Leading With Discounts and Offending Your Customers

first_imgA game salesperson from a game sales organization would have replied to my offer to take the discount like this: “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t know you were a customer. If you signed up last year, you got a way better deal than the one I am offering your neighbors. But you really have to see this new offering we have for you! You’re going to love it! Check this out!” The poor salesperson that rang my doorbell had a wonderful deal for me. He said, “I have my trucks in the area over the next few days, and if you sign up for service, I can do it for half price.” I told him that I would accept his deal for half off the regular price, but then added: “By the way, I am already signed up with you. Thanks!”Poor kid had no game, so I let him off the hook. I said, “No worries, kid. I’m busting your chops.” He was relieved and walked away as quickly as he could.Last week I received an email from another salesperson. He promised he could save 40% over whatever I am paying for Internet bandwidth and voice over IP services. I didn’t reply, but I should have. I’m already their customer, too. I’d happily take the 40% savings his email promised.Transactional sales organizations are funny.Why would you send your salespeople out into the world to sell without giving them a list of your existing clients?Why would you offer a new customer a deal that you wouldn’t offer your existing clients? Why would you treat strangers better than you treat the people who are already writing you a check? What do you want your existing customers to believe about your relationship?And why on Earth would you lead with a discount?The answer to these questions are many:Because you don’t intend to create value.Because you don’t know how to create value.Because you are transactional.Because you won’t train your salespeople.Because you don’t care about anything but the sale.last_img read more

We Learn the Hard Way

first_imgA lion doesn’t have to learn to be a lion. It is born knowing everything it needs to know to be a successful lion. It doesn’t get sent off to lion school to be taught what it means to be a lion or what it needs to do.This is true of all the animals on earth, with the exception of we humans. We are born knowing nothing about what it takes to be a successful human. We are born with none of the collected wisdom of all the humans that have come before us pre-installed; we have to learn it all ourselves.The Easy WayOne way we learn is through the successes and failures of those who have come before us. The things that others have done to lead a successful life provide clues about what beliefs and actions produce the results we might want. And other people’s failures provide lessons about what doesn’t work and things to be avoided.You can read and study the beliefs and actions that lead to success or failure, and you can also observe the people around you to pick up these lessons. Studying success can help you learn what to do, and the studying failures can help you avoid mistakes.The Hard WayBut that isn’t the way we usually learn. We usually learn through our own experiences. The way we often learn is by placing our own hand on the hot stove. We have to see for ourselves why we shouldn’t touch the fire, so we ignore the collected wisdom of the ages and repeat the mistakes ourselves. We get burned.You weren’t the first person to spend more money than you had and found themselves in serious financial trouble, even though we have known for a millennia that this is not the recipe for success.You weren’t the first person to take a salary from the money invested in your new startup only to run out of runway and crash and burn. Lots of entrepreneurs have left a warning, along with a graveyard of good ideas that never made it to market.You absolutely weren’t the first person to ignore your parents warning and fall in with a bad crowd only to find yourself in deeper trouble than you could handle. I wasn’t the first person either, but I did demonstrate some mastery here.You are not the first person to waste a good part of your life fooling around before you stumble upon your real mission later than you wished. Many others have come before you.You are one of the majority of us who have ignored the wisdom and the warnings of those who have come before us and made the mistakes that have brought you whatever wisdom you have accumulated. This is how we learn, and it is your job to share that wisdom with others so they don’t make the same mistakes and so you can shorten their learning curve.Most of what you share will be ignored, and those with whom you share it will set out to repeat your mistakes on their own. But not to worry’ we’ve been repeating this pattern with some success for a long time.last_img read more

