Month: August 2019

iFling robot gets juiced for third design iteration

first_img Explore further His team turns its attention to continued improvements on its robots and to issue updated versions, like the present iFling.“The Coordinated Robotics Lab is fundamentally a dynamics and control shop that does robotics,” he has said.Its work has its roots in a hopping robot, dubbed iHop, which spawned other concepts, Switchblade, and iceCube. Together with iFling, they tell a story of innovative robot design. “We endeavor to create small, minimalist robots that can overcome large, complex obstacles via clever leveraging of advanced feedback control strategies,” he has said.Not surprisingly, the first likely commercial application of the iFling is expected to be in the toy industry. © 2011 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Engineering Students Showcase Nextgen Robots During Research Expo The iFling is stabilized via feedback control, which allows it to balance upright. The concept is likened to an inverted pendulum.The UCSD team is showing a design that makes the iFling simply fun to watch. The machine is maneuverable, agile, and effective. In picking up a ball, the iFling rolls over the ball and wedges it between the body and wheel. Throwing a ball is also achieved with precision. A printed circuit board is used to connect the electronics.The latest videos show the iFling going through its deft motions. The narrator reports that the robot is in the process of its third design iteration. The iFling site comments on the progress the team has achieved.“We have explored (through three major design iterations) the miniaturization and simplification of our original iHop concept to form a (non-hopping) self-righting Segway dubbed iFling that can pick up and throw ping-pong balls (or swack them around, using the leg as a hockey stick),” according to the lab’s site.The UCSD iFling video comments that the iFling carries the potential to be automated so that multiple bots can play together; and to be scaled up, so that different-sized balls may be used.Why bother focusing on enhancing a robot that picks up balls and throws them around? While such a robot may not directly address Italy’s finance problems, this lab at UCSD never did place global economics at the top of its wish list. What does interest the lab is reflected in an interview with Tom Bewley, who heads the Coordinated Robotics Lab.The lab works on feedback control to impart stability to robots. Dr. Bewley is considered an expert on simulation, optimization, and control issues in robotics. He is the author of Numerical Renaissance: Simulation, Optimization, & Control. More information: robotics.ucsd.edu/iFling.htmlvia IEEE (PhysOrg.com) — The team at the Coordinated Robotics Lab at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), which created the little iFling robot, says the iFling is now in the process of its third design iteration, and with added potential. This is a radio-controlled robot often described as a “self-righting little Segway-like vehicle.” Its activity is picking up and throwing ping pong balls. The robot was built using a 3-D printer, according to the video narration. iFling. Image: UCSD Citation: iFling robot gets juiced for third design iteration (2011, November 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-ifling-robot-juiced-iteration.htmllast_img read more

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Why moderate beliefs rarely prevail

