Month: August 2019

Pedestrians follow the herd instinct when crossing the road

first_img More information: Collective behavior in road crossing pedestrians: the role of social information, Behavioral Ecology (2010) 21 (6): 1236-1242. doi:10.1093/beheco/arq141 ( — A Leeds University study has discovered pedestrians are likely to act like a herd when crossing roads, blindly following other pedestrians. Deciphering the movement of pedestrians in a crowd This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Pedestrians follow the herd instinct when crossing the road (2010, November 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further The study was led by Dr Jolyon Faria who was at Leeds University in the UK but has now relocated to Princeton University in the US. Dr Faria said the study aimed to find out if the behavior of pedestrians crossing a busy and dangerous road was affected by the behavior of people on either side of them.The study analyzed the behavior of 365 people at a busy crossing in Leeds during peak traffic periods over three days. The pedestrian crossing was chosen because it was especially busy and one at which pedestrians often went against the Don’t Walk light, placing themselves in a potentially dangerous situation. Computer simulations were also used to determine what might happen if pedestrians ignored the actions of those around them.The study, published in Behavioural Ecology and Planet Earth Online revealed that people are 1.5-2.5 times more likely to cross a busy road if the pedestrian next to them sets off first, and males were more likely to follow other pedestrians than females.Dr Faria said the behavior could be because people feel safer when making a dangerous crossing with others. He speculated the gender difference may be because women are more conscious of their surroundings than men, who are more willing to risk following someone else.The behavior may have originated in our evolutionary past, since herding behavior is common in many species. For example, wildebeest wait nervously on river banks until one is brave enough to go in first, after which all the herd follows. In their case the behavior makes sense because of the likelihood of crocodile attacks. Similarly, penguins wait on the edge of ice floes until one of them is brave enough to dive in and face attack from leopard seals.Dr Faria said he hoped the study might encourage people to think twice before blindly following others onto the road, and said it also adds to our understanding of herding, flocking and shoaling behaviors. © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Foreign hardware could be designed to launch cyber attacks against US companies

first_img Explore further ( — A security official at the Department of Homeland Security recently released a statement that confirmed the idea that some foreign-made computer components are actually being designed to make the job of launching a cyber attack against a U.S. company or consumer easier to do. Citation: Foreign hardware could be designed to launch cyber attacks against US companies and consumers (2011, July 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Homeland Security and spy agency to work together © 2010 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. While no one at the Department of Homeland Security has been willing to give information about what countries or specific components are in question, or by what methods these components could have been made in order to make cyber attacks easier the department did confirm that this has happened in the past. Greg Schaffer, the Acting Deputy Undersecretary National Protection and Programs Director said, “I am aware of instances where that has happened.” This comment, which confirms that the US government is currently aware of the issue, though the admission only came after a questioning from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a republican from Utah, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.How could an attack like this happen? In one scenario a device could be tampered with prior to its distribution in order to carry, or work as a Trojan Horse, and allow other malicious software to make its way onto the hardware unfettered. Previously the FBI has been investigating a case where counterfeit versions of Cisco routers were being sold to government agencies. These attacks can be potentially devastating because it can go unnoticed for many months or years while the code silently listens for information such a billing information or trade secrets. While many nations are involved in the supply chain of computer hardware no specific nation has been accused or mentioned as a part of this problem.last_img read more

Communication channel between cells and machines paves way toward biohybrid robots

