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Electric vehicle travels recordbreaking 623 miles on a single charge

first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com 300 mph: New Land Speed Record for a Hydrogen Powered Vehicle The Tokyo-based Japan Electric Vehicle Club, a group of electric vehicle enthusiasts, converted the Daihatsu Mira EV from gas to electric using Sanyo lithium-ion batteries. The record-breaking run took place at the track of a training school for auto racers in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki. Seventeen drivers took turns driving the electric vehicle during a time period of 27.5 hours, with the car traveling at an average speed of 25 mph (40 kph).The Mira EV was powered by an assembly of 8,320 cylindrical lithium-ion batteries (Sanyo No. 18650) that are normally used in laptops and other electronic devices. According to a press release, the battery configuration was similar to the one used to set the previous record. Citation: Electric vehicle travels record-breaking 623 miles on a single charge (2010, May 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-05-electric-vehicle-record-breaking-miles.html More information: Sanyo 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. (PhysOrg.com) — The Japan Electric Vehicle Club broke its own Guinness World Record last weekend by driving an electric vehicle for a distance of 623.76 miles (1,003 kilometers) without recharging. The new distance record nearly doubles the old record of 345 miles (555.6 kilometers) that was set last November. Powered by 8,320 lithium-ion batteries, the Mira EV traveled 623 miles on a single charge. Image credit: Japan Electric Vehicle Club. Explore furtherlast_img read more

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Decoding cosmological data could shed light on neutrinos modified gravity

first_img Explore further More information: Fergus Simpson, et al. “Clipping the Cosmos: The Bias and Bispectrum of Large Scale Structure.” Physical Review Letters 107, 271301 (2011). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.271301 Copyright 2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image of the distant universe contains approximately 10,000 galaxies. Image credit: NASA and the ESA (PhysOrg.com) — Today’s most powerful telescopes collect huge amounts of data from the most distant locations of the universe – yet much of the information is simply discarded because it involves small length scales that are difficult to model. In an effort to waste less data from cosmological surveys, a team of scientists has developed a new technique that allows researchers to use otherwise unusable data by “clipping” some of the highest density peaks, which present the greatest challenge to models. This data could provide a way to address some unsolved problems in physics, including estimating the neutrino mass and investigating theories of modified gravity. The scientists, Fergus Simpson, Alan Heavens, and Catherine Heymans from the University of Edinburgh, and J. Berian James from the Dark Cosmology Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the University of California, Berkeley, have published their study in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.“The pattern formed by galaxies in our Universe is often referred to as the cosmic web, as it bears some resemblance to the structures seen in an intricate spider web,” Simpson told PhysOrg.com. “Within the detailed nature of this pattern is encoded various pieces of information regarding the composition of the Universe, the conditions in the early Universe, and the laws of gravity. However, when we try to study the fine detail on ‘small’ scales (around 100 million light years or less), it appears to be very unpredictable since the Universe is particularly lumpy on these scales, so the physics becomes very complex and nonlinear. In other words, we don’t know how to decode that information, and it’s particularly frustrating since most of the useful information is buried in these smaller scales.”In an attempt to decode this small-scale data, the researchers developed the density “clipping” technique, which makes the data accessible to modeling.“By applying a simple correction to the very densest regions of a simulated patch of the Universe, just 0.1% of the volume, we found that this removes most of this unpredictable behavior,” Simpson said. “We have now demonstrated that a great deal of information from these smaller scales can be successfully extracted.”He explained that this extra data could prove useful for scientists studying a wide range of areas, such as calculating a better estimate of the neutrino mass.“It is these ‘small’ cosmological scales that neutrinos are thought to have influenced in the early Universe, at a time when they were travelling very close to the speed of light,” he said. “The extent of their influence depends on how much time they spent at these very high speeds, which in turn is determined by their mass. So it’s possible that our technique will allow the neutrino masses to be determined from the distribution of galaxies.“Neutrinos can tell us about fundamental physics as well as cosmology. In the Standard Model of particle physics, neutrinos do not have mass, so neutrino masses tell us about extensions of the Standard Model. In principle, measurements from cosmology can be significantly more precise than laboratory experiments.”In addition, the small-scale data enables researchers to better understand the relationship between galaxies and dark matter, which could potential lead to methods for investigating theories of modified gravity with observations.“The discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating has led many cosmologists to wonder if this is an indication that the laws of gravity need to be modified,” Simpson said. “If there is some new gravitational physics, it is expected to change the rate at which dark matter clusters together. A major difficulty in measuring the dark matter’s behavior is that we don’t know how the distribution of galaxies (which is what we can measure directly) relates to the distribution of dark matter. In our study we demonstrated that our technique allows the relationship between galaxies and dark matter (‘galaxy bias’) to be determined with much greater accuracy. Once the galaxy bias is known, we can determine how fast the dark matter has been clustering, and see whether that matches our expectation from Einstein’s laws of gravity.”center_img Andromeda dwarf galaxies help unravel the mysteries of dark matter Journal information: Physical Review Letters This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Decoding cosmological data could shed light on neutrinos, modified gravity (2012, January 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-decoding-cosmological-neutrinos-gravity.htmllast_img read more

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Physicists find quantum coherence and quantum entanglement are two sides of the

