This video shows an autonomous robot minigolf system that uses physics-based motion planning to automatically devise control solutions for never-before-encountered problems. Planning and control is performed by an off-board computer with a global dual-camera overhead vision system. Carnegie Mellon’s Soccer-Playing Robots Get Creative With Physics-Based Planning (w/ Video) Citation: US soccer robots get new algorithm for RoboCup 2010 (w/ Video) (2010, June 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-soccer-robots-algorithm-robocup-video.html Physics-Based Motion Planning with Tactical Models. This video shows simulated physics-based motion planning examples in several challenging domains, including robot minigolf, robot soccer, and pool. The mini-robots are under the control of a computer watching the action via camera above the playing field. Without the physics algorithm the computer tries to position the robots on the ball but does not make any predictions of the ball’s movement. With the algorithm this weakness is addressed, and the robots can now be moved into a position where the ball is predicted to go, which improves the skills required. The computer is able to make up to 60 decisions per second.Carnegie Mellon will also enter a team of humanoid robots in the Standard Platform League. The humanoids walk on two feet and can speak and use landmarks to determine their positions.The robots can also be used for other games such as mini-golf (video below), but soccer is the game of choice because of the constant changes in the environment and because of the cooperation required between players. The algorithm could also have a more practical use in helping robots fight fires, taking into account factors such as the type of trees and the effects of the wind.RoboCup, which has been running since 1997, is the largest robotics and artificial intelligence event in the world attracting competing teams from countries such as the US, Brazil, Japan, and Iran. 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. This video shows a goal scored by our team CMDragons at RoboCup 2009. The attacking robot uses a novel dribbling behavior which employs randomized, physics-based motion planning to make tactically sound navigation decisions while remaining in full dynamic control of the ball. Explore further The American robots, developed at the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, use a new physics-based algorithm that takes into account ball dynamics, and enables the robots to calculate where the ball is most likely to go next instead of simply reacting to the ball or following the US team’s previous strategy of using pre-programmed plays (similar to a strategy in American football).Stefan Zickler, who wrote his PhD thesis on the algorithm, said previous robots could not tell when they would lose control of the ball when carrying out maneuvers such as dribbling, but the new algorithm helps them make such predictions, and this gives them a distinct advantage over robots without the algorithm. (PhysOrg.com) — The World Cup is gaining the most attention at the moment from soccer fans around the globe, but next week RoboCup, the annual world championship for soccer robots, gets underway in Singapore. RoboCup’s goal is to develop autonomous humanoid soccer-playing robots capable of beating the best human players playing under FIFA rules by 2050, and American researchers think their new robots will take that aim a step closer. * Stefan Zickler’s webpage: szickler.net/index.php?sid1=266* www.robocup.org/* www.robocup2010.org/* Carnegie Mellon’s Soccer-Playing Robots Get Creative With Physics-Based Planning More information: Physics-Based Motion Planning for Robot Soccer Dribbling. Zickler and colleagues tested an earlier version of the algorithm at last year’s RoboCup, and their robots were highly successful until the quarter finals, when a disastrous glitch left the robots blind and dashed their hopes of a win. Professor of Computer Science, Manuela Veloso, believes this year’s team of five miniature robots, CMDragons, will be more successful, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette she doesn’t “see any reason why we won’t win”. © 2010 PhysOrg.com
Month: August 2019
Photograph of the ammonite Asteroceras obtusum taken by Dlloyd. The specimen is from the Jurassic Lower Lias Formation, Obtusum Zone. Image: Wikipedia. Explore further Giant Skull of 12m Pliosaur ‘Sea Monster’ Unearthed in England Citation: Ammonites were probably eaten by fellow cephalopods (2010, December 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-12-ammonites-eaten-fellow-cephalopods.html (PhysOrg.com) — Fossilized ammonites found with bite marks in similar places on their shells suggest they were eaten by other cephalopods such as beaked squid, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society. 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. More information: Fatally bitten ammonites from the lower Lias Group (Lower Jurassic) of Lyme Regis, Dorset, by Chris Andrew et al. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society , 58, 81-94. doi:10.1144/pygs.58.1.276 © 2010 PhysOrg.com The ammonites were invertebrate marine creatures living in shallow waters less than 100 meters deep. They became extinct around the end of the Cretaceous period, and are thought to be the ancestors of the modern-day cephalopods, which include squid, cuttlefish, nautilus and octopus species. They are the best preserved and most widely found fossil around the world, and are recognizable by their spiral shells. They were predators themselves, feeding on a variety of fish, mollusks, and even other cephalopods, but little is known about ammonites as prey.Around a fifth of the ammonite fossils found on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset in the UK have what appear to be bite marks in an area near the back of the shell where muscles would have held the shell in place. A bite at this point would have severed the muscles and allowed the body to be drawn out of the shell.Any predator producing the bite marks would need to have been precise, and must have been capable of grabbing hold of the ammonite and manipulating it into the right position for the kill. One of the authors of the paper, Paddy Howe, a geologist with the Lyme Regis Museum, said modern cephalopods are perfectly capable of the kind of adept behavior required, and a beaked squid could certainly be the culprit, since the bite marks are consistent with a beak.Another possibility is a gas bubble between the body and the shell, but as Richard Edmonds of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site points out, this is a much less likely explanation. Depressions made in this way would be expected to contain crushed shell, but Mr Edmonds said he had never seen a fossil like that. Shell fragments would also be expected if the marks were made after the animal had died, and the marks would not all be in the same place on the shell.The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site covers over 150 kilometers of coastline in the UK counties of Dorset and East Devon, and is an area well-known for ammonite fossils and many other fossils from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological periods.
