August, 2019

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Fujitsus Laptop4Life program gives you a new laptop every 3 years

first_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Vendors Roll Out New Centrino Notebooks Citation: Fujitsu’s ‘Laptop4Life’ program gives you a new laptop every 3 years (2008, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( — Buy any LifeBook laptop from Fujitsu Siemens, and the company will provide you with a new laptop every three years until you die. The only requirements are that you need to buy a three-year extended warranty, you can only upgrade using Fujitsu parts, and you must turn in your laptop in good condition with the original receipt after three years. As part of the scheme, Fujitsu will give LifeBook customers a new laptop of the same value as the one they originally bought, plus 10% to cover inflation. Most importantly, the new laptop will be equipped with updated hardware and software. To participate, customers must register their new laptop within 21 days of purchase. Then, customers are part of the program for life, but they cannot pass on the deal in a will. Fujitsu is also limiting purchases to 10 laptops per person or business. Although it seems like the company is giving away laptops, Fujitsu says that it will make money by selling other goods, services, and accessories to its lifetime customers. For instance, customers may want to invest in a Fujitsu insurance pack to protect their laptop against theft and accidental damage. Fujitsu says that the Laptop4Life program underscores its high level of confidence in its technology.More information: Fujitsu Siemensvia: ITPro and Oh Gizmo! As part of Fujitsu´s Laptop4Life scheme, customers will receive a new laptop every three years until they die. Image credit: Fujitsu.last_img read more

Anthropologist challenges Lucys butchery tool use

first_img © 2010 ( — An anthropologist in Spain has challenged recent evidence the ancient hominin species Australopithecus afarensis, represented by “Lucy,” used sharp stones to butcher animals for meat some 800,000 years before the earliest known use of such tools. These two cutmarks were made about 3.4 million years ago. Credit: Dikika Research Project, California Academy of Sciences Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo from Complutense University of Madrid and colleagues, say the marks found on two fossilized animal bones that were presented as evidence of butchery tool use were more probably caused by the animals being trampled by other animals.The fossilized bones, approximately 3.4 million years old, were found in the Dikika area of the Lower Awash Valley in Ethiopia, and had several incisions. The scientists who found the fossils concluded the marks were made by sharp stones like those found locally, which were used to slice the meat off the carcass. Their paper was published in Nature in August this year and reported in PhysOrg.This conclusion has been challenged by Dominguez-Rodrigo’s group, who say the marks resemble damage produced by experimental trampling, and the evidence that Australopithecus, a creature with similar-sized brains to modern chimpanzees, was using stone tools to butcher animals 3.4 million years ago is “currently unsupported.”The damage on the bones was compared to damage produced by a trampling experiment in 2009 in which three men of varying sizes trampled across deer bones placed in a sand bed of a similar sand mix to that existing in the fossil find location. The men wore shoes with soles covered by coarse grass and trampled the bones for two minutes. The trampling produced long, thin incisions with a flat-based V, or _/-shaped cross-section, which Dominguez-Rodrigo said were rarely found in animal butchery using stone tools. The trampling marks were also curved, like the marks on the Dikika fossils, whereas butchery marks might be expected to be straight.One of the scientists involved in the original research, Curtis Marean, an archaeologist from the Arizona State University, rejected Dominguez-Rodrigo’s assertions, saying the trampling experiment assumed Australopithecus was using stone tools rather than sharp stones found locally. He also said that while some of the marks resemble those on the experimentally trampled bones, there were two deep incisions known as A1 and A2 on one of the fossils, and they closely resemble butchery marks rather than trampling marks. Dominguez-Rodrigo agreed these marks were similar to cut marks made by stone tools, but rejected the conclusion because of the doubts raised by the trampling experiment. Leader of the original team, Paleolithic archaeologist Shannon McPherron from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig in Germany, added Dominguez-Rodrigo’s criticisms were based only on an examination of the photographs of the fossils and he had not examined the actual specimens.Dominguez-Rodrigo also said the fossils found in Dikika were discovered on the surface and could have been damaged by abrasive soil. If they had originated in a sand bed, as Marean’s group argued, animal trampling could have occurred and produced many of the cuts attributed to stone tools.The new paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists discover oldest evidence of stone tool use and meat-eating among human ancestors Citation: Anthropologist challenges Lucy’s butchery tool use (2010, November 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further More information: Configurational approach to identifying the earliest hominin butchers, Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo et al., PNAS, Published online before print November 15, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1013711107 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

