Monday, December 12, 2011

Kepler 22b, new planet or super Earth

scientists have discovered Kepler 22b, a new planet or super earth. But do we have means to ascertain or make a definite claim about it asks M Sundaram?

NASA’s new finding, Kepler 22b has made people sit up and take notice. This is a planet that NASA says may support the life and vegetation. Though it may take decades or centuries in making things more clear about Kepler 22b as many analysts have said that saying something definite about
some planet as far away as 600 light years away is well nigh impossible, people are overjoyed with the finding.

For many of us, the distance of 600 light years may be very difficult to comprehend. One light year away if measured in our kilometer term is at least 10 trillion kilometers away from our earth. So you can ‘easily’ calculate as to how many years it may take to actually take you to that super planet that NASA scientists are talking about.

A reader has sent this sarcastic response, “Interesting discovery! What did it cost the American taxpayer for NASA to make this discovery? What do they really expect to learn from their telescopic observations? Think about this: The planet is 600 light years away (folks, that is 3,526,800,000,000,000 miles); it is reported that it would take 20 million years to reach the planet, which would indicate a required sustained average of 22,315 mph to get there. Sorry, but the whole space exploration operation begs the question: What have we really learned that will benefit us, and ad what cost?

But most of the people seem very happy to know that the planet looks like earth and may be the first planet to support vegetation.

With the new finding, NASA may silence many a voices that were seeking further slashing of its funding. Kepler mission has reportedly discovered as many as more than 1200 planets, but this is the first one that it claims may support vegetation. Kepler Mission or NASA Discovery mission number 10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

Kepler has been very intricately designed to detect stars millions of kilometers away. When a planet crosses in front of its star as viewed by an observer, the event is called a transit. Transits by terrestrial planets produce a small change in a star’s brightness of about 1/10,000 (100 parts per million, ppm), lasting for 2 to 16 hours. This change must be absolutely periodic if it is caused by a planet. In addition, all transits produced by the same planet must be of the same change in brightness and last the same amount of time, thus providing a highly repeatable signal and robust detection method.

A NASA report says, “Once detected, the planet’s orbital size can be calculated from the period (how long it takes the planet to orbit once around the star) and the mass of the star using Kepler’s Third Law of planetary motion. The size of the planet is found from the depth of the transit (how much the brightness of the star drops) and the size of the star”.

But it is clear that most of the findings of such missions are speculative and there is a whole lot of assumptions playing into it. So don’t be very ecstatic. It is just an assumption that there is some planet that may support human life. We are sooooooooo far away from having right technology to find anything worthwhile about it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baby girl for Abhi-Ash

A girl was born to star couple Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan at a private hospital here Wednesday morning.
The baby, their first child, was born at the Seven Hills Hospital. Mother and daughter were both doing fine.
'IT'S A GIRL!!,' Abhishek, 35, posted on micro-blogging site He had recently said he wanted a daughter who looked
like Aishwarya.
Proud grandfather Amitabh Bachchan too couldn't control his happiness and tweeted: 'I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl, A dada ji ... Ecstatic.'
Hospital sources said the delivery was normal and came a few minutes before 10 a.m. The Bachchan and Rai families were present for the momentous occasion.
Aishwarya, 38, developed labour pains around 4 a.m. and was taken to the labour room where the delivery took place after nearly six hours.
The actress is on the fifth floor of the luxury private hospital in Andheri east.
The hospital had booked three rooms on the floor -- one for Aishwarya, the other for the Bachchan family and the third for the Rai family. The entire floor was kept out of bounds for all except the two families.
The hospital has been under tight security for the past three days in expectation of the youngest member of the Bachchan family.
Aishwarya was admitted to the hospital Monday night, according to her spokesperson.
The Bachchan family had been waiting for the baby's arrival for a few days and preparing for the child's welcome.
The girl is Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan's third grandchild, after Agastya and Navya Naveli -- children of his daughter Shweta and son-in-law Nikhil Nanda.
Aishwarya tied the knot with Abhishek in April 2007 and rumours about her pregnancy had been doing the rounds ever since.
In June this year, when Amitabh announced her pregnancy through Twitter, it grabbed the headlines.
A 10-point advisory by the Broadcast Editor's Association (BEA) reportedly asked TV channel heads to curtail media coverage regarding the high-profile delivery.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Invasion of the South Indian Hotties

South India, which gave us faces like Aishwarya Rai, Asin, Tabu, Vidya Balan has opened it's bountiful coffers of beauty once again.

