RNA reactor could have served as a precursor of life

first_img Copyright 2011 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. (PhysOrg.com) — Nobody knows quite how life originated on Earth, but most scientists agree that living cells did not abruptly appear from nonliving cells in a single step. Instead, there were probably a series of pre-cellular life forms that arose from nonliving chemicals and eventually led to a living cell, one that could undergo metabolism and reproduce. One of the most well-known theories of pre-cellular life is the RNA world theory, which proposes that life based on RNA predates current life, which is based on DNA, RNA, and proteins. But recently, scientists have been wondering what may have preceded RNA. In a new study, a team of scientists from Germany has suggested that the ability to self-replicate may have first emerged in the form of an RNA reactor, which they show can transmit information. Prediction of RNA pseudoknots using heuristic modeling with mapping and sequential folding Citation: RNA reactor could have served as a precursor of life (2011, July 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-07-rna-reactor-precursor-life.html Explore further More information: Benedikt Obermayer, et al. “Emergence of Information Transmission in a Prebiotic RNA Reactor.” Physical Review Letters 107, 018101 (2011) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.018101 In the RNA reactor, nucleotides accumulate in a narrow pore due to a temperature gradient. Due to bond formation and hybridization of RNA strands, weak information transmission can occur: information can be conserved beyond the lifetime of a single molecule. Image credit: Obermayer, et al. ©2011 American Physical Society The scientists, Benedikt Obermayer, Hubert Krammer, Dieter Braun, and Ulrich Gerland of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, have published their study on the prebiotic RNA reactor in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.The biggest piece of support for RNA molecules as pre-life forms is that RNA can act as both genes (to store information) and enzymes (to catalyze chemical reactions). Like DNA, RNA is made up of a long chain of nucleotides. However, scientists do not know how a self-replicating RNA system could have arisen from a pool of random polynucleotides.To address this question, Obermayer, et al., have turned to RNA replicators. As described in previous research, RNA replicators can transmit information from one molecule to another so that the information survives even when the original carrier molecules have become degraded. Here, the researchers have investigated how RNA replicators may have arisen from simpler RNA reactors billions of years ago.“We show that a combination of simple physico-chemical mechanisms can greatly facilitate the spontaneous emergence of a prebiotic evolutionary system, such as envisaged by the RNA world,” Gerland told PhysOrg.com.Using computer simulations, the scientists analyzed a scenario in which a hydrothermal RNA reactor emerges with the ability to perform intermolecular information transmission. The scene begins inside porous rocks on the sea floor, where strong temperature gradients produce thermal convection, and the convective flow transports molecules inside the narrow pores. Due to temperature variations, nucleotides in the pores accumulate in a small region and randomly form bonds with one another. Through folding and hybridization, the polynucleotides can form longer sequences, eventually resulting in RNA strands.One of the key factors that allows the formation of RNA strands is the preferential cleavage (splitting) of bonds at unpaired bases. This effect creates a selection pressure for base pairing, and leads to an increase in the complexity and lifetime of RNA structures. One such structure that could emerge as a result is a primitive ribozyme – or “RNA enzyme” – which can catalyze chemical reactions as a component of a true RNA replicator. Most importantly, the computer simulations showed that the RNA reactor can perform weak replication based on information transmission by hybridization of the RNA strands. As the researchers explained, evidence of information transmission appears as an unexpected increase in the lifetime of certain sequences.“Hybridization simultaneously protects a sequence motif and its complement from degradation,” Gerland explained. “Thereby, it extends not only the lifetime of the sequence motif, but also the lifetime of its complement, which in turn can protect other copies of the sequence motif after dissociation. This constitutes a form of information transmission between molecules, since it can conserve the information in the sequence motif beyond the lifetime of a single molecule.”Overall, the computer simulations showed that the prebiotic RNA reactor could serve as a stepping stone toward the emergence of a true RNA replicator. Acting as a filter to keep potentially useful sequences of nucleotides, the RNA reactor could lead to complex sequences, such as ribozymes. Once ribozymes emerge from an RNA reactor, they could establish an efficient self-replicating system in the form of an RNA replicator. In the future, the researchers hope that they might be able to experimentally demonstrate such a process.“The experimental investigation of this scenario is indeed a very exciting direction to explore,” Gerland said. “We believe it is possible to realize essential aspects of the scenario in the lab, on a small scale. We are working towards that end.” 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

Samsung tablet concept shows a seethrough bendable future w video

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. With all the visual interest going on in this video, the most attention among bloggers and mobile device enthusiasts is being centered on the bendable, AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display. Explore further Samsung Flexible AMOLED Display at CES While some bloggers wonder why, beyond novelty, they and others would want to have a device that bends, some strong reasons are easily found from those tracking new technologies in mobile devices. Louis Bedigian of Benzinga lists some key advantages. Bendable screens can withstand impact and be less likely to break or crack; bendable screens open up new possibilities in wearable computing; new applications, especially in gaming, can leverage the screen’s physical flexibility. Users can not only tilt and twist but bend the screen to influence gaming elements. Nokia has also been teasing away in promoting a similar future of smart devices with concepts of flexible, bendable phones. Also, according to reports, the firm’s research and development unit, the Nokia Research Center, has been working with scientists at The University of Cambridge to create products that can change the appearance and interface of handsets. Besides exploring technology that allows a phone to be controlled by squeezing and twisting, Nokia is reportedly exploring technology involving wearable phones. Foldable display shows no crease after 100,000 folding cycles © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: Samsung tablet concept shows a see-through, bendable future (w/ video) (2011, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-samsung-tablet-concept-see-through-bendable.html (PhysOrg.com) — A Samsung smartphone-ish, tablet-ish sized device is see-through, bends at will, and changes size according to what kind of app you want to use. Lest we forget, the device translates, explores, and locates, among other things. It shows images on either side, at the same time. Really? Yes, but. Samsung has released a concept video of a transparent, flexible 3D AMOLED display based tablet of the future, not anywhere near now. The video shows a user walking around the streets brandishing his wafer-thin see through rubbery device that is sized somewhere between smartphone and tablet, performing a range of tasks that connects him to people and places. That is where mobile devices are headed in the near future, even though the concept device shown in the Samsung video, with all its bells and whistles, may be far off.OLED is a display technology and the “active matrix” points to the control of pixels. AMOLED technology is already in use and is seen as becoming a staple in the new generation of screen displays, Samsung considers itself the leader in AMOLED technology.The company demonstrated ‘bendable’ AMOLED screens earlier this year. According to numerous reports, bendable AMOLED smartphones from Samsung are due in 2012. last_img read more

