Japanese space probe Hayabusa close to home

first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com According to the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, the space probe has successfully fired its thrusters for its third Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) to set it on course for a landing at the Woomera Test Range in the South Australian outback. Only one more correction maneuver remains, and is scheduled for later this week.The spacecraft’s sample return capsule containing any samples is scheduled to detach from the probe and land at Woomera at about 1400 GMT on June 13. The US space agency, NASA, is sending a DC-8 flying laboratory from California to South Australia to record the re-entry and landing using its barrage of image and spectrographic cameras.There is no guarantee of success of the return mission but Hayabusa has already transmitted detailed images and scientific observations from on and around the asteroid Itokawa, which will help scientists to better understand the asteroids. Until the capsule is opened scientists will not know for certain if the probe succeeded in gathering any samples, but scientists are hopeful the capsule may contain at least small residues for analysis.The asteroid Itokawa was discovered in 1998 and named after a Japanese scientist Hideo Itokawa, a pioneer of the Japanese space program nicknamed “Dr Rocket”. It is a mere 540 meters wide and orbits about 300 million kilometers from Earth.Hayabusa cost around 138 million USD to develop. It reached Itokawa in 2005 and landed twice to collect samples of surface materials, but it apparently failed to fire a metal bullet that was designed to dislodge samples for collection. It left behind a time capsule wrapped in film and bearing the names of 880,000 people from 149 countries who had all responded to JAXA’s public invitation to be listed.The craft has had other problems including a leaking thruster, battery problems, broken wheels, and a fuel leak in 2005 that drained the craft’s propellant tanks, leaving only the ion thrusters to guide the craft back to Earth. The ion thrusters have low acceleration, which has meant each trajectory correction has taken longer than it would have done with the chemical engines. The problems and malfunctions resulted in the mission lasting longer than originally planned because communications with Earth were lost for several weeks in late 2005 when the craft was due to head home. When communications were restored it was too late, and the craft had to wait until April 2007 for the positions of the asteroid and Earth to be ideal again.Hayabusa, which means falcon in Japanese, is currently around 3,600,000 km away from Earth. The sample return capsule will land on Earth but the spacecraft itself will burn up as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. The mission has fueled the public imagination in Japan, and the spacecraft has a large following of fans. There are also proposals the spacecraft be granted a National Honor award. Hayabusa is the world’s first spacecraft to land on a body other than the moon and take off again. (PhysOrg.com) — Hayabusa, the Japanese space probe launched in 2003, is returning home from its five-billion-kilometer round-trip journey to collect samples from the asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Explore further Artist’s impression of Hayabusa in proximity to Itokawa’s surface.center_img Japanese spacecraft to land in Australian outback Citation: Japanese space probe Hayabusa close to home (2010, June 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-06-japanese-space-probe-hayabusa-home.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

Research shows crows comparable to humans when it comes to waiting

first_imgCorvus brachyrhynchos or Corvus caurinus. Image: Wikipedia. Citation: Research shows crows comparable to humans when it comes to waiting (2011, September 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-09-crows-humans.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. Crows demonstrate their cleverness with tools (w/ Video) Explore further The researchers, led by Dr. Valerie Dufour from the Universite de Strasbourg, began their study by training 12 birds to exchange tokens for food. They gave each bird a piece of food. Keeping their giving hand closed, they showed the birds the reward in their other hand. After a waiting period, the researchers opened their giving hand again. The birds then received the reward if they gave back the initial piece of food.The maximum waiting period the researchers used was five minutes and the quality of the reward varied in each exchange. What the birds did during the waiting period varied with some birds leaving the food on the ground or hiding it and checking on it during the time period.This study shows that the crows are able to wait before making a decision and that this behavior is not limited to only humans and apes. While the researchers believed that the birds would be able to wait a few seconds, they were surprised that the birds were able to wait as long as they did.The destructive behavior, such as hiding the food and checking on it, enabled the crows to wait a longer period of time. Those birds with the longest waiting times all displayed this particular destructive behavior. © 2011 PhysOrg.com More information: Corvids can decide if a future exchange is worth waiting for, Biol. Lett. Published online before print September 14, 2011, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0726AbstractEvidence for time-dependent calculations about future rewards is scarce in non-human animals. In non-human primates, only great apes are comparable with humans. Still, some species wait for several minutes to obtain a better reward in delayed exchange tasks. Corvids have been shown to match with non-human primates in some time-related tasks. Here, we investigate a delay of gratification in two corvid species, the carrion crow (Corvus corone) and the common raven (Corvus corax), in an exchange task. Results show that corvids success decreases quickly as delay increases, with a maximal delay of up to 320 s (more than 5 min). The decision to wait rests both on the quality of the prospective reward and the time required to obtain it. Corvids also apply tactics (placing the reward on the ground or caching it) that probably alleviate costs of waiting and distract their attention during waiting. These findings contrast previous results on delayed gratification in birds and indicate that some species may perform comparably to primates.via ABC (PhysOrg.com) — In a new study published in Royal Society’s Biology Letters, researchers have discovered that crows and raven birds show the same ability to complete delayed exchange tasks as monkeys and humans do.last_img read more

