OUT OF 11 universities that have advertised 706 teaching posts following a University Grants Commission (UGC) circular in March with a new formula for reservation (The Indian Express, September 6), four have 146 vacancies entirely for unreserved category candidates, while three more with 175 vacancies do not have a single position for SC or ST candidates.
Only in the remaining four universities, with 385 vacancies, are there any posts for SCs — 18 (2.5%) — but none for STs. Of the remaining posts, 57 (8%) are for OBCs. Reservation rules provide for 15% posts for SCs and 7.5% for STs at the level of professors, assistant professors and associate professors, and for 27% for OBC candidates at the level of assistant professors only. A breakup of the posts advertised by the 11 universities:
Is Pluto a planet after all?
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established a definition of a planet that robbed Pluto of that status. Now, a group of scientists have suggested that Pluto wrongly lost its planet status and that it should be reclassified as one. By the IAU definition, for an object orbiting its star to be classified as a planet, it needs to “clear” its orbit; in other words it must be the largest gravitational force in its orbit. Pluto did not qualify because it is influenced by Neptune’s gravity, and because it shares its orbit with frozen gases and other objects. This standard for classifying planets, however, is not supported in the research, researchers write in a study published in the journal Icarus (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103518303063).
They reviewed scientific literature from the past 200 years and found only one publication (1802) that used the clearing-orbit requirement to classify planets, and suggested it was based on reasoning that has since been disproved. “The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be a defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research,” the University of Central Florida (UCF) website quoted UCF planetary scientist Philip Metzger as saying. “… We now have a list of well over 100 recent examples of planetary scientists using the word ‘planet’ in a way that violates the IAU definition, but they are doing it because it’s functionally useful,” added Metzger, who described the IAU definition as a “sloppy definition”, because: “They didn’t say what they meant by clearing their orbit. If you take that literally, then there are no planets, because no planet clears its orbit.”
Metzger Metzger recommends classifying a planet based on if it is large enough that its gravity allows it to become spherical in shape. (Source: University of Central Florida)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
What is this disease, which alarmed New York airport authorities enough to quarantine an Emirates flight?
Written by Harikrishnan Nair
LAST WEEK, an Emirates flight from Dubai was held in quarantine in New York after over 100 of the passengers had reported flu-like symptoms. This was because some of them were suspected to have contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) — it was later found that this was not the case. MERS is a viral disease that has no cure and approximately 3% of reported patients have died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The coronavirus that causes it spreads through human-to-human contact, although camels too are known to transmit it. WHO says that evidence of camel-to-human infection is now “irrefutable”. The disease was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and is from there that a majority of cases have since been reported, hence the name. Patients present mild to acute forms of respiratory distress. Elderly men, those with weak immunity and others with chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer are particularly vulnerable. According to the Saudi Gazette, between January 12 and May 31 this year, 75 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 23 deaths, were reported in Saudi Arabia. The first line of defence, according to WHO guidelines, is good personal hygiene, including regular hand washing.