Month: August 2019

Exerting better control over matter waves

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — “The concept of matter waves is at the heart of quantum mechanics,” Oliver Morsch tells PhysOrg.com. “At the beginning of the last century, scientists discovered that solid particles could exhibit properties of waves, such as interference and diffraction. Until then, it was assumed that only light behaved as a wave. But in the quantum world everything is basically a wave.” Citation: Exerting better control over matter waves (2009, March 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-03-exerting.html Distinguishing decoherence in quantum systems Morsch is part of a group of scientists, including Alessandro Zenesini, Hans Lignier, Donatella Ciampini and Ennio Arimondo, at the University of Pisa in Italy. The group has discovered a way to more efficiently control matter waves in a setup that simulates a solid state system. “Once you have control over a quantum system,” Morsch explains, “you can learn any number of things, especially from a fundamental point of view. Additionally, it is worth noting that almost all of our modern technology is related in some way to quantum mechanical principles.” The group’s technique is described in Physical Review Letters: “Coherent Control of Dressed Matter Waves.”In order to control the matter waves, Morsch and his colleagues created an optical lattice. “We, in effect, create a light crystal,” Morsch says. “It’s not a true solid, but it mimics the crystal lattice of a solid. It provides us with a sort of model system for solid state applications, allowing us to perform experiments without being bound by the naturally given physical properties of a solid.” Once the lattice is created, using lasers and mirrors, the Pisa University group shook the mirrors – and hence the optical lattice – to create a phenomenon known as dynamic localization.“It’s very counter-intuitive,” Morsch says of dynamic localization. “Before we shake the lattice, atoms move freely throughout by quantum tunneling. However, once we apply the shaking, they stop moving. For certain values, we can make sure that atoms stay put in one lattice site. We can also create a quantum phase transition so that the system changes its bulk properties when you change a parameter. In our experiment, we create a phase transition by shaking. That is our control over the matter waves.”Instead of being a top to bottom approach, the Pisa group is interested in starting at the bottom – with individual particles. “Rather than trying to tweak the bulk system,” Morsch explains, “we are trying to tweak the properties of the individual particles to meet our needs. We are controlling the matter wave to shape it to our needs, and then using that to control the larger system.”Morsch points out that, right now, this process is most interesting from a fundamental point of view. However, he believes that it is likely to develop into greater uses in the future. Morsch thinks that this method has potential applications in quantum control schemes, which could be important in the development of quantum computers and in directed chemical reactions. “If you look at the history of physics and quantum mechanics, you find that each time you develop another handle on the quantum world – somehow learn how to better control the properties of a quantum system – new inventions and technology come about. This method of control is so new that it is impossible to really predict what, if anything, might come out of it.”“For the most part,” Morsch continues, “this work represents yet another method that will give us more control over the quantum state of single particles. Over the last 15 or 20 years, it has become possible, and increasingly important, to exert control at the single-particle level. Our demonstration is in line with what existing theory shows, and could be another tool for the development of future quantum-based technologies.”More information: Alessandro Zenesini, Hans Lignier, Donatella Ciampini, Oliver Morsch, and Ennio Arimondo, “Coherent Control of Dressed Matter Waves.” Physical Review Letters (2009). Available online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.100403 .Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.center_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Lithium to be extracted from geothermal waste

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — A technique developed by a Californian company, Simbol Mining, will enable the valuable mineral lithium, widely used in high-density batteries, to be reclaimed from the hot waste water produced by a geothermal power plant in California. The consumption of lithium has been increasing globally, and is predicted to triple by 2020 as lithium battery use increases, electric cars become more widespread, and as more batteries are used to store electricity produced by solar and wind sources.The traditional sources of lithium are soil and brine dried in salt ponds, especially in Chile and Bolivia, but the waste water produced at the geothermal power plant, which can be millions of gallons a day, is equally rich in lithium. Extracting the lithium from geothermal waste water is easier than extracting from brine, and less water-intensive than extracting from soil, and the process has a smaller environment footprint because the water has already been extracted to generate electricity. The geothermal plant is built on top of the San Andreas Fault at the Salton Sea in southeastern California, around 80 miles east of San Diego. The plant is one of a cluster of geothermal plants that draw hot water at up to 360C from underground to the surface to produce the steam that drives electricity-generating turbines. The hot waste water produced in the process is salty and rich in silicates and minerals such as lithium.The presence of silicates presented problems in the extraction because they tend to clog equipment, but Simbol now uses a technique developed in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California to remove the silicates from the waste by precipitation and filtration. The filtered water is then passed over a chemical resin that draws lithium ions from the solution to form lithium chloride, and then the remaining solution is returned to the ground. Lithium chloride is not a suitable form for shipping, so sodium carbonate is added, and the mixture forms lithium carbonate, which is easier to transport.The extraction process is partially driven by the heat of the waste water, which means the environmental impacts are fairly minimal, according to geologist Michael McKibben of the University of California at Riverside.Simbol Mining has tested the process fully and is now constructing a pilot plant, which is expected to produce around a tonne of lithium per month. If the pilot is successful, more ambitious plants will be built. Chief Executive Officer of Simbol, Luka Erceg, said he also expects the method to be used to extract other minerals such as manganese and zinc, since the Salton Sea is rich in minerals having, as Erceg said, “half the periodic table” in the water.Simbol Mining’s project has been aided by $6.7 million in funding from Firelake Capital and Mohr Davidow Ventures.More information: www.simbolmining.com/© 2009 PhysOrg.com Researchers power up new lithium battery for hybrid cars Lithium ingots with a thin layer of black oxide tarnish. Image: Wikimedia Commons Explore further Citation: Lithium to be extracted from geothermal waste (2009, December 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-12-lithium-geothermal.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