Disneys magical vision calls for 3D printed optical elements w Video

first_imgLight pipes are 3-D printed optical elements that are similar but not identical to optical fiber. They can be used to guide light from point to point. The paper explained that “Unlike conventional optical fiber, 3-D printed light pipes allow arbitrary geometries to be created in software and then locations on the surface of a mobile device to a single sensor array.” They add that light pipes can be printed into the walls of a device to create robust and exceptionally thin, sub mm, embedded sensing with minimal hardware assembly.As for when all this will be possible, the authors are optimistic about possibilities for fabricating light pipes in the next generation of optically optimized 3D printers. More information: Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices, Willis, K. D.D., Brockmeyer, E., Hudson, S. E., and Poupyrev, I. Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices. In Proc. ACM UIST (2012). Paper [PDF, 1.5MB] © 2012 “We envision future interactive devices that are not assembled but 3-D printed layer by layer,” the authors said. They talk about how novel elements can be fabricated with 3-D printing and embedded in interactive devices. They talk about new possibilities in display surfaces and embedded optoelectronics. They see “tremendous potential” for rapid high fidelity prototyping, and eventually for production of customized devices tailored to specific tasks. They said that the ability to dynamically control optical properties such as the refractive index, reflectivity, transmittance, absorption, and diffusion will enable a richer design space for sensing, display, and illumination. “Although that time is not upon us yet, Printed Optics demonstrates what is possible today.” They define Printed Optics as a new approach to creating custom optical elements for interactive devices using 3-D printing. 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. Willis and Brockmeyer are from Disney Research in Pittsburgh and Hudson and Poupyrev are from Carnegie Mellon University. The two sites provide opportunities for collaboration partly stemming from the fact that Carnegie Mellon is one of the leading seedbeds of research into robotics, computer vision, and human-computer interaction (HCI). The relationship with Carnegie Mellon gives Disney researchers added expertise as well as access to lab facilities in robotics and motion capture. (—Disney Research is serious about mixing science with play and pushing further into imaginative results with 3-D printing. A research paper, “Printed Optics: 3D Printing of Embedded Optical Elements for Interactive Devices,” talks about explorations into 3-D printing with custom optical elements for interactive devices. As such, Disney Research is thinking toward a next-step in digital printing when one will print interactive objects on the fly. Authors of the paper, Karl D.D. Willis, Eric Brockmeyer, Scott E. Hudson, Ivan Poupyrev, are all focused on future printing techniques and applications. Explore furthercenter_img 3D printed light pipes can create display areas on physical objects, by guiding light from regular screens. A 3D printed mobile projector accessory with embedded light pipes. Projected imagery is mapped onto the character’s eyes. The character responds to user interaction such as sound or physical movement. New silver-based ink has applications in printed electronics Chess pieces with embedded light pipes display content piped from an interactive tabletop. Contextual information, such as chess piece location and suggested moves, can be displayed on each individual piece. A mobile 3D display created by projecting on internal bubbles within a 3D printed model. “Display surfaces can be created on arbitrary shaped objects using 3-D printed ‘light pipes,'” they said. “Novel illumination techniques allow the internal space within a 3-D printed object to be used for illumination and display purposes. Custom optical sensors can be 3-D printed with the structure of interactive devices to sense user input. Optoelectronic components can be completely enclosed inside optical elements to produce highly customizable and robust interactive devices.” Citation: Disney’s magical vision calls for 3-D printed optical elements (w/ Video) (2012, October 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Researcher says Samsung will release patch for lockscreen hole

first_img © 2013 Explore further Eden said, in his blog posting, “I have discovered another security flaw in Samsung Android phones. It is possible to completely disable the lock screen and get access to any app – even when the phone is ‘securely’ locked with a pattern, PIN, password, or face detection. Unlike another recently released flaw, this doesn’t rely quite so heavily on ultra-precise timing.”All Android phones, however, are not vulnerable to the same hole, according to Eden. He said the problem does not occur on stock Android. “I have only tested it on a Galaxy Note II running 4.1.2 – I believe it should work on Samsung Galaxy SIII. It may work on other devices from Samsung.”Samsung is paying attention to the discovery. Eden reported his discovery to Samsung late last month and they are working on a patch, he said, “which they assure me will be released shortly.” While the ploy only allows the intruder a brief time to interact, repeats of the process would result in the intruder able to do unwelcome tasks such as making calls and viewing data. (Actually, noted the Naked Security blog, success in making headway with the glitch would require “lightning-fast reflexes” as well as a cancelled call to emergency services.) ( —A security researcher, describing some of his about-me features as “mobile enthusiast” and “Linux fiddler,” this week discovered a security hole on an Android Samsung phone. In a March 20 posting on his blog, Terence Eden said he found a hole that would allow hackers to gain control of a phone’s apps, dialer, and settings, and, here’s the kicker, even though the phone is locked with password, PIN or other security approach. Potential trouble-making by an intruder could start with the emergency dialer, with certain steps that could result in allowing the intruder to interact with the device and disable the lockscreen as well. Eden discovered the flaw on a Galaxy Note II running Android 4.1.2.center_img Samsung reveals new Galaxy Note II Citation: Researcher says Samsung will release patch for lockscreen hole (2013, March 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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 remove oil from water using copper cones inspired by cactus spines

