Male Mexican mollies grow mustaches to attract mates

first_img Female Guppies Risk Their Lives To Avoid Too Much Male Attention (PhysOrg.com) — Some male Mexican molly fish sport a structure like a mustache on their top lips, which scientists have now discovered are attractive to female mollies and may represent a sexually selected trait. Citation: Male Mexican mollies grow mustaches to attract mates (2010, June 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-male-mexican-mollies-mustaches.html More information: A novel, sexually selected trait in poeciliid fishes: female preference for mustache-like, rostral filaments in male Poecilia sphenops, Ingo Schlupp et al., Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, DOI:10.1007/s00265-010-0996-y Explore further The Mexican molly fish (Poecilia sphenops) is a small live-bearing fish living in Mexico in freshwater lakes and ponds, creeks and rivers, and in brackish and even marine waters. The species is unusual in that their courtship behavior is complex and the females are fertilized internally rather than the males spreading sperm over eggs externally. The fish is reasonably common, but until recently had not been studied in detail, and the purpose of the mustache was unknown.The “mustache” is a series of epidermal outgrowths from the edge of the scales on the fish’s top lip. The growths do not appear to have a sensory function, and their size is not linked to the body size of the fish.Professor Ingo Schlupp, a zoologist at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and colleagues in the US and Germany, decided to study the Mexican molly and determine the function of the mustache grown by some of the males. The researchers caught over 100 male and female Mexican mollies and measured the length of the mustaches when they existed. They then placed groups of males and females into tanks and observed them in the laboratory, noting the time the females spent with males with mustaches of various lengths and no mustaches at all. They also observed the responses of female fish to videos of different male fish.The results showed the females had a definite preference for males with mustaches and the structure appears to be “a previously unrecognized sexually selected trait in poeciliid fishes,” according to the paper, which is published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.The research only looked at whether or not the mustache is visually attractive to females, but Professor Schlupp suspects it may also be used physically to excite the female or pass on tactile information by rubbing it against the genitals, since a male will often “nip” the genital area with its mouth just before mating.Professor Schlupp said other species of fish, including catfish, have similar structures, and their functions are mostly unknown. Some zoologists think the tentacles grown by male catfish may mimic larvae, which would enable them to catch more prey. Black Molly. Image: Wikimedia Commons. 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. © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Finches use their own form of grammar in their tweets

first_imgFawn Society Finches. Image: Wikipedia. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Explore further The Link Between Birdsong And Human Language Finches in the wild will react and call back when they hear unfamiliar songs that are usually from intruding finches. Dr. Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe used this reaction to test the finches.They began by playing songs to the finches that were unfamiliar. They played the songs over a period of time until the birds stopped reacting and were used to the new tweets. They then mixed the order of the syllables within the songs and replayed them to the finches. When one of the remixes, named SEQ2, was played almost 90 percent of the birds erupted in response, however the other remixes received no reaction. What the researchers determined was that the finches in a particular social community seem to have some sort of syllable order that must be present within their songs.In another experiment, the researchers showed that the knowledge of this syllable order is not innate and must be learned. He tested birds that had been raised alone and they showed no response to SEQ2. However, after the isolated birds had spent two weeks with the other birds, they too then showed a reaction.Another experiment showed that the birds were able to learn ‘new’ grammatical rules if the team played one of the remixes over and over again. Once these birds had learned the new rules, mixing the syllables up again found the birds reacting to a change in the syllable structure.In a final experiment, Abe and his team chemically shut down an area of the finch brain known as the anterior nidopallium in some of the birds. This area of the brain is vital for the bird’s ability to understand the grammatical pattern in the syllables. He suggests that using this information, and studying the counterpart section of the human brain, could shed new light on the origins of human grammar. More information: Songbirds possess the spontaneous ability to discriminate syntactic rules, Nature Neuroscience (2011) doi:10.1038/nn.2869AbstractWhether the computational systems in language perception involve specific abilities in humans is debated. The vocalizations of songbirds share many features with human speech, but whether songbirds possess a similar computational ability to process auditory information as humans is unknown. We analyzed their spontaneous discrimination of auditory stimuli and found that the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica) can use the syntactical information processing of syllables to discriminate songs). These finches were also able to acquire artificial grammatical rules from synthesized syllable strings and to discriminate novel auditory information according to them. We found that a specific brain region was involved in such discrimination and that this ability was acquired postnatally through the encounter with various conspecific songs. Our results indicate that passerine songbirds spontaneously acquire the ability to process hierarchical structures, an ability that was previously supposed to be specific to humans. Citation: Finches use their own form of grammar in their tweets (2011, June 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-06-finches-grammar-tweets.html (PhysOrg.com) — In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the University of Kyoto in Japan have discovered that the tweets of Bengalese finches follow a set of grammatical patterns and rules. 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