first_img More information: Seth A. Marvel, et al. “Encouraging Moderation: Clues from a Simple Model of Ideological Conflict.” PRL 109, 118702 (2012). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.118702 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “Although we didn’t mention this explicitly in the paper, a raft of alternatives to our basic model (built from different assumed interactions) all show the same threshold behavior: when the committed believers reach a certain fraction of the community, they are capable of converting everyone to their perspective,” Marvel said. “This suggests that a similar threshold may appear in real systems even when those real systems have dynamics somewhat different from our basic model. As the American anthropologist Margaret Mead is claimed to have said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.'”The researchers tested seven different strategies for increasing the moderate subpopulation in the model. For example, in one strategy they introduced a “stubbornness parameter” to study the possibility in which moderates are less likely to convert to either of the two radical positions. The basic model has a stubbornness parameter of zero, but increasing the parameter gives the moderates a chance to retain their beliefs after listening to a radical. Although a small value of stubbornness does increase the moderate subpopulation, the researchers were surprised to find that, past a certain threshold, stubbornness drives the moderates to extinction. They explained that this counterintuitive result occurs because increasing the stubbornness of the moderates initially increases the moderate subpopulation while simultaneously depleting both the uncommitted A and B subpopulations. With a smaller B subpopulation, there is less competition from the B’s with both A subpopulations for winning over the moderates. As a result, fewer A zealots are required to convert the entire population to A, making the entire population more vulnerable to a zealot takeover. Once again, evangelism proves to be an important force in converting a population.Of the seven strategies the researchers tested, only one could effectively expand the moderate subpopulation – and the strategy was based not on social interaction but on other environmental stimuli, which might take the form of a media campaign in real life. By integrating this new parameter into the model, the number of moderates increased without threat of extinction.”The one successful strategy, nonsocial deradicalization, involves a particularly strong sort of encouragement of moderation; for example, its terms with the new parameter are independent of the size of the moderate population,” Marvel said. “Hence, our findings suggest that this strong form of encouragement may be necessary for spreading a balanced perspective in a sustainable way.”The researchers note that this strategy should be regarded with caution, given that they have not attempted to show that the model’s dynamics accurately represent the real world, with its multiple small-scale ideologies, fragmentation of opinions, and other intricacies. Nevertheless, they hope that this general framework for testing possible strategies that encourage moderation may lead to the discovery of more sophisticated methods.”Our work finds mathematical reasons why many of the most intuitive strategies for encouraging the moderation position, or ‘aurea mediocritas,’ may be ineffective at doing so,” Marvel said. “As we mention in the article, only one out of seven different strategies that we consider succeeds in increasing the size of the moderate fraction without risking its collapse. This may have implications on what sorts of measures should be taken to encourage even-handedness when we want to do so.”He added that other features of real-world societies emerge in the model, even though the model is more simplistic than the real world.”As a surprising byproduct of our work, we discover several new features of real networks,” Marvel said. “For example, we find that when our model is simulated on these empirical networks, maverick or contrarian individuals emerge at the social fringe. These individuals retain the outdated dogma even after everyone else has converted to the new ideology. We also find that, even though real networks are much ‘sparser’ than our all-to-all test networks, our models still play out quite similarly on them, indicating that the surprising behavior of our models may extend well to real systems.” Diagram of the model structure. Arrows indicate which types of speakers can convert listeners from one subpopulation to another. Members of the committed A population, the zealots, cannot be converted. When zealots reach a certain threshold of the population, they are capable of converting everyone to their perspective. Credit: Marvel, et al. ©2012 American Physical Society (Phys.org)—We live in a world of extremes, where being fervently for or against an issue often becomes the dominant social ideology – until an opposing belief that is equally extreme emerges to challenge the first one, eventually becoming the new social paradigm. And so the cycle repeats, with one ideological extreme replacing another, and neither delivering a sustainable solution. Political revolutions, economic bubbles, booms and busts in consumer confidence, and short-lived reforms such as Prohibition in the US all follow this kind of cycle. Why, researchers want to know, does a majority of the population not settle on an intermediate position that blends the best of the old and new? “For many political issues, economic policies, ethical questions, and allocations of funding, for example, the middle road or ‘golden mean’ between extremes has advantages over either extreme,” Seth Marvel of the University of Michigan, lead author of a recent study on moderation, told Phys.org. “Furthermore, there are cases – say, with economic policies for instance – where swinging between extremes is costly in itself.”In their paper published in Physical Review Letters, Marvel and his coauthors from the US and Korea explain that there are several ways to explain why few people embrace moderation, but here they give a purely mathematical answer using a “model of ideological revolution.” The model reveals that successive ideological revolutions take place in an environment that is not conducive to moderate beliefs. Even when the researchers adjust the model to encourage moderation, eventually the moderate population will almost always either fail to sufficiently expand or collapse altogether.The model of ideological revolution begins with a community consisting of four types of individuals: those that currently hold an extreme opinion A, those that hold the opposing extreme opinion B, those that hold neither A nor B (the moderates), and those that hold A indefinitely and never change their minds (the A zealots). To run the model, two individuals are randomly selected to interact with each other, with one randomly chosen to be the speaker and the other the listener. If the speaker is an A or B and the listener is a B or A, respectively, the speaker changes the listener’s beliefs to AB. If the listener is an AB, then the listener becomes an A if the speaker is an A, and becomes a B if the speaker is a B. Moderate speakers cannot change a listener’s beliefs; only extremists rally others toward their cause.Running this basic model, the researchers found that the proportion of zealots strongly affects the outcome. When zealots are below a critical value, the system remains similar to how it started. But above a critical value, the zealots quickly convert the entire population to A. Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas Journal information: Physical Review Letters Explore further Citation: Why moderate beliefs rarely prevail (2012, October 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-moderate-beliefs-rarely-prevail.html Copyright 2012 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.last_img read more

