AMD balances Radeon deck of graphics cards

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Semiconductor company AMD has taken its story of having developed next-generation GPU technology offering a “gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking visual experience” for more elite, serious gamers over to mainstream gamers as well. AMD this week announced a pair of new graphics cards for gaming enthusiasts looking for affordable prices for features that rock. Namely, AMD yesterday announced its Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 video cards. © 2011 PhysOrg.com More information: Press release AMD Launches World’s Fastest Motherboard GPU: AMD 790GX Citation: AMD balances Radeon deck of graphics cards (2012, March 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-amd-radeon-deck-graphics-cards.htmlcenter_img Explore further The two cards have a lot in common. They both are designed to compete with Nvidia. They both support PCI Express 3.0. They both support CrossFire technology, which refers to AMD’s technology allowing up to four GPUs to be used in a single computer to improve graphics performance. They both use AMD’s Graphics Core Next Architecture, for “intense visual experience, and “breathtaking visual fidelity” in games. They both support AMD ZeroCore Power technology, which shuts down the GPU during idle periods. Both have 2 GB of GDDR5 GPU graphics memory .Where the difference lies is clock speed, as well as price. The HD 7870 GHz has a 1 GHz clock speed, while the HD 7850 is clocked at 860 MHz. Prices will be around $350 for the HD 7870 GHz and around $249 for the HD 7850. Cards featuring the GPUs will be available from Asus, Diamond, MSI, and other AMD partners. Getting the cards to market gives AMD’s gaming partners selling points that they like, such as “gaming edge,” and enhanced experiences with the new AMD graphic cards. Reviewers are saying that the new cards achieve a nice balance between performance and power consumption, meanwhile. General reactions by AMD watchers have been favorable, especially on grounds of power efficiency. The cards reportedly perform with relatively low power consumption, which translate into cooler, less noisy computers , which gamers will appreciate. As Tom’s Hardware puts it, “lower power means less heat. Less heat translates to more conservative cooling. And that leaves the door open for gaming enthusiasts to enjoy quieter systems that go easier on the power bill.”The other round of applause is accorded on price. For those who have been unable to afford GPU chips at Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950 prices, the HD 7870 and HD 7850 cards will be attractive options. The cards are reportedly set to become available widely around March 19. 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

Researchers track global dispersion of chickens throughout history using DNA

first_img Journal information: PLoS ONE Research reveals the origins of chooks Because humans have had such a long history of moving chickens around, it’s been difficult to pin down just where they came from originally, that’s why the team decided to turn to mitochondrial DNA testing. They examined the bones of 48 chickens that have been found in various archeological sites all over the world, and which were in good enough condition to extract mitochondrial DNA. They focused particularly on a strand known as the D-Loop, because it’s not involved in functional genes which means they are retained generation after generation. In that sequence, they found clear similarities between all of the chicken samples, which they say proves that chickens all came from a common ancestor. And because the samples found in Southeast Asia (India, Malaysia and Burma) were the oldest, they were able to narrow down the origin of the chicken to one of those three countries or maybe one nearby.Prior to domestication, researchers believe chickens were simple junglefowl, which don’t migrate. This means the birds could only get to the other places they’ve traveled through being carried by people, because no other means has been found. Thus, in tracking the different locations of the birds over time, it’s possible to also track the migration of people. The research team believes for example, that chickens arrived in the Americas via several routes; Polynesia, Europe and Africa and perhaps directly from Asia, which of course coincides with theories regarding how people first arrived.Unfortunately current technology can’t yet clear the picture entirely, but the researchers are confident that advances over the next few years will allow them to pin down the actual location of the first domesticated chicken and settle the matter once and for all. More information: Storey AA, Athens JS, Bryant D, Carson M, Emery K, et al. (2012) Investigating the Global Dispersal of Chickens in Prehistory Using Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Signatures. PLoS ONE 7(7): e39171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039171AbstractData from morphology, linguistics, history, and archaeology have all been used to trace the dispersal of chickens from Asian domestication centers to their current global distribution. Each provides a unique perspective which can aid in the reconstruction of prehistory. This study expands on previous investigations by adding a temporal component from ancient DNA and, in some cases, direct dating of bones of individual chickens from a variety of sites in Europe, the Pacific, and the Americas. The results from the ancient DNA analyses of forty-eight archaeologically derived chicken bones provide support for archaeological hypotheses about the prehistoric human transport of chickens. Haplogroup E mtDNA signatures have been amplified from directly dated samples originating in Europe at 1000 B.P. and in the Pacific at 3000 B.P. indicating multiple prehistoric dispersals from a single Asian centre. These two dispersal pathways converged in the Americas where chickens were introduced both by Polynesians and later by Europeans. The results of this study also highlight the inappropriate application of the small stretch of D-loop, traditionally amplified for use in phylogenetic studies, to understanding discrete episodes of chicken translocation in the past. The results of this study lead to the proposal of four hypotheses which will require further scrutiny and rigorous future testing. (Phys.org) — The lowly chicken has had a remarkable impact on human history, providing a food source for innumerable people over the years. Modern scientists believe chickens (Gallus gallus) were first domesticated over 5000 years ago somewhere in Southeast Asia, and since that time have been carried to every place that humans exist. Tracking their migration helps historians track human migration. Now new research by a team made up of people from a variety of sciences from around the world has found, using mitochondrial DNA evidence from bones of ancient chickens, what they believe to be the great-grandmother’s of the modern chicken. They have published their findings in the journal PLoS One. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Citation: Researchers track global dispersion of chickens throughout history using DNA (2012, July 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-track-global-dispersion-chickens-history.html A close up of the E and D branches of a Maximum Parsimony Network showing the affinities of ten of the eleven, non-continuiously numbered, ancient haplogroups detected in our 48 samples with those previously defined by Liu et al. Image: PLoS ONE 7(7): e39171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039171 © 2012 Phys.Org Explore furtherlast_img read more

