Month: August 2019

Atomic Coilgun Halts Supersonic Beams

first_img First ever demonstration of quantum chaos during atom ionisation By magnetically pulsing a sequence of 64 copper coils in an “atomic coilgun,” scientists have succeeded in stopping a supersonic neon beam in its tracks in just microseconds. The researchers, from the University of Texas at Austin and Tel-Aviv University, have published the results of their experiment in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. In their study, the scientists show how switching high magnetic fields on and off as an atomic beam passes through the coils can remove more than 98% of the beam’s kinetic energy. With their method, they decrease the velocity of an atomic neon beam from 447 m/s to 56 m/s. “We have stopped the beam completely, but in order to extract the atoms to the detector we leave a small residual velocity of 56 m/s,” Mark Raizen, physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told PhysOrg.com. “In the future, we do intend to stop and trap the atoms. We will be able to hold them in a stationary trap and then, to detect them, we will have to re-launch them with several additional stages of the coilgun.”The atomic coilgun – with its electromagnetic copper coils – acts upon the magnetic moments of the neon atoms in the beam. (Basically, a magnetic moment is the atom’s internal magnetism, which is caused by the movements of its electrons.) Any atom or molecule that has an unpaired electron can be slowed by the atomic coilgun.“The atomic coilgun is very appealing because of its universal nature, working on about 90% of the periodic table and some molecules – radicals and oxygen,” Raizen said. “There really are no other good methods for slowing beams of atoms, aside from laser cooling, which only works for about 10% of the periodic table.”In their set-up, the scientists generated a cold, fast neon beam, which travels through a funnel-shaped “skimmer.” The skimmer directs the atomic beam into the coilgun, which consists of 64 copper coil solenoids spaced 14 mm apart. After traveling through the magnetically pulsed coils, the beam propagates to a microchannel plate, where the scientists can measure the speed of the atoms in the beam. The key to the coilgun is the ability to control the electromagnetism of each of the copper coils individually. Using data from simulations, the researchers created a timing sequence for turning each coil’s electromagnetic field on and off. Citation: Atomic Coilgun Halts Supersonic Beams (2008, March 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-03-atomic-coilgun-halts-supersonic.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img The experimental set-up. Image credit: Narevicius, et al. ©2008 APS. “An important feature [of the atomic coilgun] is its simplicity, with copper wire coils driven by discharging capacitors,” Raizen said.As an atom moves into the center of a coil rather than in between coils, it experiences a stronger magnetic field and gains potential energy. But when the coil’s field is turned off with the atom in the center, the atom loses much of its kinetic energy. The loss happens quickly: when the current is switched off, a coil’s 5-tesla magnetic field decreases by about 80% in 6 microseconds.“The amount of energy that is removed per stage is equal to the height of the magnetic hill,” Raizen said, explaining that the exact amount of energy depends on the type of atom. “We remove 1/64 of the atom’s kinetic energy per stage.”As the researchers explain, the timing sequence of the coils is important. If a coil’s field is switched off when an atom is positioned in the center of the coil rather than in between coils, the atom experiences a stronger magnetic field and is slowed more. However, switching the magnetism off when atoms are in between coils allows more atoms to be slowed. The ability to dramatically slow and stop a supersonic atomic beam could enable researchers to study atomic and molecular properties in great detail. The group is currently working on trapping and cooling atomic hydrogen isotopes, such as tritium. Analyzing tritium could enable researchers to make precise measurements of beta decay, which in turn could provide a way to determine neutrino rest mass – one of the greatest unanswered questions in physics.Other possible applications include using the atomic coilgun to trap several types of cold atoms, opening up new directions in cold chemistry. Stopping atoms such as iron and nickel could enable controlled deposition of magnetic quantum dots, and might also serve as a method for magnetic storage. More information: Narevicius, Edvardas; Libson, Adam; Parthey, Christian G.; Chavez, Isaac; Narevicius, Julia; Even, Uzi; and Raizen, Mark G. “Stopping Supersonic Beams with a Series of Pulsed Electromagnetic Coils: An Atomic Coilgun.” Physical Review Letters 100, 093003 (2008). Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Six net neutrality principles proposed

first_img FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, said rules on net neutrality are necessary to protect innovations on the Internet and to preserve the kind of openness that has allowed the Internet to flourish. He said there have been situations in which ISPs have degraded data streams or even blocked access to lawful applications, and fair rules are necessary to avoid the potentially damaging consequences of having the openness of the Internet diminished. Opponents, on the other hand, say the Internet has grown so rapidly because of the lack of rules and regulations, and that rules are not needed. Some opponents have also suggested that introducing rules could set a precedent for other countries to introduce regulations covering Internet use.The principles suggested are that ISPs should allow users to:1. send and receive all lawful content2. use all lawful services and applications3. use all lawful devices that do not damage the network4. access all network, service, content and application providersThe principles will also ensure ISPs:5. do not discriminate against lawful content, services, applications, or devices6. reveal any practices that could limit the previous five principlesThe rules have been sought by many large Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.com, many consumer advocacy groups such as Free Press and Public Knowledge, many members of the FCC, and Internet pioneers like David Reed and Vint Cerf. Supporters say that without rules ISPs will change their price structures to tiered systems with the highest level services out of the financial reach of many entrepreneurs wishing to start their own Internet businesses. Those in favor of rules are also worried that without them some applications, such as VoIP, could become unaffordable or could even be banned for many people, thus reducing their voice call options.Opponents to proposed net neutrality rules include Internet providers such as Verizon and AT & T, who say the rules would prevent them charging more for premium services, and the higher charges provide the incentive for the investment in network upgrades to boost performance. The result could be either more expensive rates across the board, or paying for Internet traffic by the byte. The proposed FCC rules would also have effects on businesses, especially those with a well-developed Internet presence. Higher flat rates would push up Internet access costs for business and customers alike, and could result in a decrease in demand for online services because of their increased expense. This could have especially serious effects on businesses such as websites selling high definition video downloads.If the FCC’s six principles are adopted the effects on home users could be higher monthly charges or higher costs for downloads, but they would still be able to make phone calls using Internet services such as Skype, which would not be blocked. If the rules are not adopted, ISPs are likely to limit bandwidth and VoIP (especially as some large ISPs are also voice carriers, which are threatened by online phone services).Republican Senator John McCain (Ariz), is opposed to the rules, and has introduced a bill to block them, while President Barack Obama has placed net neutrality rules as among his top priorities. A vote on the proposed rules will take place in 2010.© 2009 PhysOrg.com Citation: Six net neutrality principles proposed (2009, October 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-10-net-neutrality-principles.html The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. voted last week to start a process to formulate rules that could force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to uphold six principles that would preserve net neutrality, or what the FCC terms “open Internet”. Explore further Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Each line is drawn between two nodes, representing two IP addresses. Image: Wikimedia Commons. Net neutrality rules face mounting GOP opposition This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Pair claim they have turned hydrogen to metal