Archeologists date human femur found in northern Britain to 10000 years ago

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —A trio of archeologists has found that a human femur unearthed in a cave in the early 1990s, in northern Britain dates back to over 10,000 years ago. The combined team of researchers from the University of Nottingham and Liverpool John Moores University has documented their findings in a paper they’ve had published in Journal of Quaternary Science. © 2013 Phys.org Up until now, remains from humans living in Britain during a warming spell at the end of the last Ice Age, have been confined to caves in the south. Tools and other artifacts have confirmed that people were living in the north as well, but up till now, none of their remains have been found. The bone piece-part of a femur, was found in a cave almost 25 years ago in Cumbria (Kents Bank Cavern) and has since been housed at the Dock Museum. It wasn’t until very recently, however, that researchers took a closer look—carbon dating places the bone from the cave at a little over 10,000 years ago which would mean it belonged to a person living during a warming spell (when the ice retreated enough for people to endure) during the last ice age which started approximately 12,000 years ago.Along with the bone in the cave, the original research team had also found the remains of a horse and a type of deer no longer found in Britain. As part of the new research effort, they were also dated and found to be from roughly the same time as the femur. The new team also discovered that some of the bones from the deer had teeth marks from what appeared to be a wolf or dog. Also, the horse find was interesting because horses were known to have lived in early Britain but went extinct, then were subsequently reintroduced by people bringing them over from mainland Europe.The researchers point out that caves provide an excellent environment for preserving the remains of deceased people and animals. For that reason, they suggest it’s important that remains that are found be kept at a storage facility equipped to keep them in their original found state. This latest find, they say, helps better understand the early history of Britain—it hints at ritual behavior in the north that was similar to that already seen in caves in the south. More information: New Lateglacial fauna and early Mesolithic human remains from northern England, Journal of Quaternary Science, DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2655ABSTRACTFauna from the Lateglacial Interstadial are largely limited to isolated findspots. Here we report on material from the site of Kent’s Bank Cavern, Cumbria, dated to the Allerød/Younger Dryas boundary. The identification of elk (Alces alces) and horse (Equus sp.) and the inferred presence of a large canid indicates that fauna of economic utility to humans were in this area at the time. The presence of humans is attested to by records of Federmesser points from two nearby cave sites. We also report on early Mesolithic human remains from Kent’s Bank Cavern. This assemblage represents one of very few Lateglacial faunas in northern Britain, and the most northerly early Mesolithic human remains in the British Isles, making Kent’s Bank of importance to discussions of both resource distribution and mortuary rituals in these periods. Citation: Archeologists date human femur found in northern Britain to 10,000 years ago (2013, September 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-09-archeologists-date-human-femur-northern.htmlcenter_img Journal information: Journal of Quaternary Science Archaeologist’s chance discovery may be Britain’s earliest example of rock art Explore further Credit: Liverpool John Moores Universitylast_img read more

Researchers find that users do not get rid of their old technology

first_img To find out what happens as technology marchers forward, with a never-ending stream of new product introductions for consumers to buy, the researchers scoured publicly available databases that hold consumer buying habits and trend information. They also searched for and found consumer reports and survey information data that has been harvested over the years. Putting it all together, the team created their “ecosystem” for the years 1992 to 2007, a span that saw cathode ray television sets begin to give way to those based on LCD’s, among other developments.In looking at all their data, the team found that Americans do not get rid of old gadgets just because they buy new ones—instead the old devices get moved to other locales, where they are still used. Buying a new big-screen, flat TV, for example, typically meant moving the old CRT model to the kid’s room. That caused the average number of electronic devices in American homes to skyrocket from an average of four, in 1992, to thirteen in 2007. The problem with that, the researchers report, is that older CRT TVs and other devices use far more electricity than new sets based on LCDs. Also, older TV sets (and other devices) typically were not sold with energy saving features, such as timers that turned them off after a certain time period. The result is more energy use, and more strain on the environment as utilities burn more coal in attempting to keep up with the demand. The researchers found that in addition to having more devices, users tended to use them more—the advent of video games for example, has led to more time spent staring at a screen.The researchers than went one step further, calculating how much energy would be saved if Americans replaced their legacy devices with new more efficient equipment, and found it came to a whopping 44 percent. They note that adding new features to such devices in the future could cut consumption even more—such as combining capabilities. Since it does not look like consumers are going to change their habits, it appears average consumption will not come down till the old devices fail, they conclude. (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology has found that despite dramatically reduced power requirements for new electronic gadgets, the average American home consumes more power than ever—because consumers keep using the old-school technology devices, along with the new, adding to the total number of devices used. In their paper published in Environmental Science and Technology, Erinn Ryen, Callie Babbitt and Eric Williams describe how they looked at gadgets in the average American home as an ecosystem made up of electronic virtual organisms and what they found in doing so. Cumulative daily screen time linked to teen sleep problems More information: — Lifecycle Assessment at the Product Community Scale: Assessing Impacts of Household Electronics (PDF)— Consumption-Weighted Life Cycle Assessment of a Consumer Electronic Product Community, Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAPDOI: 10.1021/es505121pAbstractA new approach for quantifying the net environmental impact of a “community” of interrelated products is demonstrated for consumer electronics owned by an average U.S. household over a 15-year period (1992–2007). This consumption-weighted life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology accounts for both product consumption (number of products per household) and impact (cumulative energy demand (MJ) and greenhouse gas emissions (MT CO2 eq) per product), analyzed using a hybrid LCA framework. Despite efficiency improvements in individual devices from 1992 to 2007, the net impact of the entire product community increased, due primarily to increasing ownership and usage. The net energy impact for the product community is significant, nearly 30% of the average gasoline use in a U.S. passenger vehicle in 2007. The analysis points to a large contribution by legacy products (cathode ray tube televisions and desktop computers), due to historically high consumption rates, although impacts are beginning to shift to smaller mobile devices. This method is also applied to evaluate prospective intervention strategies, indicating that environmental impact can be reduced by strategies such as lifespan extension or energy efficiency, but only when applied to all products owned, or by transforming consumption trends toward fewer, highly multifunctional products. Journal information: Environmental Science and Technology Explore further Citation: Researchers find that users do not get rid of their old technology when buying new and use more power (2015, February 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-users-technology-power.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2015 Phys.orglast_img read more

