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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Qatar figures out novel way to cool crowds for 2022 World Cup

first_img Explore further ( — In what should be viewed as a contender for some sort of science prize for originality, researchers at Qatar University have come up with an idea whereby artificial clouds might be used to hover over stadiums for the 2022 world cup, which the nation will be hosting eleven years from now, to overcome nearly non-stop sunlight and extreme heat. Citation: Qatar figures out novel way to cool crowds for 2022 World Cup (2011, March 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Qatar, the tiny, oil rich, barely a bump on the Arabian peninsula, middle eastern country, was chosen over much larger possibilities, despite protests by several other countries, and now must figure out a way to host soccer matches in outdoor stadiums in the summer, in a place where temperatures average 115 degrees Fahrenheit for all of July.Saud Abdul Ghani, head of the mechanical and industrial engineering department at Qatar University, and his team have come up with plans for a helium filled dirigible of sorts, constructed of very lightweight carbon fiber and other super-light materials, that would be flat, as opposed to the more familiar spheroid blimps often seen hovering over sporting events at other venues. By making them flat, the artificial clouds could both take advantage of solar energy to power the four electrical motors, and create a much bigger sun block. The clouds/dirigibles would be large enough to cover both the field and stands, and would be steered and held in place via wireless remote control by someone on the ground.The artificial clouds would serve as an additional aid in cooling players and fans (and practice facilities) as engineers for the planned stadiums are expected to come up with a way to install some form of solar powered air-conditioning as well. Japan pitches mind-blowing high-tech 3D World Cup 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. More information: via BBC When Qatar was selected to host the 2022 World Cup, many people expected the games would be moved to the winter, when temperatures would be more mild; FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, though has been adamant that the games would be played as scheduled, insisting that trying to host a World Cup during the middle of the regular soccer season for most teams would be untenable.Each cloud is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million dollars. © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Slowest crystal growth ever measured

first_imgCave of Crystals, Naica, Mexico. Image credit: Skylar Because growing a giant crystal in a laboratory creates difficulties because of the timescale required, they were unable to make an accurate guess as to the age of these crystals. However, thanks to a team of researchers from Spain and Japan and a new analytical technique, the age and the growth rate of these crystals has been determined and they have been a long time in the making. As much as 1 million years in the making. The researchers study has been published in the September 12 online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The new technique utilizes a beam of white light aimed at the crystal to determine its properties. Scientists determined that the gypsum crystalized within the cave at temperatures between 54 and 58 degrees Celsius, or 129 to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. By submersing the crystal in mineral rich water, similar to what would have flowed in the cave before it was drained in 1975, the researchers discovered that the slowest growth would have occurred when the cave was 55 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the crystals would have taken 990,000 years to form with a diameter of 1 meter. By increasing the temperature in the cave by one degree, or 56 degrees Celsius, the same size crystal could have formed in a little less than half the time, or around 500,000 years. This possible growth rate would work out to around a billionth of a meter of growth per day and is the slowest growth rate that has ever been measured. More information: Ultraslow growth rates of giant gypsum crystals, PNAS, Published online before print September 12, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1105233108AbstractMineralogical processes taking place close to equilibrium, or with very slow kinetics, are difficult to quantify precisely. The determination of ultraslow dissolution/precipitation rates would reveal characteristic timing associated with these processes that are important at geological scale. We have designed an advanced high-resolution white-beam phase-shift interferometry microscope to measure growth rates of crystals at very low supersaturation values. To test this technique, we have selected the giant gypsum crystals of Naica ore mines in Chihuahua, Mexico, a challenging subject in mineral formation. They are thought to form by a self-feeding mechanism driven by solution-mediated anhydrite-gypsum phase transition, and therefore they must be the result of an extremely slow crystallization process close to equilibrium. To calculate the formation time of these crystals we have measured the growth rates of the {010} face of gypsum growing from current Naica waters at different temperatures. The slowest measurable growth rate was found at 55 °C, 1.4 ± 0.2 × 10-5 nm/s, the slowest directly measured normal growth rate for any crystal growth process. At higher temperatures, growth rates increase exponentially because of decreasing gypsum solubility and higher kinetic coefficient. At 50 °C neither growth nor dissolution was observed indicating that growth of giant crystals of gypsum occurred at Naica between 58 °C (gypsum/anhydrite transition temperature) and the current temperature of Naica waters, confirming formation temperatures determined from fluid inclusion studies. Our results demonstrate the usefulness of applying advanced optical techniques in laboratory experiments to gain a better understanding of crystal growth processes occurring at a geological timescale. Paving the Way for Crystal Growth 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. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Play Time course of the surface morphology of the {010} face of a gypsum crystal in contact with Milli-Q water at room temperature (22.5 C). Movie: PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105233108 After determining that these crystals could very well be close to a million years old, the researchers are now hoping to look for microscopic liquid pockets within the crystals in the hopes of finding possible microorganisms inside. © 2011 Explore further Citation: Slowest crystal growth ever measured (2011, September 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( — Deep within a silver and lead mine in Naica, Mexico, scientists discovered what is now known as Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals, close to a decade ago. The gypsum crystals found in this cave measure as long as 11 meters (36 feet) and as thick as 1 meter (3 feet). While these crystals are beautiful and reminiscent of a Superman film, they have had scientists stumped since their discovery. The question was just how long these crystals had been growing in order to become this large.last_img read more

Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset heads for tablets TVs

first_img( — Qualcomm used the CES event in Las Vegas yesterday to showcase its Snapdragon S4 line of chips, expected to ship in devices later this year. A key highlight was the company’s demo of LTE-speed connectivity with the Snapdragon S4 chip on a tablet running Windows 8. The company’s keynote by its CEO Paul Jacobs set the tone that the overall goal is to have Qualcomm Snapdragon chips put the company on the map not just as smartphone chip makers primarily but as a brand that carries weight in tablets, notebooks and other computing devices. The Snapdragon line is promoted as enabling good wireless speeds and superior connectivity. 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. Qualcomm’s profile rises as wireless invades consumer tech © 2011 Explore further Citation: Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset heads for tablets, TVs (2012, January 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The Windows 8 tablet debut was performed with the Snapdragon S4 and OS running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. AT&T VP Michael Stice got in the act to affirm Qualcomm’s strengths for chipset design. He said AT&T is working with Qualcomm in next-generation mobile PCs and tablets carried on AT&T’s 3G and LTE networks.Analysts see Qualcomm as eager to encroach on Intel territory and nibble more particularly into the Intel-dominated segment of PCs. Paul Jacobs, the CEO in a show interview, told the reporter that Qualcomm was revved up about the opportunity. “We have a really good Snapdragon chip, and I think we have a very good shot with that chip,” said Jacobs.Jacobs pitched Windows on ARM as providing great opportunities for Qualcomm as technology partner. He said the end result was users getting always-on mobile computing experiences. He said this was “a really exciting opportunity for S4 to flex its muscles.” Along with the Windows 8 tablet demo, Qualcomm announced the first smart TV to run on a Snapdragon processor, also in launch mode at CES, the Lenovo K91. Lenovo’s new Snapdragon-based smart TVs will be sold in China. The voice-controlled set is launching there this year. “Consumers demand a seamless experience across all screens, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and televisions,” said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management for Qualcomm. “Having Snapdragon processors power smart TVs and digital media adapters is a natural extension of our leadership in mobile and computing technologies into the connected home.”last_img read more

