Saturday, December 31, 2011

Deep-sea images reveal colorful life off Indonesia

Scientistsusing cutting-edge technology to explore waters off Indonesia were wowed bycolorful and diverse images of marine life on the ocean floor - includingplate-sized sea spiders and flower-like sponges that appear to be carnivorous.

They predicted Thursday that as many as 40 new plant and animal species mayhave been discovered during the three-week expedition that ended Aug. 14.

More than 100 hours of video and 100,000 photographs, captured using a roboticvehicle with high-definition cameras, were piped to shore in real-time bysatellite and high-speed Internet.

Verena Tunnicliffe, a professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, saidthe images provided an extraordinary glimpse into one of the globe's mostcomplex and little-known marine ecosystems.

"Stalked sea lilies once covered the ocean, shallow and deep, but now arerare," she said in a written statement. "I've only seen a few in mycareer. But on this expedition, I was amazed to see them in greatdiversity."

Likewise, Tunnicliffe has also seen sea spiders before, but those were tiny incomparison, all around one-inch (2.5 centimeters) long: "The sea spiders... on this mission were huge. Eight-inches (20-centimeters) or moreacross."

One animal captured on video looks like a flower, covered with glasslikeneedles, but scientists think it is probably a carnivorous sponge. The spikes,covered with sticky tissue, appear to capture food as it passes by.

Scientists used powerful sonar mapping system and the robotic vehicle toexplore nearly 21,000 square miles (54,000 sq. kilometers) of sea floor offnorthern Indonesia, at depths ranging from 800 feet (240 meters) to over twomiles (1.6 kilometers).

The mission was carried out by the U.S. National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration's ship, the Okeanos Explorer. An Indonesian vessel, the BarunaJaya IV, also took part, collecting specimens that, together with all rightsfor future use, will remain in the country.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Indonesian kitchen: Nutmeg in your pot

Whohas never heard of nutmeg?

Merchants and adventurers sailing from the western hemisphere and seekingfortunes in the East once considered this spice one of the top commodities nextto cloves.

But where does nutmeg actually come from? According to history books, theregion of Maluku and the small island of Banda are places where the nutmegtrade began in times gone by.

People in the region regard the nutmeg tree and its fruit as one of the mostbeautiful and useful plants around. On opening the fruit, we can see thenet-shaped fuli (mace), which has a blazing deep red-orange color. This notonly serves as a flavor enhancer but can also be used as a very attractivedecoration for dark-colored dishes such as semur (stew), which is usuallyprepared with the addition of sweet soy sauce.

Many different stews in Indonesian cuisine have a pinch of nutmeg or some macein them to enhance the flavor. In fact, most Indonesian stews are of westernculinary influence, such as semur, the name of which is derived from the wordschmoren from the German word meaning "braising".

The Germans must have introduced their schmoren technique to the region viamissionaries spreading Christianity in the area, or who went to the Netherlandsand taught locals there how to make the German dish schmorbraten. From theNetherlands, the Dutch then took this dish to the Dutch East Indies(Indonesia).

Anyway, semur is now a well known dish in Indonesia, and some regions havespecific regional varieties of it. In many cases, semur is flavored with apinch of nutmeg. In most cases, semur varieties are made with a spice pastecomprising shallots, garlic, pepper, sweet soy sauce and a pinch of nutmeg.

These ingredients are stir fried until they become aromatic.

After preparing these basic ground spices and soy sauce, the dish is easy tomake. With its main ingredients ready it can be made in less than half an hour.The classic semur dish uses beef or chicken. And for those who like toexperiment, semur can be prepared with tofu or vegetables such as eggplant(aubergine).

Semur Betawi from Jakarta (made with beef or buffalo meat) is one of the morefamous examples, using shallots, garlic, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, groundpepper (black or white), ground cloves and semi-sweet soy sauce.

Whereas Semur Jawa from Central Java omits the cinnamon and only uses shallots,garlic, nutmeg, ground pepper, and whole cloves. The Semur Medan meanwhile,uses shallots, garlic, finely sliced red chili, ground pepper and nutmegwithout cinnamon and cloves - and for the soy sauce, a semi-sweet, rather saltyvariety is used.

Want to taste an excellent semur dish made with mace? According to many peoplethe Manado-style Smor Ikang (braised fish) has a very interesting spice mix.

