news - today

Meteor Showers on Display

Eta Aquarids, the meteor shower will start on April 20 and last through May 21. The best days to watch are May 5 through May 7 in the early hours of the morning. People in the southern hemisphere will be able to see about 30 meteors per hour, while people in the northern hemisphere will see about 10 per hour.

The Eta Aquarids happens every year due to the Halley's comet. It takes the comet about 75 years to travel around the sun, but Earth passes through the tail of the comet around April and October every year. Pieces of debris from the comet's tail burn up as they hit the Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA, leading to a spectacular light show of meteors. Do watch it if you can!

Source: The World Wide Web



New Fish Species Found in Brazil

Researchers have discovered a new species of fish in a tributary of the Amazon River, in western Brazil. The new fish has been named Myloplus zorroi. The fish commonly known among the Brazilians as 'pacu' belong to the same family as piranhas, but unlike those carnivores they feed on seeds, fruit and vegetation. They are also an economically important species, unlike piranhas, and often sought after by fishermen. Some pacus can reach lengths of three feet and weigh more than 50 pounds.

The first specimen of the new fish was first discovered in 2007, but it wasn’t clear what species it was, and was originally taxonomically misplaced by other researchers. Analysis by scientists from Brazil’s Federal University of Pará placed it in the Myloplus genus, based on its body plan, and unique teeth, which are specialized for grinding seeds.

Source: NewsWeek



"Green Plastic"

Stanford scientists have discovered a novel way to make plastic from carbon dioxide (CO2) and inedible plant material, such as agricultural waste and grasses. Researchers say the new technology could provide a low-carbon alternative to plastic bottles and other items currently made from petroleum.

Currently, majority of plastic products are made from a polymer called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), also known as polyester. Worldwide, about 50 million tons of PET is produced each year for items such as fabrics, electronics, recyclable beverage containers and personal-care products. PET is made from two components, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, which are derived from refined petroleum and natural gas. Manufacturing PET produces significant amounts of CO2, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

A promising alternative to PET is polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF). PEF is made from ethylene glycol and a compound called 2-5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). PEF is an attractive replacement for PET, because FDCA can be sourced from biomass instead for bottling applications.

Products made of PEF can also be recycled or converted back to atmospheric CO2 by incineration. Eventually, that CO2 will be taken up by grass, weeds and other plants, which can then be used to make more PEF. However, despite the many desirable attributes of PEF, the plastics industry has yet to find a low-cost way to manufacture it at scale.

Source: The Internet



Breakthrough Discovery of Gravitational Waves

Physicists have announced the discovery of gravitational waves, ripples in space-time that were first anticipated by Albert Einstein a century ago. Throw something really big into the stillness of space – like two black holes colliding, or two pulsars merging – and gravitational waves created by the event should spread not just across the galaxy, but ultimately through all of space-time.

This is surely one of the most important discoveries in physics in the past several decades. The conformation that gravitational waves exist, gives us the ability to observe the universe using this entirely new spectrum. Everything currently known about astrophysics and cosmology arose from observations of electromagnetic waves. Gravitational waves give us a new and entirely different source of information, to learn about the universe that we could never have learned any other way. The discovery will for sure, usher in a new era for astronomy.

Source: The World Wide Web



A Year in Space...

Scientists are about to learn exactly what spending a year in space does to a person, after two astronauts returned from a 340 day trip to the International Space Station. Commander Scott Kelly returned to Earth, alongside Mikhail Kornienko on March 1st.

This is the first attempt to really study the effects of such a long stay in space. The hope is that data collected will highlight some of the most worrying physiological and psychological hurdles to spending months or years in space — allowing scientists to tackle those problems before NASA attempts a long-haul flight to Mars or the planets beyond. NASA hopes to put astronauts on the Red Planet by the 2030s.

Commander Scott Kelly will be of particular interest to NASA scientists — his identical twin, Mark, stayed on the Earth. That means scientists can compare the two and see exactly what sort of changes happen after a year in space.

Image from www.nasa.gov



Partial solar eclipse in India...

A total solar eclipse will occur on March 9, 2016 and will be visible in most parts of India as a partial eclipse except the north-west and western parts of the country.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, blocking the light of the sun to people on earth. The eclipse will be visible to people in South Asia, East Asia, and Australia.

