Study shows subway systems develop in remarkably similar ways

first_imgA sample of large subway networks in large urban areas, all displaying a core and branches structure. Fromleft to right and top to bottom: Shanghai, Madrid, Moscow, Tokyo, Seoul, Barcelona (Figures from Wikimedia Commons) Journal information: Journal of the Royal Society Interface Subway dust may trigger lung damage This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The team focused on the fourteen largest cities and their subway systems and found that mathematical equations could describe some of their attributes regardless of how long the subway systems have been in existence. They found for example, that about half of all the stations in any large subway system can be found on the outer branches rather than clustered around the core. They also found that the distance from the center of the city to its farthest station is just about double the diameter of the system’s core; again, regardless of system. And that’s not all. They also found that the number of branches in a subway system is roughly equal to the square root of the number of stations and that twenty percent of stations situated in the core link two or more lines together allowing people to transfer from one to the other.The researchers point out that none of this is planned, at least not in systematic way. City planners, they say, start out with a design that seems optimal for existing conditions then expand when needed. Thus, the systems grow organically in ways that reflect rider needs, which the researchers suggest means that there is likely some underlying fundamental rules that govern ridership and decision-making that is common to all subway systems, regardless of country, geography, climate or density, which results, they say, in a common optimal design.If the underlying rules can be described, the thinking goes, then future planners would be able to skip the intermediate steps that lead to the optimal design, likely saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, or perhaps better yet, small adjustments might be made to further optimize the general model which could benefit all such systems throughout the world. Citation: Study shows subway systems develop in remarkably similar ways (2012, May 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-subway-remarkably-similar-ways.htmlcenter_img Explore further © 2012 Phys.Org More information: A long-time limit for world subway networks, J. R. Soc. Interface, Published online before print May 16, 2012, doi: 10.1098/​rsif.2012.0259 (arXiv pre-print arxiv.org/abs/1105.5294 )AbstractWe study the temporal evolution of the structure of the world’s largest subway networks in an exploratory manner. We show that, remarkably, all these networks converge to a shape that shares similar generic features despite their geographical and economic differences. This limiting shape is made of a core with branches radiating from it. For most of these networks, the average degree of a node (station) within the core has a value of order 2.5 and the proportion of k = 2 nodes in the core is larger than 60 per cent. The number of branches scales roughly as the square root of the number of stations, the current proportion of branches represents about half of the total number of stations, and the average diameter of branches is about twice the average radial extension of the core. Spatial measures such as the number of stations at a given distance to the barycentre display a first regime which grows as r2 followed by another regime with different exponents, and eventually saturates. These results—difficult to interpret in the framework of fractal geometry—confirm and yield a natural explanation in the geometric picture of this core and their branches: the first regime corresponds to a uniform core, while the second regime is controlled by the interstation spacing on branches. The apparent convergence towards a unique network shape in the temporal limit suggests the existence of dominant, universal mechanisms governing the evolution of these structures. (Phys.org) — Visitors to major cities in the world might disagree, but a small group of French and British researchers has found that regardless of city density, structure and other factors, subway systems running in the biggest cites in the world are more alike than not in truly fundamental ways. In their paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the team says that all of the large city subway systems in the world grow in a way that share common features – such as the fact that they all have central cores with a branch topology.last_img read more

LiquiGlide poised to market superhydrophobic coating for wide range of products

first_img More information: liquiglide.com/ © 2015 Phys.org Citation: LiquiGlide poised to market superhydrophobic coating for wide range of products (2015, March 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-liquiglide-poised-superhydrophobic-coating-wide.html (Phys.org)—Newly created company LiquiGlide has announced that they have landed a contract with Elmer’s glue to provide a superhydrophobic coating for glue bottles, allowing consumers to more easily access all of the product inside. The product by the same name comes with different ingredients depending on the application, but the end result is the same, liquid materials inside slide against the coating allowing for easy removal. Explore furthercenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Poison dart frog inspires new way to de-ice planes LiquiGlide is the brainchild of Kripa Varanasi, a professor at MIT, he has told the press that the idea came from his wife who was having difficulty getting all of the honey out of a bottle. Varanasi claims he came up with a solution over a single weekend—a coating that sits between a porous surface and a liquid. The coating is sprayed onto a surface (such as inside a honey jar) and because it is liquid based, it fills the tiny valleys that exist on a porous surface and is kept in place by the hills. The coating depth is just enough to prevent the liquid from touching the surface underneath, thus the liquid moves in response to gravity with little to no friction or binding forces holding it back—the result, honey, mayonnaise, Elmer’s Glue and other Bingham plastics that slide out of their containers leaving no bits behind on the walls, base or nozzle. Each type of coating is customized to match the material that is to be coated and to interact properly with the liquid—natural ingredients, for example, are used in treating containers used to hold food products.The deal with Elmer’s and another unnamed company in Australia that wants to use the coating to prevent paint from sticking to paint can lids, likely means that LiquiGlide is poised to become a presence in the marketplace. As consumers become aware of its existence, they will likely demand it be offered in a wide variety of applications such as lotions, toothpaste, condiments and virtually every other product where some material is always left behind in the container, leaving customers feeling cheated.Varanasi suggests the product will have other commercial uses as well, in oil pipelines for example, or perhaps on airplane wings. He claims the application of his product would cut down on pumping and maintenance costs and help protect the environment as well, as it would replace many of the toxic solvents now in use.last_img read more

Nonavian dinosaur found to have laid blue eggs

first_img(A) Pair of oviraptorid Heyuannia eggs (NMNS CYN-2004-DINO-05) from the Chinese province of Jiangxi before sampling. Porosity measurements and calculations of water vapor conductance are based on these eggs. Pieces of eggshell from each of the four zones depicted in (B) were used in porosity measurements. (B) Egg model separated into four zones used for zonal porosity measurements. Credit: PeerJ (2017). DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3706 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. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany and the U.S. has found that a non-avian dinosaur living in what is now China laid colored eggs. In their paper published on the peer-reviewed site PeerJ, the team describes their study of the egg fossils and what their findings suggest about the evolution of colored eggs in modern birds. More information: Jasmina Wiemann et al. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs, PeerJ (2017). DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3706AbstractProtoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our reconstruction of blue-green eggs for oviraptors. According to the sexual signaling hypothesis, the reconstructed blue-green eggs support the origin of previously hypothesized avian paternal care in oviraptorid dinosaurs. Preserved dinosaur egg color not only pushes the current limits of the vertebrate molecular and associated soft tissue fossil record, but also provides a perspective on the potential application of this unexplored paleontological resource. Citation: Non-avian dinosaur found to have laid blue eggs (2017, September 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-09-non-avian-dinosaur-laid-blue-eggs.html Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: PeerJ © 2017 Phys.org Tracing the evolution of bird reproduction Many modern birds lay colored eggs—some are monochrome, like blue robin’s eggs; others are multi-colored like those of the dove. But until now, it was believed that all dinosaur eggs were white because dinosaurs laid their eggs in protected nests. In this new effort, the researchers have found an example of a dinosaur that laid blue or green eggs.The team reports that theirs was the first effort to seriously study color in dinosaur eggs. It came about after the team noted some Heyuannia huangi fossilized eggs that had a bluish tint—researchers had previously assumed the tint was due to mineralization, but the new team thought maybe there was more to it. Prior research had shown that Heyuannia huangi were dinosaurs with parrot-like beaks that walked on hind legs. The team used mass spectrometry and chromatographic separation to take a closer look at the eggs and detected traces of biliverdin and protoporphyrin, pigments commonly found in modern colored bird eggs. The eggs were also dated back to the Late Cretaceous period, which ran from 100 to 66 million years ago.The oviraptor Heyuannia huangi were also feathered dinosaurs—many of their fossils have been found over the years, but until now, no one suspected that they laid colored eggs. The coloring, the team suggests, is a strong indication that the eggs were laid in open nests—the coloring would have served as camouflage. In modern birds, only those that lay them in open nests are colored. Their finding also shows that egg coloring began before the evolution of modern birds—it started with non-avian dinosaurs and was passed down to modern ancestors.The researchers report that as a result of their find, they are taking a look at other fossilized dinosaur eggs to see if perhaps some of those also were colored.last_img read more

