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Young Indian innovators gear-up for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The 15th leg of the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) took place in New Delhi yesterday in which 30 students, selected from across India to take part at the highly-acclaimed Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), were felicitated.

The event is to be held from 10-15 May, 2015 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

Speaking at the forum, Y. S. Chowdary, the Union Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said, “Today’s children have the advantage of getting any information that they want through search engines unlike people of earlier generations who had to make lot of effort.”

Thirty young innovators will participate at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) this year; 17 of them would compete against 1,700 finalists from over 70 countries, regions and territories, at the world’s largest pre-college science competition. 13 other students will participate as observers at the prestigious event. Seventeen of these young innovators from India will compete with teams from across the world at Intel ISEF 2015.

Team India will showcase 12 cutting edge ideas to compete for USD 4 million in awards, scholarships and honors, such as a chance to be present at the Nobel Laureate ceremony or to have a minor planet named after them (courtesy MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory).

The projects will span varied fields such as mathematics, computer science, plant sciences, molecular biology, nano sciences and medicine.

After Intel ISEF, as part of a joint initiative from Department of Science & Technology (DST), Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) & Intel, Team India will spend an additional week in USA to gain more exposure and engage in scientific exchanges with the rich scientific community in USA. In the additional week, students will travel to Washington DC for site-visits to science museums, universities, science labs; meet and interact with scientists, professors in their related fields and get an exposure to hands-on activities in labs and museums.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the world’s largest pre-college science fair competition. Each year, more than 6 million young innovators from around the world vie to attend and 1,700 are selected as finalists to share ideas, showcase cutting edge ideas and compete for over USD 4 million in awards and scholarships. The winners are selected based on their creative ability and scientific thought, as well as the thoroughness, skill, and clarity shown in their projects.

To judge the projects, more than 1,000 science, engineering, and industry professionals volunteer at the Intel ISEF.

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A Controversial Museum of Bible Opens in Washington

Many think that the location of the museum clearly signals that it has an agenda.

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Museum of Bible, Washington DC
One of the many state-of-the-art interactive displays for education and entertainment that are throughout the Museum of the Bible. The museum opens November 17,2017 in Washington. VOA

A larger than life entrance greets visitors at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington — dramatic 12-meter-tall doors containing text from Genesis 1, the biblical creation of the world.

The gateway allows entry to all things about the Bible, spanning several floors in the large building, which is located near the National Mall, Smithsonian museums and the U.S. Capitol. Not surprisingly there is a section filled with Bibles, many of them replicas of Bibles the museum was unable to obtain, and various versions from over the centuries that have been adopted by varying religious groups.

Executive Director Tony Zeiss said the Bible is significant because “it helps people navigate through life,” and he would like people “to commit to being more engaged in this amazing book.”

The Bible is the world’s best-selling book, and the $500 million, privately funded museum has displays ranging from pro- and anti-slavery themes found in the holy book, to Hebrew texts, and even biblically themed contemporary women’s fashions.

What’s missing, some people say, is that there is not enough of the star of the New Testament, Jesus.

Zeiss said the museum is nonsectarian, and more than 100 scholars, who represent a variety of views, designed the exhibits, which also include $42 million in state-of-the-art interactive displays for education and entertainment — even in the elevators.

You can also stroll through a serene recreation of Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, amid hand-painted trees and the sound of chirping birds.

“It’s meant to create a setting where when you walk in, you feel like you’re in a different place that you would find 2,000 years ago,” said Seth Pollinger, the museum’s director of content.

Family behind museum

The museum was founded by Steve Green, a member of the conservative evangelical family that owns Hobby Lobby, the world’s largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer. In 2014, Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case, concerning religious objections, to deny workers at family-owned corporations contraception coverage.

“It would be hard for us as a family to try to hide what we believe,” Green said. “We believe this book is what it claims to be, but our role here is to present the facts of the Bible more in a journalistic look.”

“As much as they want to stay neutral and objective on the Bible, it’s going to be very, very hard to present the Bible in that way,” said John Fea, a liberal evangelical who chairs the history department at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. The Bible is “connected to a particular religious tradition and their way of interpreting it,” he added.

