Earth under attack from an invisible star?

 

In this image released by the European Southern Observatory, a very low-mass brown dwarf, lower left, orbits AB Pictoris, a young star located about 150 light years from Earth. The giant planet is approximately five times the mass of Jupiter

In what sounds like a chilling script of a Hollywood science fiction, scientists have claimed that an invisible star, five times the size of Jupiter, might be lurking near our solar system, occasionally kicking deadly comets towards the Earth.

According to NASA scientists, the brown dwarf star is up to five times the size of Jupiter and could be responsible for mass extinctions that occur on Earth every 26 million years.

They believe, the star nicknamed Nemesis or “The Death Star” could be hidden beyond the edge of our solar system and only emits infrared light.

It is believed to orbit our solar system at 25,000 times the distance of the earth to the sun, ‘The Sun’ quoted the scientists as saying.

According to them, as the star spins through the galaxy, its gravitational pull drags icy bodies out of the Oort Cloud – a vast sphere of rock and dust twice as far away as Nemesis.

“These ‘snowballs’ are thrown towards Earth as comets, causing devastation similar to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago,” the report said.

Professor John Matese, of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said most comets come from the same part of the Oort Cloud.

“There is statistically significant evidence that this concentration of comets could be caused by a companion to the Sun.”

Now, NASA scientists believe they will be able to find Nemesis using a new heat-seeking telescope that began scanning the skies in January.

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer – expected to find a thousand brown dwarf stars within 25 light years of the Sun – has already sent back a photo of a comet possibly dislodged from the Oort Cloud.

Scientists’ first clue to the existence of Nemesis was the bizarre orbit of a dwarf planet called Sedna.

Scientists believe its unusual, 12,000-year-long oval orbit could be explained by a massive celestial body.

Mike Brown, who discovered Sedna in 2003, said: “Sedna is a very odd object – it shouldn’t be there. The only way to get on an eccentric orbit is to have some giant body kick you – so what is out there?”

Ganguly fined USD 20,000 for slow over rate

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Sourav Ganguly has been fined USD 20,000 by the IPL for maintaining slow over rate during their 11-run triumph over defending champions Deccan Chargers at the D Y Patil Stadium here.

The Knight Riders were adjudged to be three overs behind the required rate during their last night’s IPL opener against Chargers and under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over rate offences, match referee Andy Pycroft fined Ganguly.

The Knight Riders upset the defending champions thanks to a 130-run partnership between Owais Shah and Angelo Matthews which allowed Ganguly’s side to claw their way back onto the game after losing two early wickets.

Chargers skipper Adam Gilchrist’s breezy 35-ball 54 went in vain as Ganguly-led side restricted Deccan to 150 for seven.

India among world’s top 3 preferred investment destinations

India is among the world’s top three preferred investment destination, but equity caps limit the size of potential inflows, according to a Columbia University report.

The report cited liberalisation in FDI policy and several economic sectors, a globally competitive workforce, and rapid GDP and market growth as the main drivers of foreign investment in India.

Yet, it said equity caps limit the size of potential new inflows and national security concerns might prompt more oversight of FDI approval processes.

According to the 15-page report ‘Inward FDI in India and its policy context’ India is also the 13th largest in terms of foreign investment inflows, which have risen 15-fold since 2000.

The report said while investors initially concentrated on manufacturing, power and telecommunications, they now focus on services.

Among other visible trends, firms in developed countries dominated investment in the 1990s, but in the past decade developing country investors have also become significant, it said.

A third of the post-2000 inflow is invested around Mumbai, a manufacturing hub, and one-fifth around Delhi, a services hub.

Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad are other key destinations, the report said.

Although the global crisis slowed the rate of FDI growth in India in 2009, it also helped reinforce India’s position among global investors, it said.

Since most global firms found that their Indian and Chinese operations considerably outperformed their developed market investments, they now accord even greater strategic value to these two destinations, the report pointed out.

Noting that India’s attractive GDP growth rate and superior market performance are likely to attract growing FDI inflows, the report said CEOs consistently rank India as one of the world’s top 3-5 preferred investment destinations in recent global surveys.

