Category Archives: Researchers

The Heartbleed Bug Causes Vulnerability in the OpenSSL

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj




It has now been revealed that a very serious bug was independently discovered by a team of security engineers at Codenomicon and Google Security, and they reported it to the OpenSSL team.

Antti Karjalainen, Riku Hietamaki, and Matti Kamunen at Codenomicon found the bug while improving the SafeGuard feature in their Defensics security testing tools. They reported this bug to the NCSC-FI for vulnerability coordination and reporting to OpenSSL team.

Google Security’s Neel Mehta, who worked independently of Codenomicon team is also credited with being the first to discover the flaw and reported it to the OpenSSL team.

Now this bug has been nicknamed “Heartbleed” and CVE-2014-0160 is the official reference to this bug. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is the Standard for Information Security Vulnerability Names maintained by MITRE.

OpenSSL, used by most Internet websites, is a set of open source software tools to handle secure communication. This secure technology is represented in URL addresses by the “s” in HTTPS, indicating our communications with that particular site are encrypted and a third person would not be able to read any information sent or received. SSL turns our communication into a coded strain that has to be unlocked by a digital key. Here is what it looks like for the Facebook login page:

https on Facebook page

According to Matthew Green, cryptographer and Assistant Research Professor at the Johns Hopkins University, the Heartbleed vulnerability is in the OpenSSL software which was not cleverly engineered to be this way, but the result of a “mundane coding error”.

The Heartbleed bug allows an attacker to read sensitive information from vulnerable servers and possibly steal items like passwords, cookies, and encryption keys.

The author of the article “The Heartbleed Bug” published in says:

“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication.”

To the question “How to stop the leak?”, he says:

“As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.”

Barry Abrahamson
Barry Abrahamson

In the post “Heartbleed Security Update“, Barry Abrahamson, the Chief Systems Wrangler at Automattic, responsible for running the globally distributed infrastructure that powers, Akismet, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, and others revealed that the servers “were running the latest version of OpenSSL, which was vulnerable. We generally run the latest version of OpenSSL to enable performance enhancements, such as SPDY, for our users. The non-vulnerable versions of OpenSSL were over two years old.

Barry assures us that fixed the issue by patching all their servers within a few hours of the public disclosure and replaced all SSL certificates and private keys. He said:

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have replaced all of our SSL certificates, along with regenerating all of the associated private keys. In addition, our servers support forward secrecy so that even if our private keys were compromised, they could not have been used to decrypt old encrypted communication.”

About resetting password by users on, Barrys said that at this time, they will not be forcing their users to change their password. He added:

“If you want to, you are welcome to change your password. If you are using the same password other places on the Internet, we urge you to change your password and remind you to use unique passwords wherever possible.”

Now, with the assurance by Barry on behalf of, I feel secure.


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The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 1 – Flora and Fauna

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

Last Sunday I posted an article titled “February 2, 2014 is World Wetlands Day.”

Why am I interested in wetlands? Because I am concerned. My home in Jalladianpet is just 2.5 miles (4 km) from the Pallikaranai wetland in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

A wetland is technically defined as:

“An ecosystem that arises when inundation by water produces soils dominated by anaerobic processes, which, in turn, forces the biota, particularly rooted plants, to adapt to flooding.”

The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation that adapts to its unique soil conditions. Primarily, wetlands consist of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants

There are four main kinds of wetlands: marsh, swamp, bog and fen. Sub-types include mangrove, carr, pocosin, and varzea. Some experts also include wet meadows and aquatic ecosystems as additional wetland types.

The Pallikaranai Wetland 

City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo:
City in the background of Pallikaranai wetland (Photo:

Historically, a large part of South Chennai was a flood plain composed of the large Pallikaranai wetland, smaller satellite wetlands, large tracts of pasture land and patches of dry forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is a freshwater marshland spanning 31 square miles (80 sq Km). It is the Chennai city’s natural primary aquifer recharge system.