first_img More information: Alexander Streltsov, et al. “Measuring Quantum Coherence with Entanglement.” Physical Review Letters. To be published.Also at arXiv:1502.05876 [quant-ph] Journal information: Physical Review Letters Close relatives with the same rootsAlthough physicists have known that coherence and entanglement are close relatives, the exact relationship between the two resources has not been clear. It’s well-known that quantum coherence and quantum entanglement are both rooted in the superposition principle—the phenomenon in which a single quantum state simultaneously consists of multiple states—but in different ways. Quantum coherence deals with the idea that all objects have wave-like properties. If an object’s wave-like nature is split in two, then the two waves may coherently interfere with each other in such a way as to form a single state that is a superposition of the two states. This concept of superposition is famously represented by Schrödinger’s cat, which is both dead and alive at the same time when in its coherent state inside a closed box. Coherence also lies at the heart of quantum computing, in which a qubit is in a superposition of the “0” and “1” states, resulting in a speed-up over various classical algorithms. When such a state experiences decoherence, however, all of its quantumness is typically lost and the advantage vanishes.The second phenomenon, quantum entanglement, also involves superposition. But in this case, the states in a superposition are the shared states of two entangled particles rather than those of the two split waves of a single particle. The intrigue of entanglement lies in the fact that the two entangled particles are so intimately correlated that a measurement on one particle instantly affects the other particle, even when separated by a large distance. Like coherence, quantum entanglement also plays an essential role in quantum technologies, such as quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography, and super dense coding. Converting one to the otherIn a paper to be published in Physical Review Letters, physicists led by Gerardo Adesso, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham in the UK, with coauthors from Spain and India, have provided a simple yet powerful answer to the question of how these two resources are related: the scientists show that coherence and entanglement are quantitatively, or operationally, equivalent, based on their behavior arising from their respective resource theories. © 2015 Phys.org Explore further Physicists show ‘quantum freezing phenomenon’ is universal 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. The physicists arrived at this result by showing that, in general, any nonzero amount of coherence in a system can be converted into an equal amount of entanglement between that system and another initially incoherent one. This discovery of the conversion between coherence and entanglement has several important implications. For one, it means that quantum coherence can be measured through entanglement. Consequently, all of the comprehensive knowledge that researchers have obtained about entanglement can now be directly applied to coherence, which in general is not nearly as well-researched (outside of the area of quantum optics). For example, the new knowledge has already allowed the physicists to settle an important open question concerning the geometric measure of coherence: since the geometric measure of entanglement is a “full convex monotone,” the same can be said of the associated coherence measure. As the scientists explained, this is possible because the new results allowed them to define and quantify one resource in terms of the other.”The significance of our work lies in the fact that we prove the close relation between entanglement and coherence not only qualitatively, but on a quantitative level,” coauthor Alex Streltsov, of ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, told Phys.org. “More precisely, we show that any quantifier of entanglement gives rise to a quantifier of coherence. This concept allowed us to prove that the geometric measure of coherence is a valid coherence quantifier, thus answering a question left open in several previous works.”While the results show that coherence and entanglement are operationally equivalent, the physicists explain that this doesn’t mean that are the exact same thing, as they are still conceptually different ideas. “Despite having the same roots of origin, namely quantum superposition, coherence and entanglement are conceptually different,” said coauthors Uttam Singh, Himadri Dhar, and Manabendra Bera at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute in Allahabad, India. “For example, coherence can be present in single quantum systems, where entanglement is not well-defined. Also, coherence is defined with respect to a given basis, while entanglement is invariant under local basis changes. In all, we believe coherence and entanglement are operationally equivalent but conceptually different.” Future quantum connectionsThe operational equivalence of coherence and entanglement will likely have a far-reaching impact on areas ranging from quantum information theory to more nascent fields such as quantum biology and nanoscale thermodynamics. In the future, the physicists plan to investigate whether coherence and entanglement might also be interconverted into a third resource—that of quantum discord, which, like entanglement, is another type of quantum correlation between two systems.”Our future plans are diverse,” Adesso said. “On the theoretical side, we are working to construct a unified framework to interpret, classify and quantify all different forms of quantum resources, including and beyond entanglement and coherence, and highlight the interlinks among them from an operational perspective. This will allow us to navigate the hierarchy of quantumness indicators in composite systems with a common pilot, and to appreciate which particular ingredients are needed in various informational tasks. “On the practical side, we are investigating experimentally friendly schemes to detect, quantify, and preserve coherence, entanglement and other quantum correlations in noisy environments. More fundamentally, we hope these results will inspire us to devise scalable and efficient methods to convert between different quantum resources for technological applications, and bring us closer to understanding where the boundaries of the quantum world ultimately lie in realistic scenarios.” (a) Input states that are fully incoherent (S and A) cannot be converted to entanglement via incoherent operations. (b) On the other hand, when the input state of S has any nonzero coherence, the coherence can be converted to entanglement via incoherent operations. The new results show that, in such a scenario, the input coherence and the output entanglement are quantitatively equivalent. Credit: Streltsov, et al. Citation: Physicists find quantum coherence and quantum entanglement are two sides of the same coin (2015, June 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-physicists-quantum-coherence-entanglement-sides.html (Phys.org)—Quantum coherence and quantum entanglement are two landmark features of quantum physics, and now physicists have demonstrated that the two phenomena are “operationally equivalent”—that is, equivalent for all practical purposes, though still conceptually distinct. This finding allows physicists to apply decades of research on entanglement to the more fundamental but less-well-researched concept of coherence, offering the possibility of advancing a wide range of quantum technologies.last_img read more

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Researchers use new approach to create triangulene molecule

first_img A triangulene molecule, as its name suggests, is a hydrocarbon molecule that is shaped like a triangle—it is also flat because it is just one atom thick—chemists have been trying in vain for years to synthesize such molecules because of their expected unique properties, but have failed due to the instability of unpaired electrons. In this new effort, the researchers took a new approach, using a scanning probe microscope tip to nudge pieces into place and then to tear away the parts that were not needed.To create the molecule, the researches began with a dihydrotriangulene molecule because it did not have the reactive unpaired electrons—they used it as a precursor, laying it on a base (they tried xenon, copper and salt) and then probing it with the electron microscope tip to get the molecules to align in the desired way. Next, they fired an electron beam at the molecule two times to remove the hydrogen, leaving behind a triangulene. The team then created an image of the molecule they had created using the same microscope, which showed its unique triangular shape. They also found they were able to keep the molecule stable as long as they kept it in a vacuum at low temperatures. In testing the molecule, they found that its two unpaired electrons had aligned spins, which was expected. That property was one of the reasons that chemists have been trying to synthesize the molecule—it is believed it could prove very useful in various electronic devices and might even have applications in a quantum computer.The research team plans to continue their work with creating triangulene molecules to learn more about their properties and possible uses. They also hope to find out why their technique worked when a copper bases was used—they thought the two materials would react. © 2017 Phys.org More information: Niko Pavliček et al. Synthesis and characterization of triangulene, Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.305AbstractTriangulene, the smallest triplet-ground-state polybenzenoid (also known as Clar’s hydrocarbon), has been an enigmatic molecule ever since its existence was first hypothesized. Despite containing an even number of carbons (22, in six fused benzene rings), it is not possible to draw Kekulé-style resonant structures for the whole molecule: any attempt results in two unpaired valence electrons. Synthesis and characterization of unsubstituted triangulene has not been achieved because of its extreme reactivity, although the addition of substituents has allowed the stabilization and synthesis of the triangulene core and verification of the triplet ground state via electron paramagnetic resonance measurements. Here we show the on-surface generation of unsubstituted triangulene that consists of six fused benzene rings. The tip of a combined scanning tunnelling and atomic force microscope (STM/AFM) was used to dehydrogenate precursor molecules. STM measurements in combination with density functional theory (DFT) calculations confirmed that triangulene keeps its free-molecule properties on the surface, whereas AFM measurements resolved its planar, threefold symmetric molecular structure. The unique topology of such non-Kekulé hydrocarbons results in open-shell π-conjugated graphene fragments6 that give rise to high-spin ground states, potentially useful in organic spintronic devices. Our generation method renders manifold experiments possible to investigate triangulene and related open-shell fragments at the single-molecule level. Citation: Researchers use new approach to create triangulene molecule (2017, February 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-approach-triangulene-molecule.html Researchers reveal the structure of individual chemical bonds using specialized imaging techniques Journal information: Nature Nanotechnologycenter_img (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with IBM Research in Switzerland and the University of Warwick in the U.K. has successfully created a triangulene molecule by manipulating a precursor molecule physically using a scanning probe microscope tip. In their paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team describes their approach and what they have learned about the molecule’s properties thus far. Manuel Melle-Franco with the University of Aveiro in Portugal offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. a,b, AFM images of triangulene on Cu (Δz = 1.66 Å, Isp = 2 pA, Vsp = 0.1 V) (a) and Xe (Δz = −0.82 Å, Isp = 1 pA, Vsp = 0.1 V) (b). Credit: (c) Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.305 Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Xray burst spotted in the galactic bulge

