One of the annoying side effects of being absorbed in a gripping novel is that the cup of tea on the table becomes cold! Unfortunately, the tea would not heat itself by absorbing the heat around it, just as pieces of a broken egg would not put themselves together or milk mixed in coffee would not separate by itself. Such things are irreversible, and define a fixed direction of time—that from the past towards the future. This apparent progression of time is called the ‘arrow of time’. In a recent study, Prof Mahendra Verma of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, suggests a way, different from any previous ones, to determine the direction in which time is progressing. He uses the concept of energy cascade to define the arrow of time.
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While the country struggles with various problems related to waste management, scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, have come up with a novel solution to turn waste to wealth. The researchers develop a method to generate energy from landfill leachate and microbial fuel cells.
The intricate working of human cells has been a fascinating subject and every now and then we have a new research throwing light on how cells and their constituents help form what we know as ‘life’. Now, a new study has explored the organization and function of mitochondria, a cell organelle responsible for providing the cells with energy that they need, in the context of early embryonic development. The researchers have shown how mitochondria move about in the cells using the cytoskeleton and help in formation of different cells from the blastoderm.
What is the price of development? It is a tricky question to answer, especially for a country that is growing at its fastest pace with ambitious goals. But who actually pays this price and how? A recent study has tried to answer this touchy question in the context of small-scale hydropower projects that are increasing their presence in one of the ecologically sensitive area - the Western Ghats and points out how local communities are losing this one-sided game.
Forests play a critical role in sustaining biodiversity on the planet, including humans. They once provided food and shelter when we were hunter-gatherers. Today, our relationship with forests is at a new level. We derive most of our energy resources from forests in the form of wood and coal. What are some of the implications of this relationship and how fragile is it getting in the future? On this International Day of Forests, here is an introspection of the same.