Groundwater Reserves in Kenya made new Hopes

As we all know that Africa is facing clean water crises from past few years, the reason may be unpredictable rainfalls, hot temperature and poor mangement.  If we talk about Kenya, 17 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Groundwater Reserves in Kenya  have made a new hope on the faces of the people of Kenya. A large underground water reserves have been found in Turkana, one of North Kenya’s driest and poorest regions. The findings were announced at the opening of an international water security conference in Nairobi. The GRIDMAP spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with the government of Kenya and with the financial support of the Government of Japan.

Groundwater Reserves in Kenya
Groundwater Reserves in Kenya

It has long been known that Africa has been facing a water crisis. Not only is the continent stressed because of erratic rainfall patterns, arid climates, and hot temperatures, but access to clean, safe drinking water is depriving much of the population of a basic human necessity. Specifically in Kenya, 17 million people lack access to safe drinking water. However, this all could change as an exploration of groundwater resources in northern Kenya has identified two aquifers in the Turkana and Lotikip Basins.

Aquifers are underground layers of permeable rock that contain or transmit groundwater. So in a region known for being hot and dry, this discovery is bound to bring hope and economic growth to the country.

The findings were announced at the opening of an international water security conference in Nairobi yesterday, and are the result of a groundwater mapping project, GRIDMAP (Groundwater Resources Investigation for Drought Mitigation in Africa Programme), spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with the government of Kenya and with the financial support of the Government of Japan.

Using advanced satellite exploration technology, researchers located the underground aquifers and then confirmed their existence by drilling to see if water was actually there. And there was! While there is a need for further studies to adequately quantify the reserves and to assess the quality of the water, people are hopeful.

Announcing the findings during the opening session of the UNESCO Strategic and High-Level Meeting on Water Security and Cooperation, Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, said that the results were a critical scientific breakthrough for the country.

“The news about these water reserves comes at a time when reliable water supplies are highly needed. This newly found wealth of water opens a door to a more prosperous future for the people of Turkana and the nation as a whole. We must now work to further explore these resources responsibly and safeguard them for future generations,” she said.

“UNESCO is proud to be a part of this important finding, which clearly demonstrates how science and technology can contribute to industrialization and economic growth, and to resolving real societal issues like access to water,” said UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Gretchen Kalonji. “It is indeed in line with UNESCO’s vision for science for sustainable development and we will continue to support Africa to unlock the full potential of its invisible water wealth.”

The Government of Kenya also announced the launch of a national groundwater mapping program that would be implemented with UNESCO, which would assist governments in identifying and assessing their groundwater resources.

Infra Red Stealth Clothing developed at UT California

The armed forces designs the uniforms in such a way that they perfectly blend with the background location of the warrior keeping him off the eagle eyes of the enemies. The daylight is fine, but with the night vision cameras that detect the presence of heat waves or Infra Red rays spot them easily as the rays emitted from these clothing differ from their usual background. These could be stories of the past, as researchers find a way to control the heat being emitted by your clothes, simply put as Infra Red Stealth Clothing.

Infra Red Stealth Clothing
Infra Red Stealth Clothing

Scientists at the University of California Irvine have created a new “stealth” coating that can change the way it reflects infrared light on command. The films, which are around 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, can be switched on and off using a chemical signal. Tests conducted by the researchers have shown that they can make an orange surface blend into green foliage when the coating is activated.

The technology mimics the active camouflage used by squid, where they change the colour and even the texture of their skin to blend into the background. The researchers claim their new coating can be attached to a wide range of surfaces and is a first step towards developing “shape shifting clothing” capable of adapting to the environment around it.

Dr Alon Gorodestsky, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and material science at University of California Irvine, said: “Our approach is simple and compatible with a wide array of surfaces, potentially allowing many simple objects to acquire camouflage capabilities. “Our long-term goal is to create fabrics that can dynamically alter their texture and colour to adapt to their environments. “Basically, we’re seeking to make shape-shifting clothing – the stuff of science fiction – a reality.”

Dr Gorodestsky and his colleagues used a protein called reflectin, which is found in the skin of the long fin squid Doryteuthis pealeii to create the new coating. These squid can change their colour from a deep red to a soft pink and are known to change their visibility under infrared light.

The scientists, whose work is published in the journal Advanced Materials, created a film by combining reflectin with graphene, the Nobel Prize winning ultra-thin form of transparent carbon that was first isolated in 2003. The researchers found they could tune the wavelength of light that was reflected by the film so that when it was activated it would reflect infrared light in different ways.

