Gitam students develop wireless gadget to test, replenish farm soil


Gitam students develop wireless gadget to test, replenish farm soil

VISAKHAPATNAM: At a time when the Narendra Modi government has been pitching for ‘Make in India’ and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu for a smarter state, a group of students from Gitam University in the city, which calls itself the ‘Think Tank’, has smartly combined technology with agriculture to design a gadget that can help boost agricultural production.

The gadget utilises wireless networks to not just identify moisture and nutrient content in the soil but also helps pump in adequate water and nutrients into the soil if necessary. The prototype was tested at the Regional Agricultural Research Station at Anakapalle.

While the group spent around Rs 25,000 on building the prototype, they feel it can be sold for Rs 15,000 if mass produced. They have already presented the prototype to the Electronics Corporation of India Limited so that they can develop it into a workable commercial model.

The breakthrough product also bagged the best technical paper award at the international conference on ‘Operations management and industrial research’ at Dubai. The paper titled ‘Optimising irrigation systems by using wireless network arch to increase crop yield’ was presented by Shyam Tenali, a third-year industrial engineering student from Gitam, and his classmate Ganti Subhash. The other members of the group are S Sree Moudgalya, a third-year ECE student, and K Bhaskar, S Vishnu Vardhan and Subhratyo Jyothi Maitra from other streams of engineering.

Explaining the manner in which the prototype functions, Shyam said, “The agricultural field is first mapped into grids and the sensor electrode is installed in the soil to check the moisture and nutrient content. The data is then relayed to the main motor by the field sensor, after which it is analysed. Depending on the analysis, if there is a dearth of moisture or nutrients, the requisite amount of moisture (water) mixed with the requisite quantity of nutrients is pumped back into the soil.”

The group members pointed out that the idea behind the project, which uses drip irrigation methods, is to make sure that water and nutrients are not wasted as they are when regular flood irrigation methods are used.

The project was taken up by the group over a year ago and since then they have made several technical paper presentations over the last six months, after which they were selected to represent India at the international conference in Dubai.

Course on stress management


Course on stress management

VISAKHAPATNAM: Mental health experts in the city have decided to hold a diploma course for parents, teachers, and nurses. The diploma course covers as many as 18 topics focusing on stress management.

Similarly, Aashadeep Foundation, an NGO, was formed in the city on Sunday to create awareness among people on depression and suicide prevention. HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao launched the NGO.

Mental health experts said depression is fast turning into a lifestyle disease and even adversely affecting children. “Very often depression goes unnoticed. It’s becoming a chronic problem leading to suicidal tendencies. Given the situation, there’s need for creation of awareness,” they said.

Aashadeep Foundation director V Hari Lakshmi, who is also a professor of psychology, said teachers and parents will be trained to identify depression and other mental ill health symptoms in the early stages. “The aim is to remove stigma for mental health problems and treat them in the same way as physical problems by trained professional counsellors,” she added.

Meanwhile, Psyacademy and Counseling Services (PACS) said it will help develop psychological skills through knowledge and training. The academy will offer a diploma and an advanced diploma course for the benefit of the common man.

Experts say depression goes unnoticed leading to suicidal tendencies.

 

Fulbright fellowship


Fulbright fellowship

The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) is conducting an annual competition for availing Fulbright-Nehru and other Fulbright fellowships. The Fulbright programme offers opportunities in the United States that enrich fellows’ academic, research, teaching and professional capacity. The U.S.-India bilateral Fulbright agreement has resulted in a significant increase in the number of scholarships awarded each year.

USIEF alumni have demonstrated strong leadership in all fields, including agriculture, arts, business, education, environment, humanities and social sciences, public health and science and technology. Outstanding Indian students, academics, teachers, policy planners, administrators and professionals are encouraged to apply. USIEF expects to offer approximately 90 Fulbright-Nehru fellowships to Indian applicants in 2016.

Fellowship details are posted on the USIEF website http://www.usief.org.in.

Deadline for filling the application is July 1.

Applicants can also contact the USIEF offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata or Mumbai for more information.

 

A mix of knowledge and entertainment


A mix of knowledge and entertainment

Students of JNTU Hyderabad at their annual festival ‘Spoorthi’. –Photo: by arrangement

Students of JNTU Hyderabad at their annual festival ‘Spoorthi’. –Photo: by arrangement

Spoorthi – the national Techno-Cultural symposium conducted by the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, JNTU Hyderabad, was a felicitous mix of fun, frolic, entertainment and academics that attracted large number of students offering them a platform to compete with their peers in a number of events.

The fest tested students’ knowledge in the Electronics and Communication Engineering domains and events like Matlab, Circuit simulation, Digi Logics, C coding, paper presentation, technical and business quiz and projects among others.

Students came up with innovative ideas in projects and the technocrats proved that they were no way inferior to others in cultural and entertainment events.

The guest lectures by eminent personalities from the industry added the academic value.

Students also showcased their skills in movie-making.

 

Meet on ‘Innovative Management Strategies’


Meet on ‘Innovative Management Strategies’

Actor Nara Rohith performing a few dance steps with a student after inaugurating the programme ‘ASHV-15’ at Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science (MITS), Madanapalle. –Photo: by arrangement

Actor Nara Rohith performing a few dance steps with a student after inaugurating the programme ‘ASHV-15’ at Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science (MITS), Madanapalle. –Photo: by arrangement

Madanapalle Institute of Technology and Science (MITS) conducted a two-day international conference on ‘Innovative Management Strategies’ under the aegis of its Department of Management Studies last week.

Technical sessions

The event, which was interspersed with technical sessions, paper presentations and informative debates, deliberated upon innovation, in which experts roped in from academia and industry played an active part.

Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) Chairman L. Venugopal Reddy spoke on the need for innovative management strategies in various sectors of the economy and also explained about the country’s struggle for quality education in schools, colleges and universities.

Andhra University professor K. Sambasiva Rao, IBM Deputy General Manager P. Sasidhar, NCR Corporation General Manager Phani Kumar and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha Registrar C. Uma Shankar referred to the global management practices towards achieving excellence.

Spirit Sense (Austria) professor Edwin Zappe, San Jose State University (USA) Biomedical Chemical and Materials Engineering professor Claire Komives, J.S.S. Karasburg Lordsville (Namibia) motivational speaker Lusia Ndahafa Nghitotelwa were among the other speakers.

‘ASHV-15’

Meanwhile, a mega event ‘ASHV-15’ began on the campus on Friday in which popular actor Nara Rohith turned out to be the star attraction.

B. Venkat Sandeep

in Tirupati

 

Living my LSE dream


Living my LSE dream:

The intellectual enthusiasm of his co-students stimulated debates and engagements, writes ISSAC JAMES MANAYATH.

Issac James Manayath.

Issac James Manayath.

For a social science student, studying at the London School of Economics (LSE) is like living a dream. LSE has an exceptional reputation in the realm of social sciences.

Signing up at LSE, for me, was an induction into a whole new mode of learning. The most interesting aspect of the system is that you’re allowed to choose the subjects that you want to pursue rather than accepting what is imposed. To be frank, tailoring a curriculum, given the vast number of courses on offer, felt like mixing a custom-made salad. However, the process becomes a bit strenuous, considering the fact that there are a large number of relevant and equally fascinating subjects on offer and your kitty can hold only four full units. So, you are required to narrow down your interests and confine yourself to the ones that you are truly passionate about. Thus, in the first few days, I spent a great deal of time pondering over my options.

Academic life

Once my course choices were finalised and approved by the department, I got to know my schedule and began organising myself. Thus began the real academic life. Here, the classes are very interactive and seminars, including debates and discussions, are an integral part of a student’s schedule. After registration, students get to access the catalogue of relevant reading material for each seminar session. This service is available throughout the academic calendar on “LSE Moodle” (LSE’s Online Resource Centre for students). One is required to find time and critically engage with these materials (sometimes overwhelming in number) and evolve a perception, which is then put to test in subsequent discussions and debates where he/she meets contradictory viewpoints that challenge perceptions.

Often, what brightens the classroom atmosphere is the intellectual enthusiasm of LSE students which prompts them to engage one another in debates to sort out their differences. In my observation, this is the central pillar of the LSE pedagogy. The pursuit of a dialectical approach “to know the causes of things” is the motto of the institution. Further, the professors use various means in their tool-kits to test your reasoning acumen, which quite often involves introducing a crisis to which you’re asked to respond. That requires an evaluation of all the available alternatives in search of the best one.

In marked contrast to the system that is followed in India, the western approach is, to a great extent, based on ‘critical engagement’ of the academic material. One is expected to probe all aspects of a given issue before treading a line of argument, which is then required to be substantiated with proper reasoning and analysis.

Moving out of classrooms, one can find a variety of extracurricular activities to suit his/her interests. The LSE Student’s Union caters to the needs of the diverse student body, providing the much-sought-after counselling and advice, which are invaluable during the first few weeks.

The writer is pursuing M.Sc. in History of International Relations at the London School of Economics.

 

The rising tide @ MOOCs


MOOCs are all set to revolutionise education. How is this going to happen?

MOOCs have been a popular topic in the education industry for the past few years. As we stand in the midst of this decade, it’s encouraging to evaluate how the online learning industry has grown and to predict future trends.

MOOCs have clearly been a game-changing initiative, and I see an overwhelming response from learners across all ages keen to engage more with online education. MOOCs have the potential to create massive prospects and opportunities for students, employers and educators. They are not only bringing education to more people, they are also tailoring the learning experience to meet the needs of tomorrow’s students, universities and employers. As colleges and universities see the impact of MOOCs on learning, we’ll see more blended classrooms incorporated into the curriculum. We’ll see student satisfaction levels rise, along with professors who will be freed to spend more time to collaborate with students and on research.

Game changer

We’ll also see the educational system become more efficient and deliver better outcomes for the investment; all of this aggregating to a reduced skill gap. Some of the major trends that I expect will continue in the online learning space include:

More and more free MOOCs will allow for increased access to high-quality education. Students worldwide will have access to virtually any course subject in just about any language.

MOOCs will continue to deliver a personalised learning experience through evolving interactive technologies. Students will be presented with multiple learning pathways to navigate courses that fit specific learning styles and speeds.

Credentials will be reborn. Traditional credentials valued today will diversify, moving beyond the college degree as employers increasingly accept certificates for MOOC courses.

The blended model will continue to rise in popularity. College campus coursework will combine in-person and online learning; a shift driven by student demand for the convenience and effectiveness of online learning.