Nanostructures get better at harvesting sunlight for solar steam generation

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Origami inspires highly efficient solar steam generator Now in a new study published in Nano Letters, a team of researchers led by Mozhen Wang at the University of Science and Technology of China and Yadong Yin at the University of California Riverside has demonstrated a method that significantly improves the efficiency of solar steam generation using light-absorbing plasmonic metal nanostructures.Plasmonic metal nanostructures are a popular new material for many photonics applications, including solar cells and optical imaging, since they interact with light in unique ways and can be engineered to exhibit desirable properties. For solar steam generation, for example, they can be modified to have high light absorption and low scattering properties. One limitation, however, is that plasmonic nanostructures have a narrow resonant band and so they can absorb only a small portion of the solar spectrum. In the new study, the researchers’ main result was greatly expanding the narrow resonant band of the plasmonic silver nanoparticles.”We have demonstrated that metal nanostructures can be engineered by chemical synthesis to become very effective in converting broad-spectrum light into heat, enabling efficient solar steam generation,” Yin told Phys.org.The improvement is based on a concept called plasmonic coupling. When two plasmonic nanoparticles come close together, their resonance modes hybridize, which broadens their combined resonance band and allows them to absorb light of a wider range of frequencies.Although this method has been tried before, it has resulted only in small improvements in spectral broadening. In the new study, the researchers greatly enhanced the performance using a confined seeded growth method to ensure that more nanoparticles are close enough together to experience the effects. In the seeded growth method, seeds are fixed on the inner surface of polymer nanoshells in a random distribution so that, as the seeds grow into plasmonic nanoparticles, they grow closer together. This method ensures a high density of nanoparticles that benefit from the space confinement and exhibit broadband light absorption.The researchers calculated that the new method could achieve solar steam generation efficiencies as high as 95%, which is one of the highest efficiencies to date. In tests with natural sunlight, the nanoparticles achieved an efficiency of 68%. The researchers plan to further improve the nanostructures in the future.”Our immediate next step is to develop black nanostructures using non-previous metals such as copper and aluminum,” Yin said. “The goal is to reduce the production costs and make efficient solar steam generation more economically viable for large-scale use.” One way to produce clean water is to heat dirty water until it turns into steam. As the steam rises, it leaves behind the heavier contaminants and can be collected and cooled, providing clean water. There are many ways to heat water, one of which is to use light-absorbing materials at the air/water interface to harvest sunlight and convert the light into heat. This method is very energy-efficient because all of the absorbed solar energy is used to heat water near the surface, rather than heating the entire body of water. Explore further Journal information: Nano Letterscenter_img More information: Jinxing Chen et al. “Space-Confined Seeded Growth of Black Silver Nanostructures for Solar Steam Generation.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04157 Credit: Chen et al. ©2018 American Chemical Society Citation: Nanostructures get better at harvesting sunlight for solar steam generation (2019, January 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-nanostructures-harvesting-sunlight-solar-steam.html © 2019 Science X Networklast_img read more

A runaway artists return to his roots

first_imgIn his youth, he ran away from home in south India to pursue the dream of becoming an artist.But for S V Rama Rao, the US-based Indian painter returning to India, to create a body of work for a maiden exhibition here is a return to his own roots.Based in Chicago now, Rao, 76, who grew up in a small town in Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh is presenting his ‘celebration of colours’ on canvas here in an ongoing exhibition titled ‘Nature’s Abstract Glory’ where nature poetically segues into an abstract narrative. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’However, for Rao the occasion brings with it the sweep of nostalgia as he journeys from his childhood to dreams he had dreamt to his leaving Indian shores and coming back, albeit briefly.‘To pursue my dreams, as a youth I once ran away from home in Gudivada, because my father wouldn’t like me being an artist. I even boarded a train out of the town but after a few stations I started thinking of my mother and family and decided to come back,’ Rao told PTI in an interview. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘My father later took me to a known artist in the Andhra film industry and in a way I undertook my apprenticeship there under him. Later, I enrolled at the Madras College of Fine Arts where we were taught by renowned artists like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury. And, my journey began from there,’ he says.But the septuagenarian artist counts his unlettered father as one of his inspirations and source of valuable lessons in life.‘My father used to make these beautifully carved columns for temple and houses. And, though he was never educated I thought how did he manage to do it? So, I learned that sometimes education stifles our creativity and the language of imagination does not need a formal education,’ he says.The painter whose current display of works, all made during his recent India sojourn draws inspiration from the colours of nature and tells stories, as a flight of bird disappears chromatically into a landscape or a cityscape.last_img read more

Watch out for environmental changes warn city docs on World Asthma Day

first_imgKolkata: Environmental changes are majorly contributing in increase in the number of Asthma patients in the state, a sizeable number of which is children, the city doctors warned.During a programme organised at a city hotel on the occasion of World Asthma Day on May 1, doctors said that environmental issues are very important factors. The pollution in the city and high level of dust particles in the air are affecting the lungs of citizens, causing serious respiratory distress.While COPD cases are generally found in the patients above the age of 40, Asthma is very common in children as well. In another revelation, the doctors have found that people living in the slum areas are developing Asthma as they are always vulnerable to dust particles. Doctors also suggested it can be determined if a patient has been suffering from Asthma, through lung function test. According to the latest available data, Asthma is on the rise among people in the state.”Asthma causes frequent bronchial constrictions and inflammation. This can be treated using bronchodilators and inhalation of steroids, which help reduce inflammation,” said a city doctor, who participated in the programme.”Frequent constriction and inflammation is often caused due to environment and weather changes and even air pollutants. Patients can take inhaler. It is also advisable that the patients wash their mouth after using the inhaler,” a doctor said. According to a survey, around 20-30 million people in India are suffering from the disease. The prevalence of the disease can be checked through awareness programmes. People in the metro cities are more exposed to pollution, which often contributes to the disease. An awareness programme was conducted by the doctors on the occasion. Various NGOs and other organisations are also organising awareness programmes on Tuesday in this regard.last_img read more