Fuelinjection System That Delivers 64 Miles Per Gallon

first_img Pint-sized car engine promises high efficiency (PhysOrg.com) — The best hybrid cars of today can only deliver about 48 miles per gallon. By using this newly developed fuel injection system a test vehicle was measured at achieving 64 miles per gallon in highway driving. This is approximately a 50% increase in fuel efficiency in a gasoline engine. More information: Transonic Combustion: www.tscombustion.com/ Explore further The fuel injection system was developed by a startup company Transonic Combustion and their goal is to increase fuel efficiency of existing gasoline engines. The cost for this ultra-efficient system would be as much as high-end fuel injection systems currently on the market today.By heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber places it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion. This in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to run the vehicle. The gasoline is also treated with a catalyst to further enhance combustion.What makes Transonic’s fuel injection system different from a direct injection is that it uses supercritical fluids and requires no spark to ignite the fuel. The supercritical fluid mixes quickly with air when it’s injected into the cylinder. The heat and pressure, in the cylinder, alone is enough to cause the fuel to combust without a spark.Ignition timing happens just when the piston reaches the optimal point, so that the maximum amount of energy is converted into mechanical movement of the engine.Proprietary software has also been developed by Transonic Combustion that allows the system to adjust the fuel injection precisely depending on engine load. Transonic Combustion is currently testing their new fuel injection system with three automakers. One key concern is the life of the engine when it’s subject to high pressures and temperatures. The company plans to manufacture the system themselves and not license the technology. Transonic Combustion plans to build its first factory in 2013, and place the technology into production cars by 2014. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: Fuel-injection System That Delivers 64 Miles Per Gallon (2010, March 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-03-fuel-injection-miles-gallon.html The new fuel-injection system is placed into this sports car which weighs approximately the same as the Toyota Prius hybrid and has similar aerodynamics. The new fuel injection system gets better gas mileage than the Prius hybrid. Credit: Transonic Combustion 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

Mozilla to freeze Thunderbird innovations

first_img © 2012 Phys.org Citation: Mozilla to freeze Thunderbird innovations (2012, July 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-mozilla-thunderbird.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. In Mozilla’s favor, reader reactions among those who use Thunderbird have been largely expressed as disappointment but continued support for the Foundation’s efforts to follow paths of growth. They largely say they do not like but understand the decision. “As I lose more and more trust everyday in cloud computing and giving my information to companies for hosting on their servers, it was reassuring to have an e-mail system in place that gave me control over my e-mail,” said one comment to a site report. “Saddened to hear that Mozilla is making these changes, but understand it given today’s technological advances on the web.”Also in Mozilla’s favor, e-mail market facts speak for themselves. Thunderbird has 24 million users but Gmail has 425 million users.“Thunderbird provides an open-source, cross-platform email alternative for those of us who still use stand-alone email clients (and I am one). It’s trust-worthy, it’s under your control, and it’s built to reflect the Mozilla mission,” wrote Baker in her Friday blog. However, she said, “in parallel, we have seen the rising popularity of Web-based forms of communications representing email alternatives to a desktop solution. Given this, focusing on stability for Thunderbird and driving innovation through other offerings seems a natural choice.”The Foundation is inviting those in the wider development community to continue work on Thunderbird if there is enough interest. The Thunderbird team is to propose a new release and governance model that would allow for ongoing maintenance in security and stability.Final details of how this new “release and governance” model will work will be hammered out in the coming months. “We are going to open this plan for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future on Monday. We are looking for your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan of action in early September 2012.” Thunderbird 1.0 vs. Outlook Expresscenter_img Explore further (Phys.org) — Friday’s blog and news site revelations of an internal Mozilla email leading off with “Hello Mozillians” said there is to be a Mozilla Foundation announcement on Monday. The announcement is big. Mozilla is freezing further development of its popular and well-received email client, Thunderbird, which has over 20 million users. “We’ve been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile projects,” read the message from Jb Piacentino, Thunderbird Managing Director. The message noted that while Thunderbird is purely a desktop-only email client “We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.” The announcement on Monday is to carry details of Thunderbird’s proposed new “governance model. “We’re not ‘stopping’ Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product,“ said the heads-up message to its Mozillians.Similarly, in a Friday blog posting from the Mozilla Foundation Chair Mitchell Baker, the Thunderbird freeze was reiterated that “Continued innovation in Thunderbird is not a priority for Mozilla’s product efforts.”In some circles the news raised more questions than answers. A carefully spun message that Thunderbird was being killed off? Shot down except for maintenance and security fixes? A long goodbye? Time to hunt for another e-mail system? “Putting it in a hospice” was one site’s suggested take. Mozilla will be pulling some in-house developers off the Thunderbird project but intends to continue handling bug fixes and security updates “This will mean an eventual shift in how we staff Thunderbird at Mozilla Corporation – we are still working out details, but some people will likely end up on other Mozilla projects,” said the Piacentino message. “Today the Thunderbird team is back in the main Mozilla product organization,” said Baker in her Friday blog.The news may not have come as a big surprise, however, to Foundation insiders and those otherwise close to the situation. According to Geek.com, “We know that developers began moving off the Thunderbird team back in January. This has been coming for a while; we’re just learning about it now.”Still, to others, this was unexpected and puzzling, considering Thunderbird, first released in 2004, had just got a new version in June. Users complimented Mozilla for its “rapid update cycle” for Thunderbird and Version 13 was allowing users to sign up for new custom e-mail addresses without having to leave the app. The Version 13 announcement was accompanied by the information that “In partnership with Gandi and Hover, you can now sign up for a personalized email address from within Thunderbird. Along with your new email address, Thunderbird will be automatically set up and ready to send and receive messages. We are working with additional suppliers to cover more areas of the world and to provide more options in the future.”last_img read more