Mamata launches ‘BJP quit India’ campaign

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused the BJP government at the Centre of subverting democracy and said the Trinamool Congress will work with all opposition parties to oust the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.Giving the slogan of ‘BJP quit India in 2019’, Ms. Banerjee charged that the BJP-led government at the Centre has “taken away the rights of the people in the country.” She also alleged that “secularism is under threat.”“The BJP-led government is trying to divide the country. We will not allow it. In 2019 our slogan will be ‘BJP quit India’ We will work with all other opposition parties, so that we can unitedly fight against the BJP. We want this politics of communalism and hatred to come to an end,” she said while kicking off the campaign here.Ms. Banerjee launched the campaign on a day when the country is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.“We will fight and not stop till the BJP is ousted from power. Democracy will triumph against all odds”, she said.“They can threaten us by using the ED, Income Tax and the CBI but we are not afraid of it. The central government has turned into a government of the agencies, by the agencies, of the agencies and for the agencies,” she alleged.Ms. Banerjee said she will attend the rally convened by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna later this month. The TMC leader also accused the BJP of shedding “crocodile tears” for adivasis and backward sections of the society. “On the one hand they (BJP) are lynching adivasis and people from backward sections of society, while on the other hand, they are are clicking photographs with adivasis and having lunch at their houses,” she charged.last_img read more

Tension in Maharashtra town over call for ‘boycott of Muslims’

first_imgThe circulation of pamphlets calling for a social and economic boycott of Muslims in Narkhed of Nagpur district, Maharashtra has created tension in the town.The pamphlets appeared a week after the town witnessed a riot-like situation when a doctor was beaten up by some members of a particular community over a social media post on Vande Mataram.They appeal to the majority community to boycott Muslim festivals and programmes.“Don’t employ Muslim workers at your home or work places. Don’t call Muslims to your homes. Don’t go to shops and petrol pumps owned by them. Don’t vote for Muslim candidates,” were some of the exhortations.last_img read more

Four more get bail in Kotkhai school girl rape and murder case

first_imgFive persons arrested for their alleged involvement in the Kotkhai schoolgirl rape and murder case were released on bail  by the the District and Sessions Court here on Tuesday. The court granted bail to the accused after the CBI failed to produce a charge sheet even after 90 days of their police and judicial custody. The accused should furnish a bail bond of Rs one lakh each within a week.One of the accused Ashish Chauhan was given the bail on Monday on the similar grounds. The four accused who were released today belonged to Uttarakhand and Nepal. They were arrested after the heinous murder and rape of a class 10 student of Kotkhai in anterior Shimla in the month of July. One of the accused, Suraj a Nepalese died suspiciously in the police custody on July 19 and the local police blamed a co-accused Rajender Singh for killing him.But interestingly when the case was handed over to the CBI at the instance of High Court, the premier agency found the involvement of the Himachal Police in the prison death.Eight policemen including an IG Police, Zahur H Zaidi have been named and have been sent into a judicial remand. The designated CBI Court had extended their remand by two more weeks on Monday. These police officers were part of a special investigative team constituted by the State Police to probe the rape and murder case. The police officials who were arrested on August 29 are presently lodged in the Kanda Jail near Shimla.Since the beginning the local villagers are doubting the involvement of some well connected youth of the area in this case and not the outsider Nepalese and Uttarakhand labourers. Mass protests were held in Kotkhai, Theog and Shimla against the wrong arrests by the Police and the involvement of Police itself in the custodial death.last_img read more

India’s poorest CM is poorer than his wife

first_imgTripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is running for the fifth consecutive term, has a total of ₹3,930 in cash and a bank account and has never filed an income-tax return, says the election affidavit submitted by him along with his nomination papers on Monday.The CPI(M) leader donates his salary to the party and gets ₹5,000 from it as subsistence allowance.The 69-year-old leader has ₹1,520 in hand and ₹2,410 in his account in a nationalised bank. He does not have any other bank deposit, the affidavit said.Also Read Manik Sarkar, the ‘poorest CM’ is really appreciative of tag  Mr. Sarkar, who is contesting from the Dhanpur constituency, has no cultivable land or homestead.The Chief Minister’s wife, Panchali Bhattacharya, a retired Central government employee, has ₹20,140 in cash and ₹1,24,101 and ₹86,473.78 in two bank accounts. She has three fixed deposits of ₹2 lakh, ₹5 lakh and ₹2.25 lakh, besides 20 grams of jewellery.Ms. Bhattacharya inherited 888.35 sq.ft of land and has invested ₹15 lakh for construction there. The current value of the land is ₹21 lakh.last_img read more

