Volcanic eruption nearly ended all life on earth

A volcanic eruption nearly obliterated all life on earth 260 million years ago, new research has revealed.

The blast was on a scale that has never been seen by humans and happened even before dinosaurs came along when Earth teemed with creatures which are now extinct.

Lava and ash spewed up from beneath a shallow ocean that once covered Emeishan in southwestern China and rained down on primitive plants and animals across a single supercontinent known as Pangea - which later split into Africa, South America, Australia and Antarctica.

It unleashed around half a million cubic kilometres of lava, covering an area five times the size of Wales.

Scientists were able to pinpoint the exact timing of the eruption and directly link it to a mass extinction event because the lava appears now as a distinctive layer of igneous rock formed from magma sandwiched between sedimentary rock containing easily datable fossilised marine life.

Palaeontologist Professor Paul Wignall, of the University of Leeds, said: "When fast flowing, low viscosity magma meets shallow sea it's like throwing water into a chip pan there's spectacular explosion producing gigantic clouds of steam."

The injection of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere - caused by the lava mixing with water - would have lead to massive cloud formation spreading around the world.

This cooled the planet and ultimately resulted in a torrent of acid rain. Scientists estimate from the fossil record that the environmental disaster happened at the start of the eruption.

Geologists generally agree a number of important events in Earth's history happened around this time including the break-up of Pangaea - the original super continent- and a likely change in planetary climate.

There was also a mass extinction of life on Earth when 96 percent of all ocean species and about 70 percent of all land species became extinct.

Giant explosive eruptions such as these may have impacted the planet's climate because large eruption columns could spread ash particles and toxic gasses into the upper atmosphere and around the globe.

Added Prof Wignall, whose findings are published in Science: "The abrupt extinction of marine life we can clearly see in the fossil record firmly links giant volcanic eruptions with global environmental catastrophe, a correlation that has often been controversial."

IT Companies firing employees

Day by day news about the giant IT companies in the financial sector is probably true ,a bad news is unfortunate for the employees. With most of the Indian companies having the peak financial corporate as their big customers and with these big customers like Merrill Lynch, Lehman, Bear Sterns and other Financial Institutes landing in big trouble due to the financial sector melt down - the Indian IT companies started feeling the heat.

With their mis-calculated hedging strategies of the Rupee-Dollar exchange charge, most of the IT companies are not in a position to completely get the benefit of Rupee reduction. There has been news related to HP firing 24000 + employee over the next few years. News is also about Infy firing, Satyam firing, Wipro firing, TCS firing their employees. The Indian top IT companies however are maintaining the position that the firing or layoffs that they do may be related to the performance of these employees and not necessarily relate to the financial meltdown and its impact on their revenues.

Whatever is the motive the IT companies firing the employee may send a bad signal and things may be bad for many IT professionals.


Microsoft Surface had determined to puts people in control of their experiences with technology, making everyday tasks pleasurable, enjoyable and efficient one. Imagine ordering a drink during a meal with just the tip of a finger. Imagine rapid browsing through music and dragging favorite songs onto a personal playlist by moving a finger across the screen. Imagine creating and sending a personal postcard of vacation pictures instantly to friends and family, while still wearing flip-flops.

Surface also features the capability to recognize physical objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes, i.e. imagine a customer simply sets a wine glass on the surface of a table, a restaurant could provide them with information about the wine they’re ordering, pictures of the vineyard it came from and suggested food pairings modified to that evening’s menu. The experience could become completely immersive, allowing the users to access information on the wine-growing region and even look at suggested hotels and plan a trip without leaving the table.

Surface computing at Microsoft is a result of a shared effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Microsoft Research teams, which were struck by the opportunity to create technology that would bridge the physical and virtual worlds.

Four features key attributes are listed below:

Direct interaction: Users can actually “capture” digital information directly with hands, interacting with content by touch and sign, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.

Multi-touch: Surface computing recognizes many points of contact all together, not just from one finger like a usual touch-screen, but dozens of items at once.

Multi-user: The horizontal form factor makes it simple for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience.

Object recognition: Users can place physical objects on the surface to activate different types of digital responses, including the move of digital content.