Brainput system takes some brain strain off multitaskers

first_img © 2012 Phys.Org ( — A research team made up of members from Indiana University, Tufts and MIT and led by Erin Treacy Solovey, a has built a brain monitoring system that offloads some of the computer related activities a person is performing when multi-tasking begins causing stress. Called Brainput, the system makes use of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to monitor brain activity and a computer system to interpret the results and then to cause changes to tasks to reduce brain overload, i.e. when stress levels reach a certain point, the computer turns on autonomous computer activities that hopefully reduce the amount of stress the person is experiencing. Citation: Brainput system takes some brain strain off multi-taskers (2012, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further Robots provide insight into human perception Brainput provides a passive, implicit input channel to interactive systems, with little effort from the user. Image: MIT In practice, the fNIRS system is made up of a headset worn across the forehead that is able to capture electrical signals from the brain, combining features of fMRI and EEG in one small, less powerful package. The headset is connected to a computer running software that analyses the signals it receives and then when certain patterns emerge, takes actions that lesson the load on the person wearing the headset.To test their system, the researchers set up an experiment where volunteers were asked to direct virtual robots in a maze with the goal of finding a spot where a Wi-Fi signal was powerful enough to allow for sending messages. To up the stress factor, the volunteers were asked to direct two robots at the same time, which was doubly difficult because both robots continued to move regardless of commands given and because the volunteers were also asked to do their best to prevent the robots from running into walls. The setup thus required the volunteers to multi-task in a stressful environment. As the experiments unfolded, the Brainput system constantly monitored the brain activity of each participant and when certain thresholds were reached, commands were sent to the robots turning on their sensors and directing them to perform some actions autonomously; in essence, helping out the volunteers. What’s perhaps most interesting about the experiments is that most of the volunteers never even noticed that the robots had started helping them out. For their part, the researchers noted that performance levels overall increased when the robots started doing their fair share. Also interesting was when autonomous behavior by the robots was instigated prior to the volunteers reaching overload, they tended to notice what was going on and performance dropped off as a result.Solovey and her team plan to next add other cognitive recognition algorithms to the system to detect other mental states allowing for assistance in wider variety of applications. Possible real-world uses for such a system might include driver or pilot assist applications that help out when the person in control temporality loses focus or becomes fatigued. More information: paper (PDF): … y.CHI.2012.Final.pdfvia TechnologyReview 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.last_img read more

Canadian says he unraveled WWII pigeon code

first_img More information: via BBC (—British intelligence officials were baffled last month by a secret World War II message which a man had discovered on the leg of a dead pigeon when renovating his chimney in Surrey, England. He had found pigeon parts including a leg to which was attached a paper of character-string code, in the form of 27 handwritten blocks. Now they are being told by a Canadian researcher that they can stop scratching their heads. He said he has figured out most of it. What he was unable to crack was possibly parts deliberately planted to dupe the German enemies if they got hold of the note. Citation: Canadian says he unraveled WWII pigeon code (2012, December 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2012 Explore furthercenter_img Britain used some 250,000 pigeons as its messengers during the war. The National Pigeon Service was a squadron of 250,000 birds flying at speeds of 80 mph, covering thousands of miles using their navigational skills to get their messenger jobs done. The Surrey discoverer handed the paper over to intelligence agency GCHQ. Codebreakers determined that the message handed over to them was impossible to crack without its code book, as code books and computers were destroyed after the war, and they were convinced the message would be impossible to decrypt without reference to the original cryptographic material. Without access to the relevant code books and details of any additional encryption used, the message would remain impossible to decrypt, a spokesman said.The latest news is that the Canadian, Gord Young of Peterborough, Ontario, now believes he has the answer, nonetheless. The puzzle took him 17 minutes to figure out, with the aid of a book that he inherited, according to the BBC. He used his great-uncle’s Royal Flying Corp [92 Sqd-Canadian] aerial observers’ book to piece out the message.Young said the note utilized a simple code to detail German troop positions in Normandy. The note was written by a Lancashire fusilier who had been parachute-dropped into Normandy with pigeons to report on German positions. The man was killed a few weeks later.Young said that the short form code relied mostly on acronyms, most of which he unraveled. “The message is indeed breakable.”The message told RAF officers what the situation was on the ground after being parachuted behind enemy lines. Some sample portions of the message were said to read: “Artillery observer at ‘K’ Sector, Normandy…Final note [confirming] Found Jerry’s whereabouts… Panzer attack – blitz. Know [where] local dispatch station.”Young is the editor of a local history group, the Lakefield Heritage Research, which has a collection of photocopies and other forms of information related to Peterborough’s history, from both city and county. UK codebreakers stumped by WWII pigeon message 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.last_img read more

