Friday, July 24, 2009

Scientific and Recreational Diving in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS) is primarily known for its vast number of shipwrecks. An estimated 200 shipwrecks reside within and just outside the sanctuary’s waters. These wrecks range from nineteenth century lake schooners and paddleboats to perhaps Thunder Bay’s last wreck, the German freighter Nordmeer, which wrecked near Thunder Bay Island in 1966.

Each year hundreds of recreational divers come to TBNMS to brave the chilly waters of Lake Huron for a chance to glimpse sunken history. In addition to the recreational divers, the sanctuary has a team of scientific and archaeological divers working to protect, preserve and learn more about the sanctuary’s known wrecks as well as research and explore for undiscovered wrecks.

Scientific diving requires additional skills and training above and beyond what is required for a typical recreational diver. While diving to depths greater than 30 meters can be considered advanced for a recreational diver, imagine having to dive to that depth and greater to set up equipment or take samples!

The chilly water temperatures of Lake Huron also require divers to use dry-suits almost all year long. Water near the bottom of the Middle Island Sinkhole in early September is a brisk 38 degrees Fahrenheit!

TBNMS divers have played an important role in sinkhole exploration. Scientists depend on the divers to collect samples of the purple and white microbial mats at the bottom of the sinkhole and deploy and position instrumentation, such as the respiration chambers and tripods for accurate data collection. Divers also provide underwater photographs and video of the sinkholes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is Geothermal Energy

Several technologies have been urbanized to take benefit of geothermal energy. Geothermal is the heat from the earth. This heat can be drawn from the earth using many sources like hot water or steam reservoirs deep in the earth that are accessed by drilling; geothermal reservoirs located near the earth's surface, mostly located in western states, Alaska, and Hawaii; and the shallow ground near the Earth's surface that maintains a relatively constant temperature of 50°-60° F.

This variety of geothermal resources allows them to be used on both large and small scales. A utility can use the hot water and steam from reservoirs to drive generators and produce electricity for its customers. Other applications apply the heat produced from geothermal directly to various uses in buildings, roads, agriculture, and industrial plants. Still others use the heat directly from the ground to provide heating and cooling in homes and other buildings.

Other geothermal resources exist miles beneath the earth's surface in the hot rock and magma there. In the future, these resources may also be useful as sources of heat and energy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Scottish embryologist Ian Wilmut presented Dolly, the cloned sheep, to a surprised world, ethicists and policymakers have been striving with the settling implications of his study. For years, cloning of adults, animals or humans has been largely the stuff of science invention. Because the successful cloning of a six-year-old sheep, many of the assumptions and questions being raised have roots in the fictional: Could Hitler or the Incan Ice Mummy brought back to life? Would humans be cloned only to cannibalize their organs?

Uses of Cloning
• The production of animals engineered to take human genes for the making of certain. proteins that could be used as drugs; the proteins would be take out from the animal’s
milk and used to treat human diseases
• The mass creation of livestock that have been hereditarily customized to possess certain desirable behavior.
• The upholding of endangered species.
• The production of offspring by infertile couples.
• The production of offspring frees of a potentially disease-causing genetic fault carried by one member of a couple; the person without the defect could be cloned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

From few years now India may not have goa beach.

One of the India's most beautiful beaches is the Goa beach.

One monsoon night in the year 2000, a 240 m long ship, River Princess, broke its anchor and got stuck ion cost . Since then it hasn't budged and the result? Twenty thousand tonnes of rusting metal, on Goa's beaches. This has led to an environmental disaster as these beaches are now almost on the verge of disappearing as the ship interferes with the natural movement of sand.

The Goa government has been accused for not taking any action to remove this ship. Now, 9 years later, just before this monsoon, the government seems to have woken up. The government is placing massive tubes, which they hope will serve as artificial sand dunes, like shock-absorbers between the land and the sea. Tubes cost Rs 6 crore.

The government even introduced a new law that enabled them to remove the ship.
They have permitted this to deliberately degrade and that is the shameful part.
But the damage is more widespread. Scientists say, while Goa thrives on tourism, the industry is also answerable for coastal degradation.