Leveraging online courses, higher education will occur not just over four years, but a lifetime. Students will become continuous learners, cultivating new skillsets throughout their careers.

In the near future, MOOC certificates will transfer to course credit in similar ways as AP credits and transfer credits.

MOOCs will be our new textbooks. These new “textbooks” will also include videos, game like simulations and interactive exercises, helping to enrich and expand the learning experience.

Increasingly, MOOCs will help better prepare students for college. Students and colleges will use MOOCs to help close the college readiness gap and ensure students are prepared for their next level of study.

MOOCs will be used in building professional capacity as well. Employees will be encouraged to take online courses with self-assessment preparedness tests in specific skill sets when hired. Additionally, professionals will use MOOCs to keep pace with emerging trends and technologies.

Growing institutions, especially in developing nations, will aggregate existing MOOC courses into synthesised programmes. These ‘digital dormitories’ may augment online learning by also providing students with a campus like experience. Educators have long known that each student is an individual, with unique needs, talents and goals. And, we are in an exciting time as education is evolving to meet new student needs while maintaining its goals and mission.

The writer is the CEO of edX.

As colleges and universities see the impact of MOOCs on learning, we’ll see more blended classrooms incorporated into the curriculum.

A step forward


A step forward:

Students came up with several innovative and realistic methods to maximise out reach facilities for amputee rehabilitation at the University of Strathclyde’s MIT Mukti Challenge.

Winners:Praneeta Konduri and Srinidhi Ragunathan.

Winners:Praneeta Konduri and Srinidhi Ragunathan.

An intracollegiate competition that was designed to test the mind, the Strathclyde MIT Mukti Challenge was conducted by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland for students pursuing their final-year B.Tech. in Biomedical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology. Praneeta Konduri and Srinidhi Ragunathan emerged winners.

The participants were expected to summarise their views on the current facilities for amputee rehabilitation in India, provide innovative and realistic methods to maximise outreach and also propose new strategies to achieve the same. “We proposed a scheme that would considerably increase the outreach, especially in the rural areas. We focussed on the administrative aspects and explained new methods of manufacturing prosthetics and orthotics in order to offset the cost of establishing this system,” says Praneeta, while Srinidhi adds, “To show the implementation of this scheme at the State level, we even provided them with an example. The competition was quite challenging as we were given just a weekend to develop and summarise our ideas.”

Learning experience

Both got the opportunity to visit the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Strathclyde for a week, and spent the next week at The Mukti Clinic in Chennai. “The first week was a classroom programme, where we learnt about designing prosthesis and orthotics. We were taken on a tour of the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics (NCPO) and the Bio-Engineering Department of the university. We also had the opportunity to interact with firms like Taylarmade, Ossur and LL Prosthetics and Orthotics,” say the winners. They were also taken on visits to research facilities like the AFRC (Advanced Forming Research Centre), DMEM (Design Manufacturing and Engineering Management) Design Suite and GAIT Analysis Labs. “We were provided with an outline of the strategies and schemes that Scotland adapts to provide rehabilitation facilities to amputees. This project provided an amalgamation of technical and managerial aptitude,” says Praneeta.

At Mukti, the students helped the NCPO students in manufacturing splints and prosthesis for the patients. “The foundation caters to a section of the people who cannot afford high-end prosthesis. Those who work here are extremely selfless, committing themselves to such a noble pursuit and it was great working alongside them,” says Srinidhi.

After their enriching experience, Praneeta wants to pursue a master’s degree in medical image processing and eventually work in the field of diagnostics while Srinidhi is looking at studying image processing or prosthetics and orthotics.

How to make Apple Swan


This is the collection from the creator

 

GREAT VIDEO … LIKE AND TWEET

 

Who says Facebook is a waste of time


Inderjit Vasudevan Moorthy, Karthi Sekar and Sorav Jain are not just social media users, they have made a career out of it

Making social media workSorav Jain and Karthi Sekar (on the right).Photo: Ashokarsh

Making social media workSorav Jain and Karthi Sekar (on the right).Photo: Ashokarsh

What if someone told you can make a living out of Facebook? Or that the more time you spend on various social networking sites, the richer you can get. Take for instance, the cases of Inderjit Vasudevan Moorthy, Karthi Sekar and Sorav Jain — a former TV producer, a gym owner and the third, an alumnus of Leeds University. They understood the influence of social media marketing and are now experts at it.

From multi-million dollar corporate companies to the store next door, it’s a tool everyone is investing in. Even celebrities and politicians hire professionals to make sure that their Twitter and Facebook pages are always abuzz. The job of the social media manager is not only to draw attention to their client’s social media profiles, but also keep visitors engaged with them. More importantly, ensure that the visitors return regularly. These three men were like any other users of social media till they stumbled upon the business aspect of it. And now it gets them their bread and butter.

Sorav Jain, 27

Many of us may have forgotten Orkut, but Sorav owes his career to the site. “I started at 17 when I was a student at Loyola College, Chennai. I used to work as a content writer and was learning about Search Engine Optimisation. This area caught my fancy. Orkut was the first social networking site that I started with. I was an Orkut addict,” says Sorav. He joined a start-up after he returned from the U.K., where he studied international marketing management. “That was when I started blogging. The directors of a Spanish personal branding company approached me after reading my blog and asked me to join them on their board of directors.  I was too young to handle that and I gave them the option of outsourcing their needs to me. This inspired me to quit my job and take the big leap,” says Sorav, who started Echovme, a digital marketing training and services firm. “I now employ 15 people and we have clients like Cashkaro.com, Bosch India, Kay: The Fashion Bay and more. We also work for politicians and celebrities,” he says. He has also published a book titled Social Media for Business: Stories of Indian Brands .

Karthi Sekar, 40

Karthi was looking to promote his gym and yoga studio when he discovered the potential of the social-media business. “My friends noticed the presence of my enterprises online and started asking me for tips. Soon I was helping them out,” says Karthi, who started Brand Width in 2011. He works out of Alwarpet in Chennai and handles clients such as Udhaiyam, KGS Developers and Kaizen.

The scope of online marketing is vast and each site reaches a specific group, he says. “I was working for this NGO that required volunteers in rural areas. That entailed taking a break from their job. Most of the volunteers were foreigners. I decided to tap LinkedIn for Indian volunteers. We soon had the desired output,” says Karthi, who asserts that one has to be on the lookout for opportunities and update knowledge to make social media a successful business proposition.

Inderjit Vasudevan Moorthy, 31

A high-school dropout, this entrepreneur never let that tag affect him. He worked as a producer with a TV production company. A regular on Facebook, he saw many people use the site as a medium to vent their ire about Chennai. He decided to start a fan page, ‘I Love Chennai’, for the city he loved. “I remember inviting two of my cousins, the next thing I knew I had more than 100 followers. I started updating pictures, uploading articles celebrating the spirit of the city and uploading multimedia content. In no time, I had over 1,000 likes for the page. I started the page last May; by August I got my first sponsor. Our display picture had their logo,” says Inderjit.

That page is now called ‘My Chennai’ and now has 477,489 fans. He realised its impact and began exploring the social medium further. He came across the Chennai Traffic Police page on Facebook and noticed scope for improvement. “I met the (then) Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Sanjay Arora. He was more than happy to help. Soon, a team was formed and we started reworking the page,” he says.  Today, it is one of the best maintained pages where action is taken immediately on complaints. He manages the page now.

Inderjit’s Ikebana Consulting has clients, including the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu and Chennai Metro Rail. A team of 11 people work with him. “This industry is still in its infancy. A lot more can be achieved because it connects people directly with clients,” he says.

 

Pictorial book on Shivaji launched in UK


Facsimile of a special 25A pictorial book on Maratha warrior Shivaji, containing 100 paintings by an Indian tribal artist, has been released in the House of Commons here.

Historian Babasaheb Purandare presented a copy of the book – Shivaji, the Real Hero , a brief insight into the life of Shivaji Maharaj – to leading NRI Labour MP Keith Vaz at an event in the Churchill Room of House of Commons last night.

Speaking on the occasion, Vaz, Chairman of the Britain’s Home Affairs Committee, said he would order a copy of the book and keep it in the Library of the British Parliament so that MPs and Peers could have a glimpse of the rule of the Shivaji.

In his speech, Purandare suggested that the 88–page book should be published in all Indian languages.

He observed that there is a lack of enthusiasm among readers to buy books on erstwhile Indian rulers.

Shivaji, the Real Hero is the first book from the trilogy on the great Maratha ruler and it contains 100 paintings by artist Brijesh Mogre from Palghar in Maharashtra.

In his Foreword, Purandare wrote, “Brijesh Mogre’s unique conception of historical caricatures of Shivaji Maharaj is indeed an unparalleled form of Modern Art! He has handled the presentation of this unique art with meticulous proficiency and finesse.”PTI

 

Happy mothers day


happy mothers day to my mother – including all mothers in

my Area – my town-my city-my district-my state-my country & my globe.

 

It is a great privilege for feminine world … giving birth and made the human saga continues.

Requesting and appealing all mothers to forgive for any sort of mistakes made by us and we re praying the god to give ” MUCH MORE HAPPY LIFE TO YOU FOR EVER….”

” GOD MUST HAVE BORN FROM A WOMAN’S WOMB “ …. What a great thing it is …. be proud being a mother.

 

“without you i may not able to dare to say that i am here @ beautiful world… love you mother… Happy mother day…”

Reason behind Mothers Day:

On the second Sunday in May, American children of all ages treat their mothers to something special. It is the one day out of the year when children, young and old, try to show in a tangible way how much they appreciate their mothers.

England was one of the first countries to set aside a day to recognize mothers. In the eighteenth century when many people worked as household servants for the rich, “Mothering Sunday” was reserved for them to return home to be with their mothers. Though this custom stopped when the Industrial Revolution altered the working and living patterns of the people, one Sunday for Mothers was established as a holiday in the twentieth century.

In the United States, Mother’s Day did not become an official holiday until 1915. Its establishment was due largely to the perseverance and love of one daughter, Anna Jarvis. Anna’s mother had provided strength and support as the family made their home in West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her father served as a minister. As a girl, Anna had helped her mother take care of her garden, mostly filled with white carnations, her mother’s favorite flower. When Mrs. Jarvis died on May 5, 1905, Anna was determined to honor her. She asked the minister at her church in West Virginia to give a sermon in her mother’s memory. On the same Sunday in Philadelphia, their minister honored Mrs. Jarvis and all mothers with a special Mother’s Day service. Anna Jarvis began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and a year later every state celebrated it.