Popular football playing nation expresses interest in Joyee

first_imgKOLKATA: For the first time ever, one of the most popular football playing countries has shown interest for the Joyee footballs made by women of rural Bengal.Some of the footballs, as samples, have been sent to the country for testing and the report in this connection will be given after about two months.It may be mentioned that it was a dream project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to revive the decade old organisation Refugee Handicrafts that work under the state government’s MSME department by means of making footballs. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe dream has come true with the immense success of the Joyee footballs and now it has been sent for necessary ‘tests’ to a popular football playing country. According to an official, the ‘tests’ are going on before the final nod comes for the deal to procure the footballs. Around a month ago, Chinese Consulate in Kolkata had tested the footballs and procured 850 Challenger type Joyee footballs. Besides providing the footballs to the Chinese consulate, necessary steps were taken to make the footballs commercially successful in different other countries. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe official didn’t disclose the name of the popular football playing country where samples of Joyee footballs have been sent for certain reasons but confirmed that the country is so ‘particular and professional’ about football that it’s concerned authorities will be testing the footballs for two long months before giving the final nod. The authorities there will be giving the footballs to the footballers to play with them and it is one of the most crucial ways of testing the quality and all other aspects of the footballs. They will be sending a report in this connection after the tests. Sources said the authorities of the Refugee Handicrafts are, however, confident enough that they will like the footballs as those have been prepared following international standards.Both the officials of Refugee Handicraft and MSME department will have to wait for another one month for the final nod from the authorities of the football playing country.The footballs are prepared by the women hailing from different rural parts of the state. They are provided with necessary training, which is organised by the Refugee Handicraft. Recently, steps have also been taken to rope in more people to make the same. More importantly, experts were also engaged to ensure that international standards are maintained while making the footballs and it can be marketed not only across the country but also in different countries.last_img read more

KMC collects 13 fish samples from 5 city markets to test for

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Monday collected as many as 13 fish samples from five markets in the city, to check for presence of formalin in them. There have been allegations of presence of formalin in fish imported from Andhra Pradesh.”We have collected 9 surveillance samples and 4 regulatory samples from some leading fish markets. We will conduct tests to find out whether there is presence of formalin. The report is expected to be available in two to three days,” Member, Mayor-in-Council (Health) Atin Ghosh said. Also Read – 2 Group D staffers held for ‘assaulting’ minorsIn case of regulatory samples that have been collected by undergoing certain formalities as per rules, the civic body can initiate cases if they find any irregularities in the samples.Among these samples, two have been collected from Manicktala Market, one from Poura Parna Bithika Market- Behala and another from S N Ray Market in Behala. Among the nine surveillance samples, six were collected from Entally Market and three from New Market.Formalin is a preservative that can lead to cancer if consumed over a period of time. The chemical can also cause nausea and other ailments in the short term. Also Read – Naka checking to be stricter to rein in speed demonsIt may be mentioned that more than half the fish consumed in the city is procured from Andhra Pradesh.Officials of the state Fisheries department have been asked to visit wholesale markets across the city from Saturday, to collect samples that will be checked.According to the state Fisheries department stats, the city alone consumes around 235 tonnes of fish every day. Fish from Andhra Pradesh – mostly Rohu and Katla – accounts for around 135 tonnes of the total consumption. Of around 1.73 lakh tonnes of fish that Bengal imports from other states annually, Andhra accounts for around 1 lakh tonnes.The Assam government had already banned sale of fish from Andhra Pradesh, after lab tests detected formalin in some samples.”Banning of fish from Andhra will be difficult for Bengal. If we stop import, the deficit cannot be met by local production,” an official in the state Fisheries departmentsaid.last_img read more

Guerrilla art Graffiti adorning Kolkatas walls

first_imgArmed with spray cans and creativity, a group of youngsters is steadily turning Kolkata’s walls — for long splattered with political slogans and quack cures — into graffiti artscapes, painting the city red, blue and a variety of hues.A motley crew of young men and women, with pseudonyms as fanciful as their creations, is etching its artistic and social imagination and giving a new definition to the walls, predominantly considered a domain of the political parties in West Bengal. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The otherwise mundane walls in the eastern metropolis have always been a crucial component of the animated political jargon in the state, with parties reaching out to the masses with slogans that are at times witty, satirical, assertive and even thought provoking, but also at times aggressive, contemptuous and full of hatred.But, basking in anonymous glory, the SREKs, SHAFs and the SNIKs sneak out in the middle of the night to “reclaim” their canvas — city walls covered with slogans — braving attacks from political parties and even police action. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“Politics is a nuisance — be it political graffiti or the politicians themselves. Our ‘street art’ is an attempt to give colour to this otherwise mundane grey world,” said SNIK, ‘revered’ as the ‘godfather’ of Kolkata graffiti. Credited with pioneering the ‘guerrilla art’ in the city, SNIK’s love affair with graffiti began while studying in Sydney.“I mostly started off doing black books and canvases, then moved on to doing basic tags on walls. Returning to Kolkata, I met a few guys at a hip-hop jam and communicating through Facebook and jamming, we began our bid to reclaim the city walls splattered with political hatred and laughable quack cures,” said SNIK, who runs a restaurant in the city. While its origin can be traced to the cave art of the Paleolithic Age, modern graffiti is perceived as a defiance of authority and vandalism. Most street artists traditionally prefer to stay anonymous, adopting pseudonyms, fearing a backlash and police action. World famous for his satirical street art and subversive epigrams, the real identity of British graffiti artist Banksy’ still remains unknown. But for the graffiti artists, it’s a colourful medium of expression, an art and an addiction for which they are ready to risk police action — or even getting on the wrong side of activists of political parties.“Graffiti is my addiction; it takes me to a world of my own where I express myself through my colours, my scribbles…The feeling is beyond words… where you scream out your thoughts to the world and yet remain anonymous,” said SHAF, who, with his ‘partner in crime’ SREK, is one of leading ‘graffiti cru’ in the city.“While we mostly seek permission when doing graffiti on private properties, political party activists perceive our art as an invasion and there have been instances when we had to run for our lives on being chased by them,” SREK said. SNIK’s ‘cru’ partner SHOCK was caught by the police while spraying on a Metro train and tracks, but was let off with a warning. The graffiti gangs are not a bunch of aimless artists blindly aping the hip-hop culture. For them, graffiti is as much an art as a means to defy disapproving social norms. The vibrant colours symbolise their exuberance and the graffiti — the declaration of their existence to the world.“How many people can walk through a city and prove they were there? It’s a sign I was here. My hand made this mark…My existence counts…,” said SNIK, whose graffiti is not ‘mere scribbles’ but is also an “expression of the youth’s spirit of rebellion’.The advent of digital printing and the use of flexes and hoardings may have reduced the significance of political graffiti, but with the 2016 assembly polls on the horizon, the battle for the walls is all set to intensify.“As the saying goes, where there is a will there is a way. Our spray cans too will find the canvasses. Far from days when people considered us vandals and even had contempt for our art, graffiti steadily is gaining in popularity.“People now willingly allow us to etch our dreams on their walls. Polls or not, our crusade will continue,” SHAF asserted.last_img read more