Group finds circadian clock common to almost all life forms

first_img © 2012 Phys.Org The peroxiredoxin active site is highly conserved in all domains of life. Image: Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11088 Up till now, researchers have not been able to find any kind of common biorhythmic clock among the Earth’s varied organisms, each class seemed to have its own. They did find though that one common feature of most was a feedback loop, which is where genes are transcribed before being translated into proteins which then build up until they reach a tipping point. Once that happens, transcription is turned off and the enzyme goes dormant. This cycle, for most organisms occurs on a twenty four hour basis, and is responsible for such things as the feelings of sleepiness or hunger in people that occur at roughly the same time each day.But now, this new research suggests that the true clock controlling behavior in virtually every imaginable plant, animal, fungus, etc. has its roots in an enzyme whose purpose is to help clean up residue left over from the ravages of antioxidants.Peroxiredoxins, which exist in virtually all life forms, are enzymes that cycle between two states depending on whether they have reacted recently with hydrogen peroxide, or not. The researchers found that this cycle occurs on a roughly twenty four hour cycle in all of the organisms they’ve tested to date. What’s more, the cycle continued even in the absence of light, proving that it’s not part of a feedback loop. Unfortunately, the team has not yet been able to show how or if the enzyme controls other clock mechanisms that are a part of feedback loops.The team suggests that peroxiredoxins developed their cyclical behavior just after organisms began to develop some two and half billion years ago that were able to handle the increased amounts of oxygen that had begun to appear in the atmosphere in a time period known as the Great Oxidation Event; the time when bacteria developed photosynthesis and began pumping out oxygen. Those organisms that managed to survive had to develop a means of dealing with the damage caused by antioxidants, and thus was born the role of peroxiredoxins. And because oxygen levels rose and fell on a regular daily schedule, the enzymes developed a clock over time to help predict when to go to work, and when to remain dormant, thus paving the way for the first circadian clock. Citation: Group finds circadian clock common to almost all life forms (2012, May 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-group-circadian-clock-common-life.html More information: Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms, Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11088AbstractCellular life emerged ~3.7 billion years ago. With scant exception, terrestrial organisms have evolved under predictable daily cycles owing to the Earth’s rotation. The advantage conferred on organisms that anticipate such environmental cycles has driven the evolution of endogenous circadian rhythms that tune internal physiology to external conditions. The molecular phylogeny of mechanisms driving these rhythms has been difficult to dissect because identified clock genes and proteins are not conserved across the domains of life: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota. Here we show that oxidation–reduction cycles of peroxiredoxin proteins constitute a universal marker for circadian rhythms in all domains of life, by characterizing their oscillations in a variety of model organisms. Furthermore, we explore the interconnectivity between these metabolic cycles and transcription–translation feedback loops of the clockwork in each system. Our results suggest an intimate co-evolution of cellular timekeeping with redox homeostatic mechanisms after the Great Oxidation Event ~2.5 billion years ago.Press release Journal information: Naturecenter_img (Phys.org) — A group of biology researchers, led by Akhilesh Reddy from Cambridge University have found an enzyme that they believe serves as a circadian clock that operates in virtually all forms of life. In a paper published in the journal Nature, they describe a class of enzymes known as peroxiredoxins which are present in almost all plants and other organisms and which appear to serve as a basic ingredient in non-feedback loop biological clocks. Ancient body clock discovered that helps to keep all living things on time Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

New development technique requires less energy to create nanofilms w Video

first_img Play “Crumpled” filter has potential to slash energy consumption in industry. Credit: Imperial College London, Department of Chemical Engineering More information: Science 19 June 2015: Vol. 348 no. 6241 pp. 1347-1351. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5058 A trio of researchers working at Imperial College in London has created a new development technique for constructing nanofilms that not only requires less energy but results in a product that is able to stand up to organic solvents. In their paper published in the journal Science, Santanu Karan, Zhiwei Jiang and Andrew Livingston describe their new process and the uses to which it might be put. Viatcheslav Freger of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, describes the work done by the team in a Perspective piece in the same journal issue, highlighting the two main innovations the team developed. 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 membranes developed by the team were created using a modified version of interfacial polymerization where a sacrificial layer was used to help support the mix and treat the film (one of the innovations they added). They started by synthesizing a membrane of m-phenylenediamine-trimesoyl chloride that had terminal carboxylic acid groups on one side. That material was then layered onto another membrane that had a crumpled texture (their other innovation) which served to increase the surface area. They finished by exposing the film to a swelling solvent to increase its porosity. The result was a 10 nanometers thick membrane (on the same scale as cell membranes) capable of filtering molecules as part of a production process. Testing showed the membrane able to filter 112 liters of solvent per square meter per hour per bar of pressure, which is approximately twice the ability of membranes currently being used.The team believes their new technique could be used in many chemical processes and should result in significant savings for product development. As Freger notes, separating molecules out of materials as part of developing products is an expensive part of product development—oftentimes it requires applying heat as part of an evaporative technique—a cheaper alternative would be filters, but attempts at developing them for many applications has been hindered by harshness of solvents. In this new effort, the researchers describe a technique they have developed that allows for the creation of nanofilms that are twice as permeable as those currently in use and have the added benefit of more surface area and are stronger to boot. Citation: New development technique requires less energy to create nanofilms (w/ Video) (2015, June 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-technique-requires-energy-nanofilms.html PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreencenter_img © 2015 Phys.org Plugging up leaky graphene: New technique may enable faster, more durable water filters Sub-10 nm free-standing nanofilm on a wire lasso. Credit: Santanu Karan Journal information: Science Researcher holding sub-10 nm free-standing nanofilm on a wire lasso. Credit: Imperial College London Explore furtherlast_img read more

Economist suggests world needs to price coal correctly to reduce reliance on

first_img Coal renaissance is bad news for greenhouse gas mitigation efforts More information: King Coal and the queen of subsidies, Science 18 September 2015: Vol. 349 no. 6254 pp. 1286-1287. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0674AbstractCoal is the most important energy source for the Chinese economy. Other rapidly growing economies in Asia and Africa also increasingly rely on coal to satisfy their growing appetite for energy. This renaissance of coal is expected to continue in the coming years (1) and is one of the reasons that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing despite the undisputed worldwide technological progress and expansion of renewable technologies (2). The implications for long-term GHG emissions are serious because, once installed, a coal power plant will emit for decades. Fossil fuel subsidies support investments in coal capacities around the globe and thereby threaten the achievement of climate change mitigation goals. Targeted reform of these subsidies could yield benefits for climate change mitigation as well as other development objectives. Citation: Economist suggests world needs to price coal correctly to reduce reliance on it (Update) (2015, September 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-economist-world-price-coal-correctly.html Over the past decade, coal use has come to replace oil as the leader in greenhouse gas emissions— Edenhofer suggests there is a very simple reason for that, burning coal is the cheapest way to produce electricity. But, he also notes, that is only because its cost does not truly reflect reality. He suggests there are two main reasons why the cost of using coal is understated. The first is because of governments subsidizing coal and other fossil fuels by allowing them to be sold in domestic markets below market prices. The other is because of governments ignoring other costs associated with the use of coal, such as the price in lives of those that succumb to air pollution, associated medical costs and other problems associated with such pollution—and of course the costs, whatever they may be, of global warming. He claims that data from the IMF suggests that if the true costs of coal use were used in decision-making, that its cost would climb higher than that for renewable resources such as solar and wind.The real problem, he adds, is that keeping coal use prices artificially down now, is very likely to cause much bigger problems for the world later. Emerging countries that are not among the big emission producers right now, are building coal fired power plants—plants which once put online, will not be shut down simply because it has become cheaper to produce it in other ways. Many such plants are being built, with many more to come, a problem that could be exacerbated by even lower global prices if more developed countries move from coal to renewable resource technology. That means the artificially low cost of coal right now is going to cause huge long-term increases in emissions later, along with an associated rise in global warming.We need to do something to change this, he warns, before it is too late. (Phys.org)—Economist Ottmar Edenhofer with Technische Universität Berlin, has published a Perspectives piece in the journal Science outlining the reasons for coal dominance as a means for producing electricity around the world, and the problems that it is causing. He suggests it is time for world governments to start looking at the actual cost of coal use as a means for deterring its use before emerging countries build coal fired plants that will almost assuredly cause the world to go over its goal of holding global temperature rise to just two degrees Celsius. Credit: Grant Wilson/public domaincenter_img Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Science 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

