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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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

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”

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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.

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

 

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

 

Quit smoking, be happy


Moderate or heavy smokers who quit tobacco get a boost in mental well abeing that, for people who are anxious or stressed, is equivalent to taking anti-depressants, a recent study said.

British researchers examined 26 published investigations into the mental health of smokers.

They looked at standardised scorecards for symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and quality of life, derived from questionnaires completed by volunteers.

The smokers were 44 years old on average and smoked between 10 and 40 cigarettes a day. They were questioned before they tried to give up smoking and again after their attempt — an average of six months later.

Those who succeeded in quitting reported reduced depression, anxiety and stress and had a more positive outlook on life compared with those who continued smoking. “The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of anti-depressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders,” said the study, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Quitters who had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders enjoyed a similar improvement.

Lead investigator Gemma Taylor of the University of Birmingham’s School of Health and Population Sciences said she hoped the findings would dispel a widespread misconception about smoking.

“It’s a common myth that smoking actually is good for your mental health — ‘smoking relieves stress’, ‘smoking helps you relax’, ‘smoking helps you enjoy things’ — and that common myth is really hard to overcome,” Taylor said.

But actually, the study showed that “when you stop smoking and you break the nicotine withdrawal cycle, your mental health improves.”

Taylor pointed to a mainstream theory in tobacco addiction research: that a smoker’s psychological state fluctuates throughout the day as a result of exposure to nicotine.

The sense of calm or wellbeing from a cigarette is followed immediately afterwards by classic withdrawal signs of a depressed mood, anxiety or agitation. Smokers, though, tend to misattribute these symptoms and blame them on stress or other factors. And because nicotine has a calming effect, they perceive that cigarettes improve their mental health.

Smoking is already blamed for a wide range of physical diseases and disorders, ranging from cancer, blindness and cardiac problems to diabetes, gum disease and impotence.

The UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated last July that tobacco kills almost six million people each year, a toll that will rise to eight million annually in 2030. About four out of every five deaths will occur in low- and middle-income nations, it said.

Despite a decline in smoking prevalence in some nations, in overall terms the number of people smoking today is greater than in 1980, due to population growth, according to a paper published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association . — AFP

 

Giving up smoking can boost your mental well-being, says study

 

Great job


Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) guarding its chick at the VOC Park Zoo in Coimbatore on Monday.—Photo: M. Periasamy.Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) guarding its chick at the VOC Park Zoo in Coimbatore on Monday.—Photo: M. Periasamy.

Queuing up for fuel


MILE-LONG:Two-wheelers and cars line up at a Civil Supplies Corporation petrol outlet in Kozhikode on Monday following a 24-hour strike by private petrol bunks.— Photo: K. Ragesh

MILE-LONG:Two-wheelers and cars line up at a Civil Supplies Corporation petrol outlet in Kozhikode on Monday following a 24-hour strike by private petrol bunks.— Photo: K. Ragesh

 

How well do we know our languages?


Theme: Most of us in India are proficient in more than one language. We have an advantage over people of other nations who speak only a single language.

In our country of multiple tongues, the value of language learning and issues related to translation and linguistic demarcations often come to the fore in discussions.

Let’s face some of those questions this week.

Lost in Translation? Write a paragraph on any topic in your mother tongue and then translate the same into English.

Do you think the translated version managed to effectively convey your feelings as expressed in your mother tongue?

Talk about the differences between the two.

Multilingual How many languages are you proficient in? Tell us how you picked up and perfected languages other than your mother tongue. Given a choice, which other languages would you like to learn?

Making Them Learn If you are to teach your mother tongue to young students who do not speak it, how will you go about it?

Make a plan on the books you would recommend, the lessons you will give them and the activities you will plan. Write a detailed report and let us know.

Old Glory Read up and talk about some ancient languages which no longer exist.

Find out the areas in which they were spoken, the people who used them. Did they function with a script? How did they become extinct?

Role of Popular Media How much do you think cinema, television, sports commentary, etc. contribute to language learning?

Write an essay on this and also mention your experience of learning from various media, apart from textbooks and school lessons.

Debate English should not be considered a “foreign language” in India any more.

SOUMALAYA CHAKRABORTY

info@skillspark.com

 

First woman top executive at Air India


Meenakshi Dua has become the first woman executive director, Southern region of Air India, according to a press release from the airline. She has worked with the airline for over 32 years in the human resources divisions in Delhi and Mumbai.

 

Women cheered on by Wikipedia


A month-long ‘edit-a-thon’ for women

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Wikipedia is all set to organise a monthlong ‘edit-a-thon’, consisting of a series of editing workshops and meet-ups for women contributors, to “bridge the gender gap” in content on the online encyclopaedia.

While the event (from March 1–30) aims to correct the ratio (nine out of 10 editors on Wikipedia are men), it is not only about getting more women contributors to add recipes to Wikipedia. The objective is to encourage more women to contribute through articles related to women and expand the existing bits of information (‘stubs’) on Wikipedia. It includes translating English articles into various Indian languages.

Indian languages

T. Vishnu Vardhan, programme director of Access to Knowledge — which is funded by Wikimedia Foundation and mandated to grow the Wikimedia movement in India and Indian languages — at Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, said getting more women contributors was “simplistic”. The edit-a-thon, he said, was aimed at addressing other challenges too, about the “politics of content”, and the way information about women was getting captured, which was “deeply problematic”.

A click of the mouse is all that is required to change the presentation of facts. Recently, he said, on the site, a set of writers were moved from a section titled ‘American writers’ to a section titled ‘American women writers’, categorising them differently. There was “a politics of knowledge production” that reflects the subtle, covert undercurrents of attitude towards women, which needs to be addressed, he said.

