Protecting natural forests crucial for climate change (PhysOrg.com) — Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change. 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. Fenner said that climate change is only at its beginning, but is likely to be the cause of our extinction. “We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island,” he said. More people means fewer resources, and Fenner predicts “there will be a lot more wars over food.”Easter Island is famous for its massive stone statues. Polynesian people settled there, in what was then a pristine tropical island, around the middle of the first millennium AD. The population grew slowly at first and then exploded. As the population grew the forests were wiped out and all the tree animals became extinct, both with devastating consequences. After about 1600 the civilization began to collapse, and had virtually disappeared by the mid-19th century. Evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond said the parallels between what happened on Easter Island and what is occurring today on the planet as a whole are “chillingly obvious.”While many scientists are also pessimistic, others are more optimistic. Among the latter is a colleague of Professor Fenner, retired professor Stephen Boyden, who said he still hopes awareness of the problems will rise and the required revolutionary changes will be made to achieve ecological sustainability. “While there’s a glimmer of hope, it’s worth working to solve the problem. We have the scientific knowledge to do it but we don’t have the political will,” Boyden said. World population growth chart. Explore further Professor Frank Fenner More information: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/easter.html Fenner, who is emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, said homo sapiens will not be able to survive the population explosion and “unbridled consumption,” and will become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many other species. United Nations official figures from last year estimate the human population is 6.8 billion, and is predicted to pass seven billion next year.Fenner told The Australian he tries not to express his pessimism because people are trying to do something, but keep putting it off. He said he believes the situation is irreversible, and it is too late because the effects we have had on Earth since industrialization (a period now known to scientists unofficially as the Anthropocene) rivals any effects of ice ages or comet impacts. Citation: Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist (2010, June 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-humans-extinct-years-eminent-scientist.html © 2010 PhysOrg.com Fenner, 95, is the author or co-author of 22 books and 290 scientific papers and book chapters. His announcement in 1980 to the World Health Assembly that smallpox had been eradicated is still seen as one of the World Health Organisation’s greatest achievements. He has also been heavily involved in controlling Australia’s feral rabbit population with the myxomatosis virus. Professor Fenner has had a lifetime interest in the environment, and from 1973 to 1979 was Director of the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at ANU. He is currently a visiting fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the university, and is a patron of Sustainable Population Australia. He has won numerous awards including the ANZAC Peace Prize, the WHO Medal, and the Albert Einstein World Award of Science. He was awarded an MBE for his work on control of malaria in New Guinea during the Second World War, in which Fenner served in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.Professor Fenner will open the Healthy Climate, Planet and People symposium at the Australian Academy of Science next week.
Artistic illustration of wormhole travel. Image credit: NASA/Les Bossinas (Cortez III Service Corp.) (PhysOrg.com) — Wormholes are one of the stranger objects that arise in general relativity. Although no experimental evidence for wormholes exists, scientists predict that they would appear to serve as shortcuts between one point of spacetime and another. Scientists usually imagine wormholes connecting regions of empty space, but now a new study suggests that wormholes might exist between distant stars. Instead of being empty tunnels, these wormholes would contain a perfect fluid that flows back and forth between the two stars, possibly giving them a detectable signature. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further More information: Vladimir Dzhunushaliev, et al. “A Star Harbouring a Wormhole at its Center.” arXiv:1102.4454v1 [astro-ph.GA] The scientists, Vladimir Dzhunushaliev at the Eurasian National University in Kazakhstan and coauthors, have posted their investigation of the possibility of wormholes between stars on arXiv.org. The scientists began investigating the idea of wormholes between stars when they were researching what kinds of astrophysical objects could serve as entrances to wormholes. According to previous models, some of these objects could look similar to stars.This idea led the scientists to wonder if wormholes might exist in otherwise ordinary stars and neutron stars. From a distance, these stars would look very much like normal stars (and normal neutron stars), but they might have a few differences that could be detectable. To investigate these differences, the researchers developed a model of an ordinary star with a tunnel at the star’s center, through which matter could move. Two stars that share a wormhole would have a unique connection, since they are associated with the two mouths of the wormhole. Because exotic matter in the wormhole could flow like a fluid between the stars, both stars would likely pulse in an unusual way. This pulsing could lead to the release of various kinds of energy, such as ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays. For now, the difficult part is calculating exactly what kinds of oscillations are occurring, and what kind of energy is being released. This information would allow scientists to predict what a wormhole-containing star might look like from Earth, and begin searching for these otherwise normal-looking stars. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Time travel? Maybe Citation: Scientists investigate the possibility of wormholes between stars (2011, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-02-scientists-possibility-wormholes-stars.html
