first_img20 October 2005An agency that will coordinate South Africa’s efforts to combat climate change was launched at the National Climate Change Conference in Midrand, Johannesburg this week.Minerals and Energy Minister Lindiwe Hendricks told the conference that the move was in line with the Kyoto Protocol, which requires developing countries to establish a designated national authority (DNA) to participate in clean development mechanism (CDM) activities in promoting sustainable development.The CDM is a mechanism established to combat climate change and promote sustainable development, and in the process assist developing countries to meet their sustainable development objectives.South Africa’s new agency will regulate CDM activities in SA, promoting the country to attract investors and project developers.Already, it has received four project design documents from the private sector, one of them being for the Kuyasa Low-Cost Housing Project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, which is registered as the first CDM project in Africa.These projects, if implemented, will help reduce South Africa’s emissions by 21 million tons by 2012 and generate an estimated R618-million from the sale of certified emissions.Hendricks said the effects of climate change on the country’s biodiversity was significant and that regions most affected by prolonged drought cycles would be more vulnerable in coming years.“We run the risk that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren may not be able to enjoy the visual splendor of the fynbos of the Western Cape or the daisies of Namaqualand,” she said.Hendricks said the country’s energy efficiency strategy set out a national target of 12% improvement in energy efficiency by 2014, which would contribute towards a reduction in carbon emissions.The minister said South Africa also needed to look “keenly” at nuclear energy as a means of reducing carbon emissions and meeting the needs of a growing economy.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

first_imgUse an expression to create random movement with the wiggle expression in After Effects. In this post we’ll show you how to create wiggle easily by modifying numbers…not keyframes.Editors sometime cringe at the word expressions, but have no fear.  When you understand them they really aren’t scary and can end up saying you a lot of time.If you’ve ever seen animations where light is flickering or a camera shakes, it’s likely you’ve seen the wiggle expression in action.  Wiggle is one of the most popular After Effects expressions, as it is easy to use and visually interesting.  Instead of creating a bunch of keyframes to make a layer randomly move, we can do this with a couple of numbers.The Wiggle Expression in After EffectsFor this example I created the word ‘wiggle’ from text.  I want the position of this text to wiggle, so select the text layer and hit P to open the Position Transform properties.Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) click on the stopwatch to create the expression. The text turns Red, telling you there is an expression applied.Type wiggle(2,50). This expression states that twice a second the text should wiggle 50 pixels on the x & y axis – the first number is how many times a second, the 2nd is the amount of pixel movement.If you want to modify the wiggle simply change the numbers.  If we had done this with keyframes, every time the client wanted changes we would have to change the keyframes – not fun!Wiggling One DimensionWhat if you want to wiggle just the x or y position? This expression is a little more complicated, but you don’t have to write it.I went to (an online resource for After Effects expressions), and searched for “wiggle one dimension”.  This is the expression they have for ‘wiggle in one dimension’:wiggle only in x (horizontal):org=value; temp=wiggle (5,50); [temp[0],org[1]];Shorthand:[wiggle(5,50)[0],position[1]]wiggle only in y (vertical):org=value; temp=wiggle (5,50); [org[0],temp[1]];Copy this text into your After Effects project and you’re done!For more After Effects expressions check out motion-graphics-exchange and  If you want to learn about creating expressions, check out: JJGifford, MotionScript and Gray Machine.Controlling the Wiggle ExpressionWhat if you don’t want the layer wiggling constantly? A common technique is to add an expressions control to a null layer so we can keyframe the wiggle.  