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Curiosity and science give wings to Odisha’s Google girl

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By NewsGram staff writer

Bhubaneswar: Despite being a Class 9 student, she nourishes a passion for serving the society through scientific research of mass interest. For her, age is never a bar for quenching libido science as if inspired by the Wings of Fire and following the footsteps of missile man APJ Abdul Kalam.

Bestowed with a gift of curiosity, the roadside corn fields filled Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai’s head and heart to go in for a project to develop a low cost water purifier.

The 13-year-old student from Odisha’s tribal dominated Koraput district has earned laurels by winning the ‘Community Impact Award’ at the prestigious Google Science Fair 2015 held in California recently.

“I’m fond of visiting villages and observing the lifestyle of the villagers. While going on the road, I often see corn cobs lying scattered over. An idea dawned on me that they could be of immense use to society. I related it to waste water purifying and later approached my school teacher Pallavi,” the Google girl said.

Her prized project ‘cleaning waste water with Corn cobs’ is basically a cheap and raw method of purifying waste water released by domestic and industrial sources.

The student of Damanjodi Delhi Public School feels elated at getting an award from an international platform as it, according to her, would definitely help in carving out her future career and play a big role in paving a path for her to pursue scientific research.

“It’s quite a big moment for me to get an award from an international platform. It would decide my future career, play a big role to boost my curious bend of mind and pursue scientific research for the mass benefit of society,” she said.

Father of the Indian Green Revolution MS Swaminathan is her icon, and the Google girl says she always dreams of going in for such research work that would better up our agrarian society.

Averring that invention knows no age bar, Lalita said curiosity in one’s self should never be curbed and one needs a true mentor to reach the destination.

“I feel that innovation has no age limit. If you have keen interest and are patted by a good mentor, the curiosity in you gets a shape and figure in one day or other,” Lalita said in her message to fellow students.

The girl has not only bagged $10,000 (Over Rs.6,60,000) as prize money, but also would be supported for one year by Google to work on her project.

While Google Science Fair competition received entries in 15 languages, 90 regional and 20 global finalists were shortlisted.

The Science Fair is an online competition which has been sponsored by companies like Google, CERN, Lego, National Geographic and the Scientific American, said sources.

Started in 2011, the Google initiative covers scientifically tempered children between the age of 13 and 18 the world-over.

 

(IANS)

Next Story

California Wildfire of 2017 Caused By Homeowner Equipment: Agency

In the report released Thursday by the state, one witness reported seeing a transformer explode. Another reported seeing the fire approach a PG&E power pole.

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California
An aerial view of properties destroyed by the Tubbs Fire is seen in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. VOA

In a long-awaited report, state investigators said Thursday that a 2017 wildfire that killed 22 people in Northern California wine country was caused by a private electrical system, not equipment belonging to embattled Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.

The state firefighting agency concluded that the blaze started next to a residence. It did not find any violations of state law.

“I eliminated all other causes for the Tubbs Fire, with the exception of an electrical caused fire originating from an unknown event affecting privately owned conductor or equipment,” CalFire Battalion Chief John Martinez wrote in his report.

Some details about the property, including its owner and address, were blacked out of the report. It said the Napa County property about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Calistoga was built in 1946 on about 10.5 acres (4.2 hectares) with a wine cellar, pool and several outbuildings.

Wildfire
A statue stands among the remains of a home destroyed by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 10, 2017. VOA

PG&E said in a Jan. 2 court filing that it believed a handyman performing unlicensed electrical work started the wine country fire. In that filing, it identified the owner of the Napa County compound as Ann Zink. The utility said it provided electricity to Zink’s property by a line that connected to a service riser but that Zink had a private system to carry power to other buildings as well as equipment such as a water pump and water storage tank.

PG&E said it had no responsibility to maintain or inspect the private system.

Zink, 91, told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2017 that her house was unoccupied at the time of the fire and she was at her other home in Riverside County when the blaze began.

PG&E bankruptcy filing

The Tubbs Fire was one of more than 170 that torched the state in October 2017. It destroyed more than 5,600 structures over more than 57 square miles (148 sq. kilometers) in Sonoma and Napa counties.

PG&E previously said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection next week, citing billions of dollars in potential damages from lawsuits linking its equipment to other deadly blazes for which it has been determined to be at fault.

Fire, CLimate Change, California, fossil fuels
Firefighters battle a wildfire as it threatens to jump a street near Oroville, California. VOA

The company said in a statement that despite Thursday’s finding, PG&E “still faces extensive litigation, significant potential liabilities and a deteriorating financial situation.”

Gov. Gavin Newson said it’s up to PG&E to decide whether to move ahead with a planned bankruptcy given that more than half of its expected damages stemmed from the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

He said his goal is not to rescue PG&E but to make sure victims are made whole, that the state has “safe, reliable and affordable service” and that rate payers “are not paying the price of the neglect” that has been established in past wildfires.

Newsom also said he doubts the report will end litigation related to the wildfire.

Michael Kelly, an attorney for victims of the fire, said the findings wouldn’t have much effect on the lawsuits he has filed.

“We’re going to stick by our guns,” Kelly said, adding that there are still questions about why PG&E didn’t cut power to the area despite a high fire danger. He said there is also evidence that contradicts the findings of state fire investigators.

California, Fire prevention, wildfires
A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, VOA

Reform, compensation

Trading of PG&E Corp. stock was halted twice after news about the cause of the fire prompted a surge of buy orders. Once trading resumed, the price rocketed up, closing up $5.96, or nearly 75 percent, at $13.35 a share.

A state senator said that just because a private electric line caused the wine country fire does not let the utility off the hook for the role of its equipment in other devastating fires in the state.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat, cited system-wide issues plaguing California’s largest utility.

Lawmakers are under pressure to find a solution that addresses utility reform and compensates wildfire victims.

Also Read: urance Claims From California’s Wildfire At $9 Billion

“This underscores the idea that we all have a role to play in wildfire prevention,” said Dodd a frequent critic of PG&E, who noted that the company has already been found at fault for more than a dozen other Northern California wildfires.

In the report released Thursday by the state, one witness reported seeing a transformer explode. Another reported seeing the fire approach a PG&E power pole.

One witness, Charlie Brown Jr. of Calistoga, said the electrical wiring leading from the property where investigators concluded the fire started had not been used in years. (VOA)