Woman’s family kill man over relationship in Bikaner

first_imgThree people, including the father of a woman, were arrested in Bikaner on Thursday for allegedly thrashing to death a 22-year-old man from another community who they believed was involved in a relationship with her, police said. Saif Ali Khan was abducted by nearly half a dozen people, including the father and cousin brothers of the woman, on Tuesday night, they said. He was brutally thrashed and dumped in a drain, the officials added. Police traced the victim and admitted him to a government hospital where he died yesterday morning, an official said.“The man was involved in a relationship with a woman. When the woman’s family came to know about the affair, they fixed her marriage elsewhere, but the man was trying to make contact with her so that they can elope” Sub Inspector of Naya Shahar Police Station Bhajan Lal said.Bikaner SP Swai Singh Godara said the family had fixed the woman’s marriage with another man on May 12 in haste, but Khan kept pursuing the woman. The case cannot be given a communal angle as the woman’s family members were against her marrying outside their caste, the SP added.According to police officials, a case was registered against seven persons.last_img read more

Strike disrupts normal life in Kashmir

first_imgNormal life was disrupted in Kashmir on Monday due to strike called by separatists against the recent civilian killings in the valley. Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar, officials said.Officials also added that public transport was sparse but private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying in many areas of the city. Private educational institutions were shut because of the strike, the officials said. They said similar reports were received from other district headquarters of the valley. There were no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, the officials said. Separatists, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had asked people to observe a complete strike today against the recent civilian killings allegedly in firing by security forces.last_img read more

Arunachal Pradesh, India’s hydroelectric powerhouse, stares at water scarcity

first_imgArunachal Pradesh is staring at scarcity of water, the very resource that is expected to make the frontier State India’s hydroelectric powerhouse.On Saturday, the State’s Minister for Environment and Forests Nabam Rebia said more than 200 rivers and streams across Arunachal Pradesh have dried up. This, he felt, would soon make the State face shortage.The scenario, he indicated, could be as grim as Shimla, the capital of another “presumably water-abundant” Himalayan State that underwent a severe water crisis recently.Mr. Rebia attributed the drying up of water bodies to rampant destruction of forests besides thinning glaciers in the Eastern Himalayas due to climate change.“The State’s forest cover has decreased from 82% to 79% and catchment areas of many rivers are under threat because of jhum (slash-and-burn) cultivation and landslides,” he said at an official function in the Papum Pare district. Large-scale hunting of animals, too, has been a factor in the depletion of the State’s natural resources, Mr. Rebia said. He added that the State government would ban hunting of wildlife. Many communities hunt birds and animals for food and adornment of traditional headgear. Wild animals such as Asiatic black bear, leaf deer and Mishmi takin are considered delicacies.M. Surya Prakash, the State’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said public cooperation was imperative for conservation of forests and wildlife in a State where much of the land is community-owned. All, however, is not lost, officials said. They cited the examples of Hyer Habia Catchment Area Welfare Committee in the Midpu area of Papum Pare district, and the Bugun community of the Singchung village in West Kameng district, whose members take turns to protect a 17 sq. km. biodiversity hotspot. The water scare in Arunachal Pradesh has undermined the State’s much-vaunted hydropower potential, which the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy said is 25,962 MW. But only about 405 MW had been commissioned till 2017.last_img read more

Tribal group to protest for Santali teachers

first_imgProtesting against the absence of permanent teachers to teach in Santali in schools, a tribal organisation has decided to hit the streets in the city. Santali as medium of instruction in the State-run schools of West Bengal was announced a few years ago. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has been conducting Class X board examination in Santhali using Ol Chiki scripts across several schools in the State.Representatives of Adibasi Socio-Educational & Cultural Association (ASECA),West Bengal, on Wednesday announced that on September 24 thousands of tribals will descend on the streets demanding permanent Santali teachers in schools where the language is taught as a medium of instruction.Madhyamik exam “There are more than 20 schools in the State from where hundreds of students appear in Madhyamik examination in Santali. But there is not a single permanent teacher who can teach in Santali in these schools,” pointed out Madan Mohan Baskey, president of ASECA, West Bengal unit.Contractual staffMr. Baskey said that the para teachers or contractual teachers are engaged in teaching students in Santali in these schools. “Over the years there has not been a single recruitment of permanent teacher who can teach in Santali,” he said.Kalyanmoy Gangopadhyay, president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education said along with Bengali, English, Hindi, and Nepali, students write the Class X board examination also in Santhali in Ol Chiki script. “The schools are located in certain districts like Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Murshidabad and Uttar Dinajpur,” he said.On whether there has been no recruitment of permanent Santali teachers, Mr. Ganguly said he was not aware. Sharmila Mitra, chairperson of State School Service Examination refused to comment on the issue.last_img read more

