Monthly Archives: December 2017

World’s High Rise Buildings

In today’s world, capitalism is the buzz word. This is flaunted by constructing skyscrapers. China which was once a communist country, has most skyscrapers. In total 46 of the world’s 100 skyscrapers are located in China.

Here are top 10 skyscrapers of the world.

  1. Burj Khalifa: Dubai, 828 meters completed in 2010. Use: hotel/res/officeShanghai Tower: Shanghai, 632 meters, completed in 2015. Use: hotel/office
  2. Shanghai Tower: Shanghai, 632 meters, completed in 2015, use: hotel/office.
  3. Ping An Finance Centre: Shenzhen, 599.1 meters, completed in 2017. Use:office
  4. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre: Guangzhou, 530 meters, completed in 2016. Use: hotel/res/office
  5. Shanghai World Financial Centre: Shanghai, 492 meters, completed in 2008. Use: hotel/office
  6. International Commerce Centre: Hong Kong, 484 meters, completed in 2010. Use: hotel/office
  7. Zifeng Tower: Nanzing, 450 meters, completed in 2010. Use: hotel/office
  8. KK10: Shenzhen, 441.8 meters, ,completed 2011. Use: hotel/office
  9. Guangzhou international Finance Centre: Guangzhou, 438.6 meters, completed in 2010. Use: hotel/office
  10. Marina 101: Dubai, 425 meters, completed in 2017. Use: hotel/res

In US where no skyscrapers with height more than 300 meters have been constructed since many years, many skyscrapers with height more than 400 meters are under construction.

 

First observation of merger of two neutron stars

Neutron stars are the remnants of explosions of supernovae. Neutron stars are most dense in the universe so these are quite small in size. For example the size of London. They are so dense that a spoonful of neutrons weighs as much as 100 000 Eiffel towers.

It so happens that when two neutron stars approach each other, they turn faster and faster generating the gravitational waves by modifying the space-time around them. Ultimately they collide and fuse. After this the eject lots of matter.

How such events in occuring in the universe are detected? Electromagnetic rays emitted during such an event in the form of visible and invisible energy waves can be tracked by the modern telescopes and spectrometry.

Another technique has been added and it measures the gravitational waves which are generated in such violent events involving massive bodies. Such instruments has been installed in US. Called LIGO (Laser interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) can record the gravitational waves.

One such event of fusion of two neutron stars happened 130 million years ago. The gravitational ripples were detected by LIGO on August 17 at 1241 GMT for 100 seconds. Then after 2 seconds a Gamma rays burst was observed. After hours and days following the event, X-rays, UV rays and infrared rays were detected.

This is the first successful observation of fusion of two neutron stars through Gravitational Waves and as well as through different kind of rays that are emitted.

It also confirmed the premise that gravitational waves travel with speed equal to that of light. This event was made possible with the collaboration of 3674 scientists from 953 institutions all around the world.

 

Steppe Eagle: Endangered Bird

Steppe Eagle is also known as Aquila nipalensis in the scientific language is a scavenger. This species breeds east in European Russia from across Kazakhstan into Kyrgyzstan, China and Mongolia. Birds winter mainly in south and south-east Asia.

The bird is placed in the Red List by IUCN in the endangered category. There are many reasons attributed to the decline in population to such an extent. Some are like loss of habitat and exposure to radioactive radiations in its basic habitat.

Bird winters in South and South East Asia. It has suffered in Pakistan and India due to the presence of a drug Declofenac in the carrion of the dead animals which these birds feed on. This drug is used extensively in the treatment of cattle in these countries.

Thus these birds suffer both at the original residence as well as their temporary stay in Asia.

I chanced upon a ditch amidst the bushes where the carrion are being dumped. One can observe the eagles flying over the area. Earlier there were mostly Egyptian Vultures but now a group of these Steppe Eagles have landed here.

 

Oriental Honey Buzzard

It is also called crested honey buzzard with scientific name as Pernis ptilorhynchus. It  is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, eagles, and harriers.

It is quite big raptor with a long tail. It’s head is very small like that of pigeon. It is a specialist bird feeding on the larvae of bees. It also consumes crumbs of the honeycomb. Additionally it take cicadas.

It’s flight is very stealthy. In a forest it is possible to spot it only when it is perched on top of very lofty trees.

Again I spotted it quite a number of times in the forest near my home. Here are some pictures.

 

41719840_Unknown

Front view

42302240_Unknown

Side and top

Oil and Gas

Although researchers all over the world are working on the technology to harness the alternate resources of energy like solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear energy, the conventional resources of oil, gas and coal are still the major resources of energy. These resources are fast declining since they are non renewable. Rapid industrialization and urbanization are responsible for this. In addition, these conventional resources add pollutants to the atmosphere.

