VW and Daimler face cartel accusations

Volkswagen car

Supervisory boards at two big German carmakers are to hold emergency meetings later after they were accused of breaching EU cartel rules.

Volkswagen and Daimler have declined to comment on the allegations that they and other German car giants colluded to fix the price of diesel emissions treatment systems.

The claims first surfaced on Friday in a report by Der Spiegel magazine.

The issue is under investigation by EU and German anti-trust regulators.

Companies found to have infringed EU cartel rules are liable to pay fines of up to 10% of their global revenue.

Other firms under investigation are BMW, Porsche and Audi.

Profit rise

Speaking to journalists, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche declined to comment on the allegations, noting that the European Commission had not begun formal proceedings against his company.

“We are well advised not to take part in speculation,” he said, but added: “The automotive industry is currently making headlines, and not good ones.”

Mr Zetsche was speaking after Daimler announced its second-quarter results, which showed a rise in operating profit of 15% to 3.74bn euros (£3.34bn).

The German car industry is also dealing with the fallout from the 2015 diesel car emission-rigging scandal, which erupted after Volkswagen was found to have cheated official tests by using special software to produce artificially low pollution levels.

VW, the world’s largest car manufacturer, has admitted about 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with the device.

Last year, a US court ordered VW to pay a $14.7bn (£12bn) settlement over the scandal.

Grey line

Analysis: Joe Miller, European business reporter

Once, they were the jewels in the crown of German industry, proud symbols of the country’s unrivalled engineering and manufacturing expertise.

Now, carmakers such as Volkswagen and Daimler are more of a national embarrassment, with a seemingly endless stream of revelations muddying the “Made in Germany” brand.

The public scrutiny of German automakers may have started in 2015, when Volkswagen was found to have cheated on diesel emission tests. But now, allegations published in Der Spiegel point to collusion on diesel technology dating back to the 1990s, and involving most of the other large car brands.

None of this will help German carmakers in their fight against potential bans on diesel vehicles in some of the country’s largest cities, such as Munich and Stuttgart.

The German government, the EU, and indeed the general public, are losing patience. The carmakers need a PR win, and quickly.

Whatever the outcome of Wednesday’s board meetings, expect the carmakers to try and move the agenda on to new electric vehicles and futuristic autonomous technology.


Tracking Trump: Russia scandal deepens while healthcare flatlines

Donald Trump leaves the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington Saturday.

It was a week full of difficult news for the Trump administration on both the healthcare and Russia fronts, at the end of which White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned.

After the failure of Senate Republicans to push healthcare reform through, Donald Trump said he would “let Obamacare fail”, then changed his mind and demanded that Republicans skip their August recess until they get the bill done. Separately, the president appeared to be on a collision course with special counsel Robert Mueller, whose expansion of his investigation to look at Trump’s financeswas announced on the same day that Trump said it would be a “violation” of Mueller’s mandate for him to do that.

Last weekend

Trump returned from France and headed straight for his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, which was hosting the US Women’s Open. Trump spent the weekend touting the tournament on Twitter and waving to the crowds from inside his clubhouse.

Also on Twitter, Trump kept up a defense of his eldest son, who took a June 2016 meeting with Russians in hopes of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?” Trump tweeted.

The president also attacked an ABC News/Washington Post poll showing him holding a 36% approval rating, a historic low for a president six months into his presidency. He could not resist inflating his approval rating, tweeting: “The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!”

The Republican plan to pass healthcare reform legislation in the Senate was derailed when Senator John McCain, 80, underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye. McCain was expected to be out for at least a week and possibly more.


Trump hosted the first day of “Made in America” week at the White House, which amounted to him admiring large trucks, donning a cowboy hat (briefly) and making a speech about the importance of American companies manufacturing products in America. Many critics accused the president of hypocrisy, pointing out that most Trump-branded products, from Donald Trump ties to Ivanka Trump dresses, are made overseas, not in America. Addressing the criticism, press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that it was OK to manufacture certain products overseas but not others.

