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BY SUGANDHA RAWAL
With the 92nd annual Academy Awards less than 24 hours away, the anticipation about who will take home a gold statuette is high. Many feel “1917” winning the Best Film is a foregone conclusion, as is Joaquin Phoenix’s taking home Best Actor for “Joker” and Renee Zellweger’s scooping up the Best Actress trophy for “Judy”. Most pundits are also confident Sam Mendes will win Best Director for “1917”, Brad Pitt will walk away with Best Supporting Actor for “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” and Laura Dern will be Best Supporting Actress for “Marriage Story”. The Korean film “Parasite”, it is being widely touted, will win Best Foreign Film on the starry night.
Have the Oscars indeed become that predictable, so much so that winners can be ‘declared’ weeks before the event? Most industry watchers would attribute the trait to the series of big-ticket awards ceremonies that have started enjoying the global spotlight over the past decade, in an age of information overload. Academy Awards ceremonies in recent years have tended to repeat the results we have seen at such events, particularly the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. Most punters have hedged their bets about this year’s winners based on the results at these awards.
When it comes to Hollywood, however, there can always be scope for surprises.
Filmmaker Todd Phillips’ “Joker”, an original story about superhero Batman’s biggest enemy Joker, leads the Oscar nominations with 11 nods, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
Sam Mendes’ World War drama “1917”, Quentin Tarantino’s ode to Los Angeles “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, and Martin Scorsese’s mob epic “The Irishman” follow close behind with 10 nods each. Those films, along with “Ford v Ferrari”, “Jojo Rabbit”, “Little Women”, “Marriage Story” and “Parasite” will compete for Best Picture.
Female filmmakers were entirely shut out of the Best Director race. Along with Phillips, the nominees in the category include Scorsese for “The Irishman,” Mendes for “1917”, Tarantino for “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” and Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite”.
According to forbes.com, “1917”, which collected the Golden Globe for Best Drama and the BAFTA for Best Film, is the favourite for a big win, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Inspired by the stories that Oscar-winning director Mendes’ grandfather told him, “1917” is about two young Lance Corporals, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) during the First World War, who are given an almost impossible mission. Racing against time, they must deliver a message deep inside enemy territory. The message is important to stop their own men — including Blake’s brother — from walking into a death trap.
Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”, which tells the story about greed and class discrimination which threatens the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan, is expected to sneak in and win big.
In the acting race, Joaquin Phoenix’s transformation into a mentally unstable loner and failed comedian Arthur Fleck in “Joker” is expected to get him an Oscar. He has won a Golden Globe and BAFTA this year for the movie. Renee Zellweger is also said to be a big winner of the night for her film “Judy”.
Meanwhile, Laura Dern of “Marriage Story” and Brad Pitt of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” are set to clinch the supporting titles.
It is believed that filmmaker Taika Waititi will pick up the honour in the Adapated Screenplay category for “JoJo Rabbit”, about a lonely German boy named Jojo and how his world view changes when he finds out that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic.
“Toy Story 4” is expected to pick up an Oscar in the Animated Feature category. Hildur Guonadottir might pick up in Original Score, while song “I’m gonna love me again” from “Rocketman” might also win.
Tome will tell if the Oscars will follow the Globes and the BAFTAs this year, too, or spring a few new winners.
The awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 9, and will air in India on February 10. (IANS)
NASA will pay up to $1 million to people who can come up with innovative and sustainable food production ideas to feed astronauts in space, as the US space agency prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown. In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has launched the 'Deep Space Food Challenge' that calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products -- or food.
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"Feeding astronauts over long periods within the constraints of space travel will require innovative solutions," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. "Pushing the boundaries of food technology will keep future explorers healthy and could even help feed people here at home," he said in a statement. Over time, food loses its nutritional value. That means for a multi-year mission to Mars, bringing along pre-packaged food will not meet all the needs for maintaining astronaut health.
Innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. |UnsplashUnsplash
In October 2021, Phase 1 of the challenge culminated as NASA awarded 18 teams a total of $450,000 for their concepts for innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. NASA now invites both new and existing teams to enter Phase 2 for a prize purse up to $1 million. "Everything needed to store, prepare and deliver food to the crew, including production, processing, transport, consumption, and disposal of waste should be considered," said NASA. Proposed technologies such as plant growth systems, manufactured food products, and ready-to-eat solutions combined could provide the future crews with a variety of options that would provide the needed daily nutrition, it added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : NASA, innovative, food, healthy, idea, astronaut, USA, tasty, technology, space, travel, explorer, health, nutrition, prize, solution, variety.)
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People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation, according to a new study. The study found that people with moderate or greater symptoms of depression were more likely to believe at least 1 of 4 false statements about Covid-19 vaccines.
Those who believed the statements to be true were half as likely to be vaccinated, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated. 'It is clear the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of Americans, especially young people," said researcher Katherine Ognyanova from Rutgers University, the US.
People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation. | Unsplash
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately one-quarter of adults in the US have consistently reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that people suffering from depression may be at a higher risk of Covid-19, highlighting the need to address mental health disorders.
For the study, the team used data from the research group The Covid States Project, which conducted surveys approximately once every six weeks since April 2020. The researchers analysed data from 15,464 adults in the US and the participants were asked to rate vaccine-related misinformation as accurate (statement is true), inaccurate (statement is not true) or not sure.
Approximately one-quarter of adults in US reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. | Unsplash
The four statements of misinformation included "The Covid-19 vaccines will alter people's DNA", "The vaccines contain microchips that could track people", "The vaccines contain the lung tissue of aborted fetuses", and "The -19 vaccines can cause infertility, making it more difficult to get pregnant". The survey participants completed a health questionnaire to measure major depressive symptoms over two weeks. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: depression, vaccine, misinformation, patients, health questionnaire, study)
The space economy is on track to be valued at a trillion dollars by the end of 2030, but assets such as navigation, weather and communication satellites that serve our society daily are threatened by space debris, an Indian-American professor has stressed. According to NASA, it is estimated that millions of pieces of space debris orbit around Earth. A major portion of these objects as well as active satellites reside in the low-Earth orbit region, at altitudes between 200 km and 1,000 km. In November last year, Russia destroyed one of its own satellites with a ground-based missile, creating thousands of pieces of debris that passed through the International Space Station (ISS).
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The astronauts and cosmonauts had to take shelter in their Soyuz and Dragon vehicles docked at the space station, as the orbital lab continued to pass through a debris field every 90 minutes. The US identified more than 1,500 trackable pieces of debris from the event, and many thousands of smaller ones couldn't be traced. According to Piyush Mehta, Assistant Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, the US, in low-Earth orbit, our ability to safeguard these space assets depends on modelling of the aerodynamic forces acting on the satellites, specifically satellite drag.
The astronauts and cosmonauts had to take shelter in their Soyuz and Dragon vehicles. |Unsplash
"The drag force acting on a satellite is affected by various physical parameters, however, the most crucial and uncertain are the drag coefficient and mass density," said Mehta, who leads a collaborative effort on satellite drag coefficient modelling under the International Space Weather Action Teams (ISWAT) initiative. Mehta explained that because of the interconnectedness of the two parameters, one of them is held constant, typically the drag coefficient, while the other is investigated.
However, he added that this causes inconsistencies or inaccuracies in our understanding of the mass density variability in the upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Jason Gross, Interim Chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Statler College, West Virginia University, said: "With the continued rapid increase of manmade satellites in low-Earth orbit, his (Mehta's) work towards improved orbital decay prediction becomes more important for the future of space environment sustainability with each passing day. His lab is at the forefront of this important field." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : dollar, space, economy, debris, satellite, navigation, weather, orbit, astronaut, cosmonaut, inconsistency, aerospace, collaborative.)
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