Genome study indicates peacock eyespots likely developed to impress females

first_img Anyone who happens upon a grown male peacock notices right away the striking eyespots on its feathers—most noticeable when spread wide in an impressive stance. Such plumage is an example of an extreme evolutionary trait—peacocks for example, have difficulty moving around because of their elaborate train. Scientists have speculated on the eyespots for many years, but proof of the root of their purpose has remained elusive. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the eyespots to see if they could come closer to an answer.Over the years, some scientists have suggested that birds of different species that have eyespots are likely related, and most have assumed that development of such eyespots has been a onetime trait. To find out if either is true, the researchers collected DNA samples from 15 bird groups, including three that have eyespots—sequencing almost 2,000 segments in all. The team then used what they’d found to construct a likely partial genealogy for the birds. In so doing, they found that birds of different species that have eyespots are not necessarily related. They also found that many species had developed eyespots, lost them, and then redeveloped them again. Adding what they found with prior research regarding behavior of the birds, the team concludes that the most likely reason for eyespots in males, is to attract females. If that is indeed, the case, it would explain the huge outlay of energy in maintaining such large, ornamental plumage—competition with other males. Those that don’t measure up risk not having their DNA passed on. It would also prove Darwin right—he suggested as much when encountering the birds during his travels. So impressed was he with the birds, that he commented on them specifically in his famous books. ( —A team of researchers with members from several universities in the U.S. and one in China has found evidence that suggests that ocelli (areas on feathers that look like eyes) on male peafowl are likely a result of a preference by female birds. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the team describes the genome study they undertook and what they found as a result. A Peafowl flaring his feathers. Credit: Wikipedia. Explore further More information: The evolution of peafowl and other taxa with ocelli (eyespots): a phylogenomic approach, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published 16 July 2014 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0823AbstractThe most striking feature of peafowl (Pavo) is the males’ elaborate train, which exhibits ocelli (ornamental eyespots) that are under sexual selection. Two additional genera within the Phasianidae (Polyplectron and Argusianus) exhibit ocelli, but the appearance and location of these ornamental eyespots exhibit substantial variation among these genera, raising the question of whether ocelli are homologous. Within Polyplectron, ocelli are ancestral, suggesting ocelli may have evolved even earlier, prior to the divergence among genera. However, it remains unclear whether Pavo, Polyplectron and Argusianus form a monophyletic clade in which ocelli evolved once. We estimated the phylogeny of the ocellated species using sequences from 1966 ultraconserved elements (UCEs) and three mitochondrial regions. The three ocellated genera did form a strongly supported clade, but each ocellated genus was sister to at least one genus without ocelli. Indeed, Polyplectron and Galloperdix, a genus not previously suggested to be related to any ocellated taxon, were sister genera. The close relationship between taxa with and without ocelli suggests multiple gains or losses. Independent gains, possibly reflecting a pre-existing bias for eye-like structures among females and/or the existence of a simple mutational pathway for the origin of ocelli, appears to be the most likely explanation. Citation: Genome study indicates peacock eyespots likely developed to impress females (2014, July 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from For peacocks, the eyespots don’t lie © 2014 Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B 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.last_img read more

A new way to make synthetic motherofpearl

first_img 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. Nacre is valuable for two reasons; the first is because it is pretty—oftentimes it looks like a colorful painting technique; it is also the material that gives pearls their unique coloring patterns. The second reason is because nacre is also very strong and crack resistant which makes it useful in a variety of industrial applications. In this latest effort to create the material from scratch the researchers developed a process that very closely mimics how it is done naturally.In nature, nacre is a material made of tiny aragonite slabs held together by a fibrous gel—similar in structure to fish scales. To make their own version, the team created a subdivided container into which they poured a chitosan solution. The container with the fluid in it was then frozen and then vacuum dried. The mixture was then allowed to mineralize over the course of a few weeks—each section in the container formed into an individual plate of synthetic nacre. The result was not colorful like mother-of-pearl though, because the plates were thicker, but they very much resembled the real material. Close inspection of the faux nacre revealed that the plates were larger than those made naturally which at times caused some to pop out of place, which of course made the material less resistant to cracking. But the development of the technique has shown a new way to make the material, the team reports, and suggests that it might be used as part of a 3-D printing process. Though it is not likely that such materials will be used to make jewelry anytime soon, it does appear possible that some will very soon be used to make new kinds of strong composites. © 2016 More information: L.-B. Mao et al. Synthetic nacre by predesigned matrix-directed mineralization, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8991 Explore further Mother-of-pearl’s genesis identified in mineral’s transformation Citation: A new way to make synthetic mother-of-pearl (2016, August 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Science Press release Electron microscopy image of a fractured surface of nacre. Credit: Fabian Heinemann/Wikipedia A team of researchers from several institutions in China and Germany has found a way to create a synthetic type of nacre—more commonly known as mother-of-pearl. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they sought to emulate the way nacre is produced in nature and in so doing came up with a method that allows for the creation of a material that is very similar to the linings found inside of some mollusks.last_img read more

Spiderweb labyrinths may help reduce noise pollution

first_img © 2017 The researchers, Anastasiia Krushynska and Federico Bosia at the University of Torino; Marco Miniaci of the University of Le Havre; and Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento, Queen Mary University of London, and Italian Space Agency, propose a new approach to this problem in a recent issue of the New Journal of Physics.”This work provides a new promising approach to obtain low-frequency noise attenuation,” Pugno told “The strategy is based on the design of acoustic metamaterials, which combine the advantages of a spider web-like geometry and the space-coiling approach of labyrinthine channels. This structure also provides a simple and reliable way to introduce tunability in sound manipulation, which is highly desirable for practical applications.”As low-frequency sounds are characterized by long wavelengths, shielding these acoustic waves typically requires very thick, heavy structures that are expensive and impractical for most applications. An alternative approach is to use recently developed metamaterials. Whereas traditional acoustic barriers rely on the composition and thickness of the material to manipulate sound, metamaterials do this with their intricate subwavelength-scale structure. As a result, metamaterials can be very thin, yet may still effectively reduce and manipulate low-frequency sounds.In the new study, the researchers based their design on a new concept called labyrinthine metamaterials or “space coils,” first proposed a few years ago. Labyrinthine metamaterials consist of layers of folded zig-zag channels rotated relative to each other, giving them a maze-like appearance.One such labyrinthine metamaterial is configured in the form of a spider web. The authors of the current study recently showed that this geometry is particularly efficient in attenuating (or reducing the intensity of) elastic waves. Now in their new study, the researchers modified the previously proposed labyrinthine metamaterial design by adding a square frame, so that the resulting structure resembles a conventional spider web, and showed that this simple modification creates air cavities that allow for variation in the widths of each channel in the web. By controlling the channel widths, the researchers showed that it is possible to tune the metamaterial’s acoustic properties, including the way in which it disperses and reflects sound waves.The researchers expect that the spider-web-structured metamaterial, which is designed to be made of aluminum, can be easily manufactured, making it potentially useful for a wide variety of applications that involve low-frequency sound manipulation. “Though similar geometries have shown promise for the attenuation of low-frequency vibrations, the developed metamaterials cannot be applied directly to seismic shielding, since they manipulate acoustic (airborne) and not elastic waves,” Pugno explained. “Their applications include the control of low-frequency sound and noise isolation that remain challenging with traditional approaches, as well as transformation acoustics and sound focusing, such as in concert halls.” 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: New Journal of Physics (Left) Photo of a natural spider web (by D. Krushinsky), along with illustrations of spider web-structured acoustic metamaterials (center), and figures of their acoustic dispersion and transmission spectra (right). Credit: Krushynska et al. ©2017 IOP Publishing More information: A. O. Krushynska, F. Bosia, M. Miniaci, and N. M. Pugno. “Spider web-structured labyrinthine acoustic metamaterials for low-frequency sound control.” New Journal of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630center_img Explore further Citation: Spider-web ‘labyrinths’ may help reduce noise pollution (2017, October 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Sound-proof metamaterial inspired by spider webs (—Researchers have demonstrated that the geometry of a natural spider web can be used to design new structures that address one of the biggest challenges in sound control: reducing low-frequency noise, which is the second most widespread environmental problem in Europe after air pollution.last_img read more

