March Moon Madness

first_imgMoons of our planetary system are supposed to behave themselves.  They were expected to just quietly orbit their host planets like nice, cold, frozen, inactive chunks of rock and ice.  It seems like whenever we get a close look at them, they are madly at work destroying theories – just like their planets have been wont to do.Io, Io, It’s Off to Work I Go:  “The results are surprising because no theory predicted upstream spots.”  Belgian researcher Bertrand Bonford was commenting on a press release from American Geophysical Union (AGU) about the volcanic moon Io, and how its eruptions create auroral spots on Jupiter.  “The finding of the leading spot puts all the previous models of the Io footprint into question,” the article said.Tethys Ocean:  The “surprisingly ordinary” moon Tethys at Saturn may have, or may have had, an underground ocean, according to National Geographic News.  The energy required to create the monstrous rift called Ithaca Chasma must have melted the ice below.  Where did the heat come from?  Since Tethys is largely ice, there would not have been radioactive elements sufficient to produce internal heat.  This leaves tidal flexing to create the rift – but only if there was liquid underneath.    The thought of water quickly led to thoughts of life.  A Cassini scientist told NGN, “This makes the exploration of icy satellites and their interiors even more important to understanding possible habitats for life in our solar system” and for how common life is in the universe.Do you want your Mars with salt?  Sodium chloride – good old table salt – may be common on Mars, said the BBC News and EurekAlert.  Because the salt may have become deposited in channels and lakes, some scientists immediately visualized the salt as a preservative for life.  Salt is a double-edged sword, however: “Water is the first sign that an environment might have been habitable, but waters that precipitate table salt on Mars would have been much saltier than any waters known to support microbial populations on Earth,” said Andrew Knoll of Harvard.  Salt is also a poison to organic soup (09/17/2002).Titan clash:  Titan isn’t rotating like scientists expected.  When they went to focus on a spot identified from a previous orbit, it was 19 miles off.  The only way they can explain it is by modeling an ocean under the ice, according to a paper in Science.1  If the crust is decoupled from the interior by floating on an ocean, it also means that Titan’s zonal winds can alter the rotation of the whole moon.  See explanation by The Planetary Society and press release from JPL.    The ocean-and-wind hypothesis is only a partial answer.  Christophe Sotin and Gabriel Tobie, writing in the same issue of Science,2 said, “However, the observations and model predictions do not correlate very well.”  Some are proposing a periodic wobble in the spin, or a large impact that might have sped up the rotation.  No impact basin large enough to record such an event has been found.  “There’s a fundamental difficulty with Titan global circulation models right now — all of them,” said lead author Ralph Lorenz, “–which is that they predict that the predominant winds at low latitudes near the surface would be easterly, from east to west.  Yet all the sand dunes point in exactly the opposite direction.  There’s something we do not understand about Titan’s circulation.”Back on earth, scientists are also scrambling to explain the origin of the home planet.  Science Daily, PhysOrg and National Geographic News all reported that a “new study is challenging the long-standing notion that the whole solar system formed from the same raw materials.”  Isotopes in meteorites don’t match those on earth.  To get around this problem, scientists are having to imagine that materials in the solar disk that supposedly gave birth to the planets got sorted somehow.    In addition, a news item in Nature News about the Genesis solar-wind collection experiment “raises more questions.”  