Ancient rootless plants linked to increase in production of mud rock

first_img © 2018 Phys.org As the researchers point out, geologists have on occasion noted that long-ago sediment deposits tend to grow muddier in some places, which might have something to do with plants. In this new effort, the researchers have tested this idea by studying 1200 published papers describing work surrounding mud rock—they also collected and analyzed samples from 125 river outcrops.Mud rock has been around for a long time, the pair note, but it was sparse, making up just 1 percent of ancient river deposit material prior to 458 million years ago, the data showed. For some reason, the amount of mud rock began to rise, reaching 26 percent around 359 to 299 million years ago. They note that the increase was steady, suggesting it was not cyclical or due to events such as the movement of glaciers. That left just one option—plants.Bryophytes, the researchers note, became common around 450 million years ago, right about the time mud rock started to become more common. The rootless plants, similar to liverworts and mosses, would have thrived in the wet environment of ancient river systems. But the researchers wondered why the plants might have caused more mud rock to develop. They suggest such plants could have tempered the impact of wind and rain against rocks. They also think it was possible that they secreted organic acids that caused changes in soil chemistry. There is even a chance, they note, that they caused changes in landscape—altering the paths of rivers and streams, for example, by adding a stabilizing factor to riverbanks. Journal information: Science Credit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further More information: William J. McMahon et al. Evolution of alluvial mudrock forced by early land plants, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4660center_img A pair of geologists with the University of Cambridge has found a possible link between the evolution of ancient rootless plants and a marked increase in the production of ancient mud rock (fine-grained rock formed from silty clay deposits). In their paper published in the journal Science, William McMahon and Neil Davies describe their study and analysis of published papers reporting work with mud rock, and how they connected its increase to the arrival of rootless plants. Woodward Fischer with the California Institute of Technology offers a Perspectives piece on the work done by the team in Britain in the same journal issue. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Ancient rootless plants linked to increase in production of mud rock (2018, March 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-ancient-rootless-linked-production-mud.html Earth’s heartbeatlast_img read more

Reaction adds chiral groups to nitrogen rings without first installing reactive groups

first_img Citation: Reaction adds chiral groups to nitrogen rings without first installing reactive groups (2018, April 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-reaction-chiral-groups-nitrogen-reactive.html More information: Rupert S. J. Proctor et al. Catalytic enantioselective Minisci-type addition to heteroarenes, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6376AbstractBasic heteroarenes are a ubiquitous feature of pharmaceuticals and bioactive molecules, and Minisci-type additions of radical nucleophiles are a leading method for their elaboration. Despite many Minisci-type protocols that result in the formation of stereocenters, exerting control over the absolute stereochemistry at these centers remains an unmet challenge. We report a process for addition of prochiral radicals, generated from amino acid derivatives, to pyridines and quinolines with excellent control of both enantioselectivity and regioselectivity. An enantiopure chiral Brønsted acid catalyst serves both to activate the substrate and induce asymmetry, while an iridium photocatalyst mediates the required electron transfer processes. We anticipate that this method will expedite access to enantioenriched small-molecule building blocks bearing versatile basic heterocycles. Journal information: Science Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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. As the researchers note, nitrogen rings with associated chiral groups (groups that are asymmetric in nature) are common in agricultural, pharmaceutical and bioactive products, and chemists would like to have methods of adding groups with certain kinds of chirality to nitrogen to a cyclic compound in which one of the rings is not a carbon atom. Prior efforts to do so have involved catalytic asymmetric reduction reactions, but they have suffered from the need to pre-install reactive groups and require many complicated steps. Others have tried using a Minisci-type reaction, but thus far, it has resulted in the addition of other groups to the rings. In this new effort, the researchers also employ a Minisci-type reaction, though in a different way—the result is a process that has fewer steps, does not require pre-installing reactive groups and allows for much tighter control over ring positioning.The reaction in the new method involves two catalysts that add certain radicals to a nitrogen heterocyclic compound derived from an arene (a heteroarene)—the result is a chiral core on a carbon atom that is itself attached to a ring. To get the reaction going, the researchers aimed a beam of light from a blue LED at the mixture causing an acid in the chiral catalyst to activate the heterocycle.The researchers suggest the reaction technique could prove especially useful for developing medicines because it would be very easy to scale for manufacturing purposes. They note that their work very likely has commercial applications, but have at this time chosen not to pursue such options. Instead, they hope their work will be adopted and used by other researchers working on other pressing chemistry problems, particularly those involved in developing medications.center_img Explore further © 2018 Phys.org Nitrogen-15 isotope can trigger asymmetric autocatalytic reactions toward chiral organic compounds A trio of researchers at the University of Cambridge has come up with a new way to control adding chirality to nitrogen rings without first installing reactive groups on them. In their paper published in the journal Science, Robert Phipps and grad students Rupert Proctor and Holly Davis, describe the new reaction process and possible uses for it.last_img read more

