first_img Human language and dolphin movement patterns show similarities in brevity © 2010 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. ( — A new study has found that Formosan macaque monkeys prefer to keep their “words” short, using long vocalizations only occasionally. Explore furthercenter_img Humans also predominantly use short words that do not take much time to say, such as “of”, “a”, “it”, “or”, and “the”. The relationship between how often a word is used and its length is known as the law of brevity, and the fact that monkeys follow the same law may shed some light on the origins of human speech.The scientists, led by Dr Stuart Semple of the Roehampton University in London, U.K., said the law of brevity, which appears to apply to all languages, means the words used most often are short, while the words used least often are long, and this makes communication more efficient. Dr Semple and his team wanted to see if the same rule would apply to other animals, and to find out, they studied macaques (Macaca cyclopsis) living on Mount Longevity in Taiwan. The macaques were chosen because they are known for their extensive use of vocal communication. Formosan macaques have 35 calls of varying duration, and the scientists studied the relationship between the call duration and how often the call was used. The exact meanings of the calls are so far unknown, but they include greetings, screams and whines. The researchers found that the calls most often used were very short, while the longer calls, such as whines, were rarely heard.Dr Semple said this was the first time the law of brevity had been observed in non-human vocal communications, but it makes sense because keeping conversations short saves time and energy and also avoids drawing the attention of potential predators. The observations also suggest that the common primate ancestor could also have followed the law of brevity, which reveals more about why humans also communicate in this way.The scientists plan to follow up their research by studying other species, including non-primates, to see if they also keep their vocal communications short.The paper is published in the journal of the Royal Society, Biology Letters. More information: Efficiency of coding in macaque vocal communication, Biology Letters, DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2009.1062 Citation: Monkeys keep their words short, just like us (2010, January 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

first_img Citation: Holographic 3-D looks tantalizingly closer in 2012 (2011, December 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from via IEEE © 2011 Scientists at Imec believe, as do other researchers, that holographic images are the answer toward resolving the eye strain and headaches that go along with present-day 3-D viewing. At Imec, their work involves creating moving pixels. They are constructing holographic displays by shining lasers on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) platforms that can move up and down like small, reflective pistons.“Holographic visualization promises to offer a natural 3-D experience for multiple viewers, without the undesirable side-effects of current 3D stereoscopic visualization (uncomfortable glasses, strained eyes, fatiguing experience),” the company states.In their nanoscale system, they work with chips made by growing a layer of silicon oxide on to silicon wafer. They etch square patches of the silicon oxide. The result is a checkerboard-like pattern where etched-away pixels are nanometers lower than their neighbors. A reflective aluminum coating tops the chip. When laser light shines on the chip, it bounces off of the boundary between adjacent pixels at an angle. Diffracted light interferes constructively and destructively to create a 3-D picture where small mirrored platforms are moving up and down, many times a second, to create a moving projection. The process can also be described as the pixels closer to the light interfering with it one way and those further off, in another. The small distances between them generate the image that the eye sees.Imec hopes to construct the first, proof-of-concept moving structures by mid-2012. “Imec’s vision is to design the ultimate 3D display: a holographic display with a 60° diffraction angle and a high-definition visual experience,” they state. ( — Applications like holographic TV have long been relegated as the next big thing in the distant future but a Leuven, Belgium-based R&D lab for nanoelectronics has come up with a process that might bring holographic images closer to realtime. 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.center_img Explore further As such, Imec will have lots of company elsewhere in the race to iron out complexities of holographic imaging. According to reports throughout 2011, research teams aim to make the technology more of a reality than a wish-list item for consumers. The BBC’s R&D department has identified the work that broadcasters are doing across Europe, for example, in holographic TV. Engineers are also focused on research into 3-D holoscopy for the Internet and other 3-D applications. Researchers at MIT this year said they were closing in on holographic TV by building a system with a refresh rate of 15 frames per second. Also earlier this year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed a five-year project called “Urban Photonic Sandtable Display” that creates realtime, color, 360-degree 3-D holographic displays. More information: New holographic radar system can track high speed shellslast_img read more