Researchers revolutionize closed captioning

first_img More information: Richang Hong, Meng Wang, et al. “Dynamic Captioning: Video Accessibility Enhancement for Hearing Impairment.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Multimedia. DOI: 10.1145/1873951.1874013 Richang Hong, Meng Wang, et al. “Video Accessibility Enhancement for Hearing Impaired Users.” ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications. DOI: 10.1145/2037676.2037681 ( — Ever since closed video captioning was developed in the 1970s, it hasn’t changed much. The words spoken by the characters or narrators scroll along at the bottom of the screen, enabling hearing impaired viewers – or all viewers when the sound is off – to follow along. Now a team of researchers from China and Singapore has developed a new closed captioning approach in which the text appears in translucent talk bubbles next to the speaker. The new approach offers several advantages for improving the viewing experience for the more than 66 million people around the world who have hearing impairments. 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. YouTube extends automatic video captioning © 2011 The researchers, Meng Wang from the Hefei University of Technology in China and colleagues, won the Best Paper Award for their work on the new closed captioning method from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Multimedia Conference in October 2010. “The whole technique was motivated by solving the difficulties of hearing-impaired viewers in watching videos,” Wang told “These viewers have difficulty in recognizing who is speaking, so we put scripts around the speaker’s face; they have difficulty in tracking scripts, so we synchronously highlight the scripts.”As the researchers explain, conventional closed captioning can be considered static captioning, since all spoken words are represented in the same way at the bottom of the screen, regardless of who said them or the vocal dynamics. In contrast, the researchers describe their new technique as dynamic captioning, since the text appears in different locations and styles to better reflect the speaker’s identity and vocal dynamics. For example, the text is highlighted word by word in synchrony with the speech signals. In addition, a small indicator next to the talk bubble shows the variation of vocal volume.Moreover, all of these features can be automatically implemented without any manual intervention. The engineers developed algorithms to automatically identify the speaker using the video’s script file along with lip motion detection. Using a technique called visual saliency analysis, the technology can automatically find an optimal position for the talk bubble so that it interferes minimally with the visual scene. Professionals can also further adjust the generated captions, such as moving the talk bubbles. When the speaker is off-screen, or a narrator is speaking, the words appear at the bottom of the screen as in static closed captioning. The system estimates vocal volume of words and phrases by computing the power of the audio signal in 30-millisecond windows.Processing a video for dynamic captioning takes approximately the same amount of time as the video duration itself (videos cannot be processed while running). However, processing time can vary depending on complexity. The researchers predict that the processing time can be significantly reduced by speeding up some of the individual processes.In a user study with 60 hearing impaired individuals aged 11 to 22, the researchers found that 53 of the 60 individuals preferred dynamic captioning over static captioning. The seven individuals who chose static captioning mainly did so due to their familiarity with that method. On average, the users rated dynamic captioning higher than static in terms of enjoyment, and about the same in terms of naturalness, mainly due to some instances when the text position changes abruptly. The researchers hope to solve this problem by smoothing the variation in text position.“In the technical papers, we have mentioned that there are several failure cases, such as putting scripts around an incorrect faces,” Wang said. “This is the main bottleneck for commercialization. In order to be commercialized, a better way is to further incorporate human intervention. For example, a professional user can quickly check the generated dynamic captions and then manually correct or edit some failure cases. It will cost much less time and effort than the pure manual generation of the whole captions as the user only needs to process those incorrect cases. We have already been studying it.”Since this work is the first to help hearing impaired individuals enjoy an improved video experience, the researchers note that there is a lot of potential future work in this area. In addition to improving dynamic captioning, they hope to apply the technique to videos without script files, as well as to perform more comprehensive user studies. Citation: Researchers revolutionize closed captioning (2012, March 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further Examples of different captioning styles: (a) scroll-up captioning; (b) pop-up captioning; (c) paint-on captioning; (d) cinematic captioning; and (e) dynamic captioning. The first four techniques can be categorized as static captioning, and different from them, dynamic captioning in (e) benefits hearing impaired audience by presenting scripts in suitable regions, synchronously highlighting them word-by-word and illustrating the variation of voice volume. Image credit: Hong, et al. ©ACM last_img read more

