Snake uses tentacles to see in the dark

first_imgTo test the snake’s tentacles separately, the team placed the snakes and small fish in a tank in a dark room. They monitored the tank using infrared cameras and found the snakes caught the fish in complete darkness even when they were several centimeters away, although they struck out less often than in the light. They tested the eyes separately by placing the snakes in a clear-bottomed tank and displayed a movie of fish swimming under it. The snakes struck accurately at the fish even with no input from the tentacles.Catania said it was not rare for predators to have two good senses. For example, barn owls have great hearing and sight and they use them under different conditions. The snakes appear to be similar, he said, with the tentacles being the greatest help in dark conditions such as at night or in murky water.The research paper was published in The Journal of Experimental Biology on 1st February. ( — A new study of a snake with tentacles on its snout has found it has a unique system for sensing prey: its tentacles allow it to “see” in murky water. Citation: Snake uses tentacles to ‘see’ in the dark (2010, February 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A water snake that predicts which way fish will turn when it attacks Tentacled Snake ([i]Erpeton tentaculatum[/i]). Image: Wikipedia Explore furthercenter_img 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 aquatic snake (Erpeton tentaculatum) lives in slow-moving rivers and murky lakes in South-East Asia, and is the only snake with tentacles. Biologist Ken Catania of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee become fascinated by the reptiles when he saw them in a zoo, and decided to study them.The research team led by Catania found the snake hunts fish by forming a J shape with its lower midsection when a fish swims by. This alarms the fish and it darts off in the opposite direction, straight into the snake’s mouth. The researchers originally thought the tentacles were fish detectors, since the snake eats fish almost exclusively, but when they used fluorescent dye to mark the nerve fibers in tentacles of dead snakes and examined them under the microscope, they found many more embedded in the center of the tentacles than at the surface where nerve cells for touch and taste would be expected. This implies most of the nerve cells sense movement of the whole tentacles rather than sensations on their surface.Intrigued by their findings, the team experimented on live snakes, monitoring electrical activity in their brains while stroking the tentacles with tiny hairs and generating motion in the water using a small vibrating sphere. The tentacles responded to even the slightest deflection of their upper-lip tentacles, which suggests they would also respond to tiny currents made by fish movements. The experiments also showed that touch sensations on the tentacles stimulated a part of the brain involved with sight, which Catania said means the snakes are putting the two pieces of information together. More information: Function of the appendages in tentacled snakes (Erpeton tentaculatus), Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 359-367 (2010). doi:10.1242/jeb.039685 © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

The worlds smallest 3D HD display

first_img( — It seems like small displays are all of the rage these days, and they just keep getting more and more advanced. In October of last year Ortus Technology created a 4.8-inch liquid crystal display that showed full color images. At the time, this screen with its pixel density of 458 pixels per inch, a density beyond the detection limit of the human eye, was the latest and greatest in the world of tiny screens. Now, it is only the most advanced of the 2D screens out there. Explore further Now, it has some 3D competition, and the call is coming from inside the house. Ortus has created a Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT (HAST) screen. This new screen reduces the space between the pixels and gives it a whole new view. The 4.8-inch LCD screen will still show 2D images at the 458 pixels per inch rate, but now it can also show 3D images at a fairly impressive rate of 229 pixels per inch. This rate of pixels per inch will be able to show full HD resolution images with a final resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The 3D does require the use of glasses to see the images pop, unlike other small format 3D screens such as the one found on the Nintendo 3DS. The 3D images will have a viewing angle of 160 degrees, and will be able to display up to 16.77 million colors.The 3D effect is created with a circular polarizing film known as Xpol, which was developed by Arisawa Manufacturing. The film needs to be precisely placed on the screen because this technology shows images for the left and right eye alternately on each line, halving the vertical resolution. More 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.center_img © 2010 World’s Highest Resolution 3D Images Citation: The worlds smallest 3D HD display (2011, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Team uncovers how microsporidian parasites prevent locust swarm behavior

