US science group says its time to start burying plutonium

first_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2012 Phys.Org By most estimates there is currently about 500 metric tons of plutonium in the world today that needs to be disposed of in some sort of reasonable way. By reasonable, most mean in a way that doesn’t harm anyone or the environment and that can’t be accessed by those wishing to use it to make nuclear weapons. Those writing in the new commentary piece suggest that the only good option is sealing it in ceramic pucks and burying it.Others aren’t so sure, and that’s why plutonium is currently being used to create something called Mixed Oxide nuclear fuel (MOX), an alternative fuel source that by all accounts is more costly to use than is simply using fresh alternatives, such as uranium. Still others are using plutonium as fuel for so-called fast reactors; but that doesn’t get rid of the plutonium problem, it just delays having to deal with it.This is why the commentary group says the best solution is to simply bury the waste and be rid of it. Unfortunately, saying it needs to be done, isn’t all that new. Leaders of countries such as the US, France, Japan and others have been trying to do that for decades. The problem isn’t that people don’t understand that it needs to be done, it’s finding a place to dump the waste that people can agree on. As just one example, in the United States, a site was chosen in the Yucca Mountains; its physical characteristics and remoteness suggested it would be an ideal site. The site was approved by Congress in 2002, but opponents of the idea stalled the process and eventually persuaded President Obama to cancel the project in 2009, with the end result being, nuclear waste still temporarily stored in “secure” locations around the country. Thus, the problem isn’t that people don’t understand what needs to be done, it’s that no one wants a nuclear waste dump site anywhere near them, or even in or near areas that are considered special for one reason or another.By publishing their opinions regarding what needs to be done, this group is hoping that sound minds will eventually prevail, and that reasonable sites will be chosen by responsible people resulting in nuclear waste being buried sooner, rather than later. U.S. says it will discard some plutonium Journal information: Naturecenter_img (Phys.org) — As researchers the world over continue to try to find a way to meet the energy needs of an over populated planet, negative consequences for choices already made continue to pile up. Global warming that appears likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels is one, dealing with radioactive waste from nuclear power plants (and the decommissioning of atomic weapons) is another, perhaps more solvable problem. Because of that, a team of scientists from the United States has published a commentary piece in the science journal Nature, declaring that the time has come for ceasing discussions about what to do with plutonium waste and to simply find suitable places for it and bury it. More information: Nuclear proliferation: Time to bury plutonium, Nature 485, 167–168 (10 May 2012) doi:10.1038/485167a Citation: US science group says it’s time to start burying plutonium (2012, May 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-science-group-plutonium.html Plutonium,. Pictured against an inch and centimeter rule. Image: Wikipedia.last_img read more

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Robot snake automatically wraps around an object when thrown w Video

first_imgThe researchers were able to give the snake such an ability by making use of accelerometers embedded in its body. It’s able to detect the sudden stop that occurs when it strikes an object—after that, it was simply a matter of taking advantage of programming that had already been done by the team to get it to wrap itself around the object that it had struck. The team at CMU is engaged in research involving robot snakes as part of an overall initiative to develop robots that can be used in medical applications, to help manufacture things, as part of archeology efforts, and perhaps most specifically to assist with search and rescue operations.It’s important to note that there is a difference between wrapping and constricting—this robot snake does the former, but not the latter—it doesn’t squeeze the target, it simply wraps itself around it to allow it to hold on. Though, it’s not beyond the pale to consider that constricting could also be added to the snakes’ abilities, especially when noting that the U.S. Army Research Lab is paying for the research. The researchers on the project don’t divulge what sort of objectives the Army may have in mind for the snakes and thus any theories on their use (such as, as a weapon) at this time would be purely speculative. Citation: Robot snake automatically wraps around an object when thrown (w/ Video) (2013, March 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-robot-snake-automatically-thrown-video.html (Phys.org) —Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Biorobotics laboratory have adapted one of their robotic snakes to cause it to automatically wrap itself around an object after being thrown. Upon impact, the snake immediately wraps its body around the target—in the test cases, a light pole and tree branch, and holds on, supporting itself. © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Robot snakes have been developed in recent years to mimic the actions of their real life counterparts. Scientists believe their leg and feet-free mode of locomotion might be ideal for use in hard to reach places, such as buildings that have been knocked down by an earthquake. Thus far, researchers have developed such snakes that are able to travel over terrain in ways very similar to a real snake, and even to climb up objects such as a person’s arm. Now, in this new effort, the researchers have extended the capability of a robot snake to include wrapping and holding on to an object when thrown at it. Credit: Biorobotics Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University Robot snake ‘Uncle Sam’ now climbs trees (w/ Video)last_img read more