first_img Explore further (Phys.org)—Using the JEM-X telescope onboard the INTEGRAL space observatory, astronomers have discovered a new X-ray burst in the galactic bulge. The X-ray burst was detected from the faint unidentified transient source know as IGR J17445-2747. The discovery is reported in a paper published Sept. 8 on arXiv.org. First detected in 2003 by the IBIS/ISGRI gamma-ray telescope, IGR J17445-2747 was initially classified as a faint, unidentified persistent source. Subsequent observations of this source were conducted with the aim of detecting any outbursts that could be helpful in determining its nature. However, no such outbursts were discovered to date.This situation changed in April 2017 when a team of Russian astronomers from the Space Research Institute in Moscow spotted a type I X-ray burst from IGR J17445-2747. The group, led by Ilya Mereminskiy, discovered the burst by analyzing the data obtained during scanning observations of the galactic center region with the Joint European X-ray Monitor (JEM-X) telescope onboard ESA’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) space mission. “We reported the detection of a type I X-ray burst from the poorly studied transient X-ray source IGR J17445-2747 in the galactic bulge,” the researchers wrote in the paper.X-ray bursts are among the most energetic events observed in the universe. They are believed to be thermonuclear explosions occurring near the surface of accreting neutron stars. Such events occur in low-mass X-ray binary systems where a neutron star and low-mass main sequence star are in orbit around one another.Astronomers divide X-ray bursts into two categories: type I and type II. Type I bursts have a sharp rise followed by a slow and gradual decline of the luminosity profile, while type II bursts are characterized by a quick pulse shape, and may have many fast bursts separated by minutes. First X-ray burst was discovered in 1975 and so far, almost all of the detected X-ray bursts were found to be of type I.New observations from the JEM-X instrument show that IGR J17445-2747 is another source exhibiting type I X-ray bursts. The newly detected burst has a shape typical for type I bursts, including a fast rise shorter than five seconds and a much slower decay lasting about 15 seconds. The findings indicate that IGR J17445-2747 is an accreting neutron star with a weak magnetic field in a low-mass X-ray binary.”Such bursts are a sign of a thermonuclear explosion of accreted matter on the surface of a neutron star with a weak magnetic field in a low-mass X-ray binary. This is also confirmed by the almost blackbody spectrum detected during the burst,” the paper reads.Furthermore, few days after the discovery of the burst from IGR J17445-2747, the source was observed with the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) onboard NASA’s Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission in order to estimate its accurate position. These observations allowed the researchers to determine that IGR J17445-2747 is most likely located in the galactic bulge, between 16,300 and 40,000 light years away from the Earth. 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. © 2017 Phys.org JEM-X sky images (S/N maps) in the 3–20 keV band obtained on April 10, 2017: (a) over the entire observation during which the burst was detected; (b) within 13 s near the burst maximum. The detected bright persistent sources are indicated in the left image. The white circle marks IGR J17445-2747. Credit: Mereminskiy et al., 2017. New accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar discovered More information: IGR J17445-2747 – yet another X-ray burster in the Galactic bulge, arXiv:1709.02775 [astro-ph.HE] arxiv.org/abs/1709.02775AbstractThe discovery of a type I X-ray burst from the faint unidentified transient source IGR J17445-2747 in the Galactic bulge by the JEM-X telescope onboard the INTEGRAL observatory is reported. Type I bursts are believed to be associated with thermonuclear explosions of accreted matter on the surface of a neutron star with a weak magnetic field in a low-mass X-ray binary. Thus, this observation allows the nature of this source to be established. Citation: X-ray burst spotted in the galactic bulge (2017, September 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-09-x-ray-galactic-bulge.htmllast_img read more

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New scanning technique allows researchers to read words on mummy waste wrap

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain A team of researchers with University College London has found a noninvasive way to read writing on ancient papyrus used to construct boxes that held mummies inside their tombs. Team lead Adam Gibson spoke to the press about the new development and why he believes archaeologists and historians will find it useful. ‘Oldest’ papyrus is finally decoded Citation: New scanning technique allows researchers to read words on mummy waste wrap (2018, January 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-scanning-technique-words-mummy.html Researchers have known for many years that workers in ancient Egypt recycled papyrus for different purposes—one particular use was creating decorated boxes into which mummies were placed. Papyrus scraps were glued together using paste and plaster, similar to modern paper-mâché projects. In ancient times, papyrus was used as a type of paper. Tax records were reported on papyrus, for example, as were lists of grocery items. Because papyrus was used for such mundane tasks, examples offer a glimpse of daily life in ancient civilizations such as that in early Egypt. Unfortunately, up till now, the only way to read such information on the recycled papyrus used to create mummy cases was to tear apart the fragments, destroying the box. In this new effort, the researchers have found a way to read the papyrus without causing it any harm.The technique involved using a digital imaging method that interpreted light bounced back from a subject. Prior research had shown that the pigment in ink used by the ancient Egyptians over 2000 years ago could fluoresce under the proper infrared filter. By using such filters with digital imaging technology, the team was able to see the ink and read what it said. The team used the technique on a coffin lid held at Chiddington Castle in Kent and report that they were able to make out a word that after translation spelled “Irethoreru,” which, the team explained, means “The eye of Horus is against them.” It was a common name in ancient Egypt. The team further suggests that because of the way the text was displayed on the papyrus, it was likely the mummy’s actual name.Gibson suggested that moving forward, researchers can use the technique to read other papyrus samples without destroying them in the process.center_img © 2018 Phys.org Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Samuels opts out as WI players retain lawyers for battle ahead

first_imgWest Indies players who controversially abandoned the tour of India last week have retained legal counsel as they prepare to tackle the contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by their union, West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), but batsman Marlon Samuels has opted not to pursue this course of action along with his team-mates. This was confirmed in a release on Friday by ODI captain Dwayne Bravo, who is also acting as a spokesman for the aggrieved players, reports CMC. Samuels said earlier this week he was not supportive on the decision to abandon the tour and had hardly attended any of the players meetings on the troubled tour.  Also Read – Khel Ratna for Deepa and Bajrang, Arjuna for JadejaHowever, Bravo rebutted Samuels’ claims, contending the Jamaican right-hander was a vocal part of the meetings held. ‘I note the comments attributed to Mr. Marlon Samuels from media reports and wish to state that Mr. Samuels was invited to and did attend the majority of meetings with the players on tour,’ Bravo said. ‘We extended an invitation to Mr. Marlon Samuels with the full knowledge that he is not a member of WIPA but was an interested party. Mr. Samuels contributed vigorously to the discussions held and indicated clearly, at that time, that he would stand with any decision taken by the team. I am therefore shocked to see the statements, if true, that have been attributed to Mr. Samuels.’ Bravo stressed that while he had undertaken the role of spokesman for the players, all correspondence during that period had been issued with the full backing of the players. The senior all-rounder said the playing group had been boosted by the widespread support they had received, though they had also received criticism in some quarters.  Also Read – Endeavour is to facilitate smooth transition: Shastri‘We recognise that a few have attempted to put the blame squarely on the players without the full knowledge of the facts. This is regrettable since a few persons are making statements without knowing all the relevant facts. In time we believe all the facts will come to light. We do not wish to make any further statements on this matter since the players on tour (except Mr. Samuels) with some additional players who did not tour India have appointed Counsel to represent them in this matter,’ Bravo said.last_img read more