The finding that “the Sun is relatively richer than Earth in oxygen-16, the most common oxygen isotope, contradicts the conventional wisdom that Earth has the same oxygen isotope composition as the Sun” the article said. “Everybody would have bet that the Sun had the same composition as Earth and the meteorites,” a French cosmochemist remarked.  “In fact, Earth is not like the Sun.”  Scientists are scrambling to model what process might have “sucked out oxygen-16 while the gas of the proto-Solar System condensed into solid grains that coalesced into the planets.”  If so, the article said, it would have had to happen early on.Footnote:  We’re still waiting for word about the Enceladus flyby results from March 12.  Expect more surprises.  Whatever is found will have to comport with findings of Roberts and Nimmo in the April Icarus.3  Their calculations show that neither radioactive decay or tidal forcing are adequate to maintain a liquid ocean under the crust for more than 30 million years (6% of the assumed age).  Heat is removed from the surface faster than it can be generated in the core, and tidal heating is far too low at the present orbit.  The only way they could rescue a long-lived ocean was to propose an ad-hoc scenario: perhaps the obliquity of Enceladus is pumped up from time to time.  “A transient ocean could exist beneath the ice shell today as a remnant of an earlier epoch of higher heating,” they said.  Such a phenomenon is beyond observation.1.  Lorenz et al, “Titan’s Rotation Reveals an Internal Ocean and Changing Zonal Winds,” Science, 21 March 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5870, pp. 1649-1651, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151639.2.  Sotin and Tobie, “Titan’s Hidden Ocean,” Science, 21 March 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5870, pp. 1629-1630, DOI: 10.1126/science.1155964.3.  James H. Roberts and Francis Nimmo, “Tidal heating and the long-term stability of a subsurface ocean on Enceladus,” Icarus, Volume 194, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 675-689, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.11.010.Science marches on – sometimes in disciplined ranks, sometimes in scatter formation.  The latter occurs when observation bombs drop in on theory playgrounds.    Remember, the consensus theories that have been blown away by new discoveries were textbook orthodoxy a few years ago.  Only a devout logical positivist would think this could not happen to today’s accepted ideas.  Just wait.    Evidence does not exist in isolation.  To make sense, it must be incorporated into one’s web of belief by a number of auxiliary hypotheses and assumptions.  Planetary scientists interpret what Ithaca Chasma, Titan’s rotation and Earth’s oxygen-16 ratios mean through the filter of assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses that are rarely considered or questioned independently.    One of their most sacred assumptions is the A.S.S. (age of the solar system).  The accepted value of 4.5 billion years is written in their genes.  All evidence is viewed within this major structural component of their web of belief.  The web itself stretches and distorts as new evidence bombards it, but it would take a mighty big impact to break it.    Too much is at stake for secular planetologists, bent on finding life and evolution at every water hole, to allow that to happen.  Like predatory spiders, they snag the evidence, wrap it in theories spun out of their own selves, and suck the juice out of it to feed themselves and their young.  The dried up hulk that once contained structure, organs and connective tissue is discarded to blow away in the wind.    If you love and respect science, make like a bee instead.  Get busy and gather nature’s nectar far and wide.  Digest it carefully.  Transform it into something sweet to benefit others – something that will nourish the heart and bring delight to the eyes.  (Thanks to Francis Bacon for the metaphor.)(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Jets changed the world

