Sunday, August 09, 2015

Dirty Mumbai: 6,400 tonnes of solid waste, 40 pc sewage go untreated | The Indian Express

Dirty Mumbai: 6,400 tonnes of solid waste, 40 pc sewage go untreated | The Indian Express: "  3  0
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Waste segregation at source in the city is at a dismal 10-12 per cent. (Express Archive)
Taxpayers in Mumbai have spent over Rs 13,000 crore towards cleanliness over the past decade. But the city has a lowly 140th rank to show for this massive spending. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had allocated Rs 8,839.5 crore for solid waste management in the last five years, of which Rs 683.56 crore was used for development work and at least over Rs 5,000 crore for sewage disposal. Despite this, the city ranked 140th in the country on the Swachh Bharat survey of clean cities.
In the year-long survey, researchers studied 476 first-tier cities with two parameters — how “minimal” open defecation was in the city, and how robust the municipalities were with the solid waste management system. Swachh Bharat Mission is the flagship sanitation programme of the NDA government, which aims to bridge gaps between sewerage and solid waste management and construct several million toilets in the urban centres. In Mumbai, more than 40 per cent of the city is not connected to sewer lines even now. Navi Mumbai, Mumbai’s satellite city, though, saw itself ranked third in the survey."

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

Oxford’s online Bodleian archive: illumination for all | Books | The Guardian

Oxford’s online Bodleian archive: illumination for all | Books | The Guardian: "’ve got a secret vice. I love to visit rare book rooms and leaf through the pages of 16th-century traveller’s tales or 15th-century editions of Petrarch with their brilliantly coloured pictures. Once, I even found a design by Botticelli in a religious tract in the British Library.

This is not actually as criminal or difficult as it sounds. I was researching a book at the time and all the yellow-leafed volumes whose pictures I pored over in the rare books room at St Pancras were more or less relevant to it. Anyone with a British Library pass can do the same. But it raises the question of what great libraries are for: is the research they make possible just for PhD students assembling demographic data on medieval Norfolk or should the rich, aesthetic delights of illuminated manuscripts, 18th-century caricatures and scientific illustrations be available for us all to enjoy as art?

One way libraries are opening their secret worlds to everyone is by putting some of their most curious or majestic items online. Oxford’s Bodleian, one of Europe’s greatest and oldest libraries, is the latest to do so with digital.bodleian giving users unprecedented opportunities to browse precious volumes and their wondrous illustrations from our armchairs, if anyone still has armchairs, or cafe stool or even in a punt (it’s Oxford after all)."

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Another Reason To Love Spicy Food

Another Reason To Love Spicy Food: "A massive population study from China finds that people who eat spicy food every day are less likely to die early than those who only spiced things up once or twice a week -- or avoided the sensation altogether. 
To analyze the effect of a spicy diet on health, an international group of researchers looked at data from 487,375 study participants between 30 to 79 years old. The subjects, who had no history of chronic disease, first enrolled in the study between 2004 to 2008. Researchers controlled for factors affecting longevity, such as marital status and education, and followed up after an average of seven years. 
They found that spicy food eaters had 14 percent reduced relative risk of dying between the start of the study and the follow up. What's more, those who ate spicy food one to two days a week had a 10 percent reduced risk compared to people that didn’t eat any spice at all. The researchers also found that eating spicy food three to seven times a week led to a lower risk of death from cancer and heart and respiratory disease, particularly among women.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Bonobos Speak Like Human Babies, But Is It Communication? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Bonobos Speak Like Human Babies, But Is It Communication? : SCIENCE : Tech Times: "Biologists and others traditionally believed that non-human primates utilized a single call to express a single idea. One sound might be used as a warning to a potential competitor for food or a mate, while another call would signal an alarm to a neighboring group. Using a single sound in different situations, an ability known as functional flexibility, was thought to be a characteristic possessed solely by humans. 

Human babies as young as three or four months have the ability to carry out calls with functional flexibility. These sounds are in addition to other calls directly related to emotions, such as crying when the baby experiences physical pain. 

Zanna Clay, a researcher from the University of Birmingham, was studying bonobos in the Congo when she noticed the animals were producing a peeping sound in addition to the normal grunts and pants the primates produce. 

"When I studied the bonobos in their native setting in Congo, I was struck by how frequent their peeps were, and how many different contexts they produce them in. It became apparent that because we couldn't always differentiate between peeps, we needed understand the context to get to the root of their communication," Clay said.

Researchers examined recordings of the peeps produced by the bonobos under differing conditions. Analysis revealed that these squeaky noises were identical, regardless of the events taking place in the lives of the primates when the calls were made. "

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