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

The original expanse of the marsh, estimated on the basis of the Survey of India toposheets (1972) and CORONA aerial photographs (1965) was about 5,500 hectares, which has now been reduced to about 600 hectares. Situated next to the Bay of Bengal, about 12.5 miles (20 Km) south of the city centre, it is bounded by Velachery (north), Kovilambakkam (west), Okkiyam Thuraipakkam (east), and Medavakkam (south). It is the only surviving wetland ecosystem of the city and is among the few and last remaining natural wetlands of South India. It is one of the three in the state of Tamilnadu, the other two being Point Calimere and Kazhuveli.

Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.
Map of Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest.

The Pallikaranai wetland is one of the 94 identified wetlands in India under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme (NWCMP) of the Government of India that came into operation in 1985–86.

The terrain consists of fresh/saline water bodies, reed beds, mud flats and floating vegetation.

Flora and Fauna

This wetland is literally a treasury of bio-diversity that is almost four times that of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary in the Kancheepuram District of the state of Tamil Nadu, India, 47 miles (75 km) from Chennai where more than 40,000 birds (including 26 rare species), from various parts of the world visit during the migratory season every year.

The Pallikaranai wetland contains several rare and endangered species of plants and animals. It acts as a forage and breeding ground for thousands of migratory birds from various places within and outside the country. Bird watchers opine that the number of bird species sighted in the wetland is definitely more than in the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary.

Figures of the number of fauna and flora found in the Pallikaranai wetland differ among scholars conducting research here.

Among the many quiet contributors to the mapping of India’s natural treasures is Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan, Smithsonian Fellow and researcher, and managing trustee of Care Earth Trust. She obtained a Ph.D. in Biodiversity and Biotechnology from the University of Madras. She is best-known for her research work on biodiversity, and studies wetland ecology.

Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan
Dr. Jayashree Vencatesan

In 2003, the Tamilnadu State Pollution Control Board assigned her the task of conducting a detailed study of Chennai’s last remaining wetland – the Pallikaranai marsh, which is suffering from degradation caused by human impact. The study had two components — to document the biodiversity and to map the extent of the marsh to define or identify a viable unit of management.


In her work “Protecting wetlands” published on August 10, 2007, Current Science 93 (3): 288–290, she states that the heterogeneous ecosystem of the Pallikaranai marshland supports about 337 species of floras and faunas:

Birds 115
Plants 114
Fishes 46
Reptiles 21
Mammals 10
Amphibians 10
Molluscs 9
Butterflies 7
Crustaceans 5
Total 337

Birds, fishes and reptiles are the most prominent of the faunal groups.

Dr. K .Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
Dr. K. Venkataraman

However, on August 9, 2013, P. Oppili reported in The Hindu that Dr. K. Venkataraman, Director of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) while discussing the diversity of species in the marshland, as nine species of amphibians, 21 species of reptiles, 72 species of birds, five species of mammals, 38 species of fish, nine species of shells and 59 species of aquatic and terrestrial insects had been recorded, besides a good number of plankton.


The Pallikaranai wetland is the home to some of the most endangered birds such as the glossy ibis, gray-headed Lapwings and pheasant-tailed Jacana.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)
Pheasant-tailed Jacana spotted in Pallikaranai Wetland, Chennai (Photo: Sudharsun Jayaraj)


Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo - Sudharsun Jayaraj)
Purple Swamphen-Moorhen in Pallikaranai wetland, Chennai (Photo – Sudharsun Jayaraj)


FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)
FulvourWhistlingDucks (Photo: GnanaskandanK)

Cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, open-billed storks, spoonbills, white ibis, little grebe, Indian moorhen, Black-winged Stilts, purple moorhens, warblers, coots and dabchicks have been spotted in large numbers in the marshland.

Russel's Viper (Source:
Russel’s Viper (Source:

The Pallikaranai wetland is also home to some of the most endangered reptiles such as the Russell’s viper.

About 114 species of plants are found in the wetland, including 29 species of grass. These plant species include some exotic floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce.

Since 2002,  presence of new plants and  reptiles have been recorded.

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Next → The Pallikaranai Wetland: Part 2 – The Once Pristine Idyllic Wetland Is Now a Wasteland cum Concrete Jungle!