Statistics suggests that unanimous agreement in witnessed events may be sign of

first_img © 2016 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society A Citation: Statistics suggests that unanimous agreement in witnessed events may be sign of an error (2016, March 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-03-statistics-unanimous-agreement-witnessed-events.html Overwhelming evidence? It’s probably a bad thing (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with The University of Adelaide and one with University of Angers has found that the probability of a unanimous agreement in witnessed events is low enough that instances of such are likely a sign of an error. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the researchers suggest their findings could have an impact on fields as diverse as legal proceedings, archaeological assessments and even cryptographic testing. Explore furthercenter_img When a jury is given testimony by many witnesses to a crime, all fingering the same person, the consensus is generally that the police have caught the right person. But, a statistical assessment of such instances by the research team suggests that may not always be the case. They suggest that the opposite may in fact be true, that the more witnesses fingering the same person, the greater likelihood there is that the wrong person has been caught.The reasoning by the team goes along the lines of logic; if 100 people observe an apple sitting on an otherwise bare table and all confirm it was an apple, than there is a strong likelihood that it was an apple sitting there. But, what happens when the observation is not so simple—for example, what if 100 people see a man carrying a bag of money out of a bank after a robbery, and all 100 agree that it was the man police have identified as the robber. That might be a problem because prior research has shown that when asked to identify a person that witnesses have seen for just a few seconds, especially if that person is running away, can be as low as 50 percent correct. When performing Bayesian analysis on such scenarios, the team reports, the numbers grow worse as the number of people unanimously agrees on something they believe they have seen. Put another way, statistically speaking, it is nearly impossible for 100 people to all correctly identify a person in such a situation—thus, if they do, it calls into question the validity of the results.The researchers note that their findings apply to other areas as well—if 100 archeologists agree on the source of a find, for example, the odds are great that there is an error somewhere, because statistics suggests there should be at least some differences in the results. More information: Lachlan J. Gunn et al. Too good to be true: when overwhelming evidence fails to convince, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2015.0748AbstractIs it possible for a large sequence of measurements or observations, which support a hypothesis, to counterintuitively decrease our confidence? Can unanimous support be too good to be true? The assumption of independence is often made in good faith; however, rarely is consideration given to whether a systemic failure has occurred. Taking this into account can cause certainty in a hypothesis to decrease as the evidence for it becomes apparently stronger. We perform a probabilistic Bayesian analysis of this effect with examples based on (i) archaeological evidence, (ii) weighing of legal evidence and (iii) cryptographic primality testing. In this paper, we investigate the effects of small error rates in a set of measurements or observations. We find that even with very low systemic failure rates, high confidence is surprisingly difficult to achieve; in particular, we find that certain analyses of cryptographically important numerical tests are highly optimistic, underestimating their false-negative rate by as much as a factor of 280. Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain 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

I will never publish poetry David Davidar

first_imgAs I enter Aleph Book Company’s subtly done-up office space in Yusuf Sarai, its co-founder and MD David Davidar walks in, exuding a candour that comes from years of multi-fold experience spent, in a way, formulating India’s publishing scene. The conversation begins instantly, picking up from the last time we met – when he set up Aleph two years back.Recalling his ‘smooth’ journey with this relatively new publishing venture, Davidar says, ‘We didn’t have to fight for the authors we wanted. A lot of them came to us and the others who we wanted to target, we had no problem in getting them to sign with us. In these two years, we have probably published about 20 books, signed on about 100 authors and aim to publish 50 books a year from 2014. We have signed on Shashi Tharoor, who we will publish by next year. We want to be a very exclusive publishing house which brings out only select numbers of very up-market novels and quality fiction. We have done what we wanted to do and now let’s see how the market responds to us.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Maintaining his quintessentially calm demeanour, when queried about Aleph focusing on a particular genre of books, especially on being a niche up-market publishing house, he goes on to say, ‘We are a specialist publisher and I am very clear about that. Having spent most of my life being a general publisher, I know how it works. For example our sister publisher, Rupa, is exactly like the company I used to run, Penguin, which, again, is similar to HarperCollins. These are very large companies which publish hundreds of books a year. They have to do so to maintain their turnover. They have to publish everything under the sun – from chic-lit to very high quality books. Aleph, however, is an extremely focused publisher. We only publish literary fiction and high quality non-fiction and nothing else.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSo, with quality as a benchmark, would he be ever venturing into publishing poetry? Davidar instantly replies, ‘I will never publish poetry because I don’t know how to publish poetry. Anyone can sell poetry but I don’t know how to make it sell.’With the current onslaught of social media, what is the format of narratives dominating the publishing scene now? Davidar mulls over the question for about a second or two, and then goes on to say, ‘The minute people stop reading long-form narratives, we might as well all pack up and go home. I don’t think that is ever going to happen. You know all the stuff people talk about, on our attention span waning and so on, that is not completely true because from the beginning of time, we have always fallen back on story-telling that uses long-form narrative. When you watch television serials, you are willingly submitting to the long format.’ He pauses awhile, then adds, ‘Just forget these classifications – of book, movies, television serials, magazine articles that are in long format – they have just been packaged in different ways. The minute we stop feeling involved in it and our interest absolutely shifts to the Twitter kind of short form narratives, then, naturally, these forms will go away. So, I don’t think there is any fear about that. Yes, the forms might change. You might read in the e-book form. At that time, book published might vanish, movies produced might vanish, but how does that really matter? Somebody still has to make money. I think the question to ask is till how long the long form narrative would last. And the answer to that, I think, is, forever. People will always want a good story. And there will always be people who make up stories.’Rupa has their Chetan Bhagat, has Aleph found its own? Davidar chuckles and says, ‘Well, Chetan Bhagat is the commercial end of the spectrum. He is an exceptionally good storyteller, but, we too have our own storytellers. They may not sell in the same number but let’s not forget we are exactly two years old and Rupa is 77 years old. So give us time. I am sure we will find our Chetan Bhagat.’But would he really want to find someone like him for Aleph? ‘I would love to sell a million copies, who would not? But we are proud of every single book we publish. Because if we publish only 25 new books a year, each one has to count, make a real difference, whereas when you publish hundreds of books a year, you tend to get a little more relaxed about one book which does not do well. Right now, I am not at all in that frame of mind. For me, every book has to count,’ comes Davidar’s frank answer.When is his next book coming out? ‘I know what I want to write, but I think I am going to give myself one more year for Aleph to settle down. When I was running large companies, I did not do much actual hands-on work. I just spent time telling other people what to do. But now, I actually have to do hands-on work. Now, if I don’t edit a book, then it does not get published. So, I am very busy actually editing books. Because I am doing so much of first hand editing myself, I can’t find time to write my own books. I will have to wait for at least another year for that,’ confesses Davidar.How does he manage to separate the editor-publisher from the writer? Davidar remarks, ‘I realise that I am able to compartmentalise the disparate traits quite well. I don’t think too much and now I don’t care. I don’t read any reviews of my books. I don’t care about how my books are received. So, that helps.last_img read more