first_img 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. Grassopper of Acrididae family: Anacridium aegyptium. Credit: Alvesgaspar/Wikipedia. Mauritania ‘warns of locust plague’ ( —A team of researchers in China, with assistance from U.S. entomologist Raymond St. Leger has uncovered the means by which a microbe can reduce swarming tendencies in locusts. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they were able to isolate the mechanism by which Paranosema locustae infections in locusts’ leads to less pheromone production and release in scat, which in turn causes less swarming response in other locusts. More information: “Unveiling the mechanism by which microsporidian parasites prevent locust swarm behavior,” by Wangpeng Shi et al. PNAS, Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2014 Scientists have known for some time that P. locustae infections in individual locusts leads to less swarming in locusts around them. What was not known was how it happened. To find out the researchers with this new effort infected several locust specimens with P. locustae and then set them in chambers with uninfected locusts to see how they would respond. The team found that the infected locusts caused less swarming behavior in the healthy locusts, proving that there was truly a connection. Next, the team analyzed the scat from the infected locusts and compared it with the scat of healthy locusts—the two had different levels of the type of pheromones that have been suspected as signals between locusts—that convinced the team that the means by which the microbes were able to cause a reduction in swarming behavior was by causing a reduction in the production of pheromones in the infected locusts. Finally, to learn how the microbes were causing pheromone level changes in the locusts, the researchers examined the guts of both healthy and infected locusts. That led to the discovery that infected locust guts were more acidic than non-infected locusts, which led to a dampening of pheromone levels.The researchers are still puzzled as to why P. locustae would “want” to cause less swarming, as doing so would seem to lead to more difficulty in spreading from one of the insects to another. They are hopeful more research will solve the puzzle and in the meantime believe it might be possible to develop a pheromone based agent for use on crops to prevent them from being destroyed by swarming locusts, as a replacement for the toxic chemicals now in use. Citation: Team uncovers how microsporidian parasites prevent locust swarm behavior (2014, January 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Study shows decline of shark populations even in remote pristine archipelago

first_img Journal information: Science Advances Citation: Study shows decline of shark populations even in remote ‘pristine’ archipelago (2018, March 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2018 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 Humans—the disturbing neighbours of reef sharkscenter_img Silvertip sharks. Credit: Dan Bayley More information: Francesco Ferretti et al. Shark baselines and the conservation role of remote coral reef ecosystems, Science Advances (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0333AbstractScientific monitoring has recorded only a recent fraction of the oceans’ alteration history. This biases our understanding of marine ecosystems. Remote coral reef ecosystems are often considered pristine because of high shark abundance. However, given the long history and global nature of fishing, sharks’ vulnerability, and the ecological consequences of shark declines, these states may not be natural. In the Chagos archipelago, one of the remotest coral reef systems on the planet, protected by a very large marine reserve, we integrated disparate fisheries and scientific survey data to reconstruct baselines and long-term population trajectories of two dominant sharks. In 2012, we estimated 571,310 gray reef and 31,693 silvertip sharks, about 79 and 7% of their baseline levels. These species were exploited longer and more intensively than previously thought and responded to fishing and protection with variable and compensatory population trajectories. Our approach highlights the value of integrative and historical analyses to evaluate large marine ecosystems currently considered pristine. In this modern age of human encroachment across the planet, there are still some places that are believed to be very much like they were before humans arrived, including the Chagos archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away from any major land mass. In this new effort, the researchers wondered if, despite its remoteness, the archipelago might actually have been changed by humans. They chose this particular archipelago because unlike similar ones, it has a recorded history. Humans have been visiting the archipelago and places near it for hundreds of years, and many of them have kept records of things like fish and shark population estimates. The researchers chose to focus on sharks, because they are so abundant and because they are a dominant species, and thus have a major impact on the environment in which they live.The researchers gathered data from a variety of sources, starting with a survey conducted in the area back in 1948. They were also able to obtain data from the 1970s as teams of researchers in the area began conducting surveys by actually getting in the water. They also consulted catch records going back approximately half a century.The team analyzed their data with an algorithm designed to offer population predictions given a variety of environmental conditions. It suggested that despite appearances, shark populations in the archipelago are far lower than they would have been had humans not appeared on the scene—in some cases, dramatically so. One example, they note, was silvertip sharks. The computer showed them to be 93 percent below predicted baseline levels.The reduced populations, the researchers suggest, are almost certainly due to overfishing by humans—some legit, some not. The big takeaway from their study is that looks can be deceiving—the Chagos archipelago might appear undisturbed, but it is not. You can even find human trash among the coral, the researchers point out. A team of researchers with members from the U.S., France and the U.K. has found evidence showing reductions in shark populations in a part of the Indian ocean thought to be nearly pristine—the Chagos archipelago. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes their study of shark populations in the archipelago over time and what they found.last_img read more

