Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bayonne Bridge completion date pushed back 2 years

The completion of the $1.3 billion Bayonne Bridge “Raise the Roadway” project has been pushed back two years, with the renovated bridge now expected to be complete in 2019.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced October 1 that the delay in construction would mean the larger “post-Panamax” ships won’t be able to navigate into Newark Bay until 2017. The delay was blamed on a rough 2014-2015 winter, modifications to make sure the bridge could safely allow traffic during construction, complicated steel reinforcement activities and changes in the project plans in order to reduce overnight construction impact and to address some concerns from the community. The project to raise the Bayonne Bridge began back in 2013 in order to raise the clearance to 215 feet, allowing larger modern ships to pass through the expanded Panama Canal. The project, a joint venture with Skanska Koch/Kiewit Infrastructure, is set to also make a safer roadway with 12-foot lanes, new shoulders, a median divider and a new 12-foot bicycle and pedestrian walkway.
“We are confident that we will complete the Bayonne Bridge’s ‘Raise the Roadway’ project within the revised timetable,” Skanska president and CEO Michael Cobelli said. “This has been a challenging project, but we have committed the resources to complete it successfully, with full awareness of how vitally important it is for the regional economy.”

The Port Authority said the project is about 50 percent complete and $380 million worth of construction is already in place, but some local officials in Bayonne aren’t happy with the announcement.
The Jersey Journal reported that City Councilors Tommy Cotter and Sharon Nadrowski said the Port Authority hasn’t kept their word to the people of Bayonne. Mayor Jimmy Davis echoed their complaints.

“This project was sold to the residents as a benefit for the City by the prior administration. Instead, it has been an ongoing struggle with the Port Authority to try and protect the residents of Bayonne,” Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said. “Today’s announcement is just the latest chapter of the saga we have endured.


SRM University Student Acquires MITACS (Canada) Scholarship

Subhashini.K, a final year B. Tech. student of Department ofBiotechnology, SRM University, Kattankulathur is offered MITACS Globalink Research Scholarship from Canada. This scholarship ($5000) is offered to the top students from Universities across 9 countries which includeAustralia, Brazil, China, France, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Vietnam. MITACS is a not-for profit organization which aims at providing opportunities to students to explore Canada and experience the lifestyle.
In India, this scholarship is usually offered to the undergraduate students from IITs, NIITs, Central government institutes and Anna University. The students in their pre-final years are offered this scholarship to get hands-on experience and gain cultural experience.
Subhashini. K, gained research experience in the “Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory” under the guidance of Dr.V.Vinoth Kumar, Assistant professor, Department of Biotechnology. Based on her research experience, she was offered the prestigious MITACS scholarship and worked under the guidance of  Dr. Jerald Lalman, Associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She spent three months during the summer of 2015 in Canada working in the field of “Bioenergy Production”. She worked on anaerobic digestion of algae for the production of alternate energy – Methane and Hydrogen with the focus on increasing the yield using long chain fatty acids.  This research work is expected to translate into a peer-reviewed publication for her. 
Further information can be obtained from the University of Windsor webpage:

Friday, 23 October 2015

With 200-MPH Winds, Hurricane Patricia Closes In On Mexico

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific will make a "potentially catastrophic landfall" in southwestern Mexico Friday, the National Weather Service says. Hurricane Patricia is bringing winds that now top 200 mph; it's expected to strike Friday afternoon or evening.
"This is the equivalent of a giant EF5 tornado spinning over the Pacific Ocean," says meteorologist Travis Herzog of ABC-13 TV in Houston. "If Patricia maintains anything near this intensity at landfall in Mexico today, it will be unimaginably catastrophic."
The Category 5 storm has forced evacuations in Puerto Vallarta and other areas along Mexico's coast. Forecasters say that in addition to destructive winds, Patricia could bring dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. The storm is currently projecting hurricane-force winds up to 30 miles from its center. A hurricane warning is in effect from San Blas, a town nearly 100 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, to Punta San Telmo, more than 300 miles to the south. The storm was moving at 12 mph, according to the latest data from the National Hurricane Center.
Patricia is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 8 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches," the National Hurricane Center says, "over the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero through Saturday." The center adds that the storm will also bring "an extremely dangerous storm surge" to its landfall site.
As it makes landfall, forecasters believe Patricia will be on a north-northeast track — sending it over Mexico and into southern Texas, where it could bring dangerous amounts of rain in a short period of time over the weekend

As Migrants Pour In, Germany Launches Online University For Them

In May, 21-year-old Kashif Kazmi fled his hometown of Parachinar in northwest Pakistan. As part of the country's Shiite minority, Kazmi was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban. The rest of his family are still there.
"I really miss my family, my friends who are there," Kazmi says. "Because my sisters, my father is old-aged and he cannot cope with the situation, I had no other option. And I'm so homesick."
Kazmi wants to give his sisters a better life. He hopes one day to bring them to Germany. For him, this means pursuing higher education, something he says he was denied back home: "They don't want us to be educated. They want us to be ignorant."