Human hybrids a closer look at the theory and evidence

first_imgThere was considerable fallout, both positive and negative, from our first story covering the radical pig-chimp hybrid theory put forth by Dr. Eugene McCarthy, a geneticist who’s proposing that humans first arose from an ancient hybrid cross between pigs and chimpanzees. Despite the large number of comments, here at Phys.org, on macroevolution.net, and on several other discussion forums, little in the way of a scientific consensus has emerged. By and large, those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The objection that mating between such different animals is just too strange has been addressed at length on McCarthy’s website. Ample counterexamples have been given there and elsewhere, including the evidence for matings, without issue, between such strange pairings as a buck rabbit with female cat (or even with a domestic hen), or a dog with a monkey, or with a swan goose. In general, as McCarthy points out, it has long been known that many organisms, as adults, prefer to mate with whatever animal they are exposed to at the critical early stage in their lives when sexual imprinting occurs.He also notes that it is not as if his hypothesis that humans are pig-chimp hybrids has not been tested. Under the alternative hypothesis (humans are not pig-chimp hybrids), the assumption is that humans and chimpanzees are equally distant from pigs. You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps. However, when he searched the literature for traits that distinguish humans and chimps, and compiled a lengthy list of such traits, he found that it was always humans who were similar to pigs with respect to these traits. This finding is inconsistent with the possibility that humans are not pig-chimp hybrids, that is, it rejects that hypothesis.Also raised was the argument that pigs and humans might have converged anatomically as a result of longstanding animal husbandry, not limited to but perhaps including genes carried over by retroviruses. If that is, in fact, a general mechanism that operates behind the scenes, then we might justifiably ask—why don’t a lot of the traits that distinguish us from primates connect us with dogs, with whom we have obviously lived, at close quarters, since prehistoric times? Why is it only pigs?One objection which seems to have really stretched the genetic exclusion argument was an appeal to junk DNA as a mechanism that can prevent two species from reproducing. The reference was to a paper in PLoS Biology which revealed interesting phenomena occurring in Drosophila (fruit flies) that can prevent embryos from developing. The study points to faster mutation rates found for noncoding DNA, and outlines a mechanism where mutation in a segment on the X chromosome of the father prevents proper separation of the whole chromosome. Clearly, a unique situation in this particular species, however interesting, does not invalidate the documented existence of successful hybrids produced in thousands of other species crosses.In moving forward, we hope to see more discussion on this issue from both sides of the argument. Nothing is preventing anyone from taking a closer look at the genetic picture. In fact, doing so has never been easier. Sites like eEnsembl let you “browse a genome” with unprecedented ease. Sequence data, or genome organization can be curated to support both observation and idea, as it can also be done to oppose the same. For the matter at hand, we might expect each side to continue to accuse the other of cherry-picking their arguments. Eventually though, sufficient data will fall from the collisions between example-fed discussion and informed search to deliver an elevated consensus. One particular approach recommended McCarthy is in silico chromosome painting of the human genome with random pig and chimp sequences in an effort to find hotspots of similarity to pig.Another possibility that McCarthy does not recommend, but which several scientists have suggested to him, is producing an actual hybrid. He objects to this approach, not on scientific, but humanitarian grounds. After all, he says, such an experiment might result in an intelligent but non-human creature, much more piglike than any human being, who would have no happy place in our world. He in fact includes such a hybrid, an F1 female, as one of the major characters in The Department, his kindle book satire of academic life. In it he observes, “I hope never to meet her in the flesh.” You can see McCarthy address some of the issues raised above in greater depth in a podcast that has just been released. As any skilled listener might observe, the most important thing in communication is not always hearing what is said, but rather, hearing what isn’t said. One thing we have not heard here is objection from those writer-scientists who have any kind of public reputation in the evolutionary sciences. I don’t think that is because they didn’t hear about the story. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel found the article, or at least parts of it, to be rather revealing, and he used segments from it on his show. Commenters on the O’Reilly Factor also called in asking for his opinion on the story. The reason for the silence from above, so to speak, is that they have nothing to gain in being right, but much to lose when any statement they might offer is picked apart by someone with a little more conceptual fluidity, and who has substantial research vested in the theory.As many critics noted, the advancement of scientific knowledge does not require disproving every radical theory that comes along. Lots of incorrect theories exist that cannot, for all practical purposes, be formally disproven. It seems, however, that decent arguments against the hybrid origins theory are surprisingly hard to find, and moreover, the established elders of the field, well, they know it. We decided it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the objections that were most commonly offered against the hybrid hypothesis. Chief among them was that the chromosome differences here are just too large to support a viable hybrid. One of the previous examples we gave, the zedonk (zebra parent, 2n=44, donkey parent, 2n=62), can and does result in female hybrid offspring that have been reported to produce offspring in backcrosses. The same is true for the geep (sheep, 2n=54, and goat 2n=60). While the reduction in fertility associated with large differences of this sort is often severe, the existence of fertile hybrids, particularly in backcrosses, invalidates this objection. More information: www.macroevolution.net/ , PLoS Biology Explore further A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans?center_img Citation: Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence (2013, July 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-human-hybrids-closer-theory-evidence.html Journal information: Nature Credit: ristorantemystica.wordpress.com © 2013 Phys.org Another argument was that the morphological distance, or genetic differences besides chromosome number, are just too great. Most of us are familiar with the platypus. A paper published in Nature a few years ago demonstrated that the platypus genome contains both bird and mammal chromosomes, and therefore that the vastly different bird and mammal sex chromosome systems have been successfully bridged by this creature. This example is not offered as any kind of proof. But it does suggest that sometime, long ago, a cross occurred that would have been even more distant than that between a chimpanzee and a pig – one between a otter-like mammal and a duck-like bird. And if such was the case, the hybrids from the cross must have been able to produce offspring (otherwise they would have died out, and the platypus would not exist today). Credit: http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Pig/pigdom.htmlast_img read more

