Plate Tectonics: Are Modern Geologists Treading on Solid Ground?

first_imgPlate tectonics is the reigning theory of earth’s dynamic crust.  Laymen may not realize that acceptance of plate tectonic theory came quite suddenly in the 1960s.  It was like a revolution.  For decades, the consensus of geological scientists was adamantly against the notion of shifting plates moving horizontally in various directions.  Those who taught such things were considered on the fringe and were shunned at conferences.  The consensus view, however, was quite rapidly subducted under heat and pressure till now it’s hard to find any academically trained geologist who does not accept at least some form of plate tectonics.  Yet many details remain controversial.  Though taught as fact in schools and on national park signs, how strong is the evidence?  And how do geologists arrive at theories of the earth?    Alexandra Witze, American correspondent for Nature, traveled with a large group of geologists in Wyoming last month.  They had gathered near the Wind River mountains for conferences and field trips to try to anchor the shifting consensus about plate tectonics theory.  Though all are believers in the ruling paradigm, groups and individuals among them differ sharply on the details, particularly whether tectonic movements began early or late in earth’s history.  Some feel it began 3.5 billion years ago, soon after the earth cooled.  Others feel it began a billion years ago or even less.    Witze’s report in Nature1 puts a human face to scientific inquiry, as we follow a group of geologists working out their differences as both personalities and experts.  Her diary allows us to tag along and see how science is done – before the textbook writers set the conclusions in stone.  In discussing several stubborn controversies that continue to cause sharp disagreement, however, she unwittingly raises some larger questions about what geologists know, or can know.    Undoubtedly it was not Witze’s intention to suggest that any of these scientists doubt the general picture of earth history and its age, nor their ability to find answers and come to agreement.  After all, plate tectonics has achieved the status of the “grand unified theory of geology” as she dubs it.  But to the perceptive reader outside the guild, certain statements she makes stand out as quite startling.  They hint that the theoretical ground on which modern geology stands is more social than solid.  Historians of science know that geological science has already endured numerous revolutions since the 18th century.  Who can tell whether today’s ideas are closer to “the” truth?  Though the context deals primarily with the debate over an early vs late onset of plate tectonics, the following excerpts feel like tremors of deeper issues:Murmurs of earth:  Witze follows the group as Kevin Chamberlain (U of Wyoming) calmly displays a rare kind of rock he claims is komatiite, 2.7 billion years old.  “But as the other geologists chip off fresh layers and scrutinize them through hand lenses, murmurs of dissent start to grow,” she reports, saying “few are convinced” of his claim.  The lesson: “The scene brings home the difficulties of trying to study the early Earth – there aren’t many old rocks to look at, and those that are around are often so altered, chemically and physically, as to be nearly indecipherable.”Solar system context:  Why here and not out there?On other Earth-like planets there’s no evidence for today’s plate tectonics.[2]  Planets do not have to work this way, and there was probably a time when this one didn’t.  “You don’t just make a silicate planet and plate tectonics starts,” says Robert Stern, a geologist at the University of Texas, Dallas.  “Something special has to happen.”Heart surgery:  Invoking “something special” in earth history is a painful operation. The nature of that special something cuts to the discipline’s philosophical heart.  Since the early nineteenth century, geology has been ruled by the principle of uniformitarianism – that the planet operates on unchanging laws, and that the present can be used as a key to the past.[3]  But how can that approach hold up when a science from a world where plate tectonics explains more or less everything is applied to a world that may have lacked it?  How can you understand ancient rocks when you do not know what processes put them there?Word games:  To understand one another, experts need to talk the same language:Scant and difficult-to-interpret evidence presents one set of problems; slippery definitions present another.  Plate tectonics has lots of constituent parts.  It’s not just a theory of how things move, but of how they are made and from what.  For example, explanations for different sorts of volcanism in different settings also explain why the mineral make-up of continental crust and the crust beneath the oceans is so different.    Working out which attributes are essential to the theory, and which incidental, is not easy.  