In India, the partial phase of the eclipse will begin before sunrise and will stretch to other parts of India. According to the Ministry of Earth Science, “start of partial phase of the eclipse will take place just after sunrise from extreme north east India. As one moves towards the east of the country, the duration of the partial eclipse increases reaching upto a duration of about one hour and more in extreme north east India and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.”

The total eclipse phase will begin at 5.47am (IST) and it will last till 9.08am. The partial phase will, however, end at 10.05am (IST). However, the greatest phase of the partial eclipse will not be seen from many places in India as the sunrise will take place after the time of occurrence of greatest phase at these places,



The Cleanest Cities in India


The Swachh Bharat/ Clean India campaign launched in 2014 is aimed at raising awareness of the co-relation between sanitation and health. As part of this, the Government conducted Swachh Survekshan-2016, where 73 cities were surveyed with a population of more than 10 lakhs. The idea was to measure where the Swachh Bharat or Clean India mission is making the most inroads.

The results of the survey were announced by Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, the Urban Development Minister. Mysuru in Karnataka, Chandigarh and Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu are the Top 3. New Delhi is right behind them, followed by Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Gujarat's Surat and Rajkot have both made it into the Top 10, showing a big improvement over their earlier ranking.

Ranking last in the list of 73 cities is Dhanbad in Jharkhand. Others in the Bottom 10 include Asansol in West Bengal, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Patna in Bihar, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Kalyan Dombivili in Maharashtra.

Last year, Mysuru, renowned as the City of Palaces, was ranked cleanest of India's 476 cities, each with a population of more than a lakh. That result was based on a survey that measured how sanitation has improved since the PM launched the Clean India mission in 2014.

The new survey, limited to cities which have at least 10 lakh residents, was ordered to eliminate unfair comparisons to much smaller towns. 22 state capitals were covered in the latest assessment.

Source: The World Wide Web/NDTV.com



Rampant Weather Changes in 2015


Last year shattered 2014’s record to become the hottest year since reliable record-keeping began by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.

NASA reported that 2015 was officially 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 degrees Celsius) hotter than 2014, the prior record year, a sharp increase for a global temperature record in which annual variation is often considerably smaller. NOAA’s figures showed slightly greater warming, of about 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit (0.16 degrees C) hotter than 2014. Overall, NOAA said, 2015 was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. NASA and NOAA both keep independent global surface temperature datasets, measuring temperatures over both the land and the oceans using thermometers, ocean buoys and ship readings.

2015’s sharp spike in temperatures was aided by a strong El Niño weather pattern late in the year that caused ocean waters in the central Pacific to heat up. But the unusual warming started early and steadily gained strength in a year in which 10 of 12 months set records, scientists said.

It certainly isn’t the case that the 2015 temperature record can be entirely attributed to the warming of the globe by human greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change has never meant that every successive year will be warmer than the last, and the powerful 2015 El Niño unlocked immense heat from the Pacific Ocean that drove up the global temperature.

But at the same time, 2015 was also considerably hotter than 1998, another major El Niño year that was, at the time, the hottest year on record. Now, in contrast, it’s fifth or sixth on the list, depending on which agency you consult. And that, say experts, is how the warming of the planet makes itself felt.

Source: The World Wide Web



The Youngest Indian TEDx Speaker


Most 10-year-olds only have school, homework and cartoons on their mind. However, Ishita Katyal is not like most 10-year-olds. This Pune girl became a published author at 8 and is the youngest Indian speaker at the TEDx talks.

Now, Ishita has added another feather to her cap - she was invited to speak at the main TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Vancouver, Canada. She vowed the esteemed gathering. She delivered the opening speech at this year's brainiac's meet and in her speech, she urged the adults to focus on children.

"Instead of asking children what they want to do when they grow up, you should ask them what they want to be right now," she told a packed audience, whose average age was about 40 years.

She said that the general question that adults ask kids as to what they want to be when they grow up, has an inherent problem as it suggests it is okay to wait to grow up to do what they want to. They focus only on the future while forgetting their present ambitions and goals.

She received a standing ovation after her speech.

Source: The World Wide Web



Mumbai Teacher Nominated For Global Teacher Prize

Robin Chaurasiya, the co-founder of Kranti, has been shortlisted for a USD 1 million global award for teaching. She will be competing with teachers from the UK, US, Nairobi, Palestine, Japan, Finland, Australia and Pakistan to win the $1-million Global Teacher Prize 2016. Robin aims to bring a thought revolution in the country and create an army of girls who will empower more people in turn to bring in the change and also give birth to more change makers in the society.