Report claims consumers are uninformed regarding magnitude of livestock contribution to carbon

first_imgCredit: Jm Verastigue/public domain Chatham House of the British Royal Institute of Affairs has published a report titled Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector (Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption) outlining the results of a survey the group commissioned to learn more about the public’s perception of the impact that the livestock industry has on carbon emissions and ultimately global warming. Their report suggests that consumers have vastly differing views on the subject based on where they live in the world. 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. Explore further More information: www.chathamhouse.org/sites/fil … roggattWellesley.pdf In addition to offering results of the 12-country survey, the authors of the report offer some background information and opinions about the carbon emission impact of the livestock industry and conclude by offering suggestions of where changes might be made. They note that global carbon emissions from the livestock industry—which they claim currently account for 14.5% of total man-made global emissions—actually surpass that of global transportation and are mainly due to emissions released directly from animals in the form of belching, flatulence or from their excrement. The main animals involved in the industry are cows, pigs and chickens—globally pork is the most popular consumed meat due to its huge popularity in China. The report also offer graphs showing the largest meat consumers by country (China tops the list) along with growth forecasts. They also offer warnings, suggesting that the livestock industry is currently on a trajectory that will see meat consumption rise by 75 percent and dairy 65 percent over just the next six years.Questions in the survey centered on awareness of carbon emissions, their source and the likely impact they are having on the planet. They found that on average, people in more developed countries such as those in the U.S. and Europe were far less well informed about the impact that the livestock industry has on the planet than were people living in places like China or even Brazil—the same groups tended to be more resistant to changing their lifestyle to reduce such emissions.The authors of the report theorize that emissions from the livestock industry are not as well known as in other areas such as the transportation or energy sector because governments and private enterprise operations do not want to risk upsetting the public by suggesting they eat less meat and/or dairy products. They note that discussing or negotiating livestock emission reductions is “largely absent” from international meetings on climate change and likewise is rarely if ever discussed at the national level by countries seeking to lower their carbon imprint. The solution, as they see it, is to begin an information campaign, because people are more likely to embrace change if they understand what is really happening. Climate: Meat turns up the heat Citation: Report claims consumers are uninformed regarding magnitude of livestock contribution to carbon emissions (2014, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-consumers-uninformed-magnitude-livestock-contribution.html © 2014 Phys.orglast_img read more

NASA scientist offers perspective on the factors that may lead to life

first_img Coronal mass ejections at Mars © 2014 Phys.org Conrad notes that a lot of the press regarding the study of Mars by scientists with NASA and other groups, tends to focus on the search for water, or evidence that water was once there—with the implication that if it was, then surely evidence will be found that life was there too. But that is not really the case, she asserts—there are likely a whole host of factors that must all be there for life to have been possible.Some of those factors might include a global magnetic field (likely produced by an internal dynamo) which would shield the planet from ionizing radiation. Another would be temperature and its variations—too hot or too cold for only part of any given period would likely prevent life from taking hold. Wind might also play a factor—she notes that as life is first starting, it’s not likely very mobile, thus wind that would carry essential material such as iron deposits to replenish supplies exhausted by new life forms would be essential. There is also the matter of an atmosphere—having one offers a shield against ultraviolet radiation and also serves as a cloak, moderating temperatures.But such factors, she continues, are much more difficult to find than water. Scientists are reasonably sure that Mars once had an atmosphere and global magnetic field—it’s more difficult to pin down whether they were existent at the same time, and if so, if temperatures were in a range during that period that would have allowed life to come about.Conrad notes that missions to Mars are proving fruitful regardless of whether proof of life is found or not. Such missions, she maintains are allowing us humans to learn more about how life could come about, which could prove useful once we’re able to study more distant planets more carefully—and that includes a manned mission, which should allow researchers, she believes, to do the kind of impromptu research that most often leads to breakthroughs. Citation: NASA scientist offers perspective on the factors that may lead to life on a planet (2014, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-nasa-scientist-perspective-factors-life.html Explore further This artist’s concept depicts a planetary system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltechcenter_img (Phys.org)—NASA space scientist Pamela Conrad has offered a Perspective piece in the journal Science, reminding readers that the search for life on planets such as Mars, isn’t limited to just looking for water. Instead, she notes, most researchers believe that a combination of events must occur, likely simultaneously for life to get a start and then to be maintained. Journal information: Science More information: Scratching the surface of martian habitability, Science 12 December 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6215 pp. 1288-1289, DOI: 10.1126/science.1259943 AbstractEarth and Mars, though formed at the same time from the same materials, look very different today. Early in their histories they evolved through some of the same processes, but at some point their evolutionary paths diverged, sending them in perhaps irrevocably different directions. Knowledge of the factors that contributed to such different outcomes will help to determine how planets become habitable and how common habitable planets may be. The Mars surface environment is harsh today, but in situ measurements of ancient sedimentary rock by Mars Science Laboratory reveal chemical and mineralogical evidence of past conditions that might have been more favorable for life to exist. But chemistry is only part of what is required to make an environment habitable. Physical conditions constrain the chemical reactions that underlie life processes; the chemical and physical characteristics that make planets habitable are thus entangled. 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

A statistical study of the hot streak

first_img A meteoroid smashed into the side of a crater on Mars and then started a landslide © 2018 Phys.org More information: Lu Liu et al. Hot streaks in artistic, cultural, and scientific careers, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0315-8AbstractThe hot streak—loosely defined as ‘winning begets more winnings’—highlights a specific period during which an individual’s performance is substantially better than his or her typical performance. Although hot streaks have been widely debated in sports, gambling and financial markets over the past several decades, little is known about whether they apply to individual careers. Here, building on rich literature on the lifecycle of creativity, we collected large-scale career histories of individual artists, film directors and scientists, tracing the artworks, films and scientific publications they produced. We find that, across all three domains, hit works within a career show a high degree of temporal regularity, with each career being characterized by bursts of high-impact works occurring in sequence. We demonstrate that these observations can be explained by a simple hot-streak model, allowing us to probe quantitatively the hot streak phenomenon governing individual careers. We find this phenomemon to be remarkably universal across diverse domains: hot streaks are ubiquitous yet usually unique across different careers. The hot streak emerges randomly within an individual’s sequence of works, is temporally localized, and is not associated with any detectable change in productivity. We show that, because works produced during hot streaks garner substantially more impact, the uncovered hot streaks fundamentally drive the collective impact of an individual, and ignoring this leads us to systematically overestimate or underestimate the future impact of a career. These results not only deepen our quantitative understanding of patterns that govern individual ingenuity and success, but also may have implications for identifying and nurturing individuals whose work will have lasting impact. An international team of researchers has conducted a statistical analysis of hot streaks to learn more about this mysterious facet of human nature. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes how they conducted their study and what they found. Credit: CC0 Public Domain A hot streak is a commonly used term to describe a series of successful ventures—for example, winning hand after hand in poker, making multiple three-point shots in a basketball game, or winning several games in a row. It is generally tied to human achievement and is steeped in folklore—particularly in sports and gambling. But is it a real thing? And if so, are there characteristics involved with it that could help explain how and why they occur?To learn more about hot streaks in general, the researchers studied them as they occurred in three fields with measurable data: artistry, filmmaking and scientific research. Artistic hot streaks, they figured, could be measured by sales price and volume. Filmmaking hot streaks could be measured using box office tallies—and scientific hot streaks could be measured by looking at citation numbers. The researchers obtained data from art auctions, the IMDb database and research paper databases, respectively.After applying a number of statistical techniques to their data, the researchers came away with several conclusions. The first is that the hot streak does appear to be a real phenomenon. And it happened to most of those individuals they studied—91 percent of artists who sold their work at auctions, for example, experienced a hot streak. The same was true for 92 percent of movie directors and 90 percent of research scientists. But they also found that it was rare for people in any of the three fields to experience more than one hot streak. They also found that the span of time for hot streaks across the three fields was relatively similar—5.7 years on average for artists, 5.2 for directors and 3.7 for research scientists.Interestingly, the researchers found that having a hot streak did not seem to be tied to productivity—very few of those studied produced any more than they did during times when they were not experiencing a hot streak. Also, hot streaks could occur at almost any time during a person’s career. The researchers note also that they could find no measurable data that might help explain why hot streaks occurred.center_img Journal information: Nature Explore further Citation: A statistical study of the hot streak (2018, July 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-statistical-hot-streak.html 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

