Connectivity boost for SALT, SKA

first_img29 October 2010South African astronomy is set to receive a major boost, in the form of R100-million, ultra-high speed broadband link between the remote Northern Cape sites of the Southern African Large Telescope and Square Kilometre Array and the SA National Research Network backbone in Cape Town.The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has selected a Neotel/Broadband Infraco partnership to install the 10 gigabit per second fibre-optic link. The SA National Research Network (SANReN) backbone is an undertaking of the CSIR’s Meraka Institute.The ultra-high speed link will enable local and international researchers to process data from the Southern African Large Telescope and the Karoo Array Telescope in near real time, and significantly boost South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).SKA bid, MeerKAT telescopeAllied with eight other African countries, South Africa is competing against Australia (allied with New Zealand) to host the €1.5-billion SKA, a 3 000-dish radio imaging telescope massively more powerful than any such instrument ever built.As part of its SKA bid, South Africa is currently building the 80-dish Karoo Array Telescope, or MeerKAT, in a radio astronomy reserve near Carnarvon in the Northern Cape.The MeerKAT, due to be commissioned in 2014/15, will be a powerful scientific instrument in its own right – SKA South Africa recently announced that more than 43 000 hours of observation time had been allocated to radio astronomers from Africa and around the world to do research using the telescope.When the new high-speed link goes live in six to 10 months’ time, researchers will be able to get real-time access to data already being yielded by the MeerKAT’s precursor, the seven-dish KAT-7 demonstrator radio telescope.Southern African Large TelescopeThe Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), also situated in the remote Karoo region of the Northern Cape, at the site of the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland, will likewise benefit from the new link.Inaugurated in November 2005, SALT – the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere – has been hamstrung by both imaging problems and data communication issues.While SALT’s imaging problems have recently been sorted out, it still has to make do with a miserly four megabit per second Telkom line to Cape Town. The new link will put it in a different league altogether.‘Demonstrates our ability to invest’The installation of the new link will demonstrate “that South Africa can provide the bandwidth needed to fulfil the requirements of the full SKA, and will serve as a significant boost to the South African SKA bid,” Department of Science and Technology chief director Daniel Adams said this week.National Research Foundation CEO Albert van Jaarsveld said the development paved the way for international collaborators to actively make use of the facilities that will be provided by the two telescope sites.With the recent successful installation of seven dishes at the SKA site, the 10 Gbps link could not have come at a better time, he said, adding that researchers were eager to get access to the data being produced at the two sites.“The broadband link will enable not only South African but also international researchere to have near real-time access to the data,” he said. “Furthermore, the broadband link demonstrates our ability to invest heavily in scientific infrastructure in support of our desire to win the SKA bid.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

GPS Adventure Maze – Geocaching.com’s Lost & Found Video

first_img SharePrint RelatedGroundspeak Weekly Newsletter – January 12, 2012January 12, 2012In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter”Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – May 2, 2012May 3, 2012In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter”GPS Adventures Maze Travels to ColoradoJanuary 21, 2013In “Community” Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California hosts the GPS Adventure Maze Exhibit now through September 6th. The thrill is in the hunt. Learn about geocaching, navigation and the cutting-edge Global Positioning System all while negotiating the twists and turns of a real maze.Geocachers who attend can even log a GPS Adventure Exhibit cache.  But geocaching isn’t just indoors here.   Turtle Bay Exploration Park and the surrounding area are home to hundreds of geocaches.The GPS Adventure Maze is the creation of Groundspeak and Minotaur Maze Exhibits.  See the Lost & Found video series, including stories of a geocache in space and the geocache diet, here.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Want Clean Indoor Air? Don’t Bank on Houseplants