Fire scare at Midnapore Medical College and Hospital

first_imgKOLKATA: A fire broke out at the emergency ward of Midnapore Medical College and Hospital on Sunday morning triggering panic among patients. No injury, however, has been reported in the incident.Some patients spotted smoke billowing out from the operation theatre at the emergency ward of the hospital at around 11.30 am. The smoke soon spread to other portions of the floor. Many patients fled the spot as the area soon got covered with thick black smoke. The power supply was disconnected immediately to avert any untoward incident. The staff members tried to douse the flames before the fire tenders reached the spot. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe hospital staff acted promptly and evacuated the patients from the building. The staff members also tried to douse the flames with the firefighting mechanism installed inside the hospital. The operation theatre was filled with smoke. After being informed, fire tenders were pressed into action to extinguish the fire.There was, however, no major damage due to the fire but panic broke out among the patients. The hospital authorities claimed that the fire might have taken place due to an electrical short circuit. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Four fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHospital authorities have asked the Public Works Department (PWD) to submit a report on how and why the fire had taken place. A senior official of the hospital said all the patients were safely shifted to another building of the hospital after the fire broke out.The firefighters brought the situation under control within an hour. Normal functions resumed at the emergency ward of the hospital. The preliminary investigation also suggests that an electrical short circuit might have caused the incident. The extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained.last_img read more

Calcutta HC judges pay final respects to Somnath Chatterjee

first_imgKolkata: Judges of the Calcutta High Court led by Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya paid their last respects to Somnath Chatterjee, whose body was brought to the court premises where he practised for several years as a barrister. The Bar Library Club, of which he was a member, the Bar Association and many lawyers also paid floral tributes to the departed former speaker of the Lok Sabha. Apart from the chief justice, justices Debasish Kargupta, Joymalyo Bagchi, Dipankar Dutta and Arijit Banerjee were among the judges who laid wreaths on the body of Chatterjee. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Bar Library Club president Jayanta Mitra paid rich tributes to Chatterjee, with whom he had worked for many years from the early 1970’s. “I was privileged to have worked with him. I witnessed from close quarters his advocacy, his astute legal brain and personality in court,” Mitra, a former advocate general of West Bengal, said. “He used to dominate wherever he appeared, whether in courts or as a member of Parliament and as a speaker,” Mitra said. The Bar Library Club took a resolution not to attend high court today as a mark of respect. The resolution was also adopted by the Bar Association and Incorporated Law Society.last_img read more

Indian polity at length

first_imgMany renowned academic scholars and political science aficionados were present on the release of the book ‘Winning the mandate -The Indian Experience’, a combined effort of Bidyut Chakrabarty, Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi and Sugato Hazra, senior adviser at DTA consulting. The event was held at India International Centre last week.The book brings forth behind-the-scene work of elections from the very first one in 1952 till Bihar election in 2015. It provides in-depth analysis of electoral campaigns, patterns in elections from time to time, and also tells about recent trends like the role of social media in elections.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’It was an opportunity for the audience to witness the discussion among Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharti; Lord Meghnad Desai, a well known economist and Arati Jerath senior journalist under one roof. The panelists commented on the book and talked about the current scenario of the national politics. Meghnad Desai said: “The 2014 election was a landmark in Indian politics.”Jawhar Sircar commented on the work and said: “Bidyut has not edited its flamboyant style of writing which is good thing, half of it is about the history of election from 1952 to 2014 giving a quick recap while the rest focuses on 2014”. On the other hand, Aarti Jerath said: “The book provides valuable insights of 2014 elections and highlights similarities in the campaign strategies. Elections are fought on contextual issues and campaigns should be crafted around them.”last_img read more

