Ancient bacterial mats may have been key to first mobile animals

first_img The mats, which the researchers believe are likely similar to the type that evolved in some early lagoons during the Ediacaran Period, some 542 million years ago (the time most agree multicellular animals first began to appear) are comprised of a bottom layer of sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, which is covered by a top layer of blue green algae, which produces the oxygen through photosynthesis. They found oxygen levels of between 0.25 and 0.45 atm near the mats, compared to 0.10 at or near the surface.The findings are important because fossil evidence suggests mobile animals first evolved in early salty lagoons that should have been too salty to produce normal plant growth.Of course there is one hiccup in the theory, and that is the fact that the mats only produce oxygen during the day when the sun is shining; oxygen levels around the mats plunge at night, leaving the lagoons a very inhospitable place. However, at Los Roques, there are some insect larvae that exist inside the mats that for the most part shut down at night; hibernating, if you will, and thus can survive with almost no oxygen when it’s dark. Gingras and his team support the notion that perhaps some early life forms could have done the same, though others are not quite ready to jump on that bandwagon.Another issue is that the results are based on the notion that the mats that exist today are in fact the same as the mats that existed way back then; a bit of a leap seeing as how there is really no evidence to support such a supposition. Thus, in order for the ideas suggested in this paper to gain credence, evidence of some similarity will have to be found through further research. © 2010 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Ancient bacterial mats may have been key to first mobile animals (2011, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: Possible evolution of mobile animals in association with microbial mats, Nature Geoscience (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1142AbstractComplex animals first evolved during the Ediacaran period, between 635 and 542 million years ago, when the oceans were just becoming fully oxygenated. In situ fossils of the mobile forms of these animals are associated with microbial sedimentary structures1, 2, 3, and the animal’s trace fossils generally were formed parallel to the surface of the seabed, at or below the sediment–water interface4, 5. This evidence suggests the earliest mobile animals inhabited settings with high microbial populations, and may have mined microbially bound sediments for food resources6, 7, 8. Here we report the association of mobile animals—insect larvae, oligochaetes and burrowing shore crabs—with microbial mats in a modern hypersaline lagoon in Venezuela. The lagoon is characterized by low concentrations of dissolved O2 and pervasive biomats dominated by oxygen-producing cyanobacteria, both analogous to conditions during the Ediacaran. We find that, during the day, O2 levels in the biomats are four times higher than in the overlying water column. We therefore conclude that the animals harvest both food and O2 from the biomats. In doing so, the animals produce horizontal burrows similar to those found in Ediacaran-aged rocks. We suggest that early mobile animals may have evolved in similar environments during the Ediacaran, effectively exploiting oases rich in O2 that formed within low oxygen settings. Explore further Modern animal-biomat associations from Los Roques. b, Potential Upper Ediacaran and Lower Cambrian associations. Image illustration: Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1142 ( — Researchers from Canada studying the highly salty coastal lagoons at Los Roques, Venezuela and the microbial mats found at the bottom of the sea there, have discovered that oxygen levels in the mats, at least in the day time, are high enough to support the development of mobile life forms. Led by University of Alberta palaeontologist, Murray Gingras, the team writes in Nature Geoscience, that levels of oxygen on the ocean floor were up to four times as high as that near the surface; high enough to support the development of mobile sea life; which the team believes could explain how early life forms could have evolved in waters with high salt concentrations. How plants drove animals to the landlast_img read more

Planners for hypersonic SpaceLiner craft propose a 50 year timeline

first_img Citation: Planners for hypersonic SpaceLiner craft propose a 50 year timeline (2013, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from NASA to ship fuel tank for the last planned shuttle flight Explore further The SpaceLiner project carries with it many unknowns – foremost among them perhaps, is whether enough people will be willing to pay the expected several hundred thousand dollar cost of a single ride. Other issues such as sonic booms and the safety of not just those aboard, but those on the ground that lie in its path will need to be addressed as well. Engineers and managers working on the project are well aware of the difficult issues of course, but by publicly announcing their goal, they have shown that they are confident that they will succeed. Credit: DLR-SART The SpaceLiner project has been around since 2005, and is supported by the European Space Agency. The goal is to build a vehicle similar to the space shuttle flown previously by the United States – the main differences would be that the vehicles’ purpose would be to transport people from point to point across the globe and that it would not actually ever reach space. It would also be launched using liquid oxygen and hydrogen based propellants – only hydrogen and water vapor would be left behind in the atmosphere, a much cleaner approach than that used by other rockets.As with the space shuttle, a SpaceLiner vehicle would launch vertically, attached to a rocket booster. Passengers (up to 50) would be taken to an altitude of 47 to 50 miles, at which point the booster would fall away. From that point on, the craft would glide down to Earth on a trajectory that would have it arrive at its pre-designated destination. As the craft glides, it would reach speeds of up to 15,000 mph, which would account for the short travel time. But such plans also pose a problem for engineers as the vehicle would experience the same heat buildup as space reentry vehicles. For that reason, the design of the craft itself is still a work in progress. Engineers are analyzing the results of FAST20XX, a joint European project that has been studying the types of high speed craft that might carry people in the not so distant future. They will also no doubt be consulting with NASA on lessons learned from the space shuttle program. © 2013 (—Martin Sippel, project coordinator for the SpaceLiner project has announced that the German Aerospace Center believes it can plan, build and launch a suborbital craft capable of flying from Europe to Australia in just 90 minutes, in as few as 50 years. 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