On Mother’s Day morning some American children follow the tradition of serving their mothers breakfast in bed. Other children will give their mothers gifts which they have made themselves or bought in stores. Adults give their mothers red carnations, the official Mother’s Day flower. If their mothers are deceased they may bring white carnations to their grave sites. This is the busiest day of the year for American restaurants. On her special day, family members do not want Mom to cook dinner!

ANY WAY… HAPPY MOTHER DAY – team  local2globe.

 

Back & will give more info


Dear all,

sorry for not updating the blog since few days and now i am back will continue the same passion and try to give more info

Thanks for your support

local2globe team

pretty in pink


Photo: Vivek Bendre

Brown-headed gull.Photo credit: BNHS Photo Library

Photo: Vivek Bendre

The flamingos arrived to a rousing welcome from Mumbaikars…

They love the sun, feed on algae, and are pink! The flamingos are back in Mumbai for their annual migration.

Thousands of flamingos have flocked to the brackish water at Mumbai’s Sewri-Mahul mudflats, after having flown all the way from Gujarat. The birds that breed in Kutch, Gujarat, migrate to Mumbai every year to escape the winter. This time around it is estimated that around 20,000 flamingoes have paid their visit to Mumbai. This area, besides a few others in Mumbai, are rich in algae, insect larvae and diatoms which the birds love to feed on.

To watch this spectacle and learn more about the city’s seasonal visitors, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) along with Mumbai Port Trust organised the Flamingo Festival.

Mumbaikars flocked to see the sight of a thousand pink flamingos that looked like dots on a sprawling brown plain, set against a harsh backdrop of smoke and steel structures — a chemical fertilizer factory, two oil refineries and a thermal power plant.

Make friends

At the festival, there were several BNHS bird experts and volunteers who spoke about the birds and their migration to the visitors. The children especially seemed to love the binocular and spotting scopes that were available to get a closer view of the elegant birds. There were also other activities organised like face painting, tattoos, measure your span against that of birds like Indian Bustard and Siberian Crane, which turned the event into a carnival.

“Public engagement is essential because when people observe nature first-hand it is always exciting. And through nature education, opinion-building occurs among the public which then leads to conservation,” feels Atul Sathe of BNHS.

For brothers Waqi and Eibaad Quereshi of Stds VI and VII respectively, this was their second visit to the Flamingo Festival. They say they love the sight of so many birds at once in one place and have learnt a lot about the flamingos as a result of their visits. What do they like most about the birds?

“Their colour!” they say in unison.

some facts…

l The flamingos can be spotted in Mumbai between December and May

l Two species of flamingos migrate to Mumbai — the Greater and Lesser Flamingos

l Lesser flamingos: Dark-red bill that looks black from a distance; has red iris and facial skin; deep rose pink on head, neck and body. They breed in Gujarat.

l Great flamingos: Long and thin neck; pale pink, black-tipped bill. They are winter visitors to India, said to arrive from Siberia, and breed in Gujarat.

l Their migration to Mumbai was first observed by Mumbai Port Trust employees around 15 years ago.

l Other water birds that belong to mudflat habitats can also be spotted like White-bellied Sea Eagles, four species of egrets, three species of herons, two species of cormorants, plovers, kingfishers, gulls, terns, sandpipers and more.

l The Sewri-Mahul mudflats has been declared an important bird area by BNHS. There are 422 important bird areas in India as identified by BNHS out of which 26 are in Maharashtra.

How old is the moon?


can u guess…How old is the moon?

Mr. Moon:Guess his age.Photo: V. Raju

 

A discovery by an international team of planetary scientists has revealed that the moon was formed nearly 100 million years after the start of the solar system. The moon’s age is defined on measurements from the interior of the earth combined with computer simulations of the proto- planetary disk from which the earth and other terrestrial planets formed. The team of researchers from France, Germany and the US simulated the growth of the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) from a disk of thousands of planetary building blocks orbiting the sun. By analysing the growth history of the earth-like planets from 259 simulations, the scientists discovered a relationship between the time the earth was impacted by a Mars-sized object to create the Moon and the amount of material added to the earth after that impact. This is the first ‘geologic clock’ in the early solar system history that does not rely on measurements and interpretations of the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei to determine age.

IANS

Man in Spain helps shark give birth.. Must to read.


Man in Spain helps shark give birth…

A blacktip shark.fILE Photo: Reuters

A man in Spain has done a ‘good deed’ not many can boast of — he helped a shark give birth to a total of ten babies on a local beach.

Antonio Calvillo was driving to work one morning when he saw something thrashing around on the beach in Fuengirola in southern Spain.

“I thought it was a stranded dolphin but when I made my way over, I realised it was a (Blue) shark,” he said.

He called emergency services and then decided to try and drag the animal out to sea by the tail “because it seemed tired, but not injured or hurt“.

A married couple who were passing by also offered to help him.

“But while (the shark) was thrashing about we noticed a little tail coming out of its stomach,” Calvillo told the newspaper La Opinion de Malaga.

When the rescuers realised the animal was giving birth, Calvillo applied pressure to its stomach. He did so until the creature had given birth to around ten babies, ‘The Local’ reported.

They little sharks then swam back towards the sea.

“My first thought was that if something happens to the mother at least the babies will live,” Calvillo said.

Two local Civil Guard officers then arrived to help drag the exhausted shark back into the water. Eventually the mother shark recovered enough to be able to swim out to sea unaided.

“I’ll never forget this amazing experience,” Calvillo said.

Blue sharks are seen regularly in the waters off Fuengirola. They are considered dangerous because there have been recorded attacks on people by this species of shark.PTI

Man become Doctor in order to produce a shark give birth.

Try again


Try again….

Try, a lesson you should heed,

Try, try and try again,

If at first you don’t succeed

Try, try, and try again.

Once or twice though you fail,

Try again

If you would at least prevail

Try again.

If we strive, it is no disgrace,

We may not win the race

What should we do in that case?

Try again.

BY UN KNOWN AUTHOR….

A story of “Jack and Jill and Old Dame Gill”


A story of “Jack and Jill and Old Dame Gill”.

There’s more to the popular rhyme, “Jack and Jill went up the hill . . .” than the verse we all know

It was printed in a book with the title,  Jack and Jill and Old Dame Gill , in 1806 by J Aldis, a publisher based in London. The author of the work remains anonymous. The original spelling and capitalisation have been retained in the following transcript of the original:

JACK and JILL,

Went up the hill,

To fetch a pail of water,

Jack fell down,

And broke his crown,

And Jill came tumbling after.

Then up JACK got,

And home did trot,

As fast as he could caper;

DAME GILL did the job,

To plaster his nob,

With Vinegar and brown paper.

Then JILL came in,

And she did grin,

To see JACK’S paper plaster,

Her mother put her,

A fools cap on,

For laughing at Jack’s disaster.

This made JILL pout,

And she ran out,

And JACK did quickly follow,

They rode dog Ball,

Jill got a fall,

How Jack did laugh and hollow.

The DAME came out,

To know all about,

Jill said Jack made her tumble,

Says Jack I’ll tell,

You how she fell,

Then judge if she need grumble.

DAME GILL did grin,

As she went in,

And Jill was plagu’d Jack, O!

Will Goat came by,

And made Jack cry,

And knock’d him on his back, O!

Now JILL did laugh,

And JACK did cry,

But his tears did soon abate,

Then Jill did say,

That they should play,

At sea-saw a cross the gate.

They sea-saw’d high,

They sea-saw’d low,

At length they both did tumble,

We both are down,

We both must own,

Let neither of us grumble.

Then the next thing,

They made a swing,

But JILL set up a big cry,

For the swing gave way,

In the midst of the play,

And threw her into the Pigstye.

The SOW came by,

Says Jack I’ll try,

If I cant ride this prancer,

He gave a jump,

On old sows rump,

But she led him a droll dance Sir.

SOW ran and squal’d,

While JACK he bawl’d,

And JILL join’d in the choir,

Dog Ball being near,

Bit sow by the ear,

And threw Jack in the mire.

Tho’ JACK was not hurt,

He was all over dirt,

I wish you had but seen him,

And how JILL did jump,

With him to the pump,

And pump’d on him to clean him.

Hearing the rout,

DAME GILL came out,

With a horse-whip from the door,

She laid it on Jack,

And poor Jill’s back,

Untill they both did roar.

BALL held sow’s ear,

And both in rear,

Ran against old DAME and hither,

That she did fall,

Over sow and Ball,

How Jack and Jill did twiter.

And now all three,

Went in to see,

To put the place to right all,

Which done they sup,

Then drink a cup,

And with you a good night all.

This is the original format of story of “Jack and Jill and Old Dame Gill”

 

 

5000 take part in “sensitivity run”


5000 take part in “sensitivity run”.

To create a feeling of sensitivity and equality in the minds of young children, over 5000 schoolchildren — along with paraolympic athletes, children with disabilities, skaters, cyclists and NCC cadets– took part in a 3 km run at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Sunday.

The run organised on the occasion of the International Day of Sports for Development as Change Makers was flagged off by ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh in the presence of renowned sports persons like H N Girisha – 2012 London Paralympic silver medallist high jumper and other distinguished sports personalities and guests.

The event was organised by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) and was supported by the Sports Authority of India and Ministry of Social Justice, Government of India.

“We at PCI strongly believe that any change we desire to see in the society should start from our young citizens, our children and youth who bear the burden of crafting a new society on their tender shoulders. A child’s heart is the purest place and we are putting a huge effort to positively influence and bring ample sensitivity in their perception and attitude towards specially-abled and people with impairment,” said president of PCI Rajesh Tomar.

“This entire sports event is designed in a way where we will be teaching and instilling sensitivity in normal children by bringing together normal children and people with impairment, showing them that children with disability can also perform and talking extensively about the issue to them.

This is a small but solid step towards creating the sensitivity in children,” added Tomar.PTI

 

A junk food diet makes you indisciplined


A junk food diet makes you indiscipline.

Does diet has a connection with discipline in your life? Yes. A junk food diet makes you fat and lethargic, and later indisciplined.

A study provides evidence that being overweight makes people tired and sedentary – not the other way around.