Cut 500g clean freshwater fish into 2. Coat with 1 tsp salt. Cut 500g peeledpotatoes into serving pieces. Fry the potato and fish alternately in 300mlcooking oil until done and brownish. Drain. Grind 4 shallots, 3 cloves garlicand 15g ginger. Stir fry in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until aromatic. Add 3whole mace, 5 whole cloves, and pour in 300 ml water. Let it come to the boil.Add 3 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce and 2 sliced tomatoes. Season with 1 tspsalt (or to taste), 1/2 tsp ground pepper, and a pinch of granulated sugar. Letcome to the boil again. Just before removing the mixture from flame, add friedfish, fried potato and 50 g soaked glass noodles. Serves 4.

In many places, the fruit flesh is sweetened and called Manisan Pala. For thosehaving a taste of the preserved fruit flesh for the first time a rather tangytaste will be obvious. Some people suggest not to eat Manisan Pala too muchbecause it is addictive. It can also apparently induce drowsiness and if eatenin excess can have the same fatal result as an overdose of sleeping pills. Butnevertheless it is a very popular snack.

Bogor with its cool, rainy climate is one of Indonesia's most famous places forManisan Pala, where it is sold wet and dry. If you want to see what nutmeglooks like fresh, go to Bogor where you'll find nutmeg galore at thetraditional wet markets. If you feel inspired you could even check out Bogorplant sellers who sell nutmeg trees from 30cm high - perfect in an earthenwarepot to complement the sunny side of your terrace.

Nutmeg trees are also wonderful male and female trees. A male tree is able tofertilize ten to twenty female trees and they are called therefore "theharem" tree (a term coined by French botanist Nicolas Cere). And accordingto A Taste of India, (by Mary S. Atwood) the Shah of Persia, Sultan Husain1711, declared himself "The Sun of Glory and the nutmeg of Delight".

Mangrove Ecotours and Conservation

Onthe island of Nusa Lembongan, tour operators and environmentalists are workingtogether to protect a vital resource.

Found in tropical and subtropical tidal zones, mangroves are a natural defensefor coastal areas, serving as buffers against storms and erosion and providinga vital source of nutrients for fish and coral reefs.

Despite the critical role they play in coastal ecosystems, vast tracts ofmangrove forests are commonly cleared to make way for shrimp ponds orbeachfront developments.

In Nusa Lembongan, a small island southeast of Bali, local communities havebeen quietly nurturing their mangroves, not only as part of a larger effort topreserve coastal resources, but also as a way to develop ecotourism on theisland.

Wayan Sukitra, 47, said he recognized about 20 years ago that the mangroveclusters bordering the beach in his village of Jungutbatu could become anadditional attraction for tourists, who come mostly to dive in the island’scoral-rich waters and to enjoy its tranquil white-sand beaches. After meeting aFrench tourist who took a special interest in the mangroves, Wayan decided tomove forward with his idea and set about planting 150,000 mangrove trees.

Today, Wayan is one of 33 tour operators who provide boat rides through themangrove forest that now boasts 13 species of the tree and is home to 30 birdsspecies, minotaurs, lizards, crabs and a host of insects and butterflies.

The site attracts a regular stream of visitors, mostly from Australia andEurope. Several years ago, Wayan opened the Mangrove Bar and Restaurant, a cozyoutdoor eatery on a quiet beach among the mangroves.

“In the busiest months, from July to November, the restaurant brings in goodbusiness,” Wayan said with a modest smile, declining to disclose his profitmargin.

To keep the tourists coming, he added, the mangrove tour operators organize amonthly cleanup of the mangroves.

Three months ago, Nusa Lembongan was declared a “marine protected area,” alongwith the neighboring islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. The initiativeaims to protect the area’s marine resources, including the mangrove forests,coral reefs, fish stocks and seaweed farms.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kalimantan is one of the world`s flora center

KalimantanIsland (Borneo) is one of the world`s flora center because the diversity oftrees in a small plot of land in the island`s forest equals to those in thewhole Papua or South America, according to the forestry ministry`s a pressstatement.

The Island has the richest flora on the Sunda Islands because it has 10,000 to15,000 special of floral plants.
The flora diversity on the Borneo island is as rich as those in the wholeAfrica, which is 40 times bigger than Borneo.
The diversity of Borneo Island`s flora covers the Asian and Australian elementswith more than 3,000 trees, including 267 species of Dipterocarpaceae (58percent of them are endemic Dipterocarpaceae species) and belongs to the mostimportant commercial wood in Asia.

It has also over 2,000 orchid species, 1,000 fern species and various speciesof "kantong semar" (Nepenthes sp.).

The endemic plant rate is also very high, namely 34 percent of plant speciesand 59 plant families are only found on the island.

Kalimantan has the high biodiversity and flora rates thanks to its geographicalcondition. The majority of the island`s geography is in coastal abd river areasand the height of almost half of its land is below 150 meters of the sea level.

These conditions have made Kalimantan an ideal place for various floral plantsto grow.

