Month: August 2019

CoreShell Silicon Nanowires May Improve LithiumIon Batteries

first_img Nanomaterials and lithium rechargeable batteries 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. A schematic of the silicon core-shell nanowires, showing how they increase in volume before lithium ions are inserted (left) and after. Figure courtesy Yi Cui. Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Researchers have found a way to incorporate silicon into the structure of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power a wide variety of portable electronic devices, including digital cameras and cell phones. The group’s method, using a nanowire form of silicon, overcomes the roadblocks that have prevented the use of silicon and may help extend the batteries’ lifetimes. Lithium ion batteries work are based on the movement of lithium ions between two battery terminals, the anode and cathode. The ions are stored in the anode, nestled between the layers of the anode material, which is often graphite. When they discharge, the ions move to the cathode.One advantage of a graphite anode is the small volume change that occurs when the ions enter it. Additionally, existing lithium-ion batteries do boast fast ion movement rate between the terminals. But, despite their success, the batteries have a limited charge storage capacity and are not expected to be able to meet the needs of new technologies, which demand higher charge storage and longer battery life.Silicon has been eyed as a material that can allow researchers to overcome challenges, but there have been problems making it work. Silicon expands too much during ion insertion, for example, and bulk silicon breaks and loses capacity too quickly.Researchers from Stanford University seem to have overcome these issues using a nanostructured form of silicon. As described in the December 23, 2008, online edition of Nano Letters, they created silicon nanowires with a “core-shell” structure, consisting of a center solid wire surrounded by a cylindrical shell, similar to a coaxial cable. The core is crystalline while the shell has a disordered, or “amorphous,” structure. This works builds upon a result they published in January 2008 in Nature Nanotechnology, where they reported using a single-crystal nanowire to achieve a charge storage capacity ten times that of carbon.”The crystalline and amorphous components have separate qualities that make the overall wires successful as a battery anode material,” said the study’s corresponding researcher Yi Cui, a materials scientist at Stanford, to PhysOrg.com. “We thought it might be possible to use the amorphous shell to store the ions, while the core would provide mechanical support and an efficient electron conduction pathway.”Both crystalline and amorphous silicon can store lithium ions similarly well, but amorphous silicon seems to perform better over many cycles. It also reacts with lithium at a higher electric potential, a convenient way of making ion storage the exclusive job of the amorphous shell. If the potential is maintained at the higher level, lithium ions cannot be stored in the core.Core-shell silicon nanowires have been incorporated into other technologies, such as solar cells, but not before in batteries. Cui and his colleagues found that the amorphous shell does expand when limiting the charging potential, but not significantly. And the wires have a high charge-storage capacity—about three times that of carbon—and retain the capacity at the 90% level over 100 charge-discharge cycles. The core-shell nanowire design enables a very fast cycle, about seven minutes, and can provide a very large amount of power.Citations: 1. Nano Lett., Article ASAP DOI:10.1021/nl80363232. Nature Nanotechnology, 2008, vol 3, p 31, DOI:10.1038/nnano.2007.411Copyright 2007 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: ‘Core-Shell’ Silicon Nanowires May Improve Lithium-Ion Batteries (2009, January 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-core-shell-silicon-nanowires-lithium-ion-batteries.htmllast_img read more

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Creating a sixqubit cluster state

first_img Citation: Creating a six-qubit cluster state (2009, November 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-11-six-qubit-cluster-state.html Quantum computing: Entanglement may not be necessary The idea of entangling more qubits appears to be gaining traction with a recent experiment conducted the University of Rome in Italy. Giuseppe Vallone is a member of group that was able to entangle a two-photon, six-qubit cluster state. “The degree of entanglement increases with more qubits,” Vallone tells PhysOrg.com. “If you want a bigger entanglement, you need to be able to work with more qubits. This is moving us in that direction.” The results of the experiment can be found in Physical Review Letters: “Experimental Entanglement and Nonlocality of a Two-Photon Six-Qubit Cluster State.”Vallone and his peers believe that this represents the first time a six-qubit linear cluster state built using a two-photon triple entangled state has been experimentally demonstrated. The demonstration aims at creating a hybrid method of increasing entanglement by adding more qubits, but also limiting the decoherence that comes when a greater number of particles is involved with the system. “If we can increase the number of particles and degrees of freedom,” Vallone explains, “you can get a more highly entangled state, which would have a number of possible uses in a possible future quantum technology.”In order to set up the experiment, Vallone and his colleagues prepared a six-qubit state that was hyper-entangled using two photons with triple entanglement. Longitudinal momentum and polarization were used to encode three qubits in each particle, and then a series of unitary transformations were performed in order to entangle some of the qubits. The process was an extension of work that has been done to create four-qubit states.To make sure entanglement had taken place, measurements had to be taken. “We measured each particle with the encoded qubits, and measured their states,” Vallone says. “Entanglement is a correlation between different systems, and we were able to compare the measurements on the two photons and see that there was entanglement.”Going forward, Vallone hopes that the number of qubits used can be increased to eight. “When you increase the qubits, the computational power grows exponentially,” Vallone says. “So it is important to see if we can get this effect with a higher number of qubits. Now that we have shown that it can be done with six, the next step is go on to eight, and then add even more qubits.” This way, he continues, it should be possible to eventually use the method for practical quantum computation. “We are trying to use the two-photon state to perform a quantum algorithm that can be seen as a proof-of-principle demonstration of a quantum computer, and I think that we will be able to get there at some point.”More information: Ceccarelli, et. al. “Experimental Entanglement and Nonlocality of a Two-Photon Six-Qubit Cluster State,” Physical Review Letters (2009). Available online: http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.160401. Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. 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.center_img Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Many scientists believe that quantum entanglement is required in order for effective quantum computing. Entanglement takes place when there is a connection that exists between two objects – even when they are spatially separated – that allows what happens to one to happen to the other. The link is such that each entangled object cannot be adequately described without its counterpart. So far, entangling qubits for practical use has been difficult, since scientists want to be able to entangle several qubits at once.last_img read more

