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Czech Scientists Find way to Extract Water From Air

The project will be showcased at the Dubai Expo 2020, to be held between October 2020 and April 2021

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Scientists, Water, Air
A team of scientists from the Technical University in Prague have said they found a method of extracting water from air using an autonomous solar-powered system. Pixabay

A team of scientists from the Technical University in Prague have said they found a method of extracting water from air using an autonomous solar-powered system.

The first prototype of Solar Air Water Earth Resource (SAWER) has the capacity to produce 100 litres of drinking water per day anywhere on the planet, even in the desert.

The experts installed SAWER in the United Arab Emirates’ town of Sweihan, located about 70 km east of Abu Dhabi.

“It is not a revolutionary process, but an unusual one,” civil and environmental engineering professor Tomas Matuska told Efe news, adding it used dehumidifiers that are often employed in the food industry.

Matuska explained that the two-stage system consists of a desiccant that holds water molecules in its surface and then an air heater produces water vapour to be taken back to the surface.

A group of 12 scientists started the project in the Czech Republic’s capital in 2017 and created the first prototype that can be transported in two six-meter-long cargo containers.

One of the containers holds the production unit including distilled water equipment, while the second contains the accumulators to boost heat and cold processes, as well as energy control systems.

The experts installed SAWER in the United Arab Emirates’ town of Sweihan, located about 70 km east of Abu Dhabi. Pixabay

Photovoltaic modules are placed on the two containers in order to produce the energy necessary to start the process.

The movable device aims to establish timely living conditions, or to facilitate civil-military operations in inhospitable places requiring an emergency water supply.

“The test (near Abi Dhabi) will last about six months, because we want to have information with data from summer, autumn and winter,” said Matuska, who is part of the team that developed SAWER in Prague.

The device will be tested in the laboratory during this period, although Matuska said it only requires “air filter changes, water canister emptying and cleaning for the photovoltaic modules.”

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The prototype cost about 360,000 euros ($400,000), making the water extracted very expensive – $10 per litre in the first year.

The project will be showcased at the Dubai Expo 2020, to be held between October 2020 and April 2021.

“There is a great interest in our project, from the US to Australia,” Matuska said, adding: “We have signed a confidentiality agreement with a company with businesses in the Persian Gulf area.” (IANS)

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The Indian Triple Disaster: Virus, Heat Wave And Locusts

Other than Coronavirus pandemic, India faces 2 more challenges to cope up with

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Locusts
Migrant workers, who left cities and towns where they were abandoned by their employers, rest inside a tent before traveling in special trains arranged to transport them to villages in home states, at a railway station in Gauhati, India, May 28, 2020. VOA
By Associated Press

As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, India grappled with scorching temperatures and the worst locusts invasion in decades as authorities prepared for the end of a monthslong lockdown despite recording thousands of new infections every day as per the Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This triple disaster drew biblical comparisons and forced officials to try to balance the competing demands of simultaneous public health crises: protection from eviscerating heat but also social distancing in newly reopened parks and markets.

The heat wave threatens to compound challenges of containing the virus, which has started spreading more quickly and broadly since the government began easing restrictions of one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns earlier this month.

“The world will not get a chance to breathe anymore. The ferocity of crises are increasing, and they’re not going to be spaced out,” said Sunita Narain of New Delhi’s Center for Science and Environment.

When her 6-year-old son woke up with a parched throat and a fever, housekeeper Kalista Ekka wanted to bring him to the hospital. But facing a deluge of COVID-19 patients, the doctor advised Ekka to keep him at home despite boiling temperatures in the family’s two-room apartment in a low-income neighborhood in South Delhi.

“The fan only makes it hotter but we can’t open the window because it has no screen,” and thus no defense against malaria and dengue-carrying mosquitoes, Ekka said.

In a nearby upmarket enclave crowded with walkers and joggers every morning and at dusk — some with face coverings, some without — neighbors debated the merits of masks in an online forum.

In the heat, “it is very dangerous to work out with a mask. So a Catch-22 situation,” said Asmita Singh.

heat locusts
India is facing high tempratures with many people lacking water and air conditioning. Pixabay

Temperatures soared to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.6 degrees Celsius) in the capital New Delhi this week, marking the warmest May day in 18 years, and 122 F (50 C) in the desert state of Rajasthan, after the world’s hottest April on record.

India suffers from severe water shortages and tens of millions lack running water and air conditioning, leaving many to seek relief under shady trees in public parks and stepwells, the ancient structures used to harvest rainwater.

Though many people continued wearing masks properly, others pushed them onto chins, or had foregone them altogether.

Cyclone Amphan, a massive super storm that crossed the unusually warm Bay of Bengal last week, sucked up huge amounts of moisture, leaving dry, hot winds to form a heat wave over parts of central and northern India.

At the same time, swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland, threatening an already vulnerable region that is struggling with the economic cost of the lockdown.

