Gender inequality in India is extremely high at the workplace and in terms of legal protection and political voice, according to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) for the Asia-Pacific region. The report assessed inequality on the basis of a Gender Parity Score (GPS) that uses 15 indicators of gender equality in work and society. With 1.0 signifying parity, India’s score was 0.30 in gender equality at work and 0.78 in legal protection and political voice.
Advancing women’s equality in the countries of Asia Pacific, the report suggests, could add $4.5 trillion to their collective GDP annually in 2025, a 12% increase over a business-as-usual GDP trajectory. This presumes a best-in-region scenario in which each country matches the rate of progress of the fastest-improving country in its region — China in the case of the Asia-Pacific. If this were achieved, India would add $770 billion in 2025 over and above its business-as-usual GDP, it says.
Comparing the 15 indicators under four broad categories, the report finds India behind the Asia-Pacific average in all four, but ahead of Bangladesh and Pakistan. It notes, however, that India has progressed faster than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region in the last 10 years, primarily due to advances in education and a reduction in maternal mortality. (Promit Chakroborty)
Do temperature settings affect how much power an AC consumes?
Power Minister R K Singh recently met air-conditioner manufacturers and advised them to make 24°C the default setting and to label the optimum setting at 24-26°C. This is because “every one degree increase in the air-conditioner temperature setting results in saving of 6 per cent of electricity consumed”, a government release quoted Singh as saying, based on a study by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Noting that many offices maintain a temperature at 18-21°C, it says, “This is not only uncomfortable but is actually unhealthy… (it) compels people to wear warm clothing or use blankets…”
Can temperature settings affect the amount of electricity consumed? Yes, with that relationship depending on the type of air-conditioner. In a single-stage AC, the compressor cools at a steady rate when on, drawing a fixed level of power. A component called the thermostat switches off the compressor when the desired temperature is reached, and switches it on when the air warms up again. Thus, the compressor runs for only a fraction of this time — and it is the compressor that consumes most of the power drawn by an AC unit. In a modern, variable-speed AC, the compressor works nearly continuously but at variable capacity, to match the setting on the thermostat. A higher temperature setting demands lower power consumption, and vice versa.
The government release cites the example of Japan, where the government has regulated temperatures at 28°C. Over a decade ago, Hong Kong promulgated a standard at 25.5°C for air-conditioned spaces in summer, citing the examples of Australia (23-26°C, China (25-27°C), Singapore (22.5-25.5°C) and the US (25.5°C). (Promit Chakroborty)
Tip for Reading List: Einstein proved on galactic scale
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that matter deforms spacetime, causing any light that passes by to be deflected — a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. Over the last one century, the theory has been tested, and held good, a number of times within the solar system. Now, an international team of astronomers has made the most precise test of general relativity yet outside the Milky Way galaxy. Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, they found that the nearby galaxy ESO 325-G004 acts as a strong gravitational lens, distorting light from a distant galaxy behind it to create an “Einstein ring” around its centre.
There are alternative theories that predict that gravity should behave differently across astronomical length-scales from the way it behaves on the smaller scales of the Solar System. The new study, however, found that general relativity prevailed over a galactic distance. The astronomers established this by comparing the mass of the galaxy with the curvature of space around it. The study, published in the journal Science, is online at goo.gl/hknCse.
Source: European Science Agency