Physicists model how we form opinions

first_img Explore further Examining common myths about IQ Secondly, changing the connectivity parameter affects how quickly the system transitions from the segregated state to the intermixed state. For the same laggard parameter, a system with higher connectivity (10 or more connections in the model) creates a sharper transition from a segregated society to a mixed society. Systems with lower connectivity take longer to intermingle, and may never completely mix, as the system could stop evolving after fewer iterations.Because social ties fluctuate, the researchers also modified their model by randomly rewiring the connections after the system reached its final update. This rewiring represents how individuals lose and make new friends and acquaintances, resulting in a more realistic model. Overall, the researchers explain that a society’s public opinion can form one of two scenarios: segregated or coexistence of differences. But, as the team explains, even segregated societies can be versatile, with clusters of different groups – just as long as they aren’t forced to interact too much.“Our model predicts that the formation of consensus depends on how actively an issue is under debate, especially if the original sets of opinions are balanced, i.e. there is roughly the same amount of people sharing each of the two opinions,” Thurner explained. “This is, of course, the most interesting case. In societies where debate is encouraged, a group of people is more likely to find consensus on a topic than, say, in a society where active discussions are not appreciated, suppressed or even forbidden.”As the researchers explain, the model could be used as a tool to make statistical predictions in real-life scenarios.“In principle, all our model parameters can be determined in real life,” Thurner said. “Presently, large efforts are made by dozens of groups to map social networks. The outcome of these efforts can be straight forwardly taken as an input to our model. The nature of social influence that individuals exert on each other (in the model this is the laggard parameter), can be assessed through polls, behavioral surveys, etc. “However, predictions of our model are of statistical nature, and results predict most likely outcomes,” he added. “Predicting the outcome of a specific election can be compared to playing poker. Just from knowing that I hold an above average hand there is no guarantee that I will actually win this round.”More information: Klimek, P., Lambiotte, R., and Thurner, S. “Opinion formation in laggard societies.“ Europhysics Letters 82 (2008) 28008. 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. In large part, a society’s image stems from its overall opinions – its political, religious, and ethical beliefs – and how much diversity it tolerates. For example, how do some areas develop images of being either liberal or conservative, and, in others, liberals and conservatives live side by side? Citation: Physicists model how we form opinions (2008, April 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-04-physicists-opinions.htmlcenter_img The model updates the state of a node (individual) depending on the fraction of the states of its neighbors. In this case, that fraction (“laggard parameter”) is 80%. In (a), the central node keeps its original state. In (b), the central node is updated since 80% of its neighbors are in the opposite state. Credit: P. Klimek, et al. As a team of researchers explains, our individual opinions both influence and are influenced by our surroundings. By following a set of rules, the researchers have modeled the opinion formation process in societies where individuals’ opinions are strongly influenced by others they interact with. The scientists found that, depending on two criteria – how strongly individuals are influenced by each other and how many connections individuals have – a society’s overall state can exhibit either large segregated patches of consensus, or areas with closely intermingled opinions.Peter Klimek from the Medical University of Vienna, Renaud Lambiotte from the University of Liege and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, and Stefan Thurner of the Medical University of Vienna and the Santa Fe Institute in the US have published their study in a recent issue of Europhysics Letters.In their model, individuals are represented as nodes in a network. The nodes are binary, and they display an individual’s opinion on some subject, such as yes/no, liberal/conservative, Clinton/Obama, or any other choice. Then, the society’s overall stance on a subject can be determined for the future by evolving the system. First, an algorithm checks the state of all nodes connected to the node in question. If the fraction of the state of neighboring nodes exceeds a certain threshold (which the researchers call the “laggard parameter” and must be above 50%), then the central node adopts that state. If not, the node remains in its original state. This process is iterated several times, until it can no longer be updated, and the society freezes.“The original opinions of the individuals are ‘a priori’ inclinations toward some subject,” Thurner told PhysOrg.com. “To stay within the Clinton/Obama example, although most of my peers may be democrats, some of them may consider political experience to be more important, while others think that a fresh start is needed. Given such individual initial dispositions, our work shows under which circumstances individuals will stick to them or change their mind.”Depending on the laggard parameter and the system’s average connectivity, the model produces societies with different features. For example, as the laggard parameter increases (when individuals require a greater fraction of neighbors holding the opposite opinion in order to change their opinions), the regions of consensus shrink, and the society’s diverse views intermingle. In other words, individuals stubbornly hold on to their opinions, even if many of their neighbors have the opposite view. But the more that people are influenced by others, the less likely it is that the society will ever reach such an intermixed state. 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

PC BIOS soon to be replaced by UEFI

first_img More information: UEFIVia: BBC News (PhysOrg.com) — The 25 year old PC BIOS will soon be replaced by UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) that will enable PC’s to boot up in a matter of seconds. In 2011 we will start seeing UEFI dominate new PC’s, according to BBC News. UEFI is designed to be much more flexible than the old PC BIOS that dates back to some of the first IBM PC’s since 1979. The BIOS has not changed much in the past 25 years and is one of the main reasons why a PC’s boot-up time is over 25 seconds.The original EFI specification was developed by Intel but has now evolved into a standard which is now known as UEFI. The UEFI forum, which is a non-profit corporation, is responsible for the management and promotion of the specification. Their goal is to replace the 25 year old BIOS that’s responsible for slow boot-ups.Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum, is quoted as saying: “With UEFI we’re getting it under a handful of seconds. In terms of boot speed, we’re not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional BIOS can manage, and we’re getting closer to that every day.”Some PC manufactures have already started using UEFI and system administrators who oversee thousands of PC and servers have already seen the benefits of swapping old-fashioned Bios for UEFI. © 2010 PhysOrg.com UEFI is an interface that takes care of handing over the pre-boot environment to the operating system. Explore further How to choose a surge protector Citation: PC BIOS soon to be replaced by UEFI (2010, October 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-10-pc-bios-uefi.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

