Velingkar disbands breakaway unit, to rejoin RSS in Goa

first_imgPanaji: Members of the breakaway faction led by sacked Goa unit RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on Monday unanimously dissolved the rebel unit and announced their collective re-entry into the parent body.Addressing a press conference here , Mr. Velingkar, however said, that their re-entry into the RSS fold did not mean he and the local RSS cadre, had mended bridges with the Goa BJP, and warned BJP leaders not to deviate from the core values and principles of the RSS.Mr. Velingkar also said that all members of the RSS, who had stepped out of the organisation with him, would rejoin the shakhas and continue their work as volunteers of Sangh under the aegis of the Nagpur-based organisation. Message to BJP“The BJP cannot take all RSS rank and file for granted on the matters of ideology, core values and principles, for they know to en mass stand against it and teach BJP a lesson. This is the message which has gone on an all-India level. This is the biggest takeaway from this six-month exercise,” asserted Mr. Velingkar replying to a question about the achievement of the rebellion.RSS publicity division chief Manmohan Vaidya later told presspersons that the re-entry of Mr. Velingkar and other swayamsevaks back into the RSS fold was expected.“This was bound to happen. We had initially said that Mr. Velingkar would join back,” said Mr. Vaidya.Earlier, Mr. Velingkar said that the Goa RSS leaders and volunteers had shown immense respect towards the ideals and teachings of the RSS, despite their exit from the organisation in September last year.Mission complete“When we stepped out of the RSS hierarchy, our objective was to teach the Goa BJP, which was destroying the core of RSS teachings, a lesson in the Assembly elections. We have succeeded in doing that. Our mission in that sense is complete. The BJP leaders should realise that they should never take the RSS for granted,” Mr. Velingkar said.Mr. Velingkar was sacked from the RSS in August last year after he incessantly attacked Defence Minister and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, and the Goa BJP for “deviating from RSS teachings and betraying the cause of regional languages by declining to stop the government grants to English medium primary schools, most of which are run by Arch Diocese”.After he was sacked, Mr. Velingkar formed a rebel Sangh outfit in September with the backing of thousands of local volunteers as well as several State unit office bearers.In a bid to defeat the BJP, Mr. Velingkar and the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch(BBSM), the movement spearheading the cause of regional languages in primary education, went on to form a regional party — Goa Suraksha Manch — which contested the February 4 elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena, and the MGP, one of Goa’s oldest regional political party, which broke its alliance with BJP just ahead of elections.During his tenure as CM, Mr. Parrikar through a Cabinet decision in 2012, had allowed continuation of State financial grants to English medium primary schools as against RSS and BJP’s direct participation in the BBSM agitation in the run up to the 2012 Assembly elections, opposing grants to English schools granted by the previous Congress government.Mr. Velingkar, who is also the convenor of the BBSM had responded by accusing Mr. Parrikar and the State unit BJP of betrayal and had unleashed a stringent public campaign across the State which led to his eventual ouster as state RSS chief and the appointment of Laxman Behare as his replacement.On Monday, Mr. Velingkar insisted that their stand over opposition to English medium primary school grants and involvement in BBSM movement and GSM as political party will continue. When asked what was the hurry to merge with the RSS ahead of election results as their own party, the GSM, is in the fray, Mr. Kiran Nayak, vice-president of GSM and senior member of Velingkar group recalled their earlier announcement that they would merge on February4. However,it was delayed because some time was needed to convince everyone for a collective and unanimous decision.“To work as RSS we don’t need to wait for results of the election. We are sure BJP will be defeated. Imagine if we were to join after the results and on the background of BJP defeat, we would have been accused of being selfish and opportunists,” said Mr. Nayak.“The Sangh constitution is such that RSS members can join any party. Only he cannot be an office bearer in the Sangh if he joins a party,” Mr. Vaidya said over the issue of continuation of the Velingkar-led Sangh members in the political outfit.last_img read more