Study indicates Neolithic people from Near East migrated to Europe via island

first_img Scientists know that the first modern humans to migrate to Europe were hunter-gatherers—they arrived approximately 40,000 years ago. But then, the hunter-gatherers were slowly replaced by new migrants from the Near East approximately 9,000 years ago—migrants that were farmers. But the path they took has been under dispute by historians. In this new effort the researchers sought to lay the arguments to rest by conducting an exhaustive DNA study of the people that live in the region today.The team collected DNA samples from 964 people living in 32 different places in the region—from northern Africa, to the Middle and Near East to islands in the Mediterranean Sea, to the European continent. Each of the DNA samples was scrutinized for markers known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). People from the same place tend to have SNPs in common, which makes tracking their migration possible by looking for such markers in different populations. Analysis of the samples allowed the researchers to trace the movement of early people from the fertile crescent in the Middle East, to the Near East and into Turkey, and then as they sailed to nearby islands off the southern coast and finally, as they arrived on the southern shores of mainland Europe. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 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 researchers note that despite the lack of archeological evidence, such as boats used by the migrants, the DNA analysis allowed for near certainty in plotting the course of Neolithic migration of early farmers to Europe. The SNPs showed very clearly, they claim, the path that the people took, thus, island hopping may be considered the main, if not only route that was taken. That would rule out such possibilities as a northern land route from Turkey to Europe through the Bosphorus strait, or farmers sailing directly to Europe from the Middle East. Explore further More information: Maritime route of colonization of Europe, Peristera Paschou, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1320811111AbstractThe Neolithic populations, which colonized Europe approximately 9,000 y ago, presumably migrated from Near East to Anatolia and from there to Central Europe through Thrace and the Balkans. An alternative route would have been island hopping across the Southern European coast. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed genome-wide DNA polymorphisms on populations bordering the Mediterranean coast and from Anatolia and mainland Europe. We observe a striking structure correlating genes with geography around the Mediterranean Sea with characteristic east to west clines of gene flow. Using population network analysis, we also find that the gene flow from Anatolia to Europe was through Dodecanese, Crete, and the Southern European coast, compatible with the hypothesis that a maritime coastal route was mainly used for the migration of Neolithic farmers to Europe.Press release Genetic markers in modern populations indicate the Neolithic migrants who brought farming to Europe traveled from the Levant into Anatolia and then island hopped to Greece via Crete and then to Sicily and north into Southern Europe. Credit: Modified NASA mapcenter_img Mitochondrial DNA of first Near Eastern farmers is sequenced for the first time ( —A multinational team of researchers has concluded that Neolithic farmers migrated to Europe from the Near East via the islands that dot the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and Greece. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they used genetic analysis on a large number of volunteers in the Middle and Near East and Europe to trace the path of early migration into Europe. © 2014 Citation: Study indicates Neolithic people from Near East migrated to Europe via island hopping (2014, June 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A coastal route of colonization of Europe. Credit: PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1320811111last_img read more

