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Archive for January 28th, 2012

Solar storm hits earth

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/major-solar-storm-headed-to-earth-1327375802-slideshow/

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Tromsoe, northern Norway, late Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Tromsoe, northern Norway, late Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacular showing of northern lights after the most powerful solar storm in six years. (AP Photo/Scanpix Norway, Rune Stoltz Bertinussen)

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Tromsoe, northern Norway, late Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Tromsoe, northern Norway, late Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacular showing of northern lights after the most powerful solar storm in six years. (AP Photo/Scanpix Norway, Rune Stoltz Bertinussen)

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Trondheim, Norway Tuesday Jan. 23, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacul

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Trondheim, Norway Tuesday Jan. 23, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacular showing of northern lights after the most powerful solar storm in six years. (AP Photo/Emil Bratt Borsting)

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Trondheim, Norway Tuesday Jan. 23, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacul

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are seen near the city of Trondheim, Norway Tuesday Jan. 23, 2012. Stargazers were out in force in northern Europe on Tuesday, hoping to be awed by a spectacular showing of northern lights after the most powerful solar storm in six years. (AP Photo/Emil Bratt Borsting)

solar storm

This handout image provided by NASA, taken Sunday night, Jan. 22, 2012, shows a solar flare erupting on the Sun‘s northeastern hemisphere. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth with radiation with more to come. The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado observed a flare Sunday night at 11 p.m. EST. Physicist Doug Biesecker said the biggest concern from the speedy eruption is the radiation, which arrived on Earth an hour later. It will likely continue through Wednesday. It’s mostly an issue for astronauts’ health and satellite disruptions. It can cause communication problems for airplanes that go over the poles. (AP Photo/NASA)

The Solar Dynamics Observatory captures an M8.7 class flare in a handout photo released by NASA

The strongest geomagnetic storm in more than six years was forecast to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Tuesday, and it could affect airline routes, power grids and satellites.A coronal mass ejection – a big chunk of the Sun’s atmosphere – was hurled toward Earth on Sunday, driving energized solar particles at about 5 million miles an hour (2,000 km per second), about five times faster than solar particles normally travel, the center’s Terry Onsager said.”When it hits us, it’s like a big battering ram that pushes into Earth’s magnetic field,” Onsager said from Boulder, Colorado. “That energy causes Earth’s magnetic field to fluctuate.”
The Solar Dynamics Observatory captures an M8.7 class flare in a handout photo released by NASA January 23, 2012.
REUTERS/NASA/SDO/AIA/Handout

SDO's AIA instrument at 171 Angstrom shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun as seen in a handout by NASA

This energy can interfere with high frequency radio communications used by airlines to navigate close to the North Pole in flights between North America, Europe and Asia, so some routes may need to be shifted, Onsager said.It could also affect power grids and satellite operations, the center said in a statement. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station may be advised to shield themselves in specific parts of the spacecraft to avoid a heightened dose of solar radiation.
SDO’s AIA instrument at 171 Angstrom shows the current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun as seen in a handout photo released by NASA January 23, 2012.
REUTERS/NASA/SDO/AIA/Handout

Large Solar Flare Expected To Affect Earth

In this handout from the NOAA/National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center, shows the coronal mass ejection (CME) erupting from the sun late January 23, 2012. The flare is reportedly the largest since 2005 and is expected to affect GPS systems and other communications when it reaches the Earth’s magnetic field in the morning of January 24. (Photo by NOAA/National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center via Getty Images)

Large Solar Flare Expected To Affect Earth

The space weather center said the geomagnetic storm’s intensity would probably be moderate or strong, levels two and three on a five-level scale, five being the most extreme.
Text Courtesy : Reuters

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“Vindicated” India renews call for London to drop Dow

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/vindicated-india-renews-call-london-drop-dow-115455085–spt.html

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Friday renewed its demand that London 2012 terminates its sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals, feeling vindicated by the resignation of a Games watchdog panel member over the tie-up.

Meredith Alexander quit the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 on Wednesday, saying she did not want to be part of a body that “became an apologist” for Dow Chemicals, the U.S. firm linked to India’s 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

Dow bought the Bhopal plant owner Union Carbide in 1999.

Alexander said a number of other panel members were also “deeply disturbed” by the company’s sponsorship of a temporary decorative wrap around London’s Olympic Stadium.

Her resignation prompted IOA chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra to send a second letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge exactly six months before the Games, saying there was no need to carry “this toxic legacy”.

“…the resignation of Ms Meredith Alexander from the Games Ethics Committee – the Commission for Sustainable London 2012 – has vindicated IOA’s stand of opposing Dow’s sponsorship,” Malhotra wrote in his letter, copies of which were distributed to Indian media.