Exasperated farmers have been banging plates, whistling or throwing stones to try to drive the locusts away, and sometimes even lighting fires to smoke them out. The swarms appeared poised to head from Rajasthan north to Delhi, but on Wednesday a change in wind direction sent them southward toward the state of Madhya Pradesh instead.

grasshopper-locusts
Swarms of desert locusts have devastated crops in India’s heartland. Pixabay

K.L. Gurjar, a top official of India’s Locust Warning Organization, said his 50-person team was scrambling to stop the swarms before breeding can take place during India’s monsoons, which begin in July. Otherwise, he said, the locusts could destroy India’s summer crops.

Meanwhile, India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing up the total to 158,333 confirmed cases and 4,531 deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is preparing a new set of guidelines to be issued this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas while promoting economic activity elsewhere, with unemployment surging to 25%.

The sudden halt to the Indian economy when the lockdown began March 25 has been devastating for daily laborers and migrant workers, who fled cities on foot for their family homes in the countryside.

The government started running special trains for the migrants, but deaths on the rails because of starvation or dehydration have been reported. Others immediately put into quarantine centers upon their arrival in home districts have tested positive for COVID-19, adding to the burden of severely strained rural health systems.

mouth-guard
India reported another record single-day jump of more than 6,500 coronavirus cases. Pixabay

To jump start the economy, Modi’s environment ministry has moved to lower liabilities for industrial polluters and given private players the right to explore for coal and mine it. Cheap oil will fuel recovery efforts worldwide.

Also Read: IIT Mandi Researchers Have Developed Low-Cost Portable Ventilators

Indian environmental journalist Joydeep Gupta said that the perfect storm of pandemic, heat and locusts show India must go green. He said the government should implement policies to safeguard biodiversity and offer incentives for green energy to reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Instead, “the government is promoting the same sectors of the industry that have caused the multiple crises in the first place,” he said.

But Narain said other government initiatives that expand federal agriculture employment, cash transfer and food ration programs help India deal more effectively with its threats.
“It’s building coping abilities of the very poor to be able to deal with stress after stress after stress,” she said. (VOA)

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From Being an Ordinary Voice To Becoming The Voice Of ‘Akashvani’~ Journey of Devki Nandan Pandey

In his lifetime, Pandey became an institution of news reading

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Devki Nandan Pandey
Devki Nandan Pandey is known as the "Father of News Broadcasting in India".

By Kashish Rai

Once upon a time, a voice echoed from the radio set and was known in every household~ This was Devki Nandan Pandey, a well-known news reader of his time.

Devki Nandan Pandey is known as the “Father of News Broadcasting in India”. He was a personality whose newsreading motivated the whole generation of broadcasters. Whenever one recalls his name even today, one only remembers him as a great exponent of the art of communication. Besides being a newsreader, Pandey also acted in films and television serials. Devki Nandan Pandey ji was also conferred with ‘Padam Shree’ Award for  All time great Hindi announcer in AIR (All India Radio).

In his lifetime, Pandey became an institution of news reading. His style of reading the news, the correctness of his pronunciation, the seriousness of his tone and the fluctuations in the pitch and context was enough to bring the listener to a thrill.

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  • Early Life

Devki Nandan was born in Kanpur. His father Shivdutt Pandey was a well-known doctor of his field. His father was a very kind hearted man who was available for patients 24X7 and was ready to treat any patient for free. Originally the Pandey family belonged to Kumaon. Perhaps this is the reason why  Devki Nandan had a “pahadi” touch in his voice.

Devki Nandan was never a bright student during his school days but he never failed in his class. He had a keen interest in traveling, playing and sports. He never liked textbooks but books, novels, stories, biographies and history books always attracted him. He got his early education in Almora, Uttarakhand. Almora is a city located above the Himalayan mountain ranges. Pandey’s father was an avid lover of books. Due to this, there was a good collection of books in their home which made Pandey interested in reading.

AIR
Devki Nandan Pandey ji was also conferred with ‘Padam Shree’ Award for  All time great Hindi announcer in AIR (All India Radio). Wikimedia Commons
  • The Time When Pandey Realised His Passion

During his college life, Pandey’s English teacher Vishambhar Dutt Bhatt had great affection for him. He first recognized and appreciated the uniqueness of Pandey’s voice. He made his student feel his talent. Bhatt  started encouraging Pandey for theater. In Almora Pandey participated in several dozen plays which strengthened his confidence.

In the 60s, there were only two radios in a small place like Almora. One was in the house of Joshi ji, a school teacher, and the other was in the house of a businessman, Shah ji. The young Devkinandan Pandey would be thrilled to hear the news of the Second World War. He would leave all work everyday and go to listen to the news.

During those days, the two broadcasters of Germany radio were Lord Ho Ho and Dr. Farooqui. Both were excellent broadcasters. His voice always dominated Pandey’s heart and mind. In 1971, Pandey went to Allahabad to pursue his Undergraduate degree in B.A from Allahabad University, which was famous all over the Country.

