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Examining Exploding Starts Through the Atomic Nucleus

13 Mar 17

Imagine being able to view microscopic aspects of a classical nova, a massive stellar explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star (about as big as Earth). That too, in a laboratory rather than from afar via a telescope. A safe way to study these events in laboratories on Earth is to investigate the exotic nuclei or "rare isotopes" that influence them.

"Astronomers observe exploding stars and astrophysicists model them on supercomputers, said Wrede, assistant professor of physics at MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. Rare isotopes are like the DNA of exploding stars."

"Rare isotopes will help us to understand how stars processed some of the hydrogen and helium gas from the Big Bang into elements that make up solid planets and life," Wrede said. "Experiments at rare isotope beam facilities are beginning to provide the detailed nuclear physics information needed to understand our origins."

In a recent experiment, Wrede's team investigated stellar production of the radioactive isotope aluminum-26 present in the Milky Way. An injection of aluminum-26 into the nebula that formed the solar system could have influenced the amount of water on Earth.

Using a rare isotope beam created at NSCL, the team determined the last unknown nuclear-reaction rate affecting the production of aluminum-26 in classical novae. They concluded that up to 30 percent could be produced in novae, and the rest must be produced in other sources like supernovae.

Future research can now focus on counting the number of novae in the galaxy per year, modeling the hydrodynamics of novae and investigating the other sources in complete nuclear detail.

Content: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170219165124.htm

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Tallest Mountains in The Solar System - Iapetus

19 Mar 18

The walnut-like shape of one of the icy moons of Saturn has been already mystifying scientists long since, specially its perfect ridge of mountains that are encircling most of its surface.

Its unusual shape and coloration is most likely believed by NASA to be due to the presence of remnants of organic compounds. This mountain range is spectacularly huge surrounded by around tallest mountains in the Solar System that rise up to 20 km above the plains.

After the Cassini spacecraft in 2004 discovered a ridge, there were much debate on the issue that may have been the underlying cause in the formation of unusual mountain range. It is held that the present Iapetus must have been formed by the remnants of a young Iapetus that rotated much faster than it is rotating at present and eventually must have cooled and freezed. Though a different study claims the  ridge to be formed due to a relict ring that must have fallen onto the moon's surface.

By another argument, it is also held that the ring system fell so close to the moon till it collided with the surface. The accumulation of material that piled up in due course formed one of the tallest and largest mountain ranges in the Solar System today.

By: Subrata Dey

Content: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/03/08/the-sky-is-falling-tallest-mountains-in-solar-system-may-be-formed-by-falling-ring/#7825008b60f3

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How Stress Changes Our Brain?

16 Mar 18

Stress is a feeling of strain and pressure. Just like physical disorders, stress and other mental disorders are equally fatal. In a recent research conducted by the Jaideep Bains, PhD, and his team at the Cumming School of Medicine's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the University of Calgary, it has been revealed that stress transmitted from one person to another can affect the brain just as real stress can. In the long run stress and emotions can be 'contagious'. The team of researchers conducted the study using pairs of male or female mice. During the process, they separated the two mice from each other and exposed one of them to mild stress before they again united. The team then examined the responses of certain specific cells known as the CRH neurons. The recorded responses of the pair of mice revealed that the networks of the brain of both the stressed mouse and its naïve partner have undergone same kind of change. They further used optogenetic approaches to engineer these neurons, making them capable of being turned on and off with light. The team then silenced the neurons during exposure to stress. As a result, the changes in the brain did not occur. Also, when the stressed partner interacted with the other partner, the transfer of stress did not happen. On the activation of these neurons with light, even in the absence of stress, the brains of both the partners underwent a change, just as happens in case of exposure to stress. The team further discovered that the activation of these CRH neurons leads to the release of a chemical signal, an 'alarm pheromone', from the mouse that alerts the partner. The team believes that this may be true for humans as well. The present research concludes that stress and social interactions are deeply connected and these have long lasting consequences.

