Chain letters reveal surprising circulation patterns

first_img 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. The chain e-mail originated sometime in 2002, and claimed to be a petition to organize opposition to the impending US-Iraq war. Tens of thousands of people signed their names to several hundred copies of the petition, with some copies appearing on Web archives. Like most Internet chain letters, the petition had its origins in a hoax, but its widespread dissemination is one of the few instances of a single piece of traceable information spreading on a global scale.“Given the many ways in which information, news, and new ideas are constantly spreading through our social networks, it’s surprising how difficult it is to collect data on the ways in which this spreading happens,” researchers David Liben-Nowell and Jon Kleinberg told PhysOrg.com. “Data from chain-letter petitions lets us look at processes that are otherwise essentially invisible, and begin to formulate theories for the patterns we observe.”Liben-Nowell and Kleinberg are computer scientists from Carleton College and Cornell University, respectively. The duo used online search engines to collect copies of the signed petitions that were posted on numerous Web sites. When they analyzed the 20,000 names on the 637 lists they found, and removed various “mutations,” they discovered some surprising patterns. Contrary to predictions that large-scale information spreads exponentially, like an explosive epidemic, the researchers found that the letter did not reach a large number of individuals in a few steps. Rather, it took hundreds of steps of people forwarding the e-mail on to reach the 20,000 who signed the found copies. As the researchers explain, this pattern suggests that the mechanics of a single piece of information spreading on a global scale is more complex than originally thought. Some of their results, which appear in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that people who forwarded the letter generally forwarded it to large numbers of other individuals. By contrast, most senders (94%) produced just one “daughter” that signed the letter. In other words, it seemed that most people ignored the e-mail. Citation: Chain letters reveal surprising circulation patterns (2008, April 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-04-chain-letters-reveal-circulation-patterns.html A chain letter hoax that fooled thousands of people may help computer scientists understand how information spreads on a global scale. The final result was a “tree” of nodes and connections that was long and thin, not one that funneled out as in the case of rapidly spreading information. Gossip in smaller communities may fan out quickly, but – as the new study shows – such a pattern changes with scale. This large-scale spreading of information is a rare case, since most circulated e-mail messages never reach such a large number of recipients.“A natural assumption going into this study was that information would spread explosively, reaching many people in only a few steps,” said Liben-Nowell and Kleinberg. “Instead, a much more complex picture emerges, with the chain letter following longer, narrower paths. After this initial surprise, we eventually found possible ways to reconcile the deep, narrow structures we observed with the facts we knew about human social networks.”A couple things that might explain the pattern include individuals “forwarding” the petition to the same group of e-mail addresses copied on the e-mail they received (“replying to all”). Individuals who received the petition more than once typically only signed one of them, leaving others as dead ends. Also, individuals in the same network might have tried to all sign the same petition, and keep forwarding it to each other rather then adding their names to different lists – which produces the observed “single daughter” characteristic.Understanding how a single piece of information spreads on a large scale may have applications in a variety of areas, such as word-of-mouth marketing and investigating the spreading of technological innovations, news, and opinions. Contrary to spreading explosively, information traveling on large scales seems to be quite fragile, with many opportunities for getting lost. The pattern might hold true for different kinds of information spreading, as well.“We expect this kind of pattern would show up in certain other settings, but it’s an open question how general it is,” the researchers said. “For example, the other large-scale chain-letter for which we have data – a petition to support funding of National Public Radio – exhibits a spreading pattern that looks very similar. It’s natural to believe that jokes and news clippings on the Internet may well spread in similar ways, though there certainly could be differences in spreading patterns between information that is politically charged and information that is free of controversy.“Once we look more generally – say, at the spread of new technologies or new products by word-of-mouth, or the rise in name recognition of new celebrities or new political figures – it’s a fascinating open question to consider how diverse the different spreading patterns might be. But we expect that in all these cases, the spreading will likely have a structure that is more complex than simple models have suggested.” More information: Liben-Nowell, David, and Kleinberg, Jon. “Tracing information flow on a global scale using Internet chain-letter data.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 25, 2008, vol. 105, no. 12. 4633-4638.Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Medical researchers seek eradication of peste des petits ruminants diseaselast_img read more

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HP Labs find memristors can compute w Video

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Researchers at HP Labs, the central research arm of HP, have discovered that a resistor with memory, a “memristor” can also perform logic operations. This means chips storing data may also be able to carry out computations without the need for a central processing unit (CPU). The discovery could mean computers will be able to become more compact and efficient than imagined previously. HP Labs first demonstrated the memristor in 2008 (see the PhysOrg article), but its theoretical existence was postulated in 1971 by Professor Leon Chua of the University of California at Berkeley. He named them memristors since they combine the electrical properties of a memory element and a resistor. They are able to retain a memory of the amount of charge that flowed through them after the power is turned off, and the resistance depends on the voltage history. According to HP Labs these tiny devices are the fourth basic building blocks of electronics, the others being resistors, capacitors and inductors. Explore further * Nature paper: www.nature.com/nature/journal/ … ull/nature08940.html* Memristor FAQ An image of a circuit with 17 memristors captured by an atomic force microscope. Each memristor is composed of two layers of titanium dioxide connected by wire. As electrical current is applied to one layer, the small signal resistance of the other layer is changed, which may in turn be used as a method to register data. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Self-Programming Hybrid Memristor/Transistor Circuit Could Continue Moore’s Law Now a team of researchers from the HP Information and Quantum Systems Laboratory at Palo Alto, California, have created architectures for memory chips using memristors, including one in which a stack of memristors are layered in a single chip. The team, led by the director of the laboratory, R. Stanley Williams, believe devices using the element could be developed for commercial use within a few years. These could allow supercomputers to work dramatically faster than today, and because memristors retain their memory, computers based on them could be turned off and on like a light switch. In a news release HP Labs said memristors are faster than current storage devices such as flash memory, and they use less energy and can store more than double the data. They could also be used in handheld devices with ten times more embedded memory than today’s devices. HP Lab predicts memristor-based processors could eventually replace silicon in uses such as e-reader display screens.Memristors are also unaffected by radiation, which can affect transistor-based technologies, and this means they could enable the development of smaller and more powerful devices, since the use of transistors is limited by Moore’s Law, which says the number of transistors that can be packed into a chip for a fixed cost has doubled every two years. Transistors on the most advanced chips have feature sizes as low as 22 nanometers, but there is a limit to how small they can become.Williams said that as “our brains are made of memristors,” the discovery could lead to computers that work more like human brains.The paper was published in Nature last week. Citation: HP Labs find memristors can compute (w/ Video) (2010, April 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-04-hp-labs-memristors-video.html More information: 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

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Jupiter has lost one of its cloud stripes

first_img Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — New photographs of the gas giant Jupiter, the first taken on May 9, show the massive reddish band of clouds known as the Southern Equatorial Belt in the planet’s southern hemisphere has disappeared from view. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) has faded away leaving just the north belt (NEB) viewable in small telescopes. Image credit: Anthony Wesley 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. Citation: Jupiter has lost one of its cloud stripes (2010, May 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-05-jupiter-lost-cloud-stripes.html © 2010 PhysOrg.com Aus amateur tells of ‘one in a million’ Jupiter spot The first photographs were taken by a noted Australian amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley from Murrumbateman in New South Wales, using a 14.5 inch telescope. Wesley said he had been eagerly waiting to take photographs after Jupiter disappeared behind the sun and out of view for three months. In mid 2009 it was clear to Jupiter watchers the cloud band, which encircles the planet, was beginning to enter a new fading cycle. Wesley, an enthusiastic Jupiter observer, said the exact time the cloud belt will revive is unknown, but it fades every three to 15 years. Previous fading cycles have been characterized by violent and dramatic storms in the southern equatorial latitudes. The Northern and Southern Equatorial belts are composed of ammonia ice with phosphorus and some sulfur.It is not known why the belt periodically disappears, but it may be that it sinks lower if it cools, and then the view of it is obscured by clouds pouring in over the top of it. The clouds on Jupiter are tens of thousands of kilometers deep. Wesley said the phenomenon could be linked to storm activity that preceded the change.Wesley said Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is fascinating to observe and photograph because the internal heat deep within the atmosphere makes it so dynamic and dramatic, and it can look different even from one day to the next. Watch Jupiter rotate and its cloud belts move with the winds. The time-lapse video was made using images shot during Voyager 1’s flyby of the planet in 1979. The most dramatic feature on Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, which now stands out more than usual since it is on the edge of the Southern Equatorial Belt, which has now faded from view. The Great Red Spot is a huge storm twice the size of Earth that has raged for at least three centuries, although astronomers said last year it appears to be shrinking. The photographs taken by Wesley have been released by The Planetary Society in California, and are also available on Wesley’s own website. In July last year Wesley was first to notice a dark blemish on Jupiter, probably caused by a comet. It is possible to see the features of Jupiter even with quite a modest telescope.last_img read more