“I am sure that you are well aware of the growing opposition to this sponsorship the world over with NGOs (non-governmental organisations), intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Members of British Parliament and civil society openly coming out against it.

“On behalf of the IOA I again urge you to take steps to remove Dow as sponsor and settle the matter as early as possible,” Malhotra added.

Activists say 25,000 people died in the years that followed the gas leak at a pesticides factory in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

Campaigners have demanded Dow boosts a 1989 compensation package for those affected by the disaster.

Dow, also an IOC worldwide partner, has denied any responsibility for the accident and says Union Carbide had settled its liabilities with the Indian government.

A number of former Olympians have slammed the London sponsorship deal while Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has urged the government to boycott the Games over the issue.

However, Malhotra has ruled out the possibility.

Malhotra said he has sent a copy of his letter to London Games chief Sebastian Coe as well, while also conveying the IOA’s position to the British High Commissioner in India last week.

(Editing by Mark Meadows; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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Maasai Mara – The Greatest Wildlife Spectacle on Earth

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/masai-mara—the-greatest-wildlife-spectacle-on-earth.html?page=all

The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is witness to the most spectacular wildlife migration on earth. Wildlife photographer KALYAN VARMA captures the poetic beauty of the Mara in monotone.

By Kalyan Varma | Yahoo Lifestyle Entertainment – Tue 24 Jan, 2012 4:25 PM IST

(All photographs © KALYAN VARMA. Reproduced with exclusive permission)

© KALYAN VARMAA herd of African elephants under a dramatic sky makes for an imposing sight. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Black rhino in Maasai Mara. Africa has two species of rhinoceros — the White or Square-lipped Rhino and the Black or Hook-lipped Rhino. Both are highly endangered and protected in Africa, though many still fall to hunters. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are believed to possess aphrodisiac properties. The horn, which is in fact made of matted hair-like tissue, fetches insanely huge prices in the black markets of China and Southeast Asia. Rightly, conservationists believe that for the killing to stop, the buying must first be stopped. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

“The tree where man was born.” The continuity of the savanna, the great grassy plain of the Masai Mara, is broken by these hardy acacia trees. © KALYAN VARMA
© KALYAN VARMA

Three cheetah siblings, known locally as Honey’s Boys, bring down a wildebeest. The migration is eagerly awaited by lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, for it brings a treasure trove of food for them. Most wildebeest calve on the way to the Mara and the young ones become easy prey for opportunistic predators. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Cape Buffalo in Maasai Mara. Among the most impressive of herbivores, buffaloes are strong and formidable. They are known to be unpredictable and aggressive, often chasing away lions and other predators. Big game hunters of yore wrote that bullets ricocheted off the animal’s great horns. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMATwo zebra strike a pose in Maasai Mara, watched by an oxpecker, a bird that frequently follows grazing animals seeking out insects in their skin. Of the three species of zebra in Africa, this (the Plains Zebra) is the most common. The other two — the Grevy’s Zebra and the Mountain Zebra — are endangered. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMAElephants in the Maasai Mara. African elephants are larger than Asian elephants. There are two recognized species of African elephants — the African Bush Elephant shown here and the smaller African Forest Elephant, which is found in the rainforests of the Congo. © KALYAN VARMA 

© KALYAN VARMA

A giraffe stands in the shade of an acacia tree in the Maasai Mara. Giraffes, the tallest land animals (adult males are up to 20 feet tall), are among the residents of the Mara. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMAThe alpha male of the marsh pride, this African lion represents the majesty that has so often translated to myth and legend. Lions once ranged all over Africa and West Asia including India. Today, they are restricted to pockets in Africa and one subspecies is limited to a small sanctuary in Gujarat. Wild lions were mercilessly hunted across Africa and now remain relatively safe only in the great wildlife reserves. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA
A lone zebra stands out against a sea of wildebeest as the herd, which mixes freely, prepares for the crossing. Zebra and wildebeest usually coexist peacefully and will alert each other to the presence of predators. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Wildebeest drink before they ready for the crossing. The river teems with crocodiles hungrily awaiting the passage of the herd. Many wildebeest and zebra fall prey to the waiting predators but most will make it and go on to the relative safety of the grasslands where the Circle of Life continues to be enacted. Other predators such as lions, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards will stalk the sick, the infirm and the unfortunate. © KALYAN VARMA
© KALYAN VARMA

The herd picks the narrowest bend in the swiftly flowing river to make the crossing. The cloud of dust kicked up by the hooves of so many zebra and wildebeest can be seen from many miles away. This is one of the most dramatic events of the Great Migration and has been ritually documented by filmmakers and wildlife photographers through the years. © KALYAN VARMA 