Worlds most powerful MRI gets set to come online

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. Journal information: Nature Worlds most powerful MRI. Credit: IEEE Spectrum Citation: World’s most powerful MRI gets set to come online (2013, October 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-world-powerful-mri-online.html (Phys.org) —The most powerful MRI machine in the world is nearing completion. The new instrument will be able to generate 11.75 Tesla, a field strong enough to lift 60 metric tons. Squeezing out those last few Tesla (the previous record for field strength was around 9.4) requires extraordinary precision in the design and manufacture of the superconductor magnets at its core. As a recent article in IEEE Spectrum reports, fields of this magnitude are stronger than those used in the Large Hadron Collider which famously discovered the Higgs boson. As a research tool, a machine like this would allow the brain to be imaged in unprecedented detail—a voxel size of .1mm as compared to 1 mm previously. But as medical device makers struggle to design implants that won’t move, heat up or otherwise fail in fields of that strength, the opportunity for new discovery in the brain, will by guided also by a few new challenges to be overcome. More information: spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/i … rful-mri-takes-shapewww.nature.com/news/brain-deco … eading-minds-1.13989center_img MRI machines normally image the relatively strong signals associated with the nuclei of hydrogen. With higher field strengths it is possible to image signals from sodium or potassium, the ions that are also among the most mobile in carrying the charge associated with spikes in neurons. An area of 0.1mm still might have over 1000 neurons so this technology is not going to be imaging neuron activity individually. It may however, provide recent efforts to decode the private imagery associated with our inner thoughts and dreams with much greater accuracy than current methods. While a recent paper in Nature contains an air of optimism regarding the progress of the decoding algorithms used in these kinds of studies, cautionary tales regarding the interpretations of the results still abound.The 270 million dollar scanner project, know as INUMAC (Imaging of Neuro disease Using high-field MR And Contrastophores), has been in development for the last seven years. Delivery was taken this summer of some 200 km of superconducting niobium-titanium wire. When cooled with superfluid helium to 1.8 Kelvins, this wire will be able to carry 1500 amps. The key to making a magnet that won’t melt or vibrate itself apart, is a new winding design that permits the helium to get where it needs to for cooling, and also provides for winding alignment to micrometer precision. Today electromagnetic devices, like precision servomotors, are no longer wound willy-nilly like a random spool of yarn, but rather put together so that each turn is in the proper place. The idea is that entire electromagnet hums coherently as a whole and creates a uniform field. A more expensive wire material, niobium-tin, would in theory carry enough current at the same diameter to create fields up to 20 Tesla, but it is much more brittle than niobium-titanium and difficult to wind.Pushing field strengths ever higher raises a few concerns. Implant manufacturers, like Medtronic, have a tough job to do to insure the safety of their devices inside magnet bores. One indicator of the gravity of the situation, is that they have taken to naming their devices according to their tolerance of fields strong enough to turn gas cylinders in adjacent rooms into guided missiles. Their SureScan pacemaker comes with guarantee of MRI compatibility—at least up to certain fields strengths, and their spinal cord neurostimuluators, commonly used to subvert chronic pain, come with documentation that doesn’t shy away from some hard-core physics. For example, an MRI system generates three kinds of fields, each of which have different potential for interaction with a device. The static fields are present at all times around the magnet, while the three orthogonal gradient fields kick in only during the scan. A pulsed RF field is also present during the scan, and is created by a variety of different methods. We might note here that when an airplane takes-off or lands, powering down your devices in the face of the unknown is only a nuisance. Powering down an implant, if it is advised, may have more inconvenient consequences.A final cautionary tale before leaping in to one of these new machines, is that the effects of double-digit field strength on the tissues of the body itself are not completely understood. Computer models and simulations will be invaluable in setting guidelines here, but ultimately the proof is in the pudding. Physical tests will be needed, both as reality check for the things missed by the model, and also to help indicate areas perhaps where the models might be too restrictive. Explore further © 2013 Phys.org Superconducting magnet generates world’s highest magnetic field at 24Tlast_img read more

New evidence for the vibration theory of smell

first_imgPractically speaking, having ‘clearly separated peaks’ means we must make allowance for the fact that any flesh and blood spectroscope operating in the nose would presumably be addled by background thermal fluctuations (at 37 °C) of the order of kT/hc. In terms of wavenumbers this translates to ≈ 215 cm-1. As the relevant molecular vibration spectra extend up to wavenumbers of only around 3300 cm-1, this could be a stringent limitation—particularly in the lower so-called ‘fingerprint’ region from 500-1500 where there is typically a relatively high density of bending-mode peaks. Fortunately, the higher wavenumber region for these odorants is sparser, and has well-separated bond stretching peaks. The thermal filter effect of a 215 cm-1 wide signal homogenizer proved to be a game ender only for the isoamyl acetate. This was not entirely unexpected because the molecule used was only deuterated at three positions. Correspondingly, the differential responses obtained with isoamyl acetate were much less significant than with the other odorants, both across different glomeruli and bees alike.For the benzaldehyde and octanol odorants the researchers found two iconic glomeruli with a particularly telling response; In one the normal non-deuterated form of benzaldehyde gave hardly any activation in the glomerulus, while the deuterated benzaldehyde triggered a large positive response. In the other, normal octanol caused activation of the glomerulus while the deuterated form caused inhibition. Considering the close structural correspondence between isotopomers, the experimental truths observed here would be difficult for even the most ardent adherent to the shapist receptor philosophy to sweep under the rug.The authors observe that the shape-independent discrimination capabilities they found can not be dismissed as idiosyncratic to a few peculiar olfactory receptors, rather, they are a more general feature of ligand-receptor interaction. Much of the palpable in-house derision that members of the larger olfactory and neuroscience communities routine reserve for the vibrational theory might be traced to a deeper, more insidious fear: despite exhaustively focused efforts, they have no idea how receptors actually work.In other words, an overarching predictive theory of the caliber alluded we alluded to above to guide experiments, not just for olfaction, but for all protein-based receptors, does not yet exist. In applying itself to the task of quickly (in evolutionary time) coming up with and artfully deploying ‘universal detectors’, whether it be antibodies for antigens, G-protein coupled receptors (GPRCs) to manhandle light-toggled nanolevers and tunnel electrons through air landed treasures, or transient receptor potential channels (TRPs) to personally touch everything on the spectrum from mentholic chill to capsaicin warmth or the viper’s pitted IR to our own melanocytic ultraviolet, Nature has unleashed her unbridled imagination. To unmask what we might fancy as the basic principles Nature uses in ‘biological detection’, the hard part doesn’t seem to be the problem of setting the proper parameters for passively binding familiar things, but rather that of rapidly modifying or otherwise proliferating an old generic protein hand, and then bending it to some new need. That unfamilial task might be capturing novel hint of some ray, quanta, field, or polarization, or cocking and setting itself in some new fashion to actively probe a new partner with a new jiggle. To shed light on how we might best use comparative phylogenetic methods to sort the greater olfactory receptor protein extended family, consider something we now understand quite well—the ribosome.Figuring out exactly how the ribosome evolved from a primitive nonspecific peptide synthesis jig into a finely discriminating selector that fully enforces a rigorous genetic code upon the entire biosphere took more than looking at sequence homology. That all works fine for the short run, but sequence alone quickly exhausts itself in the deep evolutionary time. 3D structural homologies, on the other hand, generally get you a bit further back. Far enough in fact to trace every key innovation in the ribosome. Those provisions include everything from powering the peptide transfer cores with GTP hydrolysis and templating instruction with geometrically-enhanced mRNAs, to full blown cofactor virtualization via a system of exchangeable tRNAs and their massive synthetase support crew.Sequence and structure analysis which worked so well for understanding ribosomes still has much to offer us in trying to crack olfactory reception. For example, the more refined deuterostomes like urchins and humans parted ways some time ago with protostomes like the honeybees and fruit flies that are conveniently used for study. Where we predominantly use GPCRs in our nose, they prefer to employ more direct-ionic receivers which lack obvious homology with our messenger systems, subunit composition, targeting methods, and terminal group positioning. Many other organisms, like the worm c. elegans, are somewhere in the middle as far as odor detection. Full qualification of their own unique receptor suites awaits.But beyond these tools, we also need to exercise comparative phylogenetic imagination, hack new theory, and hazard wanton inference. For example, in looking to related senses we know deuterostomes have a sweet spot for microtubule-based photoreceptors whereas protostomes have always gone for actin based microvillar structures in their photoreceptors. Familiarity with both sensory systems suggests and constrains ideas regarding how their respective receptors detect and then signal. Knowing for example, that a particular olfactory receptor which is normally expressed on an urchin sperm links to a cytoskeletal system more apt to creep about than swim may not constitute a theory, but it might be a critical endpiece in someone’s puzzle.In applying hard limiters to classify the protein kits we find in cells—namely as receptors, enzymes, and ion channels—we end up with quite a salad of their associated protagonists; Depending on how they act or excite we give them names like ligand, prosthetic group, substrate, or even potential. The most versatile of our enzymes typically flex tiny vitaminized nucleotide derivatives at their core. Many of these primordial ‘coenzymes’ in turn nest a single metal ion knife edge that by nature of its coordination chemistry originally had some inherent penchant for catalysis within the prevailing geochemistry of the day. This predictable progression in the complexity of enzymes precisely mirrored that of their granddaddy, the ribosome. By accreting its own product, the ribosome gradually proteinized the least RNA snippets possessing the kernel of catalytic function it needed, culminating in the most massive synthesis conglomeration we find in all phylogeny—the human ribosome. Perhaps surprisingly, the now sophisticated receptor ion channel culture in our cells similarly accrued around another fundamental nugget—the leakiness of bare membranes. The Hodgkin and Huxley models mentioned above, which work well for the describing the electrical dynamics of spikes, unfortunately have little to say about other critical aspects of pulsating membranes (like heat capacity, enthalpy, and compressibility), and nothing of the thermodynamics of the spontaneous self-assembly of their proteins and lipids. Some clues to a way forward from our current position were recently suggested by Shamit Shrivastava. Reaching back to re-examine some critical ideas from the mind of none other than the man first intuited the existence of gravity waves, Shamit recalls Einstein’s conception of a ‘complete molecular mechanical theory’. Einstein’s key practical intuition was to invert Boltzman’s principle (which he felt was meaningless lacking a microscopic distribution function), and use an experimentally obtained formulation of entropy to deduce the distribution function. These arguments appear in Einstein’s 1910 paper where he also defines a quantitative link between critical opalescence and Lord Rayleigh’s Rayleigh scattering. Explaining these two phenomena in terms of density fluctuation in a fluid mixture approaching its critical point Einstein effectively solved the question of why the sky is blue. To now solve the questions of why fish is fishy and sugar sweet we await someone with an inordinate fondness for terpenoids to imagine sitting on a molecule of carvone. Explore further Journal information: Journal of Chemical Physics Citation: New evidence for the vibration theory of smell (2016, February 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-02-evidence-vibration-theory.html , Scientific Reports Credit: Sang Tae Park et al. Ultrafast electron diffraction: Excited state structures and chemistries of aromatic carbonyls, The Journal of Chemical Physics (2006). DOI: 10.1063/1.2194017 More information: Scientific Reports, 6:21893. DOI: 10.1038/srep21893center_img (Phys.org)—The predictive power and galvanizing influence that theoretical models routinely enjoy in physics is only rarely replicated in biology. Lord Raleigh’s theory of sound perception, Francis Crick’s sequence and adapter hypotheses, and Hodgkin and Huxley’s model of the electrical dynamics of neurons are a few notable exceptions that have gone on to spawn entire scientific industries. Although it is hard to find comparable mechanistic drama unfolding in our current century, Luca Turin’s vibrational theory of olfaction has been a persistently fertile seed that has now ripened into a contentious fruit. One way to judge a theory is by how hard its detractors work to disembowel it. Last year, one group went so far as to express human and mouse olfactory receptors in an in-vitro kidney cell preparation to see if deuterated synthetic musks with altered vibration signatures gave different responses. That group, perhaps not surprisingly, didn’t find a whole lot to support the vibration theory. Now, a study using live honeybees did. A group at the University of Trento led by Albrecht Haase was able to prove by direct imaging of the brain that the bee olfactory system can clearly distinguish odorants with different vibration frequencies despite having identical shapes.To do this the researchers used isotopomers of four different odorants (isoamyl acetate, octanol, benzaldehyde, and acetophenone) that were variously deuterated at the hydrogen spots. How do these guys even come up with the odorants for studies like this you might ask? Given the exclusive nature of these investigations each odorant is put through a tough vetting process, the full details of which are only very rarely revealed. For example, the isoamyl acetate happens to make honeybees go bananas. As one component of the honeybee sting package, this volatile ester acts as a pheromonal attractant to recruit other bees to the cause. It also is the primary component in banana oil flavoring.The octanol is an 8-carbon long citrusy-orange alcohol which comes in no less than 89 different isomers. The researchers used the 1-octanol version which is conveniently available in full deuteration at all 17 hydrogen spots. The benzaldehyde, used for imitation almond extract among other practical things, has a special place in olfactory science as the simplest aromatic aldehyde. If you swap in a CH3 for the hydrogen on the aldehyde group you get acetophenone, the simplest aromatic ketone. This minor alteration promptly elevates the human olfactory experience to one of cherry, honeysuckle, and jasmine—a regular fruit stripe gum of a molecule.The ‘responses’ that were measured in these studies were two-photon calcium imaging signals generated in the honeybee olfactory glomeruli in the 2 seconds after the odorants were applied. A critical point (at least for the vibrational theory) was that the deuterated forms, particularly those expected to give different bee responses, should in the least have a unique, machine-measureable vibrational character. In other words, that the IR spectra of the deuterated forms, as determined true-to-life in a gaseous carrier, should have observable peaks that are clearly separated from the non-deuterated forms. © 2016 Phys.org Plausibility of the vibrational theory of smell 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

