Hans Blix calls on scientists to develop thorium nuclear fuel

first_img(Phys.org) —Call it the great thorium divide: Thorium supporters and thorium critics do not agree over claims that thorium is an alternative nuclear fuel that could ensure a better future for the planet. Nonetheless, interest continues in thorium as a safer and abundant alternative to uranium. On the side of thorium, the latest call for action has come from Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector and former Swedish foreign minister. Urging nuclear scientists to develop thorium as a new fuel, Blix also called on the nuclear industry to start powering reactors with thorium instead of uranium. Blix said that the radioactive element may prove much safer in reactors than uranium and it is also more difficult to use thorium for the production of nuclear weapons. UK stays cautious over thorium as nuclear fuel More information: www.world-nuclear-news.org/enf … _begins_2106131.html Thorium-232 crystal, prepared by the van Arkel (chemical vapour transport) process. Credit: The Actinide Group, Institute for Transuranium Elements (via Wikipedia) 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: Hans Blix calls on scientists to develop thorium nuclear fuel (2013, October 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-hans-blix-scientists-thorium-nuclear.html © 2013 Phys.org Explore further He believes efforts in turn should be made to develop thorium, as the world looks for future energy supplies. “I’m a lawyer not a scientist,” Blix told the BBC News. He acknowledged there are many obstacles ahead in turning to thorium, but development efforts should be made.Thorium is a radioactive element and there are thorium reserves in countries around the world. Scientists promoting thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel argue that is a safer, more economical way of generating nuclear power than uranium. It is also more difficult to use thorium for the production of nuclear weapons. To be sure, abundance has been a strong argument among supporters. Thorium is believed to be three times more plentiful than uranium. Oystein Asphjell, chief executive of Thor Energy, told BBC News: “There is lots of thorium in the world, very well distributed all over the globe.” As for nuclear waste, he said “we do not generate long lived waste.”As the BBC News report explained, when a uranium reactor overheats and the fuel rods can’t contain the chain reaction, as happened at Fukushima, the crisis continues. This bears contrast to the case of thorium where, if something happened to a thorium reactor, technicians could switch off the stimulus which comes from uranium or plutonium in a small feeder plant. The thorium reaction would shut itself off without any human intervention. A number of countries have explored thorium as an alternative fuel. Led by Norwegian company Thor Energy, thorium is being tested at a site in Halden, Norway. Nonetheless, critics warn that, if supporters say it is high time to turn to thorium, they say this is a poor time. Their concern is that developing new reactors could drain funds best applied elsewhere. Nils Bohmer, a nuclear physicist with Norwegian environmental NGO, Bellona, said thorium development was a distraction from the need to cut emissions immediately to stave off climate change. He called the advantages of thorium “purely theoretical,” according to the BBC.last_img read more

Researchers uncover evidence of people predating Amazonian rainforest

first_img More information: Environmental impact of geometric earthwork construction in pre-Columbian Amazonia, John Francis Carson, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321770111AbstractThere is considerable controversy over whether pre-Columbian (pre-A.D. 1492) Amazonia was largely “pristine” and sparsely populated by slash-and-burn agriculturists, or instead a densely populated, domesticated landscape, heavily altered by extensive deforestation and anthropogenic burning. The discovery of hundreds of large geometric earthworks beneath intact rainforest across southern Amazonia challenges its status as a pristine landscape, and has been assumed to indicate extensive pre-Columbian deforestation by large populations. We tested these assumptions using coupled local- and regional-scale paleoecological records to reconstruct land use on an earthwork site in northeast Bolivia within the context of regional, climate-driven biome changes. This approach revealed evidence for an alternative scenario of Amazonian land use, which did not necessitate labor-intensive rainforest clearance for earthwork construction. Instead, we show that the inhabitants exploited a naturally open savanna landscape that they maintained around their settlement despite the climatically driven rainforest expansion that began ∼2,000 y ago across the region. Earthwork construction and agriculture on terra firme landscapes currently occupied by the seasonal rainforests of southern Amazonia may therefore not have necessitated large-scale deforestation using stone tools. This finding implies far less labor—and potentially lower population density—than previously supposed. Our findings demonstrate that current debates over the magnitude and nature of pre-Columbian Amazonian land use, and its impact on global biogeochemical cycling, are potentially flawed because they do not consider this land use in the context of climate-driven forest–savanna biome shifts through the mid-to-late Holocene.Press release © 2014 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org) —A team of researchers with members from the U.K., Germany and Bolivia has found evidence that suggests that parts of Bolivia now covered with rainforest were drier and more savanna-like just 2000 to 3000 years ago, a time when people were already living in the area. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe how they took sediment core samples from lakes and noted large ditches dug by people that lived in the area during a time before the rainforests—their findings suggest such people adapted to the wetter climate over time, rather than moved into it and started cutting down trees, as has been suggested by other research. DNA study on mummies suggests climate instability drove ancient Peruvians to migrate Explore further Cutting of trees in the area recently revealed ditches dug by people thousands of years ago—each about a kilometer long and three meters deep by four meters wide. No one knows yet why the ditches were dug, or what purpose they served. But in this new effort, the researchers took core samples from sediments that had formed over thousands of years in nearby lakes. In examining the samples, the researchers were surprised to find grass pollen of the type typically found in the savanna, such as in Africa. The core samples also showed that people in the area were planting maize during the same time period.The discovery of the ditches and pollen in the core samples suggests that people were living in the area and farming, prior to the changeover to rain forest. As the rainforest took hold, due to an increasingly wetter climate (possibly due, the researchers suggest to a slight change in Earth’s orbit), the people living in the area likely adapted by preventing trees from growing in farm areas or cutting new areas to increase yields. These findings suggest that early people living in what is now northeastern Boliva, were neither hunter-gathers nor tree cutting settlers hacking out a living. Instead, it appears that they were simply farmers both before and during the onset of the rainforest.The researchers also noted that the core samples showed that rain forest plants became dominant in one area as recently as 500 years ago, possibly due to the disappearance of the people that lived there dying from diseases brought by European settlers. Citation: Researchers uncover evidence of people predating Amazonian rainforest (2014, July 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-07-uncover-evidence-people-predating-amazonian.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

