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Second run wasn't possible, says R Ashwin


So, what was your approach in the last half-an-hour?

It kept changing all the time. When Virat was at the crease, he was looking for the shots and my job was to give to give him company. Once he got out, the scenario changed. I was expectingIshant to play out the penultimate over, but that didn't happen. The final over, with three to get, was really a tensed affair and my first job was to ensure that we didn't lose the match.

But why didn't you run just run for the second run off the last ball?

As I finished the first run, I saw the ball crossing over my head. I knew that there was no way I could reach the other end on time. So I put the bat in, completed the first run properly, and made an effort for the second. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to reach the other end.

Does it hurt that you haven't ended on the winning side after such a brilliant Test match?

We have given it our best. It would have been fantastic if we had ended on a winning note, but then, I will take that. The final day's action was really out of the top draw.

It was an excellent morning session when you and Pragyan Ojha ran through West Indies. Did you think the game could on its head like this?

We had decided to stick to our task. There was something for us in the wicket on the final day and we complemented each other well. Pragyan got the first five and I chipped in with a few in the back end. We have bowled well together in this series and will look forward to doing it in the future as well.

You showed your batting talents on Friday with a wonderful century. Will you be considering yourself as an all-rounder from now on?

I work on my batting very hard and try to keep improving all the time. But I am not interested in tags. My job is to contribute to the team's cause and I am happy doing that.

Twenty-two wickets in three Tests, you must be on the top of the world right now?

This series has been quite wonderful and it's yet to sink in. But this is only the beginning of the journey and I don't want to take anything for granted.

Australia in Australia will be a different kettle of fish altogether. Are you looking forward to leading the spin attack there?

Before that, there are five ODIs against West Indies and I am concentrating on that for the moment. I know the Australian series will be a challenge, but I will take it as it comes.

Courtesy : TOI

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Cricketer's Rating : Based on Recent Tour


Two handsome wins and a thrilling draw against West Indies later, MS Dhoni and company seem to have left the nightmares of the England tour behind. Here is the review of the performances of each Indian player during the current series... 

R Ashwin (9/10):
 Player of the series and find of the year. A century and two five wicket hauls with a total of 22 wickets in three Tests. What more could one ask from a rookie off-spinner playing his first Test series. 

Pragyan Ojha (8/10): 
Bowled with cunning and confidence. It's a pleasure watching him flight the ball and beating batsmen sometimes in the air, sometimes off the pitch. His superb spell of six for 72 in the first innings at Kotla put India on the winning track. Overall haul 20 wickets. And yes, don't forget the 14 balls he defended to help Ashwin get his ton. 

Virat Kohli (8/10):
 The Delhi youngster earned his spurs, especially with that wonderful 63 that almost won India the Test. Not a finished article yet but his temperament is proven. 

Umesh Yadav (8/10):
 Deserved to win the man of the match in second Test for bowling his heart out and ending up with a match figure of seven for 103 in placid Eden Gardens. Whips up decent pace with his fluent, clean action. Could be a long distance horse if he keeps improving. 

VVS Laxman (7.5/10):
 His unbeaten 58 was a valuable assist in India's victory at Kotla. And his monumental 176 was pivotal to India's formidable total at Eden. 

Rahul Dravid (7.5/10):
 Solid as a rock and good as gold. With scores of 54, 31, 119, 82 and 33 - he continues to be India's batsman No.1. One only hopes he continues in the same vein in Australia. 

Virender Sehwag (7/10):
 In five innings, the Nawab of Najafgarh's highest score is 60, the lowest being 37. In between he has 55, 55 and 38 to his name. Which means he has recovered form but is not concentrating hard enough. His half-centuries in the Kotla Test, though, was crucial to the team's hard-fought win. The good news is that he is completely fit after the shoulder surgery. 

Sachin Tendulkar (7/10): 
Kept the nation waiting for that elusive 100th ton again. His dismissal at 94 was one of the saddest moments of the series. His classy 76 in the second innings at Kotla was key to India's win. 

MS Dhoni (7/10):
 Failed with the bat barring a powerpacked 144 off 175 balls which ensured that India had plenty of time to bowl out the oppositiontwice in the second Test. More importantly, rediscovered wicket-keeping form and effected a couple of smart stumpings. Led calmly and admirably from the front. 

Varun Aaron (6.5/10):
 Nice to see a young Indian pacer bowl regular at 140 kph even at heartless Wankhede. Will be a decent back-up in Australia. 

Gautam Gambhir (6/10):
 The other Delhi opener too showcased a range of middling knocks that promised much more than they finally delivered. Was unlucky to be given out on 55 when he was looking good in the first innings at Wankhede. Should resist tendency to be over-aggressive. 

Ishant Sharma (5.5/10):
 Gets full mark for effort with the ball, and for his gritty lower-order batting act. Now he needs to bowl more often at the stumps and get some wickets too. Five wickets in 109 overs isn't good enough. 

