Researchers glimpse the inside of a photonic crystal

first_img More information: T. Denis, B. Reijnders, J. H. H. Lee, P. J. M. van der Slot, W. L. Vos and K.-J. Boller. “Mapping individual electromagnetic field components inside a photonic crystal.” Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 20, pp. 22902-22913 (2012) DOI: 10.1364/OE.20.022902Also at arXiv:1207.2004 [physics.optics] (Phys.org)—While today’s smart phones, tablets, and other small electronic devices rely on electrical data connections, in the future they may use optical connections in order to become even faster and smaller. Photonic crystals are ideal tools for this purpose, since they can guide and bend light on the nanometer scale. So far, researchers have not been able to look inside photonic crystals to measure how the light intensity is distributed. Now in a new study, a team of researchers from the MESA+ Institute at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, has developed a method that can measure the intensity distribution of light inside photonic crystals. © 2012 Phys.org Citation: Researchers glimpse the inside of a photonic crystal (2012, October 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-glimpse-photonic-crystal.html Scientists shed light on glowing materials How to measure the light intensity inside a photonic crystal: (Top) The photonic crystal, indicated by the ordered yellow circles, is placed between two mirrors. Only one color, blue, resonates. (Middle) When a bead is inserted at a specific location in the cavity and the light intensity is low, a slight color change to green occurs. (Bottom) When the light intensity is strong at the bead location, the color changes even further and becomes red. The right panel indicates how using the bead to change the resonating color can allow the light intensity to be mapped throughout the photonic crystal. Image courtesy of T. Denis To map the strength of the electromagnetic field at different locations inside photonic crystals, the researchers set up an experiment in which they placed a photonic crystal between two aluminum mirrors. Inside the cavity, light bounces back and forth between the mirrors. Since light is a wave, only waves whose wavelengths fit the length of the cavity can build up. In other words, only a specific color can exist inside the cavity. After measuring the crystal’s resonating color, or frequency, the researchers then investigated how the frequency would be altered when they lowered a 2-mm bead hanging from a nylon string inside the crystal. The bead scatters nearby electromagnetic waves, changing the crystal’s frequency in a way that is proportional to the light intensity at that location. By measuring the frequency shift when moving the bead to various locations, the researchers could map the electromagnetic field strength throughout the inside of the photonic crystal. “For example, in the figure above, the cavity limits the build-up of light to blue light,” Denis said. “When placing the bead inside the photonic crystal, this leads to scattering, which changes the light color that resonates in the cavity. The waves have to make a small detour around the scattering object. Therefore, the color where the light resonates is changed, which can be measured. In the figure it varies from green to red depending on the position of the bead. By moving the bead throughout the cavity, this allows us to map the light intensity at all locations by measuring the resulting color shift.”The researchers also explained that the electric field inside the photonic crystal has six components, and each of these components can be measured separately by choosing a bead with a suitable material, shape, and orientation so that only one component contributes to the frequency shift. In the future, the researchers also want to perform modified experiments, such as placing the bead on a carbon nanotube acting as the string. An atomic force microscope could control the nanotube’s position and provide high spatial resolution of the field inside the crystal. Ultimately, the ability to map the inside of a photonic crystal provides a valuable tool for using these devices in future applications. Explore further Journal information: Optics Express The study, which is published in a recent issue of Optics Express, may lead to new insights into photonic crystals that could assist in the development of new applications.As the researchers explain, photonic crystals are materials with an intricate three-dimensional structure that manipulates light in ways similar to how semiconductors control electrons. Photonic crystals have a periodic structure with a length scale on the order of the wavelength of light. An example of a photonic crystal found in nature is the gem opal, which consists of a regular array of tiny silicate spheres that are ordered like atoms in a crystal lattice, but on a length scale a thousand times larger than the atoms in a photonic crystal.A major goal in this area of research is to make photonic crystals interact with light strongly enough to achieve a “photonic band gap,” which is a range of light colors that are prevented from propagating in any direction. Band gaps can result from disorder in a crystal, since disorder leads to localized states that effectively trap light in a cage. This type of control can allow researchers to harness light beams and steer them around tiny optical chips.In order to control light in this way, it’s helpful to know the electromagnetic field distribution inside the photonic crystals. So far, the only optical method to map local fields is near-field scanning optical microscopy, which scans the surface of the crystal. However, this technique has several drawbacks because it cannot probe the fields inside the crystal, whereas the new method presented here can.”We have demonstrated for the first time how to look into the inside of photonic crystals,” lead author Thomas Denis of the University of Twente told Phys.org. “With an astonishingly simple method we were able to map the absolute strength of an individual field component inside a photonic crystal. Such a method should be of high importance for the design of novel photonic crystal devices, such as fast optical interconnects on computer chips.” 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

