Monday, May 29, 2017

World's Largest Optical, Infrared Telescope Is Now Being Constructed


The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is now being constructed in Chile.

The world's largest optical and infrared telescope called Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is now being built in Chile. It aims to explore unknown objects in the universe to augment the development of science and technology.

The enormous telescope is now being constructed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is supported by the U.K.'s Science and Technology Facilities Council (SFTC). Meanwhile, the scientists from Oxford University is in charge of the design and building of its spectrograph known as "HARMONI." This is a tool that is conceptualized to instantaneously capture about 4,000 images with various colors, according to Phys.org.

The Extremely Large Telescope has a main mirror that is about 39 meters in diameter. It is conceptualized to be an adaptive telescope and could correct the atmospheric turbulence.

Niranjan Thatte, the professor of Astrophysics at Oxford's Department of Physics and the Principal Investigator for "HARMONI," said that ELT could be a big leap forward in capability. This means that they will utilize this extremely huge telescope to look for many interesting things about the universe that they have no knowledge of today. He further said that it is the element of exploring the unknown, which makes him excited about the ELT, as noted by Live Mint.

A ceremony was enfolded to celebrate its construction milestone at ESOS' Paranal Residencia in northern Chile. It was highlighted with the attendance the President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, and the Director General of ESO, Tim DE Zeeuw.

Director General Tim DE Zeeuw said that the ELT will create discoveries that they simply cannot imagine as of this time. He further said that it will surely inspire numerous people around the globe to think about science, technology and the universe. He added that this will bring great benefit to the ESO member states, to Chile and to the rest of the world.

WhatsApp teen friendly: Study


Mobile messaging service WhatsApp helps teenagers communicate better and to openly express themselves with their peers than in their classrooms, a study has claimed.

The findings showed that WhatsApp groups allow teenagers to express themselves in ways that they cannot at school, helping them develop closer and more open relationships with their classmates.

"The group chats are based on trust among the members of the group, and this enhances the possibility to be in contact," Arie Kizel from University of Haifa in Israel, was quoted as saying to nocamels.com -- an Israeli Innovation news website on Sunday.

"The discussions on Whatsapp enable the development of a social environment that is warm and human," Kizel added.

In order to examine the way teenagers experience this virtual space, the team included two groups of eight youths aged 16-17 and two groups of eight youths aged 14 to 15.

The teengers perceived the WhatsApp group as a space that breaks down the hierarchical division created at school.

One student described WhatsApp as "a place where there is respect for language and where all those involved share common terms and signs."

"On WhatsApp, I usually feel that I am not being judged, particularly because there isn't any eye contact or physical contact, only words and signs. So I feel more intimacy and security," explained another participant.

The school domain often divides the class into fixed groups and friendships, created on the basis of socioeconomic status, common activities or study tracks, and so forth.

However, the WhatsApp groups break down these divisions and make the class a single, homogeneous group.

"In the WhatsApp group, everyone can talk to everyone else. WhatsApp breaks down the walls we put up between us in class. The WhatsApp group is like a class team-building day," one participant commented.

Robot Coding for Children Hot in China

Two students create a program for a Lego robot with a computer, at a primary school in Shenzhen.

Educationalists say language creates rich dialogue between mankind and machines.

Five-year-old Duoduo is clearly hooked on her new toy, a blue robot called Dash. The only child in her family, Duoduo teaches the robot how to dance on her iPad - even naming it meimei, or little sister.

Dash - a programming robot compatible with iOS and Android devices that can be controlled through mobile apps - was designed by Silicon Valley-based Wonder Workshop Inc, and became popular in the Chinese market from last year.

"Our slogan is that coding is the new English. If the English language is a universal communications tool for people, coding is another vital tool for dialogue between human beings and machines in the age of artificial intelligence," said Brian Yang, general manager Asia Pacific at Wonder Workshop, a manufacturer of toy robots which teach kids how to code.

"We're not aiming to train geeks, but foster children's logical thinking and creativity. Learning programming will lay solid foundations for the future," he added.

The company says the past few years have seen coding classes start up in over 24 countries, among them the US, Germany and South Korea.

Educationalists say more parents want their children to be better prepared for the future, especially one in which the central government has set a goal of boosting the nation through science and education.

The Ministry of Education issued a series of documents to facilitate the teaching of science.

The latest requirement published this February asked that all standard elementary and middle schools offer science classes, to help create a more innovative country.

Denmark's Lego group has pioneered promoting robot education programs in China. In 2010, Lego started a creative talent training program with the Ministry of Education.

Chen Jiaoli, general manager of Lego education China, said that to date over 6,000 schools had adopted her company's program, which teach children from the ages of 3 years up the basics of coding and programming.

The company announced that it would boost the development of children's programming products this year.

Educationalists say China is known for its big investment in education and say it is important for China's 'economic miracle.'

They say children's education accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of total household income.

Parents born in 1980s reportedly have higher expectations and requirements for education and they believe coding may help their children gain a competitive advantage in the future.

Professor Cao Xiang at the School of Economic Management, Tsinghua University said

"Coding is useful and important, as the world and future will be driven by more and more computing technology and the best example is AlphaGo's victory last year. Or at least, technology helps children in school work in terms of maths, logic and physics."

Educationalists say that China's total investments in educational technology in 2013 were only one fourth that of the United States. But, they add, that only two years later China's investment of $1.34 billion was 30 percent more than the US total. Educational technology companies that aim to serve 180 million children are the most active players in the Chinese market, attracting more than half of the total investment in the sector.

An estimated seven out of top 10 investment deals in educational investments go to educational technology in China, according to Angela Bao, a senior investment manager at Beijing-based venture capital company Sinovation Ventures.

"Wonder Workshop is a world-leading company that has very good products, software and team. It already has more than 10,000 school users globally," Bao said.

"We believe the company can provide a whole set of systems, from curriculums to hardware, which is easily accepted by schools," she added.

Listed company Beijing Shengtong Printing Co Ltd recently announced it spent 14.21 million yuan ($2.1 million) taking a five percent stake in a newly founded children's coding company.

Last year, Beijing Shengtong also invested 430 million yuan in acquiring 100 percent of another children's robot coding company in Beijing.

Analysts say that the children's robot programming sector is hot, both internationally and in the mainland, with investors lining up to provide funding.

Educationalists say that some parents worry that learning coding - a booming market that starts with kids as early as 3 years - is vital in the early years and that by high school teenagers who haven't done courses have missed the boat.

"Children's programming provides logical thinking and a sense of regularity," says He Xuan, a computer researcher at Dongbei University who is also a mother of two. "This is helpful for their daily lives and education."

She currently plays Kodable, a popular kid coding app with her 5-year-old son.

Liu Ling, a professor of child psychology at Shenyang Normal University, suggested that parents should balance computer studies and outdoor activities to ensure their children's health, both physically and psychologically.

After seeing the positive change that Dash had on Duoduo, her classmates want to join in the fun and Duoduo's mother says she is thinking of organizing a programming team for them.

Japan to finalize strategy for drones, self-driving trucks on June 9: government sources

A man operates a toy drone at the Tokyo Toy Show trade fair in Tokyo, on June 18, 2015.

Japan aims to finalize on June 9 plans to allow package delivery by drone sometime from 2020 and the commercialization of self-driving trucks by 2022, as it scrambles to breathe new life into its corporate sector, sources told Reuters.

The government also plans to encourage more usage of Big Data and artificial intelligence to help diagnose medical conditions, said several government sources, who declined to be identified because the plans have not yet been finalised.

“The priorities are improving life expectancy, revolutionizing transport, modernizing supply chains, improving infrastructure and using financial technology,” said one of the sources.

The government plans to temporarily ease regulations for some firms, the sources said, using what is known as a regulatory sandbox to allow companies to test new technologies right away, free of the burden normally imposed by regulation.

