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Month: August 2019

Audi Unveils iPhonelike Car Phone

first_img Study: Tesla Autopilot misleading, overestimated more than similar technology 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. Explore further Citation: Audi Unveils iPhone-like Car Phone (2007, October 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2007-10-audi-unveils-iphone-like-car.html The Audi phone is part of the A1 Metroproject Quattro Concept, Audi´s latest urban car prototype. A hybrid, the A1 combines a 150 bhp 1.4-liter TFSI engine with power directed to the front wheels, and a 41 HP electric motor on the rear axle for extra torque. Operating only on electricity, the A1 can travel up to 62 miles, and can be recharged at a normal power outlet.One of the most innovative parts of the A1 concept is the phone, acting as a remote version of the in-car Audi MMI interface, which can slide into a slot on the dash. Equipped with both Wi-Fi and 3G UMTS technology, the phone features a combination key fob, remote starting, and even allows drivers to control the heating system remotely, warming up the car on cold winter mornings.And because everyone is going to want an Audi A1, the phone has anti-theft features, too. The phone teams up with an onboard camera, which snaps pictures when suspecting the entrance of an intruder, and then wirelessly sends the pictures to the phone. Then, acting like a LoJack, it switches on the car´s tracking device following the car´s location.The Audi phone can also function as an MP3 player and a navigation unit. The interface, a touch-sensitive screen with only four main softkeys (like an iPhone), can recognize Latin and Japanese characters, and can also decipher handwriting. Perhaps the biggest concern about such a high-tech device is getting used to safely using it—or not using it—while driving.via: Motor Authority and Jalopnik Audi has recently introduced a new concept car phone, cramming a ton of features into a tiny device. Called the Audi Mobile Phone, the handheld interface controls a number of systems on the car, while also serving as a phone, and video and audio player. The Audi Mobile Phone, part of the A1 Metroproject Quattro Concept, is a phone, MP3 player, navigation system, and also controls a multitude of features on the Audi A1.last_img read more


Jump into the screen with 360degree immersive video

first_imgAs you watch a video, have you ever wondered what’s happening beyond the camera frame? If you could jump inside the video and look around, you would have a 360-degree view of the world in your TV screen or computer monitor. Explore further Using virtual reality could make you a better person in real life A company based in Calgary, Alberta, called Immersive Media Corp. is trying to achieve exactly this type of immersive experience with a new camera and software technology. When watching a video filmed with the Immersive Viewer (IMViewer) system, users can control the scene, seamlessly moving the perspective up, down, sideways, or even behind the original frame. The technology is based on a Dodeca 2360 camera, which can record eleven image streams that are arranged in a geodesic geometry. The camera captures images at a resolution of more than 100 million pixels per second – significantly more than HDTV. The 20-pound camera also has four built-in microphones for simultaneous omni-directional audio recording. When recording, camera operators can check each individual lens to see what´s being recorded at every angle. Immersive Media’s software then turns the video files into “telemersion” files. A processor compresses, records, and synchronizes up to 12 channels at once. Then, the videos can be viewed on computer monitors, video screens, head-mounted displays, or projected onto a dome screen. When watching video on a computer monitor, viewers use the mouse to turn the viewing in any 360-degree direction (demos available at Immersive Media’s Web site). The viewing engine essentially blends camera image streams together in real time to make a movable window. With a head-mounted display, a viewer can see different angles simply by turning their head.To enhance the immersion experience, viewers can also “direct” the video by rewinding, pausing, speeding up, slowing down, or zooming in on certain areas. The technology is also compatible with GPS or other metadata, enabling viewers to determine the location they´e viewing.The software can also blend the entire 360-degree scene onto a single 2D screen, called a “sphere movie.” These sphere movies show the whole environment in motion at once, without having to direct the field of view. Sphere movies can be watched on standard software such as Quicktime or Windows Media Player, or recorded on DVDs. They’re also compatible with MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, and can be broadcast using HDTV-resolution channels.With another feature, viewers can watch three frames on a single screen: the controllable video, the full sphere movie (with crosshairs that correspond to where you are looking in the controllable frame), and a GPS frame telling you your location as you move. While Immersive’s camera technology was developed three years ago, it was originally used by the FBI to study street routes of visiting dignitaries for security purposes. More recently, Google Earth has used the technology to create its StreetView videos. Immersive also hopes to use the technology for applications such as urban planning, oil and gas resource management, emergency response and first responder operations, and commercial media.One notable company taking advantage of the technology is Adidas, which has featured videos incorporating the immersion capability on its Web site. Viewers can zoom in on their favorite basketball players and replay scenes to see reaction shots – in short, experiencing the event with a personal perspective.More information: Immersive Media Demos Citation: Jump into the screen with 360-degree immersive video (2008, February 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-02-screen-degree-immersive-video.html Immersive Media´s Dodeca 2360 camera. 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.last_img read more