Rain claims two lives in Manipur, destroys houses

first_imgTorrential rain, thunderstorms and hailstorms have claimed two lives in Manipur over the past five days. Thousands of tin-roof houses and standing crop in the North-East, particularly in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Manipur, have also been destroyed. There are reports of 10 persons sustaining injuries in rain-related incidents as well.Despite weather forecast that pre-monsoon rain accompanied by thunderstorms would end by Sunday, weather conditions remained unchanged on Monday.The Manipur government had formed an action committee about four days ago to tackle ‘artificial floods’ caused by stagnant rain water. However, funds are yet to be sanctioned for distribution of relief materials.“Relief materials in government stock are for drought victims,” said Manipur Consumer Affairs and Food Public Distribution Minister Karam Shyam.Displaced personsDisplaced persons who have been taking shelter at community halls and local clubs in absence of government relief camps are yet to get cooked food, drinking water and other relief materials.Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar, who toured some flood-affected areas and damaged houses on Monday, said, “Collectors have been instructed to submit a report.”However, the delay has angered affected persons. Some said they can’t understand what the action committee has been doing all these days since they are yet to see any sign of relief.Manipur Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Leppao Haokip, who toured some flood-affected areas in Imphal, said, “Artificial floods have been caused by the small dam located in Manipur University. In the larger interest of the people, this dam should be demolished today [on Monday] itself so that water drains away.”According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the region is expected to see more rain and thunderstorms.last_img read more

Goa workers march for their rights

first_imgPanaji: Workers from Goa marched in Panaji on Monday to demand nationalisation of all iron ore mines in the State, and to pledge support to the villagers of Sonshi and all others struggling for clean water and air.The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) had organised the rally to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Workers from factories, mines, shipyards, port and dock, commercial establishments, transport, government and semi-government departments shouted slogans and waved colourful posters and banners bearing messages. The rally ended with a public meeting addressed by AITUC Goa general secretary Christopher Fonseca, president Prasanna Utagi, deputy general secretary R.D. Mangueshkar and secretary Suhaas Naik.The workers felicitated Amandeep Prabhudessai, a doctor who has dedicated his whole life to serve the needy. They also felicitated Comrade Juvenile Braganza, a veteran communist who has served working people in Goa for many years. Mr. Fonseca said that the offensive launched by the BJP-led government on the working people and their hard-won rights at the behest of the corporate lobby must stop. He demanded that workers’ rights must be protected.“The Modi government has also launched direct attacks on the democratic rights of the people, particularly the working class, by unleashing anti-labour amendments to labour laws secured by the working class after relentless struggles. This government is out to defeat the hard-won labour laws, which are being amended to suit the hire-&-fire policies of MNCs and corporates,” Mr. Fonseca said.Trade union speakers attacked the government for “anti-labour laws” and accused it of failing to tackle the unemployment problem across the country. Mr. Naik demanded a rollback of the hike in prices of petrol and diesel, controlling prices of essential commodities, recognition of the right to organise and right to strike as a fundamental right, no pro-employer changes to labour laws, stopping sale of profit-making public sector undertakings, setting up a National Fund for the unorganised workers and toilers, promulgating minimum wage of ₹18,000 per month linked to dearness allowance, and abolition of the contract labour system in government.last_img read more

No government in Haryana: Hooda

first_imgDemanding the resignation of Chief Minister M.L. Khattar, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda has cast doubt over the “intentions” of the Haryana government. “It was either intentional or inexperience, there can be no other reason to explain the sheer breakdown of administration. One feels there is absolutely no government in seat in Haryana,” the former Chief Minister of the State told The Hindu on SaturdayBetween “intention” and “inexperience”, Mr. Hooda blamed “intentions” more for Friday’s mayhem. “Their intentions are not honourable. It is part of ‘vote bank’ politics,” he said. This is the third massive public protest under the vigil of Mr. Khattar. In the first one in November 2014, within months into the government, it took 20,000 security personnel to arrest self-styled guru Rampal from Hisar. Five women and an 18-month-old child were killed in the siege. Last year’s Jat agitation saw a similar death toll and loss of ₹34,000 crore worth of property. “After the Jat Andolan, they had appointed the Prakash Singh Committee, which studied the lapses. The committee had indicted an SP, a DIG, the Home Secretary and even the Chief Minister’s Office. Where is the report today? No one knows,” Mr. Hooda said. No lessons learntThe government, Mr. Hooda said, did not learn any lessons from its own “misadventure” during the Jat agitation. The Union government and the BJP, meanwhile, gave a clean chit to the Khattar government, appreciating the administration for reportedly bringing in order within hours. “The BJP can go on giving clean chit for themselves, [but the] people of Haryana have lost confidence in them and will not give them a clean chit now,” he said. “If they [BJP] believe that they have done an excellent job in handling the recent tension and also in the last three years, they should go in for fresh elections and the voters shall deliver the verdict,” he added.last_img read more