Its tropical climate. constant temperature and high rainfall rate with evendistribution make the Borneo forests always green all the years.

Kalimantan is the world`s third largest island after Greenland and Irianisland. The island is located in three countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia(Serawak, Sabah), and Brunai Darusalam.

The island is part of the Sunda Island chain consisting of two parts, namelyBig Sunda Islands: Kalimantan, Java, and Sumatra; and Little Sunda Islands:Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Barat Daya Islands, and TanimbarIslands

Monday, December 19, 2011

Orangutan encounter in Borneo’s peat swamp forest

ByKathleen Morf Vandervust

After a hot and sleepless night under the tin roof of our guesthouse in BaunBango, it is time to make our way down to the pier to embark ontoSurahmansyah’s boat. The “official” forest ranger never arrived andSurahmansyah has offered to be our guide to the park today. He proudly pointsto his T-shirt saying that he has been trained by the WWF. Jacques and I are inCentral Kalimantan and on our way to Sebangau.

There is a cool morning breeze as we ride downstream to Karuing, the nextvillage. Tall trees border both sides of the Katingan River. A large boatfilled with cut logs is waiting for its next destination. A bare-chested olderman wades thigh-deep through the water, along the muddy coast, trying to find agood place to set up his net. Traveling on the rivers of Kalimantan is one ofthe best ways to get around. The island only has a few roads, which are not inthe best of shape, so it is easier, safer and quieter traveling on the islandsextensive waterways and there is always something to see.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Waterbirds in mangrove forests under threat

Thenumber of species and the populations of waterbirds in Muara Angke naturalconservation area, North Jakarta, have decreased because of water pollution andhuman encroachment into the area, an environmental organization says.

During its annual survey on Saturday, volunteers of Jakarta Green Monster (JGM)found 206 waterbirds, down from 333 last year, with only 18 species identified,down from last year’s 23.

JGM reported that the missing species were the Little Cormorant (Phalacrocoraxsulcirostris), Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana), White-browed Crake(Porzanna cinerea), Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) and Black-naped Tern(Sterna sumatrana).

However, a very rare species, the Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) andtwo endangered non waterbird species, Sunda Coucal (Centropus nigrorufus) andBlack-winged Starling (Acridotheres melanopterus), were spotted on Saturday.

JGM has been studying the Waterbirds in the area each year since 2006, inrecognition of World Wetland Day on Feb. 2, which marks the anniversary of thesigning of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1971.

JGM volunteer Ady Kristianto said water pollution and human encroachment werethe main causes of the decline in bird numbers. The darkened water in the areahad been heavily polluted because of an accumulation of plastics and styrofoamfrom the Angke River, he said.

Liquid waste from nearby housing complexes and makeshift houses was also dumpedthere.

“Water pollution has slowed the growth of mangrove trees, which provide shelterto the birds, and has also caused a decline of fish stocks, the main foodsource for waterbirds. Some species are unable to adapt and had flown away toless polluted areas,” he said.

Human encroachment had disrupted the habitat, Ady said.

Best Home Design Pictures and Lighting

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Interior and exterior lighting make it be a best home design
Lighting can change everything, by installing a proportional lighting for both interior and exterior, you house may become a best home design, lighting can improve the feature of decoration, color and theme.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Toba 'orchid paradise' yields 200 new species

Scientistssay they have found almost 200 new species of orchids in the Eden Park touristforest in Sionggang village in Toba Samosir, North Sumatra.

A group led by botanists and orchid experts Ria Telambanua and Michele Siraithas been exploring the area for years.

“We’ve successfully identified almost 200 species of forest orchids afteralmost four years of research. We intentionally haven’t published any of themfor the sake of preservation,” Ria said on Sunday in Toba Samosir.

The discovery of new orchid species was typically followed by large-scaleexploitation, she said.

The researchers identified the new species by identifying morphologicaldifferences, using orchid catalogues and by consulting with experts.

“This area is an orchid paradise. It has extraordinary natural riches. Thereare thousands more orchid species that have yet to be identified here,” shesaid as quoted by Antara.

Ria and Michele will launch a book on the new species late next month, Riasaid, adding that a portion of the profits would be donated to orchid experts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

At least 27 orchid species in Meru Betiri National Park

Atleast 27 species of orchids live and grow at the Meru Betiri National Park(TNMB) in East Java Province.

The national park`s staff had conducted an inventory on orchid species existingat the park and it found 27 species of orchids there, Heri Subagiadi, TNMBhead, said here on Monday.

"The 27 species of orchids grew well on a number of trees at the TNMBarea," he said.
Among the orchid species are Cleisostoma subulatum Bi, Corymborkis veratifoliaBi, Cymbidium sp, Dendribium crumenatum, and Flickingeria.