“Overweight people often get stigmatised as lazy and lacking discipline. The results suggest that the idea commonly portrayed in the media that people become fat because they are lazy is wrong,” said lead researcher Aaron Blaisdell from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“Our data suggest that diet–induced obesity is a cause, rather than an effect, of laziness. Either the highly processed diet causes fatigue or the diet causes obesity, which causes fatigue,” he added.

The experiment

To understand this, life scientists led by Blaisdell placed 32 female rats on one of two diets for six months.

The first, a standard rat’s diet, consisted of relatively unprocessed foods like ground corn and fishmeal. The ingredients in the second were highly processed, of lower quality and included substantially more sugar – a proxy for a junk food diet.

After just three months, the researchers observed a significant difference in the amount of weight the rats had gained, with the 16 on the junk food diet having become noticeably fatter.

As part of the study, the rats were given a task in which they were required to press a lever to receive a food or water reward.

The rats on the junk food diet demonstrated impaired performance, taking substantially longer breaks than the lean rats before returning to the task.

In a 30–minute session, the overweight rats took breaks that were nearly twice as long as the lean ones.IANS

A watermelon a day…


A watermelon a day…

Could keep BP away

Summer is here, so are watermelons. And it’s important to eat them every day as a new research has found that watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals both at rest and while under stress.

“The pressure on the aorta (largest artery in the human body) and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon extract,” said Arturo Figueroa, an associate professor at Florida State University.

The study focused on 13 middle-aged, obese men and women who also suffered from high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, the group was divided into two. For the first six weeks, one group was given four grams of the amino acid L-citrulline and two grams of L-arginine per day, both from watermelon extract. The other group was given a placebo for six weeks. Participants also had to refrain from taking any medication for blood pressure or making any significant changes in their lifestyle, particularly related to diet and exercise.

“That means less overload on the heart, so works easily in a stressful situation such as cold exposure,” Figueroa said in a paper published in the American Journal of Hypertension. IANS

 

Eat less, live longer


want to live more then “Eat less.. live longer !!

A reduced-calorie diet may be the key to longevity, according to a study

Monkeys on a reduced-calorie diet live longer than those that can eat as much as they want, a research suggests. The findings add to a thread of studies on how a restricted diet prolongs life in a range of species. In the study, which has been running since 1989 at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Centre in Madison, 38 rhesus macaques that were allowed to eat whatever they wanted were nearly twice as likely to die at any age than were 38 monkeys whose calorific intake was cut by 30 per cent.

The same study reported in 2009 that calorie-restricted monkeys were less likely to die of age-related causes than control monkeys, but had similar overall mortality rates at all ages.

“We set out to test the hypothesis — would calorie restriction delay ageing? And I think we’ve shown that it does,” said Rozalyn Anderson, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin who led the study.

Eating a very low-calorie diet has been shown to prolong the lives of mice, leading to speculation that such a diet triggers a biochemical pathway that promotes survival.

But what that pathway might be — and whether humans have it — has been a matter of hot debate.

Another 2012 study at the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Bethesda, Maryland, cast doubt on the idea, reporting that monkeys on low-calorie diets did not live longer than those that ate more food.

“Are we seeing health benefits? Yes, but I do not know that we are necessarily seeing survival benefits,” said Julie Mattison, a physiologist at the NIA.

Two key factors — the composition of the diet and the feeding regimen — could account for the different results.

But according to Anderson, the new findings are good news. “I have no doubt the results will be relevant to how we are treating people in geriatric clinics 10 years from now,” she emphasised in the study published in the journal Nature Communications .

IANS

 

Helping hands


Helping hands

A boy harvesting mustard in a field on the outskirts of Delhi.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

A boy harvesting mustard in a field on the outskirts of Delhi.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

slim and style……….


slim and style……….

The contemporary looking Hyosung GD250N is the new addition to the fast-expanding 250cc bike segment

DSK Motowheels’ stall at the recent Auto Expo drew many eyeballs and saw plenty of action, with the company showcasing a wide range of future offerings. Amongst the most interesting new bikes was the GD250N, a pre-production version. Hyosung is confident the GD possesses all the ingredients to take on the competition when it lands in showrooms this April. Can the GD250N prove itself and make a bold statement in our fast expanding 250cc bike segment?

The first thing that you notice astride the GD250N is that the bike feels slim, even compact, with not much bodywork to clutter its naked styling. It uses a set of delectable ten-spoke alloy wheels finished in white, and nifty shrouds mounted on either side of the high tank, which provides good thigh grip. The fuel-filler lid is placed towards one end, close to the rider.

The GD250N comes with decent quality switchgear, adequate palm grips and nice levers, of which only the brake offers reach adjustment. Smart mirrors, likewise, provide a good, vibe-free rear view. The prism-shaped headlight illuminates the road well, and includes a pilot lamp.

There’s a prominent digital display with clearly legible information, including a speedometer, a cascading tachometer with a redline of over 10000rpm, an odometer, dual trip meters, a fuel gauge and a clock.

The aggressive riding posture takes a toll on your wrists and shoulders early on in the ride, intruding on riding pleasure, as you lean low onto the handlebars. The GD250N comes with smart looking machined alloy footrests and an LED tail-lamp.

The GD250N comes with a button-started 249cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine. It’s not as refined as a KTM 200 Duke, and has a claimed power output of 27.6bhp at 9500rpm, with 2.4kgm peak torque coming in at 7000rpm. Though these figures are impressive on paper, the GD does not feel as exhilarating or fast, even when ridden hard, with noticeable vibes setting in after revs rise past 4500rpm. Power is shifted to the rear wheel via an exposed drive chain.

The GD250N rides on upside-down front forks and an offset gas-charged monoshock at the rear. Ride quality is fair and pliant enough despite riding on poor roads. There’s a steel, tubular trellis frame and an alloy swingarm, and the Hyosung bike tips the scales at a light 155kg. This helps it feel agile and nimble, even when being flicked around corners. The GD250N comes with a 110/70 x 17-inch front tyre, and a 150/60 x 17-inch tyre at the rear . There’s a 300mm disc brake in front with a petal rotor, supported by a 230mm petal disc brake at rear, both providing good strong retardation. The GD250N comes with a firm-feeling riding saddle.

Hyosung’s GD250N is a contemporary looking bike, but it doesn’t come cheap at Rs. 2.30lakh (estimated). Despite this, the engine leaves a lot to desire, with performance feeling only adequate . Then there are the fuel-injection issues and a gearbox that’s not very slick to operate.

KARAN NARSU

 

STAY COOL EVEN IT IS HOT


STAY COOL EVEN IT IS HOT

Simple joysIce golas are a popular choice with youngstersPhoto: Nagara Gopal

As the mercury soars, the slurpy gola, thick lassi, tangy pudina paaniand scrumptious falooda are back as refreshing coolers. Ranjani Rajendra explores some popular options

PUDINA PAANI

This popular version of the North Indian Jal Jeera is tangy and refreshing despite being slightly toned down in terms of spice levels. Said to have the goodness of ayurvedic herbs like mint leaves, lime and some digestive masalas, this drink is a great way to beat the summer heat. “It’s very refreshing and I have it every time I pass by a pudina paani vendor. There are a number of carts along the OU and Tarnaka roads that I like to get my glass of pudina paani from,” says Arun Kumar, a student. Right from carts along the OU road to the mini vans in the vicinity of KBR park this drink is quite popular with Hyderabadis.

LASSI

This thick yogurt smoothie is an age-old favourite. Nothing beats the heat like a good glass of sweet lassi, especially if it’s the one with some rose syrup and a generous dose of malai on top. “Needs dhaba in Kundanbagh whips up some really good lassi. It’s one of our favourite places and after parathas we have at least two glasses of their delicious lassi,” says Harshvardhan Khemani, an entrepreneur. Some other popular places are Agrawala in Gulzar Houz and Punjab Sindh in Jubilee Hills.

KULFI

This Indianised and creamier version of an ice cream has been a favourite with everyone regardless of whether they have a sweet tooth or not. “With flavours like kesar pista, mango, malai and strawberry from the friendly neighbourhood kulfi walla to the ones at star hotels, this ubiquitous Indian dessert more than makes up for every kind of summer sweet tooth craving,” says Shruti P., a commerce student, who loves the kulfi from “Delhi ki Mashoor Kulfi cart in Sindhi Colony.”

ICE GOLAS

Popsicles are probably every child’s favourite. But when it comes to ice golas it’s hard to keep even the adults away. With interesting flavours like Kala Khatta, Khus, Rangeela and more these flavoured ice shavings are a huge hit every summer. Little wonder then that there has been a spurt in the number of places selling golas over the last few years. “Sri Raadhe at Abids has some very good ice gola and we love to go there for our share of it. They also have this interesting variant called Khova ice that is a must-try,” says Harshvardhan. Some other popular places include the Go Gola and Snow Gola counters across the city and Dimmy’s Pan store.

FALOODA

The presentation of this dessert probably has more to do with its popularity. With layers of sabja, flavoured syrups, kulfi and seviyan in a tall glass decked up with your favourite toppings and a glaze of your favourite flavoured syrup, it is hard to refuse a good falooda. According to Arun some of the best faloodas he has tried so far are at “Sheetal in Mallepalli and the kiosk outside Garden restaurant in Secunderabad.”

ALSO TRY

 

Nimbu soda : Available on carts across the city they are made sweet or savoury as per your specifications

Sliced watermelon : Nothing soothes parched throats better than a slice of watermelon on a hot summer day

Tender coconut : Drinking some naturally sweet tender coconut water beats aerated drinks any day

Palm fruit : Popularly known as munjal, these are great summer coolers. Pick the tender ones ….. THESE WILL HELP YOU IN ORDER TO STAY COLL EVEN IT IS HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.

 

Life Quotes….


Life quotes:

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.-Matthew Arnold

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. – Albert Einstein

Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible. – Frank Moore Colby

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation – Judith Martin

Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent – Laurence J. Peter

Incompetents invariably make trouble for people other than themselves – Larry McMurtry

The world tolerates conceit from those who are successful, but not from anybody else. – john Blake

The smaller the mind the greater the conceit –  Aesop

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled –  Sir Barnett Cocks

All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others – 

Cyril Connolly

try to follow these life quotes

 

 

 

Your social network and how to use it


Your social network and how to use it.

Visualising your social network will help you to understand your position in the company and whether it is consistent with your short-term and long-term objectives.

Drawing pictures of your personal social network, also known as your ego network, and of the social network in your company could have benefits beyond simply finding out who your friends are.