Housewife dies in Bansdroni parents allege torture by inlaws

first_imgKolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a housewife at Bansdroni in the southern fringes of the city, who died after she complained of illness and was taken to Bijoygarh Hospital by her in-laws on Thursday night. The deceased Payel Chakraborty (32), a resident of Shyamnagar in North 24-Parganas, was married to Mriganka Roy in January 2017. The deceased’s father Swapan Chakraborty alleged that his daughter was subjected to physical and mental torture at her in-laws’ house after a few months of her marriage. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsHer husband, brother-in-law and mother-in-law used to torture her, according to Chakraborty who had lodged a complaint with Bansdroni police station, alleging that her daughter has been murdered.”My daughter had video called me at around 8.30 pm at night. She was absolutely fine. An hour later, my son-in-law called me up, informing that my daughter had fallen sick and had been admitted at Bijoygarh Hospital. As we were preparing to go there, he again called up and told me that Payel has expired. She was tortured and that ultimately resulted in her death,” the deceased’s mother Balaka Chakraborty alleged. Payel had told her mother that she would come on the occasion of Jamai Sasthi, which is scheduled in a week’s time and had told her to purchase a dress for her husband. The police have detained Payel’s husband on the basis of the complaint, but her brother-in-law Mridul Roy is absconding. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedPayel was married to Mriganka Roy in January 2017, after contact was established through a matrimonial site. After they were introduced through the site, they had met each other on more than one occasion and both had consented to the marriage. The deceased’s husband is a teacher at an English medium school in New Town.”We are investigating the matter on the basis of a complaint lodged by the deceased’s father. We are talking to some of the neighbours and other members of the deceased’s in-laws for the sake of probe,” a senior officer of Bansdroni police station said.last_img read more

Amit Mishra arrested in assault case freed on bail

first_imgTeam India cricketer Amit Mishra was on Tuesday arrested here in connection with a complaint filed by a woman for allegedly physically assaulting and abusing her in a hotel room here last month, and later released on bail. Mishra was arrested after nearly three hours of questioning at Ashoknagar police station and released on bail later, DCP (Central) Sandeep Patil said. Complying with a summons issued by the Bengaluru police last week after he was booked for the charges based on the complaint by the woman, Mishra, who was given seven days time, appeared before them.last_img

Metro runs from Belgachia to Kavi Subhash with door ajar

first_imgKolkata: A Metro rake ran from Belgachia till Kavi Subhash on Friday morning with one of its door open, after it failed to close down due to some technical snag.An RPF personnel stood guard at the door to prevent any untoward incident. According to sources in the Metro, the snag developed after a broken portion of a pen cap somehow got stuck in the door channel.The snag came to the notice of the motorman at around 11 am in the morning, after the train reached Belgachia Station. The front door of the first compartment refused to close as the train was about to depart. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAn RPF personnel on duty at the platform noticed a plastic object sticking out of the door channel. As he tried to remove the same, it broke with a portion of it coming off in his hands, with the rest still remaining stuck in the door channel.Within a few minutes, the decision was taken by the railway police in coordination with the Metro authorities that the rake should continue to run. An RPF constable stood guard at the door with his hands on either side of the door, as the train continued its journey. There was a change of duty at Chadni Chowk Metro Station and this time, two RPF personnel stood guard at the door till the journey ended at Kavi Subhash. The motorman tried to close the door in between as the train stopped at stations, but failed to do so.”We could have emptied the rake when the snag took place. This could have inconvenienced the passengers. So we decided on keeping the train running after ensuring the security of the passengers. When the train reached Kavi Subhash, it was sidelined to the car shed,” said a spokesperson of Kolkata Metro.The portion of the broken pen cap was removed and after proper testing of the door, it was found to be working perfectly.last_img read more