Ghar Wapsi victims join US suit to name RSS a terror body

first_imgThree Indians, alleging forcible conversion to Hinduism by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have joined a Sikh rights group in filing an amended lawsuit appealing a US court to designate RSS a “terror group”.Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) said the three are victims of the “Ghar Wapsi” campaign of alleged forcible religious conversions launched by the RSS. The amended compliant has been filed by Micheal Masih, Hasim Ali and Kulwinder Singh, belonging to the Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths along with SFJ and seeks the terror label for the RSS. The complaint alleges that after the BJP came to power in 2014, its “ideological mentor” is “attempting to forcibly convert their families to Hinduism.” The complaint filed before Judge Laura Taylor Swain cites the 2015 report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) which in December 2014 noted that Hindu nationalist groups announced plans to forcibly “reconvert” at least 4,000 Christian families and 1,000 Muslim families in UP as part of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ programme.last_img read more

Statues of SD Burman Kishore Kumar to come up at Southern Avenue

first_imgKolkata: Statues of two legendary musical personalities, S D Burman and Kishore Kumar, will be installed on Southern Avenue on October 1.The statues will be installed by Amit Kumar Fan Club. This was announced by Sudipta Chanda, general secretary of the club on the 89th birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar on Saturday.The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has provided a plot where the statues will be installed.Amit Kumar Fan Club has already installed a statue of R D Burman. The statue of the duo will be installed on a plot situated opposite Nazrul Mancha. It is a thematic garden where both the full busts will be installed on October 1 this year. Sculptor Sanjib Kumar Das is giving the final touches to the statues. The place where the statues will be installed is close to South End Park where S D Burman used to live before he moved to Mumbai in the early 1950s. He used to come to Kolkata twice or thrice every year. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe 89th birthday of Kishore Kumar was celebrated with much enthusiasm. A rally was taken out from Salkia to Esplanade by Salkia Kishore Kumar Memorial Cultural Association. The association members demanded that Bharat Ratna be awarded to Kishore Kumar posthumously. People from all walks of life took part in the rally.Laxmi Ratan Shukla uploaded a 13-minute video of Kishore Kumar’s songs sung by him along with Iman Chakraborty and Shovan Ganguly.The statues of Kishore Kumar were garlanded by his fans at Tollygunge and Baisanabghata-Patuli. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedChief Minister Mamata Banerjee also remembered the legend and tweeted: “Remembering the legend Kishore Kumar on his birth anniversary.” The state Information and Cultural Affairs department organised a programme at Rabindra Sadan to pay respect to Kishore Kumar and some of his contemporaries including S D Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Hemanta Mukherjee, R D Burman and Mukesh. Indranil Sen, noted singer and the Minister of State, Information and Cultural Affairs, and Vivek Kumar, Principal Secretary of the department also sang a few of Kishore’s timeless classics.last_img read more

Term of joint panel on Land Acquisition Bill extended

first_imgThe Joint Committee of Parliament examining the contentious land bill was today granted a fresh extension till the end of the first part of the Budget Session.Committee chairman SS Ahluwalia moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha in this regard which was adopted by a voice vote. Its term was extended earlier on November 30 by the Lok Sabha till Wednesday.The resolution said: “That this House do extend time for presentation of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation amd Resettlement (2nd Amendment) Bill 2015 upto the last day of the first part of the Budget Session, 2016.”last_img read more

VVPATs to be used in all polling booths for the first time

first_imgKolkata: For the first time in the state, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) will be used in all polling booths along with the EVM machines, Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said on Friday.He said that the EVM and VVPAT machines are secure and have proved effective on all parameters. He ruled out the possibility of reintroduction of ballot papers and said for the past two decades EVMs have been used and have been every effective. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that the Opposition leaders, while addressing the United India rally, had demanded reintroduction of ballot papers as EVMs can be tampered with very easily. Arora said: “Tampering and malfunctioning have different meanings but the words have been used in ways as if they are synonymous.” A full team of ECI led by the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, paid a visit to review the poll preparedness of the state government. The bench held meetings will leaders of the political parties, District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police, nodal officers of Income Tax, Excise and Commercial tax departments and representatives of civil society groups. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe Commission met state Chief Secretary Malay De, Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya and DGP Virendra and took stock of the law and order situation. Arora said that the Commission will seek an explanation from Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Kolkata Police, who did not attend the meeting on Thursday. The Commission has asked all the District Magistrates and police officers to ensure speedy execution of Non-Bailable Warrants (NBWs) and speedy disposal of pending cases of electoral offences from the last election. The Commission also directed effective use of IT applications Samadhan, Suvidha and Sugam. The CEC said the Central forces will be under police observers and assured a free and fair election. Special security arrangements will be made in the sensitive areas. Adequate CCTV coverage and webcasting in polling stations will be there in sensitive areas. Asked whether the ECI will be able to stop intimidation of voters, Arora assured that election will be free and fair and that the state government has been instructed to take up the law and order issue seriously. He said to ensure impartial monitoring of the election, accessibility observers will be appointed for the first time. The Commission will appoint general observers, police observers, expenditure observers and micro observers. The CEC said representatives of the political parties had requested to deploy Central forces one month before the election and they should carry out route march in the sensitive areas. Some parties had demanded that district officials be instructed to ensure verification of licensed arms and to take effective action against unlicensed arms.last_img read more