Yuvraj Singh (3/10):
 Looked out of sorts: short of confidence. Scores of 23, 18 and 25 could have got him another chance in 1970s, not these days. The tumour in his left lung perhaps played on his mind.

Courtesy : TOI

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Ancient Environment Led To Earth's Current Marine Biodiversity


Changes in global carbon, sulfur cycles and to sea-level fueled biological responses.

Fossil snails known as turritellid gastropods; they're about 13 million years old.
Credit: Shanan Peters

Much of our knowledge about past life has come from the fossil record, but how accurately does that record reflect the true history and drivers of biodiversity on Earth?

"It's a question that goes back a long way to the time of Darwin, who looked at the fossil record and tried to understand what it tells us about the history of life," says Shanan Peters, a geoscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In fact, the fossil record can tell us a great deal, Peters says in results of a new study.

In a paper published this week in the journal Science, he and colleague Bjarte Hannisdal of the University of Bergen in Norway show that the evolution of marine life over the past 500 million years has been driven by both ocean chemistry and sea-level changes.

Sedimentary rocks in the Grand Canyon, Arizona; they reflect patterns of long-ago seas.
Credit: Shanan Peters

"These results tell us that the number of species in the oceans through time has been influenced by the amount and availability of carbon, oxygen and sulfur, and by sea level," says Lisa Boush, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.

"The study allows us to better understand how modern changes in the environment might affect biodiversity today--and in the future."

The time period studied covers most of the Phanerozoic eon, which extends to the present and includes the evolution of most plant and animal life.

Hannisdal and Peters analyzed fossil data from the Paleobiology Database, along with paleoenvironmental proxy records and data on the rock record.

These data reflect ancient global climates, tectonic movements, continental flooding and changes in biogeochemistry, especially in Earth's oxygen, carbon and sulfur cycles.

The scientists used a method called information transfer, which allowed them to identify causal relationships, not just general associations, between biodiversity and environmental proxy records.

Horn corals about 450 million years old; they're often found in the fossil record.
Credit: Shanan Peters

"We find an interesting web of connections between these different systems, which combine to drive what we see in the fossil record," Peters says.

For example, marine biodiversity is closely related to the sulfur cycle, says Peters. The "signal" from sea-level--how much the continents are covered by shallow seas--is also important in the history of marine animal diversity, the researchers found.

The dramatic changes in marine biodiversity seen in the fossil record, Peters says, "likely arose through biological responses to changes in the global carbon and sulfur cycles, and to sea level, through geologic time."

Rocks in present-day Montana record the comings and goings of former shallow seas.
Credit: Shanan Peters

Despite its incompleteness, the fossil record is a good representation of marine biodiversity over the past half-billion years, the scientists believe.

The findings also emphasize the interconnectedness of Earth's physical, chemical and biological processes.

A succession of sedimentary rocks from ancient shallow seas, exposed now in Montana.
Credit: Shanan Peters
"Earth systems are all connected," says Peters. "It's important to realize that when we perturb one thing, we're not just affecting that one thing.

"The challenge is understanding how that perturbation of one thing, for example, the carbon cycle, will affect the future biodiversity of the planet."

Contacts and sources:
National Science Foundation

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Researchers Reduce Smart Phones Power Consumption By More Than 70 Percent


Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have designed a network proxy that can cut the power consumption of 3G smart phones up to 74 percent. This device enhances performance and significantly reduces power usage by serving as a middleman for mobile devices to connect to the Internet and handling the majority of the data transfer for the smart phone. Historically, the high energy requirements of mobile phones have slowed the adoption of mobile Internet services in developing countries.

- This new solution is particularly valuable in developing countries because it provides significantly more effective Internet access to a much larger number of people. At the moment, only a small percent can access the Internet from a wired connection, but 90 percent of the African population lives in areas with mobile phone network coverage. Mobile phone usage is increasing rapidly, however the use of mobile Internet services is hindered by users not having access to the power grid to recharge their phones", says Professor Jukka Manner from Aalto University.

The case study conducted at Aalto University examined Internet usage in three East African countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Researchers developed energy-saving solutions for smart phones that could be easily deployed across a mobile network and in particular in areas without reliable sources of electricity. In addition to the new, optimized proxy solution, the researchers found that the power consumption of smart phones could also be significantly reduced by mobile optimized websites, HTTP compression and more efficient use of data caching.

The study was published at the scientific conference Africomm 2011. The research began in the Future Internet research program of TIVIT and funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The work has been continued in the ECEWA project funded by Tekes, with partners from European Communications Engineering Ltd, Efore Plc, Ericsson, Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology.
Contacts and sources:
Aalto University

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Transplanted Cells Repair The Brain – In Obese Mice


Without neurons reacting to the blood leptin level, the brain does not control the feeling of hunger and fullness. This type of genetic defects results in severe obesity in humans and animals. Scientists from Harvard University (HU), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Nencki Institute) in Warsaw have demonstrated in their experiments on mice that it is possible to restore brain functions by transplantation of small numbers of new neurons into the damaged area of the brain.