The move to drones and autonomous vehicles is urgent for Japan, because its workforce has shrunk dramatically enough to force companies to start scaling back operations.

In April, Japan’s biggest parcel shipper, Yamato Holdings Co, which handles delivery of one in every two packages, stunned consumers by saying it would cut delivery volumes and hike prices because it did not have enough workers.

Japan is also eyeing financial technology as a source of future growth, the sources said, but has so far lagged overseas firms that have adopted technology to transform processes such as payments, lending, asset management and investment banking.

A separate document obtained by Reuters shows the government’s annual growth strategy due on Friday will keep up policies Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced last year to narrow the wealth gap, improve working conditions and boost productivity.

The government will study a plan for free schooling for some low-income households, but has delayed a decision on funding it until later this year, the document showed.

In a rare step, the strategy document, which does not usually touch on defense, has called for effective military defense in line with Japan’s military alliance with the United States, against the backdrop of North Korea’s missile program.

North Korea has been test-firing missiles at an unprecedented pace to develop its ballistic missile technology, and many Japanese politicians worry that Japan and US military in the country are potential targets.

Japan hosts around 54,000 US military personnel, the US Department of Defense says.

Crash-landing software on Drones to reduce risk to people, property below


Washington: Developing new tech to prevent human casualties, NASA scientists came out with a software that will help drones automatically spot the best places to crash-land in the case of an emergency.

There is always the risk of unmanned aerial vehicles to develop mechanical snags, and thus cause significant risk to people and property below.

Patricia Glaab, an aerospace technologist at NASA Langley Research Centre in the US, and colleagues developed the crash-landing software for drones.

During eight test flights, the technology successfully spotted safer landing sites such as swamps or drainage ditches to crash instead of cars or people on the ground, Glaab said.

The software reportedly links onboard drone components like batteries and motors to monitor their health, Fortune.com reported.

The technology identifies when something on the drone goes wrong, and puts the aerial vehicle in a crash-landing mode. When triggered, the software checks a pre-installed database of nearby safe zones that it can then pilot itself towards, the report said.

Businesses increasingly use drones for things like inspecting rooftops or power lines, raising the risk of in- flight mechanical and software problems that could put people below in danger.

How a Virtual Education is Creating New Opportunities For K-12 Students


According to recent reports, the majority of K-12 schools in the US are unable to offer the quality course programs required for students to acquire essential computing skills. The schools are lacking either the funds to provide the courses or good faculty to teach computational skills.

The Virtual High School, VHS, is a nonprofit organization that aims to offer the highest quality online education to the students of middle school and high school. But also for educators themselves to improve their professional skills.

VHS is attempting to help teachers fill the void by offering the most advanced courses online that help their students gain knowledge of the various aspects of computer science. The students who complete this program are awarded a certificate in computing.

By way of developing custom courses as well as individual courses, VHS is also enabling the students to learn different subjects simultaneously.

Adopting a holistic approach to the field of computer science appears to be a winning formula. The students who have attended this online program seem to develop more interest in computer science organically. As a result, they eagerly and enthusiastically participate in different course programs that are related to computer science.

Students that complete 3 – 4 semesters of their courses in computer science are recognized accordingly for their efforts. Based on their unique interests, VHS provides suggested pathways that help them to choose the course program.

Technology is increasingly helping educators take that giant leap away from the traditional one size fits all approach to education. Maybe this is something we should learn to celebrate, rather than fear.

VHS also seem to be instilling an art of the possible mindset into their students. Trendy topics such as Scratch and Video Game Design have introductory levels that capture their interest early on. Subsequently, this often leads to the programs in Web Designing or Java programming.

However, VHS also offers a series of summer programs to teach students important subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) too. But these are carefully selected by the career considerations of their students.

Various concepts in science and math are taught by connecting them to real world situations. For example, physics, chemistry, life sciences and engineering provide the students the opportunity to learn various topics with the help of multimedia as well as textbooks.

On my podcast, I recently spoke with Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of The Virtual High School about how students perform better when they receive individualized attention.

When students perform experiments using the knowledge they gain, they are naturally compelled to share their findings with classmates and this is proving to be incredibly valuable. In the weekly group activities, the students also discuss the connection between what they learned and the real world.

It’s this sharing of information about the latest innovations, the most advanced technology and also solutions that are capturing the hearts and minds of students.

By opening their eyes to see beyond their classroom environment, they can understand the latest issues faced by humanity such as global warming, new types of diseases, etc. But, most importantly, think about how they can make a difference.

There was a time when teachers were fearful of how technology could disrupt both their profession and the education landscape. Thankfully, we now realize how technology is the perfect tool for teachers to not only captivate the attention of their students but help them to see the bigger picture and the role they can play in society.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Health benefits of lemon: 10 incredible health benefits of lemon

Here is a list of some amazing health benefits of lemon.


The intense sourness and the fresh aroma make lemons one of the most favorite fruits to make drinks, sauces, dessert and salad dressing. Lemonade is probably the most popular summer drink. Loaded with vitamin C, iron, potassium, phosphorus and zinc, lemons have several therapeutic properties. Refreshing lemon juice is helpful in lowering the risk of stroke, treatment of kidney stone and managing body weight. Lemon also helps cleanse your tummy, boost your immunity and purifies the blood. Here is a list of some of the amazing health benefits of lemon. (ALSO READ Health benefits of watermelon: 10 reasons to eat more watermelon this summer).

1. Treats scurvy


Scurvy is caused by the deficiency of vitamin C and its symptoms include feeling tired, sore legs and arms, weakness, gum disease and lower red blood cells. You can treat this disease with lemons. Dilute the lemon juice with water and drink every two hours.

2. Good for your teeth

Lemons can be used for the cleansing of your teeth. You can get rid of the toothache by applying lemon juice on the affected area. It will also help you to eliminate bad mouth odor. You can also use it to treat bleeding gums by applying some lemon juice on the gums and massaging it lightly. (ALSO READ Best foods for your penis: 10 super foods to improve phallic health & performance).

3. Lowers the risk of stroke


Citrus fruits many decrease the risk of ischemic strokes in women, as per the American Heart Association. The study included data from 69,622 women and it was found that the risk of ischemic stroke was 19 percent lower in the group of women who ate higher amounts of citrus fruits as compared to the group that had lesser amounts of citrus. Lemon is a citrus fruit and it will help lower the risk of ischemic stroke.

4. Fights constipation and indigestion

Lemon is an excellent home remedy to cleanse your bowels. It is also an effective remedy for constipation and indigestion. Have lemon juice after your meal to aid digestion. You can prepare lemon juice by adding the juice of a lemon to a glass of warm water. Instead of sugar, add honey for taste. (ALSO READ Health benefits of papaya: 10 amazing health benefits of eating papaya).

5. Good for your skin


Lemon juice will reduce wrinkles, treat skin damage and improve the texture of the skin. You can consume lemon juice or apply it topically. Vitamin C present in the lemon plays a key role in collagen formation and helps the skin to stay healthy. Lemon juice is also a good home remedy for eczema and acne.

6. Fights cancer

Rich in vitamin C, lemon fights the free radical, which can cause cancer. The 22 different anti-cancer agents present in lemon may halt or slow down the growth of cancerous cells. (ALSO READ Health benefits of cucumber: 10 reasons to eat more cucumbers this summer).

7. Relieves respiratory disorders


Lemon has the ability to relieve breathing problems and respiratory disorders. It also reduces the risk of developing asthma. Consumption of lemon will also help control long-term respiratory problems.

8. Controls high blood pressure

This little fruit is also effective in controlling high blood pressure, nausea and dizziness. Rich in potassium, lemon juice lowers mental stress and calms your mind and body. Try to include half a lemon in your diet plan every day to reap its health benefits. (ALSO READ Health benefits of water: This is why you should drink more water).