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How to make ethical robots

first_img Copyright 2012 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. (PhysOrg.com) — In the future according to robotics researchers, robots will likely fight our wars, care for our elderly, babysit our children, and serve and entertain us in a wide variety of situations. But as robotic development continues to grow, one subfield of robotics research is lagging behind other areas: roboethics, or ensuring that robot behavior adheres to certain moral standards. In a new paper that provides a broad overview of ethical behavior in robots, researchers emphasize the importance of being proactive rather than reactive in this area. Citation: How to make ethical robots (2012, March 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-ethical-robots.html The authors, Ronald Craig Arkin, Regents’ Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, along with researchers Patrick Ulam and Alan R. Wagner, have published their overview of moral decision making in autonomous systems in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE.“Probably at the highest level, the most important message is that people need to start to think and talk about these issues, and some are more pressing than others,” Arkin told PhysOrg.com. “More folks are becoming aware, and the very young machine and robot ethics communities are beginning to grow. They are still in their infancy though, but a new generation of researchers should help provide additional momentum. Hopefully articles such as the one we wrote will help focus attention on that.”The big question, according to the researchers, is how we can ensure that future robotic technology preserves our humanity and our societies’ values. They explain that, while there is no simple answer, a few techniques could be useful for enforcing ethical behavior in robots.One method involves an “ethical governor,” a name inspired by the mechanical governor for the steam engine, which ensured that the powerful engines behaved safely and within predefined bounds of performance. Similarly, an ethical governor would ensure that robot behavior would stay within predefined ethical bounds. For example, for autonomous military robots, these bounds would include principles derived from the Geneva Conventions and other rules of engagement that humans use. Civilian robots would have different sets of bounds specific to their purposes.Since it’s not enough just to know what’s forbidden, the researchers say that autonomous robots must also need emotions to motivate behavior modification. One of the most important emotions for robots to have would be guilt, which a robot would “feel” or produce whenever it violates its ethical constraints imposed by the governor, or when criticized by a human. Philosophers and psychologists consider guilt as a critical motivator of moral behavior, as it leads to behavior modifications based on the consequences of previous actions. The researchers here propose that, when a robot’s guilt value exceeds specified thresholds, the robot’s abilities may be temporarily restricted (for example, military robots might not have access to certain weapons). Explore further Though it may seem surprising at first, the researchers suggest that robots should also have the ability to deceive people – for appropriate reasons and in appropriate ways – in order to be truly ethical. They note that, in the animal world, deception indicates social intelligence and can have benefits under the right circumstances. For instance, search-and-rescue robots may need to deceive in order to calm or gain cooperation from a panicking victim. Robots that care for Alzheimer’s patients may need to deceive in order to administer treatment. In such situations, the use of deception is morally warranted, although teaching robots to act deceitfully and appropriately will be challenging.The final point that the researchers touch on in their overview is ensuring that robots – especially those that care for children and the elderly – respect human dignity, including human autonomy, privacy, identity, and other basic human rights. The researchers note that this issue has been largely overlooked in previous research on robot ethics, which mostly focuses on physical safety. Ensuring that robots respect human dignity will likely require interdisciplinary input.The researchers predict that enforcing ethical behavior in robots will face challenges in many different areas.“In some cases it’s perception, such as discrimination of combatant or non-combatant in the battlespace,” Arkin said. “In other cases, ethical reasoning will require a deeper understanding of human moral reasoning processes, and the difficulty in many domains of defining just what ethical behavior is. There are also cross-cultural differences which need to be accounted for.”An unexpected benefit from developing an ethical advisor for robots is that the advising might assist humans when facing ethically challenging decisions, as well. Computerized ethical advising already exists for law and bioethics, and similar computational machinery might also enhance ethical behavior in human-human relationships.“Perhaps if robots could act as role models in situations where humans have difficulty acting in accord with moral standards, this could positively reinforce ethical behavior in people, but that’s an unproven hypothesis,” Arkin said.center_img Researchers give robots the capability for deceptive behavior RI-MAN, a robot developed by researchers at RIKEN in Japan, was designed for human care. Image credit: RIKEN, Bio-Mimetic Control Research Center More information: Ronald Craig Arkin, et al. “Moral Decision Making in Autonomous Systems: Enforcement, Moral Emotions, Dignity, Trust, and Deception.” Proceedings of the IEEE. Vol. 100, No. 3, March 2012. DOI: 10.1109/JPROC2011.2173265 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

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Physicist creates ice cream that changes colors as its licked

first_imgCredit: Cocinatis Spanish physicist, engineer, professor and ice cream lover Manuel Linares has together with a couple of colleagues created an ice cream that changes colors when it’s licked—in a cone. Not content with the life of a physics professor, Linares signed up for training with Asociación Empresarial Nacional de Elaboradores Artesanos y Comerciantes de Helados y Horchatas—a craftsmen and businessmen association in Spain that offers mentored coursework. Uber brings back on-demand ice cream trucks Explore further © 2014 Phys.orgcenter_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. Citation: Physicist creates ice cream that changes colors as it’s licked (2014, July 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-07-physicist-ice-cream.html Linares pursued what he has described as a “Masters Diploma in Creating Artisan Ice Cream.” Intrigued by the ice that changes color under fluorescent lights, created by Charlie Francis, Linares set his sights on figuring out a way to create a type of ice cream that would change color in response to temperature changes and acids found in the human mouth. He enlisted the assistance of a couple of unnamed buddies and they all got to work in a lab that Linares put together with his own funds. Linares has told the press that it took the three of them just one week to come up with the color changing ice cream. The final product, which reportedly has a similar taste to tutti-frutti, has been named Xamaleón. The color changing comes about, some suspect due to the types of fruit that are used—plus a secondary ingredient, a spritz called the “love elixir” that gets sprayed onto the ice cream after its been scooped into a cone, which Linares has hinted, accelerates the color changing process. It starts out as periwinkle blue, then changes to pink and eventually becomes purple, as it’s licked.The ice cream is made of all natural materials, Linares has revealed, but other than listing some of the normal ingredients found in regular ice cream, he’s kept mum. That’s because he has big plans for the ice cream. He’s already opened a shop in Blanes, his hometown, with the goal of creating many more types of exotic ice cream, such as a variety that mimics the ice created by Francis, and another he’s already named Xamán—it will be made with Peruvian and African medicinal plants which will supposedly provide an aphrodisiac effect.last_img read more