first_img Explore further Citation: Pair claim they have turned hydrogen to metal (2011, November 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-pair-hydrogen-metal.html More information: Conductive dense hydrogen, Nature Materials (2011) doi:10.1038/nmat3175AbstractMolecular hydrogen is expected to exhibit metallic properties under megabar pressures. This metal is predicted to be superconducting with a very high critical temperature, Tc, of 200–400 K, and it may acquire a new quantum state as a metallic superfluid and a superconducting superfluid2. It may potentially be recovered metastably at ambient pressures. However, experiments carried out at low temperatures, T<100 K, showed that at record pressures of 300 GPa, hydrogen remains in the molecular insulating state. Here we report on the transformation of normal molecular hydrogen at room temperature (295 K) to a conductive and metallic state. At 200 GPa the Raman frequency of the molecular vibron strongly decreased and the spectral width increased, evidencing a strong interaction between molecules. Deuterium behaved similarly. Above 220 GPa, hydrogen became opaque and electrically conductive. At 260–270 GPa, hydrogen transformed into a metal as the conductance of hydrogen sharply increased and changed little on further pressurizing up to 300 GPa or cooling to at least 30 K; and the sample reflected light well. The metallic phase transformed back at 295 K into molecular hydrogen at 200 GPa. This significant hysteresis indicates that the transformation of molecular hydrogen into a metal is accompanied by a first-order structural transition presumably into a monatomic liquid state. Our findings open an avenue for detailed and comprehensive studies of metallic hydrogen.via RCS © 2011 PhysOrg.com On the path to metallic hydrogen Journal information: Nature Materialscenter_img Protium, the most common isotope of hydrogen. Image: Wikipedia. One of the problems in attempting to say whether something is a metal or not, is the somewhat flimsy criteria used to describe just what exactly a metal is. Most dictionaries describe it loosely as an electropositive element that probably should be shiny, a good conductor of both heat and electricity and should be malleable to some degree. And of course, common sense says that it probably ought to be solid at some temperature or pressure. And that’s the crux of the matter in trying to get hydrogen to look and act like a solid. All manner of people have subjected it to either or both and have failed to produce anything that most would say is a metal and that’s why this latest attempt by Eremets and Troyan has met with less than wild enthusiasm in the science world.Regardless, they say that when they put a sample of hydrogen in a alumina-epoxy gasket that they put inside of a diamond anvil cell, an arrangement that allowed them to test the opacity via laser and the electrical resistance using electrodes, they found that without heating or cooling and at a pressure of 220GPa, the sample clouded to the point of becoming opaque and began to demonstrate an ability to conduct electricity. Next, the temperature was lowered to 30K and the pressure increased to 260GPa where they found an electrical resistance increase of 20 percent, before it leveled off. This the team says, shows the sample displaying metallic attributes.Others will of course have to duplicate the process and find the same results, and if they do, then discussions will likely ensue among the scientific community to determine if what was observed can truly be used to claim that the process does indeed turn hydrogen into a metal.On the other hand the whole point might be made moot by the simple fact that the procedure clearly can make hydrogen conductive at room temperature, which means it could conceivably turn out to be that elusive superconductor that scientists the world over have been searching for. (PhysOrg.com) — Many have tried, but none have succeeded. For at least a hundred years, scientists looking at hydrogen have scratched their chins when musing over the fact that it, as an alkali metal, by all rights should exist as a metal under the right circumstances. But thus far, no one has been able to figure out what the right circumstances might be. Until now. Maybe. Mikhail Eremets and Ivan Troyan of the Max-Planck Institute describe in their paper published in Nature Materials, how they subjected a sample of hydrogen to high pressure and low temperature and found it then demonstrated properties generally ascribed to a metal. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Researchers suggest office thermostat settings biased against women

