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Indian scientist: Bird strike can be reduced

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New Delhi: Birds dying due to aircraft have been an issue for long. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India’s aviation safety regulator), from 378 bird strikes recorded in 2010, incidents of collisions between birds and planes increased to 719 in 2015.

What can one do to identify the vulnerable species, save it and ensure safe air travel at the same time? Zooming in on unique genetic labels through DNA barcoding could be the key, say Indian researchers.

“Identification of bird species helps in understanding the behavior of birds in terms of its habitat, diet and the like. This data helps in the management of birds for air safety management and could lower bird strikes,” Yogesh Shouche, a senior scientist at Microbial Culture Collection (MCC), National Center for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune said.

Just as shopkeepers scan the similar-yet-different zebra stripes (barcodes) on products to keep track of what they sell and what is in stock, examining certain ubiquitous genetic sequences can differentiate one species from another with high accuracy.

“A database of DNA barcodes is generated using authenticated, well identified bird samples. This helps in easy and quick identification of remnants obtained after a bird strike. These are in the form of feathers, bloodstains and the like and accurate identification using this is not possible otherwise.

“Currently we do not have any such database in India, but there are global databases which may not have entries of bird species endemic to India,” he added.

Bird strikes not only result in financial losses, they also lower mission capability of the crew, loss of flying hours, permanent damage to the aircraft and, importantly, are always associated with the risk of mortality, the researcher stressed.

“We identified 16 different species and barn owl and red wattled lapwing were the most common species found, probably because they nest on buildings and due to grassy land near airstrips, food availability is better,” he explained.

The procedure also helped the researchers in detecting non-bird species: they found three bat species in the bird strike samples.

“Identification of birds involved in strikes was not a regular practice in India. It was done at some airports like Mumbai and Bangalore (Bengaluru) by people with expertise in bird identification using morphological means (from form and structure).

“However, such identification is difficult if the body of the bird is not found. Feathers give limited identification and if there are only bloodstains, no identification is possible. Hence barcoding has advantage,” added Shouche. The research was published in a recent Current Science article.(IANS)(image: businessinsider.com.au)

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‘Delhi Metro Cruelly Killed my ‘Achhe Din” : Here is why Passengers are dumping the popular mode of travel

The author shares her take on shifting to Delhi from Kolkata and her experience with the Delhi Metro

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Delhi Metro. Wikimedia

– By Somrita Ghosh

New Delhi, November 5, 2017 : Delhi Metro cruelly killed my “acche din”.

Metro fares have been doubled in just four months, forcing me to give up my favorite mode of transport and take to crowded DTC buses.

Besides putting the new fares beyond my budget, I have also been stripped off the safety of travelling in the Metro. And I am not the only one.

My biggest shock came two days after the latest Metro fare hike. I commute daily between Green Park in south Delhi and Noida Sector 16 where I work.

As I punched my smart card while leaving the Sector 16 station, my heart skipped a beat — Rs 37 had been deducted from my card.

By the time I reached my office, the mental calculation was already done. I realized every month I would have to spend double of what I was shelling out only five months ago if I wanted to use the Delhi Metro.

When the year began, I was spending Rs 18 on my Metro ride — one way. The Metro then hiked the fares and my one-way cost shot up to Rs 27. The latest hike had taken it to Rs 37!

This was hard for me to digest. The sudden hike of almost Rs 20, that too one way, was surely going to painfully pinch my wallet.

When I landed in Delhi five years ago, my friends advised me to avail the Metro, not just because it is safe for women but comfortable too, never mind the crushing rush during peak hours.

Most important, as I realized very soon, the Metro was affordable. It was so cheap that while an auto-rickshaw would charge me a minimum of Rs 25 from my home to the nearest Metro station, the Metro charged me only Rs 18 all the way from south Delhi to Noida in Uttar Pradesh. This was too good to be true.

Since I came from Kolkata, where the minimum Metro fare was only Rs 4 and the maximum Rs 12, Delhi Metro initially seemed costly.

But I realized the full story in no time once I started using the Delhi Metro. The infrastructure, service and overall facilities provided by Delhi Metro were far better compared to Kolkata.

