NTPC net profit up 563 pc to Rs 2840 cr in June

first_imgNew Delhi: State-owned power giant NTPC on Saturday posted a 5.63 per cent rise in its consolidated net profit to Rs 2,840.28 crore in the June 2019 quarter. Its net profit was Rs 2,688.96 crore in the corresponding period a year ago, the company said in a BSE filing. Total income on a consolidated basis rose to Rs 26,272.24 crore in the said quarter from Rs 24,148.50 crore a year ago. Gross power generation of the NTPC Group for the April-June 2019 was 76.63 billion units (BUs) as against 76.92 BUs in the same period of 2018. The average power tariff of the firm was Rs 3.63 per unit in the quarter under review. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe company’s plant load factor or capacity utilisation (PLF) of coal-based projects dropped to 73.91 per cent in the June 2019 quarter from 77.98 per cent a year earlier. Its domestic coal supply dipped to 42.28 million tonne in the April-June period from 43.04 million tonne a year ago. Coal imports by the company went up slightly to 0.89 million tonne in the said quarter from 0.09 million tonne a year ago. NTPC Group’s total installed capacity increased to 55,126 MW as on June 30, 2019, from 53,156 MW as on June 30 of previous year.last_img read more

Zimmer Childrens Hospital To Hold WE ALL PLAY FUNdraiser This Weekend

first_imgThe world-famous Zimmer Children’s Museum will host the WE ALL PLAY FUNdraiser, presented by Hasbro Studios in celebration of National Mr. Potato Head Day.As Zimmer’s largest family event of the year, proceeds will be raised to help provide thousands of low-income families with free or subsidized museum memberships, fund field trips for Head Star and Title I schools, and create scholarships for camps and classes.Guests in attendance to include Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, Jordana Brewster (“The Fast and the Furious” series), Ron Livingston (“Office Space,” “Search Party”), Rosemarie De Witt (“Mad Men,” “La La Land”), Colin Hanks (“Life in Pieces,” “Fargo”), Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (Lily on “Modern Family”), “This Is Us” stars Eris Baker, Faithe Herman, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates, and Lonnie Chavis, “Fresh Off the Boat” stars Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen, Kathleen Robertson (“Murder in the First,” “Bates Motel”), Andrew Keegan (“10 Things I Hate About You”), Autumn Reeser (“Sully,” “The O.C.”), Christine Lakin (“Step by Step,” “Hollywood Darlings”), Jenni Pulos (“Flipping Out”), Johnathan Schaech (“That Thing You Do!”), Meredith Monroe (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Edge of Seventeen”), Rio Mangini (“Bella and the Bulldogs”), Ever Carradine (“Goliath,” “Shameless”), Terri Seymour (“EXTRA”), Ariana Greenblatt (“Stuck in the Middle”), “Girls Meets World” stars August Maturo, Cooper Friedman, and Ava Kolker, Bryce Gheisar (“A Dog’s Purpose”), Mekai Curtis (“Kirby Buckets”), “Bunk’d” stars Nathan Arenas and Nina Lu, and moreMusic from Lucky Diaz and the Family Bands, Lolas, and Luis and Ana; Appearances by Mr. Potato Head, Amazing Etch Man, Tommy Salami, and The Magic Balloon Book starring Mr. DaveWHEN: Sunday, April 30th, 2017 Check-in: 12:00Carpet: 12:30pm – 2:00pmWHERE: The Zimmer Children’s Museum 6505 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048Free Parking Available at La Jolla & Wilshire Lotlast_img read more

Trump Appoints Businessman David Fischer as New US Ambassador to Morocco

Rabat – After the departure of Dwight Bush in January 2017, United States President Donald Trump has appointed David Fischer as the new US ambassador to Morocco, reports US media.A Michigan-based industrialist and Republican extraordinaire, Fischer is the CEO of Suburban Collection, the state’s largest car dealership with 48 franchised stores.One of the biggest financial contributors to Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign, Fischer provided USD 250,000 and co-chaired the Trump Victory Fund, allowing the current White House tenant to take Michigan, the Midwestern US labor state (and its 16 electors), from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Presented as an “active philanthropist” by the American press, Fisher is also the CEO of the large American construction company Walbridge Aldinger Co. He was previously the chairman of finance for Mitt Romney’s two presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.In addition to being a billionaire businessman, Fischer, whose villa in Palm Beach is adjoined to the now famous Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s summer residence, has maintained a genuine friendship with the president.Fischer’s appointment also marks a noticeable departure from the traditional CV of American ambassadors mandated to the Kingdom. However, his status as a businessman would give an indication of the degree of importance accorded by the Trump administration to Rabat: business as usual.Fischer will serve as the administration’s liaison to the nation following his confirmation by the US Senate. read more

SecretaryGeneral to focus on climate change during trip to China and Mongolia

20 July 2009Climate change, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called “the defining challenge of our era,” will feature prominently on the United Nations chief’s visits later this week to China and Mongolia, his spokesperson said today. Earlier this year, Mr. Ban called on China – as well as the United States, India and the European Union – to show “global leadership of the highest order” in tackling the issue, particularly in the run-up to the crucial climate change negotiations scheduled for December in Copenhagen to draw up a new agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.“During his working visit to China, he will pursue his dialogue with the Chinese leadership on climate change and other global issues,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters. The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet on Friday with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other Chinese officials in Beijing and later, on Saturday, in Xi’an. While in China, he will participate in a number of climate change-related programmes, including a “Green Light” event focusing on energy efficient technologies and the extensive production and use of energy saving lamps in the world’s most populous nation. Mr. Ban then travels on Sunday to Mongolia, where he will address the challenges of climate change and adaptation with an emphasis on the special needs of landlocked countries, said Ms. Okabe.Mongolia is one of 30 landlocked developing countries, which face a number of constraints to their economic development, including lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs.Mr. Ban is scheduled to meet with President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Prime Minister Bayar Sanj and Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold. Also during his visit, the Secretary-General will spend time in a traditional Mongolian herder community that is faced with water shortages and desertification. Herding and agriculture have traditionally been the backbone of the country’s economic activity, according to the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). read more

Asgiriya Chief Prelate questions North CMs demand

The Chief Prelate said this when he met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a visit to Kandy. Responding to this, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe noted that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is working well with the new Government. The Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera, has questioned the demand by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran, that the army should be withdrawn from Jaffna.The Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera said that the Government must be wise when responding to such demands and ensure that Sri Lanka remains united under one National flag. Wickremesinghe also noted that the issue of returning land held by the military in the North to the civilians is still an issue.However he said that land which the military does not require anymore since the war is over, is being returned to the rightful owners. (Colombo Gazette) He recalled that some TNA members had even attended the Independence Day celebrations this year and this shows that the TNA accepts Sri Lanka’s Independence Day and also the military.The Prime Minister said that while there maybe a few negative comments being made by some TNA members, in Parliament both the Government and the TNA have a good understanding. read more