Xray study sheds more light into the nature of a gammaray pulsar

first_img More information: A. V. Karpova et al. X-ray studies of the gamma-ray pulsar J1826-1256 and its pulsar wind nebula with Chandra and XMM-Newton arXiv:1906.00821v1 [astro-ph.HE]. arxiv.org/abs/1906.00821 Citation: X-ray study sheds more light into the nature of a gamma-ray pulsar (2019, June 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-x-ray-nature-gamma-ray-pulsar.html Using archival data from ESA’s XMM-Newton spacecraft and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory, astronomers have investigated one of gamma-ray radio-quiet pulsars known as PSR J1826−1256. The study, based on X-ray observations, sheds more light into the nature of this peculiar object and its pulsar wind nebula (PWN). Results of the research were presented in a paper published June 3 on arXiv.org. 3 arcmin × 3 arcmin Chandra X-ray image of the pulsar vicinity in 0.5–10 keV range smoothed with a 25 pixel Gaussian kernel. The ‘+’ symbol shows the pulsar position. The ‘jet’ and ‘counter-jet’ are marked. The 30 arcsec × 30 arcsec image part, enclosed by the cyan dashed box and smoothed with a 3 pixel Gaussian kernel, is enlarged in the inset. The possible PWN torus and the base part of the ‘jet’ are marked. Credit: Karpova et al., 2019. 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. © 2019 Science X Network Explore further Gamma-ray pulsars are rotating neutron stars emitting gamma-ray photons. Some of them also showcase radio emission that is often difficult to detect. This is most probably because their narrow radio beams miss the sightline towards Earth.However, some gamma-ray pulsars are completely radio-quiet, which means that observations in other regimes, for instance, in X-ray wavelengths, are needed to learn about their properties. In particular, X-ray studies of such objects have the potential to reveal their pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) and associated supernova remnants (SNRs), which could provide important information about pulsar parameters and interaction of relativistic pulsar winds with the ambient medium.With that aim in mind, a team of Russian astronomers from the Ioffe Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, led by Anna V. Karpova, decided to analyze archival X-ray data obtained by XMM-Newton and Chandra spacecraft. The target of their studies was a young and energetic radio-quiet pulsar designated PSR J1826−1256. Located most likely some 4,320 light years away from the Earth, PSR J1826−1256 is about 14,000 years old, has a period of 110.2 milliseconds, a spin-down luminosity of around 3.6 undecillion erg/s and a surface magnetic field of approximately 3.7 trillion G. Based on these parameters, the object was classified as a Vela-like pulsar. Moreover, previous observations have shown that PSR J1826−1256 hosts a faint, but remarkably long trail-like PWN connected to the pulsar and extending south-west from it.The new study published by Karpova’s team provides more insights into the nature of PSR J1826−1256 and a PWN associated with it.”Here we report the simultaneous X-ray analysis of archival XMM-Newton and Chandra observations of PSR J1826−1256 and its PWN,” the astronomers wrote in the paper.The study found that the spectrum of PSR J1826−1256 can be described by the power-law model with a photon index of about 1.0 and that the PWN spectrum becomes softer with the distance from the pulsar, what is indicative of synchrotron cooling.When it comes to the PWN, the analysis revealed that it appears to be a mixed-type morphology nebula containing a torus, jets and a trail. XMM-Newton and Chandra images show that one of the jets is bent by the ram pressure, due to the pulsar proper motion vector not coinciding with the jet direction. The researchers noted that such geometry explains the PWN morphology and also suggests that it could be associated with a recently detected SNR candidate named G18.45−0.42.The study also found that PSR J1826−1256 is located much farther away than previously thought. New estimates made by the team indicate that its distance to our planet is approximately 11,400 light years. Astronomers investigate pulsar wind nebula DA 495last_img read more

PSBTs Open Frame film festival all set to take off

first_imgThe Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), which has carved out a niche for itself in over a decade in making non-commercial documentaries on pressing issues involving women, is all set to host its 13th international film festival beginning here 11 Sept.Slated to last till 21 Sept, the PSBT film festival, aptly rechristened Open Frame International Film Festival will be held at the IIC here with an active collaboration by the latter in conducting it. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The festival accords the Delhi denizens a rare opportunity to watch the PSBT’s documentaries which earlier have been shown and applauded in festivals in the world over at places ranging from Oberhausean to Estonia and from Kerala to New York.Films slated to be screened ‘focus on the narratives of and by the women, foregrounding their experiences and embodying a wide range of issues that require their critical examination,’ say organisers. Credited with making over 540 independent films and screening them in 660 global film festivals, winning 170 awards, including 37 National Awards, besides wide-ranging critical acclaim. The films address, examine, present and celebrate woman’s lives, struggle, solidarities and movements. Film lovers don’t miss this one.  ptilast_img read more

Building Poland

first_imgThe festival not only aims to provide a wholesome insight into Polish culture and art, but also hopes to rouse further interest in the audience so as the association of exchange continues.The festival began with the screening of the documentary film A little  Poland in India  directed by Anu Radha and Sumit Osmand Shaw. A Little Poland in India’ is a first film that has been co-produced between the governments of India and Poland, under the audio-visual agreement between both the countries. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The film is about the time period of  World War II, when about 1,000 Polish children travelled to India.  ‘Our relationship with India stretched back to World War II when India opened her heart to the Polish refugee children and offered them both home and human warmth. We shall never forget the generosity of spirit,’said Piotr Ktodkowski, the Polish ambassador.The film festival will be also screening other films like llumination directed by Krzystof Zanussi, Escape from the Liberty Cinema directed by Wojciech Marczewski, My Father’s Bike  directed by Piotr Trzaskalski and the Promised Land directed by Andrzej Wajda.WHEN: 18 till 23 NovemberWHERE: India Habitat Centre, PVR Select Citywalk (3 December)last_img read more

