Matters concerned with Environment

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Finally the river-linking project is to be shelved for good !!!

Centre to shelve river-linking project
 NEW DELHI, Oct 5 — The UPA Government has decided to formally give a neat burial to the ambitious river-linking project, with Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Jairam Ramesh declaring that the project would be ‘human, ecological and economic disaster for the country’. The pronouncement comes on a day, when the Minister announced the decision to adopt river dolphins as national aquatic animal. The suggestion to adopt the River Dolphin, also better known as Gangetic Dolphins came from Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar.
“The suggestion to adopt it as national aquatic animal came from Bihar Chief Minister and we accepted it,” Ramesh said, briefing newsmen about the outcome of the meeting of Ganga River Basin Authority that was chaired by the Prime Minister.
The Environment and Forest Minister said that one of the criteria for measuring the revival of River Ganga would be return of river dolphins. Some 2000 of them are left in the country, he added.
They were found in large numbers before a few years. But now their number has come down considerably due to various human activities like fishing, poaching, construction of Farakka barrage in Ganges, sand mining in Kulsi River and massive deforestation.
The river dolphins are included in the schedule 1 of Indian Wildlife Act 1972.
Ganga River currently has about 600 of dolphins, while in Brahmaputra River, its population has gone down to 240-300.
Meanwhile, Environment and Forest Minister, replying to questions about the fate of the river linking project, indicated that it is going to be shelved. The Project has national and international ramifications. Bangladesh has already gone to UN, he added.
This is not physically possible to link rivers, he said, adding that smaller inter-basin transfers, however, could go on.
One of the erstwhile NDA Government’s flagship projects, river-linking project did not find much favour with the current regime. “Interlinking of rivers was a revolutionary step initiated by the NDA government BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy had s aid.
BJP-led NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had mooted the idea of interlinking of rivers to deal with the problem of drought and floods afflicting different parts of the country at the same time. The programme aims at equitable distribution of water throughout the country to solve issues of irrigation and drinking water as well, Rudy said.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finally even an Ecofriendly Font !!

Spranq Eco Sans font

December 21, 2008

As all bloggers probably do, I read the blogs (I have to keep up with the competition!). And, the blog topic that is getting the most attention this week is not related to shoe-throwing or who bid the most for an available Illinois Senate seat.

It is about the Spranq Eco Sans type font. Seriously. This is a font, designed by Spranq, a Dutch marketing company, that has holes in the middle of the strokes to save ink. The company took a Verdana look-alike font and punched holes in the center of all the letters. The holes are not perfectly round, but slightly ovoid, and they run down the middle of each letter. The idea is that the letters, when they print, will require less ink or toner, and that the Earth will be saved as a result. Spranq argues that the user of the font would save as much as 20% on ink when using their font.

Spranq’s Eco Sans font has tiny ovoid perforations in the middle of each letter. When printed on the right substrate at at the right size, the holes disappear and it looks normal. In the process, it would use less ink – Spranq says 20% less – and thus be more environmentally sensible. 
You can download it and try it yourself. It’s important to understand that this font is not intended for display setting. That’s pretty obvious, as the little perforations show at any size larger than about 11 point. But for newspaper printing, the typical font size is between 8 and 9.5 pt. so the little holes won’t show at that size. And, newspaper printing might be the best place to test this kind of typography (religious tracts would be another: holey printing?) because you can monitor ink consumption better on news presses than on sheet-fed over the long term.

I made a test page of 9.5 pt. type on 12 points of leading, and printed it on a laser printer. Indeed the little dots disapper in the printed version, subsumed into the toner as plugged-up shadow dots. But, here is the important question: does a plugged-up shadow dot consume less ink? It does not, and thus the argument of saving the Earth one microscopic perforation at a time falls apart on a conventional printing press with conventional ink and paper.

Even at this size the little holes tend to disappear (and this is the low-resolution World Wide Web, so that makes sense). In print at this size, the holes are highly visible. 
Not one to poke holes in the promotion by Spranq, I spent a little more time monkeying with my test page and setting the type at various sizes to determine where the threshold of visibility occurs. On my machine, a (Xerox) Tektronix Phaser 7700, the microscopic dots disappear from reading-distance visibility but remain clearly visible under a loupe at 9.0 pt. At 8.5 the dots begin to blend together – a function of mechanical (in this case electrostatic) dot-gain – and thus the benefit of these little holes is lost. So, when properly applied, at the right size, this font could really save ink.

One must also take into account the age and eyesight of the reader – myopia is a factor – and the substrate on which the text is printed. Newsprint is the obvious winner here. Paperback books, which are often printed on a high-grade newsprint, would also handle this kind of font nicely, as the more fluid ink and the capillary action of that ink in the paper fibers would overcome some of the visibility issues of the letters. So, on that printing technology and substrate, Spranq’s font would indeed save ink, and thus money (and the Earth). The porous paper would be the equalizing force. After the holidays, and once I am in the company of nice photo-microscope again, I will make some print tests and photograph them for this blog. The results should be very interesting.

