Sharma R.,Panjab University |
Bansal S.,DST |
Singhal S.,Panjab University
Magnetic bimetallic nanospinels (MFe2O4; M = Cu, Zn, Ni and Co) with sizes ranging between 15-30 nm were synthesized using a facile and viable sol-gel method. Fourier transform infrared spectral analysis of all the samples demonstrated the formation of M-O bond in the spinel structure. Structural exploration of all the nano materials using powder X-ray diffraction and high resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed the formation of a single phase cubic spinel structure. All the materials exhibited a magnetic temperament with high surface areas (92-151 m2 g-1). Furthermore, the band gaps calculated from the diffuse reflectance spectra were quite narrow (1.26-2.08 eV) for all the samples, hence the ferrites could act as visible light driven photocatalysts. The prepared nanospinels are proposed to be promising heterogeneous photo-Fenton catalysts under visible light for the degradation of organic pollutants. The catalytic results revealed that the rate of reaction was significantly influenced by the cation in the spinel structure as the degradation order was observed to be CuFe2O4 (k = 0.286 min-1) > ZnFe2O4 (k = 0.267 min-1) > NiFe2O4 (k = 0.138 min-1) > CoFe2O4 (k = 0.078 min-1). The reaction conditions were optimized for all the ferrites as the photodegradation was influenced by the ferrite dosage (0.25-1.00 g L-1), pH (2-5) and the H2O2 concentration (4-27 mM). The experimental data disclosed that the ferrite activity was sensitive to sintering temperature. The materials displayed remarkable stability in the reaction as they could be magnetically separated using an external magnet and recycled for up to 4 consecutive cycles. There was no significant loss in activity of all the materials, demonstrating the excellent ability of the ferrites to remove organic pollutants from wastewater. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source
The Indian government’s annual budget, announced on Feb. 29, increases funding for science and technology, scientific research, and biotechnology within the Ministry of Science & Technology. Budgetary estimates for the Department of Science & Technology (DST), India’s central agency for disbursing research grants in science, are $660 million, up by almost 17% over last year. Health research funding would be hiked by $20 million, or 12.5%, over last year. In contrast, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, which promotes domestic technology development and transfer, would receive a paltry rise of 0.7% compared with the previous year. The government plans to pour $269 million into its Department of Biotechnology (DBT), a 12% hike over last year. The increase might seem marginal given the ambitious national strategy launched in December 2015 to turn India into a world hub for biotechnology by 2020. The program is expanding research in vaccines, the human genome, infectious and chronic diseases, crop science, animal agriculture and aquaculture, food and nutrition, environmental management, and clean energy technologies. Despite the increase in biotechnology funding being below expectations, DBT Secretary Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan is confident of acquiring the required funds from other sources. He, however, did not elaborate on what those sources could be. The general enhancement of the annual budget’s allocation, VijayRaghavan says, will help DBT give a major push to programs and activities for national initiatives, including Make in India, Start-up India, and Swachh Bharat (Clean India). Under the increased outlay for Swachh Bharat, development of some new technologies will be given a significant boost, he says. Also in the budget, funding for new and renewable energy received a nearly 17-fold jump. This is to be supported in part by the government’s proposed increase in the nation’s tax on coal, called the Clean Environment Cess. Although the government announced new initiatives for the country’s distressed agricultural sector, their thrust was on infrastructure development and providing insurance to farmers. The outlay for agricultural research and education increased by less than 5%. C. N. R. Rao, a chemist and research professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, says, “The budgets of DST and DBT are good and should boost the morale of scientists.” However, Krishna N. Ganesh, a chemistry professor and director of the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune, tells C&EN that the scientific community has few reasons to cheer. Compared with the 2015–16 budget, the 2016–17 budget represents a downward trend in the percentage increases of budgetary allocations for science, technology, and biotechnology, he says. “The decreasing trend in the enhanced allocations over the past two years does not augur well for a country that aspires to strengthen its emerging status as a science-driven nation,” Ganesh says.