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Study shows differences in brain activity of humans and macaques engaged in

first_img Pictured are the increases (orange-yellow) and decreases (blue) of neural activity in the brains of humans and macaques while performing the same attention task as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this study, the researchers found that the attention networks in humans fundamentally differ from those of macaques in three ways: the networks contain more areas, more information is shared between brain hemispheres, and humans possess an entire attention control network that is missing from macaques. The results suggest that the attention network has evolved to support uniquely human cognitive functions. Credit: Image courtesy of Gaurav Patel/New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical Center 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: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Barbary macaques. Credit: Wikipedia/Flickr/Karyn Sig At least two regions of the brain decide what we perceive As part of the experiment, one assumption has been that the macaque brain is likely very similar to the brain early humans had when the last common ancestors of the two species branched off in different directions. This means that the team was free to suggest that the differences they saw in the brain scans, likely indicate evolutionary changes that have occurred to our brains over the past 25 million years. Explore furthercenter_img © 2015 Phys.org In trying to better understand how it is the human brain works, scientists sometimes use macaques as stand-ins—that is because sometimes the experiments conducted cannot be performed on humans. One problem with this approach is that it is still not clear just how alike the brains of humans and macaques actually are. To learn more, the group conducted experiments that looked into which parts of the brain are active in both species engaged in the same task.The experiments consisted of putting eight human beings and two macaques in an fMRI machine while they engaged in the same task and watching which parts of the brain lit up. The task consisted of staring at a single point on a computer screen while objects were displayed near the single point and pressing a button when a certain image appeared. All the volunteers were trained on the task prior to being put into the fMRI machine.In analyzing the results the researchers discovered that the temporoparietal junction was much more active in the humans—they also noted that some other areas of the brain were more active as well. Furthermore, they discovered that there was more communication going on between the two brain hemispheres. In looking at all the differences taken together, the researchers conclude that humans have a more advanced attention control network, which they note, makes sense, because we humans need to filter information more than macaques—the monkeys, presumably, must be able to react to dangerous situations much more quickly than us. (Phys.org)—A group of researchers with affiliations to several institutions in the U.S. has identified some of the ways the human brain differs in the way it focuses on a task as compared to macaques. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers detail experiments they carried out with both humans and macaques using fMRI scans. Citation: Study shows differences in brain activity of humans and macaques engaged in the same task (2015, July 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-differences-brain-humans-macaques-engaged.html More information: Functional evolution of new and expanded attention networks in humans, Gaurav H. Patel, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420395112AbstractMacaques are often used as a model system for invasive investigations of the neural substrates of cognition. However, 25 million years of evolution separate humans and macaques from their last common ancestor, and this has likely substantially impacted the function of the cortical networks underlying cognitive processes, such as attention. We examined the homology of frontoparietal networks underlying attention by comparing functional MRI data from macaques and humans performing the same visual search task. Although there are broad similarities, we found fundamental differences between the species. First, humans have more dorsal attention network areas than macaques, indicating that in the course of evolution the human attention system has expanded compared with macaques. Second, potentially homologous areas in the dorsal attention network have markedly different biases toward representing the contralateral hemifield, indicating that the underlying neural architecture of these areas may differ in the most basic of properties, such as receptive field distribution. Third, despite clear evidence of the temporoparietal junction node of the ventral attention network in humans as elicited by this visual search task, we did not find functional evidence of a temporoparietal junction in macaques. None of these differences were the result of differences in training, experimental power, or anatomical variability between the two species. The results of this study indicate that macaque data should be applied to human models of cognition cautiously, and demonstrate how evolution may shape cortical networks.last_img read more

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The hidden evolutionary relationship between pigs and primates revealed by genomewide study

first_img Explore further The researchers were able to identify additional PRE-1 elements using a ‘BLAST’ search of similar sequences. They also were able to predict the secondary assembled structure of PRE-1 RNA using RNAstructure Webservers ( rna.urmc.rochester.edu/RNAstru … edict1/Predict1.html ). The upshot of all this work, in the author’s own words, is that the ‘genomic performance of PRE-1 in terms of 7SL RNA-derived SINEs seemed convincing enough to classify the suidae into a family mainly inhabited by primates’.It has not escaped our attention that many readers of physorg who may have availed themselves of our previous coverage of the human hybrid origins theory, and a later follow up report, might come to premature conclusions here. With that in mind, I talked the creator of the hybrid origins theory, Eugene McCarthy, to get his take on this new research. He had this to say:”People have been congratulating me on this SINE study as if it somehow proved the hybrid theory of human origins. That’s nice of them, but it’s just one run in a nine-inning game. True, it does show that pigs are more closely related to primates than has generally been thought, which in turn suggests that a hybrid cross between pig and chimpanzee is more feasible than many have supposed. But to establish whether we’re actually descendants of an ancient cross between pig and chimpanzee, will require a detailed search of the human genome, not just a study of SINEs. I’ve explained the relevant issues in a recent rebuttal of some of the most common criticisms of the hybrid theory. It’s not as simple as some people like to think.” © 2015 Phys.org 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. More information: biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/ea … 8/31/025791.full.pdf Who and exactly what were these generously-named beasts you might be asking yourself? The Laurasiatheria are the placental mammals believed to have hailed from the northern supercontinent of Laurasia after it split from Gondwana when Pangaea broke up. Their sister group, the Euarchontoglires, are the Supraprimates. These consensus classifications were made using the larger family of retrotransposons of which SINEs, and longer related LINEs, are themselves members of.In the pig genetics business, the preferred classification term for the family is ‘suidae’. Suidae PRE elements have been known since their original discovery back in 1987. The researchers identified the PRE1 element as a polymorphic insertion in the 5′-flanking region (about 686~985 bp upstream from the transcription initiator ATG codon) of the insulin growth factor binding protein (IGFBP7). Postulating that this 300 base pair insert sequence might be related to Alu inserts, they compared it with representative primate Alu sequences selected from the AF-1 database (software.iiar.res.in/af1/index.html). Incidentally, we should note that pig geneticists don’t have a monopoly on the term PRF-1. In related areas of pursuit, like drosophila genetics for example, a search for ‘PRE-1’ might be just as likely to return ‘photoreceptor regulatory element 1’. (Phys.org)—In the past, geneticists focused primarily on the evolution of genes in order to trace the relationships between species. More recently, genetic elements called SINEs (short interspersed elements) have emerged as a much better way to trace mammalian phylogeny, at least in the time since its massive radiation some 60 million years ago. That’s because the prolific SINE family evolved differently in every lineage to become widespread throughout the entire genome of each. But SINEs are more than just highly mobile markers, they have specific functions—functions which researchers are now decoding to understand not just how, but why they move about like they do.center_img Credit: overlay by Eugene McCarthy Secondary structure of ALU RNAs. Credit: rna.berkeley.edu/translation.html In humans, the most familiar and abundant SINE is the Alu transposable element. Originally derived from a small cytoplasmic signal recognition conglomerate known as the 7SL RNA, Alu inserts have since propagated themselves to generate an extended family over a million strong representing 11% of our entire genome. With the exception of the Alu inserts in the primate superfamily (and one seemingly anomalous occurrence of the ‘B1’ SINE the rat) all other SINEs were believed to have been derived from tRNAs rather than the 7SL RNA.A recent paper published in the bioRxiv now suggests that another species—the pig—has a unique family of SINEs whose evolution has closely paralleled ours. This collaboration between researchers from China, and Firefly Bioworks Inc. here in the US, reports that the swine SINE known as PRE-1 (for porcine repeat element), also likely derives from 7SL RNA. This work potentially pushes back the divergence time of 7SL RNA products to 80-100 million years ago—a re-adjustment that would presumably ground the 7SL RNA diversification or hybridization events to a place before the so-called boreoeutherians diversified into Laurasiatheria and Euarchontoglires. Citation: The hidden evolutionary relationship between pigs and primates revealed by genome-wide study of transposable elements (2015, September 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-hidden-evolutionary-relationship-pigs-primates.html Orangutans harbor ancient primate Alulast_img read more