Over 90 oil extracted from illfated MV SSL Kolkata spill prevented

first_imgKolkata: The state government in collaboration with Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) has been able to prevent the oil spill from the vessel MV SSL Kolkata that had emerged as a threat to the ecosystem of the Sunderbans after it caught fire in the Bay of Bengal on the night of June 13.”More than 90 percent of the oil in the ship has been successfully extracted and the remaining work will be completed within 10 days’ time,” a relieved senior official of the state Forest department who has been supervising the entire operation said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeApart from being a threat to the ecology and the river and sea creatures, if the oil had actually spilt over, it could have mingled with the water and travelled to human habitat areas of Gosaba and others. “So extracting oil out of the ill-fated vessel was our top priority,” the official added. There was 400 tonne of furnace oil loaded in the affected ship. A drill was made in the oil tanks of the affected ship and after extraction, oil was transferred through a pipeline to another vessel that was stationed at a safe distance from the affected ship. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that the state Forest department has provided all sorts of logistics to the Singapore-based company that was roped in by KoPT for extracting oil from the affected ship. The District Magistrate of South 24-Parganas has been acting as the nodal officer for the entire operation and the district administration had also mobilised people from the adjoining villages who helped employees from the shipping company in emptying the oil barrels. State Chief Secretary Malay De organised meetings time to time with the concerned agencies like KoPT Indian Coast Guard, Indian Airforce and top officials of the Forest department to keep a stock of the progress. Initially, all the stakeholders had laid emphasis on transfer of oil with the threat of spilling looming large. Hence, the efforts to tow the ship to the bank was overlooked. “Now, the ship had sunk so deep into the sea soil that it cannot be moved from the spot. So the remains of the ship will gradually sink into the water. This will result in water pollution but the effect will be much less than the oil spill,” a senior official in the district administration said.last_img read more

CoOperation department to set 2631 Customer Service Points

first_imgKolkata: The state Co-Operation department will set up 2,631 Customer Service Points (CSP), particularly in areas lacking branches of nationalised banks to render services to the rural population.”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed us to take bank services to the areas which lack nationalised and private bank branches. We have set a target of coming up with CSPs in 2,631 Gram Panchayat (GP) areas across the state. Around 250 such CSPs have already come up,” state Co-Operation minister Arup Roy said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSources in the department said the CSPs are being set up in the offices of the co-operative societies and will have all the facilities of a banking service branch. There will be Rs an investment of 15 lakh for each unit and the total cost of the project has been earmarked at Rs 300 crore. The employees of the co-operative societies will be trained for rendering services to the users. It may be mentioned that there are around 710 villages in the state which do not have banks. The state Co-Operation department has already set up 50 banks to cater to these villages and is gradually setting up more and more branches. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe state government is also focusing upon recovering NPAs in the co-operative banks. “We are now offering loan at a rate of 2 percent to the farmers bringing it down from 4 percent. The state government is offering subsidies to the banks in this regard so that they can offer loan at a low percentage,” an official said. The minister mentioned his department has set a target of providing farmer’s loan to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore in the 2018-19 fiscal up from Rs 5200 crore that was allocated in 2017-18. “The loan for Self-Help Groups has been set at Rs 1,200 crore in 2018-19 financial year up from Rs 1,000 crore in the last fiscal,” Roy said. The department will organise Co-Operative fair from November 19 to 22 at Netaji Indoor Stadium. State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra will inaugurate the fair.last_img read more

Facebook posts may offer insight into mental illness

first_imgYour Facebook status updates, ‘likes’ and even photos could help researchers better understand mental health disorders, a new study says. Social networks may even be used in future to treat mental illness, particularly among young people, the researchers said.“Facebook is hugely popular and could provide us with a wealth of data to improve our knowledge of mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia,” said the study’s lead-author Becky Inkster from University of Cambridge.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfOver a billion people worldwide use Facebook daily – one in seven of the global population – and social media use is increasing at three times the rate of other internet use. “Its reach is particularly broad, too, stretching across the digital divide to traditionally hard-to-reach groups including homeless youth, immigrants, people with mental health problems, and seniors,” Inkster noted. The researchers believe that Facebook might be used to help improve the detection of mental health factors.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFacebook data tends to be more reliable than offline self-reported information, while still reflecting an individual’s offline behaviours, study co-author Michal Kosinski from Stanford Graduate School of Business in the US added.It also enables researchers to measure content that is difficult to assess offline, such as conversation intensity, and to reach sample sizes previously unobtainable. Status updates, shares and likes can provide a wealth of information about users, the researchers noted in the study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.  “Facebook relationships may help those with reduced self-esteem and provide companionship for individuals who are socially isolated,” Inkster said.“We know that socially isolated adolescents are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts, so these online stepping stones could encourage patients to reform offline social connections,” she added.These online – potentially leading to offline – social connections can provide support for vulnerable individuals such as homeless youth, a population at increased risk of mental health problems. Research has shown that this support is associated with a reduction in their alcohol intake and a decrease in depression-like symptoms. Unlike virtual patient communities, an advantage of using social networking sites, especially Facebook, is that people naturally use them in their daily lives, which addresses concerns about the limited duration of participation in virtual communities, the study said.last_img read more

Delhi CM watches Disneys Aladdin being staged in the Capital

first_imgThe Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal along with Deputy CM of Delhi Manish Sisodia attended a special show of Disney’s Aladdin – the Broadway style musical, at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. They were also accompanied by Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain, who were then introduced to the magical world of Agrabah and fun filled adventures of Aladdin and Genie.Produced by BookMyShow, Disney’s Aladdin has been developed by the best of Indian talent. The production boasts of extravagant sets, lavish costumes, beautifully choreographed sequences, mesmerizing special effects and the flying magic carpet. Over 50 performers weave the enchanting story on stage, making this musical a unique experience.After enthralling over 30,000 people in Mumbai, Disney’s Aladdin began its season in Delhi from July 6. It’s Delhi season premiere last week was attended by well-known personalities such as Akash Banerjee, Amjad Ali Khan, Ambika Anand, Siddharth Tytler, Kanika Goyal and models like Hasleen Kaur and Lakshmi Rana.last_img read more

Spruce up for festivals

first_imgThe festive season brings on parties and gatherings galore. Try new hairstyles every time you step out, and ensure you put on make-up that lasts long.Stylists list down four brand new hairdos for girls to carry out this festive season:4Braided low bun: This is the stylish yet trendy hairstyle that can make you look like a million bucks at your next Diwali party. Pull together all your hair at the back of your head and beginning from the end of your crown, start Dutch braiding your hair. Follow this until you reach the lower part of the hair then wrap the remaining length around the hair tie until all the hair has been used up. This hairstyle will look wonderful with traditional wear as well as gowns. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf4Waterfall twist: This hairstyle is friendly with all types of hair and can be done effortlessly. You only need some pins and you’re good to go. The waterfall twist is not only easy but it gives a well finished and stunning look as well. You can work this hairstyle on both curly as well as straight hair and it looks incredible with a sari, lehenga or a salwar kameez.4Dutch pigtail braids: Boxer braids aka ‘Dutch Pigtail Braids’ are the newest hairstyle trend that you can play with this festive season. As the air gets more festive, this definitely rounds up as the exclusive yet volume hairstyle. This is a pretty manageable to ace and looks awesome with any hair length, type, and colour. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive4Textured bun: Ditch the regular sleek hairdos that popularly go with saris and opt for a textured bun during this festive season. This textured style surely wins points.Make-up is one of the essential elements which will enhance your festive look and will make you look even more beautiful. Here are few make-up tips for girls to follow:4After applying lipstick, place your forefinger in your mouth and pull out to get rid of excess lipstick that would otherwise get on your teeth and give you a lipstick-coated smile. 4For ultimate staying power, it is crucial to blot with a tissue after applying the lipstick. For making your lip colour even more long-lasting, cover your lips with a tissue after applying lipstick. Now lightly sprinkle a little powder on your lips, gently rub the powder, hit the excess off, and gently press on to the lips. Now remove the tissue, and now your lip color is sealed for all day or night. 4Just when you had to leave for the party, you realise that your mascara has ditched you. Fret not! To revive your dried mascara, mix 2-3 drops of contact lens solutions in it, shake a little, swirl the wand into the bottle, apply and you are all set to kill with those thick, long lashes.4Want thick, dramatic lashes without using false lash extensions? It is possible. Apply one coat of mascara and leave it for a few seconds to dry. Now lightly dab your lashes with some baby powder and curl them with a lash curler. Apply one more coat of mascara and you get perfect glossed jet black lash.4The key to long-lasting make-up is a setting spray. Mix aloe vera gel in water and add a few drops of an aromatic oil. Put this mix in a spray bottle and it is ready to use.last_img read more

