When was the last time you saw a sparrow? They no longer flit around window sills, peck at grains or chirp noisily in the backyard; sparrows seem to have disappeared completely.
Over the past decade, Mumbai has seen a stark depletion in the number of small-sized common birds; birdwatchers say the number of sparrows in the city has dropped by a shocking 90 percent in the last couple of years.
The cause: our love for cellphones and fascination for Blackberrys, Androids and iPhones that has become one of the major threats to birds. Ditto for bees.
Scientists suggest that the radiation form mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world; the abrupt disappearance of sparrows and the bees is just the beginning.
A 10-member expert panel headed by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Director, Dr Asad Rahmani, submitted a report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 12 October this year with a list of recommendations to minimise exposure levels of wildlife to electromagnetic radiations.
The issue of ‘disappearing birds and bees’ was raised in the Lok Sabha in August last year, following which the expert committee was asked to study the ‘possible impacts of mobile towers on wildlife including birds and bees’.
Although, sparrows are tough birds, in Mumbai they have been subjected to an unholy combination of challenges that has broken their hardy backs.
Where have all the sparrows gone?
Sparrows are now making their winged presence felt in the city’s list of endangered species. “The disappearance of the highly adaptable sparrow is the first warning signal for humans,” says Rahmani, the director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Sparrows being very sensitive to the environment are one of the most preferred indicators of the urban ecosystem. A declining population of the bird is a clear indicator that something is wrong with the water you drink and the air you breathe.
At the same time, the abnormally high population of house crows that thrive on the garbage generated in the city, preying on eggs and nestlings of small birds has turned Mumbai into “a city of crows and no more of sparrows,” sulks birdwatcher Janardan Iyer. Echoing him is another Mumbai resident Chris Valentino, “I remember I used to feed them pulses when in school; over the years they are nowhere.”
This is what the committee has suggested:
Mobile phone towers are being installed in a haphazard manner across the urban area without any guidelines whatsoever. With nearly 800 million Indians using mobile phones, making it the second largest mobile phone subscriber population in the world after China, it is estimated that by 2013, India will have over one billion cellphone connections. In the absence of any policy on infrastructure development, that will spell destruction for urban flora and fauna.
The study says that radiation from mobile towers affects the reproductive and nervous system of sparrows and bees. The Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) from mobile towers acts as an irritant to the birds and bees, making them shy away from mating. The babies are often born with deformities due to the EMR interfering with their biological system.
A Sanity Check for Every Presentation
By any measure, Vinod Khosla is one of the most influential people in business today. In his long and distinguished career, Mr. Khosla has contributed to the growth of hundreds of companies, primarily in his role as a venture capitalist; first at the renowned KPCB, and then, since 2004, at his own firm, Khosla Ventures. Among his notable successes are Sun Microsystems, Nexgen/AMD, Excite, and Juniper.
On their way to maturity, each of the many companies Mr. Khosla touched came under the scrutiny of his expert eye, assessing their business plans, balance sheets, strategic relationships, marketing materials, and especially their presentations. During his 25 years in venture capital, Mr. Khosla has seen as many—if not more—presentations than a presentation coach. Most of them were on Mondays, the day Silicon Valley venture firms traditionally allocate to screening pitches from new companies. Then, once the companies make it into the portfolio, Mr. Khosla continues to monitor and critique the presentations they develop to pitch to their potential customers and partners.
For each of them, he applies his five-second rule: he puts a slide on a screen, removes it after five seconds, and then asks the viewer to describe the slide. A dense slide fails the test—and fails to provide the basic function of any visual: to aid the presentation.
By applying his simple rule, Mr. Khosla is addressing two of the most important elements in presentation graphics: Less is More, a plea all too often sounded by helpless audiences to hapless presenters; and more important, the human perception factor. Whenever an image appears on any screen, the eyes of every member of every audience reflexively move to the screen to process the new image. The denser the image, the more processing the audiences need. At that very moment, they stop listening to the presenter. Nevertheless, most presenters continue speaking, further compounding the processing task. As a result, the audience shuts down. Game over.
The simple solution to this pervasive problem is one that readers of my books will recognize: use television news programs as a role model. With vast high-tech graphics resources at their disposal, all the broadcasters show is a simple image composed of a picture and one or two words to serve as a headline for the story that the anchor person tells. In presentations, consider yourself as the anchor person, and design slides that pass Mr. Khosla’s five-second test to serve as the headline for your story.
