May 31, 2009
Everyone knows how distracting it can be to use a mobile phone while driving, but a new psychological study shows that phones can be disruptive in many more situations, including in classrooms.
According to Jill Shelton of Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues writing in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, just hearing a phone ring in some circumstances is enough to pull people out of their train of thought and break their concentration.
Lower test scores
Shelton conducted an experiment by posing as a student in a crowded lecture hall and allowing her phone to ring in her bag for 30 seconds.
Afterwards, she examined student scores on tests about the lectures and found them 25 per cent lower than in cases where the phone wasn't introduced.
According to her paper, it made no difference if the same material was presented a second time before or after the phone interruption - the disturbance still damaged the students' ability to recall it later.
The study goes on to suggest that people warned in advance that there may be a disturbance were able to recover better afterwards and recall information, but we can still expect to hear a lot more about the nuisance value of mobile phones.
May 8, 2009
A team from the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy has created the world's smallest incandescent lamp - a carbon nanotube just 100 atoms wide.
To the unaided eye, the filament is completely invisible when the lamp is off, but it appears as tiny point of light when the lamp is turned on.
Many physicists make light work
Even with the best optical microscope, it is only just possible to see the nanotube. To image the filament's true structure the team uses an electron microscope capable of atomic resolution.
The physicists made the lamp to explore the boundary between thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, two fundamental yet seemingly incompatible theories of physics.
Thermodynamics deals with systems with many particles, quantum mechanics studies those with just a few. With less than 20 million atoms in total, the nanotube filament is both large enough to apply the statistical assumptions of thermodynamics and small enough to be considered as a quantum mechanical system.
Carbon nanotubes were only discovered in 1991, but using carbon in a light bulb is not a new idea: Thomas Edison's original light bulbs used carbon filaments.
May 2, 2009
The newest player in the Direct-to-home (DTH) arena to commercially launch its services in the country is Videocon. The company has branding its services as 'Videocon D2H'.
Videocon soft-launched this service in India on April 27.
With this launch, Videocon becomes the sixth company to offer DTH services in the country.
There will be 2,500 dealers in 15,000 showroom across India offering Videocon s DTH services.
The company is targeting 15 lakh subscribers in the first year, followed by a consistent growth of similar figures. It aims to garner one crore subscribers in the next six years, reports the Hindu Business Line.
Videocon also plans to pioneer TVs with in-built set-top boxes (STBs) in the Indian market. According to a top Videocon spokesperson who spoke with The Hindu Business Line, it has taken the company as many as 40 engineers who have spent nearly 2 years to devise the TV sets with in-built STBs.