Some people think women should use such online avenues to amplify their concerns. Partho Sengupta, professor, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, where three Wikipedia workshops have been held, said women form half the workforce and contribute substantially to the gross domestic product (GDP), yet they had to ask for prerequisites and grapple with crime. Women today, unlike those in the 1980s, had access to technology and online media, and they must utilise the forum for their battles. “No one has given liberation on a platter,” he said.

While the month is dedicated to generating women-centric content by anyone anywhere, there will be ‘quick-start’ weekends where editors will get specific topics, with links provided, to begin writing.

Netha Hussain, Kozhikode-based medical student and Wikipedian, said weekend workshops had been organised on topics that lack content such as ‘women scientists’ and ‘women Parliamentarians’.

The event also includes on-ground editing workshops in cities including Mangalore, Bangalore, Panaji and Bhubaneswar.

For details, visit https://meta.wikimedia.org/ wiki/Women’s_History_Month,_ India-2014

 


  • Editing workshops and meet-ups for women contributors in March

 

  • Workshops in Mangalore, Bangalore, Panaji and Bhubaneswar

 


Buzzing above Everest


Researchers at California release study

Bumblebees are capable of flying at very high elevations – higher than even Mount Everest – according to a new study.

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, travelled to a mountain range in western China and collected six male alpine bumblebees of the species Bombus impetuosus .

The researchers placed the bees in clear, sealed boxes and experimentally adjusted the oxygen levels and air density in a simulated elevation while keeping temperature constant, said a press release issued by the University of California.

All of the bees were capable of flying in conditions equivalent to 13,000 feet.

Some even made it past 30,000 feet – the height of the peak of Mount Everest, researcher said.

They found that the bees increased the angle at which they extended their wings with each beat, reaching closer to their heads and abdomens each time. — IANS

 


  • Bees tested in lab conditions
  • Wing extension helps to boost body

 


Stress relief, just an app away


Find relaxationOn the phoneModern technology has its downside, but here are a few ways to beat stress with a smartphone.

Multiple deadlines, social commitments, a long task list or pending daily chores can leave you overwhelmed. Add to that traffic jams, constant calls… Stress has become a part of our lives.

However, a mini-therapist could be right in your pockets in the form of stress-buster apps. They look to provide quick solution. Here are a few.

Breathe2relax — Android & Apple

This app provides video instructions of diaphragmatic breathing, a stress-relief technique. It gives you recommendations for muscle relaxation, provides soothing audios, along with information on the effects of stress on the body. Worry Box — Android

Don’t we all have worries we would like to lock up in a box? Well, this app, doubling up as your diary, is your virtual worry box that can be password-protected. It helps you combat worry by asking if the worry is trivial or uncontrollable, making you introspect. If the worry isn’t controllable, you can select from a list of coping statements to think differently. It slowly helps you put things in perspective.

Acupressure: Treat Yourself — Apple & Android

This app, with illustrated acupressure instructions, has 90 point combinations for various problems. Acupressure utilises specific pressure points in the body to relieve pain and stress. The pressure helps increase blood flow, which relieves stress. Pressing key points on the skin, to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities, helps relieve worry, locate pain and headaches, and induces better sleep.

GPS For The Soul — Apple

This app measures your heart-rate variability, when you place your finger on the lens of your smartphone’s camera. It gauges your emotional state and directs you to solutions through breathing exercises, music, poetry and pictures of your loved ones. It follows holistic health guru Deepak Chopra’s personal GPS guide and the programme offered can be customised.

Buddha Board — Android & Apple

Dip your finger into a water tray on the screen and write anything on the board. Each brush stroke fades out with time, teaching you not to be too concerned with every outcome. The philosophy of Buddha Board is based on the Zen concept of living in the moment.

Relax Melodies — Apple, Android & Windows

It has a simple interface, with a wide selection of ambient sounds such as a gurgling river, of wind chimes, waves, and birds. You can mix your favourite sounds in different volumes and create personal melodies. It can be used when you are in a spa, doing yoga or while travelling. Stop, Breathe, Think — Apple

This app integrates meditation in a playful way. You can check how you are feeling (from ‘meh’ to ‘lovely’) before the specific audio meditations begin. This is designed for both adults and teens.

Anti-stress Quotes — Android & Apple

This app presents quotes of wisdom to help you when you panic. It’s a reminder that you need not worry unnecessarily. Save your favourite quotes and reassure yourself by glancing at them before a stressful meeting or an examination.

Zen Spaces — Apple & Android (Zen Garden Lite)

Are you in a bad mood or facing a mind block? Well, this app helps you create your own virtual Zen garden. You can draw paths with sand, decorate with different coloured rocks and leaves, with a butterfly fluttering around it. Being married to modern technology can be difficult, but if used correctly, it can actually help you beat stress.

 

The right mix


Class XII students are hard at work during the practical exam for chemistry at Chennai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School on Madhavaram High Road on Friday—Photo: V. Ganesan

Class XII students are hard at work during the practical exam for chemistry at Chennai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School on Madhavaram High Road on Friday—Photo: V. Ganesan

 

Driving home the message


TELLING EXAMPLE:A lorry used by Madurai Corporation to supply drinking water got a taste of bad roads after its wheels got caught in a trench near Andalpuram bus stop in Madurai on Friday.— Photo: S. James

TELLING EXAMPLE:A lorry used by Madurai Corporation to supply drinking water got a taste of bad roads after its wheels got caught in a trench near Andalpuram bus stop in Madurai on Friday.— Photo: S. James

 

Android apps could put personal data at risk


There are close to 250 applications (apps) working on the Android platform that have the potential to make the mobile devices vulnerable to cyber attacks.