Copyright 2011 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. Evolution of the modular structure of the network of dependencies between packages of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system. Packages are represented by nodes. A green arrow from package i to package j indicates that package i depends on package j, and a red arrow indicates that package i has a conflict with package j. Packages within a module (depicted by a big circle) have many dependencies between themselves and only a few with packages from other modules. During the growth of the operating system, the modular structure of the network of dependencies has increased: (I) The new packages added in successive releases depended mainly on previously existing packages within the same module, and hence, the size of the modules created in earlier releases increased over time; (ii) the number of modules also increased, although the new modules consisted only of a few new packages; and (iii) the relative number of dependencies between packages from different modules decreased. Moreover, the relative number of conflicts between packages from different modules decreased, whereas those within modules increased through the different releases of the operating system. Copyright © PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115960108 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. They are also developing a dynamical model to mimic the growth of Debian over time – an effort which, if successful, might let them predict how many packages, dependencies, and conflicts will arise in the next release of the operating system. An interesting question would be,” he conjectures, “if there are limits to the number of packages that an operating system can offer to the users without jeopardizing its functionality and robustness. Following our analogy with the biological evolution, we could ask if there is a limit to biodiversity, that is, to the number of species that can coexist in our planet.”Regarding potential analogies with evolution and ecology, Fortuna points to macroevolution – that is, speciation and extinction processes – that he sees as being in some ways equivalent to the creation of new packages and the deprecation of those rendered obsolete from one release to the next. “Does the probability of a species becoming extinct depend on how long it’s been on the planet? In other words, are the most ancient species, like crocodiles, the ones with higher risk of extinction? We can formulate the question, which was already explored by Van Valen in the 1970’s, by replacing species with software packages. Why do some packages not exist after a subsequent release? Does a new software package created in one of the earliest releases have a high probability to persist over time? What does it depend on? We can calculate these probabilities following the identity of the packages of the Debian operating system through time. The data to do it are available, and we therefore might learn something from software studies that help us answer the biological question – because evolution works as a tinkerer in both cases.”In relation to the ecological processes, Fortuna illustrates, “When an oceanic island is created colonization and extinction are the main mechanisms that leads to the establishment of a stable community. This community assembly would be equivalent to the package installation process in a local computer. For example, dependencies and conflicts between packages mimic predator-prey interactions and competitive exclusion relationships, respectively. A predator can colonize the island only if the prey it feeds on is already there.”In Fortuna’s view, the same thing happens with software packages. “A package can be installed in a computer only if the packages it depends on are already installed. Ecologically similar prey species are going to compete with each other in the island for light and nutrients so that the best competitor is going to displace the others, which can then become extinct. Predators feeding on extinct prey are going to disappear as well. Conflicts between software packages have the same consequences: one package cannot be installed in the computer if it has a conflict with an already installed one, so that those packages depending on it cannot be installed either. This parallelism can help us understand the general principles operating on systems of different nature.”Reminiscent of AI-based evolutionary programming, Fortuna also says that their work might well lead to improved in silico models of evolutionary biology and population ecology. “Charles Ofria and his lab at Michigan State University are studying evolution by using self-replicating computer programs able to mutate and evolve over time.” The genome of these programs consists of a set of instructions that are executed by the central processing unit (CPU). Some of the mutations imply the insertion of random instructions into the genome. If the mutant program is able to reproduce faster than the others, its genome is going to persist through time. “It could be interesting to explore to what extent new instructions added to the genome interact with the preexisting ones – that is, whether or not there is a reuse of the genome instructions of these digital organisms and its resemblance with a modular structural pattern,” Fortuna observes. “The interplay between ecology and computer