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Science and Society

A scientist always thinks the welfare of society. -Michael Faraday

Infinite Timelines and Infinite You: No One is Like You

Hey, did you feel time forking just now? No? Me neither.

via The Problem with Infinite Timelines — Math with Bad Drawings

सम्पदा स‍ंरक्षणको अद्‌भूत नमूना : ठाउँ नै सारेर पनि यसरी जोगाइयो — Mysansar

– सुबिक कार्की (इजिप्टबाट फर्केर) – गत वर्ष वैशाखको महाभूकम्पले नेपालका थुप्रै सम्पदा भत्किएका छन्। त्यसको पुननिर्माण अझै हुन सकेको छैन। सम्पदा संरक्षणको चिन्ता जागिरहेको बेला यहाँ म एउटा सम्पदा संरक्षणको अदभूत नमूना प्रस्तुत गर्दैछु। एघार देश भएर सुडानबाट इजिप्ट हुँदै भूमध्यसागरमा विसर्जन हुने संसारकै सबैभन्दा लामो नाइल नदीको इजिप्ट खण्डमा सन् १९५४ मा […]

via सम्पदा स‍ंरक्षणको अद्‌भूत नमूना : ठाउँ नै सारेर पनि यसरी जोगाइयो — Mysansar

Understanding Hazard, Risk, Vulnerability and Disaster- Through Football!

Last week I took a class of Engineering Geology (finally getting into something practically useful in the beginning of fourth year). I will give brief definitions and examples of the terms used. Then before you get bored, I will get into a funny way to remember the technical terms using football (soccer).

Prior to that class, I thought hazard and disaster were the same. However, technically, they are different. Let’s take a look at the definitions I studied.

Hazard: Probability of occurrence of an event or phenomenon which can damage lives and properties.

Disaster: The actual occurrence of a dangerous phenomenon which damages lives and property.

When seismologists say, “Nepal lies in a seismically active zone,” they are talking about the probable damages an earthquake can cause (hazard). When they talk about the damage caused by the earthquake in Nepal last year, they are saying something about disaster the earthquake brought up.

Let us also look at two more terms- risk and vulnerability.

Risk: The consequences in terms of “potential losses” for some particular cause, time and place. Specific risk is the product of hazard and vulnerability (Johnson and Degraff, 1988).

Vulnerability: The degree of risk a community is at due to various factors. For example, poor designing and construction of a house makes it vulnerable for a disaster and people living in it are at risk.

I am done with the definitions. Let’s use football- in particular, a famous footballer to understand the above defined terms. The footballer is (as you might already have realized) Eden Hazard.

E. Hazard is a hazard to his opponent team because he has the capacity to score a goal although he may not score in every match. In this match we are talking of, Hazard attacked several times but did not succeed. E. Hazard remained a hazard until 88th minute.

In the eighty-ninth minute of the match, when no goal has not yet occurred, E. Hazard gets a pass from his teammate and he dribbles ahead. His skill allows him to get through the defenders of opposition team. Their defence which had been vulnerable by previous attacks, is now exposed and is at a greater risk (due to the combined effects of Hazard and vulnerability) Hazard shoots and when the opponent goalkeeper cannot save the goal. Hazard has brought a disaster to his opposition. A draw would have made the opposition the league winner. But Hazard’s goal changes the equation. The other team is damaged psychologically.

Reduce Risk! Save Lives!!

Disaster Risks in Nepal: Perception Review

Are we prepared for the future disasters? Unless we are prepared, we will have to suffer a lot.

SafeNEPAL

PERCEPTION(Photo Source: Google)

Prior to the Gorkha Earthquake 2015, National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), under the Public-Private Partnership for Earthquake Risk Management (3PERM) program sponsored by the USAID/OFDA, conducted multiple earthquake risk perception surveys of various private-sector stakeholders in Nepal, during the years 2013 thru 2015. The core objective of the survey was to discover the industries’ individual-level as well as organization-level earthquake/disaster risk perception. The participants included various private sector business personnel as well as core business stakeholders from diverse fields such as manufacturing, trading, retailers, pharmaceuticals, construction, telecommunications, commerce & industries.

Post-Earthquake, in 2015, another round of such earthquake risk perception survey was carried out in as many as 15 private-sector manufacturing houses including brick, cement, reinforcement steel, CGI Sheet, GI Wire and four different construction companies to understand their present-day perception of disaster risks, the level of disaster preparedness in their organizations and major obstacle faced…

View original post 533 more words

Series of disasters in Nepal: An urgent call

SafeNEPAL

A hazard has numerous risks attached to it and can present itself in many forms such as natural calamity, technological crisis or man-made tragedy. Businesses could face technological disasters such as supply-chain interruption, building collapse, information technology failure, power disruptions etc. Likewise, massive earthquake, flood, landslide etc. could strike us in the form of natural disaster. Sometimes hazards could be accidental or human-induced such as fire, chemical spill, strike, blockade, riot, and as extreme as terrorism. Nowadays, increasing number of disaster is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. We do not need to look elsewhere as we revisit a series of recent disasters that took place in our own backyard.

