Penguins on treadmill will save the planet! 50 penguins living on the Crozet Islands in the southern Indian Ocean have been fitted with special heart-rate monitors in an experiment to assess global warming by scientists from Birmingham University.
These monitors record each penguin’s heart rate, location, surrounding pressure, water depth, and the temperature at the back of its throat, to point out when it swallows a cold fish.
The experiment will measure the energy used by the birds to find fish to know if they are making longer trips further into the oceans to do so because of the warming waters. And to establish a link between the birds’ heart rates and the energy used, ten penguins were placed on treadmills to measure their heart rates along with their breathing rate.
“No problemo!” is what the Union science and technology Minister of India Kapil Sibal seems to be saying these days. He has suggested solutions for some of the major problems in India. For instance, he recently announced that the country has developed an indigenous technology to convert seawater into drinking water, which was demonstrated near Chennai, and has been used to ease the drinking water problem of 11,000 people in the Lakshadweep islands.
“Water is taken from 200 metres below the sea level (a temperature of 11 degrees Celsius), boiled and condensed to separate the salt from the water,” says Mr. Sibal. In addition, the government will spend around Rs. 1,000 crore on modernisation of the meteorological department, and map 400 cities in five years to identify every single house for social welfare purposes. And all this calls for more funds for research and development. Seems really worth it.
Animals with limbs descended from fish about 365 million years ago. But, this could have been earlier. Primitive fish had the “power” way before! According to University of Chicago researchers, the fish probably had the genetic wiring required to grow hands and feet well before they actually evolved. The researchers studied a paddlefish
Polyodon spathula, one of the most primitive types of fish.
Last year, remains of a creature called Tiktaalik dating back to 375 million years ago was discovered, which had fish-like characteristics, but had a skull, neck, ribs and parts of limbs resembling the first amphibians such as Acanthostega that arose 5 to 10 million years later. This was a major clue. Seems like we humans are not the only ones who do not know how to use their “powers”.
World’s scientists plan to compile everything they know about each and every species on Earth, and put it all on one Web site – open to everyone. This ‘Encyclopedia of Life’ will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers.
And it would fill about 300 million pages! If lined up end-to-end, it would be more than 52,000 miles long – able to go twice around the world at the equator! “It's an interactive zoo,” says its executive director James Edwards. The pages can be adjusted according to the need of the user. Long-gone species like dinosaurs will also be a part of this mega project. All we need to do is wait for about 10 more years for its completion.
Indians are making both ends ‘meat’. We are eating more meat at the expense of traditional source of protein — pulses, says a recent report released by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). This shift, according to some economists, shows the growth of our economy and its spreading benefits, which have altered our food habits.
For example, the number of households that said they ate chicken increased from 9 per cent of all urban households to 27 per cent, while it rose from 7.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent in rural areas. And per capita consumption of pulses declined from 0.76kg in 1993-94 to 0.71kg in 2004-05 in rural areas, and from 0.86kg to 0.82kg in urban India.