first_imgArray of rough polydimethylsiloxane needles Credit: Lei Jiang et al More information: Structured cone arrays for continuous and effective collection of micron-sized oil droplets from water, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2276 doi:10.1038/ncomms3276AbstractEnvironmental protection agencies and the petroleum industry require effective methods to separate micron-sized oil droplets from water. However, for most existing separation methods, phase separation occurs in the oil–water mixture. The remaining micron-scale oil droplets, which are not affected by phase separation, are difficult to handle with conventional methods on a large scale because of either a lack of separation ability or drawbacks in throughput capacity. Here we develop an oleophilic array of conical needle structures for the collection of micron-sized oil droplets, inspired by the collection of similar sized water droplets on conical cactus spines. Underwater, these structures mimic cacti and can capture micron-sized oil droplets and continuously transport them towards the base of the conical needles. Materials with this structure show obvious advantages in micron-sized oil collection with high continuity and high throughput. Citation: Researchers remove oil from water using copper cones inspired by cactus spines (w/ Video) (2013, August 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Nature Communications 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 ( —A team of researchers working at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, has developed a new way to remove oil from water—using a design inspired by nature. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the team describes how an array of their cones could be used to help clean up oil spills. Cactus plants have evolved a unique way to pull water out of the air—they have conic spines that jut out allowing water condensation to build up on them. But, because of the unique shape of the spines, the water surface tension causes the water droplets to be pulled towards the base of the spine where they are absorbed by pores in the plant. This process allows cactus plants to survive in extremely arid places. In this new effort, the researchers in China have created artificial spines out of copper and other synthetic materials that perform essentially the same function, only they pull oil along their conic form, while immersed in water.The idea is based on prior research that has shown that when oil is spilled into the ocean, some of it floats on the surface, while some of it does not. Instead, it reacts with seawater and forms microscopic droplets of water that are too heavy to float. They wind up either suspended in the water, or falling to the ocean floor. To capture these tiny droplets, the team in China affixed multiple copper spines to a central structure—each (0.5 millimeter length) spine pulls oil out of the water whic travels along its length at a rate of 2 millimeters per second—creating a device that is capable of cleaning up the oil from spills that is typically missed during cleanup operations. Image of Cu-based needle Credit: Leica DM4000M microscopy Play This movie shows the in situ observation of the oil collection on rough single conical needle. The micro-sized oil droplets in the oil/water mixture can be collected and driven towards the base direction of the needle continuously. (a) Efficiencies of needle arrays with different needle separations. The three inset SEM images are the arrays with needle separations of 0.50, 0.35, and 0.25 mm. A larger needle density provided a higher efficiency. (b) Efficiencies of needle arrays with different heights. The three inset SEM images are the arrays with heights of 0.0, 0.3, and 0.5 mm. Higher needles provided a larger efficiency. Each point represents the average efficiency of seven samples; the error bars indicate the standard deviation. Credit: Lei Jiang et al. Explore further The researchers call their device a “cactus skin”—a flexible base with an array of spines protruding from its surface. To create oil-spill like conditions, they added oil to water than caused the formation of microscopic droplets by blasting it with ultrasonic sound waves. Tests run thus far have found the device capable of extracting up to 99 percent of the oil mixed into water and that the device works with virtually any type of oil. © 2013 Discovery could lead to new way of cleaning up oil spills 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

Why a rat eradication attempt on Henderson Island failed

first_img(—A team of researchers the University of Cambridge and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has conducted a case study of a failed rat eradication project on an island in the South Pacific. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the team reports that it has found that the failure was not due to migration of new rats to the island, or some of the rats being able to withstand the poison used, but instead because some of the rats never ate the poison and then began reproducing at a rapid pace. Explore further Approximately 800 years ago Polynesian sailors introduced Pacific rats to Henderson Island, where they rapidly multiplied. Today there are no people living on the islands but lots of rats, which is a problem, because they eat the chicks of endangered birds. For that reason, a team with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the government of the Pitcairn Islands decided to solve the problem by killing every rat on the island. A study was conducted and in 2011, a helicopter flew over the island and dropped seventy-five metric tons of rat poison at pre-chosen locations—a strategy that had been used successfully on other islands in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, this effort did not prove successful. Today the rat population is back to where it was before the eradication effort was made—approximately 100,000.In their case study, the researchers conducted DNA tests to make sure the rats that are there now are not descendents of rats from somewhere else—they were not which ruled out migration of new rats as the problem. The team also ran multiple tests and determined that it was not possible that some of the rats could have survived after eating the rat poison. That left only one possible reason for the failure—some of the rats had not eaten the rat poison, and thus were not killed. After careful analysis, the team suggests that approximately 50 rats likely survived the rat drop and that it was likely due to an unexpected rainfall that had occurred just prior to the rat poison dump—fruit and flowers were plentiful which made the rat poison less of an attractive option. The large number of rats today is the result of the rapid pace of reproduction of the rats—one female bears up to six pups every few months. The Royal Society is not ready to give up however, they plan to try again, but next time around will plan their attack around the weather. © 2016 Credit: Michael Palmer/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0 Citation: Why a rat eradication attempt on Henderson Island failed (2016, April 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Royal Society Open Science New way to smell a rat means end for rodents More information: W. Amos et al. Rat eradication comes within a whisker! A case study of a failed project from the South Pacific, Royal Society Open Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160110AbstractTo enhance their conservation value, several hundred islands worldwide have been cleared of invasive alien rats, Rattus spp. One of the largest projects yet undertaken was on 43 km2 Henderson Island in the Pitcairn group, South Pacific, in August 2011. Following massive immediate mortality, a single R. exulans was observed in March 2012 and, subsequently, rat numbers have recovered. The survivors show no sign of resistance to the toxicant used, brodifacoum. Using pre- and post-operation rat tissue samples from Henderson, plus samples from around the Pacific, we exclude re-introduction as the source of continued rat presence. Microsatellite analysis of 18 loci enabled comparison of genetic diversity of Henderson rats before and after the bait drop. The fall in diversity measured by allele frequency change indicated that the bottleneck (Ne) through which the breeding population passed was probably around 50 individuals, representing a census population of about 60–80 animals. This is the first failed project that has estimated how close it was to success. 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