The 65 attendees at the Wyoming conference came up with 18 different definitions of plate tectonics.In fact, the only points of agreement in the definitions were that the plates are rigid, they move apart due to seafloor spreading, and they dive under one another at subduction zones.  But that leads to another problem:Alternate explanations:  “The problem is that Earth could display one or even two of these properties without necessarily having a system like that described by modern plate tectonics.”  Polar ice floes, for instance, fit some of these characteristics.  Witze found one point of agreement; most of the geologists considered subduction as the diagnostic process of plate tectonics.Collateral damage:  A late onset of plate tectonics, as argued by Stern, would have had catastrophic effects on earth’s atmosphere and biosphere, such as extreme glaciations enveloping the earth – “It was a wild time of change,” says Stern.  “The biosphere was out of control.”  Yet those who disagree with his late-onset view have tectonic motions occurring for billions of years.Dramatic effects demand dramatic explanations.  Stern claimed that those who need to explain “snowball earth” scenarios need a cause big enough, and that could be the onset of plate tectonics about a billion years ago.  As support, he says that portions of ocean crust that looked mashed up, called ophiolites, and metamorphic rocks called blueschists, diagnostic of subduction, are rarely found earlier than a billion years according to standard dating methods.  A critic, Alfred Kröner of Germany, disagrees, Witze points out.  He thinks there are other markers pointing to plate tectonics over three billion years ago.Silent treatment:  Apparently a conference like this a first – or at least rare. The exchange of papers led to the Wyoming conference.  “It was overdue,” says Kröner.  “Nobody ever talks to one another.”  In Wyoming, they did: palaeomagnetists clustered around a white board with field geologists; geophysicists sat down for a beer with geochemists.Hopefully it was not to drown their sorrows.  Though new friendships were struck and some altered their views, no strong consensus appeared to be forthcoming.Whoops, we were wrong:  Witze tells about how one ophiolite from China was reported in 2001 as being 2.5 billion years old.  “Now Guochun Zhao, of the University of Hong Kong, has re-dated those rocks, giving them an age of just 300 million years.”  That’s an 830% difference.  Some at the conference criticized the new date, but others found Zhao’s result convincing.  With corrections and disputes that large, some outsiders may not feel comfortable that rock daters know what they are doing.Can’t get a date:  Another dispute arose over claims that Australian zircons were 4.4 billion years old, as dated by hafnium ratios.Simon Wilde of the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, isn’t so sure.  “You have to be very careful with these rocks,” he says.  Measuring one spot on a crystal, as opposed to another, can yield very different hafnium values that lead to very different interpretations, he says….    Such differences of interpretation make the problem of solving when plate tectonics began extremely difficult.  In many cases, data can be interpreted in several completely different ways – all of which may seem valid.A follow-up question arises at how such measurements can be calibrated, and whether all the interference factors are taken into account.Battle of the stories:  Witze tells about contradictory explanations for the Pilbara formation in Australia.  One Aussie geologist, Hugh Smithies, presented “seemingly convincing evidence” based on geochemical signatures that two sections of the formation date from different times, one from before the onset of plate tectonics, and one from after. But then along came Julian Pearce of Cardiff University in Wales, who argued that each of the geochemical markers in the western Pilbara can be explained by other phenomena, such as magmas with an unusual amount of water in them, or crustal material from different places getting mixed up.  The various researchers are hoping to settle the matter with a field trip.Alas, “field trips don’t always resolve things,” Witze laments, telling how in the Wind River mountains, “the meeting attendees continued to argue about plate tectonics as they hiked from outcrop to outcrop.”Social consensus:  By the end of the conference, most of the geologists tended to converge on the earlier date for the onset of plate tectonics, with Stern remaining a stern defender of the later date.  “It’s not a simple question,” he maintained.  Witze adds, “And on that, at least, others agree.”  Then there’s Michael Brown (U of Maryland), who came up with a compromise solution.  He suggested that plate tectonics may have started early but changed around the time of Stern’s favorite date.  