India lifts travel warning issued for Sri Lanka

Indian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka are advised to be careful and vigilant. India has lifted the travel warning issued for Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday attacks.In a statement issued in New Delhi today, the Indian Government noted that the security situation in Sri Lanka is gradually returning to normal with the lifting of curfew and restrictions on social media and the opening of schools. Indian nationals requiring any assistance can get in touch round the clock with our High commission in Colombo, Assistant High Commission in Kandy and Consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota. The helpline numbers of the Indian High Commission in Colombo are: +94-772234176 +94-777902082 +94-112422788 +94-112422789Earlier China and Switzerland had also lifted the travel warnings issued on Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Calgarybased Chevron Canada Resources confirms plans to cut 130 jobs

Calgary-based Chevron Canada Resources confirms plans to cut 130 jobs by 660 NEWS Staff Posted Jul 7, 2015 4:30 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Chevron Canada Resources has confirmed it is laying off 130 people as it restructures operations.Chevron spokesman Leif Sollid says the cuts are part of the company’s efforts to establish a competitive foundation in its key focus areas of Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, but declined to provide further details.The job cuts amount to about 20 per cent of the company’s workforce of more than 600 full-time employees.Calgary-based Chevron Canada Resources has interests in crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids projects.Last December the company shelved plans to drill in the Beaufort Sea due to the “level of economic uncertainty in the industry.”The cuts do not affect Vancouver-based Chevron Canada Ltd., which is a separate subsidiary of Chevron Corp. that focuses on retail sales. It has a further 350 employees, according to the company website. read more

Austrian President urges nuclear disarmament in General Assembly speech

Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation can only be achieved together, the President of Austria told the United Nations General Assembly, calling also for the Arms Trade Treaty to enter into force as early as possible.“The continued reliance on nuclear weapons and the limited progress towards nuclear disarmament are of great global concern,” President Heinz Fischer told the Assembly’s high-level debate which started today at the UN Headquarters in New York and runs through 1 October.“Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized, banned and eliminated,” Mr. Fischer urged, calling for nuclear weapons to be put at the centre of the international community’s attention. In his speech, the President highlighted how multilateral cooperation can deliver solutions to global problems. He called the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) a “historic accomplishment” and said he looked forward to its earliest possible entry into force.Turning to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the sustainable development agenda that will succeed them in the years after 2015, Mr. Fischer noted that Vienna has since 1 July hosted the Office of the Special Representative of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. That initiative aims to achieve three inter-linked global targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services; the doubling of energy efficiency; and the doubling of the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix.Turning to the Human Rights Council, of which Austria is a member, Mr. Fischer said the country is leading initiatives for the safety of journalists, protection of religious minorities, and promotion of the rights of the child.He also urged re-enforced diplomatic efforts towards universal abolition of the death penalty, noting that “too many countries still maintain a “retentionist policy towards this cruel and inhuman form of punishment.” Noting the importance of the rule of law and last year’s meeting on that topic during the 67th General Assembly, Mr. Fisher announced that the Government is considering setting up an Austrian Rule of Law Trust Fund. The Fund would support international actors in strengthening the rule of law and offer legal expertise or deploy legal experts free of charge to developing countries at their request.“Austria strongly believes that only an international system based on the rule of law can lead to lasting peace, security, economic development and social progress,” Mr. Fisher said. read more

Go800 Forget memorizing phone numbers it make calls via Twitter handles

first_imgRemember the days when you memorized all of your best friends’ phone numbers, plus your home number, and your parents’ office numbers? Those days are long gone for most of us since cell phones came along. This is evidenced by David Harper, co-founder and architect of Go800, who was left with a dead cell phone after a day spent at a convention. He was surrounded by people with phones, but realized that he didn’t know anyone’s number so he couldn’t even borrow a phone to make a call, which gave him the idea for Go800.In an interview Harper did with Wired, he said “Phone numbers are dead.” He said we remember names and usernames and URLs much better than we remember phone numbers. Launched at the beginning of March, Go800 replaces phone numbers with Twitter handles, and allows you to make free calls though the service.Once you sign up for an account on Go800’s Web site, you then activate your Twitter name. The Twitter authentication is meant to protect users from having their names taken from imposters. After the set-up is complete, a text that’s sent to your Twitter name will cause your phone to ring. The caller is put on hold until the call connects. The recipient gets the call and has no idea it was connected through Twitter. It seems like a normal call, and the receiver even sees the right caller ID on their phone.You may be thinking that having all 2,000 of your Twitter followers being able to call your cell phone is a frightening thought – which it is; but don’t worry, Go800 allows you to choose your privacy settings to allow anyone to call you, or you can set up a whitelist so only certain people can use Go800 to contact you. Though your number is hidden from them, the caller’s number is still visible to your caller ID. This could be useful if you want to put your Twitter handle on your business card, but don’t want people to know your actual phone number.Now, this service is free – kind of. You get 100 free minutes per month. Harper told Wired he hopes to increase that number eventually, but he also hopes businesses and organizations will purchase bundles of minutes to connect to customers. Go800 works on any phone that can send a text, so even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can still connect with your friends via Twitter – one way or the other.via Gadgetwiselast_img read more

Our galaxy may host millions of Tatooines

first_imgWhile we may not see the discovery of Tusken Raiders in our lifetimes, astronomers have revealed that planets like Tatooine may not be uncommon. That doesn’t, unfortunately, mean that there are desert-like planets filled with gangster slugs and hoody-clad scavengers. What it does signify is that planets with two suns may be more prevalent than it was previously thought.Scientists have discovered two more planets that have their own sets of stars. Both celestial bodies, Kepler-34b and Kepler-35b, are gas giants, so there won’t be any lightsaber duels taking place on them. In fact, all of the double-sun worlds that scientists have discovered (three total) have been gaseous.Astronomers do, however, believe that planets with two suns can be habitable. They estimate that such a planet would need to be around 88 million miles from the stars, in order to maintain the proper conditions for liquid water. It’s also feasible that a moon, orbiting one of the gas giants, would be fit for life as we know it (sort of an Endor/Tatooine hybrid with cross-bred Jawa-Ewoks, perhaps?).One of the most interesting tidbits taken from the astronomers’ study relates to how many other dual-star planets there may be. Using a statistical analysis of sampling area vs. discovered dual-sun planets, the scientists estimate that our own galaxy may house millions of cirumbinary planets. That is actually a conservative estimate too.As amusing as it is to see science following science fiction, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this phenomenon. Inventions ranging from calculators to space stations have popped up first in classic science fiction, only to be made years later. The potential prevalence of dual-sun planets makes you wonder what will be discovered or invented next? I, for one, hope that we can replace our clunky automobiles with some badass landspeeders.via National Geographic [1] [2]last_img read more