first_img The problem he points out, is that we’ve become so dependent on electricity and electronic communications, that a big solar storm could cause power grids the world over to go down, and for GPS to become non-functional for an unknown amount of time, causing havoc across a wide spectrum of systems such as those used by the military, the Internet, financial institutions and of course aviation. And what’s more, he says, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way because there are many things that could be done to prevent such a nasty outcome.He suggests, for example, that power grids could be upgraded to better withstand such an onslaught. He cites how upgrades were made to many grids the world over after a solar storm in 1989 knocked out power to a large section of Quebec. Unfortunately, that storm was rather puny compared to other storms that have hit Earth. One in 1921 was bigger, and another in 1859 was so powerful that it caused telegraph machines to set fire to cable offices. A storm today of that magnitude could cause power outages lasting in some places for months. Upgrading transformers even more, he says, could prevent such an outcome.But then the question is, how far do you go? Since no one really knows how bad solar storms can get, no one really knows how much protection to build into systems. Because of that, Hapgood says we need to do our homework. There are records, he points out, of prior events and what occurred as a result, but they are all mostly hand written and stored in unknown locations. We need to find those, digitize them and make them available to researchers.We need to get better at forecasting too, he adds. Currently we get from ten minutes to about an hour’s notice for solar storms, very little time to take preventive action. Better satellites could be built and put into space that could open that window a little wider, perhaps giving grid operators or those that run satellites enough time to take evasive action that could save such facilities from damage.In summation, he writes, we as a world community need to take the possibility of a serious solar storm more seriously and then start doing things to minimize the damage that could result. Failure to do so could lead to widespread chaos and unknown circumstances thereafter. ( — In the business of everyday life, it’s easy to overlook things that could cause a serious disruption to how life is lived; floods happen, hurricanes, volcanoes and tsunamis like the one that devastated Japan last year. And now it seems, there is one more potential disaster we should add to the list: geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun. Mike Hapgood head of the space environment group with RAL Space, part of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, has written a commentary published in the journal Nature, suggesting that it’s time we quit burying our heads in the sand regarding the devastating impact a serious solar storm could have on modern populations. 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. © 2012 Phys.Org Artist’s depiction of solar wind particles interacting with Earth’s magnetosphere. Sizes are not to scale. Image: NASA Effects of solar flares arriving on Earthcenter_img Explore further Journal information: Nature Citation: Space environmentalist warns we need to better prepare for solar storms (2012, April 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: Astrophysics: Prepare for the coming space weather storm, Nature 484, 311–313 (19 April 2012) doi:10.1038/484311alast_img read more

first_imgTwo researchers, one with Biofaction in Austria, the other with Université de Toulouse in France, report an example of ants (Azteca brevis) in Costa Rica who have developed a truly unique way of capturing prey that are much larger than they are. As Markus Schmidt and Alain Dejean describe in their paper published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, the ants have found a way to take advantage of the impact a type of fungus has on trees to help them capture prey. As Schmidt and Dejean note, a type of fungus grows on tree branches in the Piedras Blancas National Forest, in Costa Rica. In addition to creating a dark residue on the branches, the fungus softens the bark, which allows the ants to dig tiny holes and build a nest beneath it. The holes, the researchers note, are just big enough for the ants to crawl into and hide—and for trapping the feet of crawling insects. Once an insect’s foot falls into a hole, the ant that is hiding in it latches on and begins pulling. As the insect attempts to free itself, it flails about, trapping its other feet (and sometimes antennae) in other holes where there are more ants hiding. They, too, clamp onto the insect and begin pulling—together, the ants trap the spread-eagled insect, preventing it from escaping. What happens next depends on the size and nature of the captured insect. For those that that are large and can still fight back, the ants simply hang on until it dies—a wait that can last for hours. For those that are smaller or weaker, other ants emerge from holes in the tree and attack. In either case, the insect is eaten where it was killed.The researchers report that the technique allows the ants to capture prey almost 50 times larger than they are. They further report that it is an example of an extended phenotype, which was introduced by Richard Dawkins in 1982 to describe all effects that a gene has on its environment, whether inside or outside the body of an individual organism. More information: Markus Schmidt et al. A dolichoderine ant that constructs traps to ambush prey collectively: convergent evolution with a myrmicine genus, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2018). DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly028AbstractAzteca brevis Forel, a dolichoderine ant species, builds along the branches of its host plant galleries that bear numerous holes slightly wider than a worker’s head. We noted that the workers hide, mandibles open, beneath different holes, waiting for arthropod prey to walk by or alight. They seize the extremities of these arthropods and pull backwards, immobilizing the prey, which is then spreadeagled and later carved up or pulled into a gallery before being