Physicists add amplifier to quantum communication toolbox Practically speaking, single photon detection has not been something pursued very heavily at the wavelengths used for telecommunication signals. Part of the problem is that performance of single photon detectors are rather constrained at such long wavelengths. But, says Robert Thew, a scientist at the University of Geneva, the time is coming when single photon detectors may be needed in telecommunications. Citation: Single photon detectors for telecommunications wavelengths (2008, August 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-08-photon-detectors-telecommunications-wavelengths.html Explore further 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. “Up until now,” Thew tells PhysOrg.com, “classical communication has not done too badly with the detectors available now. But now they are getting pushed to the limit as optical communications explodes. Single photon detectors are becoming more important.”In order to improve the ability of a single photon detector to work with signals with telecommunications wavelengths (about 1550 nanometers), Thew and his colleagues at the University of Geneva, Zbinden and Gisin, suggest a scheme that involves upconverting these signals using a tunable pump source to a silicon detector. Their work is published in Applied Physics Letters: “Tunable upconversion photon detector.”“Photon detection in general is a key enabling field of research,” Thew explains. “And it is improving all the time. Photon detection is used for quantum cryptography and computing as well as for metrology and telecommunications. Our experiment is one that shows how telecom wavelength photons can be converted into the regime of silicon detectors.”These Silicon detectors, Thew explains, are useful because they offer a high temporal resolution. While experiments have been done showing upconversion of silicon detectors, this Geneva group has added another element: tunability.Usually, upconversion experiments do not feature a simple and practical method of controlling wavelengths. “These systems are dedicated at well-defined wavelengths,” Thew says. “This works well for some things, but sometimes you want to be able to change the wavelength. That is what we are working on.” Of those that do seek for tunability, they can rely on temperature control to change the wavelength or use the nonlinear phase matching scheme with different poling periods. Thew and his peers decided to make a tunable photon detector using laser tuning.“All upconversion schemes rely on mixing two lasers to generate a third with the desired wavelength by a nonlinear process,” Thew explains. “Our practicality comes from the choice of components. The precision comes from the choice of silicon detector. The tunability comes from being able to tune one of these lasers that are initially mixed.” Not only is this detector tunable, but it is also compact and more cost efficient than similar photon detectors. And, as telecommunications continues to advance, this could be a good way to continue the improvements seen in the last few years. “[F]aster communication systems necessarily have to work with lower intensities (fewer photons) and it is here that the single photon detection technologies will be needed,” Thew explains. “This offers practicality and low cost. The idea is that we keep simplicity, but gain the advantage of tuning wavelengths.”“Things are improving all the time in this area of study,” Thew continues. “Having tunable photon detectors would be helpful for many experiments and applications. We are taking advantage of being able to do this with a silicon detector. What we have done offers a huge advantage for this type of approach.”Copyright 2007 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.
Jarillo-Herrero is a scientist at MIT. He worked with Thiti Taychatanapat, at Harvard, to investigate some of the properties of bilayer graphene, and to determine how electronic transport works under certain conditions. Their findings are described in Physical Review Letters: “Electronic Transport in Dual-Gated Bilayer Graphene at Large Displacement Fields.”One of the reasons that semiconductors work so well in digital electronics is that they have what is known a band gap. This band gap allows semiconductors to be switched on and off. In order for graphene to work as a viable replacement for these semiconductors, some sort of gap would need to be opened up in the electronic structure. “It has already been shown that it is possible to open a band gap in bilayer graphene,” Jarillo-Herrero says. “However, the effective electronic transport gap is about 100 times smaller than the theoretical band gap or optical band gap. This difference presents problems. We want to understand the properties of bilayer graphene that make this happen, and how it can be changed.”Jarillo-Herrero and Taychatanapat offer a systemic look at how the band gap works in bilayer graphene. They found that the band gap is smaller by measuring at low temperatures of less than four degrees Kelvin. “Our studies show that the band gap is still large enough to switch the transistors on and off, but the on/off ratio is only high enough – of order a million – at low temperatures, and we report this for the first time in bilayer graphene,” Jarillo-Herrero says.However, the main problem is that in order for bilayer graphene to work as a viable semiconductor replacement, it needs to be operable at room temperature. Jarillo-Herrero is hopeful, though. “This is a very important first step that helps us scientifically understand what is happening at low temperatures, and understanding the mechanism that does not permit the electronic transport to work as well at higher temperatures.” One of the issues, Jarillo-Herrero believes, is that the graphene is usually put on silicon oxide, which introduces electronic disorder. “On silicon oxide, the electrons don’t see their full band gap,” Jarillo-Herrero explains. “So we try to characterize the disorder and get rid of it. One way to do this is to try putting the graphene on different substrates. When this is done, enormous progress is made. Boron nitride is especially promising, but a number of groups are also trying bilayer graphene on different substrates.”In the end, Jarillo-Herrero hopes that the information learned from this demonstration will help lead to the use of bilayer graphene in digital electronics. “Our work offers a beginning for learning how bilayer graphene transistors operate, and learning about the mobility of electrons in graphene. Hopefully, as we understand the properties of graphene better, we can work toward future integration with electronics and other applications,” he says.“This sort of basic science research is very important,” Jarillo-Herrero continues. “Things always have to start at the basic level before we move on, and our work could lead to the use of graphene in electronics.” 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. Citation: Toward a better understanding of bilayer graphene (2010, October 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-10-bilayer-graphene.html More information: Thiti Taychatanapat and Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, “Electronic Transport in Dual-Gated Bilayer Graphene at Large Displacement Fields,” Physical Review Letters (2010). Available online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.166601 Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — “Graphene is a very exciting material with a number of interesting possibilities, including for use in electronic devices,” Pablo Jarillo-Herrero tells PhysOrg.com. “However, all graphene systems are electronically different from each other. Single layer graphene has different properties from bilayer graphene, and these have different properties from graphene with more layers. What we want to do is to understand the specific properties of bilayer graphene so that we can learn how to use it for different applications.” Copyright 2010 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. Can graphene nanoribbons replace silicon?