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Chinese team develop fuel cell that can clean water as it generates

first_img Liu notes in the paper, that wastewater (the stuff that goes down the toilet when flushed) or sewage, as it’s more commonly known in other countries, is a great source of environmental pollution and at the same time, is a truly important and often overlooked source of energy, which, unfortunately generally is not collected and used. It’s also an expensive by-product of human existence. Every day billions of people contribute to the ever growing problem of what to do with all the human waste that is created.In addition to organic material, wastewater often contains other materials that need to be removed in order to reuse the water for other purposes. In their lab the team tested their fuel cell’s ability to separate clear aromatics (perfumes), azo dyes, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and endocrine-disrupting compounds (birth control pill chemicals that wind up in urine) from wastewater samples and found they were able to separate them completely from the organic material thus producing clean water.To allow the system to use visible and regular sunlight rather than UV, the team modified the electrodes with semiconductors (such as CdS) which means of course the system, if industrialized, could be used outside as an add-on perhaps to existing wastewater treatment plants.So far the team hasn’t listed cost estimates for building an electrical/wastewater treatment facility with their new technology, but it’s not hard to see how useful such a plant would be in areas where sewage is sometimes not treated at all, but simply dumped into rivers or streams, or worse, in the streets. In addition to helping clean up such places, the people in those areas would benefit from the electricity that would be produced in the process. Wastewater: Energy of the future? 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. (PhysOrg.com) — Yanbiao Liu and his colleagues from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have succeeded in building a device capable of both cleaning wastewater and producing electricity from it. Using light as an energy source the team created a photo-catalytic fuel cell that used a titanium dioxide nanotube-array anode and a cathode based on platinum. The light energy degrades the organic material found in the wastewater and in the process generates electrons which pass through the cathode converting it into electricity. The team has published its results on Water Science & Technology. More information: A TiO2-nanotube-array-based photocatalytic fuel cell using refractory organic compounds as substrates for electricity generation, Chem. Commun., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1CC13388HAbstractA TiO2-nanotube-array-based photocatalytic fuel cell system was established for generation of electricity from various refractory organic compounds and simultaneous wastewater treatment. The present system can respond to visible light and produce obviously enhanced cell performance when a narrow band-gap semiconductor (i.e. Cu2O and CdS) was combined with TiO2 nanotubes.via Royal Society of Chemistrycenter_img Explore further © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: Chinese team develop fuel cell that can clean water as it generates electricity (2011, August 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-chinese-team-fuel-cell-electricity.htmllast_img read more

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NVIDIA dresses up CUDA parallel computing platform

first_img CUDA is a parallel computing platform and programming model that was created by NVIDIA. The company promotes CUDA as the pathway to achieve dramatic increases in computing performance by harnessing the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). According to the company, with CUDA, a developer can send C, C++ and Fortran code straight to the GPU; no assembly language is required.Generally, developers at scientific companies look to GPU computing for speeding up applications for scientific and engineering computing. With this approach, GPU-accelerated applications run the sequential part of their workload on the CPU while accelerating parallel processing on the GPU.The company notes that a combined team from Harvard Engineering, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital have used GPUs to simulate blood flow and identify hidden arterial plaque without having to use invasive imaging techniques or exploratory surgery. At NASA, where computer models identify ways to alleviate congestion and keep traffic moving efficiently, a NASA team has made use of GPUs to gain on performance and reduce analysis time.“When we started creating CUDA, we had a lot of choices for what we could build. The key thing customers said was they didn’t want to have to learn a whole new language or API,” said Ian Buck, general manager at NVIDIA. “Some of them were hiring gaming developers because they knew GPUs were fast but didn’t know how to get to them.“ He said NVIDIA wanted to provide a solution that could be learned in one session and outperform CPU code. The revised CUDA parallel computing platform carries three main changes that are supposed to make parallel programming with GPUs easier and faster. The Visual Profiler with a few clicks is said to deliver an automated performance analysis of the user’s application. It highlights problem areas and shows links to suggestions for improvement. This eases application acceleration. Also, NVIDIA is transitioning to new LLVM based compiler technology, The compiler is based on the LLVM open-source compiler infrastructure, and can deliver an increase in application performance. (LLVM is an umbrella project that hosts and develops a set of close-knit toolchain components such as assemblers, compilers and debuggers. The LLVM project started in 2000 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.)New imaging and signal processing functions are increasing the size of the NVIDIA Performance Primitives (NPP) library. The updated NPP library can be used for image and signal processing algorithms, ranging from basic filtering to advanced workflows.NVIDIA unveiled CUDA in 2006, announcing CUDA as the world’s first solution for general-computing on GPUs. NVIDIA cites some examples on its site of CUDA’s user base today. In the consumer market, nearly every major consumer video application has been, or will soon be, accelerated by CUDA, including products from Adobe, Sony , Elemental Technologies, MotionDSP and LoiLo, according to NVIDIA. In scientific research. CUDA accelerates AMBER, a molecular dynamics simulation program used by researchers to speed up new drug discovery. More information: www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_home_new.html 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. Explore further NVIDIA Ushers In the Era of Personal Supercomputingcenter_img (PhysOrg.com) — This week’s NVIDIA announcement of a dressed up version of its CUDA parallel computing platform is targeted as a good news message for engineers, biologists, chemists, physicists, geophysicists, and other researchers on fast-track computations using GPUs. The new version features an LLVM (low-level virtual machine)-based CUDA compiler, new imaging and signal processing functions added to the NVIDIA Performance Primitives library and a redesigned Visual Profiler with automated performance analysis and expert guidance. NVIDIA says the new enhancements are ways to advance simulations and computational work for these users. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: NVIDIA dresses up CUDA parallel computing platform (2012, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-nvidia-cuda-parallel-platform.htmllast_img read more