Braiding may be key to using time crystals in quantum computing

first_imgThe braiding method in the new study consists of a four-step process that involves slowly tuning the parameters of the system that generates the Majorana time crystals. In each step, the 0 and π modes are shifted, so that at the end of the entire process, the sequence of transformations results in one complete braiding operation that resets the system to its initial configuration. In the future, time crystals may lead to new ways to perform certain quantum computational tasks. With this goal in mind, the physicists also showed that their quantum control protocol can be applied to time crystals to generate “magic states,” which are a basic requirement for quantum computing. “Braiding time crystals is potentially useful for quantum computation because we exploit their time-domain features and thus obtain more qubits for encoding information, and hence achieve savings in hardware,” Gong said.In the future, the physicists plan to further explore the possibilities of braiding time crystals. For one thing, they expect that extending braiding from one superconducting wire to an array of wires may allow them to simulate more intricate braiding processes.”Given that we have now shown how the time dimension can be used as a resource for performing quantum computation, one future direction we have in mind will be to explore the possibility of storing and manipulating information with even fewer physical resources by enlarging the system in the time direction and by making use of more Majorana modes in periodically driven quantum wires,” Gong said. “As a long-term goal, we plan to use this idea to design a robust quantum computer architecture with an optimal amount of resources—that is, one that is relatively small in physical size, but does not take a very long time to operate.” Braiding time crystals. Credit: Bomantara and Gong. ©2018 American Physical Society Physicists propose method for braiding light Over the past few years, physicists have predicted that a new form of matter called time crystals may have potential applications in quantum computing. Now in a new study, physicists Raditya Weda Bomantara and Jiangbin Gong at the National University of Singapore have taken some of the first steps toward showing exactly how that might be done. They theoretically demonstrate that, by braiding two different modes of time crystals, it’s possible to generate the states that are necessary to perform universal quantum computation. Citation: Braiding may be key to using time crystals in quantum computing (2018, June 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2018 Journal information: Physical Review Letters More information: Raditya Weda Bomantara and Jiangbin Gong. “Simulation of Non-Abelian Braiding in Majorana Time Crystals.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.230405Also at arXiv:1712.09243 [quant-ph] Time crystals have attracted the attention of physicists since the concept was first proposed by Frank Wilczek in 2012. Five years later, in 2017, time crystals were experimentally realized for the first time. Just as ordinary crystals are characterized by their repeating patterns in space, time crystals—which are always moving—have the unique feature that their motion exhibits repeating patterns in time. To realize a time crystal, a periodically driven laser sets the particles in a superconducting loop in motion. When the system is manipulated in a precise way, the particles’ motion collectively synchronizes in a periodic manner, resulting in a time crystal.In the new study, Bomantara and Gong have developed a method for harnessing the unique properties of time crystals for quantum computing that is based on braiding. To do this, they turned to a particular type of time crystal called a Majorana time crystal, whose name comes from the way it’s created, which is from the quantum coherence between two types of Majorana edge modes (0 and π) in a superconducting chain. The reason for choosing Majorana time crystals is that they share similarities with a type of quasiparticle called non-Abelian anyons, which can be braided and have recently been considered as a potential component of a topological quantum computer. By making use of this connection to non-Abelian anyons, the physicists showed that it’s possible to mimic non-Abelian braiding in Majorana time crystals.”Loosely speaking, braiding refers to exchanging the location of two particles,” Gong told “In order to carry out this exchange, the particles are to be systematically moved around each other in such a way that if we draw the paths traversed by the two particles in spacetime, they form a braid. We know in real life that there are different types of braids, and that converting one braid to another requires certain operations that nature cannot do by itself. As a result, by storing information in these different types of braids, we can manipulate this information (hence performing quantum computation) by changing one type of braid to another (hence called braiding) without worrying that some external disturbance may destroy them.” 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.last_img read more

