Chinese gazetteers documented decline of Hainan gibbons for over 400 years

first_img Ancient Chinese archives track decline of rare apes Citation: Chinese gazetteers documented decline of Hainan gibbons for over 400 years (2015, August 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-chinese-gazetteers-documented-decline-hainan.html Credit: Zoological Society of London 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. (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers, two with the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and the other with the University of Queensland in Australia, has found they were able to trace the decline of the Hainan gibbon over the course of 400 years, by reading commissioned historical records. In their paper, published on the open access site Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Samuel Turvey, Jennifer Crees and Martina Di Fonzo describe what they found in the literature, what they learned about the demise of the Hainan gibbon, and why they believe what they learned might help the monkey-looking apes make a comeback.center_img Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B © 2015 Phys.org More information: Historical data as a baseline for conservation: reconstructing long-term faunal extinction dynamics in Late Imperial–modern China, Published 5 August 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1299AbstractExtinction events typically represent extended processes of decline that cannot be reconstructed using short-term studies. Long-term archives are necessary to determine past baselines and the extent of human-caused biodiversity change, but the capacity of historical datasets to provide predictive power for conservation must be assessed within a robust analytical framework. Local Chinese gazetteers represent a more than 400-year country-level dataset containing abundant information on past environmental conditions and include extensive records of gibbons, which have a restricted present-day distribution but formerly occurred across much of China. Gibbons show pre-twentieth century range contraction, with significant fragmentation by the mid-eighteenth century and population loss escalating in the late nineteenth century. Isolated gibbon populations persisted for about 40 years before local extinction. Populations persisted for longer at higher elevations, and disappeared earlier from northern and eastern regions, with the biogeography of population loss consistent with the contagion model of range collapse in response to human demographic expansion spreading directionally across China. The long-term Chinese historical record can track extinction events and human interactions with the environment across much longer timescales than are usually addressed in ecology, contributing novel baselines for conservation and an increased understanding of extinction dynamics and species vulnerability or resilience to human pressures. The Hainan gibbon is under a very serious threat of extinction—currently there are only about 26 to 28 of them left, all living in their native China (on Hainan Island). There used to be many more, in fact, they used to dwell in over 20 of modern day China providences, and were described as very common.Charting the slow demise of a species, as the research trio note, is often difficult as it typically occurs over more yeas than a person can document. In this case, however, the researchers were aided by gazetteers working for Chinese bureaucracies over the past several hundred years. In addition to noting population and commerce activities, record-keeping was also done for natural resources, which included local animal sightings. Hainan gibbon sightings have been described in such logs for approximately 400 years, the team reports, giving them a way to track not just gibbon population declines, but the manner in which it occurred. They were able to see, for example, that as expected, gibbon populations declined as human populations rose. They were actually able to note declines by geographic area, and to correlate what they found with human population growth and land being converted from natural habitat to farming. Both, they say, clearly led to the current low numbers for the species.The team also reports that they were able to see serious fragmentation of gibbon populations starting around the mid-eighteenth century, with population losses moving faster into the latter parts of the nineteenth century. They also found that the apes managed to hold out longer in higher elevation areas, but disappeared faster in the north and eastern regions.On a more positive note, the team suggests that what they have learned might actually help prevent the disappearance of the Hainan gibbon altogether, because it could lead to a better conservation plan for those animals that still remain.last_img read more

Simulation suggests nonwater based life could exist on Saturns moon Titan

first_img Explore further As scientists continue to search for life on other planets, more and more they are beginning to concede that if it does exist, it may not necessarily exist in the Goldilocks, or habitable zone. Such planets are all the “right” distance from their star, and hopefully, also have water. But recent evidence has suggested that some chemical reactions could lead to types of life forms where there is no water, which further suggests that it may exist outside of what is now considered the habitable zone. For life to come about in such places, researchers reason, there would likely need to be some sort of action going on—and that is why there has been so much focus on Titan; it is the only object in our solar system, besides Earth, that has both rainfall and erosion due to liquid movement. But the water it has is locked far underground and the moon is too cold to support an impact by water anyway. But, as the researchers with this new effort discovered after poring over data sent back by Huygens, the surface does have hydrogen cyanide in its sediment, brought down from the atmosphere by methane and ethane rain. It was those molecules that drove the design of the simulations—the team wanted to see if they could form the basis of reactions that could lead to the creation of polymers such as polyimine, which the team notes, are conducive to the formation of prebiotic reactions leading to a form of life. Their simulations showed that such reactions are possible and that the structures that came about were also able to absorb sunlight in the wavelengths present on the Titan surface.The researchers suggest their work, and that done by others indicates that a return to the planet by a new probe might be in order, one able to test for a different form of life, or at least its precursors. © 2016 Phys.org Life on other planets could be far more widespread, study finds An image of Titan’s surface, as taken by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe as it plunged through the moon’s thick, orange-brown atmosphere on Jan. 14, 2005. Today, Cornell scientists have chemical evidence that suggests prebiotic conditions may exist there. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona 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.center_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Cornell University has built and run a simulation that showed prebiotic reactions could possibly occur on the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, suggesting the possibility of life evolving in a place where it is too cold for water to be a factor. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes the simulation they created in response to the discovery (by the Huygens probe) that polymers such as polyimine might have already developed on the moon’s surface. Citation: Simulation suggests non-water based life could exist on Saturn’s moon Titan (2016, July 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-07-simulation-non-water-based-life-saturn.html More information: Polymorphism and electronic structure of polyimine and its potential significance for prebiotic chemistry on Titan, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1606634113AbstractThe chemistry of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is believed to be central to the origin of life question. Contradictions between Cassini–Huygens mission measurements of the atmosphere and the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan suggest that HCN-based polymers may have formed on the surface from products of atmospheric chemistry. This makes Titan a valuable “natural laboratory” for exploring potential nonterrestrial forms of prebiotic chemistry. We have used theoretical calculations to investigate the chain conformations of polyimine (pI), a polymer identified as one major component of polymerized HCN in laboratory experiments. Thanks to its flexible backbone, the polymer can exist in several different polymorphs, which are relatively close in energy. The electronic and structural variability among them is extraordinary. The band gap changes over a 3-eV range when moving from a planar sheet-like structure to increasingly coiled conformations. The primary photon absorption is predicted to occur in a window of relative transparency in Titan’s atmosphere, indicating that pI could be photochemically active and drive chemistry on the surface. The thermodynamics for adding and removing HCN from pI under Titan conditions suggests that such dynamics is plausible, provided that catalysis or photochemistry is available to sufficiently lower reaction barriers. We speculate that the directionality of pI’s intermolecular and intramolecular =N–H…N hydrogen bonds may drive the formation of partially ordered structures, some of which may synergize with photon absorption and act catalytically. Future detailed studies on proposed mechanisms and the solubility and density of the polymers will aid in the design of future missions to Titan.Press releaselast_img read more