Astrophysicists suggest solar flare could explain carbon14 bump in AD 774

first_img Citation: Astrophysicists suggest solar flare could explain carbon-14 bump in AD 774 (2012, November 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-astrophysicists-solar-flare-carbon-ad.html More information: Causes of an ad 774–775 14C increase, Nature, 491, E1–E2 (29 November 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11695AbstractAtmospheric 14C production is a potential window into the energy of solar proton and other cosmic ray events. It was previously concluded that 14C results from AD 774–775 would require solar events that were orders of magnitude greater than known past events. We find that the coronal mass ejection energy based on 14C production is much smaller than claimed in ref. 1, but still substantially larger than the maximum historical Carrington Event of 1859. Such an event would cause great damage to modern technology, and in view of recent confirmation of superflares on solar-type stars, this issue merits attention. In tree rings, Japanese scientists find 8th-century mystery Explore further Journal information: Nature Comparison of Fusa Miyake’s et al. data with a four-box carbon cycle simulation. Credit: Nature, 491, E1–E2 (29 November 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11695center_img (Phys.org)—Astrophysicists Adrian Melott and Brian Thomas of the University of Kansas and Washburn University respectively, have published a “brief communication arising” piece in the journal Nature suggesting that the conclusions of a team of Japanese researchers from Nagoya University regarding the source of a carbon-14 bump in AD 774-775 were in error. The Japanese team published an article earlier this year, also in Nature in which they suggested the brief bump in carbon-14 as evidenced by tree samples, was likely not the result of solar flares or a supernova. In their paper, the team from Nagoya described their results in measuring the amount of carbon-14 in Japanese cedar tree rings that represented the years AD 750 to AD 820 with one and two year resolution. In so doing, they found a rapid, 12 percent increase in the amount of carbon-14, over the period AD 774-775, indicating that an extremely energetic event of unknown origin had occurred during that time period. They noted that the bump was approximately 20 times that seen from normal solar activity and for that reason ruled out a solar flare as a possible cause. They also ruled out a supernova as a likely source as it would have been seen and noted by people living at the time.Carbon-14 is a variant of normal carbon-12 and tends to show up on planet Earth when cosmic particles strike the atmosphere producing showers of neutrons, which in turn strike hydrogen nuclei causing a reaction that results in the creation of carbon-14. That carbon-14 then falls and in this case, abundant amounts landed on some cedar trees in Japan 1,238 years ago. The Japanese team suggest that if such a bump was due to a solar flare it would have had to have been thousands of times larger than any that has ever been recorded, making it an unlikely possibility.Melott and Thomas disagree and write that it’s possible a solar flare could have caused the bump if it shot out in blobs, rather than as a mass ejection that spewed cosmic particles in all directions. If that were they case they say, a solar flare just 10 or 20 times the size of the largest ever recorded (the Carrington event of 1859) could very easily explain the carbon-14 bump during that time period. 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. © 2012 Phys.orglast_img read more

Overcoming multiple herbicide resistance

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences A new way to use herbicides: To sterilize, not kill weeds Explore further Black-grass and rye-grass are considered by farmers, to be weeds. They are not only invasive—causing reduced yields in fields where they mix with crops—but can also harbor ergot, a type of fungus that can spread to crops, killing them. For these reasons, farmers have used herbicides to keep the grasses at bay. Unfortunately, the grasses have begun to develop immunity to the toxins traditionally used to kill them. In this new effort, the research group has found what appears to be the source of the plants’ new-found strength, and perhaps, a way towards creating a new way to kill them.Specifically, the team found that a gene called AmGSTF1, appears to be responsible for causing overproduction of an enzyme called glutathione transferase. In plants, the result is the production of more than normal amounts of antioxidants, which help ward off the toxins meant to kill them. The team made this discovery by adding the AmGSTF1 gene to thale cress, which does not have MHR. Doing so, they found, caused the thale cress to become just as resistant to herbicides as black or rye grass. Interestingly, the same enzyme has been found to be at least partly responsible for doing something similar with tumors that grow inside of humans. Because the enzyme has been known to help tumors in humans fight off toxic drugs, researchers have developed another drug called 4-chloro-7-nitro-benzoxadiazole—it blocks the production of glutathione transferase and as a result makes tumors easier to kill. Because of that, the researchers studying the invasive grasses tried spraying it on the thale cress that had been made resistant to herbicides and found that doing so caused it to lose its new-found abilities and to be once again susceptible to the chemicals meant to kill them. Unfortunately for farmers, the same drug cannot be used on invasive weeds because it’s toxic to people as well. But, the researchers suggest another similar drug might be developed that could do the job without harming those that eat the crops the farmers are trying to protect. Citation: Overcoming multiple herbicide resistance (2013, March 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-multiple-herbicide-resistance.html More information: Key role for a glutathione transferase in multiple-herbicide resistance in grass weeds, PNAS, Published online before print March 25, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221179110AbstractMultiple-herbicide resistance (MHR) in black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) and annual rye-grass (Lolium rigidum) is a global problem leading to a loss of chemical weed control in cereal crops. Although poorly understood, in common with multiple-drug resistance (MDR) in tumors, MHR is associated with an enhanced ability to detoxify xenobiotics. In humans, MDR is linked to the overexpression of a pi class glutathione transferase (GSTP1), which has both detoxification and signaling functions in promoting drug resistance. In both annual rye-grass and black-grass, MHR was also associated with the increased expression of an evolutionarily distinct plant phi (F) GSTF1 that had a restricted ability to detoxify herbicides. When the black-grass A. myosuroides (Am) AmGSTF1 was expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana, the transgenic plants acquired resistance to multiple herbicides and showed similar changes in their secondary, xenobiotic, and antioxidant metabolism to those determined in MHR weeds. Transcriptome array experiments showed that these changes in biochemistry were not due to changes in gene expression. Rather, AmGSTF1 exerted a direct regulatory control on metabolism that led to an accumulation of protective flavonoids. Further evidence for a key role for this protein in MHR was obtained by showing that the GSTP1- and MDR-inhibiting pharmacophore 4-chloro-7-nitro-benzoxadiazole was also active toward AmGSTF1 and helped restore herbicide control in MHR black-grass. These studies demonstrate a central role for specific GSTFs in MHR in weeds that has parallels with similar roles for unrelated GSTs in MDR in humans and shows their potential as targets for chemical intervention in resistant weed management. (Phys.org) —British scientists from several research facilities across the country have found that an enzyme called glutathione transferase which is known to neutralize toxins meant to stem the growth of tumors in humans, also appears to be responsible for helping two kinds of invasive grasses develop multiple herbicide resistance (MHR). The team has published the results of their study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. © 2013 Phys.org 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

