Sirens to alert people in case of earthquakes in Uttarakhand


soundwave

DEHRADUN: IIT-Roorkee has developed a regional early warning system which will alert people in Uttarakhand in the event of an earthquake by sounding a siren.

A siren will scream after getting required signals from sensors to be put up in quake-sensitive areas across the state and alert people in case of earthquakes so they get enough time to reach safety, seismic scientist from IIT-R Ashok Kumar said in a presentation at a meeting of the Advisory Group Committee on disaster management chaired by Chief Secretary S Ramawamy.

84 sensors have already been installed in quake-prone areas of Uttarakhand out of a total of 1,100 sensors to be put up throughout the state, Kumar said at the meeting.

After the installation of sensors is complete, sirens will begin to be installed in sensitive areas, an official release quoting him said.

A mobile app has also been developed which will alert users about a quake by producing a unique beeping sound.

n areas where there is no mobile connectivity, the early warning system will be connected with All India Radio.
An early warning system software has also been prepared, Kumar said.

Via

— TimesofIndia

 

Advertisements

Earthquake in Uttarakhand, strong tremors jolt Delhi, north India; NDRF teams rushed


earth-quakes

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Uttarakhand, sending tremors across Delhi-NCR and several states of north and eastern India on Monday night, shaking buildings, rattling window panes and sending people scurrying out of their homes.

The earthquake jolted the North India at 10:33pm and tremors were felt for about 30 seconds. There was no loss of life or damage to property, however one was injured in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, which according to National Seismological Bureau was the epicentre of the quake.

“The depth of the quake was 33km and it occurred at 10.33 PM,” said JL Gautam, operations head at the NSB, a unit of ministry of earth sciences.

According to the US Geological Survey, the magnitude was 5.6.

Uttarakhand, which falls in the Himalayan belt, is known for high seismic activities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter said he had spoken to officials and taken stock of the situation.

A home ministry spokesperson said home minister Rajnath Singh had asked for a detailed report and the NDRF has been put on high alert.

Union home ministry said NDRF teams have been rushed from Ghaziabad to Uttarakhand to conduct rescue and relief operations, if such a situation arises.

Two teams of National Disaster Response Force were rushed to Rudraprayag, NDRF director general RK Pachnanada told PTI.

He said that one more team has been put on standby and will be dispatched depending on the developing situation.

PM Narendra Modi also tweeted: “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India. PMO is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand, which is the epicentre of the quake. I pray for everyone’s safety & wellbeing.”

Ashok Kumar, a senior official in Dehradun police, said, “The quake was quite heavy. It lasted for 25 or 30 seconds, but there are no reports of damage so far received.”

Amit Negi, secretary of disaster management in the state, said they have alerted all districts and were coordinating with them, but that there were no reports of damage so far.

In Delhi, panicky people rushed out of their homes as the quake hit the city of 16 million people.

Tremors were also felt across Punjab, Haryana and their common capital Chandigarh too. Tremors were felt as far as Kolkata, reports said.

In Chandigarh, many people came running out of their homes screaming. “I was sleeping, when my bed started shaking. I ran towards my mother’s room,” said Kirti, a resident of Sector 20.

“I was driving, so I didn’t feel the tremor. But I noticed girls were screaming and they were running out of their homes,” said Reena from Sector 27.

Another resident of the same sector, Deepinder Kohli, said: “I was watching TV when my chair started shaking. I looked at the fan and it was moving. I didn’t realise, until my children came running towards me shouting.” (With inputs from agencies)

Source: MSN

 

Five obscure Android apps that should be on your must-use list


Lost among the scores of available Android apps are some specialized tools that might really come in handy. Tom Merritt runs through a few you may not have come across.

If you’re an Android user, you know the Google Play Store is filled with apps — many of which are outstanding, but some of which… are not. Finding a few of the hidden, lesser-known gems isn’t a terribly challenging task, but it can take a while. So to save you a bit of time, I searched the Play Store and came up with five apps you may never have heard of but might benefit from using. Let’s see if any of them fits your bill.

1: Greenify

Greenify (Figure A) will help you identify any apps on your phone that are misbehaving and place them into hibernation. This will effectively save your device battery from prematurely draining. But unlike some other apps that prevent a suspect app from working, Greenify allows you to continue using the application in question. It hibernates suspicious apps only when they are not in use, thus preventing them from draining your battery.

Figure A

01greenify1

Greenify itself uses little in the way of resources. At most, it uses 5 MB of RAM, zero CPU, and zero battery. A word of warning: Do NOT Greenify your alarm clock, instant messaging, or widget-enabled apps — and DO verify the impact of Greenifying apps you rely on. You also should know that on a non-rooted device, you must manually hibernate apps (which requires just a single tap of the hibernation button). You can automate this process via an accessibility service Greenify provides. The only caveat to using the accessibility service is that Greenify will observe your interactions with apps and retrieve window content. Some users might consider this a bit too intrusive and prefer to handle the hibernate process manually.

