One of the most persistently asked questions has been: How was the Universe created? Many people believed that the Universe had no beginning or end and was truly unchanging static infinite.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Save Your Globe!

The entire species of
 Aldabra banded snail died
out after warmer weather
cut off the rainfall in its habitat!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wonder Fish

Alien of the Deep:

Looking like a creature from the Alien movies, this nightmarish "longhead dreamer" anglerfish (Chaenophryne longiceps) was until recently an alien species to Greenland waters.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Synthetic Genome

Craig Venter and colleagues have achieved a remarkable milestone: they designed a genome, and brought it to life. More specifically, they’ve synthesized a chromosome consisting of over a million DNA base pairs, and implanted it in a bacterial cell to replace the cell’s original genome. That cell then reproduced, giving birth to offspring that only had the synthetic genome.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Primitive Birds Lack Of Flying!

The wings were willing, but the feathers were weak. Delicate, thin-shafted plumage would have made flapping difficult if not impossible for two prehistoric birds, a new analysis of fossil feathers suggests.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Green Exercise Boost Mental Health

Researchers have reported the fast improvements in mood and self-esteem for just five minutes of exercise in a green space. The study in Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact on young people. The outdoor activities like walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in a green environment with water contained – such as a lake or river boosts well – being.