Smartphones as seismometers intrigue Berkeley researchers

first_img Early warning system predicted shaking from Oct. 30 quake “Smartphones carry all sorts of sensors, and we can put these to use in unexpected ways,” said Qingkai Kong. “Right now, we can only detect earthquakes above about Magnitude 5.0, but with better accelerometers in future smartphones we would hope to detect smaller ones as well.”The key enabler in smartphones for this type of work is in their accelerometers, that can detect and record movement and may monitor tremors. An app is being developed that will record the shaking during major events and then report the data back to a central server over the cell network. But what good is short notice when an earthquake is on its deadly way? Advance notice even in seconds is actually of value, as the BBC report noted, in not only giving people time to take cover but for trains to slow or planes to abort landings or for surgeons to manage their procedures knowing the event is on its way.The theory is that a smartphone seismic network would feed directly into the early warning system, having detected faster moving but not as damaging P-waves ahead of S-waves in an event.The Berkeley initiative was made known at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting. As phones would be mobile and not sitting still on a flat surface, the researchers handled this by developing an algorithm to subtract “noise” in the data. The project is at an early stage. The topic of earthquakes hits very close to home at this lab; the Hayward Fault, which many scientists suspect is a potential trigger for a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, runs through the UC Berkeley campus. According to scientists and engineers in a 2008 report, it has a 31 percent probability of rupturing in a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake within the next 30 years. The team hopes to provide a test app next year to volunteers in the Bay Area.Actually, according to an observation from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) noted earlier this year, Internet-enabled devices, not just smartphones, but also laptops and game consoles now have accelerometers that can be used to detect and measure earthquakes. “Harnessing the data from these sensors could allow us to quickly detect large earthquakes, and accurately estimate where damage has occurred and where emergency responses are needed shortly after a quake.” Nonetheless, it added, smartphones have a powerful collection of sensors like GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscopes that make phones an ideal platform for collecting data about how a community experiences an earthquake. © 2012 Citation: Smartphones as seismometers intrigue Berkeley researchers (2012, December 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: 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. (—Researchers at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory want to table smartphones as pocket-sized seismometers. The phones used as warning systems could make a life or death difference in the seconds one might have before meeting up with the next event. “We are trying to set up a whole new network of smartphones so we can use the accelerometers in the smartphones to detect earthquakes,” a team spokesman told BBC News. With so many devices in circulation, detailed information could be known on who felt what, where. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Stabilizing the noboundary proposal sheds light on the universes quantum origins

first_img Journal information: Physical Review Letters 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. © 2019 Science X Network Citation: Stabilizing the no-boundary proposal sheds light on the universe’s quantum origins (2019, May 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from However, precisely describing how a physical system can transition from zero size to a finite size has been challenging. To describe the quantum effects involved, physicists use the path integral formulation, which involves rewriting a single classical trajectory as an integral over many possible trajectories, resulting in a quantum amplitude. Although the path integral formulation is successful at describing how something can emerge from nothing, one major problem is that it predicts unstable perturbations, implying that the universe is highly non-homogenous and non-isotropic. As the universe is known to be approximately both homogenous and isotropic (meaning that it looks the same in all locations and from all directions), as stated by the cosmological principle, the path integral formulation doesn’t accurately describe the observed universe. This has led some scientists to conclude that the no-boundary proposal cannot provide an accurate description of the universe’s origins.Now in a new paper, physicists Alice Di Tucci and Jean-Luc Lehners at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, Germany, have shown that the path integral formulation can be used in a way that avoids instabilities, while still providing a consistent definition of the no-boundary proposal.”I think that the biggest significance is that our new definition does not describe the emergence of the universe from a complete absence of space and time,” Lehners told “Rather, the new mathematical conditions, that we had to impose to avoid instabilities, can be interpreted as saying that there existed already fluctuations of space and time. This is in fact what one might expect from quantum theory in any case, as the quantum uncertainty principle implies that there should always be fluctuations, presumably even of space and time.”The new proposal combines several ideas that have previously been suggested to overcome the problem with instabilities. Their work essentially changes the geometry of the space over which the path integral is defined. The path integral, which represents the state of the universe at a certain time, passes through certain critical points called saddle points, which correspond to possible Hawking-Hartle states. However, most of these saddle points are unstable. One of the most important changes the physicists made in the new paper was to modify the boundary conditions on the entire geometry (by using Robin boundary conditions) to remove the unstable saddle points from the path of the path integral. In the new geometry, the path integral passes through only one saddle point, which is stable, therefore avoiding the problem with instabilities. At this stable saddle point, there exists a Hawking-Hartle state that satisfies the no-boundary proposal.By demonstrating a stable method for formulating the no-boundary proposal, the results may lead to a rethinking of the idea as a description for the origins of the universe. Still, there are many questions that remain.”In the future we plan to see how robust our new definition is when incorporating aspects from string theory, which is the most advanced attempt at a full theory of quantum gravity,” Lehners said. “Also, we plan to explore whether other stable definitions of the no-boundary proposal might exist, or whether our new one is in some sense unique. And a big question that remains is whether we could deduce any testable/observable consequences.” More information: Alice Di Tucci and Jean-Luc Lehners. “No-Boundary Proposal as a Path Integral with Robin Boundary Conditions.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.201302center_img One idea for how the universe began is that the universe may have appeared out of nothing due to some quantum effect, such as quantum tunneling. In the 1980s, Stephen Hawking and James Hartle further elaborated on this idea by suggesting that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe, leading them to conclude that the universe has no initial boundary conditions on either time or space. The idea is called the “no-boundary proposal” or the “Hawking-Hartle state.” Explore further The orange dashed line shows that the path integral, which describes the state of the universe over time, passes through only one saddle point, which is stable. Credit: Di Tucci and Lehners. ©2019 American Physical Society No Universe without Big Banglast_img read more