science is much more evident if we take a look at the work developed by Luis Zaman, Ofria’s graduate student, who is incorporating host-parasite interactions into these computer programs.”Looking further afield, Fortuna describes how other models or applications might be targeted using the team’s findings. “The closest study would be the comparison with the development pattern of other GNU/Linux distributions – openSuse, Fedora, Gentoo, and so on – as well as proprietary operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X. The information needed to accomplish this task would easily be compiled for the first ones – but it will be much more difficult to get it for the last ones. The algorithms for detecting modular structures are publicly available. There are also powerful free SQL relational database management systems like PostgreSQL and MySQL to store, organize, and manage the information. So,’ he concludes, “the bottleneck is once again data availability.” More information: Evolutionof a modular software network, Publishedonline before print November 21, 2011, PNAS December 13, 2011 vol. 108 no. 50 19985-19989, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115960108 Recognizing blood poisoning quickly Explore further Lead researcher Miguel A. Fortuna, who worked with Juan A. Bonachela and Prof. Simon A. Levin, Director of Princeton’s Center for BioComplexity, describes the main challenges they encountered in designing and implementing the methods used to analyze OS the evolution. “The main difficulty we had was getting, organizing, and storing the data,” says Fortuna. “Notice that the network of interdependent packages of the last release analyzed was composed by more than 100,000 dependencies. “This complexity required that they use structuring query languages (SQL) for managing databases. “We were very careful when identifying software packages through different release – sometimes there could be different versions of the same package within the same release due to the improvements made by developers.”While Fortuna notes that quantifying the increase of the code’s modular structure time was the main insight of their study, he points out that reuse of code and software’s hierarchical structure were suggested by the pioneering work of Ricard V. Solé and Sergi Valverde in the early 2000s. “The interest that our paper has drawn has helped us to discover work we did not know about software systems. The idea of using the network of dependencies and conflicts of different releases of the Debian operating system as a case study has facilitated the understanding of how code development evolves over time without the need to go deeper into the details of the code itself.”Another key innovation cited by Fortuna was the team’s use of a very precise method to detect the modular structure of the operating system. “We borrowed an algorithm developed by physicists and widely used in ecology nowadays. In fact, this work has been constantly enriched by an interdisciplinary mixture of ideas from biology and physics.”The team already has its eye on ways of improving and extending the current experimental design. “The most important follow-up of our study would be the exploration of proprietary software like the Microsoft Windows operating system,” Fortuna comments. “Since Debian is the result of a volunteer effort to create a free operating system, you have the freedom to distribute copies, receive source code, modify the software or use pieces of it in new free programs. The question then becomes, what does the software development pattern looks like when the company developing code doesn’t offer this freedom to their users? A comparison of the structure of both development strategies would be more than interesting.” (PhysOrg.com) — In the 1960s, Dr. Lawrence J. Fogel introduced what would come to be known as evolutionary programming to the nascent field of Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to produce intelligent software without relying on neural networks modeled on the brain or human expert-based heuristic programming. Now, researchers in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University have shown the inverse – namely, that network theory, when applied to software systems, provides surprising insights into biology, ecology and evolution. Specifically, they explored evolutionary behavior in complex systems by analyzing how the Debian GNU/Linux operating system utilizes modular code. The researchers found that how the network becomes more modular over time in various OS installations often parallels that of ecological relationships between interacting species. Citation: Tinkering with evolution: Ecological implications of modular software networks (2011, December 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-tinkering-withevolution-ecological-implications-modular.html
Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Citation: Alaskan researchers find evidence of genetic change in salmon in response to warming climate (2012, July 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-alaskan-evidence-genetic-salmon-response.html More information: Genetic change for earlier migration timing in a pink salmon population, Published online before print July 11, 2012, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1158AbstractTo predict how climate change will influence populations, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms, particularly microevolution and phenotypic plasticity, that allow populations to persist in novel environmental conditions. Although evidence for climate-induced phenotypic change in populations is widespread, evidence documenting that these phenotypic changes are due to microevolution is exceedingly rare. In this study, we use 32 years of genetic data (17 complete generations) to determine whether there has been a genetic change towards earlier migration timing in a population of pink salmon that shows phenotypic change; average migration time occurs nearly two weeks earlier than it did 40 years ago. Experimental genetic data support the hypothesis that there has been directional selection for earlier migration timing, resulting in a substantial decrease in the late-migrating phenotype (from more than 30% to less than 10% of the total abundance). From 1983 to 2011, there was a significant decrease—over threefold—in the frequency of a genetic marker for late-migration timing, but there were minimal changes in allele frequencies at other neutral loci. These results demonstrate that there has been rapid microevolution for earlier migration timing in this population. Circadian rhythm genes, however, did not show any evidence for selective changes from 1993 to 2009. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2012 Phys.org The pink salmon in the study were part of a group that spawns in a stream near Juneau, Alaska. Prior research had shown that the salmon have been swimming upstream to spawn on average two weeks earlier than they did just forty years ago. They also found that average water temperature in the stream had risen one degree during that same time span. To find out if any genetic changes have come about as a result, the researchers turned to a genetic marker that has been bred into some, but not all of the fish during the late 1980’s, that tended to make them spawn a little bit later then the others in their group. Because genetic samples of the fish have been taken on a regular basis since the 1970’s, the team was able to see that the late spawning marker showed a decrease from 20% of the fish population on average to just 10%; a clear sign that genetic change over just a few decades had occurred. At the same time they found no other changes in other genes that had been marked as a control.The researchers say the evidence shows that salmon have evolved genetically over just a couple of generations which by implication means, that other animals are likely doing the same. Overall, they say, their study shows just how quickly organisms can evolve to deal with ongoing temperature changes. What they don’t know yet, however, is how earlier spawning impacts the fish in other ways, such as when the young fish swim back down stream and on out into the ocean. (Phys.org) — Because the gradual increase in temperatures worldwide is still relatively new, researchers have had difficulty in finding examples of genetic changes in organisms that are adapting to the warmer temperatures. Instead they have seen examples of phenotypic plasticity, which is where animals make adaptive changes based on existing conditions that are not brought about by genetic changes. Now though, for the first time, researchers in Alaska have found evidence of genetic changes in pink salmon that have come about over the past few decades as the fish have been migrating upstream earlier than they used to. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes how they found a genetic marker for late spawning fish diminishing over time as water temperatures increased. Explore further Scientists wonder where salmon are
(Phys.org) — A new international standard for a video compression format was announced today. The draft was issued by the influential Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) which met in Stockholm in July. MPEG, formed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), drew 450 participants at the meeting, from 26 countries, representing telecoms, computer, TV and consumer electronics industries. MPEG discussions and standards affect these industries. In other words, the standard is a big deal. Citation: MPEG hammers out codec that halves bit rate (2012, August 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-08-mpeg-codec-halves-bit.html Explore further Motorola enables High Definition expansion with innovative MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 Receiver This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2012 Phys.org “High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) was the main focus and was issued as a Draft International Standard (DIS) with substantial compression efficiency over AVC, in particular for higher resolutions where the average savings are around 50 percent,” said Ericsson’s meeting notes.In video alone, almost all digital terrestrial, satellite and cable TV services rely on video codecs that MPEG has standardized. The new standard issued this week is all about bandwidth, and the reduction thereof. This is a draft standard for High Efficiency Video Coding, to enable compression levels twice as high as the current H.264/AVC standard. The format may launch in commercial products next year. The news is especially good for mobile networks, where spectrum is costly. Service providers will be able to launch more video services with the spectrum that is currently available.“You can halve the bit rate and still achieve the same visual quality, or double the number of television channels with the same bandwidth, which will have an enormous impact on the industry,” said Per Fröjdh, Manager for Visual Technology at Ericsson Research, Group Function Technology.He was a key figure at the event as chairman of the Swedish MPEG delegation. Ericsson, by nature of its business, is actively involved with MPEG. (Fröjdh’s Visual Technology team is working with MPEG in a new kind of 3-D video compression format, which would do away with 3-D glasses. Fröjdh said the technology could be standardized by 2014.)Anything to do with video compression over mobile broadband is a key concern to Ericsson, said another executive at Ericsson.Out of all data sent over networks, a good proportion is video. According to statistics in a study dated this year, across all geographies, video is the leading driver of total data traffic on mobile networks at an average of 50 percent, but, in some networks, the data volume due to video content is approaching 70 percent.