VIT team to take up ocean acidification

first_imgOne major phenomenon that has been witnessed over the last few decades is the explosion of technology and technological advancements. In order to reverse and combat the disasters that we have instigated, ‘Genetic engineering’ and its allied fields have been considered in the highest regard and many efforts have been put to encourage people to use this technology for the betterment of the world.And to do the same, many events, conferences, ideations, competition, etc. have been organized to motivate people. One such renowned affair is the iGEM, International Genetically Engineered Machine, an annual event and a competition on synthetic biology and its interdisciplinary fields. It is a platform where various teams from all over the world showcase their projects to each other, learn from each other and also show their contribution to the scientific community and the general society. This event happens during the month of October, in MIT, Boston, USA. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfA team from Vellore Institute of Technology decided to take up an underrated global phenomenon called Ocean Acidification, that has been affecting the world’s oceans, and the associated estuaries and waterways, and is using iGEM as a platform to come up with a way tackle this issue. The Team, who call themselves iGEM VIT, is working on a novel idea to tackle this major environmental disaster, where the pH of oceans is gradually decreasing and becoming acidic. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe root cause of the problem is the increase in CO2 levels over years, which is absorbed by seawater. Ocean Acidification is a major issue throughout the world and the effects are majorly felt and clearly seen in the areas where there are coral reefs. The studies on ocean acidification are have just started and full-scale consequence of this phenomenon has not yet been fully understood and predicted. The team started working on this issue after realizing the depth of the problem and the possible side effects of ocean acidification. The team’s ideology to tackle the problem from the root led to the beginning of the team’s six-month journey of research and development way to tackle this issue started. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, selects five best teams with the most deserving projects, across India, in a competition called Indian Biological Engineering Competition (iBEC), and gives a grant of ten lakhs per team for them to participate in iGEM. For the very first time, a team from VIT, Vellore, bagged a place in the iBEC list of sponsored teams and won 10 lakhs to carry forward their project successfully. The iGEM VIT team, along with their Primary Investigator, Dr R Siva Professor, and Head, Department of Biotechnology VIT is working on developing a genetically engineered bacterium that can stabilize the pH of the ocean. Theoretically, when these bacteria are let into the ocean waters, it can stabilize the local pH and hence has the capacity to normalize the pH of the ocean when done on a large scale. The project can be used as an immediate, efficient, and economical way to provide a holistic and on-site solution to what is considered one of the major environmental problems of the modern day. Apart from the laboratory work, the team has taken the initiative to speak to local and international experts in the field and attended conferences to understand the problem in depth. They have also taken the initiative to spread awareness about this problem by conducting a beach clean-up, collaborating with other teams participating in iGEM. They are calling this project Toggle pH and are presenting their idea at MIT, Boston this month at the iGEM Jamboree, happening in the last week of October.last_img read more

Young woman molested in Park Street one arrested

first_imgKolkata: A young woman was allegedly molested on Thursday at Park Street while she was walking along the road. A person blocked her way and pulled her hand. She somehow managed to free herself from the clutches of the accused and called the police control room.After getting the distress call, police rushed to the spot within a few minutes and apprehended the accused. According to sources, the victim was walking along Mirza Ghalib Street on Thursday afternoon. All of a sudden, a man resembling a beggar blocked her way. When she tried to pass him by, he allegedly grabbed her hand and molested her. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHowever, she somehow managed to free herself and screamed for help. Sensing danger, the accused person fled from the spot. Meanwhile, the woman called up the police control room and narrated the incident. Immediately, Officers in-Charge (OC) of Shakespeare Sarani and Park Street police station were informed and asked to act quickly. Upon receiving the information, both the OCs along with a few other police personnel rushed to the spot and found the woman waiting. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateAfter police reached the spot, the woman told the officers that the accused person had fled along Mirza Ghalib Street. Wasting no time, police along with the woman started searching for the accused. After walking a few metres, the woman saw the accused and informed the police personnel. Immediately, he was detained. Later, the accused person, identified as Md Sadish, was arrested after the woman lodged a complaint. This is the third case in a month where police have acted promptly after receiving a distress call. In all the cases, the accused persons were arrested and necessary actions were taken. Sources have informed that Sadish is a footpath-dweller and used to live on the footpath of Mirza Ghalib Street.last_img read more

Man Found on Beach Clothes Labels Removed Strange Written Phrase in his

first_imgRecent history is full of unsolved crimes and mysteries that have baffled people for years. Some of them have become famous due to the significant media coverage they received, while others became popular among crime and mystery enthusiasts due to their notoriety and weirdness. One such case is the case of the Somerton Man, also known as the Tamam Shud case, an enigma that may never be solved. The body of an unknown man, aged 40 to 45 was found on Somerton Beach near Glenelg, South Australia, on the morning of December 1, 1948. The man was lying on his back as if he were asleep. When the body was transported to the coroner’s office, it was discovered that all labels had been removed from his clothing, and there were no documents or clues that would reveal the man’s identity. Several witnesses told the police that they saw the man wandering around the beach the evening before, and other witnesses confirmed that they saw him lie down, presumably to take a nap. However, the man’s shoes were perfectly clean, as if he never walked on the sandy beach surface and was somehow transported directly to the spot where he was found.Location on Somerton Beach where the corpse was found, marked by an ‘XWhile performing the autopsy on the physically fit body, the coroner found newly developed ulcers and traces of extensive internal bleeding, which led him to believe that the man was poisoned or that he committed suicide by ingesting some kind of poison. The toxicology report showed no trace of any toxic substances; the coroner concluded that the cause of death was a massively toxic substance that was undetectable at the time, but the official cause of death of the Somerton Man remains unknown.A small piece of paper containing the phrase “Tamam Shud,” meaning “finished” in Persian, was found in a pocket of the man’s trousers that was hidden. Investigators discovered that the phrase comes from the last page of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a collection of Persian poems from the 12th century. The police conducted an extensive investigation to locate the book from which the phrase was cut out, which the media publicized.Burial of the Somerton Man on 14 June 1949. By his grave site is Salvation Army Captain Em Webb, leading the prayers, attended by reporters and police.At first, they had no luck, but then a man (whose identity remains secret) discovered the book on the backseat of an abandoned car. Microscopic tests were performed on the book to confirm that it was indeed the same book from which the piece of paper was cut out, but no clues to the man’s identity were discovered.Suitcase and effects, found at Adelaide railway station. From left to right are detectives Dave Bartlett, Lionel Leane, and Len BrownStill, the back of the book contained an Australian telephone number, another unknown number, and five lines of seemingly random text that appeared to be a coded message. Many believe that the book is the key to the decryption of the message, but no one has been able to decode it to this day.A scrap of paper, with its distinctive font, found hidden in the dead man’s trousers, torn from the last page of a rare New Zealand edition of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”A few days after the Somerton Man was found, investigators discovered his suitcase in a public cloakroom at Adelaide railway station. The suitcase contained shaving equipment, clothing items that matched those of the deceased, sharpened scissors, and a table knife that was modified into a short, sharp instrument. Labels were removed from all clothes in the suitcase, so the investigation was at a dead end.The only possible clue in the investigation of the man’s mysterious death was the Australian phone number found in the book. The number was registered to a nurse named Jessica Thomson.The handwriting found in the back of a book of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. The text is presumed to be some sort of code.She denied ever meeting the man, but she remembered that a neighbor noticed a strange man wandering around her house when she was at work a few days before the body was found on the beach. Some believe that Jessica, in fact, knew the dead man but decided to deny knowing him because he was her former lover.Here is another mystery story from us: Scotland Yard is built on a crime scene related to an unsolved murder – the Whitehall MysteryOthers claim that the background of the case is much more sinister and involves espionage, which is not an unbelievable scenario since the mysterious man who apparently used a secret code was found dead at the beginning of the Cold War. The truth is buried together with the Somerton Man.last_img read more