Spicer also sought to put a positive spin on the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Russian operatives, saying “there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe” that the meeting wasn’t about adoption policy. Trump Jr himself told Fox host Sean Hannity the previous week that the meeting was about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, but the Russians failed to deliver.

Trump also said he hoped McCain “gets better quickly”. “He’s a crusty voice in Washington,” Trump said. “Plus we need that vote” on healthcare.


Trump spent the day responding to the collapse late the night before of a Republican-led Senate plan to “fix” Barack Obama’s healthcare law. At first Trump called for a straight repeal vote on Obamacare, to be followed by a replacement plan. Despite a similar effort having failed just seven months ago, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell appeared to take Trump at his word, announcing on Tuesday morning a plan to vote on an Obamacare repeal, without a blueprinted replacement. But then Trump suggested different tactics, tweeting: “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

Later, Trump described his thinking further, saying: “Let Obamacare fail and it will be a lot easier. And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

Will Republicans own it? Most polling indicated that Republicans, who control both houses of Congress plus the White House, would own it. But further action on the legislation was anticipated on Wednesday.

There were two significant revelations on the Russia collusion front, meanwhile. The identity of an eighth, previously unknown person to have attended a June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr emerged. He was Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a Russian American businessman once accused of laundering more than $1.4bn into the US from eastern Europe. Separately, it emerged that Trump held a second, previously undisclosed meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany the previous week. The meeting was described as involving only Trump, Putin and Putin’s translator, and took place over an hour on the sidelines of a state dinner.


It was another day of bizarre twists in the wild ride of healthcare reform with Trump and Senate Republicans at the wheel. After declaring on Tuesday that Republicans would “let Obamacare fail” and let Democrats catch the blame, Trump told Republicans at a Wednesday lunch that they must not go on August recess until they delivered healthcare reform legislation to his desk to sign.

“My message today is very simple,” said Trump. “We have to stay here. We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete, until this bill is on my desk. We should hammer this out and get it done.”

Will they get it done? A new congressional budget office score of the latest legislation said that it would kick 32m people off insurance rolls by 2026. Stay tuned.

In other news, Wednesday marked the first meeting of Trump’s “election integrity commission”, formed to address the phantom problem of widespread voter fraud in American elections. Commission leader Kris Kobach challenged the integrity of US elections when he was asked whether Hillary Clinton really had gotten almost three million more votes than Trump, as official election tallies show.

“We may never know the answer to that question,” Kobach said.


In a bombshell interview published late Wednesday, Trump made several statements to the New York Times that made it appear that the president is on a collision course with his own justice department over the Russia affair.

Trump said that he would not have nominated Jeff Sessions as attorney general had he known that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia inquiry; that it would be a “violation” for Robert Mueller to look into his finances and past business deals; and that the FBI director “reports directly to the president”. All the statements called further into question Trump’s understanding of the concept of an independent judiciary and law enforcement and/or his intention of respecting that independence.

Asked whether he would fire Mueller if Mueller were investigating his finances – which the special counsel indeed is, Bloomberg reported – Trump declined comment.

“I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Trump said.

For his part, Sessions told reporters he would stay as attorney general “as long as that is appropriate”.

Separately, the Senate judiciary committee announced that it expected to take the testimony of Donald Trump Jr and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an open session next Wednesday, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top aide, was to testify before the intelligence committee in a closed hearing on Monday.


The week ended with a bang, with Sean Spicer resigning as press secretaryafter Trump appointed former hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci, who helped with the presidential transition, as communications director. Spicer said Trump needed a “clean slate”. Scaramucci declared his love for the president and, in his first press conference at the White House, said that “if the president says it … my guess is that there’s probably some level of truth to that”.

The Senate judiciary committee released a letter that cast doubt on whether Trump Jr and Manafort would testify next week as invited. The committee was in “active communication” with representatives of the two, it said, and would wait to decide “whether to issue subpoenas”.

Both Democratic and Republican members of Congress reacted with alarm, meanwhile, to a report late the night before that Trump’s lawyers are digging for dirt on Robert Mueller, with the possible intention of making the case for firing him.