2: ProxyDroid

ProxyDroid (REQUIRES ROOT) makes setting a proxy on your Android device incredibly simple. This free app (Figure B) supports HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS4/SOCKS5 proxy, as well as basic, NTLM, and NTLMv2 authentication methods. With ProxyDroid you can set up a proxy for an individual app or several apps. By unsetting the global proxy feature, you can select specific apps. You can also set up multiple profiles, which means you can set a proxy for certain apps and another for yet more apps.

Figure B

03proxydroid1

As far as proxy apps are concerned, ProxyDroid makes it worth taking the time to root your device. You’ll also find a handy widget for enabling/disabling proxies. Note that when you use the widget, you must have selected the profile to be active within the ProxyDroid settings window. If you’re looking for the single most powerful proxy app available, root your phone and look no further than ProxyDroid.

3: Total Commander

Total Commander (Figure C) is, by far, one of the ugliest file managers you’ll ever use. It is also one of the best. If offers a built-in text editor, properties dialog, FTP/sFTP/WebDAV/OBEX support, plug-ins for cloud services, and features that let you copy/move whole subdirectories, drag and drop, zip/unzip/rar, select/unselect groups of files, search, select a range of files/folders, and much more.

Figure C

05totalcomander1

Total commander is like getting the old-school UNIX Midnight Commander on your Android device… only with an updated feature set and a slightly updated interface. One cool interface feature: If you’re viewing in portrait mode, Total Commander displays a single pane. However, when viewing in landscape mode, you see a dual-pane interface.

4: RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner

RedLaser (Figure D) is a great price-comparison shopping app. Just scan a barcode and it will crawl the internet and display the best online prices available. From there, you can tap the top price to open the item in a web browser and purchase it.

Figure D

08redlaser2

I have found that RedLaser has one of the fastest barcodes scanners available. You won’t waste time trying to line up the camera to the laser. In fact, RedLaser picks up the barcode almost before you have the item/camera lined up — it’s that fast. You can also get local pricing, facts about a product, and reviews. When scanning food items, you’ll get a ton of relevant details, such as allergen information. You can also scan and save your loyalty cards into the app, so you don’t have to pull out your keys or wallet to use those cards (and you can see deals associated with each card).

5: Ambio

When you’re traveling for business, you often wind up in unfamiliar locations (and sometimes in less-than-ideal hotels). Ambio (Figure E) is an ambient sound generator that can help you sleep or focus on the task at hand.

Figure E

09ambio1

If you can’t sleep because there’s just too much quiet, Ambio will soothe you into slumber with the sounds of the ocean, rain, ticking clocks, fans, airplane cabins, heartbeats, white noise, and much more. And if you don’t like the included sounds, you can download more (including premium sounds). You can even pause sounds and create your own mixes (combining four sounds to create the perfect cacophony of noise to make you forget you’re in an unfamiliar hotel bed trying desperately to get enough sleep to make the next day of work possible.

Source: Techgig.

How We Stopped Light


Most of us probably know a few basic facts about light: nothing can travel faster than it, it comes in forms that we can’t see (such as x-ray and infrared), it can give you a nasty sunburn or a super cute tan (which will inevitably make you look like old leather), and it can be slowed down. If you didn’t know the last one, allow me to explain.

The speed of light is a constant. It travels at an amazing 186,282 miles per second (299,791km/sec). However, this speed only applies in a perfect vacuum where light will not encounter any other atoms. In a non-vacuum (which exists pretty much everywhere), bits of light smash into other objects. These objects absorb the photon and then re-emit it. In this respect, the slowing of light is an illusion. The photons still travel from at the same speed, but they make a few stops along the way as they are absorbed and refracted by various atoms. And light is absorbed and emitted more slowly through certain substances. For example, diamond makes light travel from A to B significantly slower.

But we can use these principles to essentially stop light. In all likeliness, many of you have already heard about the scientists in Germany who stopped light for a full minute. I’d like to offer a breakdown of how they accomplished this feat.