Des sons produits par les étoiles permettent de les étudier

first_imgDes sons produits par les étoiles permettent de les étudierLe télescope spatial Kepler est capable de déterminer l’âge et la taille des étoiles avec cinq fois plus de précisions que n’importe quel autre outil. Cette prouesse technologique est rendue possible par l’enregistrement des sons produits par les astres.Le télescope spatial Kepler est, selon les scientifiques, un outil de pointe de l’ “astrosismologie”. En effet, c’est en captant les infimes variations lumineuses qui proviennent des étoiles sous forme d’ondes sonores qu’il parvient à dater et à calculer la taille des astres. Ainsi, plus le ton est bas, plus l’étoile est grosse. Quant à la datation, c’est en mesurant la quantité d’hydrogène et d’hélium consumés que Kepler parvient à la déterminer.À lire aussiUn time-lapse époustouflant dévoile le ciel nocturne du désert des MojavesBill Chaplin, chercheur à l’université de Birmingham, a expliqué que Kepler était en quelque sorte à l’écoute de “la musiques des étoiles”. C’est ainsi qu’il traque les exoplanètes, ces étoiles situées en dehors de notre système solaire. Kepler est en mesure de capter des sons 1.000 fois en dessous de notre capacité auditive humaine.Comme l’indique le scientifique à la BBC, les données collectées par Kepler sont si nombreuses qu’il pourrait passer le restant de sa vie à travailler dessus. Car avec l’astrosismologie, il devient possible de recréer l’image d’une étoile et de découvrir à quoi ressemble l’intérieur de celle-ci.Le 26 février 2011 à 09:12 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