Transplantation of small numbers of new neurons into the damaged area of the brain restores its functions. Dr. Artur Czupryn from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.
Source: Nencki Institute, Grzegorz Krzy┼╝ewski 

“A spectacular effect in the brain repair that we were able to achieve was significantly reduced weight of genetically defective obese mice and further significant reduction of adverse symptoms accompanying diabetes”, says Dr. Artur Czupryn (Nencki Institute, HU, MGH), first author of a paper published in the latest issue of “Science”.

Already for some time medicine has attempted to repair damaged brain fragments through transplants of stem cells. These interventions are risky. Transplanted cells often develop in an uncontrolled manner, which frequently leads to cancer.

The aim of the research carried out for the past five years at HU, MGH and the Nencki Institute was to show that transplantation of small numbers of cells could restore the missing neuronal circuits and restore the lost brain functions. Genetically defective mice, deficient in leptin receptor, have been used in these experiments. Leptin is a protein secreted from cells of the fat tissue into the blood when eating. When it reaches the hypothalamus, it reacts with specific neurons and its presence or its low level cause the feeling of fullness or hunger, respectively. Leptin receptor deficient mice do not know the feeling of fullness. They weigh up to twice more than healthy individuals and suffer from advanced diabetes.

The team from Harvard University and Nencki Institute focused on the transplants of immature neurons (neuroblasts) and progenitors, which are specific stem cells with already determined developmental direction. Cells isolated from small regions of developing embryonic brains of healthy mice were used for transplantations. Thus, the probability increased that cells introduced into recipients’ brains will transform into neurons or accompanying glial cells.

Millions of cells are usually transplanted. In this project, however, scientists injected a suspension of barely several thousand progenitors and neuroblasts into the hypothalamus of mice. About 300 nanolitres of cell suspension was injected into the mouse hypothalamus in the course of low invasive method – by a thin micropipette with a diameter only several times larger than individual cells.

“The suspension was introduced into strictly defined region of the hypothalamus of mice, measuring about 200-400 micrometres in length. We were able to locate it thanks to unique high-frequency ultrasound microscopic guidance available at Harvard University. It allowed us to carry out complex non-invasive microtransplants with unprecedented precision, because we were able to carry out high resolution imaging of both the brain structures as well as the introduced micropipette”, says Dr. Czupryn.

All transplanted cells have been marked with a fluorescent protein, which made possible to follow them in the recipients’ brains. Observations carried out 20 or more weeks after the procedure have shown that almost half of transplanted cells transformed into neurons with typical morphology, producing proteins characteristic for normal neurons. By applying sophisticated research techniques, it was possible to demonstrate that the entire range of missing types of neurons was restored in the brain centre for controlling hunger and fullness. Moreover, the new neurons have already formed synapses and communicated with other neurons in the brain, as well as reacted properly to changes in levels of leptin, glucose, and insulin.

The final proof for restoration of proper functioning of the hypothalamus in mice was brought by measurements of body weight and blood metabolic factors. Unlike control population of genetically defective obese mice, the weight of mice with transplanted neurons resembled normal weight. Reversal of unfavourable changes of the blood metabolic parameters has also been observed.

“Many attempts have been described in the literature to date of transplanting cells into the brain. We have shown that a really small transplant of neuroblasts and progenitors was able to reconstitute damaged brain areas and influence the whole organism. We have shown that it is possible to introduce new neurons, which function properly, integrate well into the recipient nervous tissue and restore missing brain functions. Moreover this method turned out to be low invasive and safe, since it did not lead to tumour formation”, sums up Dr. Czupryn.

Results achieved by the group from Harvard University and the Nencki Institute define a promising research direction, which could lead to the development of new repair therapies. This novel method could help, for example, eliminate the effects of stroke or improve the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, which is associated with dysfunction within a defined brain area. Scientists emphasize however that long years of experiments, research, and tests are needed before therapies based on their ideas end up in the clinics and hospitals.


Contacts and sources:
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology 

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Going Deep Sea Fishing? We Have For 42,000 Years


An archaeologist from The Australian National University has uncovered the world’s oldest evidence of deep sea fishing for big fish, showing that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had mastered one of our nation’s favourite pastimes.

Yellowfin Tuna
Credit: Wikipedia

Professor Sue O’Connor of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU, also found the world’s earliest recorded fish hook in her excavations at a site in East Timor. The results of this work are published in the latest issue of Science.

The finds from the Jerimalai cave site demonstrate that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had high-level maritime skills, and by implication the technology needed to make the ocean crossings to reach Australia.