Delhis romance is long gone

first_imgOnce upon a time, when the smog hadn’t settled on Delhi like it does now,  a wiry young man would turn his lens on history and capture them for posterity. Starting from 1966, the man — known to the world as Raghu Rai — would peel the layers of the city like one peels an onion and get to the crux of it, always coming up with shots that remain frozen in the history of time. But Rai wishes time stood still in Delhi even though he hails progress. ‘The romance of Delhi is long gone,’ he rues. Rai dislikes the way Delhi has changed over the years and feels modernisation has taken away from the essence of the city. ‘The change is directionless with no aesthetics. It is haphazard growth,’ he says, adding: ‘The ancient India feel is long gone. The modern architecture is nothing great. We are lost in between.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Rai has now attempted to recreate Delhi’s past, although briefly, with a solo exhibition titled Delhi… that was. The exhibition has 51 photographs which capture monuments and slices of life in a Delhi that is now lost forever to the ravages of time. He hates the chaotic construction that has happened around the monuments. ‘When I started back in 1966, there were wheat fields behind Humayun’s Tomb and behind that one could see railway tracks. That ethos and feel of old Hindustan is now gone. Progress is fine but there is no aesthetics in the cityscape anymore,’ says the ace photographer.   Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix The photographs span four decades of Rai’s works. ‘These capture scenes of Delhi that are not possible today because the monuments, skyline and landscape have changed,’ explains curator Anubhav Nath. The works are up for sale for those interested and start at Rs 51,000. These include black and white and coloured shots on various subjects and offer a slice of both traditional and contemporary India.  From Safdarjung’s tomb to Humayun’s Tomb (of which there are multiple shots capturing myriad moments), Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, the river Yamuna and Red Fort before it was fenced off and given the artificial driveway look — there are many photographs which document the passage of time in Delhi. So how has Delhi changed over the years? ‘The effect of globalisation is very strong. The youth is lost in that. It is a hotch potch now. The kind of clothes people wear when they go to the monuments just don’t blend anymore,’ Rai says. He is not too fond, either, of the changes that have happened inside the monuments. ‘They have just made lawns inside the monuments, nothing else,’ he rues. And which parts of Delhi still manage to attract him enough to capture them on camera? Rai lists Jama Masjid, Red Fort, the Mehrauli area, old delhi, Tughlaqabad and Old Fort as his favourites. ‘These areas still have large chunks of landscape which relate to the essence of old Delhi,’ he says.  Since there is no way one can turn back time, we are only left with Rai’s images to look back with fondness at what we have lost.DETAILAt: Ojas Art, 1AQ, Qutab Minar Main Roundabout On Till: 9 DecemberTimings: 11 am to 7 pmPhone: 26644145last_img read more

Shopping a la Deutschland

first_imgSummer is set to roll in and spring will get a warm farewell, the German way. Indo German Chamber of Commerce brings the carnival ‘The German Spring Fest’, the second of its edition to the city at the German House, Chanakyapuri on 30 March.The event gives an opportunity for all age groups from children to grown ups, to celebrate spring in style with fun, frolic and shopping, with an exclusive palate of lifestyle products, children’s goodies, fashion wears, designer home products, garden accessories and delectable food items.Live performance of a music band along with multi cuisine food and German ale would add to the evening’s experience. The event is expected to be attended by expat and business communities.DETAILDate: 30 MarchTime: 12 pm onwardsPlace: Indo German Chamber of Commerce, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapurilast_img read more

Enchanted Capital

first_imgWhen we think about magic, we think of a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat. Delhi Tourism’s third International Magic Festival presented the history of Indian magic to the audience along with experts dishing out pointers about being a mentalist.Audience consisting of mainly children along with their parents were amused to see magicians pulling things of thin air. They also got a chance to learn a few magic tricks themselves in the magic teaching classes conducted by the organisers. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The crowds was thrilled to witness the variety and the quality of magic acts in the festival. The street magic shows and stand-up magic shows were on throughout the day.  Day two was marked by performance of various mentalists and their elaborate explanations about their art; they follow a doctrine that says that the mind is the true reality and that objects exist only as aspects of the mind’s awareness. A fancy dress competition was conducted on the theme of Halloween, magic and tourism where children were dressed as various spooky characters and magicians as well. It was followed by a magic competition for below 16-year-old children.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe performances by International Magicians from Malaysia and Poland starred  as the biggest attraction during the festival. Magic Quest from Malaysia performed a Classical Magic act which was based on Indian music while magician Jakub from Poland enthralled the audience with his unique stand up comedies.A special exhibition area was devoted to showcasing the artefacts of magic. The festival concluded on 29 September. Sunday with prize distributions and some more magical performances. We can’t wait for next year!last_img read more

BJP divided over Raje fate Cong goes for jugular

first_imgA party insider told Millennium Post that senior leaders are in a fix on whether to retain or remove Raje. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah will take a final call on the matter only after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is back from his US trip.The BJP, which has been defending Raje, was on the back foot when the Congress flashed signed documents (dated August 18, 2011) by Raje, favouring Modi, in a press conference recently. The document signed by Raje and filed by Modi’s immigration attorney Ghersons with the UK authorities endorsed his claim of facing political persecution in India.  Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIHence, he deserved to be given a resident status. The conclusion of Raje’s letter was “she was making the statement on the condition that it wouldn’t be known to the Indian authorities.”According to sources, Raje has already admitted to senior party leaders in Delhi that it is her signature, but insisted that she has done nothing wrong as per Indian law. However, a section of party leaders refused to buy Raje’s theory, suggesting that she should step down from the CM’s post in  the party’s interest, especially when crucial state elections are round the corner. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindSensing that things were going haywire and realising that she was facing the worst crisis in her political career, Raje on Thursday met party MLAs in Jaipur to flaunt her support and popularity before the Union ministers. On Thursday morning, she met over 20 BJP leaders – her Cabinet colleagues, MLAs and BJP functionaries –at her official residence, where a section of media were heckled by security officers.Many feel that the meeting was part of a pressure tactic on BJP leaders in Delhi, indicating the kind of support she enjoys from the party’s Rajasthan unit. “Going by the situation, if something (bad) happens, then there are possibilities that she might float her own party,” said the party insider. However, Rajasthan Health Minister Rajendra Rathore has ruled out Raje’s resignation, saying: “There are media speculations that the Central leadership will ask her to resign. But all I want to say is that she is not going to resign.”Meanwhile, the Congress intensified its protest against Raje. The CPI-M and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), too, have demanded her immediate resignation. “Vasundhara Raje knows that the signature is hers and she has never denied it. At this late stage, I don’t think anybody will buy if she comes up and says that they are forged or falsified. I hope BJP will also not buy that argument,” said Congress leader Sachin Pilot.He added: “Unfortunately for BJP, they have to realise the inescapable truth is that she has broken the law. She has transgressed the Indian law knowingly and the flying statement, which shows that she was trying to help Lalit Modi get travel documents, is in violation of law and by no means the BJP can continue to defend the indefensible.” “Where is the zero tolerance to corruption, Mr Prime Minister,” Pilot questioned.last_img read more