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Physicists theorize entangled quantum batteries could be almost perfect

first_img More information: Extractable work from ensembles of quantum batteries. Entanglement helps, arXiv:1211.1209 [quant-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1211.1209AbstractMotivated by the recent interest in thermodynamics of micro- and mesoscopic quantum systems we study the maximal amount of work that can be reversibly extracted from a quantum system used to store temporarily energy. Guided by the notion of passivity of a quantum state we show that entangling unitary controls extract in general more work than independent ones. In the limit of large number of copies one can reach the thermodynamical bound given by the variational principle for free energy.via Arxiv Blog (Phys.org)—Theoretical physicists Robert Alicki and Mark Fannes of the University of Gdansk and the University of Leuven respectively, have uploaded a paper to the preprint server arXiv where they theorize that it should be possible to build an almost perfect entangled quantum battery. They suggest that as the number of entangled batteries increases, their overall performance approaches the thermodynamic limit. © 2012 Phys.org Explore further Chinese team builds first quantum router Journal information: arXiv The teams’ ideas are based on work that has shown that some quantum systems possess some amount of energy while others do not, i.e. those in a passive state. The difference between the two is considered to be extractable work. In their paper the two show that under normal circumstances, the work extracted from such a system isn’t perfect, but when entanglement is considered, things can be improved. They suggest that if a quantum battery were made that was also entangled, more work could be extracted from the system as more of the entangled batteries are added to the system. Such work could theoretically be extracted instantly, because of the properties of entanglement, which they say, would mean that as more batteries are added, the closer the whole system would come to being a perfect battery, i.e. one that doesn’t lose any energy when it’s transferred.Their theory is not without its flaws, the pair acknowledge, the main one being that no one knows how to build such a battery using current technology. Another is that even if there were a way, the practicalities of building a real battery would likely introduce inefficiencies into the system, removing its perfection.On the other hand, as some have noted, nature seems to have found a away to overcome the problem of building such a battery as, biologists have shown that the process of photosynthesis achieves perfect energy transfer, though nobody has been able to explain how.If ever an entangled quantum battery were made with nearly perfect energy transfer, it could be used to power atomic or even subatomic devices, or perhaps more practically, allow for the creation of batteries that are far superior to those used in everyday applications such as lithium-ion battery packs. 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. Citation: Physicists theorize entangled quantum batteries could be almost perfect (2012, November 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-physicists-theorize-entangled-quantum-batteries.htmllast_img read more

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Muscles act as metamaterials due to collective behavior physicists show