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Possible explanation for high incidence of Chagas in some Peruvian communities

first_imgGuinea pig pup at eight hours old. Credit: Wikipedia (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from the U.S. and Peru has found evidence that suggests the high infection rate of Chagas in some communities in Peru may be tied to the culling of guinea pigs. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes several experiments they carried out in looking for reasons for the abnormally high rates of the disease, their findings, which ruled out all but one, and changes that could be made to reduce the rates of infection. Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Chagas disease is an ailment caused by the tropical parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is spread mostly by insects known as kissing bugs or beetles. There is no known cure for the disease, though fortunately, it is seldom fatal. The disease is most prevalent in South and Central America and Mexico. One country in South America, Peru, has been hit harder by the disease than others, with infection rates as high as 40 percent in some rural communities. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn why—they focused their efforts on one small community called Arequipa.The team started with the knowledge that infected insect rates were much higher than normal in the community (sometimes as high as 85 percent) and that those infection rates were centered around guinea pig enclosures. They came up with three possible explanations: that the insects were getting infected by ingesting the feces of other insects, that other animals besides guinea pigs were involved, and the most likely possibility, a bottleneck occurred that caused smaller more dense concentrations of infected insects leading to a higher likelihood of infections in people in the same areas.After collecting many specimens for testing, the researchers were able to rule out the first two possibilities, which left the third as the most likely answer. The researchers point out that in that part of the country, people eat guinea pigs and raise them on alfalfa. They also note that during late summer as alfalfa prices rise and celebration roasts begin that feature guinea pigs on the menu, the numbers of guinea pigs left in pens drops dramatically—but because of the high number of infected insects in the area, a higher percentage of those that are left become infected. And because those pens are in areas that are tended by people, higher infection rates occur.The researchers suggest fixing the price of alfalfa might help to reverse the problem, as it would reduce culling when prices rise. Explainer: What is Chagas disease? Explore furthercenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Possible explanation for high incidence of Chagas in some Peruvian communities (2015, June 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-explanation-high-incidence-chagas-peruvian.html More information: Bottlenecks in domestic animal populations can facilitate the emergence of Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2807AbstractFaeces-mediated transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi (the aetiological agent of Chagas disease) by triatomine insects is extremely inefficient. Still, the parasite emerges frequently, and has infected millions of people and domestic animals. We synthesize here the results of field and laboratory studies of T. cruzi transmission conducted in and around Arequipa, Peru. We document the repeated occurrence of large colonies of triatomine bugs (more than 1000) with very high infection prevalence (more than 85%). By inoculating guinea pigs, an important reservoir of T. cruzi in Peru, and feeding triatomine bugs on them weekly, we demonstrate that, while most animals quickly control parasitaemia, a subset of animals remains highly infectious to vectors for many months. However, we argue that the presence of these persistently infectious hosts is insufficient to explain the observed prevalence of T. cruzi in vector colonies. We posit that seasonal rains, leading to a fluctuation in the price of guinea pig food (alfalfa), leading to annual guinea pig roasts, leading to a concentration of vectors on a small subpopulation of animals maintained for reproduction, can propel T. cruzi through vector colonies and create a considerable force of infection for a pathogen whose transmission might otherwise fizzle out. © 2015 Phys.orglast_img read more

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Computer generated math proof is largest ever at 200 terabytes