Men women to celebrate gender equality in Berhampur

first_imgKolkata: More than 200 men from 11 districts of Bengal are gathering in Berhampur, Murshidabad to celebrate changes they have experienced in their perception and practices in their behaviour towards women.A two-day unique event will be held at Ganga Bhavan, Berhampur on Friday and Saturday with the aim to promote and celebrate non-aggressive, non-violent masculinity. The participants in the programme will explore issues like patriarchy, masculinity, gender and sexuality through games, debates, songs and other cultural forms. This festival is organised by five NGOs that work to establish gender equality. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be mentioned that for the past one-and-half-year these men have discussed many things individually and collectively, reflected on their privileges as men and are questioning societal norms that cause issues such as gender discrimination. “On a particular day when I was asked about the immunisation schedule of my daughter, I realized that I had no idea. It shook me up and now I take more responsibility for my daughter. I was wrong to leave all childcare tasks to my wife,” says Samar (name changed), from Bosepukur. He is working with 15 other men to make the club in his locality more inclusive for women. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedMany men are also doing more household chores and are participating more actively in childcare. Baburam, Sanjay, Banshi and many others are doing household chores and trying to lessen the workload of women in their households. Men are motivating others to change and challenge gender discriminatory societal norms. Ranjan, a young man from Jodhpur Park is trying to engage women in popular sports like cricket and football. “I have organised a cricket match between boys and girls and will organize a football match soon,” Ranjan said. The Forum to Engage Men, (FEM) West Bengal is also participating in this festival.last_img read more

Pedal for the Planet

first_imgWWF-India, in association with Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance hosted Pedal for the Planet 2017, a Cyclothon and Walkathon to celebrate the world’s largest grassroots environmental campaign – Earth Hour 2017 on March 25.Earth Hour 2017 celebrates a decade of climate action with people from more than 7000 cities across the globe set to take a stand against climate change. In the last ten years, Earth Hour has gone from being a token switch-off event to becoming the largest voluntary movement ever witnessed in history. As the planet continues to witness climate records being broken and the need for greater ambition and commitment accelerates, Earth Hour is mobilising individuals, communities and organisations globally to do their part to help change climate change. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe Earth Hour India campaign focuses on the need to inspire individuals, corporates and other organisations, schools, colleges, RWAs and housing societies to become Earth Hour Superheroes, undertake five simple actions and lend their voice to the largest grassroots level environment campaign in the world. As every year, this year too Earth Hour noted unprecedented support from all quarters across the country through various innovative Earth Hour events and the switching-off of landmark monuments and buildings in India to mark the movement. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe exhilarating 21 kilometer cyclothon, covered over two rounds and the 3.5km walkathon. The residents of Delhi NCR enthusiastically participated to promote the cause of Earth Hour and ask people to switch off their lights during the hour later that night. Pedal for the Planet is a WWF-India initiative that aims to raise awareness about Earth Hour and promote a healthier, greener and more sustainable lifestyle at an individual level. Every year, since 2009, hundreds of citizens of Delhi NCR have been gathering in an enormous show of support for Earth Hour at the Pedal for the Planet Cyclothon and Walkathon. In the past decade, as global efforts to control climate change gained momentum, Earth Hour has helped bridge the gap between the grassroots and the corridors of power, taking climate action from conference rooms to living rooms in over 172 countries. Anuj Mathur, Chief Executive Officer, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance said, “We are pleased to partner for the 9th consecutive year with WWF-India for the Earth Hour ‘Pedal for the Planet’ initiative. We at Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance have always encouraged our employees in initiatives which promote sustainable lifestyle and safeguards the planet. It is heartening to see the increasing awareness around the world on the need to preserve the environment and within our organisation we are taking all steps to contribute to this cause.” Speaking about the success of the campaign and the event, Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India said, “Earth Hour is our attempt to inspire and empower individuals and help them fight against the complex issue of climate change. The enormous enthusiasm and support that we’ve witnessed for Earth Hour at the Pedal for the Planet Cyclothon is very humbling, it is great to see people coming together and committing to fight for a common cause that threatens the world as we know it.”last_img read more

