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Witnessing from in and Out

Shri Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib, or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is a voluminous text of 1430 Angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708. It is a collection of hymns (shabda) or baani describing the qualities of God and why one should meditate on God’s name. Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth guru, affirmed the sacred text Adi Granth as his successor, elevating it to Guru Granth Sahib. The text remains the holy scripture of the Sikhs, regarded as the teachings of the Ten Gurus. The role of Adi Granth, as a source or guide of prayer, is pivotal in worship in Sikhism
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Retreat of the Gangotri Glacier

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Many scientists regard receding glaciers as a symptom of global climate change.
While certain types of glaciers—such as surge glaciers and tidewater glaciers— are actually expanding, there are many
areas where scientists report glaciers are wasting away and that climate change is the culprit.

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For instance, 150 years ago
there were 147 glaciers in Glacier
National Park. Today, only 37 glaciers remain, and scientists say they will likely completely melt by the year 2030.

Similarly, glaciers all across the Alps are retreating and disappearing every year.
What causes any given glacier to grow or shrink over time? Scientists at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in concert with NASA and the National
Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), are developing a global inventory of all the world’s glaciers to help researchers trackeach glacier’s history.

The inventory combines current information on size and movement with historical data, maps, and photos of each glacier.

The purpose is to better enable scientists to correlate changes in each glacier with any shifts in local climate, such as temperature or precipitation changes.

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(For more information, read the featurearticle entitled Sizing Up the Earth’s Glaciers. )
But it is not feasible to visit and measure every major glacier on Earth. There are almost 160,000 glaciers in Earth’s polar
regions and high mountain
environments. Therefore, researchers are increasingly using satellite remote sensors to routinely survey our world’s
glaciers in a fraction of the time and cost it would otherwise take.

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The false-color image above shows the Gangotri Glacier, situated in the
Uttarkashi District of Garhwal Himalaya.

Currently 30.2 km long and between 0.5 and 2.5 km wide, Gangotri glacier is one of the largest in the Himalaya.

Gangotri has been receding since 1780, although studies show its retreat quickened after 1971. (Please note that the blue contour
lines drawn here to show the recession of the glacier’s terminus over time are approximate.) Over the last 25 years, Gangotri glacier has retreated more than
850 meters, with a recession of 76
meters from 1996 to 1999 alone.
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NASA image by Jesse Allen, Earth
Observatory; based on data provided by the ASTER Science Team. Glacier retreat boundaries courtesy the Land Processes
Distributed Active Archive Center.
Instrument: Terra – ASTER
Retreat of the Gangotri Glacier
June 23, 2004
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General Info Technology

Secret mobile phone code cracked

Secret mobile phone code cracked

Computer hackers this week said they had cracked and published the secret code that protects 80 per cent of the world’s mobile phones. The move will leave more than 3bn people vulnerable to having their calls intercepted, and could force mobile phone operators into a costly upgrade of their networks.

Karsten Nohl, a German encryption expert, said he had organised the hack to demonstrate the weaknesses of the security measures protecting the global system for mobile communication (GSM) and to push mobile operators to improve their systems.

“This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate,” Mr Nohl told an audience of about 600 people at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, a four-day conference of computer hackers.

“We have given up hope that network operators will move to improve security on their own, but we are hoping that with this added attention, there will be increased demand from customers for them to do this,” he told the Financial Times.

“This vulnerability should have been fixed 15 years ago. People should now try it out at home and see how vulnerable their calls are.”

Mr Nohl was due to run a practical demonstration of the code book at the conference on Wednesday, but has postponed it while he takes advice from lawyers on whether the exercise would be legal. However, the code is already being widely circulated on the internet.

Mr Nohl, a widely consulted cryptography expert with a doctorate in computer engineering from the University of Virginia, waged a similar campaign this year which caused the DECT Forum, a standards group based in Bern, to upgrade the security algorithm for 800m cordless home phones.

The hacked GSM code could compromise more than 3bn people in 212 countries. It does not affect 3G phone calls, however, which are protected by a different security code.

The GSM Association, the industry body for mobile phone operators, which devised the A5/1 encryption algorithm 21 years ago, said they were monitoring the situation closely.

“We are concerned but we don’t believe it will result in widespread eavesdropping tomorrow, or next week or next month,” said James Moran, security director of the GSMA.

“The reality is that a practical attack is beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of people,” he said.

However, security experts disagreed, saying that cracking the code significantly lowered the bar for intercepting calls.

“A year ago it would have required equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and serious expertise to listen in to a call,” said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive of Cellcrypt, a mobile phone encryption company.

“Today it is going to require $1,500 of network equipment and a computer. It is getting down to a mainstream price tag and moving to the point when it will be straightforward to do,” he continued.

“A skilled computer engineer can now build this,” said Mr Nohl.

Mr Moran said that if the hack was thought to pose a serious practical threat, the GSM Association could force all GSM operators to upgrade their security systems to use a stronger form of encryption.

The GSMA has done this once before, in 2004, when security flaws were discovered in another security code, known as A5/2, and operators across Latin America, Asia and Africa were forced to upgrade their networks.

A security upgrade could prove very costly, however, as some operators would have to replace their old base stations completely, Mr Moran said. The A5/2 upgrade, for example, took about 18 months.

A decision on whether to upgrade to a stronger code could be taken at the next meeting of the GSMA security group in February.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009.