Google Rolls Out Host Of Innovative Features As The Month Starts Off With A Bang!

Google is awesome! You already knew that, but there is new reason to think so! Google is ushering in the future. The newest innovation from Google will allow you to experience infinite possibilities, be it using your mobile phone (Android) or your laptop(Google Chrome) or just the good old reliable Google Search Engine. Here’s everything you need to know in order to get on this brand new bandwagon!

Gmail Tap – The Smartest Way to get the maximum out of your smart phone!

The basic problem that Google wanted to address is the pet peeve of every smartphone user – and there are a lot of those guys now. So here’s Google’s solution – you just use two buttons. What can be simpler than that?

A new app will allow you to use Morse code to write actual words. Each letter or digit is represented by a specific sequence of dots-and-dashes. On the screen you’ll see two large buttons, one for the dot and the other for the dash. Then on, it’s just two fingers to type out an entire text within a few seconds. Of course, there is a spacebar and a backspace key too. You even have a way to access the original QWERTY keyboard. Sure, Gmail Tap will require a bit of practise, but then, once you’re set, you’ll be blazing away.

This is the interface. Note the dual key set on the right, meant exclusively for power users.

There is also an option of dual tap – the advanced version of this app, made exclusively for power users (Picture above, right). This will create another set of buttons – dot, dash, space etc. – which will allow you to use two hands simultaneously, doubling your typing speed! Now, ain’t that cool?

Says David Brooks, Communication Services, Google :

You can say two things with your finger, that your mouth can say only one of!

Here’s the promo page:
And here’s the download link:

Google’s Really Advanced Search

Google, the synonym for internet search, just got more synonymous with internet search. In a wonderful new move, Google introduced the Really Advanced Search loaded with features you’d have to think really hard to come up with! Genius these guys!

So what’s new, you ask? Obviously, you have to enter the search phrase. Then, you can enter various other fields that might be useful to Google for providing you with just the information you’re looking for. You might enter a slang with the search word, or an innuendo. What do you do when you want to search a sentence you read the other day, but just can’t recollect? Just enter the phrases and you’ll be greeted with the results!

Of course, being really advanced, you can narrow down the search results by providing any grammatical faux pas that someone made or even by putting in the chromatic number of the background. In addition to all this, Google will definitely allow you to tickle a unicorn or search out things by their odour, thus fulfilling your long-time need for a virtual dog.

Really Advanced Search Team:

Multi-tasking Mice

Google Chrome now uses two mice, instead of one. Why? The philosophy is quite simple really! Google realises that you use just one of your hands, instead of two. So that you can use both, you can now go to the Chrome Multitask Mode where you can use two mouse cursors, instead of the ordinary one. Now, two people can use the same computer. Again, it’ll take a bit of time to get used to, but you’ll soon grow into it, becoming a pro very soon!

Chrome Multitasking Mode is something to grow into. I am hooked!

Promo Video:
Try Chrome Multitask Mode:

Simply brilliant from Google!

Or it would be, if any of this were true. If you haven’t realized this as yet, this entire post has been an April Fool Joke. Of course, we are just riding piggy back on Google. Do have fun clicking on the links and forwarding the news of the latest breathtaking innovations from Google. And don’t forget to laugh!

Happy April Fools’ Day Everyone!

OPERA Boss Resigns Over Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results

The man who oversaw the news that has been shaking up the physics community since a few months back has resigned! Prof. Antonio Ereditato, the man who headed the OPERA experiment, when it announced the faster-than-light neutrino speeds result has quit his job. This comes after a series of setbacks for the original results.

The Unfortunate Part of Science

This is the unfortunate part of physics experiment. The claims were outrageous – flying in the face of a hundred years of physics. At worst, people have ridiculed the experiment and at best, they have had a smirk and a chuckle when they spoke about it. Now, the heads have started rolling.