The prize was created last year akin to the Oscars for the teaching profession by the UK-based Varkey Foundation. There were a total of 8,000 nominations and applications from 148 countries from around the world, out of which, the top 10 have been selected. Renowned scientist Prof. Stephen Hawking announced the top 10 names in London. The prize will be announced at a ceremony in Dubai on March 13.

Source: The World Wide Web



Where there is a will, there is a way..

We all must have heard the old English proverb, "where there is a will there is a way", but a girl in West Bengal is living proof of the idiom. Anarkali Khatun, born without both her hands, did not let this 'inability' hold her back; rather she found a way to overcome it.

With the help of her mother, she perfected the art of writing with her feet, and is all set to take her board exams this year. She wishes to be a teacher to further the cause of education.

A daughter of a poor farmer, this school-going girl is an inspiring example of human grit and determination. She takes the herculean task of doing things with her feet with a broad smile.

Source: The Internet



National Medal of Science to Indian American Dr. Rakesh K Jain


Indian-American scientist, Dr. Rakesh K Jain, will be presented with the prestigious National Medal of Science by US President, Barack Obama. Apart from Dr. Jain, 17 other scientists, engineers, mathematicians and innovators will be awarded at the White House ceremony. Awarded annually, the Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, engineering, and mathematics.

Dr. Jain is an IIT-Kanpur alumnus, and is a professor of tumor biology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Harvard Medical School. He is considered as a pioneer in the area of tumour micro-environment and is well known for his seminal discoveries in tumour biology, drug delivery, in vivo imaging, bioengineering, and bench-to-bedside translation.

Source: The Internet



Galaxy with Supermassive Black Hole


A dramatic new image from the Hubble Space Telescope may offer fresh insight into one of the great mysteries of the universe: black holes.

The image shows a bright white orb against a starry black background. Located in the Coma Cluster, about 300 million light years away from Earth, the orb is actually a distant view of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 4889. At the center of that galaxy lies a sleeping giant: a supermassive black hole that is 21 billion times the mass of our sun.

The size of a black hole can be estimated by its event horizon, or the distance from the center of the black hole at which nothing can escape its gravitational grasp. According to NASA, this giant black hole has an event horizon with a diameter of approximately 130 billion kilometers. That's 15 times the diameter of Neptune’s orbit from the sun and means it is much bigger than the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The black hole at the center of NGC 4889 is among the largest ever discovered, but it is currently slumbering. Stars are forming around its margins and appear to remain stable, says NASA. When the big black hole was active, it pulled in gas and dust so powerfully that it heated the material to millions of degrees, resulting in massive releases of energy. That process has now paused, but it could restart at a later date.

Source: National Geographic/Hubble Space Telescope

Planetary Parade: Five planets visible at once


Sky watchers will be able to watch a special celestial event as five of the solar system's planets will all be visible together by the naked eye in the early pre-dawn sky, if the weather permits.

The five planets that will be lined up in a diagonal line, from left to right, are Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Only Uranus, Neptune and Pluto won't be visible with the naked eye. However, Neptune and Pluto can be seen with a telescope while Uranus can be spotted in rare occasions, if searched for diligently in a dark sky.

All the five planets will appear in the morning sky from about January 20 to February 20. This is the first time that the five planets will appear together in the sky since January 2005.

Image Source: EarthSky.org



Aanya Dalmia Speaks at the UN Headquarters on Water Conservation


Aanya at UN Headquarters, New York City Aanya at UN Headquarters

At 18, Aanya Dalmia is like any other regular teenager who likes sketching and playing table tennis. But what separates her from other teens her age is that she also works for a charity that creates small, affordable check dams to conserve water.

Life took a detour for the daughter of businessman Gaurav Dalmia, when she became aware of the water problems in rural Rajasthan. “About five years ago, I had a chance encounter with water problems in Rajasthan. Maybe I was naïve, but the extent of problems faced by rural folk was astonishing. I learnt two things — this problem was going to get worse if we did not do something about it and lives would get devastated if the area had a bad monsoon or unseasonal rain. This dependence on nature had to be augmented in some ways that would be suitable for low income communities in rural Rajasthan. To me, it came almost as an epiphany that I was destined to do something in this area,” Aanya tells Indian Express Online in an email interview.