9. Improves absorption of iron


Lemon will help improve the absorption of iron in your body. All you need to do is pair an iron rich food with lemon. This will help your body absorb more iron from the food. So, it is advisable to have a lemon dressing on your salad containing beetroot and spinach.

10. Aids in weight loss

Lemon and warm water is one of the best home remedies to lose weight. This detox water will not only aid in weight loss but will also flush out the toxins from your body.

How to make sure a robot doesn't take your job


The debate over artificial intelligence is tricky.

On one hand, as AI becomes more sophisticated, it will make our lives much easier by performing complex tasks in the blink of an eye. In theory, that could save businesses huge amounts of time and money.

On the other hand, the rise of AI could lead to many potential pitfalls. Some worry that AI could one day replace large swaths of middle-class jobs. Further, if AI becomes so sophisticated that it develops its own willpower, there will be a whole new set of science fiction–like issues to deal with.

Even the brilliant Stephen Hawking is on the fence when it comes to AI, calling it either the best thing or worst thing for humanity. Who knows!

We clearly can't predict how much AI will evolve in our lifetimes. But here are five things you can do right now to help prevent yourself from getting replaced by AI technology.

1. Become an AI trainer or explainer

There seems to be a real possibility that AI technology could replace large numbers of jobs across varying industries. What's often overlooked, however, is that the rise of AI will create many jobs as well.

This includes AI trainers, or humans that teach AI systems how they should perform. For example, some companies use chatbots to help deal with customer service demands, but those programs need constant tweaking and updating from humans to help them understand the vast subtleties of human interaction. The rise of AI will also create demand for explainers, or those who can explain the technology to others.

2. Develop specialized skills

AI has the potential to handle all manners of tasks, including ones you may not have even thought of yet. Before that happens, AI first needs to learn the wide variety of tasks that workers perform every day. That means the more specialized your talents and skillsets, the longer it will likely be before AI replaces you.

The examples vary by industry. If you're in the health-care field as a nurse, it will be helpful to learn and understand tasks and processes that wouldn't be easy to teach a machine to do. These tend to be soft skills, which machines obviously have a much harder time emulating than most humans.

Additionally, you can consider getting a job that encompasses a broad set of skills within a unique niche. For example, industrial mechanics can find jobs in a wide variety of industries, including aviation, appliances, automobiles, construction, electronics, and energy.

3. Be creative

It seems obvious, but it's worth stating: The first jobs AI will devour are those that require large amounts of analytics with very little creative thinking. Professionals in highly creative fields — like artists, computer programmers, musicians, writers, architects, and advertising experts — should be immune to losing out to AI, at least in the early stages of development.

Generally speaking, the more creative you have to be to accomplish your job's requirements, the less likely it is you'll someday be replaced by AI technology. There is one obvious caveat here, however. Not everybody is born creative, and creativity isn't something you can readily teach, like math or science.

The degree of creativity necessary in a given position also plays a role. For example, for now, at least, only a human can write a news story that includes real reporting, such as interviews with eyewitnesses and human analysis.

That's not the case for data-driven stories such as financial reporting, however. Already, some of this work is handled by software applications, since it mainly depends on the data rather than human emotion and analysis.

4. Embrace manual labor

Manual labor isn't the most glamorous type of work and, in many cases, doesn't pay well. That could change in the age of AI, considering many manual labor tasks can be difficult for machines to learn.

Take construction, for instance. It's not unfathomable to imagine how machines or robots may one day be able to construct things with little or no manual labor necessary. This could speed up the process and also cut down on work-related accidents and injuries.

At the same time, if a construction project includes constantly walking over uneven terrain, that's a job best left to humans. This is where a phenomenon known as Moravec's Paradox comes into play. It's a 1980s-era idea that says computers have difficulty with some tasks humans find easy, and vice versa.

One example is folding a towel. For most humans, it takes just a few seconds to fold a towel, but past examples have shown that it can take as long as 25 minutes for a robot to complete the same task. Put another way, if your job includes some level of manual labor, it should remain safe for the foreseeable future, even if those manual tasks seem relatively basic.

5. Strategize your future

With more and more mundane tasks being handed over to AI, some workers are focusing on asking better questions and generally being more innovative. Even if a company or industry one day has most of its tasks completed by AI machines or robots, they will still need strategists to help determine the direction of said company or industry.

Sure, machines can offer strategic tips based on trends seen in historical data. That neglects the human element, however. Sometimes, no matter what the data says, certain situations have a certain feel that you can sense, but AI may not be able to pick up on.

Take the game of baseball, for example. These days, data and ultraspecific statistics play a huge role in which players a team chooses to sign and use. Yet no matter what the computer analytics say, players still need to pass the manager's eye test. After all, the game is played on the field, not on paper.

In the end, there's no stopping the rise of robots. AI will only continue to grow and play a larger role in our lives. That may sound a bit frightening, but as long as you're able to develop knowledge and skills that are uniquely human, you should be spared from the looming AI workplace revolution.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Book vs Huawei MateBook E: Who Will Win The Battle Of 2-In-1Tablets?



The new Microsoft Surface Pro will be hitting the market next month with the Huawei Mate Book E could follow right after. As Samsung Galaxy Book is already out in the market, tech experts can't help but compare all three new devices. The question now is, who will win the battle of 2-in-1s based on its specifications and features?

Microsoft Surface Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book and Huawei MateBook E are products of three of the leading tech companies in the world today. Microsoft and Samsung might be the famous brand out of the three companies but Huawei is starting to make a name of its own in the consumer electronic industry.

And for the past years, the three giant tech companies have innovated their products to fit into the consumer's taste and preference. Now, as the Microsoft Surface Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book and Huawei MateBook E is heading for a big clash, here are some of the specs and features of the three new 2-in-1 tablet devices in the market for comparison.

According to SlashGear, the Microsoft Surface Pro will feature an Intel Core m3, i5 and i7 chipset with a 4-16GB RAM and 128GB-1TB SSD of storage while the Samsung Galaxy Book will only have an Intel Core i5 processor with a 4-8GB RAM and 128-256GB of SSD. Meanwhile, Huawei MateBook E will carry an Intel Core m3 and i5 chip with a 4-8GB and 128-256GB storage. Clearly, the Surface Pro won this battle of hardware.

The battle for display is close as Microsoft Surface Pro will sports a 12.3-inch PixelSense display at 2736 x 1824 pixel resolution that translates 267 pixels-per-inch while Samsung Galaxy Book will have a 12-inch Super AMOLED display 2160 x 1440 resolution resulting to 216 ppi. On the other hand, Huawei MateBook E will feature the same 12-inch IPS display at 2160 x 1440 resolution and 216 ppi. Though the Galaxy Book have a Super AMOLED display, the Surface Pro have a slight advantage.

On a separate report by Pocket-lint, Huawei MateBook E wins the battle for the smallest and lightest tablets as it carries a 278.8 x 194.1 x 6.9mm dimension and weighs 640g. Meanwhile, Microsoft Surface Pro sports a 292 x 201 x 8.5mm dimension and weighs 768-784g whereas Samsung Galaxy Book 291.3 x 199.8 x 7.4mm dimension and weighs 754g.

Connectivity is also the main feature and Samsung Galaxy Book gives the better advantage as it features a pair of USB Type-C with a microSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE and GPS attributes. Microsoft Surface Pro only carries one USB 3.0 connection with a microSD, 3.5mm headphone jack, a Mini DisplayPort, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while Huawei MateBook E sports one USB Type-C connection, a WiFi and Bluetooth feature.

And also, price will also be a big factor for consumer and based on the leaked price Microsoft Surface Pro will worth around $1299 as against Samsung Galaxy Book $1329 and Huawei MateBook E $1454 tag price. But still, it is the consumers choice what product will give them satisfaction and they trusted the most.