first_img © 2016 Phys.org The math problem has been named the boolean Pythagorean Triples problem and was first proposed back in the 1980’s by mathematician Ronald Graham. In looking at the Pythagorean formula: a2 + b2 = c2, he asked, was it possible to label each a non-negative integer, either blue or red, such that no set of integers a, b and c were all the same color. He offered a reward of $100 to anyone who could solve the problem.To solve this problem the researchers applied the Cube-and-Conquer paradigm, which is a hybrid of the SAT method for hard problems. It uses both look-ahead techniques and CDCL solvers. They also did some of the math on their own ahead of giving it over to the computer, by using several techniques to pare down the number of choices the supercomputer would have to check, down to just one trillion (from 102,300). Still the 800 processor supercomputer ran for two days to crunch its way through to a solution. After all its work, and spitting out the huge data file, the computer proof showed that yes, it was possible to color the integers in multiple allowable ways—but only up to 7,824—after that point, the answer became no.While technically, the team, along with their computer did create a proof for the problem, questions remain, the first of which is, is the proof really a proof if it does not answer why there is a cut-off point at 7,825, or even why the first stretch is possible? Strictly speaking, it is, the team used another computer program to verify the results, and the proof did give a definitive answer to the original question—which caused Graham to make good on his offer by handing over the $100 to the research team—but, nobody can read the proof (or other similar but smaller proofs also generated by computers but which are still too large for a human to read) which begs the philosophical question, does it really exist? Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Computer generated math proof is too large for humans to check More information: Solving and Verifying the boolean Pythagorean Triples problem via Cube-and-Conquer, arXiv:1605.00723 [cs.DM] arxiv.org/abs/1605.00723AbstractThe boolean Pythagorean Triples problem has been a longstanding open problem in Ramsey Theory: Can the set N = {1,2,…} of natural numbers be divided into two parts, such that no part contains a triple (a,b,c) with a2+b2=c2 ? A prize for the solution was offered by Ronald Graham over two decades ago. We solve this problem, proving in fact the impossibility, by using the Cube-and-Conquer paradigm, a hybrid SAT method for hard problems, employing both look-ahead and CDCL solvers. An important role is played by dedicated look-ahead heuristics, which indeed allowed to solve the problem on a cluster with 800 cores in about 2 days. Due to the general interest in this mathematical problem, our result requires a formal proof. Exploiting recent progress in unsatisfiability proofs of SAT solvers, we produced and verified a proof in the DRAT format, which is almost 200 terabytes in size. From this we extracted and made available a compressed certificate of 68 gigabytes, that allows anyone to reconstruct the DRAT proof for checking.via Nature Citation: Computer generated math proof is largest ever at 200 terabytes (2016, May 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-math-proof-largest-terabytes.html Credit: Victorgrigas/Wikideia/ CC BY-SA 3.0 , Nature Journal information: arXiv (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers has solved a single math problem by using a supercomputer to grind through over a trillion color combination possibilities, and in the process has generated the largest math proof ever—the text of it is 200 terabytes in size. In their paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, Marijn Heule with the University of Texas, Oliver Kullmann with Swansea University and Victor Marek with the University of Kentucky outline the math problem, the means by which a supercomputer was programmed to solve it, and the answer which the proof was asked to provide.last_img read more

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Crows and kea parrots found to learn usefulness of objects similar to

first_img PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Play The kea parrot is known for being destructive in its play back in its native New Zealand. Credit: Megan Lambert, University of York (Phys.org)—An international team of researchers has found via experimentation that New Caledonian crows and kea parrots learn about the usefulness of objects by playing with them—similar to human baby behavior. In their paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the group describes the experiments they carried out with the birds and what they learned by doing so. Clever cockatoos bend hooks into straight wire to fish for food Explore further More information: Megan L. Lambert et al. Function and flexibility of object exploration in kea and New Caledonian crows, Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170652AbstractA range of non-human animals frequently manipulate and explore objects in their environment, which may enable them to learn about physical properties and potentially form more abstract concepts of properties such as weight and rigidity. Whether animals can apply the information learned during their exploration to solve novel problems, however, and whether they actually change their exploratory behaviour to seek functional information about objects have not been fully explored. We allowed kea (Nestor notabilis) and New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) to explore sets of novel objects both before and after encountering a task in which some of the objects could function as tools. Following this, subjects were given test trials in which they could choose among the objects they had explored to solve a tool-use task. Several individuals from both species performed above chance on these test trials, and only did so after exploring the objects, compared with a control experiment with no prior exploration phase. These results suggest that selection of functional tools may be guided by information acquired during exploration. Neither kea nor crows changed the duration or quality of their exploration after learning that the objects had a functional relevance, suggesting that birds do not adjust their behaviour to explicitly seek this information.center_img Journal information: Royal Society Open Science Corvus moneduloides, New Caledonian Crow. Credit: public domain © 2017 Phys.org New Caledonian crows and kea parrots are both quite clever, able to identify objects as tools for use in obtaining a desired reward—though only the crows do it in the wild. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the learning process involved as the birds figured out how to use a limited number of objects to gain a food reward.The experiments consisted of allowing test birds to examine (play with) two types of blocks and two types of ropes. The block types were heavy or light, and were colored to show the difference. The rope types were rigid or flexible, and were also marked differently and distinguishable by sight only. Afterwards, the birds were introduced to two types of feeding devices. With one of them, food could only be obtained by placing something of sufficient weight on top. With the other, food could only be obtained by pushing a piece of sufficiently rigid rope through a tube to force it out. In the next step, the birds were allowed to play with the blocks and rope again; they were slightly different from those used when teaching them how to obtain food from the devices. The final step was allowing the birds to use what they had learned by picking a block or rope from the initial object group to apply to the feeding devices to gain a reward.The researchers report that after 10 trials, six of 14 birds performed better than chance in selecting the correct tool to access the food they were after. When the birds were asked to do the final step without prior experience playing with the tools, none of them did any better than chance. They also found that the training did not change the playing behavior and did not improve their chances of success in getting food from the device. This, they suggest, shows that the birds simply remember certain characteristics of objects they play with and apply them when an opportunity presents itself. This is similar, they note, to how human babies learn about objects in the world around them. Citation: Crows and kea parrots found to learn usefulness of objects similar to the way human babies do it (2017, September 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-09-crows-kea-parrots-similar-human.htmllast_img read more