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Walkers should have right of way

first_imgAman (in Hindi and Urdu) means peace. However, a 10-year-old Aman was recently crushed to death in south Delhi by a maverick DTC driver, when he was walking on a zebra crossing. Every day, scores of pedestrians, young and old, are hit like pin balls across the country by incompetent, arrogant, and rogue vehicle drivers.  It is the same chaotic scene on every street in every city. Pedestrians scurry to cross roads as vehicles relentlessly race ahead at maddening speeds with scant regard for the vulnerable humans in the way. Crossing main arteries, boulevards and streets in residential areas is always risky, particularly for children and senior citizens. Vehicles, especially two-wheelers, may zoom in from nowhere. Walkers account for nearly 50 per cent of all fatalities on Indian roads. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justice Each day is an obstacle race for pedestrians. During monsoon, the game turns into hop, step, and jump. In most urban settings, sidewalks do not exist, and where they do, they are in a poor state of repair with crevices and pits making it difficult to navigate on foot. They are poorly designed and challengingly high, making climbing and descending painful, particularly for children, women, the aged, and the physically challenged. At many places, pavements are covered-up drains with manholes, at times left. During rains, unless careful, walkers may vanish into these death traps. Therefore, pedestrians are forced to walk on road shoulders. Also Read – Turning a blind eye Pedestrians compulsorily share their right of way with utilities, trees, streetlights, transformers, markers for gas and electricity feeder boxes, signboards, roadside vendors, and bus shelters. Dogs and cattle dirty them. Footpaths are converted into makeshift markets. Not to be outdone, bikers climb up to exhibit acrobatics.  The latest to join these trappings are the 4G high mast towers on traffic islands, which serve as crossroads and where traffic signals are installed, in Nagpur. These towers have created blind spots that block the view of motorists. Planners and engineers are yet to properly design and construct walkable pavements. Amid all this chaos, hapless traffic cops have no role to play.  Crossing roads any given time is a nightmare for pedestrians. Zebra crossings are haphazard, traffic lights are installed at will—the poles have varying heights and designs, some are hidden behind adjacent trees planted on the meridian or are hidden by billboards hung on poles. In such a scenario jay walking is the order of the day. Pedestrians mostly ignore foot over bridges, skywalks, and subways as most are badly designed and ill maintained. Underground passages stink, are poorly-lit, appear unsafe and are difficult to access.   Every day, a competition ensues on Indian roads. For motorised vehicle drivers, the motto is “you don’t stop for anyone”. And more determinedly, these vehicles do not stop for walkers. Unrelentingly, resolute walkers also do not stop for cars. The end is predictable, and both the pedestrians and drivers are to be blamed. A major share in the blame certainly goes to the Government, civic authorities, city planners and law enforcement officers for the haphazard management of road safety. Passenger-vehicle conflict requires a judicious mix of road engineering and strict law enforcement measures. Pedestrians are also responsible, though less, for accidents. While population has exploded, necessary infrastructure has not kept pace. Many innovative devices could be installed, and maintained to control traffic and avoid conflict. Radar speed signs (an interactive sign generally comprising LEDs) that display vehicle speed as motorists approach, warn drivers to slow their vehicles when they are driving at unsafe speeds. Mounted on poles and powered by a solar panel, these devices must be used in school zones, busy residential roads, construction zones, and definitely on highways. Currently, interceptors are placed inside traffic police patrol vans, but they are too insignificant. Initially, the devices should be placed along with CCTVs where traffic violations are high.CCTVs must be installed at/near all intersections and record red light infractions, rolling through stop signs and halting on zebra crossings by vehicles must be recorded and sent to central computers. A major hindrance to pedestrians is vehicles parked haphazardly.  As followed in several countries, traffic wardens should issue tickets, using hand-held computerised devices, by pasting them on windshields of these vehicles. Walking is a basic and common mode of transport the world over. But, walkers are the most abused in India. Due to the dramatic growth of motor vehicles and general neglect of pedestrian needs in roadway design and land-use planning, pedestrians are increasingly vulnerable to road traffic injury. Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. All road users have a role to play in  protecting the pedestrians better and making cities safe for walking–-even for pedestrians. Perhaps, to help both in India, a car maker in the US has introduced a new driver-assist vehicle safety system that can reduce the severity of or even eliminate some frontal collisions involving vehicles and pedestrians. The Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, debuting this year in Europe, provides a collision warning to the driver. And, if the driver does not respond in time, the system can automatically apply the vehicle brake, to help reduce the severity of or even eliminate some frontal collisions. It uses radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead.(The author is an independent journalist)last_img read more

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Life through her lenses

first_imgOne winter morning in 2013, when filmmaker Chitvan Gill, witnessed a grim patch of land turning overnight into a Kashmiri shantytown, she assumed the migration resulted from yet another turbulence in the valley.“I used to go to this area in East Delhi very often and suddenly out of the blue one morning, I come across a camp, just overnight. With the ongoing unrest in Kashmir in 2013, I thought it had got something to do with that. They must have fled their homes,” said Gill. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’But, as she delved deeper into their homes, stories unfurled breaking stereotypes associated with the lives of those hailing from Jammu and Kashmir.Gill has captured their stories and way of life that has endured unnoticed in hidden corners of the national capital, in her two-day photo exhibition, Winterlude: A season in Delhi held at Alliance Francaise de Delhi.“When I started enquiring, I realised there’s nothing to do with any trouble, there’s nothing to do with any terrorism,” she says. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“This was a journey that thousands of impoverished peasants and farmers of Kashmir have been making to Delhi for more than four decades. Each year, as a mantle of snow descends over the idyllic Kashmir Valley, they flee here, to this flattened remain of a landfill, to escape the bitter chill,” says the photographer.The exhibition, which is a visual inquiry, into the lives of the unlikely nomads, captured and communicated their varied moods through a collection of 65 photographs. Almost like an oxymoron, gleaming faces of children with cracked cheeks, running noses and greased limbs, running amidst squalor, were recurrent in Gill’s exhibition.“The children were what was most remarkable about the camp. You forgot the filth and acid smoke and were drawn into their sheer joy, their laughter. Oblivious to the ugliness and degradation, it is a carnival, a time of unbridled exuberance and play for them,” said Gill. Gill says she has captured them in some of the most ordinary postures, but the freshness in expression, makes the pictures stand out.Other pictures document several aspects of their daily lives, from setting up their hutments, to their means of survival.“Stakes are driven into the ground, bamboo poles and splints form flimsy scaffoldings, blanketed over by bright sheets of tarpaulin,” she added.Hailing from an agricultural background, most of them, she says, “live off their earnings from their seven months in the valley, while a few engage in the uncanny business of ‘chanda’ collection.” The exhibition was an outcome of Gill’s photographing in East Delhi over a span of two winters, of 2013 and 2014.“Both the years, they came much later due to floods and elections,” she said.“While they were very happy being photographed, there was an evident ‘worriness’ about coming out into the open, for the obvious reason of being associated with violence,” she says vindicating why she has deliberately refrained from mentioning the exact location of the settlement.last_img read more

