December 30, 2008

Multilingual Culture and Heritage Internet Search System Developed

European researchers say they are pushing online culture and heritage research way beyond Google by using a smart search system that is multilingual, multimedia and optimized for cultural heritage. Better yet, this promising system has wide application in other fields.

 Resource : Science Daily

December 27, 2008

Chandrayaan finds iron-bearing minerals on moon

An experiment onboard India's maiden moon mission -- Chandrayaan-I -- has found iron-bearing minerals in abundance on the lunar surface, initial reports suggest.

Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has beamed back images of the Orientale Basin on the western limb of the moon.

Source: The Hindu

December 25, 2008

Chandrayaan images of the Moon taken by M3

The Chandrayaan is now revealing images of the moon taken by M3 - the Moon Mineralogy Mapper. M3, one of the 11 payloads on Chandrayaan, is an American device.

These images give new information on the composition of the moon's surface. These images will now help scientists explore and understand Earth's nearest neighbour.

The image was taken by Chandrayaan as the spacecraft orbited the moon at an altitude of 100 km. It reveals changes in rock and mineral composition, shows the abundance of iron-rich minerals such as pyroxene, and details the form and structure of the region's surface.

December 20, 2008

Ancient Soil Renewal Technique Assists to fight Against Global Warming

Present, scientists, environmental groups and policymakers forming the next world climate agreement, see biochar not only as an important tool for renewal soils, but as a effective tool for fighting global warming.
Early inhabitants of the Amazon Basin fertilized their fields with burned menure organic materials-bio char-and changed one of the earth's most infertile soils into one of the most productive. These early environmentalist disappeared 500 years ago, but centuries later, their soil is still productive in organic matter and nutrients.

Biochar contains carbon rich product found by pyrolysis(transformation) of the biomass. In extremely predicting integrated new soil management technique, bio-char plays fundamental element. It is adequate to stopping slash-and-burn farming in the wet tropics by making nutrient-poor, acidic soils productive. Intrinsically it gives one of the few sustainable strategies to stop deforestation while at the same time removing hunger amongst existence farmers at the forest margins. Biochar doubles as a stable carbon sink, making it a key tool in the climate fight.

Christoph Steiner, a University of Georgia research scientist in the Faculty of Engineering, told the possibilities of biochar exists in its capability to isolate-catch and store-huge amounts of carbon while also displacing fossil fuel energy, effectively doubling its carbon affect.

Steiner stated that almost any kind of organic material-peanut shells, pine chips and even poultry litter-can be burned in air-tight conditions, a process called pyrolysis. The results are biochar, a highly porous charcoal that helps soil sustain nutrients and water, and gases and heat that can be used as energy.

Biochar can acquire up to 50 percent of the carbon stored in biomass and establishes a significant carbon sink, as long as renewable resources are used and biochar is used as a soil rectification.

Source: For more information

December 19, 2008

Google Closes Its Science Data Service

Google noted in an e-mail to its beta testers that it will close its highly-expected scientific data service in January without officially unveiling the product.
This service was mainly to provide scientists as a depository for huge solid asset of data generated in growing series of fields. Already around 30 research datasets for mainly tests had been transferred to the site.
But Silicon Valley's most progressive company's ambition seems to be going down .
"As you know, Google is a company that promotes experimentation with innovative new products and services. At the same time, we have to carefully balance that with ensuring that our resources are used in the most effective possible way to bring maximum value to our users," wrote Robert Tansley of Google on behalf of the Google Research Datasets team to its internal testers.
In an email to by Attila Csordas, a stem cell biologist and author of Partial Immortalization said "It's a sad story if it's true,"
Astrophysicist Alberto Conti of STSI expresses that the Space Telescope Science Institute has had a very constructive association with Google, in early 2006 where they started partnership in GoogleSky. And they were awaiting ahead to Google's participation to assisting the astronomical community with data deluge.
By chopping ambitious scientific project, it shows another indication of incipient prudence at Google.
Merely a weeks back, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal that his company would be cutting back on experimental projects.
For more information wired..

December 16, 2008

How We Forget Over Short Term ?

Even though forgetting is such a common occurrence, scientists have not reached a consensus as to how it happens. One theory is that information simply decays from our memory—we forget things because too much time has passed. Another idea states is that forgetfulness occurs when we confuse an item with other items that we have previously encountered (also known as temporal confusability).

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that temporal confusability, and not decay, is important for forgetting over the short term. The volunteers who had to count backwards for the longest amount of time were better able to recall the letters than volunteers who were asked to count backwards for a shorter time period. If decay was the culprit behind forgetting, the group that was asked to count backwards for a longer amount of time would have performed the w orst during recall.

The authors conclude that “it is possible to alleviate and even reverse the classic pattern of forgetting by making information distinct, so that it stands out relative to its background”. These findings have very important implications not just for everyday memory use, but also for educational practices and for populations with memory problems, such as the elderly.