PORS RAOs MOST ANIMATED PROJECT

first_imgDiscoveries at Art Basel Hong Kong had quizzical art lovers coming to the Gallery SKE Booth and standing in front of a set of works that move when humans approach it. Pors & Rao created a flutter at the India Art Fair this year when their little glass box with a plain sheet of paper seemed to be blowing with the wind inside the box at the Gallery SKE and Photoink Booth. A gust of wind was shown at Art Basel last year and it was made from plastic, wood, metal, electro-mechanical components, and artificial paper. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfPors & Rao have been presenting a constellation of animatronic works that were initiated in 2009, 2012 and 2017 and finalized in 2018, all reflecting on autobiographical patterns of emotional dependencies and power dynamics between the individual and the environment. Ideas and works are seen as self-conscious ‘beings’, often acting out performative and algorithmic behaviours such as fatigue, fear, shyness or longing. The visual language often employs elements derived from animated cartoons and computer games. Four works stand apart at Art Basel Hong Kong. The first is a work on the floor called Pointer and Shadow. This animation and animism reference is also visible in the proposed floor work Pointer and Shadow, where a three-dimensional white-gloved hand in painted fibreglass (referencing a computer pointer icon) is hovering in the air just above the ground, pointing downwards. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe second is Imperial Monochromes – a wall installation of 8 monochrome panels of different sizes. If undisturbed, the panels resemble a suprematist composition, chaotically arranged in different directions and angles, but as soon as the viewer comes near the installation, the panels quickly pivot to appear as a strict symmetrical arrangement reminiscent of family portraits of the Renaissance or religious altarpieces.The third stunning sculptural installation is exploding view – a set of elements that coalesce together and then move along a radial in linear motion. It explores a notion of memory grooves that together form a recollection of a single moment and reveals its emotional content, similar to how a lump of compressed coal is split open. The ‘view’ is built of a simple iconography in approximate similar sizes, resembling the uniformity of a google image search. An explosion gives birth to an orderly image, like the big bang in a pixie format. It’s the elements that are most enchanting. The fourth work and the only acrylic is called Gum Figure. The corner work shows a juxtaposition of the creation, as if the walls have been made for the unusual bodied figure that at once reflects symmetry as well as the unusual nature of patternicity which ensues in creating shapes that are unpredictable as well as rare, shapes that create sensory states of being involving the ideation of both vulnerability as well as captivity and the state of being.The works delve into the autonomous parts of human behaviour, especially as it manifests in the nuances of movement. These subtle expressions of the body are perceived as a primordial language of consciousness that is shared with many other species on the planet.last_img read more

CNI Diocese in Kolkata gets 21st Bishop

first_imgKolkata: Paritosh Canning has taken over as the Bishop of the Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI), with Probal Kanta Dutta being transferred. “Paritosh Canning, transferred from the Diocese of Barrackpore, will be installed as the new Bishop of Calcutta Diocese at 5:00 pm in St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday,” Suresh Jacob, Executive member of Delhi Synod (the supreme supervisory, legislative and executive body of the Church of North India) told the press. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata Canning will be the 21st Bishop of Calcutta Diocese with immediate effect, he said. Jacob explained that Dutta joined the Diocese here in the city after being transferred from Durgapur, but he has been sent back as his need was badly felt there. The CNI has 27 Diocese spread across 26 Indian states. Sharing his vision, the new Bishop, Canning said: “Our focus will be on youth and see that they get proper guidance. We will also work for the orphans and HIV patients”.last_img read more

Music helps perform better in school

first_imgHigh school students who take music courses score significantly better in exams than their peers, a study suggests. School administrators needing to trim budgets often look first to music courses, because the general belief is that students who devote time to music rather than math, science and English, will underperform in those disciplines. “Our research proved this belief wrong and found the more the students engage with music, the better they do in those subjects,” said Peter Gouzouasis, University of British Columbia in Canada. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary and continued playing in high school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers, said Gouzouasis. The team examined data from all students in public schools in British Columbia who finished Grade 12 between 2012 and 2015. The data sample for the study, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, was made up of more than 112,000 students. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThis included those who completed at least one standardised exam for math, science and English. Students who studied at least one instrumental music course in the regular curriculum counted as students taking music. Qualifying music courses are courses that require previous instrumental music experience and include concert band, conservatory piano, orchestra, jazz band, concert choir and vocal jazz. The researchers found the predictive relationships between music education and academic achievement were more pronounced for those who took instrumental music rather than vocal music. The findings suggest skills learned in instrumental music transfer very broadly to the students’ learning in school. “Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding,” said Martin Guhn, an assistant professor at UBC. “A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble and develop discipline to practice,” said Guhn. “All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner’s cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy,” he said. The researchers hope that the findings are brought to the attention of students, parents, teachers and administrative decision-makers in education, as many school districts over the years have emphasised numeracy and literacy at the cost of other areas of learning, particularly music. “Often, resources for music education – including the hiring of trained, specialised music educators, and band and stringed instruments – are cut or not available in elementary and secondary schools so that they could focus on math, science and English,” said Gouzouasis. “The irony is that music education – multiple years of high-quality instrumental learning and playing in a band or orchestra or singing in a choir at an advanced level – can be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools,” he added.last_img read more