New test may provide smoking gun for modified gravity

first_img 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. © 2014 Like any scientific prediction, modified gravity must be experimentally tested in order for scientists to confirm its validity. Although significant progress has been achieved in recent years in designing observational tests of gravity’s effects in the universe that might reveal the presence of modified gravity, there is still no conclusive evidence for its existence.Now in a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, Wojciech A. Hellwing, et al., have proposed a new test of modified gravity that is based on measuring the tendency of well-separated galaxies to approach each other. This movement is called the galaxy pairwise velocity. The physicists show that the galaxy pairwise velocity distribution of many galaxies with a wide range of masses is expected to deviate from the predictions of general relativity by significant amounts: between 5 and 10 standard deviations or higher, depending on the model. Due to these large deviations, this proposed test could potentially offer the strongest evidence in support of modified gravity to date.”Modified gravity (MG) theories have gained a lot of attention in the last decade,” Hellwing, a researcher at Durham University in the UK and the University of Warsaw in Poland, told “Mostly because this class of theories provides an alternative explanation of the late-time accelerated expansion of the universe, while avoiding some conceptual problems related to the classical general relativity (GR) picture in which Einstein’s cosmological constant is supposed to drive this acceleration. In the classical GR picture, one needs to have a very small value of the cosmological constant, which is hard to reconcile with quantum field theory. MG theories provide an alternative explanation, but in most of these theories modifications to gravity not only can account for accelerated expansion but also can produce non-negligible enhancement to gravity at cosmic scales relevant to galaxy formation and dynamics. Therefore it is of utmost importance to find observational evidence that could distinguish between these two scenarios (GR or MG).” Study finds ‘lumpy’ universe cannot explain cosmic acceleration A thin slice of the large-scale cosmic density field (the clustering of dark matter and galaxies) is depicted for four models: GR and three different MG models. The side of the box corresponds to ~360 Mega parsecs (Mpc) or ~1.16 billion of light years. Credit: Baojiu Li, et al. “The non-linear matter and velocity power spectra in f(R) gravity. Credit: ” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 428, Issue 1, p.743-755 ( —Since 1916, general relativity has provided a description of gravity that can explain many observations, including objects in free fall, gravitational lensing by massive objects, and black holes. Despite the success of the theory for nearly 100 years, scientists have been looking at ways to modify general relativity in order for it to better explain certain observations—particularly the accelerated expansion of the universe. Although these modifications can be very different from one another, they generally fall into the category of “modified gravity.” Although one possible type of observational evidence of MG is related to the clustering of luminous galaxies, Hellwing explained that these observations have been plagued by ambiguities connected to non-linear baryonic physics responsible for galaxy formation and clustering. The complications make it very difficult to find a clear and measurable signal that could help researchers distinguish between GR and MG scenarios. Citation: New test may provide ‘smoking gun’ for modified gravity (2014, June 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from “In our paper we have shown that the peculiar velocities of galaxies bear a significant signal of the underlying theory of gravity,” Hellwing said. “The advantage here is that the galaxy velocities are much less prone to the effects of the non-linear baryonic physics of galaxy formation. We also show this in our paper, when we present that the MG signal is present for galaxies of all masses and can also be measured both on large and small cosmological scales. Thanks to these unique features connected to the statistics of the galaxy velocity field, these kinds of observables pose a clean ‘smoking gun’-like signature of either GR or MG.”The physicists explain that the MG signal can be measured in two ways because it involves two different observational data sets. One set consists of the data of galaxy peculiar velocities, the other the clustering of galaxies in so-called redshift space. In the latter, the galaxy positions (clustering) are affected by their peculiar velocities and in the former the galaxy velocities are measured directly. “Both data sets call for a different approach,” Hellwing said. “However, the quality of the current data should allow for a clear measurement of the signal we discuss. Redshift space data is very abundant but it needs an extra theoretical effort to model properly the expected signal in GR and MG. The velocity data can be interpreted directly but it is much sparser and contained by much larger observational errors. A program aimed to extract the signal we have predicted theoretically is already in progress.”If experiments confirm that a modified version of general relativity can explain observations better than the original version, the results could shed light on some fundamental cosmological questions.”The implications of measuring the signal we have found are very profound,” Hellwing said. “Firstly the GR commonly adopted as a crucial ingredient of the standard cosmological model has only being tested at scales corresponding to the Solar System. Einstein’s theory was never directly tested on cosmological scales (relevant to galaxy velocities). Confirming that the GR is a valid theory of gravitation also on intermediate cosmological scales is very important. On the other hand, if the measured signal will indicate that GR is not enough to explain the observed motion of galaxies, then we will be dealing with a paradigm shift and a real breakthrough in modern cosmology and physics, comparable in magnitude to the accelerated expansion discovered in the late ’90s of the 20th century.” Journal information: Physical Review Letters , Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society A schematic picture of how researchers can observe galaxy peculiar velocities, “a cosmic dance of galaxies.” Credit: Wojciech A. Hellwing Explore further More information: Wojciech A. Hellwing, et al. “Clear and Measurable Signature of Modified Gravity in the Galaxy Velocity Field.” PRL 112, 221102 (2014). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.221102last_img read more

Brown dwarf detected in the CoRoT20 system

first_img Located some 4,000 light years away from the Earth, CoRoT-20 is a star of spectral type G2V, similar in size and mass to our sun. In 2011, astronomers found a planet orbiting this star on a short-period eccentric orbit. The exoworld, which received designation CoRoT-20 b, is about the size of Jupiter but four times more massive. The exoplanet, classified as a “hot Jupiter,” circles its host every 9.24 days at a distance of approximately 0.09 AU from it.Now, a team of researchers led by Javiera Ray of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, have found a new substellar object in this system, also on an eccentric orbit, but with a much longer orbital period than that of CoRoT-20 b. The discovery was made as a result of follow-up observations of the CoRoT-20 system conducted between November 2011 and November 2017, using the HARPS and SOPHIE spectrographs.”In this paper, we report a new substellar companion orbiting CoRoT-20, thanks to six years of additional observations obtained with HARPS and SOPHIE spectrographs,” the researchers wrote in the paper.Observations carried out by Ray’s team show that the newly detected object, designated CoRoT-20 c, has a minimum mass of 17 Jupiter masses. Due to its mass, CoRoT-20 c was initially classified as a brown dwarf. Although the boundary between planet and brown dwarf is poorly defined, astronomers generally agree that brown dwarf are substellar objects at least 13 times more massive than Jupiter.According to the study, CoRoT-20 c is separated from its parent star by approximately 2.9 AU. The planet has an orbital period of 4.59 years and orbital eccentricity of 0.6.Notably, orbital parameters of the newly identified brown dwarf make CoRoT-20 the first known system with an eccentric “hot Jupiter” and an eccentric massive companion.”CoRoT-20 is the first identified system with an eccentric hot Jupiter (e ≥ 0.2) and an eccentric massive companion with a fully probed orbit,” the paper reads.The researchers noted that the newly detected brown dwarf interacts with the “hot Jupiter,” adding that the currently high eccentricity of CoRoT-20 b is likely entirely due to the presence of CoRoT-20 c.Due to this interaction, the CoRoT-20 system is perceived by Ray’s team as an excellent candidate to test tidal migration models. So far, astronomers have identified at least three migration mechanisms that can explain the existence of close-in “hot Jupiters” on eccentric orbits. Therefore, further observations of CoRoT-20 c, during its next transit, which is expected to occur in late 2020, could help us advance our understanding of these mechanisms. 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. COROT’s exoplanet hunt update More information: A 4.6-year period brown-dwarf companion interacting with the hot-Jupiter CoRoT-20 b, arXiv:1807.01229 [astro-ph.EP] report the discovery of an additional substellar companion in the CoRoT-20 system based on six years of HARPS and SOPHIE radial velocity follow-up. CoRoT-20 c has a minimum mass of 17 ± 1 MJup and it orbits the host star in 4.59±0.05 years, with an orbital eccentricity of 0.60 ± 0.03. This is the first identified system with an eccentric hot Jupiter and an eccentric massive companion. The discovery of the latter might be an indication of the migration mechanism of the hot Jupiter, via Lidov-Kozai effect. We explore the parameter space to determine which configurations would trigger this type of interactions. Radial velocity curve (top) and residuals (middle) of CoRoT-20 from FIES (orange), HARPS (purple) and SOPHIE (blue). Generalized Lomb-Scargle (GLS) periodogram (bottom) of the radial velocities after subtraction of the two orbits. False alarm probability levels are plotted for 50, 10 and 1 percent. Credit: Ray et al., 2018. © 2018 Explore further Citation: Brown dwarf detected in the CoRoT-20 system (2018, July 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from An international group of astronomers has discovered a new substellar object in the planetary system CoRoT-20. The newly identified object was classified as a brown dwarf due to its mass, which is greater than that of the heaviest gas giant planets. The finding is reported in a paper published July 3 on read more