Karen Gleason, a chemical engineering professor at MIT, along with graduate student Miles Barr and others, showed that the technique could be used to print solar cells on a variety of delicate materials. One example is rice paper, which is used to make spring rolls in restaurants and usually dissolves in wet processes. Since the researchers’ technique is a dry, solvent-free process, the rice paper remains intact. The researchers also demonstrated the technique on plastic Saran wrap, which repels water and would normally be difficult to coat.The new method, called oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD), involves spraying a vapor of a monomer and an oxidizing agent onto a substrate. The monomer and oxidizing agent polymerize when they meet and form PEDOT plastic. The plastic itself is conductive, but the conductivity can be further increased up to 1,000 times by controlling the substrate temperature so that small nanopores form, which can be laced with highly conductive silver particles.The printed solar cells can also withstand a great deal of bending and stretching with minimal effect on their properties. In tests, the researchers bent a printed plastic substrate to a radius of less than 5 mm more than 1,000 times, and found that its efficiency was still 99% of what is was before bending. The electrodes could also be bent and stretched, and still retained their conductivity. To further demonstrate the method’s robustness, Barr folded a piece of paper printed with solar cells into a paper airplane, and showed that the device still generated a current.MIT Professor Karen K. Gleason explains how graduate student Miles Barr folds a solar cell into a paper airplane. The research is part of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center. Video credit: MIT.As the researchers noted, paper is not typically considered a good substrate for photovoltaics because it’s not transparent. However, the ability to print solar cells at low-cost on flexible, stretchable materials could be very useful for making solar cells more widespread. Since the technique can also be used to print other electronic devices besides solar cells, it could be used for novel applications such as printing electronics on fabric and other flexible displays. To demonstrate how a new fabrication technique can print solar cells on extremely thin, flexible materials, researchers from MIT have patterned solar cells onto ordinary toilet paper. While toilet paper may be an unlikely substrate for practical solar cell applications, it illustrates the versatility of the technique for low-cost printing on a wide variety of materials. Explore further Xerox Develops Silver Ink for Cheap Printable Electronics After printing solar cells on a piece of paper, researchers folded the paper into an airplane to demonstrate that it could still generate current. Image credit: Karen Gleason, MIT. More information: via: IEEE Spectrum © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: Researchers print solar cells on toilet paper, other delicate materials (w/ Video) (2011, January 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-solar-cells-toilet-paper-delicate.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.