Super emergency says Mamata after TMC team manhandled

first_imgSilchar: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday lashed out at the Centre, and the Assam government after a delegation of Trinamool Congress party (TMC) MPs were first manhandled then detained at Silchar Airport by Assam Police on Thursday.She claimed that members of the TMC delegation, including women, were manhandled at the airport and accused the BJP of imposing “super emergency” in the country. “I think this is the beginning of their end. They are frustrated. That is why they are acting like a bunch of hooligans. If there is peace everywhere then why did the Assam government not allow our MPs and MLAs to talk to the affected people,” she added. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAddressing reporters at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport after her return to Kolkata from Delhi on Thursday afternoon, she said the Central BJP leaders had visited Asansol after the communal violence recently flouting prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC. “We had allowed them to visit the area, but in Assam, the BJP is trying to stifle the voice of the people who are living under uncertainty and panic. I condemn the way the police had manhandled our women MPs.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedShe maintained that the incident in Assam had exposed the saffron party. As the Trinamool team landed around 1.30 pm, the airport had a large contingent of police and district officials who refused to let the lawmakers leave citing an overnight ban on large gatherings. The argument escalated, with the Trinamool alleging that its members were roughed up. Visuals recorded on mobile phone show Mahua Moitra, an MP, trying to get away from the policewomen, who run after her. Another woman lawmaker is pushed. “Our members were roughed up. Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has a pacemaker, he was also roughed up,” said outraged Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien in Delhi. Women MPs were also hurt, he said, adding: “What is going on?” Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, the Rajya Sabha member who led the team, said the police refused to let the group go into town even after he and his colleagues cancelled a public meeting and assured the police that they would only meet people. The legislators and parliamentarians protested at the arrival lounge for hours before they were detained. The TMC delegation including six MPs was kept in the VIP lounge of Kumbhigram airport here in Cachar district under Barak Valley region, the officials said. The issue was raised in Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day (on this issue), the statement said. The Trinamool Congress is planning to move a privilege motion in Lok Sabha on Friday against the detention of its members of parliament in Silchar in Assam on Friday.last_img read more

Swine flu alert in Bengal hospitals to tighten vigil

first_imgKolkata: The state Health department will soon issue notification to all the Chief Medical Officers of Health in the districts and heads of the district and sub-divisional hospitals to strengthen vigil to look out swine flu symptoms in patients and take precautionary measures.The CMOH in all the districts will be asked to keep an isolation ward in each of the district and sub-divisional hospitals. All the city hospitals have been alerted by the department following a swine flu case Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifereported in the state.According to a senior official in the state Health department, there is no need to panic as there is a possibility of a patient being attacked by the H1N1 virus particularly this time of the year.The official also said some directives will also be issued to the district health officials on how to tackle the situation.The district officials will have to report it to the state Health department if any such case is reported under its jurisdiction. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA senior official of the state Health department said the screening of patients has been strengthened following a swine flu case.”We have discussed the situation with all the top officials of the state-run hospitals and steps are being taken to identify the patients who are down with flue like symptoms. The vigil has been intensified across the state. If a patient is admitted to any hospital with swine flu like symptoms, he/she must be kept in isolation. The situation is completely under control and there is nothing to panic,” the official said. According to the health officials, if the first case is dealt with utmost seriousness and precautions, the spread of the disease can be checked. Every year, one or two cases of swine flu cases are reported during this time of the year.Swine flu is an air-borne infection which spreads fast and easily. There is always a possibility of it getting multiplied in a crowded city like Kolkata.Dr Himadri Mukherjee, a senior physician in the city said crowded places like schools, colleges, auditorium, public transport and shopping malls are the likely places from where the viruscould spread.Since swine flu is a droplet infection, diagnosis should happen and treatment must begin as early as possible.last_img read more