With no one to check its 100 kms seashore line sand dunes and plants on the beaches have been wiped off destroying much of the coasts natural security system.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Swine Flu: HK Quarantines Hundreds At Hotel

Swine Flu
Hundreds of tourists and employees were under quarantine in a downtown Hong Kong hotel Saturday after a Mexican guest tested positive for swine flu. With the outbreak on its doorstep, China suspended direct flights from the Latin American country.

Hours after the first confirmed case in Asia was reported, the continent got its second: Tests showed a South Korean woman also had the disease. She has been under quarantine since returning earlier this week from Mexico, the epicenter of the disease.

Sixteen people in Mexico and one toddler in the U.S. have died from the disease. More than 650 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 397 in Mexico. Canada, Israel, New Zealand and more than a half-dozen European countries have also confirmed cases.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Car Crashes

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fashion Life

Not content with offering cut-price lobsters and champagne Aldi supermarkets have ventured into the beauty world. And the product that’s hitting the headlines is called Lacura Wrinkle Stop and costs £6. And why is it causing a commotion? For two reasons - it claims to be the new Botox and it contains a form of snake venom.

This isn’t the first time a “snake venom” like substance has been used in creams, the featured image is of Planet Skincare’s daily moisturiser which costs up to £60 per pot. It literally flew off the shelves when Selfridges first introduced it, and top starlets including Hilary Swank are said to be fans.

SkincareThe chemical involved isn’t exactly snake venom, but a synthetic form based on the paralysing effects of the Asian temple viper snakes. Yes that’s right paralysing effects, hence why it’s the new Botox, the idea is that it stops those pesky nerve signals so your face doesn’t contract which means you can’t get lines. The synthetic venom is called Syn-Ake. Testers claimed that with a twice daily application for four weeks a 52% reduction in the appearance of wrinkles was noted.

It is very interesting, and is sure to cause bedlam in Aldi supermarkets on 20th April. I’m personally a bit of a sceptic about these things, I believe in daily moisturising and SPF 15 every day. But there is no doubt that we all want to look younger and this is preferable to Botox as there’s no injecting poisonous chemicals into your skin. What do you make of anti-aging products? Are they real or just a scam? Will you be trying this snake venom cream?


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Scared Silly

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sri Lanka Military Says It Pushes Back Rebels

Sri Lanka's military said Thursday it had brushed off a Tamil Tiger counterattack by killing 30 guerrillas, pinning the rebels in a rapidly shrinking area and moving closer to ending the quarter-century-long civil war.

Ethnic Tamil lawmakers, meanwhile, rejected the president's invitation for talks, urging the government to first ensure the safety of civilians trapped in the war zone.

The latest fighting took place on the edge of an enclave controlled by the rebels, formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north. The rebels tried to attack government lines at the village of Iranaippalai, the military said.

"We successfully repulsed the attack and over 30 LTTE cadres were reported killed," military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Nanayakkara said a number of soldiers were wounded in the battle, but did not give details.

Access to the war zone is restricted and it was not possible to confirm the report.

The rebels have been battling since 1983 for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka where it once controlled a large swath of territory, but a series of major victories by government forces in recent weeks has pushed them into a small pocket on the coast.

The rebel holdouts — along with tens of thousands of terrified civilians — are confined to just 8.4 square miles (21 square kilometers) of jungle and beach on the northeastern coast.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited the Tamil politicians for talks Thursday evening to discuss the situation in the north. The Tamil National Alliance, the largest political party for ethnic Tamils, said it told Rajapaksa it would not participate until the government halts its military campaign and gives more food and medicine to people trapped in the war zone.

"Any political dialogue can be meaningful only when the humanitarian crisis comes to an end," TNA lawmaker Rajavarothayam Sambanthan told a news conference, adding that about 50 civilians are killed in the fighting daily.

The United Nations and European Union have recently voiced concern over the fate of civilians in Sri Lanka's conflict.

The government has rejected criticism it has not done enough to help them, and Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe said Thursday that "sufficient food and medical supplies" had been sent to help the people. The government last week sent 10 tons of medicine — enough for two weeks, he said.

"We will ensure that there will be no shortage," he told a news conference.