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Sediment study of African lake may help explain huge number of related

first_img © 2015 Phys.org 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. Drilling site in nearly 2000’ of water on Lake Malawi. Drill cores at this location penetrated more than 1250’ below the bottom of the lake. Credit: Jason Agnich, University of Minnesota Duluth. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several universities in the U.S. has conducted a drilling study of Lake Malawi in South-East Africa and suggest their findings may help explain the large number of cichlid species that call the lake their home. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their drilling expedition, what the sediment samples showed and why they believe their findings may help explain the unusual number of related fish species.center_img Study shows evolution does not always mean more diversification Citation: Sediment study of African lake may help explain huge number of related fish species (2015, December 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-sediment-african-lake-huge-fish.html More information: Continuous 1.3-million-year record of East African hydroclimate, and implications for patterns of evolution and biodiversity, Robert P. Lyons, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1512864112AbstractThe transport of moisture in the tropics is a critical process for the global energy budget and on geologic timescales, has markedly influenced continental landscapes, migratory pathways, and biological evolution. Here we present a continuous, first-of-its-kind 1.3-My record of continental hydroclimate and lake-level variability derived from drill core data from Lake Malawi, East Africa (9–15° S). Over the Quaternary, we observe dramatic shifts in effective moisture, resulting in large-scale changes in one of the world’s largest lakes and most diverse freshwater ecosystems. Results show evidence for 24 lake level drops of more than 200 m during the Late Quaternary, including 15 lowstands when water levels were more than 400 m lower than modern. A dramatic shift is observed at the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), consistent with far-field climate forcing, which separates vastly different hydroclimate regimes before and after ∼800,000 years ago. Before 800 ka, lake levels were lower, indicating a climate drier than today, and water levels changed frequently. Following the MPT high-amplitude lake level variations dominate the record. From 800 to 100 ka, a deep, often overfilled lake occupied the basin, indicating a wetter climate, but these highstands were interrupted by prolonged intervals of extreme drought. Periods of high lake level are observed during times of high eccentricity. The extreme hydroclimate variability exerted a profound influence on the Lake Malawi endemic cichlid fish species flock; the geographically extensive habitat reconfiguration provided novel ecological opportunities, enabling new populations to differentiate rapidly to distinct species. Scientists have debated amongst themselves the possible reasons for such a large number of cichlid species in one lake—over a 1000, which is more than any other lake. Possible ideas have included unknown environmental factors or biological tendencies of the cichlid in general. In this new effort, the researchers suggest it might have been because lake levels changed so dramatically over the years.To learn more, the researchers traveled to the lake and conducted drilling operations, collecting sediment samples that revealed lake level changes over the past 1.3 million years. In looking at the data, the team found that that there were approximately 24 dry periods where the lake level dropped at least 650 feet and multiple periods where excessive moisture caused the lake to overflow into the surrounding area. There was also a big change that occurred approximately 800,000 years ago where the climate shifted from one that was mostly dry, to one that was much wetter. They noted that during some of the low level periods the lake likely broke into several pieces.The researchers suggest that such dramatic fluctuations in lake levels could account for the huge number of cichlid species, a dominant fish that would have had to be able to change quickly to adapt to new conditions—lower lake levels, for example, would have meant the water would have been a lot saltier with dramatically different pH levels, and if the lake broke up for long periods of time it would have led to isolation of some species.If the theory by the team is correct, it still does not explain, as they acknowledge, how it was that so many of the species that developed managed to survive till today. That answer will likely take a genetic study.last_img read more

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A novel way to put flame retardant in a lithium ion battery

first_img Schematic illustration for the fabrication of the microfibers by electrospinning. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 More information: Kai Liu et al. Electrospun core-shell microfiber separator with thermal-triggered flame-retardant properties for lithium-ion batteries, Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601978AbstractAlthough the energy densities of batteries continue to increase, safety problems (for example, fires and explosions) associated with the use of highly flammable liquid organic electrolytes remain a big issue, significantly hindering further practical applications of the next generation of high-energy batteries. We have fabricated a novel “smart” nonwoven electrospun separator with thermal-triggered flame-retardant properties for lithium-ion batteries. The encapsulation of a flame retardant inside a protective polymer shell has prevented direct dissolution of the retardant agent into the electrolyte, which would otherwise have negative effects on battery performance. During thermal runaway of the lithium-ion battery, the protective polymer shell would melt, triggered by the increased temperature, and the flame retardant would be released, thus effectively suppressing the combustion of the highly flammable electrolytes. Safer, more environmentally friendly flame retardant with first-of-its-kind dual effects SEM image of the TPP@PVDF-HFP microfibers. Scale bar, 5 μm. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 Schematic of the “smart” electrospun separator with thermal-triggered flame-retardant properties for lithium-ion batteries. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 Reports of phones and hoverboards catching fire due to short circuits in batteries have caused alarm in the personal electronics industry—both by users and those that make the devices. Unfortunately, up until now, engineers have not been able to solve the problem completely. Most such efforts involve re-engineering devices to prevent short-circuiting and thus overheating, or attempting to put flame retardant directly in the batteries. Neither approach has proven to be entirely satisfactory. Re-engineering does not always solve the problem and the addition of flame retardant greatly reduces battery efficiency. In this new effort, the researchers describe an approach that thus far appears to offer some help—it does not stop overheating from occurring, but it is able to prevent fire.The new approach involves encapsulating a common flame retardant called triphenyl phosphate in an extremely tiny sheath made of plastic fibers and then inserting several of them into the electrolyte that sits between the anode and cathode. The sheath keeps the retardant from actually coming into contact with the electrolyte material, which is flammable and the source of most battery fires. But the plastic fibers in the sheath have a melting point of 160° Celsius—if that temperature is reached, the plastic melts and the retardant is released into the electrolyte quashing a potential fire. Journal information: Science Advances In test devices using their encapsulated flame retardant, the researchers report that the sheaths melted and the retardant was released and merged with the electrolyte in just 0.4 seconds and because of that fires were averted.In practice, it is presumed that such an occurrence in a device would initiate a hardware error before the battery stopped working to alert a user to what had occurred. Thereafter, a user would also presumably have to purchase a new battery in order to continue using their device which would survive the overheating event. GIF animation showing the EC/DEC electrolyte is highly flammable. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 Schematic illustration for the fabrication of the microfibers by electrospinning. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978center_img GIF animation showing the EC/DEC electrolyte is highly flammable. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 Explore further © 2017 Phys.org GIF animation showing the flammability of the EC/DEC electrolytes in the presence of the TPP@PVDF-HFP separator. The flames of the electrolyte diminish rapidly and are completely extinguished within 0.4 seconds. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Stanford University has found a novel way to introduce flame retardant into a lithium ion battery to prevent fires from occurring. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their technique and their results when testing it. GIF animation showing the combustion of EC/DEC electrolyte with the flame-retardant TPP. Credit: Liu et al. Sci. Adv. 2017;3:e1601978 Citation: A novel way to put flame retardant in a lithium ion battery (2017, January 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-01-flame-retardant-lithium-ion-battery.html 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

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Fantasy called India

To celebrate their 25th anniversary year, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have come out with India Fantastique, published by Thames & Hudson, in two volumes – Fashion [Volume I] and Interiors [Volume II].Known both for their fashion creations for men and women and for interior design, their reputation extends far beyond India: many international celebrities wear Jani-Khosla creations, among them Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Sophie Marceau and Sarah Brown. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The first volume of India Fantastique displays dozens of the duo’s impossibly elegant designs created over the past 25 years, including close-ups of exquisitely crafted details. The second volume focuses on their extensive work in interior design. Their hallmark maximalism runs riot in privately commissioned interiors, which incorporate art, artifacts, antiques and vintage textiles. An exhibition of the designers’ work was held at Sotheby’s London in September to coincide with the launch of India Fantastique. read more