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Stories on the wall

first_imgMinister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor on Thursday launched The Fly on the Wall and Other Stories by Shubha Sarma, IAS, in the presence of the Minister of Culture, Chandresh Kumari Katoch.A collection of thirteen short stories, the book Fly on the wall and Other Stories tells some realistic tales which are rooted deep in the Indian soil and appeal to the Indian sensitivities and sensibilities. Inspired by the great storytellers such as Munshi Premchand and Sharat Chandra Chattyopadhyay, the young author tries to revive the old world charm through her fiction. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Gracing the book release ceremony, Chandresh Kumari Katoch said, ‘Fly on the Wall and Other Stories is a bold and candid piece of work written in a refreshingly simple, straightforward way which reveals the unnoticed facets deeply rooted in our society.’Presently serving the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Sarma believes in simplicity of life which reflects in her writing as well. ‘Fly on the Wall and Other Stories’ is the first book by Sarma, who is a 1999 batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSpeaking on the occasion, Shashi Tharoor praised the debut book and said, ‘A compelling read, overflowing with acutely-observed and cleverly-plotted stories that hold your attention from the first to the last, Fly on the Wall marks a remarkable debut by a gifted storyteller of undoubted promise. I look forward to more from her pen.’The book release function saw the presence of renowned names of the Indian literary world such as Namita Gokhle and Professor K Satchidanandan along with other prominent faces from all walks of life. The evening saw a well conducted ceremony with the presence of the various luminaries from the bureaucracy and cultural sphere. Commenting on the book, Professor K Satchidanandan said, ‘Sarma’s subtle ways of critiquing the society’s cant, the hidden greed and violence in human beings, the nuanced condemnation of patriarchy in its various crippling incarnations, has created a publication crafted with an ingenuous sense of structural balance.’Author and civil servant, Shubha Sarma’s Fly on the Wall and Other Stories is a rarity in today’s times- well written, concise stories with subjects set in diverse settings and places, ranging from up-market, urban milieu to the depths of rural Orissa and areas of civil strife and deep social  unrest. The locales vary from deep forests of Odisha to the lush greenery of Assam and the fast-paced life in Delhi and Lucknow. The narrative strings together anxious house-wives, over-imaginative teenagers and men and women in the sunset of their lives. The characters are deeply etched and delineated. They are people one encounters everyday on the bus, the metro and the mirror. Each story is different, and each has characters etched lucidly as on ivory, situations that look so real in their contexts and strategies that enhance the fascination of the unfolding narratives. As a whole, this assortment of tales with a twist brings to life the realities and contradictions of India and makes it an enchanting collection of highly readable short stories.Author and civil servant, Sarma was born and brought up in Lucknow, and is an alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College and Jawaharlal Nehru University. Fond of dogs, she enjoys tending to her bonsai collection in her spare moments. After joining the IAS, she served for more than a decade in the tribal districts of Odisha where she endeavoured to catalyze social change, empower women and address complex issues concerning left-wing extremism. A yoga practitioner, Sarma enjoys travelling, cycling and swimming. She lives with her husband and two sons in Delhi.last_img read more