first_img Citation: Muscles act as metamaterials due to collective behavior, physicists show (2013, June 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-muscles-metamaterials-due-behavior-physicists.html Upon further search for possible mechanisms of negative stiffness, scientists in a new study have found that biological muscles exhibit a mechanical response that also qualifies them as metamaterials: when a tetanized (maximally contracted) muscle is suddenly extended, it comes loose, and if it is suddenly shortened, it tightens up without using any of the metabolic fuel adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The researchers explained that this behavior is due to the folding and unfolding of proteins called myosin cross-bridges that play a crucial role in muscle contraction. Most interestingly, muscles appear to be finely tuned to perform close to a critical point, at which they can exhibit highly synchronized microscale behavior. The researchers, M. Caruel, J.-M. Allain, and L. Truskinovsky, at CNRS-UMR, Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau Cedex, France, have published their paper in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. Caruel is now at Inria in Palaiseau, France.As the authors of the new paper explain, skeletal muscles can exhibit two types of behavior: active and passive. Active behavior occurs on time scales of about 30 milliseconds (ms). At shorter time scales, about 1 ms, muscles exhibit passive behavior, including negative stiffness. As the researchers explain, elementary parts of these mechanisms that ensure efficient recovery of forces work as snap-springs, making muscles similar in a sense to shape memory alloys. A remarkable phenomenon reported by Caruel, et al., is that, in contrast to known smart materials, the micro-mechanisms inside muscles are finely tuned to work in unison, which allows them to perform a highly synchronized stroke. Behind this collective behavior is an internal architecture with domineering long-range interactions, which has been previously overlooked in muscle studies. Already in 1971, researchers A. F. Huxley and R. M. Simmons at University College London observed the unusual passive mechanical response of tetanized muscles and developed a model of muscle contraction explaining this behavior. This model has since dominated the field, and its impact was based on the impressive scientific reputation of Sir Andrew Huxley, a Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist who served for a long time as President of the Royal Society. Muscles act as metamaterials when they exhibit “negative stiffness,” meaning they loosen when extended and tighten when shortened. Although this unusual behavior was originally observed in 1971, a new study has found that the behavior can be explained by the collective behavior of muscle material, which seems to be finely tuned to operate near a critical point. Credit: Wikipedia / public domain In the paper of Caruel, et al., a seemingly innocent change of the loading conditions in the Huxley-Simmons model has led to the discovery of the collective behavior and criticality, which had been overlooked despite more than 40 years of intense scrutiny of this model in many papers and textbooks. Quite surprisingly, the cooperation at the nanoscale in muscles was found to be similar to magnetism; moreover, the critical point at which muscles seem finely tuned to perform near is, in this case, a direct analog of the ferromagnetic Curie point. Criticality and the ubiquity of power laws are issues of great significance in contemporary science, giving a framework for understanding the emergence of complexity in a variety of natural systems, from earthquakes to turbulence. Why and how muscle systems are tuned to criticality is an open problem, and the authors argue that it can be the result of either evolutionary or functional self-organization. Tuning to criticality in muscles has many intriguing parallels in other biological systems. For instance, in a 2011 paper published in Physical Review Letters, Patzelt and Pawelzik showed that when humans perform control tasks like in upright standing or while balancing a stick, their behavior also exhibits power law fluctuations, which suggests a fine-tuning of the underlying mechanical system to a critical point. Similar fluctuations have been also found in the collective behavior of humans; for example, in stock market log-return fluctuations. According to Patzelt and Pawelzik, the criticality emerges when an unstable dynamics as, for instance, in metamaterials with negative stiffness, is stabilized by an adaptive controller that has finite memory. Overall, the discovery that muscles act as metamaterials due to collective behavior suggests that determining the cause of the critical behavior of muscles may lead to a paradigm change in the biomimetic design of new materials. 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. © 2013 Phys.org. All rights reserved. Journal information: Nature Artificial muscle computer performs as a universal Turing machine Explore further (Phys.org) —Metamaterials are defined as artificial materials that have been engineered to have unusual properties that are not found in nature. For instance, ordinary materials (say, a rubber band) that are under tension expand in the direction of that tension, while metamaterials may contract, exhibiting “negative stiffness” while still remaining stable. An idea of how this could work in principle was suggested in a 1991 Nature paper by Cohen and Horowitz, and in a 2012 Nature Materials paper by Nicolaou and Motter this idea was implemented to construct an extended material that contracts when tensioned (pulled) or expands when compressed (pushed). More information: M. Caruel, et al. “Muscle as Metamaterial Operating Near a Critical Point.” PRL 110, 248103 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.248103Z. G. Nicolaou, et al. “Mechanical metamaterials with negative compressibility transitions.” Nature Materials, 11, 608 (2012). DOI: 10.1038/nmat3331Cohen, J.E., Horowitz, P. “Paradoxical behaviour of mechanical and electrical networks.” Nature 352, 699 – 701 (1991). DOI:10.1038/352699a0Patzelt, Felix, and Klaus Pawelzik. “Criticality of adaptive control dynamics.” PRL, 107.23 (2011): 238103. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.238103Huxley, A. F., Simmons, R. M. “Proposed mechanism of force generation in striated muscle.” Nature 233, 533-538 (1971). DOI: 10.1038/233533a0 , Nature Materials , Physical Review Letterslast_img read more

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Research trio claim landslides key to mountain longevity

first_img Citation: Research trio claim landslides key to mountain longevity (2013, June 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-trio-landslides-key-mountain-longevity.html Scientists have believed for many years that “quiet” mountain ranges—those that are geologically dormant—tend to erode mostly due to rivers that flow around them or down their sides, cutting away at their bedrock. But until now, very little research has been done to find out why some mountain ranges last much longer than others.To find out, the researchers in this latest effort built computer models that simulate the impact that flowing rivers have on mountain ranges. They found that the type of sediments in the river water had a very large impact on erosion—the grittier the water, the larger the impact. That was not really new, other researchers have suspected as much. What was new was that the computer simulations showed that landslides had a far bigger impact than has been previously suspected. Interestingly, the computer models showed that they can cause mountains to erode faster than normal, or slower, depending on the type and location.Typically, landslides cause a large amount of rock and dirt to fall into a river; if that material is gritty then the landslide will likely cause the mountain to erode faster than it would have otherwise. On the other hand, if a landslide causes a backup in the river, then dirt, rocks and silt can build up in a river basin, effectively causing a slowing of river flow and thus erosion. Such slowing, the researchers found, could lead to a smoother landscape resulting in fewer landslides. This scenario would account for the vast differences found in mountain range ages. The Appalachian Mountains in the U.S., the researchers note, are several hundred million years old—older models suggest they shouldn’t have lasted longer than tens of millions of years. The type of landslides they experienced over the years, the researchers assert, helped the Appalachians hold steady. Landslides linked to plate tectonics create the steepest mountain terrain Photo of White Mountain peak taken in the Alpine Zone. Credit: Jonathan Lamb/Wikimedia Commons (Phys.org) —A trio of researchers, two from Aarhus University in Denmark and a third from the University of Melbourne in Australia, claim in a paper published in the journal Nature that mountain longevity is likely due to the type of landslides that occur at their base. They’ve created computer simulations that recreate the conditions that lead to mountain erosion and say landslide types can mean the difference between short- and long-lived mountain ranges. © 2013 Phys.orgcenter_img Journal information: Nature Explore further More information: Nature 498, 475–478 (27 June 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12218 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