Bleached anemones found to stress fish living in them

first_imgA team of researchers with the University of Glasgow in Scotland and Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement, French Polynesia, has found that orange-fin anemonefish (aka clownfish) living among bleached anemones exhibit signs of stress—namely a higher-than-normal metabolic rate. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of the fish and what it shows about the impact of global warming. When anemones bleach, clownfish suffer 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. © 2018 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Prior research has shown that as ocean temperatures rise due to global warming, mass bleaching of anemones and corals in the tropics is occurring. Under normal conditions, algae living inside anemones cause the anemones to look green. But as the water warms, the algae die, leaving anemones to show their true white color. This does not cause the anemones to die, however, which means they remain in place, allowing fish that hide among them to continue as before. But the researchers wondered whether the lack of green was causing problems for the fish that are not readily apparent. To find out, they collected samples of anemones and clownfish and studied them in the lab.The study was straightforward: The researchers put green-colored anemones in one tank of water and bleached anemones in another. They added normal healthy clownfish to both tanks and left them to live together for two weeks. At that point, the fish were removed to a nearly sterile tank of water into which the researchers pumped oxygen, allowing them to measure how much of the oxygen the fish used. Because there was nothing to eat or see, the fish remained motionless, which allowed the researchers to take a measurement of their basal metabolism rate.The researchers report that the metabolism of the fish living with the bleached anemones ran higher than for those living in the still green anemones. This, they note, indicates that the fish are stressed, which likely means they are less able to live normally. And that, they further note, suggests they likely swim and eat less, and perhaps reproduce less. This, they conclude, is evidence of the destructive impact that global warming is having on the planet.center_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain More information: Tommy Norin et al. Anemone bleaching increases the metabolic demands of symbiont anemonefish, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0282AbstractIncreased ocean temperatures are causing mass bleaching of anemones and corals in the tropics worldwide. While such heat-induced loss of algal symbionts (zooxanthellae) directly affects anemones and corals physiologically, this damage may also cascade on to other animal symbionts. Metabolic rate is an integrative physiological trait shown to relate to various aspects of organismal performance, behaviour and locomotor capacity, and also shows plasticity during exposure to acute and chronic stressors. As climate warming is expected to affect the physiology, behaviour and life history of animals, including ectotherms such as fish, we measured if residing in bleached versus unbleached sea anemones (Heteractis magnifica) affected the standard (i.e. baseline) metabolic rate and behaviour (activity) of juvenile orange-fin anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysopterus). Metabolic rate was estimated from rates of oxygen uptake , and the standard metabolic rate of anemonefish from bleached anemones was significantly higher by 8.2% compared with that of fish residing in unbleached anemones, possibly due to increased stress levels. Activity levels did not differ between fish from bleached and unbleached anemones. As reflects the minimum cost of living, the increased metabolic demands may contribute to the negative impacts of bleaching on important anemonefish life history and fitness traits observed previously (e.g. reduced spawning frequency and lower fecundity). Explore further Citation: Bleached anemones found to stress fish living in them (2018, April 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-anemones-stress-fish.htmllast_img read more

A song from the Arctic arrives in the capital

first_imgIndia’s induction into the Arctic Council as an observer nation was celebrated with a performance by Inuit ‘throat singers’ from north Canada here recently.Canadian singers Kathy Kettler and Kendra Tagoona, who perform contemporary and traditional Inuit music in the styles of throat singing, were in the city to exhibit the traditional art form native to Arctic regions.The event was organised by the Canadian High Commission here.‘Bringing in artists from the Arctic region of Canada to India is significant in the wake of India recently assuming the status of Observer nation in the Arctic Council that consolidates Indian-Canadian ties,’ said Jim Nickel, Acting High Commissioner for Canada in India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Legends say this art form of ‘throat singing’ was traditionally used to sing babies to sleep or in games women played during the long winter nights while the men were away hunting.Inuits are the indigenous people of Canada residing in the northern part of the world’s second largest country (geographically) which remains snow-clad throughout the year and it was here that ‘Inuit Throat Singing’ originated.Kathy Kettler and Kendra Tagoona work individually and together to preserve and share Inuit culture from Northern Canada. Both the singer say they retain strong connections to their heritage and culture through their Inuit elders. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixKnown to natives as ‘katajjaq’, throat singing is a women’s traditional style of fun-filled singing from the hinterlands of the arctic region.‘India and Canada have ties since 1947 and the countries have time and again lent support to each other at various fronts. One out of 30 people in Canada is an Indian and Canada is also a diverse nation like India. The performance is an endeavour to exhibit the cultural diversity that exists in Canada,’ Nickel said.last_img read more

