Halloween party ideas 2015

In the quest for ever-colder temperatures, NASA is sending an apparatus to the International Space Station that will create a spot 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space.
It's called the Cold Atom Laboratory, a payload about the size of an ice chest aboard Orbital ATK's Cygnus rocket, and it will help scientists observe the weird quantum properties of ultra-cold atoms.
A combination of lasers and magnets will be used to chill and slow a cloud of atoms to just a fraction above absolute zero, also known as zero Kelvin (-273.15 Celsius or -459.67 Fahrenheit).
Absolute zero is the coldest temperature in the Universe - and impossible to achieve, because at that point, atoms stop moving.
But the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) can cool clouds of atoms to just one-tenth of a billion of a degree above absolute zero, which causes them to move extremely slowly, exhibiting microscopic quantum phenomena.
These clouds are called Bose-Einstein condensates. They can be created on Earth, but there's a catch - gravity. It drags them downwards very quickly, so they can only be observed for a fraction of a second.
The microgravity environment aboard the ISS will overcome this significant problem, allowing scientists on Earth operating the equipment remotely to observe the atoms for up to 10 seconds.
This will be the longest we've ever been able to observe Bose-Einstein condensates, by a wide margin.
This has several scientific benefits. Because Bose-Einstein condensates are what is known as a superfluid - a type of fluid with zero viscosity - it will help us understand them better.
"If you had superfluid water and spun it around in a glass, it would spin forever," CAL project manager Anita Sengupta of JPL said last year.
"There's no viscosity to slow it down and dissipate the kinetic energy. If we can better understand the physics of superfluids, we can possibly learn to use those for more efficient transfer of energy."
It could also help advance superconductivity, and devices such as superconducting quantum interference devices, quantum computers, and laser-cooled atomic clocks. It could allow for the observation of never-before-seen quantum phenomena.
And it could even help detect and understand dark energy, the unknown force accelerating the expansion of the Universe.
"Studying these hyper-cold atoms could reshape our understanding of matter and the fundamental nature of gravity," said CAL project scientist Robert Thompson of JPL.
"The experiments we'll do with the Cold Atom Lab will give us insight into gravity and dark energy - some of the most pervasive forces in the universe."
The Cold Atom Laboratory isn't the only science payload departing for the ISS on Cygnus.
The rocket will also be carrying a handheld sextant to test for emergency star navigation (not to be confused with SEXTANT, the ground-breaking technology that uses pulsars as guide stars); and biomolecule sequencing technology, for sequencing microbes found aboard the ISS.
The launch is scheduled for Monday, May 21 at 08:39 UTC.

 Jet Airways India is not ruling out looking at the sale of loss-making national carrier Air India, its chairman said, although he remains focused on his own airline.

"We are looking at our own business,” Naresh Goyal said in an interview in Manchester, England. “But I am not saying that we will not look at Air India, I’ve never said that. Ultimately we will always see what is the best approach ahead of us, and for the country.”

Jet Airways’s comments come after IndiGo, the only airline to have publicly shown interest in buying parts of Air India, said it’s no longer keen on the airline + , which has been put on the block after a taxpayer-funded bailout failed to stem losses. A successful conclusion is crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cement his credentials as a proponent of free markets.


Jet airways is another thirdclass airline ... any company in Indian hands is dirt end of the day ..Cosmic

Goyal said the plan to privatise Air India is “a brave and very good decision” for India, predicting that the process will ultimately prove successful.

The government proposes to sell 76 per cent of Air India + and 100 per cent of Air India Express, the overseas budget unit -- all to the same buyer. It also plans to sell half of the ground-handling subsidiary separately. Singapore Airlines and India’s Tata Group, which run a joint venture called Vistara, have said they are open to a deal for Air India but haven’t elaborated.

source -TOI

State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) has refused to disclose details of the audit or investigation that led to detection of over Rs 13,000 crore fraud at the company, citing a clause that bars any disclosure that can impede the process of investigating or apprehending the offenders.

In reply to an RTI query, the state-owned bank also declined to share copy of inspection reports related to the scam.

"Since the matter is under investigation by the central investigating agency/agencies/law enforcement agency, providing of the desired information is exempted under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005," the PNB said in reply to the Right To Information application filed by a PTI correspondent.

The section bars disclosure of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

The bank was asked to provide details of inspection that resulted in detection of the fraud and provide copy of inspection reports.

The scam, considered to be the biggest ever in India's history, was reported earlier this year and involves PNB, the country's second-largest state-owned bank, getting allegedly defrauded by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.

Besides the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate, the RBI has also started a detailed probe into the case for necessary action.