Researchers study gravitational lensing around an extremely dense galaxy cluster

first_img Explore further More information: Gravitational lensing detection of an extremely dense environment around a galaxy cluster. Nature Astronomy (2018). doi.org/10.1038/s41550-018-0508-yAbstractGalaxy clusters form at the highest-density nodes of the cosmic web. The clustering of dark matter halos hosting these galaxy clusters is enhanced relative to the general mass distribution, with the matter density beyond the virial region being strongly correlated to the halo mass (halo bias). Halo properties other than mass can further enhance the halo clustering (secondary bias). Observational campaigns have ascertained the halo bias, but efforts to detect this secondary bias for massive halos have been inconclusive. Here, we report the analysis of the environment bias in a sample of massive clusters, selected through the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect by the Planck mission, focusing on the detection of the environment dark matter correlated to a single cluster, PSZ2 G099.86+58.45. The gravitational lensing signal of the outskirts is very large and can be traced up to 30 megaparsecs with a high signal-to-noise ratio (about 3.4), implying environment matter density in notable excess of the cosmological mean. Our finding reveals this system to be extremely rare in the current paradigm of structure formation and, implies that enhancing mechanisms around high-mass halos can be very effective. Future lensing surveys will probe the surroundings of single haloes, enabling the study of their formation and evolution of structure. Citation: Researchers study gravitational lensing around an extremely dense galaxy cluster (2018, July 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-gravitational-lensing-extremely-dense-galaxy.html Dark matter halos are theoretical bodies inside which galaxies are suspended; the halo’s mass dominates the total mass. These halos cannot be observed directly, but astronomers infer their presence by the phenomenon of gravity lensing—the distortion of background objects by strong gravitational sources that act as lenses. Astronomers can even study distant galaxies magnified by the gravitational lensing of closer gravitational objects. Journal information: Nature Astronomy © 2018 Phys.orgcenter_img Mapping dark matter 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. Visible light and total mass. Shown is the composite colour image of PSZ2 G099.86+58.45 exploiting CFHTLS g, r and i band images. The contours follow the mass distribution reconstructed from WL (white) and optical i light (red) of the galaxies with photometric redshift within ±0.06(1 + zcl) of the cluster redshift (zcl). The longer the dash, the higher the contour value. The map is centred on the BCG, and north is up. Scale bar, 1 Mpc h−1. Credit: (c) Nature Astronomy (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0508-y Researchers have known for decades that the clustering of galaxies does not mirror the clustering of most of the matter in the universe. The concept that galaxy distribution correlates to matter density at a given site in the universe dates back to 1984. In a galaxy cluster, matter distribution is highly clustered, and halos form at the peak of this distribution. This is called the halo bias.Halo bias can also be framed as the relationship between the spatial distribution of galaxies and the underlying dark matter density field. Clustering is enhanced relative to the general distribution of mass in the cluster. But there are other theorized properties besides mass that can affect clustering; physicists refer to these as secondary bias, but efforts at identifying them have been inconclusive.Recently, a group of Italian researchers published a report in Nature Astronomy on a study of PSZ2 GO99.86+58.45, an extremely dense galaxy cluster with a very large gravitational lensing signal. They report that the system is extremely rare within the framework of galactic structure formation, and its characteristics strongly imply the effectiveness of enhancing mechanisms other than mass on dark matter halos.The researchers analyzed data from two publicly available shear catalogs—the CFHTLenS and RCSLens. They found that the outskirts of the cluster have a very large gravitational lensing signal traceable up to 30 megaparsecs. Its high signal-to-noise ratio implies environment matter density that far exceeds the cosmological mean density. They report that the extreme density of this cluster cannot be attributed solely to mass.Additionally, the researchers report that their findings agree well with the Lambda cold dark matter model (ΛCDM), which holds that the universe contains a cosmological constant denoted Λ associated with dark energy and cold dark matter. Cold dark matter is a hypothetical form of dark matter in which dark matter particles move slower than light. The ΛCDM model proposes that structure in the universe forms hierarchically from the bottom up, as smaller structures collapse under the influence of their own gravity, and continually merge into larger structures. It is currently the favored model for structure formation in the universe.The researchers conclude by noting the utility of lensing analysis in the study of galaxy clusters. They write, “Next-generation galaxy surveys will routinely perform the lensing analysis of single halos out to very large radii, as we have presented here.”last_img read more