Researchers show that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPRCas9 cleavage efficiency

first_img More information: Robert M. Yarrington et al. Nucleosomes inhibit target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9 in vivo, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810062115AbstractGenome editing with CRISPR-Cas nucleases has been applied successfully to a wide range of cells and organisms. There is, however, considerable variation in the efficiency of cleavage and outcomes at different genomic targets, even within the same cell type. Some of this variability is likely due to the inherent quality of the interaction between the guide RNA and the target sequence, but some may also reflect the relative accessibility of the target. We investigated the influence of chromatin structure, particularly the presence or absence of nucleosomes, on cleavage by the Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 protein. At multiple target sequences in two promoters in the yeast genome, we find that Cas9 cleavage is strongly inhibited when the DNA target is within a nucleosome. This inhibition is relieved when nucleosomes are depleted. Remarkably, the same is not true of zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), which cleave equally well at nucleosome-occupied and nucleosome-depleted sites. These results have implications for the choice of specific targets for genome editing, both in research and in clinical and other practical applications. A team of researchers at the University of Utah has found that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPR/Cas9 cleavage efficiency. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes testing the gene editing technique on yeast samples and what they found. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Illustration of Cas9 binding to DNA. The top figure shows two nucleosomes surrounding a nucleosome-free stretch of DNA. Hypothetical PAM sites for Cas9 targets in the central region and the right-hand nucleosome are shown in red. The lower figure shows Cas9 (with sgRNA) bound to the central target, with the PAM and flanking DNA held deep in the protein cleft. The PAM in the nucleosome could not be accessed without dissociating the DNA from the histone core. DNA backbones are blue; the RNA backbone is teal; DNA and RNA bases are white, except for the PAM; histones are green; Cas9 is purple. Credit: Janet Iwasa (University of Utah, Salt Lake City). Citation: Researchers show that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 cleavage efficiency (2018, September 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-nucleosomes-inhibit-crispr-cas9-cleavage-efficiency.html © 2018 Phys.orgcenter_img The gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas 9 uses guide RNA to find and snip out segments of DNA—but what happens when the targeted segment is part of a nucleosome? Prior research has suggested that in such instances, it is likely that cleavage efficiency would suffer. In this new effort, the researchers have carried out an in vivo test of such instances and found that prior research results were correct—using CRISPR-Cas 9 on nucleosomes may not work very well.DNA strands are tiny, but really long—approximately six feet long if stretched out. Because of that, cells have mechanisms for packing DNA into a cell nucleus. That mechanism involves rolling the strands into bunches around a given protein. Such rolled bunches are known as nucleosomes. Logic suggests that a technique for editing a strand of DNA might encounter difficulty because of accessibility issues. Other researchers have considered the possibility of such problems, but have studied them in test tubes or did their work on known strands that were not part of nucleosomes. In this new effort, the researchers sought to find out once and for all if CRISPR-Cas9 would work just as well editing strands that are part of nucleosomes in living tissue as it does on strands that are not.The work involved CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing using different guide RNAs in living yeast, which allowed for editing different targets. Some of the targets were in nucleosomes while others were not. The researchers report that cleavage efficiency was much lower in nucleosomes than in non-nucleosome areas. But they also found something else—when testing the gene editing technique called zinc fingers the same way, they found no such difference. The group suggests that in the future, gene editing efforts should start with nucleosome position maps to improve efficiency. Explore further Two unrelated studies result in discovery of CRISPR-Cas12a inhibitors 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