first_img Journal information: Nature Climate Change (Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with the Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands has conducted a study into the comfort level of office buildings for women. In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Boris Kingma and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, report that they have found that many office thermostat settings are based on an outdated formula that leaves women feeling cold in their work environment. Joost van Hoof with Fontys University discusses the study by the two in a News & Views piece in the same journal issue and concludes that formulas used to set office workspace temperatures need to be updated to include the needs of not just women, but people of different weights and ages. Anybody who has worked in an office environment in the summer, in a large building knows that many of the women that work in such places find it too cold for comfort. Sweaters are not uncommon, despite high temperatures outside. The reason for this, Kingma and Lichtenbelt assert, is because the formula used to calculate HVAC settings (predicted mean vote or PMV) is based on a study conducted in the mid-sixties that used mostly middle age men as test subjects. To prove their point, they enlisted the assistance of 16 young women to volunteer to be tested for air comfort levels in a special chamber that allowed for monitoring respiration—oxygen taken in and carbon dioxide emitted—along with measuring skin and internal core temperatures. The women wore t-shirts and sweat pants and were asked to engage in common office activities such as typing emails or talking. In analyzing their results, they found that the average metabolic rate for the women was approximately 20 to 32 percent lower than the rates that are typically used when cooling office buildings in the summer. Turning up the temperature would not only make things more comfortable for women, they note, but would also reduce cooling bills and greenhouse gas emissions.The sample size is of course too small, as van Hoof points out, to draw any real conclusions, but it does offer some credence to back up anecdotal evidence of too cold workplaces for many women and suggests a revision of the standards using in calculating office environments is in order. In practice, the margin of change might be small—the research duo suggest women may prefer temperatures close to 75F°, while men prefer it to be closer to 70. Perhaps building supervisors could split the difference and set it at 72.5. Explore further Citation: Researchers suggest office thermostat settings biased against women (2015, August 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-office-thermostat-biased-women.html Young women do not want to run for office More information: Energy consumption in buildings and female thermal demand, Nature Climate Change (2015) DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2741AbstractEnergy consumption of residential buildings and offices adds up to about 30% of total carbon dioxide emissions; and occupant behaviour contributes to 80% of the variation in energy consumption1. Indoor climate regulations are based on an empirical thermal comfort model that was developed in the 1960s (ref. 2). Standard values for one of its primary variables—metabolic rate—are based on an average male, and may overestimate female metabolic rate by up to 35% (ref. 3). This may cause buildings to be intrinsically non-energy-efficient in providing comfort to females. Therefore, we make a case to use actual metabolic rates. Moreover, with a biophysical analysis we illustrate the effect of miscalculating metabolic rate on female thermal demand. The approach is fundamentally different from current empirical thermal comfort models and builds up predictions from the physical and physiological constraints, rather than statistical association to thermal comfort. It provides a substantiation of the thermal comfort standard on the population level and adds flexibility to predict thermal demand of subpopulations and individuals. Ultimately, an accurate representation of thermal demand of all occupants leads to actual energy consumption predictions and real energy savings of buildings that are designed and operated by the buildings services community. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Researchers achieve nearperfect absorption of sounds waves

first_img(a) Schematic cutoff view of the flat panel composite absorber. Based on the parameters in Table I , the associated responses are given by Eqs. (2) and (4) as shown in (b) for the dipolar response and (c) for the monopole response. Solid curves stand for theory, and open circles are predictions based on parameters retrieved from experiments. Credit: Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 104104 (2015); DOI: 10.1063/1.4930944 Journal information: Applied Physics Letters Explore further Materials scientists devise window that mutes sound but allows air to pass through Citation: Researchers achieve near-perfect absorption of sounds waves (2015, September 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-near-perfect-absorption.html (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has found a way to create a material that is near perfect at preventing sound waves from passing through it. In their paper published in Applied Physics Letters, the team describes the theory behind their idea, the technique they used, two products they produced and how close to near perfection they came.center_img Technically, the material created by the team does not absorb sound, instead it scatters sound waves and then dissipates them, resulting in sound wave reduction of 99.7 percent. To achieve this feat, the team used two decorated membrane resonators (DMRs) built together, both of which were tuned to the same frequency. The impedance of both was set to match the environment, which was normal air.Typically, materials used to prevent noise from passing from one environment to another combine several ingredients, each of which is designed to absorb a certain frequency—the problem with this approach is that it does not stop all frequencies, because that would require too many ingredients (causing the thickness of the finished product to grow beyond usefulness). Using resonators allowed the researchers to get around this limitation—those used were made to vibrate naturally based on the object to which they were affixed. The first resonator caused sound waves to be canceled out, but because it also scattered some of its own frequencies, a second resonator was added to scatter those from the first. The result was a single layer material that offers near perfect absorption of sound waves, notably, including those at very low frequencies.The team assembled two sound muting materials based on their concept, both of which used DMRs. The first consisted of a flat panel along with dual coupled DMRs—the second one was based on a ventilated short tube that contained a DMR and a DMR backed cavity sidewall. Both achieved near perfect absorption, proving their theory correct.Presumably, materials created using the new technique could be used in situations that require restriction of a wide range of frequencies, such as recording studios, audio laboratories or even perhaps in headphones, speakers or earbuds. More information: Subwavelength total acoustic absorption with degenerate resonators, Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 104104 (2015); dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4930944ABSTRACTWe report the experimental realization of perfect sound absorption by sub-wavelength monopole and dipole resonators that exhibit degenerate resonant frequencies. This is achieved through the destructive interference of two resonators’ transmission responses, while the matching of their averaged impedances to that of air implies no backscattering, thereby leading to total absorption. Two examples, both using decorated membrane resonators (DMRs) as the basic units, are presented. The first is a flat panel comprising a DMR and a pair of coupled DMRs, while the second one is a ventilated short tube containing a DMR in conjunction with a sidewall DMR backed by a cavity. In both examples, near perfect absorption, up to 99.7%, has been observed with the airborne wavelength up to 1.2 m, which is at least an order of magnitude larger than the composite absorber. Excellent agreement between theory and experiment is obtained. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

When emotions find words

first_imgDelhi Poetry Festival recently celebrated its second season in the Capital. The four-day event  kicked off with poetry-on-wheels,  with a bus carrying both Indian and foreign poets taken across various heritage sites to finally stop at Bara Lau ki Gumbad for open mic poetry.Day two saw various eminent poets and speakers participating in English poetry at JNU. Noted among them were Sukrita Kumar Paul Abha Iyenger and Lovita Morang and poets  from UK, Australia and Canada also  among them were Donall Dempsy, Lara Taylor,Etienne Lalonde and Janice Windle. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Children’s poetry by New Leaf Poets Club – The junior segment of Poets Corner, was organised at SACAC. Enthusiastic little wordsmiths from various Delhi schools  read poetry and attended various workshops,one by Mariam Ahlawat, in the presence of proud parents and teachers . This is the first time ever, the children were offered such a big platform to read and get published in their own anthology.The finale held in PHD Chambers was also very well attended by poets and poetry enthusiasts. Bollywood lyricists, Sandeep Nath, A M Turaz and Aseem Abbasee along with some eminent poets held the audience in a trance with their verses. Poets Corner’s anthology, Lamhey was launched. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix10 books were launched and 150 poets got published during this poetry festival season. More than 80 poets and speakers took the mike during these four days.The founders and organisers, Dolly Singh and Yaseen Anwer along with their team aspire to make Delhi Poetry Festival the biggest  poetry event in India.The uniqueness of the stage lies in the fact that emerging poets get a chance to get published and heard alongwith established ones.Poets Corner comprises a group of creative and talented poets, all dedicated to revive the dying art of poetry.Their aim is to bring out vibrant verses from the ink of wonderful poets across the globe.last_img read more