Led by Michael R. Vanner in Prof. Markus Aspelmeyer’s Aspelmeyer Group for Quantum Foundation and Quantum Information at the Nano- and Microscale, the team – which also included I. Pikovski, G. D. Cole, M. S. Kim, Č. Brukner, K. Hammerer, and G. J. Milburn – faced a number of challenges in devising their optomechanical scheme to fully reconstruct quantum states of mechanical motion. One of the most fundamental is the attempt to observe quantum mechanical behavior of a macroscopic mechanical object, since any potential quantum features would exhibit themselves only on truly miniscule scales. “For the mechanical structures that we consider,” Vanner explains, “one needs to resolve position displacements of about a femtometer,” or one-trillionth of a millimeter. “This is a mind‐bogglingly small distance that is, in fact, smaller than even the diameter of a hydrogen nucleus.”This then leads to additional challenges: In the attempt to measure an object’s position, the object moves and causes positional smearing by injecting uncertainty into the resulting position information, which is referred to as the Standard Quantum Limit (SQL). “The first challenge that we had to overcome was to find a method which circumvents the SQL,” Vanner continues. “The second was that making measurements of the position alone is insufficient to reconstruct a quantum state. This is because the quantum state contains all that is, at least in principle, knowable about the object. And so, one needs to also measure all the complementary properties of the state, such as its momentum, and to do so also in an equally precise manner.”Since no existing microscopy technology is capable of resolving quantum-scale features, the team addressed these challenges with optical interferometry. “Perhaps where we benefited most,” Vanner reflects, “was from the work of V. B. Braginsky, who made several seminal contributions to the field of quantum measurement1. In particular he introduced a scheme using short pulses of light that can overcome the SQL.” A short pulsed interaction can achieve this because the mechanical object has very little time to move during the interaction, and thus smearing can be dramatically reduced. “Braginsky developed this technique to make sensitive force detectors with the goal of detecting gravitational waves,” notes Vanner. “We’ve utilized this technique to allow for very sensitive position measurements. What we introduce in our proposal is a protocol using these pulsed measurements to perform quantum state reconstruction, which was our primary interest, and also a protocol to prepare low entropy squeezed states.” Proposed design and fabrication procedure for high-finesse optomechanical microcavities: Using microcavities provides optomechanical coupling rates many orders of magnitude larger than current millimeter or centimeter length scale implementations of optomechanical Fabry-Pérot cavities and can provide sufficient radiation-pressure interaction to resolve the small scale quantum properties of the mechanical resonator. Cross-sectional view with a quarter of the device removed. Uppermost (colored green) is the mechanical resonator supported by auxiliary beams. The optical field is injected into the device from below through a transparent handle (colored blue) and the curved rigid input mirror (colored pink) and then resonates in the vacuum-gap between this and the mechanical device before being retroreflected. Image: Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1105098108 Quantum behavior with a flash The state reconstruction scheme works in much the same way as many modern medical imaging techniques – that is, by taking images from many angles, as in X‐ray computed tomography, it is possible to determine the three-dimensional internal structure within the body. “Applying this analogy to our case,” Vanner continues, “the internal structure is the quantum state and the angles are its various properties: position, momentum, and their combinations. Our state reconstruction protocol uses appropriately timed pulses of light to access all these properties, thus providing a means to determine all the information in the quantum state.” An important point is that the team has analyzed the experimental feasibility and demonstrated that the scheme is realizable with current state‐of‐the‐art technology.Vanner is optimistic about the development of additional innovations and extensions in pulse sequences and measurements based on their pulsed design. “As an example,” Vanner notes, “we’re currently trying to compliment our work reported in PNAS by developing pulsed approaches to quantum state preparation. Combining such results with our state reconstruction results provides a complete experimental framework.”In terms of how their findings might enhance the future exploration of quantum mechanical phenomena on a macroscopic scale, Vanner points out that one important quantum mechanical phenomenon that is little explored in the laboratory is decoherence – the term given to the processes by which the environment surrounding a quantum object gains information about its state, often leading to the undesirable consequence of loss of quantum coherence between superposition components. “Decoherence is often regarded as one of the primary hindrances in efforts to construct a quantum computer. The quantum state tomography scheme that we have introduced can be used to observe and characterize decoherence, thus providing vital experimental data for the development of quantum mechanics based technology.” Moreover, adds Vanner, “It is a fascinating prospect that quantum information can be encoded into the motion of a mechanical object. This may lead to a number of interesting possibilities, such as transduction between flying qubits – i.e., photons – and qubits in a solid state device or superconductor. A pulsed approach may indeed be a feasible route to achieving this goal.”In addition to decoherence as discussed above, adds Vanner, “An attractive feature of the quantum state reconstruction scheme is that it can reconstruct and analyze any quantum state of motion. Thus, a large number of state‐dependent quantum effects can be studied. For example, one could utilize the fragility of a quantum superposition state as an extremely sensitive detector.”For Vanner, one of the key prospects is to see their design actually realized. “We’re currently building an experiment to implement our quantum state reconstruction protocol,” he concludes. “I’m finding it very exciting to be able to physically implement our ideas and begin to experimentally see behavior that is predicted in our theoretical model.” Citation: The quantum world writ large: Using short optical pulses to study macroscopic quantum behavior (2011, September 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-09-quantum-world-writ-large-short.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. Explore further More information: Pulsed quantum optomechanics, PNAS, Published online before print September 7, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.11050981081Related: Quantum nondemolition measurements: the route from toys to tools, V. B. Braginsky and F. Ya. Khalili, Reviews of Modern Physics 68, 1–11 (1996), doi: 10.1103/RevModPhys.68.1 Copyright 2011 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. (PhysOrg.com) — Einstein infamously dismissed quantum entanglement as spooky action at a distance and quantum uncertainty with his quip that God does not play dice with the universe. Aside from revealing his conceptual prejudices, Einstein’s rejection of these now-established hallmarks of quantum mechanics point to the field’s elusive nature: Coherent quantum mechanical phenomena, such as entanglement and superposition, are not apparent at macroscopic levels of scale. In fact, a common view is that on these scales quantum behavior is masked by decoherence, or even that quantum mechanics itself needs revision. Encouragingly, however, researchers at the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ), University of Vienna, have recently proposed an experimental design that would use a macroscopic mechanical resonator, short optical pulses and optical microcavities to realize quantum state tomography, squeezing, and state purification that could shed light on this elusive boundary between the quantum and classical worlds.