I take pride in being a sensualist

first_imgQ. Sita’s Curse opens with a masturbation scene. Meera Patel relieves herself while her angry husband bangs on the closed door. While describing the scene you have written she folded up her legs like Goddess Lakshmi seated on a half-open lotus. No fear of the Religious Right getting all worked up?As I writer, my job is to write the story I believe in. Worrying about whether an opening scene or a line or a particular character will ruffle some right-wing feathers is frankly not in my nature, nor is it integral to a creative person’s integrity. Also, we’ve been conditioned to be scared – of being branded, banished, judged, criticized and eventually rejected – family, friends, publisher, peers, Right Wing, radicals, conservatives, communists… the list is endless, as is the eventual fight. Sita’s Curse being just the beginning, in my mind – of where I want the many Meeras of our country to be. Someday. One day.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Free from their desires. Freed by their desires. When we can write about marital rape with the same rousing sentiment as we scream hoarse about rape in the heart of a burgeoning national capital. When a housewife being paraded to a family Guruji, on the false pretext of religion can actually protest. Before the next Asaram Bapu scandal. When a married woman can say just like a single woman that she enjoys masturbating or watches porn. That she nurses a secret life. Enjoying being watched back, without it escalating into yet another feminist rhetoric. Sita’s Curse is not only about a married Gujarati housewife’s sexual destiny – it is a start. Of a sameness. Of a sanity. Of a sexual secularism. A world, sans halves.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Q. After a fairly safe debut with Faraway Music, one would have expected you to stick to plain, old goodhearted romances. But you chose to write an erotica instead. Why?Actually Sita’s Curse was the third book I penned after FM, my second being a racy lad lit, out next from Hachette, a modern day reinterpretation of Shakuntalam, as retold by Dushyant. You’ve Got The Wrong Girl. Sita’s Curse I started writing as a short story about a Gujarati housewife, I saw daily, on my way to work at the Times of India office in VT from Mahim where I lived a few years ago. Sometimes hanging clothes on a flimsy plastic wire, feeding green chillies to a tota in a cheap wrought iron cage or running her hands over her full breasts, the Meera of my imagination turned into a daily obsession – a slow fire, as I began conjecturing about her daily life. Imagining her every moment.  The way she felt trapped, soulless, sad, sabotaged by the simple irony of her own life. Till the floods of July 26th, 2005 of which I too was a victim, taking three days to reach home, battling a serious viral infection I contracted, being hospitalized…later I resumed work. She was no more. Sita’s Curse is my tribute to that memory. To a life unsung. A woman with the most melancholic eyes – the color of rain. This is her story. I am but a vessel. A medium. A transit point.   Q. Those who know you personally would say there was much of you in the first book. Piya Choudhury is Sreemoyee Piu Kundu. How much is this book rooted in personal history, if at all?As I said, Meera is drawn from my personal memory. And honestly, while parallels were drawn about my first female protagonist Piya and me, I feel Meera is drawn from my own flesh and blood. I gave birth to Meera. I bear her cuts.  Q. Being an erotica many readers will savor the sex in it. But you have addressed important issues here as well. Long-standing social biases like considering a woman impure during her periods. Did the feminist in you pop up every time your penned down a sex scene?The biggest challenge for me as a writer was to constantly keep reminding myself of the real Meera in whose memory I penned this novel. And so, in writing the sexually graphic scenes, my attempt was to make it as real and as normal as possible for a woman of her social strata and experience – belonging to a small town, an everyday housewife, a woman who bears no children, in a soulless marriage. Also, as women our battles are all the same. I have myself seen and heard stories of women not being allowed to offer prayers or enter a kitchen/temple when they are menstruating, my own life changing after I made the transition from girlhood to womanhood at twelve. So, more than feminism, I think the erotic elements of the novel are rooted in a deep everyday Indian realism. Q. Another rarely discussed social reality, incest, is discussed early on in the book. Meera and Kartik, inseparable twins, grow up loving, caring, and feeling each other up. Do you think this may make Indian readers a tad uncomfortable? Incest is common in India, as it is elsewhere, in large joint families, for instance. But I am against branding feelings and boxing experiences into socially acceptable/non-acceptable labels and norms. So the relationship between Meera and Kartik is one that is elusive at one level and yet touches upon a very deep chord. Also, from the standpoint of the book, Meera and Kartik grow up in a small town, with hardly any window to the life and lights of a big city. In this insular life, sans much entertainment or luxuries, they are each others’ constant companions and soul-mates and it is a natural progression that from swimming naked in the village river as kids to sleeping on the same bed as scrawny teenagers, they begin viewing each other’s changing bodies and minds with a strange curiosity bordering between a platonic man-woman chemistry to the first dint of pleasure between two sexes, segregated and separated by social conditioning and conservatism. Q. Meera’s husband Mohan suffers from premature ejaculation. There is also inference to a certain godman her mother-in-law parades her to. Her first dance teacher scars her. Are all men in Sita’s Curse black? Surely, not all Indian men are so hopeless? Again, the book is not intended to start a woman vs. man debate. Who is stronger, fairer… who suffers more and why. Who always pays a price? The men you have quoted are not the only men in the novel, and as is true of anyone, each character carries strong shades of grey. Even Mohan’s character to me is a mystery – the dynamics and sexual politics of a marriage where from the first night the husband is intimidated by the sheer physicality and sexuality of his own wife. As for Guru Amarkant Maharaj – he is a prototype of the deep and complex relationship between sex and religion that is primordial to our Indian culture. Case in point. The epic Mahabharata. The dance teacher who shuns Meera is again typical of a weak man – and he could be anything, even a German or a man of French origin. Also, a character that you have skipped is Yosuf Ismail who sets Meera free. So this book is not just about the men in Meera’s life, but the life in her men. Each person teaching her something, even those that tainted her. Without them, Meera’s journey – both inwards and outwards would be incomplete.  Q. Sita’s Curse has masturbation, incest, lesbian love, BDSM. Yet, I have to say it does not read vulgar. How difficult is it as a writer to tackle sex in a way that the book doesn’t become another Mastram handout?Erotica is an artform which is why it’s constant cross reference to porn is an indication of how little we as modern day readers are actually exposed to erotic writing. Before I started writing SC, I delved deep into our indigenous roots of erotica – be it Kalidasa or Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda or the 6th century Tamil poet Andal. From Kamala Das to Ismat Chugtai. My inspiration being the innate sensuality and heightened sense of mysticism that is very much pervasive to our consciousness. I hope readers will also soak in the erotic elements of SC. Relishing it as it should be, without being squeamish or stand-offish. Being an erotic writer has led to me letting go of many of my innermost inhibitions and I hope readers also can do the same. Also, today I take pride in being a sensualist and I think it’s hugely liberating. So I was always pretty sure of the clear line between Meera and Mastram.   Q. Is it embarrassing to have your parents and family elders read an erotica you have written? Or friends saying you might get branded as a porn writer? Yes and no. I have already received mails calling me a ‘whore with a disease,’ just the way I have been reached out to by many housewives and women from small towns and in urban settings, those I do not know at all, sharing with me stories of their sexual suppression, aching to find a way out. To want to stand up for their basic physical need. To speak their minds. So when I weigh the pros and cons, I know the scales are tipped in favor of Meera. Already.Q. What next? A political thriller is in the offing I hear. Right now am consumed in the promotions of SC that is a super lead from Hachette and their first erotica offering in their Indian publishing list. But yes I am hoping to start Rahula when the dust settles and I go back to my desk. As no one, but a mass of energy. Rahula is a political tragedy that is inspired by the son of Buddha and will be set against a contemporary Indian political and social milieu. But like all my other books, the story is of a man’s struggle. To be bigger than his father. To win over a shadow. And his final flight.last_img read more

For stronger women

first_imgIf you give us 100 educated mothers, then we can build a stronger nation”. The meaning of these words spoken by Vivekanand was reiterated by a special Women’s Day show called Swayamsidha to be telecast on DD National on March 14 on Doordarshan. Renowned Bollywood actor and maker of thought provoking show Satyamev jayate appeared and made some significant comments on status of women in society. Shot in Doordarshan Mumbai, and anchored by Neelam Sharma, the show originally was telecast on March 8 at 10 pm, with well known women achievers from different walks of life, who gave their views. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The women who participated in this show were IPS Meera Chaddha, Former Election Commissioner and writer Neela Satyanarayan, actor Vikram Gokhle whose recent film Raat Van vaiche was telecast on DD Mumbai, Advocate and member ‘Beti Bachao Movement’ Varsha Deshpande, Dr. Shweta Mahapatra, Communication Chief, UNICEF, Kalpana Saroj, owner of Kamani Tubes, famous lawyer and women rights activist, Flavia Agnes and Mona Khot who is the producer of Stree Shakti telecast on DD National. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAamir started the show by focusing on not just the importance of girl child education, but also little boys who need to learn to respect women. He said, this will inculcate a healthy relationship of equality amongst the boys and girls.Many issues were touched on the show Swayamsidha, while the over arching point made was that it’s important to change the mindset, strengthening the role of women in relationships, family, society and nation at large, it is first of all important to educate and empower the girls and women. If daughters and sisters would be strong, they will become stronger mothers and mothers in law. Aamir and all the members spoke freely and concluded the show with a promise that every woman would try to empower the other men and women, and that’s how the condition of women would improve in our society.The show’s upcoming telecast is at 8 pm on DD National, on March 14.last_img read more