Chaos could improve performance of wireless communication systems

first_imgResearchers have found that the information transmitted by a chaotic signal in a wireless communication system is not modified by the wireless channel as it is for non-chaotic signals. These figures show reconstructions of wireless signals traveling in different wireless channels. Credit: Hai-Peng Ren, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society Explore further The researchers, Hai-Peng Ren at Xi’an University of Technology in Xi’an, China, and the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, UK; Murilo S. Baptista at the University of Aberdeen; and Celso Grebogi at Freiburg University in Freiburg, Germany, have published their paper on wireless communication with chaos in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.Although this is the first time that researchers have investigated how chaotic signals can be used in a wireless communication system, there has been a large amount of research on using chaotic signals in wired communication systems. The use of chaos in communication systems is appealing due to several intrinsic properties of chaos and the fact that chaotic signals can be generated by low-power, low-cost, small-area electronic circuits. “A chaotic signal is generated by a non-linear system that has sensitivity dependence on initial conditions,” Baptista, on behalf of his coauthors, told Phys.org. “Small perturbations in the system at a given time produce large changes at a later time—a property that is measured by the Lyapunov exponent. A chaotic signal has at least one positive Lyapunov exponent (two nearby initial conditions diverge exponentially fast from each other), but also negative ones. A chaotic signal is also aperiodic and broadband (it processes infinitely many frequencies). This last property is the consequence of the fact that a chaotic trajectory stays very close to an infinite set of periodic signals of infinitely many periods. “A non-chaotic signal, such as a periodic one, is characterized by having a well-defined period (it always returns after completing one period; it is not aperiodic), it is generated by a system that does not have sensitivity to initial conditions, and it has only one well-defined frequency (not broadband).”Scientists have previously shown that chaotic signals in wired communication systems can achieve higher bit rates (resulting in faster information transmission) in a commercial wired fiber-optic channel compared with non-chaotic signals. In the new paper, the scientists’ main result is that, although a chaotic signal itself is strongly modified by the wireless physical media through which it propagates, the information transmitted by the signal is not modified. That is, the information remains exactly the same when it is picked up at the receiver as it was when it was sent by the transmitter, despite having traveled through open space.The researchers attribute this finding to the fact that chaotic signals preserve their spectra of positive Lyapunov exponents after being transmitted through wireless channels. The researchers also calculated that the amount of information in a transmitted chaotic signal is equal to its positive Lyapunov exponent, allowing them to determine a chaotic signal’s information capacity.”The fact that the positive Lyapunov exponent(s) of any chaotic signal is (are) preserved in the wireless channel means that the information transmitted arrives to the receiver and is available to be ‘collected’ (decoded),” Baptista said. “Decoding is possible because the negative Lyapunov exponents are also preserved, and allow us to use chaotic signals that, despite being modified, preserve their topological form (dimension).”This capability of chaotic signals to propagate through open space while preserving their information is very different from the behavior of non-chaotic signals, where both the signal and the information it carries are modified by the physical media. One of the biggest causes of modification is multipath propagation, which occurs when a signal is disrupted so that it travels along many different paths and arrives many times at the receiving location. Interference and noise occur as a result, preventing information from being transmitted at a high bit rate. Multipath propagation is caused by reflection and refraction from the atmosphere, water, and terrestrial objects.As the researchers explain, wireless chaotic signals are not affected by multipath effects. This is because a chaotic signal that is used to communicate wirelessly has an information capacity (the amount of information per unit of time) that depends on the Lyapunov exponents of the signal—which is a property of the chaotic signal itself—but does not depend on the properties of the physical wireless channel, i.e., the multipath. It is as if multipath does not exist in the wireless channel. On the other hand, the amount of information per unit of time that can be transmitted wirelessly using non-chaotic signals depends on the properties of the multipath. As a result, chaos provides a natural way to create high-capacity communication systems.The researchers are currently developing a prototype chaos-based wireless communication system based on the ability of wireless chaotic signals to preserve their Lyapunov exponents after transmission. They predict that it will possible to develop a large-scale chaos-based wireless communication system that would have excellent performance by overcoming the interference and noise that negatively affect today’s non-chaotic wireless signals. © 2013 Phys.org. All rights reserved. Chaos proves superior to order More information: Hai-Peng Ren, et al. “Wireless Communication with Chaos.” PRL 110, 184101 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.184101 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. Journal information: Physical Review Letters Citation: Chaos could improve performance of wireless communication systems (2013, May 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-05-chaos-wireless.html (Phys.org) —In today’s wireless communication systems, the wireless signals are non-chaotic, meaning they have a well-defined period and frequency. Non-chaotic wireless signals are used in many applications, such as satellite communications, GPS navigation, cell phones, and Wi-Fi devices. However, as many people know first-hand, wireless systems usually have inferior performance compared to wired systems. The problem is due to physical impediments that the wireless signal faces in open space caused by the atmosphere, water, mountains, buildings, and other different media. Now in a new study, researchers have investigated how wireless communication could be implemented with chaotic signals, and found that chaotic signals could overcome some of these physical constraints and lead to superior performance.last_img read more