“The site that we studied featured more than 38,000 fish bones from 2,843 individual fish dating back 42,000 years,” said Professor O’Connor.

Many caves and rockshelter - such as Jerimalai - are located in the uplifted Pleistocene limestone terraces at the east end of East Timor.
Credit: ANU

“What the site in East Timor has shown us is that early modern humans in Island Southeast Asia had amazingly advanced maritime skills. They were expert at catching the types of fish that would be challenging even today – fish like tuna. It’s a very exciting find.”

Professor O’Connor also uncovered the world’s oldest fish hook, which dates from a later period.

“We found a fish hook, made from a shell, which dates to between 23,000 and 16,000 years ago. This is, we believe, the earliest known example of a fish hook and shows that our ancestors were skilled crafts people as well as fishers. The hooks don’t seem suitable for pelagic fishing, but it is possible that other types of hooks were being made at the same time.”

What’s still unknown is how these ancient people were able to catch these fast-moving deep-ocean fish.

“It’s not clear what method the occupants of Jerimalai used to capture the pelagic fish or even the shallow water species. But tuna can be caught in purse seines or leader nets, or by using hooks and trolling. Simple fish aggregating devices such as tethered logs can also be used to attract them. So they may have been caught using hooks or nets. Either way it seems certain that these people were using quite sophisticated technology and watercraft to fish offshore,” said Professor O’Connor.

She added that this may shed light on how Australia’s first inhabitants arrived on the continent.

“We have known for a long time that Australia’s ancient ancestors must have been able to travel hundreds of kilometres by sea because they reached Australia by at least 50,000 years ago. We also know that they used boats because Australia was separated from Southeast Asia by ocean throughout the human time span. When we look at the watercraft that Indigenous Australians used at the time of European contact, however, they are all very simple, like rafts and canoes. So how people got here at such an early date has always been puzzling. These new finds from Jerimalai cave go a long way to solving the puzzle,” said Professor O’Connor.

Contacts and sources:

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Save the Indian Rupee!*







YOU CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE TO THE INDIAN ECONOMY BY FOLLOWING FEW SIMPLE STEPS:-


Please spare a couple of minutes here for the sake of India.


I got this article from one of my friend s , but it's true. I can see this in day to day life.


Here's a small example:-


Before 12 months 1 US $ = IND Rs 39
After 12 months, now 1 $ = IND Rs 50


Do you think US Economy is booming? No, but Indian Economy is Going Down.


Our economy is in your hands....


INDIAN economy is in a crisis. Our country like many other ASIAN countries, is undergoing a severe economic crunch. Many INDIAN industries are closing down. The INDIAN economy is in a crisis and if we do not take proper steps to control those, we will be in a critical situation.


More than 30,000 crore rupees of foreign exchange are being siphoned out of our country on products such as cosmetics, snacks, tea, beverages, etc... which are grown, produced and consumed here.


A cold drink that costs only 70 / 80 paisa to produce, is sold for Rs.9 and a major chunk of profits from these are sent abroad. This is a serious drain on INDIAN economy.


We have nothing against Multinational companies, but to protect our own interestsm we request everybody to use INDIAN products only atleast for the next two years. With the rise in petrol prices, if we do not do this, the Rupee will devalue further and we will end up paying much more for the same products in the near future.


What you can do about it?


1. Buy only products manufactured by WHOLLY INDIAN COMPANIES.
2. ENROLL as many people as possible for this cause.....


Each individual should become a leader for this awareness. This is the only way to save our country from severe economic crisis. You don't need to give-up your lifestyle. You just need to choose an alternate product.


All categories of products are available from WHOLLY INDIAN COMPANIES.


LIST OF PRODUCTS


COLD DRINKS :-


DRINK LEMON JUICE, FRESH FRUIT JUICES, CHILLED LASSI (SWEET OR SOUR), BUTTER MILK, COCONUT WATER, JAL JEERA, ENERJEE, and MASALA MILK...


INSTEAD OF COCA COLA, PEPSI, LIMCA, MIRINDA, SPRITE


BATHING SOAP :-
USE CINTHOL & OTHER GODREJ BRANDS, SANTOOR, WIPRO SHIKAKAI, MYSORE SANDAL, MARGO, NEEM, EVITA, MEDIMIX, GANGA , NIRMA BATH & CHANDRIKA


INSTEAD OF LUX, LIFEBUOY, REXONA, LIRIL, DOVE, PEARS, HAMAM, LESANCY, CAMAY, PALMOLIVE


TOOTH PASTE :-
USE NEEM, BABOOL, PROMISE, VICO VAJRADANTI, PRUDENT, DABUR PRODUCTS, MISWAK


INSTEAD OF COLGATE, CLOSE UP, PEPSODENT, CIBACA, FORHANS, MENTADENT .


