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Scientists design ‘camouflaging skin’ inspired by octopus

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New York, Oct 15, 2017: Scientists have found a way to develop a synthetic “camouflaging skin” inspired by studying and modelling the real thing in octopus and cuttlefish.

For the octopus and cuttlefish, instantaneously changing their skin colour and pattern to disappear into the environment is just part of their camouflage prowess.

These animals can also swiftly and reversibly morph their skin into a textured, 3D surface, giving the animal a ragged outline that mimics seaweed, coral, or other objects it detects and uses for camouflage.

In a study published in the journal Science, the researchers reported development of synthetic tissue groupings that allow programmable, 2D stretchable materials to both extend and retract a range of target 3D shapes.

The team’s pneumatically-activated material takes a cue from the 3D bumps, or papillae, that cephalopods such as such as octopus and cuttlefish can express in one-fifth of a second for dynamic camouflage, and then retract to swim away.

Papillae are examples of a muscular hydrostat, biological structures that consist of muscle with no skeletal support (such as the human tongue).

“Engineers have developed a lot of sophisticated ways to control the shape of soft, stretchable materials, but we wanted to do it in a simple way that was fast, strong, and easy to control,” said lead study author James Pikul, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We were drawn by how successful cephalopods are at changing their skin texture, so we studied and drew inspiration from the muscles that allow cephalopods to control their texture, and implemented these ideas into a method for controlling the shape of soft, stretchable materials.”

“This is a classic example of bio-inspired engineering” with a range of potential applications,” said Roger Hanlon of Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, US.

For example, the material could be controllably morphed to reflect light in its 2D spaces and absorb light in its 3D shapes.

“That would have applications in any situation where you want to manipulate the temperature of a material,” Hanlon added.

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India

World Environment Day: India calls to ban plastic pollution

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This year's host is India and the official theme is ‘Beating plastic pollution.’

New Delhi, June 5: Celebrated on June 5 every year, World Environment Day is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the flaura and fauna.

Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. The focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces, and supports the effort to address them. This year’s host is India. The official theme is ‘Beating plastic pollution.’

Here’s how Indians have taken to Twitter to spread the message:

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to reaffirm the commitment to a cleaner and sustainable planet and pledge to beat the plastic pollution.

“On the World Environment Day, we reaffirm our commitment to a cleaner and sustainable planet. India is hosting the global celebrations this year. And we are obligated to bequeathing a greener and eco-friendly legacy to our children,” Kovind said in a tweet.

The Vice President pushed for the plastic ban, saying: “Let us take a pledge to ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, the theme of the World Environment Day today. Time has come for every individual to join the campaign to end single-use plastic and protect the environment.”

PM Modi also took to Twitter to greet the people. “Together, let us ensure that our future generations live in a clean and green planet, in harmony with nature,” he said in a tweet.

Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar urged people to vow not to use low-grade plastic.

“Fifteen thousand tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day, 9,000 tonnes is collected and recycled, but 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste is not collected and remain littered,” Javadekar said.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad emphasised on raising awareness for “a cleaner and greener environment that can lead us to sustainable development”.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also urged people to pledge to “beat plastic pollution”.

The Congress also took to Twitter, pledging to protect and preserve the Environment, saying, “the Earth doesn’t belong to us but, we belong to the Earth”.

Popular actor and UN representative Dia Mirza took to Twitter as well, wishing everyone on World Environment Day.

Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir too put forward some thought-provoking remarks.

Artist Sudarshan Pattnaik created the biggest sand turtle to spread the message of #beatplasticpollution.

Cricketer Rohit Sharma stressed on the fact that environment protection should not remain a one-day affair, but something that people look into everyday.

WeForNews

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Lifestyle

World Environment Day: Use biodegradable pads, wear organic jeans to save environment

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WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

New Delhi, June 5: Make your contribution in saving the Earth by using biodegradable sanitary pads, organic jeans and 100 per cent vegan skincare products.

With Tuesday being the World Environment Day, make a conscious effort and change the dynamics of the depleting environment.

Manohar Kamath, Head at Myntra Fashion Brands, who has introduced organic jeans to the brand’s collection, has given few inputs:

* Use 100 per cent organic cotton jeans, recycled poly jeans where each pair uses between 9-21 bottles worth of plastic for production, and reduced water jeans where each pair saves on 36 litres of water.

