Thursday, September 11, 2008

Successful test for Europe's Big Bang collider

Big bang cosmology
i was just reading about the big bang theory of how our universe began and thinking about how well this cosmology explains our universe.

the most successful test of the theory is the measurement of the cosmic microwave background radiation (see nobel prize in physics, 2006). The CMB is the very first light we know how to "see" after the big bang, and it only became visible 300,000 years after the big bang happened. it's fantastically exciting that the big bang theory matches so well to the experiment we performed (remember: science it works, bitches), but there remain many unanswered (and currently unanswerable) issues to understand!

what existed before the big bang? what is dark energy? immediately after the big bang, why were there 10,000,000,000 (ten billion) anti-particles for every 10,000,000,001 (ten billion AND ONE) particles? i keep reading and learning more, trying to understand life, the universe, and everything, , but i'm left with unsatisfactory justifications to explain away problems.

the WMAP cosmology tutorial states,

It is beyond the realm of the Big Bang Model to say what gave rise to the Big Bang. There are a number of speculative theories about this topic, but none of them make realistically testable predictions as of yet.

well, that sucks!! i mean, maybe there are other universes, just as there are surely life forms elsewhere in our universe… we just can't prove it (yet?). we dont know how to prove it because we havent developed the ability to find it.

creating "speculative theories" about these lingering questions over a few beers is quite fun, but in my mind it always comes back to the question of "how do we test the theories?" in order to know whether the big bang model of the universe is completely correct, we must develop ways to detect other remnants from the earliest parts of the universe.

but i got nothing.

what are the tests? how can we "see" anything earlier than 300,000 years after the big bang? will dark energy give us a clue? what the hell is dark energy? it's the stuff that is 70% of all the stuff that is our universe, but how does it manage to accelerate the expansion of the universe? (... if it does?) we're currently developing the technology for experiments that will potentially beable to detect the bizzaro entity called dark energy... but are there any other tests we can perform? how does gravity work at humongous distances?

thelarge hadron collider (LHC) experiment is a good start for understanding the conditions of the universe just after the big bang. i look forward to the results near the end of 2008!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Many Types Of Visa Are There?

A visa is a document that has been issued by a country in order to grant permission to any person to enter into the country formally. There are many types of visas. There are transit visas that are valid only for a time period of three days. There are tourist visas that are also available for a limited period of time and no business transactions are allowed in this. There are business visas that provide for the commerce permission. There are temporary working visas that are valid for a longer period of time. On arrival visas are granted immediately but are prior to entering in that country. There are spousal visas that are for the spouse of the residents. There are student's visas, diplomatic visas, courtesy visas, journalist visas, fiancée visas, and immigrant visas.

DDA draws up new flat plan

New Delhi, February 10 After churning out the ubiquitous cream-yellow, box-like flats across the Capital for years, the Delhi Development Authority has finally acknowledged the need for change. In an attempt to compete with private builders, the agency now plans to give its housing societies a much-required makeover.

Besides its own designs, DDA has decided to hire private consultants to draw up new designs for flats across the spectrum — for high-income group (HIG), middle-income group (MIG), low-income group (LIG), and janta flats.

“We have to be responsive to the market and are looking at extensive redesigning,” said Dinesh Rai, the former DDA vice-chairman under whose tenure the makeover began. “We have been working towards it for some time now and have already engaged private architects and external experts. This (change) will be done for group-housing societies and, besides the flats, there is an emphasis on green areas and parking spaces — these are a priority for us, unlike private developers, who may not take the same approach.”

Rai said the new DDA residential complexes will “also be much taller, in accordance with the Masterplan”.

Senior officials in the architecture department admit that the problem so far with DDA flats is the quality of building material used. “Poor, sub-standard material was often used, especially in LIG and janta flats,” an official from DDA’s architecture department said. “In all DDA societies — be it HIG, MIG or LIG flats — there were certain wholesale problems: like the windows would either not open, or once opened would not shut; the paint used was of inferior quality and would often peel off; common spaces and stairwells were not resident-friendly, especially to senior citizens.”

In the offing but given increasing competition, these are issues that the DDA can no longer take lightly, officials said. The problems are being addressed: in the form of redesigned windows, wider common spaces (space between flats and stairwells has been increased from 3 to 4.5 meters). Then, as per plans, stairs will be broader and their height will be reduced to aid senior citizens.

A tile- or brick-finish is also in the offing for a better finish and longevity of the buildings’ exterior, officials explained. “Another major design change is, in earlier flats there were lots of corners and irregular angles that gave residents scope for a great deal of additional construction,” the official said. “This led to violations and encroachment on common spaces. The new design would negate that by “using straight lines”.

And instead of the by now insipid cream-yellow and pink coat on the exteriors, different housing societies will have different colour schemes.

Officials said DDA has got a committee of private architects on its panel; they have helped draw up these broad guidelines. “Our flats are likely to be better than builder-flats as we will engage private players who can develop their own designs and, being a government agency, also follow strict structural safety guidelines.”

Criticising the archetypal DDA flats, Gautam Bhatia, the renowned city-based architect and author of several books, said they come to one’s notice primarily due to poor construction quality, with plaster chipping and falling off. “As a result, even minor repairs become major headache for residents,” Bhatia said. “They are also designed with minimum space value, so the quantity of bedrooms becomes more important than what the flat looks like.”

Many people, he said, feel DDA has thus compromised with space utilisation. “Shared areas in these flats — like staircases, driveways, entrance lobbies and such — are also an issue.”