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SCI-TECH

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LEAD EXPOSURE HAMPERS CHILDRENS SLEEP QUALITY

13

Lead exposure in early in life is associated with increased risk of sleep problems and excessive daytime
sleepiness in later childhood, says a new study.

200 million-year-old
dinosaur remains found

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

New modeling indicates that the grooves on Phobos could be produced by tidal forces the mutual gravitational pull of the planet and the moon

hundred years.
Scientists expect the moon to be pulled
apart in 30 to 50 million years.
We think that Phobos has already started
to fail, and the first sign of this failure is the
production of these grooves, said Terry
Hurford from NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Maryland in a
statement.
More recently, researchers proposed that
the grooves may instead be produced by
many smaller impacts of material ejected
from Mars.
But new modeling supports the view that

the grooves are more like stretch marks that


occur when Phobos gets deformed by tidal
forces.
The gravitational pull between Mars and
Phobos produces these tidal forces.
Earth and our moon pull on each other in
the same way, producing tides in the oceans
and making both planet and moon slightly
egg-shaped rather than perfectly round.
The same fate may await Neptune's moon
Triton, which is also slowly falling inward
and has a similarly fractured surface. The
work also has implications for extrasolar
planets, according to researchers.

Chinas Singles Day smashes online sales record


hinese internet users spent billions of dollars in the planets biggest online shopping
splurge on Wednesday, as Singles Day
hit new heights, despite slowing growth in the
worlds second-largest economy.
The cumulative national bill for the daylong orgy of commerce dwarfed what Americans spent online over the five-day frenzy from
Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday last year.
Singles Day is not a traditional Chinese festival, but e-commerce giant Alibaba has been
pushing November 11 a date heavy on ones
since 2009 as it looks to tap the countrys huge,
and expanding, army of Internet shoppers.
At first it was marketed as an anti-Valentines Day, featuring hefty discounts to lure singletons and price-sensitive buyers.
But with sales hitting new highs year after
year, it has become a massive and highly lucrative business opportunity embraced by the nations digital retailers.
Competition for a slice of Chinas online
population of 668 million is turning increasingly fierce.
Alibaba kicked off this years mammoth
event with a television spectacular at Beijings

Alibaba founder Jack Ma speaks in front of a


screen showing real-time data of transactions
Water Cube Olympic swimming venue.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Hollywood star Kevin Spacey in his role as President
Frank Underwood from the Netflix series House
of Cards were just two of the galaxy of foreign
and domestic stars involved.
And the companys efforts were paying off in
spades, with shoppers splashing out more than

$10 billion in the first 14 hours of the sale.


This years tally had already outstripped last
years gangbusters effort, with the 2014 US dollar total of $9.3 billion matched a little more
than 12 hours after the promotions midnight
start.
In comparison, desktop sales for the five days
from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in
the United States last year stood at $6.56 billion,
according to Internet analytics firm comScore.
The 2015 sale has eclipsed last years final results in a little over half the time, the company
said.
In an earlier release Alibabas chief executive
officer Daniel Zhang said, The whole world will
witness the power of Chinese consumption this
November 11.
Another one of Chinas main online retailers, JD.com, said it had completed more than 10
million transactions by 10 am. That was almost
twice as many as last years total.
The task of putting customers purchases into their hands is huge. Alibaba said its logistical
arm would use more than 1.7 million personnel,
400,000 vehicles, 5,000 warehouses and 200 airplanes to handle deliveries.
AGENCIES

emains of a 200 million-year-old dinosaur, believed to be the largest plant eating creature ever found, have been revealed at the University
of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
The dinosaur remains, yet to be named, were
found at a border area between South Africa and Lesotho, said Jonah Choineire, a senior researcher at
the Evolutionary Studies Institute in the university.
The researcher said the discovery was the work of
many people, including students, reported Xinhua.
According to Choineire, the remains belong to a
huge plant eater or Highland Giant and is the
largest animal ever found in the region.
To date, the greatest part of the Highland Giant
to be discovered was a thigh-bone, he added.
A complete femur of the Highland Giant would
measure a metre long. Large ulna, vertebrae and
claw pieces of the animal were also found, said Choineire. This is the stuff we havent published yet and
it will be coming out in a year or two, he said, adding
that the dinosaur was estimated to weight about 14
tonnes. The discovery shows that South Africa is a
land that was once inhabited by dinosaurs, said
James Pinner, a history student at the University of
Witwatersrand. As a South African in general and
scientist in particular Im happy with this discovery.
We're in for one of the greatest periods of discovery
in this field, said Tim Rose, a University of Johannesburg science lecturer.
Two months ago, a team of scientists and researchers, led by Wits University professor Lee Berger, unearthed a new species with human-like features called Homo Naledi in the world's richest
hominin fossil site, the Cradle of Humankind not
far from Johannesburg.
AGENCIES

Researchers suggest that the grooves visible on the satellites surface are more like stretch marks that occur
when it gets deformed by tidal forces. Scientists expect the moon to be pulled apart in 30 to 50 million years

he long, shallow grooves lining the


surface of Phobos are likely early signs
of the structural failure that will
ultimately destroy this moon of Mars.
Orbiting a mere 6,000 km above
the surface of Mars, Phobos is closer to its
planet than any other moon in the solar
system.
Mars' gravity is drawing in Phobos, the
larger of its two moons, by about 6.6 feet every

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15 November , 2015 Pp. 13

Mars moon Phobos


is falling apart: NASA

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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2015

Energy-absorbing
material to make
structures more secure
urdue University is collaborating with General Motors to develop a new type of energy-absorbing material that might be 3D printed and
that could have an impact in areas ranging from
earthquake engineering to safer football helmets.
The honeycomb architecture of the phase
transforming cellular materials, or PXCMs, could
be scaled to a range of sizes tailored for various applications. One size could be ideal for integration
into helmets to reduce head impacts, while another size would be suited for installation in the walls of
buildings to dampen earthquake forces.
Being able to 3D print the PXCMs would make
them less expensive and more practical than other
technologies, said Pablo Zavattieri, an associate
professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering
and a University Faculty Scholar at Purdue.
The main advantage is that not only can it be
used as an energy absorbing material, but unlike
many other materials designed for this purpose the
PXCMs would be reusable because there is no irreversible deformation, he said.
The structures can be made of metals or polymers or anything that behaves elastically, he said.
The ability to realize the energy absorption offered by PXCMs at various length scales makes it
possible for engineers to integrate energy absorption as a secondary function into structures that are
already in use, Mankame said.
The PXCMs contain unit cells that have multiple stable configurations. The structures can flex
back and forth and remain in either position indefinitely, not unlike a flexing playing card.
It has two stable positions, Zavattieri said. I
push it and it goes to the other position. If you remove the force and the card returns to the original
position, the mechanism is said to be meta-stable.
Then you could combine many of these building
blocks and have bi-stable or meta-stable materials,
which gives us the flexibility to design these materials for specific needs.
PMB