Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 3 2019Exceeding noise levels of 100 decibels, the grunting sounds produced by some tennis players when hitting the ball are on a par with motorbikes or chainsaws. While fans react to these impressive exhalations with either annoyance or amusement, the habit has also been a source of intense debate among professionals.For instance, Serena Williams has said that she is not bothered by opponents grunting in the heat of the competition. In contrast, former world number one Martina Navratilova has complained that grunting masks the sound of the racket striking the ball, making it – unfairly – harder to predict the ball’s trajectory. The question of whether this common complaint is justified has now been examined in a new study by a team of sport psychologists from Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, led by Dr Florian Müller and Prof. Rouwen Cañal-Bruland.Experiment with manipulated grunting noisesFor this study, the research team conducted a series of experiments in which experienced players were shown video clips of rallies from a professional tennis match. After observing players hitting the ball, they had to work out the ball’s trajectory and indicate where it would land. Largely unnoticed by participants, though, the intensity of the grunting noises was manipulated.Grunting biases anticipation of ball flightResults indicate that grunting does have an effect – but not the one claimed by Navratilova. There was no evidence that grunting caused a distraction effect. In spite of the supposed irritation, participants’ level of error in predicting where the ball would land was the same – regardless of the intensity of the grunts. Instead, it was shown that the louder the grunting, the further the participants assumed the ball would fly. This reaction was observed even when the noises could only be heard after the racket had made contact with the ball, as is usual in many professional matches. “We assume that players account for the physiological benefits provided by grunting,” explains Müller. Other researchers have demonstrated that forcefully exhaling air activates the abdominal muscles, providing additional strength that enables players to hit harder, making the ball fly faster. “This possibly explains why an effect can be observed as a result of the grunting, but the ability to anticipate the ball’s trajectory remains unaffected.”Related StoriesProbing Submicron Protein Aggregation using Asymmetrical Flow Field-Flow Fractionation, AF4, and Light ScatteringHeat-induced heart attack risk on the rise, study showsResearchers discover how mosquitoes smell acidic volatiles in human sweatPerception in sport as the interplay of multiple sensory impressionsAccording to Müller and his colleagues, the results of the study suggest that Navratilova’s claim needs to be reconsidered. For the sport psychologists, it is also evidence that sensory impressions other than sight are of importance in sport as well, and that scientists should look at these more closely in future. For this reason, too, they want to stay ‘on the ball’ and investigate the phenomenon further. To get closer to real-world conditions, in the next step participants will have to catch a tennis ball on the touchscreen in real time. Ultimately, the experiment could even be conducted during a real match on a tennis court – as long as no one in the neighborhood is disturbed by excessively loud grunting.Source: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/190502_tennis_grunting.html
The first change users might notice is their address book, said Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. While your Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp contacts might be quite different now, if the services combine to some degree, your contact lists will, too.”As these services merge, we might end up basically having these huge combined address books from three messaging services,” he said.WHEN THIS WILL HAPPENYou’re not likely to see any of these changes anytime soon. In his blog post, Zuckerberg said the plan will be rolled out “over the next few years. … A lot of this work is in the early stages.”And it’s subject to change. EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson points out that previous Facebook visions of the future haven’t quite panned out. A few years ago, for instance, Zuckerberg predicted that video and augmented and virtual reality would be a much bigger part of Facebook than what materialized, for example.But it shows that Facebook is trying to adapt as people shift toward services like Instagram and WhatsApp over Facebook—which today has 15 million fewer U.S. users than in since 2017 , according to Edison Research. In his post Zuckerberg said he expects Messenger and WhatsApp will eventually become the main ways people communicate on Facebook’s network.”There’s not a sense that things will fundamentally change overnight, or even probably this year,” Williamson said, “But it signals Facebook is thinking more seriously about embracing the way people communicate today.”WHAT IT MEANS FOR PRIVACY Explore further In this Nov. 15, 2018, file photo the icons of Facebook and WhatsApp are pictured on an iPhone in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy memo is a maneuver to make more palatable the planned merging of the instant-messaging services of WhatsApp, Instagram with Facebook’s core Messenger app, analysts say. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File) Citation: What Facebook’s ‘privacy vision’ really means (2019, March 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-facebook-privacy-vision.html Its first step will be to make its three messaging services communicate better with each other. That would let you message a friend on WhatsApp from Facebook Messenger, which isn’t currently possible. It would also link your messaging accounts to your Facebook ID, so people can find you more easily.Zuckerberg also promised to greatly increase the security of these messages. It will implement so-called end-to-end encryption for messaging, which would scramble them so that no one but the sender and recipients could read them. That would bar access by governments and Facebook. WhatsApp is already encrypted this way, but Messenger and Instagram Direct are not. Looked at one way, the manifesto read as an apology of sorts for Facebook’s history of privacy transgressions, and suggested that the social network would de-emphasize its huge public social network in favor of private messaging between individuals and among small groups.Looked at another, it turned Facebook into a kind of privacy champion by embracing encrypted private messaging that’s shielded from prying eyes—including those of Facebook itself.Yet another reading suggested the whole thing was a public-relations exercise designed to lull its users while Facebook entrenches its competitive position in messaging and uses it to develop new sources of user data to feed its voracious advertising machine.As with many things Facebook, the truth lies somewhere in between. Facebook so far isn’t elaborating much on Zuckerberg’s manifesto. Here’s a guide to what we know at the moment about its plans.WHAT’S HAPPENING TO FACEBOOKIn one sense, nothing. Its existing social network, with its newsfeeds and pages and 2.3 billion global users and $22 billion in 2018 profit, won’t change and will likely continue to grow. Although user growth has been stagnant in North America, its global user base expanded 9 percent in the last quarter of 2018.But Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook’s future growth will depend more on private messaging such as what it offers with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct services. The Facebook CEO said private messaging between individuals and small groups is “by far” the fastest growing part of online communications.Naturally, Facebook wants to be there in a big way.WHAT’S CHANGING IN MESSAGING © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this April 11, 2018, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens to a question as he testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. Zuckerberg said Facebook will start to emphasize new privacy-shielding messaging services, a shift apparently intended to blunt both criticism of the company’s data handling and potential antitrust action. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Mark Zuckerberg’s abrupt Wednesday declaration of a new “privacy vision ” for social networking was for many people a sort of Rorschach test. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Encrypted messaging is in many ways a big plus for privacy. But the way Facebook collects information about you on its main service site isn’t changing, said Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.”This is limited to a very specific part of the platform and it doesn’t really address all the ways Facebook is still collecting data about you,” she said. So users should still be alert about privacy settings and careful about what they choose to share on Facebook.VANISHING POSTSThough the timeline is hazy, Zuckerberg did outline other changes users will eventually see. He said the company is looking at ways to make messages less permanent, a la Snapchat or Instagram “Stories,” which disappear after 24 hours.”Messages could be deleted after a month or a year by default,” Zuckerberg wrote. “This would reduce the risk of your messages resurfacing and embarrassing you later.” Zuckerberg said users will have the ability to change the time frame or turn off auto-deletion. “And we could also provide an option for you to set individual messages to expire after a few seconds or minutes if you wanted.”PAYMENTSFacebook will likely also expand the way users can use its platform to pay for things, said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumer Reports. Zuckerberg didn’t mention any new payment plans specifically but did bring up payments four times in his post.Currently Facebook lets its users pay friends or businesses digitally by linking a credit card or PayPal account and that’s method is not likely to change anytime soon. But as Facebook looks to emulate Chinese behemoth WeChat , it could let you reserve a table through Facebook instead of going through an outside app, or order an Uber.”Ideally Facebook will try to get a cut of all transactions,” Brookman said. A digital currency of Facebook’s own is also rumored to be in the works.”Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” Facebook said in a statement. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.” In this April 11, 2018, file photo Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Zuckerberg’s new “privacy-focused vision” for Facebook looks like a transformative mission statement for the much-criticized social network. But critics say the announcement obscures Facebook’s deeper motivations: To expand lucrative new commercial services, continue monopolizing the attention of users and to develop new data sources for tracking people. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) Zuckerberg promises a privacy-friendly Facebook, sort of (Update)