© 2014 Phys.org. All rights reserved. (Phys.org) —With the rise of social media, it is possible to organize public demonstrations on larger scales and in less time than ever before. In response, some governments are trying to decide how to regulate and impede the organization of these demonstrations, in order to maintain safety, order, or for other reasons. But very little is known about exactly how repressive legislation affects social media networks and their users. New research now suggests that social networks may be surprisingly resistant to such legislation. “Our work shows that social media are very powerful tools to spread information,” Marcoux told Phys.org. “The reason for this is because of the scale-free and hierarchical structure of social media networks, in which some highly connected individuals act as hubs to transfer information. In such a network, it only takes a few steps for information to travel between two individuals at extreme locations on the network. Also, the overall structure of the network of interactions on Twitter did not change after the passage of the Bill. Thus, information could still travel quickly after the passage of the Bill. It demonstrates nicely the resilience of big scale-free and hierarchical networks to perturbations.”Because the network structure was not significantly affected by the legislation, information about the protests continued to flow through the network like before. Individuals were still able to organize mass protests, despite some changes in user behavior. Overall, the researchers concluded that this natural experiment shows the power of social media to connect and mobilize a large number of individuals, as well as the resilience of social networks to changes in individual behavior. As the researchers note, a better understanding of networks is already helping policymakers in other areas.”Policymakers can use network knowledge to influence social changes,” Marcoux said. “For example, in a vaccination campaign, a better understanding of the social structure of a community might help to identify key individuals (highly connected hubs) that could speed up the spread of positive information about vaccination.”Currently, the researchers are working on other projects, although they explain that more work could be done in this area.”This project was a side to my other research projects, but I would love if someone took over to look at the content of messages that were sent before and after the legislation,” Marcoux. On the other hand, the network structure was relatively the same before and after the legislation. The structure was hierarchical and followed a scale-free distribution, in which a few Twitter users had very high rates of tweet exchanges while most users had low rates of exchanges. The few individuals with high connectivity were positioned between cliques, while users with low connectivity tended to be part of highly connected cliques. The number of tweets per day related to the 2012 Quebec student strike changes before and after the passage of Bill 78. Despite this change in user behavior, however, the scale-free hierarchical network structure remained the same. Credit: Marcoux, et al. ©2013 EPLA Study examines best methods for gaining Twitter followers Journal information: Europhysics Letters (EPL) The largest connected cluster in the network of tweet exchanges related to the 2012 Quebec student strike (a) before and (b) after the passage of Bill 78. Importantly, the network’s structure does not significantly change. Credit: Marcoux, et al. ©2013 EPLA Explore further In a new paper published in EPL, Marianne Marcoux and David Lusseau at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, UK, have analyzed millions of tweets from Twitter users in Quebec, Canada, who were protesting an increase in college tuition in 2012. That winter, 300,000 students—about 75% of all college and university students in Quebec—went on strike for several weeks. The strike and related protests were organized primarily with Twitter.On May 18, after 14 weeks of the strike, the Quebec government passed special emergency legislation called Bill 78 in an attempt to block the organization of the protests. Bill 78 requires that any organizer of a demonstration involving more than 50 people must provide the local police with an itinerary of the demonstration at least 8 hours before the event, and also ensure that the demonstration follows the itinerary. Individuals and organizations that did not follow Bill 78 were severely fined, and the government also considered fining any individual who transferred information about illegal demonstrations.To determine what effect Bill 78 had on Twitter users, the researchers compared the behavior of Twitter users who were involved in the protests, as well as the structure of their interaction network, before and after the passage of the bill. They analyzed nearly 200,000 tweets sent from February 12 to June 4, 2012, that contained relevant hashtags, using Twitter data that was made freely available by O. H. Beauchesne at olihb.com. The researchers’ main result was that the legislation changed the behavior of Twitter users, but not the overall structure of the network in which they interacted. In terms of behavior, although the number of tweets posted per day was higher on average after Bill 78 was implemented than before, the rate of increase dropped. Twitter users also showed an increase in “cliquishness” by limiting the tweets they sent to users within tight clusters to which they belonged. The researchers suspect that this change in behavior may indicate that the students became more cautious regarding who they sent tweets to. More information: Marianne Marcoux and David Lusseau. “The influence of repressive legislation on the structure of a social media network.” EPL, 104 (2013) 58004. DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/104/58004 Citation: Anti-protest law changes Twitter users’ behavior, but not network structure, physicists show (2014, January 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-anti-protest-law-twitter-users-behavior.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.