The calling of qawwali

first_imgHaji Aslam is one of the foremost representatives of the legendary musical heritage of qawwali and the torch bearer for esteemed Ustad Sufi Abdul Subham Sabri and Ustad Ghafoor Shakoor Sabri. He is internationally recognised as one of the greatest Qawal. Haji Asalm Sabri has thorough knowledge of Sufi Qawwali in many languages such as Persaian Urdu, Briji and Punjabi.  He is one of the top graded artists on All India Radio since 1990 lauded as a singer, compose and poet of Sufiana Kalam. Having emerged as child prodigy, Aslam Sabri gave his public performance at the age of seven. His International debut was at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London when he was 19. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’At 21 he made history by becoming the youngest soloist to perform at one of the most prestigious international music festival held in London, known as the Indian All Night Sufi Concert. Since then he has performed in over 40 nations across music festivals and conferences in India, Europe, America, Middle East. He produced a seven episode long serial based on classical music in which classical legends from both south and north India participated. The serial was one of the highest rated shows on Doordarshan till date.  Alam Sabri, 65-years-old and still raring to go is never tired. The zeal showed at Kamani Auditorium – Sham -E-Qawwali – where he performed with his 14-member group. Speaking to Millennium Post, he explained his life and musical philosophy with his favourite shayari –  Haat khali hain tere shehar se jaate huye, jaan hoti toh meri jaan lutaa ke jaata.last_img read more

Sex is a pleasure only when it has the right feelings

first_imgI come from a middle class background. My in-laws are better off financially than my family and we live in a joint family. They always insult me for my family’s financial status. How can I stop this?Name withheld, RanchiIt’s difficult to change people. Rather, it is impossible sometimes. I suggest, do speak your mind out to your husband and seek his help. He can try to speak to the others and explain your feelings. If it doesn’t improve, try convincing your husband and demand to settle in a separate set up, away from your in-laws. Don’t let these external hazards cause any disturbance in your married life. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Handle with care and I’m sure all will be fine.I live in a hostel. One of my seniors is homosexual and tries to make advances towards me. I’m very scared of him but don’t know how to fight this out. Can you help?Samrat, New DelhiYou have to be very careful. I suggest, you should approach  the ‘threat’ and be straight forward in explaining what you feel. Don’t be scared to face anything that appears to be a problem! If it still continues, share this with your peers in the hostel and a few of your seniors whom you can trust. Don’t threaten him but be firm in letting him know that you’re just not interested! Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixI had sex with my private tutor. He is married and is always telling me to continue having sex with him! I like him and don’t want to lose him either. But I feel guilty because he’s married! What do I do?Name withheldDon’t indulge in anything that you’re uncomfortable with. These relationships usually don’t have direction and end up painfully. Sex is a pleasure but only when infused with right, positive feelings. Try not to spend time alone with him anywhere. If need be, change the tutor – do not mix studies with physical pleasures as that is one thing that should be taken very seriously and teachers are meant to be idolised. However much you like him, his marital status will always be a problem. Don’t indulge in such guilty pleasures…it will end up hurting you a lot!I’m a working woman and have been married for four years. We are not planning to have children now. But our parents are really insisting! This is annoying us. How do we  handle this?Seema, LucknowStarting a family is a very important decision and a couple should mutually arrive at a decision before going ahead with it. This decision cannot be by dictated by anybody else! As a mother you would have the maximum responsibility towards the newborn. Please plan the baby only when you are physically, financially and emotionally prepared. Tell your family members that you’ll be planning a family soon. ‘Soon’ is an open ended term and let the chapter of parenthood happen naturally and peacefully! Have a love or life query you cannot find an answer to? Send your questions to – [email protected]last_img read more