Philips LED bulb with rad design set for January arrival

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —Netherlands-based Philips’ SlimStyle LED bulbs will be arriving on January 2 at Home Depot stores, and the SlimStyle appears to be a promising newcomer in lightbulbs, with a flat design, energy-saving benefits. and ease of use for consumers. Intended as a replacement for 60- watt incandescents, SlimStyle is highly efficient; it uses only 10.5 watts, yet still puts out 800 lumens. Explore further Kickstarter project team claims its LED bulb world’s most efficient Citation: Philips LED bulb with rad design set for January arrival (2013, December 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-philips-bulb-rad-january.html This lightbulb is shaped such that a string of LEDs are arranged into a horseshoe shape that arc out from the base. The shape is not just about grabbing attention; the technical advantage is that the SlimStyle does a good job in dispersing heat and does away with the need for heavy heat sinks. In a GigaOM report on the SlimStyle, a Philips spokeswoman e-mailed comments about the bulb’s design “The flat surface,” she said, “helps conduct heat away from the LEDs, eliminating the need for the heavy aluminum heat sinks associated with LED bulbs. This eliminates the cost of the bulb, while still delivering omnidirectional light.” Illumination in Focus further reflected on the significance of the design: “Philips has once again created an LED-based retrofit lamp with a novel shape that still delivers an omnidirectional beam that the company expects to win Energy Star certification. The design looks somewhat akin to a doughnut on top of an Edison base although there is only a flat area rather than a whole in the center of the doughnut. The solid-state lighting (SSL) design enabled a new approach to thermal management that does not rely on a visible metal heat sink.”Chris Davies, meanwhile, writing in SlashGear, had a look at the SlimStyle, and observed still another advantage in its design, and that is its ease of use for those who may otherwise struggle with conventional bulbs. The elderly or infirm with weak grips, for example, might find the SlimStyle easier to manage with just a twist. The plastic body, too, will feel sturdy enough so that the user does not worry about cracking or breaking the bulb while handling it.The introduction comes at a good time for Philips, as 2014 in the US also marks the point when 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs will be phased out. In 2014, the bulb will no longer be manufactured or imported. That also means that consumers in 2014 will be especially interested in finding alternative “green” LED fixtures and can expect promotional messages of better efficiency, The phaseout is In line with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.This Act is designed to help raise the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles. © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

The sparrow takes flight

Sakshee Pradhan’s Schon [meaning beautiful in German] takes inpiration from little sparrows and spring that dominates her entire collection in the form of delicate cut outs of the bird that graced every piece of the looks showcased. Predominantly is salmon pink with well places swatches of shimmer, sheer and champagne sequins -the collection falls beautifully but the colour tends to get a little monotonous after a point. One delicate gown in an ivory white with sparrows in colour on branches is striking. Diana Penty as showstopper flowed on the ramp in her ensemble – but we really wish the collection had a little more edge to stand out. read more

The Crucible comes to capital

first_imgThe three-hour performance by the final year students of the coveted NSD is a reflection of our society where emotions of greed and jealousy are overpowering human values.‘In his play Miller had shown how innocent people were killed and jailed during the witchcraft trails. This play focuses on the silent method adopted by many Indian states to push poor people out of the system,’ its director, Santanu Bose said.A witch or ‘daayan’ is used as a metaphor in the play to showcase how witchcraft can be used as a tool to denounce people and make them outcasts. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘Even Miller used the garb of a witch through this play to showcase political insensitivities during the trials. He couldn’t have been upfront about the injustice, so he used his play as a tool to tell the story,’ pointed out Bose who also teaches at NSD.Miller’s 1953 production had initially received hostile reviews because of its obvious reference to the Salem witch trials – mass hysteria that led to a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in Massachusettes. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixBose found similarities of in rustic Jharkhand and felt the setting was apt for his play.‘I could have chosen any place in south or anywhere in India. But Jharkhand relates well with the settings of Miller’s play,’ he noted.‘I need a place where industrialisation, indigenous community, superstitious beliefs and ulta-left politics were prevalent,’ he added. Hence the four-act play treads same path as Miller’s.Betty Parris, the one believed to be under the spell of a witch becomes Rupa, and Abigail, the niece of the temple’s priest, becomes Savitri in Bose’s play.The characters of the play have adapted well to the local dialect of Jharkhand, their ways of living and dressing. There is an ease with which each character plays his role.last_img read more

World Book Fair to focus on childrens literature

first_imgThe nine-day fair organised by the National Book Trust in association with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is particularly themed ‘Kathasagara: Celebrating Children’s Literature’ this year. Approximately 25 countries are participating this year with Poland being the guest country. A contingent of  around 25 people including authors, illustrators and publishers are participating from Poland in the fair.Speaking on the occasion, the President said, ‘We must be uncompromising in rejecting intolerance, prejudice and hatred. Book fairs such as NDWBF should remind us that our history and traditions have always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian and not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country and freedom of speech is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Congratulating the organizers for having chosen children’s literature as the theme for this year’s fair, Mukherjee said that no human society can develop in all dimensions if it does not produce meaningful literature. He appealed to parents and teachers to inculcate in children the habit of reading. He said implanting the habit of reading in children will ensure that it becomes a skill that stands them in good stead throughout their lives.Commenting on the fair the director of the Polish institute, Anna Tryc-Bromley said ‘We see this Fair not only as a feast of literature but also as a historic opportunity for Polish and Indian publishing industry to meet.’last_img read more

Art within reach

first_imgIt is time for Gallerie Nvya’s much awaited annual show Within Reach driven with the intention of displaying well priced works of masters alongside new works by emerging artists . The quality as well as the priceline of the art works is the main criteria of selection. Within Reach, in its fifth year, is targeted essentially at discerning collectors who want to collect remarkable works at incredible prices! The art works are in varied genres and mediums like paintings, drawings, serigraphs, sculptures and installations. And the works come from a host of 50 artistes from across the country.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Priced reasonably, each of the works is selected after serious deliberation on the individual profile and work corpus of the respective young artist. For Nvya this is an opportunity to share and make available art that stands on the threshold of recognition and is filled with promise. Through the show they provide a platform for emerging artists in a space shared with more established names; affirm aesthetic sensibility, and celebrate the creative impulse that weaves colour and form into variegated manifestations of visual reality.Art galleries had a formidable aura in earlier times, a standoffish, snobbish setup which was interpreted as elitist by many, especially the young and not so affluent. With passage of time, this has changed to some extent. Gallerie Nvya has made this little endeavor with the Within Reach series of exhibitions to modify and revise this myth. Whether you are buying a piece or not -head over!last_img read more