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Schools somewhat out for summer Five tips to help academics make the

first_imgFamily member: But you’re not taking classes or teaching. Academic: I know, but I’m still working—I’m doing my research. Family member: What are you going to do while you’re off for the summer? It’s summertime! (Well, almost.) Classes are ending, grades are being finalized, and colloquiums and other meetings are winding down. Many academics will soon open their calendars and see plenty of blank spaces over the next 3 months. On one hand, that can feel liberating: “Finally! I have time to WRITE ALL THE WORDS and do everything else I failed to complete over the past 9 months.” On the other hand, the sudden lack of structure can lead to a “summer slump”—the common experience of feeling isolated and struggling to reach our goals. Academic: I’m not off. So, how do you make the most of these next few months that you have “off”? Here are five tips to get your summer off to the right start. Read the whole story: Sciencelast_img read more

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BSE surveillance Jet Airways shares circuit limit tweaked

first_imgLeading stock exchange BSE on Tuesday revised the permissible daily trading limit for shares of Jet Airways and 19 other companies, as part of a surveillance action.The new limits, which ensure that stock prices do not go up or down beyond a level during a trading session, will be effective from Wednesday. In a circular, BSE said the price of Jet Airways cannot change by more than 10 per cent in a day. The stock price of Jet Airways has spurted by 48 per cent in the last five trading sessions. The company’s shares on Tuesday closed at Rs 376.95 apiece on the BSE, up 8.29 per cent.last_img read more

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ER bags first position in suburban traffic earnings

first_imgKolkata: Eastern Railway has secured the first position, both in suburban passenger traffic and also for earnings among suburban sections of all the Zones in Indian Railways.It may be mentioned here that in 2017-18, the Eastern Railway has succeeded in carrying 1,031.48 million suburban passengers, indicating a growth of 3.46 percent over last year. It has also earned Rs 628.93 crore during 2017-18 from just suburban passenger traffic, registering a growth of 4.20 percent. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsEastern Railway has carried a total of 1,223.15 million passengers during 2017-18, which is 3.29 percent higher than that of the previous year. An earning of Rs 2,668.06 crore was also registered, which is 3.44 percent higher than the amount earned during 2016-17. Eastern Railway has also strengthened ticket checking, helping it to earn extra revenues.To check ticketless travelling, Eastern Railway has further strengthened ticket checking drives all over its jurisdiction, encompassing all the four Divisions like Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol and Malda. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedDuring the financial year 2017-18, around 24.40 lakh cases were found, in which passengers were fined for travelling without or with improper ticket. The un-booked luggage detected also contributed to the generation of extra revenues. This is also 11 percent higher than that of last year. Around Rs 48 crore was realised from vigorous ticket checking drives, registering a growth of 21 percent over the last financial year.last_img read more

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Philips Carbon Black to set up greenfield carbon black plant in TN

first_imgKolkata: Philips Carbon Black (PCBL), India’s largest carbon black producer will come up with a greenfield carbon black plant in Tamil Nadu and undertake expansion in two of its existing plants. The setting up of the Tamil Nadu plant and the expansion of the existing plants at Mundra and Palej in Gujarat will entail a total investment of Rs 900 crore in the next two years. “We are setting up a 60-acre greenfield plant at Ennore in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 600 crore with a production capacity of 1.5 lakh tonne. Along with it, we will go for de-bottlenecking of Mundra and Palej plants at a cost of Rs 300 crore. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights50,000 tonne will be added to the Mundra plant by December 2018, while 30,000 tonnes capacity will be added to the one at Palej by March 2019,” PCBL chairman Sanjiv Goenka said.The Tamil Nadu plant is expected to be commissioned by 2020. The plan for expansion has been triggered from the rising demand of carbon black driven majorly by the Tyre industry and specialty black users.The total capacity will jump by 50 percent to seven lakh tonne in the next two years by when all the projects will be completed. The present capacity of PCBL’s plants is around 4.7 lakh tonne. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedPCBL’s other plants in Cochin in Kerala and Durgapur in Bengal, however, will not see any capacity enhancement as of now.PCBL also reported a jump of 174 percent in net profit to Rs 74 crore in the Q4 period ended March 2018 on the back of lower interest outgo, operational efficiency and higher sales. The debt of the company had been reduced by Rs 430 crore during 2017-18 to Rs 770 crore as of March 2018. “We are debt averse group. We are planning to wind up long term debt in PCBL by 2020. It is about Rs 460 crore now,” Goenka said.last_img read more

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Puja committees to get awards for plastic bag ban awareness

first_imgSiliguri: The state Tourism department has taken up the initiative to form a committee very soon and award the Durga Puja organisers of this year according to their performance in making citizens aware about the harmfulness of the usage of plastic carry bags and the importance to abolish them.”The Tourism Department is very serious about sincere initiatives in abolishing single-use plastic bags from Siliguri within the month of October before the Durga Puja,” says Goutam Deb, the state Tourism minister. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Tourism department had organised a fresh campaign on Friday titled “Beat the Plastic Usage.” The Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation (HNAF) had participated in the campaign along with various other renowned personalities from medical practitioners, NGOs to teachers and professors from different colleges and schools.The participants of the campaign had discussed the disadvantages of using single-use plastic carry bags. The effect of the usage of plastics is very harmful, especially in the case of infants and foetuses, said a medical practitioner. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedNot only does health get affected but also the environment is polluted. After the Kerala floods, many bridges and places had been found full of non-biodegradable plastics and polystyrenes, stated an eminent professor.”We have to stand together and with our collective efforts and strictly enforce the laws of not producing, using and storing simple plastic bags in the vicinities of both Darjeeling as well as Jalpaiguri districts,” stated Ashim Bose, the programme coordinator of HNAF. The municipal corporation had fined around Rs 4,000 this year till date for using plastic bags.Previously, the corporation had also banned 450 kilos of plastic bags.When asked about the alternatives of plastic bags, various ideas of using jute bags, bags made of cotton as well as the use of clay bowls in sweet shops replacing plastics came up from the different participants.”The use of plastic bags had reduced considerably these days and this has been possible because of the peoplecooperating with the government which is highly appreciable. Besides, I would also request the people to plant more trees and to water those planted by the government alongside the streets and make the environment eco-friendly,” stated Deb.The five days during Durga Puja have been specifically targeted for analysing the performance of the different puja organisers because the entire festival is a major attraction where people from various parts of the city visit the Puja pandals.last_img read more