Taapsee Pannu
Taapsee Pannu recently Taapsee Pannuscored a two-film deal with Viacom Entertainment. Her first, 'Chashme Baddoor', a David Dhawan film will hit theaters in November.

In the let one-one-and-a-half years, Taapsee has starred in 8 films. “All the films that I’ve worked on gave me a lot of scope to perform. There were days when I felt exhausted and worn out, but I guess it’s the love of movies that made me push all my boundaries. I hope to be part of more such films in the future,”

Taapsee once even refused a film with Amitabh Bachchan due to date issues.

Nidhi Subbaiah
Nidhi is rumored to have been approached for the female lead role in Jazz, making her Bollywood debut, Nidhi Subbaiahalong with another Sandalwood (Karnataka film industry) actor, Diganth Manchale.

She got this role after Prachi Desai, originally finalized for the role walked out of the project.

She stated: "It's true that I've been approached for the project. The makers have asked me to block my dates till November and are to send me the script soon. I haven't signed a contract yet, but I can confirm that serious discussions have taken place and it does look like I might do the film," says Nidhi.

She has received other offers as well, many of which she has refused."...I wanted the perfect Bollywood launchpad. This film with Diganth seems just right. The producers had seen Pancharangi, in which Diganth and I co-starred, and noticed that we share a great onscreen chemistry. We'd recently done a look test and the producers found our pairing interesting," says Nidhi.

Piaa Bajpai
Piaa Bajpai isn't speaking about her Bollywood debut. "Yes, it's true that I am doing a Bollywood movie. But I am not allowed to talk about it until the announcement is made by the producers…all I can say is it involves one of the big production houses in Bollywood."

Priya Anand
Priya Anand will debut with director Balki of Priya Anand'Cheeni Kum' and 'Paa' fame.

The untitled project will be shot in the US - perfect for a a US raised Priya.

According to a source: "Priya has been approached to star in director Balki's next. She will be leaving to New York with the unit by the end of this month. There's enough meat to her character, which made Priya jump at the offer…. Balki had taken some time to decide on his next film after Paa and it was reported that he would work with Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan again.

However, he had confirmed that he's going ahead with a film that will star Junior Bachchan in the lead before doing a flick with Big B. It's for this film that Priya might have been signed on." In both Cheeni Kum and Paa, the women characters were very strong and were pivotal to the film. This film could also be woman-centric where the leading lady is crucial to the story.

Madhu Shalini
The model-turned-actress has workedMadhu Shalini in Telugu and Tamil language films. Her Bollywood debut is Ram Gopal Varma's upcoming Department, in which she playsa female gangster. The movie also stars with Amitabh Bachchan,Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubati.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

India temple holds $22B treasures

A vast treasure trove of gold coins, jewels and precious stones unearthed at a lightly guarded Hindu temple in India was expected to grow further in value Monday as the last two secret vaults sealed for nearly 150 years are
Indian Temple
The government has increased security
since the treasure's discovery in recent days, which has instantly turned the 16th-century Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple into one of the wealthiest religious institutions in the country.
Four vaults recently opened at the temple in Trivandrum, the capital of the southern state of Kerala, held a vast bounty that unofficial estimates peg at $22 billion.
The treasures unearthed so far include statues of gods and goddesses made of solid gold and studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, crowns and necklaces, all given as gifts to the temple over the centuries.
The volume of gold and silver coins was so enormous that the investigators weighed the coins by the sackful, rather than counting them, officials said.
The temple, built by the maharajas who ruled the then-kingdom of Travancore, remained under the control of the erstwhile royal family after India's independence in 1947.
India's Supreme Court ordered the inspection of the vaults after a lawyer petitioned a local court asking the state government to take over the temple, citing inadequate security. The current Maharaja of Travancore had appealed to the Supreme Court against the petition.
The inventory began last week and the final vaults were to be unlocked Monday afternoon. The public knew the temple had treasures but not the quantum.
Before the trove was uncovered, there was almost no visible security at the temple, save for a few local security guards patrolling the complex with batons, mainly for crowd control.
Kerala's police chief, Jacob Punnoose, said he sent extra police officers to guard the temple and is planning a high-tech security system to protect the treasure.
"We plan to enhance security in a manner which will not interfere with the activities of the temple or devotees," Punnoose said.
The security plans include the installation of digital electronic networks, closed circuit cameras and metal detectors at the entrance and exits of the temple.
Manoj Abraham, city police commissioner, said two battalions of special armed police would provide security outside the temple complex.
"Later, we will discuss with temple authorities and members of the former royal family what kind of permanent security system should be put in place," Abraham said.
Every year, devout Hindus donate millions of rupees worth of cash, gold and silver to temples. Some temples in India are so wealthy, they have formed trusts which run schools, colleges and hospitals that offer free treatment to the poor.
The discovery has sparked a debate over the future of the treasure trove.
Vellappally Nateshan, a Hindu leader, said the wealth should remain with the temple authorities.
Some social activists in Kerala have demanded the treasure be handed to a national trust to help the poor.
Kerala's top elected official, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, however, assured the people that the wealth would remain with the temple.
"It is the property of the temple. The government will protect the wealth at the temple."
Chandy said the government would bear the cost of stepping up security at the temple and ensure that worshippers were not inconvenienced.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Supporters of India's yoga guru Swami Ramdev carry his portrait before raising it in the Ramlila ground

