by H.H. Mate
It was on Friday, the 1st October, 2010 that I read the national newspaper “ The Times of India in the morning at Dwarka in New Delhi. While deeply going through the said newspaper, in between the lines, something came into my mind and I was then compelled to write about the recent developments in Science and Technology. This article is a part of continuation of my article “Men and Science in the Scientific Age” which was contributed and published in the Gosem. The Imphal Free Press and The Lamka Post daily newspapers.
Today, I would like to share/explore some of the recent developments found/spotted, rediscovered and identified by the researchers/scientists as an erudite scholar.
As reported from the Washington, astronomers have, for the first time, spotted/found an earth-like planet beyond our own in what is sometimes called Goldilocks zone for life: not too hot, not too cold. This world could just be habitable. Not too far from its star, not too close, so it could contain liquid water. The planet itself is neither too big nor too small for the proper surface, gravity and atmosphere. This really is the first Goldilocks planet. Finding a planet that could potentially support life is a major step towards answering the timeless questions: “Are we alone? Life on other planets doesn’t mean ET. Even a simple single- cell bacteria or the equivalent of shower mold would shake perceptions about the uniqueness of life on earth. Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between- in the land of constant sunrise-it would be shirt-sleeve weather according to the scientists from Carnegie Institution of the scientists from Washington and University of California at Santa Cruz.
And, as reported from Singapore, Scientists can rediscover missing species. More than a third of mammal species considered extinct or missing have been rediscovered by the researchers/ scientists and a lot of effort is wasted in trying to find species that have no chance of being found again. Species face an accelerated rate of extinction because of pollution, climate change, habitat loss and hunting and that this rate of loss is putting ecosystems and economies at ever greater risk, according to the United Nations.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia said a greater understanding of patterns of extinction could channel more resources to finding and protecting species listed as missing before it is too late. They found that species of affected by habitat loss were much more likely to be misclassified as extinct or to remain missing than those affected by introduced predators and diseases. It is most likely that the highest rates of rediscovery will come from searching for species that have gone missing during the 20th century and have relatively large ranges threatened by habitat loss.
Again, as reported from London, for the first time, scientists claim to have identified the genes which decide human height. About 80% of normal variation in human height is said to be down in genetic factors. According to the scientists, the findings are important as taller people are statistically more likely to be at risk from prostate, bladder and lung cancer, while shorter people are more likely to develop heart disease. Lead researcher Professor Timothy Prayling said, “We know about 80% of our height is down to our genestic and the rest is environmental such as nutrition and childhood infections which have reduced in the last hundred years- meaning we have all got taller” Professor Joel Hirsch horn of Boston added, “ Height clearly has a lot to do with genetics. Shorter parents tend to have shorter children, and taller parents tend to have taller children”.
But, we see some shorter parents produce taller children and taller parents produce shorter children. It is also due to genetics again. In general taller parents produce taller children and shorter parents produce shorter children. It is a rare case that a shorter parents produce taller children. Majority of the people will agree with the identification of the genes by the scientists, but few may not agree with it as some shorter parents tend to have taller children on the planet earth.
(The writer of this article is the erudite scholar and eminent educationist)
Principal, S.Radhakrishnan Foundation School