As a word of caution, the Computer Emergency Response Team – Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (CERT-ISAC), the organisation involved in managing the National Security Database (NSD), has cautioned Android phone users to check apps before downloading, so as to avoid a possible theft of their personal data, a press release said. “Know your applications before downloading them otherwise your entire personal data stored in mobile phones could get stolen. There are close to 250 applications on Android phones that are most vulnerable to cyber attacks,” said CERT-ISAC Director Rajasekhar Murthy while inaugurating a CERT-ISAC centre in Mumbai recently. Cyber-attacks on mobile devices have begun to rise in India.

“A total of 91 per cent of mobile users are using Android phones. This is a very disturbing trend because cyber attacks have now shifted to mobile phones,” he said. Banking applications based on Android phones too are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. “This serious Android vulnerability allows attackers to hide code in a legitimate application and use existing permissions of the app to perform sensitive functions like data theft through such apps,” Mr. Murthy explained. Hence, it was imperative for mobile phone users to perform a customary background check of the app developer before downloading to their mobile phones.

 

Know your applications before downloading them otherwise your entire personal data stored in mobile phones could get stolen. There are close to 250 applications on Android phones that are most vulnerable to cyber attacksRajasekhar MurthyCERT-ISAC Director

 

 

There are close to 250 applications on Android phones that are vulnerable

 

 

‘Smart’ way to track child’s status in schools


Hyderabad-based service provider Smart Attendance showcased their product portfolio comprising smart card-based school attendance management system, here on Monday.

Addressing the media, members of managements from various schools and others, company representative Mohammed Faiz said that the smart card-based attendance was based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technique that works on customised hardware and software solutions. “The cards can be synchronised with GPS, GPRS, VSAT, Radio Frequency and satellite technology,” he said.

Giving details on the working of the technology, Mr. Faiz said that it was based on Indo-German technology and monitored by a cloud set-up on 24-hour basis.

Ms. Karam, who claimed to be a facilitator of Smart Attendance, said that the system was designed keeping in mind the security of the child. “The moment the card is read by the offline reader at the school or school bus, a SMS reaches the parent, giving the status and location of the child,” she said.

Mr. Faiz further pointed out that the attendance system could be customised and modified to suit the requirement. “We can also include biometric system and tracking mechanism into it. Moreover, apart from attendance, the system can be integrated to give the parents a complete overview of the child’s status and progress in schools, including updates on homework and class tests,” he said.

 

Junk food linked to memory loss: study


A team of Australian researchers has found a link between junk food and memory loss.

The researchers from the University of New South Wales placed rats on a diet high in sugar and fat and compared their performance with rodents on a healthy diet.

Lead researcher Margaret Morris said the rats on the poor diet developed an impaired memory after just six days.

It was found that the animals being fed a poor diet also showed inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus region, the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming and storing.

“It’s a little bit too early for us to say that two are causally related, but we believe that the inflammatory change is probably highly relevant for the cognitive decline,” she was quoted as saying by the ABC news.

Morris said the memory issues became apparent well before the animals showed any physical symptoms.

“The animals of course weren’t obese after just six days on the diet. So the changes in cognition, the loss of memory, happened well before there was any weight change,” she said.

She said it is hard to say what the implications of the trial could be for humans. PTI

“It’s hard of course to extrapolate to humans. But there is data in human volunteers fed a poor junk diet for just five days, that there was a loss of executive function,” she said. “So longer reaction times, for instance.”PTI

 

 

India link


Somerville College, one of the highly reputed colleges at Oxford, has links with India dating back to 1889 when the college was just 10 years old. Ms. Cornellia Sorabji was not just Somerville’s first Indian woman but also the first Indian woman to study at any British university at that time.

The Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development, an initiative by the college, is aimed at shaping the next century of India’s growth by educating, connecting and supporting its future leaders in sustainable development and by forging lasting partnerships between Indian institutions and the University of Oxford. Eminent personalities such as Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi have had their training at Somerville.

 

Fellowship for UoH faculty


Geeta K. Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been selected for the 2013 ARVO/Merck Collaborative Research Fellowship provided by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Award

The fellowship carries an award of US $10,000 towards visits and research. Dr. Geeta has been selected based upon the proposed research project – Effect of Androgens on Human Lacrimal Gland Cells In-vitro, done in collaboration with David Sullivan, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Schepen’s Eye Research.

Dr.Geeta will carry out a collaborative research with Dr Sullivan for a period of one year.

This collaborative 2013 ARVO/Merck Collaborative Research Fellowship will bring in the complimentary expertise of Dr. Geeta and Dr. Sullivan, and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

 

 

First step to the Civils


An in-depth understandingof subjects in the General Studies Paper of the Civil ServicesExam can help the aspirantsail through.

The civil services preliminary examination conducted by the UPSC has two papers in General Studies under the revised scheme of examination. The examination in General Studies Paper I is a two hour test where students have to answer 100 questions. Each question carries two marks. While a correct answer gets a candidate two marks, an incorrect one means a loss of 0.66 marks.

The syllabus does not give much detail of the topics to be studied under each section. Preparation Strategy

The questions are based on basic principles and their application, factual information and current affairs.

Questions based on applied aspects of principles and factual information have been asked in previous years. Mere reading of NCERT texts does not give the reader a sufficient depth to handle such questions.The number of questions asked from different sections has varied over time.

Many of the questions asked in the examination overlap with more than one section of the syllabus.

While preparing for this examination, the candidate should adopt an integrated approach. One should understand the principles and then strive to find their applications in day-to-day life.

The principles of anaerobic degradation, for example, find application in the generation of biomass energy as well as pollution of water bodies. Likewise, while studying about river valley civilizations, an understanding of alluvial soils and their importance comes handy. One should start with the basics and for this NCERT books texts are useful. It should be followed by in depth study of relevant topics from graduation level text books in relevant subjects.

In the examination hall one should read the questions carefully and thoroughly before selecting the correct answer.