News just in from ourexpedition and they too have enjoyed a successful trek to Everest Base Camp and climb of Island Peak. Well done to Tui, Peter, Kirsten, Tika and Dor on a great result. No photos as yet but I’ll post some images through as soon as the team send me some! A few images below from a recent Trek Climb Ski expedition to Island Peak so you can appreciate what they’ve just achieved. Congratulations again to Tika and the crew and that rounds us out with a 100% success rate for all our 2011 trekking and climbing expeditions in Nepal. Visit our website to learn about our range of and adventures for all ages and abilities.
“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide” – Mr.Kapil Sibal
The most talked about ‘Made-in-India’ tablet, Aakashdeveloped by IIT-Rajasthan (Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan) and DataWind (a UK-based company owned by a Suneet Singh Tuli, a Canadian of Indian descent) is finally out for testing and will be available for purchase at retail stores shortly. It is commercially known as “Ubislate.” Check out its features, technical specifications, full review and price in India.
Features and Technical Specifications:
Dimensions: 190.5mm x 118.5mm x 15.7mm
Weight: 350 grams
Display: 7-inch Resistive Touch Screen (800 x 480 pixels)
Video Playback and Streaming: Full HD (1080p) support
Operating System: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Storage: 2 GB Internal (Expandable upto 32 GB vi MicroSD card)
CPU: 366 MHz Connexant Processor
RAM: 256 MB
Battery Backup: Upto 3 hours/180 Minutes (1.5 to 2 hours while playing HD video) (2100 mAh Battery)
Data Connectivity: GPRS, Wi-Fi (802.11 IEEE a/b/g) and 3G (via Dongle)
USB Ports: 2 full USB ports
“Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access” – DataWind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli.
– FHD (1080p) video playback/streaming
–Video Streaming (Video Download also supported for YouTube)
“The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable,” – Technology Reviewer BGR India, Rajat Agrawal
– Very Poor Battery Backup
– Slow Performance
– Bad Touch Experience (Resistive Touch Screen)
– Big & Weird Stickers at the back
This tablet is basically designed for students and those who can’t afford high-priced gadgets. If you’re not one of those then, Move On. There are many other,or if you can go for a bit higher amount then, is the best option (iPad is not considered in this comparison so..)
Price and Availability:
“As a business, we need to make profit, and our distribution channel needs to make a profit, which is all covered in the MRP of Rs.2,999″ – Mr.Tuli
Aakash Tablet (Ubislate) will be launched in the commercial market at a price of Rs.2,999 (Mr. Tuli said). If you’re a student, then you may get it at 50% less price (Govt. subsidy).
Also called an Obelisk. This bad boy (on the left), and its two-headed friend (on the right) the Double Dagger or Diesis, represents a javelin, which is cutting out extraneous stuff from your text. Its primary use through the ages has been to mark out superfluous repetitions in translation, though nowadays it mostly just stands in as a kind of footnote.
Also called a Wedge, an Up-Arrow, and a Hat, which is cute. The word caret is Latin for “it lacks,” which is convenient, because the caret is primarily used to indicate something that’s missing from the original text.
Not to be confused with a slash! The Solidus is also called a Shilling Mark (presumably by old British dudes in top hats) and it is at a much steeper angle than a boring old backslash. Back before decimilization took the world by storm, the Solidus was used to set apart different values of currency from each other.
The Asterism has an awesome name, a cool look, and a really lame usage. It’s for indicating minor breaks in text. It can also mean “untitled,” apparently.
Guillemets means “Little Williams,” which is interesting but unhelpful. They’re named after a 16th Century French printer. Their primary role is in non-English languages that use them as quotation marks.
6. Sheffer Stroke
Mainly used for Boolean functions and propositional calculus. Truth tables. Stuff like that.
7. Because Sign
This one’s so cool. It’s like the “Therefore” sign, but upside-down, and it means because.
8. Section Sign
To indicate sections in a text, mostly by lawyers, who are too good for regular punctuation marks. You probably knew this one, but it’s cool-looking, so.
9. Exclamation Comma
Just because you’re excited about something doesn’t mean you have to end the sentence.
10. Question Comma
The interrogative version of its best friend the Exclamation Comma.
It’s a combo-Exclamation/Question mark, and it’s awesome. It is the glorious punctuational equivalent of saying OMGWTF?!
Hedera is Latin for ivy. Why that is relevant here is not very clear at all, but this little glyph was used back in the day to mark paragraph breaks. Seems like it was probably really hard and annoying to draw, but it looks nice.
This one’s also for paragraph breaks. Most people will be familiar with it, though not with the fact that it’s called a Pilcrow. It’s also referred to as “The Blind P,” which sounds like a good name for some hopelessly twee indie band. “Pilcrow” is the Middle English word for “Paragraph.” You will never be able to use that fun fact in real life.