For information click here...........

December 11, 2008

Carbon Dioxide Found on Jupiter Planet

Another piece of evidence found on the Jupiter planet for supporting the life development outside the earth atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide has been seen on the hot planet Jupiter outside our solar system. The US space agency Nasa said its Hubble Space Telescope has discovered carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of "hot Jupiter" planet HD 189733b, which orbits a nearby star 63 light-years from Earth.

The planet Jupiter, itself too hot to support the life. But But the astronomers said the observations are a proof-of-concept demonstration that the basic chemistry for life can be measured on planets orbiting other stars.

Mark Swain of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California used Hubble's near-infrared camera and multi-object spectrometer to study infrared light from the planet.

He was able to identify carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which absorb certain wavelengths of near-infrared radiation.

"The carbon dioxide is the main reason for the excitement because, under the right circumstances, it could have a connection to biological activity as it does on Earth," Swain said in a statement.

For More information click here...

December 10, 2008

New polymer coatings prevent corrosion, even when scratched

Imagine tiny cracks in your patio table healing by themselves, or the first small scratch on your new car disappearing by itself. This and more may be possible with self-healing coatings being developed at the University of Illinois.
The new coatings are designed to better protect materials from the effects of environmental exposure. Applications range from automotive paints and marine varnishes to the thick, rubbery coatings on patio furniture and park benches.
'Starting from our earlier work on self-healing materials at the U. of I., we have now created self-healing coatings that automatically repair themselves and prevent corrosion of the underlying substrate,' said Paul Braun, a University Scholar and professor of materials science and engineering. Braun is corresponding author of a paper accepted for publication in the journal Advanced Materials, and posted on its Web site.
To make self-repairing coatings, the researchers first encapsulate a catalyst into spheres less than 100 microns in diameter (a micron is 1 millionth of a metre). They also encapsulate a healing agent into similarly sized microcapsules. The microcapsules are then dispersed within the desired coating material and applied to the substrate.
'By encapsulating both the catalyst and the healing agent, we have created a dual capsule system that can be added to virtually any liquid coating material,' said Braun, who also is affiliated with the university's Beckman Institute, Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, department of chemistry, and Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory.
When the coating is scratched, some of the capsules break open, spilling their contents into the damaged region. The catalyst and healing agent react, repairing the damage within minutes or hours, depending upon environmental conditions.
The performance of the self-healing coating system was evaluated through corrosion testing of damaged and healed coated steel samples compared to control samples that contained no healing agents in the coating. Reproducible damage was induced by scratching through the 100-micron-thick polymer coating and into the steel substrate using a razor blade. The samples were then immersed in a salt solution and compared over time.
The control samples corroded within 24 hours and exhibited extensive rust formation, most prevalently within the groove of the scratched regions, but also extending across the substrate surface, the researchers report. In dramatic contrast, the self-healing samples showed no visual evidence of corrosion even after 120 hours of exposure.
'Our dual capsule healing system offers a general approach to self-healing coatings that operates across a broad spectrum of coating chemistries,' Braun said. 'The microcapsule motif also provides a delivery mechanism for corrosion inhibitors, antimicrobial agents, and other functional chemicals.'

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Plastic as a conductor

You could hardly find greater contrasts in one and the same team. Plastic is light and inexpensive, but insulates electric current. Metal is resilient and conducts electricity, but it is also expensive and heavy. Up to now, it has not been possible to combine the properties of these two materials. The IFAM in Bremen has devised a solution that combines the best of both worlds without requiring new machinery to process the components. The greatest challenge for the researchers was getting the plastic to conduct electricity, for plastic-metal hybrids are to be used in the very places where plastic components are equipped with printed circuit boards, for instance in cars or aircraft. Until now, this was only possible via the roundabout route of punching and bending metal sheets in an elaborate process in order to integrate them in a component.

The new solution is simpler: a composite material. The different materials are not merely slotted together or bonded, but mixed in a special process to form a single material. This process produces a homogeneous and fine-meshed electrically conductive network. The composite possesses the desired chemical stability and low weight, coupled with the electrical and thermal conductivity of metals. As it will no longer be necessary in future to integrate metal circuit boards and the components will soon be able to be produced in a single work step, the production costs and the weight of the material are drastically reduced.

Automobile and aircraft manufacturers, in particular, will benefit from this development. The headlamp housings on a car, for example, are made of plastic. Until now, punched metal sheets have been installed in order to illuminate the headlamps. If the housings were fitted with circuit boards made of the conductive plastic-metal hybrids, they could be produced more efficiently and at lower cost than ever before. Many components of an aircraft, such as the fuselage, are partly made of carbon fiber composites (CFC). However, they lack the ability to conduct electricity. A stroke of lightning would have fatal consequences. A plastic-metal hybrid would be a good alternative for discharge structures on components.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

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