An even more complex idea was put forth by Paul Silver (Carnegie Institute) who thinks tectonics started and stopped several times during earth’s history.  Apparently Stern would drink to that.In summary, despite their disagreements, they all seemed to get along and enjoy the conference and the hikes in the mountains.  This might make for an interesting case study in scientific sociology, but what about the true history of the earth?  Witze ends with a disturbing side note to the art of consensus building:An ‘intermittent approach’ would be a wonderful way to reconcile things – but it takes geology even further from the comforting realm of uniformitarianism, into a world where the most basic principles come and go in fits and starts.Could Charles Lyell have attended, he might have shed a tear for the subduction of his comfort zone.1Alexandra Witze, “Geology: The start of the world as we know it,” Nature 442, 128-131(13 July 2006) | doi:10.1038/442128a; Published online 12 July 2006.2Mars, for instance, shows no sign of plate tectonics.  As for non-uniformitarian “special somethings,” consider the case of Venus.  Planetary scientists are convinced that 90% of its surface history has been obliterated by some unknown global catastrophe; see 08/16/2004 and 11/26/2003.3On uniformitarianism, see 11/05/2003, 11/04/2003, 05/22/2003, 07/02/2002, 02/02/2004, and 06/10/2002Alert readers will notice more than just surface disputes about the details of a scientific theory.  We supplied lengthy quotes to give an adequate feel for what Alexandra Witze revealed: there is almost nothing that modern historical geology can stand on and claim is factually true.  To stave off charges of quoting out of context, we provided ample disclaimers that we don’t intend to portray any of these geologists as doubting plate tectonics, uniformitarianism, billions of years, or any of the standard secular evolutionary theory of the earth.    The question in the title, was, however, are modern geologists on solid ground when they come up with theories about the early earth?  They may believe they are, but they are not the ones to tell.  They are too close to their craft, too much inside the guild, too familiar with reigning paradigms to break ranks very far and risk thinking boldly outside the box.  They are too partial to the validity of their vocation to be able to fairly evaluate whether anything they claim they know they really do know.    This is not to suggest that currently observable processes and measurements are in serious doubt, such as the current rate of seafloor spreading, the current rate of continental separation, the chemistry of this or that crystal and its hafnium ratios, the strength and orientation of a magnetic signature in a rock in Utah, and the like.  But as ideas are built (by humans) about how things got this way and when, observation and interpretation diverge, complexity increases, and assumptions crowd in.  It’s no longer possible to have a single, simple answer that will explain everything to everyone’s satisfaction.  Worse, the best ideas can never be adequately tested without a time machine and an observer.    Notice that there was not one piece of hard evidence they agreed on.  Data do not speak for themselves; they must be interpreted by fallible humans.  Interpreting geological data from supposed billions of years ago when there were no human observers is fraught with problems, both technical and philosophical.  The less a process can be observed or repeated, the more assumptions must be made, and the more one’s world view determines what questions are interesting, and even what qualifies as evidence.    From outcrop to outcrop these geologists wandered (whether in Wyoming or Australia doesn’t matter), murmuring among themselves about how old this formation is and what the earth was doing at the time it was deposited.  To a positivist or progressivist, this is wonderful.  Scientists get together, swap ideas, share data, air their differences, and come to at least a partial consensus.  This is how science is done.  Whether a consensus has anything to do with the truth of what really happened in earth history is a completely separate question.    If you doubt it, look at what was taught as fact (or the “best theory” of the day – see best-in-field fallacy) through the centuries.  Look at what the consensus of scientists was in 1800 compared to 1900, and 1900 compared to 2000.  Current ideas of earth history are radically different than they were 100 or 200 years ago, and there is no reason to believe they won’t be radically different 100 years from now if science continues.  If even the hard sciences of physics and chemistry have undergone complete overhauls since 1900 (relativity and quantum theory), how much more vulnerable are sciences where unobservable history must be inferred from evidence in the present?    Consensus science may provide a comfort zone to those in the guild, but they have no guarantee it is not the twilight zone.  As was plate tectonics before the revolution in the 1960s, today’s fringe idea could become tomorrow’s orthodoxy.  Wait a few more decades and the orthodoxy could switch back, or to some completely unforeseen new heresy.  Most people don’t care as long as the national park diagrams look nice.  If your kid reads one and asks, “but how do they know that?” you should respond, “That is a very good question.”*(Visited 51 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA citrus exporters look to BRICS