Life of the Lord

first_imgKrishna, a dance drama, that portrays the life Lord Krishna’s is being organised by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra. The two and half hours long act is produced and directed by Shobha Deepak Singh and will be staged at Kamani Auditorium.The show is the 39th edition of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra’s Krishna that traverses Lord Krishna’s early childhood and youthful antics, that travelled with him in his journey to the centre stage of human reverence. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The production presents the ‘butter eating Krishna’ and beloved of Radha on one hand and on the other, the omnipotent Lord Krishna, who commands with wisdom, dignity and  strength the flow of events, which emerge as the greatest illuminates for living life in the real world as a holistic being, offering wisdom in his enunciation of the revered Bhagwad Gita’s practical solutions, rather than pursuing blind faith dictating ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Singh presents, all facets of Lord Krishna’s persona with creative sensitivity, lending a mesmeric dynamism to the production. In Krishna’s presentation of violence and eventual emergence of place, despite all odds emerges hope for eventual peace, despite apparent chaos in the present.When: 16 – 18 August  Where: Kamani Auditorium Ticket Price: Rs.500, 300last_img read more

Heavy rains lash city S Bengal districts 2 killed in Shyamnagar

first_imgKolkata: Rains accompanied by thunderstorms lashed the city and South Bengal districts on Tuesday evening throwing normal life out of gear.According to report, two persons including a woman were killed in two separate incidents in North 24-Parganas’ Shyamnagar. It was learnt that the victim woman identified as Maya Roy was passing through Atapur area when a wall collapsed and fell on her. Roy was a local resident, police said. She succumbed to her injuries in a hospital. While in the other incident, a 52-year-old Bhaskar Thakur died after being struck by lightning. He was working in a field at Natunpara in Shyamnagar when the incident occurred. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsHe was declared brought dead after being taken to Barrackpore BN Bose Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.A thundershower accompanied by a strong wind hit the city and the districts like North 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, East Burdwan and West Midnapore disrupting the normal life. People faced inconvenience due to incessant rainfall in the afternoon. Train services were also affected in Sealdah and Howrah division. Some trains were delayed due to increment weather conditions. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe rain, however, brought relief to the people suffering from hot and humid condition prevailing in the state. The regional meteorological centre at Alipore had predicted that there was a possibility of rains and thundershowers towards the evening. A strong moisture-laden South-Westerly wind would be blowing in the area, creating favourable condition for a storm. A strong wind was blowing at 40-50 km per hour in some parts of the city as well as in districts of South Bengal. The rain has brought the temperature down by a few notches. The city dwellers are, however, facing a sultry weather, especially during the day time. The regional Meteorological centre at Alipore predicted that the city and its adjoining districts may witness thunderstorms in the evenings in the next few days. Slow traffic movement was reported in some parts of the city following the rain. The districts that have received the maximum rainfall are North 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly while various parts of Nadia, Murshidabad and Birbhum also witnessed thunderstorms.According to the weather office, there are predictions of wind measuring around 50-60 km per hour that might sweep through various districts in North Bengal in the next few days. Wind measuring around 60-70 km per hour may also sweep through some of the South Bengal districts, along with moderate rainfall, the weather office predicted.last_img read more

The Director Speaks…In conversation with Bratya Basu

first_imgBratya Basu is the Minister of Tourism of West Bengal and is an efficient multi-tasker. He, in a candid conversation with Mainak Banerjee talks about his life, hobbies, important issues like intolerance, terrorism and his theatre ventures. He also explains how sexuality has come a long way and discussions on the issue are no more a myth or taboo.Q. Recently, after staging Boma, you seem to be concentrating on directing plays in a row, any particular reason for that? Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Boma is the production of Kalindi Bratyajon, my own theatre group. As you know, apart from other theatre related activities, I try to do one production each year in my group. I am also an avid reader of books, journals and if I find some scripts very interesting I grab the opportunity to direct it. This is nothing but a coincidence. Q. Mumbai Nights is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night where relocation happens in Mumbai. Don’t you think Kolkata would have been a better place for it? Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixKolkata of course is closer to my heart but Mumbai is a cosmopolitan and an equally vibrant city. The issues I have highlighted are mostly arising out of Mumbai rather Maharashtra – cricket, glamour world, underworld etc. and these are important national issues. Q. The relation between gender and performance is particularly strong in this play. Don’t you think our current society has moved beyond that with movements for legalising same sex relationship? How relevant is this play now, in this respect? Shakespeare wrote the play in the year 1601, more than 400 years back. Just imagine the time frame when he wrote it. Sexuality in the world has come a long way after that, and discussions on the issue are no more a myth or a taboo. India has come of age in this regard too. Now, the fight for legalisation is a step forward towards the acceptance of ‘alternate’ sexualities. Love and romance are the eternal truth of our lives, irrespective of our sexual orientations. This will remain ever pertinent in the world till the existence of mankind.  Q. How difficult is it to infuse serious issues like terrorism, ban on bar dancers, underworld’s influence in Bollywood, intolerance, corruption etc. in a romantic comedy and to place it in front of the audience without compromising even a bit on the quotient of romanticism?It is really challenging to keep the essence of the play intact and the scriptwriter, Debasish Ray, has done a wonderful job here. The play represents a kaleidoscopic view of the society and the challenge lies in the subtlety with which the issues emerge within the context of the narrative. I have to keep in mind that the issues appear strongly in the plot keeping the larger milieu of humor and romanticism intact. It is important for me that the audience carries the impact of the issues even after the end of the play. Q. In your play Sateroi July (17th July), you showed dissent against state sponsored terrorism at Godhra. Now you are directing a play which speaks loudly against religious radicalism. Is it a completion of a circle of such protest in the art form in which you belong?I do not look forward to the completion of such a circle. As far as I am considered this is no achievement. It gave me pain to write and stage a play like Sateroi July. But it was a necessity. Similarly, many issues are unacceptable in present India where we keep emphasising ‘development’ and ‘reform’. We definitely do not want these religious fanatics spreading the message of hatred and intolerance. What sort of values teaches us to insult writers, artists, activists, just because they speak in different voices? Can we support the killers of M M Kalburgi or Narendra Dabholkar? Or the assault on U R Ananthamurthy? Isn’t there a need to raise our voice against the killers of innocent bloggers in Bangladesh? But even before we speak about against the extremism of other religions, we should evaluate the fundamentalism and violence that exists in the religion we belong to; a secular Hindu should soul search Hinduism first and a secular Muslim should do the same for Islam first before accusing others of religious fanaticism. A true Indian should have the freedom to strongly protest against religious extremism in India before he takes on the issue of injustice in the neighbouring country. Theatre is a platform which has always raised its voice against these fundamentalist forces. I am proud to be able to continue to be a part of that brigade. Q. You, being the Minister of Tourism of the state are still continuing with theatre as your passion. It is definitely a sincere and hard work on your part. I think your state administration in West Bengal has never come your way while you continued to pursue your passion for creativity. It will be good if you can share your thoughts on this with us.I am a proud citizen of West Bengal. While I continue with my passion unhindered, I continue to deliver simultaneously to the public of West Bengal. I am proud that my state West Bengal is among the top in the country as far as religious tolerance is concerned.  Q. You have ended the play in a very positive overtone. This shows you are very optimistic about the improvement of our bilateral relationship with Pakistan, especially on the religious and cultural front. Please share your views regarding this.I am always very positive regarding this and I will continue to be. You must be aware that ‘Kalindi Bratyajon’ organises an International theatre festival at Kolkata, each year for last four years. This year, we had invited a theatre group from Pakistan who came and performed at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, the cultural hub of the city. The team was led by a renowned theatre director of Pakistan, Zain Ahmed, from NAPA. I strongly believe that in present times of intolerance, as shown in this play, the love between Billu (in disguise as Huma) and Ushnata and that between Alishan and Huma will show us the path to tolerance leading to the ultimate consciousness in peace and all Hindus and Muslims in and across India and Pakistan will all be united at the beach of Arabian Sea. I believe love is the only essence which can give us respite from our barbaric, beastly and cruel ways of living. Only love can instill humanity with grace in our souls. When the love of Mumbai Nights sparkles in the skyline of India, the Indian values of tolerance will come out as a winner overcoming the dividing forces within the country.Q. The seed of tolerance should be sowed from the very childhood of a person. So, a lot depends on the upbringing of a person. Do you have any target audience for this play, if tolerance is one of the primary messages you want to convey?While love and romanticism come spontaneously to the youth, so does aggression, impulse and excitement. These tender minds need to be caressed. They should be led to the right path of maturity so that they will learn to distinguish between the good and the bad. I always consider the youth as my greater share of audience, and I strongly believe their values will lead to a stronger India. However, having said that, I do not mean that the play is not for the elders.  Q. What are the other two plays you are going to direct? How long do we need to wait for your next surprises?One is Meghe Dhaka Tara a renowned film by Ritwik Ghatak and the other is Adya Shesh Rajani adapted from the novel of Shyamal Ganguly. Both are adapted by Ujjwal Chatterjee. Meghe Dhaka Tara will be produced by Naihati Bratyajon. The producer of Naihati Bratyajon, Partha Bhoumik has taken a vow to stage all the Bengali classical movies one after another. The first show of Meghe Dhaka Tara will be staged at University Institute Hall, Kolkata on January 2, 2016.  Adya Shesh Rajani is being produced by ‘Indraranga’ and the first show will be at Academy of Fine arts, kolkata on 14 January 2016.last_img read more