Researchers begin unraveling the signaling mechanism of a devastating crop parasite

first_img(Phys.org)—In sub-Saharan Africa, few agricultural parasites are as devastating to a wide variety of crops as Striga hermonthica, commonly known as witchweed. It chokes out such staple crops as sorghum, millet and rice, which show symptoms similar to those of drought or soil nutrient deficiency. Fluorescent turn-on probe identifies the ‘wake-up protein’ in witchweed seeds Citation: Researchers begin unraveling the signaling mechanism of a devastating crop parasite (2015, September 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-unraveling-mechanism-devastating-crop-parasite.html Striga infests crops by absorbing nutrients and water from their roots. Credit: ITbM, Nagoya University The seed of striga and fluorescence turn-on probe for analyzing the germination of striga. Credit: Shinya Hagihara, ITbM, Nagoya University Striga seeds are treated with Yoshimulactone, which show similar bioactivity to strigolactone. Credit: ITbM, Nagoya University One of the reasons Striga is so hard to control is that its symptoms do not become apparent until the parasite actually emerges from the plants, by which point it is too late to save the crop. Thus, it constitutes a major threat to African food security, and has led to the loss of an estimated U.S. $10 billion in production every single year. Establishing the regulatory dynamics of the parasite are thus of singular importance to researchers hoping to control or eradicate it.Though the mechanisms of Striga propagation are still unclear, plant hormones called strigolactones, which are produced by the host plants, are known to stimulate the germination of striga. About 17 known strigolactones have been isolated, all unique to different plant species, and the striga parasite recognizes its host plants by sensing the composition of their strigolactones. In plants, strigolactones function as both plant hormones and as signals for communicating with microbes. Researchers have previously identified a group of proteins in crop plants as presumptive receptors for strigolactones, but the receptor in the Striga parasite remains unidentified. Reporting in the journal Science, an international group of researchers has developed a fluorescence probe called Yoshimulactone Green (YLG), which activates strigolactone signaling and illuminates the signal perception activity of strigolactone receptors. The researchers hoped that it would elucidate the mechanisms of striga germination and eventually point toward a means of controlling infection and propagation.The current study reports the development of the small-molecule probe designed to illuminate the function of strigolactone receptors. The researchers looked at the hydrolizing action of a known receptor called AtD14 and applied it to the development of YLG, a fluorogenic agonist for receptors of similar type. YLG was designed to be recognized by strigolactone receptors, and the resulting hydrolizing reaction leads to the generation of fluorescent products. Thus, the probe provides visual markers for strigolactone receptivity. Explore furthercenter_img The authors report that in vivo, YLG successfully stimulates Striga germination, and 97 percent of the germinating seeds emitted fluorescence. “Thus, YLG functions as a flurogenic agonist in Striga, which cleaves the ligand as it is perceived,” they write. They subsequently searched a public database of Striga RNA sequences and identified 12 genes as candidate receptors related to the ArD14 receptor upon which they based the YLG probe. More information: “Probing strigolactone receptors in Striga hermonthica with fluorescence.” Science 21 August 2015: Vol. 349 no. 6250 pp. 864-868 DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3831ABSTRACTElucidating the signaling mechanism of strigolactones has been the key to controlling the devastating problem caused by the parasitic plant Striga hermonthica. To overcome the genetic intractability that has previously interfered with identification of the strigolactone receptor, we developed a fluorescence turn-on probe, Yoshimulactone Green (YLG), which activates strigolactone signaling and illuminates signal perception by the strigolactone receptors. Here we describe how strigolactones bind to and act via ShHTLs, the diverged family of α/β hydrolase-fold proteins in Striga. Live imaging using YLGs revealed that a dynamic wavelike propagation of strigolactone perception wakes up Striga seeds. We conclude that ShHTLs function as the strigolactone receptors mediating seed germination in Striga. Our findings enable access to strigolactone receptors and observation of the regulatory dynamics for strigolactone signal transduction in Striga. © 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. Journal information: Science By evaluating the relevance of hydrolysis in Striga evolution, they determined that 10 genes in the YLG-illuminated hydrolysis trait coincided with Striga characteristics, implicating them in seed germination. Of this subgroup, two showed “indiscriminately high affinity to all of the strigolactones tested.” The authors write, “Thus, from a few promiscuous receptors, multiple specialized receptors seem to have evolved to detect structurally diverse strigolactones more efficiently. This would have led to each different strigolactone being perceived by a different combination of receptors.”last_img read more

Freestanding anode for use in helping microbial fuel cells convert waste to

first_img More information: S. Zhao et al. Three-dimensional graphene/Pt nanoparticle composites as freestanding anode for enhancing performance of microbial fuel cells, Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500372 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: Science Advances © 2015 Phys.org Microbes strip power from poo Citation: Freestanding anode for use in helping microbial fuel cells convert waste to electricity (2015, November 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-freestanding-anode-microbial-fuel-cells.html Play The real application of the MFCs for running a timer. Credit: Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500372 center_img PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen SEM images of GA/Pt incubation with S. oneidensis MR-1: (A) top view, (B) and (C) magnified cross-section view of different parts of GA/Pt incubation with S. oneidensis MR-1. Credit: Science Advances (2015). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500372 Explore further (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from several institutions in China has developed a freestanding anode that can be used to transfer electrolytes from bacteria in wastewater to a microbial fuel cell. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they built their probe, its efficiency and their plans for improving their design. Treating human waste is an energy intensive process, with some estimates suggesting it accounts for 3 to 5 percent of all electricity consumed in the U.S. Frustratingly, scientists have not been able to find a way to use the waste to create the electricity to treat it, in a way that is efficient enough to make it worthwhile—much of the current technology centers around fermentation and burning the methane that results, but such process are not yet efficient enough to warrant use in actual wastewater treatment facilities. Another approach is to create sewage based fuel cells which would work by pulling bacterial electrolytes off the waste and using it to create electricity—that is the approach taken by the team in China.The new anode is based on a 3D graphene aerogel decorated with platinum nanoparticles—the team describes it as a “macroporous structure that is favorable for microorganism immobilization and efficient electrolyte transport.” In the lab it looks somewhat like a lump of pumice, the porous surface offers more surface area. The team tested the probe first with water infested with Shewanella oneidensis bacteria, noting how the bacteria became lodged in the pores of the anode. They further tested it with a microbial fuel cell and wastewater samples taken from an actual wastewater treatment facility, and proved the probe worked as designed by using the resultant energy claimed from the sewage to power a small digital kitchen timer.The research group acknowledges that their process is still not efficient enough for practical use, but suggests their probe is a demonstration of what could become a real application. Additional hurdles to overcome will include replacing the platinum with something much less expensive, and finding a way to make the probe durable enough to last for years immersed in raw sewage.last_img read more

Harmony and symphony

first_imgMusic created magic at the hallowed walls of Purana Qila when several rock bands from SAARC region performed at eighth edition of South Asian Bands Festival which was held from 7 – 9 November. The three-day music festival was presented by Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Seher. The Festival featured 14 popular rock bands from eight countries which are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) -Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Observer country – France and host India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘Music has no boundaries, with the same ideology this festival brings together Asian countries. It also provides a rare opportunity for the Indian audience to enjoy and appreciate the music created across the subcontinent’, said Sanjeev Bhargava, Festival Director, South Asian Bands Festival.  ‘Started in 2007, the festival has become one of Delhi’s most eagerly awaited cultural extravaganzas and year after year people of all ages look forward to the best bands from the South Asian region to be showcased at the festival. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixComing together of some of the most talented musicians on one platform at the magnificent Purana Qila is the best and truest representation of regional integration through Culture,’ he added. This platform brings together the finest acts from the SAARC countries.  This year the festival featured performance by Alobo Naga and The Band (ANB) from Dimapur, Nagaland formed in 2010, they won the Best Indian Act at a European music awards ceremony in 2012. Pakistani singing sensation Zebunissa Bangash popularly known as Zeb, who recently made her foray into Bollywood with her hit tracks in films like Madras Café and Highway.  Known for her Coke Studio fame, Zeb mesmerised the audience through her rich and textured soundscapes and melodies yet again. The festival also featured a band from France – Success as a Guest Country Band, which is also the Observer to SAARC. The electro-rock band from France consists of vocalist YannChéhu, guitarists Julien Richer, Dan Voisin on the Electronic keyboard and drummer Joel Daventry, are known for their unique style of contemporary rock performance combined with traditional heavy metal, rock n’ roll and electro rock. Apart from them, the audience was enthralled by the electronic-rock band Pentagram from Mumbai amongst others.last_img read more