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Going contemporary on canvas

first_imgAs a preview of the United Art Fair 2013, Peter Nagy and his curatorial team of Dr. Alka Pande, Ram Rahman, Meera Menezes, Heidi Fichtner, Mayank Kaul have assembled a diverse group of art works by some of the most promising up-and-coming talents of the Indian contemporary art scene. A mix of mediums and styles will give just the slimmest of hints of the diversity of art works that will be on display at the UAF 2013.The exhibition has got eclectic mix of works by sixteen contemporary artists from different parts of the country. New Delhi-based Nidhi Agarwal paints aggressive, muscular abstractions that harbour figurative passages and landscape tendencies. Violently expressionistic, her colour palette is both complex and acrid and her subject matter often perverse. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Anand Jaiswal, Kurukshetra based artist has magnificently used different objects and images from historic time symbolising them in contemporaneity in his works.Santiniketan based artist Basist Kumar’s paintings are interestingly simple yet full of woven thoughts. Isolated figures, anonymous and without civilization, hover in containers of weather and light. He fuses singular portraits with iconic landscapes, resulting in paintings that are indebted to both Science Fiction and Symbolism. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixTauseef Khan’s new series of paintings renders history as reflected through prisms of glass and memory as a distortion of perception. While he weaves together both representation and abstraction, he also melds architectural landscapes with still life, creating paintings steeped in prodigious antecedents. Portraits of some of India’s best known monuments like the tombs of Humayun and Lodhi Gardens, the Jantar Mantar, the Taj Mahal are glimpsed through scrims of decorative glassware which turn their stoic masonry into a melting array of pigments.   Devangana Kumar, is a Delhi based artist and designer. She layers her work with painting, printing and decoupage, juxtaposing images from popular culture, colourful Indian kitsch and even old photographs, transforming mundane objects into edgy collectibles.Anita Ghei Malhotra’s works are culmination of several years of studio-practice and doctoral research at Teachers College, Columbia University New York City and her spiritual experiences while she lived in Manhattan and then back again in New Delhi. Shiv Kumar Verma, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.University, Baroda, was born and brought up in a small village in the Bastar district, a region famous for its traditional arts. He uses natural materials like bronze and local mud to create sculptural works that represent human emotions and reveal shades of everyday living.Suresh K. Nair an artist based in Banaras is better known as a contemporary muralist, though it’s not on walls of temples and palaces that he paints, but on canvas. The natural colours of an old-world muralist, elaborately prepared with organic matter, have been replaced with acrylic.Manil-Rohit artist duo from Lucknow based in Noida do some quirky works. They use various iconographies which are sourced from the surroundings and popular media: graffiti, comics, packaging and animation. Yet art historical references are also there while they successfully conquer the age-old battles between figure and ground, abstraction and figuration. The painterly manoeuvres they employ to do so are both skilful and self-conscious: line, colour and shape coalesce into highly charged fields of energy; the soft-focus blur of aerosol paint is juxtaposed with an impasto heaped on like cake frosting.The United Art Fair will be happening from 14 to 17 September in Halls 8,9,10,and 11 of Pragati Maidan.DETAILWhen: 28 April to 4 May, 10 am to 7Where: Lalit Kala Academylast_img read more

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Ensuring insurance for every Indian

first_imgThe insurance industry in India is looking at ways of reinventing itself in a positive light in the economy following fruitful discussions held at the 16th annual insurance conference —In Pursuit of Productivity, Sustainability and Progress—in Mumbai recently. Bouncing cheques, income tax frauds, lack of  penetration into rural and social sectors, are some of the problems bugging this industry in India which is struggling to maintain its equilibrium after opening up to the private sector from the monopoly of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India in 1999. Also Read – Revolutionising Indian agricultureThe Indian insurance industry is now reeling further with the central government Insurance Bill, which seeks to increase FDI in this sector from the existing 26 pr cent to 49 per cent. Adding to its misery are frauds and overseas figures being an eye-opener, where statistics showed that every hour, 15 fraudulent insurance claims were reported in the UK.HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd  MD and CEO Amitabh Chaudhry noted that bouncing cheques and other problems led to insurance companies suffering 40 per cent losses in business every year, besides the insurance business drawing a lot of negative coverage in the past.  Noting that LIC had the monopoly in the past, Insurance Regulatory and Development authority (IRDA),  Insurance Regulatory and Development authority (IRDA) Chairman T S Vijayan said the insurance industry opened up to private players from 1999 but did very little to benefit the rural and social sectors of India, besides the economy of the country. Stating that 3.9 per cent penetration of India was not enough, he said this industry had much potential after viewing the demography chart where 2.5 crore people would be joining the job market within the next 20 years which offered a prospective climate for the insurance sector. Also Read – BLACK FIBREIn the non-life insurance sector, about one million scooters coming out yearly meant an equal number of insurance opportunities, he said while urging for viewing the number of assets being added yearly including hospital treatment. “When India opened up to private insurance players, the industry lost focus of customers and did not address the real needs. While the speed of clearing insurance claims is not bad, the focus should be on which products are bringing the premium for them. They have to be clear on which innovations they are bringing to the market so that the tag of mis-selling and the gap of misunderstanding is removed. The product should be transparent and easily understood. Insurance products should be positioned as a separate brand itself individually.” “We should tell the Prime Minister to bring out a Jan Bima Yojna. Distribution costs of insurance products being very high is a misconception but statistics don’t substantiate this. If a company is mature and strong, then this wont be so. The insurance company can be put on even keel if the top line can go up to match fixed costs. While the policy holders’ money have to be protected, the agent too has to be protected with some remuneration being given on a monthly basis instead of commission, thus ensuring that the company too has done its social responsibility.’Vijayan also criticized the use of paper in the present digital age of the insurance industry. “I joined the Insurance industry in 1977 and even today, people are still using paper. We need to come out of this mindset of paper use where, instead, the ease of selling insurance should happen in a jiffy. In India, things are already in place such as Aadhar card, Internet, mobile etc and the future belongs to this type of solution that is not complex but simple. An integrated solution should be given to customers that includes even after-sale services including settling claims in time. Health re-insurance is also in the picture. All metros should have re-Insurance. Innovation happens when the distribution system gets improved.” Vijayan also noted that mis-selling made money for the insurance persons and remained a fact whether the government understood it or not. Noting that frauds are still happening, he said how far some people could go could be seen from the fact that some crooks even tried selling RBI (Reserve Bank of India) cards – when there are no such cards actually. But “gullible” people still bought them, he said, adding that this had to be tackled by the awareness authority. Highlighting “digitization” in an insurance processing perspective, he said “In Hyderabad, we started a bureau for collecting data on all vehicles insurance and found that 1.5 lakh vehicles were not insured. This data crunch alone can create a reduction in the third party premiums.” ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd MD and CEO Bhargav Dasgupta said the Insurance industry growth is between Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 17,000 crore at a CAGR of 17 per cent and is expected to grow to Rs 4.80 lakh crore by 2027. Alongside the vast opportunity including new penetration of 0.2 per cent in rural markets, there are 30 crore homes in the country which represent a Rs 30,000 crore opportunity, he said. The industry honchos agreed on the fact that penetration levels needed to be increased  across segments, asset classes and geographies to accelerate growth — alongside the 60 per cent awareness in the health insurance sector — besides SMEs, rural sector and homes offering significant opportunities and yet to be penetrated. In the rural sector, tractors segment penetration was at 30 per cent while being benchmarked at 85 per cent, while in SMEs, employees’ group health is at 10 per cent and benchmarked at 75 per cent. The industry’s performance is driven by interplay of various factors. It would need to take continued action to accelerate growth and further improve profitability.  The union of all the industry captains at one place found that human capital development, technology and utilities are several areas for the insurance industry to collaborate in this regard. Highlighting “human capital” in the Indian insurance industry, New India Assurance Co Ltd CMD G Srinivasan said there is a huge challenge of skills in this industry which needs not just more people alongside its growth, but also the right type of people as “today the Industry is run by people without insurance qualifications.” But if insurance sector is seen as an attractive proposition and career to freshers and youngsters coming out of colleges, was his question. “Earlier, we had to walk a long way to get business.  Even today, we are picking up general graduates and then training them. Also, we do not do enough research & development and hence have to keep trying out talent wherever we can get it. Although insurance is very complex, I can pick up someone from the market and train him in three months time,” he added.“Hospitals don’t realize they are committing a fraud in the system. This can’t go on indefinitely and the situation has reached the extent that the fraud costs are being borne by the customer. The problem of frauds in India is huge as customers do not know they are committing a fraud. When we detect a fraud, we can only reject the claim. So there is need for a legal framework and mechanism to deal with these frauds as there is no way you can discourage them. There is a need for setting up a separate fraud bureau (by looking also abroad into frauds and solutions) to detect and prevent them from happening. The biggest issue online insurance industry is facing is frauds, not underwriting claims,” he said.General Insurance Council Secretary General R Chandrasekaran outlined the need to build the insurance industry’s image as insurance is part of mismanagement. “There is a need to lay down qualifications for candidates entering this industry. Draw up a pyramid of skills needed for the expertise, and draw up an action plan. Where frauds were concerned, one case involving a Schengen Visa had come to us through a travel agent. What we did was to make a portal that worked successfully and led to almost nil travel fraud. Years ago, we never spoke about frauds, but today we are talking openly about it.” ICICI Lombard General Insurance’s Bhargava Dasgupta said that the depth of understanding required to be successful in the insurance industry is higher than in other sectors. “We need to attract talent and find ways of positioning our industry better, besides going to campuses to recruit them. Increasing the attractiveness quotient is the need of the hour,” he said while noting that where technology is concerned, the opportunity is huge. “Mobiles are being used to generate business and ease of operations. Technology is great, but also a huge threat for us if we don’t collaborate well.”Dasgupta also narrated a case where his company discovered a racket operating in the health insurance sector. This was being done in a very randomized manner but still ended up getting exposed, he said while emphasizing “We still need to have an element of collaboration as criminals are getting smarter and the insurance industry cannot catch all frauds. There are even hospitals defrauding the insurance industry.”G Srinivasan intervened to add that “There is a need for collaboration as technology is critical, especially for building up data for the entire country which is needed. Technology is also important to get into the rural markets, besides playing an important role in the industry taking important decisions on such as natural calamities like those that occurred in Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh – especially since India is exposed to natural calamities. There is no scientific model to deal with this and you can see companies failing in this regard.”“Frauds are taking place. I was at a conference in Zimbabwe where the chief of the Insurance Fraud Bureau narrated a case of identity theft where 30 people had their identity stolen. The fraud syndicate responsible for this made just one mistake that was identified by the IFB who tracked them down and brought them to justice. So this is one area needing collaboration in tracking frauds,” he noted.Experian Credit Information Company of India Pvt. Ltd MD Mohan Jayaraman said:  “While India is having the largest bureau in the world and 150 million consumers, the definition and way we view technology is changing today.  There is now availability of technology and infrastructure while redefining and jumping to the next level. We should make use of the small capsules of data that we have, such as the ones we are now doing in the vehicles sector. When we draw the data, we can put it in an easy-to-access portal — that can be also viewed by customers – in a transparent and beneficial way while avoiding frauds also. In the UK, there are fraud repositories today where people can go and identify cases to prevent frauds. But there is a need to bring in a well-paid person to detect such frauds.”Jayaraman said 30 per cent of NPAs in banks had been identified as being frauds and that, in India, large scale private players came together and started sharing information about such frauds, thus saving Rs 468 crore in the process. KGFS head (Unit of IFMR Rural Channels and services Private Limited) Ravi K A said rural households owned movable assets such as tractors and bikes. “Cash flow mismatch is one of the key challenges faced by the rural sector and insurance helps them in this regard,” he said.  Oriental Insurance Co Ltd Director & GM Kuldip Singh said that while there is insurance awareness in the rural areas, their psychology in general insurance was that they felt they were not deriving any benefits of the insurance policy over the insurance period. “Insurance in the health sector is going up as people are getting benefits there. People in rural areas are more  shy and require an insurance distribution channel among them where they can approach even at midnight. Also, there is a rural class which can afford insurance and these need to be approached in cases like Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh incidents etc.”KEC International and RPG Group (Insurance) General Manager P Chandrasekar highlighted the need to simplify and rejig the insurance process so that indemnification could be done easily. FINO PayTech Ltd Founder Member and Executive Director Rishi Gupta called for greater awareness, higher commissions, training and technology as digitization would address a lot of these challenges. HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co Ltd MD and CEO Ritesh Kumar said rural penetration could be done through schemes involving NGOs and third party distribution channels could service this sector in a better way than any brick-and-mortar office could. However, more insurance products were needed in the rural areas for the small kiosks there, he said.last_img read more

