From spiders to mammals, the living world never ceases to amaze us with new wonders. Some are inspiring new technologies.Frog’s tongue ‘can lift three times own body weight’ (Jonathan Webb in the BBC News). It’s not just muscle, but shape and coating that allows frogs to be tongue weightlifting champs. The researcher confessed to having fun to finding out new things about frogs.Spiders build sonically-tuned webs (Thomas Sumner in Science Magazine). They’re not just food-catchers; they’re musical instruments. Spiders have been found harping on their webs, tuning them up, and listening in to the music of the death dance of captured insects. “The team proposes that spiders tune the tension in their webs like a guitar string by plucking the silk strands and listening to the resulting echoes, creating clearer vibrational signals from captured prey.” The findings could “inspire new lightweight sensors.”Fish-eating spiders ‘widespread’ (BBC News). They’re on almost every continent, and scientists didn’t even know. “Scientists have discovered that a number of spider species catch and eat fish,” even fish much larger than themselves. To go fishing, they anchor their hind legs on the land and scout the surface of the water. Upon catching one with their fangs, they haul it in, carry it off, and reduce the fish to liquid with their toxins. Afterwards, they slurp in the fish cocktail.How cormorants emerge dry after deep dives (MIT press release). “A combination of modeling and laboratory tests has now determined how both chemistry — the preening oil that birds use — and the microstructure of feathers, with their barbs and barbules, allow birds to stay dry even after emerging from amazingly deep dives.” The find was inspiring: “This might lead to the design of artificial surfaces that do the same thing.” It was reported a decade ago, too (5/24/04), that cormorants’ eyes rapidly refocus during the dive to allow accurate vision in both air and water.The noisy world of mud crabs (Northeastern University). Researchers at Northeastern found out that crabs can hear the sounds their predators make, and alter their behavior accordingly. This was not known about marine crabs before. “They didn’t hear the same way we do—through the imposition of sound waves on our auditory machinery—but rather through billions of displaced particles knocking against the tiny hairs inside their statocysts.”African swallowtail butterfly: Scientists unravel the genetic secrets of nature’s master of mimicry (University of Exeter). Researchers have discovered a “genetic switch that allows female swallowtails to look like different Monarch butterflies and thus avoid being eaten.” The biologists were surprised. “By pinpointing the switch, we have revealed a unique mechanism,” the press release says. “It is really exciting to show that all this diversity is determined by variation in just a single gene.”When the bat sings (Virginia Morell in Science Magazine). A whole new dimension has been revealed about bats: they can sing! Like birds, they can serenade females and issue warning calls. The article includes a number of sound files so readers can hear the warbles, chirps and birdlike chatter that would be hard to distinguish from birdsong were it not mostly ultrasonic. A researcher noted that “each male’s song is unique—rather like a jazz player riffing on a tune.”Finally, a whole new “tropical Eden” in southeast Suriname is just now being explored by scientists. It’s one of the last untouched tropical reserves in South America. Readers can ride along in a boat watching the embedded video clip on PhysOrg, wondering at all the new plants and animals awaiting classification. It took a lot of planning and work to get there:The team surveyed four sites in the upper Palumeu River watershed, going from low floodplains to isolated mountain peaks. They received invaluable support from 30 indigenous men from nearby communities, who went ahead in boats through dangerous rapids to help bring 2,000 kilos of food and equipment, set up camp sites, cook meals and guide the team through the forests. From Paramaribo, the scientists chartered a plane to a village in Southeast Suriname and from there reached their first camp site by helicopter.The scientists collected data on water quality and an astonishing total of 1,378 species, including plants, ants, beetles, katydids, fishes, amphibians, birds and mammals.Water quality was good, and there was very little evidence of human contamination, except what must have blown in from regions outside the reserve.At CEH, we rejoice over scientific discoveries, and encourage exploration of creation’s wonders. It’s the Darwinian storytelling we can do without. Thankfully, there was very little in these articles. (Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)
10 April 2012 Private energy company Cennergi aims to produce a massive 16 GW of renewable energy generation capacity projects in southern Africa by 2025, its founders said at the company’s official launch in Johannesburg last week. A joint venture between South Africa’s mining group Exxaro and India’s largest private power utility Tata Power, Cennergi already runs five renewable energy projects in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, Eastern and Western Cape provinces. The new 50:50 partnership will particularly be targeting the expanding energy markets in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, with a focus on the investigation, development, ownership, operation, maintenance, acquisition and management of power generation projects.SA’s renewable energy procurement programme Cennergi CEO Thomas Garner told guests at Wednesday’s launch that the company had submitted solar and wind bids for the second bidding round under South Africa’s renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) procurement programme, which closed on 5 March. Exxaro head Sipho Nkosi said Cennergi would be looking at partnering with South African state power company Eskom. He said the idea by Exxaro, one of South Africa’s leading coal producers and Eskom’s number one