Beauty and Comfort can coexist together

first_imgWhile taking a stroll down the curated love garden at his new store and losing yourself to the strains of Shehnai and Hindustani classical music from Benaras Gharana, you step into the world of Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The ace designer was recently in the national Capital when Millennium Post caught up with him at his newly opened flagship store.What’s your take on the fashion scenario in the Indian Society?We Indians are gradually crawling back into our own sensibilities. Every nationality has a regional standard for beauty whether they are Japanese, Chinese or African. But we Indians, almost always scrounge standards from the west. Most Indian men admire the feminine and curvaceous side of women. However, the way women perceive beauty in society is very different. I wonder sometimes who women actually dress-up for apart from themselves as I feel that women dress-up in their quest for supremacy. With each passing era, Indian Fashion has been witnessing a rapid growth. In fact, the shift in fashion and trends every six months is quite evident. The economic perspective in the global scenario is yet another influence that has altered Indian fashion. International brands entering the Indian market and being sold at economic prices is promoting the growth of brand awareness in India in a big way.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’As we live in curated times, what role does personal style and individualism stand on?You know, I’ve always felt that beauty and comfort can co-exist together and style is about a woman who is 5’1 and wears flats to a fancy party. There’s a lot of dignity and grace in accepting who you are. Gradually I feel the importance of big brands will go away, giving a chance to the smaller brands which are going to help people create their own style. My lifetime muse is Frida Kahlo. She was phenomenally dynamic because she embraced who she was. She walked with a limp, unapologetic about her beauty, her illness, her uni-brow, everything. When I see a woman too obsessed with fashion I know she is a girl in trouble. A Sabyasachi woman believes in consistency and repetition. Look at Rekha, she wears stunning Kanchwipurams all the time, so much so that when you think of Kanchipurams, you only think of Rekha. I think that is iconism. Whether it’s Chanel-black and white or the personal styles of Audrey Hepburn, Frida Kahlo and Jackie Kennedy, all of them lived through consistency and repetition. Trendy is young, it’s boring, frivolous and fragile. Trendy is high-maintenance. You would want someone trendy as a onetime lover, not a lifetime partner. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWhat’s the biggest fashion faux pas according to you?The biggest fashion blooper is not being able to dress your age. The Indian change in attire has also managed to target the clothing for ‘plus size’ where the demand is remarkable. The market for plus size is gaining importance and the demand is growing day by day. This could be possibly the off-shoot from changes in diet, a plausible excuse in the form of the opening of more and more burger bars, pizza houses and other joints from the West.  The variety in the wardrobe rises swiftly from this increasing urbanisation. The country today is witnessing a rapid growth in many sectors thus bringing in the need to dress well and appear presentable and being real. Everything is perfect and digitised. We shy away from imperfection and we hardly get any time to reflect. My clothing wants you to do that – know the traditional India from the bygone era, know about the textile, where it came from, how was it  manufactured…. Until and unless the product does not make you inquisitive enough about yourself, I think it is a failed product.How much importance do you pay to technology advancements in fabrics, prints and craftsmanship?You can’t really move forward without technology. But having said that how much of it you use is also a very pertinent question. Today you can’t really move forward without respecting what the past gave you. It has to be an amalgamation of your past and present. In today’s market there is a big overdose of technology in everything – from the food we eat, to the products we use, to the music we hear. Somewhere down the line, what people are missing is a little rustiness of the things from the non-technical world. My design philosophy stands for personalised imperfection of the human hand. When I look at a woman who is just too beautiful, she almost is mechanised to me. So I like some flaws and freckles here and there to add to the beauty of the woman. Similarly, I like textiles and embroidery to have a little bit of character and age in them. I think men and women really start looking beautiful after 40. When you look into their eyes, you see the world through them.Tell us about your source of inspiration?I am a very sensory person. My source of inspiration has always been people, travelling, books and even the food that I eat. Whatever appeals to my senses, inspires me; and it can also be a perfume! The brand Sabyasachi’s design aesthetic has always been of romantic opulence, the kind that lacks sympathy for ‘modernity’ of the rib-crunching kind, of minds and bodies that obsess with faddish trends. In fact, my traditional decorative styles with swathes of handcrafted textiles, antique embroideries and rich tapestry of colours, is almost entirely for the bridal market. I am always focusing on asymmetry, unevenness and the gray scale of achromatic colours. I promote neither outrageous style nor provocative dressing.last_img read more