TOOTH BRUSH : -
USE PRUDENT, AJANTA , PROMISE


INSTEAD OF COLGATE, CLOSE UP, PEPSODENT, FORHANS, ORAL-B


SHAVING CREAM :-
USE GODREJ, EMAMI


INSTEAD OF PALMOLIVE, OLD SPICE, GILLETE


BLADE :-
USE SUPERMAX, TOPAZ, LAZER, ASHOKA


INSTEAD OF SEVEN-O -CLOCK, 365, GILLETTE


TALCUM POWDER :-
USE SANTOOR, GOKUL, CINTHOL, WIPRO BABY POWDER, BOROPLUS


INSTEAD OF PONDS, OLD SPICE, JOHNSON'S BABY POWDER, SHOWER TO SHOWER


MILK POWDER :-
USE INDIANA, AMUL, AMULYA


INSTEAD OF ANIKSPRAY, MILKANA, EVERYDAY MILK, MILKMAID.


SHAMPOO :-
USE LAKME, NIRMA, VELVETTE


INSTEAD OF HALO, ALL CLEAR, NYLE, SUNSILK, HEAD AND SHOULDERS, PANTENE


MOBILE CONNECTIONS :-
USE BSNL, AIRTEL


INSTEAD OF HUTCH


Food Items :-
Eat Tandoori chicken, Vada Pav, Idli, Dosa, Puri, Uppuma


INSTEAD OF KFC, MACDONALD'S, PIZZA HUT, A&W


Every INDIAN product you buy makes a big difference. It saves INDIA. Let us take a firm decision today.


BUY INDIAN TO BE INDIAN - We are not against of foreign products.


WE ARE NOT ANTI-MULTINATIONAL. WE ARE TRYING TO SAVE OUR NATION. EVERY DAY IS A STRUGGLE FOR A REAL FREEDOM. WE ACHIEVED OUR INDEPENDENCE AFTER LOSING MANY LIVES.
THEY DIED PAINFULLY TO ENSURE THAT WE LIVE PEACEFULLY. THE CURRENT TREND IS VERY THREATENING.


MULTINATIONALS CALL IT GLOBALIZATION OF INDIAN ECONOMY. FOR INDIANS LIKE YOU AND ME, IT IS RE-COLONIZATION OF INDIA. THE COLONIST'S LEFT INDIA THEN. BUT THIS TIME, THEY WILL MAKE SURE THEY DON'T MAKE ANY MISTAKES.


WHO WOULD LIKE TO LET A "GOOSE THAT LAYS GOLDEN EGGS" SLIP AWAY?


PLEASE REMEMBER: POLITICAL FREEDOM IS USELESS WITHOUT ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE


RUSSIA, S.KOREA, MEXICO - THE LIST IS VERY LONG!! LET US LEARN FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE AND FROM OUR HISTORY. LET US DO THE DUTY OF EVERY TRUE INDIAN.


FINALLY, IT'S OBVIOUS THAT YOU CAN'T GIVE UP ALL OF THE ITEMS MENTIONED ABOVE. SO GIVE UP AT LEAST ONE ITEM FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COUNTRY!


"LITTLE DROPS MAKE A GREAT OCEAN."


PLEASE TRY TO BE AN INDIAN.....

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Unachievable Bridge Denmark to Sweden


Connecting Denmark and Sweden are the largest road and bridge-tunnel in Europe. He crosses the Oresund Strait separating Denmark from Sweden, close to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, the Swedish city of Malmo.

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The construction of the Oresund bridge opened in 1995 and ended on August 14, 1999. On July 1, 2000, Queen Margret he II of Denmark accession King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at the official opening. When first opened, the volume of traffic was lower than predicted. It just started in 2005 to accelerate as more Danes working in Copenhagen, began buying houses in Malmo, where the price of housing is lower. Since 2006, the toll is 290 SEK and DKK 235, equivalent to 32 euros for a single trip, with up to 75% discount for regular commuters. A train ride across the bridge costs SEK 90.
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Superstar RAJNIKANTH as Conductor, Rare Photos





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Spotted Horses 25K years before!!!


About 25,000 years ago, humans began painting a curious creature on the walls of European caves. Among the rhinos, wild cattle, and other animals, they sketched a white horse with black spots. Although such horses are popular breeds today, scientists didn't think they existed before humans domesticated the species about 5000 years ago. Now, a new study of prehistoric horse DNA concludes that spotted horses did indeed roam ancient Europe, suggesting that early artists may have been reproducing what they saw rather than creating imaginary creatures.

Archeologists have found more than 100 painted caves depicting at least 4000 animals in Europe, nearly all of them concentrated in southern France and northern Spain. They include France's Chauvet Cave, dated to at least 32,000 years ago and featuring the earliest known cave art, as well as the roughly 15,000-year-old caves of Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain. Nearly a third of the animals in painted caves are horses; and nearly all of the horses are rendered in brown or black, similar to the bay or black colors of today's horses.