Documentary calls for healthcare system to be transfriendly

first_imgKolkata: The denial of basic healthcare to transgenders has been brought to light through a documentary “Beyond Blue and Pink” that seeks to promote dialogue and discussion towardsA creating a trans-friendly way of accessing West Bengal’s healthcare system. The members of a city-based NGO, Civilian Welfare Foundation, Indrani Kar and Shuvojit Moulik, had undertaken a study titled “Basic Medical Facility for transgenders-a crucial step towards improving public health” in 2014. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights They came across the plight of many members of the community, and thereafter filmed the documentary to reach out and sensitize a larger audience. One of the directors of the documentary, Debgopal Mondal, who himself is a part of the LGBT community, mentioned that there was a lot of talk on Article 377, rights of the community and choice of partners, but while making the film he realised that the real issues of the transgenders were not being highlighted. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed For instance, there is lack of trans-friendly public urinals. “The whole system is running on a binary mindset, anything different or outside the box is challenged and resisted,” said Abhirupa Kar of Civilian Welfare Foundation. Transgenders are subject to ‘trans-phobia’, discrimination, harassment and mockery even during getting basic treatment in West Bengal and other parts of India. “I have witnessed doctors being intolerant, insensitive and callous due to which the people like us (transgender) are becoming scared to visit the doctors. As we face constant discrimination, we are not at at mental ease and as we are deprived of basic physical treatment, the ailments are aggravating,” said Anurag Maitrayee, a city-based gender activist. “In our society, we are taught to hold guns but not hands. The documentary made me feel that the things shared are about me and I could relate to it,” Maitrayee added after watching the film on Friday. According to psychiatrist Madhurima Ghosh, the constant denial of even the basic rights results in anxiety, depression and other mental disorders. “Sensitisation of parents is important; it can only be done once a psychologist is able to able build rapport with them. We cannot directly do it as the stigma is deep-rooted,” said Ghosh, who is attached to AIIMS, Delhi. She said the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) will conduct inclusive workshops to sensitise the medical practitioners, psychologists and common people. People need to stop terming the third genders as being ill. Even parents are misled by the healthcare system. “My parents took a lot of trouble to cure me at first, showed me to various doctors, took me to Vellore as well,” says Sourabh Das, a transgender at Amitie Trust. “Even doctors in Vellore did not know about transgenders and I was given electric shocks and even put in an asylum to be cured. Now my mother understands that this is not abnormal or a disease and she participates in workshops to understand it more,” added Das.last_img read more

Primarc denies wrongdoing

first_imgKolkata: The Primarc Group has claimed in a written statement that they are not part of any wrongdoing in their business, in response to the story published in Millennium Post on July 4. Siddharth Pansari, director, Primarc Group, claimed that they have been operating their bookstore business in their Elgin Road property for the last 15 years and they own no residential flat in the building.”So, the question of leasing and renting it to politicians does not arrive,” stated Pansari. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHe also claimed that like any other corporate group including the Birlas and Tatas, they have multiple companies running different business operations through different SPVs. All the shares of the same are held by bonafide shareholders and these companies have followed all statutory norms. Hence, there is no scope of the companies being Shell/benami as published. Regarding their real estate business, Pansari claimed that they have multiple companies holding and developing lands, only after obtaining all clearances and sanctions by statutory authorities.last_img read more

Perfectionism may stress you out

first_imgConcerns about perfectionism may lead to stress, burnout and potential health problems, says a study.“Perfectionistic concerns capture fears and doubts about personal performance, which creates stress that can lead to burnout when people become cynical and stop caring,” said lead researcher Andrew Hill, associate professor of sport psychology at York St. John University in England.“It can also interfere with relationships and make it difficult to cope with setbacks because every mistake is viewed as a disaster,” Hill said. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’In this study of the relationship between perfectionism and burnout, the researchers analysed the results from 43 previous studies conducted over the past 20 years.Concerns about perfectionism can sabotage success at work, school or on the playing field, the results said.The study found that “perfectionistic concerns” had the strongest negative effects in contributing to burnout in the workplace, possibly because people have more social support and clearly defined objectives in education and sports. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixA student can be rewarded for hard work with a high grade, or a tennis player can win the big match, but a stellar performance in the workplace may not be recognised or rewarded, which may contribute to cynicism and burnout.“People need to learn to challenge the irrational beliefs that underlie perfectionistic concerns by setting realistic goals, accepting failure as a learning opportunity, and forgiving themselves when they fail,” Hill said.“Creating environments where creativity, effort and perseverance are valued also would help,” Hill said.The study was published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.last_img read more

Female jumbo gets electrocuted in Siliguri

Black money SIT asks agencies to guard against BoBlike cases

first_imgThe SIT on black money on Saturday held a review meeting here and instructed probe agencies to step up their action against those fake firms and entities which are using banking channels to launder huge illegal funds like the recent case at a Bank of Baroda (BoB) branch in Delhi. The meeting of the Special Investigation Team was chaired by Vice-Chairman of the panel Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat and attended by top officials of the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate (ED), DRI, CBI and Finance Ministry. Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra dam Sources said the SIT touched upon the BoB case and asked these agencies to crackdown on such cases where individuals or entities have registered multiple fake firms at one address or at non-existing locations to fraudulently undertake illegal import and export businesses and route slush funds.A similar modus operandi had been detected by the CBI and the ED in the BoB case where they detected about 59 fake firms being used by the accused to undertake illegal remittances to the tune of an estimated Rs 6,000 crore from the Ashok Vihar branch of the bank. Also Read – Union Min doubts ‘vote count’ in Bareilly, seeks probeThe panel also instructed the agencies to check cases of illegal funds, donations and contributions being made and generated by some identified charitable and educational institutes.It asked these departments to enhance their vigil on “domestic” areas where from black money is being generated and stashed.The panel is also understood to have asked the I-T department to conduct special operations against these fictitious firms and gather more information about their operations.Sources said the ED and the Income Tax department have also been asked to coordinate between themselves while working on some cases of common investigation of black money.The SIT, headed by retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah, was set up last May by the Central government on the orders of the Apex Court.last_img read more