first_img29 July 2013 The government has made a commitment to help South Africa’s citrus farmers forge trade links with the country’s BRICS partners, particularly, China and India, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said at the weekend. Joemat-Pettersson was speaking after a meeting with the Citrus Growers’ Association and AgriSA in Johannesburg on Friday. “On the part of the ministry … we’ve agreed that as government, we will be assisting the citrus industry to deepen market access in the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] nations, especially with India and China,” Joemat-Pettersson said. “When we meet as BRICS agriculture ministers later in the year, we will discuss this further.” South Africa is the world’s biggest exporter of oranges and the largest shipper of grapefruit. However, South Africa’s citrus exports to the European Union (EU) are struggling due to citrus black spot, a fungal disease that affects the external appearance of the fruit, and which occurs in citrus plants throughout subtropical climates, causing a reduction in both fruit quantity and quality. Joemat-Pettersson said the trade regime of citrus with China was “a bit complicated”, but that the government was committed to entering negotiations with China to help ease matters. However, the minister emphasised that broadening citrus trade relations with BRICS countries was not an attempt to replace the EU market. “This is not a replacement of the EU market, but the broadening and expanding of the citrus industry to access the BRICS market as well. The EU and the United States of America remain our traditional markets,” she said. Joemat-Pettersson said the African continent was another new export destination for South Africa’s citrus industry. “Trade on the continent has also grown significantly, with Zimbabwe being one of the top importers of our citrus.” The minister said Friday’s meeting also looked at transformation in the industry, adding that that government’s ambition was to grow the industry through increased market access. The chairperson of the Citrus Growers Association, Pieter Nortje, said: “This is a great day for the citrus industry. It is wonderful that we agree and share absolute common goals with our government. “We are the biggest employer of unskilled labour in the rural areas,” Nortje added. “All that we are asking for as the industry is to be assisted with trade links to access various markets as we are unable to enter into those agreements by ourselves.” Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, December 24, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Christmas Eve starts off our week with some clouds, but generally a dry, decent day. Cold air remains in place, with temps near to slightly below normal. A cold front in the upper Midwest today will try and move over the region through Christmas day tomorrow, but generally has little to no effect here. Moisture with the front is minor. We wont rule out a few sprinkles or flurries in far SW parts of Ohio on Christmas, but coverage stays at under 20%, and will be limited to a few hundredths on those area. There is nothing here that will cause travel problems or issues for Christmas, but it will mean a somewhat cloudy, gray holiday.Ohio stays dry for the rest of the week until we get to overnight Thursday night.  Scattered showers arrive there and continue through midday Friday. Rain totals will be limited to .1″-.5″ over about 80% of the state. A look at the end of the week is in the map at right. This system will be significantly weaker here than farther west, and will be born out of a major winter storm moving from the Plains into the western corn belt Wednesday-Thursday. Colder air is on the way behind this system but should wait until Saturday before truly taking controls, when we turn out partly sunny.Light snow and flurries threaten next Sunday, but the truth threat is limited only to north central and NW OH, where we may end up with a fresh coating to half an inch or so. All other areas of Ohio miss out on precipitation, and could end up at least partly sunny. The system is acting more like a clipper, and affects more of the Great Lakes than anywhere else. A mix of clouds and sun expected for New Year’s Eve on Monday, and then partly sunny skies for New Years day and next Wednesday. Temps will stay normal to a bit below.Snow moves into southern Ohio next