Bdeshi nationals on trip to India for medical care looted

first_imgBalurghat: Police arrested a toto-puller for allegedly looting two Bangladeshi nationals within 24 hours after the crime took place. Cops recovered the stolen money, mobile phones and passports from him. The accused, Rabi Das, (22) was produced before the Balurghat court on Thursday.According to a police source, Mosammad Farhana (31) arrived in Balurghat with her ailing elder brother Sahajad Husain (52) for treatment from Bangladesh through the Hili border with valid documents on April 22, a day before the elections. They had to reach to board the Balurghat-Howrah train scheduled to depart from Balurghat station at 8.30 pm. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAs there was no transport between Hili and Balurghat station due to the elections, the duo booked Das’s toto to reach their destination. As the route was unknown to Farhana and Husain, the accused took them to a secluded place, which was about 2 km from the station and allegedly looted them with the help of another person. They allegedly thrashed ailing Husain when he opposed them. As they shouted for help local residents rushed to the spot. A complaint was lodged with police in this regard. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateInspector in-charge of Balurghat police station Jayanta Dutta formed a team led by officers Krishna Bera and Debasish Acharjee and asked them to immediately arrest the culprits. Later, with the help of the CCTV footage and after interrogating some toto pullers the police identified Das. After interrogating Das, cops detained a person from Hili. About Rs 82,000 in cash, passports and mobile-phones were recovered from him. Farhana said: “We came to India for my elder brother’s treatment in Chennai.”last_img read more

Party rejected my offer to quit as CM says Mamata Banerjee

first_imgKolkata: Forty-eight hours after the Lok Sabha election results were announced, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee finally broke her silence. At the first press conference held by Banerjee the after poll results were announced, she said that she offered to resign from the post of Chief Minister, however, her party, All India Trinamool Congress, did not endorse it. “The first thing that I had said in the meeting was that I want to resign and only continue as the party president. But, my party leaders and workers did not endorse it,” Banerjee said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBanerjee made a few structural changes following the review meeting she held on Saturday at her Kalighat residence. It was attended by all elected MPs of her party, district presidents and senior leaders. The party supremo added that she would, henceforth dedicate more time to her party than to the government. “I have fulfilled my election manifesto. We have delivered all our promises. It’s now time to focus and dedicate more time to the party,” she said.(With inputs from DNA)last_img read more

Your neighbourhood may make you obese

first_imgMoving to a neighbourhood with a high obesity rate is likely to make a person become overweight, say researchers who suggest that your social circles can inadvertently influence your weight. “Social contagion in obesity means that if more people around you are obese, then that may increase your own chances of becoming obese,” said Ashlesha Datar, a senior economist at University of Southern California in the US. “In other words, living in a community where obesity is more common can make sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating and overweight or obesity more socially acceptable,” said Datar, one of the authors of the study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfObesity is linked to many factors, including eating and exercise habits, genetics and the environment. Research shows that living in certain communities carries a higher risk of obesity than living in other communities, but this association has been challenging for scientists to explain. Researchers studied military families to assess whether living in communities with greater obesity increased their own risk of being overweight or obese. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveMilitary families, they reasoned, cannot choose where they live –rather, they are assigned to installations. Some of those installations are in counties with higher rates of obesity. “We found that the families assigned to installations in counties with higher obesity rates were more likely to be overweight or obese than those assigned to installations in counties with lower rates of obesity,” Datar said. The researchers recruited families of US Army personnel at 38 military installations in the country to participate in surveys and measurements. In all, 1,314 parents and 1,111 children participated. Three-fourths of the parents and about one-fourth of the children were overweight or obese – reflective of the national rates. Researchers found that the family’s risk of obesity may increase or decrease, depending on the county obesity rate where they live. Moving to a county with a lower rate decreases the family’s chances of becoming overweight or obese. To assess whether shared environments could explain these results, the study accounted for extensive data on the food and activity opportunities in the county and neighbourhood, such as gyms and grocery stores.last_img read more

GTA urges CM to allow only Hill students in govt nursing schools

first_imgDarjeeling: Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chairman Anit Thapa, in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has requested the state government that only Hill students be admitted in the two government nursing schools in the GTA area.The letter comes in wake of the online admission system in the government-run nursing training centres of the state. As there is no reservation for students from the GTA area in the online system, many have failed to secure a berth. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe letter states that this year many Hill students have been left out of the GNM admission list owing to the online system, because of which the nursing school seats of the two nursing schools (Darjeeling and Kalimpong) have been filled up with students from outside the GTA area. “This year there are no separate seats for Kalimpong and Darjeeling training centres as candidates from all over Bengal have filled up the seats of the Hill centres. I would be grateful if you can please allow only Hill candidates admission to these nursing schools of the GTA region,” stated the letter. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe Health and Family Welfare department of the GTA is preparing a merit list for the GTA region so that admission to these two nursing schools can be done exclusively for students from the GTA region, stated the letter to the Chief Minister. “I would be grateful if the government of Bengal accepts this proposal from GTA,” reads the letter from Anit Thapa. The General Nursing Training Schools (government) include one attached to the Kalimpong Sub-Divisional Hospital and another attached to the Darjeeling District Hospital in the GTA area. The Kalimpong centre has 40 seats, while the Darjeeling one has 50. The total number of seats in the state stands at 2,405 (2,300 for female and 105 for mail trainees) in the 39 government centres.last_img read more