Important bills have to be passed to maintain growth Venkaiah

first_imgUnion Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said important bills like GST Bill and Real Estate Bill need to be passed for economic development, even as he noted that 30 per cent of Indians live below the poverty line.“We have 30 per cent of Indians living below poverty line. The government has recorded 7.3 per cent GDP growth. If the same pace of growth is continued for two to three years, there is a possibility of India overtaking China’s growth rate,” he said. Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra dam“Initially, the government faced a lot of problems like fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, trade deficit, current account deficit and a trust deficit. We must pass GST Bill, Real Estate Bill and Negotiable Instruments Bill. Mudra scheme has to be strengthened further,” he said. He said that contrary to public notion that large industries create more employment opportunities, it is small enterprises which employ as many as 12 crore people.“It is the small enterprise sector which our PM wants to target through the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana in order to help budding entrepreneurs,” he said.last_img read more

Bandh day 2 Attempts fail to hamper normal life services

first_imgKolkata: The second day of the bandh called by the opposition trade unions had no impact across the state including Kolkata. In several areas, the bandh supporters resorted to hooliganism to obstruct vehicular movement.In Rajabazar, the bandh supporters attacked a pool car carrying school children. One child was injured by the stone pelters supporting the bandh. Transport service remained normal and more government buses were pressed into service. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe State government offices, educational institutions and even private companies recorded normal attendance. The IT sector and Port activities were normal and so was the attendance at tea gardens. Attendance at Nabanna, new Secretariat buildings and other state offices at different parts of the city and the state recorded above 95 percent of attendance. On Wednesday morning, the bandh supporters again tried to put up a blockade by organising a rally at Jadavpur led by CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedPolice immediately intervened and dispersed the mob. Several CPI(M) leaders and cadres have been arrested including Chakraborty. In Rajabazar, the SFI workers and leaders resorted to hooliganism to make the bandh a success. They even attacked a pool car carrying several nursery students to school. It is alleged that the bandh supporters pelted stones at the pool car. As a result, the windshield and other glass windows broke. One child got injured and was immediately rushed to Calcutta Medical College Hospital where the doctors treated him. Later, police arrested the SFI leaders. Train service was partially affected in the Sealdah and Howrah section. Howrah Division was made obstruction free by 8:10 am and Sealdah Division was made the same by 12:30 pm. On Wednesday morning, the bandh supporters allegedly placed bombs on the railway track near Habra railway station. Due to this train services got disrupted in the Bongaon section for almost three hours. In the Ranaghat section, the bandh supporters put up a blockade at Ranaghat and Simurali station. Banana leaves were thrown on the overhead electric wires. In the Sealdah South section, train services got disrupted at Lakshmikantapur and Namkhana. In Basuldanga, the bandh supporters placed concrete slabs on the railway tracks and put up a blockade. Later, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel dispersed the mob and normal train movement commenced after almost an hour. Over 10,000 police personnel were deployed in the city along with an additional force of 5,000 to prevent any untoward incident. Kolkata Police arrested 99 persons in connection with attempts of enforcing the bandh on Wednesday. In the Hills, the bandh failed to make an impact. Shops, offices, business establishments and educational institutes remained open. There was normal traffic on the road. Tea gardens in the Hills also remained open.last_img read more

Abhishek challenges Shah to contest from any seat in Bengal

first_imgKolkata: Abhishek Banerjee, All India Trinamool Congress president and party MP, on Friday challenged BJP’s All India president Amit Shah to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll from any seat in Bengal and assured that he will take all the responsibility to defeat him.He was reacting to a statement made by Shah in New Delhi on Friday at the national conference attended by BJP leaders that the party is now targeting Bengal. “We will request our party supremo Mamata Banerjee not to take part in the campaign and I take the responsibility to defeat him. BJP thinks that it has made a major dent in Trinamool Congress by welcoming a leader whom we have thrown out like garbage. BJP is no longer Bharatiya Janata Party, it is Bharatiya Janjal Party,” said Banerjee while addressing a mammoth rally at Shyambazar five point crossing on Friday evening. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalHe said the people in the country are fed up with Narendra Modi and his gimmicks. “We have seen that after BJP lost the Assembly polls in three states, there was a fall in the prices of petrol and diesel and relaxation was given in GST. So ousting Modi will bring down the prices of fuel further,” he said. Banerjee said: “Despite best efforts, BJP has failed to create trouble in Bengal. They tried to incite one community against the other. Our religion is different from the Hinduism they preach. We believe in communal harmony and that religion is practiced privately. Our religion is humanism and we do not sell our religion to win elections.” He said Trinamool Congress is like iron and “if you hit it hard, it becomes stronger.” He urged the party workers to attend the forthcoming Brigade rally, where national leaders will come to strengthen Mamata Banerjee’s hands.last_img read more

App to assist small tea growers of Bengal for production boost

first_imgDarjeeling: Small tea growers are all set to become tech-savvy. An mobile phone app was recently launched in Jalpaiguri by the Tea Board of India. Different issues pertaining to manufacturing, fertilizers, pesticides along with problems can be sorted out through this app.The app has been developed so that Indian small tea growers are at par with international market standards. “Everyone uses smart phones these days, including the small tea growers. This app will help them in every way vis-a-vis tea cultivation. A new horizon will open up for the small tea growers through this app,” said Bijoygopal Chakrabarty, Secretary of the All India Small tea Growers’ Association. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataCiting an example, Chakrabarty said if there is a pest attack or a disease outbreak, the grower can upload pictures on the app. Immediately, he will be given advice on what the pest is or the disease, including the remedial measures through the app. Daily weather updates including rain, temperature can be obtained through this app. How one has to tend to the tea bushes as per climatic conditions all these advices will be given through the app. The app will act as a notebook for the small tea growers, he said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”Small tea growers do not follow a standard system. If they follow the proper system and instructions yield can be doubled. Quality will also improve. Small tea growers contribute to 50 per cent of the gross production of tea in India,” said Sandip Ghosh of the Indian Tea Board. An NGO from Netherland has tied up with the Indian Tea Board to impart training. “We will provide support to small tea growers. In case of major pest attacks or disease outbreaks we will even send experts to the tea growers to mitigate the problems” said Ranjan Sarkar, Asia Coordinator. Altogether, 60,000 small tea growers from West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu will be initially brought under the smart growers training programme through the app. The target is to develop 10,000 smart tea growers in Bengal alone in the next three years. At present, there is over 1.40 lakh acres under small tea cultivation in West Bengal. There are around 40,000 growers who employ another 50,000 workers in the state.last_img read more