But a small number of caves, including 25,000-year-old Pech Merle in southern France, feature horses painted white with black spots. Some archaeologists have argued that this leopardlike pattern was fanciful and symbol laden rather than realistic. Indeed, in a 2009 analysis of DNA from the bones of nearly 90 ancient horses dated from about 12,000 to 1000 years ago, researchers found genetic evidence for bay and black coat colors but no sign of the spotted variety, suggesting that the spotted horse could have been the figment of some artist's imagination. Although researchers can only speculate on what prehistoric artists were trying to express, hypotheses range from shamanistic and ritualistic activities to attempts to capture the spirit of horses and other animals that ancient humans hunted.
But in a new paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the same team reports finding that spotted horses did indeed exist around the time that cave artists were doing their best work. The researchers, led by geneticists Arne Ludwig of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin and Michael Hofreiter of the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed DNA from an older sample of 31 prehistoric horses from Siberia as well as Eastern and Western Europe, ranging from about 20,000 to 2200 years ago. They found that 18 of the horses were bay, seven were black, but six had a genetic variant—called LP—that corresponds to leopardlike spotting in modern horses. Moreover, out of 10 Western European horses estimated to be about 14,000 years old, four had the LP genetic marker, suggesting that spotted horses were not uncommon during the heyday of cave painting.
If so, the team argues, prehistoric artists may have been drawing what they saw rather than creating imaginary creatures. Prehistoric horses came in at least "three coat color[s]," Ludwig says, "and exactly these three [colors] are also seen in cave paintings. Cave art is more realistic than often suggested."

As for why the spotted phenotype became more rare after 14,000 years ago, the team points out that some modern horse breeds with two copies of the LP gene suffer from night blindness, which would have made prehistoric horses more vulnerable to predators. The researchers speculate that the gene might have been beneficial during the ice age, when a white spotted coat could serve as camouflage in snowy conditions, but later became rare and disadvantageous until rediscovered by modern horse breeders.
Jean Clottes, France's premier cave art expert, agrees that cave artists may have painted horses as they saw them, although he argues that such realistic depictions of horses do not rule out possible symbolic meanings. "In [cave] art you find both naturalism and a departure from it," Clottes says. In the case of the Pech Merle spotted horse, for example, he points out that "the big dots were not only on top of the horses but all around them. This would probably mean that some special importance was attached to the dots rather than a simple wish to render them realistically."
Marsha Levine, an expert in prehistoric horses at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, also thinks that the symbolic aspects of cave painting cannot be shunted aside. "Horses have potent symbolic meanings in all the cultures where they are found, including ours."

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The 10 Most Valuable Author Signatures Of All Time

Great stories are timeless, and along with their stories, authors become virtually immortal, living on through their tomes as each new generation enjoys them. Few authors ever achieve celebrity status, but those who do most certainly stand out. Young students may not be able to name all of his plays, but they know who Shakespeare is, and even if you've only seen the movie edition of Great Expectations, you must know how important Charles Dickens and his works are. Although stories live on long after the death of their authors, as their creators, authors hold the ideas and inspiration behind great stories. And for book fans, it's as if they are the magical spark behind their favorite characters, love affairs, and fictional cities that they have come to adore.

The love of fans, and the value of great stories is the reason that author signatures hold so much value, commanding hundreds of thousands or even millions for the right article, particularly if they're attached to a rare book, historic correspondence, or maybe even just a legal document. Read on, and we'll take a look at record breaking author signature values, from Shakespeare's will to F. Scot Fitzgerald's passport.

William Shakespeare

It's hard to imagine that anyone would be surprised by this: William Shakespeare has, by a huge margin, the single most valuable author signature of all time. At $3 million, it's one of the most valuable autographs in the world, period. It makes a lot of sense when you consider that they are incredibly rare. Although Shakespeare spent a great deal of time writing, he didn't do a lot of signing. These days, it's hard to go more than a day or two without signing your name for something, whether it's a credit card purchase or a contract. But in Shakespeare's day, signatures just didn't happen that often, and in fact, there are only six Shakespeare signatures in known existence. Three are in his will, one for his house in London, another on a legal deposition, and one more on his mortgage documents. They are so rare, and so valuable, that each of the signatures is worth a cool $3 million.