Wednesday night and continues through Thursday the 3rd. This snow stays south of I-70, but accumulations are likely in that area, and they could be significant, if the cold air holds in as we currently anticipate. There will be no precipitation north of I-70. We are back to dry weather for Friday the 4th.Another significant warm up could be on the way for the 5th through the 7th, with well above normal temps. This will set up a potential strong storm for the night of the 7th through the 8th. Right now, cold air appears to race in at the same time moisture develops, meaning we could see some snow, and there is potential for some good accumulations. However, there is plenty of time for the pattern to shift and the system to evolve. Overall, the coming 2 week period has the potential for some very wild swinging weather. Merry Christmas!last_img read more

May 26, 2017: When India’s longest bridge opened

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s longest bridge across the Lohit river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, in Assam on May 26, 2017, naming it after famous singer Bhupen Hazarika. The bridge, 9.1-km-long, connects Sadiya and Dhola, in Tinsukia district, situated close to Arunachal Pradesh. It will reduce travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to one hour. Built at a cost of ₹2,056 crore, the Bhupen Hazarika bridge has been designed to allow movement of military vehicles, according to ocials. This will make it easier for Army convoys to reach border outposts. Mr. Modi said the Northeast region must lay stress on development of infrastructure so that it can attract more tourists. China, which has a dispute with India over Arunachal Pradesh, put out a statement, asking India to be “cautious” about building infrastructure in the State.last_img read more

‘Why should Assam alone bear the brunt of the refugees?’

first_imgA New Role “India Takes Charge” (March 31) lucidly explained India’s new role in international affairs. And it is fortuitous that it has come at a time when the rest of the non-aligned world has realised the need for South-South cooperation, a new global economic order and disarmament. With India,A New Role”India Takes Charge” (March 31) lucidly explained India’s new role in international affairs. And it is fortuitous that it has come at a time when the rest of the non-aligned world has realised the need for South-South cooperation, a new global economic order and disarmament. With India steering NAM on to a more even keel it is possible for the dream of Nehru, Tito and Nasser to become a reality.Delhi Rajiv HandaBy hosting the summit with such perfection and at such short notice Mrs Gandhi has once again boosted our prestige in the international political arena.Calcutta Sabuj SenHaving seen Mrs Gandhi’s performance at the summit no one can doubt her ability to defuse crises and provide leadership. Now if only she would turn these talents back to the problems in India.New Delhi Rajesh RahejaHegde’s ProblemsThe view expressed in “The End Of The Beginning” (March 31) that Ramakrishna Hegde “continues to face difficulties in prodding his government into action” is not correct. Hegde has no one to blame but himself. He has replaced a police officer of unquestioned integrity like K.C.K. Raja with one who was indicted by the Kudoor and Desai commissions. He has appointed three more director generals of police and has therefore gone against his own dictum of not creating any new appointments. Even those accused of dereliction of duty during the circus tragedy and the press siege have been promoted. And to cap it all he has, in his new budget, given the go-by to two of his campaign promises – abolition of the professional tax and advancement of the retirement age from 55 to 58. Clearly then Hegde has no one to blame but himself for his lacklustre performance.Raichur A. KrishnanThe Wrong TrackThe article “On A Losing Track” (March 31) had a mistake. Apta and Roha are not in Madhya Pradesh but in Maharashtra.Khopoli C.B. MishraAssam AtrocitiesThe cover story “A State Ravaged” (March 15) dealt with the plight of the Assamese with precision and sympathy. Our Government is the first to issue statements about atrocities anywhere in the world but seems incapable of dealing with it in the country. But now the urgency of the situation cannot be disguised any longer and everything must be done to ensure that sanity prevails.Chandigarh Tom IfonI cannot comprehend how the author says that the agitation was non-violent till the elections were declared. For the last four years there have been numerous murders and constant harassment of people who do not support the agitation. And how did the agitators manage to get their hands on bombs and guns as soon as the elections were announced? I think it is time that we recognise the agitators for what they are – a threat to national security.Howrah Vivek GhoshThe photographs were gruesome and I had