Thursday, November 27, 2008

Search for the Elusive DARK MATTER Continues....

Cosmic rays are high-energy electrons that are found throughout space and are accelerated when stars explode in supernovae. But a balloon-borne detector flying over Antarctica called the Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter (ATIC) has detected 70 more high-energy electrons than the normal background level attributed to supernova blasts.The experiment consisted of three flights around Antarctica at an altitude of about 23 miles above earth's surface, carried by an enormous helium balloon that expands until it would be big enough to fill a football stadium.

The detector uses the principle of ionization calorimetry: several layers of the scintillator bismuth germanate emit light as they are struck by particles, allowing to compute the cosmic rays' energy. A silicon matrix is used to determine the cosmic rays' electrical charge.

In November 2008, researchers published in Nature, the finding of a surplus of high energy electrons. During a 5-week observatory period in 2000 and 2003, ATIC counted 70 electrons with energies in the range 300-800 GeV; these electrons were in excess of those expected from the galactic background. The source of these electrons is unknown, but it is assumed to be relatively close, no more than about 3000 lightyears away, since high energy electrons rapidly lose energy as they travel through the galactic magnetic field and collide with photons.The electrons could come from a nearby astrophysical object, such as a pulsar, that lies within 3000 light years from Earth. But the team has spent four years trying to fit the signal to such an object and has yet to find a good match.
The alternative is that the electrons were produced when two dark matter particles met and destroyed(annihilated) each other.That hypothesis is strengthened by the electrons' observed energies, which range from 300 to 800 gigaelectronvolts.
According to Wefel,"There is nothing that we know of in high-energy physics or astrophysics that happens in this energy range".
What's more, the signal peaked at 650 GeV and then rapidly declined to the background level at 800 GeV. According to Wefel, this is the kind of signature you would expect if a type of exotic particle known as a Kaluza Klein particle was the dark matter culprit, with the peak at 650 GeV corresponding to its mass. This type of particle is a WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle), one of the most promising candidates for dark matter, and comes from theories in which the universe has extra spatial dimensions. These extra dimensions can only be detected by observing WIMPS that have leaked into the four dimensions (three of space and one of time) that are familiar to us.

In 2007, NASA's WMAP satellite, which measures the big bang's afterglow, picked up an excess of microwaves from around the centre of our galaxy. This 'WMAP haze' could be radiation produced when dark matter particles collide.A few months ago, another group found tantalising hints of dark matter in antimatter measurements taken by a detector known as PAMELA.

So how do the results from ATIC fit in with these?
Though the data from PAMELA cover a different energy range from the ATIC signal, Wefel believes that "there is no contradiction between ATIC and PAMELA, at least to within the uncertainties on the presently available data.It is possible that we may be observing the same source."

But ATIC has detected 200 times more potential dark matter than WMAP did at the galactic centre. "We need a boost factor of 200 for the results to be compatible," says Wefel. "So either the WMAP haze is wrong, the theory is wrong, or dark matter is not uniformly distributed(this is how u speculate :)) all over the place."

With so many unanswered questions, will we ever be able to say conclusively that dark matter has been spotted? Experiments such as the recently launched Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope should continue to discover new possible sources of dark matter. These sources will need to be studied in other wavelengths and with other instruments in order to determine their properties.Physicists eventually hope that the LHC(Large Hadron Collider) is able to create dark matter particles when it finally gets into the running condition.Then it can be seen if any of them have the capability to produce the electron signal that ATIC observed.

How long before the search is given up?
Until Fermi and other instruments run out of new source discoveries,this elusive search will continue.Meanwhile other experiments will try to study the electrons in more detail to see if they can 'pin down' the signature of dark matter annihilation.

However the pieces fit together, other experts say the ATIC discovery is intriguing. That's because there are still some questions about what accelerates electrons and other charged particles in space, called cosmic rays.
Even if all this proves not to be dark matter, the puzzle of how these very high-energy cosmic rays are produced will still be a mystery and further work based on these rather intriguing ideas would continue to delve the human mind for years to come.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Their sense of pride was heart-rendering says designer Jai Ramrakhiani. Despite poverty and death knocking at their doorsteps, these weavers would earn their meals rather than take charity even for their malnourished children. Even God has been unable to provide a helping hand. More than 50 suicides in the last couple of years and closure of hundreds of the local hand loom units have taken a toll on the once famous weavers of the Mughal Era. On account of the recent boom in the cloth manufacturing industry owing to the power looms coming into picture, sarees have become cheaper and faster to produce, greatly contributing to the downfall of this local industry that employs nearly half-a-million artisans.