first_imgIn the 100th year of the first commercial flight it is fascinating to look back at some of the major breakthroughs that have changed aviation for the passenger and to look at how passenger dress and cabin appointments have changed.When the 707, DC-8 and Comet 4 jets entered service in the late 1950s, there was a scramble to get a seat with many airline’s flights running at an extraordinary – for the time – load factor of 90.8%. Typically airlines flights were only 60 per cent full as this was before computer reservations and of course the internet, which have enabled airlines to dramatically increase the loads on flights.Passengers loved the jets. In the first five years of jet operations, Pan American’s overseas traffic doubled as the airline took delivery of more than 50 new Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s.When Pan American launched its jet service its founder and President Juan Trippe said: “Mass travel by air – made possible by the jet age – may prove to be more significant to world destiny than the atomic bomb. For there can be no atom bomb potentaiily more powerful than the air tourist, charged with curiosity, enthusiasm and good will, who can roam the four corners of the world, meeting in friendship and understanding the people of other nations and races.” Mr Trippe was so right.In 1960, for the first time, the number of passengers crossing the North Atlantic by air surpassed those on ocean liners. Pan Am was offering a return trip across the North Atlantic from only $298 – just slightly above what the one-way fare had been in 1952 – or just three weeks’ average salary.Tourist class or economy class as it was now called, dominated air travel in the 1960s to the point where first class had been reduced to just a small section of the jet’s cabin.And that cabin was luxurious with lounges and seating in economy class was very spacious with a seat pitch of up to 40 inches. Passengers wore the latest fashions with men in suits and women wearing pearls. Carry on was still just a hat and a book and overhead storage was just a hat rack.Meals were spectacular affairs– even in economy. The rationale was there was no in-flight entertainment to speak of, so passengers had to be occupied.Not only were fares plummeting, so were traveling times. Australia’s Qantas was able to slash the London-Sydney route from 48 to 27 hours, while the Sydney-San Francisco route tumbled from 27 hours to 18 hours. Interestingly, because of the enormous distances traveled by its passengers, Qantas had one of the biggest first class markets with 23 per cent of its travelers opting for the front end in the mid-1960s.In the US in 1950, air travel accounted for just 14 per cent of travel, with bus and train accounting for 38 per cent and 48 per cent respectively. Thanks to the piston engine Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation, by 1959 when the first US jets entered service 47 per cent of travelers were in the air, while bus and train had been relegated to 24 per cent and 29 per cent.In the 10 years to 1959, air travel leapt 250 per cent in the US. Ten years later in 1969, the number of passengers traveling by air in the US would triple – thanks to the new jets.And in the 50 years since 1964 the world wide aircraft fleet has grown from 3,137 to a massive 24,613 aircraft. Global passenger numbers have leapt from 412,000 a day to 8.5 million, while fares have dropped by 84 per cent. Air travel is booming!last_img read more