New imaging technique may allow scientists to better understand how proteins work

first_img A new technique to watch proteins in action involves applying large voltage pulses to protein crystals simultaneously with X-ray pulses. At right is a close-up view of a crystal sandwiched between electrodes that deliver the voltage. Credit: UT Southwestern The group reports that they used the technique to study the human ubiquitin ligase protein which is part of the PDZ domain and found new information regarding how it actually works. As part of the never-ending search to fully understand how living entities work, scientists have developed a multitude of imaging techniques—one of these, X-ray crystallography, has been used to study molecules from living creatures, and more specifically, proteins. Its use has led to many breakthroughs in biomedical science, but it suffers from one serious problem—it does not allow researchers to see how a protein actually does its job; instead, it simply offers structural imagery. The researchers note that there are other technologies that offer some assistance in studying the workings of proteins, some of which can even track motion, but most work only under certain conditions or with certain proteins. In this new effort, the researchers report on how they combined two technologies to allow future researchers to capture imagery of virtually any kind of protein doing its work.The new technique involves taking X-ray images of protein reactions during application of an electric field—protein processes, they note, are generally controlled by electromagnetic forces. Protein crystals are placed between glass capillaries containing a wire that applies an electric force across the crystals as they are subjected to X-ray pulses. The results can be seen in diffraction patterns recorded over several intervals—just prior to an electric pulse, and then again at 50, 100 and 200 nanoseconds. The team notes that the technique should work for studying virtually any protein, potentially offering a new tool to assist in designing new proteins or drugs. Journal information: Nature © 2016 New method allows easy separation of membrane proteins (—A team of researchers with UT Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Chicago has developed a new imaging technique that may give scientists a relatively simple means to unravel which parts of proteins give them their function. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes their new method, which combines strong electric field pulse applications and time-resolved X-ray crystallography.center_img Explore further More information: Doeke R. Hekstra et al. Electric-field-stimulated protein mechanics, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature20571AbstractThe internal mechanics of proteins—the coordinated motions of amino acids and the pattern of forces constraining these motions—connects protein structure to function. Here we describe a new method combining the application of strong electric field pulses to protein crystals with time-resolved X-ray crystallography to observe conformational changes in spatial and temporal detail. Using a human PDZ domain (LNX2PDZ2) as a model system, we show that protein crystals tolerate electric field pulses strong enough to drive concerted motions on the sub-microsecond timescale. The induced motions are subtle, involve diverse physical mechanisms, and occur throughout the protein structure. The global pattern of electric-field-induced motions is consistent with both local and allosteric conformational changes naturally induced by ligand binding, including at conserved functional sites in the PDZ domain family. This work lays the foundation for comprehensive experimental study of the mechanical basis of protein function. Left, The crystal is mounted on the bottom electrode and the high voltage is delivered from a top electrode through a liquid junction composed of crystallization solution. Controlled back pressure on a reservoir of solution in the top electrode keeps the crystal continuously hydrated. Right, A view of the assembled experimental apparatus. Credit: (c) Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature20571 Citation: New imaging technique may allow scientists to better understand how proteins work (2016, December 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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

The Joy of Clutter What Marie Kondo Got Wrong

first_imgYes, some of my knickknacks spark joy, the quality that Japanese organizing dynamo Marie Kondo demands one’s possessions trigger to be deemed worth keeping. But, though I’m sure her 2014 book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has helped many of the millions of people in 42 regions and countries who’ve bought it stave off hoarding tendencies (now a bona fide mental-illness diagnosis), I’ve always found the bar she sets a little lofty and specific. Clutter gets a bad rap. Researchers have found that a muddle of objects can actually jolt creativity. Kathleen Vohs, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, conducted studies in which people were led into a spotless or cluttered room, then tasked with imagining inventive uses for a surplus of ping-pong balls. “The people in messier rooms came up with more creative solutions,” Ms. Vohs said. Their ideas included turning the white plastic orbs into earrings or popping them on chair feet to protect floors. “People in tidy rooms wrote things like, ‘You could use them for Ping-Pong.’” Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal I AM AN UNABASHED magpie; tchotchkes dot the hill I will die on. They’re mostly vacation mementos, like the silver, Victorian, mussel-shaped “match safe” that I splurged on in a Rome antique shop with my newly minted fiancé. I keep other dust-collectors at hand for a reason. My husband and I are trying to eliminate most of our screen time at home, and having books and playing cards within reach makes it much easier to resist our phones. Besides, the cards are beautiful and graphic.center_imglast_img read more

The man who immortalised Nira

A doyen of Bengali literature, Sunil Gangopadhyay called poetry his first love, but successfully delved into all literary genres with his versatility and varied experiences of life, leaving generations of readers in India and Bangladesh mesmerised over decades with his creativity and writing style.Often a bohemian in lifestyle, Gangopadhyay was one of the most popular poets in post-Rabindranath Tagore Bengal, with his Nira series of poems having retained their popularity, particularly among the youth, through the years. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A prolific writer, Gangopadhyay authored more than 200 books over six decades, with his magnificent range of creations touching upon diverse segments like novels, children’s fiction, poetry, literary criticism, travelogue and essays.Gangopadhyay was born in Faridpur, now in Bangladesh, in 1934, and his family shifted before the partition to Kolkata – a city that saw the flowering of his talent shaped by a passion for reading and endless informal chat sessions with literary and other cultural geniuses and even the ordinary people from all walks of life. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHowever, it was Gangopadhyay’s father – a teacher – who played a catalytic role in bringing out his poetic talent.‘After my school final examination, my father – to keep me engaged – asked me to translate Tennyson. After translating some of the poems, I thought why don’t I try out my hand in writing some poems of my own? I liked what I wrote.’ His first poem Ekti Chithi [A letter] was published in 1950.In the 1950s, Gangopadhyay and some of his friends brought out a seminal poetry magazine Krittibas, which published poems of only young writers and became a platform for young talents experimenting with various forms. Gangopadhyay was the founder editor. His first novel, Atmaprakash [Emergence], published in 1965 in the prestigious magazine Desh, was critically acclaimed though it triggered a controversy, with some calling it ‘obscene’.Among his well-known poems are Kavita Sangraha, Shada Pristha Tomar Sangay and Amar Swapna.In 1985, Gangopadhyay got the Sahitya Akademi award for his historical fiction Sei Somoy [Those Days].Among his other works are Pratham Alo [First Light], and Purbo-Paschim, a novel on the partition and its effect depicted through the eyes of three generations of Bengalis in West Bengal, Bangladesh and elsewhere.Besides the Sahitya Akademi award, Gangopadhyay got Ananda Purashkar, the Bankim Puraskar and Hindu Literary Prize.His thrillers of the Kakababu series were very popular among children and teenagers.Known for his liberal, secular and open-minded views, Gangopadhyay always spoke out against religious bigotry, and his pen was sharp in condemning the 1992 communal riots.Through his career, he used several pen names including Nil Lohit, Sanatan Pathak and Nil Upadhyay, each dwelling on a particular form and style of writing.Several of his novels were made into films by acclaimed directors. While Satyajit Ray did Pratidwandi and Aranyer Dinratri, Tapan Sinha made Sobuj Dwiper Raja, and Goutam Ghose directed the much-awarded Moner Manush based on the life of Baul singer Lalan Fakir.Gangopadhyay got a chance to put his vast knowledge of literature, particularly Indian literature, to good use when he took over as Sahitya Akademi president in 2008.Under him, the Akademi launched a large number of projects to popularise Indian literature across the world, translate works from one Indian language to another, and increase interaction between writers in various Indian languages. read more