Will support GST if states are fully compensated Mamata

first_imgSpeaking to the media persons in New Delhi, Trinamool Congress chief, said, “We don’t have any problem with GST. It is our manifesto commitment. We are all for it. But states have to be adequately compensated. We need to be compensated otherwise Bengal will lose Rs 8,200 crore after GST roll out.”Even, though Mamata called for a conditional support, State Finance Minister Amit Mitra claimed that states were not consulted over proposed amendments to GST Bill. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIThe government initiated legislation for the much awaited reform of the indirect tax system by tabling the GST Bill in the Lok Sabha Friday. Then an Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers of 29 States was formed for its implement. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the constitutional amendment bill for implementing GST contending that the object of the legislation is “the seamless transfer of goods and services across the country”.Banerjee, who is on a visit to the capital, said it was the central government which was wandering from its commitments it had given earlier on compensation. It was learnt that all the states including West Bengal will lose hefty amount of money (nearly Rs. 4,000 Crore) on account of Central Sales Tax (CST) only, if the draft Constitutional Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) is passed in Parliament in its present form. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: Kovind“We are carrying a huge debt which was left behind by the Left Front government and if Center refused to compensate us by ignoring the suggestions of Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers then it will have a severe impact on state economy,” She said. To elaborate more to the media persons, she called up Mitra and asked him to brief the nuances of GST by putting her Cell phone on a speaker mode. Mitra said, “We we will not get the compensation then the revenue loss would come around Rs 8,200 Crore (nearly 20 per cent of the state revenue) in the first year.” Recently, Mitra has written to the chairman of the empowered committee of finance ministers A.R. Rather demanding an urgent discussion on the Constitution Amendment Bill. In GST states that consume more will be getting more tax, while producing states that export goods to other states including Bengal will be apparently on the losing side. Now, with most of the goods and services coming under the GST, the Bill also proposes to do away with the state’s power to levy tax on select items ‘declared goods’ as provided under Article 286 of the Constitution. On August 23, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley met Mamata at Nabanna in West Bengal and praised the Bengal government’s ‘approach’ on GST.TN CM urges consensus on GST, asks PM Modi to allay fearsTamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday urged Prime Minister Modi to first allay the fears of the States’ on the Goods and Services Tax issue, go in for consensus and then consider the GST Bill’s adoption.“The Centre must ensure that the States’ fears are allayed and a true consensus is achieved before such a far reaching reform is attempted,” Panneerselvam said in a letter to Modi. “I strongly urge you against hustling through the Constitutional Amendment Bill hastily as such a move is bound to have serious long term implications for the fiscal autonomy and revenue position of the States,” he said. The Centre’s proposal to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST and then to evolve a consensus on its various aspects like tax rates and bands was not acceptable to Tamil Nadu, he said.last_img read more

Freedom echoes

first_imgUsing newspaper imprint on aluminum, the daily clamor of information in today’s day and age is reflected from which the stenciled words emerge in a golden luster. The auditory impulse of the work transforms the place into a meditative and introspective zone. The idea behind it is that the bludgeoning sound levels enveloping us in our daily urban charade is slowly silencing the peace and tranquility of our times. Today, it is the noise of urban, metropolis hurry and flurry that brings consolation to many, for it keeps them away from the demons of their actions, which they have to face when surrounded by silence. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The size of pipe of the outer frame is-10″diameter, the chimes-height is 8ft x 10″diameter, made out of aluminum, silkscreen print, airbrush on stencil and drawing using pen and ink. iron, metal,  wood and metal paints. Painted over the cylindrical metallic tubes, are words that people, things and objects that have made a difference in people’s lives have written either in Hindi or in English. A softheaded hammer is also kept at the audience’s disposal to strike the tubes with.Sounds of Freedom believes, “Gender is not just a woman’s problem, it is a man’s as well. Let’s stand together in the fight for gender equality and freedom of creative expression” This was the inspiration for most activities on the occasion.last_img read more

Yeddyurappas resignation victory of democracy Mamata

first_imgNew Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday congratulated former Prime Minister and JD-S Chief H.D. Deve Gowda, party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and the Congress after B.S. Yeddyurappa announced his resignation as the Karnataka Chief Minister before facing a crucial trust vote in the state Assembly, and called it a “victory of democracy”. “Democracy wins. Congratulations Karnataka. Congratulations Deve Gowdaji, Kumaraswamyji, Congress and others. Victory of the ‘regional’ front,” Mamata tweeted. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsMamata’s remarks came just after Yeddyurappa announced his resignation in the Karnataka Assembly in an emotional speech, saying “the BJP didn’t get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House”.The resignation comes two days after Yeddyurappa took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies of the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal-Secular, 37 and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an Independent. As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party’s effective strength in the House was 36.last_img read more