Provided by Loughborough University Citation: Researchers solve scientific puzzle that could improve solar panel efficiency (2019, May 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-scientific-puzzle-solar-panel-efficiency.html Most of the world’s solar power is currently produced by solar panels – also known as photovoltaic panels – that are made of silicon.Recently, new solar panels have been created that are made from a semiconducting material called cadmium telluride (CdTe).CdTe panels have been found to produce electricity at lower costs than silicon panels and there has been a dramatic gain in efficiency brought about by adding an element called selenium to the cadmium telluride.As a result, electricity from CdTe solar farms is being produced more cheaply than it is from fossil fuels giving economic as well as environmental benefits around the world.Until now, it was not well understood why selenium increases efficiency but thanks to Tom Fiducia, a Ph.D. Research Student in the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), and an international team of researchers, the puzzle has been solved.Tom has worked with leading solar experts from CREST, Durham University, the University of Oxford and Colorado State University, in the United States, to explore the effect selenium has in solar panels and the group has had their findings published in Nature Energy – a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal which only shares the top energy research across the natural and social sciences.Their paper, titled ‘Understanding the role of selenium in defect passivation for highly efficient selenium-alloyed cadmium telluride solar cells’,has revealed that selenium works by overcoming the effect of harmful, atomic-scale defects in CdTe panels.This explains the increase of efficiency as electrons (subatomic particles that carry electricity), which are generated when sunlight hits the solar panel, are less likely to be trapped and lost at the defects. This increases the amount of power extracted. Tom, who is the lead author of the paper, says the team discovered this “unexpected” behaviour by measuring how much light is emitted from selenium-containing panels.As selenium is not evenly distributed across the panels, they compared the ‘luminescence’ emitted from areas where there was little-to-no selenium present and areas where the selenium was very concentrated.Tom explained: “While it seems counter intuitive, good solar cell material that is defect-free is very efficient at emitting light, and so luminesces strongly.”We mapped the luminescence emitted from a selenium-containing solar cell at a resolution of around 1/10,000thof a millimetre and compared it to a similarly high-resolution map of the selenium concentration taken on the exact same area of the cell.”It is strikingly obvious when you see the data that selenium-rich regions luminesce much more brightly than the pure cadmium telluride, and the effect is remarkably strong.”Tom hopes the findings will lead to improved solar panels and increased usage across the globe.He commented: “Now that the selenium-induced efficiency improvement is better understood, it may be possible to use this knowledge to increase the efficiency of cadmium telluride solar panels even further.”For instance, this could be by simply increasing the amount of selenium in the devices or altering its distributions within the cell.”If efficiency can be increased, this would further decrease electricity prices and have a direct positive impact on regions that adopt the technology.”Of appearing in Nature Energy, he said: “It’s nice to have some reassurance that your work is going along the right lines.”I hope that the results can be useful to other researchers and ultimately make a positive impact.”Professor Michael Walls, Professor of Photovoltaics and the academic overseeing Tom’s Ph.D. research, said: “Now we know how the selenium improves the solar cell efficiency, it should be possible to improve the power output still further.”It’s a great example of an international team working together contributing their expertise and facilities and developing a fundamental understanding of how devices really work.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Team optimizes formula for cadmium-tellurium solar cells More information: Thomas A. M. Fiducia et al. Understanding the role of selenium in defect passivation for highly efficient selenium-alloyed cadmium telluride solar cells, Nature Energy (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41560-019-0389-z Journal information: Nature Energy Explore further Caption: (Left) map of the selenium distribution in the solar cell material. The brighter turquoise/white regions are where there are higher concentrations of selenium. (Right) This is a corresponding map of the luminescence emitted from the material. It can clearly be seen that there is brighter luminescence where there is more selenium. Credit: Loughborough University A Loughborough University Ph.D. student has helped shed light on a solar panel puzzle that could lead to more efficient devices being developed.