Study unveils new superionic states of heliumwater compounds

first_imgBehaviour of H and He atoms compared to O atoms in Fd-3m He2H2O from AIMD simulations at 1,600 K, 2,000 K and 2,300 K. (a–c) The averaged MSDs for the H, He and O atoms from AIMD simulations at different temperatures. (d–i) Representation of atomic trajectories in one supercell from the simulations from the last 5 ps run representing the three distinct phases: the solid phase (1,600 K), the superionic He phase (2,000 K), SI-I, and superionic He + H phase (2,300 K), SI-II. To avoid overlapping, only H and O are shown in d–f, and only He and O are shown in g–i. Credit: Liu et al. Helium and water are known to be abundant throughout the universe, particularly in giant planets such as Uranus and Neptune. Although helium is typically unreactive at common atmospheric conditions, past studies have found that it can sometimes react with other elements and compounds under high pressure. Predicting a new phase of superionic ice Researchers at Nanjing University and the University of Cambridge have recently carried out a study investigating the reaction between helium and water under high pressure conditions such as those on other planets. In their study, featured in Nature Physics, they unveiled two previously unknown types of superionic states, which they refer to as SI-I and SI-II. Superionic states are essentially phases of matter in which a compound can simultaneously exhibit both some properties of a liquid and a solid. “Helium is the most inert element in the periodic table and generally considered to be unreactive under ambient conditions,” Jian Sun, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “However, helium has been found react with some elements and compounds at high pressure. We wanted to understand whether helium and water can react with each other under high pressure and the nature of the states that may emerge under planetary conditions.”In recent years, superionic states have become a topic of interest for many research teams worldwide. A known example of these states is superionic water (or ice), a phase of water that occurs at very high temperatures and pressures at which hydrogen atoms can move freely and oxygen atoms are fixed in their sublattice. In their study, Sun and his colleagues used calculations to show that helium (He) and water (H2O) can form several stable compounds, which exist in a wide range of pressure conditions (from 2–92 GPa). Interestingly, they found that at high pressures and temperatures, these compounds can form superionic states that have never been observed before. Explore further As a final step in their study, the researchers analyzed the superionic properties of helium-water compounds based on the simulations they performed. This ultimately allowed them to produce a pressure-temperature phase diagram for each of these compounds. Their analyses of helium-water compounds at different pressure and temperature conditions unveiled the two previously unknown types of superionic states. “In the first of these states, the helium atoms exhibit liquid behavior within a fixed ice-lattice framework, which we named it SI-I,” Richard Needs, another researcher involved in the study, told “In the second phase, both helium and hydrogen atoms move in a liquid-like fashion within a fixed oxygen sublattice, which we named SI-II. We found that the insertion of helium substantially decreases the pressure of superionic states compared with pure water.”The findings gathered by Sun, Pickard, Needs and the rest of their team could have several practical implications. For instance, they could help to improve our current understanding of helium compounds, the melting process of matter and the internal structure of giant planets.”We will now study other helium compounds, especially the ones that connect directly with planetary science, such as ammonia or methane,” Sun said. “We are looking for unexpected results in the universe, which provides enormous possibilities.” 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. Proposed phase diagram of the helium–water system at high pressures obtained from the researchers’ structure searches and AIMD simulations. The symbols represent four distinct thermodynamic states sampled in their simulations: circle, solid state; square, He diffusive state (SI-I); diamond,both He and H diffusive state (SI-II); and triangle, fluid state. The black dashed lines were fitted to the phase boundaries. The red dashed line distinguishes the two predicted solid phases: I41md and Fd3m, as well as two types of H2O sublattice (I41md and Fd3m) in the SI-I region. Credit: Liu et al. Citation: Study unveils new superionic states of helium-water compounds (2019, July 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: Cong Liu et al. Multiple superionic states in helium–water compounds, Nature Physics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0568-7: © 2019 Science X Network Journal information: Nature Physics “We first used crystal structure search methods based on quantum mechanics to discover the most stable helium-water compounds under high pressure,” Chris Pickard, another researcher involved in the study, told “We then performed extensive ab initio molecular dynamics simulations at high pressure and temperature to explore the states of these compounds at planetary conditions.”last_img read more

Fair ground for friendship

first_imgThe Annual Dastkari Haat Craft Bazaar at Delhi Haat was inaugurated on Thursday. Spotted at the opening were ex-cricketer Ajay Jadeja, dancer Geeta Chandran, Sabina Jaitly, Veena Sekhri, Laila Taybji among others. The exhibition will showcase works by artisans from both India and Pakistan. We caught some moments from the opening gala. Take a look.last_img

Loves dancing moods

first_imgUnder the banner of her institute, Kalyani Kala Mandir, Dancer/ choreographer Guru Rashmi Khanna will present a dance drama The Legend of Heer today, (9 November) at the Civil Services Officers’ Institute, Chanakyapuri, in the Capital.This one hour presentation will portray the true story of the Heer Ranjha love saga, through the eyes of Heer. A tragic love story like no other – it shall portray a myriad of emotions , from love to betrayal to hope and the universal truth that love exists beyond the barriers of life and death. The music for the performance has been composed and shall be sung by the famous ghazal /sufi singer Smt. Rashmi Aggrawal.This presentation is choreographed by Rashmi Khanna and Narendra Kumar. It shall be a blend of drama, modern Indian creative ballet and Latin American dances.last_img read more