The Comedian who Passed Away Live on Stage

first_imgComedian, writer, and character actor Harry “Parkyakarkus” Einstein (1904-1958) got his first break on national radio in 1934. His popularity snowballed, and by 1945 he was writing and performing his own show, Meet Me at Parky’s, on NBC. He began to wind down in the 1950s as his health began to decline, but every appearance was still loved by his fans. Right after delivering what the Los Angeles Times described as “the most hilarious speech of his career” at the Friars Club, he suffered a fatal heart attack while still on the stage.Harry Einstein.Einstein was born on May 6, 1904 in Boston, Massachusetts. After High School, he took a job as a newspaper reporter, but he had already found his real passion in life: Comedy. He began performing comedy routines in his free time, picking up spots in vaudeville shows and nightclubs, while building a successful career as an advertising manager for a series of furniture stores.A mastery of dialects was Einstein’s trademark. When his friend Joe Rines persuaded him to appear on Rines’ local radio show, Einstein created the character of Nick Parkyakarkus. The character was based on the Greek immigrants he’d met through his father’s business dealings.The national networks pricked up their ears, and Parkyakarkus was invited to appear on Eddie Cantor’s radio show. The response was so great that he was given a permanent part on the show.Photo of Harry Parke as Parky from the radio show Meet Me at Parky’s.Even during a time when dialect comedians were fairly common, Einstein had a gift for coming up with new material and keeping the character fresh.The character was so popular that he even tried to have his name legally changed to Parkyakarkus. The judge turned him down, despite his arguments, but his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame bears the name Parkyakarkus.That job led the way to becoming a regular guest on Al Jolson’s radio show and eventually to making some movies, including Strike Me Pink (1938), She’s Got Everything (1938), and Sweethearts of the U.S.A. (1944).Transit Theater advertisement for the American films Night Spot (1938), The Rangers’ Round-Up (1938), and chapter 1 of the film serial Dick Tracy (1937) – 27 May 1938 Morning Call, Allentown, PA.In the mid-late 1940s Einstein developed heart problems and also had spinal surgery, which forced him to reduce the amount of performing he did and focus on gag writing for the last decade of his career, according to Old Time Radio.Thanks to being wise with his money, he wasn’t in any financial distress, and the only performances he continued to do were at Friars Club Roasts.Einstein as Parky caught between Sheldon Leonard and Betty Rhodes in 1948.It was at one of these events that Einstein gave his most dramatic, and final, performance.On November 24, 1958, the Friars Club was having a roast to honor Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who had just finished their sixth and final season of I Love Lucy, still at the top of the ratings.The celebrities doing the roast were some of the biggest names of the time. The emcee was Art Linkletter, and guests included George Burns, Tony Martin, Milton Berle, and, of course, Einstein.Publicity photo for The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show.By all reports, Einstein gave a stellar performance, leaving his audience laughing and applauding wildly. At the end of his act, he returned to his seat next to Milton Berle.Linkletter was giving him the same standing ovation and wondering why someone who was so talented wasn’t performing on television regularly, when the unthinkable happened.Einstein pitched over, collapsing onto Berle. According to Good History, the audience kept laughing and clapping, apparently thinking it was still part of his act, but Berle knew better and called out asking if there was a doctor in the house.The last photo of Harry Parke (Harry Einstein) (Parkyakarkus) taken at a Los Angeles Friars’ Club dinner in 1958. He is shown conversing with Milton Berle. Shortly after this photo was taken, Parke collapsed into Berle’s lap from a fatal heart attack.Five physicians came forward from the audience, and Einstein’s friends carried him to a corridor offstage so he could be examined. One of the doctors sterilized a pocket knife, and used it to cut open Einstein’s chest and began massaging his heart.Another of the doctors used the two ends of an electrical cord to try to shock Einstein’s heart back to a normal rhythm while they waited for paramedics to arrive. The whole scene was happening in front of the patient’s crying wife and their 18-year-old son.Milton BerleThe same source goes on to say that while the professionals were working on Einstein backstage, Linkletter tried to get the show onstage moving again. Milton Berle asked Tony Martin to sing for the audience, and Martin agreed, singing “There’s No Tomorrow”, an apt, if unfortunate choice.Martin’s performance was followed by a song from George Burns. The show continued, with the sounds of the machines being used on Einstein traveling from backstage between acts.Lucille Ball from the New York Sunday News.Finally, after two hours of concerted effort to save the comedian’s life, he was pronounced dead from a massive heart attack.A report from the LA Times gives a slightly different account of what happened on stage after Einstein’s collapse. That report said that Linkletter tried to get the next comedian, Danny Thomas, to do his act, but Thomas shook his head and sat down.One thing all sources agree on, though, is that Arnaz came to the microphone, picked up the award, and said “This offering meant so much to me. Now it means nothing. Please, everyone, pray to your own God that he will be saved.” He put the award in his pocket, and sat back down.His wife, Lucille Ball, went to the microphone, crying, and simply said, “I can say nothing,” before leaving her award on the table and sitting down, herself.Many of the audience members left, although a number of them stayed until Einstein was pronounced dead at 1:20 am.Read another story from us: The Studio Head who Hated HollywoodThere are those who might say that for a performer to die onstage, doing what he or she loved best, is a good way to go. That may even be true for the performer, but, somehow, we suspect that the experience was a very different one for the people on the stage and in the audience who watched the shocking scene unfold. One thing is for certain, though. It was certainly a night no one present would ever forget.last_img read more