MIT spinoff plans to manufacture cheap efficient solar cells

first_imgIn the new solar cell design by MIT researchers, more light can be captured, increasing efficiency and decreasing cost per watt. Image credit: 1366 Technologies. Sachs and his colleagues have started a company called 1366 Technologies. With the help of a recent $12.4 million grant, the team is building a pilot-scale manufacturing plant to fabricate their first batch of solar cells. The cells currently have an efficiency of 19.5%, and cost about $1.65 per watt. That´s a 27% improvement in efficiency over similar commercial solar cells of today, which have about 15% efficiency and cost about $2.10 per watt. 1366 Technologies´ solar cells are made from multi-crystalline silicon – a material that is normally less efficient than top quality single-crystal cells, but significantly cheaper. However, with the improvements by Sach´s group, the multi-crystalline solar cells reach about the same efficiency as the single-crystal variety.Over the next year, the group will decide whether their pilot manufacturing results justify building a factory for commercial production. Sachs also predicts that the cost of the solar cells will drop to around $1.35 per watt in the near future, due to anticipated advances.One of the biggest improvements to the new design is the addition of texture to the surface of the solar cells. In the past, this step has been very difficult for researchers to achieve with multi-crystalline silicon. The rough surface allows the cells to capture more light, since it bends the light and causes it to bounce around longer inside the cell, rather than reflect straight off the back and exit the cell. The researchers also etched wires inside the solar cell so that they too allow more light to enter the cell. Another improvement involved making the silver wires that harvest the current very thin, which cuts down on the cost and allows more light to enter the cell.Sachs, who is taking a leave of absence from MIT to help build the company, says that other solar cell makers will be free to use 1366 Technologies´ designs, and hopefully make solar power a more affordable and efficient method to meet global energy requirements. In the future, the company hopes to build industrial, 100-megawatt plants around the world.”Once the pilot plant has proven itself, we´ll work with governments and energy agencies worldwide to build a string of factories,” said Carmichael Roberts. Roberts is a general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, which – along with Polaris Venture Partners – is funding 1366 Technologies. Roberts is also joining 1366 Technologies´ board of directors as chairman. More information: 1366tech.comvia: MIT Technology Review Explore further Researchers from MIT have improved commercial solar cells that will soon be significantly cheaper and more efficient than those available today. Ely Sachs, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, predicts that by 2012 such solar cells will be comparable in price with coal, which is about $1 per watt. Best of Last Week: A loose thread in string theory, e-cigarettes harm brain stem, and diet’s role in obesity pandemic Citation: MIT spin-off plans to manufacture cheap, efficient solar cells (2008, March 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-03-mit-spin-off-cheap-efficient-solar.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more