November Qbo 2011 video Always posing the question what-if, Francisco Paz and his Madrid based team, The Corpora, developers of the Qbo, work with Qbo as a robot project. The accent is not on robots with human consciousness but on robots with simulated consciousness. Nonetheless, always asking the question what-if, they posed a teaser for themselves.Now that they got the robot to recognize itself in the mirror, what about when one Qbo is faced with another Qbo, stacking them both with sensors and recognition software? © 2011 PhysOrg.com Kilobots bring us one step closer to a robot swarm Explore further More information: thecorpora.com/blog/?p=854 The Qbo is generally described as open source; it runs on Linux, has two cameras with stereoscopic vision and uses recognition software.They developed bots that talk to each other through Festival, a speech synthesis system, and Julius, a speech recognition engine. In their latest Qbo scenario, a green Daniel123, unaware that a Jane might be on life’s table, is told by its master to turn around, and that is when it encounters blue Jane 234. Daniel appears to be aware that Jane is a Qbo. Daniel and Jane sniff each other out, so to speak, by being programmed to generate nose flashes, to distinguish that there is another individual robot.The sniffing explanations make it tempting to imagine that the robots are independently flirting. The danger is to attribute human consciousness to robots that are not designed that way. Daniel may be able to understand it’s Jane, not himself, in the mirror, but only because it has been programmed that way by a clever human.The Corpora team is the first to dispel any magical human consciousness. They detail what makes Daniel and Jane see each other as separate, but approachable, on the team blog:“Inspired by this process of self-recognition in humans, we developed a new ROS [robot operating system] that is executed when the node “Object Recognizer,” previously trained, has identified a Qbo in the image. Using nose signals to see if the image seen by the robot matches its action, a Qbo can tell in real time whether he sees his image reflected in a mirror or he is watching another Qbo robot in front of him. The sequence of flashes of the nose is randomly generated in each process of recognition, so the probability that two robots generate the same sequence is very low, and even lower that they start to transmit it at the same time.” (PhysOrg.com) — Qbo robots created a stir recently when their developers succeeded in demonstrating that a Qbo can be trained to recognize itself in the mirror. Now the developers have taken their explorations into simulated consciousness a step further. A pair of Qbo robots, colored differently but still two Qbo entities, can recognize each other. Just as human earthling Harry met Sally, Qbo Daniel can meet Jane and they can exchange similarly empty-headed conversation. Citation: Close encounters: When Daniel123 met Jane234 (w/ video) (2012, January 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-encounters-daniel123-met-jane234-video.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.
Samsung tablet concept shows a see-through, bendable future (w/ video) Citation: Pinch interface can link displays of multiple screens (w/ Video) (2012, November 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-interface-link-multiple-screens-video.html Explore further © 2012 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A research group from Tokyo gives new meaning to the word pinch—newer than a notion of gripping two pieces of skin, or throwing a little salt into a stew, or, of course, referring to a multitouch gesture for touchscreens, but not only that. They have worked up a Pinch interface that puts the user into another display environment where screens serve as visual-display tiles, working together. Even if your smart device screens are of different sizes, the Pinch interface allows them to join forces, resulting in one single display, like a slick, if out of joint, tile puzzle. Pinch is an interface that connects the displays from multiple touch devices and it is under development by a research group at the Tokyo University of Technology. When the user places a thumb and index finger on two adjacent screens and pinches, the screens link up. The screens can be lined up freely, vertical or horizontal. The connected devices share each other’s position and screen size via Wi-Fi. Devices with different-sized screens, such as smartphones and tablets, can go together to form a display interface. According to Takashi Ohta, Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Technology, who appeared in a video demo, “This Pinch interface we’ve developed is used to create applications that make devices react when they’ve both been pinched, so they work together. In the case of a graphics application, when the devices recognize they’ve been pinched, they can show the whole picture as if it’s on one screen.”He said that Pinch can be the foundation of a musical experience, where you connect the different devices you have horizontally, with the result that “you could keep playing music for a long time.” Ohta sees Pinch as enabling “fun” communications, where people gather, place their devices next to one another, and communicate ideas and images in novel ways. Other avenues, too, could include mobile music, advertising, and photo-sharing experiences.The Pinch team said it was offering Pinch to developers, hoping they could “do something with it.”In 2010, Ohta co-wrote a paper that cast some light on the present research. In that paper, titled “Automatic configuration of display ordering for multi-display environments,” Ohta and Jun Tanaka said, “We designed and built a system that configures the information of how displays are arranged as a multi-display environment. The system automatically matches the physical location of displays and network addresses. It uses a web camera for capturing a real-time video to observe each display to flash its screens one by one. The timing and relative locations of the flashing screens are recognized using an image processing technique. Furthermore, the correspondence of the displays and the network addresses can be deduced from these data.” The team concluded, based on their results, that the “system works perfectly, with various configurations of display dispositions.” 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.
Taaq, which stands for Thermal and A Quarter, was formed by three Malyalees in Bangalore 15 years back. Over the years, they have carved a niche of its own amongst the many rock bands in India. Now, having played all over India, and also in the US, UK, West Asia, China and southeast Asia and having released four studio albums and several singles, Taaq was in the Capital to launch their fifth studio album — Three Wheels Nine Lives — at Hard Rock Café. The three Taaq members — Bruce Lee Mani, Rajeev Rajagopal and Prakash KN — started it of as a college band in 1996. Since then, Taaq has been known to deliver unforgettable, immersive musical performances. Talking about the new album Rajeev says: ‘There is no single theme for the album. It’s a mixed bag. It’s a pretty massive album with 28 songs.’ ‘This album is one of the largest bodies of work created for one album. The songs deal with various subjects starting from adventures one has on getting into an auto rickshaw and the meter problems we all face, which unites us all Indians,’ he added. The band members say that they have never let the legacy of Bangalore city drain out of their music system in spite of the many Western instruments they might play. ‘Outside India, our music is known to be exotic and not Western. In India, people think if we are playing rock that means aping the West. But none of us have ever been trained in Western instruments or music,’ explains Rajeev. The band played numbers from their new album. Delhi is known to have their largest fan base, so they didn’t want to disappoint them by playing only the old numbers. Viva la Bangalore, we would say!