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How mindfulness meditation improves health

first_imgMuch of the health benefits associated with mindfulnes meditation training is due to the changes that this form of meditation causes in the brain, suggests new research.In mindfullnes meditation people make a conscious, focused practice of attending to their current state and sensations.“We have now seen that mindfulness meditation training can reduce inflammatory biomarkers in several initial studies, and this new work sheds light into what mindfulness training is doing to the brain to produce these inflammatory health benefits,” said lead author David Creswell, associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US. Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the new study showed that mindfulness meditation training, compared to relaxation training, reduces Interleukin-6, an inflammatory health biomarker, in high-stress, unemployed community adults.For the randomised controlled trial, 35 job-seeking, stressed adults were exposed to either an intensive three-day mindfulness meditation retreat programme or a well-matched relaxation retreat programme that did not have a mindfulness component. All participants completed a five-minute resting state brain scan before and after the three-day programme. They also provided blood samples right before the intervention began and at a four-month follow-up. The brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation training increased the functional connectivity of the participants’ resting default mode network in areas important to attention and executive control. Participants who received the relaxation training did not show these brain changes. The participants who completed the mindfulness meditation programme also had reduced IL-6 levels, and the changes in brain functional connectivity coupling accounted for the lower inflammation levels.“We think that these brain changes provide a neurobiological marker for improved executive control and stress resilience, such that mindfulness meditation training improves your brain’s ability to help you manage stress, and these changes improve a broad range of stress-related health outcomes, such as your inflammatory health,” Creswell said.last_img read more

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The tale of Draupadis escapade to earth

first_imgWhat happens when Draupadi, bored of heaven, decides to escape to earth with Amba, Kunti and Gandhari? They land up in New Delhi only to soak in as much of the mortal world as they could.‘Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas’ is an interesting take on the feisty queen, a feminist in her own right, by filmmaker, writer and stand-up comedian Trisha Das.According to the author, Draupadi had “spent virtually her whole life juggling the five of them (Pandavas) so that none felt less of a husband to her than the others. Each had constantly tested her: Yudhishtra with sarcasm, Bhima with fits of jealous rage, Arjuna with self-pity and endless ‘what if’ conversations and Nakula and Sahadeva with defiance and sulking. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf“She had cajoled, calmed and even coerced them on a daily basis so that they remained fit to function as rulers without killing each other. Exhausting for five women, let alone one.” Das says she’s been always a big fan of the Mahabharata and knew she wanted to write a fan fiction novel. “These four women – Draupadi, Amba, Kunti and Gandhari – have always fascinated me and I wanted to try and use their perspective in a fun, yet meaningful way,” she says. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThus was born “Ms Draupadi Kuru: After the Pandavas,” which she says is “sort of like Jane Austen meets Hrishikesh Mukherjee meets documentary meets humour meets fantasy meets mythology.” Das says her book, published by HarperCollins India, is not a retelling or a reimagining but a contemporary story which “starts thousands of years after the Mahabharata ended, in present day India.” Religion doesn’t come into play at all in the book and was never an area of focus, she says, adding “I’ve always tried in my writing to be respectful to both religion and mythology.”  Das chose the character of Draupadi for her book as “I think she most closely represents a modern Indian woman in terms of outlook and personality. She seems to have a relatively modern sensibility and a questioning nature.” Draupadi, according to her, is “strong, passionate and fiery. She’s intelligent and loyal. She’s headstrong and impetuous.” Asked if she was apprehensive while choosing the topic of the book, she replies, “No. This book comes from a place of love and respect, not fear or apprehension.”last_img read more

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Will visit every doorstep to expedite pending tax collection Atin Ghosh

first_imgKolkata: Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh will be going to the doorsteps of citizens to speed up the collection of pending taxes. Ghosh was handed over the charge of the Assessment Collection department on Tuesday.”I have gone to every single doorstep to create massive awareness against vector-borne diseases like dengue. The same model will be followed in tax collection. There is still Rs 4,700 crore tax pending and we will try to mop it up quickly,” Ghosh told reporters after sitting on the Deputy Mayor’s chair for the first time. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSources said that Ghosh has instructed the concerned officials of his departments to write the name of the officer along with the date on top of the files as soon as they reach his table. “This will be helpful in monitoring delay, if any, on the part of any officer in dispatching of files,” the sources said. Ghosh said he will also take steps to simplify the process of depositing property tax through unit area assessment (UAA). “People will also be informed that if somebody wants to pay property tax using the old method, it will also be accepted,” he added. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that KMC had introduced UAA in April 2017, but a good number of people have been unable to properly understand the process of submitting tax through the same. There are a total of 2.75 lakh assessees under KMC but till March this year, only around 50,000 people had paid their taxes through UAA. “An unnecessary scare about the new property tax calculation method has kept assessees from embracing the new method. We need to put an end to this irrational fear and for this, we are taking all measures,” a senior official of the Assessment department said.last_img read more