(a) APS/H. de Riedmatten; (b) G. Heinze et al. [1] Figure 1: (a) Energy-level scheme for EIT experiments: two ground states (|g〉 and |s〉) are connected to one excited state (|e〉) by an optical transition. To reach the EIT condition, the frequency difference between the input and control beams must be equal to the splitting between |g〉 and |s〉. (c) Output pulse energy and storage efficiency as a function of the storage time, as measured by Heinze et al. [1] for three coherence times (T2) obtained under different sequences of radio frequency pulses. The inset shows a three-stripe image retrieved from the memory after different storage times

(a) APS/H. de Riedmatten; (b) G. Heinze et al. [1]
Figure 1: (a) Energy-level scheme for EIT experiments: two ground states (|g〉 and |s〉) are connected to one excited state (|e〉) by an optical transition. To reach the EIT condition, the frequency difference between the input and control beams must be equal to the splitting between |g〉 and |s〉. (c) Output pulse energy and storage efficiency as a function of the storage time, as measured by Heinze et al. [1] for three coherence times (T2) obtained under different sequences of radio frequency pulses. The inset shows a three-stripe image retrieved from the memory after different storage times

To begin with, the scientists took an opaque crystal (something that light is not able to penetrate) and fired lasers into it. This caused the quantum states of atoms within the crystal to become disturbed. Ultimately, the scientists were able to make it so that a specific frequency of light could pass through this previously opaque object by altering the crystal in such a say so that the atoms within it had two quantum states.

Next, the researchers shot a laser beam (which corresponded to the specific frequency) through the newly transparent region. Then they turned off the laser beam that was altering the quantum states of the atoms within the crystal. This made the material once more opaque. The result of this was that the second laser beam was halted within the material. The beam was held in place for a whole minute. They were also able to store and retrieve an image using the same technique.

Of course, things are not quite this simple. For starters, the crystal that was frozen to less than negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit (-267C). But the aforementioned is a basic breakdown of the technique. For those interested in more technical information, see this source. Here, I will offer a brief passage which conveys the specifics:

“Light can be slowed down to the point that it comes to a halt: by switching off the control beam when the light is within the sample, the photons can be converted into collective atomic spin excitations (so called spin waves). The spin waves can be stored in the atoms for as long as the coherence between the two spin levels survives, before being converted back into light by turning on the control pulse again. The scheme thus allows the coherent storage and retrieval of light. How long can the storage time be? Since the light is stored in atomic coherences, the limit is given by T2, quantifying the lifetime of the coherence between the two relevant atomic spin states (how long the two spin states can remain in a coherent superposition).”

‘Dendroid’ virus threatening Android phones in India


Once activated, 'Dendroid' virus could change the command and control server of a user's personal Android phone and intercept private SMSes.

Once activated, ‘Dendroid’ virus could change the command and control server of a user’s personal Android phone and intercept private SMSes.

Indian cyber security sleuths have alerted users of Android smartphone about the malicious activities of a tricky virus called ‘Dendroid’ whose infection could “completely compromise” their personal phone device.

The virus of the deadly ‘Trojan’ family, once activated, could change the command and control server of a user’s personal Android phone and intercept private SMSes coming in or going out.

“It has been reported that a malicious toolkit called DENDROID is being used to create trojanised applications that infects Android-based smartphones. The malware is created by modifying the required permissions by any clean APK (Android Application Package) with Dendroid RAT functionality that allows detailed management of the infected devices,” the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) said in its latest advisory to Android phone users in the country.

The CERT-In is the nodal agency to combat hacking, phishing and to fortify security-related defences of the Indian Internet domain.

Security experts say the virus is street-smart because it has a striking resemblance to the name Android.

Google-Android

The agency said upon installation of this malicious application, a remote attacker could “completely compromise the affected Android-based smartphone and could control it remotely”.

The virus can perform a number of malicious activities.

“It can change the command and control server, delete call logs, open web pages, dial any number, record calls and audio, SMS interception, upload images and video to remote location and open an application,” the advisory said, categorizing the virus as an “attack toolkit”.

It said the malware infected “is controlled by the attacker through Dendroid Toolkit. Dendroid is a HTTP RAT, having a sophisticated PHP administration panel and an application APK binder package.”

The agency has suggested some countermeasures to thwart the ill-attempts of the latest virus including keeping a check on the overall usage and any unsatisfactory rise in the user’s mobilephone bill.

“Do not download and install applications from untrusted sources, install applications downloaded from reputed application market only, run a full system scan on device with mobile security solution or mobile antivirus solution, check for the permissions required by an application before installing,.

“Exercise caution while visiting trusted/untrusted sites for clicking links, install Android updates and patches as and when available from Android device vendors, users are advised to use device encryption or encrypting external SD card feature available with most of the Android OS,” the agency said.

Android phone users, the CERT-In said, are also advised to keep an eye on data usage (application-wise usage also) and unusual increase in mobile bills and keep an eye on device battery usage (application-wise usage also).

“Avoid using unsecured and unknown Wi-Fi networks. There may be rogue Wi-Fi access points at public places used for distributing malicious applications and make a practice of taking regular backup of Android device,” the advisory said

Use Whatsapp on Android? Your chats are not so secure


whatsapp

If you use WhatsApp on an Android phone, you should be careful about what you talk about or share on the instant messaging app.

NEW DELHI: If you use WhatsApp on an Android phone, you should be careful about what you talk about or share on the instant messaging app. Using a few scripts and a rogue app, anyone can peer into your chat logs and see what you talk about with your friends.