Scientists say Russian meteor shockwave went twice around globe

first_imgMeteor trail over eastern Russia is seen in this image from the Russian Emergency Ministry. Credit: Russian Emergency Ministry More information: Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/grl.50619Planetary and Space Science DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.003 The 10,000-ton space rock burned up above Chelyabinsk. The BBC said Alexis Le Pichon, Atomic Energy Commission in France, and his research colleagues reported that the explosive energy of the impact was equivalent to 460 kilotons of TNT. Writing in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, their article is titled “Russian Fireball Largest Ever Detected by CTBTO infrasound sensors.” Authors are Alexis Le Pichon, Lars Ceranna, Christoph Pilger, Pierrick Mialle, David Brown, Pascal Herry, and Nicolas Brachet.”On 15 February 2013,” they wrote, “a large Earth-impacting fireball disintegrated over the Ural Mountains. This extraordinary event is, together with the 1908 Tunguska fireball, among the most energetic events ever instrumentally recorded.” The 1908 reference is to the event that occurred that year in Siberia.As for the February event, the authors noted that, after circling the globe, it generated infrasound returns at distances up to ~85,000?km, and was detected at 20 infrasonic stations of the global International Monitoring System. Multiple arrivals involving waves that traveled twice round the globe were identified. “A preliminary estimate of the explosive energy using empirical period-yield scaling relations gives a value of 460 kilotons of TNT equivalent. In the context of the future verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), this event provides a prominent milestone for studying in detail infrasound propagation around the globe for almost three days as well as for calibrating the performance of the IMS network.”Their numbers suggest the February asteroid event is the most energetic event reported since the 1908 Tunguska meteor in Siberia. Turning to Tunguska, another team of scientists published a study offering their evidence of the meteoritic origin of the Tunguska cosmic body. Their discussion of the 1908 fireball is in the journal Planetary and Space Science. Diamond–lonsdaleite–graphite micro-samples collected from peat after the 1908 catastrophic blast in the Tunguska area were studied with scanning (SEM) and transmission electron (TEM) microscopy, NanoSecondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and an X-ray synchrotron technique. © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Scientists say Russian meteor shockwave went twice around globe (2013, June 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-scientists-russian-meteor-shockwave-globe.html (Phys.org) —Scientists have determined that an asteroid that burned up over Russia in February resulted in a shock wave so powerful that it traveled twice around the globe. They made that determination by means of a system of sensors used to detect evidence of nuclear tests. Researchers studied data from the International Monitoring System network operated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Its stations monitor ultra-low frequency acoustic waves, or infrasound, from nuclear test explosions. The system can also detect blasts from other sources. According to BBC News, it was the most powerful event ever recorded by the network. Russian fireball largest ever detected by CTBTO’s infrasound sensors Explore further , Planetary and Space Science Journal information: Geophysical Research Letters 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

Japanese firm proposes LUNA RING to send solar energy from moon to

first_img Japanese firm wants to transform the Moon into a giant solar power plant Explore further It’s quite possible that Shimizu has no intention of actually attempting to carry out its proposed project, but is instead using it as showcase to demonstrate the great lengths it and the country are willing to go to restore the electrical infrastructure of their country. It’s also possible that other, less difficult projects or new technologies could make the construction of LUNA RING moot by the time the company is ready to start building it. Since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan back in March 2011 (which led to closing the country’s nuclear power plants) scientists there (and elsewhere) have been scrambling to find ways to create electricity for the country in other ways. In this latest proposal, a private company is reaching, quite literally, for the sky.The idea, company reps say, is to lay down a band of concrete (which can be made from moon soil) 250 miles wide all the way around the moon’s equator (a distance of approximately 6,800 miles), using robots directed by humans back here on Earth. Next, the concrete would be covered with solar panels, which would be connected via cables to microwave and laser transmission stations. The energy beams sent from the moon would be directed at receiving stations on Earth, allowing for a round-the-clock source of energy as there are no clouds or other bad weather on the moon. Shimizu claims that such a system would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of power back to Earth and that construction could begin on the project as early as 2035.Not addressed are the costs and considerable hurdles such a project would have to overcome—foremost among them would be building such a massive structure from such a great distance—nothing like it has ever been attempted. There are also issues of getting the international community to go along with the project and overcoming seemingly simple problems, such as lunar soil disrupting the robots and their construction efforts—not to mention dusting the solar cells once in place. Citation: Japanese firm proposes LUNA RING to send solar energy from moon to Earth (2013, November 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-11-japanese-firm-luna-solar-energy.htmlcenter_img © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Japanese construction firm Shimizu Corp. has unveiled a proposal that entails building a solar panel array around the moon’s equator, then sending the power it collects back to Earth. They are calling the project LUNA RING. 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

Gratitude is the Attitude to Promote Honesty in the Workplace

first_imgEmployee theft, whether from occasional cash-skimming or meticulously orchestrated embezzlement schemes, costs US businesses up to $50 billion annually. But cheating, like companies themselves, often starts small, and research in Psychological Science suggests that cultivating feelings of gratitude can encourage employees to be content with what they have. Past research has shown that feelings of gratitude mayenhance self-control, supporting the equal exchange of resources and improvingour ability to make financial decisions that involve delaying gratification toa later date. Reference In a follow-up study of 141 online participants, the researchersfound that recalling moments of gratitude from their past also reducedparticipant’s willingness to lie about a coin flip in exchange for extracompensation. Gratitude was once again found to boost ethical behavior in adose-dependent way, although rates of cheating were higher overall. This mayhave been because participants knew that lying about their compensation wouldnot directly harm another participant, the researchers write. These findings suggest that cultivating a culture of gratitudemay serve as an effective bottom-up “honesty nudge” in educational and officesettings by devaluing dishonest behaviors rather than requiring individuals toactively repress unethical impulses to avoid consequences, a more taxingtop-down process. In the gratitude condition, however, the computer appearedto crash and the participant was informed they would need to redo the task — thatis, until the confederate “messed with a few wires” and got their score toappear on screen, leaving the participant with the impression that they hadnarrowly escaped another brush with boredom. Gratitude may also function as a “parent virtue,” writes APSFellow David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, whodiscussed his research in the HarvardBusiness Review. “Gratitude may work rather effortlessly to alter people’sdecisions about the value of cheating and, thus, stem unethical behavior withless internal conflict,” the authors wrote. At this stage in the experiment, participants were told theywould need to flip a virtual coin in order to randomly assign themselves andanother (fictional) participant to each of two tasks after the researchers leftthe room: a 10-minute numbers game or 45 minutes of challenging math and logicproblems. What the participants didn’t know was that the coin was preprogrammedto assign them to the longer task. To complete the shorter task instead, theywould have to cheat and lie their way to 30 minutes of freedom.center_img In the first of two experiments on the subject, DeSteno andcolleagues had 156 students complete a test of general knowledge with a confederateteammate (who was actually a member of the research team). Then, they completedan intentionally tedious word recognition task on their own. As the computerappeared to be calculating their scores, the participants were exposed to anexperimental manipulation intended to induce a particular mood: DeSteno, D., Duong, F., Lim, D., & Kates, S. (2019). Thegrateful don’t cheat: Gratitude as a fount of virtue. Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619848351 In the happiness condition, the computer calculated the participants’scores as expected, and they spent the next several minutes watching anddiscussing funny clips of babies and animals. The neutral condition proceededsimilarly, with participants watched an excerpt from a slightly less excitinggeology documentary. “We believe that gratitude might enhance certain moralactions outside the realm of exchange — actions that are also characterized bythe need to resist a temptation to satisfy a selfish urge for immediategratification,” the study authors write. Gratitude was also found to decrease participants’likelihood of cheating in a dose-dependent manner, with those who ratedthemselves as low in gratitude cheating 50% of the time, and those who rated themselvesas very high in gratitude cheating in just 5% of trials. While 16% of those in the happiness or neutral conditionscheated on average, just 2% of people in the gratitude condition put their ownneeds above those of their supposed co-participant. The prevalence of cheating amonghappy participants further suggests that this effect is specific to feelings ofgratitude, rather than to positive affective states as a whole, the authorscontinued. “The gratitude that people feel directly impacts theirhonesty,” the authors write.last_img read more