Human eye inspires clog-free ink jet printer invention Explore further Citation: High-resolution patterns of quantum dots with e-jet printing (2015, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-high-resolution-patterns-quantum-dots-e-jet.html Their work on high-resolution patterns of quantum dots is of interest as it shows that advanced techniques in “e-jet printing” offer powerful capabilities in patterning quantum dot materials from solution inks, over large areas. (E-jet printing refers to a technique called electrohydrodynamic jet, described as a micro/nano-manufacturing process that uses an electric field to induce fluid jet printing through micro/nano-scale nozzles.)Katherine Bourzac in Chemical & Engineering News wrote about this technique and the research interests of John Rogers, co-author of the paper and a materials scientist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The resolution of conventional ink-jet printers is limited. For the past seven years, she said, Rogers has been developing the electrohydrodynamic jet printing method. “This kind of printer works by pulling ink droplets out of the nozzle rather than pushing them, allowing for smaller droplets. An electric field at the nozzle opening causes ions to form on the meniscus of the ink droplet. The electric field pulls the ions forward, deforming the droplet into a conical shape. Then a tiny droplet shears off and lands on the printing surface. A computer program controls the printer by directing the movement of the substrate and varying the voltage at the nozzle to print a given pattern.”Dot, line, square, and complex images as QD patterns are possible, the researchers said, with tunable dimensions and thickness. They wrote that “these arrays as well as those constructed with multiple different QD materials, directly patterned/stacked by e-jet printing, can be utilized as photoluminescent and electroluminescent layers.”What does their work mean for consumers? As for TV technology, nearly every TV manufacturer at CES this year, remarked Geoffrey Morrison in CNET, said quantum dots helped deliver better, more lifelike color. Writing in IEEE Spectrum on Monday, Prachi Patel similarly made note that “Quantum dots (QDs) are light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals that, used in light-emitting diodes (LEDs), hold the promise of brighter, faster displays.”In the IEEE story headlined “High-Resolution Printing of Quantum Dots For Vibrant, Inexpensive Displays,” Patel said these researchers repurposed a printing method which they devised for other applications. Patel wrote: “When used with ‘QD ink,’ it can create lines and spots that are just 0.25 micrometers wide. They made arrays and complex patterns of QDs in multiple colors, and could even print QDs on top of others of a different color. They sandwiched these patterns between electrodes to make bright QD LEDs.” Patel also reported on the team’s future efforts. They are working on arrays of multiple nozzles. Inkjet printers usually have a few hundred nozzles, said Patel. “The difficulty with the e-jet printing method is that the electric field at one nozzle affects the fields of neighboring nozzles.” They are trying to figure out “how to isolate nozzles in order to eliminate that crosstalk.” More information: High-Resolution Patterns of Quantum Dots Formed by Electrohydrodynamic Jet Printing for Light-Emitting Diodes, Nano Lett., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/nl503779eAbstractHere we demonstrate materials and operating conditions that allow for high-resolution printing of layers of quantum dots (QDs) with precise control over thickness and submicron lateral resolution and capabilities for use as active layers of QD light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The shapes and thicknesses of the QD patterns exhibit systematic dependence on the dimensions of the printing nozzle and the ink composition in ways that allow nearly arbitrary, systematic control when exploited in a fully automated printing tool. Homogeneous arrays of patterns of QDs serve as the basis for corresponding arrays of QD LEDs that exhibit excellent performance. Sequential printing of different types of QDs in a multilayer stack or in an interdigitated geometry provides strategies for continuous tuning of the effective, overall emission wavelengths of the resulting QD LEDs. This strategy is useful to efficient, additive use of QDs for wide ranging types of electronic and optoelectronic devices. Journal information: Nano Letters © 2015 Phys.org A team of 17 materials science and engineering researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana−Champaign and Erciyes University in Turkey have authored “High-Resolution Patterns of Quantum Dots are Formed by Electrohydrodynamic Jet Printing for Light-Emitting Diodes.” Their paper was published in Nano Letters, an ACS journal. They demonstrated the materials and operating conditions that allow for high-resolution printing of layers of quantum dots with precise control over thickness and submicron lateral resolution and capabilities, for use as active layers of QD light-emitting diodes. They wrote, “Patterning QDs with precise control of their thicknesses and nanoscale lateral dimensions represent two critical capabilities for advanced applications. The thickness can be controlled through a combination of printing parameters including the size of the nozzle, the stage speed, ink composition, and voltage bias.” 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.
Explore further (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with affiliations to research facilities in Argentina, the U.K. and New Zealand, has confirmed that fossilized pollen grains found in Antarctica are members of the flowering plant family Asteraceae. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their research and conclude by suggesting that the fossils represent the family’s oldest fossils ever discovered. 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. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences The Asteraceae family includes a lot of popular modern flowers—daisy’s, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, as well as gerberas, lettuce, artichokes and even dandelions. One of their main characteristics is inflorescence, which means they have clusters of flower heads that form the larger flower. It is believed that they played a major role in the evolutionary history of many insects and pollinating birds and also perhaps that of bees and wasps. Prior research had placed their earliest known evolutionary history to approximately 60 million years ago. This new research has revealed evidence that pushes that history back another 20 million years—to the Cretaceous, which means the flowers were growing back when dinosaurs were still around.The pollen grains were found on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, a part of what was once the super-continent Gondwana—back then the area would have been covered by lush grasslands and temperate forests. In studying the fossils, the team noted their shape, size and surface sculpture, placing them in the species Tubulifloridites lillei—other samples had been found in Australia and New Zealand but it was not until the new fossils were found in Antarctica that researchers could definitively prove that they were also members of the Asteraceae family. Further study showed that the more recently found pollen grain fossils were similar in ways to members of the Barnadesioideae subfamily of Asteraceae found today in South America, which offers a hint of what the earlier flowers might have looked like.There is still more work to be done before the new fossil finds can be officially placed in the flowering plants family tree, but once that happens, the researchers are confident that they will be placed at a time approximately 80 million years ago. © 2015 Phys.org Early sunflower family fossil found in South America More information: Early evolution of the angiosperm clade Asteraceae in the Cretaceous of Antarctica, Viviana D. Barreda, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423653112AbstractThe Asteraceae (sunflowers and daisies) are the most diverse family of flowering plants. Despite their prominent role in extant terrestrial ecosystems, the early evolutionary history of this family remains poorly understood. Here we report the discovery of a number of fossil pollen grains preserved in dinosaur-bearing deposits from the Late Cretaceous of Antarctica that drastically pushes back the timing of assumed origin of the family. Reliably dated to ∼76–66 Mya, these specimens are about 20 million years older than previously known records for the Asteraceae. Using a phylogenetic approach, we interpreted these fossil specimens as members of an extinct early diverging clade of the family, associated with subfamily Barnadesioideae. Based on a molecular phylogenetic tree calibrated using fossils, including the ones reported here, we estimated that the most recent common ancestor of the family lived at least 80 Mya in Gondwana, well before the thermal and biogeographical isolation of Antarctica. Most of the early diverging lineages of the family originated in a narrow time interval after the K/P boundary, 60–50 Mya, coinciding with a pronounced climatic warming during the Late Paleocene and Early Eocene, and the scene of a dramatic rise in flowering plant diversity. Our age estimates reduce earlier discrepancies between the age of the fossil record and previous molecular estimates for the origin of the family, bearing important implications in the evolution of flowering plants in general. Citation: Fossil pollen grains found in Antarctica push back evolutionary history of daisy family (2015, August 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-fossil-pollen-grains-antarctica-evolutionary.html A typical Asteraceae flower head (here Bidens torta) showing the individual flowers. Credit: Marshman/Wikipedia
Those who know dance, might not know about Vilasini Natyam. Reason? Its a classical dance form lost from the cultural scene from many years. The danceform has once again revived and returned to the capital stage by Dimple Kaur who wants to take this dance form across the world through her persistent efforts.A trained dancer for 20 years, Dimple will perform Tholiviniki which will begin with Alaaya Sampradaayam which includes Ganesh Vandana and Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Salaam Daravu. It will be followed by Kutcheri Atta Varnam and Javali. The performance will end with Bhagvataham, an extract from Parijatam.Vilasini Natyam is a classical Indian Dance form which originated in Andhra Pradesh. It is an independent dance form related mainly to the devdasi tradition. The devdasis used to perform Vilasini Natyam in the magnificent temples,’ explained Dimple.’It was part of the rich culture of India for many centuries until Britishers banned the dance from temples in India. This dance form was later revived by Padma Bhushan Guru Swapnasundari, under whom I have learned and honed it,’ she added.’The dance from highlights the feminine aspects which includes the hundred odd Adavus (dance-units) like the Tandava (vigorous) and Lasya (soft) aspects. Vilasini Natyam’s complex Abhinaya is widely admired,’ Dimple said.