Mysteries and Price Tag of the Space Boots used for Walking on

first_imgOne probably wouldn’t wear space boots out in public. They’re not so comfortable for everyday wear, possibly tested in the Arizona deserts, and costs as much as $30,000. That price is certainly fine with NASA in the interest of sending people to the Moon. But for the rest of us… Space boots must be flawless, embracing the finest of hi-tech features. Their worth is perhaps best explained in the words of National Geographic writer and editor-at-large Cathy Newman, who wittily remarks that “the first man on the moon is myth–it was the first shoe on the moon.”Neil Armstrong Apollo spacesuit, Photo by Phil Plait, CC BY-SA 2.0In her story for National Geographic, Newman reveals more about the boots Neil Armstrong wore on the Apollo 11 mission. He reportedly donned a size 9 1⁄2 pair of boots–and they were left behind on the Moon. Newman explains that the Apollo astronauts had to discard their boots because they collected samples of moon rock, and needed to maintain the balance of their overall weight.Regarding the current condition of the abandoned space boots, rare examples of human artifacts on the surface of the Moon, according to Newman, the boots should be happily free of rust given the fact the moon is oxygen free. However, any part of the boot made of silicone or any other synthetic fiber is long gone by now. “Should anyone try to retrieve them, there’s a good chance the shoes would turn to powder if touched,” she concludes.Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 EMU displayed on a tabletop before the missionUnraveling the details of the Apollo astronauts footwear gives clear hints that space boots, as much as any other part of the space suit, require top-notch quality if astronauts want to remain resilient to the numerous threats that come with traversing the space.One such example is the M2 Trekker model, designed by ILC Dover, a company operating from Frederica, Delaware, and hired by NASA to engineer space apparel. “We’re planning for the moon and beyond” were the words of Dave Graziosi from the company, which has a long history of engineering space equipment for NASA. For instance, they were the ones to outfit the Apollo mission astronauts with spacesuits and accessories. Founded in 1947, the company came up with early products such as high-altitude pressure suits and helmets for the U.S. Navy and Air Force.One of their latest space footwear offerings, the M2 Trekkers are composed of three parts. An outer protective layer shields a middle layer that supports the boot structure, and the third, inner layer, that is set to regulate pressure. Despite the fact that the boot looks enormous, the M2 Trekkers are thinner and not as heavy as the ones used in the 1960s missions.Neil Armstrong casting his footprint, July 2007Spacewear, nevertheless, is no joke. Space boots along with other parts of the suit should assure optimal conditions for the human body, which that is not in its natural environment and cannot survive if not properly isolated. All equipment should provide optimal pressure to the body so that bodily liquids retain their liquidity. Not to mention protection from temperature extremes and other unwanted casualties that might be caused by space debris such as micrometeoroids possibly coming from any direction in the vacuum of space.Related story from us: Death in space: after the three astronauts of Soyuz 11 became heroes of the Soviet Union, catastrophe struckIn the case of Earth’s faithful satellite, the Moon, gravity is weaker, which means human movements on the surface would differentiate from that on Earth. Hence a proper space boot should allow astronauts to make movements with as much ease as possible.Whether the M2 Trekker makes the first boot to hit Mars, we are yet to see.last_img read more

The Black Knight from Monty Python The Holy Grail was Inspired by

first_imgThey’re genius comedians but the members of Monty Python are also a group of very clever men. Coming into showbusiness through the Oxbridge route, their work was influenced by a passion for history and culture, as well as satire and surrealist antics. The team’s crowning achievement on the historical front is Monty Python & The Holy Grail. Made in 1975 on a low budget, it gave Arthurian England a shake up with coconut halves instead of horse’s hooves and a cast of eye-popping characters.Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty ImagesHoly Grail’s most famous scene involves King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his servant Patsy (Terry Gilliam) encountering the Black Knight (John Cleese) whilst trying to cross a stream.The Knight is determined to prevent them from crossing. In doing his somewhat inept duty, he winds up losing his limbs during a brutal swordfight. An increasingly surprised Arthur realizes he is facing an opponent who won’t give up.Michael Palin and John Cleese. Getty ImagesHilariously the Knight is heard to remark “It’s just a flesh wound!” shortly after having his arm cut off. Cleese’s armored “hero” is left behind in the woods declaring his skills as the King and Patsy continue their quest to assemble the Knights of the Round Table.John Cleese in May 2008. Photo by Beao CC BY-SA 2.0In a 2015 interview for Wired, Cleese gave some insight into how this bizarre and bloody sequence came about. It turned out the seed of the idea had been planted many years before, when he was a pupil of war veteran and English teacher “Jumper” Gee.Gee told the young Cleese “about a wrestling match that had taken place in ancient Rome… There was a particularly tough contest in progress, and one of the wrestlers, his arm broke — the difficulty of the embrace was so great that his arm broke under the pressure — and he submitted because of the appalling pain he was in. And the referee sort of disentangled them and said to the other guy, ‘You won,’ and the other guy was rather unresponsive, and the referee realized the other guy was dead.”The Black Knight’s arm is cut off. “Tis but a scratch!” he says.When putting together the script for Monty Python & The Holy Grail alongside writing partner Chapman, Cleese retold the story. Its origin is thought to be the tale of Arrichion, a formidable athlete who died unexpectedly during a “Pankration.”This was a type of wrestling match held during the Ancient Greek Olympic Games, where rules largely went out the window.The palaestra of Olympia, a place devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes.A BBC article from 2004 describes how, in 564 BC, “Arrichion had found himself being choked in a stranglehold from behind. Unable to free himself from the ferocious grip, Arrichion managed to grip his opponent’s ankle and twist it until it broke. In agony, his opponent submitted, but by then the damage was done — Arrichion’s throat had been crushed and even as he was proclaimed the winner, he breathed his last.”With the Pythons’ sense of absurdity in the mix, what could have been a harrowing scene became a comedy classic. However, it was nearly removed from the final cut.As reported by the Daily Mirror in 2017, an unearthed letter to Cleese from Stephen Murphy, Secretary of the British Board of Film Classification, highlighted concerns over content.This led to some extraordinary comments, one of which is “though we accept that much of the blood-letting is meant to be funny, there are one or two places, where, in our view the humour is not very effective.”Another reads, “We accept the dismembering of the Black Knight, but are worried by the first stab through the visor and the blood gush.”Murphy’s remarks were meant to steer the movie toward an ‘A’ certificate, meaning it would be suitable for those 14 and over. The Board also took issue with Cleese’s “funny Frenchman” character, whose insults from on high are amongst the most quoted lines from the film.Eventually, these problems were ironed out and the movie went on to make its mark on a generation of comics around the world.Read another story from us: Part of the profits from Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” were invested in the production of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”An article from The Atlantic in 2015, written 40 years after Holy Grail’s release, calls it “the gold standard for subversive comedy” and writes that “Matt Groening called it a great influence on The Simpsons; every subsequent film that broke the fourth wall felt in its debt.”Central to its success was a surreal scene of severing that has audiences laughing to this day.last_img read more

