Curiosity

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Book Hangover

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Proxima b's chances of hosting life may have just dropped

A new NASA study has poured another bucket of cold water on hopes of one day discovering life on the closest exoplanet ever discovered – the Earth-sized world Proxima b, which is thought to orbit in the habitable zone of the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. A computer model is now asserting that the atmosphere of the exoplanet could have long since been destroyed by the intense levels of radiation emitted by the parent star.

The new research sought to study whether the atmosphere of Proxima b was capable of surviving the onslaught of radiation and intense solar flares issuing from its star. Ordinarily the study of exoplanet atmospheres would lean heavily on observations made as the world passed between its parent star and Earth.

These transit observations let astronomers analyze the light from the star as it passes through the exoplanet's atmosphere, giving them clues as to its characteristics and composition. Unfortunately, Proxima b's orbit doesn't allow for such niceties, which is a serious problem considering that, when it comes to habitability, atmosphere is crucial.

Red dwarfs such as Proxima Centauri are known to give out intense levels of ultraviolet radiation, and to bombard orbiting exoplanets with intense and frequent flares. These attributes could strip an exoplanet's atmosphere away, leaving it brutally exposed to the predations of its star.

More specifically, upon striking the atmosphere, the high-energy ultraviolet radiation from a red dwarf ionizes gasses in an exoplanet's atmosphere, creating electrically charged particles capable of escaping the planet's gravity. This gives rise to a chain reaction that allows further particles to escape, essentially eroding the atmosphere.

Due to its tight orbit with Proxima Centauri, Proxima b absorbs hundreds of times the amount of radiation than the Earth does from the Sun. This onslaught is capable of stripping not only the lighter molecules – such as hydrogen – from the atmosphere, but also heavier elements like oxygen and nitrogen.

In the absence of a planetary transit, the scientists turned to computer modelling in an attempt to estimate how much of Proxima b's atmosphere is lost, and how fast.

Since our world is the only habitable planet discovered to date, the team decided to take some of Earth's characteristics, including its atmosphere, magnetic field, and gravity, and to create a simulated exoplanet that travels along the same orbit as Proxima b.

The team used data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory to estimate Proxima Centauri's radiation intensity and flare frequency, and observed how the virtual Earth's atmosphere fared.

According to the computer simulation, an Earth-like Proxima b could lose its atmosphere up to 10,000 times faster than the (real) Earth does.

"This was a simple calculation based on average activity from the host star," states NASA scientist and lead author of the study, Garcia-Sage. "It doesn't consider variations like extreme heating in the star's atmosphere or violent stellar disturbances to the exoplanet's magnetic field - things we'd expect provide even more ionizing radiation and atmospheric escape."

The team went on to consider other factors that could significantly impact atmospheric loss, including the size of Proxima b's polar caps, and the temperature of the planet's exosphere.

Taking both the computer model and potential exacerbating factors into account, the team estimated that, in a best case scenario, Proxima b would lose the equivalent of Earth's entire atmosphere in the space of two billion years. At worst, it could happen in 100 million years.

Considering that Proxima b is thought to be roughly four billion years old, the research paints a pretty bleak picture for Earth's closest neighboring exoplanet.

"Things can get interesting if an exoplanet holds on to its atmosphere, but Proxima b's atmospheric loss rates here are so high that habitability is implausible," said Jeremy Drake, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and co-author of the study. "This questions the habitability of planets around such red dwarfs in general."

However, it is worth noting that while the research is certainly not supportive of the chances of life on Proxima b, it also does not rule it out. Certain phenomena, such as extreme volcanic activity or intense comet bombardments could potentially slow the atmospheric loss.

A new NASA study has poured another bucket of cold water on hopes of one day discovering life on the closest exoplanet ever discovered – the Earth-sized world Proxima b, which is thought to orbit in the habitable zone of the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.

A computer model is now asserting that the atmosphere of the exoplanet could have long since been destroyed by the intense levels of radiation emitted by the parent star.

Bolivia Declares Freedom From Central Bankers: Can India Do the Same?


Bolivia's President Evo Morales has been highlighting his government's independence from international money lending organizations and their detrimental impact on the nation, the Telesur TV reported.