first_img Explore further Citation: Communication channel between cells and machines paves way toward bio-hybrid robots (2012, November 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: Orr Yarkoni, Lynn Donlon, and Daniel Frankel. “Creating a bio-hybrid signal transduction pathway: opening a new channel of communication between cells and machines.” Bioinspir. Biomim. 7 (2012) 046017 (7pp). DOI: 10.1088/1748-3182/7/4/046017 Copyright 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Several proteins naturally produce nitric oxide in response to a chemical stimulus, but the researchers wanted to produce nitric oxide in larger amounts and in response to an optical stimulus. To achieve this, the researchers explained how they were able to “hijack” the protein’s electron transfer pathway by severing a particular gene coding for a binding site required by the native pathway. In addition to removing that binding site, the researchers inserted amino acid structures called light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) domains into one or two regions in the protein. Since these structures are capable of accepting an electron from an incoming photon, they make the protein produce nitric oxide in response to light.In experiments, the researchers observed that mutant cells that were modified with LOV domains produced more nitric oxide than the wildtype cells when exposed to light. Increasing the light stimulus further increased the mutant cells’ nitric oxide production, while the wildtype cells exhibited limited photosensitivity. The researchers also found that mutant cells with two LOV domains produced about twice as much nitric oxide as those with only one LOV domain. When coupled to an electrode, the mutant cells could produce sufficient nitric oxide to cause a change in the electrode’s current. By changing the light intensity, the researchers could control the communication signals traveling through this optical-chemical-electrical cascade. Unlike typical solid-state photodetectors, these devices have the ability to self-reproduce and the potential to combine input signals to perform computation. These advantages could be turned into useful applications in a future generation of advanced robots. “This work is part of a bigger project to build a swimming bio-hybrid robot called ‘Cyberplasm,'” Frankel said. “These cells are the ‘eyes’ of the robot able to respond to light and tell the robot to alter its swimming pattern in response. The complete robot is still in development, but we are working on the individual parts. Potential applications are robots that can swim into contaminated areas, detect chemicals and report back.”Co-investigators of the Cyberplasm project are Joseph Ayers at Northeastern University in Boston, Chris Voigt at MIT, and Vlad Parpura at the University of Alabama.The next step for the researchers is to produce cells that can communicate with electronics in response to chemical stimuli, and in addition communicate with each other. One of the major challenges in developing bio-hybrid robots consists of creating an interface to allow communication between the biological and electronic components. This task is inherently difficult because the vast majority of cellular signals are simply not compatible with electronics. Most cellular processes use signals that travel too slowly to interface with electrical signals, and exposure to electrical charges has negative effects on many cells, which can lead to cell death. Despite these challenges, a team of researchers, Orr Yarkoni, Lynn Donlon, and Daniel Frankel from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University in the UK, has developed a way to make communication between these two domains possible. In their study, the researchers genetically engineered protein cells from a Chinese hamster ovary to produce nitric oxide in response to visible light. When the mutant cells were coupled to a platinum electrode, the resulting device could convert an incoming optical signal to a chemical signal, which could then be converted into an electrical signal. This signal transduction pathway provides an important step in developing future bio-hybrid robots.”The bio-electronic interface is notoriously difficult to manipulate,” Frankel told “Usually the electronics are modified to fit the biological system of interest with limited success. This is the first time that we have tried an alternative approach, to modify the biology (via genetic engineering) to fit the electronics.”One of the keys to opening a communication channel was identifying nitric oxide as a suitable chemical compound for the middle signal in the pathway. As the researchers explained, nitric oxide is one of the few compounds that meets all the requirements for this role: it can permeate cells, is highly diffusible, has a relatively short half-life, and is one of the rare cell signaling molecules that remains in its gaseous form in any cell environment. As an indication of its aptitude for signaling, nitric oxide is widely used in nature, playing a role in areas such as muscle relaxation, blood vessel widening (vasodilation), inadequate blood flow (ischaemia), penile erection, and stroke. center_img Illustration of the experimental setup used to investigate the production of nitric oxide by genetically modified protein cells in response to light. Image credit: Yarkoni, et al. ©2012 IOP Publishing Ltd Nitric oxide shown to cause colon cancer (—While some advanced humanoid robots already look eerily lifelike, robots in the future may actually become partly alive. Currently, researchers are working on integrating living cells and other biological components with electronic components in an attempt to create bio-hybrid robots. These robots could act autonomously, imitate some animal behaviors, and have the ability to self-replicate some of their parts. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Apple looking to smarten up Siri with patent application for crowd sourcing

center_img Apple’s Suri has without question, met with a divided response from the public. Some claim they love the application and use it extensively, others laugh and call it quaint—an indication that it’s not really something they take seriously. Apple is aware of the application’s limitations, of course, and by applying for a patent on technology that would help the app do a better job of supplying answers to real world questions, the company has revealed that it realizes that serious improvements need to be made.In the patent application, Apple makes clear that Siri needs more than its current slew of resources such as Yelp, Bing, or even Yahoo. Such new resources it appears would include expert databases, data from existing Question & Answer forums, or perhaps even answers drawn from a real-time application that would simply ask relevant people if they know they answer. Using such resources would of course, alter Siri’s response time, and it’s not clear if users would be willing to wait, especially if they are looking for answers to help them out of real-time quandaries.Many in the press have noted that what Apple appears to be looking for already exists in the form of Q&A site ChaCha—people type in questions and other people type in answers. Users of either type can visit the site directly or access it through a smartphone. What makes the site powerful is that it keeps track of every question and answer pairing ever asked and answered, so if someone asks again, it can dish up all the answers ever given, which sounds like something Siri could use.It might be that Apple’s patent application is merely a preamble to an acquisition by the company, after all, buying ChaCha and giving Siri access to all those answers would seem a simpler way to go. Or it might just mean Apple is looking at various options. Either way, users will likely cross their fingers, hoping that whatever Apple settles on, it will be an improvement over what exists right now. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