Started by her maternal grandmother, Amla Ruia, Aakar adopts an uncomplicated template – it aims to make small check dams, which are cheap, fast to build, uses local resources, and are very effective. These dams store monsoon water and use it to recharge wells, so that the water is accessible for a longer time to many more people.

“Villages have found that these Rs 2, 00,000 investments improve agricultural and cattle productivity. Community incomes have gone up 20 times in many cases and even thirty five times in some cases,” says Aanya. Aakar has built over 151 dams across 85 villages, and has transformed the lives of over 150,000 villagers.

A table tennis champ and brilliant student, Aanya recently made a presentation before the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

“I had never spoken in front of 400 people before and I was somehow the opening speaker on the water plenary, after which there was a panel discussion with experts with many years of experience,” says Dalmia, admitting that she “was very nervous and intimidated” before the address. The panelists included Giulio Boccaletti, Managing Director of Global Water, Scott Harrison, Founder of Charity Water.

Aanya’s presentation was well received and a group from North Africa approached her to see how they can productize their template and for their home market.



Solar Storm Early-warning System Developed by NASA Scientist


Plans for an early-warning system that will give us a 24-hour window before solar storms affect the Earth have been revealed by NASA.

Neel Savani, the NASA researcher who developed the device, said: “As we become more entwined with technology, disruption from large space weather events affects our daily lives more and more. Breaking through that 24-hour barrier to prediction is crucial for dealing efficiently with any potential problems before they arise.”

Savani’s measurement and modeling tool closely observes the places where coronal mass ejections (CMEs) begin from on the Sun. It also uses a number of different observatories for tracking and modeling the evolution of the CME.

Although 24 hours might not seem like a very long time, the existing detection systems only give us 30 to 60 minutes of warning. That is certainly not long enough to make preparation for protecting vulnerable electronics and equipment.

Researchers have tested the new technique on eight different solar storms so far. According to Savani, the forecasts showed significant agreement with the predictions.

Since these cameras are located at very different vantage points in space, we can use them in conjunction to improve our estimations of the total shape and location of the solar storm — much like the depth of field we achieve by seeing the world through two eyes”

The new method is based correctly modifying a previous discovery about how the motions of solar plasma (mostly hydrogen ions) and magnetic field hidden below the sun’s surface can affect the initial structure of a solar storm. It’s called the solar dynamo process.

This is a physical process that is believed to generate the sun’s magnetic field. It’s the engine and energy source driving all observed solar activity. That includes sunspots and long-term solar variability as well as solar storms.



In the City of Joy - A Green Crusader


In a city where every other taxi driver demands Rs 20 or 30 more than the metered fare, the only "extra" Dhananjay Chakraborty demands of his passengers is to plant a sapling each.

Dhananjay's is a green taxi in every sense, and his crusade is one of a kind.

The 40-year-old drives an Ambassador with a bed of real grass on its roof, eight potted plants placed on the tray behind the rear seat and a green interior to go with his message to save the environment and take care of trees.

"I have loved trees from childhood and participate regularly in plantation programs of various organizations. I have noticed that trees are planted but nobody takes care of them and soon they wither away and die. So I have decided to spread the message that trees must be planted and cared for. Wherever I travel in the city, I ask my passengers to do so,"

Dhananjay, Bapi to his family members, has earned the nickname Gechho Bapi for his love of trees.

Such is his passion for the green cause that he has spent more than Rs 22,000, equivalent to what he earns after toiling for a month and a half, on creating the bed of grass on the roof of his taxi.

The vehicle, which he has named Sabuj Rath (green chariot), has been grabbing eyeballs since Dhananjay unveiled its new look a couple of weeks ago.

"The tray weighs around 65kg. But I have distributed the weight equally across the green bed to ensure that the car roof isn't damaged. One of the benefits is that the grass cools the interior and I take pride in the fact that my taxi is a lot cooler than any other non-AC car," said Dhananjay, who has been driving taxis for 14 years.



The Indian American Engineer Who Has Launched 55 Successful Space Shuttles For NASA -


Meet Dr. Suresh B. Kulkarni, the Indian American engineer who has helped launch 55 successful flights for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program without a single failure.

He is known as the “Rocket Man” amongst family and friends, because his favorite topics are rockets, missiles and space launches. He’s been a member of President Bill Clinton’s Presidential Commission on space launch failures.

But the icing on the cake is that he has helped launch 55 successful flights of NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA) Space Shuttle program, without a single failure – “an awesome responsibility and accomplishment,” he modestly says.