The coating can be switched on either by a change in humidity or by the presence of acetic acid vapour, or vinegar, which cause the reflectin to swell like a gel, changing the way it reflects light. This would mean that such coatings could be made to turn on at night when humidity typically rises, or by releasing a chemical signal into the clothing itself. The scientists say a similar method could also be used to change the texture of a surface and they hope to develop new “stealth materials”.

Dr Gorodestsky said: “Given these advantages, our dynamically tunable, infrared-reflective films represent a crucial first step towards the development of reconfigurable and disposable biomimetic camouflage technologies for military stealth applications.”

Read while you Run, with Run-n-Read!!

Every morning we spend some time for our treadmill, and some more to grasp a bit of daily newspaper. What if, if we could combine them together? Reading while jogging is considered impossible until Weartrons came up with this innovative idea. Their idea is very simple, the text on your mobile’s screen will jog along with your head. All with a help of a little wearable device called Run-n-Read.


Run N Read device
This smart device can be clipped either to your headband or you tshirt

 Weartrons, a group of New York-based developers, has created a fitness tracker called Run-n-Read that lets you read as you jog- it clips onto a headband or shirt collar and tracks the runner’s head and shoulders.

Run-n-Read then syncs with an dedicated e-reader app on a tablet or phone and will bounce the text on the screen in time with a runner’s eye movements, making it appear as if the words aren’t moving at all, published in an article.

The Run-n-Read clip from New York-based Weartrons can be attached to a headband or shirt collar and tracks head and shoulder movements. The system works with a dedicated e-reader app installed on a tablet or phone and will bounce the text on the screen in sync with the runner’s eyes

The clip has a built-in accelerometer to measure speed and movement and connects to an Android or iOS tablet wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The company claims: ‘The system essentially makes reading while running in a stationary position as easy as reading while standing motionless. Weartrons is currently asking for funding using the Dragon Innovation website in order to mass produce the product.

The company has raised around $8,000 (around £5,000) of its $30,000 (£19,000) goal and, if successful, plans to ship the device by January 2014 for around $40 (£25). Run-n-Read can be used with ‘treadmills, elliptical trainers, stepmills, stairmasters, and exercise bikes.

Its makers add that it can also help reduce eye strain when travelling on a train, bus, or car. To flip between pages on a book, the runner can either swipe the screen of the tablet or tap the Run-n-Read clip once to move forward a page, or twice to move back.

The clip can work out the position of a runner’s eyes by monitoring the movement of their head, when attached to a headband or by tracking shoulder movements when attached to a shirt collar. The device is also a fitness tracker and can additionally be fitted to a belt when not being used for reading.

There is also a rechargeable battery with a micro-USB port and Weartrons claims the clip will last for 20 hours when used regularly, or one month on standby. It weighs 10g and is approximately one inch wide by 1.25 inches tall.

The device only works with the dedicated iOS or Android app, that also displays the workout history and physical activity levels. When being used to track fitness, and not for reading, the clip can be worn on a belt. Weartrons are in discussion with airlines and gyms to add the technology to various equipment.

The company is also looking at ways to make it work with a television screen, for example.


Gardening Proved Healthy, Boosts Positivity

Whenever you are tired of working, following orders and doing your daily chores, you would definitely benefit from some quality time – to feel relaxed yet in control. Have you ever thought why certain people resort to gardening? Putting it this way, growing a potted plant from a cutting, watering it thrice a week may give you a sense of control and if the plant does well, voila! you have a sense of accomplishment. It may a simple cure to some of those stresses!

gardening_childGardening lessons have proved to have a positive impact on school kids. There are currently 4,500 schools enrolled on the Food for Life Partnership plan (FFLP) and figures show that twice as many schools received an outstanding OFSTED rating after working with the Food for Life partnership. In addition, the uptake of free school meals in FFLP schools has risen by an average of 13%, shared on an article on Environmental News Network.

The School Food Plan, which has the support of the Secretary of State for Education aims to significantly increase the number of children eating good food in schools, and has been awarded £16.1m by the Government.

Libby Grundy, Director of Food For Life, says: “Instead of seeing growing and gardening as something peripheral, the School Food Plan recognizes that all areas of the curriculum can be taught in relation to food whether it’s history, science, or geography. You can bring food and cooking and growing into all areas of teaching”.

gardening tools
Gardening leaves a sense of accomplishment- Scientific Research

Gardening improves your health too! Yes it does, says the Dailymail. Researchers have found that smelling roses and pulling up weeds can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity and produce a general upbeat feeling.

Even just looking at a garden can give you a positive boost. The evidence is so compelling that the health factor has been given its own name – horticultural therapy – and is being used to treat hospital patients, plan cities and even to calm prisoners in jails.

Horticultural therapists say gardens produce the most positive effects on mental health.