to steel myself before looking at them. I cannot understand how the Government can be so unbending specially when the J&K Government can get away with Article 370.Jammu Padmini JamwalThe decision to replace the Non-aligned Movement with Assam on the cover was a very sound one. And the report further justified this decision as it was a cut above the others published in various journals.Madras K. MohantyThe Government’s policy of divide and rule is having its pernicious effect in Assam. The state is now sharply divided along religious, linguistic and ethnic lines and is in grave danger of breaking up. I think people from all parts should come to Assam and raise the consciousness about this problem in their areas. The rest of the country should know that this is happening in Assam today – it could happen in their own states tomorrow.Jorhat Arup SaikiaIf nothing else then the scale of pre-election violence should convince the Government that in order to save Assam they will have to negotiate with the agitation leaders. If they don’t then they will have to deal with Bangladeshi infiltration in many other states.Gothenburg, Sweden Pawan SagarIt is only right that if the Centre cannot send Bangladeshis who migrated to Assam between 1961-71 back then they should resettle them throughout India. Why should Assam alone bear the brunt of the refugees? They sought sanctuary in India, not Assam.Rourkela Nirad C. MohantaNo matter how newsworthy you thought Assam, I think it was in very bad taste to put it on the cover and make the Government vulnerable to criticism from the leaders who came for the NAM summit. The Assam massacres though heinous and barbaric could have waited. A reputed and responsible journal like INDIA TODAY should have known better than to wash our dirty linen in public.Ludhiana Nilam MunjialNellie Nightmare”The Nellie Nightmare” (March 15) saddened me beyond measure. It is always the helpless and the poor who pay for the deeds of power-hungry politicians.Meghalaya B. LyndohOn how many elephants will the lady who rode to Belchi ride to go and console the people of Nellie?Nathamkovilpatti V. SubramanyamIt is a pity that the correspondent has taken a pro-agitation line. For four years a bunch of chauvinistic and renegade students have held the country to ransom. Having destroyed the economic and educational institutions in the state and brought the administration to a standstill they have only themselves to blame for Assam’s economic backwardness. If they were serious about negotiations things could have been worked out by now.Sambhalpur Rupa MohantyThe slogan of the agitators is Jai Ai Asom not Jai Ai Ahom as written in the article. Asom is Assam and the Ahoms are a section of the Assamese people.Gauhati Mansh Barthakur’J’Accuse’The comment “A Bloody Price” (March 15) is full of brave phrases like “Culpability cannot be evaded… the carnage will not be forgotton… those responsible will not be forgiven”. But they ring pitifully hollow!Culpability, with your and the rest of the media’s able assistance, is well on its way to the usual evasion. You say “the Central Government is culpable”, and with that you have already evaded the issue. For you know perfectly well that decisions are taken by people and not by amorphous entities like governments! Assuming that you are actually in earnest about your bleatings of governmental culpability, how do you propose, in concrete terms, that the Central Government acknowledges its culpability? Or were you just hoping that they’d be sporting enough to do so on their own?There is a lot of obscurantist hogwash being bandied about by the media, effectively writing off the whole tragedy to the Government’s “errors of judgement” and “failure to read the mood of the people” – with the strong attendant implication that even if anyone is ‘culpable’, it is only in respect of misjudged political strategy! Our politicians – beginning with their ‘charismatic’ leader – knew perfectly well that this mock-election would entail bloodshed .Their only miscalculation was in respect of the amount. A few dozen deaths – no self-respecting politician balks at so paltry a price! The report in fact clearly indicates that there are many politicians who feel that even a few 100 battered children were ‘well spent’ – in the interests of democracy, of course!The chief elections, commissioner’s interview is a masterly exposition and pointer on how the essence is being obscured by flatulence from the ruling triumvirate of media, politicians and bureaucrats. He has commented at great length on the esoteric implications of avoiding election, deadlines, precedent, electoral rolls and existing laws – whereas all that was required of him was to rule decisively on whether or not it was possible to hold free and fair elections! Did it require great political and constitutional insight to answer that? No – but it probably did require standing up to Mrs Gandhi!Bombay J.N. BawaTo compare