Samsung Recently Unveils Its Stretchable Screen Prototype; New Technology Could Be Used For Wearable Devices

A lot of people are impressed with new Samsung devices because of its top-of-the-line specs and its grand technology. Samsung devices always show a glimpse of the future

Samsung Display recently unveiled its new stretchable screen at the Display Week conference. The event was all about display technology and it was hosted by the Society for Information Display.

According to Mashable, the South Korean tech giant unveiled its new 9.1-inch screen with dynamic stretchable AMOLED display at the Display Week conference. The new Samsung screen technology lets the display maintain its original image quality while increasing the screen depth for up to 12 mm when the display is pressed. The device is unlike any other flexible screens that are out in the market.

Some flexible screens can only be in one direction, while the new Samsung screen can flex in concave and convex positions. Samsung unveiled a prototype and it is still uncertain when the company will officially release it in the market. The technology used for the screen is a Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon display. This feature helps on deforming the necessary pixels for stretching.

As per CNET, Samsung predicts that the stretchable screen technology might be used for wearable devices someday. If the company can perfect the technology, it can be used in several things like information screen tag in a hospital patient's garment to instantly give updates on the patient's medical status. If the texture of the device could be made similar to fabric, it would be comfortable to wear.

Samsung also unveiled its 1.96-inch LCD with a 3,840 x 2,160 4K resolution, which could one day show up in a VR or AR headset. If ever the stretchable prototype involves a design that can be mass-produced, fans expect similar marketing-related delays before it finally ends up in the hands of consumers.


Going back to school online


Going digital isn’t just about upgrading the infrastructure, but re-skilling India’s massive workforce, too. And ed-tech firms are keen to make the best of the opportunity.

Step into any government office and the first thing you notice is stacks and stacks of dusty dog-eared files. And an old computer that more often than not isn’t even on. So, when the Ministry of Coal went paperless last year, a senior bureaucrat said it wasn’t so much the volume of work that was intimidating, but the amount of handholding or training of officers making a complete switch to computers. Around 100 people were individually trained in the new software by three assistant secretaries in more than 10 sessions. “It does take a lot of effort opening up old files, scanning, and uploading them, but the biggest challenge is changing the mindset of people in the ministry,” Anil Swarup, who was then coal secretary, told Fortune India in October.

Now imagine if the ministry had a little help from the outside training its officials in the nitty-gritty of going digital. Enter educational technology or ed-tech firms, and their services such as massive open online courses (MOOCs). Until now, online courses were mostly popular with students and professionals on a budget looking for an Ivy League education. Thousands of young students took courses in everything from mathematical thinking to mechanics from leading U.S. universities such as Yale or Stanford without ever leaving Indian shores. But, now, leading online course providers such as U.S.-based Coursera and Simplilearn are looking beyond students and talking to the government on digital literacy programmes to help bridge the skill gap in India and prepare workers for the jobs of the future. Some online education providers won’t just train the growing work force but also government employees in the intricacies of everything from data analytics to cloud computing as the country goes increasingly digital.

Simplilearn was first off the block. The Bengaluru- and California-headquartered company has partnered with the Digital India initiative’s National E-Governance Division to tutor government employees across the board. Under this partnership, employees will be given free access to courses on the Simplilearn platform. “The goal is to upskill and re-skill government employees in India. The intent is to skill employees with online training programmes across new-age technologies such as cloud computing, data science, Big Data and analytics, and project management,” says Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO, Simplilearn. “Online learning is specifically tailored for the jobs of the future and for skill-based roles. With online learning helping in increasing the literacy and employment rate, it’s a great opportunity for online education companies and the government to partner.”

California-based Coursera is also talking to the central and state governments about bridging the skill gap in the new digital age. Its chief business officer, Nikhil Sinha, says they are still “very initial conversations”, but the company certainly has the experience. It launched its Coursera for Government programme in January under which it has already partnered with various governments to provide new skills from programming to English-language communication. For instance, in the U.S., it has a deal with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University to train 1,200 transitioning service members, military spouses, and veterans. Participants will take courses in Java programming, web development, data analysis, and hotel management.

Closer home, Pakistani tech company Overseas Technologies and Coursera have partnered with various public institutions in Pakistan, including a government programme to train 36,000 young adults across the country. Participants will take online courses in computer science, data analytics, career success, and language learning. Coursera has also tied up with governments in Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Singapore. Rebecca Taber, head of government partnerships at Coursera, says rapid changes in technology and economy are widening the skill gap worldwide. “Coursera has a team devoted to partnering with governments on workforce development,” she says. “People need new skills to succeed in the changing economy, and companies can’t find the talent they need to grow and thrive. Through Coursera for Governments and Nonprofits, we’ll join forces with them to prepare their communities for the jobs of the future.”

It’s easy to understand why online education providers are looking to partner with the government. On its part, the government has introduced schemes such as the Skill India Mission to ensure the large working population has the right skill sets to enter the job market. And in the budget this year, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a Rs 4,000 crore programme aimed at providing market-relevant training to 35 million youth across the country. Moreover, of the Indian government’s 52 ministries, the coal ministry is the only one to go paperless so far. Since the government is the largest employer in the country, re-skilling and up-skilling its employees will be a huge task. Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education, KPMG India, says that since the government is a huge employer, a single entity cannot fulfil its requirements. “Different platforms could work in different areas to address the issue of skill gap,” he says.

The government has also launched its own education portal called SWAYAM. Developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the All India Council for Technical Education with Microsoft’s help, the portal will host 2,000 courses and 80,000 hours of learning at the school, undergraduate, and postgraduate levels. The courses are offered by institutes such as the Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, and Indian Institute of Science. They are free, and certificates are offered at a small cost.

R. Subrahmanyam, additional secretary (technical education) with the HRD ministry, says the government chose the online route to provide the opportunity for quality education to all, especially those from backward areas. “Though we have not formally launched SWAYAM, we are currently undertaking pilot runs with about 40,000 students and about 350 courses. We even have expression of interest from British Council and the University of New South Wales in Sydney in placing their courses on SWAYAM,” says Subrahmanyam.

Online education providers aren’t just looking at the government to widen their footprint in India. As companies embrace automation, hundreds of professionals need to be re-skilled and up-skilled. Technology is permeating every sector, be it health care, education, or journalism (remember the video where a bot wrote a story faster than a human?). Many ed-tech firms have tied up with corporates to train their employees. Coursera launched its programme for corporates last year and Axis Bank signed up as its first customer. Infosys has tied up with U.S. online education company Udacity to offer courses for students who want to join the company. “Online education portals have become the go-to destination for technology-related education, and many corporates are realising this,” says Udacity’s India managing director Ishan Gupta. “Other than offering training courses to corporates we also serve as hiring partners for companies like Paytm, Ola, and Zomato. This is because we are sitting on a talent pool of successful nanodegree holders.”

New Wonder Woman Movie 2017 TV Trailers Released (video)


A couple of new TV slot teaser trailers have been released today for the new Wonder Woman movie that will be exploding onto cinema screens worldwide from June 2nd, 2017 onwards.

Check out the two new trailers below together with the final official trailer Wonder Woman Rise of the Warrior to whet your appetite and see what you can expect from the movie.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment comes the epic action adventure starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright, directed by Patty Jenkins.

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.for Man of Steel or The Terminator. While others thought they were being discriminated based on their gender.






N China Culture Park Espouses Positive Family Virtues


A reading contest and special exhibition on traditional family values recently opened at the newly-inaugurated Shijiazhuang Children's Park in north China's Hebei Province.

The park was founded by the publicity department of Shijiazhuang Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Municipal General Office for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress, and Shijiazhuang Women's Federation.

Its main aim is to carry forward core socialist values and improve social customs, say organizers.

The park features displays on various mottoes and stories about family culture and education. Exhibits at the park entrance present slogans reminding people to strengthen ethics and morality among young people and improve their social environment.