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Can Squeezing Breasts Stop the Growth of Cancer Cells?


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
According to a new research study, squeezing breasts can prevent malignant breast cells from causing cancer. Really?

Squeezing breasts 'can stop cancer'

The research team at the University of California in Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, believe that new laboratory experiments provide clues to prevent malignant breast cells that trigger the formation of breast cancer. The university wrote in a release, “The manipulation of cell development through physical force instead of the typical drug-focused methods, shows for the first time that application of physical pressure to the breasts can stop the out-of-control growth of cancerous cells and revert them back to normal growth.”

Gautham Venugopalan, a leading member of the research team said: “People have known for centuries that physical force can influence our bodies, When we lift weights our muscles get bigger. The force of gravity is essential to keeping our bones strong. Here we show that physical force can play a role in the growth – and reversion – of cancer cells.”

The researchers grew malignant breast epithelial cells within a gel injected into flexible silicone chambers. Next, they applied compression during the first stages of cell growth, and effectively squashed the cells. After some time, the squeezed malignant cells began to grow in a more normal and organised way. Once the breast tissue structure was formed the cells stopped growing, even when the compressive force was removed. Non-compressed cells continued to display the haphazard and uncontrolled growth that leads to cancer.

“Malignant cells have not completely forgotten how to be healthy; they just need the right cues to guide them back to a healthy growth pattern,” said Mr. Venugopalan.

On Monday, December 17, 2012, the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco..



Japan Hosts Charity Breast Squeeze Event

In a lighter vein, a charity event took place in Toky, Japan, on Saturday and Sunday August 25-26, 2012, as part of the “Erotica will Save the World” event a 24-hour live-streamed fundraising event took place.

Japanese men and women thronged to enjoy two days of erotically-charged festivities.

The most popular event was the “Breast Fundraiser”, that encouraged people to donate to charity. When people donated money they were allowed to squeeze the breasts of one of ten adult film stars.

All money raised were donated to STOP!AIDS, a charity aimed at promoting the awareness, treatment, and prevention of AIDS.




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Do Dark Chocolates Produce a Happy-high?


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Dark Chocolates

To many of us, the word chocolate means a sugar-loaded coating of a candy bar. Currently, many manufacturers produce chocolate with less sugar and more real cocoa, quite different from the bitter, deeply complex flavors of unadulterated chocolate products.

If not for my delicate teeth, I would rather be a Willie Wonka or a Charlie of the chocolate factory feasting on the scrumptious chocolate delicacies out there worldwide. I realize that more than 500 flavors of dark chocolate exist. Small wonder why I prefer dark chocolates that blend with my skin!

Due to variation in sugar content dark chocolates get classified as bittersweet, semi-sweet, or unsweetened. Dark chocolate has a rich brown color without added milk solids. It provides a more distinct chocolate taste compared to milk chocolates. However, the reduced milk solids give a dry, chalky textured chocolate with a pronounced bitter aftertaste.

The basic ingredients in Dark Chocolate are cacao beans, sugar, an emulsifier such as soy lecithin to keep the texture, and flavorings such as vanilla. The soul of all the ingredients in dark chocolate lies in cacao beans. Without cacao (or cocoa), there would be no chocolate.

Extra Dark Chocolate - 63% Cacao
Extra Dark Chocolate – 63% Cacao

Often the wrappers of the chocolate products show percentage by weight of the ingredients in the chocolate. The cocoa content of commercial dark chocolate bars can range from 30% (sweet dark) to 75%, or even above 80% for extremely dark bars. These percentages signify the cocoa content in the chocolate, which in turn attributes to the bitterness in the taste of the chocolate.


In 1983, psychiatrist Michael R. Liebowitz wrote the popular book “The Chemistry of Love” published by Little, Brown, & Co. Boston. An article appeared in The New York Times based on his saying to reporters: “chocolate is loaded with phenethylamine (PEA)”. Subsequently, the wire services and freelance writers evolved this statement into the tag “chocolate theory of love”.