NASA’s artist impression of SN 2006gy, one of the most luminous hypernovae seen. Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss 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. Superluminous supernovae, also called hypernovae, are dozens of times more luminous than normal supernovae. ASASSN-15lh, detected by the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) in 2015, is a real ‘assassin’ among these explosion events. It is about 200 times more powerful than the average supernova and approximately 570 billion times brighter than our sun. It is so far the most luminous supernova ever detected.Now, Brown and his colleagues have used the data provided by NASA’s Swift spacecraft and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to study ASASSN-15lh in detail. They found that the flux of the supernova increased strongly into the ultraviolet, with the luminosity a hundred times greater when compared to the hydrogen-rich, ultraviolet-bright SLSN II SN 2008es. According to a paper published on arXiv.org, this rebrightening is seen about two months after the peak brightness, which by itself is as bright as a superluminous supernova.”It took a few observations to convince myself that the rebrightening was real, and then I announced it as an Astronomer’s Telegram when I realized how significant it was so that other astronomers could get complementary data to understand what was going on,” Brown told Phys.org.He noted that the detection couldn’t be done without Swift, as it is great at following objects for multiple observations over a long period of time. It can observe the universe in the gamma-ray, X-ray, UV and optical wavebands.”Optical observations get you only a certain wavelength range, which in the case of ASASSN-15lh would miss most of the flux and the clear rebrightening,” he added.However, Hubble is much more sensitive, so the scientists were able to get ultraviolet spectroscopy from a special observation approved after they discovered something unusual with Swift.Hot, energetic events like ASASSN-15lh produce most of their light in the UV, and it’s at these wavelengths that we can best understand their explosion mechanisms and their nature.”Hubble and Swift are the only telescopes that can acquire ultraviolet spectroscopy. UV spectroscopy can only be done from space, and these two old telescopes are our only means to get these data, as no future UV telescope is planned anytime in the near future,” said Jeffrey Cooke of the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, one of the co-authors of the paper.The researchers managed to determine the shape of the explosion the UV/optical flux and the X-ray flux. However, the most puzzling finding was that the observed brightening did not show the hydrogen they would expect if caused by the explosion crashing into hydrogen around it. According to the study, the optical spectroscopy during the rebrightening of ASASSN-15lh did not show evidence of broad H-alpha, nor did the scientists see strong or broad Lyman alpha emission in the UV spectra, which would be expected from interaction with hydrogen-rich material.Thus, the team admitted that their research actually raised more new questions than it answered.”If you have poor observations, you can fit it with any model. But the more data we have, the more precise the theoretical model has to be. We don’t understand the main peak of the light curve and we don’t understand the rebrightening, though we have some ideas. As other scientists come up with theories about what could cause it, though, our data constrains the shape of the explosion the UV/optical flux, the X-ray flux, and the lack of hydrogen, which is the most common element in the universe,” Brown concluded.The team will keep following ASASSN-15lh with Swift until it gets too faint. They do not have immediate plans for further studies of this object, though their collaborators are looking deeper into the Hubble spectra and theoretical explanations for the source. (Phys.org)—An international team of astronomers, led by Peter Brown of Texas A&M University, has spotted a surprising ultraviolet (UV) rebrightening in a distant superluminous supernova known as ASASSN-15lh. The event has baffled the scientists as it doesn’t show any hydrogen emission characteristic of superluminous supernovae and tidal disruption events. The research was published online on May 12 on arXiv.org. More information: ASASSN-15lh: A Superluminous Ultraviolet Rebrightening Observed by Swift and Hubble, arXiv:1605.03951 [astro-ph.HE] arxiv.org/abs/1605.03951AbstractWe present and discuss ultraviolet (UV) and optical photometry from the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) and X-ray limits from the X-Ray Telescope on Swift and imaging polarimetry and UV/optical spectroscopy with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) of ASASSN-15lh. It has been classified as a hydrogen-poor superluminous supernova (SLSN I) more luminous than any other supernova observed. From