State will empower civic officials to conduct drives inside locked premises Hakim

first_imgKolkata: State Municipal Affairs and Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim said on Thursday that the state will soon usher in a change in the Municipal Act, so that civic officials of all urban local bodies (ULBs) are empowered to undertake drives inside locked premises to prevent vector-borne diseases.The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has already amended its act in this regard and the minister wants to do the same for the other ULBs in the state. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHakim held a meeting with representatives from selected ULBs of North and South 24-Parganas district, including Kolkata and Bidhannagar Municipal Corporations, on the basis of a report by the state Health department that had marked a number of wards in the municipalities of these two districts and some wards of Kolkata and Bidhannagar civic bodies, as sensitive in terms of outbreak of vector-borne diseases.”A number of councillors have expressed their inability in undertaking drives inside office premises, particularly of the Central government, jute mills and factories that are under lock and key. We are bringing in a change in the Municipal Act, so that civic workers who undertake vector-borne drives can forcefully enter these premises and clean the pockets that encourage the breeding of mosquitoes,” Hakim said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedRepresentatives from the municipalities of Habra, Bhatpara and some others raised their concern over the lackadaisical approach of the Central government establishments, particularly the railways, in keeping their premises clean.”It is true that the number of dengue cases has been much less in comparison to the previous year. However, there is no place for complacency. We want to ensure that these sensitive wards, earmarked by the Health department, soon emerge as non-sensitive. If we carry on with our hard work for two to three years, I am hopeful that the number of dengue cases will come down to zero in the state,” the minister maintained. Some councillors at the meeting pointed out difficulties in conducting drives in certain bordering wards of the civic bodies due to jurisdictional boundaries. The minister immediately responded with a WhatsApp number and asked the councillors to send pictures of such places so that the matter can be taken up on priority basis.”There are wards under the KMC that share their boundary with the Rajpur-Sonarpur municipality. Joint drives may be carried out in these areas,” a senior official of the state Municipal Affairs department said.last_img read more

Major fire at garment store in south Kolkata

first_imgKolkata: A major blaze broke out early Sunday at a garment store in the southern part of the city’s Gariahat area, gutting goods worth lakhs and destroying multiple shops next to the building, a senior official of the fire department said. At least 19 fire tenders have been pressed into service to douse the fire that was noticed around 1am at Traders Assembly building, he told PTI. Nobody was injured in the fire, the cause of which was suspected to a transformer blast, the official said. “At the moment, the fire has been brought under control. Our men are fighting tooth and nail to douse it. We are yet to find out the exact reason behind the blaze, but preliminary findings show that transformer blast might have led to it,” the fire department official added.last_img read more

Fielding agents in every booth will be difficult acknowledges CPIM leadership

first_imgKolkata: At a time when the dates of the Lok Sabha polls are likely to be announced anytime, CPI(M) leaders in Bengal have realised that fielding polling agents in every booth will be the toughest job in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.In the recently concluded state committee meeting of the party, Suryakanta Misra has urged the leaders to ensure that all anti-BJP and anti-Trinamool Congress votes in Bengal are consolidated. The party’s politburo member Biman Bose chaired the two-day state committee meeting that began on Thursday. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe leaders, preferring anonymity, said though the party was targeting to consolidate anti-BJP and anti-Trinamool votes, they have understood that it is not possible for the party to field polling agents in more than 30 percent seats. There are around 77,000 polling booths in the state and five party workers are required per booth, which includes a polling agent and an election agent, their relievers and another worker who is kept as a standby. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataParty leaders admitted that after the TMC came to power in 2011, there has been massive erosion in their cadre base. Many party workers did not renew their membership. “Earlier, those who knew the areas were posted in the booths. But over the years, we have lost such cadres and it will be difficult for us to field agents in all the booths,” a senior leader said. The CPI(M) leadership is of the opinion that it will be difficult to form an electoral alliance with the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The party had got two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Mohammad Selim was elected from Raigunj and won by 1,634 votes, while Badrudduja Khan defeated the Congress candidate in Murshidabad and won by 18,453 votes. The Congress will prefer to retain both the seats as Raigunj and Murshidabad are both strongholds of the party. Dipa Das Munshi could not win in 2014 as Trinamool Congress had fielded Sudhir Ranjan Das Munshi, brother of Priya Ranjan, who got 1.92 lakh votes. “We are assessing our own strength and formally there has not been any discussion with the Pradesh Congress till date,” said a leader of the party.last_img read more

TMC councillor shot at in Burdwan BJP hand suspected

first_imgKolkata: A former Trinamool councillor was shot at on Monday night at Kalabagan area in Burdwan. It was alleged that the accused persons are supporters of the BJP.According to sources, on Monday night, former councillor Md Selim was returning home from a Trinamool party office on a motorcycle. Two BJP supporters identified as Krishna Singh and Ajay Singh were following him from the TMC office. Near Kalabagan area, when one of them was about to fire at Selim, some local residents saw them and alerted Selim. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataSensing danger Selim stopped his motorcycle and got down. But till then one of the accused persons had already fired two bullets at Selim. But, as he got down from the motorcycle, both the bullets did not hit Selim. When local residents started shouting, Krishna and Ajay quickly escaped from the scene. Later, Selim along with other Trinamool leaders went to Burdwan Sadar police station and lodged a complaint against the duo. After initiating a case in this regard, the police went to the homes of the accused to arrest them but the officers found that they were absconding. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state The police have also recovered a live bullet from the spot. It is suspected that while fleeing the spot, the bullet was accidentally dropped. Selim said the BJP is well aware that they would not win the Lok Sabha Elections. Thus they are trying to create an unstable situation to scare the voters as well as the Trinamool supporters and workers. Till Tuesday night, none of the accused persons could be traced. The police have initiated an extensive search operation to nab the accused persons.last_img read more