carved up. The total duration of the capture ranges from a few minutes to several hours. This ambush group hunting permits the capture of insects of a wide range of sizes, with the largest being 48.71 times heavier than the workers, something that we compared with other cases of group hunting by ants and trap use by other arthropods. A convergence with myrmicine ants of the genus Allomerus is shown. Thus, this study also shows that the genus Azteca presents the largest panel of group hunting strategies by ants and that there is polyethism related to polymorphism, as hunting workers are larger than their nestmates. We concluded that these gallery-shaped traps correspond to the notion of ‘extended phenotype’. Citation: Ants found to use trapping technique to capture much larger prey (2018, April 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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. Azteca brevis workers using their gallery-shaped trap to catch insect prey. A, a gallery-shaped trap with workers hiding under holes with their mandibles open. B, a fly ant trapped on the gallery was later cut up on the spot. C, an insect pulled inside the gallery. (Photographs by M. Schmidt.). Credit: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2018). DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly028 Ants sacrifice their colony mates as parts of a deadly disinfection Explore further © 2018 Phys.orglast_img read more

first_imgLook What They Made Her Do: Taylor Swift To Re-Record Her… Kevin Mazur by NPR News Anastasia Tsioulcas 8.22.19 12:00pm Ending a summer of speculation, singer Taylor Swift confirmed Thursday that she’s planning to re-record her existing catalog in order to regain artistic and financial control of her material after her former record label sold it in a reported $300 million deal.Swift first spoke publicly about her plans in an interview that will be broadcast on “CBS Sunday Morning” this week.She reasserted her plans in a live interview Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” shortly before a live performance in New York City that also served as promotion for her newest album, Lover, which drops Friday.Interviewer Robin Roberts pointed out that Lover has sold almost a million copies in pre-sale, which means that it is very likely to go platinum upon release. Swift added, “One thing that’s really special to me is that it’s the first one that I will own.” (The audience erupted into loud, extended cheers at her answer.)Roberts followed up by asking Swift about her plans to re-record her earlier material. Taylor answered, “Yeah, and it’s something that I’m very excited about doing, because my contract says that starting November 2020 — so, next year — I can record albums 1 through 5 all over again — I’m very excited about it. … I think artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that.” (The fate of 2017’s Reputation –her sixth project released on her former label — is unclear at this point.)Swift’s announcement comes nearly two months after her former label home, Big Machine, was sold to Ithaca Holdings, an umbrella company owned by impresario Scooter Braun. (Braun’s own management roster includes Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.) Public speculation about Swift’s plans to re-record that material was sparked by Kelly Clarkson, who tweeted the idea at Swift on July 13.Big Machine, which was founded by Nashville music industry veteran Scott Borchetta, signed Swift in 2006; Swift, then just a teenager, was Big Machine’s staple artist, and her first six albums were released on that label.Swift claimed that she was unaware of the sale to Braun’s company, and called the deal “my worst-case scenario,” alluding to Braun’s involvement in a number of feuds between her and artists he has managed, including Kanye West. Swift also said that she had tried to buy back her masters from Big Machine, but that the terms the label offered her were intolerable. In a blog post, she wrote: “For years, I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past.”Last year, Swift signed a deal with the world’s largest record company, Universal Music Group, and its subsidiary Republic Records; Lover is her first release under this new contract.For artists, master recordings — the original recordings of musicians’ work — are vital musically, historically and financially. In most situations, labels own those masters. But many musicians, both prominent and independent ones, have tried to hang on to their masters. As Prince famously told Rolling Stone back in 1996, “If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.”Some artists have jumped at the opportunity to re-record their work — sometimes for artistic or technological reasons (such as in the case of Car Seat Headrest, who re-recorded 2011’s Twin Fantasy and re-released it last year), and other times with far more explicitly financial goals. One example is the one-hit wonder Wang Chung, who in 2007 re-recorded “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” in order to rejigger its licensing profits. Squeeze followed suit in 2010; singer Glenn Tilbrook wrote in The Guardian: “If one of my children was doing a life sentence in prison for a crime I knew they hadn’t committed, I would do my best to get them out, no matter what. Having the recordings of my songs owned forever by someone else, with no chance of getting them back, is a little bit like that.”Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