Archaeologists Discover 14400 YearOld Bread in Jordan

first_imgArchaeologists digging in Jordan’s Black Desert have discovered a piece of charred bread that is thought to have been baked 14,400 years ago. According to Haaretz, this exciting find suggests that humans were making bread from wild grains thousands of years before the so-called “agricultural revolution” in which grains were cultivated systematically. The find was discovered at a site named Shubayqa, once occupied by a group of hunter-gatherers known as the Natufians, 130 miles northeast of the Jordanian capital Amman.An international team published the findings of the dig in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in July last year, explaining that they had discovered a charred cracker that was found to have “bread like” properties.The Black Desert, eastern Jordan. Photo by Joe Roe CC BY SA 4.0According to Amaia Arranz Otaegui, part of the team that made the discovery, advanced analysis techniques revealed that it was consistent with other ancient flatbreads discovered in the Levant in the Roman period.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsOver 20 fragments of this ancient bread were found in a fire pit in Shubayqa, along with the remains of other foodstuffs. It is believed that the bread was made using a technique that has essentially remained unchanged for millennia, combining flour and water to make a dough, which was then kneaded and baked over an open fire.The site of Shubayqa 1 showing Structure 1 and one of the fireplaces (the oldest one) where the bread-like remains were discovered. Photo by Amaia Arranz OtaeguiThe fire pit and the collective remains were all dated to 14,400 years ago, when the semi-sedentary Natufians dominated the Eastern Mediterranean.The bread found at Shubayqa is preserved as tiny, charred fragments, and so the team had to use state-of-the-art techniques in order to accurately identify it.According to Haaretz, they used advanced imaging techniques using scanning electron microscopy, which provided an extremely accurate reading of the composition of the sample. After close analysis, they were able to confirm that the sample was indeed analogous to our modern bread.Scanning electron microscope images of bread-like remains from Shubayqa 1 Photo by Amaia Arranz OtaeguiAccording to Haaretz, the team also found samples of barley, oats and wheat at the site. This is highly unusual, as these crops did not become domesticated until around 4,000 years later. It appears, therefore, that the Natufians made bread from wild grains that they foraged themselves.Although there is some evidence for plant cultivation in human societies going back 23,000 years, this should not be interpreted as proof of widespread agricultural practices.The cultivation of crops as a food supply occurred sporadically in Neolithic societies in the Levant, and it was not until 9500-8600 BC that agriculture became widespread.Remains of a wall of a Natufian house. Photo by האיל הניאוליתי CC BY SA 3.0Even in this period, according to Professor Tobias Richter who led the team at Shubayqa, crop cultivation did not provide the basis for the human diet, which would have been heavily supplemented with plants foraged from the wild. Wheat and barley were not systematically cultivated until much later.According to Haaretz, the archaeologists were able to determine whether the grains had been cultivated deliberately or foraged from the wild by close analysis of their composition. Grains that occur naturally rely on the elements to ensure distribution of their “spikelets” in order to reproduce. However, grains cultivated by humans develop differently, as humans manually shake the sheaves in order to ensure effective distribution.Over time, these strains of wheat become dependent on human cultivation, in a process known as domestication syndrome. Richter argues that the evidence found in the Levant suggests that the development of true agriculture, defined as systematic, settled development of the land for the production of food, took many thousands of years to develop, and involved considerable trial and error.There is no evidence of settled agriculture at Shubayqa, and the grains discovered in the food fragments were wild. This means that the find contains some of the earliest hard evidence for bread production using wild, foraged grains. A large stone mortar also found at the site is assumed to have been used for grinding the grains into flour.Mortars from Natufian Culture. Photo by Hanay CC BY-SA 3.0According to Richter, it is thought that the bread would have been very similar to the unleavened flatbreads identified at other Neolithic and later Roman sites in the region.Read another story from us: 2000-year-old preserved loaf of bread found in the ruins of PompeiiHe suggests that these early practices of cooking with wild grains may have inspired the Neolithic communities of the Levant to experiment with cultivating their own varieties, leading to some of the earliest farms in the region. This important find is, therefore, part of the wider story of the very earliest development of agricultural practices in ancient human society.last_img read more

The True Story Behind Island of the Blue Dolphins – A Single

first_imgAny young girl who read Island of the Blue Dolphins in middle school — for fun or through the curriculum — was no doubt an admirer of Scot O’Dell’s character Karana. The novel, which won a Newbury Medal in 1961, tells the story of a girl whose life is turned upside down when Russian fur traders and Aleutian natives arrive and fall into a conflict with Karana’s tribe. White missionaries come to evacuate the island for the protection of the remaining tribesmen, but Karana’s brother is left behind and she jumps off the rescue ship to stay with him. Eventually, her brother is taken by a pack of dogs and she is left completely alone.La Isla De San Nicolas – the real Island of the Blue DolphinsFor almost two decades she lives alone, hunting, building, and caring for herself. The courage and steadfastness seen in her survival is a wonderful inspirational story for not just young girls, but anyone reading her story. O’Dell didn’t just dream this anecdote up, however.In the 19th century, a Native American woman actually did live on San Nicolas Island. For 18 years, from 1835 to 1853, the woman, whose real name is unfortunately unknown, lived on the island — alone. It is the most remote of the collection of land masses which make up the Channel Islands, laying just off the coast of California.For about 10,000 years, the tribe to which the unknown woman belonged inhabited the Channel Islands, including San Nicolas Island. It was called the Nicoleño tribe.A photograph of a Native American woman, believed to be the last surviving member of her tribe, the Nicoleño.The Nicoleño were forced from their home in 1835 when a rival tribe came down from Alaska to hunt otter. But the intruders also went for bigger game and ended up getting ride of the Nicoleño. With the tribe decimated, the few survivors were transported to mainland California for their own safety. The day a ship was a sent to relocate the Nicoleño a huge storm hit, forcing a hasty departure which caused the one unlucky woman to be left behind.It is unclear exactly what happened. Perhaps she was purposefully left behind, perhaps she elected to remain behind, perhaps there was an accident — or perhaps she wasn’t really alone, like in O’Dell’s narrative. Over the 18 years that followed, superstitious seamen spread tales about sightings of the isolated woman. There were many attempts to find this mystery woman, but to no avail.San Nicolas is the most remote of the Southern Channel Islands (shown in light green). Semi-arid and largely barren, it is located 60 miles (97 km) from the mainland coast. Photo by Lencer CC BY SA 3.0Finally, in 1853, she was tracked down by George Nidever, a fur trapper, who followed footprints in the sand to find a woman, seemingly carefree, skinning a seal and wearing a skirt she had woven out of birds’ feathers.On her remote island, the unnamed woman lived between a cave and a hut she had built out of whale bones. Among the paraphernalia that archaeologists later found scattered along the island were fishing hooks, harpoon tips, pendants carved out of bird bones, and dishes made from abalone shell.By this point, the woman was around 50 years old and the only remaining member of her tribe. The rest of the Nicoleño had died out. She was brought back to live with Nidever and his wife, but couldn’t communicate properly with anyone as no one spoke her native tongue.Related Video: 6 Mysterious Islands From Around The WorldHowever, unfortunate circumstances befell her as it did many Native individuals. Life in Santa Barbara was so different from her own that her immune system couldn’t compete. She fell ill from dysentery and passed away within seven weeks of having been rescued. Shortly beforehand, she was christened with the name Juana Maria. She is buried in the Nidever family plot at the Santa Barbara Mission.Memorial plaque to Juana Maria. Photo by Babbage CC BY SA 2.0Since her end, mystery has continued to cloud the unknown woman’s home. In 2012, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians claimed genealogical ties to the Nicoleño, putting a halt to the research being conducted on the island. Conservation concerns over a certain species of fox have also sought protective measure for San Nicolas Island.Read another story from us: Story behind the Tiny House On A Remote Icelandic IslandIt is unsure if the mystery surrounding the unnamed woman will ever be truly uncovered, or if we must rely on imagination such as that which O’Dell employed in Island of the Blue Dolphins.last_img read more