A circular wall at the center of the park is decorated with wooden sculptures illustrating concepts from the ancient text Master Chu's Homilies for Families.

Near a rockery in the park, pillars form a "cultural corridor" and display couplets by famous personalities from the past, encouraging people to be kind, progressive and self-restrained.

A notice board on the lawn also demonstrates old quotes which tell visitors to be equipped with diligence, loyalty and frugality.

Besides, the park has three pavilions inspired by three ancient stories on family education.

Authorities also set up a themed indoor exhibition consisting of four parts, which present family culture in ancient, modern and contemporary times; and, a display about women.

The content on show features the stories of family education in the households of historic Party and State leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De; and, eminent figures including space scientist Qian Xuesen and translator and art critic Fu Lei.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Chinese President Xi Jinping as the core leader has promoted the construction of the socialist spiritual civilization and carried forward positive family virtues and fine family culture, said officials.

The Female Family Culture Pavilion presents the ideas of famous women such as the mother of General Yue Fei, the mother of renowned philosopher Mencius; and, Cai Chang, the first president of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF).

The exhibition also sets aside a special area to present the achievements of representatives from the Looking for the Most Beautiful Families campaign by Shijiazhuang Women's Federation.

An interactive section allows visitors to share their feelings and stories. A number of visitors said that the park integrates traditional Chinese family culture in an entertaining way, and is beneficial to children.

Shijiazhuang CPC Municipal Committee made great efforts to build up the resort which is not only for leisure but also represents "the charm of traditional Chinese culture," said Ning Shumin, president of the municipal federation.

Aside from the park's construction, officials also promoted various activities at the opening such as sharing family stories, a dance contest and calligraphy exhibition on family mottoes.

According to Su Yanying, vice-president of the municipal federation, officials plan to regularly hold public lectures, host themed events on traditional festivals, invite local role models to deliver speeches and play related videos to further educate and publicize family culture at the site.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ABC's Dirty Dancing Remake: 8 Major Changes From the Original Movie


Welcome back to Kellerman's, where there's been some light renovations since your last visit.

ABC's Dirty Dancing remake premiered on Wednesday night, bringing the summer romance between Johnny Castle (Colt Prattes) and Baby (Abigail Breslin) from the big screen in 1987 to the small screen in 2017. Still set in the summer of 1963, Breslin had said the new movie "for the most part it really does stay true to the original," and it really did. Baby still carried a watermelon. She still left that corner. They still did the lift.

However, there were some pretty significant changes, including vocal performances, and finding out if Johnny and Baby's romance ever continued beyond the end of that summer season...

1. The Ending: The original movie ended with Johnny and Baby dancing, letting us all believe their summer romance would be endless. The new version? Nope! It goes 12 years in the future, showing us what happened to Johnny and Baby. Baby goes to see Dirty Dancing on Broadway in 1975, choreographed by Johnny, who later told her he was inspired by her book. It's clear the two haven't seen each other in a long time, but there's still major chemistry...until her daughter runs into the theater, soon followed by Baby's husband, Charlie. It's a very La La Land ending, as they both got their happily ever after, just not together.


2. Dance Lessons: In the new version, Johnny only accepts the money from Baby to pay for Penny's abortion if he actually gives her dance lessons, since he doesn't want a hand-out. (He does end up paying Dr. Houseman back, who later demands Robbie give Penny the money as well.)

3. We Can Deal With Neal: While Mr. Kellerman's nephew was fairly obnoxious in the original, he's a pretty good friend to Baby in this version.

4. The Water Lift: This is pretty tiny, but still noticeable for us: When Baby and Johnny practice their lift in the water, they weirdly start with her jumping off the dock into the lift. It doesn't seem safe?!

5. Lisa's New Love: Baby's older sis does dabble with Robbie, the Harvard-bound waiter who is still the worst, but really ends up connecting with Marco (J. Quinton Johnson), the lead singer and guitarist in Tito Suarez's band. They perform a duet at the talent show after he teaches her how to play the ukulele. And thankfully, Lisa was given more personality in this version and the relationship between the Houseman sisters was amped up, a much-needed update.

6. Song and Dance: No one sang in the 1987 version, but the 2017 version featured a few musical numbers, including solos for Katey Sagal (a sultry "Fever" with an assist from Prattes), Debra Messing (a wistful "They Can't Take That Away"), and a Johnny-Baby duet to accompany their dance on "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." Of course, Nicole Scherzinger also sings, with Bruce Greenwood's Dr. Jake Houseman briefly getting in on the action, too. 


7. Vivian the Vixen: While the film still doesn't have someone say the word "abortion" when it comes to Penny's storyline, the "D" word is used quite a bit: Divorce! Vivian (Sagal) is actually divorced from her husband in this, and still very into Johnny. She also connects with Baby's mom, Marjorie (Messing), which leads to our favorite change...

8. More for Marjorie: While she was barely a character in the original (Justice for Kelly Bishop!), the writers smartly added more depth to Marjorie, who is unfulfilled with the current state of her marriage and wants more. She even calls a lawyer and tells Jake she wants a divorce, saying, "I'd rather be alone than lonely." While there's ultimately a happy ending for the couple, it was a breath of fresh to see Marjorie refuse to settle and demand more.

An entertainment insider reveals what celebrities are really like

'When it comes to A-list celebrities there is a presence or larger than life quality that’s hard to put your finger on,' says this entertainment insider.


You might’ve seen my previous article on the things I learned from being a Z list celebrity. Before you go all Judge Judy on me, give it a gander – you’ll learn quickly that I in no way consider myself a celebrity, but simply experienced a small taste of life in the spotlight for a short period of time and shared some observations. The psychology of celebrity fascinates me, as it does many of us. After all, it’s the reason gossip magazines still fly off shelves and we follow stars on social media, for a glimpse into lives we can only dream of.

Our obsession with fame is an interesting notion that I assume is largely linked to our sense of self worth, put simply being a ‘somebody’ versus a ‘nobody’. Of course, wanting to be liked, admired and respected isn’t new, from an evolutionary perspective it’s always been the case. Individuals who aren’t liked are often outcast from their tribe and their survival can be threatened - so we have an innate desire to be adored. Enter stage left a seat on the express train to validation via fame.

It begs the question of how much of a concern this should be given how evident fame-seeking is in our culture, more accessible than ever with the continued escalation of reality TV and the personal pocket variety of celebrity - social media. Many Australians try their hand at getting on a reality TV series, no matter what they have to build/share/cook/do/date/disclose in order to get their 15 minutes. For a lucky few it’s a legitimate path to bigger and better things, but you have to wonder whether for many it’s a case of feeling chewed up and spat out.

Once people do ‘make it’ we hear a lot about their eccentric egos, lavish lifestyles and diva demands, but something I’ve heard about really famous people – like A list stars – is that they do in fact, possess true ‘star quality’. Who knows whether the star quality invokes the celebrity or the other way around, but I wanted to know just how real this magic stardust is and whether there’s anywhere I can buy some. The perfect person to answer that question is Shelly Horton, who has spent many years interviewing the world's biggest stars.

“When it comes to A-list celebrities there is a presence or larger than life quality that’s hard to put your finger on,” she says. “I once interviewed Tom Cruise (pre couch jumping days) and was waiting with my crew set up and ready to roll. My back was to the door and I felt his presence walk in before he did – the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I’ve found that really famous people are – usually – truly present, they make you feel like no-one else is in the room. The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), Matt Damon, John Travolta and Hugh Jackman will never be looking over your shoulder to see if there’s someone more important to talk to, because THEY are the most important person in the room.”

I love these examples, they’re mostly all long-standing celebrities who appear – at least from the outside – to have survived the enduring effects of a life in the limelight and maintained some semblance of mental health. OK, a few incidents with Tom might beg to differ, but you know what I mean. Especially given that research in the field confirms what we all think to be true of being famous – it often leads to loss of privacy, feeling entitled, demanding expectations, ego gratification and a sense of immortality. It also invites wealth, access and temptations and is without a doubt addictive.