Herding in the stock market may inspire humanguided trading algorithms

first_img Journal information: New Journal of Physics 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. Investors’ risk tolerance decreases with the stock market, study finds What explains the correlations often seen between two arbitrarily selected stocks? Collective behavior between stocks is one feature that may be explained by human herding behavior. Herding may also explain some market features that are not well explained by rational factors. Credit: Shapira, et al. ©2014 IOP Publishing Ltd Citation: Herding in the stock market may inspire human-guided trading algorithms (2014, June 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-06-herding-stock-human-guided-algorithms.html © 2014 Phys.org More information: Yoash Shapira, et al. “Modelling the short term herding behavior of stock markets.” New Journal of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/16/5/053040 (Phys.org) —Humans have a strong tendency to belong to a group, an instinct that often manifests in herding behavior. Not limited to humans, herding exists throughout nature, for example in ant colonies, schools of fish, and flocks of birds. But what about the stock market? Explore further In an attempt to explain these features, the researchers developed a model of stock market behavior that consists of just two terms: a correlation coefficient that represents the individual tendency to follow the group (herding), and a random term that represents the individual’s unpredictable reaction to new external information. The researchers found that this simple model could capture several features of the market, including short-term price fluctuations, as well as partial long-term correlations of stocks with respect to other stocks and the index. Other known features of real markets that emerged in this model were the Epps effect (the phenomenon that correlations decrease as sampling frequency increases), short-term lagged autocorrelation (the correlation of a stock with itself), and synchronized “bursts” between stocks. Previously, some of these characteristics (such as the Epps effect) have been thought to originate in factors related to the technical aspects of trading. Others (such as lagged autocorrelation) have not been successfully explained by technical factors. The fact that all of these features can be explained by a model that at its core is based on herding behavior suggests that the social and emotional behavior of investors has a significant impact on stock market dynamics. As the researchers explain, understanding why investors make the decisions they do is important when trying to prevent market crashes and improve stability.”In the future, observed phenomena that do not necessarily conform with conventional financial theory should not be thought of as very intriguing or frightening, if they could be explained by taking into account human behavior effects,” Berman said. “This might reduce panic and prevent false alarms.”Accounting for the human element in financial trading could even have a fundamental impact on how computer algorithms are used in trading. In the past, traders used computers to analyze market activity and provide clues for making investment decisions. Today, “algo trading” has evolved to the point where the algorithm does the investing for humans. A major problem with this trading model is that, if everyone uses similar algorithms, then herding behavior emerges, which leads to market instability. “One of the things that I can see in the future is, if you show a human being financial information and record their brain response and associated behavior, then you can use this input to guide the computer in making trading decisions,” Ben-Jacob said. “So instead of using the computer to guide the human, you can use the human to guide the computer.”Understanding how the brain reacts to stress can also help traders make more rational decisions. As Ben-Jacob explains, most of the time humans behave somewhat—though not completely—rationally. However in times of stress, the brain secretes hormones that change the way it processes reality, changing its response. In stressful times, humans usually follow patterns that are familiar to them, avoid making individual decisions, and become more herd-like. Interestingly, there is even some evidence that the female and male brains respond differently to stress, which may provide insight into how to better respond to market fluctuations.”The female brain under stress tends to see more of the global picture and to think about continuation,” Ben-Jacob said. “In some sense, it reacts better in that it does not go into panic as much as the male brain.”In these ways, the merging of psychology and finance may offer unique benefits to understanding and improving stock market dynamics. Although we may like to believe that our rational side (“Homo economicus”) dominates when it comes to financial decision-making, a new study shows that herding behavior can explain several features of stock markets that are not explained very well by more rational factors. Understanding the human emotional side to investing could even lead to human-guided trading algorithms and improved market stability.The researchers, adjunct researcher Yoash Shapira, PhD student Yonatan Berman, and Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob at Tel-Aviv University in Israel, have published a paper on the influence of herding behavior in stock markets in a recent issue of the New Journal of Physics.”It is important to understand that a big part of the activities in the stock market are not derived from rational thinking and the flow of information, but rather from emotional human behavior,” Shapira told Phys.org. “This is contrary to the accepted point of view that governs economic theories. Using physical terms, financial markets are very noisy. We show that most of the ‘noise’ is due to human emotional factors and has to be analyzed as such.”Usually when researchers model the stock market, they treat it as a network of many investors whose actions are influenced by both external information (such as quarterly reports or world news) and internal information (namely the stock prices, or in other words the trading behavior of other investors). Although these influences may seem straightforward, the resulting behaviors of the markets are very complex. For one thing, stock prices undergo large, rapid, and unpredictable short-term fluctuations. A second noteworthy feature of markets is the strong collective behavior between stocks and between different indexes in different markets.While previous research has attempted to explain these two features—price fluctuations and collective behavior—as the result of new information, this by itself is not sufficient for two main reasons. First, prices fluctuate much more rapidly than new substantial information is released. Second, the new information is often not clear enough to cause investors to use it to make universal trading decisions.last_img read more


