The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a joint mission of NASA and German Aerospace Center, was launched in 2002 and has been making a detailed map of earth’s gravity field anomalies. By studying these anomalies, one can show how mass is distributed on the planet’s surface. This allows researchers to map the different features on the surface of the planet, natural and man-made ones, in great detail, while also allowing us to monitor the changes in these features.
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Tigers, a well-known member of the cat family and India’s national animal is unique in many ways. Once found abundantly in the tropics of Asia, tigers today have little to call home or family. Their numbers have seen a sharp fall in the recent years, thanks to habitat destruction and poaching. While conservation efforts are on to protect this endangered species, there is still a long way to go before these shy cats can roam the jungles as kings. Today, on the event of International Tiger Day, here is a snapshot on what’s troubling them and how we know about it.
Each monsoon brings a fury of rains in different parts of the country killing many people and damaging properties. In spite of having disaster warnings in place, India still battles floods and the rains as many of us watch helplessly. But perhaps no more, thanks to science! Researchers have now developed a new technique to forecast extreme rainfall events by considering regional parameters that affect the quantity of precipitation. This model, which is accurate than existing models used to forecast rains, can be used for any region by including regional parameters like temperature and humidity, say the researchers.
Biofuels are fuels produced through biological processes, like those derived from plant and microbes. Unlike the fossil fuels which are formed by geological processes, over millions of years, Biofuels can be produced from regular plant material, making it an excellent substitute for fossil fuels. Biodiesels have been produced from plant oils and fats, while bioethanol can be produced from sugar and starch, and both these fuels could be safer alternative to burning fossil fuels. The drawback has always been in the cost of production of biofuels.
A rising population demands an upgrade to the infrastructure of towns and cities, failing which congestion and traffic jams become unavoidable. The situation is improved with efficient allocation of resources and infrastructure, usually achieved with the help of computer simulations. Through simulations, one can predict the outcome of complex situations which allows us to implement the best solution always. Road transportation depends on efficiently moving of vehicles between intersections.
Today, India’s space programs command the world’s respect for a multitude of things -- our Mangalyaan mission was the cheapest ever, we recently launched about 108 satellites into space with a single rocket, our Chandrayaan mission is making fantastic discoveries on the Moon, we launched our own space based observatory with Astrosat...the list goes on. But when the country started its space program, it had very humble beginnings that are hard to believe. It required the courage and determination of many intellectuals and Prof. U R Rao is one of those who scripted a new chapter in India’s history of space research. Here is an orbituary piece dedicated to the life of a great visionary that we just lost amongst us.
Hepatits C, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), is an infectious disease affecting over 140 million people around the world. The virus spreads by blood to blood contact, affecting the liver and causing infections, which if left untreated could lead to cancer. Intravenous drug use and blood donations have been found to be the two main causes for the spread of the virus and can also spread from an infected mother to her children. In India, it is estimated more than 8 million people suffer from HCV.
The mangrove ecosystem is a fragile ecosystem found in the tropical and subtropical sea shores and houses a variety of plants and animals. Some of these have evolved special adaptation techniques to thrive in the salt-rich low-in-oxygen soil, and have supported human communities around the forests. Today, on the occasion of the ‘International Day for the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem, here is a snapshot of the importance of mangroves and why conserving them is the need of the hour today.
The Earth is a planet we share with a billion of other living animals and plants. Often, we encounter them everyday, use them as food, shelter or clothes, and interact with them as pets or pests. A new term of such interactions, at times, is called ‘conflicts’ where sharing the area we live with wild animals becomes a bane. These animals are often dangerous, causing widespread damage to crops, livestock and lives. How do we prevent this? What can people do to minimise such conflicts? A study now attempts to look at ways of addressing human-animal conflicts in the fringes of the forests in India.
Getting stuck in a huge traffic jam is a tragedy, especially if you live in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai or Delhi. The rising number of vehicles are increasingly adding to this problem, depriving us of our time, money and health. A new research now attempts to reduce traffic pileups in cities by using videos of surveillance cameras. Using Artificial Intelligence and Convolutional Neural Networks, the researcher have built TraCount, a system that can count the number of vehicles in a traffic jam and help authorities manage the congestion in a smart and informed way.