MNP: Mobile Number Portability
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy for Sports
The Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University have been awarded the trophy for academic session 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively.
Gallantry Awards, 2010
Ashok Chakra: Major Laishram Jyotin Singh, an unarmed army doctor serving in Kabul, who took on a suicide bomber and killed him, has been awarded Ashok Chakra (posthumously), the highest peacetime gallantry award.
Kirti Chakra: Captain Davinder Singh Juss of the Parachute Regiment and Vinod Kumar Choubey, SP, Chhattisgarh, have been awarded India’s second highest peace time gallantry award. Juss killed a foreign terrorist in February 2010 during an encounter in J&K and Choubey fought against more than 300 naxalites.
India emerges as shale gas hub
India could soon turn into a potential shale gas destination. Even though the work has just begun in India, initial studies by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC) on reserve estimation of shale gas in some of the country's sedimentary basins such as Damodar and Cambay basin have revealed a resource potential of about 35 and 90 trillion cubic feet of gas.
This, when compared with the existing gas resources in India, such as the one from the country's largest gas field of Reliance Industries in the KG basin—estimated to hold some 10 tcf of gas—is indeed a massive reserve of gas.
ONGC, which took the initiative some five years back to explore shale gas, said shale sequences in well explored basins are found to be promising in Damodar, Cambay, Krishna Godavari and Cauvery basins.
In the US, shale gas contributes nearly 14 per cent of the total gas production.
Shale gas is natural gas trapped under rocks. Its extraction involves tapping natural gas trapped between layers of shale rock, similar to the extraction of gas from between coal seems in India.
US has the largest shale gas resource and China comes second. India is estimated to be one of the biggest holders of shale gas. Large deposits are located in the Gangetic plain, Assam, Rajasthan and the country’s extensive coastline.
Experts are of the view that shale gas promises to transform the energy landscape by making available clean gas to supplement other energy sources.
Wheat genome code cracked
British scientists have decoded the genome of wheat, in a breakthrough research that will prove valuable to crop breeders in countries like India, in increasing the yield of the staple food crop. Wheat production worldwide is under threat from climate change at a time when there is an increase in demand from a growing human population.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and the John Innes Centre, have sequenced the entire wheat genome and will make the DNA data available to crop breeders to help them select key agricultural traits for breeding.
Scientists have analysed the wheat genome, which is five times larger than the human genome and is the largest genome to be sequenced till date.
Scientists discover richest planetary system yet
Astronomers have discovered a planetary system containing at least five planets and which orbit a Sun-like star, HD 10180. They said there was evidence of two more planets in the same system, which would make it similar to our solar system in terms of the number of planets and their arrangement.
The planets and their sun-like star are about 127 light years from Earth, astronomers with the European Southern Observatory said. The system is one of only 15 known to have more than three worlds.
The five planets circle their parent star in a regular pattern like the planets of our solar system, only in a more compact arrangement, the researchers said. The confirmation of the extra planets would make it the highest tally of alien worlds ever spotted around a single star.
Of the two potential additional planets that may be present, one may have a mass that is the closest to Earth's, if it is confirmed, they added.
The planet would be rocky, like Earth, but probably far too hot to sustain life. With at least five Neptune-sized planets circling inside an orbit equivalent to that of Mars, the HD 10180 system has a more populated inner region than our solar system.
The five strongest signals correspond to planets with Neptune-like masses—between 13 and 25 Earth masses—which orbit the star with periods ranging from about 6 to 600 days. These planets are located between 0.06 and 1.4 times the Earth-Sun distance from their central star.
Among the other two planets that could exist, one would be a Saturn-like planet (with a minimum mass of 65 Earth masses) orbiting in 2200 days. The other would be the least massive exo-planet ever discovered, with a mass of about 1.4 times that of Earth.
So far, astronomers know of 15 systems with at least three planets. The last record-holder was 55 Cancri, which contains five planets, two of them being giant planets.
It took astronomers six years to study it using a planet-finding instrument called the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6 metre telescope at La Silla, Chile.
Census of the seas
First global count of marine life logs 230,000 species—but scientists warns of mass extinctions. It has been the biggest and most comprehensive attempt ever to answer that age-old question—how many fish are there in the sea? A 10-year study of the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the world’s oceans attempts just that.
The Census of Marine Life estimates there are over 230,000 species in our oceans.
A team of over 360 scientists around the world surveyed 25 regions, from the Antarctic through the temperate and tropical seas to the Arctic.
Over fishing, degraded habitats, pollution and the arrival of invasive species are major threats to the marine life. But more problems are around the corner: rising water temperatures and acidification thanks to climate change and the growth in areas of the ocean that are low in oxygen and, therefore, unable to support life.
Among the major findings are:
—A fifth of the world’s marine species are crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters, krill and barnacles. Add in molluscs (squid and octopus) and fish and that accounts for nearly half the species in world’s seas.
—Species often used in conservation campaigning—whales, sea lions, turtles and sea birds—account for less than 2% of the species in the oceans.
—Enclosed seas such as the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico, China’s shelves, Baltic, and the Caribbean are having the most threatened biodiversity.
—The most diverse regions are around Australia and south-east Asia.
—Australian and Japanese waters contain more than 30,000 species each and are among the most biologically diverse in the world.
—The manylight viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) is the most “cosmopolitan” marine creature with a presence in around a quarter of the world’s seas.
—The number of marine fish species known to science stood at 16,764, and was growing at around 100 a year. There are believed to be 22,000 fish species in the world.