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Winter warmth

first_imgThis year’s Tamana Winter Carnival 2014 was hosted by the British High Commissioner, His Excellency James Bevan and his wife Lady Bevan British High Commission in the Capital on December 17.  The carnival was inaugurated by the High Commissioner’s wife, Lady Bevan, Sumira Bassi (wife of Commissioner of Police, Delhi), Shahnaz Husain, Neelam Pratap Rudy , Harsh Mahajan (Chairperson, Tamana) and Shayama Chona (President Tamana).  Special needs students of Tamana and the EWS students of the Reverse Integration programme presented a cultural programme at the ceremony. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The association between Britain and Tamana is very old. The first branch of Tamana- Tamana Special School was inaugurated by the Late Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales and the foundation stone was laid down by the then High Commissioner of Britain, Sir David Goodall.These Bazaars are organised for creating awareness about the cause of disabled and promoting social integration of the disabled.  The carnival showcases the products developed by the special needs individuals and provides a platform for marketing the products. Institutions/NGOs working in the similar field and small time entrepreneur from all over India are invited to exhibit and sell their products in the Carnival. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe product range includes the latest and top of the line footwear, bags, apparel, jewellery, home decor, home linen, kids wear. The carnival is also an attempt towards fund raising. The proceeds of this year’s carnival will be used for up-gradation of the Skill development Centre.Over the years Tamana’s winter carnival has become the most awaited and talked about event of Delhi Winters.  Thousands of visitors enjoy leisurely shopping and dining in the winter sun. This year’s Carnival had participation of 142 vendors and NGOs exhibiting and selling high end products. Some of the NGOs were Manzil, Mahil Udyog Kendra, Sasha Association and Family Service Trust. Two student artists of Tamana, Jitin and Kunal also showcased their paintings. The food court had participation from renowned restaurants of Delhi like Kylin, Moets, Red Mango, Sugar Cube, Ooh La La.  To provide the mothers a hassle free shopping experience there were also children activity center managed by Moglys Gurukul.last_img read more

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Lost and never found The Wait

first_imgThe mysterious disappearance of an activist in Nepal, displacement from a dear valley to live as a refugee in Pakistan, a judge, who sexually abused two women in Sri Lanka and got away with it — these are some of the instances of justice denied for few decades now.Towards this, directors from five nations — India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — put together the Justice Project to showcase for the world at large these heartrending stories of conflict and turmoil.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Snapshots of three of the five films were screened at the India International Centre from May 27-30. The project was formulated in coordination with Aakar, a Delhi-based trust and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Castaway Man (Director: Kesang Tseten, Nepal; Duration: 82 min; 2015) About 20 years ago, Dor Bahadur Bista, an anthropologist who fought against Nepaal’s caste system had disappeared without a trace. Director Kesang Tseten, after a series of interviews with Bista’s family and friends, reveals the kind of man Bista was; an outright rebel who fought the Brahmanical rituals and was termed anti-national after his book People of Nepal was published.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHis second book Fatalism and Development, which spoke of Brahmanical brainwashing making Nepalis fatalistic received an equally violent backlash from the society. Tseten documents the struggle Bista went through in his struggle the caste system. A local woman he had taken undr his wing to educate her even accused him of having an affair. Bista disappeared before 1996, when the when the Maoists began their campaign to topple the monarchy. Ironically they destroyed Bista’s house and books. There is no sign of the man till now, though his work is highly valued now. The mystery deepens further as the story ends with an archival clip of Bista burying a time capsule in 1994 — with instructions to open it 100 years later. Silence in the Courts (Director: Prasanna Vithanage, Sri Lanka; Duration: 57 min; 2015)Prasanna Vithanage documented this heart-wrenching tale of two women who were sexually abused by a judge presiding over cases involving their husbands nearly two decades ago. Despite seeking justice, their pleas were continually turned down by the Apex Court the Judiciary Services Commission and even the president. Victor Ivan, a Sri Lankan journalist who took up the cause to bring justice to these women had published several reports on the issue and on the judge who abused the women. Three years later, the charges against the judge were proven and he was sent on compulsory leave with pay instead of being dismissed. Vithanage, in 2014 documented the case, while the two women still await justice. A Walnut Tree (Director: Ammar Aziz, Pakistan; Duration: 92 min; 2015) An old man, dearly called Baba by his family, planted a walnut tree in front of his house in Pakistan’s Swat Valley a few decades ago. He put all his efforts into taking good care of the tree so that his family could go grow around the tree. But, the beautifull lush green valley slowly turned into a land filled with blood due to the conflict between the Taliban and the army. Men and women were killed mercilessly and bodies piled up on the roads. Even birds refused to make their nests in the valley anymore.Baba, his son, Mahir, his wife and two children along with many thousands were forced to displace to Jalozai refugee camp, 35 km southeast of Peshawar. Director Aziz and his camera team lived at the camp for few months to document the plight of the people. Men had no jobs and made ends meet through petty jobs, women often fell sick but had no access to medical care and children were weak, out of schools and left on the streets. After about four years in the camp when most of the refugees seem to have nearly settled in at the camp Baba still reminisced about the valley. The eerie silence around him at the camp made his mind chaotic. Being a poet, his subtle poetry yet with very strong words was his only way out from the horrible living conditions at the camp. The violent valley seemed more welcoming to him. On a cloudy morning Baba was nowhere to be seen in the camp. Leaving his family behind at the camp, Mahir left for the valley in search of his Baba. The walnut tree, despite bearing fruit, stood there still in the valley. And, Baba was never found again.last_img read more