Jawan killed as Maoists blast vehicle in Gadchiroli

first_imgOne commando was killed and 18 others were injured when an IED exploded in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on Wednesday night. The commandos were part of Maharashtra’s elite anti-Naxal Unit C-60. Maoists blew up the commandos’ anti-land mine vehicle with the IED, Inspector-General Shivaji Bodkhe of Maharashtra confirmed.Five of the injured have been airlifted to Nagpur and seven more are on their way. One jawan is said to be in critical condition.last_img

Chaos in garden of Eden due to officials’ sin

first_imgThe India-England WC match has been shifted as Eden Gardens couldn’t meet the ICC deadline.It was January 5, 1934, when Eden Gardens in Kolkata (then Calcutta) hosted its first test match which was between India and England. The then England team led by the legendary Douglas Jardine had put the people of Calcutta in embarrassment as India was out for 247 in the first innings, and was asked to follow-on.Fortunately, India could save its first game in Eden Gardens because of a brave halfcentury by Dilawar Hussain and 43 by opening batsman Naoomal Jaoomal in the second innings. It was the beginning of a new era of cricket in Kolkata, and Eden Gardens, the second-largest cricket stadium in the world, had become a place of pilgrimage for most cricketers as well as cricket-lovers.The picturesque ground is believed to have the most passionate and vocal cricket spectators. It is said that a cricketer’s cricketing education is not complete till he has played a game in front of a packed Eden Gardens.But, exactly 77 years after the historic test match, people of Kolkata have now again been subjected to humiliation in the Eden Gardens. The International Cricket Council ( ICC) has dropped the crucial India- England match, scheduled to be held on February 27 in Eden Gardens. Both India and England are favourites to win the ICC World Cup.The ICC officials found that the infrastructure in the Mecca of cricket in Asia is still not ready to host the crucial match on February 27. Repeated requests by the officials of Cricket Association of Bengal ( CAB) to the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) and the ICC did not yield any consideration.The entire state of West Bengal has been embarrassed because of ICC’s decision. All the Kolkata- based newspapers carried headline stories on the issue, describing that the World Cup fever is totally lost in Bengal even before a single ball is bowled.All the satellite television channels too have been airing headlines and debates on the ICC’s decision to shift the India- England match. Some even alleged that ICC president Sharad Pawar, who is a minister in the United Progressive Alliance government, is desperate to project Eden Gardens in poor light because West Bengal is ruled by the Left Front.As West Bengal is poll- bound, common people are worried that the crucial India- England match in Kolkata should not be a victim of political one- upmanship.Fortunately, railway minister Mamata Banerjee, so far, has not made any attempt to politicise the Eden Gardens issue.Humiliated with the ICC decision, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee promised all possible help to the CAB to retain the crucial India- England match in Eden Gardens.He said it is a ” major setback” for the cricket- loving people of the state.Even sports minister Kanti Ganguly held meetings with CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya to find out ways to retain the crucial tie in Kolkata, and put an end to the embarrassment to the state.Chuni Goswami, a great footballer, and former captain of the Bengal Ranji Trophy team said that the crisis over Eden Gardens was result of ” sheer lack of judgement”. He said the CAB should not have undertaken massive renovation works at the stadium.In recent times, Eden Gardens has not been getting international matches primarily because of CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya’s hostility with BCCI honchos, including its president Shashank Manohar and ICC chief Sharad Pawar. The last oneday international here was played on December 24, 2009.Meanwhile, there has been strong demand by a section of the people to immediately remove CAB secretary Biswaroop Dey, and entrust former Team India captain Saurav Ganguly to handle the World Cup matches in Eden Gardens.In response to this demand, the chief minister has appointed the former India captain to liaison with Sharad Pawar for the World Cup preparations. Roads in several places in Kolkata were blocked by people in protest against the ICC decision.If ICC cancels the three other World Cup matches in Eden Garden, it would be the last nail in the coffin. In addition to the February 27 one- dayer, Eden Gardens is scheduled to host Ireland- Holland, South Africa- Ireland and Zimbabwe- Kenya matches.If the crucial India- England match is not held, will Kolkata be happy with the other matches? Can Eden Garden bail itself out of the crisis again?advertisementlast_img read more

Referees – Touch World Cup 2019

first_imgThe following referees are representing Australia at the 2019 Touch World Cup.The 2019 Touch World Cup will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 28th April – 4th May 2019.REFEREESTim Ah SeeDave BaggioVictor BaptistaBrian BlechyndenRobert BowenMatt ButlerTony CalabriaKenneth ChanAlec ClarkAnnabelle ConnollyDarren CouperBrett FreshwaterLachlan FreshwaterStephen LaingDean MacDonaldMatthew ManningLuke McKenzieGreg MyersDanielle NunnAaron SearstonAmanda SheekyAlanah SinclairKim SkellyBrad SmithAnthony SmithKathleen SpencePaul TesorieroMatt WatersAlison WattersNicole WestChris SchwerdtJohn ClarkPeter CrampAmanda DraperRenee` FlachJohn FrostIvan GiammarcoJoshua LittleScott MarshRobert McKayCraig McKeeBarry McNamaraMarcus MullerChristopher MurrayBarry NicholsTimothy PearsonFiona QuinnChris ReynoldsPaul RichardsonWilliam SladePaul SullivanGreg TaylorJohn TaylorBen HarrisPhil BalcombeMichael LandsbergVincent CostiganPat CostiganCampbell MuirGiancarlo LeungJordan RandleJason MillerLucas PattersonDaniel KustecRebecca RogersRichard NorrisPaul EdmondsonChris BensteadCameron TurnerVictor NaumovskiAdam HoganNicholas AltinNicole AlexanderCory WisemanKurtis SankeyREFEREE COACHESDave FieldChris DolahentyChris HarapaKen GoldenErene DevallLou TompkinsIan Matthewlast_img