“A day like today in 1944 ended Bretton Woods Economic Conference (USA), in which the IMF and WB were established,” Morales tweeted. “These organizations dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world. Today we can say that we have total independence of them.”

Morales has said Bolivia's past dependence on the agencies was so great that the International Monetary Fund had an office in government headquarters and even participated in their meetings.

Bolivia is now in the process of becoming a member of the Southern Common Market, Mercosur and Morales attended the group's summit in Argentina last week.

The Cochabamba Water War

Bolivia's popular uprising known as the The Cochabamba Water War in 2000 against United States-based Bechtel Corporation over water privatization and the associated World Bank policies shed light on some of the debt issues facing the region. India is following the same path under its Smart Cities program (to be discussed in later articles).

“The Bank and the IMF have been requiring these countries (in the Global South) to accept “structural adjustment,” which includes opening markets to foreign firms and privatizing state enterprises, including utilities,” the New Yorker reported.

Some of Bolivia's largest resistance struggles in the last 60 years have targeted the economic policies carried out by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Most of the protests focused on opposing privatization policies and austerity measures, including cuts to public services, privatization decrees, wage reductions, as well the weakening of labor rights.

Since 2006, a year after Morales came to power, social spending on health, education, and poverty programs has increased by over 45 percent.

Can India Too Declare Freedom From Central Bankers?

While Bolivia has kicked out the Central Bankers and took back their most precious national resource ‘Water', Indian Government is inviting them into the country with open arms and even willing to sell our own rivers and drinking water! The situation of India in contrast to Bolivia is aptly described in the book India in Cognitive Dissonance.

To solve the dreadful water crisis that had started taking over several parts of India, Government setup a grant of 10 crores, which was allocated to the then leading Dharwad University to find a solution for the drinking water crisis. The University came out with an excellent de-salination technology - Indian Scientists worked with Indian Money. But once this ingenious technology was discovered, the details were sold to Saudi Arabia for over 100-crores. Saudi Arabia has used this technology to implement its water de-salination, but India has not till date implemented this technology discovered by our own scientists, which is anyway much less expensive than towing chunks of an arctic iceberg to the equatorial regions and getting the drinking water from there; as has been recently proposed!

No PILs were filed for this wastage of public money, betrayal of trust in the critical area of providing Safe Drinking Water for all citizens of our country, nor was any investigation conducted to punish the guilty, now was there any suo-moto case in the matter. Instead, we have consolidated the position:

“India's own Rivers and Drinking Water for sale in India: by companies spawned from Pepsi and Coke, the same who have been kicked out of many small countries including Bolivia over a decade ago, for claiming to own all of Bolivia's water, including its rainwater!”

Did you know you can lease a river in Chhattisgarh for 22 years. At just Rs. 1 per annum. While thousands go thirsty. The Madurai bench of the high court has ruled against the local people and in favor on Coca Cola and Pepsi units in Tirunelveli district for supplying water from the Thamirabarani river. In August 2016, the Karnataka government gave Abu Dhabi-based businessman B.R. Shetty permission to privatise the iconic Jog Falls Rs 450 crore and turn it into a tourism hotspot.

Isn't it ironic that from the last 70 years since Independence India is the largest recipient of loans from the World Bank, amounting to $102.1 billion, between 1945 and 2015 (as on July 21, 2015), according to the Bank's lending report; with an external debt of $485.6 billion at the end of March 2016 as per Reserve Bank of India.

How are we going to repay these loans, if at all? What are the conditions attached to these loans in case of delay or default? The recent case of how the Troika (World Bank, IMF & ECB) Vultures (as they are known) ripped apart debt-ridden Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Spain should be a warning bell to sleeping Indians. Can the current self-proclaimed nationalist Government stand up to these Central Bankers like the Bolivians?

India is following the same path under its Smart Cities program.

Can India Do the Same?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Investment Idea - Large Cap

Friends I am very happy to share my idea to invest in stocks for long term (one to two years). You can easily earn more than 40%pa on your investment. It is my own idea that I follow for years. If you are going to invest, please check everything before you invest of your hard earned money.