Masterchefs festival and food lens funds underprivileged kids

first_imgIt’s a 1,200-page love of labour that’s taken 12 years to compile and on February 14, the 12th copy of Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna’s limited edition ‘Utsav – A Culinary Epic’ was auctioned for Rs 30 lakh that will go to feed 200,000 underprivileged children through an NGO he supports.”Today is my beloved late father’s birthday and I am proud that this has become more significant for me. I am very proud to share that the 12th copy was sold to (realtor) Rasesh Kanakia at an auction. The bidding opened at Rs 800,000 and the book was finally sold for Rs 3 million (Rs 30 lakh),” Khanna said. “It is very heartwarming to see how a book is so treasured to reach this benchmark. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf This will be the highest in the history of cookbooks and most importantly, the funds raised will feed 200,000 meals to kids through (NGO) Smile Foundation. It feeds the future of our nation,” added Khanna, who also wears the hats of restaurateur, cookbook writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the judge of MasterChef India Seasons 2-5 and Masterchef Junior. Describing the book as the “world’s largest compilation of festivals, ceremonies, rituals and foods that symbolise India and its resplendent heritage”, he said it explores the country through a ‘festival and food lens’ and weaves the old world charm and traditions into the rich tapestry of the nation’s culture and history. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”The food across regions and communities is the jewel that sparkles and makes ‘Utsav’ a precious collection of India’s unique yet diverse and magnificent inheritance. The magnum opus is a kaleidoscope of colors and delightful imagery with each picture telling a story of celebrations – some that continue to thrive while some have got lost with passage of time,” Khanna said.Twelve handcrafted, gold-gilded, hand-painted copies of ‘Utsav’ have been created. They have been presented to world leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, religious leaders like the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis and celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, among others. The 11th copy has been reserved for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, while the 12th was to have been presented to Apple founder Steve Jobs but he died before this could happen. Each of these 12 copies is a collector’s delight.”(Designer) Suvigya Sharma has created some covers out of 24 karat gold and used vegetables and natural colors to paint the covers. Each of the 12 copies is different from the other and they have gold-crusted work on the cover as well as the box containing the book,” Khanna explained.The book was originally launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Another 500-copy limited edition will be released on Diwali, October 19, 2017. Every book will be numbered and documented. Other details – format, pages, publisher, price – are in the process of being worked out.What went into the writing of the book? “I have spent more than 12 years compiling ‘Utsav’ as I researched and captured festivals across seasons as well as those that have disappeared over time or have been left to just community-sharing today,” Khanna explained. Travelling extensively across the country over the last few years – whether to capture a Jagannath Yatra and its significance in the East to Uttarayan in the West, Ugadi in the South to a Krishna Janamasthan in the North, “the idea was to re-energise the almost non existent yet significant festivals like Rosh Hashanah for Jews to Cheti Chand for Sindhis or remote festivals like Hornbill in Nagaland or Losar in Ladakh”, he said.Tribal festivals like ‘Bonalu’ or the simple celebration of ‘Saavan’ or ‘Teej’ also find their rightful place. The grandeur of a Diwali, Eid, Durga Puja and Christmas has been explored and taken to another level while small, hidden festivals like the Three Kings Feast have been given their rightful place.”I have also tried to detail the history behind the ceremonies and sacred ingredients that have been used scientifically as well as mythically in our rich heritage. While the festivals help build the aura, the food is what connects people and brings the celebrations to life,” Khanna noted.What of the future?”I take life as it comes but sometimes, I feel that projects choose us. Just like ‘Utsav’ or my documentary series ‘Holy Kitchens’. I want to continue to do more meaningful work with food, literature, kitchens, hunger, malnutrition and education,” Khanna replied. Is he doing any TV programmes? “I only do 2 TV Shows, ‘MasterChef’ and ‘Twist of Taste’. I hope to continue doing them in the middle of my crazy schedule. My time is also committed to doing 3-4 ‘Cook for Smile’ shows where the CEOs meet not in boardrooms but in the kitchens,” he concluded.last_img read more