the carnage in Assam to the massacres in Shatila and Sabra in Lebanon is unfair. The violence in Lebanon was carried out with the tacit permission of the Israeli Government. No one can accuse the Indian Government of this.Faridabad Ashok SehraiIn the article “A Novel Judgement” (March 15) the Telugu words idena nyayam have been translated as ‘this is my justice’. The correct translation is ‘is this justice?’Coimbatqre G. Usha MohanWhat’s in a NAM?What is the use of lavishing a dozen’ pages of NAM (“Charting A New Course”, March 15) when it has become an irrelevant movement? A leading light of the movement relies on the USSR to such an extent that he even came to New Delhi on a Soviet plane. The members vie with each to stock arms and then fault the superpowers for doing the same thing. Numerous members are at war with neighbours but the organisation is trying to promote world peace. They talk of justice and have the worst human rights records in the world. Is it any wonder that NAM with its inner contradictions has no meaningful achievements to boast of? The summit, like the Asiad, is just another ruse to boost ruling party egos.Paramakud G. ParthasarathyNo FeedbackI can see no reason why the recommendations made by Department of Health and Family Welfare’s committees have not accepted for two years (“Code Of Misconduct”, March 15). Why spend so much time, energy and money on the committees if the Government will not accept their findings.”Ahmedabad P.G. KulkarniLow MoraleTo an old pilot the article “A Dangerous Drift” (February 28) made sad reading. While it is factual, it stops short of being complete. The article makes no mention of the fact that two versions of the Lafontaine committee were prepared – one for the Defence Ministry (which was the watered-down version) and one where the actual causes of human failure were set down was kept at air headquarters. Ironically Air Marshal Lafontaine has since been made the AOP and is responsible for the implementation of his recommendations.The problem in the IAF is one of motivation, stagnation and inadequate basic amenities. Any dynamic organisation should have movement upward and outward. Outward movement is blocked because the good officers are not allowed to leave while mediocre superseded officers refuse to leave. So stagnation spreads.Coimbatore Capt G. MuthuswamyThe most important factor for the IAF’s high accident rate is the growing discontent and dissatisfaction of ground duty officers. There is such a disparity between them and flying officers that morale has hit a dangerous low.New Delhi Flt Lt A.K, SinghPower Politics”Shabby Window Dressing” (February 28) shows that the Congress(I) leadership has learnt nothing. They must take definite steps to revitalise the party – not make pointless appointments and encourage futile actions. This is what happens to a party whose sole motive for existence is power.Bhatinda S. P. Singhlast_img read more

POLYRACK: case and system applications for individual requirements on show

first_img Continue Reading Previous Basler presents highlights from embedded portfolio at embedded world 2019Next Wind River: next-gen software framework for connected and autonomous cars The POLYRACK TECH-GROUP will be presenting their wide range of case and system solutions at embedded world 2019. Customer-specific system applications from various branches and application fields including integration of electronics and a range of HMI and MMI applications will be displayed.For the embedded market, particularly for industrial environments, POLYRACK presents its PanelPC 2-series. These Panel-PC-solutions satisfy the protection class IP54 and are available in sizes from 10.1‘‘ to 21.5‘‘ as well as in different materials such as milled aluminium or sheet metal bending solutions. Resistive single-touch or multi-touch capable touchscreens (PCAP) in different glass thicknesses are options for the user interface. Customer specific printing and anti-fingerprint coating are available on request. In order to use the advantages of different materials, other technologies are available for customers to realize individual requirements in materials, such as plastics and castings – also in a material combination mix.Small Form Factor with EmbedTEC: The aluminium table top case is the elegant design for small form factors such as embedded NUC (eNUC), pico-ITX (pITX, 2.5“), SMARC, QSeven and SBCs as well as the Raspberry Pi. It comes with a changeable front I/OShield as well as a massive aluminium cover for the heat dissipation. The cover might as well be replaced by a heat sink for improved performance. Alternatively, perforated side panels or small fans can add to the cooling performance on top. POLYRACK also offers various adaptations and mounting options for applications in the fields of automatization and IoT.Supporting enclosure series like SmarTEC for high quality systems such as passive cooled Mini-PCs, EmbedTEC for Embedded Computing and HMI-applications as well as Backplanes for the high-speed domain based on VPX and CompactPCI serial standards are complementary to the product portfolio of the electronic packaging specialist POLYRACK. All solutions are characterized by matching interaction of mechanics, plastics, electronics and surface finish – fine-tuned to the target market.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Boards & Modules last_img read more