While she's too humble to admit it, Shelly Horton herself is a bit of a national treasure, appearing on our TV screens almost daily in the most challenging of ways – as herself. No characters to hide behind, she’s larger than life on screen and in the flesh, and while she’s quick to correct me when I ask what it’s like to be famous –assuring me she’s not – she does kind of know what I’m talking about. “People can be weird,” she confesses. “I was heading to the airport when a stranger stopped me and wanted to say hello and ask what it’s like working in TV. I was polite and answered her questions but obviously needed to go as I had a plane to catch. I carefully explained I had to dash and she said ‘It was nice to meet you, not as nice as when I met Lisa Wilkinson, but nice nonetheless.’ Who says something like that? I couldn’t stop laughing.”

I ask whether it’s hard being ‘a little bit famous.’

“If I said it didn’t factor into my thinking I’d be a big liar,” she confesses. “Being more famous gives you access to more opportunities. Those opportunities build your profile and you get even more opportunities, so it’s a bit of a frustrating chicken and egg situation. I appreciate that I can go to the shops in my trackies and no makeup and not get papped though, I have friends who are hounded by paparazzi and I don’t wish that on anyone. The former host of ET America Mark Steines once he told me he was just the right amount of famous – enough to get a good table at a restaurant but not enough for people to interrupt him for photos while he’s eating.”

Oh for that kind of middle-of-the-road fame. While we love watching celebrities rise (‘that could be me one day’, we surmise), and fall (‘thank god – they’re just like us’, we reason) it’s no coincidence that we see stars fall victim to substance abuse, legal battles, disease and even death - not to mention hard core trolling, bullying and vitriol online. While it may ‘come with the territory’, what you can’t trade-off is that on the end are very real people – and feelings – that get hurt.

“My job is to offer my opinion on TV so I have to deal with trolls online,” Horton admits. “I’ve had death threats, bashing threats and rape threats simply because a coward behind a keyboard doesn’t agree with what I say. At least once a week, I get messages saying I’m ugly and fat. So you need to have thick skin and learn to delete and block quickly – and listen to your friends and family rather than faceless strangers.”

If you’re dreaming of a career in the limelight, I feel you. My advice? Love what you do, pursue it for the right reasons and remember that old adage – success is 10% talent and 90% hard work (and maybe just a sprinkling of stardust).

ASIA NEWS BITES: Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan; Jakarta Suicide Bombing Kills 5; Duterte Mulls Nationwide Martial Law


Taiwan:

Gay rights supporters in Taiwan are celebrating after the Constitutional Court yesterday said banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. - The News Lens

Indonesia:

At least five people were killed — including three police officers — and ten others injured on Wednesday night when two explosions ripped apart a TransJakarta bus station in Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta, according to National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto. - The Jarkata Globe

Prosecutors proceeded on Wednesday with their appeal against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy sentence, submitting appeal documents to the Jakarta High Court, a court spokesman said. - The Jarkata Globe

Philippines:

Duterte says he may widen martial law from Mindanao to include all of the Philippines. - The Washington Post

Philippine security forces are battling Muslim militants who have laid siege to a city in the volatile southern region of Mindanao. The upheaval began after troops raided a hideout in search of Isnilon Hapilon, one of Asia's top militant leaders. - The Philippine Star

President Trump praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in a phone call last month for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the island nation where the government has sanctioned gunning down suspects in the streets. Mr. Trump also boasted that the United States has “two nuclear submarines” off the coast of North Korea but said he does not want to use them. - The New York Times

China:

China has gone on a spending spree, borrowing money to build cities, create manufacturing giants and nurture financial markets — money that has helped drive the economic powerhouse in recent years. But the debt-fueled binge now threatens to sap growth in the world’s second-largest economy. - The New York Times

Armed men abducted two Chinese nationals in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan Wednesday, police said, a rare incident that is likely to raise security concerns around the country’s many China-backed infrastructure projects. - The Wall Street Journal Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang are engaged in a province-wide operation that has installed surveillance cameras in the majority of Protestant Christian churches in a region known as "China's Jerusalem." - Radio Free Asia

Political cartoonist Jiang Yefei has been subjected to mistreatment at the hands of the authorities since being handed back to Chinese authorities in November 2015, in a move that drew strong criticism from the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and human rights groups, his wife told RFA. - Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong:

Over 27,000 individuals, 80 civil groups, and five lawmakers have urged the government to appeal a High Court decision that grants welfare benefits to a gay civil servant for his husband. - Hong Kong Free Press

South Korea:

A military court in South Korea sentenced an army captain to six months in prison on Wednesday for having sex with other servicemen, igniting an outcry against what rights groups called a homophobic “witch hunt” in the country’s military. - The New York Times

North Korea:

Pictures of dictator Kim Jong Un applauding as another North Korean missile ascends into the sky have become routine. But the Hermit Kingdom’s two most recent launches deserve special attention because they show Pyongyang nearing its goal of deploying a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could destroy American cities. - The Wall Street Journal

Myanmar:

About 900 Myanmar government representatives, lawmakers, top military and political party officials, and delegates from ethnic armed groups opened the second round of de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s key peace initiative on Wednesday. - Radio Free Asia

Japan:

In mid-December, when news emerged that the number of newborn babies in Japan in 2016 would likely fall below 1 million for the first time since the government started collecting data in 1899, it sparked a renewed debate on how to reverse the downtrend in the fertility rate. - The Japan Times

Cambodia:

A recovering drug user with HIV died 10 days after he walked out of Prey Speu detention center in Phnom Penh, a death an NGO worker attributed to his being denied access to medication and methadone treatment while he was locked up for more than a month. - The Cambodia Daily

A Cambodian man slated to be deported from the U.S. in March before being granted an emergency stay of removal continues to face deportation to Cambodia, even after a judge recently decided to halt his repatriation, his sister said this week. - The Cambodia Dialy

Vietnam:

Coal-fired power, despite its environmental impacts, is still the dominant power source for electricity-hungry Vietnam. - Vn Express

CPEC may ignite more India-Pakistan tensions: UN report


BEIJING: The $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) traversing through PoK might create "geo-political tension" in the region by igniting further tensions between India and Pakistan, a UN report has warned.

The report released by the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said that the project could also fuel separatist movement in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

"The dispute over Kashmir is also of concern, since the crossing of the CPEC in the region might create geo-political tension with India and ignite further political instability," said the report on China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The report, prepared at the request of China, also cautioned that the instability in Afghanistan could cast a shadow over viability of the CPEC over which India has already raised protests with China and boycotted the last week's BRI summit in Beijing.

"Afghanistan's political instability could also limit the potential benefits of transit corridors to population centres near Kabul or Kandahar, as those routes traverse southern and eastern Afghanistan where the Taliban are most active," the report said.

The report also covered other economic corridors of the BRI including the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM). According to the report, while the CPEC could serve as the "driver for trade and economic integration" between China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Afghanistan and the Central Asian states, it could also cause many problems within Pakistan and reignite separatist movement in the country due to opposition in Balochistan.

"However, social and environmental safeguards are a concern. The CPEC could lead to widespread displacement of local communities. In Balochistan, there are concerns that migrants from other regions of Pakistan will render ethnic Baloch a minority in the province," it said.

Further, concerns exist that the CPEC will pass from the already narrow strip of cultivable land in the mountainous western Pakistan, destroying farmland and orchards.

The resulting resettlements would reduce local population into an "economically subservient minority", it said.

"In addition, Hazaras are another minority of concern. If the benefits of the proposed CPEC are reaped by large conglomerates, linked to Chinese or purely Punjabi interests, the identity and culture of the local population could be further marginalised," the report cautioned.

"Marginalisation of local population groups could reignite separatist movements and toughen military response from the government," it said.