Even though the Prime Minister has championed importance of labour in India’s long march to progress and has wielded a new mantra ‘Shramev Jayate’ in his arsenal of verbal quick fixes to economic woes, it seems the government is in two minds when it comes to reconfiguring labour relations in the country. On the one hand, it is diluting MGNREGA and moving funds to make the scheme more capital intensive than labour intensive. However, on the other, it has brought in significant changes in the draft Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill 2014, released by the ministry of labour and employment recently, that look to reduce the red tape and make it easier to obtain jobs in the unorganised sector. Also Read – Working on improving tiesWhile it is making a single comprehensive law to take care of small factories employing less than 40 people, freeing it of various complicated laws such as factories act of 1948, industrial disputes act of 1947, there’s a flipside to the proposed legislation. It is also taking the small enterprise sector out of the purview of important legal safeguards such as the minimum wages act of 1948, the payment of bonus act of 1965, the maternity benefit act of 1961 and the employees compensation act of 1923. Unless the comprehensive law gives equal credence to these crucial clauses, which attempt to bring in a semblance of parity and justice in the much-skewed employer-employee relations, how can we say that the newly introduced changes are reformist in nature? Also Read – Political parties and our RepublicWhile digitisation and forming a unified labour portal are commendable moves, bringing in transparency, accountability and portability in labour inspection and job circuit, what does the scheme say about minimum wages or guaranteeing employment? As PM Modi stresses on skill development and improves accessibility to vocational training in lieu of white-collar jobs, why is he also inclined to take away safety nets that ensure at least hundred days of employment for the rural poor? It seems the PM is shifting the state gaze from rural unorganised sector to its urban counterpart. Moreover, digitisation and technologies of better record-keeping, while extremely important to ensure transparency, will not guarantee increase in minimum wages or better working conditions, particularly in smaller factories. How does the new law plan to combat ritual flouting of safety norms and hazardous conditions in our industries?
Kolkata: St. Xavier’s University is planning to set up a Sports Management Academy for various academic courses on sports and also some short term training programmes in this field. University authorities will soon write a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging her to allot a piece of land, measuring around 10 acres near the second campus of the university in New Town.Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St Xavier’s University said: “We have a plan to set up a sports management academy in the city for which we would soon write to the Chief Minister requesting her for a piece of land. It would require a 10-acre of land for constructing a full-fledged sports management academy.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsStressing the need of a sports management academy, he said proposed academy would offer various undergraduate and post-graduate courses on sports management. It would also impart training on physical education. This is a unique initiative taken by the premier institution. This is probably for the first time that a private institution is coming up with an idea of constructing a sports management academy. It may be mentioned that the State government had allotted a plot of 17-acre in New Town where the second campus of the university has come up. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSt Xavier’s University will start MBA course at the Xavier Business School (XBS) under the university on its New Town campus from August this year. It has already obtained approval from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). It will be a full time residential course, offering specialisations in Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Systems & Operations. The permission has been given for two sections with sixty students each. The state-of-the-art, smart and air-conditioned class rooms and amphitheaters are ready. The process of enrolment for the candidates has already begun. The institution is also going to start five new undergraduate courses including Bachelor of Management Studies, BA (Hons) in English, BA (Hons) in Mass communication, BA (Hons) in Economics, BCom Hons. The post-graduate degree courses which will be introduced this year are MCom, MA in Mass Communication, MA in English, MA in Economics, Master of Social Work and MBA.There is also a plan to set up a community college where six month certificate courses and one year diploma programmes will be run in the vocations. As a part of ‘Vision 2025 of St Xavier’s University,’ a law school will also be set up on New Town campus.