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British engineers report successful test of space penetrator

first_img Citation: British engineers report successful test of space penetrator (2013, July 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-british-successful-space-penetrator.html (Phys.org) —British engineers have told reporters that a test of their space penetrator has been conducted and all signs suggest it was a complete success. The space penetrator is a bullet shaped projectile with electronics inside. Its purpose is to hard-land on another planet or moon, penetrating the surface by up to ten feet, then radio back sensor information. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The Galileo spacecraft took this image of Europa, which is about the size of Earth’s moon, in 1996. Credit: NASA. Dual Drill Designed for Jupiter’s Europa Ice In the test, the penetrator was fired at a 10 tonne block of ice—it struck the block moving at approximately 340m/s, which is of course nearly the speed of sound. While the block of ice was reduced to a giant snow-cone, the electronic instruments inside the probe remained intact and in fact, continued to operate as planned, thanks to a spring mechanism engineers crafted to help soften the blow.The main goal of the penetrator is to determine whether life exists on another planet or moon in our solar system. Currently, the hope is that it will be used on Jupiter’s moon Europa, which is believed to be harboring a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust. The penetrator would be carried aboard a more traditional space craft then launched into orbit around a target as part of a satellite. At the appropriate time, a penetrator module would be ejected from the satellite. The module would consist of the penetrator and an engine component to propel the module to a desired location. Once that location is reached, the engine would be released and the penetrator would fall head first down to the surface below. Because of its high speed, it would make its way some distance below the surface before stopping.The researchers report the test penetrator experienced 24,000g as it came to a rest. Once in place, the penetrator would then begin sending sensor data via radio messages to the satellite which would relay them back to Earth.Representatives for the project team told the media that the penetrator could host a wide variety of sensors and could even carry a small drill for taking samples near the probe.The penetrator project is being funded by the European Space Agency, though the agency has yet to decide whether the penetrator will ever actually be deployed. Researchers on the project say it will be ready for launch within a decade’s time. More information: via BBC © 2013 Phys.org Explore furtherlast_img read more

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Astronomer ponders the idea of looking for long extinct intelligent alien life

first_img To be clear, Wright is not suggesting that he believes such forms of life once existed or that there is any evidence of them, as some in the media have suggested. Instead, he is merely suggesting that as part of a thorough search for alien life forms, we ought to include those that might once have been nearby, but who, for whatever reason, either left or went extinct. He notes that most current research involved in looking for life beyond Earth is focused on finding biosignatures—evidence of extraterrestrial life that is still alive today, including simple microbes.Evidence of extinct aliens would likely be difficult if not impossible to find on Earth, he notes, due to plate tectonics, weather etc., if timelines of millions of years are considered. But other bodies in the solar system are capable of holding onto material for very long time periods due to subsurface features that offer protection from meteor strikes and solar radiation—examples might include asteroids or moons, which, if aliens did ever visit our solar system, would have provided both shelter and privacy. He notes that technosignatures could come in a variety of forms—from evidence of mining to materials that could not have formed naturally.Wright suggests that some effort ought to be made seeking technosignatures, both here on our home planet (in rock that is millions or even billions of years old, perhaps) and as we study planets, their moons and other objects in the solar system capable of harboring evidence. © 2017 Phys.org Citation: Astronomer ponders the idea of looking for long extinct intelligent alien life (2017, May 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-astronomer-ponders-idea-extinct-intelligent.html Explore further More information: Prior Indigenous Technological Species, arXiv:1704.07263 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1704.07263AbstractOne of the primary open questions of astrobiology is whether there is extant or extinct life elsewhere the Solar System. Implicit in much of this work is that we are looking for microbial or, at best, unintelligent life, even though technological artifacts might be much easier to find. SETI work on searches for alien artifacts in the Solar System typically presumes that such artifacts would be of extrasolar origin, even though life is known to have existed in the Solar System, on Earth, for eons. But if a prior technological, perhaps spacefaring, species ever arose in the Solar System, it might have produced artifacts or other technosignatures that have survived to present day, meaning Solar System artifact SETI provides a potential path to resolving astrobiology’s question. Here, I discuss the origins and possible locations for technosignatures of such a prior indigenous technological species, which might have arisen on ancient Earth or another body, such as a pre-greenhouse Venus or a wet Mars. In the case of Venus, the arrival of its global greenhouse and potential resurfacing might have erased all evidence of its existence on the Venusian surface. In the case of Earth, erosion and, ultimately, plate tectonics may have erased most such evidence if the species lived Gyr ago. Remaining indigenous technosignatures might be expected to be extremely old, limiting the places they might still be found to beneath the surfaces of Mars and the Moon, or in the outer Solar System. Recently discovered solar system could seed life between adjacent exoplanetscenter_img Journal information: arXiv This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Credit: CC0 Public Domain (Phys.org)—Jason Wright, an astronomy professor at Penn State, has uploaded a paper to the arXiv preprint sever that addresses the issue of whether we have looked hard enough for extinct alien life—particularly intelligent forms of extraterrestrial life. In his paper, he questions whether enough effort is being put into looking for evidence of space-faring alien life forms (technosignatures) that are now extinct but who might have left behind evidence of their existence here in our own solar system—everything here is much closer, he notes, than the next-nearest star system.last_img read more