True grit from the heart of Jakarta

first_imgJalanan will go down in Asian cinema history as the first feature-length documentary film from Indonesia to have had a substantial cinema run. It has also won a number of awards, including the prestigious Best Documentary prize at Busan, Korea in 2013. Filmed over five years, the film follows the travails of three street musicians eking out a living in Jakarta.A year after Jalanan’s release, its lead characters, Boni, Titi and Ho are still being invited to talk shows or to star in small roles on TV and perform to sold-out audiences. As a tribute to the extraordinary popularity of this documentary film about three marginalised residents of Jakarta, Governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama (also known as Ahok) organised a screening for his staff in May earlier this year. “Guess what: ‘Jalanan’ screening moves Ahok to tears” headlined the Jakarta Post the next day. I finally caught the film at a screening at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), held in the Balinese town that the film’s Canadian director Daniel Ziv now calls home. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceJalanan started slow; I felt eased into the characters’ backgrounds via the TV documentary convention of parallel mini-biographies: the glib, devilish Javanese-Rastafarian Ho; the mellifluous Titi, tough, tender and full of familial piety; talented Boni with the sad childhood and ridiculously boyish face. Soon these three musicians began to sing their cracked hearts out, circulating through the city with vigour and indefatigable faith that lay within them. But while their talent, attitude and trendy fashion sense transformed them into cool cats for a little while, deeper questions began to surface. Also Read – Turning a blind eyeLike many perhaps, I was moved by the fragility of their individual lives. I found myself thinking ‘What makes you pick up that guitar everyday and make your way through the grime and gore of the streets and travel hundreds of miles on sweaty buses – just to keep on playing for a few coins? Why aren’t you giving up? How can you be so talented and yet live under a bridge? Why do you let your husband smack you around? Why are you invisible to the metropolitan system whose streets you pound?’ One doesn’t have to read biographies of the famous to find lessons about human tenacity. As this film reminds us well, this quality is evident in the lives of millions of people who end up in the crevices and fault-lines of society. For me, the film intensified when Ho got picked up for busking and ended up in a holding cell. I have no idea how the director managed it, but somehow we too were locked up in the cell with Ho. Ever been inside a prison cell with a bunch of people arrested for the most inane of misdemeanours? A little girl can’t poo, women sleep on concrete floors, cockroaches scurry and Ho croons on, spontaneously manufacturing ballads, lifting spirits and hopefully embarrassing the hell out of anyone in the government who saw this film. Here, the documentary morphs from gritty street-ethnography into socio-realist opera – a moving paean to harassment of common people.The movie isn’t the same after this point. This isn’t a tender, intimate account of buskers anymore; much larger issues are at stake. We suddenly see our lead characters as civilians riding the omnibus of a careening democracy, teetering on the edge of abandonment, only to stay afloat through their own resilience.Which Jakarta do you live in? The film asks this question of its local viewers. Is it the city where Ho has furtive, illicit sex in a shack next to a main road, where dismal urban planning leads to Boni’s makeshift home under the overpass to be constantly flooded; where Titi has to abandon her children and look for work to send her father a few dollars to help with hospital bills? The film does not sentimentalise the issues at hand. Rather than evoke pity, it drives home that any notion that the poor deserve their plight is a capitalist confection. These guys hold on to their dignity with admirable grit and a tenacity that would embarrass anyone confident about their next meal.The characters, however, manage to marinate their lives with love, humour and satire. Ho rhymes ‘reformation’ with ‘masturbation’ and pontificates on whether his country loves him back. Boni observes, as he uses the toilet in a luxury mall, that while the shits of all classes mix, people just can’t do the same.Titi visits her family back in her village in a lovely sequence that provides a breather from the urban squalor. It reminds us of the importance of familial connections, even in the lives of people who appear to be complete drifters. Her parents are gentle country folk who still can’t fathom why their daughter sings on buses. They admit to once having secretly sold her guitar for a paltry Rp1,500. When her father, looking frail in a white starched shirt, starts singing Japanese war songs, we know his end is near.The buskers don’t just busk on. The movie works because they formulate concrete plans, and the director, via his extensive filmic coverage—given definite shape through deft editing by Ernest Weiss-Hariyanto—makes us privy to their individual journeys towards achieving their goals. When Ho splurges several days of his income to surround his love-interest with plates of Padang food, we want him to get the girl but can’t help wondering about his ability to be responsible for a widow with three children. Later, when he tenderly cradles her eight-month old baby in his arms, I am gobsmacked by the transformation. Titi’s husband leaves her. Blinking her tears and indignity away, she studies for the equivalent of a school certificate to try for a better life. Boni doggedly refurbishes his ever-flooding subterranean accommodation despite constant threats of demolition.At the film’s end, Titi gets her school diploma and makes a heroic speech honouring her recently deceased father. Boni seems unfazed that his life could be uprooted with the single check mark of an urban development officer, or the next floods. Ho marries his sweetheart, looking ridiculously formal in a clean, pressed shirt. The audience cheers amidst sniffles.In under two hours, the lead characters of Jalanan have toiled insufferably for their money but have also dreamt, shagged, divorced, wooed, buried a parent, finished school, rebuilt a home, lectured us in economics and regaled us with great humour and of course, awesome music.Has life been a little trying lately?The author is a filmmaker. This review has earlier appeared in INSIDE INDONESIAlast_img read more

Baltimore braces for massive protests over Grays death

first_imgThousands of people were set to hit the Baltimore streets in fresh large-scale demonstrations on Sunday, a day after six police officers were charged over the death of an African-American man in their custody.As many as 10,000 people were set to turn out for a massive rally in the riot-scarred city, CBS Baltimore reported, in what could be the biggest show of people power yet in nearly a week of demonstrations that threaten to spread across the United States. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe Maryland National Guard said on Twitter it had nearly 3,000 soldiers and airmen ready to help “keep the peace” in the city.Police made at least 15 arrests when some protesters defied a 10:00 pm curfew Friday, underlining the anger that persists on the street despite the shock announcement that the six officers — three of them black — would face a range of charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter, over Freddie Gray’s April 19 death. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanThe 25-year-old Gray’s death at the hands of police has reignited simmering resentment in the United States over law enforcement tactics, particularly in their dealings with the black community.Demonstrations have erupted daily in Baltimore this week, while there have been rallies in many other major American cities, including New York, Philadelphia and the capital Washington, in echoes of the protests that broke out across the United States last year over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.last_img read more