Jacques Berlinerbrau, who is Jewish and a professor at Georgetown University, agrees.

“It is really problematic to ever say that one has a nonsectarian view of the Holy Scriptures,” he said.

Berlinerbrau also thinks the museum has an agenda.

“The idea that the museum doesn’t have any intent to convert people to a particular reading of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Scripture is absurd,” he said.

And even though museum officials say the location had nothing to do with being near the seat of the U.S. government, Fea is not buying it.

“It’s hard to see this as anything than other an attempt to try to bring Christian values in the Bible’s teachings as understood by evangelical protestants, like the Greens, into the center of American political life and American cultural life,” Fea said.

Texts and artifacts

The museum contains impressive rare biblical texts and ancient artifacts, some on loan from outside the U.S.; others from the Greens’ massive collection of antiquities. Some antiquities were smuggled out of Iraq, and purchased, inadvertently, by the family, they said. The Greens forfeited the items and paid a $3 million fine.

Green told VOA the museum is willing to return artifacts to their home countries “if there’s any artifact that we have that they would have a claim.”

When Green was asked if he would like to see people who come to the museum become more Christian, he smiled and said, “We want them to know the Bible better.” (VOA)

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Giant magnetic shield can make Mars habitable for Humans, say NASA Scientists

Red Planet once had a thick atmosphere necessary to maintain liquid water

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Red Planet Mars, VOA

US, Mar 6, 2017: Scientists at NASA have proposed that launching a giant magnetic shield into space to protect Mars from solar winds could give the Red Planet its atmosphere back and make it habitable for humans.

Mars now appears to be a cold desert world and it has no global magnetic field. The cold temperatures and thin atmosphere on the red Planet do not allow liquid water to exist at the surface for long. But it might not have been always so.

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Scientists believe that the Red Planet once had a thick atmosphere necessary to maintain liquid water, and a warmer, potentially habitable climate. It is the collapse of the protective magnetic field billions of years ago that eventually made Mars what it is today — cold and arid.

In a presentation at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop in Washington, DC last week, NASA scientists proposed that launching a giant magnetic shield into space between Mars and the Sun could help the Red Planet restore its atmosphere and make it suitable for humans to colonise in the future.

The US space agency thinks a powerful-enough magnetic shield launched into space could serve as a replacement for Mars’s own lost magnetosphere, ScienceAlert reported on Monday.

Launching an “artificial magnetosphere” into space between Mars and the Sun could hypothetically shield the Red Planet in the extended magnetotail that trails behind the protective field, NASA’s Planetary Science Division director Jim Green was quoted as saying.

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“This situation then eliminates many of the solar wind erosion processes that occur with the planet’s ionosphere and upper atmosphere allowing the Martian atmosphere to grow in pressure and temperature over time,” the researchers explained in an accompanying paper.

The researchers believe that the magnetic shield could help Mars regain some of its lost Earth-like habitability within the space of a couple of generations. (IANS)

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Pennsylvania College Condemns White Students’ online Blackface Video

Pennsylvania college is condemning an online video posted by two white students, including one in blackface who lampoons the “Black Lives Matter” movement

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Pennsylvania College
А protester holds up a sign reading "Black Lives Matter," with the names of black men killed by police, during a rally, in Miami, Florida, Dec. 5, 2014. Albright College students in Pennsylvania have been criticized for lampooning the movement in a video. VOA

Albright College in eastern Pennsylvania is condemning an online video posted by two white students, including one in blackface who lampoons the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

College President Lex O. McMillan III issued a statement Thursday saying the school unequivocally condemns the video.

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McMillan’s statement says the students who posted the Snapchat video on Tuesday voluntarily came forward and have “expressed deep remorse.”

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In the video, the student in blackface refers to herself as “Carlisha,” insults “Black Lives Matter” then dances around with padding in her pants, meant to increase the size of her butt.

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McMillan’s statement didn’t say whether the students have been disciplined. Some students planned to demonstrate against the video on Friday, the beginning of the 160-year-old, private, liberal arts school’s homecoming weekend. (VOA)