BGBS to be held every 2 years from now announces CM

first_imgKolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government will now hold Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) once every two years. This was announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state Assembly on Wednesday.”There are various processes involved after we receive an investment proposal. We need to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR), sign MoUs and complete certain other formalities. So we have decided to give some more time before holding such business meets. This will help us make more investments fruitful in the real sense of the term, before we hold the next edition of BGBS,” Banerjee said, while deliberating upon the Governor’s speech that was delivered in the last session in February. The session could not be held after that with the announcement of the elections in March. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBanerjee said 50 percent of the investments received in the five editions of BGBS held since 2015 are already under implementation. It may be mentioned that most of the states in the country have already started holding such summits once in two years. The 2019 BGBS held in February has seen investment to the tune of Rs 2.84 lakh crore, which is expected to create 8 to 10 lakh jobs in the state. The next BGBS will be held in 2021 instead of 2020. “86 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed, while 45 business to consumer (B2C) and 1,200 business to business (B2B) meetings were held,” a senior official of the state Finance department said.last_img read more

Hospital misplaces patients severed finger

first_imgKolkata: A private hospital in the city was accused of medical negligence after a patient’s severed finger got misplaced before the surgery to join it back to his hand.According to sources, on Wednesday afternoon, Nilotpal Chakraborty of Andul in Howrah was riding his bike along the Foreshore Road in Howrah. While riding the bike, Chakraborty met with an accident and fell from the bike. His middle finger placed in between the clutch and the handle bar got severed due to excessive pressure. He was immediately rushed to a private hospital in Howrah along with the severed finger where he was recommended to go to a private hospital at Ekbalpore. The severed finger was wrapped in ice and given to Chakraborty’s family members. After he was taken to the hospital, Chakraborty’s family members were told that the hospital staff are busy and some were watching a world cup match. They said the finger will be preserved and will be stitched back to Chakraborty’s hand on Thursday morning as such operation can be done within 24 hours after the organ gets severed. Chakraborty was admitted and given necessary treatment. On Thursday morning, while preparing for the operation, hospital staff and nurses found that the finger was missing from the preservation area. Since 8 am, on Thursday, despite repeated searches, the finger was not found. After 2 pm, hospital authority informed Chakraborty’s family members that the finger was missing and even if the finger is found, it cannot be attached as 24 hours had passed. Hearing this, patient’s family members started protesting. Later, a complaint was lodged at the Alipore police station and a FIR was lodged under sections of Medical Negligence Act.last_img read more

Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz the Man Behind The Force Dies at

first_imgHe was the man who pitched and pleaded until he’d finally persuaded Twentieth Century Fox to take a chance on a fast-paced outer-space story named Star Wars. Gary Kurtz, the producer of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, died of cancer on September 23, 2018. “Gary’s passing will be felt throughout the Star Wars family,” George Lucas said in a statement. “Through what were challenging shooting difficulties and conditions, his contributions as a producer helped bring the stories to life onscreen. My heart goes out to his family.”Gary Kurtz, Hamburg, 2002Lucas and Kurtz parted ways after Empire Strikes Back, with Kurtz saying in later interviews that the Star Wars films began to revolve too much around merchandising.“I’ve lost a lifelong friend. The world has lost a kind, wise, multi-talented artist & filmmaker whose contributions to cinema cannot be overstated. It was an honor to have worked with him & I know I am better man just for having known him,” tweeted Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker.Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, produced by Gary Kurtz (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew said in a separate tweet that without Kurtz, a student of world religions, there would have been “no ‘force.’ ”According to ABC News, Kurtz’s study of religion, he felt, was a good aspect to put into the ‘Star Wars’ films,” said Jason Joiner, curator of the Kurtz-Joiner Archive, a collection of film memorabilia spanning Kurtz’s career. “He helped to develop the ‘force,’ and helped write it into those parts of the film.”Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)According to Variety, Kurtz had got his start as an assistant director on Monte Hellman’s Ride in the Whirlwind, a low-budget 1966 Western that starred a then-unknown Jack Nicholson. During the next decade, he served as a production manager and assistant director on a number of films, including Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Beach Ball.He also left Hollywood from 1966 to 1969 to serve in the Marines during the Vietnam War.Kurtz was just 30 years old when he met Lucas, a fellow University of Southern California film school graduate, in 1970. The two became a team and he would go on to produce three of the most successful movies of all time with Lucas, starting with American Graffiti, released in 1973.Director George Lucas and co-producer Gary Kurtz wearing sunglasses on the sets of the film ‘American Graffiti’, 1973. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Getty Images)Kurtz championed Star Wars through several drafts and helped Lucas deal with 20th Century Fox’s lack of enthusiasm for a movie they perceived as a B-picture, Variety said.However, Lucas had a falling out after Empire Strikes Back and the two did not collaborate again.The second Star Wars film ran over budget and fell behind and media reports say Lucas was forced to dip into his own pocket to complete the movie. Kurtz stepped in to direct second-unit work on the film.But after completing his work on Empire Strikes Back, Kurtz was replaced by Howard Kazanjian as producer for Return of the Jedi.Harrison Ford on the set of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back directed by Irvin Kershner. (Photo by Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)Star Wars buffs say Kurtz wanted a more bittersweet ending to the first trilogy, did not like the Ewoks, and thought the Han Solo should have a heroic death in Return of the Jedi instead of focusing on his relationship with Princess Leia. He reportedly did not want a “euphoric ending where everyone was happy.”Mark Hamill said at the time that the departure of Kurtz was like “Mom and Dad getting a divorce.”In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kurtz said the movies became too motivated by merchandising.“I could see where things were headed: The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire,” he said. “It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”After parting ways with Lucas, Kurtz produced The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz.Read another story from us: Billy Dee Williams to return to Star Wars franchise playing Lando CalrissianIn a statement released after his death, his family said, “Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, and mentor, whose work and talent spanned film-making, photography, music, and cinema history. He was a Marine, a world traveler, an outdoorsman, and a kind, compassionate human being.”last_img read more