EI fraud hits a new high for Liberals as feds chalk it

first_imgOTTAWA – The total amount of employment insurance fraud has hit a five-year high — a sign for federal officials that efforts to root out wrongful payments are working.Public accounts documents released this month list more than 104,000 incidents of fraudulent EI claims totalling almost $177 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year.It marks the fourth year that figures have increased in the wake of efforts by Employment and Social Development Canada to fine tune its fraud-sleuthing tools to improve its ability to find and deal with fraud.Officials expect to eventually collect $132.8 million of the wrongful payments identified in the fiscal year that ended in March, and plan to write off about $74,000.The amount of fraud is minuscule compared to the overall amount spent on benefits to unemployed workers, to new parents on leave, workers who need time off due to serious illness, or those who must stay off the job to care for an ailing family member.EI spending between April 2017 and March 2018 topped $19.7 billion, meaning the value of fraudulent claims was less than one per cent of total spending.“The government is committed to deliver these important benefits to Canadians when they need it most while protecting the integrity of the system from fraud and erroneous over payment,” an ESDC spokesman said in an statement.“The department has made investments to improve its efforts to identify fraud, including adjustments to its risk-based analytical models. These efforts have contributed to this increase.”Generally, the government finds it more difficult to recoup funds the later it detects fraud or overpayments.The government must collect the money within six years of identifying the wrongful payment, or officials write it off. The clock starts when an incident is flagged, but the deadline to collect can be extended if, for instance, the debtor goes to court.A review of the annual spending documents show EI write offs have been on a three year slide, hitting $43.6 million in fiscal year 2017-2018.Two years ago, ESDC rejigged the automated system that detects fraud in hopes of identifying more and larger cases of incorrect payments.The program considers some 100 variables to calculate the chance someone has received too much money, either by accident or through fraud.Similar efforts have hit other programs, including old age security benefits that cost $38.4 billion last fiscal year.Old age security fraud dropped between the 2017-18 fiscal year and the preceding 12-month period, going from 16 cases worth $1.2 million down to 10 incidents worth $494,490 — a six-year low for both figures.Likewise, Canada Pension Plan fraud has been on a downward trend, now into its fifth year.Officials found five cases, worth $92,010, but half is not expected to be recovered.— Follow @jpress on Twitter.last_img read more

Western Canadian gas producers applaud BC LNG industry incentives

first_imgCALGARY – B.C. government tax incentives aimed at jump-starting the much-delayed West Coast LNG industry are being welcomed by Western Canada’s hard-hit natural gas industry as a potential path to higher prices and better markets for their products.The government said Thursday it hopes its moves will result in a positive investment decision later this year for the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export terminal, pipelines and infrastructure which was delayed in 2016 by proponents led by Royal Dutch Shell.“I’m pleased because it shows the B.C. government is being proactive and has come forward with some inducements for the project,” said CEO Dale Shwed of Calgary-based Crew Energy Inc., which produces liquids-rich natural gas in northeastern B.C.“We need other routes to get hydrocarbons, both oil and natural gas, out of the country and that would be a big step. And once that first step is taken, hopefully others would follow. So it’s very meaningful.”He said Friday he remains cautious about LNG prospects, pointing out that LNG Canada is still looking for relief from federal tariffs on fabricated steel modules it needs to import from Asia and adding Shell could still choose to build somewhere other than Canada.Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., one of Canada’s largest natural gas producers, said in a statement Friday it is also encouraged by B.C.’s commitment to build its LNG industry.“The advancement of LNG development will enable Canada’s responsibly produced natural gas to reach global markets, creating significant value for B.C. and Canada,” it said.The natural gas investing community has been abuzz with LNG news since the announcement, said CIBC analysts in a report.“The general consensus seems to be that an FID (final investment decision) by Shell would be positive for sentiment, if not necessarily result in any material near-term shift to Canadian natural gas supply/demand fundamentals,” they wrote.Investors are now analysing where the Shell facility would get the gas it will need to generate 13 million tonnes of LNG per year from the first two of four planned “trains” or LNG units, which could be on stream in 2024 if construction starts this year, it added.Several Calgary-based companies producing gas in northeastern B.C. could be suppliers to the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline leading to the LNG Canada project, including Crew, Canadian Natural Resources, Encana Corp. and Tourmaline Oil Corp., the report said.Thursday’s announcement will provide a fair return for B.C. gas, create jobs, make partners of First Nations and protect the province’s air, land and water, said the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in a news release.“The global window to build LNG is closing, but these changes will help get Canada into the game,” said CAPP CEO Tim McMillan.“These changes will help ensure a level playing field for LNG proponents competing against other jurisdictions around the world.”The western Canadian natural gas business remains in a deep funk due to low prices and tight pipeline capacity, according to a National Bank of Canada Financial Markets report issued earlier this week.Transmission expansion projects won’t kick in to allow meaningful growth until after 2020, it says, and prices are expected to remain low enough to discourage exploration spending in the meantime.Meanwhile, the U.S. gas supply, up 15 billion cubic feet per day since 2010, is expected to grow by another seven bcf/d this year, which the analysts say will likely lead to more marginally profitable Canadian gas being displaced from its traditional markets in Canada and the U.S.Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:TOU, TSX:CNQ, TSX:CR, TSX:ECA)last_img read more