Sir Charles stands by his LeBron comments Westbrook and Carmelo would love

first_img“We don’t have to be friends… Anybody who thinks my comments were unfair, I don’t think they’re unfair.” pic.twitter.com/ZMChNLK3Ka— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 3, 2017 Advertisement He added that he won’t stop honestly critiquing player performances or filtering his opinion because of this recent beef. If that means taking heat, so be it.“My comments were what I said. I stick by them.”Strictly from a basketball standpoint, Chuck said there are a number of NBA stars that would love to be burdened with Cleveland’s “top heavy” roster that includes Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.“I’m pretty sure, Carmelo Anthony is a helluva player, and would love to have Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving,  and Tristan Thompson. Same thing with Russell Westbrook.”Here are Barkley’s full comments:Charles Barkley responds to LeBron James’ recent comments. pic.twitter.com/tJQYQzF3Bs— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 3, 2017center_img For the first time since LeBron James publicly torched him in the press for calling him ‘whiny’, Charles Barkley commented from his national perch on Inside the NBA last night to address the personal slams from the King. Barkley had given a radio interview, but had yet to address the topic nationally.Barkley said he had no problem with James comments, and mentioned that he forgot to mention that he also flunked Spanish in high school and lost at Jeopardy! to Martha Stewart.Barkley maintained that his criticisms were strictly related to basketball and never personal, even though James took it there.He praised James as an all-time NBA talent and a transcendent businessman, but firmly sticks by his comments that James was ‘whiny’ for going to the press to publicly rip his front office and roster.last_img read more

Actor Kelly AuCoin Dollar Bill Stearn on Billions

first_imgToday, Colin is joined by Kelly AuCoin, who plays ‘Dollar’ Bill Stearn on the Showtime hit drama ‘Billions.’ He discusses Season 4 of the show, working with Paul Giamatti, the increased role of ‘Dollar’ Bill, when he realized the show could be something special, and how today’s TV series are movie level quality.Download and subscribe to The Herd: Saturday Special Podcast, exclusively at TheHerdNow.com, iHeart Radio, Google Play, or Apple Podcasts. Get your weekend Herd fix.last_img read more

Do You Copy

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free October 1, 2006 4 min read Two words: bird flu. Two more: Hurricane Katrina. How about the Northridge earthquake, alternating snowstorms and floods in the Northeast, annual tornados in the Midwest, daylong gridlock in the Southwest, skyrocketing gas prices and deteriorating air quality?Long-standing productivity benefits aside, business continuity is driving a new boom in telecommuting. And why not? With broadband everywhere, powerful portables and phone calls that follow you, 45 million Americans already work in three to four different locations, reports telework facilitator ITAC.But have you taken the few extra steps needed to survive, say, one of the 30,000 lightning strikes on buildings every year? Couldn’t happen to you? Couldn’t happen to me, either.So imagine my surprise last year when a lightning bolt fried an uninterruptible power supply and my favorite PC. It turns out lightning strikes Earth 20 million times a year-and it loves electronics. So nowadays, when I hear the thunder rolling, I squeeze under the bed.But what about my stuff-not just my main PC’s files, but critical e-mails and all the applications and settings it would take me weeks to restore? That’s where teleworking comes in.Cloning YourselfIf you’re among those Americans who frequently work from home, just a couple of extra gadgets and procedures can prepare you to resurrect a destroyed virtual office without losing a step.Big-time IT service providers like IBM and Hewlett-Packard are building hardened facilities with everything a Fortune 500 manager needs to keep the wheels of industry turning. Build yours cheaply just by cloning your work space in more than one workplace.First, you need a painless way to extract an up-to-date image of your company’s irreplaceable assets-messages, accounting records, contracts, project archives-from that useless pile of junk we all collect. It’s not too hard if you start with a high-capacity network-attached storage device.I use Buffalo Technologies’ $600 (all prices street) TeraStation. After a half-hour setup, I’ve been spending exactly zero minutes a day keeping an up-to-the-minute, bit-level duplicate of my important stuff on TeraStation’s four Raid 5 drives. TeraStation’s intuitive management utility bundled with Memeo AutoBackup makes it easy. I clicked on my important folders once; since then, Memeo has automatically backed up every changed bit.The 9-by-9-by-6-inch TeraStation holds up to 1.6 terabytes of swappable storage, and aside from a gigabit Ethernet port, has four USB ports. Clear off your work space while improving your chances against lightning bolts by making TeraStation a print, fax, e-mail and web server in another room networked via an adapter like Buffalo’s $65 AirStation Ethernet converter.Of course, all that has to be behind a robust uninterruptible power supply like Tripp-Lite’s $140 SMART1000LCD. It will smooth out electrical sags and spikes and deliver up to 60 minutes of emergency power.But what about fire, flood, tornado and tidal wave? If you have a far-flung enterprise, just mirror your NAS in multiple places. If not, back up to a virtual desk space like SimDesk. Prices start at $15 a month for 2GB of space, so only mirror critical or frequently changing folders-accounting records, e-mail and works in progress. SimDesk also updates your virtual work space automatically and makes it sharable with any associate you choose from any device with a web browser.So, for $1,000 in tax-deductible hardware and $15 monthly (also deductible), you protect your company’s most valuable assets, gain time in operational flexibility and have a work space accessible from anywhere. You’ll recover that $1,000 in productivity enhancements in no time; after that, those dollars fall to your bottom line. Think of it as an insurance policy that prints money.Save It Again, SamAlways on deadline, Halon Entertainment can’t afford lost files. The preproduction materials and 3-D layouts created by its 26 artists are critical elements in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. “If we run late, everyone runs late,” explains Daniel Gregoire, the 34-year-old founder and CEO of the $1.5 million venture.Halon’s solution to having project teams in odd film locations can be summarized as extreme redundancy. Artists’ workstations are backed up to local servers mirrored on both removable disks and Halon’s central server. That’s backed up to removable drives saved in both its California offices. As Gregoire advises, “Keep things in multiple places accessible by multiple machines.”Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur’s technology editor. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowlast_img read more