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Suruchi Sangha launches theme song penned by Mamata

first_imgKolkata: The theme song of Suruchi Sangha, composed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has been launched on Monday. This is the fourth consecutive year when the Chief Minister has penned the theme song for the Puja committee.The theme song has been launched on the auspicious day of Mahalaya. The theme song – Jayo Maa Jayo Durga – has been sung by the Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs department Indranil Sen and Lopamudra Mitra. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSuruchi Sangha is one of the most famous Pujas in the city and every year, lakhs of people turn up at the Puja pandal to get a glimpse of the brilliant artwork. The Puja is going to pull a huge crowd this year as well, because of its unique theme. This year, the theme of the Puja is Maa Aschen Maatir Ghore – Shiuli Gandha Utsav Jure. On Monday, there was a huge gathering at the Puja pandal. The state Youth Services and Sports minister Aroop Biswas, who is the key person of the Puja committee, was present in the pandal during the release of the theme song. Sen was also present at the programme on Monday. Actors from Tollywood and many eminent personalities attended the programme as well. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe celebration of the Puja started from the day of Mahalaya as the actors from Tollywood were found dancing at the beats of dhaak. A wide array of visual treats, starting from 3D artwork to murals, will be there in the Puja pandal. Everything will be done only by using bamboo and clay. Artists have created various designs on bamboo structures using clay. The interior of the Pandal has been decorated with 3D clay artwork. At the same time, there will be “clay etching” and murals on the walls of the Puja pandal. There will also be clay idols of different plants, flowers and birds on the walls of the Puja pandals, as symbols of clean environment and greenery. It will also give the message of the fight against global warming. Moreover, this is the first time in the country when the ceiling of a pandal is getting constructed using the bark of papaya tree. It may be mentioned that soil of different colours is found in different parts of Bengal. There will be a unique artwork at the middle of the Puja pandal and it will be developed using soil of different colours.last_img read more

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14yearold girl dies of dengue at RG Kar

first_imgKolkata: A 14-year-old girl from North 24-Parganas died of dengue at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital on Sunday.The victim, Amrita Singh (14), was brought to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital on Sunday morning with fever. She died at the hospital at around 3.15 pm. The death certificate issued by the hospital authorities mentions that the patient died of NS 1 reactive fever with shock syndrome.The hospital authorities will submit a report on the death of the minor girl to the state Health department. It was learnt that the victim was suffering from fever for the past few days. A resident of Belghoria in North 24-Parganas, Amrita complained of fever a few days ago after which she was taken to a local doctor. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHe treated her for a few days. As her condition deteriorated, the patient was taken to hospital in the morning. According to hospital sources, the patient was in a serious condition when she was admitted to the hospital. Her condition deteriorated since her admission.It may also be mentioned that a housewife died of dengue at a city hospital last month after she suffered from fever for a couple days. An 11-year-old boy died of the same disease at a private hospital in Kolkata in last month as well.last_img read more

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Man accused of fleeing with valuables after marrying Uttarpara resident

first_imgKolkata: A man, identified as Ajay Kumar Singh, who had married a woman at Uttarpara in Hooghly a few days ago, has allegedly fled with some valuables from her house.The victim told the police that she came to know Singh through a marriage portal. The accused claimed that he was originally a resident of Mumbai and has been currently staying in Delhi, where he has been constructing two flats. He had also assured the victim that they would shift to Delhi in near future. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe victim also told the police that he also took a huge amount of money from her on various pretexts. The woman used to live at her house alone after she got divorced from her earlier husband. The accused had told the woman that he runs a promoting business in Delhi. After starting a detailed investigation, police came to know that the accused had duped some other women as well, at different places in the state. Earlier, he had also married a woman from the Manicktala area in the city a few years ago and looted valuables from her. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedOn the basis of the specific complaint, police started a case. They raided different places in Mumbai and Delhi but failed to get any trace of the accused. Apart from marriage, the accused had also established physical relation with different women and duped them. The Hooghly district police have started a detailed probe into the incident. They suspect that the accused did not reveal his name and original identity. The investigating officers have gathered photographs of the man for the sake of investigation. They may seek help from cyber experts to arrest the accused. The police are also investigating to know if the accused has any connection with the city.last_img read more

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Bengals business chambers laud state Budget 201920

first_imgKolkata: Various business chambers in Bengal lauded the state government’s Budget presented by Finance minister Amit Mitra on Monday.President, MCCI, Vishal Jhajharia said that full exemption of Education Cess and Rural Employment Cess for Tea gardens has been extended for two more years, which would help the tea industry grow. The government has given more emphasis to develop the MSME sector and credit flow to Rs 20,287 crore during April to September 2018, which is noteworthy. Around 95 new SSI clusters have been taken up, taking the total number to 520 from 425. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseHe appreciated the prudent fiscal management of the state, by which revenue deficit has come down to 0.96 percent. Fiscal deficit as a percentage of GSDP has also gone down to 2.83 percent. Industrial growth in the state has been as high as 16.29 percent in 2017-18, compared to 5.54 percent at the national level, which is excellent. He also mentioned that Flipkart is going to develop a Flipkart Hub in Haringhata at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. Meanwhile, the Bengal Chamber thinks that the Budget has brought in good news for revenue deficit of the state, which has been reduced to zero for 2019-20. The Budget has announced additional income for poorer sections of the society, namely contractual group C and D workers, as well as self-employed persons. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe Chamber welcomed the fact that Asha and Anganwadi workers, the backbone of rural society, have seen a rise in monthly salary by Rs 500. The farmers having below 1 acre of land (marginal peasants) will have an annual additional income of Rs 5,000. The fast growth of the industrial sector and GSDP will generate additional revenue to the state, so that on debt head, Bengal needs only a 10 percent rise in this Budget, compared to an increase of almost 55 percent during the last Budget. The Chamber also feels that the Budget has given stress on demands of farmers, social sector and poorer sections of the society, as well as MSMEs. Sitaram Sharma, president, Bharat Chamber of Commerce, said: “From the industry perspective, the full exemption given to tea gardens from the payment of Educational and Rural Employment Cess for the next two financial years is indeed laudable.” “The state’s achievement of a GSDP growth of nearly 12 percent in the last fiscal clearly states that the government has been able to drive aggregate demand and create more and better employment for the youth,” he added.last_img read more

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Fostering reduces stress levels in dogs

first_imgIs your canine friend nervous? Sleepovers and foster care homes could help reduce their stress level, says a new study. The findings, published in the journal PeerJ, indicate that short-term fostering temporarily reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increases rest in shelter dogs. “We are trying to improve the lives of shelter dogs by helping them find loving homes,” said co-author Clive Wynne, Professor at the Arizona State University in the US. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccording to the lead researcher, Lisa Gunter from the varsity, the sleepovers were like a weekend away from work as they provided a short break from the stress of living in a shelter. Sleepover or fostering refers to bringing in a dog at home for a while with the goal of nurturing them. For the study, the research team tracked 207 dogs’ stress level by measuring cortisol before, during and after sleepovers. Even though the five participating shelters were very different, the cortisol levels for all the dogs decreased during a sleepover. When the dogs returned to the shelter, their cortisol levels were the same as before, the team said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”It was an open question if it would be stressful for dogs to come back to the shelter after being away for a weekend but because of this study, we know a sleepover is a very welcome break,” said Debbie McKnight, Vice President at the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) in the US. AHS was one of the five shelters that participated in the study. Because sleepovers reduced the dogs’ cortisol levels and increased their time at rest, shelters that do not currently have short-term foster programmes should give sleepovers a try, Gunter suggested.last_img read more

