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History Of flight created . NASA's X-43A flies at Mach 7 or 7 times the speed of sound

Pegasus Rocket Ignites to boost X-43A

NASA's second X-43A hypersonic research aircraft flew successfully on 27th March,2004 , the first time an air-breathing scramjet powered aircraft has flown freely.

The unpiloted vehicle's supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, ignited as planned and operated for the duration of its hydrogen fuel supply. The X-43A reached its test speed of Mach 7, or seven times the speed of sound.

The flight originated from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Taking off at 12:40 p.m. PST, NASA's B-52B launch aircraft carried the X-43A, which was mounted on a modified Pegasus booster rocket. The booster was launched from the B-52B just before 2 p.m. PST. The rocket boosted the X-43A up to its test altitude of about 95,000 ft. over the Pacific Ocean, where the X-43A separated from the booster and flew freely for several minutes. During the free flight, the scramjet engine operated for about 10 seconds.

Courtesy : NASA

For more information please visit NASA's mission site for X-43 mission



Duping pests – pesticides are not the only way.

Pesticides not hte only way to kill pests

A recent study could have broader implications for farmers’ ability to stop pests from becoming resistant to pesticides. Scientists from US based North Carolina State University have found that in US, cotton pests mature feeding corn all summer before moving towards south to munch cotton in the autumn. Therefore, if large quantities of pesticides are used in the corn fields then pests would move to more commercially significant cotton fields armed with resistance to these pesticides.
A large amount of cotton grown in US is genetically modified to contain Bt gene from a bacterium. This enables a plant to produce toxin, which is lethal to many pests. It is estimated that the Bt toxin kills almost 80-85 per cent of cotton bollworms. However long term exposure to Bt can make the pests resistant to it. Therefore, farmers grow ‘refuges’ or non-engineered crops between fields of engineered crops. When these pesticide resistant pests mate with pests feeding on ‘refuges’ their offspring are not immune to Bt toxin.
The researchers used a technique called staple isotope assessment to gauge the development patterns of pest moths during summer. They compared the ratios of carbon isotope C13 and C12 in moths captured from Louisiana and Texas during August to October. Dicot plants like cotton have less of c13 as compared to monocot plants like corn. Pests feeding on a particular plant would have the same carbon isotope ratio as the plant.
The researchers found that a large majority of pests moths, specifically that of cotton bollworm, had more C12 than C13. This means they are maturing not on cotton and soyabean plants but on corn. Knowing where the moths developed was essential for the researchers to analyse how well ‘refuge’ function to put the brakes on the evolution of pests that are resistant to insecticides.

Being Genius a Bane or a Boon as a 12 year old becomes a qualified doctor.

Einstein

Showcasing the successes of child prodigies like Sho Yano is more harmful than helpful for children. Bring up children in today’s competitive world is a difficult task. If child prodigies were to help up as role models to children then life would become even tougher for them. The weight of their school bags , tension of the exams and the resultant suicides are all well documented. Childhood , not so long ago , was a carefree part of a long and tough journey of life. In a bid to conquer glory children will be pressured to achieve extraordinary success at great cost to their mental strength.

This is also the question of prodigy’s own childhood. Extraordinary talent is indeed a gift , but careful handling of it is critical. Therefore, though that gift may be evident early on,it is imperative that the child is saved from his/her own precocity. Having a gift which is far ahead of its time is somewhat like putting an engine of a Formula One car in a go-kart. The consequences can be disastrous. Prodigies who have not had foresighted parents or guardians have suffered. Prodigies ,their childhood stolen from them are condemned to loneliness and emotional instability. Leading supposing glamorous lives they are prisoners of their own talent. The end result is that of stunted adults and unfulfilled promises, where timeframes are reversed. Childhood becomes a time for toil and adulthood often misspent. In an increasingly chaotic world let children remain children. Hand the scalpel to the next able bodied adult.


A Successful Stem-Cell Transplant


The Malignant Disease Treatment Center (MDTC) at Southern Command Hospital in Pune has successfully performed a rare stem cell transplant on a 36-year old suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer of blood and bone marrow. This is the second allogenic transplant in which blood cells are taken from the patients siblings. Out of similar 11 cases handled at MTDC it is the first case of stem cell transplant in a patient suffering from blood cancer.
The patient Havildar Singh of Jat regiment was satisfactory. Referred to MTDC in October last year from Gwalior, doctors felt confident after Singh’s HLA(human leukocyte antigen) as it matched to that of his brother, who is also serving the army in the same regiment. The chances of a match are remote even in a family of seven siblings. Apart from Pune ,the Delhi center is the only place within the armed forces to have successfully performed such transplants. MTDC which only treats patients from the armed forces gets about 500 cancer patients every year.
The number has considerably increased in the recent years, but more due to awareness and early detection techniques. Cancer in the lungs and the mouth is the most common among males. In women breast cancer and malignancy of the reproductive organs are the most common. Leukemia accounts for 12 percent of the cases in the center. MTDC oncologists feel that there is a serious need to maintain a database of bone marrow donors in India. In India only All India Institute Of Medical Sciences maintains a registry of about 3000 people.

Ways to prevent skin ulcers.

Skin Ulcers

A curtain merely treated with insecticide can help save your life. A recent study shows that by using curtains treated with insecticide can reduce the incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) – a disease that has fatal, debilitating and/or deforming consequences in the form of skin ulcers.