Just being jazzy

first_imgGroups of old and young women and men swinging and tapping as they stand in front of the kiosks with headphones listening to Jazz were spotted at the Art Gallery of the Kamladevi Block at the India International Center (IIC). A few people were also seen jotting down notes from the panels that trace the history of jazz in India from early 1900 to the present days. Some of them looked in wonder at the cartoon-sketches by Mario de Miranda from the Jazz Yatra of 1980 and ‘90s. Besides lot of jazz performances happening around, perhaps, this was the first time the city witnessed an exhibition based on Archival collections, curated by Naresh Fernandes, which showcased the history of Jazz in India that started on 26 November. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The five-day exhibition was based on two collections – Niranjan Jhaveri Jazz Collection and Naresh Fernandes Collection which are extremely rich in archival content. Niranjan Jhaveri who was the spirit behind the biennial jazz festival – JazzYatra – from 1978 to 2003 was successful in bringing international artistes like Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz and jazz bands from different parts of the globe to promote Jazz in India. The exhibition had a huge section on these Yatra years which has established Jazz, further, as an Indo-Afro-Euro-American music performed by Indian artistes like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Trilok Gurtu, Asha Puthli and others. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSoli Sorabji an ardent lover and enthusiast of jazz inaugurated the exhibition. He also attended the concert on the third day, Jazz in the Swing Era by Rohit Gupta Trio which saw a good strength of audience – all cheering and enjoying with all the exhibited material around them.For Arjun Sengupta, listening to the concert inside the exhibition hall was a surreal feeling. On the second day, Naresh Fernandes, the author of the book Taj Mahal Foxtrot, gave a lecture ‘A Short History of how Jazz became an Indian Music’ to a house full of jazz lovers, academicians, students, and enthusiasts. Fernandes traced the origin of Jazz from the music of plantation workers which found its place in New Orleans to how it travelled to India. The first all Negro American band performing in 1935 at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai started the beginning of Jazz-era in India which now hosts the third generation of jazz performers. The African-American pioneers like Leon Abbey and Herb Flemming influenced many Indian jazz performers like Chic Chocolate who was regarded as the Louis Armstrong of India. The audio tracks and photographs of Indian pioneers like Chic Chocolate, Frank Fernand and Micky Correa in the exhibition brought back the golden era of Indian Jazz to the city. Jazz has also influenced the Hindi Cinema in Mumbai, as Fernandes pointed out at popular tracks like Ina-mina-dika and Sunday ke Sunday. Many of us sing these without even knowing what genre they fit into.Shubha Chaudhuri, Associate Director General of the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE), American Institute of Indian Studies said that she has been working with her team for more than a year on these two jazz collections to digitise and conserve some of the rare photographs, reels and documents. The recently concluded jazz exhibition of ARCE, ‘Jazz in India’ was curated by Naresh Fernandes and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and IIC. Both the collections on Jazz are accessible and available for academic and research purpose at the ARCE, AIIS.last_img read more

KMC cleans up Esplanade in less than an hour

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Saturday did a commendable job to clean up the road in and around Esplanade where lakhs of Trinamool Congress supporters from all parts of the state had assembled for the Martyrs’ Day programme. The elaborate arrangements by the civic body’s Solid Waste Management (SWM) department ensured that the road was restored to its normal condition in terms of cleanliness in less than an hour after the rally ended. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We had pressed 4 mechanical sweepers and as many as 7 mobile compactor machines. The usual normal garbage carrying handcarts and some battery-operated cleaning vehicles were also deployed for the purpose along with a number of sweepers for physical cleaning,” Debabrata Majumder, Member Mayor-in-Council (SWM) said. It was noticed that immediately after the programme ended at around 2.20 pm, the civic body started cleaning up the stretch. Senior TMC leaders including Firhad Hakim and Subrata Bakshi appealed to the party supporters over the microphone to vacate the place quickly to ensure that the cleaning operations could begin immediately.last_img read more