How did genetic parasites overcome natural selection for billions of years

first_img Journal information: Europhysics Letters (EPL) Genetic diversity helps protect against disease Nearly half of the human genome is composed of genetic parasites—transposons, plasmids, viruses, and other genetic elements that have one thing in common: they don’t make any beneficial contributions to their hosts, and can sometimes have harmful effects. Genetic parasites—sometimes called “selfish genes”—originated early in the history of life and today are present in nearly all living organisms. Models of genetic parasites in a population of hosts. Credit: Iranzo and Koonin. ©2018 EPL The discovery that genetic parasites are so ubiquitous and abundant is one of the many surprising findings in the field of genomics, but many questions remain unanswered. One of the most basic questions is simply how genetic parasites have managed to persist for so long, despite the evidence that they are harmful at evolutionary timescales. Typically, natural selection results in deletions of harmful genes, so the main question is, why hasn’t natural selection wiped out genetic parasites?In a new study published in EPL, researchers Jaime Iranzo and Eugene V. Koonin at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, have found that horizontal gene transfer may be one of the keys to understanding the persistence and spread of genetic parasites over evolutionary timescales. In horizontal gene transfer (HGT), genetic information is transferred to an organism by a variety of mechanisms other than the traditional parent-to-offspring process of transferring DNA. For example, an organism may receive genetic material directly from another organism—even one of a different species—or pick up genetic material from the surrounding environment. For genetic parasites, HGT offers a way to infect new hosts, providing a potential mechanism to compensate for the losses due to natural selection.Early studies have shown, however, that it’s unlikely that HGT alone could enable genetic parasites to persist for long periods of time, assuming typical HGT rates. Later research suggested that random fluctuations in the HGT rates might allow for the persistence of some genetic parasites. Now in the new study, the researchers analyzed large amounts of data on the spread of genetic parasites in microbial populations, and used it to estimate the minimum HGT transfer rates required for the long-term survival of genetic parasites. The analysis involved using mathematical modelling and comparative genomics to quantify the effects of various factors on the spread and persistence of genetic parasites. Explore further The researchers found that, although the critical HGT rate depends on the strength of natural selection and the rate of gene deletion, the typical HGT rates of genetic parasites are generally high enough to guarantee their long-term survival. The findings provide evidence that genetic parasites may use HGT to overcome natural selection and persist in their hosts’ genomes for billions of years. Their results also help explain why different types of genetic parasites use different strategies.”By quantifying the cost of genetic parasites and the minimum HGT rate that parasites require to persist, we gained a fundamental understanding of why selfish genes differ in their parasitic strategies,” Iranzo told Phys.org. “For example, genetic parasites that are very deleterious need very high HGT rates, which can only be achieved by evolving autonomous mechanisms for HGT (the case of viruses and conjugative plasmids) or by piggybacking on another parasite that is autonomous for HGT (the case of toxin-antitoxin modules). Mild genetic parasites, such as transposons, have more options, such as evolving mechanisms that allow them to proliferate within their host genomes.”Although genetic parasites do not provide any functional benefits to their hosts, the competition between early living organisms and genetic parasites may have played a vital role in some of the major evolutionary events in the history of living organisms. For example, this competition may have been one of the driving forces behind cell compartmentalization as well as the origin of multicellular life forms, and may have also made living organisms more resistant to other parasite invasions. Understanding the persistence of genetic parasites has implications for understanding these events, as well as to help answer other questions. “A natural extension of our work is to study the interactions among different classes of genetic parasites,” Iranzo said. “How does the presence of a genetic parasite affect the long- (and short-) term survival of other genetic parasites? What ecological and evolutionary factors promote cooperation and/or competition among genetic parasites? A second focus would be capturing the transient dynamics observed at the scale of multiple populations and species, where genetic parasites seem to be proliferating in some species and declining in others.” Citation: How did genetic parasites overcome natural selection for billions of years? (2018, July 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-genetic-parasites-natural-billions-years.html © 2018 Phys.org More information: Jaime Iranzo and Eugene V. Koonin. “How genetic parasites persist despite the purge of natural selection.” EPL. DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/122/58001 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.last_img read more