Dont miss the magic

first_imgIn a bid to spread awareness about magical performances and give it a grand entry into the city, Delhi Tourism in association with Government of NCT of Delhi organises the 4th International Magic Festival at Dilli Haat, Janak Puri, INA and Pitampura. This three-day long festival that opens today aims to attract people and popularise the long standing tradition of magical arts in the country.International and Indian magicians from diverse backgrounds will present their legerdemain skills to ensnare the audience. The programs are designed in a way that grasp the interest level of all age groups, with grand and interactive gala shows (by both national and international magicians) being the main attraction. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The venue will be an open host to ancient (Majma) and modern forms of street magic (like that by David Blaine). In addition to all these performances across all the three Dilli Haats by Delhi Tourism; Dilli Haat, Janak Puri will be showcasing an exhibition on history of Indian magic and its forms.People will be given an opportunity to learn about the early days of magic in India through an informative presentation. A short workshop for people on creating magic from day to day objects like pens, paper, coins and handkerchief will also be hosted. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixMalkinn (Malaysia), Jorinee (Malaysia), Mamada (Bangkok) and Steven Cambian (United States) are few of the masters of magic, who are set to give an international twist with their performances. The festival will also be displaying few of the rarely seen fire and levitation acts by Kharbanda Brothers. Brij Mohan from Bihar will be adding laughter to his magic shows to tickle your funny bone. Drawing competition of children will also be hosted at Dilli Haat Janak Puri and Pitampura. Where: Dilli Haat, Janak Puri, INA and Pitampura When: 26 – 28 September Timing: 5 pm to 9 pmlast_img read more

Balurghat to get Passport Seva Kendra courtesy Arpita Ghosh

first_imgBALURGHAT: Following Trinamool leader and Balurghat MP Arpita Ghosh’s initiative, Ministry of External Affairs will introduce a new Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in Balurghat shortly. It has been decided that the PSK will start functioning through the Post Office in Balurghat. It was a long-standing demand of the Balurghat residents.Notably, the city people had urged Ghosh to raise the issue in Parliament and to talk to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, so that the demand could be materialised. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIn a recent letter to Ghosh, Swaraj had delivered the news of introducing the service in Balurghat.Meanwhile, a similar service has already been introduced in the neighbouring Raiganj and Malda.PSKs are extended arms of Passport Offices and they can cover the tasks of receiving application from the applicant for the issuance of passport and related services. It has been a part of e-governance for the betterment of public services, while MEA had launched Passport Seva Project in 2010, with best in class amenities throughout the country in PPP mode.Ghosh said: “I received information from MEA that Balurghat will soon get a Passport Seva Kendra, thus getting a long-pending demand from the locals, fulfilled. I had raised the issue in Parliament too and talked to the concerned minister for introducing a PSK in my Parliamentary constituency.”last_img read more

One killed 17 injured in two road accidents

first_imgKolkata: One person was killed and seventeen others injured in two separate road accidents in two districts. The first incident took place at Belpahari block in Jhragram on Tuesday morning. The deceased has been identified as Md Basir (26). He was a resident of Madhubani district in Bihar. The victim along with some others were going to Jhargram from Bihar in a bus which overturned. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained by the district police. Around 10 other passengers received injuries in the accident. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment. In a separate incident, seven persons, who were travelling in a matador, received injuries when the vehicle overturned on Kachkal-Rajarhat road in North 24-Parganas on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the injured passengers are stated serious.last_img read more

Mismatch of needs and job demands may cause burnout

first_imgBurnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion from work, which results in lack of motivation, low efficiency, and helpless feeling. Its health effects include anxiety, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, insomnia, and depression. The results showed that a mismatch between job characteristics and either implicit motive can cause burnout. Employees can get burned out when they have too much or not enough scope for power or affiliation compared to their individual needs. “We found that the frustration of unconscious effective needs, caused by a lack of opportunities for motive-driven behaviour, is detrimental to psychological and physical well-being,” said leading author, Veronika Brandstatter, Professor at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “The same is true for goal-striving that doesn’t match a well-developed implicit motive for power or affiliation, because then excessive effort is necessary to achieve that goal. Both forms of mismatch act as ‘hidden stressors’ and can cause burnout,” Brandstatter added.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFurther, the unconscious needs of employees – their so-called “implicit motives” – play an important role in the development of burnout. The researchers focus on two important motives: the power motive, that is, the need to take responsibility for others, maintain discipline, and engage in arguments or negotiation, in order to feel strong and self-efficacious. Secondly, the affiliation motive, the need for positive personal relations, in order to feel trust, warmth, and belonging.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFor the study, the team analysed 97 Swiss men and women, between the age group 22 and 62. The greater the mismatch between someone’s affiliation motive and the scope for personal relations at the job, the higher was the risk of burnout, the researchers said. Likewise, adverse physical symptoms, such as headache, chest pain, faintness, and shortness of breath, became more common with increasing mismatch between an employee’s power motive and the scope for power in his or her job. Interventions that prevent or repair such mismatches could increase well-being at work and reduce the risk of burnout, the team suggested.last_img read more

Mamata asks people to eradicate the menace of open defecation

first_imgKolkata: On the occasion of World Toilet Day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday asked people to eradicate the menace of open defecation. Banerjee said 11 districts of the state have become open defecation free (ODF). “On #WorldToiletDay today, let us pledge to eradicate the menace of open defecation. Our states flagship programme, #MissionNirmalBangla, has been very successful,” Banerjee wrote on her Twitter handle this morning. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe said “As of May, 2018, 11 districts, 33,261 villages, 2,621 gram panchayats and 255 blocks in the state have become #ODF.” The Mission Nirmal Bangla initiated by West Bengal government endeavours to achieve the larger objective of reduction in child mortality and morbidity, overall mortality and morbidity by reducing chances of water-borne and fecal- borne diseases due to prevalence of open defecation. World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day on November 19 to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.last_img read more