Phenethylamine (β-phenethylamine, or phenylethylamine) is an organic compound and a natural monoamine alkaloid, a trace amine. It is also the name of a class of chemicals with many members well-known for psychoactive drug and stimulant effects such as amphetamines that raise blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Scientists believe the brain releases b-endorphin, an opioid peptide, the driving force behind the pleasurable effects that let us feel more alert and produces a sense of well-being and contentment. This is why phenylethylamine is known as the “love drug” and the reason some consider chocolate an aphrodisiac.

The half-life of phenylethylamine is between five to ten minutes, and it is rapidly metabolized by aldehyde dehydrogenase, dopamine-beta-hydroxylase and by monoamine oxidase A, also known as MAO-A, and by monoamine oxidase B, also known as MAO-B. The last two mentioned are enzymes in humans encoded by the MAOA gene and by the MAOB gene. This metabolization prevents significant concentrations from reaching the brain, thus not contributing to perceptible psychoactive effect without the use of an MAO inhibitor (MAOI).

Scientific studies have established that PEA levels in chocolate range from ~ 0-7 ppm, despite the wrong assertions that “chocolate is a love drug – an aphrodisiac” by so-called pundits writing for the mass market, and repeatedly recycled misinterpretations on the Internet of data from the primary literature.

Note the following too:

    • In 1992, G. Ziegleder, E. Stojacic and B. Stumpf stated in their “Vorkommen von β-phenethylamin und seinen derivaten in kakao und kakaoerzeugnissen” that similar concentrations of PEA, up to ~ 6 ppm have been found in variously processed cocoa beans.
    • In 1981, W. J. Hurst and P. B. Toomey in their paper “High-performance liquid chromatographic determination of four biogenic amines in chocolate” in Analyst 106 394-402 found that chocolate liquors from different producing areas around the world contain up to ~ 8 ppm PEA.
    • In 1987, G.B. Baker, J. T. F. Wong, R. T. Coutts and F. M. Passuto stated in “Simultaneous extraction and quantitation of several bioactive amines in cheese and chocolate” that the highest concentration of PEA recorded, 22 μg/g (or 22 ppm, or 0.0022%), was found in Fry’s cocoa powder, presumably in a sample obtained on the Canadian market in or before 1987. It is possible that this figure is a misinterpreted (or that of 0.22 μg/g PEA found in a chocolate bar by the same investigators) is the origin of the level of 2.2% for PEA in chocolate that is widely quoted on the Internet since then.



Where Did All the Bees Go?


Honeybees pollinate diverse crops such as apples, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables that make up one-third of the food on our table. Millions of beehives worldwide have emptied out as honeybees mysteriously disappear. The question is, “Will we be able to eat any fruits and vegetables ten years from now?” 

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Beekeepers in the United States have lost about 30 percent of their bees each year, over the past five years.

Dave Hackenberg makes a living by moving his beehives from field to field to pollinate diverse crops such as Florida melons, Pennsylvania apples, Maine blueberries, California almonds, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables that make up one-third of the food on our tables. Hackenberg trucks his honeybees up and down the East Coast and often coast to coast.

In the fall of 2006, as he had done for more than 42 years, Hackenberg migrated his bees from their central Pennsylvania summer home to their winter locale in central Florida. Initially, when he checked on his pollinators, the colonies were “boiling over” with bees. However, a month later, a thunderstruck Hackenberg noticed that more than half of the 3,000 hives completely devoid of bees.  Many of the remaining colonies had lost large numbers of worker bees, and only the young workers and the queen remained and seemed healthy. However, no dead bees were in sight.

In 2009, George Langworthy, Maryam Henein produced a documentary “Vanishing of the Bees.” This follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S.

The documentary centers around the sudden disappearance of honeybees from beehives around the world, caused by the poorly understood phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. This documentary takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the global disappearance of the honeybee. It looks at farming landscape and celebrates the age-old and sacred association between man and the honeybee. The “Vanishing of the Bees” unfolds a stirring tale of science and mystery. It highlights this extraordinary crisis and its greater meaning regarding the association between human beings and Mother Earth.