Reading books is something I have been doing ever since I remember. I read all kind of books whatever I can lay my hands on, the historical ones, non-fiction, biographies or fantasy. But here is the catch, I read quite a few of them on my laptop or my e-reader.Honestly, I can’t understand the whole debate between the people who read books online (or digitally) and those who don’t. I’d rather have a discussion on what one should be munching on while reading a good book. Dessert, potato chips with garlic cheese dip or maybe a hot bowl of soup will do? Because it makes no difference, just like reading a book through whichever medium you want! Books are to be enjoyed, to cry your heart out or to close it down with a good long sigh and a smile. As long as a book does that to you, does it really matter how you read it? Between The Covers is a weekly column on reading up and rating down
BALURGHAT: Police have arrested a youth on charges alleged rape of a class X student at Basuria village of Pransagar under Gangarampur police station in South Dinajpur district on Monday.Police arrested the youth named Abdul Kader (22).The victim was admitted to Gangarampur sub-divisional hospital after her condition deteriorated. A medical test of the victim has already been done. Police said the victim met the accused on her way back home from her uncle’s house on Monday afternoon.The accused asked her to spend some time with him. He took her to a nearby footbridge where he allegedly raped her. He left the girl who became unconscious. Locals took her to a hospital where she narrated the whole story and told the name of the accused.A large contingent of police has been sent to maintain peace. There was tension in the area after the news spread. Locals have demanded stringent action of the accused.
At least 10 people have been killed in violent protests in the West African nation of Niger over the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, the country’s president said.President Mahamadou Issoufou said that five deaths were reported after demonstrations in Niamey, the capital, yesterday. Another five people died on Friday in the town of Zinder following prayer services there. The victims were inside churches and bars that were set ablaze, he said. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe violence erupted after Charlie Hebdo published its first issue since the January 7 attack on its headquarters by Islamic extremists that left 12 people dead.According to mainstream Islamic tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad even a respectful one is considered blasphemous. Elsewhere in the Muslim world yesterday, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani condemned Charlie Hebdo, calling the newest cover image of Prophet Muhammad a blasphemous and irresponsible act. “Freedom of expression should be used in a way to boost understanding between the religions,” he said in a statement issued by the presidential palace. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanIraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also issued a statement of condemnation, warning that, “offensive words might lead to further bloodshed.”He also reiterated his condemnation of the attacks on innocent victims in Paris, saying that terrorism, “has nothing to do with Islam in any way.”Protesters also demonstrated in front of the French Embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, as well as in the Pakistani city of Karachi.In Egypt, the Islamist Noor Party denounced the latest Charlie Hebdo cover on its French-language Facebook page. “Just as the Noor Party rejects the assault on civilians and the negative effects it has for all Muslims of Europe, it also rejects this barbaric, irresponsible act under the name of freedom of expression,” the statement declared.In Gaza City, the capital of the Gaza Strip, unknown vandals scrawled graffiti on the walls of the French Cultural Center. In addition to statements praising the Prophet Muhammad and declaring him off-limits for ridicule or satire, the vandals also wrote: “To hell, to a miserable destiny, French journalists.”
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would be visiting China in June end to attract more investments in different sectors of Bengal. Centre for Promotion of India-China Cooperation had invited the Chief Minister to grace a programme in China where there will also be discussions on trade and commerce. Banerjee will also address it. There are possibilities that the Chief Minister would be visiting Beijing, Yunnan Province and Jiangsu Province during her visit to China. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThere would be discussions to attract investment for Bengal in food processing, automobile, healthcare, tourism and IT sectors. The development that Bengal has witnessed in the past six-and-a-half-years will be highlighted in the programmes and it will also come up during discussions with industrialists from different provinces of China. The state’s number one position in Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in the country will also be highlighted. It is learnt that state Finance Minister Amit Mitra along with senior officials of the state government will be accompanying the Chief Minister during her China visit. A team of top industrialists from the city will also be a part of the Chief Minister’s delegation. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedDignitaries from China had invited the Chief Minister to their country during their visit to the state. Banerjee had earlier visited Singapore, Dacca, London, Scotland, Italy and Germany. Now, she would be visiting China. It may also be recalled that during her visit to Singapore in 2014, Governor of Yunnan Province Li Jiheng had met her and invited her to visit China. Again in 2015, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuan Chao had visited Kolkata and invited her to visit China. It may be recalled that around 30 industrialists from China had visited the Bengal Global Business Summit this year, including 10 industrialists who had visited India for the first time.The visit of the top industrialists from China in the BGBS had helped establish a connection with them and the business from the state. The Chief Minister’s visit to China in such a situation will ensure more investment for Bengal.