BJP takes a jibe at AAP says sting operation has exposed the

first_imgTaking a jibe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay has said that he has now taking U-turn on his favourite tool ‘sting operation’.“Kejriwal has used sting operations to defame several politicians but now his team is questioning the legality of the operation,” said Satish Upadhyay. He was speaking on the recently released audio tapes of Kejriwal’s telephonic conversation. He further argued that the truth of Kejriwal who claims to be practising clean politics, transparency, nationalism and internal democracy and Lokpal, has been exposed. “It is surprising that the party and its leaders who were claiming of exposing corruption by recording and sting operations are now saying that these stings are not acceptable under law when their turn has come,” he added. He also claimed that the audio sting of talk between Kejriwal and former AAP MLA Rajesh Garg has also exposed the politics of dividing society on communal lines by AAP.last_img read more

Fresh political row breaks out over ACBs new inductees

first_imgThe Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday came out in support of the Delhi government, which has again invited Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung’s wrath over the appointment of six Bihar police officers in the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). The party leaders claimed that the ACB did not come under the Lieutenant Governor’s jurisdiction. Claiming to wage a tough war to weed out corruption from Delhi, party leaders alleged that those engaged in such malpractices were Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIhell bent on weakening the ACB, but the AAP government is committed to strengthen the anti-graft body.“We have also short-listed honest officers from Uttar Pradesh. We invite honest officers from across the country to join the ACB and make Delhi corruption-free. We will go to each and every corner of the country to induct honest officers in the ACB. The Delhi government is working honestly, so we do not fear honest officers,” said Ashutosh, spokesperson of AAP, in a press conference. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindHe also insisted that ACB does not come under LG and the matter of jurisdiction between Chief Minister and LG is pending with Delhi High Court. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that the Centre is posing hurdles in the path of ACB by not providing sufficient officers. “The Centre is sitting on the demand of Sanjeev Chaturvedi for ACB since last three months. We are not demanding tainted officers but honest one,” said Sanjay Singh. Earlier in the day, Delhi’s  Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said: “The government is competent to appoint any officer from anywhere in the ACB.” But he did not comment on why Jung was not taken into loop. However, Sisodia met Jung in the afternoon, but did not reveal details of the meeting.Jung, in a press statement on Tuesday, asserted his authority on the ACB as it was a police station. “The ACB being a police station, functions under the authority, control and supervision of the LG. It was also clarified by the Minister of Home Affairs in a notification on May 21,”stated a press release from the LG’s Secretariat.“The LG’s office has not received a proposal for the deputation of such personnel from outside the Delhi police so far,” the statement further read.last_img read more

Tourism dept to project Kolkata as hotspot for MICE tourism

first_imgKolkata: The state Tourism department is planning to make Kolkata suitable for MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Events) tourism.On Thursday, at a conclave arranged by the India Convention Promotion Bureau, Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary, state Tourism department, said the MICE tourism needs to be boosted in Bengal.He also mentioned that Bengal has potential to grow MICE tourism like it has emerged in some other states of the country. Apart from this, sources informed that a team from Tourism department will soon visit the United Kingdom to attract more people in Bengal. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDuring his speech at the conclave held at Biswa Bangla Convention Center, Bhattacharya mentioned that New Town has world class facilities when it comes to tourism. He believes to attract people from various countries, the trend needs to be set and understood.He said: “We need more data to understand from the countries our guests arrive and what they do during their visit. This is very essential to plan future prospects.” He also mentioned that if the number of direct flights with some parts of world could be increased, then it would be a plus point for the tourism sector. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to sources at state Tourism department, a delegation team will visit the UK during the first week of September this year.This visit is meant to attract tourists from the UK during Durga Puja in Bengal. Also, the team will discuss about the possibilities of introducing more flights to and from Kolkata.During the conclave, HIDCO chairman Debashis Sen said: “Business tourism is being looked into very seriously. We are all out in formulating strategies for making it a success.”last_img read more

North Bengal likely to receive light rain mercury to go down slightly

first_imgKolkata: Some of the North Bengal districts may receive light to moderate rainfall in the next 24 hours, predicted the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.According to the weather office, a low pressure trough has formed over Nepal and the Northern parts of Bihar, which will bring rainfall in North Bengal districts including Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. There may be some rainfall in Sikkim as well. It has been said that the low pressure trough will become weak in the next four days. People in the city and other adjoining districts have been experiencing a breeze for the past few days. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseIt may be mentioned here that the temperature in the city has dropped by a few notches due to the uninterrupted flow of the northwesterly wind. Some parts of the city and its adjoining areas witnessed slight rainfall on Saturday evening. The weather office also said that the sky will remain clear on Monday but the temperature may further go down by a few notches in Kolkata and in some South Bengal districts. The temperature may slide down in the western parts of the state as well, including the districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore. The average temperature in the city is expected remain between 13-15 degree Celsius. The constant flow of the northwesterly wind will contribute to the cold situation in the state. Earlier, the Met office had predicted that the cold wave situation would continue in the state till Saraswati Puja.last_img read more

The Imperial boutique gets a makeover

first_imgLuxury shopping finds a new pinnacle at The Imperial Boutique. Brimming with homegrown accessories, apparels, coasters, antiques, oils and more – it is now a one-stop shop for the discerning guests at The Imperial, urging them to take home a slice of India while they stay or visit us.Infused with new vibrancy, the boutique has now on display The Imperial memorabilia featuring cushion covers of the restaurants, aprons, pouches, leather and linen handbags, jewellery box and card holders designed by a renowned French designer Cecile Olivieri. The memorabilia is put together to bring forth the momentous elements and the iconic history, the hotel is known for. One can also explore the culture and traditions of India with the premium range of apparels, accessories, collectibles, and coasters from a celebrated Indian designer brandVayu. This goes very well with the essence of The Imperial reflecting India’s golden heritage from the days of the Raj. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSufi, the signature spa oils are also available showing the brand’s commitment to people’s complete wellness. It includes vital ingredients drawn from Ayurvedic knowledge of plants resins and roots that treat the body holistically. They are developed to support our spa therapies and as 75% of all spa treatments are massage based it is essential to use superior quality massage oils that enrich the overall spa experience and offer something exclusive. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe boutique would be showcasing now a hand-picked range of pashmina and cotton shawls, procured originally from Kashmir. Feng shui items like brass and gem-studded Ganesha, sleeping, and blessing Buddha adds to its wide range of luxury products. Prompting the tradition of tea, there is an Indian Splendour range of natural and home-grown teas.”Indian splendor ” has a collection of Indian teas of the highest Indian and international standards, to compete with the very best in the super premium category, worldwide. The collection has a spectrum of eight, 100% pure and natural, high grade, teas from all the major tea growing regions of India. This is turn adds to the Indian-ness which the brand stands for. Vijay Wanchoo, Senior EVP and GM, The Imperial, New Delhi, says, “At The Imperial Boutique, our initiative is to bring forth not only tailored range of products but to present traditions, culture, and ethos of India like no other. We have therefore revived it with some unique Indian brands complementing the range with our signature spa oils, to enhance shopping with us. The Imperial has been known for a distinguished legacy so we have optimized and worked towards creating a value add for both our leisure and corporate travelers through our products. The brands understand global and local cultures and use that deep understanding to enrich the lives of our guests.”last_img read more