Mamata tweets on International Animation Day

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted informing the launch of the state-owned animation academy on the occasion of International Animation Day on Sunday.”Today is International Animation Day. You will be happy to know that in July this year, we have launched a state-owned animation academy — the Webel DQE Animation Academy — at Salt Lake Sector V. My best wishes to all,” Banerjee tweeted. The Webel DQE Animation Academy provides the platform for creative individuals to learn, share and develop themselves as animation professionals. The lessons for the courses are being imparted by qualified and experienced faculty members. Webel in technical collaboration with DQ Entertainment (International) Limited is offering various long-term and short-term courses. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDQ Entertainment (International) Limited is a world-renowned name in television, feature films, home video, visual effects, mobile and next-generation console games etc. Webel is an undertaking of the state Information Technology and Electronics department that collaborated with DQE for the state-of-the-art academy. A MoU was signed between Webel and DQE at the Bengal Global Business Summit which was held at the Convention Centre in New Town in January this year.last_img read more

Art show that explores facets of memory in two cities

first_imgAbout 40 works of art depicting memory and its different facets were unveiled to an august audience in the City of Joy on April 28 at the Harrington Street Arts Centre.The exhibition which will be travelling to the capital shortly was inaugurated by renowned artist Chitravanu Majumdar and actor Raima Sen. The art exhibition was presented by Shrine Empire and curated by Anushka Rajendran. The inauguration witnessed luminaries of the city – also art collectors like – Sanjiv Goenka, Madhu Neotia, and Sumedha Saraogi. Anahita Taneja, Director, Shrine Empire was present on the occasion. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThis exhibition is an exploration of how art affects and is affected by the collective, personal and historical memory. Memory has for long been an elusive area of study for neuroscience. The inadequacy of science in capturing an intimately human experience is highlighted by the efficacy with which art was able to delve into the subject. The first edition of Lapses, the exhibition, explores the ways in which various memories – collective, personal, political and historical – resounds every day. This exhibition consists of a series of artworks of 12 artists that lend memories of object-hood, saving them from the lapses in the collective and personal memory. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe art exhibition brought together landmark contemporary artworks to Kolkata by established artists, and emerging artists gaining international acknowledgement. Some of the artists who took part in the exhibition are Anoli Perera, Gautam Kansara, Kartik Sood, Neerja Kothari, Ranbir Kaleka, Samanta Batra Mehta, Paula Sengupta, Samit Das, Shilpa Gupta, Subrat Kumar Behera, Tayeba Begum Lipi.Speaking on the occasion Anahita Taneja, Director, Shrine Empire said, “Shrine Empire returns to Kolkata after nine years,from where the gallery began its journey. We were keen to have a curated exhibition with exciting contemporary artworks from India and the diaspora as well as artworks that have been inspired by West Bengal. We have taken specific care to include artists who have connections with Kolkata including Samit Das, Paula Sengupta and Neerja Kothari and maintain conversation between their works and the other artists who are part of the show.” The theme of the exhibition asks questions on the nature of art, and its function in our every day life, with artists as chroniclers of our memories. “In fact Paula’s work deals with her mother’s memory, her struggle with cancer and about a year-long log of day to day events. It focuses on her mother’s memory”, explains Taneja.Another artist, Kothari has to trace her steps back in memory as part of her rehab after a debilitating illness. “That is reflected in her work”, adds Taneja.last_img read more

Muhammad Alis Greatest Trash Talking Moments

first_imgMuhammed Ali, born Cassius Clay, is one of the best-known boxers in the history of the sport. He was an Olympic gold medalist in 1960. Four years after that he became heavyweight champion of the world for the first time and took that title again twice more during the ‘70s.Over the course of his career, he had 56 wins, 5 losses, and 37 knockouts, finally retiring from boxing in 1981.He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years later. After he retired, he did a lot of philanthropy and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Ali died June, 2016.Muhammad Ali in 1966. Photo by Dutch National Archives CC BY-SA 3.0 nlAlong with his notable achievements in and out of the boxing ring, he also had another notable gift — talking trash. During his life he uttered a number of quotable remarks, some of which have become deeply embedded in our culture. Here is a sampling of some of the best, courtesy of ABC News:“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. George can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. He thinks he will, but I know he won’t. They tell me George is good, but I’m twice as nice. And I’m gonna stick to his butt like white on rice.”Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, (second from right) at the 1960 Olympics.Ali said this just before his 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman. The fight was held in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30.In front of 60,000 spectators, Ali knocked Foreman out in the eighth round. Ali won the fight, but this battle call to his opponent may have a larger role in increasing his fame.“I have wrestled with an alligator, I done tasseled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning, threw thunder in jail. That’s bad. Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so bad, I make medicine sick.”1960 Olympians: Ali won gold against Zbigniew Pietrzykowski (1956 and 1964 bronze medalist).Any man can brag, but few can do it in rhyme, and even fewer can back it up.“If you like to lose your money, then be a fool and bet on Sonny, but if you wanna have a good day, then put it on Clay.”A pair of Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. Photo by Mark Pellegrini CC BY-SA 2.5“Ain’t Liston ugly? He’s too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty, like me.”“I predict that Liston will go at eight to prove that I am great. If he wanna go to heaven, I’ll get him in seven. He’ll be in a worse fix if I cut it six. And if he keeps talkin’ jive, I’ll cut it to five.”President Reagan “punching” Muhammad Ali in the oval office, 1983.Ali fought Sonny Liston twice in heavyweight title fights. According to Boxing News, many fans and professionals believe that at least the second fight, and very possibly the first as well, were fixed.Liston was generally considered to be unbeatable, yet he quit in the first bout, and the second time they fought he went down from a punch that many didn’t see. Of those who did see it, there is a general consensus that it shouldn’t have had enough power to take him down.Bust photographic portrait of Muhammad Ali in 1967. World Journal Tribune photo by Ira Rosenberg.Liston himself expressed a great deal of surprise after the first fight about Ali’s power and skill, so it could simply be that he wasn’t expecting to have to work hard for a win.“Whatever truculent means — if that’s good, I’m that.”Ali in 1974.After being called “truculent” by Howard Cosell, this was Ali’s response. The boxer and the sports announcer had an unusual relationship, according to the New York Daily News.Both men had had their share of nay-sayers among the public and the media, for various reasons, but they were also allies. Cosell’s Wide World of Sports gave Ali a platform to give his side of the story.Ali gave Cosell a platform for being a journalist, and not just an announcer.“Joe’s gonna come out smokin’ but I ain’t gonna be jokin’. I’ll be peckin’ and a pokin’, pourin’ water on his smokin’. And this might shock and amaze ya, but I will destroy Joe Frazier.”Joe Frazier in June 2010. Photo by Arvee Eco CC BY-SA 2.0Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier fought three times between 1971 and 1975. Newsday described the fights as “a brutal trilogy,” saying that it began as an embodiment of the culture war taking place in America at the time, and ended up defining the essence of the sport.Frazier won the first of the three fights between them, on March 8, 1971, and it was the first loss in Ali’s career.By the time they had the second fight, in 1974, neither was currently a champion any longer, but Ali beat Frazier in a unanimous decision. That second fight was really a stepping stone to the Rumble in the Jungle, where Ali reclaimed the heavyweight title.The final fight between the two titanic boxers was the “Thrilla in Manila,” a truly brutal bout that Ali eventually won. He later said it was the closest he had ever come to death.Read another story from us: Hasta La Vista, Dollar – James Cameron Sold the Original Terminator Script for $1No matter the fight or the circumstances, Muhammed Ali always maintained his cocky attitude and quick mouth, and that was part of why America loved him, and why he will forever be an icon.last_img read more