Fabrizio Ferraro and Marco Tortoriello, associate professors of strategic management at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa at the University of Navarra in Spain, say that, by mapping your networks, you will be able to see more clearly how everyone in your company is connected and where you sit within that matrix.

The simplest form of social graph is to use circles to represent individuals and lines to represent relationships. Relationships could be friendships, alliances, mentorships or exchanges of advice among individuals.

You can get more elaborate by creating a spreadsheet and listing the names of the colleagues with whom you speak the most or have a strong relationship.

You also should consider those individuals who help you to achieve your objectives. These could be people with formal power or authority, informal gatekeepers or opinion leaders whose advice is highly sought. When designing your social graph, ensure that you have visual ways of depicting different relationships and different roles. For example, use thicker lines to show stronger or more frequent connections.

Once you have drawn your social graph, the authors recommend that you analyse the following attributes.

Size

This is the number of contacts you have. In this case, bigger is not necessarily better. The larger your network, the smaller your set of critical connections may be, because it is difficult to maintain efficient, meaningful connections with hundreds of people.

Reach

Do your connections help you to reach different parts of your company, or are they concentrated in only one area? Do you have access to all the areas of the organisation that you need to get your job done? What is the best way to reach the people you need?

Diversity

Diversity of contacts — for instance, in terms of functional background — usually is a sign of a healthy social network. It means that you have contacts from across different areas of the company, such as marketing, finance or operations. Having a diverse social network allows you access to different areas of knowledge and resources. The downside of an overly diverse network, however, is the time required to maintain these relationships.

Density

A dense network is a close-knit set of ties. While this allows less access to varied information and knowledge, it does provide a solid base for cooperative and trustworthy relationships that can help and support you in times of need.

Subgroups and factions

Most social networks are divided into subgroups of some kind. Your company may be fragmented into internally cohesive subgroups that might lack cross-group connections. This means that departments are densely connected but externally disconnected, making communication and collaboration across departments difficult.

Brokers

These are individuals in your network who connect areas that otherwise are disconnected. Becoming one of these brokers is a source of informational advantage and power.

Your social graph also will help you to visualise your position in the company and whether this is consistent with your short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

You may discover paths to an important power broker that you previously had not been able to access. You also may find that you are a broker yourself, connecting areas of the company that would otherwise be disconnected, and that you can use this to your advantage.

© 2014 Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa, IESE Universidad de Navarra

When designing your social graph, ensure that you have visual ways of depicting different relationships and different roles and check  your social network and how to use it.

WW-I Indian heroes to be honoured by U.K.


Indian soldiers who took part in World War I will be honoured by the United Kingdom through a series of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the war this year.

The British High Commission, along with the United Service Institution of India, has planned a series of events to commemorate Indian involvement in the war which began in 1914. “One million Indian soldiers fought the war and over 70,000 Indian servicemen died. We intend to honour their memory this year with an important series of events,” U.K. High Commissioner to India James Bevan told reporters here today. PTI

 

World’s first solar-powered toilet set for India launch


A revolutionary waterless toilet powered by the sun, developed to help some of the 2.5 billion people lacking safe and sustainable sanitation around the world, will be unveiled in India this month.

Designed and built using a $777,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the self-contained, waterless toilet with its innovative technology converts human waste to biochar, a highly porous charcoal. It aims to provide an eco-friendly solution to help some of the 2.5 billion people around the world lacking safe sanitation.

The toilet has the capability of heating human waste to a high enough temperature to sterilise it and create biochar, a highly porous charcoal, said Karl Linden, project principal investigator and professor at the University of Colorado. The biochar has a one-two punch in that it can be used to both increase crop yields and sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

The project is part of the Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” an effort to develop a next-generation toilet that can be used to disinfect liquid and solid waste while generating useful end products, both in developing and developed nations, said Mr. Linden.

 

While the current toilet has been created to serve four to six people a day, a larger facility that could serve several households simultaneously is under design. — PTI

 

Harry Potter fans can soon ride Hogwarts Express


An artist’s rendering, released by Universal Orlando, shows the new Harry Potter area called Diagon Alley.— Photo: AP

An artist’s rendering, released by Universal Orlando, shows the new Harry Potter area called Diagon Alley.— Photo: AP

The new Harry Potter-themed area opening at Universal Orlando Resort this summer will allow fans to ride the Hogwarts Express train and experience the British countryside just as the characters did in the book and movie series. Guests will appear to magically pass through a brick wall and board a train with steam and a whistle, according to a Friday news release from Universal Orlando Resort.

Riders will have two experiences, one on the way to the new London-themed area at Universal Studios Park and another on the way to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. During the ride, characters and magical creatures from the book will be spotted. Among them — Hagrid on a flying motorbike, the Weasley twins on brooms, and the Knight Bus in London traffic. — AP

 

A safety app from BJP for women


In the poll season, the Bharatiya Janata Party is wooing women with the launch of a safety mobile application on Friday. Named Raksha (security), the application allows women to sound an alarm in an emergency.

Conceptualised by party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, it will send out the location even without the user switching on Raksha, with the press of a key. It will create a group of trusted people who can be alerted, besides offering a map view for easy navigation and providing a loud buzzer.

“Even if the Raksha application is switched off and isn’t running, press the volume key for just three seconds and it will alert the contacts you have chosen beforehand. Your exact location is sent to them on a map,” Ms. Lekhi said.

In the prevailing “atmosphere of insecurity, from borders to streets,” this application is very much needed, says the BJP leader.

 

wooing voters


Former Miss India and Aam Aadmi Party candidate Gul Panag interacting with morning joggers in Chandigarh on Friday. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
Former Miss India and Aam Aadmi Party candidate Gul Panag interacting with morning joggers in Chandigarh on Friday. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Gigantic attraction


A large number of visitors arrive at the Begumpet airport to get a glance of the Airbus A380, on the last day of its display, at the India Aviation Show on Friday.— Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

A large number of visitors arrive at the Begumpet airport to get a glance of the Airbus A380, on the last day of its display, at the India Aviation Show on Friday.— Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Life on Edge?


Students travelling perilously on the footboard of a bus on M.G. Road in Vijayawada on Thursday.- Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar
Students travelling perilously on the footboard of a bus on M.G. Road in Vijayawada on Thursday.- Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar

Personality development course


Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence, Hyderabad, will conduct a ‘Personality Development Certificate Course’ from March 16.

For details, call 040-2762 7961

 

 

Better safe than sorry!


Experts share tips on how women should protect themselves at workplace

Over the years, focus on women’s safety at workplace has seen a new facet. Thanks to academicians, social activists, and NGO representatives, who have owned up the responsibility of promoting protection of women against violence at workplace.

This is, perhaps, what the modern woman needs — a workplace where she longs to create a niche for herself, spending long hours.

Apparently, when it comes to safety, there is no proper mechanism in place to seek support and guidance.

Role of ICC

This is where the internal complaints committee (ICC) comes into play. Though we have experts talking at length about its constitution as per the guidelines, several organisations — government and private — continue to function without an ICC.

However, professors in Andhra University Dr. B.R. Ambedkar College of Law share a few tips on how to stay alert when there is a need to spend extra time in the office.

“Today, to be on par with the male counterparts, women have to spend more than 12 hours at the workplace. When there is a need to stay till late in the night, make sure of the conveyance arrangement, rather than travelling on your own,” suggests professor and Chairperson of College of Law V. Rajyalakshmi.

Sharing her views, convener of the Grievance and Redressal Cell, College of Law, S. Sumitra, says, “Keep the audio recorder option on in your smartphone. This helps in recording any kind of indecent conversation of a male colleague. Avoid entering the employer or senior’s cabin alone. Inform your friends and colleagues when you have to spend extra hours in the office. Do not forget to stuff your bag with a pack of chilli powder or pepper spray.”

Being conscious at workplace has become the need of the hour.

Professor in College of Law N. Nirmala says, “It helps in identifying a problem immediately and acting accordingly. When there is a need to work during late hours, keep your family members and friends informed about your whereabouts.”

 

Professors of AU Dr. B.R. Ambedkar College of Law share tips on how women should protect themselves at workplace

 

 

Keeping the tradition alive


Artistes performing at the Folk Dance and Music festival organised in Bhubaneswar on Friday.Photo: Lingaraj Panda
Artistes performing at the Folk Dance and Music festival organised in Bhubaneswar on Friday.Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Sweet spot


Afghan workers prepare 'Jelabi', a traditional sweet, in a factory in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. The war-torn country faces the challenges of poverty, unemployment and a lack of infrastructure.— PHOTO: AP
Afghan workers prepare ‘Jelabi’, a traditional sweet, in a factory in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. The war-torn country faces the challenges of poverty, unemployment and a lack of infrastructure.— PHOTO: AP

Art In Bottle @ Ramesh Raaj.


 chalk carving

Art in a bottleRamesh Raaja with a drawing of Somnathpura temple; (right) chalk carvingPHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

Art in a bottle Ramesh Raja with a drawing of Somnathpura temple,PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

Artist V. Ramesh Raaja’s Seven Wonders of the World are carved out of a chalk

It is your regular Gentamicin bottle but look closely and you will find the Seven Wonders of the World standing pretty inside the bottle. As one wonders how the seven wonders fit into an injection bottle, its creator, artist V. Ramesh Raaja, reveals they are all made of chalk. The Mahbubnagar-based artist-cum-drawing teacher has already made it to the India Book of Records for this piece of wonder.

Ramesh Raaja’s tryst with chalk began with Hyderabad. “I casually carved a Charminar out of chalk and inserted it inside an injection bottle,” he recalls. The appreciation he received for this piece of work encouraged him to think big. “I decided to create something which is universally loved and celebrated all over,” he says. He chose the Seven Wonders of the World and worked on it for three days. “It is not easy to work with a chalk— it is fragile and can break easily,” he says. He created different elements of the seven wonders, delicately bonded them with a fevicol and inserted them in a bottle. “While the bottle’s total height is 3.3 cm, its inner height is 2.25 cm; lid diameter is 0.75 cm and inner bottom diameter is 1.4 cm. You can imagine how careful one has to be while inserting the creations. Among the seven wonders, the statue of Christ the Redeemer was tough to create as the hands, hair and beard of Jesus had to be created separately and joined,” he remembers.

This Gentamicin bottle with its Wonders was Ramesh’s constant companion until he got an entry in the record books. “I used to carry it in my pocket and show it to friends. After the recognition, I realised it is a prized possession and needs to be treated with care,” he smiles.