‘Braid chopping’ protests spread in Kashmir Valley

first_imgThe authorities closed all educational institutions in the Kashmir Valley on Thursday as protests over alleged braid chopping incidents spread in the Kashmir Valley. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pledged to “unravel the motive behind these acts”.Educational institutes will remain closed onr Friday, too, “as a precautionary measure”, said the order issued by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.students held demonstrations on the the Kashmir University and the Central University of Kashmir campuses over the incidents.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said, “These incidents are aimed at creating mass hysteria and undermining the dignity of the women in the State.” She said the government will “unravel the motives behind these attacks”.Suspected militants hurled a grenade outside a beauty parlour in Pulwama, which damaged the window panes. The police said militants lobbed the grenade near the Rajpora Chowk. “A girl suffered minor injuries in the attack,” said the police.Ceasefire violationMeanwhile, an Army jawan and a civilian porter were killed in Pakistani firing at forward areas along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.last_img read more

Himachal Pradesh poll: Congress eases ticket norm for VIP kin

first_imgThe Congress on Sunday cleared the nominations of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s son from Shimla Rural and Minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s daughter from Mandi for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll, relaxing its “one family, one ticket” formula.Just a day before the filing of nomination for the November 9 election comes to an end, the party announced its final list of nine candidates.The party fielded Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress president and Mr. Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh from the prestigious Shimla Rural constituency, earlier held by his father, and State Minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s daughter Champa Thakur from Mandi (Sadar).The Congress had initially dithered over fielding Mr. Vikramaditya Singh and Ms. Champa Thakur, but gave in to pressure at the last minute, party sources said.According to the sources, the Congress was taking seriously its “one family, one ticket” formula, whereby only one member of a family would be made party candidate.This was the reason for the delay in declaring the candidates for Shimla Rural and Mandi seats.Second listEarlier in the day, the party released its second list of seven candidates, withholding the names of its nominees for just two seats —— Shimla Rural and Mandi (Sadar).About an hour later, the party, however, cleared the nominations of Mr. Vikramaditya Singh and Ms. Champa Thakur.Arki for VirbhadraMr. Virbhadra Singh had earlier publicly declared that his son would contest from his seat. The Chief Minister has moved to the Arki Assembly seat in Solan district and the party has declared his candidature from there.Mr. Kaul Singh has been fielded from the Darang Assembly constituency.Ms. Champa Thakur’s seat was held by former Union Minister Sukh Ram’s son Anil Sharma. Mr. Anil Sharma has quit the party and is now the BJP candidate from the seat.Monday is the last day for filing of nominations for the election to the 68-member Assembly. The Congress had on October 18 announced its first list of 59 candidates.last_img read more

M.P. moots death for rape of girls aged 12 and below

first_imgThe Madhya Pradesh government on Sunday cleared a proposal to enact a law for awarding death sentence to those guilty of raping girls aged 12 or below in the State. The moves comes in the wake of a spurt in rape incidents recently. “The Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan okayed the recommendation to hand down capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 years or below,” M.P. Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya told PTI. “We are going to present a Bill to this effect in the winter session of the Assembly beginning Monday,” he said. He said the Cabinet also decided to give harsher punishment to those guilty of molesting, stalking and harassing women. Now, a fine of ₹1 lakh will also be imposed on such offenders, he added. Once cleared by the Assembly, the Bill for capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 or below will be sent to the Centre which will send it to the President for his approval.Facing criticismThe Madhya Pradesh government had recently come in for criticism over incidents of rape. A 19-year-old UPSC aspirant was allegedly raped when she was returning home from a coaching institute on October 31 here. After public outrage, some police officers were suspended and transferred for the delay in registering an FIR. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2015 showed that Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rape cases (4,391) in the country.According to the NCRB data for 2014, the State reported 5,076 rape cases, which was 14% of the total rape incidents reported in the country.last_img read more

No puja without helmet, temple priests tell bikers

first_imgOver the years, different approaches have been tried to coax, persuade, and threaten two-wheeler riders into wearing helmets — from print and TV advertisements to fines, and awareness campaigns. Now, the Odisha police are trying out yet another: they have persuaded the priests of the highly revered Maa Sarala temple in Jagatsinghpur district to refuse the special puja for vehicles if the owners turn up without helmets.The temple, believed to be more than 1,000 years old, attracts thousands of devotees from Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Cuttack and Puri districts. In what has become a prevalent ritual, owners of two-wheelers take their new vehicles (as well as the old ones) to the temple for a special puja and seek the deity’s blessing for safe rides.The Jagatsinghpur police estimate that 10 new vehicles (on special occasions such as Sankranti, this could go up to 50) are brought to the temple every day for puja. Of the total 16,004 motor vehicles registered in the district, 13,203 are two-wheelers. “In view of the high number of road accidents, a meeting was held between priests and the police and it was agreed that the priests will refuse to perform the puja unless the owner of the two-wheeler brings the helmet along with the motorcycle for the puja,” said Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police Jai Narayan Pankaj. The temple’s head priest Sudam Charan Panda has said he would make all efforts to ensure the implementation of this new strategy, in close coordination with the police outpost.On Sunday, as part of the Road Safety Week campaign, 60 students of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, danced to popular Bollywood numbers in front of Bhawani Mall in Bhubaneswar. The dance by the flash mob was accompanied by announcements on road safety, even as students held up placards with catchy slogans on the theme.Road fatalities are a major concern in Odisha.last_img read more