Buffalo student celebrates upset win over Arizona with Bills Mafia table smash

first_img Advertisement For the record this is the same kid that blew up online because he ran around like he won a new car after hitting a half-court shot for 12 medium pizzas.Based on this reaction, did he win:A) A year of tuitionB) A new carC) 12 medium pizzas pic.twitter.com/23WwGEJ9fs— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 28, 2018 13-seed Buffalo blew out scandal plagued 4-seed Arizona 89-68 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and Buffalo student Kyle Hughes celebrated the upset with a good old fashioned table smash.To be fair, compared to a Bills tailgater doing a back flip off an RV onto a burning table this is pretty average. It’s the thought that counts. The way Buffalo played he might want to buy another table.A PROMISE IS A PROMISE @nate_oats pic.twitter.com/na7hkbep3K— Kyle Hughes (@The518Buffalo) March 16, 2018last_img read more

3 Free Apps to Help You Network Like a Pro

first_img 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. May 30, 2013 As the saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know that can get you ahead in the world of business. While it also helps if you’re amazing at what you do, there’s no question that networking can help you get further faster.If you’re working on building your startup but need a professional connection or two to take it to the next level, these three networking apps can help you collect new contacts and keep track of the ones you have.1. INTROThe designers of this app believe that talented people are all connected by no more than two degrees of separation. Since you already have so much in common, all you need is a third party to introduce the two of you and that’s where INTRO comes in.The app uses your LinkedIn and Facebook connections to find new people with the same interests then it automatically sends you an introduction card that you can accept or decline. If you’re looking for someone with a specific skill, you can initiate a search and send an invite. INTRO will automatically find people near your location but you can use the “teleport” button to find people located elsewhere in the world.INTRO is free for iPhone and Android. You must login with either a Facebook or LinkedIn account.Related: Mobile Apps to Make Business Travel Easier2. BrewsterThis app gathers all of your contacts from your phone, your email address book, LinkedIn and Facebook and merges them into one searchable address book. With Brewster, you can find all of the contact information for, say, all of the developers you’ve met. Or all the people who worked at a specific company or everyone associated with your child’s Little League team.Once you’ve organized your contacts, Brewster helps you keep in touch using lists. You can see who is currently trending on social media and who is in your area so you can meet up. Pay special attention to the “Losing Touch” list. If you value these contacts, take a moment to reach out and reconnect.Brewster is free for iPhone and you must connect through either Facebook or Twitter to use the app.3. BumpSometimes all you get is a brief moment to make contact with someone. You’re about to board a plane or you have to get on an important call. With Bump, all you have to do is literally bump smartphones and you’ve instantly traded contact information. It’s faster than digging out a business card and often more practical since cards can be easy to lose or forget to bring with you.You can also use Bump to instantly share your resume, business plan or any document on your phone. The downside is that the other person also has to have the Bump app installed on his or her device. But it works with both iOS and Android so device preference should be less of an issue.If you need to change your contact information, send a single remote update to everyone who bumped you in the past. Bump is free but it does require a strong internet connection and standard data rates will apply.Related: How to Apply PR Skills at Networking Events Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »last_img read more

Loss of Snow Days May Create the Next Generation of Remote Workers

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read January 27, 2015 The idea that snow or extreme weather conditions no longer mean getting a day off from school may become a chilling reality for school-aged kids. Thanks to technology and some forward-thinking administrators, like those of St. Cloud Cathedral high school in Minnesota, kids can now work from home on snow days with no productivity lost. If this approach spreads to school districts nationwide, it will encourage the creation of a new generation of self-sufficient, flexible workers. This could lead to a completely different work culture for businesses over the long term.Thanks to the recent proliferation of publicly funded personal technology in schools, students now have the equipment necessary to learn remotely, turning off-days into productive learning days. This means laptops and iPads are provided to each individual student, as opposed to having to share computers in a classroom or lab environment.The concept of students’ borrowing personal laptops loaned by the school is similar to the bring your own device trend at companies: Employees have access to work on a device of choice, wherever, thanks to technology solutions and web-based apps.And employees need not be at their desks or in the office to be productive. The requirement of being in the same work environment every day to be productive could be entirely eliminated. I believe a new generation of employees will begin at a young age to adapt to remote working. It’s intriguing to imagine how future employees and company leaders, after growing up with the work-anywhere mentality, could change the landscape.Ideally, future employees will be prepared to work from home, travel with all the tools that help them work efficiently throughout the day and not blink an eye if their commute to the office is snarled by snow. They will just open up their laptop remotely, grab coffee and begin at the same time as they usually do at the office. Remote working is obviously not a new concept, but having employees who enter the workforce already trained to work from anywhere, anytime, only helps a business become more nimble. Unfortunately, far too many organizations lack a clear plan for enabling and managing remote workers. Or they don’t fully appreciate how having a flexible workforce fights lost productivity and revenue.Providing flexible workplace options can have benefits well beyond those of disaster planning including the following:Related: 5 Essential Keys to Leading a Remote WorkforceCost savings. The reduction in the cost of utilities and other operational expenses is significant. Employers can save upwards of $11,000 per employee annually if that person works at least half time outside the office, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com.Increased productivity. Although some jobs aren’t suited for remote work, productivity increases significantly in many other roles. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employees working outside the office usually end up laboring well beyond 40 hours a week.Recruiting talent. Being able to work remotely is an attractive benefit to prospective employees. Giving potential employees flexible options can be the difference in a candidate’s choosing one company over a competitor.Higher employee morale. Research has shown that employees with multiple work options are more satisfied with their jobs and likely to stay. So what can a company do right now to encourage this new way of thinking? Here are some options:Related: 3 Qualities Every Remote Manager Needs (Infographic)Management buy-in. Company leaders should be open about supporting or encouraging working remotely and clear about expectations and when these practices are considered acceptable.Mobility. Whether it’s providing laptops or tablets or developing solid bring your own device policies, companies can deploy mobile devices to unchain employees from their desks. Modern tools and apps can provide remote workers the same communications experience as in the office.Cloud-based unified communications. Implement unified communications systems, which extend beyond traditional phone systems and provide tools to keep employees connected to one another and customers through video, chat and other collaboration options. Cloud-based unified communications ensures that if a building is inaccessible, remote employees can continue working normally.Remote-access network tools. VPN and other remote networking tools can provide the access and security necessary.Communicate the plan. Companies may have some advance warning of a business disruption from flooding, a storm, a tornado or hurricane. If such instances are the only time the company permits working remotely, then communicate expectations and review policies and procedures ahead of the threat. Related: 6 Best Practices for Working from Home Register Now »last_img read more