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Falsely implicated juvenile released after 20 days in judicial custody

first_imgKolkata: A juvenile who had to spend twenty days in judicial custody after being allegedly implicated in a false case by Bishnupur police station in South 24-Parganas, was granted bail by Alipore Court on Tuesday. The juvenile, a resident of Choto Ramnagar in South 24-Parganas was arrested by Bishnupur police station on July 14 and was slapped with a case of dacoity attempt. The juvenile had to spend from July 15 to August 5 in judicial custody and from August 6 to 12 in a juvenile home, before being released on bail on Tuesday. The police had allegedly mentioned the age of the juvenile as 18 years, even though his birth certificate showed that he was born on November 11 in 2002. According to the certificate his age on the day of his arrest was 16 years 8 months. The case dates back to the middle of July when the boy was called up by authorities of a temple at Pailan. The mobile phone of a senior member of the shrine was stolen and the needle of suspicion was on the teenager who used to come there often.last_img read more

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The Mystery of How the Great Pyramids were Built May Finally Have

first_imgThe discovery of a sophisticated ramp system might solve the centuries-old mystery that has so obsessed historians and archaeologists: How did the ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramid and other wonders? When the pyramids were already two millennia old, Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian, visited and was amazed by what he saw, because “machines for lifting had not yet been invented.”But perhaps the ancients had found a solution.The remains of a 4,500-year-old ramp were found recently at an alabaster quarry in an Egyptian desert by researchers from the University of Liverpool, UK, and Cairo’s French Institute for Oriental Archaeology.Photo by Yannis Gourdon / French Institute for Oriental Archaeology / University of Liverpool.The workers raised stone blocks weighing several tonnes hundreds of feet into the air via enormous sleds, archaeologists theorize.“This system is composed of a central ramp flanked by two staircases with numerous post holes,” Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the joint mission at Hatnub, told Live Science.“Using a sled which carried a stone block and was attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 percent or more.”The pyramid of Cheops in Giza, Cairo, Egypt.The ancient ramp discovered in Hatnub quarry was flanked by two staircases lined with postholes, to which ropes were tied to drag the huge stone blocks. Workers walked up the staircases on either side of the block, pulling the rope as they went.The large wooden posts, which were up to one-and-a-half feet thick, were crucial, researchers said. They allowed the teams to pull from below while others hauled the block from above.The ramp was most likely inclined at double the angle that would have been considered possible, given the weight of the stones that workers were lifting, according to the Daily Mail.Main quarry (“Quarry P”) at Hatnub. Photo by Hannah Pethen CC BY-SA 2.0“This kind of system has never been discovered anywhere else,” Gourdon told Live Science.“The study of the tool marks and the presence of two [of] Khufu’s inscriptions led us to the conclusion that this system dates back at least to Khufu’s reign, the builder of the Great Pyramid in Giza.”The Great Pyramid of Giza.“As this system dates back at least to Khufu’s reign, that means that during the time of Khufu, ancient Egyptians knew how to move huge blocks of stone using very steep slopes. Therefore, they could have used it for the construction [of] his pyramid,” Gourdon said.The Great Pyramid is constructed of over 2 million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons, and covers 13 acres.Diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid. Photo by Jeff Dahl CC BY-SA 4.0It is probably the most famous ancient structure in the world; its the only one of the “seven wonders” still standing. It was not the first true pyramid, but in terms of its size, it was the tallest structure on Earth until the 19th century.It is located on the Giza plateau near the modern-day city of Cairo. Historians believe it was constructed during the reign of the king Khufu, who lived from 2589 to 2566 BC.Most famous symbols of ancient Egyptian culture.There are many, many theories on the purpose of the pyramid, but the most widely accepted is that it was a tomb for the king.The idea that the pyramids were constructed with slave labor has been questioned. Some historians believe that the pyramids of Giza and all other temples and monuments in the country were built by Egyptians hired for their skills and paid wages for their efforts.The theory is that Egyptians from all over the country worked on the monument, for a variety of reasons, to build a home for their king which would last through eternity.Read another story from us: Sock Discovery Reveals Colorful Fashion Sense of Ancient Egyptian ChildrenThere is no doubt that building the pyramids demanded enormous financial resources and the maintenance of a wide array of skilled and unskilled workers.last_img read more

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HairRaising Medieval Curses that Protected Books from Plunder

first_imgCenturies ago, especially before the advent of printing, producing just one copy of a book was painstaking. The process required a tremendous amount of time, a lot of patience, and superb attention to detail. The meticulous work was done by scribes manually. The longer the book, the more months it took to have a book completed, if not years. To finish the book sometimes came at the cost of the scribe’s health. Their sight would begin to fail, their body to ache and hurt from sitting.Historiated initial ‘O'(mnibus) of Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent into committing the Original Sin. Image taken from f. 82 of the 14th century Book of Hours, Use of Sarum. Written in Latin.Perhaps surprisingly to the modern day reader, at the end of the book, medieval scribes would pen something like this:“Hanging will do For him who steals you”Or, something more elaborate:“If anyone takes away this book, let him die the death; let him be fried in a pan; let the falling sickness and fever seize him; let him be broken on the wheel, and hanged. Amen.”.The first two lines can be found in a book dated to the year 1461. The second and longer junction, taken from the end of a Bible copy with German provenance, was scribed around the year 1172. Both exemplify medieval book curses, inserted by the copyist to assure that the product of their hard work will not go in vain. That it will not end up in the hands of thieves.Back in medieval days, books held a greater value as they were so rare. Not only was it an extensive and exhausting process to replicate a copy of the Bible, for example, the process was also costly. Even the more prestigious institutions kept a limited number of volumes at their premises. So, if someone went after stealing a book, the loss was truly painful.Photo by Kungl. biblioteketBut protecting the book with curses was something as a remedy to this issue. Scribes used the one most potent weapon they had at hands — words. The curses, addressed to potential thieves, almost always promised the most dreadful way to die if you stole a book. If the thief was superstitious, the curse actually did scare them away. Depending how they were worded, curses also worked against damage being inflicted on the book, such as deliberately ripping out a page.More accounts suggest that inscribing curses has been practiced since bookkeeping commenced. The earliest examples have been deciphered in Assyrian tablets from the 7th century BC. At the library of Nineveh, one of the earliest known libraries on earth, under King Ashurbanipal, a plenitude of tablets included such expletive measures for protection.Ashurbanipal as High PriestThrough the curse, the king evokes a major Mesopotamian deity — Ashur — to deliver punishment on those who dare steal the tablets. Here’s a slice of the curse:“Whosoever shall carry off this tablet, or shall inscribe his name on it, side by side with mine own, may Ashur and Belit overthrow him in wrath and anger, and may they destroy his name and posterity in the land.”Cuneiform synonym list tablet from the Library of Ashurbanipal. Neo-Assyrian period (934 BC – 608 BC). Photo by Fæ CC BY-SA 3.0However, the majority of book curses that have survived to modern times, originate from Middle Age books. American writer Marc Drogin published the very first volume that documents book curses in 1983. His book is entitled Anathema! Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses.One example Drogin lists in his book, and as reported by Medievalists.net, comes from a 13th century book stored at the Vatican library:“The finished book before you lies; This humble scribe don’t criticize. Whoever takes away this book May he never on Christ look Whoever to steal this volume durst May he be killed as one accursed. Whoever to steal this volume tries Out with his eyes, out with his eyes!”According to another book dated to the 15th century, the French would have wished the following for would-be thieves:“Whoever steals this book Will hang on a gallows in Paris And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown. And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast, And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.”Even juicier, an example from the early 16th century:“Whoever steals this Book of Prayer May he be ripped apart by swine, His heart be splintered, this I swear, And his body dragged along the Rhine.”Many more examples illustrate the risks book thieves faced if they were caught for their wrongdoing. Exclusion from the church was guaranteed, as was in many cases public execution.Other than this, in medieval Europe, people devised various inventions to protect books. Chained libraries are one popular example. Books were chained to the shelves so that readers were unable to take them outside the library.Read another story from us: Comically Bizarre Old English Insults in VideoThey were only able to check the book contents on the spot. Chain libraries were used until the 18th century, however, since this method to secure the library contents was expensive, only the more prized copies were protected that way.But a book curse — people have been always able to write one for free.last_img read more