Most precise test of Lorentz symmetry for the photon finds that the

first_img © 2015 Researchers test speed of light with greater precision than before (—The laws of physics are the same no matter which direction you’re facing or how fast you’re moving—it’s such an intuitive concept that most people probably don’t know that it has a name: Lorentz symmetry. Over the past several decades, physicists have been testing Lorentz symmetry at ever-higher degrees of precision, as violations of the foundational property are predicted by a number of proposals that aim to unify the two major theories of modern physics: general relativity and the standard model of particle physics. (Left) Historical overview of Michelson-Morley-style tests of Lorentz symmetry for the photon. Interferometer tests measure fractional shifts in the speed of light, while cavity-based tests measure fractional changes in the frequency of light. (Right) Experimental set-up of the cavity-based test, with the two crystal axes aligned at right angles. The original Michelson-Morley interferometer test is shown in the top right corner for comparison. Credit: Moritz Nagel, et al. ©2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited Their experiment consists of a highly sensitive Michelson-Morley cavity test, which is an updated version of the seminal Michelson-Morley interferometer used in the late 1800s to measure the speed of light in the search for an “aether” that pervaded the universe (for which, of course, no evidence was found). While an interferometer is based on reflecting light back and forth between mirrors, cavity tests consist of both optical and electrical components. The cavity test here involves two cavities containing sapphire crystals. The researchers excited an electromagnetic resonance in the crystals at a specific frequency, and supercooled them with liquid helium to stabilize the frequency and improve sensitivity. Like the mirrors of the interferometer, the cavities are carefully aligned orthogonal (at right angles) to each other to detect any tiny change in the speed of light along different axes. In the case of the cavities, a change in the speed of light would induce a change in the resonance frequency of the crystals. But after analysis of a full year of data, no such change was found. Journal information: Nature Communications (Left) Photo of the orthogonal sapphire crystal mount, with (right) simulations of the electromagnetic resonant mode patterns. A frequency variation in the resonance would indicate a variation in the speed of light. Credit: Stephen R. Parker, The University of Western Australia Now in a new paper, physicists have reported the most precise test to date of Lorentz symmetry for the photon by looking for variations in the speed of light, but have found no violations. The study, by Moritz Nagel at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, Stephen Parker at The University of Western Australia, and their coauthors, is published in a recent issue of Nature Communications.Although the term “Lorentz symmetry” is named for the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz and the fact that it is a symmetry of spacetime, it may be better thought of as a property about relativity, and in fact it is a cornerstone of Einstein’s special relativity theory. According to special relativity, there is no absolute space or absolute time. So if two objects are moving relative to each other in empty space, it would actually be impossible for an observer to tell their absolute velocities—maybe only one of the objects was moving and the other was stationary, for example, but you wouldn’t know which was which because their movements are relative to each other, not to any external reference frame (assuming the reference frame is non-accelerating).One important consequence of Lorentz symmetry is that the speed of light is invariant, or a constant in vacuum. The fact that photons in vacuum always move at a speed of just under 300,000 km per second is intimately connected to the concepts in special relativity. In the new study, the researchers performed an experiment that attempted to measure any tiny frequency variation of light, which would indicate a variation in the speed of light. More information: Moritz Nagel, et al. “Direct terrestrial test of Lorentz symmetry in electrodynamics to 10-18.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9174 “This is the first direct test of polarization-independent effects for Lorentz invariance violations of the photon that has reached the level of the Planck-suppressed electroweak unification scale,” Parker told “The energy scale of electroweak unification (about 100 GeV) suppressed by the Planck scale (about 1.2 x 1019 GeV) gives the dimensionless ratio of about 8 x 10-18, so perhaps naively one might expect to start seeing Lorentz symmetry of the photon being broken in this regime, yet we didn’t see any evidence for this.”By providing the strongest evidence yet that the speed of light is a constant, the results further verify that Lorentz symmetry is a basic property of nature. Like other experimental results, the speed of light does not seem to depend on the orientation of the laboratory (rotation invariance) or its velocity though space (boost invariance). Since the precision of the new test (10-18) is an order of magnitude better than that of previous tests of Lorentz symmetry of the photon, it does allow the scientists to improve the bounds on the nine rotational and boost isotropies of the speed of light by a factor of four. These improved bounds could prove very useful for experimentally testing theories that unify general relativity and the standard model while predicting Lorentz symmetry violations. Some of these theories, for example, include string theory-based models and quantum gravity theories, among others. Although these theories are complex, one reason for the predicted Lorentz symmetry violation is that, in order to “quantize” gravity, there must be a minimum length scale—an absolute distance that is difficult to reconcile with the relative nature of Lorentz symmetry. In the near future, scheduled upgrades to the Michelson-Morley cavity experiment are expected to improve the frequency stability, reduce the noise, and remove other interfering effects, allowing for even more precise tests. “We’re in the process of upgrading our experimental setup to reduce the influence of systematic noise,” Parker said. “For example, we’ve now installed better cryogenic magnetic shielding around our sapphire oscillators. At the same time, we’re undertaking research to improve the fundamental frequency stability performance of the oscillators, and we’re developing a pair of cryogenic optical resonators. These optical resonators will be added in to the same cryogenic environment as the microwave oscillators, allowing us to make comparisons between them. So we will be improving the raw sensitivity of the experiment and also the reach of this work, as we’ll be able to search for different types of Lorentz invariance violation effects, too.” Citation: Most precise test of Lorentz symmetry for the photon finds that the speed of light is indeed constant (2015, September 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