Replying to an RTI query, the RBI had also earlier declined to share inspection reports for scam-hit PNB. In response to queries under the transparency law, the central bank had also clarified that the RBI does not carry out audit of banks, but conducts inspection/risk-based supervision of banks.

Giving details for the past ten years, the RBI gave dates for the annual inspection carried out at the PNB head office between 2007 and 2017, except for 2011, for which the banking regulator said the "dates (are) not available".

When asked about the copies of inspection reports and details of objections raised by it, the RBI said the information was exempted under various clauses of the RTI Act. The central bank had forwarded the RTI query for further details to PNB.

Incidentally, market regulator Sebi has recently issued a warning letter to PNB for delay in making disclosures about the Nirav Modi fraud.

Sebi observed that there were delays ranging from one to six days by PNB in making various disclosures to the stock exchanges pertaining to the filing of reports/complaints with the RBI and CBI.

Earlier this week, CBI filed two charge sheets in the case in a Mumbai court, in which it has also been alleged that PNB misled the RBI on issues relating to certain credit guarantees that are at the centre of the alleged fraud.


Well, if they disclose such details then the world will know that half of it went to BJP and the gang for the elections in 2014 and the other half went for them to settle abroad.

Nothing surprising.
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The chargesheet also names PNB's former CMD Usha Ananthasubramanian, who is currently CEO and MD of another state-owned lender Allahabad Bank, besides PNB's executive directors K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, and general manager (international operations) Nehal Ahad. All these officials have been divested of their functional powers.

On Tuesday, PNB said that its total liability now works out to Rs 14,356.84 crore on account of the fraud allegedly carried out by Modi and Choksi, both of whom are absconding.

Really weird stuff happens when humans are left alone in the dark.

Whenever we've tried to test the effects that living in isolation without sunlight have on the body, a common thread has emerged: much longer sleep cycles.
Back in 2015, Julie Beck over at The Atlantic pulled together the findings from a number of different experiments that all saw the participants involved drifting off for days at a time... and suffering some fairly acute mental stresses along the way too.
Take cave explorers Josie Laures and Antoine Senni, for example, who lived underground for months in the 1960s.
When they emerged from their self-imposed solitude (having stayed in separate caves), both thought much less time had passed than was actually the case, to the tune of several weeks.
What's more, Senni would sometimes sleep for stretches of 30 hours at a time, then wake up believing he'd just had a short nap.
Researchers on the surface kept in touch with the pair and monitored their vital statistics for any signs of deteriorating health, but they didn't offer any clues as to the passing of time or the cycle of days.
It would seem that without the rising and the setting of the Sun to guide us, our bodies lose track of just how many weeks and days are going by, and when we should be sleeping.
"I am so happy to have lasted it out, that I have forgotten everything," Josie Laures told the Associated Press at the time.
"I can tell you though that it became very difficult toward the end and I felt terribly worn out... At the start of my stay I read, and then I lost the desire. I didn't suffer from the cold. I was well heated in my little tent. My tape recorder refused to work the first few days, but later I managed to repair it and I listened to music. Outside of that I knitted, and knitted some more, and looked forward to the time when I would finally see the sun."
The experiment was seen as a window into how astronauts might hold up physically and mentally on long, lonely voyages into space, a concern that has recently been brought up again as NASA prepares to send a manned mission to Mars.
Sitting in a spaceship isn't quite like sitting in a cave, but there are similarities.
And it seems that when there's nothing else to do, we simply nod off for days at a time.
The Atlantic points to further research indicating humans will occasionally stretch out sleep cycles to 48 hours given the chance.
If we ever develop some kind of deep, cryogenic sleep system for sending astronauts to the far reaches of space, it looks like our bodies will provide a natural starting point.
Other similar experiments have found loneliness and mental tiredness to be the biggest problems when people are left with no one but themselves for company for months at a time (if you've ever seen Cast Away, you'll remember Tom Hanks making friends with a volleyball).
More studies of this nature are going to be required if we're to understand the toll that darkness and isolation take on the human psyche, but the experiments undertaken so far make for fascinating reading.
A version of this story was first published in November 2015.

Earth's magnetic field is pretty adept at flipping polarity. The poles have swapped, reversing north and south, many times over the planet's history.