A festival of sweets and prayers

first_imgFestivals are delightful traditions in any faith as they remind us to take time out from our hectic lives and focus on issues beneficial to us and also the people around us. Eid is an Arabic word meaning ‘festivity’, while Fitr means ‘to break the fast’ and hence the celebration symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the two major festivals in the Islamic calendar. The celebration of Eid-ul-fitr starts with the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the lunar Islamic calendar and the end of the Islamic holy month, Ramadan. It is a time to bestow charity on those in need and celebrate with family and friends, the completion of a month filled with blessings and joy. It is not possible to predict the date of Eid-ul-Fitr, accurately.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The sight of the crescent moon marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid celebrations. The new moon may be sighted earlier or later in specific locations. Therefore, many Muslims residing in different countries, for example in USA and Canada, sometimes begin the celebrations on different dates.Charity is the core of Ramadan and Eid, when each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is in terms of food like, rice, barley, dates among others, to ensure that the needy can have a full meal and participate in the celebration.   Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“At the end of Ramadan we pay Zakat al-Fitr (special fast breaking alms) as a token of thankfulness to God for enabling him or her to observe the obligatory fast,” said Saba Siddiqui. Eid ul-Fitr is sometimes called the ‘Sweet Holiday,’ since desserts are usually taken, celebrating the end of the Ramadan fasting. People buy variety of items which includes gifts, sweets, food items and other things before Eid. Buying new clothes for Eid is a prevalent tradition, and those who can’t afford it, make an effort to look their best.  On the night before Eid, female members decorate their hands with henna and are encouraged to dress in their best clothes for the occasion. This festival has a feeling of brotherhood and everyone celebrates it by hugging each other on this day regardless of caste or creed. This festival is not only enjoyed by Muslims but also by the Non-Muslims. “We get dressed and go to our Muslim friend’s place. Over there, we get to eat mouth-watering Biryanis and Sewiahs,” says Siddhant Pal.Muslims are not allowed to fast on Eid ul-Fitr, since they are celebrating the end of fasting. Eating food before attending the prayer is encouraged. Special Eid prayers are held in the early morning of the holiday, usually at a large central mosque, an open field, or a stadium.  After the prayer is completed, worshippers embrace each other and say ‘Eid Mubarak,’ or ‘Blessed Eid,’ to wish each other goodwill. It is customary to give money to children, cousins, nieces, nephews (termed Eidi).After the Eid prayers, families often visit their neighbouring houses and extended relatives to wish them a happy holiday and exchange gifts.last_img read more

Fire breaks out at Sealdah Station

first_imgKolkata: A fire broke out at Sealdah Station early on Saturday morning. Three fire tenders were pressed into action and the flames were doused within a short period of time.Sources informed that on Saturday morning, people saw smoke coming from the direction of Sealdah South section. A few moments later, the blaze became visible from a room beside the staircase of the reservation counter. Sources informed that the room was used as a warehouse.The fire brigade was immediately informed. Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel cordoned off the area and stopped movement around it. Adjacent rooms were also made vacant. The firefighters completely extinguished the fire within a few hours. The train services were not disrupted due to the incident.last_img read more

6 persons arrested over possession of 350 kg banned firecrackers

first_imgKolkata: Bidhannagar Police has seized around 350 kg of banned firecrackers and arrested six persons on Saturday. Some unclaimed banned fire crackers were also seized from New Town area.According to police, several teams have been made especially to carry out drives against banned fire crackers. Several suspicious vehicles are being checked daily. Senior officials from the Bidhannagar Police informed that police personnel in plain clothes have been deployed throughout the Bidhannagar Police jurisdiction to monitor any suspicious movement during the festive season. They are also directed to find and seize any banned fire crackers. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSources informed that police are being deployed at market places where fireworks are being sold. In some of the places, police personnel raided posing as buyers of banned firecrackers. They also informed that around 350 kg of banned fire crackers were seized and six persons arrested during the Saturday raid. Among six, five are the sellers of those banned fire crackers. Police are also keeping strict vigil on Narayanpur, Airport, NSCBI Airport and Baguiati Police Station jurisdiction to identify if anyone is flying sky lanterns. Previously, Bidhannagar Police issued an order regarding the ban on sky lanterns in selected areas. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Strict vigil will be continued on the day of Kali Puja and Diwali. The designated time will also be strictly followed. If anyone found violating the order would be taken in to custody as per the provisions of the law,” said Amit Javalgi, Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) of Bidhannagar Police. While checking on banned firecrackers, sources informed that the traffic wing has been directed to do naka checking to prevent rash driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Police have also urged the residents to burst permissible firecrackers within the stipulated time granted by the Supreme Court in view of air pollution.last_img read more

Body of housewife found hanging at inlaws house

first_imgKolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a housewife whose body was found hanging from the ceiling at her in-laws’ house in North 24-Parganas’ Swarupnagar on Tuesday morning.The victim has been identified Parul Sarkar (26). The family members of the victim alleged that she had been murdered. On the basis of the specific complaint lodged by her family members, North 24-Parganas police have started a probe and detained the victim’s husband and mother-in-law. The incident occurred in the Nirman area under Swarupnagar police station in Basirhat. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeLocals found the victim hanging and reported the matter to the police. They rushed to the spot and recovered the body. Police later sent the body for an autopsy. On the basis of the complaint, police have detained the victim’s husband, Hemanta Sarkar and mother-in-law, Kanan Sarkar. They are being interrogated in this connection. The family members of the victim told police that the deceased was subjected to both mental and physical torture at her in-laws’ house. The victim’s parents alleged that they used to pressurise the woman Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedfor dowry. Her family members were informed about the incident by the locals on Tuesday morning. The family members said the victim had deep injury marks around her neck that suggest she might have been strangulated and later the body was kept hanging. The victim had been staying at her in-laws’ house for more than two years. She was declared brought dead after being taken to a nearby hospital on Saturday night. Police reached the spot and started a probe. The investigating officers are waiting for the post-mortem report that can throw some light on her death. Police are also interrogating the locals in this connection. Police are yet to confirm the exact reason behind her death.last_img read more

These dimsums are to die for

first_imgYou don’t need a silver fork to eat good food,’ said Chef Paul Prudhomme. All you need is a comfortable place to eat and a good companion to chatter with.Summers call for cool hangouts, light food and soothing drinks – Shang Palace, at Shangrila’s Eros Hotel is ready with all the three conditions to host foodies for a culinary trip to China. A new addition to the regular menu is overwhelming with innovative dimsums, mains and homemade ice-creams. The interiors of the restaurant have a welcoming aura traditional Chinese trinkets adorning the walls. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfWith a variety of 14 dimsums prepared using different methods (steamed, fried and pan fried, and baked), one might be too confused to choose. Some of the most outstanding dimsums would be the baked Chicken puff, Eggplant puff, Lamb guo tie, Savoury chicken dumpling and the Water chestnut and mushroom dumpling. The chicken puff’s puffiness is perfect and as you take a bite, the delicious stuffing throws a party to your taste buds.An absolute attention seeker is the ‘Prawn crackling ball’ – that looks like a firecracker in full bloom in the night sky, only that it’s crunchy and amazingly palatable served on your textured China cutlery! This crackling crispy ball steals the show with some hidden light flavoured prawn inside. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWith lesser variety on the mains they have made sure to lay focus on the dimsums, which one should have alongside jasmine tea to experience the ‘yum cha’ tradition from China. Dimsums were traditionally eaten as snacks with multiple cups of tea, which later developed into bite sized fully cooked buns with creative filling. Shang Palace’s homemade ice creams are a heavenly delight as you scan through the menu. What might you picture in the name of pop-corn ice cream? Or an ice cream made of dehydrated mangoes topped with crisp dried lavender? Well, in the former case, the pop-corn is well caramelised which protects it from getting soggy eventually adding an incredible crunch to the creamy cold dessert. The dehydrated mango cubes reminds one of traditional mango leather, only sweeter and purer in form. As a mouthful of the cream laden mango melts in your mouth, a spasm of satisfaction glides down your spine and cools the already full tummy. The varied authentic Chinese dishes are available throughout summer to enable one a soothing light brunch experience at a reasonable price. Finally, like Erma Bombeck once quoted, “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”last_img read more

