All you need to know about the Vyapam scam

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPBP), the government body responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the State, is popularly known as ‘Vyapam’ (Hindi acronym for Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal). These entrance tests are used for recruitment to government jobs and admissions to educational institutes in the State.

The scam is an admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior government officials, business-persons and others in Madhya Pradesh. In it, undeserving candidates bribed politicians and MPPEB officials, through middlemen, to get high ranks in the entrance tests or secure jobs.

Many of those who discovered these sordid facts — whistleblowers and journalists responsible for unearthing the details — have died in a spate of suspicious incidents. The three main whistleblowers — social activists Dr Anand Rai and Ashish Chaturvedi, and IT consultant Prashant Pandey — have been receiving death threats.

CLICK HERE to read further

via Business Line.


A guide to nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers

Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are in what may be the final phase of negotiations aimed at securing a deal on sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iranian nuclear activities.

The six powers have a June 30 deadline but diplomats close to the talks expect that to slip.


The nuclear standoff between Iran and the West goes back to at least 2002, when a group of exiles revealed undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) later confirmed that they were a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water production plant at Arak. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but Western intelligence agencies are convinced Iran had a nuclear arms programme that went dormant, possibly as far back as 2003.

In 2003, Britain, France and Germany began an inconclusive effort to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fissile material, the key component for an atomic bomb.

In 2006, the United States dropped its opposition to engagement with Iran and joined the three European powers, along with Russia and China, a group known both as the “P5+1” and the “E3+3”.

That year, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend enrichment and other sensitive nuclear work. This was followed by more draconian restrictions imposed by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

Negotiations stalled until Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 election. In November 2013, Iran and the six powers reached an interim deal that gave Tehran limited sanctions relief in exchange for some curbs on its most sensitive nuclear work. It was meant to buy time to negotiate a final, long-term pact. The interim deal has been extended twice, in July and November last year.

On April 2, Iran and the six agreed on the parameters for a final, long-term deal in Lausanne, Switzerland. The deadline for an agreement is June 30, though negotiations are expected to run into July.

CLICK HERE to read further

via Reuters

Why will June 30 be one second longer?

NASA has explained that 30 June 2015 will officially be a bit longer than usual because an extra second or “leap” second will be added.

Daniel MacMillan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt said that Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that.

A day lasts 86,400 seconds. That is the case, according to the time standard that people use in their daily lives, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is “atomic time,” the duration of one second is based on extremely predictable electromagnetic transitions in atoms of cesium.

These transitions are so reliable that the cesium clock is accurate to one second in 1,400,000 years.

However, the mean solar day, the average length of a day, based on how long it takes Earth to rotate, is about 86,400.002 seconds long. Scientists estimate that the mean solar day hasn’t been 86,400 seconds long since the year 1820 or so.

The leap second will be added to June 30 at 11:59:59 UTC on the dot. What this means is that, rather than switch to a brand new day, the atomic clocks that scientists rely on to keep track of time will also show 11:59:60 UTC.

The reason some days need be made to last 86,401 seconds instead of just 86,400 is because otherwise atomic clocks might become out of sync with Earth’s rotation.

But for this extra second, the Coordinated Universal Time measured by atomic clocks could over the years become so out of sync with Earth’s rotation that it would show noon instead of midday.

Computer that operates on water droplets developed

A computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets has been developed by an Indian-origin scientist and his team.

The computer incubated from an idea that struck Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, when he was a graduate student. The work combines his expertise in manipulating droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science – an operating clock.

Prakash and his team decided to build a rotating magnetic field that could act as clock to synchronise all the droplets. Then they carefully injected into the mix individual water droplets that had been infused with tiny magnetic nanoparticles.

Next, they turned on the magnetic field. Every time the field flips, the polarity of the bars reverses, drawing the magnetised droplets in a new, predetermined direction.

A camera records the interactions between individual droplets, allowing observation of computation as it occurs in real time.

The presence or absence of a droplet represents the 1s and 0s of binary code, and the clock ensures that all the droplets move in perfect synchrony, and thus the system can run virtually forever without any errors.

The most immediate application might involve turning the computer into a high-throughput chemistry and biology laboratory. Instead of running reactions in bulk test tubes, each droplet can carry some chemicals and become its own test tube, and the droplet computer offers unprecedented control over these interactions.

The droplet computer can theoretically perform any operation that a conventional electronic computer can crunch, although at significantly slower rates.

NASA Tool Helps You Experience ‘Pluto time’

Pluto time, as described by NASA, is a time of the day, at a particular place, with clear climatic conditions which can simulate or replicate the light levels of that of the dwarf planet billions of miles away from us. This time is usually just a short period during dawn and dusk and quite naturally, mostly ignored by us. But the researches at NASA discovered just how significant this short moment is. This ignored short period of time replicates Pluto’s light levels and thus gives you a true experience of how the horizon on Pluto will be like.

With a lot of research, NASA has recently developed a new ‘Pluto time’ website which will help space fans and enthusiasts experience Pluto’s time condition first-hand. As Pluto is over 3 billion miles away from our planet, it receives much less sunlight than here. Thus, the ‘time’ or light conditions of Pluto are something which are very interesting.

But according to NASA, there’s always Pluto time somewhere on our planet and thus you can experience your local Pluto time by using this new NASA tool. To know more about this tool and use this tool on your own, you can visit NASA HERE.

Just enter your location into this tool and know your personal Pluto time to experience the light conditions of the little dwarf. This tool generates an exact time you can step outside and experience the light levels of Pluto. NASA is actually collecting pictures from all over the world of people experiencing Pluto time everywhere. You could contribute to their album too. Just log on to their website and learn when to experience a journey to Pluto.

World’s Most Precise Quantum Thermometer

A group of scientists from University of Notingham, Washington has come up with the most accurate thermometer ever invented. The details of their study can be found in “Physical Review Letters”. This state-of-the-art invention boasts of its ability to detect the littlest change in temperature.

These minute fluctuations may not yet be named or even defined by the inventors, yet they can surely help in obtaining accurate data, especially in the field of research.

Also, what’s great about this new technology is, aside from the precision, these thermometers can also work in extreme temperatures, making them very useful in places with extremely hot or cold environments. This new development will surely help the science of meteorology and all other studies in their goal in minimizing errors in every research that has something to do with controlling the temperatures and comparing them.

Assam inclusion paves the way for boundary pact with Bangladesh

Clearing the decks for ratification and operationalisation of a historic land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh, the Union Cabinet, on 5 May 2015, cleared  a constitutional amendment Bill for consideration and adoption by the two houses of Parliament.

The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 now includes territories in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura for exchange with Bangladesh. Many of these are enclaves (territory belonging to one country entirely surrounded by the other country), even enclaves within enclaves.

CLICK HERE to know the background, details of India-Bangladesh land swap deal.

Via – The Indian Express