Ernest Hemingway

If you own an Ernest Hemingway autograph, there's a good chance the booze-loving author was drunk while signing it, but legible (or not), Hemingway autographs appear to be a stellar investment. One of the most influential writers in the 20th century, Hemingway stands out as an incredibly beloved American author, and the value of his signature certainly reflects that. In 2000, a Christie's auction with 17 lots including first drafts, proofs, letters, and manuscripts commanded $571,000 altogether. But mass collections aren't the only valuable signed Hemingway memorabilia: An autographed, handwritten draft of The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomberauctioned for $248,000 all on its own, and according to experts, was the "highest price ever attained in a sale of an American short story, and one of the highest for any American literary manuscript." Signed Hemingway books are clearly a sound investment, however, letters are also of substantial worth. In a 1999 auction, a Hemingway letter went for $25,300, presumed to be Hemingway's last dated piece of writing. Collectors will find that the market for Hemingway autographs is fierce, with limited availability and prices going through the roof. According to one authoritative autograph collector, Mark Allen Baker, pre-1940 material is virtually unavailable, making early Hemingway signatures the most precious.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Unsurprisingly, Hemingway's friend and esteemed colleague F. Scott Fitzgerald commands a high dollar in the autograph market as well. Fitzgerald's autograph value benefits from not only his popularity, but scarcity as well, as he lived in Paris for years and was not easily accessible to fans who might have sought out his autograph. There are a few signed Fitzgerald works available on the open market, but many have been snatched up by libraries and private collectors who are not likely to part with them any time soon. Of the books that are available, perhaps the most impressive is a first edition, first printing, inscribed and signed copy of The Great Gatsby, commanding $750,000. That's 3/4 of a million dollars, not including shipping. The Great Gatsby is easily the most common (but not commonly found) of Fitzgerald's signed books, and certainly the most popular and expensive. Other offerings include a signed The Beautiful and Damned for $70,000, and a letter to legendary Scribner's editor Maxwell Perkins for $47,500.

James Joyce

As one of the most influential writers in the early 20th century, James Joyce's signature commands an incredibly high value. In fact, the first 100 signed copies of Ulysses are the most valuable first editions in the 20th century at £150,000. Certainly, a good deal of that value can be attributed to the significance of the book itself, but nonetheless, Joyce's signature sure seems to be a worthy investment for the lucky few. In fact, simply an autographed letter fetches $26,500 at AbeBooks(plus $10 shipping, of course). Additionally, signed items with interesting stories fetch a pretty penny: Joyce's passport, which shows that he lied about being married, has been valued at an incredible £70,000. This particular passport was issued and used during the period in which he wrote Ulysses, when he famously moved around quite a bit.

JD Salinger

At one time, JD Salinger's autograph was on par with Neil Armstrong's, the most valuable of any living person. The root of JD Salinger's autograph value is much like William Shakespeare's: scarcity and demand. Although his novel Catcher in the Rye has touched generations, the author himself was quite reclusive and placed a high value on privacy. After the second printing of The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger did not allow his photo to be printed in any of his books, and almost never signed a book under his real name. In fact, Salinger didn't seem fond of signing his real name often at all, using a pseudonym for banking and the post office. But in love, Salinger did in fact use his real name, and in 1998, a collection of love letters from the author to a female college student went up for auction and fetched $156,000. The letters were reportedly returned to Salinger by the purchaser. Currently, signed letters and books are available for purchase, including a signed first edition (reprint) of The Catcher in the Rye for $55,000.

Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved stories of our time, and Frank Baum wrote the best-selling children's book that launched it all. Oz lovers place a high value on a Baum signature, and it shows. According to experts, a Frank Baum signature by itself is worth $1,924. Signed documents tend to fetch about $3,000, and hand-written letters in the neighborhood of $6,500. Of course, when that signature is on a rare book, for example, that price tends to go up. In 1998, a Christie's auctionrealized $152,500 for a signed first edition, first issue, second state binding of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, inscribed warmly to Elizabeth Hubbard, the daughter of Baum family friends, a courtesy Baum typically reserved for immediate family members or those close the Baum family. In this case, an author signature makes a special book even more special, and even more astoundingly valuable.

Charles Schulz

Novelists aren't the only authors with celebrated signatures, as Charles Schulz proves. The creator of Peanuts is easily one of the most celebrated cartoonists in the world, and the value of his autograph sure seems to indicate that. In 2007, a signed Peanuts Sunday comic strip from 1955 took in a whopping $113,525 at auction. Another from 1961 took $15,820 in 2011, and a Snoopy sketch from the title page of You Can Do It, Charlie Brown took $3,883 in 2010. In 2008, two hand-drawn Peanuts comic strips sold for $85,000 each. Currently, there is a signed sketch of Snoopy available for £25,000 for those interested in making a Schulz investment.

