Fiber-Optic Sponge Makes Deep-Sea Lamps

first_imgLast year, it was announced that a deep-sea sponge named the Venus Flower Basket possessed glass strands similar to fiber optic cables (see 08/20/2003 headline).  Now, a five-member team from Bell Labs has performed the first detailed optical analysis of the fibers.  They indeed found these structures to be “remarkably similar to commercial silica optical fibers and are capable of forming an effective fiberoptical network.”  Their findings are published in PNAS.1    The sponge’s fiber optics, though, are superior to man-made ones in four respects:Focus:  “Other interesting design elements include terminal lens-like extensions located proximally and barb-like spines located along the spicule shaft.  The presence of these lens structures at the end of the biofibers improves the light-collecting efficiency [that] offers an effective fiber-optical network with selected illumination points along the length of the crown-like fibrous network surrounding the cylindrical skeletal lattice.”Cool:  “Second, the formation of the biosilica fibers occurs at ambient temperatures and pressures.”  Man-made glass fibers are made at high temperatures.  “Their complex structure and composition are encoded in the organism and are controlled by specialized organic molecules and cells.  The low-temperature formation of silica in organisms, as an alternative to the high-temperature technological process, is a subject of extensive studies.”Dope:  “The low-temperature synthesis brings about an extremely important feature: the ability to effectively dope the structure with impurities that increase the refractive index of silica.  Our elemental analysis showed, for example, the presence of sodium ions in the entire fiber, particularly in the core.  Sodium ions (and many other additives) are not commercially viable optical fiber dopants because of manufacturing challenges, including devitrification at high processing temperatures.  In the case of these spicules, however, the presence of sodium ions results in the increase of the refractive index to values approaching and even exceeding that of vitreous silica.No Stress:  “Another advantage of the low-temperature synthesis is evidenced in the lack of the polarization dependence on the refractive index.  Birefringence in commercially prepared fibers often occurs as a result of the residual thermal stresses in the fibers upon their cooling.  Ambient condition formation of the spicules in biological environments prevents the development of any residual thermal stress.The authors are not sure how the sponge uses its technology.  Typically, this species inhabits deep waters near hydrothermal vents, where the only light is from bioluminescent organisms or chemoluminescence.  They offer a suggestion that it might act as an underwater lamp for symbiotic organisms: “Our results suggest that if such sources exist within or in close association to the basalia of E. aspergillum, their light might be efficiently used and distributed by the sponge.  Such a fiberoptical lamp might potentially act as an attractant for larval or juvenile stages of these organisms and symbiotic shrimp to the host sponge.”    Their final paragraph sums up the wonder of this creature’s amazing manufacturing ability:In conclusion, we have demonstrated an example of nature’s ability to evolve highly effective and sophisticated optical systems, comparable and in some aspects superior to man-made analogs.  High fracture toughness arising from their composite structure, the presence of index-raising dopants, the degree of silica condensation, and the absence of residual stress in these fibers suggest an advantage of the protein-controlled, ambient temperature synthesis favored in nature.  Whether these optical properties are biologically relevant or not, the mechanisms of the formation of silica spicules in E. aspergillum are inspiring to materials scientists and engineers.  We believe, therefore, that this system represents a new route to improved, silica-based optical fibers, constructed by using a bottom-up approach.1Aizenberg et al., “Biological glass fibers: Correlation between optical and structural properties,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0307843101 (published online before print on 03/01/2004).Mother Nature, being blind, would not make a lamp.  Let’s object when scientists use the word “evolve” as a synonym for “engineer”.  Nature cannot “evolve” a “highly effective and sophisticated optical system.”  Highly effective and sophisticated systems are products of engineering.  Engineering requires intelligence and purpose.    This sponge, first named by creationist Richard Owen in 1841, is a natural wonder.  Another wonder is how Darwinists think Nature Inc. can get any manufacturing done, with their pointy-haired boss (chance) managing a crew of blind, deaf and dumb Dilberts (natural selection).  The competition, Intelligent Design Unlimited, puts out a catalog that is a work of art.(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Africa’s mobile boom: ‘huge opportunities’