Mamata remembers brave soldiers hails Tashkent Agreement

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday remembered the soldiers who laid down their lives during the India-Pakistan war in 1965, following which the Tashkent Agreement was signed on this day. “On this day in 1966, Tashkent Agreement was signed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan, ending the war between Pakistan and India. Homage to all the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country. Jai Hind,” Banerjee tweeted. The 1965 armed conflict between India and Pakistan was formally brought to an end by signing this agreement at Tashkent on January 10, 1966.last_img

Look your best this puja with perfect makeup

first_imgWant to look your best during the time of festivities? Opt for HD (high definition) make-up products, emerald green eyeshadow and soft coral lip shades, suggest experts. Make-up experts have listed few make-up tips:Base: After the application of primer or BB crème, it’s time to apply high definition silicon base. The presence of minute crystal particle makes the skin glowing and gives an even finish. It gives an illusion effect to your make-up and makes you look scintillating even in the presence of lights. In order to look natural, HD make-up is suggested. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfEyes: Accentuate eyes with eye shadows shades like charcoal brown, deep bronze and smoky black. If your skin tone is brown, then emphasise your eyes with a shade of emerald green. Put on some sparkling metallic shades like bronze, gun-metal grey or even gold, in keeping with the festive spirit. Contour: Try with a dark brown shade of blusher on the edges of your nose – over the chin to camouflage your double-chin and endow your face with a chiselled look this festive season Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveLips: Go light on the lips with soft corals. On the flip side, if you are a fan of darker colours, orange and deep red is the key for that contemporary bold and traditional look at the same time. If your eye make-up is dark, let the lip make-up remain light and vice-versa.Hairstyle: The flowering bun is a really trendy option, all you have to do is make a simple knotted bun behind your head. Decorate it with a flower like sunflower or dahlia on the side or something as basic and elegant as a gajra. The flower should cover at least half of your bun. Or if you want to avoid any of the floral made-ups, accessorise your hair bun with hair accessories like kundan pins, delicate kundan work chains to hold your bun.You could also go for a fish braid, messy bun, side braid or any other braid-style to be the limelight of the ccasion.Nails: Splashing a few poppy hues of neon shades onto them. Hot pinks, luminous reds, poppy oranges, gleaming greens, brilliant yellow are some of the nail paints you could experiment with.Beauty spots: Pujas are the occasion probably in which black dots/bindis can be flaunted with innate grace. These dots add a dash of girly charm when drawn in a proper manner on chin, corners of the eyes or forehead.last_img read more

Best jewellery to wear this festive season

first_imgFrom jadau jewellery to diamond ones, this festive season make sure you are flaunting the pieces that are in trend.Designers list some trends in jewellery. Jadau jewellery: Jadau seems to be a new jewellery trend for this season, be it the wedding or the festival season. Rewind to the era of the Maharani with oversized jadau gold sets. Also, jadau chaandbalis and multilayer jadau jhumkas are a preferred choice for this festive season.Diamond jewellery: Diamonds can never go out of trend; they are back again but with a twist to embrace this festive season. Delicate diamond necklaces and earrings, diamond cuffs with rubies and other gemstone are perfect to add grace and elegance to your look. Diamond chokers are an appropriate option for those women who are looking for making a bold statement. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfPearl jewellery: Pearls are universally flattering. They bring light to the face and look great with any outfit. Multi-string pearl necklace, pearl chokers and bracelets add a surreal charm to your festive outfit. Baroque pearls too are very much in trend this season for their uniqueness in hues and shapes.Diamond chokers: Layering with lots of simple thin choker is a great way to elevate with any outfit. Chokers studded with ethereal sea pearls, diamond, rubies, or emeralds are a great choice to complement any ensemble- be it contemporary, modern. A glitzy choker necklace drenched in diamond is an elegant way to play with this trend.Uncut polki with pastel meenakari: Polki with pastel meenakari are in trend this festive season. It gives a traditional and royal look to every modern woman. It gives balance between trendy and traditional.last_img read more

Hakim to meet civic bodies on ways to tackle outbreak of dengue

first_imgKolkata: Firhad Hakim, state minister for Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, will meet seniorofficials of the civic bodies to find out ways and means to combat the outbreak of dengue and an unknown fever in some areas. The chairmen of different municipalities and mayors of corporations will also attend the meeting. The meeting will be held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre on August 14. Senior officials of state Health department will also be present at the meeting. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataIt may be mentioned that while addressing the gathering to observe a Save Green Stay Clean programme at Nazrul Mancha on August 1, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had cautioned the municipalities in North 24-Parganas about dengue which has taken the shape of an epidemic in Bangladesh and urged them to ramp up anti-larvae drives. It may be mentioned that Mohammad Tajul Islam, Local Government and Rural Development minister of Bangladesh, met Hakim on August 3 to discuss about the anti-dengue drives that are being carried out in Bengal and subsequently on August 5, a video conference was held between the Mayor of Dhaka and senior officials of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, headed by Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh, where the civic officials told their Bangladesh counterparts about the steps being taken in the city against the disease. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateMeanwhile, some pockets in North 24-Parganas including Basirhat, Gaighata, Ashoknagar and Barasat are reeling under dengue and unknown fever. The state Health department has given Rs 40.50 lakh to the District Magistrate of North 24-Parganas to intensify anti-larvae drives. 450 additional personnel have been provided to carry out the drives and conduct house-to-house survey. Around 2,000 people afflicted with dengue have been admitted to different hospitals in North 24-Parganas. Virologists from School of Tropical Medicine (STM) have visited the affected areas and collected blood samples of those suffering from high fever. In a recently held meeting with senior officials of the state Health department headed by additional chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, Hakim had said that KMC has become a role model to all the civic bodies to combat vector-borne diseases. For successful launching of anti-larvae drives, the cooperation of common people is mandatory. It has been learnt that awareness campaign against dengue and the unknown fever will be conducted throughout the state.last_img read more