Queen voted greatest monarch in new UK poll

first_imgAs she prepares to mark a major milestone as Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has also been voted one of the greatest monarch the country has ever had.A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times has given her a resounding lead of 27 per cent, more than the combined score of Elizabeth I on 13 per cent and great great grandmother Victoria on 12 per cent. Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resortThe 89-year-old Queen made her annual appearance at the Braemar games in the Highlands yesterday, marking a tradition established by Queen Victoria in 1848.On Wednesday she is expected to make a rare public speech when she will overtake Victoria’s record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne.The Queen has given no indication that she would abdicate in the event of ill health, yet 50 per cent of her subjects believe she should retire if she becomes too ill regularly to carry out royal duties or appear in public. Also Read – Pakistan Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanThe newspaper’s poll shows a drop since January, from 46 per cent to 38 per cent, in those who believe she should stay on the throne in such circumstances, even if it becomes necessary for other members of the royal family to carry out some of her official duties. Most of those with an opinion are also prepared to entrust her son Charles, the Prince of Wales, with the role of Prince Regent, with 43 per cent in favour and 33 per cent against.last_img read more

Assamese natl arrested with 1000 YABA pills

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Police on Saturday arrested an Assamese national from the city on charges of drug smuggling.Around 1000 YABA (methamphetamine) tablets have been seized from Muhibur Rahman (46), who is a resident of Nagaon district in Assam. It was learnt from sources that Rahman has been arrested from Beniapukur. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that he might have brought the narcotic substance to the city with an intention to sell them here at a higher price. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt is also suspected that the accused might have brought the drugs from Manipur. Police are probing the entire modus operandi. Cops also suspect that the drugs were meant for various night clubs in the city. An officer of the city police said the accused had been staying at a hotel on Tiljala Road since he came to the city. YABA is a recreational drug brought from North-eastern states and also from Myanmar and is generally used by party-goers. Each YABA tablet costs Rs 150 and total cost of the tablets seized from the accused is Rs 1.5 lakh, the office said. Police suspect that the accused might be a part of a smuggling gang that has been operating from the state. Probe is on.last_img read more

Whose history is it anyway Padmaavat taints Khilji

first_imgHe gnaws the meat off the bone, bares his hairy chest, has long unruly locks and laughs like a hyena. History doesn’t quite remember Alauddin Khilji like this, but that is the image Sanjay Leela Bhansali seeks to portray of the Khilji dynasty king in his film Padmaavat. The king is depicted almost like a barbarian in the film, which was released recently, after months of strife in court, on the streets and at the Censor Board.While members of some Rajput groups are still violently opposing the film’s release, a section of historians states that the filmmaker misses the mark, not in portraying Padmavati, a role played by Deepika Padukone, but in painting the Sultan as a barbarian. Bhansali’s Khilji, played by Ranveer Singh, has kohl-rimmed hungry eyes, a scarred face, a gym-toned body, wears furs when he is not bare-chested and rips meat off the bone with his teeth. Historian Rana Safvi believes that Khilji was anything but savage. It was under his rule the Delhi Sultanate heavily drew from Persia, one of the oldest and most sophisticated civilisations of all time, she said. “The rulers followed the exact code of conduct and etiquette as in Persia. It would have been very formal the eating, dining and sartorial choices,” said Safvi.The film, according to Bhansali, is based on the 16th century-epic poem Padmavat written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi two centuries after Khilji s death.”It cannot be ignored that the epic ‘Padmavat’ was penned centuries after Khilji’s attack. Jayasi wrote it in Awadhi, not any Rajasthani dialect. He belonged to a different region, pointed out Arunima Gopinath, associate professor of Women’s Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.The poet Amir Khusro, who flourished during the Khilji rule, gave a detailed account of the king’s conquests as well as his reign in the 13th century. The poet did not project him as a barbarian ruler either.Safvi added that the barbarism the film depicts in Khilji is to only show him as a villain and Shahid Kapoor’s Ratan Singh as a sophisticated rival.”Khilji was aware he was cruel but he was not the kind to be running after women and then conquering kingdoms. He was only interested in expansions and conquests,” she said.Alauddin was a “cruel imperialist” and a good military strategist who wanted to crush Mongol invaders, she held.”He was trying to strike terror into the hearts of others. He wasn’t religious either. He perhaps may have been the only king who didn’t go to read prayers at Friday congregations,” she pointed out.A section of academics believes the depiction of Khilji is only the latest move in a larger movement in parts of the country to distort history.Akbar has been branded a foreigner defeated in battle and efforts are on to erase Aurangzeb’s name if not from history, at least from road signs.There is a clear pattern to colour Islamic rulers as villains with no reference to any facts based on authentic sources of information, said Heeram Chaturvedi, head of department of history at Allahabad University.Last year, three senior ministers of the Rajasthan government backed a proposal to show in history textbooks taught at the university level that Maharana Pratap won the Battle of Haldighati against Akbar.”History cannot be rewritten in any way, which is what they are doing,” Chaturvedi said.He recalled how historian Gopinath Sharma, known for his research on Mewar kings and Mughal emperors, was abused and manhandled at a seminar in Jodhpur for writing that the Battle of Haldighati was indecisive, though Akbar had an upper hand”.Safvi is of the opinion that the Haldighati battle may have been inconclusive, but to make an individual as brave as Rana Pratap a victor through the backdoor did disservice to his memory.”I don’t think any brave warrior wants to be handed out a consolation prize. It would be unethical and one would probably not feel honoured to take the prize they didn’t deserve,” she added.Attempts are also being made to drop the words The Great, often suffixed to Akbar’s name. The author of the Hindi novel ‘Akbar’, Shazi Zaman, said the adjective could be used by anybody, as long as it could be rationalised.I think that everyone is entitled to deem a person great, provided you can rationally back it with credible historical records. But greatness is not a rolling trophy that can be taken from one and given to another,” he added.The film tells the story of Alauddin Khilji’s attack on a kingdom after he was smitten by the beauty of its queen, Padmavati. Hindu groups and a Rajput caste organisation allege that the movie includes a romantic scene between Muslim king and the Hindu queen.last_img read more