first_imgFinding articles online that extoll the many air-cleansing benefits of houseplants is a cinch, but the assertions are mostly hype with little grounding in fact. So writes Robinson Meyer in an article posted at The Atlantic as he debunks a popular claim of health bloggers and more than a few magazine articles. Typical of a pitch to buy more houseplants is this assertion from Katie Wells at her website Wellness Mama. “Houseplants are an effective, simple, and inexpensive way to purify indoor air.” Without citing a source for her claims, Wells goes on to specify which plants are most effective. The list includes bamboo palm, the rubber plant, and English ivy, among others. The same  prescription for clean air can be found in any number of magazine articles, like this one in This Old House.RELATED ARTICLESAll About Indoor Air QualityHumidity, Mold, and Indoor Air QualityRanking Indoor Air Pollutants Where did all of this come from? The claims seem to have originated with a NASA scientist named Bill Wolverton, who in the late 1980s investigated whether houseplants would be  capable of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in sealed space vehicles, Meyer writes. Wolverton’s 1989 report, summing up two years of research, found that potted houseplants have “demonstrated the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace organic pollutants from the air in energy-efficient buildings.” In considering the plight of people sealed into small spaces, Wolverton said, “If man is to move into closed environments, on Earth or in space, he must take along nature’s life support system.” In 1997, Wolverton followed up with a book, How to Grow Fresh Air. He provided a list of 50 plants that could help rid indoor air of such pollutants as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene, among others. Other research seemed to support the connection between clean indoor air and houseplants. The public was hooked. A new review is less enthusiastic But, Meyer says, a more recent view of nearly 200 studies shows the benefits of houseplants are significantly overstated. The review by Michael Waring, an engineering professor at Drexel University, and others found that while some plants can remove more VOCs than others in small, sealed chambers, none is very effective in a large room. It wasn’t Wolverton’s original study that was wrong, just that the benefits have since been overstated. Someone would have to be put 1,000 plants in a 10-foot-square room with an 8-foot ceiling to have the same air-cleaning capacity as changing the room air once per hour, Waring said. Even if you chose the most effective VOC-cleansing plant, you’d need one plant per square foot. In a presentation titled “Biowalls and Indoor Houseplants: Facts and Fiction,” Waring describes some of the research that followed Wolverton’s initial study and how the claims have been popularized. “I do not think that houseplants clean the air,” he told Meyer, a point of view echoed by other scientists that the writer contacted. Another study, this one led by Omed Abbass and published in the journal Building and Environment, looked at whether indoor house plants might be effective at removing ozone from indoor air. The result? “Calculations of effectiveness in a hypothetical indoor environment show, at best, modest contributions of about 0.9-9% indoor ozone removal effectiveness …” There are many other benefits to having houseplants — color to counter the drabness of winter, the fragrance of new blossoms, the simple joy of growing something — but cleaner air apparently isn’t one of them.last_img read more

‘SHE Team’ on the patrol in Odisha

first_img‘SHE Team’, the innovative pilot project launched by Odisha’s Gajapati district police in Paralakhemundi started functioning from Friday to ensure safety and security of young girls and women.Justice K.R.Mohapatra of the Orissa High Court formally flagged off the ‘SHE Team’ at a colourful function held at Biju Patnaik Kalyan Mandap of Paralakhemundi. Since June 24, a massive awareness drive about the project had been taken up in Gajapati’s district headquarter town, Paralakhemundi.The theme song of ‘SHE Team’ sung by Gajapati Superintendent of Police Sarah Sharma has already drawn much attention. The young IPS officer used her Hindustani classical skills learnt during her student days in Cuttack. Its lyric was written by female inspector Mamata Nayak. This theme song was launched on June 25 and logo of the project was released the previous day. There were competitions among students and rallies to popularise concept of ‘SHE Team’ in Paralakhemundi.SHE stands for ‘Safety, Health and Environment’. This project is modelled on the lines of Hyderabad ‘SHE Team’, said Ms. Sharma. The ‘SHE Team’ of Paralakhemundi is headed by a lady sub-inspector and includes mobile patrolling teams. Four female and three male police personnel will assist her. They will patrol schools, colleges, other local institutions and public places, where young girls and women are allegedly subjected to eve teasing, stalking and harassment.Website launchedThe website of ‘SHE Team’ has been launched and a mobile app is under construction. At the time of distress, women of Paralakhemundi can contact ‘SHE Team’ through its website ‘sheteamgajapati.com’, landline number 06815-222388 or by WhatsApp number 9438916707. The website and phone numbers are being publicised through social media and other means.‘SHE Team’ will also try to prevent harassment of working women at workplaces and public places where they move for their job. It will teach self defence and cyber space safety to young girls and children.It will visit child care institutions and make children aware about sexual abuse.last_img read more