CM unveils slew of projects

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday laid the foundation stones for setting up four new medical colleges in the state and also inaugurated a host of new projects.The four new medical colleges that are coming up are — Arambag Medical College and Hospital in Hooghly, Barasat Medical College and Hospital in North 24-Parganas, Tomluk Medical College and Hospital in East Midnapore and Jhargram Medical College and Hospital in Jhargram district. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe construction of five medical colleges has already been completed and they will be made operational this year giving a huge boost to the health infrastructure of the state. The five hospitals have come up at Diamond Harbour, Purulia, Rampurhat, Raigunj and Cooch Behar. There will be 300-500 beds in each hospital. The necessary infrastructure is in place and the medical colleges are ready to be operated, a senior health department official said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBanerjee also inaugurated OPD services at Serampore Superspecialty Hospital in Hooghly, Uluberia Superspecialty Hospital in Howrah and also ‘Matri Maa’ (mother and child hub) along with SNCU at Kanthi Sub-divisional Hospital at Nandigram Health District in East Midnapore. Chief Minister Banerjee who is also the health minister of the state announced that a new software would soon be introduced for the better operation of diagnostic and dialysis services in the hospitals across the state under public private partnership model. She also laid the foundation stones for the up-gradation of the Furfura Sharif Primary Health Centre in Hooghly from 10-30 beds and also the up-gradation of a District Reserve Store each at Nandigram District Hospital and Kalimpong District Hospital. Kalimpong Nursing Training School and Hospital in Kalimpong would also be set up the foundation stone of which was laid by Banerjee from the Mati Utsav in Hooghly’s Tarakeswar. The Chief Minister inaugurated a blood component separation unit at Hooghly district hospital, Linear Accelerator Machines at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, a thalassemia control unit at Alipurduar District Hospital. A new building at the Lumbini Park Mental Hospital in the city Digital and an X-ray unit under PPP mode in Salt Lake Sub-divisional Hospital in North 24-Parganas were also inaugurated by the Chief Minister from Hooghly. Following the instruction of the Chief Minister, the state health department has already set up more than 40 Super specialty hospitals across the state so that people in the districts can avail best quality treatment particularly in the rural areas.last_img read more

Contraceptive pills may impair womens emotion recognition

first_imgWomen who use birth control pills may have a poor judgement of subtle facial expressions, which could impact their intimate relationships, according to a study. Scientists from the University of Greifswald in Germany challenged women to identify complex emotional expressions like pride or contempt, rather than basic ones like happiness or fear. They revealed subtle changes in emotion recognition associated with oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study found that OCP users were nearly 10 per cent worse on average than non-users in deciphering the most enigmatic emotional expressions. The finding raises questions over the possible impact of OCPs on social interactions in intimate relationships, researchers said. Women deciding whether to take an oral contraceptive have access to a lot of reliable information about the potential physical effects, they said. Besides birth control, hormonal contraceptives can help control acne, heavy periods and endometriosis – as well as reducing the risk of ovarian, uterine and colon cancers, the researchers said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOn the downside, the pill can increase slightly the risk of breast and cervical cancer, blood clots and high blood pressure, they said. However, the psychological effects of OCP use are less well documented. “More than 100 million women worldwide use oral contraceptives, but remarkably little is known about their effects on emotion, cognition and behaviour,” said Alexander Lischke of the University of Greifswald. “However, coincidental findings suggest that oral contraceptives impair the ability to recognise emotional expressions of others, which could affect the way users initiate and maintain intimate relationships,” Lischke said. The researchers administered a special emotion recognition task to two similar groups of healthy women: 42 OCP users, and 53 non-users. “If oral contraceptives caused dramatic impairments in women’s emotion recognition, we would have noticed this in our everyday interactions with our partners,” said Lischke. “We assumed that these impairments would be very subtle, indicating that we had to test women’s emotion recognition with a task that was sensitive enough to detect such impairments,” he said. The researchers used a very challenging emotion recognition task that required the recognition of complex emotional expressions from the eye region of faces. The results were subtle – but very clear: OCP users were less accurate in the recognition of the most subtle complex expressions than non-users – by nearly 10 per cent, on average.last_img read more