Works by eminent print makers of India featured at NGMA

first_imgAs a part of India’s first Print Biennale being organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA), a parallel exhibition titled ‘Eminent Print Makers of India’, began on March 26 at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi. Speaking at the opening of this exhibition, Chief Guest, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, mentioned, “I congratulate the Lalit Kala Akademi for organising the very first Print Biennale of the country. Both the LKA and NGMA have been serving Indian art in their own ways, but coming together for India’s first Biennale is a historical occasion. This is a significant step for not only keeping the printmaking form of art alive but also to add some new experiments and ideas in it.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe exhibits on view consist artworks of the living masters of Indian printmaking such as Jyoti Bhatt, Sanat Kar, Devraj Dakoji, PD Dhumal, Vijay Kumar, RM Palaniappan, Dhruv Mistry, Kavita Nayar, Krishan Ahuja, Yusuf, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Walter D’Souza and many more. A major attraction of the exhibition is a segment featuring the Pioneers of Printmaking which is nostalgic and reflective of the golden era of this practice.Speaking on behalf of the artist community of India and abroad, C S Krishna Setty, Administrator, LKA said, “Asia and the Indian subcontinent have inherited a long and historically significant legacy of printmaking. Our earlier generations of printmakers were hugely influenced by the art aesthetics of this medium from Asian sources and their works thus establish a link between their countries. Exhibiting their works on a prestigious platform such as the National Gallery of Modern Art has given the community of art lovers an opportunity to savour this historicity at close quarters.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSpeaking on the occasion Advaita Gadanayak, Director General NGMA, reiterated this viewpoint strongly, saying, “This exhibition presents works of art of prominent Indian printmaker practising for more than 30 years. I extend my gratitude to the Lalit Kala Akademi for organising the first Print Biennale India 2018 that gives us an opportunity to look forward to new innovations in the art of printmaking.”The exhibition also provides visitors from India and abroad with a rare privilege to see first-hand, original works that are historic game changers of Indian art. The selected works are in a remarkably well-preserved condition as also representative of the prime years of their art makers’ practices. The exhibition will be on view to the public till April 22. The Academy will host a workshop by expert Anupam Chakravorty and also on Paper Conservation by Arpan Mukherjee at NGMA. Two collateral projects by Sanchayan Ghosh and Amit Mukhopadhyay shall take place at Lalit Kala Akademi during the exhibition.last_img read more

Plate like a chef

first_imgPlating food is considered a form of art across the world and the French take great pride in it and are considered one of the pioneers. Each Chef has their own style and comfort in plating food to make the appetizers look delicious so make sure you know the skill well too. Experts list some ways to plate like a chef.4Plate: Choice of the plate is determined by the kind of dish we are plating. Everything from the colour, texture, ethnicity, size, shape needs to be considered before selection. Some chefs prefer dark plates to present colourful and bright dishes while some choose white or light coloured ones. Food is also presented on slates, stone or carved plates, it gives a rustic feel to the dish. The only unbreakable rule is that warm plates for hot food and chilled plated for cold. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf4Sauce: This component not only enhances the flavour and taste of the dish, it also gives an opportunity to improve appearance. Most preferred is a smooth and fine texture with a thick consistency to be spread in different styles on the plate. It is usually a spread while the other components are placed, but there could be more than one sauce used on a plate. A light drizzle or dash of sauce at the end, just before service also helps. 4Main meal: This is the lead singer in the orchestra with whom each component has to resonate with. It could be a protein or carb portion depending on what the dish is. There are principally two schools of thought which exist on its position. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOne traditional approach teaches us to place it right in the centre of the plate and the rest of the components sprinkled around it. While the modern approach speaks about distributing the mains as smaller pieces in a line or arc or random position but keeping in mind that each piece is treated with equal attention as the central one in the traditional approach. The modern approach is more time consuming but brings out the skill of the chef. 4Accompaniment/sides: This component completes the meal and gives the chef a chance to provide different texture and colour to the dish. The quality has to be adequate enough to be visible on the plate and at the same time not enough to steal the show of the Main meal component. It could be a salad, salsa, vegetable or starch which compliments the meal and adds value to the plate.4Garnish: This adds the last sparkle and concludes the plating process. It could be an artistically hand crafted edible mini item or could just be a sprig of fresh herb or micro greens, something that adds a dash of freshness on the plate. It could be the simplest part of the plate but remember this is the first component the diner lays his eyes on before eating.last_img read more

Fifty years later comes Stanley Kubrick explanation of baffling end of 2001

first_imgIf there’s one topic that has kept people caught up in endless debates, it’s the meaning of the end of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, released in 1968, has intrigued, puzzled, and challenged audiences, particularly in its last half hour. The film depicts its star, Dr. David Bowman, played by Keir Dullea, alone on his spacecraft after he figured out a way to disengage the computer, HAL, that had already killed another astronaut.Dullea’s mission is to learn the origin and purpose of a monolith. At one point he leaves his ship and is caught up in a rushing vortex of light and sound. Then he finds himself in a bedroom strangely decorated as if he were in the 18th century.This is followed by Dullea aging, possibly dying, before transforming into an infant, an orbiting being some call the Star Child.Stanley Kubrick, aged 21, in 1949Some critics didn’t go for it. Renata Adler of The New York Times wrote: “By the end, three unreconciled plot lines — the slabs, Dullea’s aging, the period bedroom — are simply left there like a Rorschach, with murky implications of theology.”But Roger Ebert loved the film, saying in his review, “Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape.”Closing scene of “Dr. Strangelove,” Kubrick’s sardonic fulfillment of a nuclear nightmare.Of the end, Ebert wrote: “What Kubrick is saying, in the final sequence, apparently, is that man will eventually outgrow his machines, or be drawn beyond them by some cosmic awareness. He will then become a child again, but a child of an infinitely more advanced, more ancient race, just as apes once became, to their own dismay, the infant stage of man.”Since 1968, theories have raged over whether the end of 2001 was a depiction of the meaning of life, or something else entirely.Modern replica of the Discovery One spaceship model. Photo by FaceMePLS CC BY 2.0One person who wasn’t explaining the end of the film was Kubrick himself, despite many pleas. He said he wanted to avoid over-intellectualizing and instead reach the viewer’s subconscious.Kubrick died in 1999. But a lost interview has just surfaced in which the acclaimed director does indeed talk about the end of 2001.Stanley Kubrick’s classic film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ has its trailer released in time to coincide with the film’s original release 50 years ago.The interview was conducted by Japanese filmmaker Jun’ichi Yaoi, who in 1980 was making a documentary about the paranormal and received permission to visit the set of Kubrick’s film The Shining. He interviewed the director there about several of his films, including 2001.Actor Keir Dullea in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Photo by Dmitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty ImagesStrangely, the documentary was never officially released. Reportedly, a VHS of the footage sold on eBay in 2016. In July 2018 the video appeared online and soon went viral.In his own words, Stanley Kubrick on the ending of his film 2001: A Space Odyssey:“I’ve tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they’re dramatized one feels it, but I’ll try.”Stanley Kubrick, during filiming of “2001: a Space Odyssey.” Photo by Dmitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images“The idea was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film.They choose this room, which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture — deliberately so, inaccurate — because one was suggesting that they had some idea of something that he might think was pretty, but wasn’t quite sure. Just as we’re not quite sure what do in zoos with animals to try to give them what we think is their natural environment.”One of HAL 9000’s interfaces. Photo by Grafiker61 CC By SA 4.0“Anyway, when they get finished with him, as happens in so many myths of all cultures in the world, he is transformed into some kind of super being and sent back to Earth, transformed and made into some sort of Superman.Read another story from us: Riddle Me! What were Batman & The Riddler doing at a Hollywood orgy?We have to only guess what happens when he goes back. It is the pattern of a great deal of mythology, and that is what we were trying to suggest.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.last_img read more