NASA calls it a record par excellence in the history of their space shuttle program; they honored his achievements with a laser-engraved plaque of recognition.

- t is Indian American scientist Dr. Suresh B. Kulkarni for you. Now that he’s not designing critical components for Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, he’s cooking up a storm at home by making ‘Andhra’ pickles. Ever tried them? They are hot like ‘rocket fuel’, prepared by the “rocket man” himself!

Suresh, who was born in Hyderabad on 13 June 1944, did his early schooling and pre-university from there. He completed his B.E program from an engineering college affiliated to the Osmania University.

He describes the euphoric moment in his own words, “When I graduated ‘first class with distinction,’ ranking sixth among the top ten students in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh, the newspaper printed my name along with the other nine. To see my name was a ‘mind-blower!’ That was March 1965.“ He later graduated with a Master’s degree in Engineering (ME) from IIT, Kharagpur in 1967.

- re is an interesting anecdote he narrates, “I applied abroad after completing my ME from IIT, Kharagpur and was offered a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Denver (Colorado, USA). Not having enough money to travel abroad, I wrote to the then Nizam of Hyderabad asking for a loan. Instead, I received the full amount from him as a gift.”

He designed and developed the first large composite (Kevlar/epoxy) case for the first stage of the American Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system, Missile X, later dubbed “The Peacekeeper” by President Ronald Reagan.

As chief engineer representing Thiokol, he designed and developed the first solid propellant rocket motor for a mobile Small ICBM, called Midgetman.

Among the many astronauts he has worked with during his professional career were John W. Young and Robert Crippen, the Mission Commander and Pilot respectively of STS-1 (Orbiter Columbia), the first orbital flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Suresh adds “John Young was also one of the astronauts to have walked on the moon.”

Some notable Shuttle missions that Suresh was involved in include: Magellan Spacecraft to Venus (May 1989); Galileo Spacecraft to Jupiter (October 1989); Hubble Space Telescope (April 1990); and the Shuttle-Mir (the Russian Space Station) docking (July 1995).



Another Incremental Step Toward Local Search


Despite the opportunity, local search at Facebook is still not well executed.

Facebook continues to take baby steps toward offering a local search product. Yesterday the company announced Hello, a new dialer/caller ID app that also offers local business search:

You can also search for people and businesses on Facebook and call them with just one tap. So if a friend tells you about a new restaurant in your neighborhood, you can use Hello to find their hours, make a reservation and get directions, all without leaving the app.

The new app will identify callers connected to you on Facebook and allows users to block calls. It’s a logical app for Facebook to build as part of its “portfolio” strategy. The most interesting part (to me) however is the local search component of the app.

Users are able to search for specific businesses by name. They can also do category searches such “plumbers” or “sushi.” Generally the category search experience is not great, with a mix of Facebook contacts and incomplete local business listings.

If you locate a desired business, however, you can call it, add it to contacts or get directions (using Google Maps). Users can also click through to the company’s Facebook Page and see friends’ comments and user reviews and ratings. It remains to be seen whether Facebook will seek to integrate Messenger’s new business chat feature into this app.

Facebook Hello

Overall, Facebook Search still an unrealized offering. Yet the company is seeing pretty massive volume. In yesterday’s earnings release the company said, remarkably, that it sees more than a billion mobile searches per day — that’s right, per day.

This shows the user demand and the revenue potential that exists for Facebook in search. Local search in particular is a significant, untapped opportunity for the company. In the middle of 2014 Facebook rolled out an updated Places Directory.

But late last year when the company updated Graph Search it neglected to make local search a strong element of the product. Consumers are already looking for local business information and ratings and reviews on Facebook. I fail to understand why the company hasn’t created a separate “places app” to date. Alternatively it could improve the local search experience in the main Facebook app.

In a city where every other taxi driver demands Rs 20 or 30 more than the metered fare, the only "extra" Dhananjay Chakraborty demands of his passengers is to plant a sapling each.

Dhananjay's is a green taxi in every sense, and his crusade one of a kind.

The 40-year-old drives an Ambassador with a bed of real grass on its roof, eight potted plants placed on the tray behind the rear seat and a green interior to go with his message to save the environment and take care of trees.

