Month: August 2019


Ammonites were probably eaten by fellow cephalopods

first_imgPhotograph of the ammonite Asteroceras obtusum taken by Dlloyd. The specimen is from the Jurassic Lower Lias Formation, Obtusum Zone. Image: Wikipedia. Explore further Giant Skull of 12m Pliosaur ‘Sea Monster’ Unearthed in England Citation: Ammonites were probably eaten by fellow cephalopods (2010, December 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( — Fossilized ammonites found with bite marks in similar places on their shells suggest they were eaten by other cephalopods such as beaked squid, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society. 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. More information: Fatally bitten ammonites from the lower Lias Group (Lower Jurassic) of Lyme Regis, Dorset, by Chris Andrew et al. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society , 58, 81-94. doi:10.1144/​pygs.58.1.276 © 2010 The ammonites were invertebrate marine creatures living in shallow waters less than 100 meters deep. They became extinct around the end of the Cretaceous period, and are thought to be the ancestors of the modern-day cephalopods, which include squid, cuttlefish, nautilus and octopus species. They are the best preserved and most widely found fossil around the world, and are recognizable by their spiral shells. They were predators themselves, feeding on a variety of fish, mollusks, and even other cephalopods, but little is known about ammonites as prey.Around a fifth of the ammonite fossils found on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset in the UK have what appear to be bite marks in an area near the back of the shell where muscles would have held the shell in place. A bite at this point would have severed the muscles and allowed the body to be drawn out of the shell.Any predator producing the bite marks would need to have been precise, and must have been capable of grabbing hold of the ammonite and manipulating it into the right position for the kill. One of the authors of the paper, Paddy Howe, a geologist with the Lyme Regis Museum, said modern cephalopods are perfectly capable of the kind of adept behavior required, and a beaked squid could certainly be the culprit, since the bite marks are consistent with a beak.Another possibility is a gas bubble between the body and the shell, but as Richard Edmonds of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site points out, this is a much less likely explanation. Depressions made in this way would be expected to contain crushed shell, but Mr Edmonds said he had never seen a fossil like that. Shell fragments would also be expected if the marks were made after the animal had died, and the marks would not all be in the same place on the shell.The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site covers over 150 kilometers of coastline in the UK counties of Dorset and East Devon, and is an area well-known for ammonite fossils and many other fossils from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological periods.last_img read more


Researchers print solar cells on toilet paper other delicate materials w Video

first_img Karen Gleason, a chemical engineering professor at MIT, along with graduate student Miles Barr and others, showed that the technique could be used to print solar cells on a variety of delicate materials. One example is rice paper, which is used to make spring rolls in restaurants and usually dissolves in wet processes. Since the researchers’ technique is a dry, solvent-free process, the rice paper remains intact. The researchers also demonstrated the technique on plastic Saran wrap, which repels water and would normally be difficult to coat.The new method, called oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD), involves spraying a vapor of a monomer and an oxidizing agent onto a substrate. The monomer and oxidizing agent polymerize when they meet and form PEDOT plastic. The plastic itself is conductive, but the conductivity can be further increased up to 1,000 times by controlling the substrate temperature so that small nanopores form, which can be laced with highly conductive silver particles.The printed solar cells can also withstand a great deal of bending and stretching with minimal effect on their properties. In tests, the researchers bent a printed plastic substrate to a radius of less than 5 mm more than 1,000 times, and found that its efficiency was still 99% of what is was before bending. The electrodes could also be bent and stretched, and still retained their conductivity. To further demonstrate the method’s robustness, Barr folded a piece of paper printed with solar cells into a paper airplane, and showed that the device still generated a current.MIT Professor Karen K. Gleason explains how graduate student Miles Barr folds a solar cell into a paper airplane. The research is part of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center. Video credit: MIT.As the researchers noted, paper is not typically considered a good substrate for photovoltaics because it’s not transparent. However, the ability to print solar cells at low-cost on flexible, stretchable materials could be very useful for making solar cells more widespread. Since the technique can also be used to print other electronic devices besides solar cells, it could be used for novel applications such as printing electronics on fabric and other flexible displays. To demonstrate how a new fabrication technique can print solar cells on extremely thin, flexible materials, researchers from MIT have patterned solar cells onto ordinary toilet paper. While toilet paper may be an unlikely substrate for practical solar cell applications, it illustrates the versatility of the technique for low-cost printing on a wide variety of materials. Explore further Xerox Develops Silver Ink for Cheap Printable Electronics After printing solar cells on a piece of paper, researchers folded the paper into an airplane to demonstrate that it could still generate current. Image credit: Karen Gleason, MIT. More information: via: IEEE Spectrum © 2010 Citation: Researchers print solar cells on toilet paper, other delicate materials (w/ Video) (2011, January 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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.last_img read more