Get hitched to cut down on alcohol

first_imgBeing in a relationship could be wonderful in more ways than one. A new study indicates that people who are married, or cohabiting, generally tend to drink less – that’s fewer drinks, and less frequently. Singles are more inclined to drink more often, and in larger quantities, the findings showed.“It seems that intimate relationships may provide a real benefit in terms of drinking behaviour, maybe through mechanisms such as a monitoring effect that partners have on each other,” said lead study author Diana Dinescu from the University of Virginia. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFor the study, the researchers compared the reported drinking patterns of twins in and out of relationships. “By using twins, our study allows us to eliminate entire classes of alternative explanations, such as genetic predispositions and upbringing influences, and brings us a step closer to understanding the true impact of relationships on drinking behaviour,” Dinescu said.The researchers culled their data from the Washington State Twin Registry, a database of twins who participate in health and behaviour research. Their sample included 1,618 female pairs and 807 male pairs. Registry participants stated on forms whether they were married, divorced, widowed, separated, never married or living with a partner. They also included information about their level of alcohol consumption.last_img read more

Capturing peoples history

first_imgAhmed Firoz is back once again with his street stories – ‘Enigma: A Ballad of the Street’. These moments of life narrated through a series of enigmatic and poignant frames involve people and other objects from diverse walks of life in situations of contrasts but all lying in a larger harmony. The photographs are not documentaries, but they point to the reality of the world expressed in different forms and seen through the interactions of the subjects within the frames. Each of the exhibited frames in this series carries a profound yet subtle message and together they unfold a unique world view with a narrative left for wider interpretation of the changing time. These 36 frames shot candidly in various locations worldwide present passing moments of the street to collectively express the photographer’s point of view of what is happening around the world in this time of uncertainty and turbulence.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAn economist by profession and known worldwide for his work on energy, metals and natural resources, Ahmed Firoz takes time out of his busy schedule to hit the streets with his camera to capture lives on street. He aims to bring out minute colorful details of nature and find delicate interplay of light and shadows, and objects which tell subtle and intense stories which are more than what they seem. Apart from documenting lives in this rapidly changing world, his overall body of work presents reality from his own perspective of a trained economist and student of the modern day politics and society, bringing out the intricate relationship between people and their surroundings.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHis photographic works can be seen from different angles allowing a variety of interpretations…  Firoz is not identified with any specific genre of photography as he simply believes in the artistic and documentary value of his work. His experiments with different ideas and medium of expression are still on. His narratives are bold and presentation is simple but subtle. Therefore to venture into his world of studying the streets one must pay a visit to the exhibition and enlighten himself/herself with Firoz’s interpretation of the street world.last_img read more

Threeday Digha Folk Festival to be inaugurated on January 11

first_imgKolkata: The second edition of three-day Digha Folk Festival will be inaugurated at the premises of Biswa Bangla Centre on January 11.Patachitra of Chandipur and Madur artisans of East Midnapore will be present at the festival to showcase their products. There will be folk performances in the evening from 6pm to 8pm on all three days. Special attraction at the fair will be a musical trio — Oriental Mood from Denmark on January 11. East Midnapore is famous for traditional Madur weaving and the story telling tradition of the Patachitra artists. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalBoth Madur and Patachitra have received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Villages like Patashpur, Ramnagar, Bhagwanpur and Moyna are famous for Madur weaving. The artists who will come for the fair will take part in workshops that will be held during the festival. It may be mentioned that the department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles (MSME and T) has developed 10 rural craft hubs in association with the UNESCO and this has benefitted 3,000 handicraft artists. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe setting up of Rural Craft and Cultural Hubs (RCCH) has benefitted an additional 12,000 rural artists. After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to assist the folk artistes and artisans all over the state. There are over 2 lakh folk artistes who now get a monthly stipend and the state government has given them musical instruments. In the programmes organised by the state government departments, the folk artistes are invited to perform.last_img read more

689 endangered softshell turtles recovered in Bengal

first_imgKolkata: The West Bengal CID on Tuesday recovered at least 689 endangered Indian soft-shell river turtles and arrested four persons in this connection, an official said. Based on prior information, the CID team apprehended Lachman Kumar, 30, Raj Kumar, 25, Sushil Kumar, 20, and Raju Kumar, 30, of Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district while they were on-board the Doon Express. They were arrested before they could dispose off the consignment in Hooghly district’s Bandel. They were coming from Varanasi with the endangered turtles. The seized turtles, and the arrested persons have been handed over to the range officer of Durgapur division for legal action, officials said.last_img read more

Honouring those who honour society

first_imgArt Karat, India’s most renowned designer jewellery house, is celebrating its 30th anniversary on February 6 at the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. To commemorate this glorious day, Art Karat will be presenting the Art Karat Awards for Excellence 2018 followed by a tribute to the Nightingale of India MS Subbulakshmi. In line with Art Karat’s longstanding tradition of promoting art, it wishes to salute and honour those who have contributed to the society in the field of art and culture in their respective fields. A small group of carefully selected awardees including Vineet Jain, Chairman Times of India Group, Manushi Chillar- Miss World 2017, Ashok Pratap Singh – Chairman Modern School, Vivek Burman Chairman Dabur India, Paresh Maity – painter, Jaya Prada – film actor, Sunil Sethi – President FDCI, Muzaffar Ali – filmmaker, and Krishen Khanna – painter, have been shortlisted to receive the award. On this special occasion, Art Karat will also launch their spectacular new jewellery collection ‘Padmavati’. This collection has been created by Asha Kamal Modi, the designer behind Art Karat, who has tirelessly researched and created rare masterpieces to capture the grandeur of the period. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThis collection is particularly special as for the first time a designer has recreated the amazing jewels in silver instead of gold hence, making it more affordable for a lot of women who wanted to own a part of this timeless heritage but couldn’t dream of ever possessing the same.Art karat was launched in 1988, a time when the concept of designer jewellery was unheard in India. In face of acute cynicism, Art Karat has carved a niche for itself as one of the most recognized jewellery houses in India. Today, Art Karat employs over 2000 craftsmen in various parts of India. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveArt Karat has designed jewellery for more than 10 Bollywood blockbusters including Devdas, Monsoon Wedding, Kamasutra, Zubeida, Ram-Leela, and Bajirao Mastani. Many celebrities, film stars, politicians, and artists including Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Tina Ambani, Cherry Blaire and Alicia Keys have adorned Asha’s designs. Art Karat has also been commissioned by royalty including Princess Diana, Queen Rania of Jordan, and Shekha Shamma – Crown Princess of UAE.last_img read more