Kyrie Irving has first world NBA problems

first_imgGuests:Kenny Rhoda – Cleveland sports radio host of the Kenny and JT Show joins the show to discuss Kyrie Irving trade demands; the perception in Cleveland; and which teams could give Cleveland the best deal.Alexi Lalas – FS1 Soccer Analyst is in-studio talking Gold Cup; what winning it would mean for the U.S.; and his expectations for the World Cup if the USMNT qualifies.Daniel Cormier – UFC light heavyweight champion is in-studio to discuss his long awaited fight with Jon Jones at UFC 214; and why he thinks Conor McGregor can at least compete against Floyd Mayweather.Jason McIntyre – Founder of The Big Lead is in-studio to talk Kyrie Irving trade scenarios and why Boston should make a play for Irving. The Colts should sit down Andrew Luck for the season if he’s not 100%Today, the Colts announced franchise quarterback Andrew Luck will start training camp on the PUP list. It’s a precautionary measure as Luck continues to recover from shoulder surgery and begins throwing a ball for the first time in six months.GM Chris Ballard was upbeat about the prospects of Luck’s recovery in time for the season, but Colin thinks if Luck is anything less than 100%, the Colts should sit him down for the year to allow him to fully recover.Colin thinks that Ballard is a competent exec, but the Colts have a significant rebuild ahead before they can seriously think about winning in the playoffs, with or without Luck. Luck will likely have a shortened career thanks to the beating he’s taken while carrying the franchise at the beginning of his career, there’s no reason for Andrew Luck to play this season if there is anything less than fully recovered. Kyrie Irving has first world NBA problemsComing off his third straight Finals appearance with the Cavs, the news of Kyrie Irving’s demand to be traded from Cleveland was a shocker that sent the NBA gossip mill into overdrive. According to reports, Irving is not content playing second fiddle to LeBron any longer, and seeks a trade to a destination where he’ll be the unquestioned #1.Today, Colin pointed out that the problems Irving is citing as reasons for wanting to leave Cleveland aren’t really problems at all. Most NBA players would kill to have them.On the court, Irving is never guarded by the other team’s best defender, and never has any responsibility to guard the other team’s best player when needed. Last season, he took more shots than LeBron, too. If he gets his wish, he’ll have the target on his back every night.Also, if Irving thinks LeBron has too much power within the Cavs organization, he won’t have any more influence if he’s traded to San Antonio and Gregg Popovich, or Miami and Pat Riley.Off the court, LeBron has been the focal point of media coverage, and scrutiny, and Irving has been allowed to exist in the background. If he lands in New York, for example, he’ll be front and center answering questions about that mess of situation in a hyper aggressive media market.Either way, the situation Kyrie views as untenable is as good as it can get for most. Kyrie will never have it as good as he does now, he just can’t see it.“Kyrie Irving has first world problems.”last_img read more

Protecting Your System From Hackers

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 6 min read Change passwords often. Defy hackers by adding one upper case letter to your password. Install firewalls and antivirus software. Limit use of free e-mail accounts (Hotmail and Yahoo) by employees at work. Don’t download anything unless you know what it is and who sent it. Encrypt sensitive data. Don’t send financial information over the Internet unless you are sure it is secure. Think about using an “anonymizer” to hide your identity while visiting Web sites. (Check out www.anonymizer.com.) Read privacy policies, and don’t give sites the option to share your data with third parties or for marketing purposes. Be aware of widespread viruses, and take the time to download “patches” offered by software makers. Although security experts said Microsoft knew for months that its Windows NT or 2000 software was vulnerable to “Code Red,” it didn’t publicize the security patch until mid-June. Your computer network may have been spared by the recent Code Red virus, but don’t think because you’re small, you aren’t vulnerable to a crippling security breach or nasty virus. “This problem isn’t going away,” said Andy Faris, president, Americas, of Message Labs Inc. in Minneapolis. “The hackers are getting more malicious and more clever. Traditional security measures aren’t working anymore, so you have to step up your vigilance and improve security.”The current scourge, Sir Cam, has been assaulting e-mail systems for the past two weeks. United Kingdom-based Message Labs, which provides e-mail filtering services worldwide, has intercepted 10,000 Sir Cam messages per day being sent to its 500,000 subscribers, according to Faris. In most cases, several messages a day from different people appear to be messages sent by a friend needing “help.” The Sir Cam virus can delete files and forward confidential company information to unwitting recipients, Faris said.If you think these viruses are just nuisances, check out the damage estimates. Last year’s Valentine’s Love Letter virus caused an estimated $2.6 billion in losses in 72 hours, according to industry analysts. In 1999, the Love Bug virus infected networks, causing an estimated $10 billion in damage, while the Melissa virus cost another $393 million in 2001. The widespread Anna Kournikova virus also caused big, expensive headaches around the world.”I would suggest that all companies, big and small, do a thorough review of their security,” said Faris, whose company offers its e-mail filtering services for about $2.50 per user, per month with a one-year contract. If a mysterious hacker isn’t trying to shut down your Web site, a disgruntled former employee could be. Doing things as simple as changing system passwords frequently can prevent a major security breach.”If a business owner doesn’t take proactive steps to make sure their information is secured, it’s the equivalent of putting their secrets out on the front doorstep when they go home at night,” said Robert Lonadier, director of security strategies for the Hurwitz Group in Framingham, Massachusetts. “The typical hacker is a bored teenager with a modem and access to news groups. Data in transit (e-mail) and data at rest (company files, financial information and customer files) need to be protected in some manner; otherwise, the safe bet is that it will find its way into the wrong hands.”Lonadier said lax password security comes about as a result of sharing passwords or scribbling them on sticky notes and sticking them to computers or inside desk drawers. “It’s amazing how common sense gets ignored when it comes to security issues,” said Lonadier. He recommends that every business owner spend 15 minutes making a detailed list of critical information assets. Figure out who really needs access to specific information, then limit access to everyone else. Keep close tabs on who has access to financial and other confidential information. Think twice about e-mailing confidential documents and contracts. Faxing or mailing them to clients or customers is safer. “People get lulled into the convenience of the electronic medium without thinking through the implication of having (sensitive) documents travel through cyberspace,” said Lonadier.To immediately increase password security, Lonadier recommends including one upper-case letter in your password. This is a very simple and effective tool against hackers. “If you have the computer equivalent of locks on your doors and a ‘Club’ on your car, the casual hacker may be turned away,” he said.Another problem is the push to open your computer systems and Web site to your customers. If a legitimate customer is given a password to go online to check order status 24 hours a day, a hacker has an open door to dig deeper into your computer system. “With large numbers of computer systems being interconnected front end to back end, there is an opportunity for errors and vulnerability,” said Lonadier.Security experts warn against posting too much personal information about your executives on your Web site. If you tell the world your CIO has three kids, loves to jog and lives in San Jose, he or she is vulnerable to being contacted or threatened by a computer criminal.Experts say your confidential information is most vulnerable when you send it over the Internet in the form of e-mail. Currently, 10 million e-mail messages are sent around the world every day, and the number is expected to grow to 35 million messages a day in the next five years, according to Accenture, a high-tech consulting firm. “When you want to use the Internet for business purposes, it has flaws-it’s not a very secure channel,” said Jim Liski, COO of Atabok Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. Atabok offers a variety of subscription-based e-mail protection services (the cost is about $40 a month), including encryption and a product that allows you to control use of the messages you send. “With our product, you can control whether you can print, forward or save a message,” said Liski. “You can also revoke a message that has been sent.” COMPUTER SECURITY TIPS Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » August 13, 2001 Jane Applegate is a syndicated columnist and the author of 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business. For a free copy of her “Business Owner’s Check Up,” send your name and address to Check Up, P.O. Box 768, Pelham NY 10803 or e-mail it to info@sbtv.com. Sarah Prior contributed to this article. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Don’t let hackers get the best of you. Here’s how:last_img read more