Time management is also vital during the examination. If a question cannot be answered immediately, one should move to the next question marking it as unanswered on the question paper. Since a wrong answer is negatively marked, one should avoid making wild guesses.

Dr Surender Singh is Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Shivaji College, University of Delhi.

 

 

AU SDE examination centres changed


Some of the centres for Andhra University School of Distance Education’s II year B.A., B.Sc. and B.Com. examinations, scheduled to commence on Wednesday have been changed, according to a press release from AU SDE Director N.L. Narasimha Rao on Tuesday.

The following are the centres opted by the students and the centre at which they have to appear for the examination: Dr. V.S. Krishna Govt. College, Visakhapatnam for B.A. and B.Com. examinations – AU SDE, AU campus; Ideal College, Kakinada for B.A. examinations – M.S.N. College, Kakinada; Ideal College for B.Com. examinations – Chaitanya Degree College, Kakinada, and Government Junior College, Pithapuram for B.A. and B.Com. examinations – Govt. Degree College, Pithapuram.

Other details can be had by calling AU SDE on 0891-2754966, 2550223, 99634-74712 or 98481-99155 or by logging on to its websitewww.andhrauniversity.edu.in/sde, the director said.

 

 

Last date for AU research admissions


Candidates can get admission into M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes of Andhra University in its arts, science, engineering, pharmacy and law colleges under the extramural category, project fellowship and faculty development programme along with CSIRUGC NET fellowship holders and Inspire and Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship holders.

Candidates must have 55 per cent marks or equivalent CGPA (50 per cent marks in case of SC/ST candidates) in the qualifying P.G. degree, Director of AU Directorate of Admissions O. Aniel Kumar said on Tuesday. The application form and the information brochure with details of eligibility criteria, admission procedure, etc., are placed in the A.U. websitewww.andhrauniversity.edu.

in/doa. Application form in duplicate along with a demand draft for Rs.1,000 drawn in favour of The Director, Directorate of Admissions, Andhra University payable at Visakhapatnam as to reach the Director of Admissions by December 23 without fine and Dec. 31 with a fine of Rs. 1,500.

 

 

Traffic stoppers


A NUISANCE:Stray cattle obstructing vehicular movement near Satyanarayanpet Circlein Bellary on Sunday.

Admissions


Admissions for MBA programmes of ICFAI Business School will be done through ‘IBSAT-2013’ for admissions into MBA Program 2014-2016 here at IBS Hyderabad Campus.

Admission will be at three IBS campuses of Hyderabad, Jaipur, Dehradun and PGPM programme offered by the six IBS campuses at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

The IBSAT aptitude test will be conducted on a computer-based test format from December 16, 2013 and January 07, 2014 in 95 centres across India.

The exam vouchers can be purchased either online at http://www.ibsindia.org/ibsat or at select Axis Bank branches by paying Rs.1,500. The last date for receipt of vouchers is December 10.

The results will be announced on January 20 and the selection briefings will be held from February 1 in 40 cities across the country. Admissions will be based on IBSAT 2013 and interview.

Details can be had from the university website http://www.ibsindia.org or on 040-23440963.

UoH

The Centre for Distance and Virtual Learning (CDVL) of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) is inviting applications from the eligible candidates for admission into one-year Post Graduate Diploma Programmes for the year 2014.

Interested candidates can download the application form from the University Websitewww.uohyd.ac.inand submit the duly filled-in application along with the necessary enclosures and Demand Draft for Rs.300.

Candidates can also get the printed prospectus from the UoH campus located at Golden Threshold. Details can be had on 040-24600264 andwww.uohyd.ac.in. Last date for submission of application is January 31, 2014.

 

 

nuts…


STUDY Consuming nuts can reduce risk of death

Consuming nuts at least seven times a week can reduce risk of death from any cause by 20 per cent, says a new study. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), also establishes a significant association between the consumption of nuts and a lower incidence of death due to heart diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases. The study said nutrients in nuts, such as unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants may have heart-protective, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. “This study adds to the current strong body of evidence that demonstrates that eating nuts daily confers health benefits and supports long-term health,” said Karen Lapsley, chief scientific officer for the Almond Board of California. “IANS

 

 

Beautiful sunrise


The darkest hour of the night

Comes just before the dawn

And I see the shining dew drops

Beautifully adorn the lawns.

The silent dark sky above

Turns a shady azure

Of the solitary quiet night

Sunrise is the best cure.

I see a tiny speck of light

Giving an aesthetic appeal to the sky

And gracefully as it ascends.

The sky awakened, and the stars die

The world awakened, a pretty sight

What could be more soothing to the eye?

If you ever want a wonderful surprise.

 

New tech generates electricity from moving cars


Mexican entrepreneurs have developed a new low-cost system that can generate electricity using traffic flow and the technology could soon be used to light up cities.

The development has the potential to produce sufficient electricity to power up a household through a device that “catches” the force of the moving cars.

“This is a technology that provides sustainable energy and could be implemented at low prices, since it’s a complement of already existing infrastructure: the concrete of streets and avenues,” Hector Ricardo Macias Hernandez, developer of the system, said.

Hernandez said that at a global level there are no records of similar projects, with exception of an English patent, but with the difference that in the European country piezoelectric floors are used, which are too expensive for developing countries.

The technology consists in a system that integrates a ramp-step — elaborated with polymeric material similar to the ones used in the manufacture of tyres — that elevates to five centimetres above the level of the street.

While receiving the impact of the vehicle, this ramp exerts pressure over a bellows.

This artifact contains air that is expelled at a certain pressure through a hose, which travels to a tank where it is compressed and re-launched to an electricity generating turbine.

Hernandez also said that the accumulation of electric energy is proportional to the flow of cars over a determinate spot.