Kazmi arrived in Berlin at the end of July and is already speaking some German. Having traveled through nine countries to get here, he has overcome many barriers. But as an asylum-seeker, he is not permitted to attend a local university because he doesn't have the requisite paperwork and status.
Markus Kressler pulls up a virtual seminar on mechanical engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, on his laptop. The 25-year-old is a co-founder of Kiron University, a Berlin-based program for refugees that taps into open-source online lectures from other universities.

Kiron University students take courses online for the first two years, working toward a bachelor's degree while they apply for asylum and acquire the paperwork and qualifications needed to enter a partner university, local to where they are, to complete the degree."Basically, everyone can already log into these courses," Kressler says. "What we do is we just take these courses, bundle them into degree programs and make cooperation with real universities so that they also recognize these courses in order to really get a degree in the end."

Partner Universities
Kressler says Kiron is already partnering with 30 universities throughout Europe and in Africa, and currently is in talks with U.S. Ivy League institutions. He says the partnership is attractive to established universities."Every kind of university has about 30 to 50 percent free seats in the third year because so many students quit," he says. In Europe, it's customary to earn a bachelor's in three years. Kiron students simply fill these empty seats.The program may also benefit the German economy. Currently, Kiron offers degrees in fields including computer science, engineering, business and architecture — all areas in which there is a skills shortage in the German labor market.

The university is starting its pilot semester this month with 1,000 students. The interest is far greater, but Kiron requires investment."As a start-up, you always need to create the proof of concept to show everyone that it really works," Kressler says. "If you start an online university for refugees, it takes three or four years in order to see if the students can actually go into the job market."

Kiron University says each student will cost it $400 a year, which it hopes to finance with crowdfunding and sponsorship.Kazmi is among the first group of students starting at Kiron this week. He's excited, he says, "because Nelson Mandela [said] that education is the real weapon to change the world. So I believe in education, because it's a journey from darkness into light."
He has signed up for a degree in business. It's not science, his first love.

"It's my zeal and zest," he says of science. But for now, Kiron doesn't offer science degrees. Kazmi does find inspiration in his heroes Isaac Newton, who survived the English Civil War and narrowly escaped the Great Plague, and Albert Einstein, who fled Nazi Germany.

But he's pragmatic and says the business course will give him the skills to help others.

He'd like to work in humanitarian aid. "Today I am a refugee," Kazmi says, "but tomorrow, I hope so, I will be in the position to be able to support others."

No Miroslav Klose return for Germany despite 'several calls' over comeback

Lazio forward Miroslav Klose has revealed he has been called back to the Germany national team "several times" since retiring after the World Cup, but insists he will not go back on his decision.

Klose, 37, brought an end to his international career after helping Germany to glory in Brazil last summer, as well as breaking Gerd Muller's goal record to become his nation's all-time leading scorer with 71 strikes.

Germany appeared to lack a player of his predatory instincts as they laboured through their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016, but Klose insists there is no way back.

"They've called me several times, but anybody who knows me knows that when I have made up my mind, I don't change it," he said at a news conference in Rome. "I'm proud of my last game in a Germany shirt. Lifting the World Cup on July 13, 2014, was the most beautiful moment of my life.

Germany becomes the first nation to ban 'chick shredding'

Millions of tiny male chicks are ground up alive or suffocated every year because they don't lay eggs. Such is the harsh reality of commercial egg production which views male chicks as waste product.
Since these chicks are not 'commercially viable' to be raised they are brutally killed off after hatching.
Keeping this in mind, scientists and animal rights campaigners have teamed up in Germany to come up with an alternative option to the mass-slaughter of the 45 million male chicks born into the country's egg industry each year.
This new technology looks set to determine the sex of each fertilised egg before the chick inside develops-enabling the removal of all male-identified eggs from the hatchery, and leaving only the female eggs to hatch.
Germany's Agriculture Minister, Christian Schmidt, has advised that 'chick shredding' could be a thing of the past in Germany by 2017-making it the first country in the world to stop the practice.
Well, let's hope this progressive step inspires other countries to follow suit.

London weather forecast: torrential downpours predicted

London is in for a soaking this weekend with wind and rain set to sweep the capital.
Temperatures are predicted to plunge to a chilly six degrees as the first real rain of the Autumn arrives.
Saturday is due to see the worst of the weather, with conditions improving slightly on Sunday, before temperatures drop again next week when parts of the UK have been warned to expect gale force winds.
A Met Office spokesperson said: "After a bright start in places, outbreaks of rain will spread from the west. The rain will become heavier and more persistent during the afternoon before it finally clears. "
The spokesperson said Sunday was due to be "dry and breezy with some sunshine at times on Sunday", but warned that by Tuesday the weather would become unsettled again, with more rain on the way.