A Dutch security consultant has found that WhatsApp chat logs saved on the SD card of an Android phone can be read by other apps because of the way Android allows sharing of data between apps.

“The WhatsApp database is saved on the SD card which can be read by any Android application if the user allows it to access the SD card. And since majority of the people allows everything on their Android device, this is not much of a problem,” Bas Bosschert wrote on his blog.

“What do we need to steal someone’s WhatsApp database? First we need a place to store the database,” Bosschert explained. “Next thing we need is an Android application which uploads the WhatsApp database to the website.”

When an Android application is installed, whether from the Play store or through an APK file, which is an installer file for Android phones and can be downloaded from various sources, the app requests for permissions to use network and SD card etc.

To explain his hack, Bosschert set up a web server and then created an Android application that required several special permissions on a user’s phone. But because Android OS allows applications to access various parts of the phone – this is why users can conveniently share almost everything through any app on Android phone – Bosschert’s app had no difficulty gaining access to WhatsApp data.

Bosschert wrote that the code that allows his application to access WhatsApp data and then upload it to his web server can be added to a popular Android app by a rogue developer to fool users and steal WhatsApp chat logs.

The older versions of WhatsApp were so insecure that they didn’t even encrypt their data stored on SD card. The data from older versions of whatsApp could be read by anyone once it was uploaded on the web server. Even the data from newer version of WhatsApp, which uses encryption, can be accessed with ease.

“The WhatsAppp database is a SQLite3 database which can be converted to Excel for easier access. Lately WhatsApp is using encryption to encrypt the database, so it can no longer be opened by SQLite. But we can simply decrypt this database using a simple python script. This script converts the crypted database to a plain SQLite3 database,” wrote Bosschert. “We can conclude that every application can read the WhatsApp database and it is also possible to read the chats from the encrypted databases.”

Bosschert joked, “Facebook didn’t need to buy WhatsApp to read your chats.”

The security issue apparently doesn’t exist on iPhones or Windows Phone devices because on these smartphones, apps have limited access to storage and other phone hardware. The more flexible access to phone hardware allows Android apps to talk to each other and helps a user quickly share content between apps. This is very convenient compared to what is possible on iPhone or Windows Phone, where it is difficult to share content between apps. But it also exposes data to rogue apps.

Google says that it keeps an eye on apps inside its Play store and removes apps if they pose any security risks. But this doesn’t negate the fact that theoretically it is possible for a rogue app to do more damage on Android because of the open nature of the OS compared to iOS, which uses silos. Google also advises people against installing apps that don’t come through Play store. By default Android phones are set to not install apps downloaded outside the Play store.

Astronomer spots asteroid smashing into Moon


A commercial airliner's schlieren can be seen at it crosses the full moon, or Hunger Moon over Whittier, Calif., on its final approach to LAX on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014

A commercial airliner’s schlieren can be seen at it crosses the full moon, or Hunger Moon over Whittier, Calif., on its final approach to LAX on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014

A Spanish astronomer today said he had witnessed a fridge-sized asteroid smash into the Moon, in the biggest lunar impact by a space rock ever recorded.

The rare episode was seen by Jose Maria Madiedo, a professor at the University of Huelva, Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) said.

On September 11 last year, Madiedo was operating two lunar-observing telescopes when he spotted a flash in the Mare Nubium, an ancient, dark lava-filled basin.

The flare was briefly almost as bright as the northern hemisphere’s Pole Star, the RAS said.

It would have been visible to the naked eye to anyone who happened to be looking at the Moon at that moment in good viewing conditions, the RAS said.

There followed a long afterglow, lasting another eight seconds – the longest and brightest ever seen for a lunar impact.

“At that moment, I realized that I had seen a very rare and extraordinary event,” Madiedo told the society.

Madiedo and colleagues calculate that the rock had a mass of around 400 kilos, with a diameter of between 60 centimeters and 1.40 meters.

It hit Mare Nubium at around 61,000 kilometers per hour. The speed was so high that the rock turned molten on impact and vaporized, leaving a thermal glow visible from Earth as a flash, and bequeathing a 40-metre crater in the Moon’s pocked surface.

The impact energy was equivalent to an explosion of around 15 tonnes of TNT, more than triple the largest previously seen event, claimed by NASA in March 2013.

Madiedo’s team calculate that rocks of this size may strike Earth about 10 times more frequently than was generally thought.
Earth, though, is protected by its atmosphere and asteroids of this size burned up as dramatic “fireball” meteors.

By way of comparison, the rock that exploded above Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15 2014, is believed to have measured about 20 meters across and weighed some 13,000 tonnes. It is considered to have been at the lower end of medium-sized asteroids.

The Spanish observation is published in the RAS journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.