Brigade Parade Ground gears up for Jan 19 mega rally

first_imgKolkata: Hectic work is on and the final stage has been reached regarding preparations at the Brigade Parade Ground for the historic rally on January 19 where about 50 lakh people are expected to take part.Twenty national leaders including former Prime Minister and Union ministers, sitting Chief Ministers and former Chief Ministers are expected to attend the meeting. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had held a high-level meeting at Nabanna with senior police officers and party leaders to prepare a foolproof blueprint. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalAccording to the Chief Minister, the January 19 rally in Kolkata will decide the fate of 2019 Parliamentary elections by forming the Grand Alliance of Opposition leaders to dethrone the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. With Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi deciding to skip the rally, the party would be represented by leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. There will be seven entry points to the rally ground. No cooking will be allowed at the venue. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThere will be 10 watch towers and 1,000 microphones and LED screens so that those who will be present at the rally can see and hear the speeches of the leaders more vividly. The vehicles carrying party workers and supporters will be coming from South Kolkata and will be parked at Kidderpore and Hazra and those coming from North Kolkata will be parked on Ganesh Chandra Avenue. The vehicles from Howrah will be parked at Kona Expressway. The party supporters will have to march towards the rally ground. No vehicles except those carrying VVIPs will be allowed near the rally ground. There will be five stages. The main stage which will come up in front of the fountain opposite the Victoria Memorial Hall that will accommodate Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and other national leaders. Trinamool heavyweights like Abhishek Banerjee, Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi will be on this stage. On the right of the main stage, there will be two stages, one for the MPs and state ministers and the other for the district presidents and functionaries. On the left of the main dais will be two stages — one for those from the cultural world and on the other cultural programmes will be held. The party workers who will start coming to the city from the districts Thursday onwards will be put up at Gitanjali Stadium, Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra, Sector V and in different dharamshalas in Central and North Kolkata. At Salt Lake’s Central Park, as many as 50 tents have been set up. The arrangements are being supervised by Sujit Bose who is doing regular rounds to keep a check over the same. Meanwhile, Abhishek Banerjee is scheduled to pay a visit to the Central Park venue to take stock of the situation and oversee the arrangements personally. The supporters who have come to the city from other districts will march towards the rally ground at around 6 am. One thousand strong folk artistes from Jhargram will take part in the rally. They have already left the district and will march to the rally ground. There will be around 100 camps in the city to assist the party supporters. More than 2,000 party supporters will be engaged as volunteers.last_img read more

EC looks to ensure peaceful 5th phase

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission is taking foolproof measures for fair and peaceful voting in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Bengal on Monday. Seven parliamentary constituencies will go to polls, with the total number of electors being 1,16,91,889. The Uluberia East Assembly constituency will also have by-elections, with a voter count of 2,20,397.Elections will be held in Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Sreerampore, Hooghly and Arambagh and the Commission will have 100 percent deployment of Central Forces in the booths, with a total deployment of 580 companies. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”The Central Forces will be in charge of security in all the booths and the state armed police will be responsible for maintaining law and order and management of queues of voters. There will be no state force inside the polling booths,” a Commission official said. Apart from the Central Forces, there will be 142 quick response teams (QRT), which will be on patrol in the seven constituencies and rush whenever there will be reports of any irregularities. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSources in the Commission said that the major challenge on their part is to ensure free and fair elections in Barrackpore, which has witnessed incidents of sporadic clashes in recent times, with Trinamool Congress and BJP blaming each other. There will be more than 70 companies of Central Forces for Barrackpore alone. Bhatpara is one of the Assembly constituencies in Barrackpore, which was won by Arjun Singh on a Trinamool Congress ticket in the 2016 Assembly polls. Singh has now joined BJP and has been fielded by the saffron party against TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi. Trivedi had won the Barrackpore seat in the last Lok Sabha polls. Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey visited Barrackpore and held a meeting with the district election officials as well as the political parties. “We are hopeful of peaceful elections. There will be Central Forces in all booths as well as adequate QRTs,” he said. For the Barrackpore constituency, there will be an additional 2 companies of Central Forces that will be part of the QRTs. There will be webcasting in 300 booths under the constituency as well. There will be half section (four personnel) Central Forces in all the one and two booth premises and one section (eight personnel) forces in premises that have more than two booths. Sources in the Commission indicated that out of the 578 companies requisitioned for the fifth phase, 50 companies have been sent to the constituencies that are going to polls in the sixth phase. The rest of the 528 companies will be deployed in 13,290 booths spread over 7,691 polling locations of the seven parliamentary constituencies. The total number of candidates in the fifth phase is 83, among whom 12 are female.last_img read more