However, in places with low vehicular flow, several ramp-steps could be placed to multiply the impact of every individual vehicle.

The developer added that the technology could also be implemented in places with high pedestrian flow.

This way, the steps of the people would generate electricity according to the laws of gravitational energy, and this principle could be implemented in places like the subway. According to Hernandez, this development is translated in a source of sustainable energy that implies a low execution cost.

 

 

Students can play a role in national integration


A one-day workshop on ‘Communal Harmony for National Integration’ was held at the Science and Humanities Department of Nizam Institute of Engineering & Technology.

Dr. R. Kondal Reddy, principal of Krishnamurthy Institute of Management and Technology, who presided as chief guest, said that students have a great role to play for national integration, and suggested various ways through which they could build great careers to lead prosperous lives.

Mohammad Jafer, chairman of Ummul Qura Education Society, who was also a guest at the workshop, mentioned about the importance of communal harmony in society, and advised students to respect all religions and forget differences to maintain equality among all the communities in order to lead peaceful lives.

The chief guest also emphasised on the proficiency of English language skills among students, as it is necessary to meet requirements in today’s world.

 

Students told to respect all religions to maintain equality among all communities and lead a peaceful life

 

 

The GATE advantage


The GATE advantage.

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is an all-India examination being conducted and administered by the Indian Institute of Science and seven Indian Institutes of Technology. It is conducted by the National Coordination Board GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

In the present competitive scenario, where there is mushrooming of universities and engineering colleges, the only yardstick to measure and test the caliber of engineering students is the GATE. There is a misconception among students that GATE exam is meant for ME./M.Tech which finally leads to a teaching career only.

In this context, the following points are worth noting about this examination:

Many public sector undertakings such as BHEL, Indian Oil Corporation, NTPC, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (there are PSUs totalling 217 in number) are using the GATE score for selecting candidates for their organisations. Students who qualify in GATE are entitled to a stipend of Rs 8,000 per month during their M.Tech course. Better remuneration is being offered for students of M.Tech/M.E as compared to those pursuing B.Tech /B.E. A good GATE rank assures a good job. After joining M.Tech. at IITs and IISc, one can look at a salary package ranging from Rs 7 lakh to 30 lakh per annum, depending upon specialisation and performance.

Clearing GATE is also an eligibility clause for the award of Junior Research Fellowship in CSIR Laboratories. M.Tech. degree is mandatory for those wishing to apply for research positions in R&D centres. The GATE score is valid for two years and those who qualify this test are eligible for doing Master’s degree at NUS, (National University of Singapore), Singapore.

A GATE score definitely gives one an edge when it comes to joining reputed companies as well as off-campus recruitments. For those who couldn’t pursue their BTech in IIT, it provides another opportunity to study in the prestigious IITs. Above all, it certainly gives you a huge technical edge over others in all your interviews and career planning.

Raising numbers

In the recent years the trend is very significant. From 1.66 lakh aspirants in 2008, the number of aspirants touched 5.5 lakh in 2011 and is expected to touch eight lakh in 2013. It is one of the toughest examinations in our country where competition is very high and requires focused study in a planned manner.

It aims at rigorous testing of the students’ capability in engineering concepts along with managerial skills. Engineering subjects cover 70 per cent weightage while General aptitude and Engineering Mathematics cover 15 per cent respectively.

The three-hour GATE paper has a total of 65 questions, out of which 30 questions are of one mark and 35 questions are of two marks. The two-mark questions further include two pairs of common data questions and two pairs of linked answer questions.

To secure a high a percentile one should remember that a candidate is being judged relatively and not absolutely. The overall rank achieved depends upon the preparation level of your competitors.

Scoring tips

The following tips would certainly help you in scoring well in the exam:

Go through previous years’ question papers along with solutions, and analyse the subject pattern and focus on those subjects which have maximum weightage.

Books can further be divided into two categories: Books that deal with the fundamentals and focus on conceptual clarity. Here textbooks by reputed publishers are a must. Books that provide a great deal of difficult and time-consuming questions and are used essentially as practice material.

Do not rely on just one book for a topic; instead consult a couple of books for the same topic. Prepare notes after completing each chapter.

Practise the maximum number of questions possible on a given topic. This certainly strengthens your preparation.

Keep in mind that those topics which are not in GATE syllabus could be certainly left out.

Make a list of topics in which you think you are ‘weak’ and focus on them. Have all essential formulae on your fingertips. Try to see if there are shortcut methods for a particular problem.

Joining a coaching institute is beneficial as you would be exposed to a regular systematic study. Also, joining a peer group would make one more competitive. Online coaching classes/test series are beneficial too.

Theory preparation should be completed one month before the exam and then practise many number of times.

Keep oneself updated about any changes or developments in the GATE examination for the coming year.

How to tackle the paper

Start the paper with one-mark question (25 in number). Since these are easy to attempt, they will help in building confidence. Proceed then to two-marks questions from Common Data and Linked Answer Questions.

Attempt this part with caution. These add up to eight more questions in addition to the 25 attempted above. Then go to General Aptitude section of 10 questions. All these will add upto 43 questions attempted. All these should be done in a timeframe of 100-110 minutes.

Now we are left with 22 questions in the technical portion and we can allot 50 minutes to this comfortably. At the end, you must have 15-20 minutes for a quick revision of the answer sheet to ensure all is in order.

While attempting the paper, leave questions which you are not sure of. The most deciding factor is negative marking. Avoid making any guesses and try to eliminate choices by analysis and calculations.

The writer is author of Mechanical Engineering for GATE and trains aspirants for this subject

 

 

Scholarship alert


Neuro-Clinical Research Education Fellowship

Description: To create a pool of trained clinical researchers in the area of neuroscience to facilitate hypothesis-driven research designed to address important issues. Under Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India.