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Delhis got open ear for music

DJ  Ollie Humphreys  is one of the most prominent faces of London’s VIP clubbing scene. Having played with some of house music’s biggest names like Eric Morillo, Laurent Wolf, Yves Larock, Alex Gaudino and Bob Sinclair, Ollie is now here in the Capital to play for Dilliwallahs.He grew up in UK and the south of France, amidst the party scenes of London, Cannes and St Tropez, and that’s where he got hooked to dance music. Millennium Post caught up with the man behind the console. Here are excerpts: When did you realise that you wanted to make music your profession?It’s was a combination of two things. When in France, about 13 years old, I used to listen to the radio a lot trying to learn the language, but as it turned out,  I only listened to certain stations for music. At the time, my stepfather had an old technics turntable and I ended up trying to mix the radio with some classic house records. As soon as I realised you could make three songs out of two by just mixing, I was hooked. The second factor is an accumulation of experiences over my teenage years when I understood how happy music could make people. Events such as my first concert really made me realise that I had to be involved in music because I wanted to make other people happy through the sounds of music.What kind of music do you like?I never like to be pigeon hold into any specific drama. I love all kinds of music, all genres from all over the world. It sounds stupid but I never judge a track on where it is from or who it is by or perhaps more importantly, where I would like it to come from or who I would like it to be by. If I like it then that’s it. However, two worlds dominate my passion — Latin America and Africa. I am really a sucker for rhythm and bounce. How would you define your kind of music?I play a variety of house music — infusing both the old and new. I’m often playing a Frank Sinatra vocal with an uplifting house beat. I always try to be as original as I can whilst keeping the crowd energised. Sandwiching the house tracks which the crowd knows between the ones which they should know. My music is heavily based on percussion, there is always a rolling high hat through my set. In a bubble, energetic bubbly house with lots of percussion.What do you think of the Delhi crowd so far?It has truly been an experience I will never forget. Everyone has been so welcoming and I’m loving every minute. There is everything you could possibly want here — good people, weather and food. The crowds where I have been playing, were engaging and energising but most importantly, what I liked about the crowd here is they have an open ear.  They are prepared to occasionally hear something new and different.As a musician, who do you idolise?For the music, it’s Miles Davis. He singlehandedly opened up my mind to the potential of music. For the character, Frank Sinatra, there hasn’t been a cooler cat since him.If not a musician, what would you be?Probably a chef.  Any job which has the potential for me to make other people happy with my craft and being able to see the expression on their face.What do you expect from your next gig?Energy, energy, energy and lots of atmosphere and a packed dance floor.How do you think of the present music industry in India?It’s at such a crucial stage. Electronic music is exploding here. So far, from what I can see the pioneers of music here are steering the ship in the right direction. Playing music which is both original, true to its culture and at the same time innovative. There are just so many people here with such a passion for music. It’s in a great place at the moment, more people will be exposed to it within the near future… watch this space.Do you have plans to stay on in Delhi after the session gets over this month?I have to fly back to London on 1 October as I have commitments in both Ibiza and Shanghai but I should be returning at the end of October to play at a couple of gigs for the F1 race.Message for your fans? Try to develop your own sound. Don’t try and replicate someone else.DETAILAt: Shroom 3 Floor, The Cresent Mall, Lado Sarai, MehrauliWhen: 22 September to 29 SeptemberPhone: 29523737 read more