“Despite the crisis, a number of leading global firms – including Volkswagen, Telenor, LG, Cairn, and a number of IT companies – have announced large-scale investments in various sectors.

In contrast to the favourable development of economic drivers of inward FDI, the security—induced tightening of approval procedures and oversight policies might limit the potential inflow of FDI, as might the difficulty in obtaining operational clearances,” it said.

Kareena Kapoor too tied up for Twitter

It has been a wonder for the people from the industry as well as fans that even though a majority of Bollywood is on Twitter, Kareena Kapoor continues to evade the microblogging site

At Shahrukh Khan’s press conference for Ra.1, she was asked why she wasn’t tweeting yet. Kareena expressed that she was still not sure about the whole idea and would need at least another month to settle on an answer. Kareena needs to think about it so carefully because at present she’s too tied up with work to sign up on the site and start using it. Also, she wonders if she will be able to stick by it regularly once she starts it.

Well, let’s give Kareena the time she needs. Maybe we’ll see her on Twitter soon!

Twitter adds location-sharing feature

Social networking site Twitter has added a geo-location feature, which allows a person to tell the ‘Twitterverse’ where a person is whenever he/she tweets, to its features options on Thursday.

The feature also helps Twitter users find where a particular area or neighborhood is. However, the feature is only available to the U.S. audience right now.

According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the feature will soon be introduced in other countries as well.

“A recent burst of interest in location-sharing applications, games and services has many Twitter users excited about appending geographic data to some of their tweets,” said Stone in a blog post.

“People who choose to add this additional layer of context help make Twitter a richer information network for all of us — location data can make tweets more useful,” he added.

The new feature
The new feature will include a user’s location which will be linked to a Google map where users will be able to note their own location.

“Let’s say I’m at my office and I hear a loud boom. It sounded serious, so I search Twitter for “boom.” Among the first results could be someone who tweeted “Boom go the fireworks!” This could be anywhere in the world.

With the launch of the new feature, Twitter has given stringent competition to social networking site Facebook which has 400 million users. Facebook too plans to launch its own location-sharing service soon, although the company declined to comment on the same.

“However, if that person had activated the new tweet location feature, then the neighborhood data under the tweet would read, SoMa [San Francisco’s South of Market district]. Now, I know it’s just fireworks going off in my neighborhood,” said Stone.

Twitter’s 70 million users will be able to navigate ‘How to Tweet Your Location Web page’ on their respective accounts settings page soon.

The feature will work for Mozilla Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome on Windows.

About Twitter
With the launch of the new feature, Twitter will give stringent competition to social networking site Facebook which currently has more than 400 million users. Facebook, too, plans to launch its own location-sharing service, although the company declined to comment on the same.

In January, Twitter launched its Local Trends feature, intended to help users find tweets related to specific areas.

Created by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is ranked as one of the 50 most popular websites worldwide according to Alexa’s web traffic analysis (a subsidiary of Amazon.com).

The site is also used as a means to campaign, educate, and improve public relations across the world.

Google Launches Google Reader Player

On Wednesday the search giant released an experimental Web browsing tool known as Google Reader Player. With the help of it users are able to browse content connected with a Google Reader new feed. It is considered to be a content aggregator which is based on Web.

It collects RSS news feeds for online as well as offline reading. In case you want to take advantage of Google Reader, it necessary to have a Google Reader account.

Google Reader Play includes a range of popular videos, blog posts and photos that are based on Google Reader’s Recommended Items feature. All these items will be shown to a user as a visual slideshow that looks like Google’s visual newsreader Google Fast Flip. One should say that Play is based on a filmstrip navigation bar which is located at the bottom of the screen.

If you want to use Play, there is no need to sigh up. In case you have a Google account, but you do not use Google Reader, the Play stream will be more personalized.

If you want to try out Play, you can do that with the help of two ways. You can visit Google.com/reader/play or you can select ‘View in Reader Play’ which you are able to find in the feed settings menu of Google Reader.