The inventory was conducted in the park`s sections of Banealit (Jember) andSarongan (Banyuwangi).

"We plan to conduct an inventory of orchid species in the whole area ofthe 58,000-hectare national park with the cooperation of anotherinstitution," he said.

Indonesia has more than 4,000 species of orchid, which are native to almostevery part of the archipelago. Kalimantan (Borneo) is the richest island innumbers of species of orchids in the world, Sumatra has 986 species, Java morethan 971, 123 found in Maluku at the eastern part of Indonesia and the Provinceof Papua has more than 1000, mainly Dendrobium and Bulbophyllum.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Electronic Brake Systems for Motorcycles

 Stability when braking is more important for motorcyclists than short stopping distance

As with cars, the primary objective when a motorcycle performs an emergency stop is to ensure that the vehicle remains stable.

 With cars, the aim is to retain steering control; but a locked-up wheel on a motorcycle will almost inevitably lead to a fall. So, sensors on the front and rear wheels calculate the speed at which the wheels are still turning while braking force is being applied and check whether a lock-up is imminent. In the latter case, the control unit will reduce the brake pressure to prevent lock-up and loss of stability and road adhesion.

A rear wheel lift-off protection system (RLP) is also available to motorcycle manufacturers as an option in addition to the basic MAB. RLP is able to detect even more sensitively – by employing, for example, a brake pressure sensor which automatically analyzes the hydraulic pressure in the braking system – whether the rear wheel is about to lift off during hard braking. In this case, the pressure in the front brake circuit is slightly reduced until the motorcycle has regained its stability.

The MAB's compact dimensions and light weight make it easier to integrate or "package" into the motorcycle's design. If the ABS unit only takes up a small amount of installation space, less adjustment is needed to the motorcycle's existing structures, to its frame, fuel tank or fairings. Size is therefore a decisive competitive criterion in addition to price – even more so with motorcycles than with cars because there is considerably less space available.

 Our Systems:
 Motorcycle Integral Brake Systems (MIB)
A control unit acts on both braking circuits in the MIB systems, with pressure being built up actively in the circuit not directly actuated via the pump.

Motorcycle Anti-lock Brake System (MAB)
The MAB offers improved braking control and thus greater driving safety thanks to optimum braking.

 Extended Control Functions:
 Rear-wheel Lift-off Protection (RLP)
In addition, the RLP function prevents the motorcycle rolling over through counter-measures such as moderate pressure modulation in the front brake.

Motorcycle Hold & Go (MHG)
Supports the motorcyclist actively in a driving-off situation on a inclining roads

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Temulawak: Herbal remedy with a modern touch

Justas ginseng is synonymous with Korea, temulawak or Java turmeric is a naturalmedical treasure native to Indonesia.

As part of Indonesia’s centuries-old traditional healing practices, temulawakhas long been used as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent in treatingmany ailments, including swelling, gastric and digestive problems, stiffmuscles, coughs and runny nose.

“As far as we know, temulawak can only be found in Indonesia,” says Gunawan T.,managing director of Helmigs Prima Sejahtera, a pharmaceutical and curcuminproducts manufacturer.

“There are some individuals in several countries, like Malaysia, who have doneresearch on their own varieties of temulawak at Yonsei University in SouthKorea, but the results show these plants are nothing like temulawak.”

So even if the Java turmeric exists elsewhere, Gunawan says, “I can confidentlysay the best temulawak comes from Indonesia.”

Having the best variety is one thing, but Indonesia can also churn out thestuff by the truckload.
Central Java and East Java, for instance, are just two of several provincesthat farm temulawak on a large scale.

East Java alone produces up to 9 million kilograms of ready-to-sell temulawakeach year. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s hometown of Pacitanin the province is the country’s temulawak hub, recording harvests of 5 millionkilograms of the tuber each year.

Gunawan’s company, Helmigs Prima Sejahtera, in the East Java capital Surabaya,is one of a handful of such manufacturers. Established in 1993, the companymarkets a range of products, including curcumin sugar-free effervescent,curcumin tablets, curcumin candy with Xylitol, and curcumin health drinks.

Factory manager Sutarko Tantra says the company processes several tons oftemulawak extract into ready-to-consume products each day, combiningtraditional and modern methods.

The modern methods include the measurement of the properties contained intemulawak and the packaging of the curcumin extract into tablets and sachetsusing a machine imported from China.

“We follow high standards with high quality control because we don’t onlymarket our products in Indonesia, but also overseas,” Sutarko says, adding theexport markets include Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada,the Netherlands, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.