But now, the entering of the Taj Group in the local scenario have seen to stabilize the much dreaded situation. Initially a handful of non-government organizations have been trying to save these people from their deaths but starvation, malnutrition,selling of blood and babies for food have greatly diminished the hopes of these weavers for long. The efforts of R K Krishna, the Vice Chairman of Indian Hotels, Tata company which runs the Taj Group of Hotels and his wife Ratna, aided by a 550 women strong elite batch from the front desks of the Taj Group who started buying these elegant sarees made by the weavers led the sales and marketing team to quickly grab onto this fresh opportunity.

But the start wasn't as easy as it looks. Hurt by the empty promises of the "middlemen" especially in the past, the weavers were a little skeptical about working with the Taj Group. Even then initial talks were very apprehensive. To win over their confidence, the Taj Group opened up medical camps in three villages to deal with the ailing people, installed water pumps, brought in solar lamps to an otherwise electricity hampered area. As the mutual understanding grew, work started rapidly. Payments were made on the spot unlike earlier times. The Taj Group pays them Rs 1800 per saree and assures them of work for atleast two sarees a month. Seeking such assurance, more and more weavers are enrolling and this seems to be a positive step in betterment of their lives.

The Taj Group has shown the way for a better India and its up to the other corporate houses to take the initiative and take steps for a more culturally and socially developed country.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Maths of Life!!!!

Scary But Quite True
Smart Man + Smart Woman = Romance
Smart Man + Dumb Woman = Pregnancy
Dumb Man + Smart Woman = Affair
Dumb Man+ Dumb Woman = Marriage
Smart Boss + Smart Employee = Profit
Smart Boss + Dumb Employee = Production
Dumb Boss + Smart Employee = Promotion
Dumb Boss + Dumb Employee = Overtime
A man will pay Rs 200 for a Rs 100 item, which he needs.
A woman will pay Rs 100 for a Rs 200 item, which she doesn't need.
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
To be happy with a man, u must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman u must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
Married men live longer than a single man, but married men are a lot more willing to die.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FACEBOOK TOOL that "SPIES" via Mobile

A newly developed Facebook Tool is giving suspicious partners an electronic map to "spy" on the location of their spouses.

SNIFF or The Social Network Integrated Friend Finder is the latest application that is offering this enduring aspect of locating suspicious spouses aytime and anywhere. "Sniffing" works on the principle that a mobile sends a signal from base stations, and a positioning software performs a triangular calculation based on the information from the base stations and converts into a geographical location that can be tracked on your mobile.

However, since privacy is of greater importance, this technique should be used by people whom we can trust. Travellers can make use of this technology to find their wherabouts in a foreign city. But like every piece of technology has its own negative aspects, organizations can use it to track down employees who may be enjoying a secret liaison, thus invading their privacy.

Howsoever it may be used, this service can already be rendered useful around a location of radius of about 200 metres from the source.. So don't bank on this piece of technology if u were to "spy" on your spouse or other friends from a relatively "long" distance because then u gotta "move along" with the person u wanna track [:D]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


You may have wondered many times as to why a sheet of wallpaper refuses to tear neatly from your wall despite taking all precautions and you end up paying to decorate your walls again. An international team of researchers probably has the answers to your problem.

The Centre National de la Reserche Scientifique(CNRS), Paris, the Universidad de Santiago, Chile and the MIT together worked on the problem and said that the phenomenon of "The Wallpaper Problem" is actually based on the laws of physics. The researchers said that the pattern where the two cracks propagate towards each other to meet at a point is extremely robust, and it applies not only to the wallpaper,but also to other adhesives like the tape.

According to them, the ubiquitous triangular tears arise from interactions between three inherent properties of adhesive materials-elasticity(stiffness), adhesive energy (how strongly the adhesive sticks to a surface) and fracture energy(how tough it is to rip). Based on these three properties, the research team developed a formulation that predicts the angle of the triangle formed. They said that as the strip is pulled, energy builed up in the fold that forms where the tape is peeling from the surface. The tape can realease th energy in two ways:
1. By unpeeling from its surface and
2. By becoming narrower, both of which it does.


Scientists claim that Nitrous Oxide[N2O], popularly known as "laughing gas", is being released in the environment by a number of species of bacteria.