For AE newbies, a null is an object that doesn’t render that we can use to control other layers.We are going to use the null with the original position wiggle we created on the Wiggle text (above).From the Layer Menu select New and then Null Object. Rename the Null “wiggle control” and then apply the effect “Sliders Control” (in the Expressions Controls category). Select the wiggle control layer in the timeline, and type E to reveal the Slider Control effect. Click the twirly for Slider Control to see the stopwatch.Go to the Wiggle text expression and select just the 2. with the 2 selected, click the pickwip (looks like a curly cue), and drag the pick whip to the Slider stopwatch.Pick whip is highlighted in Red:Here is the larger view:We no longer see a wiggle, as the Slider is now controlling how many times a second the text wiggles. Click the stopwatch to create a keyframe at the beginning, then move the playhead further in time and change the amount for the Slider to increase the wiggle.  You can turn on motion blur to enhance the effect.Motion Blur Highlighted in RED (click for larger view):Now you know how to create a wiggle expression in After Effects and how to control it using a null and an expression slider effect – a huge timesaver.What After Effects expressions do you rely on?Share them with us in the comments below!last_img read more

first_imgGagarin nearly died when the rockets didn’t disengage from his capsule after re-entry, making the heat almost fatal.Fifty years ago, a calm, young madman allowed himself to be strapped inside what was most likely to be his metal coffin. As he lay back and had the belts fitted around him, he smiled for the still and movie cameras. Then, once the lid shut on the little tube, the young man became just a voice.’Everything alright?’ They asked him from the outside. ‘ Everything is fine! Let’s go!’ he replied cheerfully. And the people outside pushed the button.LeapThe closest most of us over forty will ever come to feeling the thrust of the huge rockets pushing up is when we are taking off in a small airliner, i.e not very close. The rockets catapulted the young man and his steel container right up against the ceiling of our atmosphere and through it out into space. Reporting calmly through serious g-forces, Yuri Gagarin’s voice is the one we can hear re-assuring his masters at Ground Control instead of the other way around.Everything is fine. I am feeling alert. I am continuing the flight. It’s interesting and beautiful.The ground controllers pressed the various buttons that jettisoned the booster rockets and sent Gagarin into a parabolic pradakshina of the planet. At the highest point of his orbit, Gagarin was as far away from the earth’s surface as Jaipur is from Delhi, roughly 300 km, the closest was about 90 km. Gagarin completed his orbit and his controllers instructed his remaining rockets to slam him back into the earth’s atmosphere.advertisementApparently, Gagarin nearly died when the rockets didn’t disengage from his capsule after re-entry, making the heat almost fatal.Finally, though, the rockets did let go.The capsule was back, flying in what we call air. Gagarin pressed the one important button over which he had control and the lid of the capsule blew open, ejecting him and his parachute at a height of several kilometres. The craft itself was left behind as the first spaceman descended safely back to the Russian steppes.In less than half the time it takes to drive from Delhi to Jaipur, Gagarin had gone around the earth. Before his orbit no one could say for sure what would happen to human bodies in spacecraft outside the bounds of earthly gravity.After the flight we knew that, with proper design and engineering, extremely fit human beings could survive leaving the earth and returning to it.Looking back, there is a contradictory feeling about the whole thing. On the one hand, the flight of the Vostok can be compared to the first fish that tried to use its fins to walk on sand, a major evolutionary step in the developmental story of our species. On the other hand, save the moon landings, there has been no leap comparable to that first flight – it’s as if we are still that first school of fish, unable to stray very far from water, and a long way away from developing proper amphibious characteristics. Unlike us, those pioneering, early- amphibian ancestors of ours didn’t have ( as far as we can tell) any politics, economics, wars or electorates to deal with. It was, literally, each fish for itself, or maybe small groups of them, maybe the rash teenagers, doing their dangerous capers outside the proven safety of water.War There have been many reports, of course, of various American and European lunatics with spaceships ready in their backyards, the galactic equivalents of home- made sports- cars or sail- boats, all ready to fly off, aiming for the moon and points beyond, a bit similar to the way the experiments with early flight worked. Reportedly, so far, the US and other governments have managed to put a stop to these highly expensive suicide bids but who knows, there may come a day when some loony trillionaire might secretly put together a craft that could take him or her for a spectacular joyride.These crazies