1(Photo Source: Google)

Escalating number of disasters:

Mid April 2014, a deadly avalanche on Mt. Everest killed over a dozen Sherpa guides. After a long dispute between the Nepalese government and the Sherpas, few of the insurance, compensation and safety related…

View original post 1,668 more words

Was it an asteroid or a comet?

In 1908, an astronomical object fell on Siberia, destroying a large forest. According to this article originally published on Lights in the Dark, we still don’t know what exploded over Tunguska, Siberia in 1908 – http://wp.me/pru7J-22A

Fruit flies in understanding Chronic Pain

Drosophila aka fruit flies are important in genetic studies. In this article on Heather Notes, Heather explains how these insects are being used in study of proteins related to chronic pain (allodynia) and their repression.
http://wp.me/p6wVNB-6Zu

Prey v/s Predator: An Easy Victory for Arachnid

Nature is brutally beautiful. It keeps us alive but does not let live forever. This is the story of  a battle in nature I witnessed on May 13.

Spring was gradually being replaced by summer. Every year during this time, in the evenings, we see these strange creatures. We call them ‘chhichimira’. I don’t know what it is but my parents used to tell that they are winged-ants. Because the queen and the  males fly to mate, it might be true, although I cannot surely say if ants mate during the evening or if a certain species follows the pattern. All I know is that they are attracted to light just like moths and they have extremely short life. They stick on to electric bulbs, fluorescent lamps and LED bulbs as well. They fly for about fifteen minutes and they shed their transparent wings; then fall off dead. I usually examine them at that stage and they do look like ants. But I haven’t seen any of them fly away alive (the saddest part). I will call them winged-ants for the sake of convenience.

That evening, I was sitting in my room bored after long hours of exam preparation. The curtains had been pulled down to avoid the entrance of insects (It’s compulsory during spring and summer.) because of which the room was getting hot. Two insects of the kind I have mentioned above came into the room, however. (Failure of the curtains!) I just kept staring at them as if there was no work to do. They danced up and down and around the LED bulb on the wall in front of me. As I was watching them, I noticed a small movement on the right. From behind the tube light (it was not being used at that time because of the power cut off), a spider, too had been watching the movements of the insects.

It turned out to be the smartest between them. As soon as one of the insects had flown upwards, the spider rushed (crawling on the wall) and pounced upon it. All these (from my first sight of the spider to its pouncing upon the helpless winged-ant) had happened within three seconds! I could not believe my eyes. I had seen an extraordinary sight. Yet I had presence of mind because I got the later struggled captured on my camera.

image

The predator had grabbed the prey’s head. The prey wanted to get out. It flapped it’s wings for a while in vain. Sometime later, it gave up struggling and the spider started dragging its meal upwards. It was a difficult task. Firstly, it had to climb a vertical wall backwards carrying its prey. Secondly, the partner of the insect which had been pounced upon was luring the spider to drop its meal. The another winged-ant tried frantically to reach the spider but it never went very close. Two or three times, it had reached near the spider, I thought the spider would leave the one on its mouth and grab the other instead. But the spider did not leave the grip on its food. Neither did it give any attention to the second one. For it had flown for long already and its attempt (if I can call it, though it was nothing of the sort) of saving its friend had weakened it. After some minutes of it flight (the longest among these insects I have ever seen), it gave up. Most probably, it died.

Some more pics of the brutal predator and an almost dead prey.
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Zika Viral Infection- What is it?

As I was scrolling down the Facebook page on my phone, I came across a news on Image Khabar, which shocked me. It said that the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned the Americans not to conceive children. I also saw something new- Zika virus. (I first thought Jika because the news is in Nepali!) I immediately googled to get some information on it.

History
The Zika virus was first discovered in the rhesus monkeys in the year 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda. The monkey in which the virus was discovered had suffered from mild fever. The first reported case in humans was in 1952 from Uganda and Tanzania. Since then, the disease was believed to be a mild one but the WHO now classifies it as an “emerging” disease. Recent outbreaks have occurred at French Polynesia (2013) and Brazil (2015).

Mode of Transmission
The disease transmits through the vector Aedes aegyptii, the mosquito also responsible for dengue. Recently, it has also been found to have transmitted sexually.

Symptoms
According to the WHO, the symptoms are similar to that of Dengue. Mild fever, rashes on the skin, conjunctivitis, headache lasting for 2-7 days are the major symptoms. In children, microcephaly occurs hampering the mental growth. The virus can be detected on blood culture.

Treatment
There is no vaccines or medicines developed for the treatment of the disease. Paracetamol can be used for the symptoms above.

Warnings
The WHO has warned that the disease might spread fast in the USA and in the peripheral nations. It has also warned of pregnancy during the outbreak of the disease.

Conclusion
Adaptation and evolution of the vector and the virus is spreading a “new” disease as an epidemic every year. Last year, it was Ebola, this year it is Zika. There might be another outbreak next year. The WHO and the media should be active to spread information about the recent outbreaks. Had the WHO not warned the USA, no one would have known about the disease. This situation should be changed. There should be an immediate breaking news once an outbreak is known. Preventive measures should be taken before the disease turns into an epidemic.

References
1. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zika_virus
3. mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/health/two-cases-suggest-zika-virus-could-be-spread-through-sex.html

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