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Nature on Canvas

first_imgJohn Muir said that in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. Nayanaa Kanodia seems to have walked this path through her paintings in her last work, The Great Outdoors. Her body of work shows the close bond man has with nature. A union that helps him regains his lost innocence, enjoying a solace that can be derived from the peace and quiet of nature. Although a number of the paintings are set indoors trees, foliage and birds are skilfully integrated.     Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘The conversation I hope to create in my work is a certain truth of life and on a deeper level, a well thought philosophy. I construct fantastic versions of accessible scenes, both rural and urban utopias. Individuals may interpret my paintings in vastly disparate ways and each view will be equally logical and plausible, thought provoking and intriguing,’ concedes the artist.Kanodia’s work is a salient artistic combination of a still life composition with a message. She is a painter of women who are on the cusp of telling their story. The excitement of what is the story going to be. The woman on the bicycle opens up a pastoral picture of married life with a dog that brings a smile to the face. It is an interesting mixture of East and West, the open umbrella accentuating the lure of the woman. Still life compositions of domestic middle class interiors with a collection of flowers are an interesting oddity when put in context of soulful women in saris. It is as if two genres work successfully side by side, a surprise at every turn of the page.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixNo wonder that her collection enjoys such popularity. What is so special that so many of her women look as if they are about to tell a story but never start or finish it as ‘heard melodies are sweet but those unheard are sweeter.’  The imaginative journeys started by her creations can never have an end.         Self taught Nayanaa Kanodia pioneered Naif L’Art in India, a genre till then unseen and unheard of in India in a contemporary context.  In 1998, she was chosen from among artists of all The Commonwealth Countries by The Commonwealth Institute to have a solo show to inaugurate their newly renovated Complex in London.  Looking at the contribution she has made to L’Art Naïve, she was invited by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2001 to demonstrate her painting techniques in this prestigious Museum and also exhibit her paintings. You’ve got to go and see for yourself what this brilliant artist has to offer!Where: Art Alive Gallery, S-221, Panchsheel ParkWhen: 31 July to 20 August Timing:11am to 7 pm (Mon -Sat)last_img read more

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Govt alarmed over functioning of toll plazas by pvt players including R

first_imgIn a major breach of contract, the government has raised serious concern over the functioning of ‘toll plazas’ operated by private players including Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. for suppressing the ‘escrow accounts’.The total volume of the ‘irregularities’ was found to be around Rs. 903 crore, which was raised but was not deposited in the escrow accounts as per agreed terms by the private players. The ‘escrow account’ is a temporary pass through account held by third party during the process of a transaction (of toll collection) between the two parties. It was learnt that on March 10, 2010, the NHAI had an agreement with the M/s PS Toll Road Pvt. Ltd of Reliance Infrastructure for the development, maintenance and management of National Highway No. 4 (approx. 140.35 km). Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIIn the agreement it was decided to augment the existing road of nearly 140.35 km on the Pune-Satara section of National Highway No. 4 in Maharashtra to six-Lane under Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis.However, it was found that despite incomplete work ‘as per the Concessionaire Agreement (CA) with the NHAI,’ the company continues to collect toll from October 1, 2010 to March 2014. Sources said, during these periods they managed to collect more than Rs. 500 but ‘surprisingly’ diverted nearly half of the amount (till August 2012) and invested it in Reliance Liquid Fund (RLF), which is against the CA. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindIt was found that on September 1, 2014, M/s PS Toll Road Pvt. Ltd in a letter to the NHAI’s Project Director claimed that work has been completed on the on the Pune-Satara section. A senior official of the company Nagendra Rai in his letter to NHAI mentioned, “We would like to inform that the old toll plaza structure has been completely removed and the surface treatment has been completed.”But, on September 9, 2014, the General Manager (Tech), NHAI, Rajesh K. Kaundal in a reply letter, to the company mentioned that, “It is seen that concessionaire has submitted the compliance after a period of about nine months and that to it is incomplete action on the part of concessionaire, as removal of old toll plazas structure is yet to be done. In view of above it is requested to take immediate action on removal of the structure without loss of further time.”last_img read more

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Journalist withdraws complaint of being kidnapped

first_imgKolkata: The propaganda of an attack on journalists during the nomination process of the Panchayat polls was proved baseless after withdrawal of the complaint of a victim who went missing from Alipore on Monday.Allegations of attack on journalists at Alipore was raised along with allegations of journalists being detained started circulating with some comparing the office at Alipore with the “Bermuda Triangle”. Senior officials and top brass of the city police were informed about it.Interestingly, the journalist was later rescued and taken to Bhowanipore police station. Some colleagues of the journalist had reached the police station and clearly stated in writing that the scribe was missing for some time. But she returned after a few hours and there was no allegation against anyone in this connection.There was also an allegation that a scribe was manhandled at the same place on Monday and some of his valuables taken away. Similar allegations had cropped in a few districts as well. But, the interesting part was that they all returned safely. It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, came down heavily on Anandabazar Patrika saying that the newspaper has been circulating false news for ages and it is its policy to spread canards. There were also allegations of harassing a photojournalist a few days ago at the same place. The incident had also led to a lot of hue and cry in the city. But people came to know the exact reason behind the incident when a day later the Chief Minister stated that there was an allegation of taking money after assuring jobs against the person which was the main reason.last_img read more