Do Not Trust That Strangers 5Star Review

first_imgAs Dr. Salganik explained, even if a system is gamed, the worst product probably won’t end up at the top of your screen for long; assuming there’s a considerable difference in quality among the options, it will eventually be knocked down. But if the products are pretty similar, then yes, it’s possible that the very best one will actually not float to the very top — though that’s no tragedy either. As Barry Schwartz, the author of “The Paradox of Choice,” argues, if everything is essentially the same, then there’s nothing wrong with ending up with a product that’s the second- or third-best of the heap. Read the whole story: The New York Times Last Saturday, I was desperate for Mozart sheet music. It had to be for piano, and it had to be easy to play. Out of 84 options on Amazon, a book with 4.7 stars caught my eye — good enough for a 9-year-old’s music-class presentation. Later that afternoon, I needed to book a hotel for our summer vacation and I trusted the 1,310 reviewers on TripAdvisor who gave my pick an average of four stars, along with a good number of “fantastics” and “wonderfuls.” It’s not that I’m afraid of a little research. As a writer at Wirecutter, The New York Times’s product review site, I pore over user ratings professionally, though I don’t rely on them solely. For my review of foam mattresses, I focused my efforts on extensive reporting and slept on the mattresses myself. I analyzed online comments to deduce trends, and I certainly didn’t take stars at face value. Dinner was a 4.5 star meatloaf recipe. And this weekend, with Memorial Day sales in full swing, I will turn to an army of online reviewers who will help me bite the bullet and replace a toilet that has mysteriously begun flushing of its own accord. Someone else will have put the time in at Home Depot so I don’t have to.center_img — But which someone? Who are these reviewers I’m trusting with my purchasing decision, big and small? I don’t know for sure, and yet I feel completely stalled until I’ve scrolled through everything they have to say.last_img read more

Of myth magic and mysticism

first_imgExploring the mythical and magical world of Shamans, Anu Malhotra’s documentary The Shamans of the Himalayas unveils the mystery that surrounds their life. Millennium Post speaks to the filmmaker about the eye-opening experiences she encountered while helming the documentary.This documentary will be telecast as a four part series on Discovery Channel this month.What prompted your interest in the Shamanistic traditions of Kullu Manali?Manali is one of my favourite travel destinations. Whenever I went there, I made friends and listened to their stories. I encountered scenes on the streets that fired my imagination. Out of curiosity, I asked people about the things I observed. They told me that in these areas, every village has its own deity and each deity, its own ‘Gur’ or shaman. That’s where the idea of my documentary emerged. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’It took you over two years to make this documentary, tell us what kept you going on during that phase?The overview of the Shamanistic culture itself is very fascinating. It’s almost a faraway world from our city-centric lives; a world where everything is alive- the rocks, the leaves, and the atmosphere around. That is what physics says as well. Shamanistic traditions emphasize upon an interconnected web of life; you disturb its balance, and its repercussions come back to you. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYou had already researched extensively on this theme before you hit the ground. Still, during the course of the film, was there anything that left you flabbergasted? Share an anecdote with us. I was shooting Gur Tularam, a shaman of goddess Hadimba in the Kullu valley. Hadimba is a demon goddess. When Tularam goes into a trance, it’s terrifying to see him as he turns violent over a period of time. I could feel his waves of energy travelling to me and I was left flabbergasted with goosebumps on my skin. Shooting this four-hour -long documentary was a massive exercise. I remember chasing a procession of Shamans. I was almost jumping around with my small camera to keep up with their pace. There has been a pattern to your documentaries; you seem to be travelling to a new state with every fresh documentary you make. I started my television career in the 90s with travel shows. During that time, I used to drive or travel around the country all the time. Wherever I went, I found a new culture, a different way of life. This is what inspires me to document the fragile and vulnerable aspects of life in India for posterity. If these cultures get lost with the passage of time, a way of life will be lost, leaving us empty for forever.last_img read more