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Women’s Voices from Kudankulam: Are We Not Alive?


AUGUST 31, 2012

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

As I sit here in my home village of Idinthikara watching the hot sun light up the waves rolling onto the shores, I think of the news that has hit the world today about the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. All of you must have seen the news that the Madras High Court has given the go-ahead for the KKNPP.

Koodankulam protesters - Are We Not Alive?
Koodankulam protesters – Are We Not Alive?

When we carried the dead body of democracy and burnt it in the outskirts of our village on Aug15th, 2012, little did we realize that so soon we would witness the real death of democracy. As this last nail is being tightened on our lives, we realize how insignificant has been our voice. But this has only strengthened our vow to be together.

As I think aloud with my friends gathered here rolling beedis and contemplating our future, I wonder who can give clearance without getting the consent of all of us who live so close to the plant. For over 2 decades, we have waited for some form of consultation with us about issues and doubts that have troubled our minds. Apart from generalized assurances with statements like It is Safe and There will be no problems, we have not been given any answers. Are we not still living here and are we not expected to live here? Or do we not exist or have become transparent like the people of Hiroshima who just vanished as they walked along the streets?

As we talk this afternoon with the wind blowing over the Neem trees and bending the branches of the drumstick tree, it is our minds that are getting loaded-

Anxious Fishermen and the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant
Anxious Fishermen and the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant

We realize while cleaning the sardines and mackerels that came into our houses this morning that the Environmental Clearance given for the KKNPP is not appropriate or legal. What study can vouch for the safety of the KKNPP? Has the scientific team who did the study ever asked us about the fishes and other animals that have provided us with life for generations? Do they know the seasonality of the species, the variations in currents and tides, the changes in the seas as seasons change? Do they mention the rich wedge bank offshore that is home to many species that sustain our lives? What have they said about the abundant catch of prawns and lobsters? Who can decide that 45 degree centigrade or 35 degree centigrade is the permissible heat in which life forms will be safe? Will the water not contain substances with radiation? Is there a limit called permissible for radiation? Even children know that in the case of radiation, any dose is an overdose.

We look at our homes and the sea avidly- because we are afraid this will all become an Exclusion zone as we have seen in Fukushima and Chernobyl. We might have to go away from here gathering all our belongings. Where will we go and how will we survive? We know of no life away from the sea. Our men are so dependant on the waters of the sea. Away from her, our health will wither, we will become wasters and gamblers not to speak of searching for the wrong kind of jobs. We need to be together to live in peace and harmony. Has any impact study ever mentioned this? Will a bit of money be able to buy us all that living in the community brings ?

Yes, please answer all these questions and we will reconsider our vow to struggle till KKNPP is closed. We suggest that all the  decision makers and technical support personnel connected to KKNPP stay with us in the village for a few days and explain and answer all our questions. Only then can our vow be broken…

[From conversations with Leema Navaras, Chellamma, Fransisca, Mary, Sundari, Annammal, Chinna Thankam, Tamilarasu, Ponnasakkiammal, Paramasithi, Melrit and Xavieramma and the innumerable women gathered in the Samara pandal at Idintakarai village. 
11.08.2012, 15-16.08.2012, 22.08.2012, 31st Aug 2012.]

Anitha.S ( anithasharma2007@gmailcom).

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Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July 2012

 US environment correspondent
Tuesday 24 July 2012 17.48 EDT

Scientists at Nasa admitted they thought satellite readings were a mistake after images showed 97% surface melt over four days

The Greenland ice sheet on July 8, left, and four days later on the right. In the image, the areas classified as ‘probable melt’ (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as ‘melt’ (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. Photograph: Nasa

The Greenland ice sheet melted at a faster rate this month than at any other time in recorded history, with virtually the entire ice sheet showing signs of thaw.

The rapid melting over just four days was captured by three satellites. It has stunned and alarmed scientists, and deepened fears about the pace and future consequences of climate change.

In a statement posted on Nasa’s website on Tuesday, scientists admitted the satellite data was so striking they thought at first there had to be a mistake.