supplier, to venture into energy had been in the pipeline for the past two years. “We felt that as coal producers in South Africa, we should start immersing ourselves in renewable energies, because we need to continue to be responsible corporate citizens in South Africa,” Nkosi said. “The whole continent of Africa is well endowed with renewable energy and … these are the organisations that can harness these opportunities.”Energy needs ‘call for more than one player’ Tata Power MD Anil Sardana said the demand for energy in southern Africa necessitated that there should be more than one player in the sector. Given that, arduous challenges in meeting the continent’s energy needs remained. “Therefore, it’s important for people to bring all the inputs together, not just to contribute to the space, but do it effectively,” Sardana said, adding that Tata Power currently served more than 1.7-million customers in Delhi and Mumbai. South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan for the energy sector envisages 3 725 MW of renewable energy being added to the country’s power mix over the coming few years. The Department of Energy’s Kevin Nassiep, who delivered a speech on behalf of Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, said projects such as Cennergi were “poised to accelerate the development of our electricity sector, and will propel our green energy revolution to a new level.” He said it was no coincidence that South Africa was moving with speed to “green” its economy, considering that the country had just introduced a New Growth Path that sought to deliver five-million new jobs by 2020. The Industrial Policy Action Plan and the signing of a new local procurement accord last year bore testimony to the government’s seriousness about boosting industry investments in South Africa, Nassiep said. Source: BuaNews
On August 16, a few policemen arrived at the house of Vadamalai Raman in village Purandarai located in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu with photographs of a patient who has been staying at the Bangaon Subdivisional Hospital in West Bengal for over two years. Vadamalai’s mother, Misiyammal, identified the person in the photographs without much difficulty. He was Janaki Raman, her son who went missing about 11 years ago.Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from her village Suguna, Janaki Raman’s sister-in-law could not hide the excitement the family felt at the prospect of finally reuniting with a close relative after more than a decade.She said her husband Vadamalai will leave for West Bengal on Tuesday to bring Janaki Raman back to his native village.Janaki Raman had remained in West Bengal for over a decade, mostly as a vagabond and then as an inpatient at the Bongaon Subdivisional Hospital. He spoke only Tamil and authorities at the state-run hospital had no idea about his antecedents. It was only after the hospital authorities involved ham radio operators (amateur radio operators) the breakthrough was made.“First, he would not speak. But we were certain that he was from south India. It took months to record his voice. Only then did we try to know what language he spoke and then contacted other ham radio operators in south India,” Ambarish Nag Biswas, secretary of the West Bengal Radio Club said.Bengaluru-based Manjunath. R, a member of the Indian Institute of Ham, found out that Janaki Raman was speaking in Tamil. He spoke to him over telephone, pretending to be a family member and learnt about his village and post office. Sankar Prasad Mahato, the medical superintendent of the hospital, said the patient’s condition was much better now and he was eager to return to his village.
Olympic medallist Vijender Kumar and Asian Games medallist Dinesh Kumar will head to the World Championships this month high on confidence after they clinched a gold each in their respective weight categories at the World Police and Fire Games in New York, USA, on Friday.Their teammates Sanjiv Kumar and M Suresh too had impressive campaigns with a silver and a bronze respectively.Middleweight (75kg) category boxer Vijender proved his class in the ring as he beat his French counterpart in the decider. Dinesh (light heavyweight, 81kg) won the final against a Russian boxer after three of the five judges gave the result in the Indian’s favour.Dinesh, Guangzhou Asian Games’ silver medallist, was elated after his gold medal winning performance in the final.He said that victory came just at the right time with the World Championships round the corner.”It’s a great victory and I am very excited. What is important here is that the victory has come at a time when the World Championships are just 15 days ahead,” Dinesh told Mail Today from New York.”I was looking forward to a great performance before the World Championships and I am happy to achieve it here,” said Dinesh.The World Championships are scheduled to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from September 22 and will see the largest participation ever.Dinesh registered some awe inspiring victories en route to his triumph in the final. He defeated a three-time World Police Games medallist boxer of Germany in the semi-final on Thursday. He was 10-5 ahead in the third round when the referee stopped the bout after the German refused to continue.advertisement”Victory over the German boxer proved to be a catalyst for my next bout and I went into the final with my confidence sky high.He was a threetime medallist and probably the strongest contender in the field.After this victory over him, I will have a psychological edge if he meets me at the World Championships,” said Dinesh.Asked about his most glorious moment in the World Police Games, Dinesh replied, “My proudest moment came when I carried the Indian flag in the ring in the finals. Nothing beats the feeling of carrying the tricolour at a big stage. I really cherished the moment,” he said.”But I will be more proud if I win a medal at the London Olympics. That is my ultimate goal and I want to achieve it,” said Dinesh.Like a realist, who doesn’t sit on laurels, Dinesh has