Panchayat polls in Bengal a warm up match for BJP

first_imgKolkata: The upcoming Panchayat polls in West Bengal are rapidly emerging as a warm up match for the BJP ahead the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with the saffron party pulling out all stops to reach out to the people, political observers say. With nearly 40 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal located in villages and semi-urban areas, administered by Panchayats, an absolute control of the rural bodies is a must for political parties to have an upper hand on rivals in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe battle is interestingly poised as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is planning to play a bigger role nationally after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the BJP aiming to emerge as the main opposition to the TMC in the state.West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said the results of the Panchayat polls to be held next month might not have a direct impact on Lok Sabha polls as the elections in rural bodies were held under the state administration, but it would surely give an indication in which way the wind was blowing. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”The Panchayat polls will be a warm up match for us not only to galvanise party workers but also to reach out to the people against the TMC’s misrule ahead of 2019,” he said.BJP president Amit Shah had recently said the party is aiming to win 22 seats in Bengal.According to a state BJP leader, with the BJP facing anti-incumbency in some North Indian states, the saffron camp was well aware that any reduction in the number of seats needed to be compensated with seats from West Bengal and Odisha. “We need to win maximum number of seats in Lok Sabha in order to compensate the shortfall and also to emerge as the main opposition to the TMC,” the BJP leader said.”If we have to win more than 20 seats, then it is important that we have a good presence in Panchayats across the state and for that, we have to fight the TMC and win as many seats as possible,” Ghosh told PTI.The recent clashes between the BJP and the TMC in various parts of the states were a clear indication that the BJP would not yield a single inch without putting up a fight, senior BJP leader Mukul Roy said.Even as the Congress and the CPI(M) failed to open their account properly in filing nominations across the state, the sheer number of nominations filed by BJP, which is just second to the TMC, showed how the saffron camp was serious in contesting the TMC.”The people of Bengal wants the BJP as they have seen the rule of the Congress, the TMC and the CPI(M). With each passing day, the BJP is gaining strength in Bengal despite terror tactics of the TMC,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvergiya claimed.The TMC leadership too accused the BJP of aggression in filing nominations and of bringing in “outsiders” to disturb the peace in the state.”They are trying hard to gain ground by use of violence but will not succeed as people of the state are with the TMC,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee told PTI.The Panchayat elections will be held across 48,650 seats in 3,358 Gram Panchayats, 9,217 seats at 341 Panchayat Samitis, and 825 seats at 20 Zilla Parishads in three phases in the first week of May.The counting of votes will take place on May 8.The TMC now not only controls all the Zilla Parishads of the state but also 90 per cent of the Panchayat seats.In 2013, the TMC had won 34 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in a stellar show in Panchayat polls.The TMC’s victory in South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore Zilla Parishads in the 2008 Panchayat polls first signalled the fall of three-decade-old Left regime in 2011.According to political parties, the victory in these elections is important to reach out to the people as those living in rural areas depend on Panchayats for basic amenities such as drinking water, agricultural land, schools, social and government benefits.Galvanized after its performance in the recent Ram Navami celebrations across the state, the West Bengal BJP, which has been increasing its vote share in all the elections since 2016 Assembly polls, hopes to emerge as an opposition to the TMC by edging out the Congress and the CPI(M).Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty, however, claimed, “The divisive policy of the BJP will not work in Bengal and only the Left Front can fight against misrule of the TMC.last_img read more

Capturing India

first_imgThe rani pink of mystical Rajasthan; the pastel hues of southern India; the joyous, bright hues of the northern frontier; and the balmy bright colors of the east offer an insight into an almost perfect blend of India’s history and modernism. From colourful block prints, elaborate Mughal crafts to blue pottery and meenakari, Colors of India is more than just a story. It’s a narration of some of the rare arts getting even rarer each passing day, and much more! Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The show is by Kaynat Kazi who is an avid photographer who loves travelling to unfrequented places – from the heights of Ladakh, villages of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra – and captures diverse cultures that usually escape the regular eye. Her special interest lies in capturing female expressions and candid photography. She believes that the moment, the subject is conscious of being clicked, the original element is lost.Where: Exhibition Gallery, Greater Noida When : On till January 27 Time: 9:00 am – 8:00 pmlast_img read more