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Sagar Vani system to alert coastal community launched



New Delhi, July 27 : Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched ‘Sagar Vani’ system to communicate and help the coastal community, especially fishermen, with advisories and warnings related to the safety at sea.

The Integrated Information Dissemination System (IDS) ‘Sagar Vani’, a first in India, was launched as the Minister inaugurated the 11th Foundation Day of Earth Sciences Ministry here.

‘Sagar Vani’ seeks to target the reach of information to the 9.27 lakh people involved in actual fishing either full or part time.

The system that can send information in regional languages through various platforms including radio, television, voice calling, text service, social media, mobile apps and e-mail aims at timely dissemination of ocean information and advisory services that includes Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, Ocean State Forecast (OSF), High Wave Alerts and Tsunami early warnings.

The advanced system has been developed by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), under the Ministry, through its industry partner, Gaian Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

India has 3,288 marine fishing villages and 1,511 marine fish landing centres with marine fisherfolk population of 3,999,214. About 15,11,703 marine fisherfolk are engaged in active fishing while about 9,27,120 fishermen were involved in actual fishing either full or part time.

Presently, advisories are being disseminated from different service sections and through various stakeholders and partners, which might cause delay in dissemination of the services.

“The ‘Sagar Vani’ is a software platform where various dissemination modes will be integrated on a single central server,” a government statement said.

The system also has facility to provide access to various stakeholders (NGOs, State Fishery Departments, Disaster Management Authorities, etc.) so that they too will be able to further disseminate these ocean information and alerts to the user community.

The minister also launched another application, ‘India Quake’ for dissemination of earthquake parameters.

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Flamingos migrated from Gujarat’s Kutch seen at Mumbai’s Airoli, Watch video



Flamingos migrating from Kutch

Flock of flamingos which migrated from Gujarat’s Kutch seen at Mumbai’s Airoli on Saturday. Every year Mumbaikers witnesses an estimated 20,000-25,000 flamingoes.


The places where the birds can be seen in abundance are Thane creek, Airoli, Mahul and Sewri. Most of the flamingo population that comes to the city consists of Lesser Flamingoes; the rest are Greater Flamingoes.



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The strange trio of Sex, Science and the State — and its consequences

Though her thesis is not brought out very exhaustively, she makes a fair enough case and that is enough to make this a must read — especially for ministers.



Sex and Gender

An Indian minister has made himself notorious all over social media for his comments questioning Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, but can we take this to show that the two worlds — of politics and science — are exclusive or even antagonistic? Not at all, and scientific disciplines that apparently seem farthest placed from human affairs may be the most influential.

For science has done more for setting the course of nations and their governance and economy than we can suspect — beyond its part in helping develop powerful weapons or technologies.

While this alliance of politics and science is a far more recent development than we think, it owes its genesis to botany, and two 18th century natural scientists who furthered this combination, as Patricia Fara shows in this book, part of a special set chronicling key turning points in science.

And this — in the last three decades or so of the 18th century — qualifies well enough for it shows how science progressed beyond the pastime or patronage of rich, idle noblemen to become institutionalised with government support.

And as Fara, from the History and Philosophy of Science department at Cambridge University, shows it not only saw the rather incongruous trio of the “Three Ss” — sex, science and the state — coming together with so many consequences, but also brought the subject of sex out into the public discourse, though against much opposition.

It also set in train a process — in Britain initially — that would lead a few decades later to Darwin boarding HMS Beagle to make the observations that enabled him to formulate his theory of man’s origin and development — a theory which has stood the test of time despite what some misguided or willfully ignorant politicians may think.

At the heart of this development, shows Fara’s account, were two naturalists, not as famous as Issac Newton or Darwin but contributing to science’s progress at a time “science started to become established and gain prestige”.

And both of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks, along with the other Enlightenment contemporaries, “fought hard to establish that scientific knowledge was valid and valuable”.

Linnaeus was a gifted but eccentric and self-propagandising Swede whose classification system for all living organism still rules today, but raised hackles of his conservative society by using sexual parts to order flowers and using human terminology for the purpose.

Banks was his British “disciple” -turned-science administrator — and no less self-propagandising — but also managed to make “science work for the state — and the state to pay for science”. A key cameo is played by that intrepid explorer, Captain James Cook.

And in telling their story, Fara ranges over small Swedish towns and the country’s unforgiving terrain, the mansions and the seats of power of Georgian England as well as its lush countryside, hazardous voyages over uncharted oceans, encounters with uninhibited, pre-industrial societies in South Pacific islands, ambition and professional jealousy, to show how the underlying root was something more heartlessly mercenary.

For, as she contends, “scientific exploration in the Age of Reason was driven by an imperialist agenda to own, to conquer and to exploit”. But apart from the above spin-offs, there were some other positive benefits too, as she brings out. Say the way, men, especially white Europeans, began to see rest of humanity and themselves in the world, or what women could be allowed to study or not — though it would still take time before all these would be tangibly realised for all.

Along with her lucid and telling discourse on the birth of modern botany with Linnaeus and Banks — almost concurrently with its economic uses, Fara also enlivens it with a colourful account of their explorations in various climes and encounters with exotic races and, above all, the contemporary public reactions to their discoveries and doings. And this could have a thing or two to teach protesters today.

Though her thesis is not brought out very exhaustively, she makes a fair enough case and that is enough to make this a must read — especially for ministers.

By : Vikas Datta

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at [email protected]

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France ditches plans for controversial west coast airport

Activists on the 1,600-hectare rural site say they have developed it into a utopia of organic farming and political debate.



Edouard Philippe

The French government on Wednesday formally abandoned decades-old plans for a controversial new airport on the west coast that became a site of resistance for environmental activists.

In a keenly awaited announcement, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the divisions unleashed by the proposed new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes near the city of Nantes made it impossible to proceed.

“The project cannot go ahead in a climate of bitter opposition between two sides of the population that are nearly equal in size,” he said, adding: “The project is therefore abandoned.

The decision ends years of debate over a project first mooted in the 1960s — but sets the stage for a possible standoff with environmental activists who have been occupying the airport site for the past decade.

Activists on the 1,600-hectare rural site say they have developed it into a utopia of organic farming and political debate.

Philippe gave them until the spring to leave voluntarily, after which they would be evicted.

“We will put a stop to the no-go zone which has flourished in this area for nearly 10 years,” he said.

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