first_img13 November 2013Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile industry has been the fastest growing region in the world for mobile users in the past five years, according to a report published on Monday by the GSMA, the body representing mobile operators worldwide.The region’s mobile subscriber base has grown by 18% a year over the past five years to 253-million unique users and 502-million connections. GSMA forecasts in their report, “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013”, that mobile users in the region will be closer to 346-million within the next five years.Despite the high figures, there is still ample room for growth. “With unique subscriber penetration rates still less than 33%, this opens up a major opportunities for growth in the next five years,” the GSMA said.At 65.7%, South Africa has the highest penetration rate, while Niger represents the lower end at 20%.Economic effectThe mobile industry currently contributes more than 6% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) – higher than any other comparable region globally, according to the report. This contribution is expected to rise from $60-billion in 2012 to $119-billion, or more than 8% of GDP, by 2020.Last year, the mobile ecosystem directly supported 3.3-million jobs and contributed $21-billion to public funding in the region, including licence fees, the study shows.By 2020, mobile is set to double its economic effect, employing 6.6-million people in the region and contributing $42-billion to public funding.Fixed-line penetration rates in many countries in the region are less than 5%. “Mobile has emerged as the main medium for accessing the internet across sub-Saharan Africa. While 2G connections still dominate, 3G and 4G networks are gaining scale and smartphone ownership is on the rise,” the GSMA said.“Despite the significant impact of the mobile industry in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, even greater opportunities are ahead,” said Tom Phillips, GSMA’s chief regulatory officer. “Beyond further growth for voice services, the region is starting to see an explosion in the uptake of mobile data.”However, Phillips said, a short-term focus by some countries on generating high spectrum fees and maximising tax revenue risks “constrains the potential of the mobile internet”.Policy reformThe GSMA has called on countries to develop a more “transparent and enabling policy environment” to help realise the mobile sector’s potential.“Operators and investors need clarity to fund the substantial investment needed to extend coverage to remote areas and meet the growing demand for higher speed connectivity.”The report highlights three key areas that it believes most affect the growth of the mobile industry:Managing spectrum allocation in a way that balances socioeconomic benefits with the costs needed to deploy advanced networks. The association urged regulators to use transparent and predictable processes for granting and renewing spectrum licences, which would allow operators to better plan their investments.The importance of spectrum harmonisation in the region, including the need to accelerate the analogue to digital television switchover, which would free up spectrum for mobile and help boost economic growth.“Broader economic analysis predicts that mobile broadband adoption would generate up to $197-billion in additional GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2020 and help fuel the creation of 16-million new jobs across a variety of sectors,” the report said.Taxation, including customs duties on handsets, is very high, retarding the take-up of new mobile services.“Lowering taxation levels on the mobile sector would benefit consumers, businesses and government by lowering the cost of ownership, encouraging the take-up of new mobile services, improving productivity and boosting GDP and overall tax revenues in the longer term,” the GSMA said.Transformative effectsMobile solutions are used to address a range of socio-economic challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the GSMA, there are almost 250 mobile health services in operation across the region. These support patients who may not have access to local healthcare services.Many people who never had a bank account are now able to be financially active. According to the study, there are more than 100 active mobile money initiatives and 56.9-million registered mobile money users in the region.Mobile solutions are also playing an increasingly important role in improving agricultural output, which generates around a third of the region’s GDP and employs nearly two-thirds of the labour force.“The mobile industry has already had a transformative effect on the social and economic life of sub-Saharan Africa, but there is scope for far greater growth and innovation, if the right conditions are established,” said Phillips.“In addressing key regulatory concerns, policy makers throughout the region have a major opportunity to unlock the potential of a dynamic and interconnected Africa.”Read the full report: Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013GSMA and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Mitchell edges Nance Jr. to win slam dunk contest