The Herd Exclusive Dana White makes an offer to Floyd Mayweather –

first_img Advertisement White still isn’t convinced that a guy like Mayweather, who he said charters private jets for his luggage, doesn’t need the money.“Don’t think Floyd doesn’t need the money. Because Floyd loves to burn it.”Dana White is pissed.Here’s the full video of Colin’s interview with White: UFC President Dana White stopped by The Herd today, and he’s pissed. The flames of the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather Boxing/MMA superfight have been fanned recently on social media by both fighters, and most recently by statements Mayweather made to ESPN regarding the division of the purse from a potential fight. Not surprisingly, Mayweather envisions the split overwhelmingly in favor of the Money Team.Mayweather says he’ll  take $100 million for the fight, and is willing to let McGregor take home $15 million for his troubles. The negotiation of the potential pay per view split would still be negotiated. Mayweather called himself the “A” side of the negotiation, and said that McGregor shouldn’t get more of the purse because he’s never made anywhere close to that in his career.Dana White doesn’t see it that way. Today, he sat on the couch and set the record straight on what it’s going to take to make the fight happen, and that if any deal gets done, it’s getting done through him.He came out firing.“To think that you’re the “A” side? The last major fight that you were in, you left such a bad taste in everybody’s mouth that nobody wants to see you again. His last fight did 350,000 Pay Per View buys. Conor’s last fight, Conor did a million-three, and a million-five pay per views.”center_img White also thought the $15 million to McGregor for the fight was insulting. He proposed a hard counter.“To offer him 15 million. I tell you what Floyd, here’s a real offer, and I’m the guy. I’m the guy that can actually make the offer. And I’m actually making a real offer. We’ll pay you $25 million, we’ll pay Conor $25 million. And we’ll talk about Pay Per View and a certain number. There’s a real offer.”That should set the record straight with the Mayweather camp if there was any confusion.When asked what he thought the fight would do in terms of Pay Per View numbers, White said he would expect the fight to draw in excess of 2 million buys.He also said if the fight does eventually happen, he’ll stack the undercard so the event resembles a UFC Pay Per View. He thinks this would be better for the fans.“So you’re guaranteed that night, to at least get your money’s worth, unlike the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight.”last_img read more

Right on Cam Newton wrong on the Seahawks and Dolphins

first_imgWhere Colin was wrongToo bullish on the Dolphins – Colin has said he felt the Dolphins were underrated and a playoff contender, but it may be time to rethink that. Yesterday, they got smoked by the Jets, were 0-8 on third down, and couldn’t move the ball. Colin was a little too bullish on the Dolphins. Every week, Colin makes a bunch of predictions. Some hit and some miss. Every Monday, he holds himself accountable in Where Colin was right, where Colin was wrong.Here’s where Colin was on the money, and where he was off the mark after 3 weeks of NFL games, and 4 weeks into the college season.Where Colin was rightCam Newton – Colin has said that Newton’s MVP season was an outlier in an otherwise so-so 6-year career. Since the start of 2016, only Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick have a lower passer rating, and he just threw 3 more picks against the Saints, who aren’t exactly the ’85 Bears. It’s time to admit he’s an unrefined pocket passer, and not on the same level of the game’s elite QB’s.Marcus Williams @Babymagik32 1st career interception off Cam Newton!!— Eder Sanchez (@EderSanchez) September 24, 2017 Where Colin was rightSteelers are bad on the road – Colin has continually pointed out that the Steelers are a different team at home versus on the road, and yesterday they looked flat, and lost to a bad Bears team. The Steelers are built on emotion and they just can’t get up for road games.Da game winning touchdown by Jordan Howard? #Bears #ChicagoBestSportsMoments— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports1) September 24, 2017Where Colin was wrongJets won’t go 0-16 – Colin predicted the Jets would go 0-16 because they have one of the worst NFL rosters in recent memory, but they managed to beat the Dolphins yesterday. New York is still terrible, but they won’t get shutout.When the defense constantly throws 8 in the box, you MUST take these one-on-one shots downfield. TD Josh McCown to Robby Anderson. #Jets— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) September 24, 2017Where Colin was rightSEC doesn’t have a clear #2 – Colin has repeatedly said the SEC is a one-team conference with Alabama and no clear second-best team. First, it was LSU and South Carolina, both got drilled. Last week, people said it was Mississippi State, or Vandy, but this week they got thumped. Now it’s Georgia, but for how long?Flea Flicker Jake Fromm Hooks up with Terry Godwin TD @FrommJake to @TerryGodwin_4— UGA (@ugaFBnation) September 24, 2017Where Colin was wrongSeahawks roster is overvalued – Colin was extremely high on Seattle’s roster before the year, but he’s rethinking that. The Seahawks have one of the worst o-line’s in the NFL, no running game, and in yesterday’s loss to Tennessee, their linebackers looked average. Tennessee physically dominated the Seahawks, go check the tape.Mariota gets it to @_RMatthews, and O-line does a great job out in front. Phenomenal effort by Matthews. Titans lead 16-14 #TENvsSEA— Titans Film Room (@titansfilmroom) September 24, 2017Where Colin was rightOhio State not done yet – Many said Ohio State was done after losing to Oklahoma, but they’ve been fixing their offensive deficiencies during a weak stretch in their schedule, and continue to improve heading into conference play. They get Penn State at home, and have to beat Michigan, but they still control their own playoff destiny if they run the table. Not done yet.last_img read more