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Safety security of pilgrims top priority South 24Parganas DM

first_imgKolkata: The South 24-Parganas district administration is laying special emphasis on the safety and security of the pilgrims of Gangasagar Mela, which will be held from January 9 to 17. Apart from CCTVs and drones, the district administration for the first time will use helium-based balloons fitted with high quality cameras for surveillance.”The safety and security of the pilgrims have always been our top priority. There will be around 700 CCTVs, 20 drones and most importantly, 10 helium-based balloons for round-the-clock surveillance of the entire mela ground, as well as its vicinity,” said Y Ratnakara Rao, District Magistrate, South 24-Parganas. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe district administration has come up with an integrated mega control room that will encompass the entire stretch right from Babughat to the Gangasagar Mela ground. The control room infrastructure will effectively ensure data flow through all the surveillance equipment and 50 LED screens. Officials at Lot 8, Kachuberia, Chemaguri and Namkhana will be able to view real time crowd flow and activities of their cross-channel counterparts. He added that the district administration will also be putting up an automatic weather station that will be providing details about weather conditions on a real time basis. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThere will be a 20 km metal barricade for safe and disciplined passage of pilgrims, which will minimise the chances of any mishap like stampede amidst the huge crowd. “A super clean Gangasagar Mela is our motto this year, for which we have also strengthened our infrastructure of solid waste management system. This is for the first time that we will be using pollution free e-carts in cleaning operation. There will be 1,500 drums placed at strategic locations and as soon as they get filled up with garbage, our volunteers will pass on the message and the e-carts will collect the garbage and dump them at an earmarked area for disposal,” Rao said. 60 hand-pulled tricycles will also be used for the purpose of cleanliness and there will be 250 concrete vats in the area with modern toilet facilities from the state Public Health & Engineering department. The state government, in consultation with Eastern Railways, will have two circular train services from Majerhat to Namkhana during the Gangasagar Mela. The District Magistrate also informed that apart from the usual facilities of healthcare on the mela ground, a critical care unit will also be functional at Rudranagar.last_img read more

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Five ways to keep your skin glowing and healthy during summers

first_imgAdding a healthy layer of sunscreen before stepping out of your house helps a lot. Image Title Even those short walks to lunch or just a visit to a nearby coffee place can risk your skin to direct Sun Exposure. So it’s recommended applying sunscreen or lotions enhanced with antioxidants for an extra skin-health boost before stepping out of your house.Consuming a good amount of water every dayImage Title Higher consumption of water helps you remain hydrated during the heat. Seasonal foods like Watermelon, Leafy greens and berries have a higher concentration of water in them. In fact, watermelon is the best fruit for summers as 91% of it is made of water. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSweat it outImage Title Working out during summers in the morning is a brilliant elixir that regulates your body temperature as well as removes the toxins from your body. Sweating also increases your blood circulation which also results in improving your skin. So, 30 minutes of work out doesn’t cost much! Revive, Rinse, Repeat!Image Title After getting exposed to direct sunlight your face requires a serious skin revival. Make it a habit of washing you face with cold water every day and clean it with a gentle skin cleanser after every time you arrive home from work. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveKeeping it naturalImage Title A continuous and long-term use of beauty products like BB creams or foundations can cause a damage to your skin. Try to clean your face with a cleanser every time you arrive home and avoid the use of such products as much as possible.last_img read more

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Gandhian inspiration in the world of literature

first_imgCreativity and inspiration are the two defining factors for most writers and their craft. But while creativity is largely the process of generating original ideas, inspiration is random. Sometimes it comes from the simplest of things. Like the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Poetry, prose or drama; fiction or nonfiction – Gandhi is everywhere. There are indeed only a handful of iconic personalities who have caught the imaginations of as many writers as Gandhi has. And one is wonderstruck at the diverse set of books that have been written on him or are inspired by him. Even 70 years after his death, the process has not stopped, but only gained momentum. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFrom Mulk Raj Anand to Sarojini Naidu, Dominique Lapierre to George Orwell and Khuswant Singh to V.S. Naipaul, almost all “during-Gandhi”, “post-Gandhi” and contemporary writers have somewhere referred to the life of “Bapu” in their works. Thus, they have brought different interpretations to his sayings, sketched fictional characters on his principles and composed verses on his thoughts.Sarojini Naidu, in her sonnet on Gandhi, describes him as an eternal lotus who is a source of guidance and strength for billions: “O mystic Lotus, sacred and sublime/ In myriad-petalled grace inviolate/ Supreme o’er transient storms of tragic Fate/ Deep-rooted in the waters of all Time…” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveBut Indian writing on Gandhi and Gandhism has also undergone tremendous change during this process. From the almost mystical being of the during-Gandhi era to a historical being with human vulnerabilities.Gandhian scholar Vashist Bhardwaj finds the works of R.K. Narayan critical for his exploration of Gandhi as subject. “Known for his direct approach in handling his subjects, in Gandhi’s case too, Narayan has used his wit at its best to ‘demahatmise’ Gandhism. For instance, Gandhi is seen as an oblivious yet dominating character in ‘Waiting for Mahatma’ with eyes closed to what is around and busy playing the dynamics of ‘self’. In Narayan’s ‘The Vendor of Sweets’ too, Jagan, the protagonist, comes across a hypocrite Gandhian, symbolising Gandhi’s failure to reach the masses,” Bhardwaj noted. The post-1990s’ writings have seen greater concentration on Gandhian politics in writings on him. If B.R. Nanda is all praise for Gandhi’s politics, Sunil Khilnani is just the opposite.Early foreign writings on Gandhi include the works of French writer Rolland Romain, Danish writer Ellen Horrup, American and English writers like George Orwell and Edmud Jones, among others. Romain, in “The Man who Became One with the Universal Being”, saw Gandhi as an ideal nationalist and called upon him to enlighten the youth of Europe. Similarly, Pearl S. Buck warned: “Oh, India, dare to be worthy of your Gandhi.”On the other hand, George Orwell puts Gandhi to trial, describing him as a “humble, naked old saint sitting on a prayer mat, attempting to shake the British Empire by utter spiritual power”. Orwell recognises the praiseworthy elements in Gandhi and writes: “Even Gandhi’s worst enemies would admit that he was an interesting and unusual man who enriched the world simply by being alive.”To note the rising presence of Mahatma Gandhi in the world of words, an extensive literary survey titled “Gandhi in Creative and Critical Imagination” was conducted in 2012 and published in the International Journal of Research in Social Sciences and Humanities by Sandhya Saxena, vice-principal of Bikaner’s Jain Girls College.”India in contemporary times is a stage set for Gandhi and Gandhigiri. Mahatma Gandhi permeates fiction as well as non-fiction in Indian writings, both in English and other languages. Gandhi is redefined in ways that are quite contemporary. Whereas in some cases there is an attempt to grapple with Gandhi and ultimately accommodate him, in other instances nothing of Gandhism remains unchallenged. Whatever be the case, in creative writings there is a sense of strong involvement as the writers pen Gandhi and Gandhism,” Saxena maintained.At a time when a considerable part of Bapu’s presence is contrary to what he stood for – roads named after him serve as begging tracks for starving men, women and children while his fabric and quotes are mere means to woo votes – it is perhaps in these pages of Gandhian literature that Bapu and his ideals are still alive.last_img read more