Swanky Summer

first_imgPreparing for the season ahead – Duke has come up with its latest Sun and Surf summer collection with wide options in casuals, office wear, and evening wear, keeping in mind the Indian climatic conditions.To keep the freshness intact, the cloth has been treated with special sweat absorbent technology making one feel fresh and active all through the day.The main attractions of this year new voyage summer collection is specially designed 100% Gas Mercerized cotton T-shirts manufactured with 100%  long staple Egyptian cotton targeted at young, trendy and casual segment. Head over and stock up on your summer wardrobe!last_img read more

I try to create a lived history

first_img“That never stopped me from reading,” he said recollecting his childhood days which was filled with reading books by Enid Blyton and others.Ghosh articulated the finesse of language in telling a story while giving a preview of his new novel the third and final book of his Ibis trilogy, Flood of Fire, at Spring Fever by Penguin, a celebration of books and literature that began here on March 14, Ghosh, whose historical fictions that tend to make you “desperate for the end only to read it again,” are witness to the author’s extensive experimentation with the language. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Charting out how the language in fiction writing is distinctively different from that of a work of non-fiction, for instance his Countdown, Ghosh said, “Novel is not reflecting reality but creating reality, where language is used constitutively like clay.” It is in the usage of the language, in its repetitions, resonances and substitutions, he said, that a new word becomes “clear from the context that it means something.”  About English author Blyton’s pot beef he said, “How can I know what pot beef is unless I tasted it but I figured out it was some sort of food, and that’s all you need to know.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWhile the genre of Ghosh’s fiction writing is fairly constant and revolves around historical events, the diversity of language in his works is beyond capture.In Hungry Tide, which is “a reflection on language and on translation,” he claimed to have tried his hand, much successfully, at experiencing metre.Having grown up bi-lingual, Ghosh said he owed a large faction of his research to his mother tongue Bengali. The metre called the payar chhanda too, he said, came from the 16th century Bengali poet Kashiram Das’ poetic rendition of the Mahabharata. As the facts blend effortlessly with the fiction to tell the enchanting tale of Fokir and Piyali in Ghosh’s book Hungry Tide, the language alternates between being poetic and scientific.Flood of Fire, being the third in the Ibis series, is the culmination of the journey that began in Calcutta, spanning over a significant part of Asia. For the author’s love of language, the book is replete with Hobson Jobson, with characters speaking Bhojpuri, Bengali, Chinese and French.The author admitted to have derived from this diversity “joy and sheer exuberance.” “It is really fun,” he said.Ghosh conspicuously romances the liberation that the art of writing offers, and perhaps that is why he bluntly dismissed the idea of writing about non-fictional characters from history.“It ties your hands too much,” he said. Asserting that bringing the factual aspect of history to the fore is the job of a historian, he expressed his sole interest in bringing out “the experiential aspect of history,” instead.“I try to create a lived history. I try to inhabit it,” he said. Ghosh’s Flood of Fire is expected to reach the stands by early June this year. The 58-year-old has written 10 highly acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction, which include the Booker-nominated work The Sea of Poppies, The Glass Palace and The Shadow Lines, which won him a Sahitya Akademi award.last_img read more

Commuters okay with bus fare hike

first_imgKolkata: Commuters are ready to accept the hike in the fare of buses and mini buses and requested the private bus owners to improve their service.Suman Gupta, a resident of Tollygunge, said the hike in bus fare is not arbitrary but the private bus owners should improve service. Gupta, who regularly goes to Barasat in North 24-Parganas by private bus on Barasat–Baruipur route, said: “In the past one month the service in the evening began to fall with the curtailment of the number of buses. The owners have drastically brought down the number of buses from afternoon. There is tremendous pressure on the passengers as a result.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”My suggestion is that in such cases, the owners should divide the routes to give some relief to the passengers,” Gupta added.Paran Sardar, who comes to Kolkata from Canning everyday, said: “The hike will affect long distance passengers, but the state government did not have any other option. The Centre should understand the plight of common people and reduce the price of diesel.”Sumita Banerjee, who teaches in a private school, said: “The hike is going to affect common people, but the way the price of diesel is going up is really alarming. Also, the price of cooking gas has gone up as well. The victims are the middle class people. But the hike of Rs 1 is acceptable.”It may be mentioned that the bus fare was last hiked in 2014, four years ago. In the past four years, despite the hike in the price of fuel, the state government had requested the bus owners not to hike the fare as it would affect the common people dearly.last_img read more