“This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” Son Nghiem of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said in the release.

He consulted with several colleagues, who confirmed his findings. Dorothy Hall, who studies the surface temperature of Greenland at Nasa’s space flight centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, confirmed that the area experienced unusually high temperatures in mid-July, and that there was widespread melting over the surface of the ice sheet.

Climatologists Thomas Mote, at the University of Georgia, and Marco Tedesco, of the City University of New York, also confirmed the melt recorded by the satellites.

However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. “I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented,” Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.

The set of images released by Nasa on Tuesday show a rapid thaw between 8 July and 12 July. Within that four-day period, measurements from three satellites showed a swift expansion of the area of melting ice, from about 40% of the ice sheet surface to 97%.

Scientists attributed the sudden melt to a heat dome, or a burst of unusually warm air, which hovered over Greenland from 8 July until 16 July.

Greenland had returned to more typical summer conditions by 21 or 22 July, Mote told the Guardian.

But he said the event, while exceptional, should be viewed alongside other compelling evidence of climate change, including on the ground in Greenland.

“What we are seeing at the highest elevations may be a sort of sign of what is going on across the ice sheet,” he said. “At lower elevations on the ice sheet, we are seeing earlier melting, melting later in the season, and more frequent melting over the last 30 years and that is consistent of what you would expect with a warming climate.”

Zwally, who has made almost yearly trips to the Greenland ice sheet for more than three decades, said he had never seen such a rapid melt.

About half of Greenland’s surface ice sheet melts during a typical summer, but Zwally said he and other scientists had been recording an acceleration of that melting process over the last few decades. This year his team had to rebuild their camp, at Swiss Station, when the snow and ice supports melted.

He said he had never seen such a rapid melt over his three decades of nearly yearly trips to the Greenland ice sheet. He was most surprised to see indications in the images of melting even around the area of Summit Station, which is about two miles above sea level.

It was the second unusual event in Greenland in a matter of days, after an iceberg the size of Manhattan broke off from the Petermann glacier. But the rapid melt was viewed as more serious.

“If you look at the 8 July image that might be the maximum extent of warming you would see in the summer,” Zwally noted. “There have been periods when melting might have occurred at higher elevations briefly – maybe for a day or so – but to have it cover the whole of Greenland like this is unknown, certainly in the time of satellite records.”

Jason Box, a glaciologist at Ohio State University who returned on Tuesday from a research trip to Greenland, had been predicting a big melt year for 2012, because of earlier melt and a decline in summer snow flurries.

He said the heat dome was not necessarily a one-off. “This is now the seventh summer in a row with this pattern of warm air being lifted up onto the ice sheet on the summer months,” he said. “What is surprising is just how persistent this circulation anomaly is. Here it is back again for the seventh year in a row in the summer bringing hot, warm
air onto the ice sheet.”

He also said surfaces at higher elevation, now re-frozen, could be more prone to future melting, because of changes in the structure of the snow crystals. Box expected melting to continue at lower elevations.

About half of Greenland’s surface ice sheet melts during a typical summer, but Zwally said he and other scientists had been recording an acceleration of that melting process over the past few decades. This year his team had to rebuild their camp, at Swiss Station, when the snow and ice supports melted.

Lora Koenig, another Goddard glaciologist, told Nasa similar rapid melting occurs about every 150 years. But she warned there were wide-ranging potential implications from this year’s thaw.

“If we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.” she told Nasa.

The most immediate consequences are sea level rise and a further warming of the Arctic. In the centre of Greenland, the ice remains up to 3,000 metres deep. On the edges, however, the ice is much, much thinner and has been melting into the sea.

The melting ice sheet is a significant factor in sea level rise. Scientists attribute about one-fifth of the annual sea level rise, which is about 3mm every year, to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

In this instance of this month’s extreme melting, Mote said there was evidence of a heat dome over Greenland: or an unusually strong ridge of warm air.

The dome is believed to have moved over Greenland on 8 July, lingering until 16 July.


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What Do You See?

Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

Wake up, wake up … Your privacy is compromised.

What Do You See?

A mosquito?