© KALYAN VARMA

A cryptically patterned sea of ungulate bodies kicks out of the water as a mixed herd of zebra and wildebeest successfully makes the crossing. The Migration is a recently relative phenomenon, dating back to the 1950s when wildebeest behavior showed a marked change following an outbreak of the rinderpest epidemic. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

A small band of zebras makes the crossing. At the end of the season, the herds will make a return journey, following a southeasterly trajectory from the Maasai Mara in Kenya back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

A close-up of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) shows its tough wrinkled hide, which earned it the moniker ‘pachyderm’ (Greek for “thick skin”). Unlike in Asian elephants, female Aftican elephants also bear tusks. Like Asian elephants, African elephants continue to be hunted by poachers who supply the illegal trade in ivory.  © KALYAN VARMA. Experience more wildlife images like these at Kalyan Varma’s website.

 

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Gita ban:Russian prosecutors to move higher court

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/russian-prosecutors-move-higher-court-seeking-gita-ban-094509967.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 10 hours ago

Moscow/New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Stung by a Siberian court’s rejection of their plea seeking a ban on Bhagavad Gita and branding it extremist literature, Russian prosecutors are now planning to move a higher court for appeal.

Insisting that the Russian translation of the Hindu textBhagavad Gita As It Is‘ should be banned for promoting “social discord”, prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk have moved the local court seeking more time to file an appeal.

The deadline for the appeal expired Wednesday.

“The prosecutors are planning to file the appeal in a superior court. They have sought more time to move the appeal. They are yet to actually file an appeal,” Sadhu Priya Das, an Iskcon devotee based in Moscow, told IANS over phone Thursday.

The Tomsk city prosecutors have insisted that the Russian translation of the book written by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada be banned as extremist literature, filing an appeal against an earlier court ruling, a RIA Novosti report quoted a Tomsk court spokeswoman as saying.

The report also quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as having said that the translated version may not be linguistically true to the original as it contained “semantic distortions”, which may have an effect on its meaning.

The Tomsk district court had Dec 28, 2011 thrown out the case of the state prosecutors, filed in June 2011.

After IANS first reported the case in December 2011, India witnessed a major uproar, including in parliament where MPs wanted the Indian government to immediately intervene in the matter, citing Hindu sensitivities.

India, both through its ministry of external affairs and embassy in Moscow, took up the matter with the Russian authorities and urged them to quickly resolve the matter.

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New Zealand school teaches Sanskrit and claims it helps children understand English

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/zealand-school-teaches-sanskrit-claims-helps-children-understand-145613193.html

Nevada (US), Jan 25 (ANI): A school in New Zealand has a ‘Sanskrit Language Studies’ program and claims that learning Sanskrit accelerates a child’s reading ability.

Ficino School in Mt Eden area of Auckland (New Zealand), calls itself a ‘values-based academic institution’ and offers education for girls and boys from year one to eight. It says about Sanskrit: “It has a wonderful system of sound and grammar, which gives the child an excellent base for the study of any language. Children love its order and beauty.”

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has applauded Ficino School for fostering universal virtues and encouraging Sanskrit studies and adds that Sanskrit has a close relationship with other classical languages like Latin, Greek, French, German, etc.

According to Peter Crompton, principal of this school founded in 1997, where curriculum includes “food for the mind, food for the spirit, food for the body”, “Sanskrit with its almost perfect grammatical system…provides children with a roadmap for understanding English.” Sanskrit not only gives young learners a clear understanding of the structure of language, it also heightens their awareness of the process of speech, creating a greater understanding of and ability to, enunciate words clearly, Crompton adds.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, pointed out that Sanskrit should be restored to its rightful place. It needed to be brought to the mainstream and hidden scientific truths in ancient Sanskrit literature should be brought to light, he said.

Rajan Zed strongly criticized India Government for not doing enough for Sanskrit language. He asked India Government to do much more for the development, propagation, encouragement and promotion of Sanskrit in India and the world, which was essential for the development of India and preservation of its cultural heritage. Sanskrit also provided the theoretical foundation of ancient sciences.

Besides Hindu scriptures, a vast amount of Buddhist and Jain scriptures were also written in Sanskrit, which is known as “the language of the gods”. According to tradition, self-born God created Sanskrit, which is everlasting and divine. The oldest scripture of mankind still in common use, Rig-Veda, was written in Sanskrit, Zed added.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Without the study of Sanskrit, one cannot become a true learned man.” German philologist Max Muller added, “Sanskrit is the greatest language of the world.” (ANI)

New Zealand school teaches Sanskrit and claims it helps children understand English

 

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The beautiful temples of Bali

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos–the-beautiful-temples-of-bali.html?page=all

The Indonesian island of Bali is home to the majority of the country’s Hindus. Balinese Hinduism is characterized by the worship of the supreme god Acintya, along with the trinity in Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The art and ritual of the Balinese Hindus trace back to influences from the 4th century when Hinduism reached the island’s shores. Balinese temples are ornate, beautiful and situated in visually stunning locales. LAKSHMI SHARATH traipses through Bali and returns with these breathtaking picture postcards.