MovieBobs 2018 ACADEMY AWARDS Preview

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target What’s going to win big at The Academy Awards this year?Politically-conscious genre films, women standing up and fresh blood – not necessarily in that order and not necessarily in the sense of actually receiving trophies.Will it be worth watching, even if my favorites weren’t nominated for anything?Probably. It’s the first show following the debacle of accidentally awarding the wrong film Best Picture last year so… look for jokes about that to get run into the ground pretty early on. It’s the first show after a full year in the Trump Era, so we can all be on the lookout for highly-politicized jokes and/or statements from the podium and furious Twitter retorts from a certain someone who should really have better things to do with his time. There doesn’t appear to be a clear favorite for Best Picture though there are definitely strong contenders (which always makes things interesting). And of course the righteous specter of the #MeToo Movement will continue to hang over the industry as we wonder if any presenter, winner or honoree will make, speak or even answer to any accusations. Also, probably lots of stupid comedy skits.Are you surprised Wonder Woman wasn’t nominated for Best Picture?Not really. I think it had a better shot than a superhero movie has had in a long time based on how well it was received and what it meant as a “zeitgeist movie,” i.e. a big lavish spectacle of feminist-iconography at a moment in time when that felt especially necessary. But it’s not a shock when a movie that loses steam so noticeably in Act 3 isn’t nominated for Best Picture (even though there’ve been “worse” nominees and winners than it in the past.) Sooner or later, one of “these” is going to get in (Black Panther probably has the next best shot coming up) but we’ll see.Alright, here’s the predictions I’ve got for categories where I feel comfortable offering an opinion:BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYNominees: The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani), Get Out (Jordan Peele), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Martin McDonagh)It’s easy to imagine this going to Jordan Peele for Get Out, as his big writer/director debut becoming a massive Best Picture-nominated smash hit and the most profitable film of the year is one the biggest film industry stories of 2017. But Greta Gerwig is a beloved indie darling as an actress and Lady Bird is buzzed-about as one of The Academy’s favorite overall features this year and nominated in a bunch of other categories where it’s probably not going to win. This could be where her chance to get up onstage and have a Big Moment goes, and out of all the nominees Lady Bird is the one that most lived/died based on its script.Prediction: Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAYNominees: Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory), The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber), Logan (Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green), Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin), Mudbound (Virgil Williams and Dee Rees)It’d really be something to see this go to Logan, but the rest of the field is really strong and I can’t shake the notion that just the idea of giving an Oscar to one of the X-Men movies. It’s a wildly-uneven franchise that lacks either the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s box-office and critical acclaim or Wonder Woman’s decades of pop-culture ubiquity and is now tainted by associations with scandal-plagued Bryan Singer. That is “too much” for a lot of The Academy, especially with so much strong competition. Here’s where I go out on a small limb: I think James Ivory gets it. He’s a beloved fixture of the Old Guard Academy from the Merchant Ivory days but (incredibly!) has no Oscar of his own. He is tied with fellow 2018 nominee Agnes Varda as the oldest nominee and represents the much-liked Call Me By Your Name’s best chance at gold in what’s feeling like a “spread the love” year.Prediction: Call Me By Your Name (James Ivory)BEST ANIMATED FEATURENominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving VincentIt’s going to be Coco, easiest call of the night. It’s Pixar, it’s Disney, it was a giant hit, it was excellent and everybody saw it, cried and then brought their grandparents so they could cry too. Plus, there’s no getting around this being a highly-politicized year in pop-culture. So an animated film all about (literally) a struggle to help an extended Mexican family remain unified despite an ominous border governed by arcane rules is an irresistible fist-in-their-air/finger-in-the-eye to a certain someone the Creative Community widely views as the villain of the moment.Prediction: CocoBEST DOCUMENTARYNominees: Abacus, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island2017 saw the continued trend of documentaries having more presence on streaming and long-form television than theaters, so surprise-surprise it’s not an especially strong year for the category at The Oscars. Faces Places feels the most likely. It’s a photography/travelogue doc from JR and legendary French New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda (potentially her final film), whose beaming, grandmotherly appearance accepting a Lifetime Achievement statue at last year’s Governors Awards (and hitting the dance floor with Angelina Jolie) made her a brief social-media sensation.Prediction: Faces PlacesBEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMNominees: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), The Insult (Lebanon),Loveless (Russia), On Body and Soul (Hungary), The Square (Sweden)The “big story” in awards-caliber foreign language film in 2017 was the dissipation of heat for The Square, which was expected to run the table but fizzled outside the festival circuit. Also raising eyebrows is the absence of the well-reviewed German hit In The Fade, which featured Diane Kruger as a widow following a dark path to avenge the murder of her Turkish-born Muslim husband and their mixed-race son by neo-nazi terrorists. Of the nominees, A Fantastic Woman has had the most buzz going in, though most U.S. audiences will be unfamiliar with it.Prediction: A Fantastic WomanBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSNominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Allison Janney (I Tonya), Leslie Manville (Phantom Thread), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)Also sometimes known as the “Wow, what a career!” award for long-respected character actresses of a certain age and/or better known for the stage or television, often won for playing eccentric mother figures to rising starlets. That describes Janney and Metcalf, who’ve been splitting the lead-up awards between one another, but I feel like Janney gets it here. It’s the “showier” version of the role, mainly, but also – let’s face it – Oscars are voted on by category peers and among Hollywood actors nothing is closer to secular sainthood than having been part of the West Wing ensemble.Prediction: Allison JanneyBEST ACTRESSNominees: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri), Margot Robbie (I Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)Strong category, but I think Frances McDormand will get Oscar #2 for Three Billboard. Here’s the thing: That movie isn’t good, but she’s AMAZING in it and she’s kind of the whole movie which is why some people *think* it was good enough to nominate it for other things – so it stands to reason they liked her enough to win.Prediction: Frances McDormandBEST SUPPORTING ACTORNominees: Willem Dafoe (Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All The Money in The World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboard Outside Ebbing Missouri)Sam Rockwell is one of America’s best and most underrated actors, his peers have basically been waiting for him to an even vaguely Oscar-ready role so they can award him for it, they’re probably going to do it here. Good for him, but I kind of wish there was more of a chance for Willem Dafoe because The Florida Project was a really good movie and he was really good in it. If there’s going to be a spoiler here it might be Christopher Plummer for since everyone was kind of blown away he was able to come in cold and help save that movie from having to purge Kevin Spacey (plus, y’know, he reminded everyone he was still alive.)Prediction: Sam RockwellBEST ACTORNominees: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel Esq.)One has to assume that Gary Oldman is closer to having this one “in the bag” to a greater degree than any other nominee in any other category this year. Incredible makeup aside; Darkest Hour is kind of cheesy, underwhelming and it feels like Oldman has been better in a lot of other recent roles where he also wasn’t trying quite so hard.But you can’t deny that he’s one of the best actors of his generation and it’s ridiculous that he’s not sitting on a pile of Oscars already. He’s had this coming for a long time; it’s exactly the sort of performance The Academy likes best (and not a bad version of it!) so that’s probably that.Prediction: Gary OldmanBEST DIRECTORNominees: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)My sense of things is Gerwig, Peele and del Toro are the ones with the real shot here – Nolan doesn’t do “heart” enough for Oscar’s taste and Phantom Thread is too “weird.” Gerwig has sympathetic momentum, as actor-turned-director is just about The Academy’s favorite flavor of anything, but the movie is a little slight – good, but slight. I think it comes down to either Peele or Del Toro, and whichever one wins the other guy’s movie is gonna take Best Picture. Call it a hunch. In this case, I think smart money is on Jordan Peele: It’s his first movie, he blew everyone’s doors off, he’s ALSO a actor-turned-director and he wrote the damn thing… it’s just a better “victory story,” plus I think The Shape of Water is more of an “Academy Movie” for reasons we’ll talk about in just a moment.Prediction: Jordan PeeleBEST PICTURENominees: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MissouriFor reasons outlined mainly in other categories, I think this is a four-way split between Lady Bird, Three Billboards, Get Out and Shape of Water as the “actual chance” nominees; and of those three it comes down more specifically to Get Out and The Shape of Water.Interestingly, along with both being excellent, they’re similar films (i.e. socially-conscious sci-fi/horror hybrids using fantastical stories as metaphors about oppression) but I think Get Out is the more “radical” one whereas Shape of Water is the safer bet here. Yes, it’s an R-rated monster movie about manphibian sex, but its overall moral paradigm fits very comfortably into the way The Academy tends to be most comfortable framing oppression narratives. A rainbow coalition of marginalized good guys (disabled woman, black woman, gay artist, well-intentioned Communist scientist) united in common cause to rescue a magical creature from The White 1950s Military-Industrial Patriarchy. And it’s “good” coded to “sensitive outsiders,” “not part of The Mainstream” (as recalled by now-aging Baby Boomers) and “appreciates classic movies;” so the old-guard of Academy voters can easily see themselves in the heroes.Whereas in Get Out, they can see themselves as well… but in a much less positive way. Get Out isn’t just about blowing up the unique unease of being a young Black man surrounded by rich White people in “their” environment, it’s very specifically about being surrounded by seemingly-“progressive” rich White people. People whose eagerness to demonstrate how enthusiastic they are about Blackness takes on a creepy and dehumanizing edge of its own. It’s not an accident that the film’s central Luciferian villain is a softly-smug, silver-haired Boomer in a turtleneck (played by yet another West Wing alum, no less!) who coos about voting for Obama “a third time – if I could!” It’s like the way Bela Lugosi’s Dracula declared “I never drink – wine;” and it’s hard to imagine the same type of Academy voter who feels hyper-validated that they, too, would be an ally of the fish-man in The Shape of Water not realizing that Get Out is pointing its finger at them… and I suspect not all of them were comfortable with the implication.Prediction: Get OutI could be wrong, of course. We’ll find out soon enough when The 90th Annual Academy Awards airs on Sunday, March 4th.center_img MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ last_img read more