On the other side

first_imgThey have assimilated within the cultural folds of India and any distinction now is only surface as the Sidi consider India as their home.The artist has assiduously compiled her work over six years travelling extensively through small pockets in the country where the Sidi reside. The photographs reveal the artist’s acute sensitivity about a community she engaged with.Seth has made a conscious effort to ensure that the camera does not make her subjects feel awkward; rather they communicate uninhibitedly, almost ignoring the presence of the camera which is a rare quality. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Speaking about her photographs Sheth said, “For six years I travelled through much of Gujarat, Bombay, Goa, Hyderabad and the forests near Manchikere in Karnataka, where the Sidi live. It has been a long journey and my singular reward has been the friends and portraits I made on the way.These portraits bear witness to the quotidian of a community on the margins: the Sidi at home, at work, in celebration, in prayer, at births, deaths and marriages.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘These are exciting and aspiring times for practicing photography as art as it allows the subject to be interpreted and understood on many levels. The admirable and inspiring works by Sheth truly exploit the dynamism of Photography as a creative medium,’ said Prof. Lochan, Director, NGMA This exhibition is presented by NGMA in collaboration with Photoink.When: Till 3 November 10 am onwardsWhere: National Modern Art Gallerylast_img read more


Luxury an imperial art

first_imgThe Imperial has been bestowed with the honor of Asia’s Best ‘Luxury Historical Hotel’ by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards 2014 amongst top hotels in the continent. The recognition was conferred upon The Imperial at the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards Gala Ceremony held at The Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa on December 6. The Imperial has been winning this award since 2010 as ‘The Leading Luxury Hotel of India’ from a list of nominations that featured most of the known brands in the industry and this is the 5th year of our victory as Continent’s Best Luxury Historical Hotel, in recognition of unsurpassed facilities and services. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The World Luxury Hotel Awards was established in 2006 to recognize the worldwide luxury hotel industry and legendary hotels with respect to overall service excellence.  Award winners raised the bar of service delivery within the industry ever since as some of the world’s top hotels .Over 1,000 hotels from 145 countries were nominated to participate in the world’s most prestigious Awards initiative for luxury hotels in 2014.  World Luxury Hotel Awards events offer hoteliers with a unique opportunity to savour and celebrate their achievements of the past year with their industry peers.  Gracing the red carpet at the award ceremony were well-known South African celebrities alongside leading hoteliers from around the globe.last_img read more


IITKGP alumni design customised ambulance for patients gift it to Alma mater

first_imgKolkata: In an initiative to strengthen the health and wellness programme of IIT Kharagpur, the alumni of the Institute have designed a customised ambulance for safeguarding dynamic patient requirements and gifted it to their Alma mater. “We have initiated process for two ambulances similar to those used by superspecialty hospitals for long distance transfer of patients under constant monitoring. The present initiative by the alumni to augment our fleet of ambulances is exemplary, considering the time spent and technical expertise extended to custom design this ambulance, which shows the level of affection of the students” said Prof Sriman Kumar Bhattacharya, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe campaign comprises alumni: Ranbir Gupta, Asoke Deysarkar, Vinod Gupta and Arjun Malhotra of the IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA. They along with Delhi-based alumnus Achin Juneja worked towards understanding the requirements of the patients from the IIT Kharagpur campus who are referred to hospitals in Kolkata. “The patients need comfort and constant monitoring along with some uninterrupted emergency services during transit. While designing, we focused on the interiors of the ambulance and the power supply,” explained Juneja, an electronics engineer who graduated from IIT Kharagpur in 1972. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHe consulted several doctors and super speciality hospitals in India to ensure best-in-class emergency medical fittings and effective vehicle design for long-distance journey.The medical equipment include transport ventilator, defibrillator, syringe pump, suction pump, fully regulated oxygen supply system for patient, patient monitor for BP, ECG, oxygen saturation in blood, respiratory rate, pulse rate and a foldable stretcher trolley for comfortable transfer of the patient to and fro the ambulance. The ambulance has dedicated batteries and alternators for uninterrupted power supply and air-conditioning one for the patient cabin irrespective of the engine function. The large wheelbase of approximately 3.5 metre give more room inside the patient cabinet. Custom fittings were fabricated.last_img read more