The Chargers are probably headed to LA after stadium tax is rejected

first_imgIn sports related election night news, San Diego voters rejected a proposed increase in the city’s hotel tax from 10.5% to 16.5% in order to fund the construction of a new stadium for the Chargers.Estimates predicted the tax would yield around $1 billion, which would be matched with $650 million from the team. Measure C fell well short of the 2/3 majority needed to pass.The failure of the team and the city to agree on a new stadium raises the obvious question whether the Chargers will begin kicking the tires on relocating the team to L.A.When the NFL approved the Rams relocation, they also approved giving San Diego the first right to join them. The one-year window for the Chargers to decide expires in January. Advertisement It’s decision time for owner Dean Spanos. All signs point to moving trucks heading to Los Angeles.Check out the video of one stadium proposal for Carson City.last_img read more

VIDEO David Blatt gleefully takes shot at Cavs for giving up 148

first_imgEx-Cleveland coach David Blatt is coaching in the Turkish League All-Star Game today, but he was well aware that his former team allowed a shockingly awful 148 points to the Thunder. The fired coach used a pregame interview to gleefully take a dig at the King and company.While responding to a question about the lack of defense in all-star games, Blatt responded, “I hope we don’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers gave up, last night.”His jerky grin as delivers the line says all you need to know about his feelings for the team that ran him out of town for Ty Lue.last_img read more

Watch Michael Jordans former trainer explain why hes convinced MJ was poisoned

first_imgToday is the 21st anniversary of Michael Jordan’s infamous ‘flu game’ during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, on the road against the Utah Jazz. Despite being visibly ill, Jordan finished with 38 points and willed the Bulls to the win and a 3-2 series lead before being famously carried off the floor by Scottie Pippen. Advertisement While most have never questioned that the Jordan was on death’s door with the flu during his iconic performance, his airness’ former personal trainer Tim Grover – who was with him in Utah before the game – firmly believes Jordan was the victim of intentional case of food poisoning.center_img As Grover tells it in the below video interview with a YouTube version of Scott Van Pelt, a starving Jordan ordered a pizza to his Park City hotel that was conspicuously delivered by five shady delivery dudes. Grover says he told Jordan he had a bad feeling about the whole situation, but MJ ate the pie anyways. By two in the morning, Jordan was already in bad shape, curled up sick in his bed. The rest is Flu Game history.We love a good conspiracy theory, and better yet, a conspiracy theory behind an iconic all-time performance. Did Jordan have the Flu? Was he poisoned? Did Oswald act alone? Listen to Grover make the case.last_img read more