Separatists call for march against PM

first_imgSeparatists joint forum, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, on Tuesday called for a protest march during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to J&K. “People should march towards the historic Lal Chowk on Saturday [May 19] to protest Mr. Modi’s visit,” said a JRL spokesman. Mr. Modi is visiting the State on Saturday and will inaugurate many development projects. The separatists also expressed anger over deaths in Palestine in Israeli action on Monday. “I lament the world’s indifference towards grave injustice and repression perpetuated upon Palestinians, thrown out of their own land by a powerful occupier. People of Kashmir sympathise and empathise with the Palestinian people,” said the Mirwaiz.Mr. Geelani asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation “to take stock of the situation and use its good offices on diplomatic front to deter the policy of genocide of the weaker nations of the world at the hands of imperialistic powers”.last_img read more

DS Kulkarni scam: Pune police arrest top Bank of Maharashtra officials

first_imgIn a simultaneous crackdown across different cities, the Pune police on Wednesday arrested six persons, including Ravindra Marathe, the CEO and MD of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) and the bank’s former CMD Sushil Muhnot, in connection with the ₹2000-crore D.S. Kulkarni fraud case.Mr. Marathe was arrested from Pune and Mr. Muhnot was picked up from Jaipur for advancing loans to the fraud-accused realtor in alleged violation of banking norms.Besides them, the Economic and Offences Wing (EOW) teams arrested Rajendra Gupta, executive director, BoM, Sunil Ghatpande, D.S. Kulkarni’s chartered accountant and Rajeev Newaskar, vice-president, engineering department, DSK Developers Ltd (DSKDL) from Pune, and Nityanand Deshpande, zonal manager, BoM from Ahmedabad.The accused have been booked under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant, banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, said Sudhir Hiremath, Deputy Commissioner of Police, EOW.Mr. Kulkarni, a prominent city-based developer known as ‘DSK’, and his wife Hemanti, are accused of defrauding thousands of investors across Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur. Both of them are presently lodged in the city’s Yerwada Central Jail.“It appears that the bank officials colluded with DSKDL by sanctioning loans illegally and misusing their positions of authority to disburse credit in the garb of loan in flagrant violation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines,” said an EOW official. RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been spearheading the fight against the developer on behalf of investors, called for the nexus between banks and DSK to be thoroughly probed.“BOM advanced loans to the developer [D. S. Kulkarni] despite the latter furnishing improper documentation. The end use of the loan was never checked. One such loan was sanctioned under the phoney rubric ‘to meet temporary mismatch in cash flows’,” said Mr. Kumbhar.“It is unfortunate that banks, which are otherwise fastidious about advancing loans to ordinary customers, should willfully flout norms while advancing loans to privileged customers like DSK,” he further said.Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the interim bail plea of Mr. Kulkarni’s son, Shirish.Shirish Kulkarni, who was an executive director at (DSKDL) and a director in other partnership firms, has been charged with divesting depositors’ money for other purposes.Last month, the police arrested Mr. Kulkarni’s kin, including Kedar Vanjape, the son-in-law of Mr. Kulkarni’s brother and his wife Sai Vanjape.On 17 May, the EOW submitted a 36, 875-page charge sheet before a special court in Pune, pegging the scam committed by the DSK Group at ₹2,043 crore.Assets attachedIn May this year, the Maharashtra government had issued a notification directing authorities to attach 124 properties, 276 bank accounts and 46 vehicles belonging to the DSK Group on grounds of protecting the interests of the investors as Mr. Kulkarni was “unlikely to return their deposits.”In April, a special court for Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act had rejected the regular bail applications of Mr. Kulkarni and his wife considering the magnitude of the multi-crore scam.Arguing against bail, Public Prosecutor Praveen Chavan had submitted that the scope Mr. Kulkarni’s scam went far beyond defrauding depositors and homebuyers and noted that despite the DSK group’s parlous financial condition since 2015, the conglomerate continued to collect deposits and beguile homebuyers by presenting a wrong picture of its financial health.The DSK group had raised ₹2,892 crore in bank loans against his pending projects, ₹1,153 crore from the depositors and ₹470 crore from homebuyers among other borrowings without possessing the wherewithal to repay this massive credit.At least five FIRs across Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur have been lodged against the developer and his family since October 28 last year, with more than 3,000 investors filing cheating complaints against Mr. Kulkarni.More than 8,000 persons, a majority of them senior citizens, are said to have invested in the DSK group’s fixed deposit (FD) scheme.The builder and his wife were finally arrested on February 17 after being detained by a team of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Pune police in New Delhi and brought back to the city.last_img read more