At text sizes, and on a porous substrate, the Eco Sans font indeed looks normal. This is its best calling.

One thing that all the responses to all the blogs I have read have not mentioned is the time-to-RIP, a factor in imaging zillions of little tiny holes in every letter printed on a set of plates for printing. Though relatively small (all of this is small), the time consumed is not immeasurable, and it could cut into productivity. There are 26 perforations in the lower-case p for example; drawing that could increase process time. I’d have to do a large-scale test to confirm this, but it definitely increases the task of ripping text for platesetting. And, time on that equipment is real money.

Many of the whiners at other blog sites criticised the design of the font. Well, heck! This is just the first one, based on a version of Verdana, which is a beautifully-open and highly legible font by Matthew Carter designed originally for electronic media. Perhaps Spranq could have chosen a news font; it’s not too late for them to try another font.

In general, I think that the Spranq Eco Sans font is a great idea. It starts people thinking about ways to save rare resources and to be more productive. Certainly it’s not the salvation of the Earth, but it’s a microscopically small effort to save the Earth, and it has the blogsphere abuzz in commentary. Can all those little holes make a difference?

You’ve probably seen Helvetica the Movie (available on NetFlix and iTunes). Can Spranq Eco Font – the Movie be far behind?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oleander (Nerium Oleander) Toxicity

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. Despite this fact, it is sometimes grown in school yards. The toxicity of Oleander is considered extremely high and it has been reported that in some cases only a small amount had lethal or near lethal effects . The most significant of these toxins are oleandrin and neriine, which are cardiac glycosides. They are present in all parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the sap, which can block out receptors in the skin causing numbness. It is thought that Oleander may contain many other unknown or un-researched compounds that may have dangerous effects. Oleander bark contains rosagenin which is known for its strychnine-like effects. The entire plant, including the sap, is toxic, and any part can cause an adverse reaction. Oleander is also known to hold its toxicity even after drying. It is thought that a handful or 10-20 leaves consumed by an adult can cause an adverse reaction, and a single leaf could be lethal to an infant or child. According to the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (TESS) in 2002 there were 847 known human poisonings in the United States related to Oleander. There are innumerable reported suicidal cases of consuming mashed oleander seeds in southern India. Around 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight is lethal to many animals, and various other doses will affect other animals. Most animals can suffer a reaction or death from this plant.

Source:- Wikipedia

Artificial trees for combating Global warming

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What gets depleted, what never does - $20 Per Gallon

What gets depleted, what never does
A recent book, titled "$20 Per Gallon," by Christopher Steiner, imagines a future in which oil is depleted and the price of gas soars out of sight. Surprisingly, a hopeful rather than an apocalyptic mood surfaces a number of times in the book. Its upbeat subtitle promises: "How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better."
Steiner hit on a nifty structure for his work. The opening chapter is about life at $4 a gallon. Each following chapter ratchets the price up two dollars and then imagines how civilization will realign at that level. For example, at $8 the airline industry is crushed. At 14 bucks, Wal-Mart – and pretty much all of exurbia with its extreme dependency on the car – is no longer a going concern. Despite the subtitle's promise of a life changed for the better, the reader might reasonably wonder, "Better for whom?" as the middle class in places like China and India race ahead, until they see America in their rearview mirrors.
Almost no expert disputes that known oil reserves around the planet are headed toward depletion. Or that tapping into reserves yet to be discovered will only postpone the inevitable. Lifestyles based on the premise of nearly endless, cheap oil have to undergo profound change
Even as oil is depleted, and a host of related problems crowd to the front, solutions to those problems can multiply – solutions that are inexhaustible and clean. These solutions are not remote. They are not likely to deplete either.

Leopard rescued from residential area near Mumbai

Leopard rescued from residential area near Mumbai Mumbai, Sep. 30 (ANI): Rangers of Borivali National Park near Mumbai rescued a leopard that had entered a residential area of Kandivili on Wednesday. The leopard reportedly entered the residential area during the early morning, and it reportedly mauled a local before being tranquillised and captured by the wildlife officials. “It came into this area after crossing the wall…the wildlife officials came and captured the leopard after tranquillising it. Only one man sustained minor injuries when the leopard mauled him with its claws,” said A Pawaskar, Inspector, Kandivili East Police Station. In recent months, Maharashtra has witnessed a number of incidents of wild animals straying into urban areas, mainly owing to loss of habitat and extension of human settlements into forest areas. According to wildlife sources, the leopard must have jumped over the wall since Borivali National Park is well protected.
India had about 7,300 leopards in the wild according to a 1997 census. (ANI)


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