“There is no possible way anybody at the White House could be seriously thinking about firing Mueller,” said Republican senator Bob Corker.

Late in the day, finally, another big story dropped. According to the Washington Post, citing US intelligence intercepts, former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak told superiors that at meetings which caused Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into possible collusion between Trump aides and Russian operatives, the Trump campaign was discussed. Sessions had said the campaign was not discussed at the meetings.


‘Our business just exploded’: All eyes on thriving store

VISION: Diana Ward, from the Optical Superstore in Riverlink, has  considerable experience in the industry.

ACCORDING to a recent Roy Morgan Research report, 58%of Australians wear prescription glasses and on average replace them every two and half years.

It seems the older we get, the more we need to wear glasses.

One local business, Optical Superstore Ipswich, assists locals with all of their optical needs.

Diana and David Ward have been in business since 2002, moving from the Ipswich City Mall to Riverlink and in their third move are now located opposite Coles in the Riverlink Shopping Centre. “Coming into Riverlink was our best move we ever did, a lot more foot traffic and our business just exploded,” co-owner/operator David Ward said.

The husband and wife duo has considerable experience in the industry. Mr Ward worked in Melbourne, the home of the Optical Superstore.

“I am an optical mechanic, I did my apprenticeship in this and I am trained to make lenses and fitting them into frames.

“This particular role is now gone, replaced by computers. I went on to become an optical dispenser,” he said.

Diana is a qualified optical dispenser studying for the position during a four-year course. Starting out as a receptionist in a laboratory, where the two worked together, she moved to selling frames to retailers.

The complementary skills of the pair means customers are the beneficiary of their considerable knowledge and skill.

Optical Superstore is an Australian-owned and operated business.

“When I worked for them they only franchised to people known to the owner,” he said. “I had a young family and wanted to move back to Ipswich and I asked if he would support me opening a store here. He was happy to do that.”

In this highly competitive business, Optical Superstore Ipswich prides itself on offering the latest in technology for eye examination.

“We try to buy Australian-made frames and stock other international brands. In fact, we have well over 600 frames on display in our store.”

Two optometrists, Alison and Emma, are instore six days a week. Bookings can be made from Monday to Saturday, with appointments until 5pm on Saturday and 7pm on Thursday.

“I will go out of my way to assist our customers – that’s what others will not do. For example, I will do prescription diving masks, people don’t think of that.

“I also do a lot of individual safety glasses that are prescription and certified,” Mr Ward said.

While consumers are more aware of their eye health, it seems there is an increase in young people needing prescription glasses due to constantly being on smart devices without taking breaks.

Optical Superstore Ipswich are providers for Veteran Affairs clients and work with all major health funds for hi-caps claims. Mr and Mrs Ward operate a very successful and customer-oriented business, dedicated to continue to support the local community.



Kourtney Kardashian Reveals All the Details on Her Insanely Strict ‘Detox’ Diet

Kourtney Kardashian lives her life mostly void of gluten, dairy, sugar, red meat, etc. in general, so it should come as no surprise that when she decides to “detox,” she really goes for it.

In a new post on her app, the reality star says she has been detoxing “on and off for a few months now” due to her doctor finding high levels of mercury and lead in her system. In order to keep her body in a state of ketosis—”when the glycogen in your liver is depleted and the body burns fatty acids for energy,” Kardashian explains—she follows a prolonged, restrictive eating plan. (It should be noted that she urges you to consult your actual doctor before trying it yourself.)

In general, the plan consists of 3 meals a day that are low-carb, high in protein and fatty acids. Sounds pretty standard, but when she says low-carb, she means low-carb: no grains, beans or legumes for any meal.

RELATED: We Tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2017 Goop Detox and We’re Still Hungry

For breakfast, Kardashian says she is allowed to eat “minimal amounts of fruit,” so she usually opts for her go-to avocado smoothie (which she also uses on her hair, FYI). For lunch and dinner, she sticks to proteins like fish and chicken and maybe some cauliflower rice or broccoli. Following dinner, she is not allowed to eat breakfast for 14 to 16 hours.