It was a sea of saffron at the historic Ramlila Maidan here this morning as a large number of supporters of Baba Ramdev started pouring in from across the country carrying flags and festoons to join the yoga guru''s proposed indefinite hunger strike against corruption
Baba Ram Dev Satyagrah
from tomorrow.

A huge 2.5 lakh square ft tent has been erected here for the demonstrators while tight security arrangements are in place for preventing any untoward incident.

The Baba''s followers, including a large number of women, were seen entering the site carrying their luggage. The organisers have put up state-wise counters for registering the supporters who are being provided identity cards.

A battery of mediapersons are at the ground. Decorators were giving the finishing touches to the saffron-and-white pandals. It was saffron all around with flags and festoons aplenty and the bearded face of the Baba on every poster and banner put up at the site.

Some people were seen sleeping on the mattresses while some were taking bath in the open. More than 5,000 ceiling fans and coolers, 1,300 toilets and bathrooms have been installed at the site.

An eight ft long stage has been set up for the yoga guru from where he will instruct his followers. Large screens alongside the stage have also been installed.

The sitting area near the stage is being divided into three parts -- one for those who will sit for fast for a single day, one for those who will sit for the entire duration and one more for daily visitors.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Osama bin Laden betrayed by Zawahiri

Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was betrayed by his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri who led US forces to his hideout as the two were involved in an intense power struggle, a Saudi newspaper
Osama Bin Laden
has reported.

The two top al-Qaida men had differences and the courier who led US forces to bin Laden was working and had more loyalties for Zawahiri, al Watan newspaper reported quoting Arab sources.

"The Egyptian faction of al-Qaida led by Zawahiri was de facto running the militant group, after bin Laden was taken ill in 2004 and they were trying to take full control," the paper said.

The courier was
Ayman al-Zawahiri
a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US Seals on Monday.

The plan to dispose off bin Laden had been hatched by a prominent al-Qaida commander Saif al Adel of Egyptian descent, who returned to Pakistan from Iran, last autumn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Dead alien' found in Siberian snow

It may just be an elaborate hoax, but a video has surfaced showing the body of an alien found dead in snow in Siberia.

The slender, badly damaged corpse was found lying on a bed of snow with its head to one side and mouth slightly open, the Daily Mail reported.

The video, posted on April 17 on YouTube, has already had over 100,000 views and showed the body of the unidentified "creature".

Irkutsk, Russia is apparently a known UFO hotspot, and UFO believers think the body was left behind by alien visitors after an accident, or was missed in a clean-up by the Russian government as part of some sort of alien cover-up.

Dozens of UFO sightings are reported every year in the area, and only last month there were reports of an unidentified object hurtling into the nearby Irkutsk region of Siberia.

"We couldn't believe it when we saw it. And what was spooky is that there was no sign of the spaceship. Perhaps that was taken away and the body overlooked," said Igor Molovic, one of the pair that uploaded the video.

However, not everyone is a true believer.

Some believe it is actually a carefully crafted model of an alien's body, and not the real deal.

However, many UFO lovers still believe.

"It's so lame how people always get thrilled by having another excuse to shout 'Fake! fake!' every time something weird shows up. Unless proven otherwise, this is in fact plausible," posted one user.
Another said; "If this is fake - then they are masters at models/puppets. I think it's real - one of the very few, great vid."