John Holmes, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official, said Thursday that the international organization estimates between 150,000 and 190,000 civilians are trapped by the fighting and cannot escape, resulting in dozens of deaths each day.

The government says the number is 50,000 to 60,000, and accuses the rebels of using them as human shields in a bid to avoid defeat.

U.S. diplomat Rosemary DiCarlo said the U.S. has urged Sri Lanka's government to cease shelling in areas where there are large numbers of civilians, including hospitals.

"We've had promises, but we need to see results," she said. "The government of Sri Lanka must pay more attention to protecting the civilians in this conflict."

Sri Lanka's U.N. ambassador Hewa M.G.S. Palihakkara told reporters he would recommend his government consider a pause in fighting if the rebels are cooperative.

"If the LTTE's ready to let these people go, I will posit it to my government to let these people go," Palihakkara said.

The military says more than 55,000 civilians have escaped since the beginning of January.

All are being put into temporary camps, and Samarasinghe said the government decided to transfer the management of camps from the military to a civilian agency, upon the recommendation of Holmes.

Red Cross and ICRC and UNHCR officials will be present when people are screened to make sure they are not rebels, he said.

The rebels could not be reached for comment, because communication with their stronghold has been severed.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Varun’s Tongue Compounds: BJP

Struggling to resolve a rift between party president Rajnath Singh and general secretary Arun Jaitley, the BJP has been caught unawares by Varun Gandhi’s inflammatory remarks in Pilibhit.

Addressing an election rally, Varun, who is the BJP candidate from Pilibhit said, “If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus or thinks they are weak, (and that) there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the (Bhagvad) Gita that I will cut off that hand.” The two Muslim leaders of the BJP — Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain — have demanded an unconditional apology from Varun.

Former party president M Venkaiah Naidu, however, ruled out any action against Varun. “There is no question of taking any action against him. He is our party candidate.

Whatever he said, good or bad, the party is with him.” He added that the authenticity of the tapes would be verified.

BJP spokesperson Siddarthnath Singh advised candidates to exercise caution while delivering speeches. He said the BJP would decide on its future course after the EC had verified the tapes.

BJP spokesperson in Parliament, Shahnawaz Hussain, said, “We are of the strong belief that Varun Gandhi should apologise.

The BJP dissociates itself from his remarks. This is not what the party stands for.” Sources said that Hussain, who is the convenor of the Minority Cell in the BJP, objected to Gandhi’s speech at the Central Election Committee meet.

Party vice-president Naqvi condemned Varun’s statement, saying that such kind of language did not have any place in the BJP. He said Varun’s speech was a manifestation of his family and the Congress culture.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Korea Plans To Launch A Satellite

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korea told two U.N. agencies it plans to launch a communications satellite between April 4-8 - an unprecedented disclosure seen as trying to fend off international worries that it is really a test of long-range missile technology.

The notification to the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization underscores the communist regime is intent on pushing ahead the launch in an attempt to gain greater leverage in negotiations with the United States, analysts say.

North Korea specified two "danger" zones - one close to Japan - in its disclosure of the satellite launch plan. Pyongyang gave the U.N. agencies coordinates where parts of its multiple-stage rocket would fall, making it clear the projectile would fly over Japan toward the Pacific.

One of the zones is in waters off Japan's west coast, less than 75 miles (120 kilometers) from its northwestern shore, according to the agencies. The other lies in the middle of the Pacific between Japan and Hawaii.

Though it is an international norm for countries to provide such specifics as a safety warning ahead of a missile or satellite launch, it was the first time the communist North has done so.

The U.S. and other governments have said any rocket launch — whether missile test or satellite - would violate a 2006 U.N. Security Council resolution banning North Korea from ballistic missile activity.

The U.N. agencies said Thursday that North Korea informed them by letter of the launch details the day before. It is the first time the regime has offered a safety warning ahead of a missile or a satellite launch, according to the South Korean government.

"They want to do the launch openly while minimizing what the international community may find fault with," said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University. "The launch will earn North Korea a key political asset that would enlarge its negotiating leverage."

Countries planning a space launch or missile test normally notify maritime or aviation authorities so aircraft and ships can be warned to stay away from affected regions.