Death threats brandished weapons forcible confinement triggered raid RCMP

first_imgBy Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe RCMP moved in on the anti-shale gas protest near Elsipogtog First Nation after some individuals at the site issued death threats, brandished weapons and forcibly confined security guards in a compound holding vehicles belonging to a Houston-based energy company, according to the force’s superintendent of national Aboriginal policing.The RCMP has faced criticism from First Nations leaders across the country over last Thursday’s raid last which led to 40 arrests, the seizure of three rifles and improvised explosive devices and intense clashes between Elsipogtog residents and RCMP officers.Supt. Tyler Bates said he didn’t agree with the criticism his force used heavy handed tactics to try and break the protest encampment which was blocking the entrance to a compound holding vehicles belonging to SWN Resources Canada. The company had been conducting shale gas exploration work in the region.“If my life was in jeopardy and I had been threatened with harm I would expect the police to take some action to protect me,” said Bates. “There was a criminal element there that escalated matters.”Bates did not provide details on how long the guards were trapped in the compound, what types of death threats were issued or what types of weapons were brandished. He said it was up to the RCMP’s J-Division in New Brunswick to release those details.“We were left with no option but to intervene to protect those under threat,” said Bates.The security guards at the compound were employed by Industrial Securities Ltd. The security company is owned by the Irving family. The Irvings, through Irving Oil, have an interest in seeing shale gas deposits developed in the province. The New Brunswick-based company sees shale gas as a cheap energy source to expand its refining capacity. Irving Oil is eyeing Alberta bitumen which could soon flow to the province if TransCanada gets approval for its proposed Energy East pipeline.Two members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, who were arrested during the raid, were released on bail Friday. The two men, Jason Augustine and David Mazerolle, face several charges including unlawful confinement, obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer.Another member of the Warrior Society was denied bail Thursday and two others remain behind bars awaiting bail hearings including James Pictou, one of the lead spokesmen for the Warrior Society, who is also facing a charge of unlawful confinement.The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society was in charge of security at the encampment, which still sits on Route 134, at the time of the raid. Video taken from the morning of the raid depicted RCMP officers walking into the site unencumbered. The encampment, which is in Rexton, NB, is about 15 kilometres northeast of Elsipogtog First Nation and 80 km north of Moncton.The RCMP raid freed SWN’s vehicles.The encampment was the latest incarnation of long-running protests, lead by Elsipogtog residents, against shale gas exploration in the region. This past summer saw nearly 30 arrests related to protests, including on June 21, Aboriginal Day.Grassroots activists in the Mi’kmaq community fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which they believe threatens the environment.SWN, however, has been courting First Nations leaders in the province for over a year. Last October, members of the Assembly of First Nations of New Brunswick Chiefs’ consultation committee visited the company’s operations in Arkansas. It remains unclear who paid for the trip.Bates said the raid had reverberations across the country and impacted the RCMP’s ongoing relationship with First Nation communities. The RCMP is the main police force in many First Nation communities.“Sometimes, depending on the perspective of what people choose to believe as the reality of the situation is concerned, it takes a long protracted effort to rebuild trust,” he said. “There is a level of trust that exists that we can build upon. It is unfortunate when these types of outcomes occur and there is a residual impact. The rebuilding of trust has to occur.”Bates said the RCMP has no intention of preventing protests, but, in this circumstance, he said it was forced to act.“There has been misinformation to suggest we would react differently to Aboriginal protests,” he said. “The response to demonstrations will continue to be a measured response. We would just encourage that things remain peaceful and that there be no unlawful activity that transpires.”Bates said the injunction obtained by SWN against the protest played a minimal role in the RCMP’s decision to move.“When there are injunctions by the court that prohibit protest activities, the RCMP is in a position where we apply police discretion in terms of a resolution,” he said. “We don’t unilaterally move in and executive an injunction because an injunction is issued. Our interest was not to enforce an injunction but to get parties at the table.”Bates said the RCMP was trying to negotiate a resolution before the raid.“There was an injunction in place for quite an extended period of time. There were negotiations and mediation and an effort to get people to the table that needed to get to the table,” he said.First Nations protests, which have overtly historical and political elements to them, always put the RCMP in an awkward spot.“It is not my place to point fingers at any particular party. There are differences of opinion in terms of a variety of issues, whether environmental or resource extraction. We are sometimes caught in the middle of opposing interests,” said Bates. “Unfortunately, in this instance, clearly there is progress yet to be made.”Bates said the RCMP’s national Aboriginal policing branch was no involved in the operational details of Thursday’s raid which were handled by the commander of the RCMP’s J-Division in New Brunswick.He stressed there was “no military involvement” during the raid.Bates said he couldn’t comment on whether Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET) were used in Thursday’s raid, describing the issue as an “operational” detail.INSET teams include RCMP officers along with agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Services Agency and other federal departments.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more