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Styling tips for mens footwear

first_imgFootwear can make or break the entire look of your outfit. Before spending on footwear, it is always a wise decision for men to have an insight into the latest ongoing trends, says an expert.Here are a few tips on how to pair the right footwear with different outfits:* Leather boots in classic colours like black, brown and tan are sure to add a charm to your dashing looks when paired with classy leather jackets and overcoats.* Invariably, Oxfords and brogues are gaining wide popularity at workplaces. Oxfords can be the right choice for office meetings when teamed with formal shirts and trousers. On the other hand, get the desired look for cocktail parties by pairing a tuxedo with brogues in unusual tones of olive green, navy blue and burgundy. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf* Casual style and bright colours are a hot favourite amongst the college-goers. So when it comes to casuals, cool and funky colours like red, blue, yellow and mint green are quite in trend these days. For night parties to casual meetings, pair vibrant coloured slip-ons or sneakers with crisp shirt and trousers or chinos.* Loafers are timeless. Ranging from hand painted to suede leather, this style of footwear is for ultra-fashionable men with refined tastes. This range of footwear is smart, a perfect choice for daily wear and are a great match for chinos, jeans or any casual trouser paired with a t-shirt or casual shirts or sweatshirts. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive* Moccasins are more semi-formal as compared to loafers. Therefore, they can be best teamed up with formal trousers and chinos. Pair them with brown chinos and blue jacket for a classic Friday office look. * Experimenting with different styles has been a forte with the youngsters. A variety of different footwear styles are noticed in today’s fashion market. One such style is plimsolls which has recently entered Indian markets and flooded them with its versatility. *Opt for wide-ranging plimsolls and pair them with denims and subtle coloured sweaters. IANSlast_img read more

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State govt employees jubilant as Mamata announces clearance of DA arrears by

first_imgKolkata: State government employees in the state have reasons to cheer with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announcing on Thursday that Dearness Allowance (DA) arrears of all government employees will be cleared by this month. The total DA of the employees will be 125 percent of their basic pay.”The DA arrears will be cleared by this month,” Banerjee said while addressing a public distribution programme at Ilambazar in Birbhum. The Chief Minister has kept her promise that she had made on June 19, 2018, when she had announced 25 percent additional Dearness Allowance (DA) for the state government employees with the merger of 10 percent interim relief. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe had also stated that it will be effective from January 2019 and the total DA of the employees will be 125 percent. It is 90 percent more than what it was till the end of the Left Front period. “We have to pay around Rs 48,000 crore every year to the Centre due to the huge debt burden left upon us by the erstwhile Left Front government, but the Chief Minister has taken up so many projects for the benefit of common people and is continuing to do so,” a senior official of the state government said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe release of the DA will cost Rs 5,000 crore to the state’s exchequer every year. The DA recipients will also include teachers and non-teaching staff of educational institutions and employees of rural and urban local bodies. Sanket Chakraborty, general secretary of the State Steering Committee, congratulated the Chief Minister for providing the benefit. It may be mentioned that the gap between the Centre and Bengal with regards to DA had been 48 percent. Now, with the state government allocating 25 percent more DA, the difference will come down to 23 percent. The organisation of Trinamool Congress state government employees – Rajya Sarkari Karmachari Federation (RSKF), claimed that the state government’s move comes as a New Year gift for the employees. “We want the state government to bring out a fresh notification in this regard to clear any doubts or allegations from other unions,” said Manoj Chakraborty, convener of RSKF. It may be mentioned that Banerjee had addressed a programme of the RSKF in September 2017 at Nazrul Manch, where she had assured that the demand of the state government employees will be looked into with priority.last_img read more