The island state of mind

first_imgHety and Zambo are celebrated for their African flavor and their contribution in keeping alive the Raizal culture and the native dialect, Creole, making music that breaks all frontiers. Read on for a lowdown on these two guys…Tell us about yourselves. How did you guys come together/start off??We came together when we were studying in high school and playing basketball out of our island, San Andres Island. We made first a dancing group, after a while in it we started to make music, so we keep the dancing while we performing. After 5 years we decide to move to Bogota and we meet our friend and producer Benny B who take our music to another point. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ What was the first big break for you guys??Was in 2004 in (Colombia) in one of the biggest fests at Bucaramanga city, we performed in front of 35,000 people, it was awesome!? How would you define your musical philosophy??We don’t know if it’s a philosophy but we take it like a style of life, maybe happiness and humility defines our music feeling.? In your country, how easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in the music scene?Well, we must to say is not easy but not impossible, you should work hard and hustle hard. We make Caribbean music in our native language, Creole English, and it’s funny because in our country the main language is Spanish, so try to fit in the radio, TV or even in a mainstream music has been tough, but we are doing well with patience and hard work from us and all the staff. ? Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Tell us a bit about your music, what do you think defines you guys??We try to sound unique and powerful, we transmit 200 per cent of our energy to the people when we take over the stage.?What/Who inspires you??Wow! Many things, our island, our families, women, the party, the sea, our friends’ stories… also artists like Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Carlos Vives, Marc Anthony, Tarus Riley, 2Pac, Busta Rhymes… people like Spike Lee and the funniest man on earth Mr Eddie Griffin! Inspiration is as simple as living your life! Tell us about your best tracks?.Tek A Ride, that’s a song about ride around our island and party on it, we love to talk about San Andrés Island.  Rude Buay has a nice rhythm and a special guest on the vocals! Fall in Love, a song about true love and there are more!last_img read more

Bengal Opposition leaders candidates willing to join Trinamool Suvendu

first_imgKolkata: Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari on Tuesday claimed there would be no political Opposition in the state in the coming days with many Opposition candidates who won in the recent rural body elections willing to join the ruling Trinamool Congress.He said many prominent opposition leaders have also got in touch with him stating that they want to be a part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s developmental drive.”Trinamool will emerge victorious on all fronts. No one else will be there. Not only the winners of Panchayat election but also a lot of prominent people’s representatives want to join Mamata Banerjee. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”They want to be a part of Trinamool Congress’ drive for development. Many of them have already contacted me,” Adhikari told reporters at a party event in Malda district.The minister, who is also his party’s observer in Malda, said the party will get more than 55 percent votes in the district and capture both the Lok Sabha constituencies there in the 2019 general election. “Trinamool Congress will emerge victorious here. Congress-CPI-M and BJP would sit and fix amongst themselves who would come second or third,” he added.last_img read more