first_imgGlobe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Read Next NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Galvez OK with ‘selective’ martial law in Mindanao01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting MOST READ “I wanted this so badly,” Mitchell said. “This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it’s crazy.”Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey and wore a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMitchell — three inches shorter than the 6-foot-6 Carter — needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.Nance, who was trying to win the contest 34 years after his father won it, had earned a perfect 50 with a dunk off a double alley-oop off the glass. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Mitchell advanced to the finals with a creative dunk in the first round that used his sister, Jordan, as well as Kevin Hart and the comedian’s son as props. For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.“I appreciate Kevin Hart coming out there and helping me out,” Mitchel said. “He’s my favorite comedian.”center_img John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES View comments LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz competes in the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFPRookie Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz put on a show in the slam dunk contest to cap off NBA All-Star Saturday.Mitchell edged Larry Nance Jr. by two points, sealing his victory with a close approximation of the 360-degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest.ADVERTISEMENT AFP official booed out of forum Asa Miller ranks 81st after Run 1 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

LeBron James gets triple-double, Lakers top Anthony Davis-led Pelicans

first_imgLATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Anthony Davis had 30 points and 20 rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their third straight game. Julius Randle had 21 points in his first game against the Lakers at Staples Center, and Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists.Davis and James shared the court for the first time since James recently declared in an interview with ESPN that it would be “amazing” if the Lakers traded for the Pelicans’ biggest star. James’ comments prompted allegations of tampering.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefNew Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said before the game that Davis will not be traded to the Lakers or anywhere else as long as he remains under contract to the Pelicans.All five Lakers starters scored in double figures, with Brandon Ingram getting 18 points after missing seven games because of a sprained left ankle. Rajon Rondo had eight points and nine assists off the bench after missing 17 games because of surgery on his right hand. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry defends LeBron James on tampering charge View comments Kuzma and Lonzo Ball hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put the Lakers up 107-98 with 6:13 to play, and Los Angeles held on after losing its previous two games.The Lakers led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, but Holiday hit a 3 with one second left to cut the Pelicans’ deficit to 94-88 going into the fourth.TIP-INSPelicans: Davis had a bandage placed on his left pinkie finger during the first quarter and appeared to be trying to shake out the injury as the game went on. … New Orleans committed 13 turnovers leading to 20 points for Los Angeles. The Pelicans got 11 points off 13 Lakers turnovers. … Nikola Mirotic missed his fourth straight game because of an ankle injury.Lakers: James had seven assists in the first quarter, his most in any quarter since joining the Lakers. … Zubac got the start with JaVale McGee out because of illness and scored eight of the Lakers’ first 16 points. McGee missed his third straight game.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issuecenter_img LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in front of Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans after a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFPLOS ANGELES — LeBron James had 22 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-104 on Friday night.James got his third triple-double with the Lakers and No. 76 for his career, helping Los Angeles to its sixth consecutive home win. Kyle Kuzma had 23 points, and Ivica Zubac set season highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. UP NEXTPelicans: At Sacramento on Sunday.Lakers: Host Memphis on Sunday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