Scientists Fertilize Eggs of Last Two Northern White Rhinos in the World

first_imgIn March 2018, there was great sorrow when the last male of the northern white rhinos passed from the land of the living.  Forty five year old Sudan met his end at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and is survived by only two more rhinos of his kind, both female.  Unfortunately, neither of those ladies are fit to reproduce, as one suffers from uterine lesions that render her incapable and the other has hind legs that would make pregnancy a very chancy thing. All was not lost, however.Angalifu, male Northern White Rhinoceros at San Diego Wild Animal Park. Angalifu died from old age on December 14, 2014.According to Smithsonian, the species may be revived through the wonders of science.  Recently veterinarians were able to successfully remove eggs from both Najin and Fatu, the last two remaining northern white rhinos. The surgery took two hours and was considered highly successful, since about ten oocytes were removed from the rhinos.  Those eggs were airlifted to Italy and combined with sperm, which had previously been collected and frozen, from four different now-deceased white bull rhinos.After the successful harvest of 10 eggs from the world’s last two northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, 7 eggs (4 from Fatu and 3 from Najin) were on August 25th, successfully matured and artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from northern white rhino bulls, Suni and Saut. pic.twitter.com/2xWsb2gvRn— Ol Pejeta (@OlPejeta) August 26, 2019Later the fertilized embryos can be implanted in surrogate mothers from among the population of southern white rhinos, reviving the sub-species. This attempt to resurrect the northern white rhino was not an off-the-cuff maneuver, it’s been in the works for years.According to a report from Nature in July, 2018, researchers were trying to revive the species back then, creating a hybrid which contained the DNA from the northern rhino variety and another sub-species which was closely related, in an attempt to stave of extinction.Scientists successfully fertilize eggs from last existing northern white rhinos https://t.co/IkhJDNFhf6 pic.twitter.com/5FGUJvvidC— The Hill (@thehill) August 28, 2019Even back then, scientists were practicing the egg-removal and fertilization techniques on other, less endangered, female rhinos so that they could perfect it without endangering the last two females of their kind.  The eggs that they obtained were fertilized with the sperm of northern white rhinos, and of thirteen eggs that were fertilized, three developed into viable hybrid embryos.White Rhinoceros. Photo by Bernard SpraggPresently, scientists are hoping to duplicate the procedure with the eggs they obtained from Najin and Fatu, creating genetically pure embryos that can be implanted in surrogates and, after a 14 month wait, hopefully have new specimens of the norther variety once again.Southern white rhinos in Africa.Even this isn’t without risks, however.  There’s no way to know for certain whether the southern rhino surrogates will be able to carry embryos of the other sub-species to term, or whether or not any resulting calves will be able to reproduce or will be born sterile.  Even if neither of these two obstacles materialize, there’s still another issue.  The available pool of sperm and eggs for the northern rhino is very small and all come from animals who are closely related, rendering the available gene pool even smaller.White rhinos in Taman Safari, Indonesia. Photo by Krishna Kumar CC by SA-3.0There may be a way to work around that problem, too.  Scientists are trying to create artificial eggs and sperm from the preserved skin of 12 other white rhinos.  If they’re successful, that will help deepen the gene pool. What the final result of these experiments will ultimately be is still unknown, but reports say that preliminary steps seem hopeful.All of the research is being done by the BioResuce Project, a new research consortium, with the idea that if their attempts are successful the technology can then be used to preserve other species which are on the verge of extinction. Frank Gortiz, the head vet at the Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, commented that they are gaining critical information about the biology of reproduction and how it assist it, which can be a huge boon to other species, as well as the white rhino.Related Article: A Giant Galapagos Tortoise Once Thought Extinct Reappears After a CenturyThe northern white rhino is native to Uganda, Sudan, and some other parts of Africa.  In 1960 it was reported that there were still 2,360 of their kind.  Civil unrest and poaching had radically reduced their numbers by 1984, leaving only about 15.  By 2003 the number of surviving white rhinos had been doubled thanks to careful rescue and conservation efforts, but within three more years, no more white rhinos were seen in the wild, thanks to poaching.  The current efforts scientists are undertaking may well be the animals’ only hope.last_img read more

VIDEO Crowd heroically catches child after dramatic fall from amusement park ride

first_imgA scary scene unfolded at Six Flags Great Escape in New York when a child was caught on video while helplessly dangling from one of the gondola rides as a crowd watched in horror.A group of people heroically gathered underneath the terrified young girl, and amazingly were able to catch her when she eventually fell from the ride. This is a nightmare for any parent. Thankfully, this story ends well.Watch the intense video:last_img

VIDEO All 26 of Floyd Mayweather Jrs career KOs

first_imgMost experts believe that McGregor/Mayweather will end with a knockout, most believe Mayweather will be the one to deliver it.Mayweather has recorded 26 career knockouts (by KO or TKO), but hasn’t KO’d an opponent since Victor Ortiz in 2011, on what many consider a cheap shot.The biggest question heading into the McGregor fight is if McGregor can fluster Mayweather with an overly aggressive fight plan and somehow land a miracle knockout. Even though Floyd is older and hasn’t shown power recently, this video shows what could happen if McGregor doesn’t respect his speed. It’s on another level.If McGregor tries to make it a brawl, he’s likely going down and won’t know what hit him, like these guys.last_img read more