Shankar Prasad, Founder at Plum, and Cyril Feuillebois, Founder at Kronokare, have given inputs on why it will be good to switch to organic and vegan skincare products:

* The products we are choosing for self care and better health are exposing us to even more chemicals and toxins causing more harm than good to our quality of living, health and wellness. However, a subtle shift in the consumer mindset is discernible, with more and more people are opting for chemical free, organic, natural or vegan products.

* From the product to the packaging, the products should be animal cruelty-free and vegetarian.

* Remember to carry a cloth bag to bring home the groceries in and re-use the aluminium foil leftover from lunch.

Tanvi Johri, Founder at Carmesi, an all-natural sanitary pads brand, says biodegradable sanitary napkins, which are made of sustainable materials like bamboo fiber and corn starch, decompose within 6-12 months of being disposed off.

“Hence, it’s high time that we wake up to the idea of using completely biodegradable sanitary napkins that offer a sustainable solution to the tons of non-biodegradable waste generated every year due to improper disposal of sanitary waste,” Johri said.

Tanya Eldred-Bhat, Fashion Consultant, The Open Trunk, says adopting eco-friendly methods have become the “need of the hour for this glamourous world to sustain”.

“Using natural materials such as the eucalyptus fibre not only minimises the use of toxic chemicals, but also is a great example of how one can make the optimum use of natural resources, without causing any destruction,” said Eldred-Bhat.

IANS

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India

BRICS seeks action against states financing terrorism

The ministers also called for an expedited adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly.

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Pretoria, June 4 (IANS) With India seeking joint action by the BRICS member states against terrorist financing and money laundering, the grouping on Monday called upon all countries to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.

“The ministers deplored the continued terrorist attacks, including in some BRICS countries,” said a joint statement issued following a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Foreign Ministers meeting here which was also attended by Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

“They condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever,” it stated.

The BRICS Foreign Ministers also called for concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices “on a firm international legal basis, and expressed their conviction that a comprehensive approach was necessary to ensure effective fight against terrorism”.

“They recalled the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories,” the statement said in what can be seen as a veiled reference to Pakistan.

The ministers also called for an expedited adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly.

Earlier on Monday, in her address at the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting, Sushma Swaraj called for joint action by the grouping against money laundering and financing of terrorists.

She said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a call for a BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy with joint action against money-laundering, terrorist financing, cyber-space security and de-radicalization being priorities.

“Our leaders have also called for making UN Counter Terrorism framework efficient and effective,” she said.

“We reiterate our commitment to implement our Leaders’ mandate on counter terrorism under South Africa’s BRICS Chairship.”

According to the joint statement, the ministers expressed their concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, particularly the increase in the number and intensity of terrorist-related attacks on the Afghan National Security Forces, the government and civilians.

“The ministers called on the international community to assist the government and the people of Afghanistan with stabilising the security situation in the country as well as for the return of dialogue with the objective of working towards the realisation of peace in the country and an inclusive political process,” the statement said.

The ministers also expressed their concern over the ongoing conflict and heightened tensions in the Middle East region, especially with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

“The ministers reiterate the need for renewed diplomatic efforts to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and previous agreements between the parties through negotiations with a view to create an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel,” the statement said.

“The ministers reiterated that the status of Jerusalem is one of the final status issues to be defined in the context of negotiations between Israel and Palestine.”

They also reaffirmed their commitment for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, “through an inclusive ‘Syrian-led, Syrian-owned’ political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, in pursuance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and taking into account the result of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi”.

On UN Security Council reforms, the ministers underscored the importance of sustained efforts aimed at making the UN more effective and efficient in implementing the mandates conferred upon it.

“In this regard, they committed to intensifying dialogue amongst the BRICS countries on the administration and budget of the United Nations, with a view to strengthening the organisation and preserving its member state-driven character,” the statement said.

Brazil and India, apart from Germany and Japan, are part of the G4 that is seeking permanent membership in the UNSC.

“The ministers expressed their support for continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest including through regular exchanges amongst their multilateral missions,” the statement said.

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