Gold box office collection Day 1: Akshay Kumar film tickets sold out

first_imgThis year’s Independence Day, Akshay Kumar is back with another film high on patriotic pride. Ever since Baby hit the screens on Republic Day 2015, Akshay Kumar has not let the patriot in him take a backseat. It is common knowledge that the Republic Day and Independence Day weekends are earmarked for the release of his films.Directed by Reema Kagti, Gold revolves around independent India’s first Olympic gold win – a feat achieved by the Indian men’s hockey team in 1948 at the 14th London Olympiad.Gold, which releases today in 2500 screens across the country, has opened to a phenomenal response from the audience. The advance booking trends suggest that the film will earn somewhere between Rs 18-20 crore on its first day.The sports drama has already raced ahead of the other Independence Day release this year, John Abraham-starrer Satyameva Jayate, which portrays the fight against corruption and social injustice.Akshay Kumar has a solid track record when it comes to Independence Day. His last Independence Day release, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, which promoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, earned Rs 13.10 crore on its first day.In 2016, Akshay Kumar’s fans were treated to Rustom on Independence Day. Like Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Rustom released a few days before the holiday. The film kickstarted its run at the box office with Rs 14.11 crore and demolished its competition, Hrithik Roshan-starrer Mohenjo Daro.Apart from the Akshay Kumar and patriotism factor, fans are also super-excited to watch the Bollywood debut of popular television actress Mouni Roy. Having ruled over the small screen for years, Mouni has a sizeable fan following, which has translated into footfall at the theatres.advertisementALSO READ | Gold vs Satyameva Jayate: Which film will win box office battle?ALSO WATCH | Akshay Kumar is the real ‘Khiladi’ of Bollywoodlast_img read more

Farmers to Grow Medicinal Plants on Mined-out Lands

first_img The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) has entered into an agreement with Timeless Herbal Care, an international nutraceutical and pharmaceutical company, for the growing of medicinal plants on mined-out bauxite lands. The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) has entered into an agreement with Timeless Herbal Care, an international nutraceutical and pharmaceutical company, for the growing of medicinal plants on mined-out bauxite lands.Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Tuesday (September 5), the JBI will provide technical training for farmers in the growing of the crops.The farmers will sell the yield at market value to Timeless Herbal Care, which will extract the medicinal contents for the various markets that they serve.The plants to be cultivated are guinea hen weed, moringa, black castor bean, and medical cannabis.At the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Transport and Mining’s Maxfield Avenue offices, portfolio Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, welcomed the partnership, which, he said, will offer major economic benefits for the farmers.He noted that the crops targeted under the initiative are in high demand world-wide because the “nutraceutical value is immense”.“We must now move with urgency to capitalise on what is truly ours,” he said.Minister Henry noted that the farmers will be taught new skills, so that they can produce the plants to internationally accepted standards.Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, who attended the signing ceremony, said that the project will create a new source of revenue and jobs from the growing, reaping, and export of nutraceuticals.She said that there are buyers in Canada who are waiting for products from Timeless Herbal Care.Meanwhile, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Courtney Betty, said the initiative is about working with communities, establishing international partnerships and “developing Jamaica’s natural plants, which are so valuable”. The farmers will sell the yield at market value to Timeless Herbal Care, which will extract the medicinal contents for the various markets that they serve. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, who attended the signing ceremony, said that the project will create a new source of revenue and jobs from the growing, reaping, and export of nutraceuticals.last_img read more