But North Korea did not do so ahead of its purported satellite launch in 1998 over Japan and a failed 2006 test-flight of a long-range missile, drawing international condemnations.

Few buy Pyongyang's claim that it needs a communications satellite when one of the nation's stated top national goals is addressing chronic food shortages.

Use of mobile phones, the Internet and international calls are tightly controlled in the totalitarian North.

"They might put a transistor on the rocket" and claim it was a satellite launch, said Hong Hyun-ik, a North Korea expert at the security think tank Sejong Institute, who is skeptical of the North's intentions.

Officials and experts have said even if a satellite is launched, the North's ultimate goal is to test and demonstrate its missile capabilities.

U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said Tuesday the North may be planning a space launch, but said the technology is no different from that of a long-range missile and its success would mean the country is capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

"If a three-stage space launch vehicle works, then that could reach not only Alaska and Hawaii but part of what the Hawaiians call the mainland and what the Alaskans call the lower 48," he told a Senate panel.

South Korea, Japan and the United States have warned the North against any rocket launch.

"It's provocative, it's not helpful and it's destabilizing," U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday. "We think the North needs to desist, or not carry out this type of provocative act, and sit down ... and work on the process of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that a launch "will threaten the peace and stability in the region."

Analysts say a rocket launch would increase the stakes and, more importantly, the benefits the impoverished nation might get from negotiations with the U.S. and other countries trying to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mortage Woes Break Records

Foreclosures are spreading by epidemic proportions, expanding beyond a handful of problem states and now affecting almost 1 in every 8 American homeowners.

It's an economic role-reversal: The economy, driven down by the collapse of the housing bubble, is causing the housing crisis to spread.

Figures released Thursday show that nearly 12 percent of all Americans with a mortgage — a record 5.4 million homeowners — were at least one month late or in foreclosure at the end of last year.

That's up from 10 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 8 percent at the end of 2007. In addition, the numbers now include many once-qualified borrowers who took out fixed-rate loans.

Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association also showed that a stunning 48 percent of homeowners who have subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages are behind on their payments or in foreclosure.

The reckless lending and borrowing practices in states like Florida, California and Nevada that were the epicenter of the problem are no longer driving up the nation's delinquency rate.

Instead, foreclosures are being fueled by a spike in defaults in places such as Louisiana, New York, Georgia and Texas, where the economy is rapidly deteriorating and unemployment is climbing.

"It's jobs. People are losing their jobs left and right," said Houston real estate agent Michael Weaster.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said new unemployment claims last week totaled 639,000, lower than expected, but still at elevated levels.

That trend highlights one of the biggest challenges confronting the Obama administration's mortgage-relief plan launched this week. While the $75 billion plan could help change the loan terms or refinance up to 9 million homeowners, unemployed borrowers will have a hard time qualifying.

The key to the housing market is what kind of workers are losing their jobs. Unemployment for people with college degrees, some college education or technical training — those most likely to own homes and have prime fixed-rate loans — has nearly doubled over the past six months, according to the bankers association.

To give debt-burdened homeowners a little more muscle to negotiate with their lenders, the House on Thursday passed a bill 234-191 that would to give bankruptcy courts the power to reduce mortgage payments.

The legislation would give bankruptcy judges — who now can modify loans for cars and student loans but not for primary residences — new power to cut the interest rate and principle on a home mortgage.

The Senate is expected to take up the measure in a couple of weeks.

The only bright spot in the foreclosure report was that the devastation wrought by subprime ARMs is waning. Their 30-day delinquency rate continues to fall and is at the lowest point since the first quarter of 2007. Most of those types of loans have made their way through the system as lenders stopped originating them in the first half of 2007.

That offers little comfort to Florida, where 60 percent of homeowners who have a subprime ARM are at least one payment behind and 1 in 5 of all mortgage holders are not current on their loans.

And while the worst is not over for Florida, the problems appear to be just beginning in once-healthy markets like Houston and New York.

The number of unsold homes in Houston skyrocketed to a 17-month supply in February from eight months in January because homeowners fear they will be in financial straits soon or already are, said Weaster, of Century 21.