SC rues ‘sorry state of affairs’ in Saradha probe

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Monday termed the allegation of the West Bengal police obstructing the CBI in its probe into the multi-crore Saradha scam as a “sorry state of affairs” and directed that the probe agency officials should not be summoned for questioning by the State police’s Special Investigation Team.The top court also observed that due to such obstructions, the prosecution of those accused in the scam was getting delayed.The issue came up when the counsel for CBI made certain allegations which were countered by their counterparts representing the State government.“They (CBI and SIT) are obstructing each other. This is a sorry state of affairs. We are not happy with it. This is not the way things should go on. Whoever is the culprit needs to be booked. It should not be the case that investigating agencies are siding with the accused,” a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S.A. Abdul Nazeer said.The Bench said the SIT of the State police cannot summon CBI officials for questioning, as the apex court had in 2014 asked the Central probe agency to investigate the alleged scam.Justice Mishra said that when he was the Calcutta High Court Chief Justice, this case had come up before it for the first time but he had refused to hear it.last_img read more

CBI examining calls in Muzaffarpur molestation case

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation’s forensic team is mapping the mobile phone calls made by those suspected of having raped 34 girl inmates at the Muzaffarpur shelter home in Bihar.“The forensic team is also examining the evidence lifted by the State Police. It will visit the scene of crime to collect more evidence,” said an official. The agency plans to seek custodial interrogation of the 10 arrested accused.The abuse at the Balika Grih came to light following a social audit conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences of shelter homes across the State.last_img read more

10 cops hurt in Puri bandh over queue system

first_imgAt least 10 policemen were injured when protesters resorted to violence to enforce a day-long bandh in Puri on Wednesday in protest against the introduction of a queue system for darshan in the Jagannath temple.The bandh, called by Jagannath Sena, a Puri-based social-cultural organisation, turned violent when a large number of protesters uprooted the barricades put up to facilitate the entry of devotees into the temple through the main entrance in a queue.The Jagannath Sena had called for a bandh after the temple administration introduced the queue system on Monday on an experimental basis. The protest was supported by sections of temple servitors.The police had a tough time in controlling the situation as the violence escalated after the organisation convener Priyadarshan Patnaik was taken into custody in the morning as a preventive measure.House ransacked The protesters, who burnt tyres at several locations on the Grand Road to block traffic, also ransacked the house of local Biju Janata Dal legislator and State Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty.They also hurled stones at the official residence of the Superintendent of Police and vandalised the office of Shree Jagannath Temple administration. Many valuables were allegedly looted by the agitators from the temple office.The agitators also damaged a police outpost and an information centre outside the temple as well as the Town police station, prompting the police to resort to a mild lathi-charge and tear gas lobbing to control the situation. Several police vehicles were damaged.The Puri police later conducted a flag march on the Grand Road in order to bring the situation under control. Senior administration and police officials also reached the spot to defuse the tension.The devotees had a difficult time during the day till normality was restored in and around the temple complex. As many as 26 platoons of police personnel were deployed in the town to restore peace.Director-General of Police Rajendra Prasad Sharma, who reviewed the situation, said that administration will soon be holding talks where all outstanding issues will be discussed to restore peace.last_img read more