North MCD earns over Rs 24 cr as parking fee in 6

first_img“Discontinuing the earlier process of one-time parking licence fee for a year, we have started charging three months’ advance. The idea of giving three months’ contract and charging advance has been a great success,” said Bharat Bhushan Madan, chairman of Remunerative Projects (RP) Cell of the North MCD.“Last year, we earned around Rs 15.1 crore from parking fee, while this year, we have earned over Rs 24 crore in the first two quarters itself,” he said. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportThe corporation’s changed policy of giving three months’ contract has also helped in solving the problems of non- payment by defaulting contractors and accumulating losses due to it, a senior municipal official said.Also, in case of a dispute, the contractor may leave after three months and the corporation will not have any dues to recover, he added.“We earned Rs 12.10 crore in the April-September quarter as quarterly parking licence fee and an equal amount in the current quarter,” he said. Also Read – Disqualified AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, women’s wing chief join BJPThe jump in revenue from parking fee has also happened due to improved monitoring of earnings of different parking lots of the corporation, Madan said.The North MCD has a total of 91 parking areas, of which 46 have been given on contract under the advance payment scheme.We have also decided to issue tender to allot all the 91 authorised parking sites in its jurisdiction “en bloc” to a single contractor, he said.The parking sites presently running under contract, may continue to run as it is till the period of contract is over. After that, these would also be clubbed and auctioned as single entity after paying three-month advance, he added.last_img read more

3 killed after bike gets hit by speeding truck

first_imgKolkata: Three persons including a woman were killed after a motorcycle was hit by a speeding truck.The victims have been identified as Shyam Bauri (23), Rupa Chatterjee (22) and Sudan Bauri (22). They were residents of Makariapara area of Barakar. The victims were going to Niamatpur area from Kulti along the GT Road when the incident occurred. Police said the motorcycle collided head on with a truck near Niamatpur under Kulti police station on Monday morning. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe incident occurred at around 8 am in the morning. The truck driver fled the scene along with his vehicle after the accident. Some locals rushed to the spot and took all the three injured victims to a hospital in Asansol. The doctors pronounced the victims brought dead. The incident caused traffic congestion along the GT Road for the nearly one hour. Vehicles were stranded on the busy road. After being informed police reached the spot and brought the situation under control. Eyewitnesses told police that the truck was running at a high speed when the motorcycle suddenly came in front of it. The truck driver applied a sudden brake but failed to avert the accident. The truck driver sped up the vehicle following the accident to save himself from the mob. The victims were not wearing helmets and received critical injuries on their heads and other body parts. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that all the three victims were drunk at the time of the accident. The bodies have been sent for autopsy. The motorcycle was completely damaged due to the impact of the accident. Police are conducting raids to nab the truck driver.last_img read more

A young ladys transition to maturity

first_img‘Myself Meena, IAS’ is the debut novel of Dakshita Das. Published by Rupa, this book has an appeal for most age groups. The book has been released this summer. The author is herself a civil servant who was brought up in Lucknow and Mussoorie.  Here is an excerpt from the book: “Bored and tired and totally confused I jotted down ten reasons as to why I was in the state I was. Reason One: Baba’s desire that I take the IAS exam.Reason Two: Because Baba felt that the red light car in which I would travel once I became an officer would be a huge retribution to the sorrows life had doled out to him. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfReason Three: Because Baba felt that I shouldn’t get married for dowry.Reason Four:  Hello?! Reason four? Come again? There is no Reason Four…”Meena is a regular girl from a small town: young, attractive, fun loving yet with her life all messed up. Meena had been sucked into the role of being a dutiful daughter living out the ambitions that her father had thought up for her; mainly that Meena becomes an IAS officer.While destiny took her in that direction, Meena hadn’t factored the challenges that would await her. Moreover, in blindly following her father, she had failed to discover herself: what she was or wanted from life. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThis book is about a young girl’s transition to maturity. Set in Northern India where the passion of becoming an officer is high, the book journeys her struggle, her romance with a fellow officer and the choices she finally learns to make and live with. Uncomfortable with the IAS, Meena struggles hard in her initial months. Will Meena finally adjust to her job? The book has been penned in a simple yet charming style which may impress anybody, for the various dilemma at each stage in Meena’s life has been realisitically captured.last_img read more

Festival of places unraveling a unique bond

first_imgThe capital hosted a three day extravagant event titled “Festival of Places”, which commenced from April 7 and concluded on April 9 at IGNCA, New Delhi. The festival was the brainchild of team CATTS – a not-for-profit organization working in the area of heritage conservation and management, has been envisaged as a convergence of people from all walks of life and disciplines who seek a deeper understanding of our culture through the places we live in as well as share an eagerness to rejuvenate them. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe festival kick started on an enthusiastic keynote by Mr Ashok Vajpayi in Delhi as a one stop for all travelling the globe, which was followed by interesting talk sessions of Nalin Mehta & Amit Mehra, Hanif Kureshi, Kalpana Vishwanath and other intellectual personalities who emphasised on the heritage places and their significance for today’s generation. Day 1 concluded with a breathtaking performance of Dastangoi Sunil Mehra & Askari Naqvi. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe Festival unraveled the bond between three unique cities of the nation Delhi, Kolkata, and Lucknow with the similarities they share in terms of its people, places and memories. The festival offered a platter of stimulating talks, interesting stories, engaging discussions, short films, city sounds, unique storytelling, authentic food, crafts, creative workshops for kids and mesmerizing performances by renowned artists which left its audience spell bound and completely drenched in the spirit of Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow. Day two marked the yester year’s capital Kolkata as the focused city with Amit Chaudhari as the keynote speaker with continuous talk sessions of personalities like Ina Puri, V. Ramaswamy, Paramita Saha along with many others. With these sessions, visitors also got to taste lip-smacking cuisine of Kolkata and performance by Folks of Bengal – Debalina Bhowmick, Sumanta Das Baul and Arijit Chakraborty.The festival concluded by unwrapping the rich legacy of the City of Nawabs – Lucknow. The keynote speaker Saeed Naqvi not only gave a brief of city’s heritage but also bought up sessions for a better understanding of various places in the city from the eyes of professionals coming from different discipline. “THE LOST SONGS OF AWADH – Re-living The Courtesan” served as concluding event of 3rd day of “Festival of places”. The concert was a programme featuring Manjari Chaturvedi performing the Darbari style of kathak as the representation of the dance of the Courtesan. A dance style known for its delicate movements and expressions, and characterized by exquisite costumes, it originated in royal courtrooms of a bygone era.last_img read more

