Category Archives: Science & Space

Defending India’s Space Assets

In an interview to Karan Thapar back in February, 2008 Gen Kapoor had put his faith in detecting any Chinese troop buildup in the Tibetan plateau on satellite surveillance.

Karan Thapar: Just a moment ago you mentioned that their infrastructure allows them to move troops very quickly. Recently the Indian Express reported that with the result of roads and railways, the Chinese can move two divisions amounting to 10,000 troops within a space of 20-25 days. Earlier it would have taken three-six months. Does that worry you a little?

General Deepak Kapoor Well that is a matter of concern, but the fact is that if and when they move, there are also images available through the means of satellite when any such movements take place. So there is ample opportunity for sufficient notice to meet such a challenge, if and when it does arise.

Karan Thapar: So with satellites, you mean that every time China moves troops substantially, you know in advance and you can take counter measures.

General Deepak Kapoor The ability to look deeper across the Line of Actual Control is much greater.[link]

But the fly in the ointment was ofcourse that the Chinese had recently successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Test by shooting down one of their own aging satellites in orbit and there is now an additional risk that during a period of crisis the Chinese might attempt to shoot down any Indian satellites which they deem might give away their troop buildup on the Tibetan plateau or elsewhere.

Now to arm itself against such a scenario the India defence ministry has in a timely manner decided to establish a Space cell to guard India’s space assets.

NEW DELHI: In view of the looming Chinese threat to its communication network and other space assets, India on Tuesday announced the setting up of its Integrated Space Cell (ISC).

The cell is designed to counter the Chinese Military Space Systems that comprises anti-satellite weaponry and a new class of heavy-lift and small boosters acting as catalyst in the next generation satellite warfare system.

The Space Cell will be put under the command of the Integrated Defence Services Headquarters and will act as a single window for integration among the armed forces, the department of space and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Announcing this after inaugurating the two-day Unified Commanders’ Conference in the Capital, defence minister A K Antony on Tuesday expressed concern at the “offensive counter space systems and an improved array of military space systems emerging in our neighbourhood”.[link]

While this is a step in the right direction, India should also seriously consider conducting its own ASAT test as quickly as practicable. That would be a strong deterrent to any adversary against taking potshots at India’s space based assets.

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Happy Birthday Internet!

Today is the 39th Birthday of the Internet.

April 7, 1969: Birth of that thing we call the Internet

 1969: The publication of the first “request for comments,” or RFC, documents paves the way for the birth of the internet.

April 7 is often cited as a symbolic birth date of the net because the RFC memoranda contain research, proposals and methodologies applicable to internet technology were first published on this day. RFC documents provide a way for engineers and others to kick around new ideas in a public forum; sometimes, these ideas are adopted as new standards by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

One interesting aspect of the RFC is that each document is issued a unique serial number. An individual paper cannot be overwritten; rather, updates or corrections are submitted on a separate RFC. The result is an ongoing historical record of the evolution of internet standards.

When it comes to the birth of the net, Jan. 1, 1983, also has its supporters. On that date, the National Science Foundation’s university network backbone, a precursor to the World Wide Web, became operational.

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The Race for the Riches of the Arctic region

As the Earth’s icy north melts due to Global warming the countries around the Arctic ocean make a mad rush to gain control of its natural resources.

Riches Await as Earth’s icy North Melts

The latest report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the ice cap is warming faster than the rest of the planet and ice is receding, partly due to greenhouse gases. It’s a catastrophic scenario for the Arctic ecosystem, for polar bears and other wildlife, and for Inuit populations whose ancient cultures depend on frozen waters.

But some see a lucrative silver lining of riches waiting to be snatched from the deep, and the prospect of timesaving sea lanes that could transform the shipping industry the way the Suez Canal did in the 19th century.

The US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic has as much as 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas. Russia reportedly sees the potential of minerals in its slice of the Arctic sector approaching $2 trillion.

All this has pushed governments and businesses into a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas.

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Humans are Still Evolving

Hope they do better this time.

Human Evolution Still very much On

Hu­man ev­o­lu­tion has been speed­ing up tre­mend­ous­ly, a new study con­tends—so much, that the lat­est ev­o­lu­tion­ary changes seem to large­ly ec­lipse ear­l­ier ones that ac­com­pa­nied mod­ern man’s “ori­gin.”

The stu­dy, along­side oth­er recent re­search on which it builds, amounts to a sweep­ing re­ap­prais­al of tra­di­tion­al views, which tended to as­sume that hu­mans have reached an ev­o­lu­tion­ary end­point.

The find­ings sug­gest that not on­ly is our ev­o­lu­tion con­tin­u­ing: in a sense our very “orig­in” can be seen as on­go­ing, a ge­net­i­cist not in­volved in the study said.

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The Great Global Warming Swindle

Channel 4 of the UK strikes against the Global Warming fundamentalists with a brilliant documentary presenting the views of many reputed climate scientists and experts who are sceptical about the ‘Theory of Man Made Global Warming’.

Also available here

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Filed under Freedom of Speech & Information, General, India and the World, Science & Space, TV/Movies

Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

I just picked up a copy of Richard Dawkins new book ‘The God Delusion’ after reading Atanu Dey’s suggestion to everyone to get a copy before it is banned since the book criticises the monotheistic religions and could very soon get into the cross hairs of votebank politics.

After going through the preface and the first two chapters by now i think that is not likely to happen. Why? Because the book deals with the subject in a very logical manner without any resort to sensationalism or isolating of any particular faith for “special treatment”. Richard Dawkins takes the following view.

I’am not in favour of offending or hurting anyone just for the sake of it.

and makes his stand clear with the following disclaimer.

It is in the light of the unparalled presumption of respect for religion that I make my own disclaimer for this book.I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else.

The book deals with religion as a whole but concentrates much of its analysis of the phenomenon of God according to the views of the monotheistic or the three Abrahmanic faiths- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

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ISRO’s Experimental Space Capsule Returns Successfully

ISRO’s Space Capsule Recovery Experiment(SRE) satellite returned safely to Earth today morning at 9.30 am, after spending nearly 11 days in orbit.

The capsule was part of the four satellite PSLV-C7 launch on January 10, 2007.The 550-kg SRE would help ISRO hone its skills in re-entry, recoverable and re-usable technologies and also had two payloads to conduct certain experiments in micro-gravity.

“(It) landed in the Bay of Bengal … as per schedule. The mission is a great success,” said A. Subramoniam, head of the team that designed and built the capsule at the Indian Space Research Organization.

“This mission is a stepping stone to design and build our very own reusable spacecraft, and eventually (carry out) manned missions into space, too,” he said.

The SRE capsule was subsequently recovered from the Bay of Bengal by the Indian Coastguard.

This successful launch and recovery of an SRE puts India in an elite club led by the United States, Russia, Japan, France and China. The scientists involved in this endeavour deserve our heartiest congragulations on this wonderful achievement.

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