Four Ways Your Gadgets May Be Harming Your Body

first_img 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Does your neck ache after gazing down at your mobile device for a long time? Do your thumbs get sore after firing off a string of emails on your smartphone?Those are just a two of the physical ailments caused in part by technology. Sporting such names as “text neck,” “computer vision syndrome,” “Blackberry thumb,” and “iPad elbow,” these syndromes may sound phony, but they’re every bit as real — and painful — as carpal tunnel.Here’s a look at four increasingly common ailments associated with improper or overuse of gadgets, plus recommendations for how to avoid the problems.Condition: Text neckText neck is usually caused by excessive use of smartphones or tablets. Due to the popularity of text messaging with teenagers, the condition is more common in adolescents and young adults, but can be seen in anyone who spends hours looking down at mobile devices.Think of your head as a bowling ball sitting on a spring. Tilting the ball forward for an extended period of time stresses and bends the spring, says Robert Hayden, an Atlanta chiropractor. The more this happens, he says, the greater the chance of flattening the natural curvature of the neck vertebrae. Eventually, you put added pressure on the discs of the cervical spine and more strain on the muscles and ligaments of the neck.Related: Is Technology Killing Your Productivity?Solution: Stop looking down.You can prevent text neck by taking frequent breaks and using range of motion exercises. Try flexing your neck by looking side to side and putting your ears down against your shoulders, Hayden says. You also can simply try holding your device higher so you’re not angling your head down to see it.If the problem persists, ultrasound and electrotherapy can alleviate pain. Long-term remedies include resistance exercises to rebalance the muscles.Condition: Computer vision syndromeOverhead fluorescent lighting, the viewing angle of the display, and small font size can contribute to the eye pain and strain of computer vision syndrome, according to Dr. Jim Sheedy, an optometrist and director of Pacific University’s Vision Performance Institute in Forest Grove, Ore. Undiagnosed, common eye problems like presbyopia — a reduced ability to focus on objects that are near — can exacerbate the condition.Solution: Keep your eyes in shape.Resolving the problem involves a two-prong approach: making the task less visually demanding and taking visual breaks, Sheedy says.For example, turning off the overhead light and using softer desk and floor lamps can help. Also, try making the top of the display level with your eyes so you’re looking down about 10 degrees when viewing it. Adjust font sizes so you can read them easily.To keep your eyes in shape, Sheedy recommends the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away to a distance of at least 20 feet for at least 20 seconds. Such frequent breaks can help because computer vision syndrome is a fatigue problem, not an injury, Sheedy says.Related: Three Ways to Extend the Battery Life of Smartphones and TabletsCondition: BlackBerry thumbCaused primarily by excessive texting, BlackBerry thumb is a strain of either the tendon that extends the thumb or the tendon that brings the thumb into the palm. The strain causes tiny tears to connective tissue.The severity of the condition depends on how long, how fast and how hard you use a handheld device. But it doesn’t affect only those using mobile keyboards — it can result from any repeated finger motion.”What happens when people don’t rest is they go into chronic phase because there’s so much scarring and trauma,” says Dorit Aaron, president of the American Society of Hand Therapists and an occupational therapist at Houston Hand Therapy in Texas. That means the pain might never go away.Solution: Give your fingers a rest.If you’re writing lots of emails on your phone or tablet, take breaks and slow down, Aaron says. Fast texters are more vulnerable because they have more repetitive motions. You also can switch to a touch screen, which may be better than a physical keyboard because it requires minimal pressure.Related: A Guide for Using Mobile Devices When Traveling Abroad Condition: iPad ElbowA repetitive strain injury, iPad elbow can affect a variety of tendons from the wrist to the elbow, depending on how you hold your tablet. “People who are using laptops and tablets often don’t focus on the ergonomics of it,” says Christopher Morris, a Kingsport, Tenn., rheumatologist. Many tablet users curl up on a couch to get more comfortable, he says, rather than paying attention to proper posture.Solution: Try an iPad holder.While orthopedists are still getting a handle on this particular condition, taking breaks can help reduce the pain. “The biggest thing with any kind of repetitive activity is to listen to your body,” Morris says. “If doing something for an hour straight is going to make it hurt, don’t do it for an hour straight.”You also can try one of the many iPad holders. For instance, PropUp ($29.99) allows users to more easily grip and tip the tablet, while GorillaMobile’s Ori case ($69.95) props up an iPad in a variety of positions that can make using it easier on the neck, eyes and arms. April 17, 2012 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

Dropbox Users Your Life Just Got a Little Easier

first_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now April 9, 2014 LOLcat memes and P&L statements don’t play well together. Business and personal files are best kept separate. Except for in the cloud, where it’s better to link them together for easy access.Up until today, it was a pain to for Dropbox users to constantly log in and out of separate business and personal Dropbox accounts. Back and forth, back and forth.Related: Dropbox Addresses NSA Surveillance Fears in New Privacy PolicyNot any more, though. Not now that — wait, clear the immediate area around you for a triumphant fist pump in the air — the cloud-storage giant has officially given Dropbox for Business users the ability to have one Dropbox for work stuff and another for non-work stuff that can be linked together and accessed on all devices.This means that Dropbox users will be able to seamlessly toggle between their separately stored personal and work files — minus the hassle of having to repeatedly sign in and sign out. Once a user connects them on the Dropbox website, the two accounts can be accessed from a single home screen. Dropbox also announced that colleagues can now view the same document shared via Dropbox and make edits to it in real-time, similar to Google Docs. They can also instant message each other while collaborating on Dropbox files.Related: The Cloud Wars Rage On: Dropbox Raises Mega Money as Box Has Reported Filed for IPOSome lucky beta testers have been playing with these cool features for a while, but now everyone can get their hands on them, too. Dropbox announced the availability of the new features to all today at a press event in its home city of San Francisco.Also at its event today, Dropbox announced Carousel, its slick new photo-sharing app that’s searchable by date or event, along with the new Android and Mac desktop versions of its Mailbox email client app.Hmmm, so it looks like Dropbox, which also touted today that it is now 275 million users strong, is playing a little catch up with rivals Box and Microsoft OneDrive in the Cloud Wars.Related: Head in the Clouds: Dropbox Reportedly Valued at $10 Billioncenter_img 2 min read Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more