Battle of wits

first_imgFor Nitish Kumar, who is at the helm of affairs for the third time in his 10-year’s chief ministerial stint, there are challenges galore from both within and outside the party. Interestingly, the political battle in the state would be fought on a different note and tempo as friends have become foes and arch rivals have buried the hatchet to checkmate their one and only opponent, the BJP, in assembly polls. No doubt, the marriage of JD(U) and RJD is the result of the debacle that both the regional satraps faced in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The pertinent question, however, is whether this realignment would survive for a long period. Also Read – Find your own happinessSome key issues such as who will be the face of the grand alliance and who gets what are some contentious issues which both the parties need to work on. In an attempt to keep the things under wraps, JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar presented an opaque picture on the matter of merger of both the parties in the state.The JD(U) spokesperson said, “First, let things take shape. I will personally tell you when the decision of merger happens. Senior leaders of both the parties are working on developing  a consensus on different models to tackle the challenges ahead of us in assembly poll.” Also Read – Into the wild“No doubt, we have several challenges to face in near future, but chief minister has a very concrete strategy to overcome those. The CM is known for devising problem solving strategies. It is the BJP who should be blamed for ditching the people of Bihar, not JD(U) or Nitish Kumar,” said Neeraj Kumar, who represents Patna in the Bihar Legislative Council.Hopefully, Nitish Kumar, who is also known as ‘Mr Clean’, must have weighed the issues that may give jolt during the legislative assembly polls. Among several other concerns, the social hatred propagated by Jitan Ram Manjhi, after the later was dethroned, may cost Kumar dearly. “Its a fact that caste parameter is at the core of politics in state elections. Since, the strategy of Nitish Kumar to garner Dalit votes by elevating Manjhi has failed. Kumar will have to first deal with this issue on urgent basis. It’s also an open secret that Manjhi is working on behest of his akkas in BJP, to dent the Dalit vote share of JD(U) or say grand alliance comprising RJD, Congress,” said Dr Shefali Roy, HoD of Political Science at Patna Women’s College. “It’s beyond our understanding that how a person like Nitish Kumar could leave the CM’s chair just to avoid face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi by playing the card of moral responsibility. This was not expected from him. The intelligentsia of Bihar is not convinced by this argument of Kumar,” said Roy, who is the only faculty in the Department of Political Science from the total 21 permanent teachers at Patna’s premier college.Going back in November 2005, when the first NDA government involving JD(U) and BJP and headed by Nitish Kumar was formed after destroying apturing the 15-year-old citadel of RJD, the situation was very different. The mandate was given to NDA to resolve the problems of law and order, power, irrigation, employment, infrastructure, etc. Somehow, in the first stint, the NDA government worked hard to change the tag from a BIMARU to a developing state. The government worked in the direction of reviving sick units and building roads in urban as well as rural areas.The decline of Nitish government started after he snapped the ties with the BJP in June 2013 over the decision of BJP to anoint Narendra Modi as party’s PM nominee. After that things went haywire. The government looked clueless on every key issue, including power generation, quality education and infrastructure development.Pointing out the challenges for Nitish government, a senior official in the Nitish government said, “The situation of education in the state is getting worse. The government has not opened a single technical institution and not even acted in the direction to appoint faculties. There are in total 80 technical teachers only across the state. The condition of primary education is pathetic as the Nitish government in its first spell recruited teachers in hoards on the basis of marks only, which is proving more fatal as students of Class V are able to solve the problems of Maths of Class II.” The government should have trained the teachers that would had helped them in imparting qualitative education to students. The instances of teachers not knowing the names of country’s President or Prime Minister, state’s chief minister are very common, the official further added.