the polarimetry we determine that the explosion was only mildly asymmetric. We find the flux of ASASSN-15lh to increase strongly into the UV, with a UV luminosity a hundred times greater than the hydrogen-rich, UV-bright SLSN II SN~2008es. A late rebrightening—most prominent at shorter wavelengths—is seen about two months after the peak brightness, which by itself is as bright as a superluminous supernova. ASASSN-15lh is not detected in the X-rays in individual observations or when the data are summed into two separate bins for the early phase and the rebrightening. The HST UV spectrum during the rebrightening is dominated by the continuum without broad absorption or emission lines. In particular, we confirm a lack of hydrogen emission, showing only Ly-alpha absorption near the redshift previously found by optical absorption lines of the presumed host. The UV spectra lack the broad features seen in SLSNe or tidal disruption events and the early optical spectra of ASASSN-15lh. The extreme properties of ASASSN-15lh and differences when compared to SLSNe and TDEs make its classification as a SLSN uncertain. Explore further © 2016 Phys.org Citation: ASASSN’s creed—a surprising ultraviolet rebrightening observed in a superluminous supernova (2016, May 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-asassn-creeda-ultraviolet-rebrightening-superluminous.html Magnetar could have boosted explosion of extremely bright supernova
It is that time of the year when the Pink City of Rajasthan drowns itself completely in the joys of literature, well adorned by national and international writers worldwide. With a string of intriguing music bonanzas and literary events, and with a footfall exceeding 200,000 this year, the JLF 2014 (Jaipur literature festival) turned out to be the most unique and an interesting event of its kind, providing an excellent platform to budding writers and authors to promote and discuss myriad literary issues. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’According to festival officials, Indian literary festivals are modelled on broader cultural celebrations, much like our song-and-dance film festivals. However, there’s of course a difference in conventional dowdiness of government-sponsored funds and affairs and the motley crew at work behind the scenes turning JLF into the Kumbh Mela of all literary festivals around the world.One of the major highlights of the festival were the musical bonanza after the literary sessions concluded in the evening. Be it sufi, to soul, folk or fusion, gypsy dance or jazz, the literature festival had it all to enthral music lovers with an audiovisual offering at the Hotel Clarks, Amer. Interestingly, this year, Africa’s greatest band, a memorial concert for Cheb I Sabbah, along with musicians like Karsh Kale, Kiran Ahluwalia, Midival Punditz and the best of Rajasthani musicians and dancers performed at the litfest. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSince the weather was cold and rainy which the month of January had in store for not just Rajasthan, but the whole of North India, visitors warmed themselves drinking a special hot cuppa tea, the ‘Pushkari chai,’ to keep the mood bouncy between sessions. Foodies got their stomach’s delight in the Diggipuri food and chaat flavoured with exclusive and rare Rajasthani spices. Besides, one also slurpped on the molten choco lava at the icecream and other delicacy stalls. Exhausted after too much literary limelight, the writers and the listeners alive gorged on the yummy goodies offered in certain designated areas for affiliated mercandise. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the litfest was easily the largest congregation for both writers in English and other Indian languages. So what were the golden words that the authors uttered at the fest?Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri declared, ‘The reading habits are transformed by the mainstream and personally I feel American literature absolutely overrated and hyped.’ Lahiri was quizzed by American author Jonathan Frazen, British writer Jim Crace and Chinese author Xiaolu Guo. ‘It is shameful that translation is still not taken seriously in the American market and I might appear opinionated, but that’s actually reality. Having stayed in the US the country gives one a completely new perspective,’ Lahiri said.Outlining the journey of her books, beginning with an initial rough idea to the ultimate draft, Lahiri said, ‘she never knew how a book would eventually turn out or what the end of a story would come out to be. ‘It is still a mystery for me and I am sure we all have certain mysteries to be unfolded in life,’ Lahiri mused.