And in the New York area, where the financial industry is handing out pink slips like ticker tape, homeowners who once had good credit are defaulting at an increasing clip.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tata Nano

Tata Motors said it will launch the much-awaited Tata Nano at a function in Mumbai on March 23, 2009. In select markets Nano can be expected to be seen on the road before the end of April but for the larger part of the country it will be towards mid-May or the second-half of May.

Finally the much anticipated launch is going to happen on 23rd of March but over and above it is understood that the Nano will get consumers only by the end of April or maybe May.

Vendors gave a sense that they have been supplying components to Tata Motors in small chunks, in fact they been gradually scaling it up and now from the month of April they will be supplying components for about 4,000-5,000 Nano per month.

The initial numbers as Tata Motors said that the first chunk or some Nano will be based at the dealership level from the first week of April and the bookings will start from the second week of April which essentially means that people will have to wait for to get their hands on Nano. So the initial numbers are going to grow because the vendors are gradually supplying them the components because there is not enough manufacturing scaling up that has been done. There are certain dealerships who have some good relationships with the existing customers, those customers may get some preference over the totally new customers and that set of customers may be able to book the car earlier than the rest.

This is been manufactured at Pune and Pantnagar. Sanand of course will take time at least by the end of this year or early next year only will they start manufacturing there. So till then there will be small amount of manufacturing that will be done out of these two plant. However it has to be seen what sort of response will be getting from consumers and how big will be the craze for Nano and how much will actually start selling. In select markets the car can be expected to be seen on the road before end of April but for the larger part of the country it will be towards mid-May or second-half of May. That is when one can expect to see the Nano in almost every corner of the country. Dealers say the booking amount initially could be anywhere between Rs 50,000-75,000.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Charging Solution For Mobile Phones

The aim is to make a standard charging solution for mobile phones

If the GSM Association has its way, by 2012 most phones will use a standardized charger to power them. The association has announced a plan to standardize chargers across a spectrum of manufacturers.

Major manufacturers, including Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola have joined the Universal Charging Solution (UCS) consortium. The list also includes major telecom companies like Vodafone, Orange, Qualcomm and Telefonica.
The aim is to make a standard charging solution implemented, probably using micro USB chargers. While some phones already have this feature, other manufacturers too are likely to join in, so that the standardization is achieved.

Apart from various benefits, this move could bring a reduction in the number of chargers produced, as old chargers will not become useless.
The move will also bring a considerable reduction in emission of greenhouse gases during manufacturing and transportation of replacement chargers.
The chargers, while remaining standard, will also be customized for "local" versions as some countries use proprietary plug points like the three pin plug used in the UK.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Object Verb Subject

Object Verb Subject (OVS) or Object Verb Agent (OVA) is one of the permutations of expression used in linguistic typology, although it is rare among languages in general. OVS denotes the sequence 'Object Verb Subject' in unmarked expressions: Oranges ate Sam, Thorns have roses. While the passive voice in English may appear to be in the OVS order, this is not an accurate description. In an active voice sentence, for example Sam ate the oranges, the grammatical subject, Sam is the 'agent', who is acting on the 'patient,' the oranges, which are the object of the verb ate. In the passive voice, The oranges were eaten by Sam, the order is reversed so that patient is followed by verb, followed by agent. However, the oranges become the subject of the verb were eaten which is modified by the prepositional phrase by Sam which expresses the agent, maintaining the usual Subject Verb (Object) order. OVS sentences in English can be parsed when pronouns mark the case (Him like I.) But such a sentence is clearly nonstandard. This sort of reversed order can also be used in English when relating an adjective to a noun although here cold is a predicative adjective, not an object.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Line-scan camera systems

A line-scan camera is a camera device containing a line-scan image sensor chip, and a focusing mechanism. These cameras are almost solely used in industrial settings to capture an image of a constant stream of moving material. Unlike video cameras, line-scan cameras use a single array of pixel sensors, instead of a matrix of them. Data coming from the line-scan camera has a frequency, where the camera scans a line, waits, and repeats. The data coming from the line-scan camera is commonly processed by a computer, to collect the one-dimensional line data and to create a two-dimensional image. The collected two-dimensional image data is then processed by image-processing methods for industrial purposes.