Close encounters When Daniel123 met Jane234 w video

first_img November Qbo 2011 video Always posing the question what-if, Francisco Paz and his Madrid based team, The Corpora, developers of the Qbo, work with Qbo as a robot project. The accent is not on robots with human consciousness but on robots with simulated consciousness. Nonetheless, always asking the question what-if, they posed a teaser for themselves.Now that they got the robot to recognize itself in the mirror, what about when one Qbo is faced with another Qbo, stacking them both with sensors and recognition software? © 2011 Kilobots bring us one step closer to a robot swarm Explore further More information: The Qbo is generally described as open source; it runs on Linux, has two cameras with stereoscopic vision and uses recognition software.They developed bots that talk to each other through Festival, a speech synthesis system, and Julius, a speech recognition engine. In their latest Qbo scenario, a green Daniel123, unaware that a Jane might be on life’s table, is told by its master to turn around, and that is when it encounters blue Jane 234. Daniel appears to be aware that Jane is a Qbo. Daniel and Jane sniff each other out, so to speak, by being programmed to generate nose flashes, to distinguish that there is another individual robot.The sniffing explanations make it tempting to imagine that the robots are independently flirting. The danger is to attribute human consciousness to robots that are not designed that way. Daniel may be able to understand it’s Jane, not himself, in the mirror, but only because it has been programmed that way by a clever human.The Corpora team is the first to dispel any magical human consciousness. They detail what makes Daniel and Jane see each other as separate, but approachable, on the team blog:“Inspired by this process of self-recognition in humans, we developed a new ROS [robot operating system] that is executed when the node “Object Recognizer,” previously trained, has identified a Qbo in the image. Using nose signals to see if the image seen by the robot matches its action, a Qbo can tell in real time whether he sees his image reflected in a mirror or he is watching another Qbo robot in front of him. The sequence of flashes of the nose is randomly generated in each process of recognition, so the probability that two robots generate the same sequence is very low, and even lower that they start to transmit it at the same time.” ( — Qbo robots created a stir recently when their developers succeeded in demonstrating that a Qbo can be trained to recognize itself in the mirror. Now the developers have taken their explorations into simulated consciousness a step further. A pair of Qbo robots, colored differently but still two Qbo entities, can recognize each other. Just as human earthling Harry met Sally, Qbo Daniel can meet Jane and they can exchange similarly empty-headed conversation. Citation: Close encounters: When Daniel123 met Jane234 (w/ video) (2012, January 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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.last_img read more


Pinch interface can link displays of multiple screens w Video

first_img Samsung tablet concept shows a see-through, bendable future (w/ video) Citation: Pinch interface can link displays of multiple screens (w/ Video) (2012, November 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further © 2012 (—A research group from Tokyo gives new meaning to the word pinch—newer than a notion of gripping two pieces of skin, or throwing a little salt into a stew, or, of course, referring to a multitouch gesture for touchscreens, but not only that. They have worked up a Pinch interface that puts the user into another display environment where screens serve as visual-display tiles, working together. Even if your smart device screens are of different sizes, the Pinch interface allows them to join forces, resulting in one single display, like a slick, if out of joint, tile puzzle.center_img Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. When the user places a thumb and index finger on two adjacent screens and pinches, the screens link up. The screens can be lined up freely, vertical or horizontal. The connected devices share each other’s position and screen size via Wi-Fi. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. According to Takashi Ohta, Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Technology, who appeared in a video demo, “This Pinch interface we’ve developed is used to create applications that make devices react when they’ve both been pinched, so they work together. In the case of a graphics application, when the devices recognize they’ve been pinched, they can show the whole picture as if it’s on one screen.”He said that Pinch can be the foundation of a musical experience, where you connect the different devices you have horizontally, with the result that “you could keep playing music for a long time.” Ohta sees Pinch as enabling “fun” communications, where people gather, place their devices next to one another, and communicate ideas and images in novel ways. Other avenues, too, could include mobile music, advertising, and photo-sharing experiences.The Pinch team said it was offering Pinch to developers, hoping they could “do something with it.”In 2010, Ohta co-wrote a paper that cast some light on the present research. In that paper, titled “Automatic configuration of display ordering for multi-display environments,” Ohta and Jun Tanaka said, “We designed and built a system that configures the information of how displays are arranged as a multi-display environment. The system automatically matches the physical location of displays and network addresses. It uses a web camera for capturing a real-time video to observe each display to flash its screens one by one. The timing and relative locations of the flashing screens are recognized using an image processing technique. Furthermore, the correspondence of the displays and the network addresses can be deduced from these data.” The team concluded, based on their results, that the “system works perfectly, with various configurations of display dispositions.” 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.last_img read more