In 1973, Pandey took up a government job in Lucknow and was selected as a radio artist for Announcer and Drama Artist on Radio Lucknow. This station was dominated by Urdu broadcasters. Pandey always believed that he got the study of this specific language and practice the nuances of correct pronunciation from Radio Lucknow itself. It can be clearly said that it was due to broadcasters like Devki Nandan Pandey that Hindi started to get respect in an English-oriented platform like Akashvani.

  • Journey of Becoming The “Voice of Akashvani”

Hindi News Division was established in All India Radio in the year 1949. It starred Alle Hassan (who was later considered the world-renowned broadcaster of the BBC Urdu service) Suresh Awasthi, Brijendra, Saeeda Bano and Chand Krishna Kaul. It was natural that the news readers of that time were required to come both in Hindi and Urdu. Alle Hassan’s Hindi reading was amazing. He was a very capable investigator and news reader. Initially, the original news was written in English, which the reader had to translate. Ashok Vajpayee, Vinod Kashyap and Ramanuj Pratap Singh were also forced to translate, but after a lot of struggle, they got rid of this problem and Hindi news began to be written in Hindi. It is also worth mentioning here that the role of Devki Nandan Pandey cannot be ignored in those who made him believe that Hindi broadcasting was in front of such English broadcasters like Melvin Dimelo and Chakrapani.

Devki Nandan Pandey used to merge himself with events at the time of the news broadcast and this was the reason why his reading style touched the hearts of millions of listeners. There was a magical touch in his voice. Sometimes it seemed that the radio set started trembling with Pandey’s voice.

Today, when TV channels are flooded and FM radio stations are encroaching life through their own live broadcasts, to remember Devki Nandan Pandey in itself is a Blissful feeling. Amid lack of technology during that time, Pandey made himself a household name on the basis of his unique voice.

The news of the death of Sardar Patel, Liaquat Ali Khan, Maulana Azad, Govind Vallabh Pant, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Jayaprakash Narayan reached the whole country in the voice of Pandey. In-spite of being retired, Pandey was specially invited to the Delhi station of All India Radio to read the news of the sudden demise of Sanjay Gandhi.

Microphone, Music, Audio, Radio, Voice, Vocal, Sound
In his lifetime, Pandey became an institution of news reading. His style of reading the news, the correctness of his pronunciation, the seriousness of his tone and the fluctuations in the pitch and context was enough to bring the listener to a thrill. Pixabay
  • Leaving Behind a Legacy

Devki Nandan Pandey got offers from international broadcasting organizations like Voice of America due to recognition of his outstanding work in India, but his love for his beloved land India stopped him from doing so. Pandey realized the popularity of his personality on the day when Mrs. Indira Gandhi once invited the staff of All India Radio to her residence to hear her problem.

When Mrs. Gandhi was introduced to Pandey, she smiled and said, “OK, So  you are our nation’s news voice?”. Former Information Broadcasting Minister Vidyacharan Shukla once embraced Pandey after hearing Pandey’s name.

Regarding the new news readers, what Pandey had to say was doing something with reverence, honesty and hard work and always being aware of  the current events.

 He believed that the more you listen and read the better you will be able to speak. Never copy a style. If you tell any mistake, accept it by bowing it and have a feeling of favor towards the person.

 Make the habit of reading innocent and thoughtful; Confidence will come and identity will be created.

ALSO READ: UK’s Most Borrowed e-books Announced By Annual Library Amid Lockdown

Today, Devki Nandan Pandey is not in our midst, but whenever the news broadcasts on radio will go on, his name will continue to be known as the peak of this genre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scientists Identify Antibodies With Potential to Block COVID-19 Virus

Journal Science published the study of antibodies that could potentially block the virus

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Coronavirus
Scientists have found a pair of antibodies which could pottentially block the COVID-19 virus. Pixabay

From a patient who recovered from COVID-19, scientists have isolated a pair of neutralising antibodies that could potentially block the virus responsible for the pandemic from entering into host cells.

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that a “cocktail” containing both antibodies could provide direct therapeutic benefits for COVID-19 patients.

The new information detailed in the study could also aid the development of small molecule antivirals and vaccine candidates to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.

The twin antibodies identified by the researchers are named B38 and H4.

The study by Yan Wu from Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues found that the two antibodies bind to the glycoprotein spike of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and thereby block the entry of the virus into host cells.

doctors
The twin antibodies identified by the researchers are named B38 and H4. (Representational Image). Pixabay

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Preliminary tests of the two antibodies in a mouse model resulted in a reduction of virus titers, suggesting that the antibodies may offer therapeutic benefits.

The researchers found that the antibodies can each bind simultaneously to different epitopes on the spike’s receptor binding domain (RBD), such that both antibodies together may confer a stronger neutralising effect than either antibody on its own — a prediction supported by in vitro experiments.

This feature also means that, should one of the viral epitopes mutate in a way that prevents the binding of one of the two antibodies, the other antibody may yet retain its neutralising activity. (IANS)