Comiccon cosmetic costume dangers

first_img Jonathan Halvorson, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings(KUSI) – Comic Con encourages attendees to show their enthusiasm by dressing for the occasion but some materials may not be very safe.Kristen Richards with Torrey Pines Dermatology stopped by Good Morning San Diego to give some advice on how to avoid any type of allergic reaction from your custom costumes.Costume Tips:    Make sure your costumes are crafted from safe materials.Far too many store-bought versions are made of unsafe plastics like vinyl aka PVC, filled with hormone disrupters or even lead, a potent neurotoxin.This is an issue with swapped or hand-me-down costumes, too.  If costumes are older and packed away in a basement or attic, trapped dust and dust mites can make it difficult for those with allergies or asthma to breathe.Since dust mites can trigger asthma in children, parents may want to consider purchasing new costumes to replace those that have may accrued dust from being in storage all year.If a child wants to keep his or her old costume, parents can wash it with specialized laundry products designed to eliminate dust mites and other allergens.Accessories used for many common Halloween costumes also may cause reactions.Crowns, magic wands and faux jewelry that uses metals like nickel may cause rashes and irritation.Beware of nickel and cobalt, which can trigger allergic reactions.Hydrate yourself with water and snack on a few pretzels or potato chips before and during Comic-con, especially in warm temperatures.Sweat causes you to lose water and sodium, which contributes to uncomfortable leg cramps and can make you feel faint.The salt provided by the snack infuses additional sodium into your system, and the water keeps dehydration at bay.According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, costume makeup can trigger an allergic reaction or symptoms of asthma.10 percent of people will suffer from a cosmetic allergy during their lifetime           Inexpensive makeup may contain preservatives that can cause a rash and swelling of the skin.Formaldehyde is a very common preservative used in many of these products, but some products labeled “formaldehyde-free” can still cause allergic reactions.Certain makeup is not advisable to use around the mouth or eyes, so be certain to check all packaging for any warnings.  High-quality theater makeup may be a better option than the cheap crayon sticks sold at costume stores.  In any event, always test makeup on a small area of the skin well in advance of Comic-con.If a rash or any abnormality occurs, do not use the makeup     Tests conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics discovered that many contain heavy metal horrors like lead and chromium.  Some lipsticks also contain lead.If your kids don’t want to go bare, use the safest makeup you can find instead.           When it comes to outfitting a Comic-con costume, avoid VOC-filled nail polishes and fragranced products made with phthalates, an endocrine disruptor.   If your costume “needs” dark nails, choose a version free of formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates.   If you can, apply outside or with the windows open, even better. Or try stickers.          Does a costume call for different hair?   Use wigs and hats instead of spray-on hair coloring made with synthetic chemicals that are a bit too mysterious. Mask tips:      Certain headgear can limit your visibility, a child can be standing at your feet and out of your field of vision.    Props like fake teeth made from rubber and vinyl frequently contain lead paint and chemical plasticizers.Kids can actually absorb these while wearing them.Fake blood is usually made from an unsafe dye in a petroleum base, so avoid it, too.  If you or your kids are the creative type, try whipping some up your own fake blood with cornstarch and beet juice.Cosmetic contact lenses might seem like the perfect way to enhance your costume this year, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology is warning consumers that the nonprescription lenses could do serious damage to your eyes.   Selling such lenses without a prescription is actually illegal,Dangerous because they could cause corneal abrasions (scratches on the cornea, which covers the iris and pupil) and ulcers on the eye, which can then lead to infection (keratitis).         If this happens, the AAO warns that corneal transplants and other eye surgeries might become necessary to prevent blindness. It all could have been avoided if these patients just took a little extra time to obtain a prescription and only wore FDA-approved lenses.Contact lenses should only be worn if they are FDA-approved and prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Be sure to have a dress rehearsal, becoming comfortable in the costume before the event will insure the best performance. Comic-con cosmetic costume dangers July 16, 2019 Jonathan Halvorson Posted: July 16, 2019 Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Refugee shares early impressions of US

first_imgWhen Salih Al Fahham says everything is different in the United States, he means everything.“Life is different. Water is different. The food is different. The trees are different. How you sit, how you walk. Everything is different,” said the Iraqi refugee during a Thursday discussion of refugee resettlement with local social service providers and the public.The host was Lutheran Community Services Northwest, the primary agency working with the government to resettle international refugees in the United States. The discussion, which drew about 25 people, was held at LCSNW’s offices on Main Street in Vancouver.“I love Vancouver,” said Salih, who arrived in the United States with his wife and two children, ages 10 and 5, on Aug. 3. Salih spent the last several years working as a language translator and then a cultural adviser for American troops in Iraq; before that, he said, he was a diesel auto mechanic for 17 years. His English is excellent, so LCSNW asked Salih to describe the feelings and experiences of a new refugee learning about life in the United States.“To start a new chapter of life at my age is not easy,” said the 53 year old, “but it is exciting, too. When we arrived, the first moment when my feet hit American soil, I can’t even describe. America was my dream the whole time. It’s just like a dream come true. It’s late, but I am here. Thank you America and thank you Vancouver,” he said.The stereotype of America that he grew up with is a drunken, crime-ridden nation where people are always shooting each other, he said. But it was Iraq that he fled with his family because of “serious threats,” he said.last_img read more

City Of Kenai Looks At Ways To Continue Summer Ice Activities

first_imgIf approved, Red Line Sports will provide summer ice activities at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facilityduring the months of May through September in exchange for payment of utilities, Zamboni rentaland public skates benefiting the local community. The Kenai City Council will look at a resolution at their meeting on Wednesday on whether or not to award the contract to Red Line Sports in order to continue the summer program. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The City of Kenai has been contracting to provide summer ice at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility during the months of May through September. However, the city’s three year contract to maintain the facility and perform management and administrative services for summer ice ended September 30, 2018. Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander in a letter to the council, the City advertised and solicited other potential interest for managing the facility for summer ice activities. Red Line Sports was the only response to the solicitation for management services. The city in exchange for the payment of utilities the contractor maintains the facility and independently runs certain services including youth camps, tournaments and public skates benefiting the local community.last_img read more

Time Out New York Editor Leaves for Web Startup

first_imgBrian Farnham, editor-in-chief of Time Out New York, is leaving to join an as-yet-unnamed Internet startup company, Time Out New York president and group publisher Alison Tocci announced today.Farnham, who joined TONY in 2006 after working at Details, will be replaced by deputy editor Michael Freidson.“I can’t say much about it right now except that it’s an incredibly big, exciting idea,” Farnham said Tuesday. “It was not an easy decision to leave TONY and a job I have absolutely loved, but this was a chance to do what [Time Out founder] Tony Elliott did 40 years ago—create something out of nothing and really put your stamp on it.” In a short time under Farnham, the weekly magazine’s audience appears to have gotten younger. TONY readers have a median age of 33.8 and a median household income of $93,000 per year, according to a Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI) survey conducted this month.In 2005, MRI reported TONY readers had a median age of 38 and a median household income of $103,000. Part of the shift could be due to Farnham’s willingness to push the envelope. During the 2007 American Magazine Conference, he told a roomful of high profile magazine executives that he had one goal in mind when putting together the 2007 sex issue, his second as editor: Cancelled subscriptions.”If you do a sex issue and no one cancels, you’re probably not doing your job,” Farnham said.last_img read more