Oh yeah, and one day per week, she does a 24-hour fast during which she only drinks water and bone broth. “On fasting days, I try to stay busy and, if I’m home, I’ll avoid going into the kitchen,” she says.

Finally, there is no snacking permitted, other than the occasional handful of almonds for Kardashian.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this detox is difficult,” she says, adding that her goal has been to stay on the diet for 3 months. Of course, she does make some healthy exceptions. “I also know that I need to enjoy my life, so I break the rules when I go on vacation or if there’s a special occasion.”



LazyTown actor Stefan Karl Stefansson in final stages of cancer

Robbie Rotten

LazyTown star Stefan Karl Stefansson is in the final stages of cancer, his wife has said.

The actor played villain Robbie Rotten in the CBeebies show.

“Stefan has bile-duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), a rare and little-researched disease,” his wife Steinunn Olina wrote on Facebook.

“The disease is now advanced to stage four, and therefore, his life expectancy is unfortunately significantly reduced.”

Friends and fans have raised more than $140,000 (£110,000) to help support his treatment and care.

“Despite the best efforts of his excellent Icelandic medical team, and Stefan’s personal heroism, there is no apparent cure,” organiser Mark Valeti wrote on the fundraising page.

“There are always experimental processes, and they will be woven into the fabric of Stefan’s care if at all possible.”

Robbie Rotten looking at a burger

“Love and humility are unusual and so helpful through it all. I’m moved and very grateful,” Steffan wrote in Icelandic on his Facebook page.

He linked to a meme that says: “The memers may die, but the memes live on.”

The character of Robbie Rotten is popular online, with lots of people creating memes out of his facial expressions.

“As this situation unfolds, please know that Stefan reads and enjoys your memes, artwork and good wishes,” Mark Valeti wrote to fans on Reddit.

“He knows how you feel about him and he feels the same toward you.

“When he’s feeling better and he finds the right venue, he will reach out personally.”

Warning: Third party content, may contain ads

LazyTown first aired on BBC children’s channel CBeebies more than 10 years ago.

Stephanie, a girl with bright pink hair, comes to live in LazyTown and meets lots of unusual people, including the world’s laziest villain, Robbie Rotton.

He is challenged by Sportacus, an athletic and enthusiastic hero.

LazyTown’s message was about getting kids to be more active and lead healthier lifestyles.


Pune’s Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute bags the first yoga award

The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute of Pune has been chosen as the first recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding contribution to promotion and development of yoga. According to IANS, in a statement released by the Ministry of AYUSH, it was said that the decision has been made by a screening and evaluation committee for the awards that were initiated in 2016.

Credit: Shutterstock

According to The Times Of India, the statement said,

The selection was done from among 85 nominations received and 15 more recommended by the screening committee.

As per Press Information Bureau (PIB), the statement said,

Eyes In the Sky

james-webb-nasatechnicians lift the James Webb Space Telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Desiree Stover—NASA

One of America’s least known National Historic Landmarks may also be its ugliest. It’s kept hidden inside Building 32 on the grounds of the Johnson Space Center in Houston and is identified simply as Chamber A. The “landmark” resembles nothing so much as a bank vault, albeit one with a 40-ton, 40-ft.-wide door.

When the door is shut, however, and the right machinery is turned on, Chamber A becomes, effectively, a giant pocket of outer space. Pumps create a vacuum, and a liquid helium and nitrogen cooling system drives the temperature down to –440°F, not far from absolute zero, the thermal floor at which most molecular motion stops.

NASA's Johnson Space Center’s "Chamber A" in Houston is an enormous thermal vacuum testing chamber and now appears to be opening it's "mouth" to take in NASA's James Webb Space Telescope for testing. The telescope and the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) are two of the three major elements that comprise the Webb telescope Observatory flight system and are being lifted into the chamber in this photo. The other is the Spacecraft Element (spacecraft bus and sunshield), which is currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) in Redondo Beach, California. The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
The James Webb Space Telescope for testing being placed in a thermal vacuum chamber. NASA

The chamber was built in 1965 and earned its landmark status both for its innovative design and for its work stress-testing the Apollo lunar spacecraft. Now, it’s preparing to inflict its punishment on the next great space machine to come its way: the James Webb Space Telescope.