When Delhi got Bangaloreed

Taaq, which stands for Thermal and A Quarter, was formed by three Malyalees in Bangalore 15 years back. Over the years, they have carved a niche of its own amongst the many rock bands in India. Now, having played all over India, and also in the US, UK, West Asia, China and southeast Asia and having released four studio albums and several singles, Taaq was in the Capital to launch their fifth studio album — Three Wheels Nine Lives — at Hard Rock Café. The three Taaq members  — Bruce Lee Mani, Rajeev Rajagopal and Prakash KN — started it of as a college band in 1996. Since then, Taaq has been known to deliver unforgettable, immersive musical performances. Talking about the new album Rajeev says: ‘There is no single theme for the album. It’s a mixed bag. It’s a pretty massive album with 28 songs.’ ‘This album is one of the largest bodies of work created for one album. The songs deal with various subjects starting from adventures one has on getting into  an auto rickshaw and the meter problems we all face, which unites us all Indians,’ he added.  The band members say that they have never let the legacy of Bangalore city drain out of their music system in spite of the many Western instruments they might play. ‘Outside India, our  music is known to be exotic and not Western. In India, people think if we are playing rock that means aping the West. But none of us have ever been trained in Western instruments or music,’ explains Rajeev. The band played numbers from their new album. Delhi is known to have their largest fan base, so they didn’t want to disappoint them by playing only the old numbers. Viva la Bangalore, we would say! read more


Labour laws leave a lot to be desired

first_imgEven though the Prime Minister has championed importance of labour in India’s long march to progress and has wielded a new mantra ‘Shramev Jayate’ in his arsenal of verbal quick fixes to economic woes, it seems the government is in two minds when it comes to reconfiguring labour relations in the country. On the one hand, it is diluting MGNREGA and moving funds to make the scheme more capital intensive than labour intensive. However, on the other, it has brought in significant changes in the draft Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill 2014, released by the ministry of labour and employment recently, that look to reduce the red tape and make it easier to obtain jobs in the unorganised sector. Also Read – Working on improving tiesWhile it is making a single comprehensive law to take care of small factories employing less than 40 people, freeing it of various complicated laws such as factories act of 1948, industrial disputes act of 1947, there’s a flipside to the proposed legislation. It is also taking the small enterprise sector out of the purview of important legal safeguards such as the minimum wages act of 1948, the payment of bonus act of 1965, the maternity benefit act of 1961 and the employees compensation act of 1923. Unless the comprehensive law gives equal credence to these crucial clauses, which attempt to bring in a semblance of parity and justice in the much-skewed employer-employee relations, how can we say that the newly introduced changes are reformist in nature? Also Read – Political parties and our RepublicWhile digitisation and forming a unified labour portal are commendable moves, bringing in transparency, accountability and portability in labour inspection and job circuit, what does the scheme say about minimum wages or guaranteeing employment? As PM Modi stresses on skill development and improves accessibility to vocational training in lieu of white-collar jobs, why is he also inclined to take away safety nets that ensure at least hundred days of employment for the rural poor? It seems the PM is shifting the state gaze from rural unorganised sector to its urban counterpart. Moreover, digitisation and technologies of better record-keeping, while extremely important to ensure transparency, will not guarantee increase in minimum wages or better working conditions, particularly in smaller factories. How does the new law plan to combat ritual flouting of safety norms and hazardous conditions in our industries?last_img read more