NestAway is the latest real estate startup in India to announce funding. The site, which focuses on furnished homes in cities, has raised a $30 million Series C led by Tiger Global, with participation from Yuri Milner (founder of DST Global), IDG Ventures India, and Sujeet Kumar. This brings NestAway’s total funding so far to about $43.2 million, according to CrunchBase. Other real estate listing companies that have raised significant amounts of venture capital recently include Housing, PropTiger, and Quikr. NestAway’s niche, however, is helping young professionals, many living on their own, rent apartments in desirable locations. Then it provides them with a host of services through its app, including moving, rental payments, and basic repairs. It currently claims to have found homes for 10,000 tenants in Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, and Hyderabad. The company makes money by taking a percentage of each home’s monthly rent. It focus on rental properties and value-added services may help NestAway weather slowing property sales. NestAway will extend its marketing focus to families with its new capital. In a press statement, Tiger Global partner Lee Fixel said, “NestAway’s customized strategy has demonstrated the potential to transform India’s rental housing market by leveraging a long-term view of the owner-tenant relationship. By emphasizing the highest quality of customer service and satisfaction, NestAway is developing an annuity-based e-commerce model at scale.”
News Article | March 13, 2016
For most of us, daylight saving time (yep, there’s no "s") equals more sunlight. When we spring forward today, the time change will push sunset an hour later every evening, which for typical 9-5ers will mean more light in your life. But some advocates and lawmakers are pushing to abolish DST, a change that could add as much as 200 hours of darkness to many people’s waking year. Who wants that? Please no. Obviously, switching over to DST does not make the sun shine longer. It simply shifts our clocks forward to try and better align societal schedules with solar time; we pay for the extra hour of evening light by sacrificing it in the morning. But generally speaking, when we switch over to daylight saving between March and November, “It feels like more daylight, because there’s daylight in the evening when people can use it rather than in the morning when most people sleep through it and they don’t see it at all,” said Dr. David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time. I think we can all agree more daylight is a good thing. Yet there’s a prevalent anti-daylight saving sentiment, and 11 US states are proposing legislation to abolish the time change. (Arizona and Hawaii are the only states to currently observe standard time year-round.) Why? Well for the most part, people are pushing to do away with daylight saving because of the hassle of switching the clocks twice a year and the inevitable resulting logistical clusterfuck. Many studies claim the time change could even damage physical and mental health since this societal self-imposed jet lag messes with our circadian rhythm. But one perspective that’s consistently overlooked in this biannual brouhaha is how having more waking leisure hours when the sun is out enhances quality of life. The frustration with the inconvenience of changing the clocks tends to overshadow this simple fact: Being outdoors is good for the soul. “With many referenda and proposed laws that we see, there’s not a strong consideration given to what people will experience when they no longer have daylight saving in the summer,” Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, told me. “People that get it tend to like it.” So, if we don’t want to change the clocks twice a year and we don’t want to lose that extra evening sun, how about moving to daylight saving time year-round? Year-round daylight saving is a somewhat less popular idea, in part because it technically violates the law—states are permitted to opt in or out of DST, but not instate it all year. Regardless, four states have proposed legislation to stay on daylight saving time all year: Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, and Idaho (which has tried to both abolish and permanently instate DST, with no luck either time). What’s more, the federal government has been trending in that direction. When a nationwide timeframe was first instituted in 1966, the government decided daylight saving time would last six months. Twenty years later, in 1986, that was extended out to seven months, and in 2005 it was extended again to eight. Standard time now only lasts for four months of the year. So why not make daylight saving the standard? Here’s what it would look like if we used DST year-round, based on these Navy sunrise/sunset charts and some napkin scratch math. On one hand, the outlook is bright: With year-round daylight saving we’d get to keep those long summer evenings with the added benefit of getting rid of those soul-sucking days in mid-winter when the sun sets at four o’clock in the goddamn afternoon. But here’s the major downfall of perma-DST: There’s about an hour difference in solar time between the east and west sides of each time zone, so, for example, while the sun comes up at 7:30 AM in Portland, Maine, it’s