Leading the fight against hunger and breast cancer

first_imgWith a commitment and vision to continually pledge out of her personal wealth, Hyderabad based industrialist Sudha Reddy handed over a grant to two diverse Charities at a small intimate gathering in Paris. With a generous and empathetic heart for philanthropy, Sudha has successfully carved a strong niche in being a voice for the underprivileged through her charitable contributions over the years. After months of interactions with industry stalwarts to understand the immediate and urgent requirements to confront challenges in different sectors, two NGOs were identified as recipients for ‘Áction against Hunger’ and ‘Breast Cancer Research Foundation’.Headquartered in Paris, ‘Action against Hunger’ (AAH) is a 38-year-old organization that is present in over 50 countries and has effectively led the global fight against hunger. With close to 6500 staff, AAH is credited with assisting over 14 million people across the globe. In India, ‘Action against Hunger’ operates through its branch – Fight Hunger Foundation (FHF), which is its sixth headquarters. Speaking at the gathering to hand over the endowment, Sudha Reddy commented, “I’m extremely pleased to be able to partner with not just one but two foundations that are going the extra mile when it comes to making a difference.””I was grieved to be presented with statistics that prove the huge number of children who are dying because of hunger. Malnutrition is killing 20 million children in the world today and it’s a shame that children are dying because of hunger across the world in the 21st century. My country, India, is one where malnutrition is a huge crisis and emergency and we carry 40% of the global load of malnutrition. In our joint vision towards a hunger free world, I feel blessed that I am able to help build a better life for children everywhere,” she added.Thomas Ribemont, Chairman of ‘Action against Hunger’, France said, “I would like to convey my huge gratitude to Sudha Reddy for her very generous donation to Fight Hunger Foundation. Her support will help us immensely in our effort to eradicate malnutrition in children in India. Mrs Reddy has strengthened our hands in our fight against hunger and we are convinced that with her backing we will soon realize our vision of a world where no child dies of hunger.”On the occasion, Sudha Reddy also observed, “Recognizing the power of research and its potential to change lives of millions is the first step in the right direction. A new approach to tackle Breast cancer is critical, and that is where Breast Cancer Research Foundation is making noteworthy contributions. BCRF’s mission is to fight until the number of deaths from breast cancer is zero and I resonate with this goal because I believe that each individual, in his or her own capacity, can help find a solution.”last_img read more

Office workers who sit a lot need to exercise

first_imgA weekly dose of at least 150 minutes of physical activity could substantially reduce the health risks in desk-bound office workers, a study has found. Sitting is often touted as ‘the new smoking’, but it is unclear if it is the sitting itself or the lack of physical activity that causes the harm. It has also been unclear what level of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity – routine activities like walking briskly to work, as well as sport and exercises – might offset this risk. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfScientists from University of Sydney in Australian have examined the associations of sitting and physical activitiy with premature death and cardiovascular disease mortality, and estimated what level of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity might offset health risks of sitting. The researchers statistically modelled physical activity and sitting against death records of nearly 150,000 study participants aged 45 years and over and followed up over almost nine years. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAccording to the study, physical activity is particularly important for people who sit a lot. Reducing sitting would be a good start but is not enough: the most important lifestyle change for such people would be to look for or create opportunities to move more daily. Replacing sitting with physical activity – but not standing – reduced mortality risk among ‘high sitters’, people who sit over six hours per day, said Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney. “In our study, sitting time was associated consistently with both overall premature mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in the least physically active groups – those doing under 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week,” Stamatakis said. “For example, people who were physically inactive and sat for more than eight hours per day had 107 per cent higher risk for cardiovascular death compared to those who did at least one hour physical activity per day and sat less than four hours,” he said. Stamatakis said the findings would be useful for public health officials, health care workers, but also people who sit a lot, such as workers in office-based and other sedentary jobs. “Any movement is good for health but physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity that is activities that get people out of breath – is the most potent and most time-efficient,” Stamatakis said. “Exercise and sports are a great way to be active but are not the only way – walking fast, climbing stairs, and cycling to get from place to place are only some of the many opportunities everyday life offers to move and even ‘huff and puff’ sometimes,” he said.last_img read more

