The Indian print media has observed that e-tailers should minimise use of plastic used for packaging of goods. Papers have recalled the yeoman services rendered by space Hubble and the shutting down of Google+ (plus) social media platform have been commented upon by the Indian papers.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES in an editorial FOR SHOPPING SPRESS SANS PLASTIC EXCESS writes the e-commerce packaging industry was estimated to be worth $ 32 billion in 2015 and conservatively projected to grow to $ 73 billion by 2020.There is no formal assessment of the share of plastic but given the use of multiple layers of plastic, thermocol, bubble wrap, air packets and masking tape used, the share of plastic is considerable. Packaging is one of the main drivers of the growth of the plastics industry in India. Minimising damage to products in transit is a legitimate objective. But wholly non-fragile goods made of, say, cloth also get as much cushioning as a piece of glass or china. Given its commercial success, the e-commerce sector must now focus on sustainability. This is also an opportunity for innovation. Minimising plastic packaging will slash hydrocarbon use, and the import bill, as well as emissions.

THE INDIAN EXPRESS in an editorial CAUGHT NAPPING says the Hubble Space Telescope, which represents the greatest leap forward in astronomy since Galileo turned his telescope on the rings of Saturn, has been put in safe mode following age-related malfunctions in the gyroscopes that align it to the light of distant stars. They are not for navigation, as in ships and aircraft, but the craft uses the centripetal force of gyroscopic spin for steering. Gyroscopes align the telescope’s mirrors to targets with the accuracy of a sniper in Gibraltar hitting a bull’s eye in Kamchatka. The telescope has been in service since 1990 and, despite five service missions made by space shuttles, time has taken a toll on its crucial moving parts. In almost three decades in orbit, far above atmospheric effects and the background light of civilisation which dims the vision of earthbound telescopes, Hubble has sent back 1.3 million observations amounting to about 150 terabytes of data.It has photographed light from shortly after the Big Bang (on an astronomical timescale) when the oldest known galaxy, GN-z11 in Ursa Major, was forming. Its observations support the theory that “dark energy”, undetected by instruments, pervades the universe.

FINANCIAL EXPRESS in an editorial SECURITY BOOST opines after the shutting down of its social media platform, Google+, following reports that user data was being compromised, Google has announced changes to the way it facilitates apps in accessing end-users’ Gmail data, call logs and SMS. The changes are part of “Project Strobe”, a grassroots review of third-party developer access to Google accounts and Android-device data. Currently, apps coerce users into sharing data wholesale—the permissions dialogue box summarily seeks permission for access to, say, mail, contacts, SMS, gallery, etc—and, in most cases, denying permission for even one feature means the app may not simply work. Google’s new move should give users greater control over what data they share and end apps’ coercive permission-seeking. It will allow you, say, when an app wants access to your Gmail data, to grant or deny permission for each Gmail feature (inbox, outbox, sent, contacts, etc) separately. In a blog post on October 8, Google said only Android applications that users select as their ‘default apps’ for making calls or texting will be able to request access to such data. Thus, not only are permissions going to come unbundled and transparent, certain applications, based on their core functionality, can’t ask for access to data that is not considered integral to their functioning.

  Script: Padam Singh, AIR: News Analyst