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Odisha CM seeks Centres help over Posco deadlock

first_imgOdisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the Centre to help resolve the deadlock over South Korean steel major Posco’s Rs 52,000-crore proposed project in the state.”Met Union Finance Minister and discussed about special central assistance and increase in fund allocation under various schemes…”Also, for a high level meeting to resolve the Posco issue,” Patnaik tweeted after meeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Thursday. Patnaik also demanded Rs 3,500-crore special assistance from the Centre to mitigate the drought condition in the state. Posco, which proposed to set up a 12 mtpa greenfield mega steel project near Paradip, unanimously decided to put the project on hold. Also Read – Punjab & Sind Bank cuts MCLR by up to 20 basis pointsThe company also did not inform the state government about its decision. Though an official level meeting between the Odisha government, Posco and the Steel Ministry was held earlier at Delhi to resolve the matter, it failed to yield any result. “Therefore, Patnaik urged the Centre to organise another ministerial high-level meeting to resolve the matter,” a Steel and Mines Department official said.Billed as the highest FDI in the country, the project has not progressed much due to several reasons, including local protest over land acquisition, after the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Posco in 2005.Though the MoU for establishment of the steel plant has lapsed, it is yet to be renewed.Meanwhile, the new Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act passed in Parliament made provision of leasing iron ore mines through auction route instead of recommendation by the state government.last_img read more

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Metro work near Majerhat Bridge to stop until committee report

first_imgKolkata: Metro construction work at the site adjacent to Majerhat Bridge, a portion of which had collapsed on Tuesday, will remain stalled till the report of the high power committee is filed.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “Metro authorities haves been directed not to continue with the work at the site adjacent to Majerhat Bridge, till the report of the committee comes.” It may be mentioned that the state government has set up a high power committee to probe into Tuesday’s incident. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe work at the Metro site was asked to stop for the time being as “heavy vibration” due to the construction work has come up as a reason behind the caving in of the middle portion of the bridge.Banerjee said that the exact reason behind the collapse will become clear only after the final report of the committee comes. But primary enquiry report has suggested that the Metro work had created some problems for the bridge.It may be mentioned that Rail Vikash Nigam Limited (RVNL) had stated in a Press communiqué on Tuesday night that “there was no relation” with the Metro work and the collapse of the bridge.During the Press conference at Nabanna on Thursday, the Chief Minister questioned how one can come to a conclusion regarding what led to the collapse, within such a short time after the incident.Banerjee said that directions have been given to check all the bridges adjacent to which Metro work is going on. Chief Secretary Malay De will be speaking to the metro authorities in this regard.last_img read more

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