Presently the positon of energy producers is like this

World’s Biggest Oil & Gas Companies
(Production in millions barrels per day)

  1. SAUDI ARAMCO: 12
  2. GAZPROM: 8.33.
  3. NATIONAL IRANIAN OIL: 6
  4. EXXONMOBIL: 4.7
  5. ROSNEFT: 4.7
  6. PETROCHINA: 4
  7. BRITISH PETROLEUM: 3.7
  8. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: 3.7
  9. PETROLEOS MEXICANOS: 3.6
  10. KUWAIT PETROL CORP: 3.4

Top 5 countries with highest Oil Reserves
1. Saudi Arabia:
265 billion barrels (19.1%)
Remaining reserves: 72.4 years
2. Venezuela:
211 billion barrels(15.3%)
Remaining reserves: 234.1years
3. Iran:
137 billion barrels(9.9%)
Remaining reserves: 88.4 years
4. Iraq:
115 billion barrels (8.4%)
Remaining reserves: 128.1 years
5. Kuwait:
102 billion (7.3%)
Remaining reserves: 110.9 years

Global Energy Sources
Fossil Fuels
Oil: 33%
Coal: 30%
Natural Gas: 24%
Renewable and Nuclear Energy
Hydropower: 7%
Nuclear Power: 4%
Renewable energy: 2.7%

(The data is from visual capitalist)

Shaheen Falcon 

There is a forest near my home. It is maintained by Department of Forests. The department has converted a small portion of the forest into a Nature Park. I am a regular visitor to this park where sometimes very different birds make their appearance. One day, I was lucky to spot this beauty perched on the branch of a leafless tree.

It was sitting very patiently perhaps inviting me to take as many pictures as I liked. I took so many pictures. When I processed them, I had some confusion between Eurasian Hobby and Peregrine Falcon because the former was spotted many times by me.

But it turned out to be Shaheen Falcon juvenile.

The shaheen falcon with scientific name Falco peregrinus peregrinator is a subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. It is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. Other common names for the subspecies include the Indian peregrine falcon, black shaheen falcon, black shaheen, Indian shaheen. It is a master hunter and usually takes the prey in the air. It can achieve horizontal speeds up to 240 kilometres per hour and when it descends, can attain a speed of 300 kilometres per hour.

Peregrine falcons were greatly prized by Mughal kings especially emperor Jahangir. It appears on the emblem of Pakistan Air Force. Pakistani cricket team is also nicknamed after this raptor.

Staring at me

In full glory

Greater Cormorants: Fishing Experts

During these winter months, a number of migratory birds visits India from the countries where winter is very severe and also food availability is low. These annual visitors add colour to the season.

Many of the migratory birds are water waders and land in the lakes , big pools and other water bodies. Amongst these are greater Cormorants. They are huge birds and expert fishers. They hunt in groups and there is great jostling and fighting for the catch snatching.

In older days the trained Cormorants were used for river fishing in Japan and China. A snare was tied at the end of the neck which in addition to keeping the cormorant under leash also prevented the Cormorants from eating the fish except for smaller ones. As soon as the bird caught a fish, it was taken out from water and made to spit out the fish.

Nowadays, it is only a tourist attraction.

These days a number of these big birds have descended on Sulkhna Lake in Chandigarh. I took some pictures.

 

42298768_Unknown

A group fishing

42010448_Unknown

Sun soaking on a tree

DEGRADING STANDARDS IN PUBLISHING

A literary fan and writer Serge Volle has conducted a damning experiment. He sent 50 pages of French author Claude Simon’s 1962 novel ‘The Palace’, set during the Spanish civil war, to 19 French publishers touting it as fresh material to be considered for publication. The submission was rejected by 12 publishers outrighly, while seven never replied despite the fact that Simon won the Nobel prize for literature in 1985.

One editor claimed in a rejection letter that the book’s “endlessly long sentences completely lose the reader”, and that it failed to have a “real plot with well-drawn characters”.

Simon is often identified with the ‘Nouveau Roman’ movement, which explicitly experimented with literary styles. Simon was particularly noted for his wandering prose, with sentences that went on for several pages, a noted feature of his most acclaimed work, 1981’s ‘The Georgics’.

The experiment exemplified degrading standards in publishing, “abandoning literary works that are not easy to read or that will not set sales records”. Paraphrasing Marcel Proust, he added that you must already be “famous to be published”.