Kolkata: The body of an unidentified middle-aged man was found in a drainage channel at Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas on Sunday morning. Police said locals who went out on a morning walk noticed the body and informed the police. Policemen from the local police station went to the spot. After preliminary investigation, police found injury marks on his body.Police have initiated a probe in this connection and they are trying to identify the man. They have spoken to the locals to know whether they had seen the man earlier in the area. They are also trying to ascertain whether there is any foul play behind the incident or he received the injuries when he fell in the drainage channel. Police have contacted adjacent police stations to get the identity of the man.
Kolkata: Ramchandrapur, a village in Purulia has become a well known name in Bengal because of Netaji Eye Hospital, a non-profit super specialty hospital set up by one of the close associates of Subhas Chandra Bose has served thousands of poor and tribal people.The hospital is being run by Sri Sri Bijoykrishna Ashram Relief Society, a charitable organization. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has given a plot of land to them to set up an eye hospital for people coming from economically challenged background at Sarsuna Satellite township. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsA five-storeyed (G+4) building is coming up at the site to house a 100 bed super specialty eye hospital. The Society is already running a 25 bed mini eye hospital next to the proposed super specialty hospital.The high quality of treatment has attracted patients from the neighbouring states of Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand. At a time when the cost of eye treatment is going up and is beyond the reach of a common man, the Netaji Eye Hospital stands out like an oasis for those coming from economically challenged background. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSwami Asimananda Saraswati , one of the close associates of Netaji founded the hospital in Purulia in 1953 and named it after his mentor Netaji. In one of the trips to Purulia in the early 1940s, Subhas Chandra had told Swami Asimananda to do something for the blind as blindness was a major disease in Purulia because of poverty.The 250 bed rural based hospital has attracted patients from all over Bengal and some neighbouring states because of the dedication and state of the art method of treatment. Daily 400/500 patients, on an average, are visiting the out patient department (OPD) which is absolutely free. However, during the peak season , the number of patients crosses 700 per day. In the in-patient department of the hospital, 75% of the beds are meant for free patients. The hospital has an Eye bank cum Cornea Keratoplasty unit. There are seven operation theatres and dedicated speciality clinics, Cornea and vitro retinal services along with low vision aids, contact lens and other support services.There are outreach camps and screening camps held throughout the year. In the past 5 years, a total of 4,56, 269 patients were treated in the OPD while total surgeries performed 40,961 during this period. The hospital has its branches in Durgapur, Bankura and a project is coming up at Asansol. All these centres are meant for poor people who cannot afford costly treatment.
Ram-Mat, a seminar cum dance presentation that explores range of perceptions on Ram and Ramatva that have now come to denote various qualities, some far removed from the virtuous embodiment which Rama had come to denote in earlier times. The presentation will also talk about The Veil, part of all cultures, where the concept of veiling is inseparable from its multiple related and unrelated expressions reconstructing symbols with great force. The show will be held on April 27 – 28 at Meghdoot theatre. The first day of the show will see a panel discussion on the subject of Ramatva by panelist like — Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami (Director, Caitanya Prema Samsthan), Ashok Vajpayi (poet, essayist, critic) and Mehru Jafer (author). Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The discussion will be followed by dance performance by Padmashri Guru Shovana Narayan on Kab Aogey Rama featuring new perception on three aspects from the Ramayana and which was first premiered in 1984.The second day will have panel on the subject of The Veil by Pavan K Varma, Rakshanda Jalil and Arshiya Sethi. Narayan will be presenting short emotional and evocative delineation of The Veil (a short story by Ismat Chugtai). When: April 27 – 28Where: Meghdoot Theatre
Two people including a bus driver died while five others were injured in a road accident on Yamuna Expressway on Tuesday. Police said that the victims met with the accident when a roadways bus, coming from Agra with dozens of passengers, hit
About 115 patients, who fell ill after ammonia leakage from a gas tanker on Saturday, are still in hospitals across the district even as authorities assure that the situation is “under control.” GK Singh Dhaliwal, officiating deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, said 213 people were hospitalised, after the gas leak in Doraha. Of these, 115 patients are still admitted in 10 hospitals of the district. Their condition is said to be stable, he said, adding that the remaining patients have been discharged. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI”Twenty-three patients are admitted in Civil Hospital Ludhiana, 23 in Christian Medical College and Hospital, 17 in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, one at Fortis Healthcare Hospital, 23 in SPS Apollo Hospital, one at Civil Hospital Payal, five at Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital, five at Civil Hospital Sahnewal, one at Civil Hospital Khanna and 16 at Ivy Hospital Khanna,” Dhaliwal said.”To make sure the victims get proper treatment and there is no panic like situation, Senior Medical Officers (SMO’s) and Duty Magistrates have been deputed for full time in all 14 government-run hospitals of the district till further orders,” he said. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThree help desks have also been set up at Doraha, Khanna and Payal, which would be monitored directly by the area SDM’s, he said.The DC urged the area residents not to panic because the situation is “under control” and all the patients in different city hospitals are now stable and would be discharged soon.He said that the Punjab government would be bearing all expenses incurred on their treatment.