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Gods own flavours

first_imgHow does one define a regional cuisine chef in the capital city of Delhi? In a city inundated with eateries and restaurants – Delhi has panned into a city with the possibility of nearly infinite new flavours and techniques, as well as young first- and second-generation chefs with different perspectives on what deliciousness might entail.In the kingdom of South Indian cuisine, Kerala cuisine has its own cove and there are very few Chefs in Delhi who can give you the authentic Dravidian flavor with ingredients and seasoning and the amalgam of roasted spices. One Chef however holds his own and judging by the tables filled with gaiety at ITC Sheraton’s Dakshin you can be sure Chef Velu is one who can carry you into flashes culinary epiphany. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfYou are shown to your table, in the splendid lamp filled room, and you can begin with a glass of cold coconut water to cool down as the basket of papadums can be enjoyed with four different chutneys-tomatoes, coconut, tamarind tinged and herb flavoured mint. Chutneys which your grandmother may have served you with dosas or idlis in yesteryear — is not a bad way to start. Save your space for a feast with Chef Velu. He begins with a globular lentil fried Kuzhi Panniyaram which can be swiped with the coconut chutney to give you a sensory idea of granular flavours on the tongue. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIs the starter something you want to dip in a seafood sojourn? Sure, why not – the presence of Prawn Varathatha and the tamarind ginger chutney read into distinct designs in ingredients. Ever heard of the Fish Pollichatha, a grandmother’s recipe off the backwaters of Kerala? In case you haven’t, it’s tangy, spicy and flaky in all the right ways as you unravel the banana leaf inside which it has been steamed on a pan. The spicy, slightly – roasted fish schools you into the mysteries of the fish recipes. Velu is equally at ease with Syrian Christian, and Moplah recipes as he is with traditional Nair Hindu fare. While you are relishing the fish, Chef sends in a dark chewy, slivers of coconut chunked lamb known as Erachi Olathiya, the piece de resistance of the menu. Robust hints of roasted coriander, chillies and the ingenuous Kerala garam masala tantalize the tongue.Savour slowly – you have to save space for just a spoonful of Kerala par boiled rice with a mélange of prawn curry, a spicy fish curry and roasted spiced chicken curry that goes best with fluffy appams.” We get spices as whole and then create the masalas according to the recipes,” says Chef Velu who has won numerous awards for the ITC chain and wears his pedigree of two decades of fine regional cuisine, with modesty. His balance of spice and the smoothness of the gravies is what makes the curries splendid.What remain in memory are not just the flavour and the experience of authenticity that leaves you in a state of familial reverie, but the perfection of the curries and the seafood succulence can also be read as a statement of food principles: handpicked authentic ingredients, fascinating flavours, careful and experienced execution and a subtle signature of chilly.Does it mean anything in particular when a chef is identified with the most relished dishes in the South Indian repertoire? Chef VeluMurugan comes from the Mudaliar community, and Mudaliar cuisine is a culinary tradition developed by an intrinsically vegetarian community which started out as pioneering agriculturists during the time of the early Cholas. His Pineapple Pachadi, an amalgam of tempered yoghurt and cubed pineapple as well as his seamless pumpkin Elicherry stand testimony to his vegan roots. While Velu specialises in the cuisine of sub-communities of south India such as Nadar, Udipi, and Syrian Christians, his best memory is that of fish curry and Kerala rice relished on a banana leaf in the style of his ancestors.Velu is joyous in his hours in the Dakshin kitchen. He swirls even the desserts – an addapayasam into a delight served in a modest-sized brass bowl. Dakshin, a south Indian cuisine restaurant does that magical thing where it is impossible to tell where the perfection of its service and food ends and the satiety of the experience begin. There are strong, succinct signatures of hard work, research and multiple journeys into Kerala’s waterways and a wood fire burning kitchens with a quaint touch of history. In an age of obsessive fusion in cuisine, authenticity is obviously a relative construct – cuisines change all the time all over the world – but it becomes valuable as kind of a benchmark; a point of reference when you stick to the original. This is the hallmark of the ever smiling Dravidian genius Chef Velu Muruganof Dakshin.last_img read more

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Stage set for Mamatas mega show

first_imgKolkata: The Trinamool Congress has set an example before all the other political parties in the country regarding how to conduct a rally where almost half-a-crore people are expected to take part with clock-like precision.The state administration is looking after the security arrangements and overseeing the construction of the main stage and four other stages at the Brigade Parade Ground. The party leaders are running a parallel administration to ensure that TMC workers who have come to attend the rally from the districts do not face any inconvenience. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalDespite her busy schedule, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is keeping a tab on each and every arrangement. She had visited the Brigade Parade Ground on Thursday to take stock of the security arrangements. Thousands of party workers have come to Kolkata from far off districts including Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, South and North Dinajpur respectively. As soon as the party workers reach Sealdah Station, they will be ferried to Central Park where 50 camps have been set up. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA dedicated corridor has been prepared for the VVIPs from the hotel to the venue. The camps have bio-toilets, medical camps and the visitors are being served food as well. Sujit Bose, minister of state for Fire and Emergency Services, who is looking after the camp said no compromise has been made with the cooking medium. The medical camps have been manned by doctors and medicines for indigestion, loose motion, pain and common cough and cold have been provided. The Trinamool supporters have been put up at Gitanjali Stadium and Uttirno. In Howrah, they have been put up at the stadium where state Cooperation minister Arup Roy and Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Lakshmi Ratan Shukla are looking after the make-shift kitchen. Roy said: “Fifty thousand party workers are staying at the stadium. We are looking after them and quality food is being served.” Jyotipriya Mallick, the state Food minister added: “We are not only welcoming our party workers but we will be there at Sealdah and Howrah stations to see them off too.” Senior party leaders including ministers and MPs were deployed to welcome the national leaders who started arriving on Friday afternoon. Subrata Mukherjee went to the airport to receive former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda. Saugata Roy was there to welcome Sharad Pawar while Shatabdi Roy welcomed BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha. Binay Tamang, president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Anit Thapa, general secretary, GJM, will be sharing the stage with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Brigade Parade Ground on Saturday. “BJP has betrayed the Gorkhas. They have played with our sentiments. Our presence at the Brigade Parade Ground will be a befitting answer to the saffron camp,” stated Tamang. Relations between the GJM and the BJP got strained over issues including a separate state. The BJP’s silence during the 105-day bandh in Darjeeling in 2017 and inclusion of 11 Gorkha sub-communities in the Scheduled Tribe list despite Darjeeling having a BJP Member of Parliament has also contributed to the alienation.last_img read more

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Trending styles in loafers moccasins

first_imgLoafers and moccasins have become increasingly popular in today’s times as they have been identified as the most convenient style of shoes. But there’s a whole variety that you can explore from. Experts have shared tips on the types to choose from: -Brogue loafer with medallion: One of the most promising trends in loafers, these styles create a distinctive look with a decorative medallion on the toe and come with a vintage finish. A must-have shoe style for fashion connoisseurs, these shoes offers a contemporary and sharp touch when teamed with a crisp shirt and chinos. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf-Penny loafer with cord stitch: Considered as one of the trendiest styles in semi-casual shoe range, penny loafers add perfect aesthetics to a man’s wardrobe and bring in a touch of much needed versatility. Penny loafers embody refined sophistication and are an ideal companion for sharp dressing office goers and trendy millennials. -Brogue wing tip Kelty moccasins: Designed with W shaped patch on the toe with broguing throughout, these styles give a brilliant and suave touch when crafted in patent leather. An ideal option for those heading for a party or a cocktail night, this style renders a dynamic styling essence when teamed with dress shirts or blazers. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive-Tassel loafer: Amazingly stylish, tassel design loafers are one of the most wanted styles by men. With the increasing popularity, loafers have become more experimental with designs – one, two tassels and fringes. Also, loafers in special shades (wine, carnet, maroon, blue) can make you stand out from the crowd. Tassel loafers are uniquely versatile to pair for any event like party, work meeting or for wedding. Dark wine tassel loafer can play well with three piece black suit for event or wedding whereas tan loafers can go with well with party look (black jeans with white shirt). -Penny loafer: The penny loafers are minimal stylish shoes in the most traditional styles. It is also versatile to wear with any outfit. The shoe emerged as a classic American staple, featuring predominantly in collegiate outfits across the country. It is a preferred shoe option due to its simplistic style and easy adaptability. Today, the penny loafer is a nod to the past but available in a range of different materials suiting every gentleman’s taste. Penny loafers are highly available in three shades – black, brown, and wine for formal look. -Loafer colours: Now, men are more interested to go with experimental colours in loafer to highlight the appearance. Black may be classic, but unusual tones like burgundy, wine, magenta loafers can be more versatile to get dapper look. Different colours in loafer are high trend these days and can add more stylish essence.last_img read more