4 Ways Startups Can Harness Innovation and Disruption

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. March 20, 2017 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 7 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » We live in a time when doctors no longer have to rely on costly and unwieldy medical imaging devices to diagnose illnesses. A simple “visual stethoscope” would help them see deep into the human body more easily than ever, thereby accelerating both diagnosis and therapy. Meanwhile, if you’re a chronically ill patient, you no longer have to make repeated, costly visits to the hospital. Say hello to Molly — an innovative, friendly, virtual nurse who can check up on you, monitor your vitals and provide follow-up care — all through your smart phone.Speaking of smartphones, the future of banking is here. You can now use your mobile device to do just about all your banking on the go — from opening an account to tracking your spending to freezing and unfreezing your credit cards, and more. You can even have your own automated financial adviser provide advice on where and how to invest your savings smartly, at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional banks.Butterfly Network, Sense.ly, Monzo, and Betterment are the companies that are making each of these scenarios a reality, respectively. They’re transforming the way we think about healthcare and financial services. And they’re doing that through a range of disruptive technologies — so much so that today’s healthcare and banking organizations are no longer just about people in white lab coats or crisp suits. They’re a confluence of product engineers, designers, developers and security specialists in addition to physicians or bankers. Think “Big Bang Theory meets Scrubs,” as Sense.ly describes itself. It’s a paradigm shift in traditional industry models.Related: 4 Steps to Cultivating an Innovation Mindset in Your OrganizationKeeping pace in a disruptive worldI believe we’re moving towards a future where financial services and healthcare organizations will not be known as financial services and healthcare organizations any longer, but as technology companies. Take banking, for instance: an industry steeped in conventional branch-based infrastructure and services, which is now being upended in Uber-like style by mobile and cloud computing, sophisticated behavior-based analytics, and young, ambitious startups that are more in tune with the needs of the millennial consumer. Just last year, Monzo, billed as the “bank of the future”, was able to raise 1 million pounds in 96 seconds, making it the fastest crowdfunding campaign ever.This is the exciting reality of the digital age. Every day, there are new technologies and new startups emerging with better business models, and simpler products and services. On one hand, these innovations are making our lives better. A DNA App Store, for example, can predict your health risks and pre-dispositions to certain diseases, and vein and voice biometric scanners can make financial transactions more secure.Related: The Science of Innovation: How to Imagine the Unimaginable On the other hand, these technological disruptions are upping the stakes on the playing field, making it more important for companies to stay on top of their game, and to push the boundaries of what’s possible. A November 2014 study by MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research found that an estimated 32 percent of revenue over the next five years would be at risk due to digital disruption.So, what does your startup need to be doing to ride the upside wave of that disruption, and make 2017 a year of innovation and transformation?1. Build diverse teams.In my experience, business leaders who surround themselves with people from different countries, ethnic backgrounds, genders, age groups and industry experiences are some of the best innovators simply because they bring a number of perspectives and ideas to the table. They have their assumptions challenged and their minds expanded, and they’re exposed to different ways of solving challenges and pursuing opportunities.Both Harvard Business Review and McKinsey found that diverse companies out-innovate and out-perform their peers. No one knows that better than Kaiser Permanente, where more than half of the staff comprise people of color, while three-fourths of the employees and nearly half of the executives are women. This kind of diversity, the organization claims, is a hallmark of its success.Related: 3 Ways Startups Can Promote Innovation in the Trump Era2. Get comfortable with uncertainties and unknowns.Being a pioneer and disrupter often means wading into uncharted waters, and taking risks that few, if any, have set a precedent for before. That’s what makes people like Elon Musk and Richard Branson some of the greatest disruptors of our time. They take big risks — big, calculated risks. They do their homework, and understand how to balance the risks and opportunities that matter, before making key decisions.Today’s businesses have the benefit of predictive algorithms and data crunching tools to prepare for the risks and uncertainties that lie ahead. And while some of those “risky” decisions may fail, it’s important to establish an organizational culture that values risk-taking. Empowering your people to experiment and explore new ideas is critical for innovation, transformation and disruption.3. Restrict resources.Having fewer resources pushes you to think differently and innovatively about how to solve problems, and get things done. Do you really need to rent that office, hire all those employees and purchase the latest software, or can you work remotely, contract with freelancers and use free software options? Do you really need to spend months planning and researching your product, or can you put it out there right away, and enhance as you go along and get feedback from your users? The key is to value ingenuity over investment. At MetricStream, strategic cases of restricted resources have led to our teams coming up with more innovative and effective approaches in marketing and lead generation, for example. I, personally, evaluate all my direct reports on their ability to innovate, which has led to more experimentation, better ideas and new effective approaches.Related: Why Failing Fast Is the First Step Towards Success4. Make compliance efficient.Disruptors like Uber and Airbnb may have flown under the regulatory radar for a while, but that’s rapidly changing with the onset of new rules governing the sharing economy. We’re seeing a similar trend in fintech: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently proposed a charter that, on one hand, would make it easier for fintech startups to provide their services and products, but on the other hand, would subject them to a range of federal consumer and commercial banking regulations. Meanwhile, healthcare startups are grappling with their own complex industry rules, ranging from HIPAA/HITECH to FDA mandates.While the regulatory landscape looks uncertain right now, we’re bound to see more rules in areas such as cybersecurity, as well as compliance and ethics. So, it’s important to be prepared. From day one, make compliance a part of your culture. Set up the compliance infrastructure and tools that can automate compliance monitoring. That way, you spend less time on cumbersome administrative tasks, and more time analyzing the risks and opportunities of new regulatory requirements. Looking to the futureImagine smart phones that can perform blood tests and medical scans, or a digital contact lens that can measure your blood glucose levels from your tears. Imagine banks that will allow you to “virtually” enter a branch and speak to a teller face-to-face, or robot advisors that will stop you from making unsound financial choices in real-time. The opportunities for technological innovation are truly endless, and startups are right at the forefront of this trend. So, let 2017 be the year you take new risks make bold decisions, and find new ways to transform, innovate and disrupt.last_img read more

Scientists Found a Way to Charge Your Smartphone With Urine

first_img 2 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Lose the power cord, soon you might be able to charge your phone with — your pee.Yep. You read that correctly, scientists in England have developed a way to transform urine into electricity.Related: When It Comes to Innovation, Go Big or Go HomeUsing a special machine called a “microbial fuel cell” that contains waste-eating electro-active bacteria, scientists at Bristol Robotics Lab have created a way to charge phones and power some lights using urine. So how does it work? The small bacteria consume the waste out of urine, and as a result, electrons are left over as a byproduct. By being put through an electrical circuit that the scientists created, these electrons create electricity.A good amount of electricity, in fact. Only two liters of urine can produce 30 to 40 milliwatts of power — enough to slowly charge a smartphone, power a phone’s display or power lights for portable toilets.Related: 4 Ways Startups Can Harness Innovation and DisruptionAnd who better to test the new innovation than beer-drinking music festival goers? That’s right — the engineers will debut their new pee-to-power invention in portable restrooms at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset this week.In the long-run, scientists hope the new invention will be used in poorer countries to create clean and renewable energy. June 20, 2017center_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more