On a recent afternoon, the main mirror and instrument package of the Webb–named after the NASA administrator who ran the agency in the early part of the Apollo era–sat in the filtered-air clean room outside the chamber, being prepped for a 93-day stay in simulated space. That test, which will begin in July, will be a very high-stakes exercise. The mirror is the heart of the telescope, measuring 21.3 ft. across. It’s made of 18 smaller hexagonal mirrors arranged in a honeycomb configuration. Altogether, the assembly has seven times more light-collecting space than the main mirror of the celebrated but aging Hubble Space Telescope. So big an eye will give the Webb the power to look much farther into space–and much further back in time–than Hubble can. That might reveal something spectacular–possibly the very moment in cosmic history when the first stars switched on.

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“We will be watching the universe light up after the Big Bang,” says NASA’s Eric Smith, Webb’s program director.

The Webb has been in development for more than 20 years at a cost of $8.7 billion and is at last set to launch in October 2018. In addition to witnessing first light, it may also see the first primal galaxies taking shape, the first planetary systems forming around stars, even signs of early biology–if it exists–emerging on alien worlds. Though Webb is the biggest news in the telescope community, it’s not the only news. NASA is betting big on cosmic observatories. Even before Webb flies, the space agency will launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which will conduct a study of the entire 360-degree bowl of the sky, looking for planets orbiting the half-million brightest, closest stars in the galaxy.

After that may come the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which, among other things, will study dark energy–the still-mysterious force that is forever pulling the universe outward. At least two more spacecraft observatories are also being developed–to study the universe in the X-ray wavelengths and to look more closely at habitable planets. In all, NASA has earmarked about $9.2 billion for Webb and TESS alone. The other telescopes, which are still in early development, would cost what a NASA spokesperson estimates simply as “several billion dollars” each. But that may be a price worth paying.

Engineers Clean Mirror with Carbon Dioxide SnowTwo Exelis Inc. engineers are practicing “snow cleaning'” on a test telescope mirror for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  NASA/eyevine

“Humankind has always wondered about the universe, and now our telescope technology has caught up with our questions,” says Paul Hertz, NASA’s director of astrophysics. “This is a great time to be a scientist.”

For the Webb telescope, surviving in space may be easy compared to the fight it faced to survive here on Earth–a fight it almost lost. The telescope was proposed in the mid-1990s at a cost of $500 million and was projected to be ready to fly in 2007. But inventing new technology has a way of defying deadlines and confounding cost projections. By 2011, Webb had already burned through $6.2 billion, with no firm launch date in sight.

Congress responded the way Congress often does in these situations, which was to threaten to cancel the whole project. If throwing away billions in sunk costs seemed hard to justify, there was at least some precedent. Familiar with the work of the great American particle accelerator in Waxahachie, Texas? No, you’re not, because it’s nothing but a giant, unused tunnel, one that cost more than $2 billion before Congress lost patience with the similarly behind-schedule, overbudget project and shut it down in 1993.

For the Webb, however, Washington agreed to hold its fire. When the mirror was finally delivered in 2012, the funding spigot was turned back on. “There was strong support from the science community for the mission,” says Smith, “though it was certainly a tense time.”

After that near-death experience, the Webb’s next big challenges will be the ones it will face when it at last gets to work. Unlike Hubble, which flies in Earth’s orbit at an altitude of just 353 miles, Webb will park itself in space about 1 million miles away. There, it will circle a spot known as L2, one of five so-called Lagrange points, where the gravities of Earth and the sun achieve a balance that can hold objects in more or less the same position. That’s a good, safe place for a ship like Webb.