Saluting the king of Kathak

first_imgNoted film maker, artist and social worker, Shri Muzaffar Ali and renowned sitarist, Debu Chaudhuri released Birju Maharaj: The Master Through My Eyes at a function organised at the India International Center. Birju Maharaj, who was present on the occasion, later spoke about his life and passion to regale the audience.Also present at the function were Jawar Sircar, CEO Prasar Bharati, and leading personalities in the field of art and theatre.  The publication aims to highlight the work and life of noted artists and is authored by his disciple, Saswati Sen. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Birju Maharaj is not only an unmatched Kathak dancer but also a superb vocalist, a generous teacher, and an imaginative painter. The book reveals how this icon of Indian dance, who is a mentor for thousands and an inspiration for countless people across the globe, is actually an unassuming, simple person outside his artistic world. Accompanied by rare photographs, this is a heartfelt tribute to a man who, among his many achievements, has spread awareness about the classical dance form of Kathak, not only in India, but abroad while touching innumerable lives along the way. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThis memoir of the legendary Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj presents layers of his personality—his simplicity, modesty, generosity—as witnessed by one of his foremost disciples, Saswati Sen, who has known him for over forty-five years.Saswati Sen, regarded as one of the best exponents of the famous Lucknow gharana of Kathak, is the driving force behind Kalashram, Pandit Birju Maharaj’s dream institution. She has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Sanskriti Award, the Shringar Mani Award and the Critic’s Recommendation Award. She has performed at the RIMPA (Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts) festival in Varanasi, the Kathak Prasang in Bhopal and Jaipur and the prestigious Khajuraho Festival of dance, among others.After her initial training under Reba Chatterjee Vidyarthi at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in New Delhi, she was awarded the National Scholarship in 1969 by the Ministry of Culture. She then graduated to become one of the foremost disciples of Pandit Birju Maharaj.last_img read more

The language of music

first_imgAgainst the backdrop of rapid urbanization and growing metro culture which has created vulnerability of the traditional artistes, the project presents a compelling vision for indigenous design, the redesign of new economies centred on innovation, well being and compassion. The project emphasise values like, How the wisdom of the past can be made accessible to people.The project presents both traditional and new instruments based on Indian sitar, Burmese saung harp, Thai xylophone, Korean kayagum, Chinese guzheng and pipa, Vietnamese dan tranh, Javanese and Balinese gamelan, chanting and others. New instruments with embedded computation demonstrate interactions through gesture, touch, pull, movement, gaze and kinesthetic action. In addition, through responsive computing, people by their position, gesture, and movements control musical events in the exhibition environment.The museum landscapes exhibition builds on a series multimedia museum works, showing intersections between traditional and modern art, design and technology, such that the results help both traditional and modern societies. The works show that the wisdom of traditional communities can positively negate the homogenising aesthetics of modern media technology.When: On till 16 January 2014Where: National Museumlast_img read more

For the fearless one

first_imgMumbai theatre group Swaang teamed up with city-based band Majma to launch Jurrat: Aazaad Chalo, Bebaak Chalo! campaign in memory of the 23-year-old paramedic, who was gangraped by six people inside a moving bus on 16 December, last year. The incident had set off a nationwide outrage.’We had been planning the campaign from quite some time. We wanted to raise the issue of gender-violence but in our way, that is the cultural way,’ actress Swara Bhaskar, one of the founding members of Swaang said.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The actress was part of performances of songs of protest that included the Maa Nee Meri (My dear Mother) composed during protests post the incident.’This is an endeavour to fight our own complacency as a society and people and not allow the 23-year-old girl’s fight and spirit and ordeal to fade into a crime-record statistic. I became a part because I wanted to. I hope others join in too,’ said Swara at the event launch.Theatre artiste Mallika Taneja enacted a monoact drama titled Be Careful, which drew applause. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix’Jurrat is a lovely concept. I love the name and I am glad I could be part of it,’ said Mallika.A one-hour act Museum…a dying species by Mumbai-based theatre group Being Association depicted a hard hitting account on discrimination and clichés faced by women.’I am glad that our debut performance received such a great response. Wherever we go, our play is loved and appreciated,’ said Rasika Agashe, the play’s director.Various music and street theatre groups performed across the city till 15 December. The event is set to conclude on 16 December with a mobile concert performances by Rabbi Shergill, Sona Mohapatra and Swanand Kirkire.last_img read more

Sex racket busted 4 held

first_imgKolkata: Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have busted a sex racket from Hooghly and arrested four persons including a woman for their alleged involvement in the racket.The CID had specific information that a sex racket was operating from a hotel called Bishramika Guest House situated on Indira Gandhi Road in Hooghly’s Konnagar.A team from the CID raided the hotel on Wednesday night and arrested the accused. Four minor girls have been rescued from there. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedLocals informed the police that illegal activities have been going on in the hotel for quite sometime. Young girls were brought in from various parts of the state. Two managers of the hotel have been arrested in this connection. One male pimp and one female pimp were also among the arrested persons.They have been identified as Avinash Kanu, Bibekananda Bera, Sukh Dev Das and Kalpana Chakraborty.The CID officials are investigating if other persons are involved in the racket.In the preliminary investigation, the officials have come to know that the accused used to engage minor girls into the business.Police are not ruling out the possibilities of others being involved in the racket. The CID officials are trying to know their names.last_img read more