Two Antique Portuguese Libraries Use Live Bats as Insect Repellant

first_imgRemember the old saying, “He’s got bats in his belfry” used when someone is acting oddly? These people have bats in their library – that really is odd! There are two 18th century libraries in Portugal that are bug-free thanks to the bats that live there: Biblioteca Joanina, located on the grounds of the University of Coimbra in the city of Coimbra, and the Palace Library in the Palace of Mafra, not far from Lisbon.Both are of a highly ornate 17th century heavy Baroque design housed in a larger complex. Since the 1700s and probably long before, bats have made their homes in these libraries and are not only welcome but special provisions are made to accommodate them.Biblioteca Joanina. Photo by Trishhhh FLickr CC BY 2.0They sleep during the day hanging from the highest bookcases and come out at dusk to feed on the bugs that would otherwise destroy the priceless books and other volumes. Although to most people the word “bookworm” brings up images of those who read a lot, usually with big glasses, they are a very real insect.The second-floor stacks in the library of the old university of Coimbra. Photo by Ernesto von Rückert CC BY 3.0They tunnel into closed books, eating their way through and destroying multiple pages at a time. They lay their eggs and the cycle repeats. Also dangerous to the books are silverfish that come out in the dark and eat paper and book glue, and the nicobium castaneum beetle which eats paper and leather book covers.Mafra National Palace – Library. Photo by AHLN. CC BY 2.0The bats are tiny but have voracious appetites for bugs. Mosquitoes are also a favorite of the airborne rodents and therefore they are welcome in many yards. They have access to the outdoors and feed in the gardens and nearby trees as well. According to Smithsonian, on cloudy, rainy evenings the bats stay mostly indoors and use bat vocalizations to “talk” to each other.Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), a small batThe very first thing most people want to know is who cleans up what the bats leave behind. Every evening after the libraries close, the original 18th century furniture is covered with animal skins, just as it has been done for hundreds of years. Every morning before opening the floor is thoroughly swept and scrubbed by employees of the library.Mysterious Books That Can’t Be ExplainedIt’s a small price to pay for the protection of such volumes as Diderot et D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, one of twenty Hebrew Bibles revised in the late 15th century and Homer’s Opera Omnia as well of thousands of books published from the 16th to the 18th centuries.The Library of the Mafra National Palace. Photo by Bosc d’Anjou CC BY 2.0The Biblioteca Joanina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was sponsored by King João V (also known as King John V) to be his royal library in one of the oldest universities in Europe, built in 1290. The three floors house about 57,000 volumes of written material and near the entrance hangs a portrait of the king painted by Domênico Duprà of Savoy.The floors are made from teak and the interior walls and ceilings are also wood paneled. Between the wooden walls and the oak wood bookcases, the temperature and humidity stay ideal for book storage. The oak is also very hard, keeping some insects at bay.Library of the Palace of Mafra, Portugal. Photo by Rosino CC BY-SA 2.0The Mafra Palace Library was completed in 1755 under King João V by Manuel Caetano de Sousa, who also bound some of the books. The library was decorated in late Baroque, or Rococo, style. It features two floors made of white, rose and grey marble tiles with ornate wooden balconies along the top floors.Read another story from us: Harry Porto? The bookshop in Porto thought to inspire Harry Potter locationsWorks from the 14th to the 19th century are stored including incunabula, written volumes or papers printed before 1501 that are usually leather bound. Niches with statuary dot the walls between the bookcases, which hold over thirty-six thousand tomes.last_img read more

RomanEra Mega Villa Bigger than the Taj Mahal Discovered in England

first_imgThe remains of a huge Roman villa dated to 99 AD have been discovered in Oxfordshire, the second largest Roman villa that has ever been found in England. Archaeologists excavated the remains of the historic building, which is believed to be bigger than the mausoleum at the Taj Mahal, as part of a four-month-long excavation project. The foundation measures 278 feet by 278 feet. The findings so far include coins and boar tusks alongside a sarcophagus that contains the skeletal remains of an unnamed woman.Oxfordshire, UK. Photo by Oxfordmale CC BY-SA 4.0“Amateur detectorist and historian Keith Westcott discovered the ancient remains beneath a crop in a field near Broughton Castle near Banbury,” according to HisTech.Westcott, 55, decided to investigate the site after hearing that a local farmer, John Taylor, had plowed his tractor into a large stone in 1963. Taylor said he saw a hole had been made in the stone and when he reached inside, he pulled out a human bone.Broughton Castle. Photo by David Stowell CC BY-SA 2.0This was the woman’s body — experts believe she died in the 3rd century. The land previously belonged to Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, the parents of Martin Fiennes, who now owns the land.The Daily Mail reports that Martin Fiennes “works as a principal at Oxford Sciences Innovation and is second cousin of British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and third cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.”Excavation siteAccording to the Daily Mail, Westcott had a “eureka moment” when he found “a 1,800 year-old tile from a hypocaust system, which was an early form of central heating used in high-status Roman buildings.”Using X-ray technology such as magnetometry, the walls, room outlines, ditches, and other infrastructures were revealed. The villa’s accommodation would have included a bath-house with a domed roof, mosaics, a grand dining room, and kitchens. The largest Roman villa previously found in England is the Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex, which dates back to 75 AD.Archaeological excavationThe palace at Fishbourne was one of the most noteworthy structures in Roman Britain. Only discovered in the 1960s, the site has been extensively excavated, revealing that it was originally a military site. Lying close to the sea, Fishbourne was ideal as a depot to support Roman campaigns in the area.Built on four sides around a central garden, the site covered about two hectares, which is the size of two soccer fields. The building itself had about 100 rooms, many with mosaics. The best known mosaic is the Cupid on a Dolphin. Some of the red stones are made from pieces of red gloss pottery, most likely imported from Gaul.Roman conquest of Britain. Photo by Uk topo en.jpg CC BY-SA 4.0The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD, during the reign of Claudius. For the Claudian invasion, an army of 40,000 professional soldiers — half citizen-legionaries, half auxiliaries recruited on the wilder fringes of the empire — were landed in Britain under the command of Aulus Plautius.Archaeologists debate where they landed. It could have been Richborough in Kent, Chichester in Sussex, or perhaps both. Somewhere, perhaps on the River Medway, they fought a great battle and defeated the Catuvellauni, the tribe that dominated the southeast.By the middle of 3rd century AD, however, the boom was over, and the focus was defense. Walls were built around the towns, transforming them into fortresses. Inside the complexes, a slow decline began. Public buildings were boarded up and old mansions crumbled.Read another story from us: Ship which Sank in 1995 Found off California Coast – 3D Model MadeBy about 425 AD at the latest, Britain had ceased to be in any sense Roman. Towns and villas had been abandoned, and barter had replaced money.last_img read more