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Of art and consciousness

first_imgKey to understanding the reality of life is being ‘conscious’ about truths of yourself and your environment. The same idea is well portrayed by Shanthi Vatsala Prasad in her upcoming solo exhibition Consciousness. In her paintings she brings about three different stages of consciousness. The awareness of body that is possessed by animals, self-consciousness – awareness about oneself and cosmic/universal consciousness, the awareness of Supreme – possessed by enlightened humans and gods.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Through her paintings she tried depicting triangle stages of awakening, dreaming and sleeping popularly known as, the Jagrut, the Swapna, and the Sushupta. She feels one grows to higher states of consciousness by constantly following a mantra, ritual, yoga etc. and ultimately reaches Turiya state, the Cosmic consciousness. Being a nature lover, Shanthi’s paintings are mostly about the Mother Nature from where we all have come, will live and then go back.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixShe has blended her thoughts well with spiritualism in her paintings of Radha-krishna representing pure love, Tripura Sundari representing pure bliss, Dakshina Murty representing pure knowledge, Nature representing the selfless sharing and nurturing etc. Shanthi’s vision is to transfer some part of her devotion to others and bring peace to their homes. Prasad belongs to a traditional Brahmin family in Andhra Pradesh. Her immense love for nature has given her an edge over her talent in painting. She has been painting since the last 15 years and wants to redefine art as a source of spiritual awakening in human beings.last_img read more

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Delhis little Tibet

first_imgMajnu ka Tilla, a popular name among the student populace of Delhi University, has a famous Gurudwara and a Tibetan colony. The colony was allotted in the early 1960s by then Prime minister of India Pt Jawaharlal Nehru in order to give refuge to the Tibetan refugees following the mass exodus in 1959.The Tibetan colony at Majnu ka Tilla has several Tibetan stores and roadside stalls that offer traditional Tibetan clothes, handicrafts, Buddhist artifacts, jewellery, various types of pickles, bamboo shoots, dried Tibetan noodles as well as Tibetan traditional corn flakes, colourful face masks, socks, shoe-soles. Some made-in-China products like sandals, umbrellas and bags are also available here.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The colony is full of restaurants that specialise in Tibetan, Nepali, Korean and Bhutanese cuisines. Besides the mouth smacking Momos, Thukpas, and Shabalays, one thing that draws visitors from all over Delhi, is the non-alcoholic Fruit Beer, which is available in every restaurant in the colony. On Wednesdays none of the restaurants in Majnu ka Tilla provides non vegetarian food. In the year 2004, the colony was renamed after the late freedom fighter Aruna Asaf Ali.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe colony has about 363 permanent registered families in addition to many tenants and outstation students. “The temple we have in the courtyard is not a monastery, so it is only open twice a day during the morning and the evening prayer sessions. Our usual functions and festivals are performed in this courtyard only but sometimes they are also carried out in the school playground,” said an official. On asked about the timing of the lively stores, he added, “The stores here are generally open till 7pm in the evening and some of the restaurants till 10-10:30 at night which adheres to the government rule.” “The place is visited mostly by Delhi University students and foreign tourists for the good reputation of food. There are many good restaurants here that provides tasty Tibetan and Nepali food”, said Gopal Krishnan, a worker at a local Travels and Money Changer store. Since Majnu ka Tilla was gifted to the Tibetans by the Government of India, they are neither allowed to sell the land to Indians nor are Indians allowed to buy property there. The place is exclusively meant for Tibetans who are at a liberty to have Indians rent a store for business.“People mostly buy the Dream-Catcher from our store, amongst all the other artifacts and traditional items. The Dream Catcher is believed to catch the bad dreams and prevent one from having nightmares,” says Tenzin, a worker in one of the artifacts stores.According to an auto-driver, who ferries passengers to and from the Vidhan Nagar metro station to Majnu ka Tilla, the co-ed-school is only for Tibetan children from the colony and has till the 8th standard. Even though Indian children were admitted to the school previously, it had been forbidden for quite some time now.With all the colours and spices sprinkled over to flavour the place, Majnu ka Tilla still has several local residents who find it difficult to communicate with outsiders due to language issues. If only they interacted more with the visiting students and tourists in Hindi and in English they could have learnt the language and also be a tad bit more friendlier.last_img read more

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