aside, the business of cosmic exploration remains in the hands of the government space agencies of large and mostly rich nations, which is where the national agendas and contested budgets etc all come in.This brings us to the second set of contradictory feelings. On the one hand, most of us love the idea of someone ( not us, perhaps) soaring away into the starlit darkness, hopefully to come back with treasures, discoveries and stories of the cosmos of which we are a part. The rationalists among us also realise that one day humanity will have no choice but to go and live on other planets, because our species can now make a good guess that this particular tiny rock of ours, even with the best maintenance, actually has an expiry date as far inhabiting it goes. On the other hand, if we examine the history of how Yuri Gagarin came to be on that flight in 1961, a different set of thoughts, anxieties and angers rises up.advertisementShortly after this commemoration we will see the 70th anniversary of the huge Operation Barbarossa, that was launched by the German Wehrmacht against Stalin’s USSR. Then, from 2012 to 2015, will come various seventiethyear memorials of the defeats of that army till its final decapitation in the ruins of Berlin, in 1945. Unlike what the earlier histories of the Second World War tell us, the demise of Hitler’s regime was a messy and chaotic business, the hydraheaded monster of Nazism collapsing surprisingly quickly in places while proving shockingly resistant in others.Not least of the reasons why the supposedly super- systematic Nazi machine met such an unsystematic end was that – even as they struck at Germany’s multiple jugulars – its enemies were divided. For the last year of the War in Europe, the Soviets, the Americans and the British were involved in a fierce and complicated three- way hunting dance ( think the last, triangular showdown in ‘ The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ , with a fatally wounded but still dangerous ‘ Evil’ in the middle). The decisions made by the Soviets and the Allies at that moment would shape our history for the next fifty years.One of the most interesting American mistakes was to let Stalin’s armies reach Berlin first, imagining it was merely a symbolic prize and hoping the Russians would bear the brunt of any last- ditch fanatical resistance in the Nazi capital.Stalin, though, had information that the Germans had stockpiled enriched uranium for their new, experimental atomic device in a laboratory in a Berlin suburb.Stalin wanted Hitler and he wanted to fly the Red flag on the Reichstag but what he wanted most – and got – was this precious component for a nuclear bomb.As the Soviet armies sped west towards the destination that was secret even to their own generals, the team of Nazi scientists who had delivered the lethal V- 1 and V- 2 rockets to Hitler managed to surrender to the Americans speeding eastwards.Bomb America managed to trigger its first nuclear explosion within a couple of months of the fall of Berlin. And then, as we know, by August 1945 they were able to translate those explosions into two nuclear devices that they dropped on Japan, forcing it to surrender. The Russians eventually got their nuclear formula not from the ruins of Nazi Germany but through their spies in the USA and Britain. What they were unable to get, however, was the know- how of the Nazi team of rocket scientists; therefore they had to develop their own rockets to counter the American aeronautical behemoths. The reason why the USA and the USSR were developing powerful rockets was that it was the safest way to deliver a huge bomb upon an enemy on the other side of the planet.advertisementSpace exploration came to both countries as a spinoff of this endeavour, almost as an unrealised bonus. Now, if you twin Gagarin’s flight and Armstrong’s landing on the moon with the trillions of dollars that went into developing and making nuclear bombs and if, for a moment, you fantasise about what might have happened if this money had been spent in developing humanity as a whole, you might find yourself thinking that this April could have done just as well for the first human space flight from a healthy and peaceful planet. That might have been interesting and beautiful too.last_img read more