VIDEO Blackhawks mascot body slams jerk fan after surprise attack

first_imgThe Flyers’ new mascot Gritty has garnered 99% of the NHL mascot headlines this season and become an internet darling, but the Blackhawks’ mascot ‘Tommy Hawk’ is the last one you should mess with.During a recent game at the United Center, Tommy was patrolling the concourse looking to spread some team spirit, when he was reportedly sneak attacked by a jerk fan and put in a headlock. Instead of taking the beating, Tommy opted to body slam the d-bag before showing him the exits.Gritty may be the most popular mascot, but Tommy is easily the grittiest. At 10-19-6 and in last place in the Western Conference, maybe they should put Tommy out for a shift and let him rough somebody up.Watch him punk this unruly fan.Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk was attacked at the United Center by a fan, @madkenney reports. https://t.co/SxfFKvmeXd pic.twitter.com/ljlYDrmb4T— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) December 16, 2018last_img read more

SolidState Drives Versus HardDisk Drives in Laptops

first_img The idea of using flash-based storage in a notebook isn’t new. Nevertheless, the high cost of flash has prevented it from replacing hard-disk drives on mainstream notebook PCs, despite some advantages in power consumption, shock resistance, and speed–until now.Photograph: Robert CardinAs prices continue to drop, flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) have become viable options for handling your notebook’s primary storage requirements. Moreover, today’s roomiest SSDs have 32GB of memory, enough to do more than satisfy basic storage needs–making them competitive with 1.8-inch hard-disk drives, which range in capacity from 30GB to 80GB. These SSDs, available from companies like Samsung and SanDisk, are lightweight (the SanDisk UATA 5000, for example, weighs 59 grams–just over 2 ounces) and can be found in portables from Dell, Fujitsu, and Toshiba.Are they worth the extra dollars? In spite of price drops, SSDs cost $400 to $500 more than ordinary hard drives of the same capacity. To justify the price difference, SSD notebooks must demonstrate significant performance benefits over notebooks equipped with standard hard drives. To find out whether they do, we tested three pairs of ultraportable notebooks from Fujitsu and Dell.The SSD ChallengePhotograph: Rob CardinThe two test models in each pair of laptops were identically configured, except that one had an SSD, and the other a typical 1.8-inch 4200-rpm hard drive. Two of the notebooks–Dell’s 6.25-pound ATG D620 ($3015 with SSD, $2815 with a 80GB hard-disk drive) and Fujitsu’s 2.5-pound LifeBook P1610 ($2578 with SSD, $2029 with a 30GB hard-disk drive)– ran Windows XP Professional. The third notebook, another LifeBook P1610 ($2548 with SSD, $1999 with a 30GB hard-disk drive) ran Windows Vista Business.No Clear WinnerResults were mixed: In several cases, our tests bore out the advantages of SSD, in other cases, the hard-disk-based models led the way.Photograph: Rob CardinOur benchmark suite for testing system performance, WorldBench 6, Beta 2, showed no definite pattern in overall results between SSD systems and hard-disk-drive systems. For example, the two Dell ATG D620 models, packed with a 2.0-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 CPU and 1GB of memory, each earned a mark of 76 on WorldBench 6. In contrast, the two Fujitsu LifeBook P1610 units, configured with a 1.2-GHz Core Solo U1400, 1GB of memory, and Windows XP Professional, differed in performance: The SSD version received a score of 42, while the hard-drive version received a 39.Interestingly, the performance difference was even more pronounced in the pair of Fujitsu P1610 models running Windows Vista Business. Here, the SSD version of the notebook finished with a 36 on our WorldBench 6 beta tests, while the hard-drive version posted only a 30. The Vista-based Fujitsu system with the SSD did especially well on our Adobe Photoshop CS2 image manipulation test, besting the hard-drive version by 36 percent, and on our Nero 7 Ultra Edition disk burning test, where it outperformed its counterpart by 76 percent.The SSDs achieved superior performance in all three pairings on only two types of applications: drive-intensive tests like our Nero 7 Ultra Edition disc burning, and WinZip 10.0 file compression tests. The SSD versions of the two Fujitsus also earned higher marks than their hard-disk doppelgangers on our Photoshop CS2 test, but on that test the hard-disk Dell outran the SSD Dell by 10 percent.SSDs Rock on Hard-Drive-Intensive TasksWe did see decisive performance wins by the SSD models on the file read and write tests that we use for our hard-drive testing. (The read and write tests consist of reading and writing folders of files, and searching for files on a drive.) On these tests, the SSD models bested their hard-drive counterparts in 11 out of 12 instances. Occasionally, the scores were close: On our Windows file search of 6.1GB of data, for example, the SDD Fujitsu Vista Business system notebook finished the test in 86 seconds, while its hard-drive-based twin finished the test in 100 seconds. Still, in most cases, the SSD models were dramatically faster. The most extreme example: The XP Pro Fujitsu finished our large-file reading and writing test in 199 seconds, far ahead of the hard drive-equipped model, which finished the test in 533 seconds.SSDs Deliver Only Slight Battery Life EdgeThough industry experts routinely boast that flash memory consumes less power than hard drives do, our battery tests found little real-world difference between the two drive types on this measure.The SSD version of the Dell ATG D620 lasted 5 hours, 40 minutes in our test, just 3 minutes longer than the hard-disk-equipped version lasted. The SSD Fujitsu P1610 with XP held out for 3 hours, 11 minutes–7 minutes longer than its hard-drive counterpart. And the SSD Fujitsu P1610 running Vista Business bested the hard-drive version by 9 minutes (2 hours, 26 minutes versus 2 hours, 17 minutes). The advantage in battery life boost would almost certainly increase for the SSD models if they were matched against hard-drive laptops with drives larger than the 4200-rpm components we used. The faster a disk spins, the more power is required to spin it.SSD’s Other BenefitsNumbers don’t tell the whole story about solid-state drives. SSDs also tend to be more rugged than a standard hard drive because the NAND flash memory they use lacks the moving parts found in a hard drive. Drop your notebook, and the data on your SSD will be safe–even if the notebook’s screen doesn’t survive unscathed. Also, unlike hard-disk drives, SSDs don’t generate heat and don’t produce a lot of electromagnetic interference.ConclusionsManufacturers first incorporated SSDs into ultraportable notebooks designed for people working in healthcare, insurance, and similar fields. But as prices drop and storage capacities increase, you can expect manufacturers to begin promoting SSD notebooks to a broader range of users.Indeed, the movement toward the mainstream has already begun. This summer, Dell introduced SSD into the company’s Latitude D630, D830, and D430 business notebooks, which target power business users and travelers. Choosing the SSD option to replace the standard 80GB 5400-rpm hard drive on any of these units adds $540 to its overall price. Toshiba is expected to begin introducing SSDs into select notebooks later this year, too.The Bottom LineUltimately, with an SSD in your notebook, you’ll see somewhat better system responsiveness, and a positive change in the way the system handles drive-intensive tasks such as reading data from and writing data to the drive, coming out of standby mode, and booting up from scratch. If you’re a mobile worker who tends to bump your laptop around a little and who would benefit from performance boosts in those areas, the extra cost of having “SSD inside” might just be worth it.Test Report: Solid-State Drives vs. Hard-Disk Drives–Which Are Faster?The performance boost from SSD varies from notebook to notebook, but using SSD is clearly beneficial for hard-drive-intensive tasks. Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 6 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Brought to you by PCWorld July 13, 2007last_img read more