Delhi Metro offers free WiFi, its stations have coffee shops and the bigger ones even host fast food chains. Travel is hassle-free despite the odd technical snags that hit the Blue Line that I use.

But suddenly charging a salaried person like me Rs 40 more, or Rs 1,200 a month, just because the Metro needs to finance itself better is something I cannot appreciate.

Like numerous others, I have changed my mode of transport. It is now the DTC buses. The DTC’s frequency may not match the Metro’s and DTC rides can be bumpy too, not to talk of unending traffic jams. But do I have a choice?

(Editorial note : This article has been written by Somrita Ghosh of IANS. She can be contacted at somrita.g@ians.in)

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Will we soon be able to travel from New York to Shanghai in just over 30 Minutes in a Rocket?

And guess what! The cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft!

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Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks below a computer-generated illustration of his new rocket at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (VOA)

Australia, October 3, 2017 : U.S. billionaire innovator Elon Musk has unveiled plans for a new rocket that would allow passengers to travel from one continent to another in about 30 minutes.

At a presentation Friday in Adelaide, Australia, Musk showed a video of images of a rocket taking off in New York and landing in various places around the world, including Tokyo and Shanghai.

He said the New York-Shanghai trip could be done in 39 minutes, while a trip from Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes and Tokyo to Delhi would be 30 minutes.

He added that the cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft.

Musk noted there is no weather outside the Earth’s atmosphere to interfere with travel times and said that once you are beyond the atmosphere, “it would be as smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing.”

ALSO READ Elon Musk Unveils Plans to put Humans on Mars by 2024

“If we are building this thing to go to the moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well?” Musk said.

Musk, who founded and runs the company SpaceX along with the electric luxury car company Tesla, has long been making plans for rockets to travel to Mars.

Musk said SpaceX plans its first trip to Mars in 2022, carrying only cargo with a key mission to find the best source of water on the Red Planet. That mission would be followed by the first manned mission in 2024. He said the company was aiming to start construction on the first spaceship in the next six to nine months.

Musk said space flights to enable people to travel from one continent to another could help to pay for future missions to Mars.

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‘Operation Taxi’ Finds Out that How Unsafe App based Cabs Can be in India!

 Are cab based companies in India lacking business ethics?

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Woman hiring taxi. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: Did you just book a cab because you fear of reaching home late? Well give it a second thought, the App- based cabs may not be as safe as you think!

Recently an extensive investigation carried out by CNN-NEWS18 reveals that safety parameters that the companies promise to the Indian customers are questionable.

A fortnight-long investigation carried out by 25 reporters in 4 cities across the country took over 300 rides to reach this conclusion. It was found that despite being promised by the companies of top-notch security to the Indian customers, there were shocking loopholes in the system. Apart from Chennai and Bengaluru, the cities included Delhi as well as Kolkata.

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In the national capital region, over a period of 4 days, they took over 20 Uber and Ola rides and recorded the conversations with a spy camera. The whole idea of this investigation was to get the insight of the cab business from the drivers.

This is one of its kind investigation where you will hear your cabbies uncensored spilling the secrets and how your cab is a ticking-time-bomb. Undercover reporter Saahil Meghani and video journalist Vikas Kumar found out is quite shocking-

  1. One registered cab has multiple unregistered drivers. If you notice carefully, you will find out, that the cab driver whose picture comes in your app is not the one who is driving you to your destination. The reason is they have never been registered to drive this cab.

2. There is also a possibility that the driver of your cab is using fake driver’s license. There is no verification before they are registered with the company and also may be they are presenting fraudulent papers. This means after any crime they cannot be traceable. Did the apps keep you informed about this? Certainly not!

3. Another strange thing if you have noticed before- Try booking a cab as a female customer from any party destination- chances are it will be difficult to book a cab post 11 pm  If you are a woman, Chances are you will not get a cab post 11 pm but your male friend may get it immediately. The video explains why?

 

Even after repeated attempts by the two media houses, both Ola and Uber didn’t respond to these sort of menace. Are cab based companies in India lacking business ethics? You be the judge!

– prepared by Naina Mishra of NewsGram. Twitter @Nainamishr94