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VIDEO Yasiel Puig gave Cleveland fans the double bird after a home

first_img Advertisement #Swag haaaaa RT @SportsCenter: That’s not very nice, Yasiel. https://t.co/WdAxySwKYz pic.twitter.com/j1sKDcSSIF— …….. (@_ReidRocknRolla) June 14, 2017 Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig can expect to hear from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office for firing off double birds to some fans in Cleveland after blasting a 2-run, first inning home run against the Indians, yesterday.Puig fired off the salute as he was heading to the dugout after crossing home plate.  When asked about the incident, Puig said, “I stooped to their level.”Rough week for Cleveland fans.Yasiel Puig joining KD in the “Flip Cleveland the Bird” club pic.twitter.com/hab4UOgFnE— 12up (@12upSport) June 14, 2017last_img read more

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Which Switch

first_imgAugust 1, 2005 Pull the old switcheroo, and get a new, faster, more efficient ethernet switch. 24 Fast Ethernet ports, two gigabit ports, PoE There’s nothing as awesome as networking hardware, right? OK, it’s not as hip as a smartphone, but Ethernet hardware should be the backbone of your growing office network.Sure, Wi-Fi is more exciting, but most new computers today are pre-configured with Ethernet adapters and need only a good Ethernet switch and some Category 5 cable to start communicating with each other. The wired portions of your network will be more secure, more reliable and, usually, faster than wireless nodes.Fast Ethernet is the networking flavor used most often; it provides data transfers of 100 megabits per second. Even faster (1,000Mbps) gigabit Ethernet switches are also popular, and sometimes, the two are found on the same switch. We’ll look at some of each.Many manufacturers, both large and small, offer both kinds of switches. Your first decision is managed or unmanaged. Managed switches come stocked with more advanced features, ports and remote management capabilities, whereas unmanaged switches are more plug-and-play. The demands of your network will dictate what type of switch you need. Do-it-yourselfers have a better chance of getting an unmanaged switch up and running with minimum difficulty. Managed switches may require more know-how–or a networking consultant.Because of the significant price difference between managed and unmanaged switches, we list Fast versions of the first and gigabit versions of the latter. For example, the $139 (all prices street) Linksys SD2008 is an eight-port unmanaged gigabit switch that will appeal to businesses needing lots of bandwidth for multimedia and VoIP. Compare it to 3Com’s OfficeConnect Gigabit Switch 8, which also clocks in at $139, and SMC Networks’ eight-port gigabit SMC8508T EZ Switch, which is even more affordable at $105. Any of these are no-lose options for small offices or workgroups in need of expansion. Alternatively, they offer a cheap and easy way for those with established networks to start the migration from older, 10Mbps hardware.If you’re connecting a larger number of PCs, you may want the more robust switching features and remote management capability of a managed switch. Power over Ethernet, or PoE, is a term you’ll often see popping up in this regard. It means that electricity runs over the Ethernet cable to power networking clients like IP telephones, webcams or wireless access points, minimizing the need for inconvenient power cords. The $1,300 Adtran NetVanta 1224ST PoE features 24 Fast Ethernet ports with full power provided to each. The $1,199 Netgear ProSafe FSM7326P Layer 3 switch also comes with 24 Fast Ethernet ports, two gigabit ports and PoE. If that’s more power than you need, D-Link’s Web Smart DES-1316 features 16 ports, half of which have PoE, for an affordable $449.Also check with Cisco, particularly its Catalyst line. The 2950 series is a good place for growing businesses to start. Rapidly expanding businesses and larger businesses will find plenty there to keep busy. Hewlett-Packard’s ProCurve line is another strong source for networking gear. All the manufacturers we’ve covered offer a variety of port counts and managed and unmanaged hardware to fit any network need. If you’ve already invested in a particular brand of equipment, that is a good place to start when shopping for new gear to expand your network. 24 Fast Ethernet ports, PoE www.3com.com (800) NET-3COM This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. CONTACT TYPE PORTS D-Link Web Smart DES-1316 Eight gigabit ports Layer 3 managed Eight gigabit ports www.netgear.com (888) NETGEAR www.adtran.com (800) 9ADTRAN Unmanaged gigabit $139 $105 Unmanaged gigabit Netgear ProSafe FSM7326P Shopping List Layer 2 managedcenter_img STREET PRICE Eight gigabit ports 3com OfficeConnect Gigabit Switch 8 SMC networks SMC8508T EZ Switch www.linksys.com (800) 546-5797 This story appears in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » MANUFACTURER/ MODEL Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now $139 www.smc.com (800) SMC-4YOU $1,300 $1,199 Adtran NetVanta 1224ST PoE www.dlink.com (800) 326-1688 Linksys SD2008 Unmanaged gigabit 4 min read 16 Fast Ethernet ports, eight with PoE Layer 2 managed $449 Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more

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Buy Leaseor Move to Cloud Computing