nearly 8:30 AM in Indianapolis. This means in the western parts of the time zones during the shortest months of the year, the sun wouldn’t rise until as late as 8:30 or 8:45 in the morning. That would be nuts! Now, for comparison, here’s what we’d see if we got rid of daylight saving and observed standard time year-round. Between March and November, when we’d normally use DST, the sun would rise roughly between 4 AM and 7:20 AM instead of 5 AM and 8:20 AM. (The time ranges depending on the time of year as we get closer to the vernal equinox in June, and whether you’re closer to the eastern or western edge of the time zone.) So, earlier sunrise. Better! But the cost of that is it would get dark around 5:30 PM to 8:15 PM, instead of those long summer nights we have now when the sun can set at 9:30 PM. In other words, ditching daylight saving would make it light out for an extra hour in the morning, but many of us would be asleep through half of that. On the other end, the average office slave would get, at maximum, an hour-and-a-half of sunlight after work, and in the shorter months, none at all. And remember, this is in the summertime. The days are even shorter in winter. For more personalized calculations, this interactive graphic that Quartz made is fun to play with. It shows that, for instance, if you live on the East Coast, and generally get up around 6:30 AM and go to bed around 11:30 PM, with the status quo you’d be awake for 4,470 hours of daytime throughout the year. Get rid of daylight saving time and that drops to 4,269 hours. That’s a loss of 200 hours of light each year. We all have feelings about daylight saving, and today’s time change was surely accompanied by the usual whinefest about missing appointments and losing an hour of sleep and the general inanity of this seemingly antiquated practice. But let’s not forget there’s something many of us will be gaining too: Daylight.
News Article | March 13, 2016
Daylight saving time is now in effect over much of the United States, and anyone who had to work on Sunday, March 13 lost an hour of sleep the night before. Changing clocks back an hour makes it seem like the sun is out significantly longer than before, but is this a tradition whose time is passed? Every spring, millions of Americans ask themselves - and each other - whether or not it is still worthwhile to set clocks an hour ahead for the warmer months. Two states, Arizona and Hawaii, have already "opted out" of using daylight saving time (DST). The tradition takes place in 70 countries around the world, as well as in most places in the United States. "This change helps keep the hours of daylight coordinated with the time that most people are active. Proponents feel that this saves energy because in the spring and summer months more people may be outside in the evening and not using energy at home. There are, however, ongoing debates about how much energy is saved," the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) states. Contrary to popular opinion, the custom of setting clocks forward an hour in the spring was not created for the benefit of farmers. The practice was first utilized in Germany during World War I as a means of saving energy for the war effort. Before long, the United States, France and the United Kingdom all soon adopted the practice. In America, the first period of daylight saving lasted just seven months before being repealed. The idea was reborn in 1942, during the next great war. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 set the period of daylight saving time between April and October each year. Nine years later, that period was extended to eight months each year, in an effort to save fuel during the oil crisis. That change was later amended by Congress in 2005, as part of the Energy Policy Act, which declared that DST would last from March to November. Several health officials are concerned about the effect DST may have on the human body. This includes a new study out of Germany that suggests that people never fully adapt to the altered time. Heart attacks increase 10 percent in the days following the weekend where clocks spring ahead, although doctors are uncertain why this occurs. In addition to health problems, Americans do not seem to be fond of daylight saving time, either. In March 2013, polling company Rasmussen asked people if DST was worth the trouble. Just 37 percent said yes, while 45 percent spoke out against the practice. "The whole proposition that you can gain or lose an hour is at best theoretical. So I think from the start people had no clear idea what we were doing or why we were doing it. It just generates confusion, and confusion generates bad will," Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time," said. Even the ultimate purpose of daylight saving time, saving energy, is questionable. Several studies show that although use of artificial lights in evenings is reduced, energy demands during darker mornings negates any savings from the practice. As Americans head out the door for activities during the lighted evenings, cars also push more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, increasing the dangers of global warming. Daylight saving time is not likely to go away soon, but neither will controversies surrounding the practice.