‘When writing, I never have any pre-conceived notion or concept in my mind. Since my parents lived in Calcutta and I too as a kid have spent summer vacations there, so creating characters based in Calcutta comes naturally to me. There is no extra effort that I take to draw out this colonial city in my books. However, in future I might explore some other Indian cities,’ she added.Let’s take a look at some of the interesting things people did at the literatue festival! There were a number of experimentations as far as the sartorial mood of the litfest was concerned. Clothes said a lot. For example, some sported the ‘aam aadmi cap’ along with a broom, especially ladies dressed to thrill and turn politics into a fashion statement!But of course even authors need grounding and many were spotted dangling their smartphones desperately searching for charging points. Several phone fanatics even ended up missing their favourite sessions and joined serpentine queues to resurrect their dead phone batteries.Desperate visitors were seen standing in queues to get their books autographed. But it wasn’t as organised as perceived to be. It was nothing but an insane chaos. The tiniest of people were seen carrying the heaviest and thickest of tomes and braving the longest of lines to get their books signed! And in case a hapless soul was somehow kicked out of the line, absolutely no mercy was shown to her by the marauding litterateurs.Of course, no festival is complete without its fashionistas strutting about in their colourful feathers. They unleashed styling ideas to be copied in future by wannabe writers and self-conscious readers.Yes, even pseudo intellectuals were brought in to make a splash with their jargons and mingle well with the literary fraternity. People were spotted aping Jhumpa lahiri’s cosmopolitan sartorial statement. Unfortunately, some got too inspired and started mimicking her accent, much to the consternation of others. The camera crew picked on sleepyheads catching a wink between or during sessions, showcasing the most embarrassing sleeping postures and flashing it on screen instantly. But, spirited attendees were clearly game for 10 seconds of instant fame!JLF is known for offering friendships that are worth keeping for this lifetime. People exchanged ideas and addresses, talked about their favourite authors and made lasting bonds.All those who couldn’t get JLF’s last edition’s haan haan main crazy hoon out of their heads, were seen humming umeedon waali dhoop, sunshine wali asha at the beginning of every literary debate. Well, hats off to the sponsors, the Zee group for coming up with a meaningful video of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, apt for the festival.The litfest was a gossipmonger’s dream come true. Faux pas in terms of misquotes, wrong answers, bad hairdos, acerbic attitude and everything under the faint sun and much rain became items of rumour and filled notepads and smartphones of many a visitor and delegate. Well as long as it keeps the visitors happy and engaged, the festival welcomes all.
The three-day festival aims at confronting several challenges and converting awareness into dialogue and possible action. The festival is hosting 47 Delhi NCR college street theatre teams which will incorporate 865 participants.This theatre festival was first started in 2011 and has three editions to its credit. Supported by United Nations Information Centre, it brings together youth from different colleges to perform street theatre plays on relevant social issues. The social issues that will be addressed fall under United Nations MDG’s (Millennium Development Goals). Women (empowerment, safety, education, financial freedom); Stay fit be healthy, smile and be happy are some other themes that the platform is encouraging. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’An initiative of ‘Be Artsy’, a social enterprise which aims to encourage young artists, develop effective communication and development strategy for organizations utilizing art and foster relationship between artists, commercial establishments, governmental and non-governmental bodies.Founder of Be Artsy, Shikha Mittal said, ‘I wanted to be a performing artist and contribute in the community through my art. My failure due to art’s non commercial viability and low acceptance in the society as a career choice gave me the direction to initiate my company Be Artsy and develop art platform like Be on the street. I hope my aggression gives birth to some new opportunities for deserving art enthusiasts. I vision is to make art commercially viable, tool to uplift society evils.’Some of the colleges which are participating in this festival are Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, SGTB Khalsa college, Hindu, College of Business studies, Gargi College, Miranda house, Kamla Nehru College, Amity International and Jesus and Mary College.WHEN: 11 am to 7 pm, 14-16 MarchWHERE: Select City Walk