Floating restaurant partially submerges in Tehri Lake

first_imgMarina, the floating restaurant which had come to symbolise the BJP government’s efforts to boost tourism in Uttarakhand, tilted mysteriously and partially sank in Tehri Lake on Tuesday. Half of the floating restaurant submerged in the lake, said SDM Ajay Vir Singh, also the Additional Chief Executive Officer of Tehri Lake Special Area Tourism Development Authority. Efforts were under way to pull out the boat with prop of ropes, wires and powerboats, he said.Factors responsible The factors leading to the boat’s submergence are being looked into, he added. Marina, the first-of-its-kind boat to have been launched in the Tehri Lake to attract tourists, had grabbed headlines last year when the State government held a Cabinet meeting there as part of a move to publicise it as a new feature of tourism in Uttarakhand. However, the boat was not in use for months since its grand opening last year as no one came forward to take the facility on lease and operate it for tourists as planned by the State government.last_img read more

A Magnetic Trick to Define Consciousness

first_imgConsciousness isn’t easy to define, but we know it when we experience it. It’s not so simple to decide when someone else is conscious, however, as doctors must sometimes do with patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury. Now, researchers have come up with an approach that uses the brain’s response to magnetic stimulation to judge a person’s awareness, reducing it to a numerical score they call an index of consciousness. “You’re kind of banging on the brain and listening to the echo,” says Anil Seth, a neuroscientist at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom who was not involved in the work.Faced with an unresponsive patient, clinicians do their best to determine whether the person is conscious. Through sound, touch, and other stimuli, they try to provoke verbal responses, slight finger movements, or just a shifting gaze. Yet some conscious patients simply can’t move or speak; an estimated 40% of those initially judged to be completely unaware are later found to have some level of consciousness.Recently, physicians seeking to resolve a patient’s conscious state have gone right to the source, searching for signs of awareness using brain imaging or recording electrical activity of neurons. Most of these approaches define a conscious brain as an integrated brain, where groups of cells in many different regions activate to form a cohesive pattern, explains Marcello Massimini, a neurophysiologist at the University of Milan in Italy. “But that’s not enough,” he says. Sometimes even an unconscious brain looks highly integrated. For example, stimulating the brain of a sleeping person can create a huge wave of activity that “propagates like a ripple in water.” It’s a highly synchronized, widespread pattern, but it’s not consciousness, he says, and so this measure is often unreliable for diagnosis.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Recently, Massimini and colleagues have been exploring another possible criterion for consciousness. To create our information-rich, moment-to-moment experience, different groups of neurons must have their own timing, or their own unique firing patterns. They must work together, but keep their individuality. “It’s quite a slippery thing to [describe] verbally,” Seth says. The big question for neuroscientists developing computerized tests of consciousness, he says, is “can we make that quite slippery verbal intuition mathematically precise?”That’s just what Massimini and his colleagues have tried to do with the perturbational complexity index (PCI), which they describe online today in Science Translational Medicine. PCI looks at the brain’s response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), where a magnetic coil is held up to the surface of the skull, generating a pulse to stimulate the neurons beneath and provoke a response that radiates through the brain.Massimini and his colleagues record the brain’s “echo” with electroencephalography, a measure of electrical activity, and then turn that data into a numerical score between 0 and 1. Their calculations award higher scores to information-rich responses: those that are distributed across the brain, but also individualized. If two distant groups of neurons are active, but their activity is synchronized, the PCI equation compresses them, meaning they contribute less to the overall score. “The less we can compress the pattern, the more information is in it,” Massimini explains.The researchers first calibrated their system using healthy patients. They recorded TMS responses in waking subjects, and then used the brain activity from people in deep sleep or under different types of anesthesia as a reference for unconsciousness. There was no overlap in scores between conscious and unconscious subjects, suggesting a potentially useful cutoff or threshold for consciousness, somewhere between the highest unconscious score (0.31) and the lowest conscious score (0.44).Then the researchers tested the index with 20 people who had suffered different types of brain damage. Those who were believed to be in a vegetative state—awake but completely unconscious—got very low scores (between 0.19 to 0.31). Subjects who had emerged from a coma had varying degrees of awareness and intermediate scores. Two of the patients had a condition known as locked-in syndrome: Their cognitive abilities were normal, but they were unable to move. These patients, who could communicate by shifting their eyes, received PCI scores of 0.51 and 0.62—as high as the waking, healthy subjects. Without requiring any active participation from subjects, this index can reliably place them on a continuum between conscious and unconscious, the team concludes.“This is a very well-conceived approach,” says Joseph Giacino, a neuropsychologist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. “It’s based on what we understand the nature of consciousness to be … to the extent that we can understand it at this point.”Seth calls the work “a substantial contribution to the state of the art.” The attempt to set a threshold for consciousness with our limited definition is much like early attempts to establish freezing and boiling points without a thermometer or a good definition of temperature, he says. PCI is the most reliable test to date, and is “a first step” toward an absolute scale for consciousness, Seth says.Giacino points out that there are still gray areas on the PCI scale. There was some overlap between the range of scores for patients considered to be in a “minimally conscious state,” showing intermittent signs of awareness, such as following simple movement commands, and those who had emerged from this state but were still disoriented and had limited communication. He says this distinction is important when doctors decide whether trying simple communication methods, such as indicating “yes” and “no” with the eyes, will be worthwhile or simply overwhelm the patient. Still, if the results can be replicated in a larger group, Giacino predicts the test could be a vast improvement over current tools for locating consciousness in the midst of damage.last_img read more