By Lakshmi Sharath | Yahoo Lifestyle Entertainment – Tue 24 Jan, 2012 2:16 PM IST

A roadside temple in Bali
Roadside Temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH
If you think India has many shrines, think again. In Bali, Indonesia’s Hindu island, there are temples everywhere – in streets, atop mountains, clinging to cliffs, on the seashore, and in the courtyard of every home.

Devotees at the Mother Besakih temple
Balinese Hindus at the Mother Besakih Temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

The Mother Besakih temple is one of the most important temples in Bali. It is located atop Mount Agung. It is not just one shrine but a cluster of 20 temples overlooking the villages and the green slopes of the mountain. Balinese believe that the good spirits along with their deities reside here and the shrines resemble houses built for them.

Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Goa, I learned, is pronounced “Guha” as in many Indian languages. It refers to a 1,000-year-old cave excavated here that houses the Hindu trinity of gods and Ganesha, whom the Balinese know as “Gajah” (as in elephant). The 11th century site, called Lwa Gajah, was not discovered until the 1950s and was believed to be a sanctuary of a Buddhist monk. Carved images of the Buddha and smaller shrines and a step-well dot the green landscape here.

Uluwatu
Pura Uluwatu is one of Bali’s most spectacular temples © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Bali’s shrines are often located in the most exotic landscapes. This is Pura Uluwatu right atop the cliff. The scenery is breathtaking as you climb uphill through a small forested area patrolled by boisterous monkeys.

Bali’s royal shrine
Royal shrine in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

Pura Taman Ayun, literally “beautiful garden”, is the shrine of the royalty in Bali. Built in the 17th century, this temple in Mengwi, south Bali, is believed to house the ancestors of the royal dynasty and their family deities.

Puppets galore
Puppets in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

The sounds of performances fill the air as you walk into any of these temples. Wayang or shadow puppetry, the Kecak or fire-dance, and various other local dances like Barong, Legong and Pendet are some of the art forms to experience while you visit these shrines.

Sunset at Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot temple in Bali, Indonesia © LAKSHMI SHARATH

No trip is complete without a glimpse of the spectacular sunset in Tanah Lot temple, a tourist magnet located on a rocky oceanic island. The 15th century shrine, dedicated to the sea spirits, was built under the direction of a priest and is believed to be guarded by snakes.

Lakshmi Sharath is a media professional, traveler, travel-writer, photographer and blogger.

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NASA finds 11 new solar systems

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/nasa-finds-11-new-solar-systems.html

Reuters – 4 hours ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: NASA‘s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope has found 11 new planetary systems, including one with five planets all orbiting closer to their parent star than Mercury circles the Sun, scientists said on Thursday.

The discoveries boost the list of confirmed extra-solar planets to 729, including 60 credited to the Kepler team. The telescope, launched in space in March 2009, can detect slight but regular dips in the amount of light coming from stars. Scientists can then determine if the changes are caused by orbiting planets passing by, relative to Kepler’s view.

Kepler scientists have another 2,300 candidate planets awaiting additional confirmation.

None of the newly discovered planetary systems are like our solar system, though Kepler-33, a star that is older and bigger than the Sun, comes close in terms of sheer numbers. It has five planets, compared to our solar system’s eight, but the quintet all fly closer to their parent star than Mercury orbits the Sun.

The planets range in size from about 1.5 times the diameter of Earth to five times Earth’s diameter. Scientists have not yet determined if any are solid rocky bodies like Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury or if they are filled with gas like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The Kepler team previously found one star with six confirmed planets and a second system with five planets, said planetary scientist Jack Lissauer, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Nine of the new systems contain two planets and one has three, bringing the total number of newly discovered planets to 26. All are closer to their host stars than Venus is to the Sun.

“This has tripled the number of stars which we know have more than one transiting planet, so that’s the big deal here,” Lissauer told Reuters.

“We’re starting to think in terms of planetary systems as opposed to just planets: Do they all tend to have similar sizes? What’s the spacing? Is the solar system unusual in those regards?” he said.

Kepler is monitoring more than 150,000 stars in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra.

The research is published in four different papers in Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

(Reporting By Irene Klotz; Editing by Jane Sutton and Sandra Maler)

 

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