Looking Back at the Life of the Worlds Oldest Man

first_imgMasazo Nonaka, the world’s oldest living man, who was born just a few months after Las Vegas was officially founded in May 1905 and just days after Albert Einstein presented his theory of special relativity, passed away on Sunday, January 20th. He was aged 113 years and 179 days, Guinness World Records confirms. Nonaka, Japanese by nationality, was born on July 25, 1905. He received the title of World’s Oldest Living Male in April 2018, at the age of 112 years and 259 days. The previous record holder was Spanish-born Francisco Nuñez Olivera whose death took place in January 2018 at the age of 113.Nonaka was born on July 25, 1905. AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / Japan OUT /Getty ImagesNonaka’s death occurred at his home in Ashoro on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, where he spent most of his life running a hot springs inn he inherited from his family.According to Nonaka’s family members, the supercentenarian died peacefully in his sleep, without “any fuss at all.” “We feel shocked at the loss of this big figure,” his granddaughter Yuko said in a statement.View of Hakkodate cityscape from Mount Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. This place is famous for its night view, one of the best in Japan.When asked on the secrets of his longevity, Nonaka praised both “soaking in hot springs and eating sweets,” according to the Guinness website. These were some of the activities he liked doing until his final days — he would bathe in the hot water springs at least once a week.He also took the time for reading the newspapers and watching television. Sumo wrestling and samurai dramas are mentioned as his TV time favorites. He particularly liked eating cakes — no mention of fruits and veggies.Famous hot spring in Beppu Oita, Japan. There are eggs cooking in the basket.Though wheelchair-bound, Nonaka more or less carried out his daily pursuits independently. He is said to have enjoyed his advanced age.Nonaka began managing the family-owned business in the period between the two world wars, a duty which has now passed to his granddaughter.He had seven siblings; only one sister and the rest brothers. He outlived most of his close family members, including his spouse of more than six decades, and three of the five children that came with the marriage.Gustav Gerneth, the oldest known living man.According to the Telegraph, “it is understood that Gustav Gerneth of Germany, aged 113 years and 97 days, will now assume the title of the oldest known living man following the death of Mr Nonaka.”However, Japan remains one of the world’s top countries when it comes down to longevity, something to be interpreted both as a blessing and curse.The record holder for the oldest man to have ever lived is Japanese. His name was Jiroemon Kimura, and according to the Guinness database he passed away in the summer of 2013, aged 116 years and 54 days. Another age record breaker at present is also Japanese. Her name is Kane Tanaka and she recently celebrated her 116th birthday.More than that, Japan has a population of nearly 70,000 who are aged 100 or older, with a whopping 88 percent of them being women. The figure has been steadily growing for some five decades now.According to the Guardian, “Japan had just 153 centenarians when records began in 1963, and as recently as 1998 the number stood at just 10,000.” It then jumped to 30,000 in less than 10 years, and close to 68,000 by 2017.More research has linked Japanese longevity to the country’s overall healthy diet, which is low in fats and high in carbohydrates obtained from rice and vegetables.Read another story from us: The Oldest Known Person in America Passes Away at the Age of 114Japan’s population is rapidly ageing due to consistently low birth rates and high rates of longevity. This presents both a societal and economic challenge as the proportion of people of working age continues to shrink.Are there enough Japanese to take care of all the centenarians and supercentenarians who live in the Land of the Rising Sun?last_img read more

Can You Dig It New Shaft Movie Combines 3 Generations of the

first_imgA new Shaft movie is bringing audiences three iconic detectives for the price of one. The trailer for latest installment Shaft (formerly Son of Shaft) has premiered on Jimmy Kimmel Live, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie Usher and original “bad mother…” Richard Roundtree.Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree. Photo by Tony Shek CC by 2.0Usher picks up the baton as John “JJ” Shaft III, an MIT-trained FBI agent and computer expert who turns to his father (Jackson) to help solve the case of his deceased best friend.Things haven’t been right between the pair for a while, and what better way for the family to reunite than over a few fights and explosions?Samuel L. Jackson. Photo by pinguino k CC BY 2.0According to Deadline, “while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather duster, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.”The trailer showcases a raft of quips, punches and clashes between the generations. “I’m an equal opportunity ass whooper!” Jackson exclaims, in response to his son’s horror over him fighting a woman.Directed by Tim Story (Barbershop) and written by Kenya Barris (Black-ish), the movie is produced by John Davis and based on characters created by Ernest Tidyman.Kenya Barris. Photo by Peabody Awards CC BY 2.0His novel inspired Gordon Parks’ 1971 blaxploitation classic, starring future grandfather Roundtree. The author wrote five Shaft books. His last was 1975’s The Last Shaft.Tidyman was white, but wanted to create a better black character than the ones on offer. Speaking to the LA Times in 1972 he revealed “The blacks I knew were smart and sophisticated, and I thought, what about a black hero who thinks of himself as a human being, but who uses his black rage as one of his resources, along with intelligence and courage.”Blackflix.com wrote, “The original John Shaft was the ‘black’ answer to James Bond. He made love and killed in the same afternoon and had a cool theme song. With his militant attitude and black leather trench coat, he flawlessly delivered unprintable one-liners and smooth Bogart comebacks.”Irish actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, in a publicity still for the film ‘GoldenEye’, c. 1995. He is holding his iconic Walther PPK with a silencer. Photo by Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images/Getty ImagesRoundtree wasn’t a fan of the term “blaxploitation”. He was quoted as saying, “I find that word offensive with anything that Gordon Parks has done. Exploitation, and then put black in front of it! That is a very ugly term from where I sit. And the ugliest part about it was the black press started it.”Nevertheless, Shaft became an icon. Two sequels were made, Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) and Shaft In Africa (1973). Isaac Hayes’ famous theme song has always accompanied the “cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about,” and is heard during the new trailer.Gordon ParksA short-lived TV version (1973-4) toned down the character and was criticized before director John Singleton got things back on track with Jackson in 2000. That same year Shaft was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.While Jackson’s version of Shaft was lean and mean, he’s dialed it down almost 20 years on. “He’s mellowed a bit,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. “He’s not quite as crazy and cynical. Maybe a bit more devil-may-care the last time we saw him. But still an extremely dangerous and funny character.”As with Roundtree, it’s hoped playing Shaft will turn Jessie Usher into a superstar. He’s best known for his role in Survivor’s Remorse and appeared in 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence.He also took part in Creed II, another franchise (Rocky) that’s been brought back with a family twist. Shaft 2019 co-stars Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp and Method Man.Read another story from us: You are Again in the Twilight Zone – New Reboot Setting its Sights Pretty HighThe New Line film opens the American Black Film Festival on June 12th before going on general release two days later. It will then hit Netflix later in the month.last_img read more