As an artist Ramesh works with different media like canvas and oil, acrylics, pen and watercolours. His interest lies in traditional subjects like mythology, nature and temples in India. “Fascinated by our culture, foreigners leave the west and come to India to spend some time here. But we Indians are indifferent and neglect our rich tradition,” he rues.

His works Ajantha 19th cave, an exquisite drawing of Somnathpura, Gomateshwara temple, Ekashila ratham are all unique works of art. “The viewer might not notice it but one has to understand the structure well to draw a temple and get its symmetry,” he says. Besides Hyderabad, the artist has shown his works in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Anantapur and Jadcharla. On a parting note he says his dream is to be known as a ‘great traditional artist.’

Sidney Lewis, the child soldier of WWI


The youngest Briton to fight in World War I was just 12 years old — but Sidney Lewis’ identity remained a secret for almost a century until the chance discovery of faded documents revealed his extraordinary story.

The centenary of the start of the war in 1914 has brought official recognition of Sidney’s remarkable journey from an English schoolboy to a fighter on the bloody fields of the Somme.

 

The story began in August 1915, when Britain had been at war for a year. The army was desperate for more men, although it was still reliant on volunteers.

“Boys would have been filled with the patriotism which was amazingly strong at the beginning of WWI,” said Anthony Richards, head of documents and sound at the Imperial War Museum in London.

“There would have been a lot of pressure from their families and friends, and from society generally, to do your bit for the war.”

Lied about age

On holiday from school, the fearless young Sidney decided to take his chances and signed up for the army in Kingston, London.

He lied to the recruitment officer about his age, pretending he was several years older.

250,000 underage soldiers

He was not alone about 250,000 underage soldiers fought for Britain in WWI, according to historian Richard van Emden, author of “Boy Soldiers of the Great War”.

But Lewis was a special case. “How a 12-year-old got into the British army is really beyond belief,” van Emden told AFP.

In a photo from the time Sidney “looked older than his age”, the historian noted.

He also said that recruiting standards slipped as the war progressed.

In Sidney’s case, however, his distraught mother had no idea where her son — one of eight children — had gone.

She found out a year later when a soldier home on leave mentioned that Sidney was fighting in the Somme with the 106th Machine Gun Company.

Horrified, she wrote to the War Office to demand Sidney be sent home, attaching his birth certificate showing he was only 13.

The response was swift. In a letter dated August 24, 1916, an obviously embarrassed army official replied: “I have to inform you that action has been taken.

“The lad will be discharged with all possible speed.”

Unscathed, Sidney returned home, but when he was old enough he re-enlisted in the army and served in Austria following the armistice in November 1918.AFP

N. Korean dictators wrote books for kids?


Researcher finds Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung are credited with fiercely ideological but ‘quite enjoyable’ tales

From Madonna to Barack Obama, celebrities and politicians have long been tempted to dabble in the world of children’s books — but their output pales in comparison to the “ultra” violent tales for children apparently written by North Korea’s former leaders Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung, according to an Australian academic.

Christopher Richardson, who is researching North Korean children’s literature for his PhD at Sydney University, says the late former leaders of North Korea are both credited with writing children’s stories, with Kim Jong-il the apparent author of Boys Wipe Out Bandits, “an ode to the redemptive power of ultra-violence”, he writes in an article published in the International Review of Korean Studies, and Kim Il-sung acknowledged as the author behind the anti-American fable The Butterfly and The Cock.

Foster revolutionary consciousness

Boys Wipe Out Bandits, first published in 1989, is “adapted from a story the Dear Leader ‘one day’ dreamed up as a child himself”, writes Richardson, in which “cultural impurities, capitalist degeneracy, and rampant individualism are defeated by the pure virtue of the collective”.

The story sees a vulnerable village — a metaphor for North Korea — surrounded by enemies: “monster-like creatures” whose captain is “ogre-like”, writes Richardson, with cysts on his shoulder which “emit noxious gas when pierced”. The villagers, in contrast, are “beautifully attired and softly-drawn”, and the story concludes as the children punish the intruders with “merciless violence”.

“As the sun rises, a triumphant [hero] Ye-dong restates the moral of the story, the wisdom of a child declaring that, ‘no matter how formidable they are, we can defeat the enemy when we pool our strength and wisdom and have courage. Let’s build our village to be an earthly paradise’,” writes Richardson.

Employed ghost writers

Although the story was published in his name, Richardson is sceptical about whether Kim Jong-il really wrote it. “Even the publishers in the DPRK maintain a degree of ambiguity about the authorship of these tales, attributing the stories to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, whilst acknowledging they were written down by someone else,” he told the Guardian. “The government thus musters a team of ghost writers whose job is to capture the essence of the leader’s political and literary wisdom, known as ‘the seed’”

The Butterfly and The Cock, meanwhile, is a fable said to have first been told by Kim Il-sung and then written down. It is the story of how a cockerel, intended to symbolise America, sets out to bully other animals, but a butterfly — representing North Korea — steps in.Animated versions

YouTube shows a recent state television animated adaptation of the story, with “some delightfully typical NK-style music at the beginning, singing at the end, ” said Richardson.

A Winged Horse is another children’s story from Kim Il-sung, in which the country is under threat from Japanese invaders, but a child saves the day on a flying horse.

Enjoyable

“I was astounded that children’s books (purportedly) written by Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung were vastly readable,” he said. But “nevertheless, despite the variety of genre and style” in the books, “there always remained that singular unity of intent, reinforcing a consistent political message, national cohesion, ideological purity.— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2014

Stamps used by Nazis to tattoo prisoners found


Rare metal stamps used by the Nazis to tattoo prisoners at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have surfaced in Poland.

A donor insisting on anonymity handed over the stamps to the memorial museum at the site of the World War II-era camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland.

“There are five stamps including one zero, two threes and two sixes or nines,” he said, adding that Auschwitz was the only Nazi German camp to use tattoos to identify prisoners.

The find is rare. The only other known tool to tattoo camp prisoners is stored at the Military Medical Museum in Saint Petersburg, according to the Auschwitz museum.

Where were they found?

 

The stamps were discovered in the “area of one of the evacuation routes” the Nazis used in January 1945 to move tens of thousands of prisoners to the west of Auschwitz as Soviet troops zeroed in on the camp from the east, Bartyzel said.

After invading Poland in 1939, Nazi Germany set up the camp at a former army barracks in the city of Oswiecim, or Auschwitz in German.

It has become an enduring symbol of Germany’s genocide of European Jews. One million were killed there from 1940 to 1945.

The Nazis began using tattoos when other methods of identifying prisoners — including numbered uniforms — failed, Bartyzel said.

The Nazis pressed the needle-studded plates into an inmate’s skin, before rubbing ink into the wound to create the tattoo. They first tattooed chests, then later left forearms.

The stamps will be stored in the museum’s archives before going on display in a few years in a new exhibition.AFP

 

The Nazis pressed the needle-studded plates into an inmate’s skin, before rubbing ink into the wound to create the tattoo. They first tattooed chests, then later left forearms.

GLOBAL AWARD FOR WOMEN ARCHITECTS


Indian architect Shimul Jhaveri Kadri of SJK Architects, Mumbai, won a Special Mention in arcVision 2014, an annual award for women architects. The main arcVision prize was bagged by Portuguese architect Ines Lobo. Kadri and Lobo were chosen from a shortlist of 21 architects representing 15 countries.

Instituted last year by Italian cement company Italcementi, the arcVision award honours the best women in architecture, a profession that worldwide has been less than inviting to women practitioners. A global award of this kind is expected to be reparation for the long neglect, and recognition for some of the truly fantastic spaces that women are creating around the world.

Lobo has worked chiefly on converting pre-existing buildings into areas used for social purposes. She takes old buildings, adds new facets to them, and creates a new and beautiful space. As for Kadri, her Nirvana Film building in Bangalore is justly famous, but she also won praise for projects like the factory in Karur where she integrates local material and techniques to create a global workspace. The ceremony was held in Bergamo, Italy.

 

Get out of the bathroom… Rock the tunes..!!!


 

…And get on to the stage with a wee bit of help from Sunil Koshy. BHUMIKA K. tells you how

How many times have you sung aloud in the bathroom, loving the way your voice sounds, and imagining that you’re singing for a famous actor? Huh? Well apparently almost everyone has. Which is why Sunil Koshy’s From Mug to Mike workshops see so many bathroom singers come out of the closet. Many even make it to the stage.

What started off as a Facebook announcement in April 2013, has brought people together in four cities — Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai and Trivandrum — in over 50 of his workshops branded “From Mug To Mike” in an attempt to get shy bathroom singers on to the stage. “Many of these bathroom singers haven’t told anyone they like to sing,” says Koshy, a software engineer, who sang right from his school days but started learning music formally only after he finished his engineering course. “I thought I was good (at singing) till I started learning,” grins Koshy.

He’s trained in various aspects with almost 50 teachers, he claims. That helped because sticking to one teacher would have only taught him what that one person could teach, he says. He quit his job to live in a gurukul for a year and study music, he returned after sabbaticals to work, and again took breaks to learn and now, teach! Among his gurus he counts R.R. Keshavmurthy, Venkatesh Godkhindi, Faiyaz Khan, T.V. Gopalakrishnan, and Rajan of the Kannada film director duo Rajan-Nagendra.

“I always thought the more number of years you learn music, you’re a better singer. But that’s not true,” says Bangalore-based Koshy. “And you don’t need a classical music background to sing film songs, which is what most people want to do. The whole idea of my workshop is to send across the message that anybody can learn to sing well if they have the passion and some time,” he surmises.

Koshy believes there are a lot of people out there who like to sing, don’t have any formal training, but are willing to sing on stage, and like to be appreciated. He points out that there are any number of karaoke clubs dedicated to Kishore, Rafi, Vishnuvardhan, where people host fellow singers at their homes for karaoke sessions. “Very often there is no improvement in their singing, though they sing regularly, because they haven’t learnt anything. And they believe unless you learn complete Carnatic or Hindustani music, it won’t help.” Learning some technicalities can make you a better singer, he believes. Otherwise most people who sing film songs only blindly imitate the original.

Level One is a six-hour workshop! The question springs to mind, which Koshy says many ask him is “What can I learn in a day?” At his workshops, divided into three levels, he teaches students to recognise a note, improve their music appreciation nuances, introduce them to voice dynamics, how to express or emote while singing, where to pause, or end a now, how to build the stamina to sing, voice culture, how to improve breath control, develop a better voice range and so on. In Level One itself, you get a chance to record in a studio and Koshy analyses you strengths and areas of improvement. “That’s something traditional music teachers will never do,” he points out. “And unless you record your voice and hear it played back, you won’t know your flaws.”