TMC to construct temples in West Bengals Hindi heartland

first_imgKolkata: The TMC is mulling construction of 10 sun temples in Asansol area of south Bengal to peddle its “soft Hindutva” brand and take the wind out of the BJP’s sails in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation, Jitendra Kumar Tiwari is at the forefront of construction of the temples in his area which is likely to be completed before next year’s ‘Chhath’ puja. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life In addition to increasing outreach among the majority community members, the TMC’s efforts also appear to be guided by its endeavour to further endear itself with the migrant Hindi speaking population from Bihar and Jharkhand in the region which has five Lok Sabha constituencies “In this area of Durgapur-Asansol, there is a huge Hindi speaking population. Every year, we witness large number of devotees during Chhath Puja. In order to cater to them, we have decided to build 10 sun temples in the area,” Tiwari, who is also the chairman of Chhath Puja Coordination Committee, told PTI. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed The designs of the temples would be ready by December and the construction will cost around Rs 2 crore, Tiwari, who is also a TMC MLA from the West Burdwan district, said. “We have already started mobilizing funds from the locals for the construction of the temples. We have formed temple committees in different areas to raise funds. The Asansol Municipal Corporation will provide infrastructure support such as roads and electricity,” he said. Asansol-Durgapur belt has been one of the most politically and communally volatile regions in the state since 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which witnessed a surprising victory of BJP’s Babul Supriyo. Earlier, in March-April of this year, Asansol in West Burdwan district witnessed communal riots over Ram Navami celebrations. The TMC’s temple building exercise is being seen as its bid to check the saffron party’s growth, which has made steady inroads in the region since Supriyo’s victory. The decision to construct the temples comes at a time when the BJP has registered phenomenal growth in Bengal politics by championing the cause of Hindus and labelling TMC as a party more “keen on appeasing Muslims”. The BJP, which has fixed a target to win 22 seats in Bengal, is also set to start its three ‘rath yatras’ in Bengal from December 7 covering all the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state. However, a senior TMC leader and MP, on the condition of anonymity said, the party and the state government works for every caste and religion. “We are aware that 10 sun temples are coming up in Asansol. The allegations of TMC practising soft Hindutva are completely baseless. We respect each and every religion. We don’t believe in communal politics of BJP,” the TMC leader told PTI. Although, TMC sources admitted that the temples would endear the party to the Hindi speaking migrants in the region as Chhath festival– to worship sun god– is close to their hearts. The Asansol-Durgapur belt and parts of Birbhum and Purulia, which share its border with Jharkhand, is known as the Hindi heartland of Bengal due to presence of considerable Hindi speaking population. A majority of the population in the area are migrant labourers from Bihar and Jharkhand who work in factories there. Despite Tiwari maintaining that the temples had nothing to do with elections or politics, TMC insiders said the initiative would have a “positive” impact on the 2019 polls. “BJP has been trying to increase its footprint in the area by trying to pitch themselves as champions of Hindutva and saviours of Hindus. So, we want to reach out to the masses of the area, especially Hindi speaking people, with the message that we respect all religions,” said a senior TMC leader. The construction of temples in the areas will send out a strong message to the majority population in the adjoining districts and also tribal areas, which comprises nearly 5-6 Lok Sabha seats that the BJP is eyeing in next Lok Sabha polls, said another TMC leader. However, the opposition Congress and CPI(M) alleged that the TMC was “peddling soft hindutva” to nullify Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “pro-Hindu” agenda. From organising ‘purohit sammelan’ (congregation of Hindu priests) to Haunuman Jayanti, Ram Navami celebrations and more recently providing Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga puja pandals across the state, the TMC has been charting a course of “soft Hindutva” to take the wind out of BJP’s sails, said CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty. State Congress president Somen Mitra went on to blame TMC’s communal politics as the main reason for the rise of the BJP and its mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Bengal. However, the BJP said that it was due to the “fear psychosis” of the saffron party, that the TMC was forced to shift its stance from “Muslim appeasement to temple construction”. “It is really good to see that the TMC has changed its political strategy from minority appeasement to construction of temples due to the fear of BJP. The TMC is doing it with an eye on next year’s Lok Sabha polls,” local MP and Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries, Babul Supriyo said. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said if the TMC was so keen on building temples, then it should come out with a clear stand on the issue of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodha.last_img read more

Power dept officials heckled over theft row 1 injured

first_imgKolkata: A senior official of the Power department in the district was heckled by some villagers after he went to Keshpur in West Midnapore district to check an incident of power theft. It was learnt that a station manager of the Power department in the district had gone to a village in the Keshpur area on late Monday evening after he was reported about an incident of power theft in the area. When he reached the spot along with some other staff of the department they identified two local villagers — Madan Bera and Mukti Pandit —to be involved in the power theft. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalAs the station manager inquired into the reason behind tapping, they became infuriated and attacked the official. When the accused were interrogated in this connection, some of the villagers staged a demonstration in front of the officials. It was alleged that the villagers beat up the station manager and also heckled other staff as they had demanded a clarification behind the act. They were even detained by the villagers for nearly an hour. The station manager identified as Dipak Kumar Majhi received injuries in the incident. The incident triggered chaos in the area. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedMajhi and other employees were released after the intervention of some villagers who persuaded the accused to set them free. The matter was later reported to the local police station. Police reached the spot and started a probe. They are yet to arrest anybody. The Power department officials with assistance from the district police will carry out a search operation to identify the areas where power tapping might have taken place. The officials are often heckled when they go to check such incidents of power theft in the rural areas. Top brass of the department often complain of power tapping leading to a huge loss in the government’s exchequer. The district police have, however, initiated a detailed probe in connection with the incident.last_img read more