Amid Fake News Magazines Can Offer Credibility Safer Ad Environments Argues New

first_imgClick to enlarge.The fast-paced nature of the digital media cycle (and subsequent marginalization of simple fact checking and copy editing) has raised legitimate questions about outlets placing expediency and traffic surges above taking the time to get things right — yesterday’s wave of premature reports about the death of singer Tom Petty was only the latest example.This phenomenon, coupled with rising paranoia among consumers and marketers around fake news and brand-safe environments, respectively, provides a unique opportunity for trusted and established media brands such as national magazines.At least, that’s the central message of the latest marketing campaign undertaken by the MPA — the Association of Magazine Media. Beginning this month, 123 of the country’s most prominent magazines will lend print and digital advertising space to the campaign, titled “Magazine Media. Better. Believe It,” which aims to demonstrate magazine brands’ unmatched ability to inspire and connect with readers, and, of course, create optimal environments for advertisers wary of the digital media ecosystem’s dubious-at-best ROI.The campaign, which runs through March 2018 and also spans the portfolios of Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines, Meredith Corp., Time Inc., and a litany of other major magazine publishers (see the full list below), will reach an estimated 75 percent of all adults in the U.S., according to the MPA, in an attempt to educate them on how “magazine media content is professionally researched, written, curated, and produced across platforms.”“In a media world where three out of four Americans say they have fallen for fake headlines, it is imperative to remind audiences of the tremendous resources that the magazine media industry puts behind its content platforms,” wrote MPA president Linda Thomas Brooks in a LinkedIn post announcing the campaign. “Magazine media content faces intense scrutiny, and in large part that is the secret sauce of these brands.”Underpinning the campaign are findings from Simmons Research, whose 2016 Multi-Media Engagement Study indicated, among other things, that consumers find magazine content more “trustworthy,” “inspirational,” and “life-enhancing” than what they see on TV or online.Click to enlarge.But consumers are hardly the only target audience for the campaign, which also includes a presence at the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing Conference, a three-day gathering of CMO’s and marketing execs from major national brands kicking off this week in Orlando, Florida.“After experiencing often unsafe and ineffective digital inventory as well as questionable results, marketers are turning to magazine brands to cut through the clutter,” wrote Hearst Magazines president Michael Clinton, who oversees 21 of the magazines in which the campaign will run, in a statement.See the full list of participating brands and companies below, and check BelieveMagMedia.com for more on the campaign.Active Interest MediaBackpacker, Better Nutrition, Clean Eating, Climbing, EQUUS, Horse & Rider, Log Home Living, Old House Journal, Power & Motoryacht, Sail, SKI, Yoga Journal The NationNational Geographic PartnersNational Geographic, National Geographic Traveler Condé NastAllure, Architectural Digest, Brides, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Teen Vogue, The New Yorker, Vogue, WIRED Smithsonian MagazineTEN: The Enthusiast NetworkThis Old HouseTime Inc.Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, Food & Wine, Fortune, Health, InStyle, Money, People, People en Español, Real Simple, Southern Living, Sunset, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Travel + Leisure HistoryNetAmerican History, Aviation History, America’s Civil War, Civil War Times, Military History, Military History Quarterly, Vietnam, Wild West, World War II The EconomistForbesGarden & GunHarper’sHearst MagazinesCar and Driver, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Elle, Elle Décor, Esquire, Food Network Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, O The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Town & Country, Veranda, Woman’s Day Bonnier Corp.Field & Stream, Popular Science, Saveur AFAR MediaAmerica MagazineAmerican Media Inc.OK!, Men’s Journal, National Enquirer, US Weeklycenter_img Rodale Inc.Bicycling, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Women’s Health AMG ParadeDécor Group, Gardening Group, New Pioneer, Style Group The Hollywood ReporterInk GlobalAmerican Way, Celebrated Living, Nexos, Rhapsody, United Hemispheres OutsideMeredith Corp.Allrecipes, Better Homes and Gardens, EatingWell, Family Circle, Family Fun, Fit Pregnancy & Baby, Martha Stewart Living, Parents, Rachael Ray Every Day, SHAPE New York MagazineUtne ReaderPride MediaThe Advocate, OUT Today MediaDelaware Today, Hudson Valley Magazine, Main Line Today, Westchester Magazine Trusted Media Brands, Inc.Weight Watchers Magazinelast_img read more

New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Trailer Plays With Old Tech

first_imgMarvel dropped the second official teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Jimmy Kimmel’s show last night, and it’s everything we could’ve hoped for. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released in theaters on May 5th, 2017. We can’t wait!James Gunn knew how badly we wanted to see footage from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that he released a teaser back in October. It was scored with “Hooked on a Feeling” and gave us a glimpse of what we would expect, but only a little bit of Baby Groot and not much regarding the story. This new trailer gave us even more fights, more scenes with the gang, a track from the new mixtape, and of course, more Baby Groot.The two-minute video is backed by “Fox on the Run” by Sweet and shows off some impressive shots, where Drax and the gang look like they’re going up against giant octopi. The visuals look like an upgrade from the last film, with the creators adding even more color and playing around with camera angles. A scene at the end gets into Peter Quill’s tenuous relationship with Gamora while having to deal once again with Drax getting in the way and making things worse.But we’ve watched the trailer about five times now because of Baby Groot, who looks like he’s going to spend a lot of the film being a murderous toddler and a pest to Rocket, who seems to be acting as a surrogate dad. You never let a toddler get that close to a detonation device, even if he’s just as capable at fighting as he was in the last film.We finally get Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet! But will there be more of Yondu and Nebula, and who the main villain is going to be? Will there be more Thanos action since the studio has been teasing him since 2012?!Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released in theaters on May 5th, 2017.last_img read more