first_img High-Flying Electrons May Provide New Test of Quantum Theory ( — When Enrico Fermi investigated the Rydberg atom in the ’30s, he never imagined that the giant atoms could form molecules. Later, in the ’70s and ’80s, theoretical physicist Chris Greene predicted that Rydberg molecules could exist. But it wasn’t until recent advancements in ultracold physics that such an observation has been made possible. A recent study now shows that the Rydberg molecule can be created in the lab, and its observation supports decades of theory. Explore further In a paper published in Nature, scientists from the University of Stuttgart in Germany and the University of Oklahoma in the US explain how they have created Rydberg molecules with a calculated lifetime of 18 microseconds. Their Rydberg molecule consists of two rubidium atoms, one a Rydberg atom and one a groundstate atom. Connected by a very weak chemical bond, the two atoms are separated by about 100 nm (several thousand Bohr radii), which makes them much farther apart than atoms in most other molecules.As opposed to groundstate atoms, Rydberg atoms are excited atoms that have one electron in an outermost orbit very far from the nucleus (a state with a very high principal quantum number). For this reason, Rydberg atoms are large and can exhibit unusually long-range interactions. For example, scientists have previously investigated the bonding of two Rydberg atoms, which occurs across very large internuclear distances.In the current study, the scientists investigated a different bonding interaction, which occurs between a Rydberg electron and a groundstate atom. As the researchers explain, this bond arises from the low-energy scattering of the Rydberg electron with the negative scattering length from a groundstate atom when the atoms are at a specific location within the Rydberg electron wavefunction. To observe these giant molecules, the researchers prepared a magnetically trapped sample of ultracold rubidium atoms. As the rubidium cloud cooled, the atoms in the gas moved closer together. At temperatures close to absolute zero (-273°C), the atoms’ nuclei were separated by the critical distance of 100 nanometers. The researchers then excited some of the atoms to the Rydberg state with a laser. “If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule,” said Vera Bendkowsky of the University of Stuttgart, lead author of the study. Using spectroscopic techniques, the researchers could investigate these exotic molecular states, such as determining the 18-microsecond lifetime of the molecules. The experimental results agree well with predictions, confirming long-held fundamental atomic theories. Based on the results of their spectroscopic characterization, the scientists predict that other states could be realized and investigated in the near future. One possibility is the realization of “trilobite molecules,” which are bound states involving a Rydberg electron with large angular momentum.More information: Vera Bendkowsky, Bjorn Butscher, Johannes Nipper, James P. Shaffer, Robert Low & Tilman Pfau. “Observation of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules.” Nature, Vol 458, 23 April 2009, doi:10.1038/nature07945.via: BBC News© 2009 Citation: Scientists Make First Observation of Unique Rydberg Molecule (2009, April 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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. Johannes Rydberg, the physicist whom the Rydberg atom is named after. Credit: AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, W. F. Meggers Collection. last_img read more

first_imgIn a suspected inter-caste violence case in which two Dalit kids were burnt alive, the state administration arrested four accused out of 11 and suspended four police officials who were in charge of the situation in the Sunped village of Faridabad district.On Tuesday morning a few people of one community allegedly set fire to the home of a Dalit family killing Vaibhav (2) and Divya (nine-months-old) and causing serious burn injuries to their mother Rekha.According to the information received from a state government spokesperson — Balwant, Dharam Singh, Kartar and Guddu have been detained out of the 11 accused. All these four detained accused belong to the influential Balu Rajput camp in Sunped village in Faridabad district. The police also suspended four policemen who were amongst the seven police personnel who were deployed with the victims’ family for security. The four policemen included police officers of different ranks. Inspector Anil Kumar, OC of  Sadar Ballagbarh police station was suspended for dereliction of duties. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportConstables Bali Mohammed, Vikas and Sandeep have been placed under suspension for showing laxity as they failed to protect the victims as they were deployed for the security of the victims’ family. Till now, nineteen persons have been booked for the triple murder in 2014 of the three members of Jitender’s family. Sources also reveal that Balwant’s relatives could be the other accused responsible for the incident as Jitender (father of the two kids) and Balwant have been having clashes between them since October 2014. It also came to light that this bitter rivalry between the Rajput Balu family and the Dalit Lajli camp have been on since three decades.last_img read more