By: Anuja Arora

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308143212.htm

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Earth’s Vegetation and Global Warming.

15 Mar 18

The rapid deforestation can majorly effect the rising temperatures of the earth. Forest has a great role to play in regulating the surface temperature. A plant has a major role to play in climate change. There are several ways in which forest helps in altering the surface temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. Plants use the energy from sun to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and process photosynthesis. As Carbon dioxide also happens to be abundantly available greenhouse gas, removal of carbon dioxide plays a very vital role in warming of earth as a whole. Plants sweat, a process known as transpiration. When the surrounding atmosphere gets heated plants transpire and release evaporated water into the atmosphere thus cooling themselves as well as the surrounding atmosphere. Areas covered with dense forest can note visible increase in water vapor in the atmosphere resulting in precipitation and cloud cover over that area.  

European Commission Joint Research Center had conducted a research based on data collected from satellite from 2000 to 2015 and links the changes to the surface balance of energy. The study also analyzed changes between different types of vegetation like evergreen forest, the savannas, shrub lands, Grass lands, crop lands and wetlands. It was noted that the removal of natural tropical green cover for farming and agriculture and urban development is mostly responsible for the rising temperatures in such areas. People living in these areas will be directly and immediately exposed to   escalating temperatures.


By: Madhuchanda Saxena

Content: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180220143516.htm

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A Noble Start To A Fit Tomorrow

14 Mar 18

You must have probably heard your grandparents recalling their day when they had to walk 5-7 miles for school or probably they could eat one full-sized hen. To some extent though these stories seems to be exaggerated but most of it are true.

Even sometimes back in the 20th-century, kids probably were unaware of kurkure, funflips, hullygully, chips, cheese balls, o-yes, kinder joy, nachos and the similar. I do agree that all these time pass snacks were gradually introduced in the late 90s. But kids of today are growing up with burgers, pizzas, pastries, hot dogs, maggi and various other carbonated drinks.

The outcome is heading towards an obese generation with India securing the second major country with obese children population. Children these days lead a morbid life and remain glued to the virtual world, be it smartphones, television or computers while the playgrounds are left vacant.

Parents find it difficult these days as children are not willing to go out and play and specially girls exempt from sports at a very tender age. Overweight and obesity predispose towards a sedentary adulthood triggering a zillion of lifestyle diseases.

In such a context, engaging children with co-curricular activities of their choice and giving their a plethora of options ranging between indoor and outdoor games along with a bouquet of art and craft activities to choose from would be perfect enough to keep them a busy bee.

By:  Subrata Dey

Content:  https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/6/1068/4677514

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Survey Reveals Mumbai To Be The Most Expensive City For Expats

13 Mar 18

The financial capital of India - Mumbai has been revealed to be the most expensive city in the world for expatriates. It has left behind cities such as Seattle and Frankfurt. The rankings are according to the Mercer's 2016 Cost of Living Survey. Mumbai was ranked on 82 among a list of countries that also ranked New Delhi on 130 and Chennai on 158. With the rankings, Mumbai has surpassed major global cities such as Seattle (83), Frankfurt (88), Canberra (98) and Berlin (100). Both the National capital and the Financial capital of India have become more expensive over the years and their rankings have gone up too.

Bengaluru has experienced the highest jump on rankings because of a huge surge in prices specially on items that are included in food and personal care. The city is also termed as one of the costliest city in India in terms of transportation due to an increase in prices of everything from taxi fares, cost of auto, its parts as well as running costs. There are a large number of Indian MNCs that are looking to expand abroad and 70% of them are expecting expatriate assignment to surge in the coming two years.

Inflation and currency stability in Indian cities has a direct impact on the cost of expatriation for the Indian multinationals. Organisations will continue to leverage the global expansion strategist and become more competitive for growth.


By: Neha Maheshwari

Content: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/mumbai-most-expensive-city-in-india-for-expats-survey/articleshow/52870241.cms

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