10 Web Marketing Trends for 2010

first_img 10 min read Enroll Now for Free December 24, 2009 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Trend #10: Coupons, Discounts and Savings Trend #8: Podcasting and Online Radio Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Advice: Let it restOnline radio is actually on a bit of a growth trend, but that’s just because so-called terrestrial radio is suffering so much that radio advertisers are switching their investments to digital formats. 2010 will be a year of exploration for online broadcasters as they struggle to find and attract loyal audiences. iTunes has long been the leader in podcasting, but there are still no clear leaders in internet radio.Even if leaders emerge in 2010, internet broadcasters will need to make their media more sharable, more engaging, more trackable and more mobile to attract money from advertisers. If you’re looking to attract an audience by broadcasting or advertising on broadcast media, go with online video in 2010 and wait for radio to finish reinventing itself.Trend #9: Online VideoAdvice: InvestIf a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a 30-second online video paint? Countless buying emotions and memorable brand moments are possible with video. Until recently, spreading your message with video was limited to the television screen. In 2010, watch for video to become more accessible to small businesses through online outlets. Online video is interactive, memorable, widely accessible, cheap to create and highly shareable. There’s also a lot of investment happening around video, which is sure to create even more low-cost opportunities for small businesses to participate in video promotions in 2010.Video presents a great opportunity for small-business marketing, but don’t think of video as a replacement for text. As powerful as video can be, it can be more cumbersome than text because you can’t scan a video as quickly as you can scan a page of headlines, links and text to quickly find the exact information you need. Use your investments to find the right balance for your customers. Advice: InvestIf you want people to see the content on your website, it might make sense to advertise the location of your website content by placing ads on other high-traffic websites. Driving visitor traffic to your website isn’t the way to go for 2010, however. Instead, you need to spend 2010 driving your website content to the visitor traffic.The difference stems from the fact that content aggregation websites like YouTube are boosting consumer demand for instant gratification and what I like to call “content nesting.” Content nesting allows consumers to browse through content fed to them through a single web page, or nest, so that they don’t have to click on links to individual websites all over the World Wide Web, which takes more time–not to mention that the results can be anywhere from unpredictable to shockingly irrelevant.To take advantage of content nesting in 2010, your website content needs to be nested in as many content aggregation sites as possible. For example, a lot of people search for videos on YouTube. If you have a video on your website and it’s not also on YouTube, people on YouTube won’t bother searching for your website. To them, YouTube represents the total number of videos available to them on their topic of interest.Trend #7: Mobile MarketingAdvice: TestIn case you haven’t heard, mobile marketing is all about marketing to people through their mobile phones and smart-phone devices. Small businesses haven’t had much of an opportunity to engage consumers on mobile devices, but 2010 has the potential to change that.Demand is increasing dramatically for mobile applications and mobile web-browsing due to wider adoption of devices like the iPhone and the Google Android phone. As more people adopt these phones and features in 2010, look for small-business marketing services to start providing lower-cost mobile marketing solutions like text messaging, mobile e-mail marketing, mobile websites, mobile application development and location-based marketing.Make 2010 your year to collect mobile preferences from your prospects and customers, and use tools like Google Analyticsto see how many people are visiting your website on mobile web browsers. If you find interest in mobile interaction among your customers, begin testing simple mobile marketing campaigns such as sending a few mobile coupons via text or building a mobile micro-site for one of your products. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Trend #6: Web Presence Allocating your small business marketing budget to maximize return on investment and minimize the risks of a low or negative return can become a lot more unpredictable when your investments involve trends and emerging technologies. Investing in trends requires smart timing and consumer analysis.You would think that marketing trends would be closely aligned with consumer trends, since effective marketing depends on getting your messages to appear where the highest concentration of qualified eyeballs are focused. That isn’t always the case, however, because trend-focused marketers tend to place an inflated value on revolutionary technology and early adoption.Thankfully, the majority of consumers permanently relocate their attention with much less frequency than marketing bandwagon drivers. Still, missing a trend or sticking with a has-been spells opportunity lost at best and negative returns or loss of market share at worst.Since your trend-marketing returns are only as good as your ability to make educated guesses, here’s some advice to help you avoid turning educated guesses into marketing messes. The following list features the top 10 internet marketing trends for 2010, in no particular order, and tells you whether to invest, test or let it rest.Trend #1: Search Engine OptimizationAdvice: TestSites with relevant content and credible links will continue to rule the search rankings in the coming year, but 2010 has the potential to reveal a few new standards. As the volume of web content continues to grow, consumers will demand even more relevant and personalized search results. That means search engines will be looking for more relevant and personalized content from publishers and brands. In fact, the search engine algorithms are already beginning to pay more attention to date of publication, geo-location, mobile device browsers, past behavior and social media content.Don’t abandon your current SEO strategy in search of personalization, but make sure you allocate a portion of your budget to testing content, keywords and links that are targeted toward niche audiences. Test keyword and link placement in social media, local content and mobile websites, and make an effort to more frequently refresh some of the content you devote to search engine rankings. Once the search engines have tested these new search targets and revealed some concrete standards, you should be prepared to invest accordingly.Trend #2: Paid SearchAdvice: InvestPaid search hasn’t seen a revolutionary trend since the idea of the long tailwas applied to keyword bidding. That’s OK, because consumers will still use search engines in 2010 as a primary means of finding products and services to fulfill their needs, and they will still be clicking on relevant ads. Search advertising prices will remain reasonable, and average returns will remain comparably high as larger companies with decreased search marketing budgets continue to allocate resources to lower-cost SEO tactics in hopes of attracting visitors at lower prices. 2010 has the potential for even more downward pressure on price-per-click if Bing can gain enough loyal searchers to attract business away from Google.You won’t exactly feel like you’re in the driver’s seat when your search marketing placement choices are limited to Google, Microsoft or both, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from investing in the highly qualified leads that paid search is capable of producing for your small business.Trend #3: E-mail MarketingAdvice: InvestIt isn’t hard to justify an investment in e-mail marketing when the cost of sending e-mails is so low. The low cost isn’t the only reason to send e-mail, however. Most consumers still consider e-mail to be their primary form of communication, even though there are several alternative ways for consumers to subscribe to periodic content from small businesses.E-mail marketing will remain highly predictable in 2010 and may even become more powerful as e-mail service providers improve social media integration, search engine access to archived e-mails, auto-responders and new integrated applications. If you don’t already use an e-mail service provider, invest in one in 2010. If you already use an e-mail service, invest in your e-mail list and in producing valuable content to nurture leads and attract repeat customers.The cost of building a permission-based list is likely to stay the same in 2010 as it was in 2009, but more than one-third of consumers changed at least one of their e-mail addresses in 2009–due to job changes or other economic factors. Spend more time and money in 2010 focused on keeping your e-mail list current when those consumers return to work and change e-mail addresses again.Trend #4: Social Network MarketingAdvice: TestSocial media has one redeeming quality for marketers–lots and lots of eyeballs. That’s attractive if you’re a major brand, but profitable interaction will continue to be the exception for small businesses in 2010 rather than the rule. A good test of your social network marketing potential is to survey your current customers to see how many of them consider social networking to be a primary form of communication. You should probably experiment with a Facebook fan page and a Twitter page if you find that a meaningful percentage of your current customers indicate an interest in following your business.Make 2010 your year to test content that attracts repeat and referral business. Your current customers are more likely than total strangers to respond to offers posted on social networks because they already know you and trust you based on their prior purchases.Trend #5: BloggingAdvice: Let it restIf you’re writing a blog to help with search engine rankings or to inform existing customers, you should continue to test or invest. If you’re blogging in an attempt to attract new prospects and convert them to customers, however, 2010 will be a year that exposes the blogosphere’s vulnerability to the law of averages. Converting prospects into customers depends on driving visitors to content that maximizes conversions, and that means your conversion rate is only as good as the content on your landing page. If that landing page is your blog and your blog changes frequently, your conversion rate is only as good as your latest blog post.Instead of blogging to convert your website visitors into customers in 2010, work hard to test and develop great landing page content. When you find something that works, don’t change it. Advice: TestOK, this one isn’t entirely an internet marketing trend, but it’s important enough to mention because of the economy. 2009 was another tough year for retailers, and consumers are so accustomed to shopping for deals that they might begin to expect the plethora of deep discounts currently available to continue forever. If you’re engaged in heavy discounting to attract sales and survive the economic downturn, you’ll need to spend 2010 slowly weaning your customers off your lower prices, assuming that the economy recovers. Resetting expectations won’t be easy, so try swapping discounts for special privileges like loyalty discounts, free upgrades and other offers that won’t lock you in to price comparisons.Internet marketing trends develop quickly, so expect many new and exciting trends to emerge in 2010. Don’t be too quick to jump on new bandwagons because consumers move more slowly than marketers and technology. Stay focused on attracting repeat business, deepening your customer relationships and solving problems for people. Those are the trends that never fail small businesses.last_img read more

Photo Editing Smorgasbord

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global December 14, 2009 2 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Everyone who’s ever wanted to tap into their inner graphic artist can become a photo editing pro with picnik.com, which lets users grab photos from anywhere and easily edit and share them for a fraction of the price of programs like Photoshop.Now boasting about 13 million unique monthly visitors, Picnik garners about 20 percent of its revenue from advertisers and nearly 80 percent from its Picnik Premium subscriptions. Limited features are available on the site for free, but the full experience runs $24.95 per year, $19.95 for six months or $4.95 for one month.”It’s what I would call the classic ‘freemium’ model,” says Jonathan Sposato, CEO and co-founder. “You give away enough of the product for free to drive out innovation and value to the marketplace, then people don’t mind paying for some really great advanced features.”Picnik has capitalized on the efficiency of the web to help undercut traditional desktop software competition. As a cloud-based application, Picnik doesn’t need to be downloaded–it’s instantly available from any browser, which lowers operating costs.”The Internet will tell you very quickly whether your product is good or bad,” Sposato says. “If it’s good, people will respond with mouse clicks and by pulling out their credit cards.”BadgeTo help spread the word, Picnik offers official badges that are easily copied and pasted onto blogs, social network profiles, websites or “wherever else you want to add some Picniky goodness.” Picnik also garners lots of coverage in the blogosphere, which draws new subscribers.Edit PhotosUsers can grab photos directly from their computer or from websites such as Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket and MySpace and quickly edit, enhance, share and print them from any browser. Picnik Premium subscribers can upload 100 photos at one time, create digital collages and artfully layer photos stored in their Picnik Basket.BlogComplete with a Twitter feed, the blog increases visitor loyalty and gives users a sense of community, Sposato says. Everything from company and staffer news to new features on the site and Featured Picnikers is covered.Picnik ToolsUsers can grab an image directly from any website with the Bookmarklet, capture a screen shot with the Internet Explorer or Firefox Extension tool, and upload a photo directly to Picnik via the draggable-and-droppable Yahoo! Widget. This story appears in the January 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Register Now »last_img read more