Once you complete all three levels, you get to perform at a stage show he organises. “Most people want to be famous, they want more likes on FB when they put up a music clip or a photo taken in the studio…you may not become the next Sonu Nigam,” he says, talking of what people can achieve at the workshop. Many do come to his workshops hoping to become playback singers. He knew what his workshop wouldn’t be, based on his own experience. “Most workshops I attended assumed you already know something, and are more technical. And if I call it a class, people lose interest,” he smiles.

Such a concept works well in a time when we want instant gratification, where we don’t have patience for years of learning and practise. While musical purists may be appalled by his ideas, Koshy asks a question that will find resonance with people today: “How many people will practise music one hour a day to get better after 10 years?” Koshy says he’s worked with music directors, sung in Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam, and has been a track singer for famous singers like S.P. Balasubramaniam. He’s also made Kannada’s first, and India’s first audio film Reboot , which tells his life story.

Learn more at facebook.com/FromMugToMike or call 9845286308.

 

You don’t need a classical music background to sing film songs

 

See… the secret >The new way to create a billion-dollar company


The way to build a successful company is to adopt a hardware-and-software combination, as the success of companies like Tesla and Nest shows.

At the recent consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, a defining feature underscored the most sophisticated creators of new devices: the platform. The car, the home and the person all linked together in an ecosystem that gives customers a holistic vision of their worlds. We know that the ship, the space rocket, the airplane and the train are all becoming platforms. These industries are looking for entrepreneurs who can take a system-level approach to the total customer experience, building ecosystems around platforms.

What defines an ecosystem or a platform? Well, in a multi-stakeholder world, an industry is an ecosystem. It’s a system with a sense of order and natural allies or camps, but not an inherent hierarchy. Those who organise the economics for those ecosystems are the winners. I call those companies “platforms.”

Vertical integration

Take Harry’s, an Internet shaving start-up backed by hedge fund Tiger Global. It’s not even a year old, but it recently acquired a 93-year-old razor factory near Nuremberg, Germany. They have done this in order to control the entire customer experience, while allowing the company to change its products quickly. There are hints of Zara’s model in their approach.

Nest, the so-called thermostat company, which set out to turn unloved items in your home into objects of desire, recently was acquired by Google for $3 billion. Nest deals with the guts of houses and their pipes, as well as with customer design and user behaviour.

Andreas Raptopoulous, founder of Matternet, is creating a vertically integrated drone company that hopes to be the most loved and inspiring unmanned-aerial-vehicle business in an industry which is feared more often than loved. He aims to create a total customer experience with drones, reimagining the delivery of necessary consumer goods.

What do all of these examples have in common? They are all defined by vertical integration. They are moving to control the entire customer experience and to build an ecosystem for their customers. Raptopoulous is an expert in robotics as well as customer design. This system-level approach, combining hardware and software, is giving his company huge momentum.

There was a time when horizontal tech start-ups, as opposed to vertical ones, were the darling of Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists. Once upon a time the world was centred on personal computers and Wintel, the Windows-Intel alliance, ruled the PC platform. Software was the greatest invention to make people wealthy, because the margins were massive once you sold the stuff. Niches had to be found in the horizontal layers above the operating systems. Nobody dethroned Microsoft until the world started to move beyond the PC.

Infrastructure is a tough place to be, even now. That’s why the technology-platform companies are winning: iPhone & iOS are in the ascendancy, not Vodafone or Telefonica. They leverage the investment that other people are making and organise the economics for the ecosystem. They get the upside without the pain.

The challenge for the CEO of a larger, traditional enterprise, whatever the sector, is to re-imagine the company’s industry as an ecosystem, identify their natural allies and ask what they can do to make their interests work collaboratively and to open themselves to consumer-orientated applications to run over them.

British Gas could have created Nest. British Telecom could have created Skype. Volkswagen or General Motors could have created Tesla. They didn’t, though. They failed to re-imagine their industries as ecosystems, so entrepreneurs did it instead.

The transportation sector is no different. Amazon’s announcement that it was testing drone delivery forced the CFO of every D.H.L., Fedex, U.P.S. and T.N.T. to do two things before Christmas: reforecast their revenue downward from Amazon and look for a dance partner in the drone sector.

Goliath doesn’t anticipate change, much less embrace change. That gives the David the opportunity. In 2003, when I started advising Skype, the CEO of a major incumbent telecommunications company told me that I would lose my shirt with Skype and that it would go bust.

“How fascinating,” I responded. “You’ve decided to underestimate the entrepreneur who disrupted the entire music industry with Kazaa. Let me tell you, he is so glad you are underestimating him right now. You are buying him the time to change the world.”

If you want to build a billion-dollar company, a hardware-and-software combination is the winning formula. The Harrys, Teslas, Nests and Matternets of this world show the way.

Julie Meyer is the founder of Entrepreneur Country Global and Ariadne Capital.

© The New York, Times 2014, © 2014 Insead

 

Working from home can raise productivity


Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University, and graduate student James Liang, who is also a co-founder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call centre the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.

Scott Berinato , a senior editor at Harvard Business Review interviewed Nicholas Bloom on the pros and cons of working from home which emerged from the study. Excerpts:

Should more of us be doing our jobs in our pajamas? Would the performance of employees actually improve if companies let them stay home? Professor Bloom, defend your research.

The results we saw at Ctrip blew me away. Ctrip was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that people working from home completed 13.5 per cent more calls than the staff in the office did — meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office — way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.

And how much did Ctrip save on furniture and space?

It estimated that it saved $1,900 per employee for the nine months.

Lower attrition rates make sense — working from home gives you more flexibility if you have kids and so forth — but how do you explain the productivity increases? Why would people get more done out of the office?

One-third of the productivity increase, we think, was due to having a quieter environment, which makes it easier to process calls. At home people don’t experience what we call the “cake in the break room” effect. Offices are actually incredibly distracting places. The other two-thirds can be attributed to the fact that the people at home worked more hours. They started earlier, took shorter breaks and worked until the end of the day. They had no need to commute. They didn’t run errands at lunch. Sick days for employees working from home plummeted. Search “working remotely” on the Web, and everything that comes up will be super-negative and say that telecommuters don’t work as hard as people in the office. But actually, it’s quite the opposite.

So Marissa Mayer, who famously banned working from home at Yahoo last year, was wrong?

It’s not so simple. There are lots of factors that could lead to such a ban, including a culture where remote workers tend to be slacking because of low morale. Also, we were studying call centre work, which is easily measured and easily performed remotely.

Did workers know they were being measured for productivity? Could there have been a grace period when they were trying to prove that working at home works, after which their efforts tailed off?

That’s an important concern. Ctrip tried to address it by running the experiment for nine months. The positive impact of working from home was pretty constant over that entire period, suggesting that it wasn’t driven just by some initial burst of enthusiasm.

Will knowledge and creative workers also be more productive at home?

The more robotic the work, the greater the benefits, we think. More research needs to be done on creative work and teamwork, but the evidence still suggests that with most jobs, a good rule of thumb is to let employees have one to two days a week at home. It’s hugely beneficial to their well-being, helps you attract talent and lowers attrition. JetBlue allows folks to work as far as three hours from headquarters — close enough to come in now and again but a much bigger radius from which it can draw applicants. When I asked the people at JetBlue about this policy, they said it helped them gain access to educated, high-ability mothers who wanted flexibility in their jobs. The airline believes this policy has improved the quality of its workforce.

Who else likes the work-from-home option?

People who have established social lives — older workers, married workers, parents. We found that the younger workers whose social lives are more connected to the office tend to not want to work from home as much. Right now the employees who spend significant amounts of time working from home are on either end of the income spectrum: solitary, per-hour workers like call centre reps, proofreaders and developers, whose output can be easily tracked; or professionals and senior managers, who presumably are highly self-motivated.

Is there anyone who can’t or shouldn’t work from home?

Absolutely. Not everybody wants to or is disciplined enough to. At Ctrip, it was a self-selected group, so they were all motivated to work from home effectively, and that’s how it should be. Some people opted out after the nine months were up — and they tended to be the poorest performers of the remote workers. They had tried it and figured out that it wasn’t right for them. But the company still ended up with the best, most motivated home-based workforce.

I can see managers resisting these findings because it’s harder to feel in control of remote workers.

It’s in middle management where there’s resistance.

How do you overcome that?

One of the reasons Ctrip did its experiment was to persuade some sceptical managers that flexible work arrangements wouldn’t hinder business performance — to have data that proved the case. I tell executives all the time to exploit natural opportunities — for example, severe weather that prevents people from getting to the office — to measure how productive employees can be at home. Any disruption that offers a chance to have people work remotely is an opportunity to see how effective they are off-site.

Having every employee working from home two days a week sounds chaotic. How do you schedule a meeting?

There are two valid ways to handle the problem: One is to rotate the days at home so that a certain percentage of workers are always in the office. That’s the way to go if you’re focused on saving space and reducing your real estate costs. The other option is to schedule mandatory in-the-office days. That way there’s no confusion about when you can access staffers in person. There are pros and cons to each.

I’m starting to wish I had interviewed you in my underwear while sitting at my kitchen table. Maybe it would have been a better interview.

Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed. But sure, next month, do the “Defend Your Research” interview from home and compare the results. Nothing beats testing.

© The New York Times 2014

© 2014 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp

On helping employees up the ladder


Sheila Talton, chief executive of Gray Matter Analytics,a consulting firm for financial services and health care,says managers shouldn’t hoard their best workers in their own departments, but should help them advance in their careers.

When you were a child, were you in leadership roles?

I was not. When I was younger, I remember being the only African-American in my Brownie troop and Girl Scouts, and I never got picked for anything.

But when I got to high school, I was picked to be an organiser in my high school around civil rights issues. That was one of the first times someone said to me: “Sheila, you’ve got a point of view about this. Why don’t you lead us and tell us how we might want to organise and march and protest?”

I carried that through to college, and I was so passionate about it that I forgot to go to class a lot. As a result, I was asked to leave college, as I like to say, because I spent all my time organising and protesting. That was during the Vietnam era.