Nitrous Oxide, a greenhouse gas,emissions are a problem that requires urgent attention and needs to be dealt more seriously according to Prof. David Richardson[ University of East Anglia,Norwich,UK ].According to the Prof., Nitrous Oxide makes up only 9% of the total greenhouse gas emissions,majors being carbondioxide and methane,but it has 300 times more global warming potential than the majors. The reason being N2O can survive for nearly 150 years in the atmosphere, and hence it has been recognized in the Kyoto Protocol as one of the major greenhouse gases that needs urgent attention.

The major areas of its emission are from waste treatment plants and agriculture. Its emissions are increasing at the rate of 0.25% every year.

The main reason for such a many-fold increase in the emission is that many species of bacteria, infesting the marshy areas like municipal sewage treatment plants,landfill sites,etc, are able to switch over to using nitrates for their own respiration in the absence of oxygen or low levels of oxygen due to increase in their population in a relatively small area. This process of 'denitrification' releases N2O in huge quantities. Researchers are now trying to understand the significant environmental variables that make the different species of bacteria release N2O in such enduring quantities .According to Prof. Richardson "Global warming affects everybody, and understanding the biology of N2O emissions will provide for an important step in mitigating their impact."

We are now in urgent need of developing better strategies to control the N2O emissions otherwise it may prove to be a graver problem later in the 21st century, for us, for our children and for our grandchildren.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Indian Hockey Get Ruined Thanks To The Management!!!

Sunday,10th Feb 2008 dubbed as one of the most grevious day of the Indian hockey, deserves to be rightly called so.But blaming it on the players should be last thing on our minds,for its more of the Indian Hockey Federation(IHF) dismal "thinking"(if u may call them "thoughtful") that led to the collapse of the once glorious and cherished sport .

India for the first time, since 80 years, starting from the 1920's(1928 precisely) have been knocked in the Olympic qualifiers. Though a more readily available faction may comment frantically on the poor show of the Indian players when it most mattered, the biting reality is the "dark"(disturbingly unscrupulous) administration of the management going on for nearly a couple of decades that led to, above all, that led to the physchological downfall of the players.

During the late 1980's, Indian hockey was on a losing spree. It took the year of 1991 to fend some starfall on an otherwise gloomy sport. A cracker of a shot from Mukesh Shah,a young winger made all the difference in the Azlan Shah Cup, that carved out the fabulous victory for India against arch rivals Pakistan. A few days later a handful of journalists enquired about the match fees and rewards that might be offered to the Indian players on this account to the then federation President, Raghu Nandan Prasad. Back came his crude reply," I gave them air tickets, organized board and lodging. Aur Kya doon?(What else should i give?)Taj Mahal?". The reporters were shocked but even more shocking news was to follow soon. Reports later indicated that the team's tickets were instead brought by the HRD ministry and that Prasad was merely bluffing. Also it was the Malaysian organisers that took care of the players' boarding and lodging. Following a 'national outcry', Prasad was later forced to annouce a sum of 1 lakh to the team though i doubt if it ever arrived[citation needed].

Coming back to "our very own" Mr K.P.S. Gill "sahab"(regional slang intended), he once told a news magazine that match fees was BRIBERY. When he made that comment the IPL hadn't yet started. "Wonder what he has got to say now". I truly admire Dhanraj Pillay for what he did might not be viewed as the wisest thing to do but nonetheless he stood up for something he believed. As the captain of the team, he organized a protest on the eve of the India-Pakistan Series in 1998, but incidentally our Gill "sahab" refused to "bribe" them. And despite winning the Gold at the Asian Games after a gap of 32 years,which i reckon didn't appease our Gill "sahab" well enough,six players were sacked. In this way, he demolished another protest to be before the advent of another series thus dissipating the swords that were once drawn by Dhanraj Pillai. The telecast rights of the series were sold to Doordarshan, that too after paying a hefty 20% commission. Once journalists got an interesting fact that Gill "sahab" spent 7.8 lakhs on telephone bills and a miserly 2.5lakhs on players' welfare.[citation needed]

The Chilean chills probably did the job for the already demoralized Indian team that once held its head high in the international arena, thanks to the "unfaithful" federation, now rank as one of the underdogs of the truly glorious sport.

However we do seem to see some different equations with the federation now that there is a rumour that Indian hockey might select a new IHF president with the immediate removal of the in-command Mr Gill, though their is no guarantee that this is a wiser move with the advent of coming of Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Sports Minister who seems to be the most likely candidate for the post herewith. With the recent incident in mind and the rousing of national conciousness hopefully Indian hockey is taking its first steps towards a new beginning. However the debacle over whether the Indian team will be ever able to rise to its former glory remains uncertain and gloomy. Only time will tell whether we move forth in the right direction or still take another despondent move towards yet another dead end.