Charles Dickens

Although Charles Dickens lived in the 19th century, his works still live on as some of the most popular even into the 21st century, and the value of his signature reflects that popularity. His most popular works, including Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, andTale of Two Cities have never gone out of print, and his signature has never gone out of style. A Dickens signature often commands at least $5,000, sometimes more. One particularly valuable and interesting piece was a quotation from David Copperfield, the final sentence of chapter one in the book. It sold for £27,500. Another piece of correspondence with a publisher regarding a collection of Christmas stories Dickens had solicited and edited is currently valued at $22,500. Although Dickens couldn't have known it at the time, he made it very easy to trade his autographs, or at least spot their authenticity: he favored blue fountain pen ink, so Dickens signatures with other colors are typically forgeries, or very early pieces.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling's signature is easily one of the most sought after in the world. The author of the incredibly popular Harry Potterseries, Rowling is nearly as reclusive as she is famous, and she does not grant autographs on a regular basis. The hunt isn't easy for Rowling collectors, not just due to her reclusive nature, but as forgeries and outright fakes abound. In 2005, the author herself spoke out against eBay users selling "signed" books, posters, and even unauthorized biographies that she most certainly did not sign herself. By Rowling's estimation, at the time, there were six to ten fakes for every genuine article, and she advised serious collectors to buy only from reputable, authorized dealers to avoid being duped. Although "signatures" abound, the real deal is much more rare than eBay might impress upon new collectors. A Rowling signature alone is worth about $1,875, much higher if it's on a collectible book. For example, the first 500 signed hardback copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were picked up for £10.99 in 1997, but have recently sold for £27,370. Of course, without Rowling's signature, the value drops significantly to £7,200.

Samuel L. Clemens

Most people know Samuel Clemens by his pen name, Mark Twain, which he attached to his popular Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and other works. His novels are beloved to both readers and collectors, and unlike so many others, his autographs were valuable from their origin. Of course, they do seem to have appreciated in value over time. But much like JK Rowling, Mark Twain collectors, and even appraisers, can be easily fooled: one book lover picked up a $10 "signed" work, which was appraised at $1,000, only to find out that it was not rare or valuable, but fairly commonplace. Experts also warn that books with signatures, including first editions ofHuckleberry Finn, A Tramp Abroad, and Puddn'head Wilson, as well as collected works, all have mass produced printed signatures. It is for this reason that the most typically valuable Clemens/Twain signatures are not on books, but rather, letters. Simple letters can fetch in the neighborhood of up to $25,000. Of course, if you do happen to find a genuine signature in one of Twain's books, you can expect it to be worth considerably more. One interesting fact about a Clemens signature is that he often signed his pen name, Mark Twain, right underneath it. How's that for buy one get one free?

Contacts and sources:
Story by Emma Taylor

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City Lights Could Reveal E.T. Civilization Say Astronomers

In the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, astronomers have hunted for radio signals and ultra-short laser pulses. In a new paper, Avi Loeb (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and Edwin Turner (Princeton University) suggest a new technique for finding aliens: look for their city lights.
If an alien civilization builds brightly-lit cities like those shown in this artist's conception, future generations of telescopes might allow us to detect them. This would offer a new method of searching for extraterrestrial intelligence elsewhere in our Galaxy.
Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

"Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn't require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe," said Loeb.

As with other SETI methods, they rely on the assumption that aliens would use Earth-like technologies. This is reasonable because any intelligent life that evolved in the light from its nearest star is likely to have artificial illumination that switches on during the hours of darkness.

How easy would it be to spot a city on a distant planet? Clearly, this light will have to be distinguished from the glare from the parent star. Loeb and Turner suggest looking at the change in light from an exoplanet as it moves around its star.

As the planet orbits, it goes through phases similar to those of the Moon. When it's in a dark phase, more artificial light from the night side would be visible from Earth than reflected light from the day side. So the total flux from a planet with city lighting will vary in a way that is measurably different from a planet that has no artificial lights.

Spotting this tiny signal would require future generations of telescopes. However, the technique could be tested closer to home, using objects at the edge of our solar system.

Loeb and Turner calculate that today's best telescopes ought to be able to see the light generated by a Tokyo-sized metropolis at the distance of the Kuiper Belt - the region occupied by Pluto, Eris, and thousands of smaller icy bodies. So if there are any cities out there, we ought to be able to see them now. By looking, astronomers can hone the technique and be ready to apply it when the first Earth-sized worlds are found around distant stars in our galaxy.

"It's very unlikely that there are alien cities on the edge of our solar system, but the principle of science is to find a method to check," Turner said. "Before Galileo, it was conventional wisdom that heavier objects fall faster than light objects, but he tested the belief and found they actually fall at the same rate."

As our technology has moved from radio and TV broadcasts to cable and fiber optics, we have become less detectable to aliens. If the same is true of extraterrestrial civilizations, then artificial lights might be the best way to spot them from afar.


Contacts and sources:
Christine Pulliam
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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Spider webs of Sindh Province, Pakistan

The Silver Lining, The Spider Webs! An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenome...non before but, they also report that there are now far fewer mosquitoes than they would expect, given the amount of stagnant, standing water that is around. It is thought that the mosquitoes are getting caught in the spiders web, thus, reducing the risk of malaria, which would be one blessing for the people of Sindh, facing so many other hardships after the floods.
below are the photos of some trees occupied by spiders thereby acting as natural mosquito nets ;)


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