To give full credit to the experimenters in the collaboration, they were extremely cautious about announcing the results. They did make reruns, but found consistent effects. They searched for errors, but couldn’t find any. That errors were pointed out by the OPERA group itself a few days back, shows the integrity that the group actually showed.

Also, the group didn’t jump the gun and, in fact, came to no physical conclusion at all! Prof. Ereditato always emphasised the need for “words of caution”, since the results would have “potentially great impact on physics”. But, apparently, there have been voices of discontent from within the OPERA collaboration.


The results have all been debunked now, with the Icarus results being the final nail in the coffin. Icarus couldn’t reproduce the faster-than-light effects.

Sandro Centro, spokesperson for the Icarus collaboration, based in the same Gran Sasso lab as the OPERA collaboration, says:

Now we are 100% sure that the speed of neutrinos is the speed of light.

As long as humans do physics, there will be such incidents. Human thoughts are not just scientific and we all know that. The big bad world exists outside – and science just cannot keep that out, no matter how much it tries.

Stunning Image Of The Milky Way Galaxy Shows A Billion Stars!

Stunning is the word, if you can at all describe it! Vista Data Flow System has just mapped the Milky Way Galaxy and has produced a spectacular image of the galactic disk, showing nearly a billion stars. Such is the detail of each region of the mapped galaxy that it is impossible to grasp even when zoomed in. The entire image has been built up from thousands of individual images taken over a decade. The detailing is amazing and it’s not only for the pleasure of the visual organ – the scientific data is also enormous!

The image of a part of the galaxy. (Courtesy: Mike Read and Nick Cross)

Says Dr. Nick Cross from the University of Edinburgh, one of the people involved in the study

There are about one billion stars in there – this is more than has been in any other image produced by surveys. When it was first produced, I played with it for hours; it’s just stunning.

Even hard-nosed scientists, bombarded year-after-year with raw numerical data, have a little child lurking in their somewhere.

Online play…

The data used in building this image has been taken from UKIDSS/GPS sky survey acquired by the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii and from the Vista telescope in Chile.

A closeup of the galaxy, near the galactic center. Obtained using the online software. (Courtesy: Mike Read and Nick Cross)

Just to help everyone out, there is an online tool, created by Dr Cross and collaborators, which can be used to zoom into smaller and smaller regions of the image. The image itself is a long extended disc of the galaxy and too big to comprehend it at one go!

Do play around with the software. Zoom in and at each level, wait a bit – it takes a few seconds to load fully. It’s well worth the wait! I recommend that you watch it full-screen. Oh, and you might need to bump up the brightness of your monitor a bit.

Scientists are hoping to use this technique for future studies, for mapping starburst galaxies and regions around compact objects. But no matter what, imagination and amazement shall never be lost!

Copious Amounts Of Carbon Found In A Galaxy Far Far Away!

Something surprising, but not quite revolutionary. A galaxy far far away is giving strong carbon signature from throughout its surface. Using the recently upgraded IRAM (standing for Institute for Radio Astronomy in Millimeter Range) array of radio telescopes, researchers were able to observe the galaxy and the supermassive blackhole at its center.

Astronomers have named the galaxy J1120+0641 and what they are observing now is the state the galaxy was more than 13 billion years ago, just 740 million years after the Big Bang! That’s how far it is from us. During this time, almost the entire Universe was made up of hydrogen or helium.

J1120+0641: Left - Seen in visual. Right - Seen in the submillimeter radio range using IRAM. (Photo Courtesy: IRAM)

Encoded Messages Tell A Fascinating Tale

The copious signals of carbon, given by the spectrum of carbon, and of UV indicate that the galaxy is undergoing – or rather had undergone – a very active carbon-forming phase. The UV is due to the fact that the photon is heating up the dust in the interstellar medium and causing ionization. The sheer amount of carbon is mind-boggling, telling us that a lot of massive stars are burning their way through.

This leads to one conclusion – a lot of star formation must have been going on in this region since the Big Bang, but then that’s pretty strange. Though it doesn’t contradict any of the stellar formation theories known, this is still pretty surprising that we should be seeing so much activity so soon after the Big Bang.