Earliest Brewery in Britain Discovered – And its Very Very Old

first_imgPeople were brewing beer in Britain at least 2,000 years ago, according to evidence found literally in the road. Signs of an Iron Age brewery dating to about 400 BC were identified by archaeologists during an upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. The evidence found in Cambridgeshire is fragments and lumps of charred residues from the beer-making process. This is the earliest evidence of brewing ever found in the British Isles. Alulu beer receipt c. 2050 BC from the Sumerian city of Umma in ancient IraqDr. Steve Sherlock, Highways England archaeologist on the the A14 project, said in an interview with Daily Mail: “It’s a well-known fact that ancient populations used the beer-making process to purify water and create a safe source of hydration, but this is potentially the earliest physical evidence of that process taking place in the UK.”Lara Gonzalez, who is one of more than 200 archaeologists on the project led by MOLA Headland Infrastructure, made the discovery.Egyptian hieroglyphics depict the pouring out of beer“I knew when I looked at these tiny fragments under the microscope that I had something special,” she said to the media.Gonzalez studies ancient plants and investigates their connections to human societies. Ms. Gonzalez made use of a scanning electron microscope [SEM] to examine the burned material.Early writing tablet recording the allocation of beer in southern Iraq, 3100–3000 BC“The microstructure of these remains had clearly changed through the fermentation process and air bubbles typical of those formed in the boiling and mashing process of brewing. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack but, as an archaeobotanist, it’s incredibly exciting to identify remains of this significance and to play a part in uncovering the fascinating history of the Cambridgeshire landscape.”Woman brewing beerOther discoveries reportedly made by archaeologists hired for the road project include the remains of a medieval village, a comb made from deer antlers, Roman coins, and the fossil of a woolly mammoth that could be more than 130,000 years old.When it came to the brewery discovery, all the fragments contained barley, water, and oats. “The thing that actually distinguishes [the fragments] is that bread is made of very fine flour,” Gonzalez explained in an interview. “For beer and porridge, they are cracked grains. They are bigger. When I looked under the SEM, you could see the starch granules from the beer grains have differences that show fermentation.”Woolly mammoth model at the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia. Photo by Tracy O CC BY-SA 2.0The Robb Report declared, “The ancient remnants were found alongside those of bread and porridge, proving that even BCE humans found that nothing helps wash down a meal — or take the edge off an otherwise stressful day — quite like a tasty brew.”Brewing in England dates back thousands of years without question. It was firmly established by the time the Romans occupied England.On a related note, look at these weird mummified cats and beetles just discovered from ancient Egyptian tombs:Early beer, made from cereal grains, water, and yeast, would have been produced mostly by individual households and farms.Beer expert Roger Protz, a former editor of the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide, said in an interview: “East Anglia has always been of great importance to brewing as a result of the quality of the barley that grows there. It’s known as maritime barley and is prized throughout the world. When the Romans invaded Britain they found the local tribes brewing a type of beer called curmi.”Protz believes curmi was made from grain. Hops were not used in Britain until the 15th century.Read another story from us: The Ancient Egyptian Obsession with BeerThe cultivation of hops was introduced by Flanders to England in the Maidstone region of Kent at that time, historians believe. England’s national drink until then had been ale, unhopped and sometimes flavored with herbs such as wormwood. By the 17th century, ale was no longer popular and beer was the established drink.last_img read more

Color Laser Prices Limbo Lower to 299

first_img Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. How Success Happens September 6, 2007 2 min read Brought to you by PCWorld Just when you think that color-laser printer prices can’t get any lower, they do. Dell’s new Color Laser Printer 1320c debuts at the top of our chart this month, with a killer price and competent overall performance. Its most notable achievement: surprisingly smooth photo quality for a low-end laser. Its major drawback: tiny, pricey toner cartridges. Replacing all four of them at once could cost almost as much as the printer itself (though that’s not an unusual phenomenon; many inexpensive color lasers’ toner sets cost as much as or even more than the printer itself).You’ll get a better cost per page out of the other new arrival, the fourth-place Brother HL-4040CN; it also boasts supercrisp text quality (a bit better than the Dell’s). Neither printer is particularly expandable, but that’s the price you pay for the price you pay.Find the Very Latest Printer ChartsClick on the links below for the latest online printer rankings or a comprehensive list of all printers we’ve tested.Most current Top Inkjet Printers chartMost current Top Multifunction Printers chartMost current Top Monochrome Laser Printers chartMost current Top Color Laser Printers chartAll Printers Listen Nowlast_img read more

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online Payroll Provider

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » October 7, 2013 2. What is your pricing structure? The majority of online payroll providers charge a base monthly subscription fee, which can generally range between approximately $12 per month to upwards of $200 per month, depending on the breadth of services you opt for. On top of your monthly fee, you can also expect to pay anywhere between $1.50 and $5 per month per employee.Several providers offer free trials, which typically range from one to two months in duration. That way you can test-drive the service before committing your hard-earned cash.3. How will I get set up? Once you decide on and sign up with an online payroll vendor, you should be able to immediately log in to your user dashboard, configure your account, and add employees and users. You should also have the ability to access your account and run payroll from any internet-enabled device, including your laptop, tablet or smartphone.4. How does your service handle payroll taxes? In addition to payroll processing services, a good online payroll service should also handle all of your payroll tax compliance needs accurately and on time, Reeves says. That includes federal and state income and unemployment tax and state unemployment insurance.The vendor should also process your year-end 1099 and W-2 forms for your employees.Reeves cautions that business owners should be “wary of providers that charge extra fees for calculating, paying and filing your payroll taxes or require you to go into their applications to do all of these actions on your own.”Instead, he suggests seeking out a full-service provider that can take care of all of your government tax compliance requirements, including state and federal tax payments, quarterly and annual filings — automatically and paperlessly — with no actions required on your end.5. How secure is your service? Being completely confident that your company’s private accounting information stays out of the hands of hackers is paramount when it comes to storing your sensitive, critical payroll data in the cloud. You’ll want to verify that vendors keep data safe using the highest encryption standards available, including something called 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard encryption, which helps defend against login and password theft.Most modern online payroll solutions leverage the same security technology that online banking services use, Reeves says. All of your account information, including passwords, social security numbers and personally identifiable information should also be protected by firewalls and two-factor authentication. Additionally, it should be continuously backed up to multiple secure locations throughout the day, every day to ensure that your information is available no matter what.6. Where is your data center and how safe is it? It’s important to know how a potential online payroll provider protects its data centers — which will hold your sensitive financial information — from break-ins and natural disasters.They should have multiple layers of security, including biometric scanning for controlled access, as well as keycard, retina scan and PIN number restrictions. Also, security cameras should monitor all of the provider’s locations around-the-clock, along with onsite staff to protect against unauthorized entry.7. What customer support services do you offer? Business owners should expect live, real-person support via email, phone and chat, in addition to detailed online FAQs and tutorials, Reeves says. If you expect 24/7 customer service, even on holidays, be sure to ask if the vendor can accommodate that.However, if you’re calling a support line on a regular basis, then that means the product is not doing its job, Reeves warns. “If you choose an online payroll solution that’s designed to be simple and has an easy-to-use interface, payroll should just work.”8. Will my employees and contractors be able to access their payroll information? They absolutely should be able to, without exception. Online payroll providers usually give employees and contractors personal portals where they can access their pay stubs, Reeves says.ZenPayroll, for example, offers employees self-onboarding, lifetime employee accounts so they can access their pay details forever, and the ability to edit their own employee details.9. Will I be able to integrate my existing accounting systems with yours? Most online payroll solutions should quickly, seamlessly integrate with today’s most widely used small-business accounting software systems, such as Sage 50, Xero  and Quicken.You should be able to connect your existing accounting software directly from your online payroll provider’s user dashboard. Once it’s integrated, you won’t have to manually enter or reconcile payroll again.10. Can your service scale up to meet my business needs? Your payroll needs will grow proportionate to your business and staff growth, so you’ll want to make sure that your online payroll vendor offers the ability to add additional users and employees to your account.To ensure that the vendor can handle your needs over the long haul, ask which added services can be offered over time and for how much. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. The use of traditional, painstakingly manual payroll systems are on the decline, and for good reason — they’re repetitive, complicated and prone to human error.If you’re tired of slogging your way through payroll by hand, it might be time pass the tedious task off to an automated online service. Switching to a cloud-based payroll solution can reduce costs, minimize mistakes and free you up to focus on growing your business, says Joshua Reeves, co-founder and chief executive of ZenPayroll, a cloud-based payroll solution provider headquartered out of San Francisco.Here are 10 essential questions to ask when shopping for the right online payroll provider for your company’s needs:1. What specific payroll services do you provide? There are more than a dozen cloud-based payroll services to choose from, with additional providers arriving on the market relatively often. To choose a service that’s a strong fit for your company, identify your specific payroll requirements and search for a vendor that delivers everything you need.Most of the leading cloud-based payroll providers, including Intuit QuickBooks, ADP, PAYCHEX and ZenPayroll, for example, provide an array of automated online payroll services, complete with access to a range of customized, one-click accounting reports.A reputable, full-service vendor should provide the following: Pay hourly, salary and contract employees via direct deposit. Some vendors enable you to print paychecks on site as well. Others, including PAYCHEX and ProPayroll, can also mail printed checks to you. Handle new employee reporting. Track paid time off (PTO) accrual and use, including vacation and sick days. File accuracy-guaranteed payroll taxes. Deduct benefits, including health and insurance benefits. Deduct 401(k), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. Handle various earnings and deductions, like bonuses, reimbursements, commission, tips and garnishments. 6 min readlast_img read more