Exhibition to emphasize the idea of Duality and Balance

first_imgDuality exists everywhere around us, and the artists have always been subtly conscious of this duality of things; for example day and night, truth and false, success and failure, mirth and melancholy. Taking the theme into consideration, artist Alka Bhrushundi is coming up with her solo exhibition- ‘Santulan-the balance’. The more she thought about this duality of life, the more the concept of Balance piqued as an interest.The exhibition, which will start from December 26 will last till January 1, 2018 at the Lalit Kala Akademi. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfTalking about the theme for her exhibition, Alka said, “Our lives, just like our thoughts are constantly swinging to and fro, between the dualities. The desirable life is that of balance; between work and leisure, happiness and sadness, and so on. Thus, I had the wish to bring out the abstract idea of balance through my art work.”Also, our entire universe works on a system of balance. The Sun, planets and other cosmic objects, in a state of fine equilibrium ensure our existence on earth. It is using circular shapes in each of the artwork that she has attempted to bring out the significance of the Sun as a source of energy and balance in our lives. The circles also symbioses the cyclical nature of our lives, and of our thoughts. There is a certain rhythm to our everyday thoughts, if closely observed. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe paintings in this suite of work range from a colour palette of soothing blues and greens, to robust reds and textured yellows. In some instances, the canvases are textured and bring out the forms in high relief. It foregrounds the sphere as its central protagonist. It is the ultimate expression of unity, completeness, and integrity. The artist evokes, spheres and triangles that are gently evocative of this cosmos, calling upon their presence in a mystical and subtle fashion.”It is a hope for the spectator to get a chance to pause and feel the rhythm in their thoughts and their lives at large; to be able to bring about a balance between the calm and chaos of thoughts,” she mentioned further.The 38 works on display are also available for sale with an approximate price that ranges between Rs. 10,000 and 2,00,000.last_img read more

TMC heavyweights go on campaign trail across state

first_imgKolkata: Trinamool Congress candidates across the state hit the campaign trail on Sunday, with party leaders Subrata Mukherjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Mala Roy, Mamata Bala Thakur and Moon Moon Sen among others seen interacting with voters of their respective constituencies.Mala Roy, who is contesting from the Kolkata South seat, started her campaign near the Tollygunge railway station, accompanied by state Public Works Department (PWD) minister and Tollygunge MLA Aroop Biswas. Roy braved the scorching summer heat and walked across ward 81 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), interacting with the people. She gave a patient hearing to problems in her constituency, including those of the slum dwellers and assured them that she would address the issues, if she is elected. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”Our party supremo has given the call for the party to win all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. We are her soldiers and will try our best to fulfill her dream,” Biswas said. Meanwhile, senior TMC leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay was found making wall graffiti in favour of Roy and also painting the symbol of the party on a wall. TMC candidate from Bankura and senior party leader Subrata Roy walked and also boarded a toto during his campaign. “I have an emotional attachment with the people of Bankura and my work particularly for the Public Health & Engineering department, has brought about a major boost to water supply in this district. I will urge those who have benefitted from my work to vote for me,” Mukherjee said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataMukherjee had lost ten years ago when he had contested in Bankura on a Congress ticket. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, TMC candidate from the Barasat seat, attended a programme of the Matua community at Akarampur in Habra on Sunday. She also danced to the tunes of a devotional song of the community. The votes from the Matua community, which accounts for around 10 percent of the total votes, are going to be a factor in the Barasat seat. Trinamool Congress candidate from Bongaon Mamata Bala Thakur offered her prayers at Jaleshwar Temple in Gaighata and also went to a nearby mosque to seek blessings from the head of the mosque. She then walked in and around the Jaleshwar area, seeking votes. Trinamool Congress candidate from Asansol Moon Moon Sen campaigned at Amritnagar in Ranigunj. Addressing a public gathering, she said that some Opposition parties may come and offer money, seeking votes. “If they offer money, you take it but you should vote for Didi (Mamata Banerjee),” she maintained.last_img read more

Bengal celebrates Poila Baisakh with fervour

first_imgKolkata: Poila Baisakh, the first day of Bengali New Year, was celebrated with much fervor by the people across the state with youngsters taking out colourful rallies to soak into the spirit of New Year festivities.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended greetings through a video message on the social media and wished happiness and prosperity to the people. She also offered prayers at the Kalighat temple on Sunday night. Many people visited religious places such as Dakshineswar temple, Kalighat temple and Tarapith for an auspicious new beginning. With the day also marking the start of a new financial year, shopkeepers and businessmen observed the haal khata ceremony — closing their old account books and opening new ones. Businessmen thronged temples with their halkhata (account books) in the morning. Temples such as Dakshineswar, Kalighat and Tarapith witnessed a huge footfall on Monday. Adequate security arrangements were in place to handle the crowd. There was deployment of police personnel and civic volunteers in and around the temples to manage the extra rush. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataA visitor, who came to Dakshineswar temple from Narayanpur, said he had to stand in the queue for more than an hour before offering puja. Another devotee Shibu Saha said he had been visiting the temple on the Bengali New Year for the past 20 years. “It feels great to welcome the New Year with a prayer to the Lord,” Saha said. North Bengal also celebrated the arrival of the New Year with gusto. Youths took out colourful rallies in Siliguri. State tourism minister Goutam Deb took part in a rally and local women clad in colourful dresses joined the event. There was great enthusiasm among the people. A cultural programme was organised at the Baghajatin Park in Siliguri. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe day was about dressing up in new clothes, exchanging pleasantries and greetings. Revellers, cutting across religious barriers, celebrated the day with family and friends. During this time of the year family members fly back to Bengal from across the world to be with their near and dear ones. All sorts of sweets starting from traditional sandesh (cottage cheese sweet), rosogolla (sugary spongy sweet) to sugar-free and fusion sweets kept flying off the shelves of confectioners. Traders welcomed customers with sweets and new Bengali calendars as people went on a shopping spree.last_img read more