3 Apps to Make Mobile Conference Calling Easy

first_imgSeptember 20, 2013 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Busy entrepreneurs know this better than anyone else: when you’re on the road, communicating with your employees isn’t always easy.Say, for instance, you leave a client’s office with four pages of notes on a big project. Ideally, you’d want to meet with everyone involved while it’s fresh in your mind. But your developer is in New York, your copywriter is in Atlanta and the marketing manager is sitting at the airport in Los Angeles waiting for a plane.Good thing the wonders of technology have made it so distance is no longer an issue. With one of these three conference call apps on your mobile phone, rounding up your employees for a quick meeting is easier than assembling a group in the office.1. VoxeetIf you’ve ever been confused by who said what during a conference call, you’ll most likely appreciate Voxeet’s 3-D sound, speaker recognition feature. Photos of everyone on the call appear around a virtual conference table. When a person on the right side of the screen speaks you’ll see a visual cue and hear his or her voice in your right ear.Voxeet’s high-definition sound reduces echo and background noise, so everyone comes in loud and clear. If you need to have a word with only one participant, the Whisper feature allows the two of you to speak quietly while still listening to the conference call.With Voxeet, you can make team calls with one click or set the app to “Always-On” mode for quick chats throughout the day. You can also switch from desktop to mobile or vice versa while you’re on a call.The app is free for iPhone and Android and can accommodate up to eight participants at a time.Related: Apps to Help You Start Selling on Facebook — Now2. SpeekYou can eliminate the need for traditional conference call phone numbers, passwords and pins with Speek. When you sign up, you create your own, simple, URL. You can use your name or your company name.To invite others to join you, email, text or send a calendar invite with the URL. The recipient clicks, types in their own phone number, and they’re connected.Speek is free for calls with up to five people. The $10 a month Pro plan includes calls with an unlimited number of people (though no more than 15 is optimal), the ability share files and record calls – a very useful feature.The app is available for iPhone, Android and Windows.3. UberconferenceThis conference call app features a colorful interface and automatic social media connections so you can learn more about all of the participants just by clicking their picture.You can initiate a call by sending a link or, if you have the pro version, the app will dial everyone at the appointed time so all they have to do is answer the phone. If you value participation, check out the post call summary list of who talked the most and who talked the least.The Uberconference app has large, brightly-colored buttons with labels like “evict” (remove a person from a call) and “earmuff” (mute the sound for one or more participants).Uberconference is free for calls with up to 17 people but you’ll have to listen to a brand message at the start of each call. Eliminate the branding with the $10 Pro plan which handles up to 100 people. It also includes call recording, local phone numbers, personalized hold music and recurring conference scheduling.The app is available for iPhone and Android.Related: 4 Tools That Take the Pain Out of Managing Payroll  Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more

Why Many Tech Execs Are Skipping the Consumer Electronics Show

first_img 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. January 5, 2016 So, here we are in the middle of what I call “CES season.” The massive Consumer Electronics Show is the first big Las Vegas convention of the year, and the place where all the big brands unveil their new products or services (or their tweaks to the same old products/services).Much of this whole pre-CES period is essentially a debate about whether or not you want to spend the money to go. For a journalist, it’s one of the better places to network, learn about the latest trends and find new sources every year. It’s also a giant hassle with perhaps more people, cars and parties than even the Las Vegas Strip is equipped to handle.Sitting it out.Even as thousands of the tech-inclined in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs book their flights to McCarran International Airport, I’m noticing a trend towards something different this year. Many startups and tech executives are skipping the festivities to attend more intimate gatherings where they can network and collaborate with more closely relevant colleagues who matter for their business’ growth.It’s not just the outlandish prices and insufferable lines that have caused this change in entrepreneurs’ January calendars. For example, more topical gatherings like Founders Forum and Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) emphasize networking and personal experience instead of multiple, massive conference halls. That allows tech executives to be more strategic with their time. NIPS 2015 in Montreal, Canada, offered a highly focused examination of machine learning. It’s a subject that tech executives are interested in learning about. Getting to meet with leaders from the space proved to be advantageous for many.“I never would have considered attending a conference like NIPS a year ago,” says Alex Gold, a San Francisco based entrepreneur who has brought brands like Unilever and Bacardi to CES in the past. “But CES became such a headache that skipping it in favor of a smaller conference, like NIPS, proved to be a much more strategic use of my time and resources.”Related: 5 Great Gadgets for Entrepreneurs Revealed at CES 2015A focus on ‘what really matters.’The Founders Forum, which began in London in 2006 and has since held events across the word, has been called “The Davos of Tech.” They invitation-only event, offering presentations by people of the stature of Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Steve Case, is considered by many to be Europe’s top technology conference.”The Founders Forum is a different type of technology conference,” says Tom Serres, host and co-founder of Tech on Politics, an Internet show about the convergence of tech and politics in the 21st century. “You get a chance to completely set aside the glitz and glamor of bigger conferences and focus on what really matters — creating an amazing company.”This movement to smaller, more intimate conferences has extended to “UnConferences” like YesxYesYes, which takes place every summer at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif. According to the website, the idea of the conference is that if you “get a group of smart, engaged individuals together in the right place, even in the absence of an organized conference, great things would happen.”At YesxYesYes, many of the attendees are in overlapping social circles. This creates a gathering that is both professional and relaxed. There are no set schedules. Attendees are encouraged to host their own conversations about the things they love and invite other attendees to participate and engage. It’s a different mindset than traditional tech conferences, one that encourages creativity and strategy rather than popularity.“To some degree, I want the types of people at a conference I attend to be curated for me already,” says Carolyn Gerin, founder of WedTech Summit, another intimate conference, designed for wedding-related startups. She’s also a longtime attendee of YesxYesYes.“The conversations at ‘Yesx’ start way later than the ‘get-to-know you’ banter you find at bigger events,” she says. “As a result you have these much more meaningful, highly intellectual conversations than you would have at CES. This has resulted in more speakers and increased business for WedTech.”Related: 10 Thoughts on Tech, Trends and Innovation at CES 2014Crowds aren’t ‘worth our energy.’Even brands like Bacardi and Rubbermaid are sitting out of CES this year as they found it difficult to meet the innovators who could help their future growth.“Events like CES weren’t just for startups but also for brands looking to find innovative technologies to help push them forward,” says Bryce Goodwin of Bacardi. “We are sitting out this year because we found that the costs and crowds just weren’t worth our energy for what we were getting out of it.”I don’t believe this trend is some kind of death knell for CES. Nothing’s going to stop such a juggernaut, at least not any time soon. It’s more about how conference goers have more options now. People who have been to many of the big events aren’t looking to have that same experience over and over. They want a personal combination of location, relevant discussion and deal-making potential. The number of these more intimate gatherings will not only continue to rise, but as time goes by, expect the bigger conferences to incorporate some of the features that have made the smaller gatherings more popular. Especially in today’s environment, even giant conferences must disrupt themselves or perish.Related: 7 Conferences for Entrepreneurs Under 30 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Using Data for Artificial Intelligence