Within the last 20 million years, Earth has fallen into the pattern of pole reversal every 200,000 to 300,000 years, and between successful swaps, the poles sometimes even attempt to reverse and then snap back into place.
About 40,000 years ago, the poles made one such unsuccessful attempt, and the last full swap was about 780,000 years ago, so we're a bit overdue for a pole reversal based on the established pattern.
The planet's magnetic field is already shifting, which could signify the poles are preparing to flip, and while we can't yet confirm that a reversal is on the near horizon, it is well within the realm of possibility.
While a pole reversal isn't entirely uncommon when you consider Earth's history, this time it could have serious implications for humanity.
To try to determine whether or not a flip is imminent, scientists have begun using satellite imagery and complex calculations to study the shifting of the magnetic field.
They've found that molten iron and nickel are draining energy from the dipole at the edge of the Earth's core, which is where the planet's magnetic field is generated.
They also found that the north magnetic pole is especially turbulent and unpredictable. If the magnetic blocks become strong enough to sufficiently weaken the dipole, the poles will officially switch.
Again, while it is not a certainty that the switch will happen soon, this activity at the Earth's core suggests that it is possible in the near future. So, how might a pole switch impact our lives?
The Earth's magnetic field protects the planet from solar and cosmic rays. When the poles switch, this protective shield could diminish to as little as one-tenth of its typical ability.
The switching process could take centuries, and the entire time, radiation would be able to get closer to the planet than usual.
Eventually, this radiation could reach the surface of the Earth, rendering some regions uninhabitable and causing entire species to go extinct.
Before that happened, though, a weakened magnetic field would likely impact orbiting satellites, which have suffered from memory failure and other damagewhen exposed to such radiation in the past.
Damage to satellites caused by decreased protection from the magnetic field could affect the satellite timing systems that control electric grids.
These grids could fail, leading to worldwide blackouts that experts predict could last for decades.
Without functioning electric grids, we couldn't use cell phones, household appliances, and so much more. The sudden blackouts would have hospitals scrambling for backup power sources, putting countless lives at risk.
GPS technology would also be compromised, affecting everything from military operations to our ability navigate our cars.
Additionally, we are becoming more reliant on technology by the day, with autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), and other innovations all advancing rapidly.
By the time a pole switch did take place, these innovations could be a regular part of our daily lives, furthering the potential for disruption.
It's true that we live in an age where data rules all. From how we communicate to how we get around to how our governments and critical facilities run, it all comes down to how we send and store data, so if the world's satellites are damaged or rendered nonfunctional, life as we know it could forever change.
But this isn't a doomsday prediction. While the poles will inevitably flip again at some point, our ability to recognise this possibility in advance allows us to prepare for it.
For starters, satellite companies can begin to collaborate, sharing ideas with one another on how to equip satellites to deal with a pole reversal.
Government and university researchers can focus their efforts on developing new satellites specifically designed to withstand extreme radiation and space weather.
Governments, businesses, and communities can come together to form action plans.
They can find ways to store energy and ensure the public is educated on the subject of pole reversal, so that when it happens, the situation won't cause widespread panic.
Earth's poles have been switching for millions of years, and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The best thing we can do is prepare now so we're ready the next time it happens.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has started assembling its tubes

We haven’t heard much from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies since last year, when the California-based company released a handful of images and a video to prove that it is building what it says is the world’s first full-scale, passenger-ready hyperloop. Today, the company has broken its silence with the announcement that it’s begun construction of a kilometer-long test track near its R&D center in France.
HyperloopTT says its test track will be built in two phases: a closed 320-meter system that will be operational this year, and a 1 kilometer long full-scale system, elevated by pylons at a height of 5.8 meters, to be completed in 2019. A full-scale passenger capsule, currently under construction at the company’s facility in Spain, is scheduled for delivery this summer.
That would make it the world’s third hyperloop test track to date, and the first in Europe. The other two are in the US: Virgin Hyperloop One’s test track is located in the desert north of Las Vegas, while Elon Musk’s track is sited outside SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.
The video and images of HyperloopTT’s track under construction is the first solid evidence that the company is actually pursuing its goal of building a full-scale, passenger-ready hyperloop capable of sending capsules of people or cargo flying through a nearly airless tube at a hypothetical speed of 760 mph. Previously, all we’ve seen from the company is a few random images and some dubious sounding announcements.
By contrast, its crosstown rival, Virgin Hyperloop One has conducted three demonstrations of its not-to-scale system in the desert outside of Las Vegas, most recently hitting a record speed of 240 mph (387 km/h). The company has deals with governments in Dubai and Saudi Arabia — as well as a plethora of leadership churn. And SpaceX has held several versions of its design and engineering competition, with student-led teams also achieving 200-mph speeds.
HyperloopTT is less a traditional business than a elaborate crowdfunding campaign. The company boasts that it is a solely volunteer and crowdsourced venture, with talent from NASA, Boeing, Tesla, and SpaceX working among its 800-plus volunteers. HyperloopTT has run into bureaucratic hurdles. Its test track in California was delayed after it was revealed the company failed to complete the state’s environmental review process. With the company shifting most of its focus to Europe, it’s unclear whether HTT’s California property is still in the mix.
source -theverge
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