first_imgThe Value Elephant: The Head and Tail of Wealth Creation by Sanjay KulkarniIf six sightless men were asked to describe “value”, they had probably touched an elephant and described it in parts, without getting a sense of the whole. But to build lasting wealth, you must perceive the entire “value elephant”. Great fortunes are made and lost in financial markets. The author’s approach, called V-GRO, enables identification of fundamentally strong businesses which are available at a discount, debunks a number of myths like “price is always right” and “earrings are everything”, and creates positive results for investors. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’That is not all. The same fundamentals, Kulkarni argues, can be applied to a business to create value. He demonstrates how CEOs, professional managers and owners of businesses can ride the “value elephant” to make businesses more valuable, regardless of ownership and industry segment.Rustom and the Last Storyteller of Almora by Gaurav ParabRustom Iraqiwalla, a once-rich, green-eyed Parsi, is all set to blow his brains out at his best friend’s wedding. Debt-ridden and marked by the mafia, this is the only way he can secure his family’s future and atone for all the rotten choices he has made in his life. This extraordinary situation comes by way of his grandfather Fali’s will that states Rustom shall inherit the family fortune if he kills himself in a public place with the former’s eponymous gun. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixBefore he has a chance to shoot himself, his best friend Mani persuades him to meet an unlikely saviour in the Himalayan town of Almora – a drugged-out godman belting out strange visions through cryptic stories of love, power and loyalty. Will the last story-teller give Rustom a reason to live, or will his tales push Rustom further into an abyss of unimaginable loss?Ambushed by Nayanika MahtaniThis is a wildly exciting tale about the battle between man and nature. “That’s it,” thought Tara, with a sinking feeling in her stomach. “My end is here”. She fervently hoped it wouldn’t be as brutal as that of the poor tigers. Gadget geek Tara braces herself for the dullest summer ever when her banker-turned-photographer father whisks her off to a sleepy tiger reserve in the Himalayan foothills, where nothing ever happens.She couldn’t have been more wrong. A stroll through the woods sends Tara on an adventure of a lifetime, as she stumbles upon an international gang of poachers. A tigress and her cubs must be saved and Tara’s only accomplice is her mysterious new friend, Satya. But can this unlikely pair save the day?India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats by Surendra KumarIf there is anything constant in the world, it is change, especially in today’s globalised world. Thirty mandarins of South Block look at the current changes in different parts of the world, try to connect them with developments of the recent past, analyse and dissect them with experience and understanding spanning decades and strive to foresee what is likely to happen and weigh how that could impact India’s relations with the rest of the world.This book is a unique treasure of the thoughts and ideas of Indian diplomats who have collectively put in more than 1,150 years in the Indian Foreign Service, representing three generations: those who joined in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. While some have shared reflections and reminiscences of their roller coaster journey diplomatic career, others have focussed on India’s relations with different countries and regions.A few have set out on a rather philosophical note, wondering whether it is hard power or the soft power or the soul power that serves national interests best and whether the days of quiet diplomacy are numbered. All in all, it is a heady cocktail of reflections and reminiscences, hard-nosed analysis and dispassionate interpretation and, of course, some crystal ball-gazing.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Cobas 6000 auto analyser machine has been installed at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Monday.A fully automated modular biochemistry analyser, Cobas 6000 can perform a combination of routine biochemistry, Electrolytes and special biochemistry tests at the sametime. This analyser can deliver reports of 1,200 tests per hour.It can perform 1,200 different tests with a single sample. As a result, reports of blood tests would be given to the patients in less time. As there is a huge number of patients visiting the hospital for various tests, the machine will help the hospital authorities to cater to more number of patients in a better way. It may be mentioned that CMCH is the first hospital in the state to have such an automatic machine that performs tests on a large-scale in less time. The approximate cost of the machine is around Rs 2 crore. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe machine was inaugurated at the central pathology building of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital by Dr Nirmal Maji, who happens to be the Chairman of Rogi Kalayan Samity of the hospital in presence of the Principal, medical super of the hospital. According to the hospital sources, there is a provision to enhance the capacity up to 2,000 samples per hour only with an addition of another module to the machine. According to a hospital doctor, various tests including that of Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Electrolyte, platelet, RBC, WBC, HIV and cancer can be done by the advanced machine. In addition, the machine will be able to do general biochemistry tests like sugar, uric acid, various hormone tests and tumor marker tests. The main purpose behind installing the costly machine at CMCH is to ensure that the patients get their blood tests done in minimum possible time. The people would be able to get the benefit at completely free of costs.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: In an extremely determined austerity drive, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed her Cabinet colleagues and government officials to go for an “effective utilisation of resources” that would ensure that common man’s money is not spent for luxury. Following a high-level meeting at the Nabanna Sabhaghar, Banerjee said that committees under Chief Secretary Malay De have been formed to monitor and monetise resources.Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, she said measures were required to cut down avoidable expenses. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedShe added: “We have to check unnecessary expenditure but there will be no compromise on expenses to ensure better public services.”Mentioning the manifold increase in the planned budget since 2011, Banerjee stated that money is needed to give better service to the people and at the same time the leftover debt of the erstwhile Left Front government also needed to be cleared. She further stated that the state government has so far cleared Rs 2.40 lakh crore and this year, it has given Rs 46,000 crore for the debt. The Chief Minister has also taken a dig at the Centre for its step-motherly attitude as its allocation of funds for various projects have been reduced. This comes at the time when the state government’s exchequer will cost around Rs 5,000 crore as its employees will be getting Dearness Allowance (DA) at 125 percent from January 1 of 2019. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPBanerjee, under whose leadership the state has witnessed an overall development in the past seven years, maintained: “We also run several projects for the benefits of the people including Kanyashree, Rupashree and Khadya Sathi.”In the same breath, she said: “Planned budget in 2011 was Rs 11,000 crore. But now it has been increased to Rs 80,000 crore. At the same time, Rs 18,000 crore also has to be invested for infrastructure development.”Banerjee maintained that the planned expenditure and capital expenditure have gone up by five times and nine times respectively. The physical and social expenditure has gone up by four times each. Income of farmers has also gone up by three times. “Our government is the first to introduce e-governance and e-tendering mechanism. We have received several awards and it has also helped in ensuring better service to people,” she added.Urging the officials to be more effective and innovative in their ideas, the Chief Minister further said: “We are trying our best to bring down expenses and provide better services to people. The number of departments has also been brought down to 51 from 63 by merging 12 departments.” She has also urged all to be more proactive as there are many areas that still remained untouched and steps need to be taken to work in those sectors.She also urged for steps so that there is no loss due to “faulty tender” process. She said that there will also be training for Financial Advisors and the Public Works Department will arrange training for engineers.Emphasising the need to rationalise human resources, the Chief Minister said: “Whatever we can save will be utilised for the benefit of the masses.”last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Brazil’s shock 1-2 defeat to Belgium has all but ended the east Indian city’s FIFA World Cup euphoria with Argentina also bowing out of the football competition earlier.Streets of football-mad Kolkata wore a despondent look on Saturday afternoon as clutters of Brazil and Argentina flags looked colourless in the torrential downpour that lashed the eastern metropolis.Much like the end of the Durga Puja festival, the buzz in tea stalls, local sweet shops and fast food joints went missing. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedBrazil revellers, who until Friday’s reversal were happy at the fact that Argentina had lost to France in the round of 16, disappeared from the streets while jersey sellers at Maidan market were counting their losses.”Like every four years, we had ordered Brazil and Argentina jerseys the most. Yes, there was demand for Portugal as well with Ronaldo jerseys being sold a lot. But since their exit and Germany’s too, Brazil shirts were in huge demand after their win over Mexico (in the pre-quarters). With Brazil gone, we fear a downturn in jersey sales,” a Maidan market shopkeeper said. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPArgentina supporters rubbed salt in Brazil counterparts’ wounds by bursting crackers the moment referee Mazic Milorad of Serbia blew the final whistle. Social media groups were awash with taunts between supporters of both parties.”We are not exactly happy but there is a sense of satisfaction as they were celebrating Argentina’s exit like Brazil have won the World Cup. Belgium showed them their place,” said Sandip Misra, an Argentina supporter.”You can say that the World Cup for Bengalis is over,” current India full-back Pritam Kotal said. “For Bengalis, I have grown up watching people support either Brazil or Argentina in my neighbourhood. So the charm will be missing now,” added Kotal, a Brazil supporter.An own goal from Fernandinho and a beauty of a strike from Kevin De Bruyne in the first half helped Belgium subdue Neymar’s Brazil for whom Raphael Augusto scored in the second period. This is the first time that neither Brazil, Germany or Argentinahave reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Police arrested five BJP supporters in connection with the assault on five policemen including an additional superintendent of police at Chowringhee in Kharagpur on Monday. The arrested BJP workers along with some others had beaten up the policemen after the vehicles they were travelling in got caught up in a traffic jam. The BJP workers asked the police to clear the jam as they had to reach the Midnapore College ground, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a gathering. The BJP workers got down from the vehicles and beat up the policemen on duty. When some senior officers came to the rescue of their colleagues, the BJP workers beat them as well, with bamboo sticks and iron rods. An additional superintendent of police was also injured. West Midnapore district administration had instructed the police not to take the issue lightly.last_img read more