Bengali groups demand CBI probe into NRC legacy data ‘selling’

first_imgAn umbrella body of 14 Assam-based Bengali organisations have demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into alleged “buying and selling” of legacy data during the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC).The Bengali Joint Coordination Committee, Asom, submitted this demand in a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday, citing NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela’s statement before the Supreme Court.According to Mr. Hajela’s statement, legacy had been made a commodity for trading in the process of NRC, the memorandum said. “This implies illegal migrants had their names included in the NRC with such legacies or family trees in connivance with senior officials of NRC who verified the documents,” it said.“Legacy trading is a crime whose investigation should be handed over to the CBI so that the culprits are booked,”the memorandum added.Members of the committee, who have been demonstrating outside the Assam Assembly, claimed that “irregularities” and “malpractices” committed in the NRC updating process led to the names of more than 1.5 million genuine Indian citizens being excluded from the complete NRC draft published on July 30.The committee said that the officials engaged in exercise flouted norms and procedures in the absence of any monitoring and supervision despite an order by the apex courtlast_img read more

U.P. sets up panel to modernise police force

first_imgUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced constitution of a three-member commission to recommend steps for strengthening and modernising the State police force. “A three-member commission will be constituted to give recommendations for strengthening and modernisation of police,” he said, adding by next year end, 1.25 lakh constables will join the force after training. “By the end of 2019, 1.25 lakh constables will join the force, ending their shortage. It will help people and will witness better policing. It will also address problem of their leave and they will be able to perform their duties without any tension and will also be able to spend quality time with their families,” Yogi said addressing the police on ‘Smriti Diwas’ here. The Chief Minister said the State government was taking necessary initiatives for the family of policemen who laid down their lives while performing their duties.Time-bound promotion “To enhance the morale of the force and ensure good work culture, the State government made special emphasis on their time-bound promotion. In 2017, as many as 9,892 police men and in 2018, 37,575 policemen were promoted, which is a record,” he said. The Chief Minister said at present there was infrastructure for training only 5,793 constables and the government was planning to double the capacity. “Help of Central Paramilitary forces and other States will also be sought for training capacity enhancement. In Jalaun and Sultanpur where training centres are ready, they will be started soon,” he said. He said to meet housing demands, more barracks will be put up in police lines and police stations. Yogi said cycle and uniform allowances of policemen will be increased soon and medical reimbursement related issues will also be sorted out.Compensation increased Elaborating on the initiatives of the State government for the police, he said the State government has already increased compensation to the family of a martyr from ₹20 lakh to ₹40 lakh, besides hiking the amount given to their parents to ₹10 lakh. Giving details, DGP O.P. Singh said 67 policemen lost their lives while performing their duties between September 1, 2017 and August 31 2018.last_img read more

Goa mining impasse to be resolved as per law: PM

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi assured a delegation of Goa MPs, legislators from ruling party and representatives of the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) that the Central government would try to find solution to the mining impasse within the “four corners of the law”.Talking to The Hindu after a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, South Goa BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar, who was part of the delegation, said that no time-frame for a solution has been arrived at. “The PM heard the delegation patiently and expressed concern over the situation which has arisen in Goa after the Supreme Court stopped mining,” said Mr. Sawaikar, adding, “He, however, said a solution will be found within the four corners of the law, since the situation has arisen out of the apex court’s judgement.” Apart from two representatives of GMPF, the delegation included North Goa MP and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik; Goa State unit BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar; Goa Assembly Speaker, Pramod Sawant, the State’s Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and some ruling coalition legislators from the mining belt.Asked if the GMPF representatives were satisfied with the discussion, Mr. Sawaikar said, “The leaders of GMFP must have come with an expectation of a sure promise of restarting mining. But the Prime Minister told them the issue has to be resolved by remaining within four corners of the law and within the framework of the apex court judgement.” The mining ban has been agitating a large number of mining dependants, who directly or indirectly lost their livelihoods since the Supreme Court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from February last year, for legal infirmities in the second renewal of leases. The State government has been asked by the SC to re-issue mining leases using appropriate procedures.last_img read more