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Venice Once Paid Prostitutes To Expose Themselves On The Bridge Of Breasts

first_imgRegarded as one of the most romantic locations on the planet, the Italian city of Venice draws in millions of visitors each and every year. It’s famous for its winding waterways, beautiful architecture, storied past, hundreds of bridges, and unique landmarks. The city is especially popular as a honeymoon destination, but when we delve back into history, some aspects of life in Venice start to seem a whole lot less romantic.Venice, ItalyEach of the 400 or so bridges have been given their own names, with examples including the Ponte dell’Accademia, the Ponte dei Tre Archi, the Ponte dei Sospiri, and the Ponte dei Bareteri.Then, there’s the Ponte delle Tette, which more or less translates to “Bridge of Breasts”. Located in the parish of San Cassiano in the sestiere of San Polo, this bridge seems relatively simple and unassuming at first glance, lacking any real distinguishing features or ornate carvings. However, it has a very fascinating story attached to it.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsPonte delle Tette on rio di san Canciano. Photo by Didier Descouens CC BY-SA 4.0Venice is known in the modern era for its romantic aura, but in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, it was more famous for its prostitutes.Back in those times, the authorities weren’t particularly pleased about the presence of prostitutes, but, as reported by io9, it was generally agreed that prostitution was at least a way for poor women to earn a living and for drunk young men to keep themselves busy without causing any trouble. Prostitutes also paid taxes, and the reputation of the city’s courtesans really started to develop over time.Ponte delle Tette, Venice. Photo by Abxbay CC BY-SA 4.0People would come to Venice from far and wide in search of the city’s prostitutes, and so, in the early 15th century, La Serenissima (The Republic of Venice) decided to implement an official decree restricting the areas where prostitutes could operate.Once this decree was put into place, prostitutes were only allowed to work in certain areas and at certain times. They also had to wear a yellow scarf to distinguish themselves from other women, and could be punished quite severely for breaking any of the rules or curfews in place.It was commonly known at the time that not all of the prostitutes were women, and not all of the men heading to Venice were searching for female company.At the time, however, the “sin” of homosexuality was punishable by death. In order to try and combat what they saw as a problem, the authorities came up with a very original, inventive, and unusual “solution”; they allowed prostitutes to expose their breasts on and around the Ponte delle Tette — and even paid them for doing so.Engraving of a ‘lady of the night’ – signature RolandThe idea was that any homosexuals potentially passing through the area might actually be dissuaded out of their own sexuality by the presence of so many alluring and exposed women.The authorities believed that gay men could be lured in by these women and “cured” of their homosexual nature. It was good news for the female prostitutes, as it boosted their business.Photo by Abxbay CC BY-SA 4.0The system also meant that any male prostitutes dressing up as women would lose out on work as they wouldn’t be able to expose themselves.Read another story from us: Clever Marketing: Ancient Greek prostitutes wore sandals that printed a message in the ground reading, “Follow me”In reality, knowing what we know about sexuality in these modern times, the scheme seems foolishly ridiculous, but it carried on for quite a while. It was only in the 18th century, when prostitutes were once again allowed to work elsewhere around the city of Venice, that the Bridge of Breasts lost its unique status.last_img read more

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Westborough police log Aug 30 edition

first_imgWestboroughSunday, Aug. 1112:01 a.m. Edgewood Rd. Well-being check.1:33 a.m. Turnpike Rd. Suspicious auto.12:08 p.m. Computer Dr. Well-being check.1:28 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Suspicious person.3:23 p.m. Maynard St. Disturbance (general).6:23 p.m. Computer Dr. Suspicious auto.7:19 p.m. Technology Dr. Disturbance (general).8:45 p.m. Connector Rd. Well-being check.Monday, Aug. 125:36 a.m. Arrested, Elvin Orlando Gomez-Morales, 30, of 135 E Main St., Apt. J2, Westborough, for operating under the influence of liquor, marked lanes violation, operating MV without a license.8:59 a.m. E Main St. Larceny.9:22 a.m. E Main St. Larceny.9:36 a.m. Glen/Nourse Sts. Accident property damage.12:37 p.m. E Main St./Flanders Rd. Accident property damage.6:06 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Accident property damage.8:21 p.m. Blake St. Disturbance (general).9:31 p.m. Milk St./North Dr. Suspicious person.Tuesday, Aug. 1310:22 a.m. Turnpike Rd. Accident property damage.12:13 p.m. Arrested, Jose Pantojas Jr., 46, of 51 Holworthy St., Apt. 1, Dorchester, on warrant.12:30 p.m. Endicott Dr. Disturbance (general).2:12 p.m. Cross St. Well-being check.2:20 p.m. Mill Rd. Suspicious person.4:05 p.m. Lyman St. Suspicious auto.4:11 p.m. Connector Rd. Well-being check.5:30 p.m. E Main St. Suspicious activity.10:54 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Suspicious auto.Wednesday, Aug. 145:00 a.m. Glen St. Well-being check.9:39 a.m. Summer St. Suspicious auto.12:26 p.m. Turn pike Rd. Parking violation/complaint.1:40 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Suspicious auto.2:33 p.m. E Main St. Suspicious person.9:58 p.m. E Main St. Suspicious auto.11:15 p.m. Zaara Dr. Suspicious activity.Thursday, Aug. 158:12 a.m. E Main St. Road/tree.10:25 a.m. W Main St. Parking violation/complaint.2:19 p.m. Windsor Ridge Dr. Suspicious activity.2:54 p.m. Gary Cir. Suspicious activity.4:07 p.m. E Main St. Accident property damage.10:12 p.m. Turnpike Rd./Milk St. Well-being check.Friday, Aug. 162:24 p.m. Computer Dr. Larceny.4:10 p.m. Valente Dr. Disturbance (general).6:43 p.m. Flanders Rd./Fruit St. Accident property damage.9:49 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Erratic operator.Saturday, Aug. 179:00 p.m. Oak St. Disturbance (general).10:13 p.m. E Main St. Disturbance (general).Sunday, Aug. 181:01 a.m. E Main St. Suspicious auto.3:00 a.m. Chauncy St. Suspicious auto.1:36 p.m. Otis St. Suspicious auto.5:04 p.m. W Main St. Accident property damage.5:11 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Larceny.11:05 p.m. W Main St. Erratic operator.Monday, Aug. 191:30 a.m. Lyman St. Suspicious auto.6:35 a.m. Maynard St. Larceny.11:19 a.m. Computer Dr. Suspicious activity.11:44 a.m. Joanne Dr. Suspicious auto.3:23 p.m. Charlestown Meadows Dr. Suspicious auto.6:22 p.m. Friberg Pkwy. Well-being check.7:56 p.m. Willow St. Well-being check.Tuesday, Aug. 206:36 p.m. W Main St. Parking violation/complaint.10:12 p.m. Oak St. Threats made.Wednesday, Aug. 211:24 a.m. Turnpike Rd. Suspicious auto.11:22 a.m. Reed Ave. Suspicious activity.11:42 a.m. Long Dr. Suspicious auto.4:32 p.m. Cook St. Suspicious auto.5:08 p.m. Fisher St. Well-being check.5:52 p.m. Turnpike Rd. Accident property damage.The information from the police log is obtained directly from the official records maintained at each police station in our circulation area. It contains arrests and samplings of police activity. Those arrested are innocent until proven guilty. The Community Advocate will publish news of acquittals upon notification and a copy of court-issued documentation.last_img read more

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Gottlieb Grudens Moves Dont Look So Dumb Now

first_imgGuests:Guests include Chris Broussard, Greg Jennings, and LaVar Arrington <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Doug Gottlieb in for Colin:Gruden’s moves don’t look so dumb nowJon Gruden was mocked frequently by NFL fans and media for trading away Khalil Mack to the Bears and for paying a premium price to acquire drama factory Antonio Brown at a premium price from Pittsburgh, but Gottlieb thinks that perception to change.Brown may be a pain, but he’s the most productive wide receiver in the NFL and he looks like a bargain after Michael Thomas’ mega deal, and Gruden used the Khalil Mack money to do it. That’s not dumb, it’s good business. Also:-David Griffin isn’t the first to bash the LeBron experience-Zeke and Gordon know the RB market is only getting worselast_img read more

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