It’s time for the bibliophiles to rejoice as the Bengali Book Fair is back again. Organised by the Bengal association, the six day festival will mark its beginning from March 14 with an aim to preserve and expand the rich cultural heritage of Bengal at the Kali Bari premises in the national Capital. Started in 1998, at Sapru House, the Bengali Book Fair, popularly known as “Boi Mela” has grown to become the third largest Bengali Book Fair in India with publishers and book sellers from West Bengal, NorthEast India, Delhi and even from Bangladesh participating in the fair. This year, in the the 16th edition of the book fair there will be more than 60 stalls to accommodate publishers like Ananda, Deys, Rupa, Oxford, Niyogi, Abhijan, Lalmati, Sristisukh, Gangchil, Deb Sahitya Kutir and many more. With the book fair in mind, Bengalis from in and around Delhi are planning to huddle up to take home some new books. “I hope to get my hands on some rare Bengali classics. I am very excited for it,” said Tirtho Bose, a senior IT professional living in CR Park. The Book Fair is topped with literary festival in the afternoon and cultural programmes depicting grandeur and depth of Bengali culture and art in the evening. Renowned literary personalities like Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Nabanita Deb Sen, Painter Jogen Choudhury has honed the responsibilities of the Chief guest during various edition of the fair. This year eminent literary person Swapnamoy Chakraborty, Anita Agnihotri and Senior Government Officers like Dr Nandita Chatterjee, Atanu Chakraborty, Anuradha Mitra, Ranjan Mukherjee and other dignitaries will be present during the inauguration. “I am very fond of Bengali novels but in Delhi, they are not easily available. It’s going to be a nice week after Holi and I am hoping to get some good books,” said Shayan Das, a Delhi-based engineering student. During the six days of the festival, literary figures like Kinnar Ray, Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharya, Mandakranta Sen, Sadique Hossain, Shirsho Bondopadhyay, Binod Ghoshal, Subhro Bondopadhyay, Sridarshini Chakraborty will participate in various literary discussions. Famous actor Sabyasachi Chakroborty, business icon Satyam Ray choudhury and Ayan Dey will also remain present on various days. The conclusive day will see the presence of Sarod Maestro Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan. During the evening, cultural programmes will see artists from Delhi and Jaipur performing along with famous names like Satinath Mukhopadhyay, Ratna Mitra, Shraboni Sen, Suvomita and Lopamudra Mitra. Apart from these, there will be various contests for children like sit n’ draw, recitation, singing and quiz. There will be a lucky draw every day and the winners will be awarded with discount coupons for books.Established in 1958 with an aim to preserve and expand the rich heritage of Bengal through various cultural and social organizations in New Delhi, Bengal Association is a federative body of Bengali cultural associations, Bengali-medium schools and drama organizations spread across the national Capital. Besides cultural events throughout the year, Bengal Association organises Cine Festival, health camps and provide legal aid to needy persons. One of its noble projects includes helping the needy artists by providing them health insurances.
Sons of older fathers are more intelligent, more focused on their interests and less concerned about fitting in, all characteristics typically seen in ‘geeks’, suggests new research.While previous research linked older paternal age to risk of autism and schizophrenia, this study published in Translational Psychiatry suggests that children of older fathers may also have certain advantages over their peers in educational and career settings.”We have known for a while about the negative consequences of advanced paternal age, but now we have shown that these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects,” said Magdalena Janecka from King’s College London. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe researchers collected behavioural and cognitive data from Britain’s 15,000 twin pairs in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS).When the twins were 12 years old, they completed online tests that measured ‘geek-like’ traits.Using this information, the researchers computed a ‘geek index’ for every child in the study and higher geek index scores were reported in the sons of older fathers. In addition, they found that ‘geekier’ children do better in school exams, particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.These results also have implications for understanding links between higher paternal age, autism and characteristics typically seen in ‘geeks’. The researchers think that some of the genes for ‘geekiness’ and for autism are overlapping, and that those genes are more likely to be present in older fathers.
Kolkata: To Curb the growing number of drug abuse cases in Kolkata, the city police has chalked out a plan to raise awareness among people in the run-up to June 26, International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.This year, the theme is #unitedagainstdrugs. The Kolkata Police has planned to reach out to maximum people through a competition. “Take a picture while performing any activity such as dancing, reading, running, sleeping, singing, playing, studying, writing or laughing. Put it up on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook with caption — “SAY YES TO (the activity that is seen in the picture eg. reading, running etc); SAY NO TO DRUGS”. Hashtag it with #kolkatapolice #unitedagainstdrugs in Instagram/Twitter/Facebook”, said a senior police officer. The three most innovative pictures will be felicitated by the Kolkata Police.(With inputs from Indian Express)
Kolkata: The descendants of Rani Rashmoni will write to the general manager Metro Railway to take proper steps to repair the cracks that have come up on the 215-year-old heritage building.Earlier, they had requested the Metro Railway authorities to conduct hydrographic survey of the 215-year-old structure that developed cracks due to the use of boring machine for the construction of the underground tunnel of the East-West Metro. The construction of the affected building at 13, Rani Rashmoni Road began in 1790 and ended in 1804. The descendents felt that proper precaution should have been taken before the construction of the underground tunnel. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataPrasun Hazra, one of the descendents of Rani Rashmoni, said the cracks that have appeared on the rood and verandah have widened as they have not been repaired properly. “Water is sipping and the old structure is under serious threat,” he said adding that the metro rail authorities should have conducted a thorough survey before staring the work of the underground channel. He said hydrographic survey had been conducted at Dakshineshwar temple at the time of repairing the embankment. The survey was conducted by the Kolkata Port Trust. He said repairing of the cracks should be carried out in an orderly manner and under proper supervision. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateRani Rashmoni’s house is a witness to major historical events. There are four buildings at Janbazar. Michael Madhusudan Dutt, who was a barrister-at–law by profession, had visited the house in connection with a law suit. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who used to call Rani Rashmoni pishima (aunt), and had come to attend Durga Puja celebrations there. His presence was not liked by many guests, who refused to take food with him, as he was in favour of widow remarriage. Sri Ramakrishna, who was close to the family particularly to Mathur Mohon Biswas, Rani’s son-in-law, came to the house during Durga Puja and worshipped goddess Durga as “sakhi.” He intervened when Mathur Mohon refused to immerse the idol.
To mark the 115th anniversary of the Taj Group of Hotels, Delhi’s iconic 5-star hotel Taj Palace has raised Rs 2.8 crore through an auction of a fascinating lineup of Indian modern and contemporary art. The 40 per cent of money was further donated to the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust, the hotel said in statement released on August 10, 2019. The Trust reaches out to those affected by adversities, like victims of terrorism, natural disasters and members of the armed forces, to help rebuild their lives. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAlso, the rest 60 per cent of the amount raised will go to DAG. The works, curated from art gallery DAG’s collection, of Amrita Sher-Gil, F N Souza, M F Husain, S H Raza, Jamini Roy, K H Ara, Sohan Qadri and Sakti Burman, to name a few were auctioned. An untitled graphite-on-paper by Sher-Gil (1913-41) went under the hammer for Rs 70 lakh in the Friday auction. Another key painting by world-renowned artist M F Husain (1913-2011), a 1982 watercolour titled ‘That Obscure Object of Desire’ sold for Rs 22 lakh. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveTaj’s live auction ‘Art from the Heart’ was a no-reserve and no buyers premium one. “Each work has been picked to reflect a wide swathe of Indian art. When curating the selection, we ensured the periods they represent are varied (from 1952 to 2005), that the works are in different mediums, and that the genres range from figurative to abstract, from heads to landscapes, from folk modernism to high modernism,” Ashish Anand, MD and CEO of DAG, the curating gallery, had earlier told.