Top Stories: Breakthroughs of the Year, Narcolepsy, and Binary Math

first_imgScience’s Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2013Every year, Science picks a single outstanding scientific achievement as the Breakthrough of the Year. This year’s winner is cancer immunotherapy: harnessing the immune system to battle tumors. Check out Science’s full Breakthrough of the Year package to see our nine runners-up and find out what research to watch for in 2014!Want to Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty DogSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A dog in the house is more than just good company. There’s increasing evidence that exposure to dogs and livestock early in life can lessen the chances of infants later developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers have traced this beneficial health effect to a microbe living in the gut. Their study, in mice, suggests that supplementing an infant’s diet with the right mix of bacteria might help prevent allergies—even without a pet pooch.The Secret Half-Lives of Scientific PapersScholarly papers can have relatively long “half-lives,” finds a new survey. More than one-half of the total downloads of the articles covered by the survey took place more than 2 years after publication, while in some fields it took more than 4 years for a paper to hit its half-life. The findings come as governments around the world attempt to establish policies and deadlines for making government-funded research published in private journals freely available to the public. When Cats Became ComradesAncient felines hunted crop-destroying rats and mice for early farmers, and in return we provided food and protection. At least that’s what scientists have long speculated. Now, they can back it up. Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village indicate that the animals consumed rodents and that some may have been cared for by humans. The findings provide the earliest hard evidence of this mutually beneficial relationship between man and cat.Swine Flu Connection Provides Clues About NarcolepsyThe 2009 swine flu pandemic had a peculiar aftereffect in Europe: More children were diagnosed with narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder. Researchers eventually linked this increase to a widely used swine flu vaccine. Now, they’ve figured out how the vaccine might have triggered narcolepsy—and may have a new understanding of the disease itself.NIH Details Plan for BRAIN InitiativeAfter nearly a year of meetings and public debate, the National Institutes of Health today announced how it intends to spend its share of funding for the BRAIN Initiative, a $110 million U.S. effort to jump-start the development of new technologies that can map the brain’s vast and intricate neural circuits in action. In short, it’s looking for big ideas, such as taking a census of all the cells in the brain, even if there’s little data so far on how to accomplish them.Polynesians May Have Invented Binary MathThe binary system could be far older even than the invention of computers or even the invention of binary math in the West. According to a pair of anthropologists, the residents of a tiny Polynesian island may have been doing calculations in binary centuries before it was described by Gottfried Leibniz, the co-inventor of calculus, in 1703.last_img read more

ScienceShot: What’s the Deepest a Fish Can Swim?

first_imgOcean-going fish can’t live any deeper than 8200 meters, according to a new study. All fish have their limits—you’ll never find sharks below 4 kilometers, for example—but why there aren’t any fish at all below 8 kilometers remains a mystery. Now, a team of biologists say the threshold is set by two competing effects of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical in fish cells that prevents proteins from collapsing under high pressure. While fish should need more and more TMAO to survive ever greater depths, higher concentrations of the compound also draw in more and more seawater through osmosis, the process by which cells regulate their water content. In the deepest waters, high TMAO levels reverse osmosis pressure, swelling brain cells to the point that they stop working and, in principle, bursting red blood cells open. (The team says they’re still working on how other marine creatures like anemones and bacteria avoid such gruesome fates at the most extreme depths, but they suspect those organisms produce more efficient protein boosters than fish can.) To test that claim, the team looked 7000 meters down in the Kermadec Trench north of New Zealand. There, they captured five Notoliparis kermadecensis snailfish (pictured above alongside a brittle star, Ophiura loveni), whose record TMAO levels and osmosis pressures matched projections the researchers made based on shallower dwelling fish. Extrapolating the new results just a bit further, they find osmosis should reverse itself at a depth of 8200 meters—right about where fish no longer swim the sea.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Q&A: Will the fossil record preserve your computer?