immediately shifted his focus to the World Championships and, along with the Indian team, will leave for a 15-day training stint in France.”There is no time to celebrate as the World Championships are just round the corner. I and Vijender are going to France where the team will train for 15 days. We won’t come back to India and will directly fly to Baku from France,” he said.He said that the training in Europe will help the boxers a great deal in time to come.”Europeans are generally good in my and Vijender’s categories.They are strong and throw punches quickly. If we train with them we will also get accustomed to their technique.Also, most of our abroad training sessions happen in Uzbekistan, Cuba and Kazakhstan, so the practice in Europe will altogether be a new experience for our teammates,” said Dinesh.Dinesh reached the quarterfinals but lost to eventual winner Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan in the previous edition of the World Championships in Milan in 2009.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Olivier Giroud warns Chelsea: I left Arsenal…by Paul Vegas10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveOlivier Giroud says he’s prepared to leave Chelsea in January.Giroud has struck in both of France’s games this week, but is fed-up with his situation at club level.After France’s 1-1 draw with Turkey, he said in the mixed zone: “I cannot be content with what I have today in Chelsea. “I’m 33 but still have legs, a profile that will allow me to play a few more years of football. I feel good physically. “The priority is to stay in Chelsea, but if I’m forced to make a choice, I’ll do like the same as when I left Arsenal.”
Prime Minister Holness gave an extensive address during the meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Prime Minister Andrew Holness on July 31 met with Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies across Government to update them on plans to implement the Zones of Special Operations. Prime Minister Andrew Holness on July 31 met with Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies across Government to update them on plans to implement the Zones of Special Operations.The Law Reform (Zone of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Bill was signed into law on Friday, July 14.The Zones of Special Operations Act gives members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, JCF, and the Jamaica Defence Force, JDF, certain powers to address serious crimes in high crime zones while upholding the rule of law and protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.Prime Minister Holness gave an extensive address during the meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).Mr Holness outlined that matters of procurement must be treated as priority, once the matter involves an area designated a Zone of Special Operation.“The Government is treating national security as a priority. I must stress that Zones will be a joint operation command between the JCF and the JDF. Critically, the Government must provide the social services once the area has been cleared and normalized so we can go in with the social services to rebuild a secure community,” explained the prime minister.He said the Government and Cabinet are prepared to deal with priority procurement matters pertaining to the Zones as a matter of emergency. Story Highlights
Shoplifters hit up Chrome Store for Facebook data Explore further © 2012 Phys.Org (Phys.org) — Back in February, Google announced that it had added a security program called Bouncer to its Android Market, a site similar to Apple’s iTunes, that would test applications that had been uploaded to the site, in an attempt to keep out those that contain malware. In the announcement, Google also said that Bouncer had been running for several months and that because of it, apps with malware uploaded to Android Market, which is now called Google Play, were down forty percent. Unfortunately, if that number is correct, it’s likely to change soon as two security analysts, Charlie Miller and Jon Oberheide have not only found some very serious security problems with Bouncer, but have created a video and posted it on YouTube showing exactly how to take advantage of the lapse. Miller and Oberheide explain that the way Bouncer works is by creating a virtual phone environment every time an app is uploaded to Google Play. It’s in that environment that Bouncer runs and tests the app in various ways to see if it can detect the presence of any malware. Unfortunately, as the two found, Bouncer only tests for five minutes. Any app that waits till after that time period has lapsed to carry out its nefarious functions will get a clean bill of health.The duo discovered this flaw in Bouncer by creating an app that automatically connects to a server under their control, which allowed them to run Linux commands on an Android phone. Then, they created a false Google Play developer account and uploaded the app. Once it ran in the simulator, they were able to execute commands to find out how Bouncer worked and then to use that information to find weaknesses.In so doing, they also found that Google had created just a single fake user account, email address, and two photo images to use for its testing purposes. If an app with malware tried to touch any of those, it was “bounced.” Unfortunately, using such a limited set of test information allows those working to subvert the system an easy means of identifying if they are running in a simulation or on a real phone. If it’s the simulation, then they can just do nothing so they won’t be detected.The two researchers say there are other security holes they’ve discovered as well and have been in contact with Google to let them know what they’ve found and will be outlining their findings at this week’s SummerCon conference in New York. Citation: Researchers point out ways to circumvent Google’s Bouncer (w/ Video) (2012, June 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-06-ways-circumvent-google-bouncer-video.html 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.