Five shops gutted after fire at Siliguris Bidhan Market

first_imgDarjeeling: A fire in the Tulopatty area of Bidhan Market in Siliguri gutted 5 shops.The fire broke out at around 6 am on Sunday as shops were slowly opening up in the busiest and biggest market of Siliguri. The fire brigade was called in and within 15 minutes the engines arrived. Around 5 garment shops got gutted in this time span. About 3 engines worked relentlessly to fight the fire. At around 9 am the fire was under control. The shopkeepers and locals pitched in to lend a helping hand. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeNearby shops were also vacated. Local area Councillors Manjushree Pal and Nantu Pal arrived at the spot to take stock of the situation. The disaster management team was also present. Owing to the winter season, the garment shops had stocked up woolens and winter clothes. Hence, they suffered major losses. “We had recently stored eyeing winter sales. All is lost,” lamented Lipton Saha whose shop was gutted. The amount of loss is pegged at around Rs 25 lakh, claimed the affected shopkeepers. The fire officials claim that the cause of the fire is short circuit. As the shops were made of wood the fire caught on easily. None of the shops had fire fighting equipment, stated fire officials. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedDespite this being a regular phenomenon in this old market, there is no fire safety measures adopted. “None of the shops have fire fighting mechanism. The authorities have been informed. A major catastrophe was just waiting to occur. However, intervention of the fire brigade saved the day,” stated DB Thapa, station-in-charge, Fire Department. “We have requested the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority to construct concrete shops replacing the present shops. We have even asked the shops to at least keep fire extinguishers. We are looking into the matter,” stated Bapi Saha.last_img read more

Traditions laced with satire

first_imgAnant Art presents the solo show of Prantik Chattopadhyay titled ‘Go I Know Not Where, Bring I Know Not What’ featuring his recent paintings and installations. Prantik Chattopadhyay’s artworks have been inspired by traditional Indian art forms such as miniature paintings as well as from the folk and tribal arts. Informed by these traditions Prantik visualises a contemporary landscape populated by imageries from popular culture and themes which deal with memory, loss, mythologies, and consumerism laced with humour and satire. During his student days he was awarded the Nasreen Mohamedi Award in 2002. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfHis solo shows include ‘Mummified Myths of Cheap Thrills’ at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai 2010, ‘Pehchan kaun’ at Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai in 2007. His selected group shows include ‘…And so they thought when thou art gone’ a group exhibition dedicated to K.G.Subramanyan, at Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda, 2017, ‘Opening show’ at Nazar Art Gallery,Vadodara , 2016, ‘Dakshin Paschim’ an exhibition of contemporary art at Emamichisel Art Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata, 2010, ‘Sites of engagement’ group show at Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2007. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThese works are influenced by the childhood memories of the artist and his engagement with Soviet children’s literature and the legend of Manasa cult. Through this works Prantik attempts to re-imagine the lost pages of those tales and he weaves a contemporary narrative around the myth of ‘Manasa’. Using images from popular culture, illustrations form Soviet books, Patua paintings, and the miniature tradition the artist offers a criticism of the contemporary consumer culture. Anant Art is a curated art platform which keeps pace with current global contemporary art trends. It is a team of art enthusiasts committed to making the art-viewing experience meaningful, accessible, and enriching. Besides establishing a dynamic virtual presence for South Asian contemporary art, Anant Art is also committed to focus on online and offline curation, art historical research, art publishing, and various interactive educational outreach programmes. It strives to develop itself as a multifaceted platform which could catalyse new thinking and discussions on contemporary art.last_img read more

Understanding money lowers old age anxiety

first_imgPeople who have better understanding of finance are less likely to be worried about the later stages of their life, a new study has found.It seems financial literacy – the ability to understand how money works, enables people to accumulate more assets and income during their lifetime, and so increases confidence for the years ahead, researchers said.Additionally, financial literacy seemingly engenders a greater perception for risk and enables those who have it to face off later-life’s dilemmas with ease. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe findings, from Associate Professor Yoshihiko Kadoya of Hiroshima University and Mostafa Saidur Rahim Khan of Nagoya University in Japan, stem from a study which asked people questions assessing their calculation skills, understanding of pricing behaviour, and financial securities such as bonds and stocks.Respondents were also asked about their accumulated wealth, assets, and lifestyle – and to rate the level of anxiety they felt about life beyond 65. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe study suggests that men, and those with a higher level of education are more financially clued-in than women, and those with less education respectively.The overriding thrust is that the more financially literate earn and accumulate more during their lifetime – and thus worry less about growing old.It also appears that financial literacy helps shape people’s perception towards risk and uncertainty – making them more capable and confident in tackling whatever problems life throws at them. Financial literacy increases our awareness about financial products, builds a capacity to compare all available financial options, and changes our financial behaviour – all which bodes well for our perceptions of, and actual experiences during our seniority, said Kadoya. While financial literacy taken alone was seen to reduce anxiety – its affect was further heightened by other factors.Married respondents had even lower levels of anxiety about growing old than financially literate singletons.This could be down to married couples together planning more-effectively for the future due to familial responsibilities.Age also plays a significant role, with anxiety levels peaking around 40. The researchers suggest that people at this age have the most home and workplace responsibilities, but with less money and time to support them, increasing anxiety about the here and now – and the journey ahead.As people get older their anxiety levels drop off on gaining access to social security, government funded health care and pensions – all taking the sting out of the post-retirement blues.Having dependent children on the other hand increased anxiety levels – presumably due to respondent’s worry for their children’s wellbeing – as well as their own.It is increasingly perceived that a pension is insufficient for daily expenses without a backup pool of savings and assets – putting the financially literate at a distinct advantage, researchers said.last_img read more