Greenery may prevent mental disorders Study

first_imgChildren who grow up with greener surroundings have up to 55 per cent less risk of developing various mental disorders later in life, according to a study which emphasised the need for designing green and healthy cities for the future. An increasing share of the world’s population now lives in cities and World Health Organisation estimates that more than 450 millions of the global human population suffer from a mental disorder. Based on satellite data from 1985 to 2013, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have mapped the presence of green space around the childhood homes of almost one million Danes and compared this data with the risk of developing one of 16 different mental disorders later in life. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe study, published in the Journal PNAS, shows that children surrounded by the high amounts of green space in childhood have up to a 55 per cent lower risk of developing a mental disorder. “With our dataset, we show that the risk of developing a mental disorder decreases incrementally the longer you have been surrounded by green space from birth and up to the age of 10. Green space throughout childhood is therefore extremely important,” Kristine Engemann from Aarhus University. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAs the researchers adjusted for other known risk factors of developing a mental disorder, they see their findings as a robust indication of a close relationship between green space, urban life, and mental disorders. “There is increasing evidence that the natural environment plays a larger role for mental health than previously thought. Our study is important in giving us a better understanding of its importance across the broader population,” Engemann further added.last_img read more

CISF nabs two with fake Aadhaar cards over Rs 71 lakh in

first_imgKolkata: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel have nabbed two persons with fake Aadhaar cards and nearly Rs 72 lakh in US dollars, at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport on Friday afternoon.According to CISF, on Friday at around 12:50 pm during the pre-embarkation security check at the domestic security hold area number 2, a Sub-Inspector (SI) of CISF who was monitoring the display screen of the scanner, saw the suspicious image of an object inside a handbag. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHe immediately segregated the handbag and called the owner. Within a few minutes, a youth came to the SI and identified himself as Dilip Kumar Chawla. In his presence the bag was opened for a physical check. During the check, CISF personnel found 520 100 US dollar notes worth approximately Rs 35.77 lakh, wrapped in a cloth bundle. When Chawala was asked to provide valid documents to substantiate the money as his, he failed to do so. He was supposed to travel to Mumbai but was detained. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateWhile CISF personnel were searching Chawala’s handbag, another CISF officer deployed at the baggage scanner screening noticed another suspicious image in the display screen inside another handbag. The same actions were taken in this instance as well. The passenger in question identified himself as Nihal Vashumal Malhotra. He was also detained and taken to a CISF facility. There his bag was opened and CISF personnel found the same amount of money in US dollars. As he was also supposed to travel to Mumbai in the same flight with Chawala, CISF personnel suspected foulplay. When they were grilled and searched thoroughly, CISF found two fake Aadhaar cards. During interrogation, the duo admitted that the Aadhaar cards which they were carrying are fake. The duo has also admitted that they have impersonated themselves as Chawala and Malhotra while booking flight tickets as well. Later, the duo was identified as Rahul D Sukhwani and Vishal V Bhatija. Following their confession, the duo was handed over to the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of Customs department at the NSCBI Airport.last_img read more

The story behind Londons TimeTraveling Tomb

first_imgCemeteries make natural breeding grounds for ghost stories and other fantastic tales. Usually, these fictions swell around Halloween, when a few brave teenagers visit them and scare themselves witless, then the tales fade into the ether for the rest of the year. But Brompton Cemetery in London, England, has become the hub of a wild legend that isn’t a ghost story as much as it is science fiction. One mausoleum has become the focal point of a tale about time travel, Egyptian myths, and teleportation.The largest tomb in the cemetery is the resting place of Hannah Courtoy and two of her daughters. According to local musician Stephen Coates, who has made something of a hobby of studying the tomb, the mausoleum may just be a teleportation chamber. It’s impossible to understand how this story arose without first understanding something about Hannah herself.Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, LondonBorn around 1784 (it isn’t clear exactly when), as a young woman Hannah went to work for a wealthy man named John Courtoy, as an employee of the household.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsHe was 70, but when Hannah gave birth to three daughters, she insisted Courtoy was the father. Although many doubted her claim and believed her to be a gold digger, paternity wasn’t provable in the 1800s.Whatever the truth, Hannah took his name and, when he died, a huge battle began over his assets, which wasn’t settled until 1827. Hannah received the bulk of his estate.Hannah Courtoy mausoleum, Brompton Cemetery. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0That money enabled her to indulge her fascination with all things Egyptian. She began a “friendship” with Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi, who dazzled her with stories of Egyptian iconography and astrology.When she died in 1849, Hannah was placed within an elaborate mausoleum, one that was inscribed with hieroglyphics and other Egyptian symbols and had a pyramid shape to its top.It also had a lock and key. The story gets truly weird when Bonomi died; his simple tombstone had a drawing of an Egyptian god that seemed to point toward Hannah’s grave — at least in the minds of those who believe there’s more to her tomb than meets the eye. But for all the speculation, the matter rested there for the following century.Stories abound that this tomb could house a Victorian-era time machine – or, even stranger, an occult teleportation device. Photo by Scott Wylie – Flickr CC BY 2.0Cemeteries, however, are good places for creepy urban legends to evolve, and Brompton is no different. Almost 100 years later, one strange story is still swirling around Hannah’s tomb, thanks in great measure to its missing key.The tale came to light when a reporter with the Associated Press wrote about the tomb in 1998. An associate of Bonomi, one Samuel Alfred Warner, wrote AP, claimed to have built a time machine and wanted it hidden in a cemetery so it wouldn’t attract attention.Hannah Courtoy mausoleum – closeup. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0It is thought that the men were in cahoots to bilk Hannah of her money by telling her they needed funds to get the time machine built.Over the years, the story came into the headlines, then faded away, until 2003, when local musician Drew Mulholland, used the tomb as a backdrop for an album cover, and once more the cemetery made news. The urban legend has persisted so stubbornly that the mausoleum has come to be called, the “Courtoy Time Machine.”Brompton Cemetery. Photo by Scott Wylie – Flickr CC BY 2.0Coates, however, disagrees with this “fantastical idea.” Writing in his blog, The Clerkenwell Kid, he asserts that “In fact the tomb is one of five ‘teleportation’ chambers designed by Joseph Bonomi and built by his occult partner the Clerkenwell inventor Samuel Alfred Warner.”Cemeteries make natural breeding grounds for ghost stories and other fantastic tales. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0His 2011 blog article about Warner and Bonomi’s experiments with an ancient Egyptian “occult method of teleportation” reanimated public interest in the tomb and the stories around it.But when asked directly by Mental Floss if he truly believes the story, he became coy. “It’s an alternative theory based on historical fact,” he said. But, in 2015, Coates and a descendant of Hannah, Roy Godson, told the Independent that they hope to find a way to open the tomb’s door.Warner’s many “talents” included a gift for invention, and Coates told the Independent that, if he is somehow able to open the tomb, what he hopes to find is proof of a bomb that could be teleported a short distance, rather like “a psychic torpedo.”Courtoy Mausoleum. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0Warner claimed to have invented teleportation and managed to convince the Royal Navy that his invention had merit, at least enough to get it tested.Alas, none of the tests supported his assertion that his machine worked. Coates hopes that, if the tomb is opened one day, it will in fact offer up the secrets of Warner’s labors.Not everyone believes tales of time machines and teleporters, of course, but most think it’s all good fun – and good for business. Robert Stephenson, a Brompton Cemetery guide, told the Independent in 2015 that several of the mausoleums there are missing keys; there’s nothing odd about Hannah’s missing one.No one really knows the true story of Hannah, Bonomi, and Warner and how, or even if, their lives intersected. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0He also said that the story brings attention to the cemetery and he enjoys it. “But,” he added with classic British understatement, “I wouldn’t say I was totally behind it.” Nor are Hannah’s descendants convinced that any of the stories are credible.Ray Godson said during the same interview that, although he would find it nice, he doubts the tale’s validity. One individual, Vanessa Woolf, a self-described professional storyteller, loves the whole idea of the tomb’s history – which is not the same as saying she believes it.Ever since she learned of it in 2015, Woolf has hosted presentations at the site to inform audiences about the legend. She told Mental Floss that she describes Warner as a “barking mad” inventor during her sessions, which she has led many times since 2015, after connecting with Coates.The mysterious tale continues to intrigue listeners, thanks in great measure to its missing key. Photo by Edwardx CC BY-SA 4.0She says that Londoners are intrigued by the story and like knowing more about the fabric of the city. She, for one, doesn’t look forward to the tomb being opened.“It’s much nicer, in a way, not having it (the key). It’s really in the minds of the audience. It’s a slab of rock. The real magic is in their minds.” Indeed, no one really knows the true story of Hannah, Bonomi, and Warner and how, or even if, their lives intersected.Read another story from us: Tomb of King Tut Finally Reopened after a Decade Spent Repairing Tourist DamageHannah and the two men took those secrets to their graves. However, the tomb stands in mute testimony to Hannah’s interests. Whether there is a time machine or teleportation device in there seems highly dubious – but the idea will no doubt continue to tantalize imaginations.last_img read more