On August 24, 2018, the Spanish government took a step closer to exhuming the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco and removing them from the memorial near Madrid where they have lain since he died in 1975. The memorial has long been a subject of debate.To some surprise, socialist Pedro Sánchez came to power as prime minister in June, replacing Mariano Rajoy and his conservative administration.Within days of taking office, Sánchez announced that his government wanted to move Franco to a more modest burial place, as part of an effort to atone for the civil war that tore Spain apart and the brutal repression that followed the conflict.Flowers above Franco’s tomb.The memorial, a basilica and its giant stone cross, dominate the Valle de los Caídos, or Valley of the Fallen. They were built by Franco to honor those who “fell for God and Spain” in his 1939 victory in the Spanish Civil War.But some say the memorial was built using forced labor from political prisoners between 1940 and 1958.Francisco Franco.Exhumation of Franco has aroused protests from right-wing parties and the Franco Foundation. While Friday’s approval was a victory for Sánchez and his new government, the Senate must approve the decree before it can be implemented.“The government has approved a decree that modifies two aspects of the 2007 [Historical Memory] law,” said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo at a press conference Friday following the cabinet meeting.Tombstone of Gen. Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain, buried in the Shrine of the Valley of the Fallen.“The decree will permit the exhumation of the remains of the dictator Francisco Franco from the place where the victims of the conflict lie,” she said, referring to the Valley of the Fallen monument.“Having the tomb of Franco there means a lack of respect and peace for the victims who are buried within,” Calvo said. “Democracy is not compatible with a state tomb that honors the memory of Franco.”Top 5 Female Spies of WW2The Franco family will be given 15 days from August 31st to propose a new burial site, and should they fail to do so, the Spanish government will choose a “dignified and respectful” place for him to be reinterred, Calvo said.Asked why the government has chosen to do this now, Calvo answered: “We are late with this, we are all late with this, us too, but this government headed by Pedro Sánchez will not be late.”Valley of the fallen church, the place where the dictator Francisco Franco is buried.The site is near the town of San Lorenzo de el Escorial, about an hour’s drive northwest of Madrid, and is one of Europe’s largest mass graves, housing the remains of at least 33,000 people.According to The New York Times, “Most had fought for Franco, but the monument also contains the bones of many of his Republican opponents who were anonymously dumped there, some of which were allegedly gathered from mass graves across the country in order to swell the numbers.”Some families are demanding that their loved ones be returned to them for proper burial. This could lead to mass exhumations.A statue of Franco in Santander that was removed in 2008Paul Preston, a British historian and biographer of Franco, told The New York Times that Spain was an anomaly in Europe in keeping a “place of pilgrimage for its fascist dictator” — there are no monuments to Adolf Hitler in Germany or in Austria and no memorial to Benito Mussolini in Italy.Among the more than 250,000 visitors to the Valle de los Caídos each year, Mr. Preston said, many are devotees of Franco “brought up to believe that he was a benefactor for Spain.”San Lorenzo de El Escorial, SpainThe right-wing Franco Foundation, which promotes a positive interpretation of the Franco regime, has long opposed any plans to move the leader’s remains. Juan Chicharro Ortega, president of the foundation, said that the past should be left alone by politicians.A banner reading ¡No pasarán! Madrid will be the graveyard of fascism from the Siege of Madrid. Photo taken by Soviet journalist Mikhail Koltsov.In a Facebook post, the Franco Foundation pledged to take legal action against the government if it passes and implements the decree, which it believes violates Spain’s constitution.Read another story from us: John Lennon’s Assassin Denied ParoleThe military general governed the country from 1939 until his death in 1975 after leading nationalist forces to victory in the Spanish Civil War, a conflict in which half a million people lost their lives.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.