SHARE SHARE EMAIL Robert Vadra (file photo) – The Hindu February 13, 2019 A defiant Priyanka stands by her husband COMMENT inquiry Robert Vadra, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law, appeared before the ED at its zonal office here for the second consecutive day on Wednesday for questioning into an alleged land scam in the Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.On Tuesday, Vadra and his mother Maureen had appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Jaipur. Congress General Secretary and his wife Priyanka Gandhi had accompanied them to the probe agency’s office. Vadra arrived at the ED office on Bhawani Singh road at 10.26 AM in a vehicle amid tight security.Maureen, who had appeared before the ED on Tuesday, was allowed to go after some time, while her son was grilled for nearly nine hours.The Rajasthan High Court had asked Vadra and his mother to cooperate with the agency after they approached it seeking directions that no coercive action is taken against them by the agency, following which the duo appeared before the ED in Jaipur.In the Bikaner case, the agency had summoned Vadra thrice but he failed to appear and later approached the court. The ED had registered a criminal case in connection with the deal in 2015, taking cognisance of a clutch of FIRs and chargesheets filed by Rajasthan police after the tehsildar of Bikaner complained about alleged forgery in the allotment of land in the area, considered sensitive due to its proximity to the India-Pakistan border. It is understood that the agency wants to question Vadra about the operations of a firm — Ms Skylight Hospitality Private Limited — allegedly linked to him, which had purchased land in the area. It also wants to confront Vadra with the statements of those said to be linked to him. SHARE Published on Robert Vadra appears before ED for third time in money laundering case probe Rajasthan Bikaner land case: Robert Vadra appears before ED in Jaipur RELATED COMMENTS
Published on politics Rajnath Singh says Congress is to be blamed; touts PM’s sops for farm sector Speaking for the first time in the Lok Sabha after his party’s resounding defeat in the general election, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of farmers’ suicide and said the government seems to consider farmers “inferior” to businessmen who have been given concessions and loan waivers worth lakhs of crores. Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh countered blaming the long years of Congress’ rule for the plight of farmers. He asserted that no Prime Minister has worked as hard as Narendra Modi for farmers’ welfare.Taking up the issue in the Zero Hour, Gandhi in his brief speech mostly focused on Kerala and made specific mention of problems faced by farmers in Wayanad, from where he has been elected to the Lok Sabha.No relief has been given to farmers by the government, he said, claiming that businessmen have been granted concessions of ₹3 lakh crore and loan waivers of ₹5 lakh crore.He asked why the government thinks farmers are ‘inferior’ to rich businessmen.Rajnath hits backIn his reply, the Defence Minister said the government’s move to give ₹6,000 to farmers will lead to an increase in their income by 20-25 per cent and claimed that more farmers committed suicide before the BJP-led dispensation came to power.“It is not that the condition of farmers deteriorated in the last one, two or four years. Those who have ruled the country for a long time are responsible. The amount of increase in minimum support price (MSP) that our Prime Minister has effected has not been done by anybody in independent India’s history,” he said.Gandhi said farmers are suffering throughout the country and are in a terrible condition in Kerala, and added that one farmer ended his life in Wayanad.Farmers have been facing threats of immediate eviction from their properties, he said, as banks from which they had taken loans have begun recovery process.Eighteen farmers in Kerala have committed suicide due to this, he added.Modi had made a lot of promises to farmers and the government should fulfil them, Gandhi said. Lok Sabha COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL Rahul Gandhi – AP COMMENTS July 11, 2019 SHARE 0 agriculture