About the BRI, it said, the scale of the BRI both in terms of geographical coverage and its cross-sectorial policy influence will shape the future of global development and governance.

"It brings wide-reaching implications for China, for the countries it links across the Asia-Pacific and for the global economy," it said.

"In order for the full potential of the BRI to be realised there are several prerequisites. It should be founded on principles such as trust, confidence and sharing benefits among participating states."

It should play a positive role in the response to climate change over the coming decades, promoting low carbon development and climate resilient infrastructure, the report said.

"Lastly, to be effective and deliver results in a timely fashion, it should go beyond bilateral project transactions to promote regional and multilateral policy frameworks," it said.

Majority of Britons think minorities threaten UK culture, report says

Humanitarian index finds quarter of people believe immigrants take jobs away while few think PM can solve the refugee crisis

Passengers wait at passport control at Stansted airport

More than half of Britons believe their culture is threatened by ethnic minorities living in the UK, a report says.

A quarter think immigrants take jobs away and a third think they remove more from society than they contribute, this year’s Aurora Humanitarian Index survey said.

The survey also found respondents think the UK could be less capable of dealing with the refugee crisis after Brexit. And researchers found an overwhelming lack of confidence in world leaders to address the issue.

Only a minority think the prime minister, Theresa May, is the best person to resolve it. Support for humanitarian action is also in steep decline. The report said: “This year’s findings demonstrate an overall decline in the support for humanitarian action based on scepticism in the ability to make an impact and ambivalence in defending social values over self-interest.”

The Conservative general election manifesto says current levels of net migration – 273,000 – was “still too high” and promised to slash the number to “sustainable levels”. No timetable has been set.

The 2017 Aurora Humanitarian Index surveyed nearly 6,500 people in 12 countries.

In the UK it found:

  • 56% of people felt local culture was threatened by ethnic minorities.
  • 24% felt migrants took jobs away but half believed their impact was neutral.
  • 34% thought minorities took more from society than they contributed.
  • After Brexit the UK is expected to be less capable of addressing the refugee crisis.
  • Theresa May was named by only 15% as best positioned to solve the refugee crisis.
  • The research was carried out before the Manchester attack, but terrorism was regarded as the most pressing global humanitarian challenge by two-thirds of those surveyed in Britain.
  • Forced migration and hunger were also seen as important issues.

Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of the index, said: “The sense of apathy towards humanitarianism today highlights an urgent need for engagement in every sector.

“However, this negativity is counter-balanced by the incredibly positive attitudes of youth towards humanitarianism and the individual impact on the refugee crisis.

“All of us need to educate and motivate the young people around the world so they not only understand their capacity for meaningful impact, but are inspired to act upon it.”

Culture department to exhibit cultural heritage of KP


The Culture Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Kp) is preparing inventory for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of the province for listing of all festivals, traditions, games, languages, literature, folklores, food and local norms.

“The inventory will be completed in first week of June, 2017 and the list will be displayed at the website of Culture department,” said Deputy Director Culture Department KP Shabaz Khan while talking with newsmen on Wednesday.

It is for the first time that inventory of ICH KP is prepared in accordance with international law and as per requirement of UNESCO, Shabaz claimed.

In the initial stage of the inventory, 10 languages of KP are listed in addition to mentioning of five literary personalities of the province including Khushal Khan Khattak and Rehman Baba.

Shabaz Khan said the department is also contemplating over constitution of a committee for inscription of literary book ‘Baz Nama’ of Khushal Khan Khattak in ‘memory of the world register’.

The committee will constitute members from literary figures, media men, civil society and government officials, he added.

Deputy Director Culture Department also disclosed that for the first time in the history of South Asia the department is preparing an android app of ‘Langarey’, a traditional game of KP which is on verge of disappearance.

The objective behind preparation of android app of an old game is to introduce it to our new generation who mostly prefer playing on mobiles and computers. Furthermore, the measure will also help in the preservation of the traditional game of the region.

Shabaz Khan said culture department wanted to promote the real face of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and for this purpose; the department also participated in an exhibition about cultural arts of Peshawar held at headquarters of British Council at London.

The department has also prepared business plan for the revival of sagging arts of the region including metal engraving, handicrafts, pottery work and wood engraving.

In response to the question about preparation of documentaries on different cultures of the province, deputy director said department is working for extending support in this regard, but this is the job of private sector.

He said any documentary prepared by a private production house can be presented for exhibition at international level.

He also agreed to the steps for revival of film industry, but quickly added that producers had to improve film standards.

He further informed newsmen that a permanent art gallery would be set up at Nishtar Hall Peshawar where artisans of different arts could display their artifacts.

While replying to a question, Shabaz Khan said Culture Department has prepared draft of the culture department and forwarded it to the administrative department for further action for approval by the provincial cabinet.

7 Things Digital Nomads Are Tired Of Hearing


"Where are you based?" is a question I've come to dread. I understand where people who ask it are coming from — it's a good conversation starter — but I don't have a "base" as much as an entire field. I'm a digital nomad, which means I travel non-stop while working. A lot of people don't understand what this is, which can lead to some misunderstandings.

Basically, we take advantage of working remotely by changing up our location frequently. We generally don't rent apartments, though we may sublease them for short periods of time, and we might stay in each place anywhere from a few days to a few months. Some of us are freelancers and some of us are full-time employees at a company that lets us work remotely. Some participate in programs that help remote workers travel.

Since people tend to ask where you live very soon after meeting you, I often get confused looks from new acquaintances. Sometimes, I even get pity, since people assume everyone wants a permanent home. Here are some things that I and other digital nomads are tired of hearing — and the reasons why they're misguided.


1. "Where Are You Based?"


This is a valid question, and I don't blame people for asking it. But I am nevertheless tired of hearing it — and all the reactions people give me when I say that I'm actually not based anywhere (see below).

2. "So, You're Still Trying To Figure Things Out?"


Being a nomad isn't something you do because you just don't know where to live. It's something you do because you do know you want to be a nomad.

3. "Where Do You Hope To End Up?"


I hope to "end up" doing this, for the foreseeable future at least. I don't buy into the mentality that everyone has to "settle down" eventually. And if I did, I wouldn't have to already know where.

4. "It's Good To Get That Out Of Your System While You're Young"


Or at any age. Some people might have obligations keeping them in certain places as they get older, but there's no limit on who can be a digital nomad or deadline when you have to stop.

5. "What Do Your Parents Think Of That? Are They Worried?"


Many people seem to imagine that I have these overprotective parents who constantly feel responsible for my whereabouts. They also seem to have this idea that I'm traveling through war zones. In reality, moving once a month is no more dangerous than moving once a year if you're moving to relatively safe places. But more importantly, I'm a grown-ass woman. Why would my parents even be entitled to an opinion?

6. "Don't Worry, Money Will Come"


People don't generally become digital nomads because they can't afford rent. They do it because that's the lifestyle that appeals to them the most, and they definitely don't need anyone's sympathy.

7. "No, But Really, Where Are You Based?"


No, really, nowhere. It is totally possible nowadays to not have a base. Mail comes to whatever address I'm at. I've gotten rid of my stuff. (I put my parents' address on tax forms, in case you're wondering.) It can get complicated, but it's doable.

No worries if you've said any of these things. The concept of a digital nomad can be hard to wrap your head around at first. But if you ever come across one in the future, you now know better than to say these things to them. Instead, you can ask them where their next adventure is.

Google Plans to Demonstrate the Supremacy of Quantum Computing

By the end of 2017, Google hopes to make a 49-qubit chip that will prove quantum computers can beat classical machines

Put Chip Here: Google will put its superconducting quantum computer chip in this 10-millikelvin dilution refrigerator.