Not Made in the USA

first_img 7 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. June 7, 2007 Register Now »center_img The telephone, TV, light bulb, airplane, automobile, air conditioner, microwave oven and even that pull tab on soda and beer cans were created and developed in the United States.That’s why it’s somewhat disappointing when we see amazing products in the rest of the world that haven’t made their way yet to America. After all, we shared what we made. So why aren’t we getting some of the cool, unique and interesting things available elsewhere that we could be using to improve our personal lives and businesses?There are several reasons. Many companies would rather release their products in their own country and then expand to other corners of the globe. But because the profit margins in America are slimmer and the patent laws more complex, some companies decide not to release items here at all. Meanwhile, many companies–even from the United States–have been releasing their products to South Korea first. The South Korean government made a conscious decision to become the most wired nation on the planet and serves as an incubator where businesses can work out bugs before introducing a product to the rest of the world.Whatever the reason, check out our list of 10 hi-tech products that haven’t yet made it to the United States–but hopefully will someday.Technological marvel: The AstrataWhere you can find it: Singapore and IndonesiaWhat it does: This technology tracks the movement and location of cars, trucks and motorcycles in real time. Right about now, you’re probably checking the date of this article to see if it was written in 1987, long before the GPS revolution. But what’s so different about the Astrata is that people in the control room tracking the movements of these vehicles can literally stop them in their tracks–even if they’re in a tunnel. If you’re a truck driver, worried that the money, fuel or other precious goods you’re carrying may be vehicle-jacked, fret no longer. The rest of us can just keep our fingers crossed.Technological marvel: Identification cards for tobacco vending machinesWhere you can find it: JapanWhat it does: If you’re an adult smoker, you can use the ID card as a debit card to pay for your cancer sticks electronically. But if you’re underage–younger than 20 in Japan–it actually hampers your cigarette-purchasing efforts. By the end of 2008, more than 600,000 cigarette vending machines will be installed with an electronic age-verification device. If you’re a concerned parent, or you want one of these machines in your stores, who do you beg to bring it over here? You might want to try the Japanese company, NTT Data, which worked with a group of companies to create the concept that allows transaction details to be transmitted wirelessly from the vending machine to a central system.Technological marvel: Mikimoto Bean i-theaterWhere you can find it: JapanWhat it does: You can hook these video glasses weighing less than 3 ounces into your iPod for a complete theater-like experience. Because you’re looking at two screens, you get the sense that you’re watching a 50-inch plasma screen. They come with stereo headphones and can run for more than six hours on one charge, so in one sitting you could watch about half of the Star Wars series.Technological marvel: Reborg-Q Security RobotWhere you can find it: JapanWhat it does: This security system debuted late last year at the AquaCity shopping mall in Tokyo. It’s programmed to automatically patrol a set course through a mall. Alternatively, a security guard can control it remotely from afar. The robot knows how to enter an elevator and travel to the next floor. In fact, the robot knows quite a few things. If there’s a fire, it can use a fire extinguisher; if customers want to know the time or the weather, the robot can tell them, as well as pitch sales going on in the store; if a lost child has been found, the robot can display that information on a screen located on its chest. It can even stand at an entranceway and check employee IDs. By the end of the year, the Reborg-Q should be at 10 locations around Japan.Technological marvel: Drive assistWhere you can find it: GermanyWhat it does: For the last decade or so, it’s been a familiar drill. You go to some map software, print out a map with directions and take it with you in the car. It beats the old foldout road maps, so we don’t complain. But you may start griping. BMW and Google Maps have aligned themselves to create Drive Assist. You look up an address at your personal computer using Google Maps and then e-mail the map to your car’s GPS system. So there’s no printing out a map and then typing in the address once you get in the car–at least not in Germany.Technological marvel: SeniconWhere you can find it: Various airports in Japan, Switzerland, China and LaosWhat it does: Anyone who travels knows you can’t take your bottled water on an airplane anymore. Authorities became understandably nervous there might be a clear chemical explosive in it after a terrorist plot hatched in England was foiled last summer. Senicon was developed to detect such liquid explosive threats. You set your bottle of cola or water on the device, and electromagnetic waves can instantly detect flammable or explosive liquids contained in glass or plastic bottles. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is reviewing Senicon, but knowing the way bureaucracy works, it may be a while.Technological marvel: Braun self-setting watchWhere you can find it: EuropeWhat it does: It’s one of life’s little annoyances: You’re traveling from one time zone to another, daylight-saving time kicks in, or your watch battery simply runs out. You struggle with the small knob to reset your watch, inevitably setting you back a minute or two, which you have to take into account. Maybe it’s not the worst problem in the world, but if you’re in Europe, you never have to worry about it again if you have the AW200 Braun. It’s a regular two-handed watch, except that with the press of a button, a radio signal will reset your watch to Frankfurt, Germany time, which is standard European time.Technological marvel: Mobile walletWhere you can find it: South KoreaWhat it does: Ever wish you could use your cell phone like a wallet? We do practically everything else with it. Now, companies like China Mobile, Samsung, AT&T and MasterCard have been working together to come up with one global standard for all cell phones, so that we can stroll up to a wireless reader, wave our phone over it and automatically buy anything. It gives an entirely new meaning to the concept of the impulse buy.Technological marvel: Hydromassage TV bathtubWhere you can find it: EnglandWhat it does: Even without the TV, it sounds great. The tub has air massage and water massage jets designed to soothe aching muscles, as well as a headrest, but what really makes it seem like the perfect American product is the 8.5-inch LCD screen with video input at the other end. You can watch a DVD, HBO or CNN while soaking in the tub.Technological marvel: Shoeshine robotWhere you can find it: South KoreaWhat it does: While America may not be clamoring for a shoeshine robot, you have to feel a little envious that South Korea has one. You stick your shoe in–one at a time, while it’s still on your foot–into a machine that looks like a giant robotic shoe. In about two minutes, you’ll have a cleaner shoe. It’s perfect for politicians or anyone else who’s constantly sticking their feet in their mouth. It’s also ideal for anyone who wishes the 21st century looked a little more like what we were promised when we were watching The Jetsons.Wishing you could buy some of these products that aren’t yet in America, but don’t have the money for a plane ticket? There are at least two American companies that specialize in selling products you can’t find in the United States. Check out www.dynamism.com and www.icube.us. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more