Eat fruits and veggies to minimise cancer risk Doctors

first_imgKolkata: To support the objective of World Cancer Day, which is observed on February 4, city-based doctors raised concerns on creating awareness on the risk factors, which are leading to the rise in the number of cancer patients across the world. According to doctors, gastrointestinal (GI) cancers have the highest incidence and are the second leading cause of death after lung cancer. In such cancers, certain cells within the gastrointestinal tract grow in an uncontrolled and abnormal manner. The gastrointestinal tract consists of three organs — the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. GI cancers can occur anywhere along the tube that includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, rectum and anus. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseA city doctor said some of the complications in cancer could be life-threatening. If a person is suffering from weight loss, appetite loss followed by jaundice then necessary steps need to be taken immediately as many patients mistake such symptoms as medical jaundice and try to self-treat themselves with over-the-counter drugs, he said. Doctors have suggested a balanced diet to avoid the risk of cancers. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in animal fats, with a low sodium intake, may reduce risks of some types of gastrointestinal cancer. A well-balanced diet can reduce obesity, a common risk factor for many types of cancers. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataDr Sumit Gulati, consulting doctor of the department of gastroenterology sciences of a city hospital, said: “Lack of awareness about gastrointestinal cancers in India often leads to late detection. Generally, cancer is diagnosed when the patient is in the late stage of the disease therefore reducing the chances of survival. Dismissal of symptoms as trivial matters and unwillingness to consult a physician often turns fatal. Do not lose hope, now there is treatment for most cancers.” Gulati further said: “Acidity and stomach pain at regular intervals are key indicators of tumor. Ideally one should consult a physician immediately and go for a thorough check-up. Maintain a normal body-weight. Obesity indirectly may lead to cancer.” Dr Jyotirup Goswami, consultant radiation oncologist in the city, said: “Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in females in India and also in Bengal. Unfortunately, there is no organised cancer screening programme in India and cervical cancer vaccination is not yet included in the universal immunisation schedule. Early detection is hampered by socio-economic factors.”last_img read more

Slacktivism may help youngsters volunteer for social causes

first_imgYoungsters who share videos of social causes on Facebook might be motivated to volunteer for them in future, finds a study that challenges the popular image of them being “slacktivists”. Slacktivism is a derogatory term to describe young people’s political activity online such as signing a petition or sharing a video on social media.”Proponents of the slacktivism narrative argue that by participating in politics in easy ways on social media, young people show their network how virtuous they are, thereby excusing themselves from engaging in more difficult offline action like attending a rally or volunteering for a non-profit,” said lead author Dan Lane, doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, the US.However, the new findings showed that sharing social cause videos on social media might be one pathway to engagement for young people who do not typically get involved in social causes.For the study, which appeared in the journal Information, Communication and Society, the team asked 178 college students to view three social cause videos and then randomly assigned them to post one of the videos either publicly on their own Facebook or anonymously on a third-party’s Facebook timeline.The results showed that participants who shared a video about a social cause publicly were more willing to volunteer than those who shared anonymously.This is initial evidence of a “reverse Slacktivism effect demonstrating that publicly showing support for a social cause through sharing can increase and not decrease the commitment to taking further action,” said Lane.In addition, the effect of public sharing on young people’s willingness to volunteer was strongest for those who don’t normally use social media to engage in social issues.last_img read more

Body of Trinamool leader from Contai found in Hooghly

first_imgKolkata: The body of a Trinamool Congress leader from East Midnapore who had gone missing on February 7, was found in Hooghly and identified by the police on Sunday night. The incident occurred two days after a Trinamool Congress MLA from Nadia was shot dead by some miscreants.According to the police, the victim Ritesh Roy, an active Trinamool Congress leader of Contai, had called his family members on the morning of February 7, saying that he was going to Malda along with some of his friends. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseLater in the evening, the family members tried his mobile number but failed to contact him. As a result, they registered a missing complaint at the local police station. The police failed to trace the victim and the matter was informed to various other police stations. Hooghly Police on Sunday sent a photograph of the body to Marishda police station in East Midnapore, following which the family members identified the body of the victim. Police said that some local residents had spotted the body on February 8 near Talchinan area on Chinsurah-Tarakeswar Road under Dadpur police station in Hooghly. After being informed, police reached the spot and sent the body to Chinsurah Imambara Hospital for post-mortem examination. The district police, however, faced some difficulties in ascertaining the identity of the victim. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAccording to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that the victim might have been strangled to death as there were some injury marks around his neck. The motive behind the murder is yet to be confirmed by the police. Investigation is on to ascertain if there is any political angle is involved in the incident or any past rivalry. Police have also started a detailed probe to know where the victim was actually going and who had been accompanying him.last_img read more