BJP strives to retain Sundargarh

first_imgUnion Tribal Affairs Minister and veteran BJP leader Jual Oram has locked horns with two party hoppers — Congress’ George Tirkey and BJD’s Sunita Biswal — to retain the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency, the only seat the BJP had won in Odisha in 2014.While Mr. Tirkey, a prominent tribal leader, joined the Congress recently, Ms. Biswal, daughter of former CM Hemananda Biswal, switched over to the BJD from the Congress just before the elections.Sundargarh comprises seven Assembly seats — Sundargarh, Talsara, Rajgangpur, Biramitrapur, Rourkela, Raghunathpali and Bonai. It is a tribal-dominated constituency where the BJP has won four times in seven Lok Sabha elections held since 1991. Mr. Oram, a four-time MP, had won three consecutive terms in the 1998, 1999 and 2004 elections. He had been appointed Union Tribal Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999. In 2009, he lost to senior Congress leader Hemananda Biswal but won it back in a tightly contested election in 2014.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have already addressed two massive public meetings here. Not lagging behind, CM Naveen Patnaik addressed three public meetings and held two roadshows last week.Sundargarh being a tribal belt, the identity of the candidates will come into play during the elections.Mr. Oram considers himself in advantageous position due to the “popularity” of Mr. Modi among the youth. He is also banking on a number of central projects. Moreover, he had taken care to stay connected with the people of his constituency.Sunita Biswal is no novice in politics. She said the Chief Minister’s clean image and the BJD’s strong grassroots-level organisation would be advantageous for her. Moreover, the BJD’s emphasis on 33% reservation for women in selection of Lok Sabha candidates would also generate huge support for her, she said. Mr. Tirkey on the other hand has been a vocal advocate of implementation of Panchayats act. He has been fighting for the right of self-determination by tribals.last_img read more

DNA Testing Company Won’t Offer Health Information Anymore

first_imgThe company 23andMe will no longer provide health information to people who purchase its DNA testing kit, it announced last night.The change was “to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s directive to discontinue new consumer access during our regulatory review process,” the statement said. While current customers will still have access to a 23andMe online database noting the health issues associated with their particular DNA, the company will not update that information, and customers who purchased its Personal Genome Service (PGS) on or after 22 November will receive only information about their ancestry and their raw genetic data without interpretation.The move comes after a 22 November letter by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the Mountain View, California-based company to “immediately discontinue marketing the PGS until such time as it receives FDA marketing authorization for the device.” The regulatory agency expressed a variety of  concerns, including that patients might change dosage of medications or even abandon therapies because of 23andMe test results on drug responses.The FDA action has sparked a vigorous debate over the rights of people to learn their own genetic information and the authority of governments to regulate marketing claims related to health. 23andMe says on its website that its services are “for research, informational, and educational use only. We do not provide medical advice.” But the company has emphasized the medical uses of its test in recent marketing, says Cecile Janssens, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta who has studied the accuracy of risk predictions made by 23andMe and other companies. “It used to be more about what science knows about your DNA,” she says. “But in the past year they really went on a different track. It is more about health recommendations now.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Just days after the FDA letter, a lawsuit was also filed against 23andMe in a U.S. district court in California alleging that test results provided by the company were “meaningless.”last_img read more