first_img 7 min read Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Data is one of the most important strategic assets for companies in the emerging data-driven and AI-powered economy. Data is needed to measure the efficiency of business strategies and draw insights from its operations but also to train machine learning algorithms. Getting data is not a problem for companies, the question is can they get the right kind of data and can that provide them with a much desired competitive advantage.Related: Want to Be More Like Amazon? Start By Making Your Startup More Data-Driven.Many companies do not realize that they are sitting on a pile of bad or dirty data. This data contains a lot of missing fields, has wrong formatting, numerous duplicates, or is simply irrelevant information. IBM research estimated that the annual cost of bad data for the U.S. economy is a whopping $3.6 trillion. Still, many managers have certainty that they are sitting on a goldmine of data when in reality they have nothing valuable.I interviewed Sergey Zelvenskiy, who is an experienced machine learning engineer over at ServiceChannel, where he automates facilities management processes using artificial intelligence. We talked about common misconceptions when it comes to the good/bad data dichotomy and what companies should be focusing on when building AI products.As Zelvenskiy says, “The data that companies have may not necessarily be bad, it is just likely incomplete to solve the problem. There is a chicken and egg problem here. The original system is usually built to collect the data needed for human-driven solutions and moving it to an AI driven solution might require filling of the gaps. While a human can quickly assess these and fix the problem, the automated system needs automated ways to wrangle the data.”Focus on the product. Finding good data should start with a product itself. To get good data, companies should design products that provide the right incentive for the users to contribute their data. Good usability and user experience will encourage users to contribute valuable information.Related: Artificial Intelligence Is Likely to Make a Career in Finance, Medicine or Law a Lot Less LucrativeYou can always strive for the user-in-the-loop model, in which users have to give away their data in order to use the features of your product. This is precisely how Google and Facebook get tons of data in exchange for their services. Users are not even aware that they are giving away their data absolutely for free to power advanced machine learning algorithms and continually improve the software.The best way to build a great product is by delivering iterative improvements while gathering the much-needed data. As Zelvenskiy says, “You can see this with the evolution of Amazon Alexa. The team behind it realized the difference between general speech recognition and the ability to recognize a simple set of predefined commands. While many other companies struggled with the adoption of general speech recognition and the capability to maintain the conversation, Alexa team focused on a simple set of commands and simple scripted dialogues.”The Alexa team did it right by shipping a very simple solution at a low price and conquered the market. Focusing on the specific simple use case and perfecting it wins the end game.Related: 5 Reasons Machine Learning Is the Future of MarketingTarget the right types of data.Let’s take the company that wants to build a robot that will automatically put library books on the shelves. It has plenty of data about the actual book content, it knows the names of the authors and the year the book was published. But, in reality, this data is not sufficient for an automated arrangement of the books.The robot can use the existing data only to find the proper shelf for the book. But, it doesn’t know the measurements of the book, so it’s hard for the robot to figure out if the book will fit on the shelf.The company never thought of collecting this information because the library staff could easily figure out if the book fits the space. Now this company needs a completely new data set, which it doesn’t have. This means the company has to equip a robot with some way of assessing the book measurements instead. While this is not impossible, the project budget and timeline will change.That’s why you should always ask yourself if you have the right type of data that is helpful to solve the problem.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessUnderstand the limitations. Often, companies feel that all machine learning engineers have the same magical wand, that solves all data-related challenges. That cannot be further from the truth. Going back to the library example, the ability to automatically assess the size and weight of physical objects would require a very different set of skills and capabilities. People or systems who can train the robot to find the right shelf, are different from the people or systems capable of building the abilities to measure and weight the books.This kind of resource planning should start at the beginning of the project and not when the robot is destroyed under the pile of books that did not fit the shelf.Related: A Humanoid Robot Called Sophia Mocked Elon Musk After Being Asked About the Dangers of AIUtilize existing expertise. Artificial intelligence can only do it better after the hard work by the team of engineers and subject matter experts is done. The development of an intelligent solution needs expert inputs to understand and help interpret the existing data and to figure out the principles they use to solve the problem.Even the latest breakthrough of DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero is not an absolute showcase that we don’t need human experts entirely. The rules of the Go game are well-defined and cannot be broken by the opponent. Even though the machine was not trained by human experts, the rules of the game were programmed into the code, so it can play against itself to build up the skills. The engineer who built the software became an expert in the rules of the game before programming it.According to Zelvenskiy, “In the case with AlphaGo Zero, we don’t have a dedicated expert because the playing field is so well-defined that one can learn the complete set of rules in one evening. In real life, an engineer can hardly spend an evening and become an expert in the supply chain, privacy laws or turbine engineering. In general, an AI project either needs a well-defined set of unbreakable rules or a labeled data set. Usually, there is a little bit of each and figuring out how to combine the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle still requires expert input.”Zelvenskiy added, “Don’t get me wrong, there are success stories when a team of engineers successfully solves the puzzle by obtaining the right data set and learning just enough rules of the game. Yet, we depend on survivorship bias here.”Related: 10 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2018Manage data and close the loop. One day your application might start to generate large volumes of data as it gets more popular. To avoid running into a data mess, you should introduce efficient data warehousing strategies from the very beginning. No matter what data platform your company chooses, you should put in place the efficient process of data collection, cleansing and data wrangling at each stage of data acquisition process.Once you have a good product, a constant inflow of data and an efficient data management infrastructure, it will be easier to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of good data.Leveraging the data provided by your product’s users can improve AI platforms and application features and encourage customers to contribute even more good data. This will create a self-sustaining system of data generation that will turn your company a truly data-driven enterprise. January 23, 2018last_img read more

Apple Removes Scary Zoom Flaw For Other Video Conferencing Apps

first_img Author Bio Apple is coming to the rescue of Mac users who were affected by a vulnerability in the Zoom teleconferencing app. Apple quietly pushed out a security patch to Macs that removes software from third-party video conferencing apps left exposed by Zoom’s scary webcam flaw, the Verge first reported. MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Which 13-inch MacBook Is Right For You?Apple’s entry-level MacBook Air and Pro look pretty similar, but our testing proved they differ in crucial ways.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Which Cheap Tablet Is Best? Amazon Fire 7 vs Walmart Onn02:45关闭选项Automated Captions – en-USAutomated Captions – en-USAutomated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/apple-macos-zoom-flaw?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0003:4603:46 Both RingCenter and Zhumu, two video conferencing services that automatically install secondary Zoom software, were caught in the crossfire of a nasty bug that let malicious websites remotely open a Mac’s webcam and start a video conference without any intervention. MORE: Zoom Promises Fix for Scary Webcam Spying FlawZoom, a popular teleconferencing app, has been under immense pressure this last week after it was discovered that the company secretly installs a web server on Macs that can be exploited by bad actors to spy on people. Worse yet, the web server remains on a device even after a user uninstalls Zoom from their Mac.After changing its mind about the flaw being necessary for the app to work on Safari, Zoom eventually pushed out a patch that fixes the issue. However, users who uninstalled the program before the patch came through were out of luck. Now it’s up to Apple to pick up the pieces. Apple first released a macOS update to remove Zoom’s offending software on July 10. Be sure to read our initial coverage of the flaw for instructions on how to protect your Mac.The Best Laptops for Business and Productivity Phillip Tracy, Phillip Tracy, center_img Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he’s not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GameIf You Have a Computer, This Strategy Game Is a Must-HaveVikings: Free Online GameUndoKelley Blue Book5 Mid-engine Corvettes That Weren’tKelley Blue BookUndoForbes.comCrazy Rich Asians for RealForbes.comUndoVerizon WirelessThis new phone will blow your mind.Verizon WirelessUndoAncestryStart your journey with AncestryDNA®- now $59. Ends 8/26.AncestryUndoMy Food and FamilyHealthy, Homemade Drunken Thai Noodles In Just 20 MinutesMy Food and FamilyUndoAdvertisementlast_img read more