NO! You are absolutely wrong.

On close scrutiny you will notice that this is something else – an “INSECT SPY DRONE”.

This tiny drone can be controlled from a great distance. It is equipped with a camera and microphone. It can land on you, and if needed, use it’s needle to take a DNA sample of you. The priclk, and the subsequent pain will be akin to that of a mosquito bite. Also, it is possible to inject into you, under your skin, a micro RFID tracking device.

It can enter your home by landing on you, attach on to your clothing until you take it inside your home; or it can fly into your home through a window.

This is already in production, funded by the US Government. Now, who is the real enemy?



The Kodak “Brownie” Camera


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


Now that we have entered the 21st century, please allow me to  reminisce on a device that helped our grandparents and parents to usher in the previous century – The Kodak “Brownie” Camera.

 George Eastman
George Eastman

George Eastman (July 12, 1854 – March 14, 1932) was born in Waterville, New York. His father, George W. Eastman, ran a business college in Rochester, New York. His mother, Maria Kilbourn, took care of young George and his two older sisters. Two years after the family moved to Rochester, when he was seven, his father died. To add to the family’s small income, his mother had to take in boarders.

George educated in Rochester public schools dropped out at age thirteen to work and help his mother. By 1877, he advanced from messenger to bookkeeper in the Rochester Savings Bank.

George Eastman and Photography

In the 1870s American photography was still time-consuming, difficult, and expensive. Equipment included a huge camera, strong tripod (a three-legged stand), heavy glass plates, large plate holder, dark tent, chemicals, and water container.

George Eastman was always careful with his money but spent on his hobby, amateur photography.

On a trip to Mackinac Island, photographic chemicals among his cameras and supplies ruined his packed clothes. He became disgusted with the wet-plate process of producing photographs.

Eastman experimented using dry plates. He was the first American who contributed to the improvement of photographic methods. He coated glass plates with gelatin, and silver bromide. In 1879, he patented his coating machine in England, and in 1880 he received an American patent for it. He sold his English patent and opened a shop in Rochester to manufacture photographic plates.

Next, Eastman did away with glass plates. He coated paper with gelatin and photographic chemicals. The developed film was stripped from the paper to make a negative. This film was rolled on spools. Eastman and William Walker created a lightweight roll holder that would fit any camera.

In1884, Eastman substituted transparent film for the paper. Flexible film was created by Hannibal Goodwin of New York and a young Eastman chemist, Henry Reichenback. There was a long patent battle between Goodwin and Eastman. It was the most important legal dispute in photographic history. In August 1913, a federal court decision favored Goodwin and in 1914 Eastman paid five million dollars to Goodwin’s family and Ansco Company, owners of his patent.

Eastman’s next move was to create a trademark to dramatize his innovative camera.

Trademark – KODAK

There is a misconception that the name KODAK was chosen as a trademark because of it resembles the sound produced by the shutter of the camera.

It has also been told by some historians that the name KODAK was originally suggested by David Houston, a fellow photographic inventor who held the patents to several roll film camera concepts that he later sold to Eastman. Houston, who started receiving patents from 1881, was said to have chosen “Nodak” as a nickname for his home state, North Dakota.  However, this is contested by other historians, who cite that KODAK was registered as a trademark even before Eastman bought Houston’s patents.

A trademark should be short,” said George Eastman. “It should be ‘vigorous.’ It should be incapable of being misspelled to an extent that will destroy its identity”; and “it must mean nothing.

Having established the specifications for a trademark for the camera he invented, Eastman proceeded to create the word to fit them.


Eastman had an affinity towards the letter “K”. It might have been due to his mother’s maiden name being Kilbourn.

“Because,” Eastman explained later, “the letter ‘K’ had been a favorite with me – it seemed a strong, incisive sort of letter. Therefore, the word I wanted had to start with ‘K.’ Then it became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with ‘K.’ The word ‘KODAK’ was the result … It became the distinctive word for our products.”

George Eastman registered the trademark KODAK on September 4, 1888.