Seeing the Skies Through Galileo’s Eyes

first_imgCHICAGO, ILLINOIS—When Galileo Galilei shook up the scientific community with evidence of a heliocentric world, he had a little tube fitted with two pieces of glass to thank. But just how this gadget evolved in the nascent days of astronomy is poorly known. That uncertainty has inspired a group of researchers to compile the most extensive database of early refracting telescopes to date, presented here yesterday during a poster session at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. Now, the scientists plan to use modern optics to recreate what Galileo—and the naysaying observers of his time—experienced when they first peered through these tubes at the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and the phases of Venus.The database, called Dioptrice, went online earlier this month. It contains records of about 1300 telescopes—mostly physical artifacts from museums and private collections, but also descriptions in books and depictions in art—that date from 1610 to 1775. Those years marked a formative period for the telescope, explains Stephen Case, a science historian and graduate student at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana who helped compile Dioptrice. For the last 2 and a half years, he has pored over books in attic of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and tracked down telescopes in museum catalogs from galleries around the world.The first phase of the project involved documenting the origin and design of each telescope. Case and his colleagues concluded that most were used for military purposes, such as spotting distant ships or approaching troops, or were simply collected as status symbols, before they achieved widespread scientific use.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But phase two will look deeper at the optical abilities of the telescopes. Their designers weren’t yet able to make perfectly curved class, so the lenses had jagged edges and a small field of view. And until the mass production of the achromatic lens around 1775, they couldn’t correct for the fact that different wavelength of light refract at different angles and cause a blurry image at the focal point. Yet the crude setup inspired a string of eureka moments. “Galileo suddenly could see the phases of Venus,” Case says. “He could see the moons orbiting around Jupiter. He suddenly had evidence for the heliocentric cosmology.”To precisely test how these devices transmitted distant light, the group will use adaptive optics—the technology behind today’s large telescopes. These rely on a grid of deformable mirrors that tilt to adjust for the light-bending turbulence of the atmosphere. The researchers will essentially run that process in reverse, Case says, feeding a light source with a grid structure into the telescope and observing how that grid gets distorted when passing through 400-year-old glass. If the light source is an image of Saturn or Jupiter, Case explains, you can “get out on the other end what that telescope would have shown you.”Such tests could reveal whether a given telescope could conceivably show a separation between the rings of Saturn, for example. But Case points out that what a scientist perceived in these instruments also depended on his trained eye and his sense of what to look for. In other words, no adaptive optics system can account for a given stargazer’s interpretation, or apply the Galileo filter.See more of our coverage from AAAS 2014.last_img read more

NIH makes $32 million in awards to mine big data

first_imgHoping to tame the torrent of data churning out of biology labs, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced $32 million in awards in 2014 to help researchers develop ways to analyze and use large biological data sets.The awards come out of NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, announced last year after NIH concluded it needed to invest more in efforts to use the growing number of data sets—from genomics, proteins, and imaging to patient records—that biomedical researchers are amassing. For example, in one such “dry biology” project, researchers mixed public data on gene expression in cells and patients with diseases to predict new uses for existing drugs.The BD2K awards “will help us overcome the obstacles to maximizing the utility of the mammoth data sets that are emerging at an accelerated pace,” said NIH Director Francis Collins in a call today with reporters. The grants, he said, will support computational tools, software, standards, and methods for sharing and using large data sets.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Eleven centers of excellence will receive $2 million to $3 million a year over 4 years to develop tools and methods for everything from modeling cell signaling in cancer to integrating data from mobile sensors worn by volunteers in health studies. Another center award will support a global brain data-collection effort called ENIGMA, which aims to unearth the genetic roots of psychiatric disorders.One of ENIGMA’s aims is to allow neuroscientists and geneticists to pool hundreds of thousands of DNA samples in the hope of finding genetic variants underlying diseases such as major depressive disorder. Smaller studies have failed to turn up anything of statistical significance for this disorder, perhaps because many different genes contribute minute effects to depression risk that have previously been too small to detect, says Paul Thompson, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He will lead the ENIGMA Center for Worldwide Medicine, Imaging and Genomics.Neuroimaging studies have also long struggled with insufficient data, says Hugh Garavan, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Vermont in Burlington who recently joined ENIGMA. Roughly “95% of all imaging studies have maybe 20 participants per group,” largely because of the cost of brain scans, which can run roughly $500 to $600 per person, he says. Garavan’s group plans to use the pooled data to explore the genetics and neurobiology of addiction, he says.ENIGMA may also help scientists study differences in the thickness of the human cortex, the wrinkly layer of tissue that lies on the brain’s surface and performs most of our higher-level thinking. Normally, it takes at least 24 hours to extract information about the cortex’s thickness from an MRI scan—one must digitally strip off the skull, separate the white matter from the gray matter, and delete the cerebrospinal fluid. Access to supercomputer clusters will allow neuroscientists to process much more quickly that type of data set for hundreds of thousands of patients, he says.Although bigger data sets do raise a risk of getting more false positive results and missing rare variants, overall the data-pooling strategy “makes perfect sense,” says psychiatrist Jack McClellan of Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington, who is not involved in the ENIGMA project.The BD2K program will also fund a “data discovery” coordinating center at the University of California, San Diego, that will work with projects at eight other institutions to find ways to make it easier for researchers to find and use data sets. Right now, “you can’t Google scientific data very successfully,” says Philip Bourne, who this past January became the first NIH associate director for data science.Finally, a set of training awards will support courses and the work of young scientists working on big data projects.NIH expects to commit a total of $656 million by 2020 to the BD2K initiative.last_img read more