Over 9K service voters in Delhis electoral roll

first_imgNEW DELHI: There are over 9,000 service voters in Delhi, according to the national capital’s electoral roll published this January. The electoral roll is being continuously updated ahead of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled on May 12 in Delhi, officials said. There are 9,023 service voters in Delhi as per the electoral roll published on January 18, according to the data shared by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi .Personnel of the armed forces, central armed Police forces and state police personnel deployed outside their constituencies are considered as service voters. Diplomats and other support staff serving in embassies are also service voters. The Election Commission had said in February that there was a substantial increase in the number of service voters in the country enrolled ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as compared to 2014. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsA total of 16,62,993 service personnel have been enrolled as service electors in the country in the electoral roll 2019, it had said. In 2014, the corresponding figure was 13,27,627. Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh had said on Monday that around two lakh people have been added to the electoral roll in Delhi in the last two months, taking the total number of eligible voters till date to 1.39 crore. “On January 18, the total number of voters in the electoral roll of Delhi stood at 1,36,95,291. So, there is an increase of nearly two lakh voters since then,” Singh said.last_img read more

Get ready for theatre relay

first_imgAlong day theatre festival, ‘Thespis 3’ – the third season of the National Micro Drama Festival will be organised by Vriksh the theatre, for the theatre lovers on April 21, at Kamani Auditorium.It is going to be the first time in the history of world theatre that forty plays will be performed on a single day with a maximum duration of ten minutes and awards are offered for 10 categories like Best Production, Script, Direction, Actor, Actress, Technician, will also be given. The event will be inaugurated by ‘Kanpur- e- Kashmir’ directed by Vijay Kapoor, the winner of last year. Further the festival would be followed by plays in English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Urdu including ‘Hukum Malik’ by Rajiv Kohli; ‘Chand Ka Pinjra’ by Deepu Sood; ‘Natrang’ by Sumit Nair, ‘The Red String café’ by Pratibha and Ananya Sharma; ‘Shatabdir Byadhi’ by Prithwijit Chowdhury; ‘Aattam’ by M Shaji, to name a few. This year’s objective of the theatre group is to spread the idea of ‘Art for Humanity’, through different plays, different stories which will be shown. The festival has been organised from three years, in the name of Greek artist ‘Thespis’ – who is believed to be the person first to appear on stage. Not only the festival has entertained the audience, but also to its credit, this celebration of abundance has also bagged ‘Best of India Records’ for the last two consecutive years. Due to its unique nature, questions related to this festival have found a way into competitive examinations for bank recruitments and Civil Service prelims preliminary.last_img read more

ED files charge sheet against Zakir Naik in Mumbai

first_imgNew Delhi: The ED Thursday filed its first direct charge sheet against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on charges of money laundering, officials said. The agency filed the prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai and said it has identified proceeds of crime worth Rs 193.06 crore. This is the second charge sheet in the case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in this case, but the first against Naik underlining his role in the matter. Naik was booked by the ED in 2016 based on a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR.last_img