St Xaviers University mulls setting up sports management academy

first_imgKolkata: St. Xavier’s University is planning to set up a Sports Management Academy for various academic courses on sports and also some short term training programmes in this field. University authorities will soon write a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging her to allot a piece of land, measuring around 10 acres near the second campus of the university in New Town.Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St Xavier’s University said: “We have a plan to set up a sports management academy in the city for which we would soon write to the Chief Minister requesting her for a piece of land. It would require a 10-acre of land for constructing a full-fledged sports management academy.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsStressing the need of a sports management academy, he said proposed academy would offer various undergraduate and post-graduate courses on sports management. It would also impart training on physical education. This is a unique initiative taken by the premier institution. This is probably for the first time that a private institution is coming up with an idea of constructing a sports management academy. It may be mentioned that the State government had allotted a plot of 17-acre in New Town where the second campus of the university has come up. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSt Xavier’s University will start MBA course at the Xavier Business School (XBS) under the university on its New Town campus from August this year. It has already obtained approval from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). It will be a full time residential course, offering specialisations in Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Systems & Operations. The permission has been given for two sections with sixty students each. The state-of-the-art, smart and air-conditioned class rooms and amphitheaters are ready. The process of enrolment for the candidates has already begun. The institution is also going to start five new undergraduate courses including Bachelor of Management Studies, BA (Hons) in English, BA (Hons) in Mass communication, BA (Hons) in Economics, BCom Hons. The post-graduate degree courses which will be introduced this year are MCom, MA in Mass Communication, MA in English, MA in Economics, Master of Social Work and MBA.There is also a plan to set up a community college where six month certificate courses and one year diploma programmes will be run in the vocations. As a part of ‘Vision 2025 of St Xavier’s University,’ a law school will also be set up on New Town campus.last_img read more


Body of man found in drainage channel in Sonarpur

first_imgKolkata: The body of an unidentified middle-aged man was found in a drainage channel at Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas on Sunday morning. Police said locals who went out on a morning walk noticed the body and informed the police. Policemen from the local police station went to the spot. After preliminary investigation, police found injury marks on his body.Police have initiated a probe in this connection and they are trying to identify the man. They have spoken to the locals to know whether they had seen the man earlier in the area. They are also trying to ascertain whether there is any foul play behind the incident or he received the injuries when he fell in the drainage channel. Police have contacted adjacent police stations to get the identity of the man.last_img read more


KMC gives plot of land to Netaji Eye Hospital group for another

first_imgKolkata: Ramchandrapur, a village in Purulia has become a well known name in Bengal because of Netaji Eye Hospital, a non-profit super specialty hospital set up by one of the close associates of Subhas Chandra Bose has served thousands of poor and tribal people.The hospital is being run by Sri Sri Bijoykrishna Ashram Relief Society, a charitable organization. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has given a plot of land to them to set up an eye hospital for people coming from economically challenged background at Sarsuna Satellite township. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsA five-storeyed (G+4) building is coming up at the site to house a 100 bed super specialty eye hospital. The Society is already running a 25 bed mini eye hospital next to the proposed super specialty hospital.The high quality of treatment has attracted patients from the neighbouring states of Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand. At a time when the cost of eye treatment is going up and is beyond the reach of a common man, the Netaji Eye Hospital stands out like an oasis for those coming from economically challenged background. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSwami Asimananda Saraswati , one of the close associates of Netaji founded the hospital in Purulia in 1953 and named it after his mentor Netaji. In one of the trips to Purulia in the early 1940s, Subhas Chandra had told Swami Asimananda to do something for the blind as blindness was a major disease in Purulia because of poverty.The 250 bed rural based hospital has attracted patients from all over Bengal and some neighbouring states because of the dedication and state of the art method of treatment. Daily 400/500 patients, on an average, are visiting the out patient department (OPD) which is absolutely free. However, during the peak season , the number of patients crosses 700 per day. In the in-patient department of the hospital, 75% of the beds are meant for free patients. The hospital has an Eye bank cum Cornea Keratoplasty unit. There are seven operation theatres and dedicated speciality clinics, Cornea and vitro retinal services along with low vision aids, contact lens and other support services.There are outreach camps and screening camps held throughout the year. In the past 5 years, a total of 4,56, 269 patients were treated in the OPD while total surgeries performed 40,961 during this period. The hospital has its branches in Durgapur, Bankura and a project is coming up at Asansol. All these centres are meant for poor people who cannot afford costly treatment.last_img read more