The Financial Checklist For a Returning NRI

first_imgMy non-resident Indian (NRI) friends want to return to India after working for 20 years in the Middle East. They are enamoured by the good life their friends and relatives seem to be living in India. They have children who will soon go to college and they feel moving to India will be the right thing to do. How will the move affect their finances? What should they look out for? Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

Multi-Colored Paint at Hindu Temple Complex Invites Govt Criticism in Malaysia

first_imgA paint job with bright colors on the steps of the famous Hindu temple complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a hit among social media users but it has also invited the wrath of the National Heritage Department (JWN) officials, who said that no permission was taken for the multi-hued makeover at the national heritage site.The Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple is located at the top of a staircase consisting of 272 steps at the Batu Caves complex. This temple is devoted to Lord Murugan and is a famous site among Tamil Hindus and other Indian ethnic groups in Malaysia. It attracts a large number of tourists every year.The controversy started when the management committee of the temple got the stairs painted in bright colors, drawing disapproval from the JWN. The temple management cited an upcoming consecration ceremony on Aug. 31 as the reason behind the new look of the entrance.Since the temple is a national heritage site listed under the National Heritage Registry in Malaysia, any application for its renovation must go through the heritage department, the Straits Times reported.The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has also asked it to prepare a report for further action, Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik told the Star.“I am very disappointed with the building management (Tan Sri R. Nadarajah), especially when the department’s officers informed me that they had met his son Datuk N. Sivakumar a few times, advising him that any renovation or painting job within 200m of the heritage site requires written permission from the department,” Wan Chik was quoted as saying.“He was aware that any building registered under the heritage registry must comply with the regulations under the Act,” he said, adding, “In fact, even before the application is submitted to the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), they need to get the green light from the department first.”The JWN conservators were unhappy because the temple management did not obtain the department’s permission prior to the renovation, which is required under Section 40 of the National Heritage Act 2005, Sentosa assemblyman G. Gunaraj told StarMetro.“I was told that in accordance with the Act’s Section 40 requirements, the temple management must refer to the department to identify best conservation methods when there is any development or renovation work done in close proximity to a national heritage site. This is to ensure the integrity and legacy of the heritage structure is maintained,” Gunaraj said, as per the report.He added that according to his contacts in JWN, the paint works and renovation were not in harmony with the surroundings and the paintjob was actually a “disaster” for a heritage site.“They are disappointed that efforts to get the temple listed as a heritage site might have been in vain, as the paint job could lead to the temple being delisted,” he said.Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple Devasthanam committee chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah was quoted by the Star as saying that they had the necessary approvals for renovations. “The paint job does not require any approval. For the renovation, we had approval from Selayang Municipal Council (MPS). Since we are not constructing any new building, we did not need to seek approval from JWN,” he said.He also told the publication that for the event on Aug.31, all 13 temples of Batu Caves were renovated.Rosli Mohd. Ali, who is committee member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Malaysia, said, that although renovations at Batu Caves have been going on for a long time, the management must get consent from JWN for the activities. “The temple committee cannot expect the temple to be on the heritage list and yet do whatever they like,’’ he was quoted as saying.However, several social media users expressed their pleasure with the new look. Related ItemsHinduismMalaysialast_img read more