Eligibility: D.M. /M.Ch or MD Psychiatry and interested in pursuing nNeuroscience research

Application: By Post, by email, through the institute

Prizes and rewards: Eleven fellowships of one-year duration. Stipend Rs.75,000 per month and Rs. 5 lakh for one year

Deadline: December 16.

Website: http://www.dbtindia.nic.in/index.asp

Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy Internships and Fellowship Programme

Description: To provide an opportunity to the best and brightest Indian students and scientists to gain exposure and access to world-class research facilities in leading U.S. institutions .

Eligibility: Pursuing PhD.or having PhD in Science, Engineering or Technology. For Internship: up to 32 years, For Fellowships: Up to 40.

Application: By email

Prizes and rewards: Student internship, 7; fellowships, 7 Duration: 3 to 12 months. Deadline; December 20

Website: http://www.indousstf.org/base-program/index.html

Courtesy: http://www.buddy4study.com

 

New Registrar for OU


K. Pratap Reddy of the Department of Zoology, University College of Science, and Director, Directorate of Academic Audit, Osmania University, has been appointed Registrar of Osmania University. He replaces Prof. M.S.N. Reddy, who retired on Saturday.

Prof. Reddy holds a Ph.D from OU and specialises in neuroscience, fluoride toxicity and neurodegenerative diseases. He has guided 15 students for Ph.D and has done several projects including those from the UGC and the DBT. He also worked as Director of Admissions.

 

 

10 blog Productivity Tips from Mullenweg, founder wordpress


10 Productivity Tips from Mullenweg

Back in June 2009, Matthew Mullenweg told Liz Welch about his day-to-day habits running WordPress in a piece called, “The Way I Work.” The next ten productivity tips have been culled from Mullenberg’s account of his highly-effective work habits.

#1 Wake Naturally

Waking with the daylight instead of to a screeching alarm helps you go to work with a calm and focused mind. It’s also linked to higher blood pressure (ABC News, 2011)

Mullenweg says he tries to “avoid alarm clocks as much as possible.”

 

#2 Have an Unplugged Morning

Mullenweg told Inc. that one of us his goals was “to avoid looking at the computer or checking email for at least an hour after I wake up.” Starting your day unplugged gives you time for reflection and calm at the beginning of your day.

 

#3 Ditch the Coffee

To many, caffeine is a prerequisite for productivity. Not for Mullenweg. “I’ve got enough stimulating things in my life already,” he says.

Going without caffeine has been linked to increased calmness, less anxiety, and better sleep. But I must confess, I took a sip of green tea before writing this sentence.

 

#4 Know Your Prime Times

Mullenweg has noticed that he’s more productive at particular times of the day. Matt has said, “I do my best stuff midmorning and superlate at night. Even though midmorning is prime working time, Matt doesn’t do meetings in the mornings. “The earliest I’ll do a meeting is 11 am,” he told Inc.

Everybody has times of the day (or night) during which they can be particularly productive. Try to make sure you’re working during the times when you do your best work.

 

#5 Respect Flow

Mullenweg on flow:  “When you’re coding, you really have to be in the zone… if you are taken out of the flow, if that little toaster pops up that says you’ve got mail – and you look at it, you’ve lost it.”

To me, being in a state of ‘flow’ means being totally immersed in the task at hand. When I’m flowing – whether I’m writing, editing a video, or making music – I find that my work comes easily, happily, and inspired.

You can increase your chances of achieving flow by turning off your cell phone and your computer’s Internet connection. One of Mullenweg’s methods is listening to music.

 

#6 Music is a Focus Tool

“Music helps me when I’m coding… I’ll listen to a single song, over and over on repeat, like a hundred times.”

Matthew Mullenweg, The Way I Work

Mullenweg’s favorite musicians include Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Jay-Z, and Beyonce.

 

#7 Rescue Your Time

A couple years ago, I recommended adopting Rescue Time as a great New Years resolution for entrepreneurs.

Turns out Mullenweg is also a big fan of the productivity app. He called Rescue Time, “one of my favorite programs that I didn’t make.”

 

#8 Cut Back on Email

Reports suggest that the average office worker spends a quarter of their day in their inbox (about two and a half hours). Mullenweg has made a concerted effort to avoid the great email time-suck:

“I realized that even though I was doing e-mail only a couple of minutes at at time, it was adding up to a couple of hours a day. So I’m trying to reduce that.”

 

#9 Multiple Monitors, Multiple Devices

“In my home office, I have two large, 30-inch computer monitors — a Mac and a PC. They share the same mouse and keyboard, so I can type or copy and paste between them. I’ll typically do Web stuff on the Mac and e-mail and chat stuff on the PC. I also have a laptop, which I have with me all the time, whether I’m going overseas or to the doctor’s office.”

Matt Mullenweg, The Way I Work

Notice the way that Matt talks about his various digital tools: each one has different responsibilities and roles. If you can afford it, try boosting productivity by using specific devices for specific tasks.

 

#10 Hire Well, Manage Sparingly

Sometimes the key to productivity is setting things up so that they require less work. That’s how Mullenweg has turned management into something that takes very little time out of his workweek.

“My management strategy is to find extremely self-motivated and talented people and then let them go.” Mullenweg explained.

 

5 Business Lessons from Matthew Mullenweg- wordpress founder


5 Business Lessons from Matthew Mullenweg

#1  Occupy the Space Left Open by Competition

Mullenweg would have never started WordPress if another platform hadn’t disappeared overnight. Back in 2003, Mullenweg was a teenager volunteering some of his time coding for B2/cafelog — an open source blogging platform that was employed on about 2,000 blogs [wikipedia].