The telescope will do much of its observing not in the optical wavelengths the human eye can see, but in the infrared. The primary source of infrared radiation is heat, and the wavelength can stream straight through the cosmic dust that prevents Hubble from seeing some of the oldest and most remote provinces of space. The problem is, that makes Webb extremely temperature-sensitive; stray heat on its mirror would be like stray light on Hubble’s, washing out images.

Webb will thus turn its back to the sun, Earth and moon, facing out to space with a solar shield protecting it. About the size of a tennis court and roughly diamond-shaped, the shield–which is too large even for Chamber A–is made of five layers of a foil-like material known as kapton. Each layer is as thin as a human hair and is separated from the layers on either side of it by up to 12 in. The temperature on the bottom layer–the most sunward side–will reach about 185°F, not far from the boiling point of water. Each successive layer will get colder and colder–with the vacuum gap between them acting as further insulation–ultimately reaching a low of -370°F on the side of the mirror.

Sunshield for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope expanded at Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo BeachThe Sunshield test unit to be used on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is stacked and expanded at a cleanroom in the Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. on July 25, 2014.  Chris Gunn—Reuters

“Five layers gives you enough cooling so that you don’t need an active refrigeration system,” says Smith.

The 18 segments of the mirror are made of beryllium, a metal whose molecular structure can be manipulated into one that functions like glass but that can be polished more predictably and consistently. A thin layer of gold is applied for reflectivity. The gold covers 269 sq. ft. of the mirror, but is so thin that if it were peeled off and tamped down, it would form a mass roughly the size of a golf ball. The beryllium surface, meanwhile, is polished so smoothly that if it were expanded to the size of the U.S., its biggest imperfection would be just 3 in. tall.

The fact that the mirror does not have to be protected from ambient starlight means that it doesn’t have to be enclosed in a cylindrical housing like Hubble’s. Instead, it sits directly atop the sun screen, completely exposed to space. That saves weight, but also exposes the mirror to intermittent micrometeoroid bombardment. “Hubble gets beat by stuff all the time,” says Webb’s lead systems engineer Doug McGuffey.

What works in Webb’s favor is the micro part of micrometeoroid: even at high speed, the particles don’t have the mass to do catastrophic damage. And if mirror segments do get dinged over time, actuators–or tiny motors–behind them can adjust their position to refocus them. “Damage to one mirror,” says McGuffey, “can be compensated for by the others.”

NASA workers look up at the James Webb Space Telescope Mirror during it's media reveal at NASAís Goddard Space Flight Center at GreenbeltNASA workers look up at the James Webb Space Telescope Mirror during it’s media reveal at NASAís Goddard Space Flight Center at Greenbelt, Maryland on Nov. 2, 2016.  Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

Such flexibility will help the Webb avoid the kind of problem Hubble faced, when no sooner did it arrive in space in 1990 than NASA discovered that its primary mirror was warped, leaving it nearsighted. It took a servicing mission by space-shuttle astronauts to fix the problem–something that would not be possible at Webb’s million-mile distance.

All of that engineering care will pay off when Webb begins making its observations. An expanding universe like ours presents complexities a static universe wouldn’t. The most remote regions of space retreat the fastest, and the light that speeds toward us from those areas thus gets stretched like a Slinky, with its wavelength shifting toward the red end of the spectrum–the very end Webb is built to see.

The farthest infrared signatures are also the oldest in the approximately 13.8 billion-year-old universe. Webb will get very close to seeing back to the very beginning, picking up signals that have been traveling to us since just 200 million years after the Big Bang, and converting that information to pictures. An image it delivers of, say, a brand-new galaxy won’t be the galaxy as it looks today, but as it looked 13.6 billion years ago–the cosmic equivalent of live-streaming videos of your newborn across a network that takes, say, 80 years to complete the transmission. The baby in the video will be an octogenarian by the time your receiver watches the stream. That time-capsule quality will be true of all of the observations Webb makes of stars and nebulae and other structures at the most distant removes of space.

The sheer ambition of the Webb mission has caused a lot of people to overlook what the telescope’s little sister TESS will do. But that less expensive ($378 million) observatory could make news. TESS will actually get off the pad first, launching from Cape Canaveral in the early part of 2018, and will go into an ordinary Earth orbit, where it will spend two years conducting its whole-sky survey.