Also called the Percontation Point and the Irony Mark, this one’s used to indicate that there’s another layer of meaning in a sentence. Usually a sarcastic or ironic one. So it is essentially a tool for smart people to use to make stupid people feel even stupider. Which makes it the best punctuation mark of all.
The Simpsons is a show that has been a part of television for over 20 years. It has even claimed the title of being the longest running scripted show in the history of television. It has gone from “Eat my shorts” to covering every type of controversial issue engrained within American culture. And while people around the country (and beyond) enjoy watching it, there are actually things that entrepreneurs can learn from the successful long-running series.
1. Test out your concept before betting the farm
Many people who watch the show may not realize that it actually started out as a segment on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show. This gave creator Matt Groening, who still leads the show, the perfect platform for testing out the crazy family and seeing how people reacted to them. People liked the segment, and just two years later The Simpsonsshow found its way into Fox’s lineup of programs. Because Groening tested out the concept for The Simpsons before heading straight for its own place in the line-up, it gave him a chance to hone the show, build up an audience base, and smooth out any rough edges. When it hit the network as its own show, the kinks had been worked out, fans followed, and the buzz began building.
2. Don’t fix what ain’t broke
Have you ever noticed that Homer, Marge, Bart and the entire gang haven’t aged one bit? Even their personalities have remained the same over the last couple of decades. Shoot, they haven’t even changed the furniture in their house, and we are talking over 20 years! This just goes to show, if what you are doing is working, stop looking to make changes. Keep doing what is working, and you will keep reaping the rewards.
3. Ignore the copycats
As an entrepreneur, you have to be aware that people will always copy what is successful. The Simpsons started a trend of the new “adult cartoon” age. They were followed by shows like King of the Hill, South Park and Family Guy. But that didn’t phase them. The Simpsons just chugged along and didn’t complain or continuously focus on what others were doing. Instead, they just let the copy cats come and go, and still they remain. They focused on being their best, not on beating the other guy.
4. Be a rule breaker
The Simpsons was cutting edge. When it came out, people were shocked. Shoot, many of us had to sneak it in by putting the kids to bed early. They had real violence in cartoons, like actual blood and gore—shocking! They said things were weren’t used to hearing. Shocking! Those things got attention at that time. Now that the “shock” has been around for so long, it is no longer shocking. Now for many families, it has jut become a family favorite.
When you study something that has been successful, regardless of what field it is in, you can learn a lot. Even a popular cartoon television show has lessons that all entrepreneurs can learn from in order to help their business become great. The bottom line is that The Simpsons have stood the test of time because they tested the concept, continued doing what was working, ignored the competition, and broke some rules. Repeat that, and you will have the recipe to what it takes to have a great business!
3: Fruit Ninja HD
“Fruit Ninja” by Halfbrick Studios took the world by storm as a game for iPhone and Android mobile devices. It’s a simple concept: Fruit is tossed onto the screen, and you must slash through it by swiping your finger across the screen before it falls back out of view again. You earn points for the fruit you slash, and bonuses for catching multiple fruits with a single swipe. Some rounds add the challenge of avoiding bombs that are tossed up with the fruit.
At $2.99, “Fruit Ninja HD” for iPad has sharper graphics than the iPhone version, plus support for slashing at the airborne fruit using up to eight fingers simultaneously. In terms of sound during game play, you can hear the fruit being launched a fraction of a second before you see it on screen, which might appeal to some players. However, the launching sound is very quiet compared to other sound effects, and it’s quickly drowned out with the sounds of slicing and dicing the fruit. Thus, if you ever need to play “Fruit Ninja” noise-free, it’ll probably just sharpen your reaction time rather than detract from the game. Look for options to turn off background music and sound effects separately in the app.
The next game on our list has won several awards, and it’s great to play noise-free.
Mukherjee is so upset with the lousy drafting of notes submitted by the top bureaucrats in the government for consideration by the Cabinet or the GoM that he got a circular issued that “notes should be of a high quality and procedurally compliant.”
It adds: “In some cases, it is seen that the notes forwarded by the ministries/departments are often rushed one or two days prior to the scheduled meeting, which hardly leaves any time for scrutiny.”
This is one of half a dozen such circulars issued only this year, including one in which the bureaucrats were pulled up for padding up notes with unnecessary jargon that confuses more than throwing more light on the issues under discussion.
Yet another circular wanted the bureaucrats to give full form of acronyms and abbreviations in the first reference and better avoid those not common.
Once a political science lecturer in a South 24-Paranas college in West Bengal [ Images ], Mukherjee is quite strict in use of words by anyone in the government. That was the theme of the lecture he gave to the newly-elected Congress MLAs in Kolkata [ Images ] in July.