One day the leader developer disappeared, leaving Mullenweg and the rest of the volunteer programmers without a project. Matt decided to step up to fill the void. He wrote a blog post to the community, rallying them to join him in starting a new open source blogging platform. Mike Little commented on the post, “You serious about this? Let’s work on it together.” The two had never met. Mike was in the UK and Matt was in Houston, Texas. But the partnership worked. “We just started collaborating over the Internet,” Mullenweg explained. WordPress was born.

WordPress caught it’s big break the following year, when one of its leading competitors — Movable Type — decided to start charging its users. Hordes of thrifty bloggers abandoned Movable Type for the best free content management system available:  WordPress.

 

#2  Seek to Better Understand Your Users

“It’s my responsibility to meet as many users as possible and direct the software project in a way that reflects their interests. Last year, I probably met 2,000 or 3,000 people who make their living from WordPress.”

Matt Mullenweg

Knowing your end user is the first step to being able to give them what they want. Mullenweg is one of most well-informed founders in the world when it comes to understanding his audience. His robust travel schedule brings him to scores of WordPress conferences every year.

 

#3  Know Your Creed

“If you’re building a startup or any sort of organization, take a few moments to reflect on the qualities that the people you most enjoy working with embody and the user experience of new people joining your organization, from the offer letter to their first day.”

Matt Mullenweg, from ‘Why Your Company Should Have a Creed’

According to Mullenweg, a creed is “basically a statement of things important to us, written in the first person.” And Matt’s such a big believer in creeds and their influence on company culture that he’s put Automattic’s creed above the signature on every new employee’s contract. He described the move as “an easy change that had a big impact on the company.”

In case you’re curious, I’ve included the entire Automattic creed at the bottom of the page.

 

#4  There’s Always Room to Grow

“There’s 6.999 billion people who don’t have a blog yet, don’t have a website yet, don’t have WordPress yet.”

Matthew Mullenweg, from Unreasonable.is

Matt is a mild-mannered Texas native, but his ambition is anything but mild. When asked how he felt about his platform serving 17% of the web, he said, “I obsess over that other 83% of the web that we don’t have yet.” Matt said in an interview, “There’s a much longer road ahead of us than what we’ve done so far.”

 

#5  Eat, Breathe, and Sleep Your Business

“WordPress is a part of who I am. Like eating, breathing, music, I can’t not work on WordPress.”

Matthew Mullenweg, from Ma.tt

We work best on the projects that are aligned with the core of who we are. That’s what Mullenweg has with WordPress. He has said, “I go to sleep and I wake up thinking about WordPress,” and “I consider myself very lucky to be able to work on something I love so much.”

kudo’s…


Students of Don Bosco Park Circus win zonal Young World Quiz’13

The city know for its extracurricular activities in all fields witnessed great enthusiasm among the students, teachers and parents in the zonal round of the 14th edition of The Hindu Young World quiz competition held on Wednesday.

More than 200 teams from 51 schools participated at Zonal Round which was held at Vidya Mandir auditorium.

Out of the 200 teams, six teams – Don Bosco Park Circus, M.P. Birla Higher Secondary School, Future Foundation I & II, Sri Aurobindo and La Martiniere for Boys qualified for the finals.

Master Srijit Basu and Kishalay Chakraborty of Don Bosco Park Circus won the zonal round while Master Arnab Mondal and Satwata Hans of MP Birla Higher Secondary school were declared runner up.

Don Bosco Park Circus would be taking part in the all-India grand finale to at Bangalore on December 5, 2013.

Vizag boy for National camp

Manish Kumar of Navy Children School at Malkapuram here was selected for the National sub-junior boys basketball camp to be held at SAI Centre, Gandhinagar from December 2 to 21 in preparation for international basketball tournaments.

Manish Kumar earned selection to the camp through his good performance at the recently held sub-junior National championships.

The Visakhapatnam District Basketball Association congratulated Manish Kumar and felicitated him on Thursday. Municipal Commissioner M.V. Satyanarayana presented Manish Kumar with a sports kit and financial assistance. President of VDBA T.S.R. Prasad, secretary B. Ramayya, and others were present.

Former Olympian M.V. Manikyalu, Director of Physical Education of Andhra University M. Syambabu, Physical Director of Navy Children School L.V. Ramana, retired Additional SP S. Diwakar and others congratulated Manish Kumar on his selection to the National camp.

 

 

Watching sports does help, after all!


photo: PTIWatching sports can make you fitter, according to research Sunday that said viewing other people exercise increases heart rate and other physiological measures as if you were working out yourself.

The study showed that when watching a first person video of someone else running, heart rate, respiration, skin blood flow and sweat release all increased.

They returned to normal at the conclusion of the “jog”.

Researchers said that importantly, for the first time, it was shown that muscle sympathetic nerve activity increased when people watched physical activity.

“Recording this nerve activity provides a very sensitive measure of the body’s physiological responses to physical or mental stress,” said one of the lead researchers Vaughan Macefield.

“We know that the sympathetic nervous system — which supplies the heart, sweat glands and blood vessels, as well as other tissues — increases its activity during actual exercise.

“Now we have shown that it increases when you are watching a moving scene as if you were running yourself.”

While the study concluded that your body will get a small workout from simply watching others exercise, Macefield cautioned that nothing compared to real physical activity.

“While watching other people exercise may increase your heart rate and have other physiological effects, nothing can replace the health benefits of getting off the couch,” he said.AFP

 

 

43 Blogger Tips – ANDREW RONDEAU


43 Blogger Tips – What you should do after installing WordPress

If you want more visitors, more natural traffic, a more ‘sticky’ (i.e. visitors stay longer) site and quickly indexed by Google, then check out this useful list.

(Please note there are many alternatives to the plugins mentioned – I just mention the ones I use).