How Entrepreneurs Can Adapt Todays Smart Assistants to Build Tomorrows Office

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » February 12, 2018 The era of smart assistants is here, and the race for dominance is on: By mid-December, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners was able to report that Amazon’s Echo was leading the pack, with 20 million units shipped, selling more than three times its nearest competitor, Google Home.Even Apple had entered the fray with its HomePod, a product that includes a Samsung smart speaker utilizing Bixby — a smart helper mobile app — that further diversifies the marketplace.Related: Is Your Startup Ready for Artificial Intelligence?With the increasing number of smart assistants and their use in our world, they likely won’t stay put on our night tables and bookshelves for long. Soon, they’ll be incorporated into businesses as well, and the makers of these devices are well aware of that possibility. This past fall, in fact, Alexa for Business was announced at Amazon’s re:Invent 2017 conference.In addition to conference-calling, Alexa for Business touts calendar checking, meeting scheduling, a to-do list and reminder management plus the ability to fetch business-relevant information from Salesforce, Concur, Splunk and others.With the use of smart assistants for business already under way, those entrepreneurs and small enterprises that take proactive steps in this direction now will be the ones best able to optimize the tech possibilities of the future.Smart assistants and the office of the futureThe biggest benefits smart assistants and other AI technologies provide at this stage is their ability to cultuvate consumer familiarity. While there are a number of rudimentary tasks that Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri can do, consumer interaction with a computer via voice or conversation is perhaps the most important development.Certainly, today’s devices pale in comparison to images sci-fi films present, but teven with those devices’ relative lack of intelligence, people are beginning to trust technology. When the technology gets something wrong, for instance, a user might actually find that endearing — even feeling a hint of empathy with the device.Yet, as the technology continues to evolve, however, this human empathy will likely evolve into more of an expectation. Already,  AI is disrupting customer service, through chatbots and automated customer service representatives. In this way, AI has made it easier for people to communicate with technology on concerns like software-as-a-service customer support, product returns and even e-commerce websites.Such “solutions,” though, are only ancillary to the ways that smart assistants will eventually benefit businesses. More directly — and in the future — Google Home or Alexa in the office could be helping to set up your conference calls, search for missing items, coordinate meetings or inform people about what’s happening around the office.Related: Why Every Entrepreneur Should Get a Personal Assistant Gadget?So, what can entrepreneurs and small businesses do now to prepare for this next step?1. Pick and play, but don’t overdo that digital assistant.Pick your device, and place it where it can be used by your teams on a regular basis, such as a conference room. Then, without overthinking the integration process too much, start using it.For instance, begin by placing phone calls. If the service you’re already using can be dialed via a telephone number, calling will work fine. Keep in mind, though, that while you can connect an Amazon Echo or Google Home to your computer as a Bluetooth speaker, you’ll be unable to use it as a Bluetooth microphone — a drawback for companies with voice internet protocol setups that use Google Hangouts or UberConference.Still, a voice-activated device shouldn’t and can’t be used for every task, so don’t consider it the panacea of your problems. Focus on where it can add the most value to your business and your teams, and hone that capability rather than try to make every process tech-savvy.2. Crank things up a notch by training your devices –and your staff.While an impressive 42 percent of smartphone users claimed in a survey to use the AI-based personal assistant features of their mobile devices, in the grand scheme of technology, these products are still fairly new to our culture.Using a digital assistant at this point requires some mental retraining. In fact, to get the most out of your new gadgets, you’ll probably want to train the gadgets as well (and products like the Alexa Skills Kit are great for that).Staff training is also necessary because these machines are capable of a lot. Know, though, that it will take some time to understand which features work well and which are still wanting. For example, if you want to add events to calendars, the ability to do so via voice profiles is spotty, at best. Google can do this somewhat better than Alexa, but HomePod remains relatively untested, given its recent arrival in the market.Instead, you might find it easier to create a shared calendar that everyone in proximity can access and add to. This way, during meetings, you can simply ask the device to add events or to-do items that can be transferred later. As time progresses, these systems will become smarter and more capable, so the more you understand their usage scope now, the better you’ll be able to scale that usage in the future.3. Always be looking to tomorrow.While today’s technologies are only the beginning, they aren’t just glorified encyclopedias. Some AI platforms such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and IBM Watson can already (and successfully) supplant a human personal assistant. They can intelligently order food, call a cab, make dinner or travel reservations, provide investing analysis, coordinate social events and more.Take Fin, built by the eponymous startup, as an example. Fin combines AI with human support to work more accurately and efficiently than a stand-alone digital assistant. But while it might work better, its enhancements and convenience come with a hefty price tag. Eventually, Fin’s distinctiveness might also be overshadowed by the behemoth tech companies as their offerings become smarter and cheaper.To make sure you’re always looking ahead, consider how your business could leverage these capabilities today, to either streamline your workday or to add flash to your customer-facing operation; also consider what all that might look like in the next month or year. When clients observe work getting done dynamically and effectively through a smart assistant, they may develop a stronger strong image of your business as forward-thinking.Related: 10 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2018While a new era of these devices is here and each smart assistant platform can already do amazing things, each is also frustratingly stupid. But with the barrier of entry being pretty low — particularly for the Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot — getting started now is easy.Adoption today is less about the convenience this technology offers and more about participating in a bleeding-edge technology.After all, this is technology that can be honed through your contributions even as you train your team to be comfortable with these devices’ abilities and potential for bolstering your business’s capabilities. Clearly, not seizing this opportunity today will only mean that you’ll be one more day behind tomorrow. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 7 min readlast_img read more

VimFx improve Firefox keyboard use

first_imgVimFx improve Firefox keyboard use by Martin Brinkmann on July 01, 2016 in Firefox – Last Update: June 25, 2017 – 2 commentsVimFx is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that adds Vim-style keyboard shortcuts for browsing and navigation to the browser.First, there was Vimperator, an excellent powerful extension for Firefox that made Firefox behave more like the Vim text editor.Then came the Chrome extension Vimium which concentrated on bringing keyboard shortcuts to the Chrome browser.VimFx is modeled after the Chrome extension. While not as powerful as Vimperator, it is a lot easier to use as a consequence as it concentrates on improving browsing and navigation by introducing new keyboard shortcuts to the Firefox web browser.VimFxVimFx introduces a massive number of new keyboard shortcuts to Firefox, and this can certainly be intimidating at first.A good starting point is to press “?” on the keyboard to display the shortcut cheat sheet that lists them all. You will notice that you may not need them all, but that several may speed up how you use the browser.Generally speaking, shortcuts are made up of one to three characters on the keyboard that you type to execute a command.A tap on “t” opens a new tab page, “j” and “k” scroll down and up, “o” focuses the location bar, “yy” copies the URL, and “s” stops the loading of the page for instance.Some keyboard shortcuts require upper case letters which makes them a bit harder to type quickly. The shortcut “aR” for instance reloads all browser tabs, and “gx$” closes all tabs to the right of the active tab.PreferencesVimFx ships with options to change the mapping of any keyboard shortcut. If you prefer only lower case shortcuts, or shortcuts without special characters, then you may modify them to your liking in the options.You may also unmap shortcuts by leaving them blank in the options. This is useful to prevent executing an associated action by accident for instance, or simply to improve the readability of the shortcuts listing in the options.VimFX reflects all changes on the cheat sheet so that it is easier to use as well once you start removing shortcuts that you have no interest in.You find additional preferences at the top of the options page. First, you may add URLs to a blacklist to prevent the extension’s keyboard shortcuts from working on those pages. This is mostly useful when these shortcuts cause issues on websites, as it prevents them from happening when you access the sites.You may prevent the auto-focusing of text inputs in the options as well. Keyboard shortcuts won’t work if a text input is focused, as characters you type are added to the text field instead. The option is not enabled by default as it changes Firefox’s default way of handling text input fields.A third useful option lets you add new previous and next link patterns. The shortcuts “[” and “]” click on previous or next links on pages, and patterns are used to identify those links.The extension searches for “prev”, “next” or “more” links on a page automatically, and you may add your own patterns to previous and next fields if sites use different names for those.Closing WordsVimFx is a handy usability extension for Firefox that is like the little brother extension of Vimperator. The list of shortcuts it offers may be overwhelming at first but you won’t need all of them. The extension is useful, even if you use only a handful of shortcuts to speed things up.Summary12345 Author Rating3 based on 10 votes Software Name VimFxSoftware Category BrowserLanding Page https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/vimfx/ Advertisementlast_img read more