The disease is caused by lieshmania parasite. At least 2 million cases of lieshmaniasis are reported annually in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sudan. The parasite is transmitted to humans and other mammals through infected sandflies. Recently researchers conducted a study to determine if curtains treated with insecticides reduce the number of sandflies inside homes.

The study was carried out of in an area of Trujillo city of Venezuela, which records very immense transmission of the disease. Over a period of 12 months, the researchers assessed the efficacy of the curtains. The study area consisted of 239 houses using polyester curtains treated with lamdacyhalothrin insecticide. 220 houses using non treated curtains and 106 houses not using curtains at all.

The analysis showed that there was a significant reduction in the number of sandflies in the houses using treated curtains as compared to those that were not using treated curtains. Moreover the treated curtains had no side effects. Therefore, the researchers concluded that curtains treated with insecticide provide a high degree of protection against indoor transmission of CL by sandflies. They are also cost effective.

The results of the study were supported by another research conducted in a Columbian village, during which bed nets treated with insecticide were used to control sandflies.


Christudas is the face of God for leprosy patients.

Serving leprosy patients has always been a metaphor of compassion. And the torch of that spirit continues to burn in many hearts even today. Brother Christudas is one such soul. He has dared to rush to Bihar which has the highest number of leprosy patients in India. He is really an inspiring example taking into consideration that leprosy is not merely a disease. Its more of a social stigma compounded by the ills of illiteracy, poverty, unhygienic environment and malnutrition which plagues the state.

Thus Das finds himself in Raxaul on the Indo-Nepal border treating, nursing and taking care of the leprosy patients. Das, who was a director in Mother Teresa’s leprosy center, realized that instead of waiting for patients to come to the hospital in order to be treated ,he ought to visit their place treat and cure them there and help them to get to normal lives once again. Consequently he landed up in Raxaul to find lepers living helplessly during the night and begging during the day.

Initially it was difficult for Das to convince the lepers that he was going to help them. He had no resources at all. But Rs.2000 from a friend in Muzaffarpur brought much relief. With this money Das began the Little Flower Leprosy Hospital in a mud hut. Now help started pouring in from all quarters. Mr. P.K. Derkson from Holland just within a month from its opening with Rs. 1.8 lakh. Thus Little flower was reborn as a 47-bed ,full concrete leprosy hospital. Today, it is a double-storey structure with 130 beds. The hospital receives a continuous steady stream of patients from the neighboring areas. The Hospital has so far treated about 42,000 patients.

Helped generously by two institutions based in Canada and in England fighting against leprosy , Das has also been able to start a school for leprosy patients , a hostel for leprosy afflicted parents and their children. Spinning and weaving workshops for women suffering from leprosy and a 20-acre dairy farm with about 60 cows has also begun in the Hospital. Most of those who have been cured but still have not been accepted by their families and the society ,stay at the colony to work with dignity and respect.

If you want to add to their dignity , contact – Brother Christudas at Little Flower Leprosy Welfare Association , Sunderpur, Raxaul, Pin:843505. Telephone: 06255-22558.

An Oil Find Threatens the Caspian Sea.

With the discovery of an extremely large offshore petroleum reserve in the northern sector of the Caspian Sea, an environmental disaster is in the making. Leading oil companies are poised to start developing a field near the deposit. The extent of the newly discovered petroleum reserve is large enough to even surpass the size of North Sea oil reserves. But scientists say that pumping out oil from the oil reserve threatens the northern Caspian. Empting the oil and gas could trigger devastating earthquakes ,this is what the scientists believe.
The northern basin of Caspian averages little more than 10 meters in depth. This makes it a formidable challenge for the oil companies. The oil in Kashagan, as it is called, is pressurized to 1,000 atmospheres and is at 100-120 degree Celsius. Opposition to Kashagan’s exploitation also stems from the fear that it would push the prized Caspian sturgeon closer to extinction. It can also aggravate the problem of air pollution.

Caspian Sea

Mouse make up – Mice are genetically similar to humans.

Mice are gentically similar to humans

An international consortium of scientists has published nearly the entire genetic make-up of the mouse. It is an accomplishment that could give new insights about human evolution. The working draft of the genome, which lays out the animal’s startling similarity to humans, would also streamline the fundamental role that mice play in the study of human diseases.
The draft code, 2.5 billion DNA letters long, comes nearly two years after the human genome was sequenced. Side-by-side the comparisons of the two are also yielding new insights into the human genome. Scientists have unraveled but not fully deciphered this. Initial comparison of the mouse and human genomes shows that the species are closely related at a genetic level, even though the two last shared a common mammal ancestor 75 million years ago.
The mouse genome is about 14 per cent smaller than its human counterpart, but each species has about 30,000 genes. A full 99 per cent of a mouse’s genes have counterparts in humans, including genes that cause mice to have tails. Researchers say that more than 90 per cent of genes associated with diseases are identical in humans and mice, underscoring the value of the latter in laboratory experiments.
Scientists are hoping that they would soon complete similar blueprints of the rat, cow, chimpanzee and dog. This will allow even more comparative genomic work. Genomic comparisons are expected to shed more light on the evolutionary history and biological diversity. For example, mice have more genes related to smell and mating than humans do.



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