Kolkata: All India Trinamool Youth Congress president and party’s MP Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday said the Trinamool Congress is ready to go for elections any time and is confident of winning comprehensively.Addressing a public rally at Rash Math in Baruipur as a preparatory meeting for the mega Brigade rally of the party scheduled on January 19, Banerjee said: “You have to ensure that the communal forces cannot rear its ugly head at any booth in South 24-Parganas district. Let us unite to drive them out. We are ready for the elections, be it today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow and we will be giving a befitting reply to them (BJP ) in a manner that they cannot be traced even with a microscope.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeBanerjee reiterated that the Brigade rally will deliver the clarion call to oust the BJP from the Centre in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Drawing similarities between Netaji and Mamata Banerjee, he said the latter’s battle cry “Delhi Chalo” is a reminder of Subhas Bose’s slogan. Abhishek maintained that several national leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Stalin, Shatrughan Sinha, Farooq Abdullah and others will attend the rally to strengthen Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s political fight to show the exit door to the BJP and establish a secular government at the Centre. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call of Achhe Din has proved to be a far cry. The good days will come only when the government at the Centre is toppled. The price of LPG will come down to Rs 500 and the diesel price will be at Rs 50 a litre,” Banerjee said. He also took a dig at the BJP which had planned to bring in leaders from other states in Bengal for political meetings. “They are bringing leaders from Delhi, party workers from ‘agencies’ and decorators from Ranchi and are claiming to win seats in Bengal. Isn’t it ludicrous as their leaders are completely ignorant of the rich culture of the state,” Banerjee said. Abhishek was also critical of the Prime Minister’s huge spending on publicity campaigns. “He had spent more than Rs 10000 crore for publicity but has deprived the country. All the promises made by him have been exercises in futility,” he maintained. Abhishek also took the opportunity to slam the BJP’s plan of Rath Yatra programme in Bengal. “In the name of Rath Yatra, they have brought a 7-star AC luxury bus from Delhi. We have heard of Rath Yatra of Shri Jagannath and Shri Krishna. But in the name of Rath, they will be riding a luxury bus. “They cannot compete with us in terms of development. We have fulfilled the promises that we made before coming to power,” he said.
Someone once quipped that the “universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle” and devoted book readers know it too well. Any of the (sadly-diminishing) tribe would be familiar with responses of wonder over the fact that they manage to read even a modestly-long work in a day or two. Wonder what these amazed people would make of a book termed a “doorstopper”? “Doorstoppers” are books so thick and heavy that they can be used to keep doors open – or even be a literary weapon, literally. The irrepressible TVTropes.org, which also suggests they can be a substitute for barbells or an opportunity for orthopaedists, says “Proper Doorstoppers” (also known as “Tree Killers”) should be over 500 pages at least, with a normal typeface – at least 10 point. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfA distinction needs to be drawn with “Omnibus” editions, which usually bring a trilogy, or complete works of an author into one. While technically a “doorstopper”, they are not, for this term is for one particular work, which per TVTropes, “can and will cause massive muscle fatigue when reading while holding the book in your hands”.While religious scriptures – or their exegeses – dictionaries, encyclopaedias, most textbooks, especially computer programming, accountancy, biology, et al, are doorstoppers, let’s see some notable examples from both classical and popular literature. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThough English has some of the most well-known examples – Charles Dickens, Margaret “Gone With the Wind” Mitchell, J.R.R. Tolkien (save “The Hobbit” and “The Silmarillion”), J.K. Rowling (“The Order of the Phoenix” onwards), the phenomenon is present in literary traditions across the world – Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, among many others and much old.Marcel Proust’s “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (“Remembrance of Things Past” or “In Search of Lost Time” now, 1913-27 in French) about his childhood and adulthood experiences in late 19th century/early 20th century France, holds the Guinness records title of longest novel with its one and a half million words. The author was still adding to it and revising the