KMC to use paver blocks for road construction

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will use paver blocks in road construction.The first ever road with a paver block top will be constructed in Borough X, said Tapan das Gupta, its chairman. Paver blocks will be used on a road in Tilak Nagar off Golf Green. Paver blocks are used instead of tar. Though the initial cost is more, the roads are more durable and smoother as well.Because of the agencies running utility services, maintenance of roads in the city has become a major problem. The roads that are constructed or upgraded by spending lakhs of rupees are damaged by the utility services within a few months. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said at an administrative review meeting that the agencies looking after utility services will have to inform the civic authorities before taking up their work. To get rid of this problem on the Golden Quadrilateral, the utility services like electricity lines, drinking water lines and sewer lines have been shifted to the service road. Thus, when any situation to cut the road arises, the main thoroughfare is not damaged.It may be mentioned that in Howrah, Dr Bholanath Chakraborty Sarani, which runs in front of Dumurjala Stadium, paver blocks have been used instead of tar and heavy vehicles use the road regularly. But the road has neither been damaged, nor is there any subsidence on any stretch, despite the plying of heavy vehicles. The roads surrounding the stadium are also being constructed with paver blocks.last_img read more

RDay to witness dense fog

first_imgDelhi witnessed a cloudy Sunday with the maximum temperature remaining three notches below the season’s average at 18.3 degrees Celsius. On Monday, the 66th Republic Day is likely to have dense fog in the morning.The minimum temperature was recorded one notch above the season’s average at 8.5 degrees Celsius on Sunday.“Monday morning is likely to see dense fog which might become moderate as the day progresses,” an official of the India Meteorological Department said.Monday’s maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover around 18 and 9 degrees Celsius, respectively, he added.last_img read more

On Mothers Day inmates of old age homes tour Belur Math

first_imgKolkata: Nearly 100 elderly women who are inmates of different old age homes visited Belur Math on Sunday morning in connection with the International Mother’s Day celebrations.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Greetings to all on the occasion of Mother’s Day. You will be happy to know that Mother and Child Hubs (MCH) have been set up in Bengal. There has been a significant decline in maternal mortality in the State. For providing options for safe delivery to those mothers who stay in areas too far for accessing hospitals, the State Government has constructed fully manned and properly equipped Waiting Huts.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe trip to Belur was hosted by the International Human Rights Organisation. The elderly went to the Math in the morning and were taken around the temples. They had prasad at the newly constructed dinning hall of the Math, that can accommodate 1,000 people at a time. In the evening, they were taken to Kalakunj to watch the Bengal feature film Posto directed by Shibaprasad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy. “This is for the first time when the inmates of different old age homes have been taken out on International Mother’s Day. They were all very happy and spent over two hours at Belur Math,” said a spokesman for the NGO.last_img read more

Clinic without licence shut down

first_imgBalurghat: The South Dinajpur district administration has closed a private clinic that was being run without a licence.The centre, set up at Gangarampur, used to conduct several tests including Ultrasonography.Situated next to the Gangarampur super-specialty hospital, its owner received a letter from the district Health department asking him to renew the licence.On Monday, a team from the health department went to the site and closed its USG clinic until Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedfurther order.The owner of the diagnostic centre, Rejaul Karim has also acknowledged that its USG clinic runs even after the licencehad expired.”We had appealed for a renewal immediately after the expiration. We had also deposited hard cash according to the norms. We hope to get the recognition soon,” he said.Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) of South Dinajpur Sukumar Dey said: “We have closed the USG clinic as we received information that the clinic had not renewed the licence.Concerned health authorities department had earlier served prior intimation before expiration but it was ignored. Following the expiration of licence, we have closed the clinic.”last_img read more

Anxious people fare better in a crisis

first_imgThe brain devotes more processing resources to social situations that signal threat than those that are benign and anxious people process those threats using regions of the brain responsible for action, says a study.The study that may help explain the apparent “sixth sense” we have for danger found that “low anxious” people process the threats in sensory circuits, responsible for face recognition. It was previously thought that anxiety could lead to over sensitivity to threat signals. However, the new study showed that the difference has a useful purpose. Non-clinical anxiety shifts the neural ‘coding’ of threat to motor circuits, which produce action, from sensory circuits, which help us to recognise faces, the researchers explained.Facial displays of emotion can be ambiguous but the researchers managed to identify what it is that makes a person particularly threatening. They found that the direction a person is looking in is key to enhancing our sensitivity to their emotions. Anger paired with a direct gaze produces a response in the brain in only 200 milliseconds, faster than if the angry person is looking elsewhere.“In a crowd, you will be most sensitive to an angry face looking towards you, and will be less alert to an angry person looking somewhere else,” said lead author Marwa El Zein from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). Similarly, if a person displays fear and looks in a particular direction you will detect this more rapidly than positive emotions. Such quick reactions could have served an adaptive purpose for survival. For the study, electrical signals measured in the brains of 24 volunteers were analysed while they were asked to decide whether digitally altered faces expressed anger or fear.  “In contrast to previous work, our findings demonstrate that the brain devotes more processing resources to negative emotions that signal threat, rather than to any display of negative emotion,” El Zein noted. The study appeared in the journal eLife.last_img read more