“No concrete step has been taken to promote industry in the state. Had the government promoted industry sector, there would have been more employment generation. There are several projects related to broadening of roads biting the dust,” a Patna-based trader said. Admitting the plethora of challenges, JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar said, “The turnaround of Bihar by Nitish during the past over eight years has been marred by Manjhi interregnum. Nitish  has to work harder and also he has very little time.” “During the last nine months when Manjhi was at the helm of affairs, a brake was put on development and law and order situation deteriorated. Manjhi’s strategy to propagate the social hatred will come a cropper. The Dalit vote will remain intact,” Kumar added. Apart from manifold challenges before the chief minister, Kumar said, the biggest challenge is governance. “Nitish Kumar’s USP was good governance and now the improvement is required not only in law and order but on every front from education to health, infrastructure to development and social welfare to delivery. Governance during Manjhi era was affected mainly at bureaucratic level and transfer industry flourished that affected normal functioning of the government,” he added. Nitish has resolved to work with zeal and dedication and ready to deliver development with justice which he had pledged in the winter of 2005. He fully knows that not only on political scenario but social fronts has also changed.To win back the confidence of Mahadalit society would be an enormous task for him amid the reports of simmering discontent among this section of society in the wake of Manjhi episode. The Mahadalits who were mildly influenced with the crowning of their man in May last, are now quite bitter and angry over his removal. BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi retorted, “The Mahadalit society which had been a strong supporter of Nitish has fully turned against him and they are swearing to vote against him.”It might be a Herculean task to amend the numerous decisions that Manjhi has made for the Mahadalits, including reservation for them in contract for construction works particularly roads and bridges, five decimal land to Mahdalaits for house, deployment of cops of Mahdalit sections in each police station and others. Before quitting on February 20, Manjhi in just four days made over a hundred decisions, which are likely to be reviewed by the new government.On the political front, Nitish will have to manage and settle down with traditional rival Lalu Prasad in the changed scenario. In 2005 when he came to power, the BJP was an ally and the party extended full cooperation to him in running the administration. The RJD was not even a forceful Opposition then. But now with a powerful Opposition, Nitish will have to tread very cautiously. His concentration on improving governance during the next nine months might create certain hindrances in view of a crucial election and seat sharing with new allies even if the merger of the Janata Parivar is not materialised by that time.CHIEF MINISTERIAL SPELLS First Term: March 3, 2000 – March 10, 2000 On March 3, 2000 Nitish Kumar was appointed the Chief Minister of Bihar but he resigned seven days later as he failed to prove majority. RJD leader Lalu Prasad enjoyed the majoritySecond Term: Nov 24, 2005 – Nov 24, 2010In November 2005, he led the NDA to victory in Bihar assembly elections bringing an end to the 15-year rule of the Lalu Prasad-led RJD. He was sworn-in as the chief minister of the state on November 24, 2005. Under his government, Bihar developed an electronic version of the Right to Information Act called Jankari scheme. In addition, he launched the e-shakti NREGS programme, by which rural people can get employment information by telephone. He is credited with improving infrastructure, and reducing crime, widely felt to be serious problems in the state. Under his governance Bihar has had a record number of criminal prosecutions through fast track courts. His government generated employment in police services and teaching and Bihar recorded record construction work during his five year mandate, surpassing the national average. During this period, women and extremely backward castes were given 50 per cent reservation in electorals for the first time ever in India.Third Term: November 26, 2010 – May 17, 2014  In 2010, Nitish Kumar’s party swept back to power along with its allies (at that time), BJP. On November 26, 2010, Kumar took oath as the chief minister of Bihar. This was his second consecutive term as CM of the state. In a keenly fought contest, Kumar led JD(U)-BJP combine won with four-fifth majority. NDA won 206 seats while RJD won 22 seats. On May 17, 2014, he submitted his resignation to Bihar Governor – a day after his party fared poorly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning just two seats against 20 in the previous election. Kumar resigned, taking the moral responsibility of his party’s poor performance in the election, and Jitan Ram Manjhi took over.Fourth Term: February 22, 2015 – till dateNitish Kumar took the oath as Bihar CM for the 4th time on February 22, 2015 after the former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned on February 20, just a few hours before he was scheduled to prove his majority in the state assembly.last_img read more