Did 40yearold Viking experiment discover life on Mars

first_img Could Curiosity determine if Viking found life on Mars? (Phys.org)—In 1976, two Viking landers became the first US spacecraft from Earth to touch down on Mars. They took the first high-resolution images of the planet, surveyed the planet’s geographical features, and analyzed the geological composition of the atmosphere and surface. Perhaps most intriguingly, they also performed experiments that searched for signs of microbial life in Martian soil. The Viking 1 Lander’s LR results show that, when injected with the nutrient solution, the soil sample exhibited strong radioactivity, indicating metabolism. The control soil sample, which had been heated to kill any microorganisms, had a negative response. Credit: Levin and Straat, 1977, Biosystems. ©Elsevier Citation: Did 40-year-old Viking experiment discover life on Mars? (2016, October 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-10-year-old-viking-life-mars.html Today researchers know much more about Mars than they did 40 years ago. One of the biggest discoveries came in 2014, when the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover detected the presence of organic molecules on Mars for the first time. Over the past two years, Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory has detected methane, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and other organic molecules. Researchers suspect that these organic substances may have formed on Mars or been carried there by meteorites. The discovery of organic matter on Mars raises the question of why the Viking experiment did not detect organic matter back in 1976. As Levin explains, there are multiple reasons that might explain why the Viking results were negative.”We long ago pointed out the problems with the Viking GCMS (gas chromatograph—mass spectrometer),” Levin said. “Even its experimenter, Dr. Klaus Biemann, often stressed that the GCMS was not a life-detection experiment. It required at least one million microbial cells to detect any organic matter. In addition, the instrument had frequently failed when tested on Earth. Later, it was claimed that perchlorate in the soil destroyed the organic matter. However, I view this cautiously as there is no evidence for perchlorate at the Viking sites.”In light of the recent findings, Levin and Straat believe that it’s important to reconsider the LR results as having a biological origin. Other researchers who support this view have proposed that Martian life could take the form of methanogens (microorganisms that produce methane as a byproduct), halophiles (which can tolerate high salt concentrations as well as severe radiation and low oxygen concentrations), or some type of “cryptobiotic” microorganism that lies dormant until reactivated, such as by a nutrient solution like the one in the LR experiment. Publishing challengesPublishing a paper about life on Mars was very different than publishing more typical studies (over the years, Levin’s research has included low-calorie sweeteners, pharmaceutical drugs, safer pesticides, and wastewater treatment processes, among others). It took nearly 20 years for Levin and Straat to publish a peer-reviewed paper on their interpretation of the Viking LR results.”Since I first concluded that the LR had detected life (in 1997), major juried journals had refused our publications,” Levin told Phys.org. “I and my co-Experimenter, Dr. Patricia Ann Straat, then published mainly in the astrobiology section of the SPIE Proceedings, after presenting the papers at the annual SPIE conventions. Though these were invited papers, they were largely ignored by the bulk of astrobiologists in their publications.” These papers are available at gillevin.com. “At a meeting of the Canadian Space Agency, I met Dr. Sherry Cady, the editor of Astrobiology. She invited me to submit a paper for peer review. I did and it was promptly bounced, not even sent out for review because of its life claim.”Pat and I decided we would produce a paper that would withstand the utmost scientific scrutiny. It took years of countless renditions and compliance with or explanation away of a myriad of reviewers’ comments, but we persisted until we disposed of every adverse comment. Thus, we think this publication is quite significant in that it was scrubbed so thoroughly that the points remaining are firmly established.”You may not agree with the conclusion, but you cannot disparage the steps leading there. You can say only that the steps are insufficient. But, to us, that seems a tenuous defense, since no one would refute these results had they been obtained on Earth.” Future outlookFor Levin and Straat, one of the most important reasons for considering the existence of life on Mars is a practical one that may affect future research.”It seems prudent that the scientific community maintain biology as a viable explanation of the LR experimental results,” they write in their paper. “It seems inevitable that astronauts will eventually explore Mars. In the interest of their health and safety, biology should be held in the forefront of possible explanations for the LR results.”Going forward, Levin and Straat propose that carefully designed experiments can help to answer the question of the existence of life on Mars. In particular, LR-type experiments that test for chiral preference could tell whether the metabolizing substance is biological or chemical, since only biological agents can distinguish between left and right isomers. The scientists also emphasize the importance of the continued search for organic molecules, especially those with biological significance such as amino acids, simple carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and DNA. Future experiments may also provide the possibility of examining Martian soil under a microscope. Despite the positive outlook, Levin and Straat note that all future experiments will have an unavoidable drawback: the potential for contamination by previous landers. In this regard, the Viking landers were unique in that they were the only pristine Martian life-detection experiment that we will ever have. Journal information: Astrobiology Explore further Overall, these life-detection experiments produced surprising and contradictory results. One experiment, the Labeled Release (LR) experiment, showed that the Martian soil tested positive for metabolism—a sign that, on Earth, would almost certainly suggest the presence of life. However, a related experiment found no trace of organic material, suggesting the absence of life. With no organic substances, what could be, or seem to be, metabolizing?In the forty years since these experiments, scientists have been unable to reconcile the conflicting results, and the general consensus is that the Viking landers found no conclusive evidence of life on Mars. However, a small minority of scientists argues that the Viking results were positive for life on Mars.One prominent proponent of this view is Gilbert Levin, Experimenter of the Viking LR experiment. At first, Levin thought that the LR results were unclear, and stated merely that the results were consistent with biology. However, in 1997, after many years of further experiments on Earth, along with new discoveries on Mars (which NASA has now declared “habitable”), and the discovery of microorganisms living under conditions on Earth as severe as those on Mars, he and his Viking Co-Experimenter, Dr. Patricia A. Straat, have argued that the Mars results are best explained by living organisms.Recently, Levin and Straat published a perspective piece in the journal Astrobiology in which they reconsider the results of the Viking LR experiment in light of recent findings on Mars and recent proposals for inorganic substances that may mimic the observed metabolism-like processes. They argue that none of the proposed abiotic substances sufficiently explains the Viking results, and that Martian microbes should still be considered as the best explanation of the results. How the Labeled Release experiment workedIn the LR experiment, both the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers collected samples of Martian soil, injected them with a drop of dilute nutrient solution, and then monitored the air above the soil for signs of metabolic byproducts. Since the nutrients were tagged with radioactive carbon-14, if microorganisms in the soil metabolized the nutrients, they would be expected to produce radioactive byproducts, such as radioactive carbon dioxide or methane. More information: Gilbert V. Levin and Patricia Ann Straat. “The Case for Extant Life on Mars and Its Possible Detection by the Viking Labeled Release Experiment.” Astrobiology. October 2016, 16(10): 798-810. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1464 The Viking 2 Lander site, showing frost on the ground. This image was taken by Viking 2 in 1979. Credit: NASA; Viking 2 Lander image P-21873 Before launching the Viking spacecraft, the researchers tested the experimental protocol on a wide variety of terrestrial soils from harsh environments, from Death Valley to Antarctica. In each case, the experiments tested positive for life. Then as a control, the researchers heated the samples to 160 °C to kill all lifeforms, and then retested. In each case, the experiments now tested negative. To further confirm that the experimental procedure would not produce false positives, the researchers tested it on soils known to be sterile, such as those from the Moon and the Surtsey volcanic island near Iceland, which produced negative results as expected. Once on Mars, the LR experiment was performed after the experiment searching for organic molecules came up empty-handed. So it came as a surprise when both Viking landers, located 4,000 miles apart, collected soil that tested positive for metabolism. To rule out the possibility that the strong ultraviolet radiation on Mars might be causing the positive results, the landers collected soil buried underneath a rock, which again tested positive. The control tests also worked, with the 160 °C sterilization control yielding negative results. In addition, it seemed that whatever was doing the metabolizing was relatively fragile, since metabolic activity was significantly reduced when heating the sample to 50 °C, and completely absent when storing the soil in the dark for two months at 10 °C. Levin and Straat believe that these results provide some of the strongest evidence that the soil contained Martian life. Nonbiological candidatesEver since the LR experiments, researchers have been searching for other kinds of nonbiological chemicals that might produce identical results. In their new paper, Levin and Straat review some of these proposals. One possible candidate is formate, which is a component of formic acid found naturally on Earth. A 2003 LR-type experiment found that formate in a soil sample from the Atacama Desert in South America produced a positive result, even though the soil contained virtually no microorganisms. However, the study did not include a sterilization control, and it’s likely that the formate concentration in the Atacama Desert is much higher than that on Mars.Another potential candidate is perchlorate or one of its breakdown products. In 2009, the Phoenix mission to Mars detected perchlorates in the Martian soil. Although perchlorates could yield a positive result because they produce gas when interacting with some amino acids, they do not break down at 160 °C, and so would continue to give positive results after the sterilization control. A 2013 study proposed that cosmic rays and solar radiation can cause perchlorate to break down into hypochlorite, which would produce positive results and, unlike perchlorate, is destroyed by heating at 160 °C. For these reasons, hypochlorite is arguably the best candidate yet to explain the LR results. Nevertheless, Levin and Straat note that hypochlorite has not yet been tested at 50 °C (the temperature at which the activity of the Martian soil was significantly reduced) or after long-term storage in the dark (which produced a negative result for the Martian samples). So at this point, no nonbiological agent has satisfied all of the LR results. Biological candidates © 2016 Phys.org 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

