Today I have two stories to share with you. One is from USA; a huge country with lot many resources and the other one is from Switzerland; a tiny country with emphasis on technology.
First the news from USA: Officials at Nasa have been given an unexpected gift by American spy chiefs: a pair of space telescopes, each as large as the Hubble observatory. The Carina nebula; the new telescopes given to Nasa by spy chiefs could help scientists in the search for extraterrestrial life.
The huge instruments were designed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) [mind it that it is not notorious Pakistani NRO], a secretive intelligence agency, to peer down on sites in the Middle East and former Soviet Union. However, the project was cancelled and now Nasa has been presented with the leftover instruments. One group of astronomers has already begun work on plans to use a telescope to help in the hunt for life on other worlds.
The fact that Nasa had to struggle for years to raise funds for a single space telescope, the Hubble, while the defence establishment was building a plant in which these instruments could be mass manufactured may seem startling. Dressler, who works at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, sounded a note of caution. “The link between space telescopes and spy satellites is a close one and an intriguing one,” he said.
“With the money saved thanks to this gift from the NRO, we can add new instruments to W-First, including one called a coronagraph, which should help us pinpoint planets in orbit round other stars,” added Mountain.”We have never put a coronagraph in space before and it is vital we perfect instruments like these if we are to use space observatories to look for life on other worlds in future. This is a wonderful chance to use military money for peaceful purposes.”
The second news is from Switzerland. The caption is, “Swiss Cows Send Texts to Announce They’re in Heat.” The village Zollikofen is just 5 minutes drive from my place in a country that I opted to live.
ZOLLIKOFEN, Switzerland — When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the future. Now, Mr. Oesch tends a herd of dairy cattle and carries a smartphone wh erever he goes. Occasionally he gets an SMS from one of his cows.
That is because Mr. Oesch, 60, who cares for a herd of 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, is helping to test a device that implants sensors in cows to let farmers know when they are in heat. When that is the case, the device sends an SMS to the farmer’s phone. The Swiss do not settle for half measures: the SMS can be in any one of Switzerland’s three main languages — German, French and Italian — plus English or Spanish.
The electronic heat detector is the brainchild of several professors at a technical college in the nearby Swiss capital of Bern. It fills a market gap, they say, because dairy cows, under growing stress to produce larger quantities of milk, are showing fewer and fewer signs of heat. That makes it harder for Swiss farmers to use traditional visual inspections to know when to bring on the bull or, in about 80 percent of the cases these days, the artificial inseminator.
The device, known as a heat detector, raises concerns among animal rights advocates, not so much because of its intrusiveness in the private parts of the cow — its use involves inserting a thermometer with a tiny transmitter and antenna in the cow’s genitals — but because of what it says about the stressful lives of Swiss cows. It also prompts skepticism among dairy farmers, who are startled by its cost, which is expected to be at least $1,400 per unit.
With global milk prices slumping, productivity is crucial for Swiss cows, whose owners are feeling the financial pinch. According to the government’s Office for Agriculture in Bern, every year some 2 percent of farms like those around Zollikofen shut down, unable to compete with bigger, more efficient producers abroad.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
First Published October 2, 2012 1:01 pm
We can ask from ourselves that can Pakistan Armed Forces afford to save little money on some of its preventable or redundant projects and use it in Civil Projects provided the political government enjoys full confidence of its voters that there will be no corruption in its spending, whatsoever. Needless is to say that put more money in R&D. As for as the other technology is concearned, I am a firm believer that it is time to go for precision technology instead of old days Mechanical Technology depending upon huge parts etc. This is the way to make money by exporting instruments based on the precision technology. We as developing country can learn a lot from USA and Switzerland alike. We need to have honest and hardworking leaders in all fields.