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BURGERS TO SPOIL EYESISHT

Don’t gorge on those burgers and footlongs. You might get shortsighted . A report in the journal New Scientists suggests that growing consumption of highly refined starches such as bread and cereals may explain rising shortsightedness in Europe. This was borne out by studies on the Inuit and on the Pacific populations, where one group on western diet has high rate of myopia ,while the other which relies on protein rich fish diet , does not.

Scientists at the University of Sydney argue that refined starches are digested more rapidly promoting pancreas to make high level of insulin to break down the resulting sugars. But high levels of insulin are also known for a drop in the levels of protein crucial in the growth process and to which the eye is particularly sensitve.

THE UNIQUE BRITISH GLASSES

Glasses developed by British defense scientists to reduce fighter pilots’ workload by enabling their eyes to direct weapons could aid in diagnosing dyslexia, reports the Nature the British government has just given a grant to make child-size prototype glasses.

Dyslexia , the inability of some kids to read or write properly, affects 5-10% of the world population. It often goes undiagnosed and as result children suffering the humiliation of being perceived as stupid. Scientists think that eye movement often clues as to why dyslexics struggle to read and write.

Until now, dyslexia researchers lacked a means of measuring eye movements accurately. The technology could potentially be used in primary schools for diagnosis , for catching the disorder early is important for child’s education and self-esteem.

Workshop: Will today's innovations in graduate education meet the challenges of the future?

Advanced education faces significant challenges from the impact of changing population demographics, the information technology revolution, the globalization of science, and evolving workforce needs, but lacks key data needed to evaluate educational innovations, according to participants of the National Science Foundationhosted "Future of Graduate Education Workshop."

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KANPUR STUDENTS ON A GREEN MISSION

School children in Kanpur [Uttar Pradesh, India] are ushering in a silent revolution. And to lend a voice to their efforts the state urban development industry has asked the Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) to prepare a film on them.

A group of 35000 students from 27 schools in the city are busy creating awareness about the menace of pollution and the importance of planting trees. The film will later be shown in other districts of the state to educate the masses about environment related issues.

The students under initiative of the KDA have been planting sapling and cleaning ghats for the last 6 months. So far they have planted over 10,000 saplings in the different parts of the city. They have also been educating the masses about the hazards of using ploy bags.

The members hold weekly meetings in their respective schools to discuss environmental issues and devise methods to change the attitude of the people. The state government is keen to launch this campaign in other districts also.

GREEN COVERS SHELTER THIS GUJARAT VILLAGE

The jungle is becoming so thick in Dhanturi village and its neighborhood that the forest department would like to cut some of the healthy growth of the rest. A process called “thining”. But the 5,000 odd villagers of Dhanturi , Palwadi and Mangalia would have none of this despite being offered 50% of the proceeds from the sale which would run into lakhs of rupees.

This was not the case till 1985 when this cluster of tribal villages, inhabitedmainly by the Gamit community was completely denuded of all vegetation. This is also the home ground of former Chief Minister Amarsihn Choudhary. Who still faces an enquiry for facing large scale destruction of forests. In those days the forests officials would not even enter the forests for fear that the villagers attacking them.

All that has changed now with the participation of the people in what is known as Joint Forest Management (JFM). But Dhanturi green revolution started much before the Centre gave legal sanction.

ASIA’S LARGEST WIND FARM HERALDS WINDS OF CHANGE

The windmills burst into view when you take the final turn on your way to the top of the hills of Vanakusawade. They remind you of Wordsworth’s daffodils – you see a thousand of them at a glance. Welcome to Asia’s largest wind farm in Satara district of Maharastra championed by the Maharastra Energy Development Agency (MEDA).

The wind farm which runs 25 kms along the Sahyadri hills, straddling on the Konya reservoir ,is expected to generate 300MW of electricity. About 250 companies separately own the 1000 windmills at the farm. They are run on contract by the manufacturers. The companies sell their electricity either to Maharastra State Electric Board (MSEB). Or to the third parties. They sometimes even use it themselves.

OSU weather forecasting tool outperforms competing models

The dramatic rescue of a physician from a remote science station at the South Pole two years ago provided researchers here with an opportunity to test how well current weather forecast models actually perform. The results of this study ranked four current models. They suggest that the refinement of one of them might even support longer Antarctic field seasons and make potential rescues from that distant part of the world much safer.

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Unusual But True

He hasn’t eaten a bite of solid for the last 8 years. No, he is not suffering from anorexia. Hira Ratan Manek whose theories have been recognized by NASA says that his success lies in pineal gland.

Perhaps soon enough ,science fiction films may not sound like so much fantasy. One may actually fly or be simultaneously at several places. Already, 65 years old Hari Ratan Manek claims that he has been zealously pursuing such navigational and psychic powers by simply activating his brain with solar energy. How? He uses the simple techniques of gazing at the sun and walking barefoot on bare earth. The remarkable thing is that , according to Manek, for the last eight years he has subsisted on nothing but solar energy and water. When paying social calls, he allows himself to accept tea, coffee and buttermilk. But no solid food. He claims that solar energy is powerful enough to ensure a distressed mind and a disease free body.

He has since offered to have himself examined several times before national and international community of doctors just to prove his point. The result? Today NASA has initiated a project on him called the HRM Project on survival on solar energy. He also involves himself with plans for making seawater potable using sunlight and running automobiles using photovoltaic cells.



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