FIR against Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya

first_imgKolkata: There seems to be no end to political controversies in the election season. During the political campaigns, the Election Commission has seen allegations and counter allegations surfacing against various political leaders. An FIR has been lodged against veteran CPI(M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya who had sparked a row after allegedly threatening the family members of a Trinamool Congress leader in South 24-Parganas’ Bhangar area recently. Bhattacharya is contesting from Jadavpur. Najrul Islam, the TMC leader, registered a complaint with the police where he alleged that Bhattacharya threatened his family members when he was away from home. He also mentioned the names of two other CPI(M) leaders in the FIR who had allegedly accompanied Bhattacharya. He is pitted against actor-turned-politician Mimi Chakraborty who has been fielded by the TMC. It may be mentioned here that Bhattacharya had to face an unprecedented agitation by the people in his own turf on May 5. In the morning, he went to Maricha village of Bhangar Block I during his election rally where he had to face the wrath of the villagers. A large number of villagers staged a demonstration. He brought an allegation against the local TMC activists saying that the flags bearing his party symbol, put up in various places in Bhangar, had been removed by the TMC workers. He became so angry that he turned up at Islam’s house and allegedly threatened his family members of dire consequences.last_img read more

St Xaviers College announces separate admission test dates for ISC CBSE HS

first_imgKolkata: St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) on Wednesday announced separate admission test dates for ISC/CBSE students and West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) and students of other boards for admission in undergraduate course for Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS). The admission test for BMS for ISC/CBSE students will be held on June 1 while the HS Council candidates will take the exam on June 8.The first list of selected candidates will also be published on two separate dates. For ISC/CBSE students, the first list for admission in B.Com and BMS will be published on June 4 while that of HS Council students on June 13. The results of CBSE and ISC have already been declared while that of Higher Secondary Council is expected to be out after the Lok Sabha election result on May 23. The last date for submission of online application for ISC/CBSE students for B. Com and BMS has been fixed on May 31 while that for HS students and other boards will be on June 7. The online application procedure for other subjects in undergraduate level like English, Political Science, Sociology, Bengali, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Microbiology, BA General, Computer Science and five-year integrated MSc course in two subjects — Biotechnology and Multimedia that has begun on May 6 will continue till June 7. All classes for undergraduate and integrated courses will commence on July 1. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataPrincipal Rev Fr (Dr) Dominic Savio said on Wednesday that for the first time, St. Xavier’s College will start post-graduate courses in English and Political Science in its Park Street campus and PG Bengali in its rural campus at Raghabpur in South 24-Parganas from this academic year. The admission test for all PG courses will be held on May 25 and the first list of selected candidates will be published on June 8. “We are going to introduce online admit card system for all semester examinations where students can view his/her eligibility and eligible candidates can download their admit cards for semester examinations directly from the college website,” he added.last_img read more

BJP captures TMC party office in Gangarampur

first_imgBALURGHAT: A local Trinamool Congress party office located in ward no 15 at Shibbari under Gangarampur civic body was allegedly captured by a group of BJP activists on Sunday. The BJP activists also allegedly mutilated Trinamool flags, festoons and banners that were used during the LS poll campaigning. According to a local source, the incident occurred on Sunday morning when the saffron activists reached there with slogans of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jai Shree Ram. They had also changed the colour of the party office. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”We have captured the Balurghat LS seat by defeating Trinamool. There will be no TMC party office here in the locality. Everywhere the saffron flags have now started flying in the district,” the activists shouted. Acting Trinamool councillor of ward 15 Jayanta Das said: “We have heard that some BJP activists have captured the TMC party office. We will discuss about the incident in the party district committee meeting shortly.” Notably, the BJP activists started attacking Trinamool workers just after the announcement of the LS poll results on May 23.last_img read more

Dikshmanjari celebrates festival of colours

first_imgDikshamanjari recently organised Basanta Utsav 2019, a grand celebration of colours, which took place at Biren Roy Road’s Dikshamanjari premises.Students of Dikshamanjari performed on songs related to the festival of colours – covering a variety of Tagore songs like Orey Grihobasi, Rangiye Diye Jao, Orey Bhai Phagun Legechhe Bone Bone – and other popular songs including Holi Aire piya Ji ke Desh, Albela Sajan Ayori, Mohe Rang Do Laal, Desh Rangeela and so on. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDona Ganguly, Sourav Ganguly’s wife, and dance exponent stated, “It’s a festival of colours, and has a positive impact on our lives. Language can be different but the basic essence of the festival is the same throughout the nation. It unites us.” Dona Ganguly and her daughter Sana Ganguly were found playing holi after the performance. There was an arrangement for good food at the venue. As a whole, it was a fun-filled, colorful and musical evening.last_img read more