Line-scan technology is capable of capturing data extremely fast, and at very high image resolutions. Usually under these conditions, resulting collected image data can quickly exceed 100MB in a fraction of a second. Line-scan-camera–based integrated systems, therefore are usually designed to streamline the camera's output in order to meet the system's objective, using computer technology which is also affordable.

Line-scan cameras intended for the parcel handling industry can integrate adaptive focusing mechanisms to scan six sides of any rectangular parcel in focus, regardless of angle, and size. The resulting 2-D captured images could contain, but are not limited to 1D and 2D barcodes, address information, and any pattern that can be processed via image processing methods. Since the images are 2-D, they are also human-readable and can be viewable on a computer screen. Advanced integrated systems include video coding and optical character recognition (OCR).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Abiotic stress In Animals

For animals, the most stressful of all the abiotic stressors is heat. This is because many species are unable to regulate their internal body temperature. Even in the species that are able to regulate their own temperature, it is not always a completely accurate system. Temperature determines metabolic rates, heart rates, and other very important factors within the bodies of animals, so an extreme temperature change can easily distress the animal’s body. Animals can respond to extreme heat, for example, through natural heat acclimation or by burrowing into the ground to find a cooler space. It is also possible to see in animals that a high genetic diversity is beneficial in providing resiliency against harsh abiotic stressors. This acts as a sort of stock room when a species is plagued by the perils of natural selection. A variety of galling insects are among the most specialized and diverse herbivores on the planet, and their extensive protections against abiotic stress factors have helped the insect in gaining that position of honor.

Monday, January 19, 2009


The llama (Lama glama) is a South American camelid, widely used as a pack animal by the Incas and other natives of the Andes mountains. In South America llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat.

The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is between 5.5 feet (1.6 meters) to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall at the top of the head. They can weigh between approximately 280 pounds (127 kilograms) and 450 pounds (204 kilograms). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 20 pounds (9 kilograms) to 30 pounds (14 kilograms). Llamas are very social animals and like to live with other llamas as a herd. Overall, the fiber produced by a llama is very soft and is naturally lanolin free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, llamas can carry about 25%–30% of their body weight for several miles.

Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America and Asia about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago) camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America and, due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 100,000 llamas and 6,500–7,000 alpacas in the US and Canada.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Arctic Ocean

  • Amundsen Gulf
  • Baffin Bay
  • Barents Sea
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Bering Sea
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Davis Strait
  • Denmark Strait
  • East Siberian Sea
  • Greenland Sea
  • Hudson Bay
  • James Bay
  • Kara Sea
  • Kara Strait
  • Labrador Sea
  • Laptev Sea
  • Lincoln Sea
  • Norwegian Sea
  • White Sea

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Flax (is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent This is called as Jawas/Javas or Alashi in Marathi. Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt. (New Zealand flax is not related to flax, but was named after it as both plants are used to produce fibres.)

Flax is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15–25 mm diameter, with five petals; they can also be bright red. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5–9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4–7 mm long.

In addition to referring to the plant itself, "flax" may refer to the unspun fibres of the flax plant.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Chicxulub crater

The Chicxulub Crater is an ancient impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.Its center is located near the town of Chicxulub, after which the crater is named—as well as the rough translation of the Mayan name, "the tail of the devil."The crater is more than 180 kilometers (110 mi) in diameter, making the feature one of the largest confirmed impact structures in the world; the impacting bolide that formed the crater was at least 10 km (6 mi) in diameter.

The crater was discovered by Glen Penfield, a geophysicist who had been working in the Yucatán while looking for oil during the late 1970s. Evidence for the impact origin of the crater includes shocked quartz, a gravity anomaly, and tektites in surrounding areas. The age of the rocks and isotope analysis show that this impact structure dates from the end of the Cretaceous Period, roughly 65 million years ago. The impact associated with the crater is implicated in causing the extinction of the dinosaurs as suggested by the K–T boundary, although some critics argue that the impact was not the sole reasonand others debate whether there was a single impact or whether the Chicxulub impactor was one of several that may have struck the Earth at around the same time. Recent evidence suggests that the impactor may have been a piece of a much larger asteroid that broke up in a collision in distant space more than 160 million years ago.