Stop Looking at Your IT Department as a Cost Center

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. In modern business, departments not directly related to operations have had to fight to demonstrate their value. Marketing departments have been the go-to scapegoat, but information technology (IT) departments haven’t been far behind. In a recent survey conducted by CIO magazine, half of IT leaders surveyed said their departments were seen primarily as “cost centers” — meaning they do not add to profits.Related: A Well-Trained IT Team: Your Company’s Secret Weapon (Infographic)But a reality check is needed here because a company’s IT department should be one of its major profit drivers. A 2016 Deloitte Growth Enterprise Services poll of 500 mid-market executives found that IT department leaders were responsible for 49 percent of technology adoption, compared to 36 percent a year earlier. In fact, IT departments are becoming more and more strategic, and technology is becoming a more reliable investment.Clearly, then, there’s a disconnect there: IT teams are playing a key role in moving businesses forward, but their department heads still claim they’re seen as a sieve in the budget.Yet, CIOs and IT departments play a much bigger role in business than they’re often given credit for, and that needs to change.More about that IT reality checkIf an attitude shift is in order, it’s executives and entrepreneurs who are in the most ideal position to bridge that gap and shift their (and their companies’) perspective, from viewing the IT function as a necessary evil to viewing these departments as innovation hubs.The purpose for doing that isn’t to give them a warm fuzzy feeling, because there’s actually a lot more at stake. In a world reliant on and connected by technology, IT is vital to operations. Lacking IT resources is the same as lacking the machinery or manpower necessary to produce a product or service. A company simply can’t function without it.And the “tech nerds in front of their computers all day” stereotype is exhausted and clichéd.CIOs and IT departments are really agents for change and innovation. They create new, more efficient processes and provide solutions to stagnant operations. Hiring or partnering with an IT team means you have people whose primary focus is on innovation — and that’s essential in the hyper-competitive market accompanying today’s influx of entrepreneurs.Removing cost from the thought processRethinking your IT department gives these professionals room to demonstrate the kind of innovation they’re really capable of. Here’s how to start:1. Try to learn the basics of IT. Nothing will generate appreciation of your IT department faster than learning firsthand about these people’s jobs and the (seemingly endless) complexities they deal with daily. They may be more experienced and are being paid to be the experts, but even a rudimentary understanding of what IT encompasses will lead to a greater appreciation for the department.Fifth Third Bank CEO and President Greg Carmichael began his journey as the bank’s CIO, and he credits his time in that role for teaching him crucial problem-solving and multitasking abilities. “CEOs today have to solve multiple problems at once,” he says, “and they need to understand disruptive technologies and how they apply to their current businesses. I am a stronger CEO as a result of my time as a CIO.”If you’re looking to dip your toes into the tech world, Lynda.com is a great resource for learning about IT. Many universities also offer relatively cheap courses on IT-related subjects, but another option is to simply ask your IT department questions about what they do and how they think they can improve things.They’re often eager to talk about their work and will appreciate the interest.2. Integrate IT into your company — not only strategically, but physically. Too often, the IT department is relegated to some back room, hidden out of sight. Physically integrating it with the rest of the company by moving IT’s offices and workspaces to a more central location will allow you and your other employees to see IT’s contributions to your operations up close.Walmart is making just such a change to its technology division, merging corporate IT with its technology groups responsible for ecommerce development. Part of the motivation stems from an initiative to quickly identify ways of combining physical and online shopping, to put IT in a position to contribute more directly to business growth.The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is incredibly pertinent in this instance. The people whom employees interact with daily are those whose contributions they recognize in the company, largely because they see the actual product of the hours those people put in. When your IT department is in some dimly lit back room, it’s likely that the only interaction you have is when something is going wrong or you’re signing paychecks.Related: Rethink Your Office Design: Designing a More Effective Workspace3. Challenge your IT department with the strategies and objectives of the company. Most importantly, instead of tasking IT staffers only with menial assignments (such as setting up email accounts), challenge them to align your overall strategy with your business objectives.One such example of a successfully aligned IT department is at Southern Company, where CEO Tom Fanning — former CIO — transitioned the company’s IT practice from a cost center to a positive financial differentiator. Similarly, IT Labs, NASA’s Technology and Innovation Division, has created a process for integrating new information technologies that has made the division the incubator for several effective innovations that have required minimal investment.If you start seeing your IT staff as your “innovation team,” you’ll empower them to transform your company for the better. Proper utilization of your IT team will allow them to locate and eliminate internal inefficiencies, identify opportunities through the analysis of data, determine technology threats and opportunities in the industry and better manage your customers through CRM tools.Thinking of your IT department as a driver of business growth can only improve your company. Instead of focusing on its cost, look at the areas where it pays for itself, and then some. Increasing internal efficiency lowers costs and helps keep you competitive, and IT is a means for connecting you to potential clients in an increasingly technological world.Related: One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost of Managing ITThe most successful companies are those that react more quickly and intelligently than the competition. Once you start rethinking the value your IT team offers, you’ll be one step closer to seating yourself at that table. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 6 min read March 22, 2017last_img read more