Estero High’s cross country teams left the District 3A-12 championships

Estero High’s cross country teams left the District 3A-12 championships at Palmetto Ridge on Wednesday with more than a few successes. The girls won their first district title since realigning out of 3A-11, the boys finished third and each qualified for the Region 3A-3 meet in Holloway Park in Lakeland on Oct. 30.

“Overall, it wasn’t pretty but we got the job done,” Estero head coach Ben Pignatone said. “As a coach, you’re never satisfied. I’m happy and I’m proud of them for the effort.”
Junior Arye Beck captured his first district championship by leading the boys field in 16:37, a personal record by 10 seconds. It was also his first win since 2013 and arguably the biggest of his career. Senior Jake Dorn was seventh overall in 17:17.
“That’s huge for his momentum going into the region,” Pignatone said. “He’s been having some great workouts and he’s a big team player. Hopefully he’ll get even faster.”
In the girls race, senior Daley Cline clinched her first district title, too, stepping over the finish in 19:37, just one second off her personal best in 2015.
It came after a second-place performance in 2014 and a third-place outing in 2013. She was followed by teammate Megan Giovanniello, who timed in at 19:47. Freshman Alayna Goll was seventh in 21:04.
“I’m really proud of all of our girls,” Pignatone said. “Our fourth girl (Abigail Barroso) PR’ed by a lot. That will all help in the future when everyone gets to regions and states. I’m hoping these girls roll on and get faster.”

SRM University has won India’s first National Concrete Canoe competition

SRM University has won India’s first National Concrete Canoe competition in association with the Indian Concrete Institute held at IIT Madras. IIT Madras conceptualized the competition in resemblance with the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition in USA.
The competition was a unique opportunity for the students of Civil, Architecture and Ocean Engineering. Adithya Eswaran and Vishruth Krishnan, along with 12 other students of department of Civil Engineering conceived the idea under the guidance of Assistant Professor, Mr. S. Pradeep.
The team systematically worked for the development of canoe design. The first challenge was to come up with the proper concrete mix. This was done by the mix design team (Adithya Eswaran, Vishruth Krishnan, Shriya Kumari, Jinesh R Sanghvi, Sayana Sherif, Siddhart Satish & Namrata Solanki). The structural design team (Sai Sabarish M, Abrar Bashir Malla, Muhammad Essa Abu Bakar) took charge of the stability analysis. Around 150 structural concepts were revised for this. Peerzada Abdul Basit, student of M.Tech, Structural Engineering also helped the team for the race. Over 20 mix designs were experimented and tested to get the final concrete mix. The canoe was cast on July 12, 2015 in six hours.
Total 35 teams from six states had registered for the competition. 19 canoes were descended upon the third round in IIT Madras including IIT Bombay, NIT Trichy, VIT Vellore, SRM Easwari Engineering College and SRM University, Kattankulathur. SRM University rower team, Abrar Bashir Malla and Muhammad Essa Abu Bakar set a record of 52 seconds (Boy-Boy) to complete 50m in Concrete Canoe Racing. 10 teams were qualified for the final race including RMK College of Engineering (Two teams), Amrita College of Engineering (two teams) Coimbatore, Prathyusha College of Engineering, Poornima Group of Institutions ,Jaipur, NIRMA University, Ahmadabad, SRM Easwari College of Engineering, SRM University Kattankulathur, and IIT Bombay.
SRM University team had the fastest lap in 32 seconds (Boy-Boy). In the boy-girl race SRM had another record of 42 seconds by rowers Muhammad Essa Abu Bakar & Sayana Sherif.
The girl-girl race of the SRM University team at the competition finished with 60 seconds by the rowers; Shriya Kumari & Sayana Sherif.
The competition allotted 30% of the points to canoe racing and 70% was given to technical aspects such as report submissions, poster presentation, adequate design, research and aesthetic beauty of the canoe. Based on the overall points SRM University stood ahead of the other institutions.

SRM University graduate secures scholarship to MIT Media Labs

Manisha Mohan, who has recently completed her graduation in Automobile Engineering from SRM University, is on cloud nine. She has gained entry into the prestigious MIT Media Lab in the U.S. She has also secured a research assistantship, covering full tuition and health insurance, with a stipend of $2,566. “My passion is innovation and I believe that the conducive environment at MIT Media Lab will provide a channel for the creative ideas I have,” she said. Manisha landed the coveted position after several gruelling interviews on Skype. She has invented a device that protects women from rape, sexual harassment and sexual assault. Christened Society Harnessing Equipment, or SHE, the device combines the disciplines of micro-processing, control, electronics and communications. When a woman wearing the device is attacked, it gives out a 3800kv electric shock capable of causing severe burns, and simultaneously sends out a message to the police with the location details through an embedded GPRS system. The device is being patented. Manisha attributes her success to her passion for chasing her dreams and actualising them. Her advice to young innovators is to dream big and work hard.