3 Things to Make You Smarter About Your Mobile Strategy in 2015

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » 5 min read Mobile advertising has slowly but surely established itself as a leader in digital media strategy, as this channel continues to evolve and innovation abounds. There are now 163.9 million smartphones in the United States alone, and mobile consumption is growing by leaps and bounds each year. If one thing is clear about your marketing efforts in 2015, it’s that mobile should play a major part.Related: 3 Things to Consider When Building a Mobile Advertising CampaignWhat’s still unclear to many businesses new to the mobile arena, however, is how best to utilize mobile to ensure they are deploying the best solutions, right now, that will score with their target consumers. Should they build their mobile effort based off a desktop platform? Should they develop an app? And what do they do with all the resulting data?Fortunately, putting together a smart mobile strategy isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds. Here are three things to consider for your mobile campaign as you move through 2015:1. Think “mobile-first.”As mobile continues its rapidly growing share of media strategies, many businesses are challenged on how to proceed, given the amount of internet traffic now coming over mobile devices. One thing’s for sure, though: You need to think “mobile-first.”Mobile-first means that your strategy starts with mobile, not something else that is later adapted for mobile, like desktop. It means knowing and understanding the platform in which the consumer is interacting with your brand, and designing strategy specifically for that platform.The popularity of mobile and social channels has seen a steady increase over the past few years, while traditional channels such as television and desktop have seen a decline. Mobile alone drove 30 percent of last year’s Black Friday sales, further proof that it is becoming the first place people go to look for information and content. So, mobile should be the first place your business looks to reach its consumers.This mobile-first approach provides a better opportunity for engagement, amplification and monetization -– all things that will impact your bottom line.2. Think about your choice: apps or the mobile web? This debate has inspired plenty of discussion in recent years, with no clear winner in sight. Both have their own pros and cons, so instead of trying to choose which one is “best,” choose which is best for your business.A mobile website is designed specifically for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets, whereas mobile apps, which run on smartphones or tablets, have to be downloaded and installed.Both have their advantages. Mobile sites offer a more cost-effective approach, as well as broader, immediate accessibility and compatibility across devices. Apps, meanwhile, are great for regular usage and personalization, actions that require processing, such as GPS or cameras, native functionality or scenarios where there’s no connection required.So, which one’s best for your business? If your mobile strategy is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found via search, a mobile website is the logical choice. However, if your goal is interactive engagement, or an app that works more like a program, an app is probably a better fit.Related: There Is Still Time to Prepare Your Mobile Marketing Strategy for 2015Either way, both mobile websites and mobile apps let customers find and access businesses from devices they use the most — mobile phones and tablets — so both should be included during initial campaign-planning discussions. Each avenue has its own role within your strategy, depending on who your audience is, and more often than not, both mobile web and app capabilities are needed.3. Think about all that data you’ll obtain — and the mobile decisions to go with it. A mobile campaign is going to bring your business a lot of valuable customer data: what devices they use, what platforms they utilize to interact with your brand and how and when they shop. This is a treasure trove of information that can help you better target your consumers; as such, it should be taken into account when making decisions regarding strategy.There is also all kinds of information available -– location-based data that allows promos to be pushed to consumers in a geo-targeted area; store browsing habits; consumer breakdowns by gender, age, etc.; and device information.Taking all of this information into account will allow you to better target consumers and more effectively meet their needs. Information also enables marketers to realize greater efficiency and ROI for their campaigns, while helping to identify other opportunities to advance their brands’ offerings and positioning.It’s not enough in 2015 to simply have a mobile presence; it’s crucial to be smart and strategic about the way you utilize this channel to reach your consumers because everyone uses mobile for different things -– shopping, content consumption, social media.A Nielsen study reported at the start of 2014 that the average American was spending seven more hours on mobile devices utilizing browsers and apps than the year before. What’s more, mobile video consumption had increased by 26 minutes.Clearly, your consumer’s attention is focused on mobile – more than half of consumers call it their “first screen.” So, yours should be, too.Related:  5 Tricks to Creating Compelling Mobile Ads April 21, 2015 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.last_img read more