Lavabit Founder Developing New Email Encryption Tool to Keep Government Out

first_img After shutting down their email services amid concerns about government surveillance, two companies are partnering up to launch a secure-messaging tool, one that will stop prying eyes from viewing private information.Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit, the email provider Edward Snowden used, is teaming up with encrypted-communication firm Silent Circle to launch Dark Mail, an alliance focused on providing open-sourced peer-to-peer email with end-to-end encryption. Related: Amid Surveillance Concerns, Email Services Pull Plug on Themselves The major difference between Dark Mail’s approach and that of traditional email services is who holds these encrypted, or SSL, keys. Typically, the responsibility has always been on the email provider but Dark Mail wants to change that. Instead, the alliance is hoping to develop email add-ons where users, not providers, will be assigned private encryption keys that will be on put on personal computers or mobile devices. This shift will allow for email-service providers to be protected from government agencies, because if they ask for records or data, the company will have no usable data to handover. Besides providing a secure-communication tool for Dark Mail users, the founders plan on allowing for the service to be used in conjunction with other email providers, like Gmail. The company envisions utilizing a stoplight interface to determine if the email is being sent over unencrypted or encrypted channels. So if a message goes between two Dark Mail users, a green light will appear. But if the message is between a Dark Mail user and a Gmail user, a red light will appear. While many people will be cheering for more privacy, in order for the technology behind Dark Mail Alliance to scale, it needs to get other service providers on board and integrate the technology. But providers may be hesitant to join, as they not only may anger government officials but also provide an ultra-secure setting for criminals to communicate. The service will officially launch in 2014 and Dark Mail Alliance hopes at least 20 providers will have joined the group by then, according to tech-blog site The Verge. The organization does plan on charging for the email service but the actual code will be free for businesses to use.Related: Another Site Shuts Down on Government Surveillance Fears This new endeavor comes after Levison shut down Lavabit after receiving a search warrant from the federal government this past summer to hand over the encryption keys so the agency could gain access to all web traffic, including Snowden’s activities. Even though the government wasn’t pursuing Silent Circle, the company followed suit and shut down its secure-email platform Silent Mail.Would you use tools by Dark Mail? Let us know in the comments below. 3 min read October 31, 2013 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.center_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more