Probability that the quantum world obeys local realism is less than one

first_img More information: Wenjamin Rosenfeld et al. “Event-Ready Bell Test Using Entangled Atoms Simultaneously Closing Detection and Locality Loopholes.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.010402 © 2017 Phys.org (Phys.org)—Physicists have reported some of the strongest evidence yet that that the quantum world does not obey local realism by demonstrating new evidence for the existence of quantum entanglement. By performing an essentially loophole-free Bell test, they have shown that two atoms separated by a distance of a quarter of a mile share correlations that should be impossible under the hypothesis of local realism, and are most likely explained by quantum entanglement. The experiment was performed on the Ludwig Maximilian University campus in Munich, Germany. Trap 1 is located in the basement of the physics building, and trap 2 is in the basement of the economics building, 398 meters away. Credit: Rosenfeld et al. Published by the American Physical Society Stars as random number generators could test foundations of physics The new Bell test was performed by a group of researchers led by Harald Weinfurter at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, both in Germany.The probability that the observed correlations can be explained by local realism due to some unknown “hidden variables” rather than entanglement is less than one in a billion, the physicists write in their paper published in Physical Review Letters. By accounting for all of their accumulated data, taken over the course of seven months, that probability drops even further, down to about one in ten quadrillion (the number 1 followed by 16 zeros). This means that the quantum world violates either locality (that distant objects cannot influence each other in less than a certain amount of time) or realism (that objects exist whether or not someone measures them), or possibly both.Three Bell testsThe test reported here is the latest loophole-free Bell test: one that simultaneously closes the two biggest loopholes, the locality loophole and the detection loophole. Closing both loopholes is vital for excluding any alternative explanations, such as the possibility that two entangled objects are secretly sharing information (locality loophole) or that the particles being detected are not representative of the whole sample but rather form a special subset that skews the data (detection loophole).The first loophole-free Bell test, reported in 2015 by a team led by Ronald Hanson at the University of Delft, demonstrated entanglement between the electron spins of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond. Shortly after, other loophole-free Bell tests reported entanglement between photons. The Bell test reported here demonstrates entanglement between a third type of system: the spin states of atoms. “In my opinion, the greatest significance of this work is the definite ruling out of local realism,” coauthor Wenjamin Rosenfeld, at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, told Phys.org. “It is good that similar experiments were performed with different systems (photons, NV centers) essentially at the same time, so all results together can be taken as truly conclusive. Now it is no more a matter of belief whether nature can or cannot be described in a local-realistic way, but a matter of fact. (However, the freedom-of-choice problem still needs to be solved.)” Experimental setupThe new experiment involved trapping one rubidium atom in the basement of the physics building at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and trapping a second rubidium atom in the basement of the economics building, about 400 meters away. An optical fiber connected the two measurement sites. In their tests, the scientists excited the atoms, causing them to emit photons at precisely defined times. The photons then travelled through the optical fiber and interfered with each other. This quantum interference, in theory, causes the atoms to become entangled. To detect this entanglement, the researchers performed measurements on the photons, repeating the measurements over and over for tens of thousands of photon pairs. The results showed overwhelmingly that the distant photon pairs were indeed entangled.Last loopholeOne of the last remaining possible loopholes for most Bell tests concerns the choice of measurement made on the atoms. Since these measurements can be performed in multiple ways, it’s important to confirm that the experimenter is free to choose which particular measurement to make, and that hidden variables are not influencing the choice of measurement and somehow allowing the atoms to synchronize their properties. This possibility is called the free-will or freedom of choice loophole. To attempt to close this loophole, the researchers used a high-speed quantum random number generator that chooses measurement settings that are truly random—almost. The problem is that there is a very slight possibility that the random number generators could have communicated with each other or the rest of the experiment before the experiment began. This could allow the atoms to know the random numbers, and consequently the measurements to be performed, in advance, allowing them to synchronize their properties. The physicists explain that the only way to completely close this loophole is to use an extraterrestrial random number generator, such as the inherently random photon emission from stars located millions of light-years away. The vast distance between the stars and an Earth-based experiment would make it practically impossible for any covert communication to occur, since it would mean that such communication would have had to take place before the light left the stars, millions of years ago. Several physics labs are currently developing extraterrestrial random number generators for this purpose.Secure communicationSince quantum entanglement is likely to be an important resource in future secure quantum technologies, closing these loopholes helps to increase the security of future applications at the most fundamental level. The researchers expect that the methods used in this study will also contribute to new developments in quantum information systems and quantum repeater networks, which are used for communicating quantum information over long distances. They plan to further investigate this application in the future.”Apart from further fundamental questions considering the freedom-of-choice problematic, there is a lot one can work on here,” Rosenfeld said. “On the one side one can try to push the system further (especially the fidelity of the entangled state) to be able to perform so-called ‘device-independent’ protocols. These would allow to obtain a secure cryptographic key even from devices which are potentially not trusted (provided by a third party). Here, Bell’s inequality provides the possibility to test, whether the devices were somehow prepared in advance to produce a key which is known to an adversary. Moreover, the techniques for generating entanglement between distant objects are important for quantum networks enabling secure communication over long distances.” Journal information: Physical Review Letters Explore further Citation: Probability that the quantum world obeys local realism is less than one in a billion, experiment shows (2017, July 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-07-probability-quantum-world-local-realism.html 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