Mukherjee is not the first to frown at the notes not passing the muster as only a few months ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] too expressed unhappiness over the poor quality of English and grammatical mistakes in notes sent to the Cabinet.
- P. Chidambaram Releases NCRB Publication ” Crime in India -2010″
- World Bank Signs Loan Agreement Worth US$ 975 Million with Government of India
- MMTC Records Highest ever Trade Turnover
- Wholesale Price Indices for Primary Articles and Fuel & Power in India (Base: 2004-05 = 100)Review for the week ended 15th October, 2011 (23 Asvina, 1933 Saka)
- Government Approves 21 New Textiles Parks
Rs 2100 Crore Projects to be Implemented in 36 Months: Anand Sharma
- Missing MIG-29 Crash Site Located
- India Elected Vice Chairman of Association of Asian Election Authorities
- Rice Procurement Crosses 341 Lakh Tonne
- 65 Proposals Found Eligible for Consideration under
P. Chidambaram Releases NCRB Publication “ Crime in India -2010”
Crime in 2010 Rose by 4.9% Compared to 2009
The Union Home Minister Shri. P.Chidambaram released “Crime In India-2010” a publication of national importance brought out by National Crime Records Bureau in New Delhi today. Shri N.K. Tripathi, Director General, NCRB, Smt. B. Bhamathi, Additional Secretary, MHA and Shri.P.R.K.Naidu, Joint Director, NCRB, were present during this occasion. NCRB publishes Crime in India from the year 1953 and the current edition “Crime in India-2010”is its 58th edition. Crime in India is a compilation and analysis of crime statistics on various types of crimes which had taken place in that year in India. This report is widely referred by policy makers, police personnel, researchers, NGOs, media persons and other stake holders.
On this occasion, the Hon’ble Union Home Minister Shri.P.Chidambaram also released another important publication of NCRB, “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India-2010”. Looking at the value of human life, NCRB brings out this publication annually from the year 1967 to analyse the loss of valuable human lives in various types of accidents, natural calamity and suicides in this country. This publication helps various ministries and other stake holders to analyse the reasons for such accidents/suicides and take preventive steps required to prevent the loss of valuable human lives in such incidents.
NCRB has digitized all the editions of Crime in India from 1953 to 2010 and Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India from the year 1967 to 2010. The digitized editions can be accessed world wide from the web site of NCRB http://ncrb.gov.in.
NCRB has planned to bring out the next edition of these reports in the month of April 2012. NCRB is also implementing CCTNS(Crime and criminal tracking network and systems) a mission mode project of the Home Ministry under national e-Governance plan to connect all the 15000 police stations and 6000 odd higher police offices across the country. This project is likely to be rolled out by March 2012. Once this project becomes operational, the publication of these reports would become available at the end of the year as NCRB will receive data on-line.
“Crime in India 2010” throws light on the crime scenario in the country for the year 2010.
Crime in 2010 has increased by 4.9% compared to 2009. In 2010 a total of 22,24,831 crimes were reported under Indian Penal Code against 21,21,345 cases in the year 2009. Murder cases during the year 2010 (33,335) went up by 3.0% as compared to 2009 (32,369).
Cases under the following heads shown an increasing trend in the year 2010 compared to 2009 – Attempt to commit murder increased by 1.3%, rape cases increased by 3.6%, Kidnapping & Abduction cases increased by 13.5%,Robbery cases increased by 4.4% and Dowry Deaths increased by 0.1%. Crime against women during 2010 (2,13,585) has gone up by 4.8% compared to 2009 (2,03,804). Crime against children has also gone up by 10.3% in 2010(26,694) compared to 2009 (24,201).
Crime against Scheduled castes declined by 2.6% in 2010 (32,712) compared to 2009 (33594).Crime against Scheduled Tribes during 2010 (5885) has shown an increase of 8.5% as compared to 5425 cases in 2009.
As per another publication, Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2010 3,84,649 lives were lost in Accidents in the year 2010. In 2009 this figure stood at 3,57,021 indicating an increase of 7.7%. Road accidents caused the death of 1, 33,938 persons in the year 2010 which is 5.5% increase compared to 2009(1, 26,896).
1,34,599 persons committed suicides in the year 2010.Family problem was the major reason for such suicides (31,856) followed by illness (28,464). Of the total suicides reported 44,535 persons (33.1%) consumed poison to commit suicide and 42,266 persons (31.4%) committed suicide by hanging.
More details about crime analysis are available on NCRB site: http://ncrb.gov.in.