"I have loved trees from childhood and participate regularly in plantation programmes of various organisations. I have noticed that trees are planted but nobody takes care of them and soon they wither away and die. So I have decided to spread the message that trees must be planted and cared for. Wherever I travel in the city, I ask my passengers to do so,"

Dhananjay, Bapi to his family members, has earned the nickname Gechho Bapi for his love of trees. Such is his passion for the green cause that he has spent more than Rs 22,000, equivalent to what he earns after toiling for a month and a half, on creating the bed of grass on the roof of his taxi.

The vehicle, which he has named Sabuj Rath (green chariot), has been grabbing eyeballs since Dhananjay unveiled its new look a couple of weeks ago.

"The tray weighs around 65kg. But I have distributed the weight equally across the green bed to ensure that the car roof isn't damaged. One of the benefits is that the grass cools the interior and I take pride in the fact that my taxi is a lot cooler than any other non-AC car," said Dhananjay, who has been driving taxis for 14 years.Consumers will undoubtedly be conducting local business lookups in the new app Hello. But as a product it’s another incremental but incomplete step toward a better local search offering at Facebook.



This Man Planted 10 Million!


Daripalli Ramaiah is a man on mission to plant trees and bring back the green cover. Wherever he sees a barren spot, he takes out seeds from his pocket and plants them. People say he has planted over a crore trees. Know more about the unsung hero and his extra ordinary work.

“Of all the species that consider the earth as their home, the most exalted is the human being. He supposedly has intellect, can think, can do and can get things done. Nature has bestowed her choicest blessings on this form of life. Therefore, we have a duty towards Nature. Protect the nature; protect everything created by God, for the posterity,” says Daripalli Ramaiah, native of Khammam district presently in Telangana State.

No one knows how it all started. But people in Khammam know Ramaiah as “Chettla Ramaiah”, where Chettu means tree.

ramaiah

Ramaiah is passionate about his work. He recollects that as a child he saw his mother saving the seeds of ribbed gourd for the next planting season. He learnt his first lesson from her. He says, “seed is the secret of evolution. God has given life to it and it proves to the world its existence by giving birth to a plant when wedded to soil, during monsoon.”

The plant then withstands several onslaughts by the humans around her, finally to grow into a mighty tree and save the same people who tormented her. Not satisfied with just her own survival, she strews seeds on the ground to create the future generation and continue with her good work.

The people in Khammam know a person who carries plants on his cycle and seeds in his pocket and pedals miles together, planting trees and strewing seeds with a fond hope that the entire area will be green in the coming years. People say that he has planted more than a crore plants and made them survive.

What is it that he gets in return, is the moot question one asks, in this materialistic world. Satisfaction, contentment and sublime peace is what he gets on seeing the millions of saplings grow around him, taking deep roots to stand erect as huge and mighty trees.

Ramaiah proved to this world that you need not be rich to start philanthropic activity. What you need is passion and the path starts appearing before you, paving the way for the road ahead. Peddling a cycle, holding the handle with one hand and sprinkling the choicest seeds on the sides of the pathways is how he started his long and audacious journey of greening.

“There is no proxy when it comes to praying to a God or planting a tree. You should do it all by yourself to get the benefit,” he adds

To this end, he collected various native seeds such as Bael (Bilva), Peepal (Bauhinia Racemosa), Kadamba (Nanclea Cadamba), Nidra Ganneru (Albezia Soman), Kanuga (Pongamia), Neem (Azadirechta Indica), Erra Chandanam (Red Sanders), and many more and chose the canal banks from Khammam, Palleguda Bridge and started greening the four kilometre stretch on both sides of the path. He raised plants in every small piece of barren land, which have now become huge trees saluting him with all their humility.

His activities did not stop here. He read every available book on trees and in the process planted many trees in the local library premises as also the local temple. He knows the history of almost every tree there. He recollects with satisfaction how he requested the then local MLA to plant a tree and shows it to people with pride. He makes it a point to request any big dignitary visiting his area to plant a tree.

This nature lover not only plants trees but also paints slogans and messages about the environment and the need for trees in Telugu on all the walls of the villages.

Not stopping here, he collects all waste material such as used clutch plates, tin pieces – you name it – and paints slogans depicting the importance of trees. His main slogan is “Vrikshio Rakshati Rakshitah”, which means if you save the trees, they will save you. He wears them as his crown and moves about in his area with pride, jocularly remarking, “Am I not as beautiful as ‘Miss World’? This is my identity.”

One who smears sacred ash is a priest, one who wears Khaki is a policeman and one who adorns a green scarf is Ramaiah, is his reply to all his critics who feel that he is wasting his time.