EC issues showcause notice to BJP TMC leaders

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission has served a show-cause notice each to the BJP district president of Nadia Mahadev Sarkar and Trinamool Congress MLA from Chakdah Ratna Ghosh Kar, for their derogatory remarks. Sarkar had made some derogatory remarks on Mahua Moitra, who is contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on a Trinamool Congress ticket. The Commission has taken a strong objection to his remarks after watching the video where he was heard saying the words. Sarkar has been asked to clarify why he made such remarks about a candidate of his rival party. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe Commission had earlier sought a report from the District Magistrate of Nadia on April 17, regarding the statements made by Ghosh Kar. The Commission has now show-caused her after it found her statements highly derogatory in nature. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has gone through the report submitted by the DM in this regard. The TMC MLA found herself at the centre of controversy after she made some objectionable remarks regarding the Central Force. It was alleged that during a closed door party meeting, she had appealed to the members of the party’s Mahila Morcha to “chase Central Forces away with broomsticks.” In another development, an FIR was lodged with the Hooghly police against Locket Chatterjee, who is contesting the election from Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency on BJP’s ticket. During a rally, Chatterjee had allegedly made some remarks which could have triggered communal tension in the area.last_img read more

Taxis to remain off the roads in Darjeeling

first_imgDarjeeling: Vehicles, mainly taxis, will remain off the roads from 11 am to 1 pm in Darjeeling town on Thursday. This is owing to a meeting of the Himalayan Transport Coordination Committee on various issues pertaining to taxis.”The Hills are plagued with numerous taxi and transport-related problems including parking, taxi-bus stands, and revision of fares. “During elections, different political parties give us assurances but afterwards, the assurances do not translate into action. We have called for a meeting on Thursday in which we have called all the taxi owners, transporters and drivers so that they can voice their grievances and hear about the solutions from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration top brass,” stated S N Pradhan, president. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBinay Tamang, former chairman of the GTA along with Anit Thapa, acting chairman, Board of Administrators, GTA, will be present at the meeting to be held at the GDNS Hall in Darjeeling from 10:30 am on Thursday. Handouts to this effect were circulated to transport and taxi syndicates by the coordination committee on Wednesday. The committee is affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay faction.) However, the handout stated that taxis will remain off the roads in Darjeeling town from 11 am to 1 pm stressing that in this period, if there is any untoward incident and vehicles are damaged, the committee will not take any responsibility. “We have written this so that all attend. We want them to have direct interaction with the authorities so that they can put up their problems and hear what the GTA authorities have to say,” explained Pradhan. There are 61 syndicates under the Committee.last_img read more

After threats Beep replaces Beef in Kolkata food fest

first_imgKolkata: After receiving several threat messages on account of using the word ‘Beef’ in the name of an upcoming beef food festival in the city, the organisers have replaced it with the word ‘Beep’, which has helped in decreasing the negative responses, a spokesperson said on Thursday. The event management team of the ‘Kolkata Beef Festival’, scheduled on June 23 at a cafe in central Kolkata’s Sudder Street and being promoted on social media, received various threat messages because of naming beef in the title of the food festival, they claimed. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata In order to avoid unnecessary controversy, the name was changed to ‘Kolkata Beep Festival’. “Many right-wing pages and social media accounts have been sharing my name and number, after which we decided to change the name. Taking a college student’s suggestion we chose ‘Beep’ as the new word, and we are getting a good response,” one of the organisers, Arjun Kar, told IANS. “Supporters are actually furious over the fascist nature of the whole situation,” he added. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state “Read! Because apparently name ‘beef’ is bad too,” a Facebook user wrote. Kar strongly emphasised that the “event has nothing to do with politics or religion”. It is a food festival with focus on a wide arrangement of beef preparations ranging from tenderloin, back ribs and Bolognese pasta to burgers and steaks, he said. The menu consists of some pork dishes as well. “We have noticed that after the name change, the negative responses have decreased a lot. We are now looking forward to an eventful day of celebrating great cuisine,” he added.last_img read more

Cong Gandhi familys political survival questionable says Dilip Ghosh

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Sunday took a jibe at the appointment of Sonia Gandhi as the interim chief of the Congress, saying the political survival of the grand old party and the Gandhi family has come into question. People had not just voted against the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, they also rejected the party’s dynasty politics, Ghosh asserted. “The fate of the Congress and the Gandhi family have been intertwined for several decades. The party promotes dynasty politics and has never thought beyond the Gandhi family. This is completely absurd,” the BJP MP told reporters. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata Sonia Gandhi was named the interim Congress president on Saturday, after Rahul Gandhi refused pleas by partymen to take back his resignation. “The political survival of both Congress and Gandhi family has come into question. People have not just voted against the Congress, they have also rejected the Gandhi family,” Ghosh added. Reacting to Ghosh’s assertions, senior congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya said the Bengal BJP chief should refrain from making “insensitive” remarks. “Dilip Ghosh should stop making insensitive and baseless comments as he does not understand anything about the functioning of the Congress,” Bhattacharya said.last_img read more