Tidy up/Design

1. Adjust your time zone under ‘general’ settings.

2. Change “Other comment settings” and check the “Enable threaded (nested) comments 5 levels deep”, in ‘Discussion’ settings. This helps highlight any replies to any comments and is easier for the visitor to read.

3. Get yourself a Gravatar that will be displayed whenever you comment. Having a Gravatar helps promote you and your brand across the internet.

4. Get and install a personally designed header banner. Personally designed header banners make your blog stand out.

5. Change the “Display name publicly as” field to your name – under the “Users” menu tab. Doing this will display your name as the author of the blog posts you publish.

6. Delete the default “Blogroll links” and “Mr WordPress comment” – Under the “Blogroll” and “Comments” menu tabs.

7. Set up and install Google Analytics. The best free tool around to monitor your traffic stats.

8. Create an About Me page. You want to share a little about you and what you can do for your visitors.

9. Create a Contact page, so visitors can easily make contact with you.

10. Have a Favicon designed and installed – it’s all about your personal branding.

11. Delete the “hello world” default blog post.

12. Add a Privacy page. This is the page where you tell your visitor what you do with any data they give you.

13. Add a Disclaimer page. You also need to add a ‘Disclaimer’ page. This is the page that stipulates what you mention on your blog may not suit everyone and not everyone will get the same results.

14. Add an Affiliate Disclosure page. I believe in being totally open and honest with my visitors. If I am going to make some income from someone clicking on a link on my site, I like to tell them and so should you. This page should tell your visitors that you make an income using affiliate links on your blog.

15. Move to a premium theme. Those free WordPress themes are very ‘clunky’ – hard to change, difficult to maintain and restrictive in their design. For the best premium themes check out this post: Premium WordPress Themes

SEO

16. Add a blog title and tagline that includes your primary keyword phrase in the ‘General’ settings.

17. Change the ‘permalinks’ (‘permalinks’ under ‘settings’) structure to a custom structure: /%post_id%/%postname%/ This structure is deemed the best for SEO purposes.

18. Set up your categories using your keyword phrases. Again this helps with SEO.

19. By using the Google Webmaster tools, you can quickly get your blog indexed. Verifying ownership of your Blog via the Google Webmaster Tools.

Traffic

21. Change the ‘Update Service’ under the ‘Writing settings’ to include the following sites:

http://rpc.pingomatic.com/

http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2

http://api.moreover.com/RPC2

http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

http://rpc.twingly.com/

http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2

http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2

http://www.bloglines.com/ping

http://ping.feedburner.com/

http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080/

http://www.octora.com/add_rss.php

http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php

http://www.wasalive.com/ping/

http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php

http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates

http://ping.myblog.jp

http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/

http://bblog.com/ping.php

All the above sites will be updated when you publish a blog post.

22. Add a FeedBurner RSS Feed so visitors can be automatically informed when you add a blog post.

23. Also allow subscription to your blog via email.

24. RSS Directories. Performing this will make your blog index quicker in the search engines and can provide a steady stream of organic traffic. RSS Directories hold millions of links to websites and blogs and are some of the most visited websites on the internet.

By adding your blog’s RSS feed to the RSS Directories, every future blog post you add to your blog, will automatically be added to the RSS Directory. And that means it could potentially be seen by thousands of visitors and your blog will receive a powerful backlink from the RSS Directory.

You only have to add your blog’s RSS feed to the RSS directory once and everything is set up to work automatically.

One of the best RSS Directories for rankings is: http://feedagg.com

25. Start building your list by giving something of quality, away.

26. Start adding valuable comments on other blogs – get your name out there.

27. Add unique blog posts as least 3 times a week to your blog.

Security

28. If you have used FTP to upload WordPress – store/remember your ftp login details. You can waste hours looking for access details.

29. Change the password of your WordPress Admin login. Some hosting sites provide the password when you first install WordPress – change it – you just never know who has also seen it.

30. Change the WordPress admin username – most hackers know that ‘admin’ is the username and then they only have to guess the password. Make it twice as hard and change the admin username to something other than ‘admin’

31. Keep WordPress and your plugins up to date. Often WordPress and plugins are updated due to security reasons. Keep your site updated on the latest versions. Make sure you backup before you upgrade and test after your upgrade.

Must Have Plugins

32. Add the Akismet and WP-SpamFree Anti-Spam plugins to reduce the amount of spam comments you receive.

33. Install the ‘Subscribe to comments’ plugin so visitors return and can reply to other commenters.

34. Show some Google Link Luv by installing the CommentLuvKeywordLuv and DoFollow plugins.

35. Install the All-In-One-SEO plugin and include your primary keyword phrase in the ‘Home Title, ‘Home Description’ and ‘Home Keywords’.

36. Install the Google XML Sitemap plugin and manually build your sitemap. It helps get your site indexed.

37. Add the WP-DBManager plugin and schedule backups to be created everyday.

38. Make Better Use of the 404 Page  automatically redirect the reader to a list of your best posts or you can present them your entire post archives. The  404 SEO plugin will help.

39. Improve the security of your blog by installing Login Lockdown.

40. Install a caching plugin like WP-Super-Cache to make your blog load faster.

41. Install SexyBookMarks plugin so visitors can easily socially bookmark your blog posts.

42. Install the “SEO Friendly Images” plugin. SEO Friendly Images is a WordPress optimization plugin which automatically updates all images with extra search engine optimization functionality.

43. By installing the “MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer” plugin, when you create a new blog post, your blog will ping and notify all the ping services that it has been updated. This encourages search engines and different blog directories/services to index your updated blog properly.

So there you have 43 blogger tips which will help your blog receive more visitors, more natural traffic, be a more ‘sticky’ (i.e. visitors stay longer) site and quickly indexed by Google.

source : http://www.famousbloggers.net/43-blogger-tips-installing-wordpress.html

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