Kolkata: It is a paradox that the ancestral house of the architect of modern Kolkata Sir R N Mookerjee in North 24-Parganas, has virtually become a pile of rubbles, due to lack of maintenance.Some engineers, scholars and professionals have written to the state Heritage Commission, to declare the house as a heritage building, on the eve of Mookerjee’s 164th birth anniversary, which falls on June 23.The building, situated at Bhabla, was constructed by Sir R N Mookerjee’s father, who was a Mukhtar in Barasat Court. Mookerjee was born in this house on June 23, 1864. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThough he lost his father when he was six-years-old and was raised by his mother, Mookerjee had a weakness for his ancestral village. He set up the one-storied Lady Jadumati Primary School, charitable dispensary, the school where he studied and which he upgraded to a senior secondary one over a period of time and created a trust fund for its continued maintenance – now called Sir Rajendra High School, with a bust of him in front.Tarun Rana, a researcher and a biographer on Sir R N Mookerjee who had visited the place, said the rooms have not been cleaned for several years and are full of droppings of pigeons and bats. There is a bed, one or two broken tables and chairs and an earthen pitcher in one of the rooms. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAn iron staircase from the first floor takes one to the large open space with walls on all sides. This used to be the garden but is now full of bushes and shrubs.Rana said if the state Heritage Commission doesn’t declare it as a heritage building, the structure will be pulled down by some builders.It may be mentioned that the house which Mookerjee had constructed at 7, Harrington Street, has been renovated by the person who has purchased it.Mookerjee was the architect of modern Kolkata. He was the founder of Martin Burn, the firm which was involved in the construction of Victoria Memorial, Askashbani, Belur Math and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture among many others.
What have brushing and cleaning your teeth to do with your heart? A lot, say health experts, suggesting that taking care of your teeth and gums will not only help keep oral hygiene or make you smile better but also save your heart from various heart diseases.Gum disease can be a reason for heart disease because bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation.“Swelling caused by gum disease may also trigger clot formation. Clots decrease blood flow to the heart, thereby causing an elevation in blood pressure and increasing the risk of a heart attack”, said Dr Subhash Chandra, chairman (cardiology) at BLK Super Speciality Hospital in the capital. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Dr Chandra recently treated Neelam, an 18-year-old girl who was diagnosed with endocarditis (suffering from leaking heart valve). The infection in her heart valves was caused by mouth bacteria.Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s valves or inner lining. It occurs when germs get into the bloodstream and settle inside the heart, often on a valve. The infection is usually caused by bacteria but in rare cases it is seen to be caused by fungi. Not brushing the teeth increases the bacterial count in the mouth, which can travel to the damaged heart valves to cause infection. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMany of the risk factors for gum disease are the same as those for heart disease, such as tobacco use, poor nutrition and diabetes.Overall, people who have chronic gum disease are at higher risk for a heart attack. The people with moderate or advanced gum (periodontal) disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.There are two groups – namely coronary heart disease and infection in heart valves – in which the effect of poor oral health can be studied. Poor oral healthcare increases the risk of coronary heart diseases. “Poor oral health increases the risk of infection in heart valves, especially in the case of pre-existing damage in the heart valve. With such a condition, the infection due to poor oral health can reach to the already damaged heart valves, causing an infection there too.” explained Dr Tapan Ghosh, director (cardiology sciences) at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. Brushing your teeth twice a day is a mandate to maintain good oral healthcare. It is always advisable to go for a regular dental checkup in order to maintain a good oral health. “One of the biggest mouth-heart connections is related to gum disease. The spread of infected bacteria by swollen and bleeding gums not only destroys the structure of teeth jaw-bones but can also cause heart attack,” the experts cautioned.Gum disease, which is called “gingivitis” in its early stages and periodontal disease in the late stages, is caused by plaque build-up along and below the gum line.“Apart from heart attack, poor oral health hygiene may result in various serious health consequences as respiratory infections, diabetes, poor nutrition, osteoporosis and stomach disease like gastro-intestinal infection, H-pylori, gastritis and stomach cancer,” added Dr Ramesh Garg, head (gastroenterology) at Saroj Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi. So next time when you ignore brushing your teeth, hear the voice of your heart!