Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asia darkens under longest solar eclipse of century

A total solar eclipse on Wednesday swept across a narrow swathe of Asia, where hundreds of millions of people watched the skies darken, though in some places thick summer clouds blocked the sun.

The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century cut through the world's most populous nations, India and China, as it travelled half the globe. It was visible along a roughly 250 km-wide (155 miles) corridor, U.S. space agency NASA said.In India, where eclipse superstitions are rife, people snaked through the narrow lanes of the ancient Hindu holy city of Varanasi and gathered for a dip in the Ganges, an act believed to bring release from the cycle of life and death.Amid chanting of Hindu hymns, thousands of men, women and children waded into the river with folded hands and prayed to the sun as it emerged in an overcast sky."We have come here because our elders told us this is the best time to improve our afterlife," said Bhailal Sharma, a villager from central India travelling in a group of about 100.But for one 80-year-old woman the trip was fatal. Police said she died from suffocation in the crowd of hundreds of thousands that had gathered to bathe in the Ganges.The eclipse next swept through Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and over the crowded cities along China's Yangtze River, before heading to the Pacific.In Hindu-majority Nepal, the government declared Wednesday a public holiday and thousands headed for water. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Are Aluminum Bottles Greener than Glass?

Aluminum as a substitute for glass bottles has been inching its way into the consumer experience in the last few years, most notably in the US in the form of beer bottles from Anheuser-Busch and Iron City Beer, a popular regional brand founded in Pittsburgh. Coca-cola has also announced plans to roll out aluminum bottles in this country, though only in limited venues.

Now Rexam, one of the world’s largest consumer packaging companies, has developed a lighter, resealable aluminum bottle that it hopes will replace glass bottles for many beverages, including wine.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Environmental Scientists Use Fish Behavior To Monitor Water Quality

Researchers are using bluegills to detect industrial and agricultural spills in water supplies. Changes in the environment cause the fishes' behavior and breathing patterns to change. Electrodes are placed inside the tanks that contain the fish and water from a nearby water supply, and they set off an alarm if conditions inside the tank change.

Monday, July 13, 2009

DubaiSat-1 reaches launch pad in Kazakhstan

The first remote sensing satellite developed by a UAE entity - the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science & Technology (EIAST) has been shipped from its development base in South Korea to the launch pad in Baikonour in Kazakhstan. DubaiSat-1 is a stepping stone in the UAE's attempt to create a sound infrastructure that enables the collection of space and earth observation data to power the comprehensive development of the nation. The satellite highlights the commitment of EIAST to create a knowledge based economy by leveraging the advances in satellite technology.The launch of DubaiSat-1 consists of three segments; space, ground and actual launch. The ground segment comprises mission control station, image receiving and processing station, and antenna and RF subsystem.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NAVTEQ’s first map of Egypt

NAVTEQ released first Intermediate map for Egypt. The product will represents the highest 3rd party data available published in standard formats supported by NAVTEQ globally.With this Intermediate Map of Egypt, drivers will have access to approximately 50,000 km of roads and more than 42,000 POIs referenced to the map to enhance the functionality of navigation systems.Egypt has a very complex road network, strong tourism industry and is one of the region's most populous nations, with an estimated population of 78.3 million inhabitants. The Intermediate Map of Egypt has been designed to meet the evolving needs of the growing user base. Intermediate Maps are a separate class of map data provided by NAVTEQ to support customers who are interested in introducing LBS and navigation applications in emerging markets. The launch of Egypt further demonstrates NAVTEQ's ongoing commitment to the region. Future plans include upgrading Egypt to a NAVTEQ map. To accomplish this, NAVTEQ's geographic analysts will drive the roads to collect and verify up to 260 attributes, resulting in the highest quality navigable map and a foundation for new content.

Source :

Topographic map of earth from NASA

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