Zoological Survey of India comes up with book on mangrove biodiversity

first_imgKolkata: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has come out with a comprehensive book aimed at creating better understanding of mangrove biodiversity for its effective conservation. Restoration of mangroves is a prerequisite to fight climate change that is triggering multiple negative effects on the planet. “Mangroves are ecologically fragile ecosystem rich in biodiversity and provide range of services like fisheries, medicines, recreation, eco tourism, bio filtration, nursery and coastal protection. It sequester carbon at a rate of two to four times greater than mature tropical forests. The local people’s livelihood is very much dependent on the mangrove which is a breeding ground for fishes, crabs, mollusc,” said Kailash Chandra, director of ZSI. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataElaborating on the importance of mangrove conservation, Chandra said that mangroves protect groundwater aquifers from seepage of seawater, thereby ensuring water security for the coastal population while a large amount of global fish catches upto 80 percent is dependent on mangroves thereby ensuring food security for the coastal people. The book titled “Faunal Diversity of Mangrove Ecosystem in India” provides a detailed account of the faunal communities in mangrove ecosystem of the country which is spanned across 123 countries covering a total area of 152360 sq km. India has 3.3 percent of the global mangrove cover while South Asia has 45.8 percent cover. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIn the foreword to the book, C.K. Mishra, secretary of Environment, Forest and Climate Change writes that in India mangrove can remove nine tonnes of carbon dioxide everyday which is equivalent to 270 million US dollars in international market. At a time, when the conservation and sustainable utilisation of the mangrove should be stressed upon, the reality is in stark contrast. Currently as per experts , loss of mangroves is continuing at a rate of 1 percent per year which is 3 to 5 times higher than the overall rate of global forest loss. The mangrove forest formed by 73 species represent less than 0.4 percent of the global total forest area. The book authored by Chandra, KC Gopi, SS Mishra and C. Raghunathan from ZSI contains chapters contributed by leading experts across India who have stressed upon the importance of conservation of mangrove and called for international collaboration and co operation as they are vulnerable to sea level rise. It deals with 4822 species of fauna covering protozoa to mammalia in 30 chapters.last_img read more

The Yeti Skull which Still has People Scratching their Heads

first_imgIf you’re a fan of the “paranormal,” there has never been a better time to be alive. TV shows, and seemingly entire networks, are dedicated to finding out the “real story” about UFO’s, ghosts, telepathy and a myriad of other supernatural subjects. One of those subjects are the stories of encounters with the giant ape-men of the forest and mountains of North America and Asia: Bigfoot and the yeti.One can find pictures, film clips, movies, interviews all leading to the conclusion that the so-called evolutionary “missing link” is out there on the fringes of human civilization, doing its best to evade human contact or capture.BigfootEvery once in a while, someone finds what they propose is a hair or other “evidence” of the creature’s existence. None has provided solid indisputable proof.Of course, all of the “Bigfoot Hunters”, etc needn’t bother – in Nepal, home of the yeti, or as it is sometimes known, “The Abominable Snowman,” a remote Buddhist monastery has what many in that mountainous nation regard as proof of the creature’s existence: its scalp.Yes, the small Buddhist monastery at Khumjung, about 85 miles east of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, has what they believe to be the scalp of the yeti. “Yeti” is the most common name for the creature, but it has other names, depending on what region of Nepal or the Himalayas you are in.Khumjung village. Photo by Mckaysavage CC BY 2.0It is sometimes called the “Mirka” or “Migoi,” meaning “wild-man,” or “Miche,” meaning “man-bear.” Westerners began calling it the Abominable Snowman in 1921, after a British military officer related an episode from an early Western expedition of Mount Everest.Seeing bear or wolf tracks in the snow, the officer pointed them out to his Sherpa guides, who reacted with amazement, and told him of the “wild man” who lived in the mountains. The reporter recording the story gave the Sherpa’s creature the name “Abominable Snowman,” and it stuck.Alleged Yeti footprint found by Michael Ward and photographed by Eric Shipton taken at Menlung Glacier on the 1951 Everest Expedition with Edmund Hillary in Nepal.For centuries, the people of the Himalayas and southern Siberia have told of a wild man living in the mountains. Sometimes he (it’s rarely a “she” in the re-telling) is a manifestation of a spirit or the failed cross-breeding of human and bear, other times the yeti is a god itself.Mostly, tales of the creature elicit amazement and wonder in the people native to the area, not fear. The creature is reclusive and runs or hides from men, conveniently.After the successful ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, and reported seeing large unidentifiable footprints in the snow at elevation, tales of the yeti grew more popular in the West.Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing. Photo by Kete Horowhenua CC BY-SA 3.0Of course, this was at a time when Nepal and the other nations and regions of the Himalayas were much more inaccessible than they are today, which made the mystery of the yeti even more fascinating. Hillary’s footprints were added to those purportedly discovered by earlier unsuccessful ascents of Everest by British explorers.Edmund Hillary was fascinated not only with the mountains of the region but with its peoples and their cultures and beliefs. Of course, the most unusual was the yeti. He heard of the scalp in Khumjung in 1960, when he returned to the region with a journalist on an expedition to find evidence of the existence (or non-existence) of the creature.A preserved skull and hand said to be that of a yeti on display at Pangboche monastery, near Mount Everest. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images)At the time, the scalp was the property of an elderly woman who kept it safe for the villagers, who believed that it brought them good luck. Hillary wanted to take the scalp with him back home, to have zoologists examine it, then return it to Nepal.The old woman refused until the Englishman promised to make a donation to the local monastery and school, as well as take a local man along with him to ensure safekeeping for the village.Khumjung village and Mount Khumbila. Photo by Jorge Díaz Bes -CC BY-SA 3.0Since people are still searching for proof of the yeti’s existence, you likely know how this story turns out: Hillary took it home, zoologists examined the scalp, and concluded that it was fashioned from the hide of a local antelope or goat, and molded into a skull-like shape.As promised, Hillary returned the “scalp” when the examination was finished, taking it back on one of his frequent trips to the area, which he took under his wing, building many schools and other public projects to benefit the people of the area.Despite the conclusion of the British scientists, people all over the world were fascinated with the scalp and photos of it (which were black and white as well as grainy, adding a touch of mystery), and many believed that it truly was the scalp of the Abominable Snowman. As does the monk in charge of its safe-keeping in the monastery where it now resides in a glass case.Read another story from us: History’s Most Slapstick Sasquatch EncounterRecently asked about the scalp and the creature, the monk replied: “We don’t believe in giraffes and lions in Nepal because there aren’t any there. Likewise, you don’t believe in yetis because you have none in your country.”last_img read more