Govt finalises list of new icons for postage stamps

In a departure from showcasing the Nehru-Gandhi family on the postage stamps, the BJP-led NDA government has decided to give a place of pride to other political icons including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jaiprakash Narayan, B R Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. These national heroes will also now been seen on definitive stamps that are issued for daily use.

The government is also considering a commemorative stamp on legendary Communist leader Bhupesh Gupta on the occasion of his birth centenary year, following a request from the CPI leadership.

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ViaThe Times of India


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.

All you want to know about Solar Impulse 2

solar impulse

Solar Impulse 2, world’s first solar-powered aircraft is on its journey around the world. It made stopovers at Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India on its way to Mynamar’s Mandalay. Solar Impulse  is the first attempt to fly a plane round the world using only solar power. It’s not a non-stop flight, the plane stops in different countries. Here is all the important information you would want to know about it.

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Via – The Times of India

Solar-Powered Plane Takes Off in First Round-the-World Attempt

The first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using only solar power launched on 9 March in Abu Dhabi, in a landmark journey aimed at promoting green energy.

The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am, local time, from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, the capital of Oman.

The wingspan of the one-seater plane, known as the Si2, is slightly bigger than that of a jumbo jet, but its weight is around that of a family car. The plane is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that, at 72 metres, are longer than a jumbo and approaching that of an Airbus A380 super-jumbo. The propellor craft has four 17.5 horsepower electric motors with rechargeable lithium batteries.

It will travel at 50-100 kilometers per hour, with the slower speeds at night to prevent the batteries from draining too quickly.

The Si2 is the successor to Solar Impulse, a smaller aircraft that notched up a 26-hour flight in 2010, proving its ability to store enough power in the batteries during the day to keep flying at night.

It will make 13 stops on an epic journey spread over five months, with a total flight time of around 25 days. Its progress can be monitored via live video streaming at

11 inventions that could change the world

What seems a failure at first (like, say, the electric light) becomes indispensable. And what seems destined to succeed (Hello there, Apple Newton!) can soon become a toss-away item. So claiming any invention as a “sure bet” is an easy way to set yourself up for humiliation.

There are items, though, that certainly have the potential to dramatically impact the way people live—from interacting with the world around them, to exploring deep space, to simply finding ways to survive in hostile environments.

Some have been on the market a few years; others are just gaining traction; and others, still, are in the late formulative stages, but each of these inventions has the potential to change the world as we know it today.

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