Bram Venemans, of Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, says:

The presence of so much carbon confirms that massive star formation must have occurred in the short period between the Big Bang and the time we are now observing the galaxy.

The researchers owe a debt to the IRAM facility, which has just upgraded its signal processing capabilities, allowing the observers to observe on more number of channels and thus cut out noise. This makes seeing faraway galaxies possible.

Tennessee Passes “Monkey Bill”; Science At Risk

The amount of stupidity in this is just too high! Tennessee’s “Monkey Bill” has been passed by the Tennessee House of Representatives, although by the thinnest of margins possible – 73 for to 72 against. This has been a crucial and controversial bill for a long time. We had told you about the bill before: here and here.

Seemingly Harmless

On the face of it, the Bill seems so benign, even pro-science. It encourages teachers to present both sides of the argument, harking back to the very successful slogan adopted by the Creationist Discovery Institute, “Teach the Controversy”. The Bill “protects a teacher from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner”. If you look at it carefully, this shields a teacher if he/she teaches creationism as science in biology classes, especially when there are creationist textbooks available in the market. The Bill, however, has been modified from the form it first originated in.

What it really says

The Bill asks you to doubt and measure the “scientific strengths and weaknesses” of topics like “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning”. Why these specific topics have been singled out is another matter, of course. As a humble student of science, I ask, are the other subjects not worthy of being doubted? Or is there some underlying motivation for doubting these specific topics?

The Bill has been passed by the House and now rests with Governor Bill Haslam. He has ten days to pass it, withhold signature, in which case the Bill will become a Law without Governor’s approval, or veto it.

Fears or Reality

Many organisations have been up in arms against this bill. Out of the many such educational institutions, a few are the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Knoxville News Sentinel, The National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, and three distinguished Tennessee scientists and members of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1925, there was conducted the famous “Scopes Trial”, in which a school teacher – John Scopes – was tried and found guilty of teaching evolution in classrooms. This violated an existing law. A huge uproar ensued and ended up reversing the statement of the law. Alluding to this incident, three scientists from Vanderbilt University wrote in a letter saying that the legislators are “doing the unbelievable: attempting to roll the clock back to 1925 by attempting to insert religious beliefs in the teaching of science.”

What Gov. Haslam decides will be crucial. The next few days should be interesting.

NYC Education Board Bans “Dinosaurs” And “Evolution” From Tests

The newest attack on Evolution comes from a very unlikely source – the New York City Department of Education. They have just passed a rule which bars the mention of the words “dinosaurs” and “evolution” in biology tests. This has been done to avoid offending the creationists who hold a lot of administrative power in the state.

"We have fossils, we win!"

Madness and more madness…

Just to remind you of what this means : this is not the Bible belt; this is not Kansas or Texas. New York City is not known for being creationist or anti-evolution. Exactly what offence precise scientific terms can cause is still unknown.
The only faint silver lining in the dark academic clouds: the words can still be used in classrooms for instruction and in school textbooks, just not in state-wide tests.

Part of a Bigger Scheme

This censorship is actually a part of a greater, more shameful, scheme. The NYC State Education Board has drawn up a list of 50 words which shouldn’t be mentioned in the test. These include everything from ‘parapsychology’ (good move) to ‘sex’ (debatable) to ‘rock-and-roll’ (senseless!). A few more words not allowed are ‘cancer’ (the disease, not the sun sign), ‘celebrities’ (are you out of your minds?) and ‘halloween’ (okay, ignore the previous parenthetical question – you obviously are).

The entire deal…

If you’re interested in finding more examples, the entire list is given below:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Rap Music
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

The madness with school textbooks and, now, state tests continues across various US state education boards. Evolution is still far away from being a very acceptable topic, even though it’s one of the most scientifically established subjects. Prof. Dawkins, your work is still not done!