So I got a job as a secretary at a forklift company. There was a salesman there, and one day he came over to me — and remember, I was quite militant — and he said, “Why are you here?” I said, “What do you mean, why am I here?” He said: “I’ve watched you. You’re capable of so much more.” He went on to compliment me about how I took initiative, and he said, “Why aren’t you in college?”

I explained that I flunked out because I spent a lot of time organising and protesting. He said that I should go back, and that if I took some really difficult classes at a community college, like quantitative analysis and statistics, and aced them, the college would take me back. “And I’ll tutor you,” he said. I did exactly what he said. I aced the classes, reapplied and went back to Northern Illinois University and graduated on the dean’s list.

When I started thinking about career paths, I thought about discrimination a lot. I asked myself, “What field could I go into where there’s a shortage of talent, and I would be able to ascend and have a lot of success if I were extremely good at it?” I decided on technology.

Tell me about your parents.

My father was a very smart man. He was a labourer, but much of that was because of the time he came along, as well. There weren’t many opportunities for African-American men, but he coached me. He told me to never let anyone define what my path would be, and should be, in life. He was always telling me to be very selective of people. He was very discerning. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust people; it was more about having the right kind of people around you to support you and complement you, and to be thoughtful about it.

My mother always saw the glass half full. I’ve worked in big corporations, but I’ve had many entrepreneurial roles, including this one. I think I get a lot of that from my mother because the thought of not being able to succeed never really crossed her mind.

How do you hire?

There are certain people who love change, and some who don’t do well with change. And change is part of being in technology. One of the things I’ve learned in selecting people is to discern who will thrive on change and then put them in roles where the waters are going to be choppy.

One question I ask is, “Tell me about a situation, either with one of your former bosses or perhaps with a client, where it was really difficult and the outcome was not good.” What I listen for is how much ownership and responsibility they showed in trying to steer through the choppy waters. If they show leadership, that says to me that they welcome change. Another question I ask is, “Tell me about your successes and how you accomplished them.” I listen for words like “we” and “us.” If I hear a lot of “I’s,” that tells me a lot about their ability to collaborate.

I’m really looking for transformational leadership — leaders who actually drive transformation rather than just reacting to it. In the technology world, there’s a number of very successful, large corporations that are now finding themselves having to react to transformational change. Some of that is just because you get to a certain size, and it’s just so difficult to turn the ship as quickly as you need to. That’s why you have most of the innovation coming out of smaller, more nimble companies.

What advice do you give to graduating college students?

One of the things I say to them is: “Find the voids and fill them. There’s no shortage of things that are not getting done. In large organisations and small ones, there are always voids. Go fill them.”

Other mentoring advice?

One thing I’ve done a lot over the years is to push my stars out. I’ve had a number of people who worked for me who were really good at what they did. And many times, when I would be sitting in meetings with my peers and they’d say, “I’ve got to hire somebody to do this,” I often would offer up some of my people for them to interview.

Many of them would ask me why, and there are a few reasons. It’s very important that my team know that I’m invested in their career. Second, it’s the right thing for the organisation. Third, it gives me influence in that other part of the organisation.

But a lot of managers want to hold on to their stars because they help them look good.

Well, eventually you’re going to lose them anyway. You may as well be proactive, because people don’t forget that. Then, if you need anything in that part of the organisation where they’re now working, they will help you.

But you’re right. Many managers actually try to hoard their people, especially their good ones. Then, with the ones they want to get rid of, they’ll say to you, “You know, I’ve got just the person for you.”

© New York Times

 

What’s holding back female talent?


Factors like recruitment decisions being taken by men and companies fearing the prospect of maternity, mean women are recruited for jobs below their professional qualifications.

Only a third of Spanish and Latin American companies have more women than men on their payroll. Although more than half of all university graduates are women, less than 10 per cent of the seats on boards of directors are filled by women. This percentage drops to between one and two per cent when it comes to CEO positions at large companies. Consequently, decisions are made largely from a male point of view, squandering the valuable leadership input of women.

“Talento de Hombres y Mujeres,” a study by Mireia Las Heras, published by the International Center for Work and Family at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa at the University of Navarra in Spain in collaboration with RRHH 365, explores the causes of this gap and recommends how companies can improve their performance in this regard.

The study suggests that a man and a woman, even when equal professionally, are evaluated differently according to their gender, regardless of whether or not they have children. Often, when a woman is hired, her role is restricted to non-strategic areas or to support staff. Women routinely are relegated to positions below the level their professional qualifications would dictate.

Companies also fear the prospect of maternity, and women are excluded from informal contact networks, which are highly important for career development.

Recruitment processes are largely to blame for the glass ceiling, even in companies which, on paper, are committed to treating female applicants fairly. If even the human-resources department does not adhere to clearly established procedures, then what hope is there of objectivity in the recruitment process?

In recruiting processes for senior-management positions, in which decisions are predominantly made by men, the successful candidates are those with similar characteristics, normally men, even though they may not be the best fit for the position. This is because most people attribute higher competence levels to people with qualities akin to their own.

Another circumstance that stunts women’s chances of promotion in Spain and Latin America is that women in those regions generally bear the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to housework and caring for dependents.

Balancing the male-to-female ratio on boards of directors depends on the willingness of companies to do so. The authors propose the following measures:

First, develop systematic processes for hiring, evaluating and promoting employees, and clearly define job responsibilities and the competencies required for each position. This will remove the biases introduced by those in charge of the recruitment process.

Second, foster corporate family responsibility by advocating policies that are conducive to a better balance of work and family for all employees. Such policies include flexibility of hours and location, with the aim of furthering the integration of work/family conciliation for men and women, management systems that include family-related policies such as health benefits and information about dependent care, training on issues related to work/life balance and informal practices for meetings, teamwork and work systems that promote flexibility and discourage a culture of “presenteeism” and low performance.

Finally, guarantee diversity in decision-making teams. If there is genuine diversity in evaluation and promotion committees, this will be reflected in the judgments made, which should be more just and equitable for all.

© The New York Times 2014

© 2014 Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa, IESE Universidad de Navarra

Lessons from a master negotiator


Even as Mandela largely succeeded in regulating his own emotions, his keen sense of empathy enabled him to identify ways to capitalise on the emotions of his counterparts and adversaries.

Some people learn to negotiate on the job, in a classroom or in a therapist’s office. In Nelson Mandela’s case, according to Bill Keller’s New York Times obituary of the legendary South African activist turned convict turned statesman, who died on December 5 last year, “prison taught him to be a master negotiator.”

Soon after his arrival at South Africa’s brutal Robben Island prison for a life sentence, Keller writes, Mandela “assumed a kind of command.” He befriended many of his white captors, whom he introduced to visitors as “my guard of honour.” He tried to persuade younger political inmates to analyse their opponents’ strengths rather than plunging headlong into conflict. During his 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela deeply absorbed the value of patience, discipline and empathy.

Mandela may have honed many of his negotiation skills in prison, but he was a born dealmaker. Those of us in realms less challenging than apartheid-era South Africa can learn from his beliefs, decisions and actions.

In the late 1940s Mandela became active in the African National Congress, a well-established South African political organisation dedicated to securing full citizenship for blacks. As he rose through the ranks and gained influence, Mandela began to question the ANC’s reliance on peaceful protest to make headway. Without vetting his views with ANC leadership, he publicly spoke out in favour of armed resistance, only to be censured for diverging from the organisation’s policy.

Decades later Mandela took a similar approach when making a much more fateful break with the ANC’s party line. In 1985, 23 years into his imprisonment, numerous signs — including international pressure, a devastating trade boycott and growing violence between protesters and the police — suggested that the apartheid regime was weakening.

The ANC had taken the stance that it would not negotiate with the South African government. Mandela himself had personally rejected the possibility of negotiation in numerous public statements, once saying, “Only free men can negotiate.” The government took a similarly hard line against negotiation with the ANC, believing that to do so would signal weakness.

Each side insisted that it would not negotiate unless the other made significant concessions beforehand. Given the entrenched stalemate, it was remarkable that Mandela decided to try to launch negotiations between the ANC and the government. Even more strikingly, he did so without any authority to speak on behalf of the ANC, which was run as a collective.

Leading from behind

Believing that his fellow ANC leaders would disagree with his decision, Mandela covertly sent a letter to Kobie Coetsee, South Africa’s minister of justice, in which he offered to meet secretly to discuss the possibility of negotiations. Coetsee eventually agreed, and the two men launched clandestine talks that laid the groundwork for a democratic, post-apartheid South Africa.

For most of us, secretly moving forward with a negotiation against the wishes of our superiors and colleagues would be a risky, even foolish move. Business negotiators typically must secure buy-in from others in their organisation before breaking from past practice.

For such contexts, however, Mandela — who was raised by a prominent tribal chief — offers another useful shepherding metaphor. As a result of the long hours he spent in childhood listening to the consensus-building conversations of the tribal council, Mandela observed that the chief “stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realising they are being led from behind.”

This quotation suggests the value of lobbying others in support of your cause, then letting them make your argument to other reluctant parties. Mandela’s stealth overtures remind us that those who see clearly what others cannot may have a responsibility to use their powers of persuasion to win over naysayers – or to act without them when necessary.

One noteworthy quality of Mandela’s was his ability to negotiate calmly with his enemies at the same time that he was absorbed in a passionate, all-consuming struggle against them.

Even as Mandela largely succeeded in regulating his own emotions, his keen sense of empathy enabled him to identify ways to capitalise on the emotions of his counterparts and adversaries.

Emotional intelligence is likely to be a valuable skill for negotiators, allowing us to accurately read our counterparts’ emotions, manage our own feelings and successfully mediate conflict. To cultivate these skills, spend time listening to and observing your fellow negotiators, making note of their insecurities and grievances. Doing so should enable you to address their core concerns, which could have the effect of softening their positions on the issues that matter most to you.

As illustrated by his eventual willingness to negotiate with the apartheid government, Mandela was at heart a pragmatist rather than an ideologue. His decision to initiate negotiations from prison may serve as the most prominent example of his willingness to change his positions in the service of his greater goals.

Not negotiating with an enemy on moral grounds can be a legitimate decision. Because our moral judgments tend to be based on intuition, however, instead of on reason, they can be dangerous traps. When we take a hardline stance without thoroughly analysing the likely costs and benefits of negotiating, we risk allowing our principles to get in the way of the greater good.

Wise negotiators follow Mandela’s example and rationally consider whether or not to negotiate.

From Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

© The New York

Times 2014

© 2014 Harvard University

 

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