Yes! He is the uncrowned king of nature. He equates plants with children and professes that both require initial care so that they grow strong to take care of you.

It is not just that he plants trees, he also knows their uses. His profound knowledge acquired by reading old books purchased from the second hand book shops along the road side by means of his very limited resources makes him a walking encyclopaedia on plants.

Once, an elderly person who liked his work gave him Rs. 5,000/- on the occasion of his son’s marriage. He used the currency notes to propagate his mission. Money, or lack of it, does not deter him from pursuing his passion.

A relative who knows only the commercial value of trees advised him to cut and sell the red sanders trees in his court yard which had attained sizable girth. Ramaiah did not give this a thought even for a moment. He said that he is developing a seed bank for posterity and all his trees will only help in producing more trees.

There could be many people who have done their jobs with passion, but Ramaiah chose his passion as his unpaid job. There cannot be another Ramaiah when it comes to raising trees. He is a great model of humility and devotion to work. He is an inspiration to many, and at least at this late age, he deserves recognition. -



Facebook’s Hello App Another Incremental Step Toward Local Search

Despite the opportunity, local search at Facebook is still not well executed.

Facebook continues to take baby steps toward offering a local search product. Yesterday the company announced Hello, a new dialer/caller ID app that also offers local business search:

You can also search for people and businesses on Facebook and call them with just one tap. So if a friend tells you about a new restaurant in your neighborhood, you can use Hello to find their hours, make a reservation and get directions, all without leaving the app.
The new app will identify callers connected to you on Facebook and allows users to block calls. It’s a logical app for Facebook to build as part of its “portfolio” strategy. The most interesting part (to me) however is the local search component of the app.

Users are able to search for specific businesses by name. They can also do category searches such “plumbers” or “sushi.” Generally the category search experience is not great, with a mix of Facebook contacts and incomplete local business listings.

If you locate a desired business, however, you can call it, add it to contacts or get directions (using Google Maps). Users can also click through to the company’s Facebook Page and see friends’ comments and user reviews and ratings. It remains to be seen whether Facebook will seek to integrate Messenger’s new business chat feature into this app.

Facebook Hello

Overall, Facebook Search still an unrealized offering. Yet the company is seeing pretty massive volume. In yesterday’s earnings release the company said, remarkably, that it sees more than a billion mobile searches per day — that’s right, per day.

This shows the user demand and the revenue potential that exists for Facebook in search. Local search in particular is a significant, untapped opportunity for the company. In the middle of 2014 Facebook rolled out an updated Places Directory.

But late last year when the company updated Graph Search it neglected to make local search a strong element of the product. Consumers are already looking for local business information and ratings and reviews on Facebook. I fail to understand why the company hasn’t created a separate “places app” to date. Alternatively it could improve the local search experience in the main Facebook app.

Consumers will undoubtedly be conducting local business lookups in the new app Hello. But as a product it’s another incremental but incomplete step toward a better local search offering at Facebook.



The Man Who Planted a Forest

Almost three decades ago, a teenager, after noticing the deaths of a large number of reptiles due to a lack of a tree cover, started planting Bamboo in an area that had been washed away by floods. Today, that same land hosts 1,360 acres of Jungle called Molai Forest, named after Jadav “Molai” Payeng, the man who made this possible single handedly!

That forest is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits besides apes and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. There are several thousand trees. Bamboo covers an area of over 300 hectares. A herd of around 100 elephants regularly visits the forest every year and generally stays for around six months. They have given birth to 10 calves in the forest in recent years. (Source)

“The education system should be like this, every kid should be asked to plant two trees,” Payeng says.

He was 16 when the flood hit Assam, and Payeng observed that the flow of migratory birds was gradually declining to the forest areas and wetlands near his home and snakes were disappearing in large numbers. This disturbed him.

“I asked my elders, what would they do if all of us die one day, like these snakes. They just laughed and smirked but I knew I had to make the planet greener,” he says.

His village elders told him that with decline in forest cover and deforestation, animals lost their homes. The solution was to build new homes or forests for the animals, they said.

He alerted the forest department but they asked him to plant trees himself (which he actually did). He located a riverine island, on the banks of River Brahmaputra, and began to plant the saplings. Payeng visited the island and planted a few saplings every day for three decades.

Watering the growing area of plants posed a problem. He could not draw water from the river and water all the growing plants, as the area proved to be vast for one man.