In the same year, Eastman designed a simple camera, the Kodak which he patented on September 4, 1888.  It was easy to carry and handheld during its operation. There was no need to focus the lens, and there was no need to adjust the aperture for the available light.

Pre-loaded with enough film for 100 exposures, it sold for twenty-five dollars. After taking the pictures the whole camera was returned along with ten dollars to the Kodak Rochester factory in New York where the film was developed, prints were made, new photographic film was reloaded, and then the camera and prints were returned to the customer.

Eastman’s advertising slogan “You press the button, we do the rest,” for his Kodak camera became very popular.

In 1889, George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company, commonly known as Kodak with headquarters in Rochester, New York. He followed the razor and blades strategy of selling inexpensive cameras and making large margins from consumables such as films, chemicals and papers.

Daylight-loading film and cameras soon made it unnecessary to return the cameras to the factory. Eastman’s old slogan changed to “You press the button, we do the rest, or you can do it yourself.

The Kodak “Brownie” Camera

The KODAK “Brownie” camera made its debut at the turn of the twentieth century. The company, Eastman Kodak, introduced the Brownie box camera in 1900 and priced it at one dollar. The camera was launched with a major advertising campaign. During the first year alone, one hundred thousand Kodak “Brownie” cameras were sold. There were two reasons behind the choice of the name “Brownie” for the camera. At the time of the launch, a children’s book of cartoons by the name “Brownie” was very popular. Secondly, the camera was initially manufactured for Eastman by Frank Brownell of Rochester, New York.

The KODAK “Brownie” camera brought photography into the hands of amateurs and it made it possible for the middle class to take their own “snaps” as well.

KODAK Brownie
KODAK Brownie Box Camera

In 1952, my father gave me a Kodak Brownie 620 Box Camera. I was able to take 8 (eight) black and white photos with one loading.

Here are some photographs that I took during that period in India with my good old Brownie.

It’s me – the Hunter (1952)

My Mother (1953)

My paternal grandmother (1953)

My paternal grandmother and her daughter-in-laws (1953)

My maternal grandfather (1953)



Add this anywhere

Dear Prime Minister, Your Advisors on Nuclear Energy Are Lying to You !!

 Reproduced from

Antinuclear logo


Dr. Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India,

Dear Prime Minister,

As per some press reports (The Hindu May 16, 2012) you told the Parliament on Wednesday 16/05 that,

“Germany, which had announced that it would close down all its all nuclear plants by 2022, bought electricity from France, a country that relied heavily on atomic energy.”

But this is just the opposite of the truth!

Since 2004, France has always been a net importer of electricity from Germany. The quantity of electricity purchased by France from Germany every year has been between the equivalent production of one or two nuclear reactors.

2004 : 8,7 TWh

2005 : 9,6 TWh

2006 : 5,6 TWh

2007 : 8,2 TWh

2008 : 12,6 TWh

2009 : 11,9 TWh

2010 : 6,7 Twh

You can find this information here (and use internet translation from French to English if required):

And you can further verify the information from the original source (RTE, the French government-owned power distribution company) in the links quoted in the article.

Please note that, although some sources in the previous French government had predicted that Germany would start becoming a net importer of electricity from France after they decided in 2011 to shut down in a planned manner their oldest nuclear plants, this prediction did not happen, and during the last winter, Germany was not only self-sufficient after closing 8 nuclear reactors, but was even capable to help “Atomic France”.

The information is in the same website as above, and the original data can be also verified.

Dear Prime Minister, I don’t know from where you get information on nuclear energy, but from now on, please connect yourself to the internet and personally check the facts about nuclear energy. You may object that as Prime Minister you are too busy to get educated on nuclear energy.  But in the present situation, it is possible that there may be no other way for taking wise decisions on this issue which is so crucial, not only for the economy but for the future of us all on this earth.

It took me 10 minutes of internet search to find the details above!

There are plenty of serious websites, in all languages, from where the information can be cross-checked and verified.

Respectfully Yours,

Laurent Fournier
1/22-E Chittaranjan Colony
Jadavpur, Kolkata-32

For the record, this is the press report from where I read your
statement in Parliament.

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