Food chain owners executives attend CII food safety training

first_imgKolkata: About 50 owners and executives from hotel and restaurant groups, clubs and canteens, food joints & eateries attended a Food Safety Training and Certificate (FOSTAC) programme organised by CII on Thursday.The programme, which was inaugurated by Godhuli Mukherjee, the Food Commissioner of Bengal, is a part of its Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan (Safe Food Campaign), included specialized training sessions on how and why one can maintain quality and hygiene – right from the stage of procuring raw materials, cooking, cleaning and storing to serving and transporting food. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”We explained to the participants why they should religiously follow the guidelines formed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ,”said A K Sen, CII FACE Faculty & National Level Resource Person (FoSTaC), Food Safety & Quality, FSSAI.”All those engaged in the business of preparing, serving and supplying food items need to be quality conscious and responsible,” he said.Sen lauded the efforts of the state government for playing a proactive role in the wake of allegations of carcass meat being sold and served in and around the city. “The Government is taking measures, carrying out regular inspections and taking actions,” he said, adding that the implementation of FSSAI standards should remain a priority. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPSagar Daryani, Co-Founder & CEO, Wow Momo Foods Pvt Ltd, and Chair, CII ER Food Safety Core Group, admitted that the “rotten meat scandal” gave a bad blow to the industry as a whole. “In my own company, business was 37 percent negative till May. June saw a revival. July is even better,” Daryani said. “Many eateries in Kolkata have been forced to suspend operations, CII strongly advocates regular training in food safety in this backdrop,” Daryani added.The day-long programme ended with a test. “Upon qualifying the test, the participants will be certified as FOSTAC-Trained – a mandatory FSSAI regulation since 2017,” said Sen.last_img read more

Imbibing experience in art

first_imgArtist Kalicharan Gupta’s paintings, assembled in these series of representational abstractions reflect a microcosm of experiences and points of view of life in a metropolis that emphasise the powerful effectiveness of the visual view as a tool for contemporary discourse. In an attempt to showcase what he believes in, he is organising a solo art exhibition Titled ‘Myth of Metropolis’ in the national capital.The event was inaugurated on January 5 by Kim Kum Pyoung, Director, Korean Cultural Centre India. Guests who were seen appreciating the art works were Niren Sen Gupta, Saba Hassan, Kavita Jaiswal, Kim Kum Pyoung, Uma Nair, Meeta Pandit and Sidharth Tagore.   Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Artist Kalicharan Gupta’s solo show at Art Konsult is a study of abstraction within the idea of urban chaos, migration and development. Canvasses in the gallery are a quaint and curious mix of colour and deep formations of a million little windows. “Over the years my works were born out of my observations of people that I saw in places that I had visited” says Kalicharan. “I have always had an interest in studying working populations wherever I went. From that interest my observations always went deeper into their lifestyles and the simplicity of their everyday being. Years ago I had gone to Orissa –and visited the Behrampur district-I saw the tribals-I was deeply moved by their lifestyle. They stored grains in one place-and they lived on the principle of sharing –each family picked what they needed –I was amazed at the idea of selflessness. Over the next few days I realized that their lives were molded according to their  to their needs and they did everything according to the little they had. Everything they did was for daily sustenance,” he adds. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixCurator Uma Nair states: “Looking at the canvasses we realize that Kalicharan is giving us a visual narrative of tackling issues of the environment, fine lines and colour zones and dark and light tonalities sometimes  spookily rendered , give rise to thoughts of global warming and man’s current rate of effect on planet Earth. With his From the Window series it is as if he has painted the sky and the scene that is reflected in chaotic confusion. Closer scrutiny show that we could think of many things –it could be a  factory in the distance that pumps out smoke, while in the foreground a smog of infinite details beckon us and we could imagine it being  observed by a tethered sparrow resting on a withered branch.” His Celebration series make us think of how human beings have been recording their own existence and experiences at least since the creation of the cave paintings. Embellished through ritual and passed on through generations, myths and tales have formed beliefs and offered escape from the mundane. The vehicle of story enhances empathy and creates catharsis while giving the viewer the opportunity to suspend disbelief through the medium of visual narrative. Kalicharan’s Celebration series gives us the dichotomy.last_img read more