last three volumes at the time of his death, leading to the possibility it could have well emerged longer. However, Mark Leach’s “Marienbad My Love” (2013), about a tortured (mentally) author on a desert island reaching out to a married ex-lover to help him produce a science fiction film, claims to be the world’s longest novel, with over 17 million words, over 10,000 pages across 17 volumes. The novel’s title is itself 6,700 words long, it contains a 4.4-million-letter noun as well as a three million-word-long sentence.Persian poet Ferdowsi’s “The Shahnameh”, about Iranian history from the world’s creation to the Islamic age, in an abridged English prose translation runs close to 1,000 pages and, according to the introduction, a current full English verse translation is nine volumes long. Japanese epic “The Tale of Genji”, varies by language and translator, but one copy is 1,090 pages long. And many classic Chinese novels are in the 2,000-page range – Luo Guanzhong’s 14th century epic “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, about war, turmoil, and bloodshed in the eponymous period (188-280 AD) runs to over 2,300 pages.So does the 16th century “Journey to the West” about Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s pilgrimage to India to study Buddhism and obtain accurate copies of religious texts and the exploits of his three supernatural co-travellers and protectors, especially “The Monkey King”, while Cao Xueqin’s 18th century “Dream of the Red Chamber”, about the decline of a noble family is shorter – at only 1,800-odd pages.Russians were quite famous for this At 1,200 pages, Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, about Russian nobility before and during Napoleon’s invasion, is a prime example, while Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” is well over 500 pages and “The Brothers Karamazov” anything between 720 to 1,013 pages, depending on the translation. It must, however, be noted that the authors were paid by the page.French authors too remain masters – Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”, is affectionately called “The Brick” by its admirers, and has a detailed description of a crack in the wall, through which a character looks, spanning a page and a half – in the condensed version.Indians too figure, with Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy” being over 1,500 pages and Vikram Chandra’s “Sacred Games” at around 1,100.Though, technology has now enabled even a huge doorstopper to easily fit on a light, handy, smartphone or e-reader, determined bookworms from the dawn of publishing to well into the 20th century – and even now – never hesitated to carry around weighty tomes on journeys, to work and otherwise, giving the phrase “active readers” a whole new meaning. Whoever says book reading is a lazy activity, should try to read these.
P.C. Chandra Goldlites Diva hosted the first cluster finale of the 2018 season on Sunday evening at Srijani Auditorium, Durgapur, in presence of a star-studded jury. Celebrated actor Chaiti Ghoshal, renowned photographer Ashish Saha and S.S Chatterjee, GM, Sales and Administration, P.C. Chandra Jewellers were present on the occasion. As the evening started, 20 contestants – the winners from the districts of Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia – walked the ramp in western wear and introduced themselves, followed by an ethnic round. From there, contestants were picked for the final Q&A round. Nine winners (three from each district) from this cluster finale received gift vouchers from P.C. Chandra Jewellers. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAs a run-up to this event, the Goldlites DIVA contest was taken to the colleges in the three districts where willing candidates were registered. The fourth edition of this much-anticipated pageant was started with a series of intra-college contests. The winner from each campus came to the next round, Cluster Finale along with the Wild Card entrants. Winners from each cluster finale will then compete in the semi-final, which will be held in Kolkata. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveStarted in 2014, the PC Chandra Goldlites Diva is not simply the search for a pretty face, but also a journey that changes the life of a young woman, enabling her to achieve her inner potential. It is a platform for young girls that gives them the confidence to bring out the Diva that is hidden within them. This year, in its fourth edition, the PC Chandra Goldlites Diva 2018 has now spread across West Bengal, attaining registrations in around 80 colleges covering all the districts. The young girls are given lessons on how to walk on the ramp, public speaking, lessons to hone their special talent and learn something new. Therefore, the ultimate focus is holistic personality development of every individual participant. The Goldlites Diva winner will be one of the faces of P.C. Chandra Jewellers’ future communication.