Samsung Seeks Smartphone Revamp to Arrest Profit Slide

first_imgOctober 30, 2014 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free 3 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it would revamp its smartphone line-up to take on competitors in the rapidly growing mid-to-low range segment, after third-quarter earnings set it on course for its worst year since 2011.The global smartphone leader’s market share declined in annual terms for the third straight quarter in July-September, lagging Apple Inc in the premium market and overtaken by rivals like Lenovo Group Ltd and Xiaomi Inc at the bottom end, research firm Strategy Analytics said.Executives said the South Korean giant would overhaul its lower-tier line-up to boost price competitiveness and use higher-quality components to set its devices apart, after it announced its worst third-quarter profit in more than three years.”The mid-to-low end market is growing rapidly, and we plan to respond actively in order to capitalise on that growth,” Samsung Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-joon said during a conference call with analysts.Samsung said its third-quarter operating profit fell by an annual 60.1 percent to 4.1 trillion won ($3.9 billion), matching its guidance issued earlier this month.While the company expects profits to pick up in the fourth quarter on strong demand for televisions and memory chips, analysts still expect Samsung to record its worst annual operating profit in three years.Profit for the mobile division fell 73.9 percent to 1.75 trillion won in the third quarter, its worst performance since the second quarter of 2011.Samsung spent most of the quarter without launching a new flagship device, and continued to struggle in the mid-to-low tier markets against cheaper and value-packed offerings like Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S.Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations, said the firm would launch new mid-tier models in the fourth quarter, although he didn’t specify what features they would have.Samsung expects average selling prices for handsets will rise in the fourth quarter due to an increase in premium smartphone sales, namely of the Galaxy Note 4, and as demand picks up in the holiday shopping season.Analysts say Samsung will likely have to sacrifice margins to protect its market share. Cheaper phones are expected to drive global smartphone market growth in coming years, meaning a general trend of lower average selling prices.Samsung’s chips division was a bright spot, recording a 2.26 trillion operating profit for the July-September quarter to mark the highest earnings since the third quarter of 2010.(1 US dollar = 1,053.5000 Korean won)(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates) This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

8 Great TimeTracking Apps for Freelancers

first_img Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. January 27, 2016 If you’re trying to pick a time-tracking app to help you stay organized, focused, and on task, you’ve probably noticed the multitude of options out there. A new option pops up every day, and they all seem to do the same thing.But not all time-tracking apps are created equal. Some are created with remote teams in mind, while others prioritize individual freelancers. Some adopt the mindset of the freelance worker, while others focus on making life easier for managers. Many are even downright creepy and seem to offer little to no privacy for those who install them.Those who try to find the best time-tracking app are often left with a lot of questions. That’s why we’re breaking through all of these questions and barriers to create a list of the top 8 tracking apps, specifically for freelancers.Here are the best time tracking apps for freelancers to help boost your productivity and track your work:1. Due Time TrackingPrice: Free for LifeDue is an extremely unobtrusive app that allows you to track time with automatic idle time detection. Simply start the timer, and a new session will start immediately. As you proceed with a project, you can use Due time tracking to generate invoices based on the hourly rates you set. This time tracking app also makes it easy to organize clients’ information by name, address, hourly rates, or even different currencies.2. CalendarPrice: Free / $10 per month for automated meeting transcriptions and calendar analyticsCalendar is the next generation of the calendar app. With easy to use time tracking, schedule management, and meeting scheduling, Calendar offers desktop and mobile (iOS and Android) platforms that allows you to sync and share multiple digital calendars as well as leverage machine-learning algorithms that serve as a virtual assistant. You’ll be able to track and manage how you spend your time and become more efficient at scheduling meetings and events with easy to use calendar analytics.Related: 7 Ways to Follow and Measure Your Content Engagement3. HarvestPrice: $12/month for Solo; $49/month for Basic; $99/month for BusinessHarvest is another great time-tracking option for freelancers, since you can use it to track a number of different projects at the same time, even if they contain different tasks and charge different rates. If you’re working with a team, you can even assign various tasks within a project to specific team members. Additionally, it’s extremely easy to integrate if you’re working with other apps that help with remote work, like Basecamp.Besides the hefty pricing, Harvest’s only other major downside is that the app doesn’t include desktop monitoring options like active application or URL tracking.4. TopTrackerPrice: FreeTopTracker earns the number one spot on this list, since it was built by a top freelancing network specifically with freelancers in mind, and isn’t tied to any job platform. Unlike other time-tracking apps, TopTracker is completely free (without any version limitations) and gives freelancers complete control over what gets tracked and how often.TopTracker makes use of all the normal time-tracking tools like timers, screenshots, and webcam shots, but freelancers are able to take total control by deciding how often things get tracked and adding options like tracking written task descriptions only or picture blurs. The free, standalone app is available across all devices and works on OS X and Windows, with Linux coming soon.5. TickPrice: $0-$149/monthIf you’re confused by the wide price range, Tick’s price depends on the number projects you have open at any given time. So if you’re a one-project-at-a-time freelancer, you can probably get away with using it free. But let’s be honest: If you were working on one project at a time, would you really need a time-tracking app? (And would you really make a livable salary?) Tick is simple, straightforward, and can be used across devices, but be wary of pricing if you’re the kind of freelancer who keeps a large number of projects open at once.Related: 6 Companies That Give All Year Long6. RescueTimePrice: Free for RescueTime Lite; $9/month for PremiumRescueTime is great for individual freelancers who want to know how they’re spending their time but don’t necessarily need to report back to any manager. Like other time-tracking apps on this list, RescueTime will give you detailed reports and an accurate picture of how you spend your days, but only to quench your own personal curiosity. The app does not send information to managers or clients.7. TogglPrice: Free for Basic; $5/month for Pro; $49/month for BusinessThe makers of Toggl created this time-tracking tool with speed and usability in mind, so even the busiest freelancer can make use of it. Reports generated with Toggl are easy on the eyes, and it tracks your work in real time, as long as you remember to turn it on. For the forgetful freelancers out there, Toggl also allows you to input work time after the fact. The app was built with team productivity in mind, so individual freelancers might run into some extraneous features.Related: 20 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work From Home8. Klok Desktop ApplicationPrice: $19.99Unless you want to use Klok to do a lot of team-based work, freelancers can get great results from its (cheaper) desktop application compared with its team console. This time-tracking app uses the data collected from past projects to help you estimate the amount of time you’ll need for projects in the future. The app also helps you divide your work into categories, so you can see how much time you spend in meetings versus on the phone versus self-marketing. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 5 min readlast_img read more