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Your trusty old office computers are likely chugging along with the power of a 20-year-old Oldsmobile climbing Mt. Everest, gamely working hard to complete ever more complicated and varied tasks for your company’s employees. But while it might be time to replace the outdated PCs, with today’s credit crunch, you may be considering alternatives to simply buying new hardware as a way to save your business money.So should you lease new hardware, forgoing boxed software? Or try the new cloud computing solutions that are being touted as the next big thing? We’ll look into a variety of options for your business and let you know which ones will save you money, and which could potentially cost you big.Leasing vs. Buying: Good Deal or Bad Idea? According to a 2007 study by IDC, cutting your PC’s life cycle to three years, versus five or six years, will save you on the overall cost of maintaining that system. As presented in the study, keeping two generations of leased desktop PCs (held for three years each) is 20.5 percent less expensive than buying and holding one machine for six years.Lifecycle implications aside, there are other considerations to mull over before signing a hardware lease, such as end-of-lease costs and other fees that can accrue if not monitored, according to Joe Loiselle, Vice President of Global IT Advisory Services at IDC.”Leasing is not a bad thing, if you manage it. Unmanaged, it will be a big liability. Most [leases] favor the lack of discipline a buyer has, and most favor a mobile device–it moves, breaks, and changes hands,” he says. Unless you are going to send back the equipment on time and address end-of-lease issues, Loiselle believes that your organization is going to bleed cash. Most people don’t pay attention to a lease once they sign it, he adds, and lease agreements aren’t exactly designed to save you money in the long run.”Companies are making a mass exodus from leasing,” says Loiselle. Leasing “is a Venus flytrap: it’s tough to get into and tougher to get out of.” Of course, given today’s credit crunch, it will be more difficult to get a lease or financing in the first place.When it comes to servers, it can be even more difficult to return equipment, as data, applications, and network connections are all affected when you remove a server. Servers are not as easy thing to rip out of your network, and most small businesses don’t have redundancies in place, according to Loiselle.A final consideration before signing a lease: Businesses are often able to write off as much as $15,000 for new equipment, so it may make sense to buy the equipment outright. Be sure to check with your accountant or tax preparer before making a move to either option.Cost Comparisons: Is Leasing Cost Effective?We looked at lease deals on three computer manufacturers’ sites, comparing pricing options for ten laptops. Overall, we found that leasing is the costlier option in the long run, even if it’s cheaper at the outset.At HP’s site, we selected the option to purchase ten business notebooks at a cost of $15,590. HP lists the lease price for these same notebooks as $413 per month for a 48-month lease. That’s $19,824 for a 48-month lease, or an additional $4824 to lease the machines, rather than buy them outright. (To find out about other lease lengths, pricing, or options, check HP’s site.)On Dell’s site, the company lists finance options that include both fixed purchase options (FPO) and full market value (FMV) options for leasing with 24-, 30-, 36-, or 48-month financing. Both options require a $75 processing fee. Our total for ten similarly equipped laptops, sans shipping and tax, was $15,695.Displayed right beside the total on Dell’s site are links to the lease options. (Before you go through the process of getting qualified, you can estimate your payments based on your credit level–Excellent, Good, or Fair–and the total purchase amount.) The 48-month lease on $15,695 was $460.96 per month for FMV and $461.04 for $1 Buy-Out. That’s $22,126.08 for FMV and $22,129.92 for $1 Buy Out over 48 months. You do the math: Purchasing equipment outright saves you at least $6500 here.Next, we clicked over to Fujitsu’s site, where the company offers lease purchase options of $1, 10 percent, or FMV, and provides a lease calculator to figure out your costs. Fujitsu doesn’t offer a 48-month lease, but its 36-month lease on ten laptops totaling $15,000 was $473 on the FMV plan, $483 on 10 Percent Purchase, and $522 on $1 Buyout. So that was $17,028, $17,388, or $18,792, respectively on a $15,000 equipment purchase.In the end, the ten laptops we researched on the three vendor sites on average cost $4000 more if you were to lease them for 48 months, as opposed to buying them outright. While leasing does mean you won’t be strapped with a steep initial cost, buying saves a bunch of cash in the long run.Buying also potentially saves more money down the line, as lease contracts can stipulate that a vendor can charge extra should you return your equipment late or without a clean hard drive.Printer Leasing and Online Faxing: Panacea or Problematic?If your office needs also include high-volume printing, collating, and all the bells and whistles of a big-budget printer, many companies offer equipment leases. HP and Xerox both offer lease options for high-end, high-volume models.For example, the high-volume black-and-white HP LaserJet M5000 MFP series starts at $4000 retail, and the Color LaserJet CM6030 MFP series starts at $7000. But to lease, you’ll have to pay $115 per month for the M5000, or $190 per month for the CM6030 for a 48-month lease. (That means you’ll spend $5520 for the M5000, or $9120 for the CM6030, over the course of 48 months.)Though high-volume printers don’t have quite as short a lifecycle as a notebook or desktop, it pays to do your research to understand the lease options, what’s expected at the end of the lease, and what your total cost will be over the life of the lease.For expensive office equipment, such as a high-volume printer, you may find that the extra money spent over the course of a lease makes sense, as it’s only one device that will remain in your office, and it’s easier to track than a laptop. As with any lease, make sure you understand the terms and whether you’ll be stuck shipping a giant printer back to the vendor once the lease is up.Your needs may include less printing and more faxing, however. These days, a new fax machine ranges in price from less than $100 to $350, depending on feature set. But if you don’t send faxes often enough to justify a machine or a separate phone line, many free and low-cost online services let you send faxes online. These “virtual fax machine” services let you send faxes via e-mail and receive them; some offer a free local landline number.Do a Google search for “online fax” and you’ll find that there are literally thousands of Internet faxing services available, with a range of prices and features. Some are free, some let you send faxes only, and others let you both send and receive–all without a physical fax machine.One popular service, Myfax, offers plans that start at $10 per month or $110 a year to send 100 pages and receive 200 per month. The service also includes one year of online storage and either a local or a toll-free fax number.Efax is another Internet fax provider. It offers free, Plus, and Pro plans. The paid plans run around $20 per month, and you can receive faxes free. You can send 30 pages per month, and additional pages run 10 cents each. To read or create faxes, you’ll need the service’s free eMessenger application. The site does not offer storage, and larger faxes may take up a large chunk of your inbox.Overall, online faxes are a great deal if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee for a phone line, buy the equipment, or lack a permanent office space. Online faxes can also be more secure than a fax that sits out in a public area. But if you want the dependability of a landline and a permanent fax number, online faxes may not be the best option.Reach for the Clouds: Storage, Servers, and Services You may decide to simply forgo new equipment and software in favor of cloud computing, which has been gaining in popularity and hype in recent months. Companies like Google, Dell, HP, Oracle, Amazon, Salesforce.com, and even Microsoft are providing applications, Web space, and computing power via the Web. But does this mean that your traditional software applications and servers will be unnecessary?Gartner believes that 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will be using some form of cloud computing services by 2012. Cloud computing lets large companies spend more money on infrastructure and less money on the actual hardware, but as cloud computing gains in popularity, some industry experts argue that costs will increase as adoption takes hold.”Windows isn’t going away, but more and more services will be offered from the cloud, rather than installed and managed on specific on-premises platforms,” says Thomas Bittman, a Gartner analyst, on his blog. “Not to say that Amazon, Salesforce or Google have all the kinks worked out–but they sure have lowered the barrier to entry for a developer looking to build a global-class application on the cheap.”You don’t need to buy hardware or software, but you will often have to pay for space and the use of cloud computing applications. (You may need a consultant to set up some of these, however.)Some examples of cloud computing offerings include Salesforce.com, a customizable online customer-relationship management database service that offers tools to track contacts and sales leads, run campaigns, generate reports, and track revenue. You can also store files online. Its AppExchange lets you browse and install applications from partners and third-party developers. The company offers a 30-day trial, and pricing varies depending on your needs and the number of users. Check the Salesforce site for specific pricing.Amazon’s recently launched EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) service lets you forgo buying Web servers and rent instead. The term “elastic” means you can rent what you need on demand and pay for the bandwidth and server processes you use. Storage via Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) lets you store and retrieve any amount of data, starting at 15 cents per gigabyte per month. Amazon’s EC2 pricing model is based on a number of factors, including data transfer–but there is no minimum fee or activation.And Microsoft is getting into the act with its Windows Azure, a cloud-computing platform that allows developers to build and host their services on Microsoft infrastructure. Azure is not available yet, but it will reportedly eliminate the need to update your desktop applications.Of course, when it comes to cloud computing, Google Docs has been the long-standing application king. Google offers free word processing, calendaring, e-mail, spreadsheets, and collaboration tools as well as paid services that include e-mail archiving, the ability to disable ads, and support. On its site, Google lists side-by-side benefits of both free and paid plans.Though every cloud has a silver lining, these cloud services aren’t all dreamy. For one, you are at the mercy of the provider, and if they suffer an outage, so do you. Google’s recent Gmail outage left customers stranded without e-mail and their online applications for days. Security is also up to the provider, so make sure to check out whether its security level meets your needs.Whether you go the traditional route of buying your software in a box, renting server space online, buying hardware outright, or leasing, it pays to do your research, and to understand the risks. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. 11 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Brought to you by PCWorld November 20, 2008last_img read more

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