Kolkata: Coming down heavily on the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned the party against spreading hate politics and in the same breath, urged people to preserve the country’s unity and integrity. She was addressing a gathering at Mahamilan Math of Jay Guru cult at Baranagar on Monday evening.”From time immemorial, the rishis in India had talked about religious harmony and peace. It is our tradition to love and respect the people belonging to other religions, cults and faith. Our parents, teachers and elders have taught us to respect our neighbours irrespective of their faith and religion. But over the years, things have changed in India. In the name of religion, hatred is being propagated and attempts have been made to weaken the society by spreading divisive messages,” she said, adding: “At times I become scared and ask myself whether we can save the country’s unity and integrity.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataRecalling her experience in Puri, the Chief Minister said: “Some people belonging to a political party had raised slogans that I was not a Hindu and tried to prevent me from entering the temple. I was shocked. This is not Indian culture and tradition.” Without naming BJP, she warned the party and said in India the motive of dividing the country would not work. “Who are they to decide how I should dress, what I should eat or which religion I should follow? In the name of protecting cows, people were lynched. This is not Hinduism. This is the religion of some hooligans,” Banerjee added. Referring to ‘sanatan dharma’, Banerjee said: “Humanism and harmony are the basic tenets of Hinduism. Religion is intimately connected with service (seva) and when you offer service you do not see the person’s religion, caste or creed.” Contd on P7
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) announced a stipend for Hindu priests across Kolkata on Tuesday. The Kolkata mayor, Firhad Hakim in his announcement at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said that as many as 49 Hindu priests working in seven burning ghats in Kolkata will be given a stipend of Rs.380 per case of death. This Rs.380 per case will be for performing last rites for each of the deceased person. “There are certain Hindu priests who only conducted last rites. They had no fixed stipend and would depend on whatever the deceased’s family would offer.So on per case basis, we will provide Rs.380 to them,” said Hakim. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHowever, this scheme will only be applicable for those residing in Kolkata and not cover those residing in other parts of Bengal. On being asked whether KMC can roll out any new schemes during the election period while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in place, Hakim said, “The scheme was decided much earlier than the elections, but the announcement was made today.” Interestingly, when the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government came to power in 2011, it announced a monthly stipend of Rs.2000 for each of the Muslim clerics across the state. The announcement faced a major backlash as opposition alleged that the government and the party – Trinamool Congress was trying to appease the minority community through this scheme.(With input from DNA)
Are you always in a mood to tease your better half? Then there is good news. A new study suggests that couples who poke fun at each other, indicating humour, are more likely to stay together. The study showed that inside jokes are particularly important because they affirm ones relationship through laughter, the Daily Mail reported. However, couples who share mean-spirited jokes with nasty jibes are unlikely to last, which indicates a problem in the relationship. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security,” said Jeffrey Hall, Associate Professor from the University of Kansas in the US. “Particularly shared laughter is an important indicator of romantic attraction between potential mates,” Hall added. The team examined more than 150,000 participants to determine how important humour is in a romantic relationship. The results, published in the journal Personal Relationships, suggest that couples who create humour together – including inside jokes – are more likely to last. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveBut, this does not mean that people who are funny or can make a joke out of anything would be more lucky in love. “If you share a sense of what’s funny, it affirms you and affirms your relationship through laughter,” Hall was quoted as saying by Daily Mail. However, couples should not go too far, Hall warned. Importantly, having an aggressive sense of humour is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if this style of humour is used in the relationship, the study noted.
Popular music has gradually become angrier and sadder over time, and the expression of joy has declined, a study has found. While music fans preferred joyful songs during the 1950s, modern music consumers are more interested in songs that express sadness or anger, researchers said. Data scientists at Lawrence Technological University in the US used quantitative analytics to study the change in lyrics of popular music over seven decades, from the 1950s to 2016. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”The change in lyrics sentiments does not necessarily reflect what the musicians and songwriters wanted to express, but is more related to what music consumers wanted to listen to in each year,” said Lior Shamir, from Lawrence Technological University. Research analysed the lyrics of over 6,000 songs of the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ in each year. In the past the songs were ranked mainly by record sales, radio broadcasting, and jukebox plays, but in the more recent years it is based on several other popularity indicators such as streaming and social media to reflect the changes in music consumption. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe tones expressed in each song were analysed by applying automatic quantitative sentiment analysis. Automatic sentiment analysis associates each word or phrase in the song with a set of tones that they express. The combination of the tones expressed by all words and phrases of the lyrics determines the sentiment of that song. The sentiments of all Billboard Hot 100 songs in each year are averaged, and the average of each year allows to measure whether the expression of that sentiment increased, decreased, or remained constant. The analysis showed that the expression of anger in popular music lyrics has increased gradually over time. Songs released during the mid 1950s were the least angry, and the anger expressed in lyrics has increased gradually until peaking in 2015. The analysis also revealed some variations. Songs released in the three years of 1982-1984 were less angry compared to any other period, except for the 1950s. In the mid 1990s, songs became angrier, and the increase in anger was sharper during that time in comparison to previous years. The expression of sadness, disgust and fear also increased over time, although the increase was milder compared to the increase in the expression of anger. Disgust increased gradually, but was lower in the early 1980s and higher in the mid and late 1990s. Popular music lyrics expressed more fear during the mid 1980s, and the fear decreased sharply in 1988. Another sharp increase in fear was observed in 1998 and 1999, with a sharp decrease in 2000. The study also showed that joy was a dominant tone in popular music lyrics during the late 1950s, but it decreased over time and became much milder in the recent years.