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Research

Taking science to the market

Issue Date: Jun 30, 1993
ALL THROUGH the second half of the 20th century, whenever Western governments have seen their industries lagging behind globally, they have resorted to updating their technology policies. The result has been that technology strategies became the key to economic growth not only in the US and in several European nations, but also in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other countries in Asia. In India too, as the ongoing plans to liberalise and globalise the economy show signs of bearing early fruit, the Union government has announced its intention of linking science with industry.

Using yen as bait fails to lift whaling ban

Author(s): Shigeki Wakayama
Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
"OUR ANGER has grown to its highest level," fumed Kazuo Shima, the Japanese delegate to the annual general meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), after Tokyo's attempts at yen diplomacy failed to prevent an extension of the global ban on commercial whaling (Down To Earth, April 30, 1993).

Dinosaur dawn

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
SCIENTISTS have found in the foothills of the Andes mountains the remains of what they contend is the earliest dinosaur. Unlike its giant descendants, the discovery by a US-Argentinian team measured just over a metre from nose to tail-tip and weighed only 11 kg. The newly-found dinosaur has been named Eoraptor (dawn stealer), because it lived at the dawn of the dinosaur age, 225 million years ago.

Genetic shearing

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
SHEEP treated with a protein found in the salivary glands of male mice can shed their fleece on their own. Scientists use the protein produced artificially through genetic manipulation in a technique called biological wool harvesting. The technique has been found to be so effective nets have to be put around the sheep's body to keep its fleece from falling off (Ceres, Vol 25, No 2).

Little to show for crores of rupees spent

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
MANY OF the nation's premier scientific establishments have utilised government funding poorly and failed to meet their 1991-92 objectives, complains the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The CAG report, placed before Parliament on May 7, made its complaint on the basis of an audit of the working of 14 institutions under the control of the Union government, some of them in the Prime Minister's direct control.

Hairy potato

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
A NEW variety of potato has its own armour against pests and does not need a helping hand from insecticides. Its armour of hair traps and kills insects trying to feed on it (Ceres, Vol 25, No 2). The hairy potato marks the first success for plant breeders trying to produce an edible, insect-resistant potato variety. They did it by crossing the common, bald species with one of its wild cousins.

Danger in numbers

Issue Date: Jun 15, 1993
SURROUNDING a potential target by an army of bodyguards may actually increase the risk of assassination, according to researchers at Middlesex University, London (New Scientist, April 3, 1993). Too many guards increase the risk as it is probable the bodyguards may accidentally harm the person they are meant to protect. Indira Gandhi's assassination proved it is not easy to screen bodyguards for loyalty.

Relying on intrigue to survive

Issue Date: May 31, 1993
THIS IS probably one of nature's most intriguing survival games, involving two innocent players and a cunning third who eventually outwited.

Is Mt Everest the tallest peak?

Author(s): Prakash Khanal
Issue Date: May 15, 1993
SCIENTISTS are using the latest equipment and most modern techniques to measure to an accuracy of 10 cm the height of Mt Everest and test the validity of an American astronomer's announcement in 1987 that Mt K2 (Godwin Austen) is the world's highest peak.

Paper wasps early casteists

Issue Date: May 15, 1993
WASPS, bees and ants are known to live in highly organised colonies with an elaborate division of labour among the occupants, who are separated into different "castes", each performing specific functions, and who are also physically different and with a rank in colony hierarchy.
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