Short video appealing for flood relief. More short videos in the future.
The top fifty physics students of Pakistan, just back from their high profile tour of Pakistan's nuclear reactor near Islamabad, sat in a small auditorium listening intently to one engaging speaker.
I learnt something very interesting that day. While the government would love more students to go into nuclear physics, what they needed now were students who would model the weather. Pakistan, along with everyone else, was going to be hit by the results of global warming and it was imperative for us to be prepared. But that wasn't the scary bit. The United States was actually spending a lot to model the weather of many parts of the globe, including our neighbourhood. When our scientists asked for data and simulations the request was denied. Weather modelling was being considered as a potential weapon and therefore all critical information was highly classified. I used to play Red Alert 2 on my PC. The Allied weather storm was as powerful, if not more deadly than the Soviet nuclear missile.
But it did not come with bad press, or the curse of deformed children. It was infact untraceable to its source.
I am in no way downplaying the role of global warming. It has made all of this much more dangerous. Warmer waters means more violent storms and much heavier rains. America itself has been hit by the worse storms in decades.
Weather is a funny thing because of the Butterfly Effect. It follows no given pattern and is in essence unpredictable. But our minds have grown sharper and our computing power stronger. We already seed clouds to cause rains. There may come a time when we can cause massive storms by just a small change in the conditions which will give the system a nudge to its more damaging state. I don't think we are there yet. Though some theorists (Zaid Hamid) certainly believe that our enemies have caused these very floods. And while you may not be a fan he does have something unique to say about most things.
No conventional war could have brought this much devastation. But maybe we just got bombed.
Photoblogs describe the flooding in different ways. The devastation wrought only goes to show how there is an overwhelming need not just for immediate resource-provision but relief efforts that are invested in over a period of many years, efforts that can help rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of the affectees. It also demonstrates the need to recognize how disastrous slow responses to a calamity can be, especially a calamity which shows no end in sight. Here are some of the pictures printed by different news agencies around the world. Captions have been placed as they appeared in print.
The Box Move blog is no longer active since the founding team has graduated. The archives will remain online.
The SPROJ Forum for the SSE 2012 batch. Discuss potential Senior Projects here.
Brain Talk is an online resource and forum for all things Psychology and Neuroscience.
MUSIC FOR GEEKS:
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ON THE FRINGE:
The story of a how a YouTube video of a blind man biking down a mountain inspired good non-fiction writing on echolocation. You may find it useful for your own writing. Read here.
An awful waste of space?
Amidst NASA's budgetary cuts and scientists' renewed vigor in justifying Space Programs, it is important to shed some light on the background. Click here for a succinct overview of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence(SETI) project.
Manto ka Muqaddama
Pakistaniat.com publishes, on the anniversary of Saadat Hasan Manto's death, a sampling of his works, a tribute to him as well as articles chronicling the obscenity trial he was tried for. Read all three parts of the series here.
Not Another 2010 List
The folks over at The Last Word put up their list for the best non-fiction in the past year, including 'The Mind's Eye' which is very hard to find in bookstores, indeed! Read the full list here.
Leslie Kaufman at The New York Times tells us exactly why those birds flying above are dropping to their deaths. Click here to read the article.
Spontaneous Solar Growth!
Reported at MadScience, scientists at MIT have found a way to create solar cells that can regenerate themselves like living organisms. Read more here.
Lessons from Chernobyl
Decades after the radiation disaster at Chernobyl, scientists elucidate how plant life has been thriving in the highly radioactive environment. Read more here.
MIT Scientists revisit Galileo's famous inclined plane experiment, this time with polymer ribbons and discover complex results. Read here.
A Lifetime, Washed Away
Pakistani author Daniyal Mueenuddin writes in the NY Times about the aftermath of the flood and displaced people. Read more here of the article posted by 3QD.
On String theory and Materials Science
Click here to find out how physicists at MIT are using ideas of gauge/gravity duality to explain properties of superconductors.
That's why you're irrational!
Newsweek's Sharon Begley provides a fascinating argument for why evolution may favor irrationality. I particularly liked the examples she picked. Read here.
Just when you wanted a gene kit
The US Food and Drug Administration held hearings n the 19th and 20th of July to talk about the validity of tests which were sold directly to the public which gives consumers direct access to to their genomes. Should it be regulated? Read more here.
On Trees and Prisons
In a 6 minute talk on Ted.com, Nalini Nadkarni (shown above) talks about her ideas of incorporating conservation into prison programs. Watch the talk and read Nadkarni's fascinating biography here.
These Lungs are made in USA
Stem Cell Biology takes huge leaps forward with the new advances made in lung transplants based on using the lungs extracellular architecture. Read more from Nature here.
Economist Special Reports
Ten years after Craig Venter revealed the first working draft of the entire Human Genome, this special report demonstrates how Biology is now at the brink of something brilliant - just recently, the draft of the entire genome of the Neanderthal was revealed. Suck on that, sceptics!
Bobby Satcher, astronaut, the first orthopedic surgeon in space. Read all about his tales here on MITnews.
Craig Venter Creations
Researchers create world's first fully synthetic self replicating, living cell. Massive fuss about limitless monster potential possible. Read the NewScientist article here. Watch the Ted.com talk by Craig Venter here.