HPCL to invest Rs 74000 cr in 5 years

first_imgMumbai: Hindustan Petroleum Corporation(HPCL) is planning to invest around Rs 74,000 crore over the next five years to expand capacity. The Navaratna company plans to invest around Rs 14,900 crore in the current fiscal, chairman Mukesh Kumar Surana told shareholders after the annual general meeting here Wednesday evening. “We are focused on strengthening refining and marketing through expansion of our refining capacity, supply chain capabilities and customer reach. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”In addition, the thrust is on creating new levers of growth by establishing a strong presence in petrochemicals, scaling up footprints in natural gas and expanding marketing overseas,” he said. The company, which owns and operates three refineries,has undertaken capacity expansion at refineries atVisakhapatnam and Mumbai. The modernisation of the Visakhapatnam refinery will enhance capacity from 8.33 million tonnes to 15 mt. The capacity of the Mumbai refinery is also being enhanced from 7.5 mt to 9.5 mt. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”On completion, these projects will enhance our profitability. We will have the capability to produce BS-VI fuels,” he added. Surana further said the 9 mt greenfield refinery-cum- petrochemical project coming up at Pachpadra in the Barmer district of Rajasthan has achieved significant progress. “Engineering activity is in progress and construction has commenced. Financial closure has also been achieved for this project. The project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 43,129 crore,” Surana said. The company is, he said, laying a thrust on pipeline network expansion. “Ongoing pipeline projects with total estimated investment of Rs 5,555 crore are in various stages of completion,” he added. HPCL, along with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, incorporated a joint venture company, IHB Private Ltd, in July 2019 for the execution of the country’s longest, 2,757-km LPG pipeline project from Kandla in Gujarat to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Last fiscal, HPCL saw its highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 12,438 crore, with some capital projects being completed while other projects under implementation. To enhance liquefied petroleum gas supply and distribution capabilities, bottling capacity of 330 tmtpa (thousand metric tonnes per annum) was added during the year at existing bottling plants. The company also commissioned a new LPG bottling plant at Warangal district in Telangana with a capacity of 60 tmtpa. The company also plans to build second-generation ethanol production facilities, and market compressed bio-gas. Its net profit for fiscal 2019 stood at Rs 6,029 crore and gross refining margins (GRM) averaged at $5.01 a barrel. Meanwhile, Hindustan Petroleum, which is a minority partner in the proposed West Coast Refinery, feels Saudi Aramco, the single largest shareholder in the 60 million tonne project, partnering with Reliance will have no impact on the now-stuck project. Mukesh Surana, the chairman of the ONGC-run HPCL, also said the work on the controversial Rs 4 trillion refinery and petrochemicals project is on track. It can be noted that the location for the project is yet to be identified after the one identified earlier in Ratnagiri was abandoned due to public and political protests last year. Speaking to reporters here late Wednesday evening after the AGM, Surana said Aramco’s decision to pick up a 20 percent consideration in Reliance’s Jamnagar refinery for $15 billion could be part of the world’s largest oil company’s strategy to secure a long-term client for its crudes. “It will not be right on my part to comment on what Aramco’s strategy is. But my understanding is that they have got the capability to do both the projects (West Coast Refinery and Reliance). So the deal that they have gone into with RIL, I don’t think it will have any apparent impact on other discussions that are going on,” Surana said. Three state-owned oil majors–Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and HPCL–have entered into an agreement with Saudi Aramco under which the Saudi oil major has picked up 51 percent stake in the refinery project. Aramco in turn has roped in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company as a minority partner for the 60 million tonne refinery-cum-petrochemical complex. But some analysts view Aramco going with RIL due to the massive cost escalation in the West Coast project, which has jumped by Rs 1 trillion to Rs 4 trillion and also there is no guarantee that the project will take off at all. The three state-owned companies will own 49 percent in the project, of which 25 percent will be held by IOC and the rest equally between the other two. Earlier, the project was proposed to come up at Nanar, a village in Ratnagiri district, some 400 km south of Mumbai. However, due to continued opposition from the locals as well as the ruling ally in the state, Shiv Sena, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government decided to relocate the project to another location. Fadnavis had, reportedly, recently said the new site will be in the neighbouring Raigad district, about 100 km south of the financial capital. But the location is yet to be finalized. Reliance recently announced its plan to sell 20 percent stake in its refining and petrochemicals business for $15 billion to Aramco, which would also supply 5,00,000 barrels of crude per day to the twin refineries in Jamnagar. “As far as Aramco is concerned, they will be happy to have a destination for their crude for a long-term basis and the buyers will also be happy to have a long-term arrangement for an assured source of supply. So to that extent I don’t see any contradictions in the two partnerships,” Surana said. When asked about the timeline for the West Coast project, he said, “I don’t think we can give a timeline. This refinery will take five years to be completed but the final investment destination has to be taken. “The configuration study work is in progress and multiple cases are being worked out depending on the changing demand supply situation and once that is frozen there can be a comprehensive case.” Whether the implementation of the BS-VI fuels from next April will increase the prices, he said, “all the refineries are investing for this and all refineries are hydrogen dominated units and hydrogen is a costly commodity. “There will be a cost to refineries and we would definitely like that there will compensation by way higher prices. But to what extent, we need to see,” he said.last_img read more