When the Great Depression hit America, millions of people were forced to rely on their wits to survive. From the end of the “Roaring Twenties” through to the conclusion of the Thirties, the nation was reeling from the impact of the Stock Market Crash. History.com wrote that “By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.”With everything except misery in short supply, making do was the only option. Clothes were a classic example. Fashion was by far the first consideration — yet there was already something in place to ensure that clothes could be made from things lying around the house.An impoverished American family living in a shanty, 1936Going back almost a hundred years before the time of the Depression, a change happened in the way goods were transported. Potatoes, flour and animal feed had previously traveled the world in barrels. Now, for reasons of cost, the sturdy wooden containers were replaced with fabric sacks.Companies then observed the sacks being recycled as clothes and decided to market these unlikely objects as possible fashion items. Sacks would arrive ready-printed with attractive images like sunshine and flowers.A group of smiling female workers pose with sacks of flour in the grounds of a British mill during the First World WarAs a 2017 article for Slate.com noted, “By 1925, at least one company, Gingham Girl flour, packaged its goods in dress-quality fabric and used its sacks as a selling point. By the Depression years, printed sacks were widely reused.”Dresses and other creations were worked on by enterprising families. The National Museum of American History wrote that “With feed sacks and flour bags, farm women took thriftiness to new heights of creativity, transforming the humble bags into dresses, underwear, towels, curtains, quilts, and other household necessities.”Children’s clothing made from flour sacksThere was the tricky matter of the manufacturer’s name to consider. Slate mentions a booklet titled Sewing with Cotton Bags, produced by The Textile Bag Manufacturers Association in 1933, which was “advising consumers how to get company logos out of sacks.”For example “you had to soak the logo’s ink in lard or kerosene overnight. By the late 1930s, companies began to use soluble inks that made the process much easier.”Circa 1939: Workers filling colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesSo eventually there was far more to the humble potato sack than a means of shipping spuds. The style endures into the modern day vintage market, though it shouldn’t be forgotten that its origins lie in a period of unimaginable hardship.Embroidered Flour Sack Photo by Kansas Historical Society“For many women in rural America,” Slate said, “use of these sacks for clothing was a mark of poverty. Soaking off logos, dying fabrics, and using embellishments of ribbon, rickrack, embroidery, and decorative buttons helped make the feed sack dress or shirt less distinguishable from ‘store bought’ garments.”Warehouse worker wheeling colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesRelated Video: California Rodeo at Salinas in 1935:Quoted is an off-color joke made by a company manager after the Depression in 1946, which went, “They used to say that when the wind blew across the South you could see our trade name on all the girls’ underpants”.Bakery Company men wearing an old flour sack (Reeve 014803). Photo by National Museum of Health and Medicine CC BY SA 2.0The Depression ended, but not before the national psyche had been forever scarred. And there was an intriguing footnote to the story of sack fabric “fashion”, involving a true American icon.In a famous photo from 1951, Marilyn Monroe posed wearing a burlap potato sack. The reason this happened is still debated. One version of the tale goes that a prudish female journalist had deemed Monroe to be far from classy, and better suited to wearing a sack.Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in a dress made out of an Idaho potato sack in 1951 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Earl Theisen/Getty ImagesThe actress obliged, and Twentieth Century Fox were happy to set up the publicity-attracting snap. A different take claims a comment that Marilyn’s beauty would improve even a potato sack was the source of the bizarre picture. Despite the Hollywood mischief-making, there was a serious social undercurrent even years after the Depression.Timeline.com wrote in a 2018 piece that “According to Monroe, the photos were so successful that an Idaho potato farmer actually sent her a whole sack of potatoes as a thank you for the generous publicity, but Monroe apparently never got to enjoy them, saying: ‘There was a potato shortage on then, and the boys in publicity stole them all. I never saw one.’”Read another story from us: Great Depression Grub – 5 Makeshift Meals People Made when Food was ScarceAn ironic development in a situation heavily associated with one of America’s saddest periods.
Gift giving is a wonderful thing: getting something you’ve always wanted, sometimes you get to see someone’s joy upon opening what you got them. But what about when gift giving goes wrong? What if it didn’t come with a gift receipt? Do you keep it? In 1967, the Vietnam War had been in full swing for over a decade already. Many Americans wanted to do whatever they could to get the violence to stop, including the President of the United States of America, Lyndon B. Johnson.After attending a funeral in Australia, President Johnson inexplicably opted to postpone his trip back to America in mid-December. Air Force One continued on to Thailand and Vietnam, visiting U.S. troops stationed there, and even to Pakistan to meet with President Ayub Khan.Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson while sporting her iconic bouffant hairstyle, 1966The suspected real reason of prolonging the trip, though, was the penultimate visit just two days before Christmas. After meeting with Italy’s President and Prime Minister, President Johnson was welcomed by the head of the Catholic Church.It goes without saying that peace was a desperate hope for Vietnam. The conflict wouldn’t end for another eight years yet, but in 1967, LBJ was hoping he may be able to enlist one of the world’s most influential figures to extend an olive branch to eastern affairs.President Lyndon B. Johnson awards the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant Marty A. Hammer, in Vietnam.Despite the questionable landing by a pushy American, setting down a helicopter right in the Vatican’s front garden, the two men established the closest relationship to date between the Bishop of Rome and an American President. This is perhaps seen best during a ceremony in which they exchanged Christmas gifts. They didn’t simply fill each other’s stockings with chocolates and new socks, however.Pope Paul VIPresident Johnson had the good fortune of receiving an elaborate oil painting which dated back to the 15th century. It featured an appropriate Christmas theme: the nativity scene. The Virgin Mary, Joseph, and newborn Jesus are depicted in the manger, being watched over by angels.The Pope, in return, was graced with the reception of a bronze bust of the American president. The current American president. Yes, Lyndon B. Johnson handed over a statuette carved in his own likeness to the head of the Catholic Church. Needless to say that the Pope, solidly and understandably bemused, along with others present at the gift exchange were surprised and entertained.Picture of Pope Paul VIPerhaps even more strange than the gift itself was the fact that President Johnson had not one, not two, nor three made, but “something like two hundred busts of himself,” said James Symington, the State Department’s Chief of Protocol at the time. “To make a mass-production gesture really boggles the mind.”The Pope, therefore, wasn’t the only recipient of the bust. As the President traveled the holiday season from Australia westward, he canvassed his meetings with this bizarre gift. Leaders across South East Asia were all presented one of the statuettes. They came in different colors and the president himself would decide who got white, who got bronze, and so on.Bust of LBJIt’s hard to say what became of these gifts. Tenuous and ever-changing relationships with other countries could have decided which world leaders decided to keep theirs.Read another story from us: The Youngest Pope in History Might Have Also Been the WorstAs far as the Pope goes, there is no official record of what he did with his Christmas present. It could have been tossed the day after President Johnson left, or Pope Paul could have admired the bust for years to come. One thing is certain: it is not a collector’s item, and fate dictates that there must still be at least one copy out there.
In The Herd today:Colin’s Takes:Billy Donovan is the best coach in the Western Conference Finals.The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight and the entire system needs an overhaul.The Lakers future depends on getting a top 3 draft pick tonight, but if they do they’ll probably trade it away.Ben Simmons will probably be the #1 Pick in the NBA Draft, but he may not be a superstar.Today’s Guests Include:Tom Tolbert – Golden St. Warriors Radio Analyst breaks down the Warriors chances in the Western Conference Finals after dropping Game 1, his thoughts on potential #1 pick Ben Simmons, and Colin being caught in a “Rain Tsunami”.Lenny Dykstra – Always controversial 3-Time MLB All Star and World Series Champ discusses the Jose Bautista fight, drug use in baseball, and the current state of the game.Jason Whitlock – Whitlock talks NBA Western Conference Finals, picking the Thunder in 6, why Billy Donovan is the best coach left in the Playoffs, and why current NBA players don’t fear Steph Curry.Reggie Bush – Former USC Trojan and current NFL RB reminisces about his days as a Trojan, his current relationship with the USC, the difficulty of dealing with injuries, and his NFL future.