first_imgLast week, scientists reported finding rocks made of plastic on a Hawaiian beach. Some researchers have speculated that these and other humanmade objects could become part of the fossil record, defining a human-dominated period of Earth’s history called the Anthropocene. Science chatted with Jan Zalasiewicz, a paleontologist at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and a leading scholar on the Anthropocene, about the kinds of things humans are leaving behind—and what they’ll look like millions of years hence.This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: You have called these humanmade fossils “technofossils.” What are they, and how are they different from normal fossils?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A: Technofossils are basically all the things we manufacture, large and small. Because most of them are preservable, they can potentially become fossils—particularly since, unlike nature, we’re so poor at recycling the things we make. They can survive for thousands, millions, perhaps billions of years in rock strata [rock or sediment layers] in the future. We think they deserve a separate category because there’s so much about them that is distinct.Q: What kinds of things can we expect to survive in the fossil record for millions of years, and what will they look like after all that time?A: Looking around at my room, I’m struggling to see anything that is not fossilizable. So let’s take my desk—wood can fossilize really quite well. We’ve helped along the process of fossilization of this wood because it’s been seasoned, dried out, and varnished. It’s much less edible than it was in its original state on the tree.With clothes, a lot of them are made from plastic polymer objects or cotton—plant materials. So they will fossilize just as plants do. They can preserve a good deal of the fabric. Under the right circumstances, one can preserve leaf cells and the like for millions of years—but the chemistry will change, they will become carbonized. You will lose the colors, and they’ll become black shapes.Even paper is fossilizable. Now clearly, if that makes it into a stratum, it will become a carbonized lump. Probably the information on the pages is not easily fossilizable. It would be very hard to read newsprint from pages.This computer I have in front of me, I see plastic, titanium, bits of rubber, a fair bit of this—if buried in the stratum—it will at least leave a nice oblong detail and impression, probably parts of the structure itself. But the information will be gone. Just as we can fossilize a songbird, it’s much harder to fossilize the song itself.Q: Are some cities more likely to preserve technofossils than others?A: In San Francisco, Earth’s crust is rising. It’s being eroded and the material is being washed away to areas where the crust is subsiding. So an upland place like San Francisco will be eroded, and the fragments will wash into the sea. Los Angeles and the northwest of Britain—Manchester, say—are also on long-term upward-moving crust. These are both also destined to be eroded away.New Orleans, in contrast, is on a delta. It’s on what’s called a tectonic escalator, going downwards because that’s what the crust is doing, and because it’s being loaded by all the sand and mud being washed off from the Mississippi River. New Orleans is ripe for fossilization, all of the structures, the pilings, the concrete pilings, tens of meters into the ground to keep the skyscrapers up. And all of the stuff that’s underground: pipework, sewage, the electric.Other places might be Amsterdam, Venice, Shanghai, coastal deltas on coastal plains. These places are ripe for fossilization.Q: What will future beings be able to infer about us from these fossils?A: The technofossils will strike them as quite different as anything that’s come before. We have the whole history we see through archaeology. Metals—Bronze [Age] first, then Iron and so on, different types of tools. And then we go into the Industrial Revolution and on to the space age and beyond.If you’re looking at the point of the perspective of the future paleontologist, either human or nonhuman or space visitor or hyperevolved rat or whatever, as a geologist one thing will strike them. [All of these artifacts] will be crammed into a very small physical space. The stratum itself may not be much more than a few meters thick. In many places, it may only be a few centimeters thick. It will probably appear instantaneous, and it will be very hard work to figure out the path of this hyperevolution of the technofossils within the human stratum.last_img read more

Trump’s support of India could have unintended consequences

first_imgQuietly, all but unheralded, Donald Trump has begun tilting significantly away from Pakistan and toward another South Asian ally — a counterweight to China that could help tip the balance, particularly in the region’s potentially most sensitive flashpoint, the South China Sea. That enemy of my enemy is India, and it is not an inconsiderable friend to have. At the same time, though, Trump’s actions have opened another door to a resurgent China that could prove even more dangerous down the road.Read it at CNN Related Itemslast_img read more

Corporate Debt Overhang Exerts Drag on Investment in India: IMF

first_imgThe corporate debt overhang and associated banking sector credit quality concerns exert a drag on investment in India, the IMF today said in an apparent reference to the PNB scam involving billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi.Balance sheet vulnerabilities pose a downside risk to medium-term growth prospects in many emerging market economies, requiring policy action, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest annual World Economic Outlook report.Read it at New Indian Express Related Itemslast_img read more