He built a bamboo platform on the top of each sapling and placed earthen pots with small holes in them. The water would gradually drip on the plants below and water them through the week until the pots were drained of water.

Isn’t it amazing to see the willpower of this man who fought alone and won the battle single-handedly? Where we don’t hesitate to cut trees for our luxuries, he has sacrificed all the worldly pleasures to save the environment and the eco-system. The country needs more such superheroes who are trying to make the Earth a better place to live for one and all.




Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar’s birthday was celebrated at DRSIS with a difference .Children viewed videos and had discussions on the contributions of Babasaheb in drafting the Constitution of India and his struggle for equal rights for the Dalit’s and Woman. The children also wrote essays, drew pictures and made posters after listening to the narration about Dr.Ambedkar by the teachers.



Smart phones can give early warning of quakes

Sensors in smart phones and other similar devices could be used to detect early ground movement to warn people about a potential earthquake, according to a new study, led by scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The technology could serve regions of the world that cannot afford higher quality, more expensive, conventional earthquake early warning systems, or could contribute to those systems, researchers said. The researchers found that the sensors in smart phones and similar devices could be used to issue earthquake warnings for earthquakes of approximately magnitude 7 or larger, but not for smaller ones.

The study, led by scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS), found that the sensors in smart phones and similar devices could be used to build earthquake warning systems. Despite being less accurate than scientific-grade equipment, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers in a smart phone can detect the permanent ground movement (displacement) caused by fault motion in a large earthquake.

Using crowdsourced observations from participating users' smart phones, earthquakes could be detected and analyzed and customized earthquake warnings could be transmitted to users. "Crowdsourced alerting means that the community will benefit by data generated from the community," said Sarah Minson, USGS geophysicist and lead author of the study.

Earthquake early warning (EEW) systems detect the start of an earthquake and rapidly transmit warnings to people and automated systems before they experience shaking. While much of the world's population is susceptible to damaging earthquakes, EEW systems are currently operating in only a few regions of the world, including Japan and Mexico.

Researchers tested the feasibility of crowdsourced EEW with a simulation of a hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake, and with real data from the 2011 magnitude 9 Tohoku-oki (Japan) earthquakes. The results

show that crowd sourced EEW could be achieved with only a tiny percentage of people in a given area %contributing data from their smartphones. For example, if phones from fewer than 5,000 people in a large metropolitan area responded, the earthquake could be detected and analyzed fast enough to issue a warning to areas farther away before the onset of strong shaking.

"The speed of an electronic warning travels faster than the earthquake shaking does," said Craig Glennie, professor at the University of Houston.

Comprehensive EEW requires a dense network of scientific instruments. Scientific-grade EEW, such as the US Geological Survey's ShakeAlert system that is currently being implemented on the west coast of the US, will be able to help minimize the impact of earthquakes over a wide range of magnitudes.

However, in many parts of the world where there are insufficient resources to build and maintain scientific networks, but consumer electronics are increasingly common, crowdsourced EEW has significant potential, researchers said.



Dolly Shivani Cherukuri

Girl archer Dolly Shivani Cherukuri entered the India Book of Records

Girl archer Dolly Shivani Cherukuri entered the India Book of Records after creating a record by achieving 388 points in archery at a show here today in the presence of senior sports personalities.

She shot 36 arrows each from five metres and seven metres to score 388 points.

India Book of Records representative Vishwajir Ray and Sports Authority of India representative P Rama Krishna declared that the girl has entered the India Book of Records after which she was presented a certificate.

Shivani is the youngest sister of Cherukuri Lenin, former international archery champion who died in a road accident in 2010.



Olivia Manning

Meet the 12-year-old with IQ higher than Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

A 12 year old school girl Olivia Manning from Liverpool, England has a higher IQ score than Albert Einstein. She scored 162, which is two points higher than that of the famed German physicist, and Professor Stephen Hawking. She is now ranked in the top one percent in the world for intelligence.

She has been accepted into the network of geniuses from around the world called Mensa, and her teachers have decided to assign her more homework.

Her school’s Principal Kay Askew said: “The success of the Mensa enrichment club shows how with the right support, students can excel and become the best in the world.” The young girl is focusing on acting and reportedly memorized her lines for her part in a rendition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in 24 hours. After excelling in an after school study program, one of her teachers let the students take the 90 minute Mensa test, which calculates intelligence.

Do you think IQ tests are an accurate measurement of intelligence?