Quantum computers have long held the promise of performing certain calculations that are impossible—or at least, entirely impractical—for even the most powerful conventional computers to perform. Now, researchers at a Google laboratory in Goleta, Calif., may finally be on the cusp of proving it, using the same kinds of quantum bits, or qubits, that one day could make up large-scale quantum machines.

By the end of this year, the team aims to increase the number of superconducting qubits it builds on integrated circuits to create a 7-by-7 array. With this quantum IC, the Google researchers aim to perform operations at the edge of what’s possible with even the best supercomputers, and so demonstrate “quantum supremacy.”

“We’ve been talking about, for many years now, how a quantum processor could be powerful because of the way that quantum mechanics works, but we want to specifically demonstrate it,” says team member John Martinis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who joined Google in 2014.

A system size of 49 superconducting qubits is still far away from what physicists think will be needed to perform the sorts of computations that have long motivated quantum computing research. One of those is Shor’s algorithm, a computational scheme that would enable a quantum computer to quickly factor very large numbers and thus crack one of the foundational components of modern cryptography. In a recent commentary in Nature, Martinis and colleagues estimated that a 100-million-qubit system would be needed to factor a 2,000-bit number—a not-uncommon public key length—in one day. Most of those qubits would be used to create the special quantum states that would be needed to perform the computation and to correct errors, creating a mere thousand or so stable “logical qubits” from thousands of less stable physical components, Martinis says.

There will be no such extra infrastructure in this 49-qubit system, which means a different computation must be performed to establish supremacy. To demonstrate the chip’s superiority over conventional computers, the Google team will execute operations on the array that will cause it to evolve chaotically and produce what looks like a random output. Classical machines can simulate this output for smaller systems. In April, for example, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported that its 29-petaflop supercomputer, Cori, had simulated the output of 45 qubits. But 49 qubits would push—if not exceed—the limits of conventional supercomputers.

This computation does not as yet have a clear practical application. But Martinis says there are reasons beyond demonstrating quantum supremacy to pursue this approach. The qubits used to make the 49-qubit array can also be used to make larger “universal” quantum systems with error correction, the sort that could do things like decryption, so the chip should provide useful validation data.

Steps to Supremacy: Google’s quantum computing chip is a 2-by-3 array of qubits. The company hopes to make a 7-by-7 array later this year

There may also be, the team suspects, untapped computational potential in systems with little or no error correction. “It would be wonderful if this were true, because then we could have useful products right away instead of waiting for a long time,” says Martinis. One potential application, the team suggests, could be in the simulation of chemical reactions and materials.

Google recently performed a dry run of the approach on a 9-by-1 array of qubits and tested out some fabrication technology on a 2-by-3 array. Scaling up the number of qubits will happen in stages. “This is a challenging system engineering problem,” Martinis says. “We have to scale it up, but the qubits still have to work well. We can’t have any loss in fidelity, any increase in error rates, and I would say error rates and scaling tend to kind of compete against each other.” Still, he says, the team thinks there could be a way to scale up systems well past 50 qubits even without error correction.

Google is not the only company working on building larger quantum systems without error correction. In March, IBM unveiled a plan to create such a superconducting qubit system in the next few years, also with roughly 50 qubits, and to make it accessible on the cloud. “Fifty is a magic number,” says Bob Sutor, IBM’s vice president for this area, because that’s around the point where quantum computers will start to outstrip classical computers for certain tasks.

The quality of superconducting qubits has advanced a lot over the years since D-Wave Systems began offering commercial quantum computers, says Scott Aaronson, a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin. D-Wave, based in Burnaby, B.C., Canada, has claimed that its systems offer a speedup over conventional machines, but Aaronson says there has been no convincing demonstration of that. Google, he says, is clearly aiming for a demonstration of quantum supremacy that is “not something you’ll have to squint and argue about.”

It’s still unclear whether there are useful tasks a 50-or-so-qubit chip could perform, Aaronson says. Nor is it certain whether systems can be made bigger without error correction. But he says quantum supremacy will be an important milestone nonetheless, one that is a natural offshoot of the effort to make large-scale, universal quantum machines: “I think that it is absolutely worth just establishing as clearly as we can that the world does work this way. Certainly, if we can do it as a spin-off of technology that will be useful eventually in its own right, then why the hell not?”

Get mobile printing up and running: What CIOs need to know


Enterprise workplace infrastructure is changing. Gartner found that total mobile sales into the enterprise globally are greater than 200,000 per year, while PCs are half that. The PC installed base has been on a steady decline since 2014, while the mobile installed base is on the rise - meaning mobile is set to surpass the PC installed base in 2017.

However, even as more employees work from their own devices instead of PCs, and work on the go, they still require a key office capability: the ability to print.

Trillions of pages are printed each year, because workflows still require it; paper remains the universal medium, and tasks like reviewing, proofing and collaboration are easier to do on a hard copy of a document than on a small screen. The 2015 IDC study “Mobile Device Users/Non-Users: Print, Scan, Document Management, Worldwide” predicts that mobile-printed pages are expected to grow approximately 24 percent by 2018, and that business mobile printing is a 2017 focus, with more than 90 percent of business mobile users valuing the ability to print from anywhere.

This means that a company’s mobile/BYOD strategy must include print, because personal devices need to integrate with the office workflow from a functionality perspective - and building in a print strategy lets CIOs ensure that security and assets are not being compromised.

The Fundamentals of Mobile Printing in the Enterprise

Mobile printing is still somewhat in its infancy, relative to desktop printing, and not all network infrastructure enables easy printing. Some solutions work just fine if the network topology is simple, but once it becomes more complex, a more in-depth application may be needed to manage print output.

As BYOD policies took hold in the workplace, many CIOs implemented an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to manage mobile devices. VMWare AirWatch, MobileIron, and BlackBerry/Good are all top providers of EMMs, each with their own specialties - for example, BlackBerry is focused on certain verticals, AirWatch has perhaps the largest breadth of installation, MobileIron is driving innovation around access and control, and so on.

Managing printing via individual device may require a similar solution: an enterprise print management solution (EPMS), which could be either based in the cloud or in the enterprise data center. These are commercial solutions that allow users to print in a queue and also provide tracking for cost and security purposes. Often, they provide some sort of release so documents aren’t just floating out to a printer, unmanaged.

These are similar to solutions already used with PCs/desktops as companies have migrated from direct printing from a PC to an intermediate solution that provides increased security and/or access control to documents.

If a company already has an EPMS, many solutions have a module that supports mobile printing; a CIO just needs to set it up, configure it and integrate it with the EMM or mobile device management (MDM) software. Once that’s done, push configurations can be enabled.

If an enterprise does not currently have an EPMS or MDM solution, but wants to implement one for the sake of general security as well as mobile print security, there are multiple solutions that allow mobile printing. Equitrack from Nuance is a more high-end, feature-rich solution, while PaperCut is a more economical solution with a broad set of features.

If one is looking for a solution with cloud and public printing integrated into the enterprise, EFI or PrinterOn may work – the right solution will depend on an individual company, and resellers can help provide direction on the best fit.

Mobile Printing: The Wave of the Future

According to IDC, in 2015, approximately 36 percent of business smartphone users were printing via mobile. IDC predicts that by 2018, that number will skyrocket to 55 percent.

The number of users printing via mobile device will continue to rise throughout the years, making it essential for IT to define policies around all printed material in a company, whether it comes from a company-issued PC or from an employee’s personal device. It is first and foremost a security issue, as well as to provide access and control/management.

Additionally, users will begin to demand this feature, if they aren’t already. Enterprise infrastructure may be changing, but the basic functionalities an employee expects in a workplace remain the same - so just because digital is in doesn’t mean paper is out.

The most important thing to remember is that getting ahead of a mobile print strategy allows you to let it happen on your own terms. Employees may already be printing via their mobile device, or trying to figure out how to, and providing a standard installation that people can use to print, and integrating print into a mobile strategy, will ensure that the capability doesn’t create chaos for CIOs.