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In search of inner peace

first_img“I picked up the camera not to become a photographer, but to find inner peace,” reads a quote on the front wall of Sanjay Bhattacharya’s solo photography exhibition ‘Na Mono Lagena.’ The show brings out an array of 16 large photographs and a series of composite studies in small format celebrating his travels across India.Inaugurated by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on Thursday evening, at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, this show is unlike a regular photography exhibition, where one gets to see photographs with the dimensions of 16×20 or 17×22. But ‘Na Mono Lagena’, you see enormous photographs blown up on canvases giving out that larger than life feel to every pair of awestruck eyes. Like his paintings, Bhattacharya’s photographs reflect his passion for form and texture. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfStanding by his unusual ‘self-portrait’ Bhattacharya explains the strange yet interesting concept behind the shot. When you look at the photo, for an instance, it looks like a gunshot on an old mirror. Circling around the apparent shot mark, which is actually an extended rust formation, one can find the outline of a camera by the photographer’s head. “A case of both side shooting,” explained Sanjay Bhattacharya saying that when he found the mirror with the rust formation, he hovered around the mark to capture the right composition of his reflection – his self-portrait. He said that even though he had a camera since 1987, he took a serious interest in photography from 2006. “Once, I had called my photographer friend Akash to have a look at some of my photographs just before my first exhibition in 2009. The first thing he said seeing the frames in my studio was, ‘When did you paint these watercolours?’ That’s when I felt like I had achieved something with photography. I do not have to impress anybody with my photos. I click because I love to, photography is another medium of art,” said the jovial artist, known majorly for his works on watercolours and oil. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveUstad Amjad Ali Khan said, “His (Sanjay’s) photographs are from the eyes of an artist. All of them are beautiful, but the one which definitely arrests my attention is the Shantiniketan skyline. It is very inspiring to see such beautiful works.” Another eye-catching photograph which almost appears to pop out of the wall is that of Shiv-Parvati. The outstanding afternoon-sunlight gives a lively relief to the statues making them look unusually real. “I clicked this photograph at Tirupati, these are one of the neglected pieces one can find on the walls. What made me click was the light, which gives the picture a 3D appearance.” “I love the combination of black and brown textures-whether it is on a wall or in the coal tar that drips along the different containers that lie on the roadside. I think that combination is something that belongs to the Old Masters-like Dali and Rembrandt. The textural combination gives me a feeling of being excited – it springs within me lots of emotions. I have always had a preference for Gothic darkness – it’s a way of thinking and feeling – it’s about finding beauty in the darkness of destruction and decadence. One thing about these textures is that it has inbuilt contradictions, it is fascinating and inaccessible, distant because of demonstrated features, and it possesses such strength of character that it is far from beautiful,” states the artist.The inauguration was also graced by Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi, besides several other artists and art enthusiasts from across the Capital. ‘Na Mono Lagena’ is open for viewing until Sunday.last_img read more

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TMC activist beaten up in Murshidabad

first_imgKolkata: A Trinamool Congress activist was injured after being beaten up by some miscreants in Murshidabad. The district Trinamool Congress leaders have alleged that some Congress-backed goons were involved in the attack.The victim has been identified as Tuhin Sarkar. A resident of the Kalinagar area in Murshidabad, Sarkar was returning home on late Saturday evening when two motorcycle-borne miscreants stopped his way. They got down from the bike and started beating up the victim indiscriminately. The victim fell on the ground after receiving several blows. Hearing the screams of the victim, some local residents came to his rescue. The miscreants, however, had fled from the spot before the local people reached there. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThey rushed the victim to a nearby health centre. His condition is stated to be stable now. The incident has subsequently triggered a blame game between the local TMC and Congress leaders. TMC leaders alleged that Congress had engaged the miscreants to beat up Sarkar. However, Congress has refuted the allegation and termed the incident a result of infighting within TMC. Police have started a probe in this regard. They are conducting raids to nab the culprits.last_img read more

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