Five books to look forward to in December 2017

first_imgAs we enter the last month of 2017 – a significant year from the publishing point of view – the wide variety of books published over the past eleven months, both fiction and nonfiction, make a case for book lovers. Despite the rising trend of mediocrity in the literary world, there are enough books of both literary value and merit for readers to chew upon. And whenever there is a splendid offering on the stands, it is certain to attract vast readership as well as critical acclaim. Consider Jeet Thayil’s “The Book of Chocolate Saints” and Sunita Narain’s “Conflicts of Interest”, both of which had made the cut into this column last month. While dozens of other titles have gone out of sight and mind, these two books – one fiction and the other nonfiction – have successfully made their way not only into our reading lists but also into the literary columns of leading newspapers.The last month of the year is no different and here are the five books we cannot wait to read this December:1. “That Thing We Call a Heart”, by Sheba KarimShabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a private school in suburban New Jersey, but everything changes when she meets Jamie. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating – her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but her best friend Farah finds Jamie worrying. Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, “That Thing We Call a Heart” is an honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.2. “The Fever”, by Sonia ShahMosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya have been around for over 500,000 years and continue to flourish even as we continue to progress as a race. In “The Fever”, Sonia Shah delivers a timely, inquisitive chronicle of malaria and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we’ve invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and technologies, and invariably those hopes have been dashed. With original reporting from Panama, Malawi, Cameroon, India and elsewhere, “The Fever” captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.3. “The New Pakistani Middle Class”, By Ammara MaqsoodPakistan’s presence in the outside world is dominated by images of religious extremism and violence. These images – and the narratives that interpret them – inform events in the international realm, but they also twist back around to shape local class politics. In “The New Pakistani Middle Class,” Ammara Maqsood focuses on life in contemporary Lahore, where she unravels these narratives to show how central they are for understanding competition and the quest for identity among middle-class groups. Through a focus on religious study gatherings and also on consumption in middle-class circles – ranging from the choice of religious music and home décor to debit cards and the cut of a woman’s burkha – “The New Pakistani Middle Class” untangles current trends in piety that both aspire toward, and contest, prevailing ideas of modernity.4. “The Atlas of Beauty”, by Mihaela NorocSince 2013, photographer Mihaela Noroc has travelled the world with her backpack and camera taking photos of everyday women to showcase the diversity of beauty. “The Atlas of Beauty” is a collection of her photographs celebrating women from all corners of the world, revealing that beauty is everywhere, and that it comes in many different sizes and colours. Noroc’s colourful and moving portraits feature women in their local communities, ranging from the Amazon rain forest to London city streets, and from markets in India to parks in Harlem, visually juxtaposing the varied physical and social worlds these women inhabit. Packaged as a gift-worthy, hardcover book, it presents a fresh perspective on the global lives of women today.5. “Djinn City”, by Saad Z. HossainIndelbed is a lonely kid living in a crumbling mansion in super-dense, super-chaotic Dhaka. His father, Dr. Kaikobad, is the black sheep of their clan, the once illustrious Khan Rahman family. A drunken, loutish widower, he refuses to allow Indelbed to go to school and the only thing Indelbed knows about his mother is the official cause of her early demise: “Death by Indelbed”. But when Dr. Kaikobad falls into a supernatural coma, Indelbed and his older cousin, the wise-cracking slacker Rais, learn that Indelbed’s dad was, in fact, a magician and a trusted emissary to the djinn world. But the djinns, it turns out, are displeased and one of the consequences of their displeasure is that a “hunt” is announced with 10-year-old Indelbed as prey. Still reeling from the fact that genies actually exist, Indelbed finds himself on the run. “Djinn City” is a darkly comedic fantasy adventure and a brilliant follow-up to Hossain’s acclaimed first novel “Escape from Baghdad”.last_img read more

Rashtrapati Bhawan tastes its first homegrown honey

first_imgThe apiary of the largest Presidential edifice in the world – Rashtrapati Bhawan – has now started giving the yields. On Tuesday, a new era begun in the nectar-producing gardens of Presidential edifice, having abundant flora and fauna, including lush trees of mangoes, Indian blackberries (Jamun), Neem and drumsticks, when more than 186 kilograms of honey was extracted in presence of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman, Vinai Kumar Saxena and Secretary to the President, Sanjay Kothari. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfEarlier, the frames of bee-boxes were removed in presence of the dignitaries and honey was extracted before them in stainless steel containers. Later, it was packed in bottles, displaying the name of Rashtrapati Bhawan. The dignitaries also tasted the extracted honey as well as lemonade made out of it.Appreciating the efforts of KVIC in this connection, Sanjay Kothari said that it was a commendable job done by KVIC, as it not only launched an apiculture training course for the 50 gardeners of Rashtrapati Bhawan – in which the gardeners were also apprised of the comprehensive scope and significance of apiculture, important considerations, tips to care and maintain the apiaries, and value of beekeeping in maintaining the flora and fauna; it also installed many bee-boxes in different phases in the Rashtrapati Bhawan premises. “This initiative from KVIC will certainly increase the yield of horticulture and floriculture in and around the President estate,” Kothari said, adding, “We have plans to use this honey and related products to use as gift items for the foreign dignitaries, visiting Rashtrapati Bhawan.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveVK Saxena said that the beekeeping program would be a bonanza for the 16,000 flowers and plants in the Rashtrapati Bhawan premises, which remained untapped for ages. “Due to abundant trees and greenery, this area is suitable for pollination and it will massively increase the yield of the crops in the neighbouring areas. As honey has rich minerals and proteins along with the best quality of antioxidants, there is a need that people should adopt cultivation of honey as their hobby in their farmhouses and bungalows,” he said, adding, “It is a proud moment that the first yield of Prime Minister’s ‘sweet revolution’ in Delhi and NCR is being extracted from the house of the first citizen of the nation.”On August 19, last year, Ram Nath Kovind had himself visited the apiary in the Rashtrapati Bhawan garden.last_img read more