Christopher Lee – The Man Who Embodied Dracula

first_imgCount Dracula is a screen icon who simply won’t stay dead. From his first appearance in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel to the upcoming TV series from Sherlock’s Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the classic vampire is set to rise again and again.Bela Lugosi’s performance in the 1931 Universal Horror picture is loved around the world.Bela Lugosi as DraculaBut arguably one man gave audiences the definitive take on Stoker’s Count — Christopher Lee. He not only played the role but embodied it in a way that has yet to be matched.In a 2017 article for the website Birth Movies Death it’s written that “Each moment he was onscreen was mesmerizing; a powerful domineering stance that demanded attention when he sauntered into the room, a flicker of intoxicating cursed madness that glimmered out from behind the eye that captivated and kept its audience under his thrall.”Christopher Lee as the title character in Dracula (1958)He portrayed Sax Rohmer’s fiendish Fu Manchu for the producer Harry Alan Towers, and the Monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) for Hammer.Yet it was Hammer’s Dracula with whom he would forever be associated.Christopher Lee at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013. Photo by Avda CC BY-SA 3.0Born into money, Lee had a naturally aristocratic air that lent itself to the Transylvanian terror. A Guardian interview from 2001 mentions that despite “the protestations of his high-born mother, who considered acting infra dig and a profession only for people with no morals, Lee went on to make his name playing some of the most morally bankrupt characters of all time.”Christopher Lee in Dracula (1958). Photo by Getty ImagesAside from his formidable presence, Lee’s respect for Stoker’s source material made him a natural choice to bring the author’s creation to ghoulish life. For his second Hammer outing, Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), the Count had minimal dialogue. This, it turned out, was all Lee’s doing.Bram Stoker (1847-1912), novelist born in Ireland, author of Dracula.According to Birth Movies Death, he was unimpressed by the script and “expressed such contempt for the dialogue that he refused to utter a single word throughout the entire film. To Lee, if the British company refused to use Stoker’s original material from the book, then he didn’t see the point in using any of the words that the screenwriters had created in its absence.”An unexpected by-product of this was the perception of Dracula as a man of few words. The actor had inadvertently but effectively demonstrated the old expression that “less is more.”A screenshot from the trailer for Dracula (1958), a Hammer Horror production.Lee was a pioneer of the Count’s celluloid exploits. It was 1968’s Dracula Has Risen From The Grave that first presented the Bible as a major opponent of the chiseled bloodsucker, one more powerful than any wooden stake or necklace of garlic.He was also along for the ride when the Hammer Draculas became bloodier and saucier, not to mention more modern. His last two performances were in contemporary chillers Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satantic Rites of Dracula the following year.A screenshot from the trailer for Dracula (1958), a Hammer Horror production.Every villain needs a mortal enemy and Lee had perhaps the greatest in Peter Cushing. The star played Van Helsing and their antagonism was given added depth by the mens’ strong friendship offscreen.Above all, Lee’s power as Dracula is best expressed in the legacy of those films. Though he regretted being typecast through the role, the body of work went on to inspire many of the best directors working today.Front cover of Fantastic Monsters of the Films (1962, Black Shield Publications), featuring Sir Christopher Lee as Dracula.Speaking to the Guardian, Lee remarked that “if you compare those Hammer movies to what has been made in the last 20 years — Brian de Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Wes Craven, Tim Burton and Peter Jackson have all said the same thing to me: ‘We were brought up on your movies.’ And it certainly shows in theirs.”Christopher Lee (left) at the Aubagne International Film Festival in September 1996. Photo by Charmich CC BY-SA 3.0Burton went on to repeatedly cast Lee, while Lucas and Jackson turned the aging thespian into Count Dooku and Saruman for Star Wars and Lord of the Rings respectively.Would this have happened without Dracula’s influence? It’s highly doubtful.Christopher Lee passed away in 2015, leaving behind a diverse and fascinating CV in which he played characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Francisco Scaramanga. However for many, he will always be Count Dracula, and the definitive neck drainer to boot.Read another story from us: Dracula in the Trenches: When Bela Lugosi Served in WWITo show both horror and tragedy all in one bite. That was what Christopher Lee brought to the table when he signed on as the Prince of Darkness.last_img read more