The Greatest Prankster of the early 1900s Pretended to be Everyone

first_imgSome people think that being a class clown is only something in ‘80s and ‘90s coming-of-age movies and that pranks are stunts pulled in the name of art or politics. Humor, however, wasn’t invented in the 20th century. Without the internet and television, people back in the day sometimes had to resort to pretty creative ways to pass the time. The same type of jokesters we get kicks out of today were known to our ancestors just the same. Horace de Vere Cole was an Irishman born in County Cork, Ireland in 1881. He came from a well-to-do family and attended the prestigious Eton College and eventually Cambridge, though he never graduated from the latter. He served in the army during the Second Boer war, during which he was wounded.Horace de Vere Cole in 1910Despite this respectable résumé, Cole had a penchant for pranks. His physical appearance allowed him to be mistaken for the prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, so he would often go off on long, politically-charged and controversial tirades in public, setting the bureaucratic world abuzz with scandal.During his time at Cambridge, he once pretended to be an uncle of the Sultan of Zanzibar making an official visit to the university. It was credible because the actual uncle had traveled to England. According to the St. James Gazette, the Mayor of Cambridge received a telegram from Cole reading: “The Sultan of Zanzibar will arrive today at Cambridge at 4.27 for a short visit. Could you arrange to show him buildings of interest and send carriage? – Henry Lucas, Hotel Cecil, London.”The Dreadnought Hoaxers in Abyssinian regaliaThe convoy — dressed in robes, turbans, and heavy makeup — was given a tour of the university by the mayor and a town clerk, returning to the train station to apparently make their trip back to London but actually sneaking out a side exit and going back into town. Friends they had passed on campus didn’t recognize the imposters for who they truly were, and the Daily Mail printed an interview with Cole about the hoax the next day. The students involved just barely escaped expulsion.Related Video: Why do Barber Shops Feature a Red, White and Blue Pole?In 1910, with another group of indulgent friends which included famous author Virginia Woolf, Cole succeeded in tricking the captain of the HMS Dreadnought — a state-of-the-art battleship with an exemplary crew — that he and his compatriots were a delegation on official business from Zanzibar. The fake Abyssinians spoke a mix of Greek and Latin gibberish, exclaiming “Bunga Bunga” for delight.Virginia WoolfDuring their tour of the ship, they gave officers military honors (which were obviously fake). After it came out that it was all a hoax, Cole couldn’t be charged with anything as he hadn’t broken any laws. The most childish perhaps, of all his pranks, was in a prestigious theater in London’s West End. According to Ben le Vay’s Eccentric Cambridge, Cole bought eight seats in a row, right in front, for a highly-praised play.He gave the tickets to eight bald men, on whose heads painted letters read the obscenity “bollocks,” setting audience members behind and above them laughing hysterically, all to the confusion of the play’s cast. Cole’s personal life seems to have suffered from his pranks, however. His first marriage ended in divorce — not because he spent April Fools Day on their honeymoon spreading horse droppings around Venice, but because of an investment failure that left him bankrupt — and his second wife bore the child of his friend during her marriage to Cole.Read another story from us: How Sci-Fi Classic ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ Got its Peculiar NameWith his advancing age came advancing problems and Cole began to lose his hearing. According to the New York Times, “[t]he ordinarily restrained Dictionary of National Biography reports that Cole’s ‘advanced deafness prevented him from realizing that his carefully timed coughing was inadequate to cover his explosive breaking of wind.’”Or maybe he knew just what he was doing, and continued to have a good laugh.last_img read more