The Bizarre Mysteries and Conspiracies of Denver International Airport

first_imgEver since the day it opened on February 28, 1995, after months of delay and after going way over the initial budget by an extra $2 billion, the Denver International Airport has raised enough suspicion and become a favorite airport among conspiracy theorists. The airport’s bizarre reputation is due to a variety of strange airport art seen at its premises, dubious functionality of some of its expensive amenities, and rumors that there are underground “buried” facilities beneath.There is also the sheer vastness of the airport. With its astonishing 35,000 acres, Denver Intl Airport is the largest the U.S. by area, though not the most frequented airport around.Denver International Airport interior with travellers, shops and restaurants. The teflon-coated fiberglass roof is one of the major architectural features.What airport visitors can quickly notice over their layover periods is really the weird combination of artwork such as sculpture and murals. Add to that a strange selection of symbols and the runways which when seen from above have reminded some people of the heinous Nazi symbol–the swastika.There probably aren’t too many airports in the world which have a creepy story of how their most prominent sculpture fell on its maker and caused him to die.Denver International Airport by dusk.But that is exactly what happened when a large section from the 32-feet-tall, 9,000 pound horse sculpture called Blue Mustang, fell on its author Luis Jiménez in 2006 after which the man fatally succumbed to the injury. The fiberglass statue has been nicknamed the “devil horse” and “Blucifer” and features eerie, some say demonic, laser red eyes.Blue Mustang, or “Blucifer”. Photo by Mike Sinko CC BY-SA 2.0More creepiness radiates from the airport murals. One of them is called “In Peace and Harmony With Nature” and is supposed to tackle the issue of environmental degradation. One of its sister murals, by the same author Leo Tanguma, “Children of the World Dream of Peace” addresses yet another cause, that the world should settle for peace, not violence.Denver International Airport mural. Photo by Donal Mountain CC By 2.0Had it not been for the strange imagery, the pieces would have probably not attracted much controversy. At least not until stumbling upon another spine-chilling artwork that contains a sinister-looking Nazi soldier, his face covered with a gas mask, carrying an automated weapon in one hand and a huge sharp saber pointed at a white pigeon in the other.This unusual choice of art, some of which has already been removed, is just one segment that has fueled the public imagination to think something insidious is really being hidden there. Theories include both that underneath the airport there is a huge network that belongs to a secretive Nazi service or that this is the shelter for the President of the United States in case of an end-of-the-world scenario.Denver International Airport Mural. Photo by VasenkaPhotography CC By 2.0The presence of more ‘mysterious’ symbols around the airport has not eased the proliferation of such conspiracies either. In fact, the one insignia that people find most provoking can be spotted on the airport’s dedication stone itself.The dedication stone includes the well-known Masonic square and compasses and the aligned text informs that the main sponsor of the airport was a mysterious organization dubbed the “New World Airport Commission.”Denver airport dedication stone. Photo by F4ith.H0p3.Ch4r1ty CC BY-SA 4.0Besides the fact that the existence of such an organization has been questioned by conspiracists as well as other researchers, the intriguing association the name has with the notorious “New World Order” has also not been missed. Perhaps, that bit of mystery will be resolved only at the end of the century, in the distant year 2094, when a time capsule buried beneath the stone is scheduled to be opened.Yet, probably the wildest airport theory says that when the airport was under construction, at least five huge buildings were built with huge inaccuracies. Instead of being disassembled or demolished those buildings were somehow buried underground. A whistleblowing construction worker who allegedly witnessed this development has also cited this as a major reason why the airport opening was delayed.The Air Traffic Control Tower at Denver International Airport with a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 below. Photo by Bmurphy380 CC BY-SA 4.0A more probable reason for the delay may have been the airport’s automated baggage system. The system in question reportedly cost a fortune but then was never actually used. Eventually, it was entirely abandoned, questioning whether its sky-high expense was really necessary, or maybe was just a decoy explanation for why tunnels were built at the airport.About those tunnels, if we listen to conspiracists, they really lead to a huge underground shelter, the secretive seat of the U.S. government or even worse, the secretive seat of a global government whose intentions are up to no good.Earlier in 2018, the Denver International Airport began refurbishing its Great Hall, and after years of silence, airport officials finally decided to answer the abundance of theories. Posters were placed on walls, which aimed to hide the refurbishing work, and asked: “What’s happening behind this wall?” To achieve an effect they also printed green alien figures on the posters.Read another story from us: Mad conspiracy theories that turned out to be trueThe airport has since also launched the Den Files page on their website which featured all the conspiracies in one place, including the one which says the airport accommodates the Illuminati headquarters. As they confirm, this can be assumed from the airport’s dedication stone date, that is March 19, 1994, “and if you add those numbers together (1+9+1+9+9+4) you get 33–the highest level one can achieve in Freemasonry, aka perfection.”last_img read more

Northborough Fire Chief Parenti is a selfproclaimed data geek

first_imgBy Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community ReporterNorthborough Fire Chief David Parenti at the Northborough Fire StationPhoto/Melanie PetrucciNorthborough – Ever wonder what Fire Chief David Parenti does when he isn’t out helping put out fires?  He can be found in his office, in front of his computer screens (he has two, plus a tablet) crunching data.Parenti said that while they have been “busy as heck” with calls this summer and, since the new fire station is in process in the Town Manager’s office, he has been spending a good deal of his time on a new project which entails mapping incidents and logging them into computer programs.“Google has this really cool thing called ‘My Google Maps’ and if you know how to export and import data there is a lot of stuff you can do with it,” he explained.He gave an example where he plotted all of August’s fire incidents thus far (as of Aug. 8) and their corresponding response times. This allows him to see how long it takes the department to respond to a call from dispatch to on-scene. The matrices he looks at include chute time, which is the time from dispatch to out the door, and response time, which includes chute time plus the time it takes from the station door to the scene of the incident.“I use all this data so when the Board of Selectmen asks, ‘what do you need, how are things going? Do you need more ambulances; do you need more people?’ I can share this information with them,” Parenti said.The map indicates where they make the most calls. The data is especially useful when new businesses are thinking of moving into town.“I look at these and say what kind of impact will these businesses have? This allows me to share with the board or whoever wants to know what kind of impact a new business is going to have on our services,” Parenti remarked. “I have a program that I use from Firehouse Software that I’ve used for almost 20 years now and it’s our records management system. We can extract so much data….”The Firehouse Software program, working in conjunction with My Google Maps, also allows him to see what kinds of problems there are in the community. For instance, he might see that there have been a lot of falls by seniors so he could call the Senior Center to initiate a fall prevention program.He said that in 2019 everything is data-driven and he has the data to back up what resources his department needs and why.“I’m a data geek, but I’m an accurate data geek,” Parenti explained. “Response times are critical items for us to look at, chute times are critical, where we are spending a lot of time such as what is our on-scene time and what is our turnaround time at the hospital. Can we improve that? All of these things we need to look at to improve our service to the people.”last_img read more