The goal is to study the half-million stars closest to Earth, looking for flickering in their light that suggest they are being orbited by planets. The Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009, has already led researchers to conclude that virtually every star in the sky has at least one planet, but Kepler trains its gaze up to 3,000 light-years into space. A planet so far away is hard to study, given that a single light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles. TESS will limit its search to 200 light-years or less.

“Kepler’s great achievement was that it gave us the exoplanet population,” says Hertz. “But the exoplanets that are the closest are obviously the ones best suited for follow-up studies.”

The WFIRST mission is not as far along as TESS, merely in preliminary development. The telescope will observe the cosmos in more or less the same wavelengths as Hubble does, but it will take in 100 times more sky in a single viewing–the difference between peering through a straw and peering through a window.

Even after all of these observatories take flight, NASA is roughing out plans for still more–pending budgetary buy-in. Particularly promising are LYNX–an X-ray-frequency telescope that would be especially good at studying black holes–and HabEx, which would analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets looking for signs of gases associated with life, such as methane and carbon dioxide.

This rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope is current to 2015. Upon request we can provide a high-resolution image without a background. Image credit: Northrop GrummanAn artist rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman

It says something both odd and exceptional about our species that while we could rightly be preoccupied with the simple business of surviving on the one world we’ve got–keeping the people in our own small tribe fed and healthy and safe from the perceived menace of the tribes across the valley–we always have one eye trained outward. We can’t say exactly what we’re looking for–deliverance, company, answers to eternal questions–but we look out all the same.

Building the instruments that make that wondering gaze possible isn’t easy or cheap, and none of it pays the kinds of earthly dividends that pick-and-shovel programs like fixing roads or building airports do. But there are other kinds of dividends as well, and if uncovering the universe’s most ancient secrets doesn’t qualify, what would? Washington could certainly spend its money more frugally, but it’s hard to see how it could spend it more imaginatively.


Review of Lipsense Long Lasting Lipstick

The new LipSense lipstick range by SeneGence is been listed as one of the top new trendy lipstick range these days. While it has become necessary to explore about the product we are looking to buy, especially when it is a cosmetic product, which can have some adverse effect on the body. Keeping this in mind here are some key facts about Lipsense lipstick.

There are many instances when your lipstick can spoil the day for you. Suppose you have to go to a distant place far away from your house would you be willing to put your lipstick back in every two hours? Or what if you are thinking about something and unconsciously your hand reached your lip. The answer is that your favorite lip color will blew away in seconds. What about that shine, you always wanted on your lips? And yes, what about those mark that a normal chapstick leaves on your lips?

Lipsense long lasting lipstick comes in a range of about 72 lip colors. It will not shed away even if you are drinking, touching, chatting or even rubbing. Its lasting abilities are a result of SeneGence patented super-adhesive lip color formula, a multi-layered lip color process and sealing ‘top coats’ (aka glosses). Not only this, it is waterproof, smear proof, budge proof and does not remove even after rubbing the lips convincingly. The only way to remove is by using a suitable make up remover.

It can be applied by following a simple procedure. Make sure your lips are clean and there is no other products left applied. First line your lips with the color of your choice. Allow it to dry for 5 minutes. Apply the second layer and let it dry. It is also pretty tacky due to the product’s adhesive ingredients. You can use an Oops remover if make any mistake while applying it. Then give the last coating of the lip color and allow to it to get arid. If you run the brush over the same spot a second time before it dries, it can lift off some of the product and create a patchy look.

Then apply the gloss which comes in shiny or matte styles. There you are, ready to shine!

You can use Oops remover to remove the lip color at the end of the day. Instead of it, you can also use some coconut oil and gently scrub with a wash cloth. Using an ordinary soap and water can also help you clean it well. While going outside the Oops remover proves to be a great option.

