Explained Snippets | This Word Means — Solar wind

Sun ejects this stream, NASA probe will study it. How much of it is understood, how much is mystery?

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: August 14, 2018 8:30:59 am
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to the Sun at Cape Canaveral, Florida, US August 12, 2018 (NASA/Bill Ingalls/Handout via REUTERS)

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched Saturday, will study the Sun’s outer atmosphere as well as the stream of particles known as the “solar wind” (The Indian Express, August 13). This ejection from the corona (the aura surrounding the Sun) has been known for more than a century, and was first termed “solar wind” back in 1957 by University of Chicago Professor Eugene Parker, for whom the probe is named. As already reported, his paper had been rejected by reviewers before it was saved by The Astrophysics Journal editor Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Today, scientists know the solar wind streams off at about 400 km/s, and that this happens because the temperature of the corona is so high that the Sun’s gravity cannot hold on to it. What is still not understood, however, is how and where the coronal gases are accelerated to these high velocities, the NASA website says. “Something happens in the corona where it steps on the accelerator and shoots out at supersonic speeds,” Parker Solar Probe mission scientist Adam Szabo told the news portal Space.com, which added that scientists are not sure what that “something” is. Part of what scientists do know came out of a probe by NASA’s Ulysses spacecraft, which completed two orbits through the solar system before being retired in 2009. Passing over the Sun’s poles, Ulysses provided measurements of wind speed, magnetic field strength and direction, and composition. The solar wind is not uniform, with its speed varying over different regions of the corona. These high and low speed streams interact with each other, and these variations can produce storms in the magnetosphere surrounding Earth.

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Telling Numbers | Computers, fraud, obscenity: cyber crimes up 28% in 2 years

Cases of cyber crime have increased 28% between 2014 and 2016, annual reports by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show. According to NCRB data presented in Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology S S Ahluwalia last week, in response to an unstarred question, such crimes have increased from 9,622 in 2014 to 12,317 in 2016, the latest year for which an NCRB report has been published. In each of these years, the bulk of the cases has been under the IT Act.

While most of these are computer-related, cases under the IT Act also include those registered for publication and transmission of obscene and sexually explicit content; such cases increased 26% – from 758 to 957 — between 2014 and 2016. Cases registered under the Indian Penal Code constitute the second highest lot, of which cheating, forgery and fraud cases constituted over 96% — 2,466 out of 2,552 IPC cases — in 2016.

In his reply, the minister also highlighted measures — Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, Cyber Crime Cells in all states and Union Territories — the government has taken to curb cyber crimes. —Raghavi Sharma

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Tip for Reading List | How to Bend Rules For Punctuation

William Shakespeare punctuated Hamlet in the form “To be, or not to be: that is the question”. Describing this as “literary, but a bit cold”, British historian and journalist Dominic Selwood suggests alternatives — “To be or not to be? That is the question (a little more quizzical)”; “To be, or not to be — that is the question (more languid, and a touch reflective)”; “To be. Or not to be. That is the question (modern, and mildly brutalist).” Selwood uses these examples in an article on author Joanna (J F) Penn’s website, while providing tips for professional punctuation. He provides more of the same in his new book, where he advises students, writers and journalists to abandon complex rules and offers simple guidance. Punctuation Without Tears: Punctuate Confidently – In Minutes! is illustrated by Delia Johnson and packed with humorous examples while offering advice for mastering common punctuation marks, and on various aspects of style. Most people who try to follow the old rules have some degree of punctuation anxiety, The Independent notes in its review, while Selwood’s approach is get to grips with a few basics and relax. “This little book is not for the grammar professional. There are no references to adjectival clauses or conjunctive adverbs. Anyone seeking that level of technical detail will need to look elsewhere,” the review says.

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