Volume Master for Chrome control and boost pertab audio volume

first_imgVolume Master for Chrome: control and boost per-tab audio volume by Martin Brinkmann on July 13, 2019 in Google Chrome – 4 commentsVolume Master is a browser extension for the Google Chrome web browser to control and boost the volume of audio playing on a per-tab basis.When you open a site with audio, you get at the most two options to control the volume. One option is provided by the operating system and it is always available. It changes the volume of the entire web browser, however.The second option is provided by the browser or the site the audio is playing on. You may get individual volume controls, or may use the browser’s muting functionality to mute audio playback.Extensions may improve the default functionality. Tab Muter for Chrome adds options to mute individual tabs in the browser.Volume MasterVolume Master adds volume control options to the Chrome browser. One of its main features is that it can be used to change the volume of each tab individually. If you happen to play a too loud or barely audible video or audio clip in Chrome in a tab, you may use it to either reduce the volume of that tab or boost the volume by up to 600%, all without changing the default volume of the web browser or impacting the volume in any other browser tab.All you need to do is click on the extension icon in the tab that is playing audio. The extension displays a volume slider that you may use to change the volume. The icon of the extension indicates the volume level at any time so that you see it on first glance.Boosting works similarly to reducing the volume, only that you don’t stop at 100% but can jack the volume up to 600%.  The change takes effect immediately so that you may adjust the volume as you see fit.Another useful feature is the listing of all tabs with audio playback right in the interface. A click on a listing switches to the tab right away so that you may control the audio or other functionality on that tab.Closing WordsVolume Master is a useful extension for Google Chrome that improves volume management in the browser. It adds options to boost volume by up to 600% for individual tabs that play audio in the browser.  An option to set a custom volume for individual sites is not available though.The extension should work in other Chromium-based browsers as well.Now You: How do you manage audio playback in your browser of choice?Summary12345 Author Rating2.5 based on 39 votes Software Name Volume MasterSoftware Category BrowserLanding Page https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/volume-master/jghecgabfgfdldnmbfkhmffcabddioke Advertisementlast_img read more

Gay Zakar twin My boyfriend broke up with me on Valentines Day

first_imgIn a hilarious new book entitled Pray the Gay Away, the Zakar twins have a chapter on Zach’s heartbreak with his first ever boyfriend, Lukas.The chapter tells the story of how the pair met, had dinner with Lukas’ family and then their eventual demise.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: Warren Giddarie via zakartwins / InstagramZach told Gay Star News: ‘Lukas was my first serious boyfriend.‘You know in the gay community you have like 30 flings before one actually sticks. I fell hard for Lukas being that it wasn’t a relationship just based around sex.‘At the time, my life was still all over the place, to which I think Lukas understood but slowly distanced himself from,’ he said.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedZach describes in the book his excitement about going to dinner with the guy he truly believed he’d be spending the rest of his life with. He even thought Lukas might propose to him that evening.As Lukas knocks on the door to pick Zach up for dinner, Zach has a basket of gifts at hand.Zach told GSN: ‘We had dinner reservations on Valentine’s Day, and out of the blue instead of dinner, I got a broken heart.’He insisted Lukas keep the basket of gifts, but his heart was broken.‘We like to think of our lives as one big shitty sitcom’In their book, Pray the Gay Away, they focus on their heavily Christian upbringing and their super religious mother.‘Our mom would shove it down our throats,’ Zach joked. ‘But honestly, we are who we are because of our upbringing.‘The message of Christianity – and any religion – is acceptance and love for all. For me, I find a large group of Christians miss and forget that point if a person is X, Y or Z,’ he said. eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Michael (left) and Zach (right) Zakar. | Photo: zakartwins / Instagram GAYSTARNEWS-center_img Breaking up with someone on Valentine’s Day is probably the absolute worst day in the year to do it, but it was a sad reality for Zach Zakar. Michael (left) and Zach (right) Zakar. | Photo: theonlytonylowe via zakartwins / InstagramWhen the boys came out at the same time to their mother, she threw holy water on them. She also force-fed them holy grapes blessed by a priest to try to make them straight.They also attended a gruelling summer of bible study. But it didn’t stick.‘Growing up in a heavy Christian household, we slowly rejected it all,’ Zach said. ‘We like to think of our lives as one big, shitty sitcom.’Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedAnd as an act of defiance after coming out, Michael even got a tattoo of his mother on his thigh.Michael joked: ‘When guys blow me, they make eye contact with mom.’‘Our mom is a character within her own’Over the course of the book, Michael and Zach recount their tumultuous childhoods. They were always close, but grew apart in high school when neither knew the other was gay.They actually shared their coming out story on YouTube, in which they both hooked up with the same guy in high school.But because some people couldn’t tell them apart, a rumor about one of them being gay spread through the school when it was actually the other twin who got caught.[embedded content]But for most of the book, the Zakar boys and their relationship with their mother occupies a lot of the storyline.Zach said: ‘Our mom is a character within her own.‘She won’t change and we won’t change. It’s not to say that we haven’t grown a mutual understanding for one another – and she loves us, so that’s all that matters,’ he said.Zach (left) and Michael (right) Zakar. | Photo: suppliedThey also talk about having girlfriends, their first sexual experiences and hooking up at their sister’s wedding.Zach added: ‘We put our heart and soul into Pray The Gay Away. And we think our book is a must… but we’re biased.’Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . These Christian moms think loving their gay kids is exactly what God wantsForget a boyfriend this valentines day focus on loving your best gay selfBurmese actor comes out as gay, shares cheeky kiss with boyfriendRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-zakar-twin-boyfriend-broke-valentines-day/last_img read more