Kathak is a bridge between the East and the West

first_imgWhat does dance mean to you?For me, dance is my breath, my life. It is my expression, my identity and is the essence of embodiment of love, concern, sensitivity and humanity. How would you define yourself as a dancer?I am a dancer who uses the depth that comes from knowledge and understanding of music, poetry and literature and a deep awareness and sensitivity to the surrounding environment. I am deeply interested in different philosophical traditions and cultural interpretations.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ How did you get into dancing?I was extremely lucky to have been born into a family that, despite being traditional, was very forward looking and gave me the fullest support to be who I am. My family had several stalwarts in fields of literature, classical performing arts and politics. Hence it was natural for me to imbibe all these. It was no wonder that I was initiated into Indian philosophy and arts from my earliest years. I was initiated into dance at a very young age when I was not even three years old. To channelise the excess energy and because of the family background, my mother took me to the famous dancer-actress of yester years, Sadhona Bose. For me, I had found my life and breath! Dance, since then, has become my life, my breath, reason for my existence. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix You have been performing as a Kathak dancer for over six decades. How has your journey been?Life has been full of sweet and “not so sweet” experiences. This trajectory between birth and the inevitable death has been full of adventures. I was born at a time in Indian history where dance was not acceptable as a profession in an upper middle class family. People extolled my achievements awhile on the other hand, my parents and I had to face a lot of criticisms.  Even though I have been on stage for over six decades, but my early recognition as a professional dancer began in 1970-71. It has been a fascinating journey where one has seen so many changes in perceptions and acceptance towards dance, changing scenarios even within classical dance and changing aesthetics of presentation and content.As for me and my works, I can only say that I have always been instinctive and spontaneous. I love the entire vast canvas that Kathak affords, namely that of rhythmic abstraction at its height, as also the infinite vastness of the abhinaya canvas. Rhythmic wizardry is captivating not only to the performer (and that to in his/her youth) but also to the audience. I believe in being true to oneself and I believe in classicality of approach, depth, and expression. It is a heady process but so satisfying and enriching as I keep learning each time.  You have spearheaded and produced international collaborative works with leading dancers of West. How do you think they perceive Indian dance and how was the experience?I have found the Western audience to be most awed and interested in Indian classical dance as many of them take it as a true aesthetical representation of Indian philosophy, literature, music and movements including the costumes that all exude the flavour of Indian-ness. All dance forms in all cultures are narrative even in their abstraction yet the fascination for Indian classical dance is greater because of the extensive usage of gestures to convey the meaning of the accompanying text and of facial expressions. The intricacies of our rhythmic patterns and the ‘raga’ system of music that are intimately part of Kathak or any classical dance form, also has great appeal.But on collaborative works, I would like to state that dance, a universal vehicle of expression, has many clothings, each being colourful and riveting. If Kathak and Flamenco were gravity bound, then ballet’s approach was to release itself from gravitational pull. In this process of collaborative works, I also found that it is Kathak alone that can truly be said to be a bridge between the West and the East.In all our collaborative works, language was never a problem for all of us understood each other perfectly as we all spoke the one unifying language and that was the language of gestures and emotions! How easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in this field? What do you think one has to do to excel?All vocations including dance require dedication, solid foundation of training, hard work, depth in approach and execution, understanding of all related disciplines and perseverance. Then only can anyone hope to make a mark in the chosen field be it classical dance or something else.  How would you define yourself as a guru?As a guru, one strives to impart a solid training in all aspects of Kathak. Yet at the same time one exhorts the disciples to sensitise themselves to imbibe the ethos and spirit of dance, approach to a movement and so many related issues that can be imbibed through observation and experience. But at the same time, one is always exhorting them to reason and be sensitive to surroundings for dance helps in maintaining the innate sensitivity and concern. It is extremely important that one should be a brilliant dancer but it is equally important that one should be a good human with good values and ethics. As a Guru, one would like to see the disciple to grow and become an independent strong tree capable of flowering and bearing fruits. A thought that I usually share with all students and parents is that our ancient Indian philosophy has always laid equal emphasis on arts as well as academics thereby balancing the negative and positive elements within us (call it tandava and lasya or call it yin and yang etc). The emphasis has been on ‘balanced development’. What do you think is the future of Indian classical dance?Indian classical dance traditions have come down to us for the last several millennia. Speaking of Kathak, in its over 2500 years of recorded history it has weathered several storms of invasions, cultural impacts, winds of globalisation thousands of years ago. Yet Kathak has flowed and is still there, for all of us to see and experience. Unlike the popular arts that capture the imagination for a limited period of time, the classical performing arts reaches the inner being. Today one finds that there is a growing number of young children taking to classical arts in spite of being also captivated by the surrounding glamour of popular arts but also several grown-up individuals who are seeking inner fulfillment and inner peace in classical performing arts.   How do you think we can popularise Indian classical dance and music forms like Kathak across the world? Popularising classical performing arts should be such that it becomes part of a being and that the core values that it subtly entails all of us to understand, removed from the glamour of crass commercialism, are imbibed. The effort should start early at school level as part of main curriculum besides the home, because it is then that these individuals grow up to be citizens engaged in various vocations but who are imbued with a sensitivity and appreciation of the classical performing arts all over the globe. It is these citizens who form the audience, the rasikas.  Tell us about your favourite creation in your repertoire?It is difficult to say which has been or is my favourite creation. Each one is so different and they were all born out of my inner beliefs and thoughts, my response to various stimuli that could come from music, a text or an incident. These creations range from abstract rhythmic patterns to contextual creativities touching subjects of humanism, women and children issues, philosophical issues, the five vices of moh, lobh, kaam, krodh, ahankar among several others.last_img read more