It gives you the feeling of almost a weightless wear. It does not even show that chinky effect, making you move your lips effortlessly. While it is fine to make thinner and runnier coats while using the lipstick one may find them a little expensive than other such products but it may be noted that this lipstick is not needed to be applied many times a day and hence it will last for 4 to 6 months on an average.

Now the only question arises is whether it contains any harmful chemicals? Well this product is made by ingredients that are approved by FDA, so it saves you doing any harm to your lips. It doesn’t penetrate the skin and go into the blood stream. It is a patented molecular bond which means that it just sticks to your skin leaving you with clean and dry lips. So if you want to learn more about this amazing long lasting lipstick you can browse through the internet for more details.

IIT-Kharagpur to establish country’s first Quality and Reliability school

The aim for establishing the school is to improve the quality of life for the people of India as well as develop quality conscious global citizens, said Director, IIT-Kharagpur Prof P P Chakrabarti.

The School will be truly interdisciplinary in which faculty members as well as students will be from various disciplines, said Director IIT-Kharagpur

The School will be truly interdisciplinary in which faculty members as well as students will be from various disciplines, said Director IIT-Kharagpur

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IIT-Kharagpur will set up a school on Quality and Reliability (Q&R), a first-of-its-kind in India.

The Institute, which set the trend for engineering, management, medical technology and IPR law education in IITs in India, has now ventured in the domain of quality with an aim to improve the trinity of Process, Planet and People (3Ps) targeting Engineering, Human and Natural systems, a release said.

Views of Director, IIT-Kharagpur:

  • The School will be truly interdisciplinary in which faculty members as well as students will be from various disciplines, Prof P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT-Kharagpur, said
  • Apart from traditional Q&R areas, the School will have a holistic view on various application domains of 3Ps, he said adding, the aim for establishing the School which is to improve the quality of life for the people of India as well as to develop quality conscious global citizens
  • The school, in collaboration with other academic units in the Institute, will offer academic courses, research and mission-mode programmes in the area of Quality and Reliability, which will bring social transformation, Chakrabarti said
  • “It shall also serve as a hub of Intellectual Property in Quality. The School will be a trend-setter, as has been many of IIT-Kharagpur’s initiatives, particularly those supported by the alumni,” he said.
  • source”cnbc”

IITs to come under Single Engineering Entrance Exam from 2018

The ministry has decided to conduct single engineering entrance test every year and it will be designed in a way that the linguistic diversity of the country is taken into consideration

IITs to come under Single Engineering Entrance Exam

IITs to come under Single Engineering Entrance Exam

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  • Shahnaz Husain’s detailed interview makes its way into Harvard University curriculum
  • 10,285 vacancies for teachers in Kendriya Vidyalayas: Prakash Javadekar
  • CBSE: Three language subjects may become compulsory for Class 10 boards by 2020
  • Roll back age criteria for NEET 2017: Petition filed in apex court

On the lines of NEET-examination, a single engineering entrance examinations will be conducted for admission into engineering colleges from the academic year 2018-19.

It is learnt that the coveted IITs, for which a nationwide competitive examinations are held, may also be brought in under the ambit of the new test.

HRD sets stage for one engineering entrance exam:

The HRD ministry has recently asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to explain and mention suitable norms for holding such an exercise.

The HRD ministry has told the AICTE that the proposal is in line with the government’s policy and it could incorporate suitable regulations to enable the holding of such a test, sources said.

The AICTE, oversees the aspects related to technical education in the country, had discussed at a recent meeting proposal for having a single entrance test for engineering colleges for undergraduate courses

Single Engineering Entrance Exam to be conducted multiple times every year:

The ministry has taken this decision to bring in greater transparency, maintain higher standards and also try to ensure that students are saved from the burden of taking too many tests, the sources said. The ministry is also in favour of seeking constructive suggestions from states and Deemed Universities for the successful holding of such a test, they added.

It has also been decided that the single entrance test would be conducted multiple times every year and it will be designed in a way that the linguistic diversity of the country is taken into consideration, the sources said.

A common NEET exam for admission to medical colleges already exists, but there are a number of exams for entrance into engineering colleges.