Nanoscience May Produce Perfect Materials

first_img Figure 2: A plot of hardness as a function of grain size for WC-NiAl, with increasing numbers on the x-axis representing decreasing grain size. As grain size gets smaller, the hardness increases, peaking at a critical grain size. A scientist at North Carolina State University has discovered that the tiny grains comprising many bulk materials can potentially contain nearly zero structural imperfections when the grains are smaller than a certain critical size, typically a few to several nanometers. Therefore, materials created with grains of the right size could be structurally flawless. Not only would these materials possess exceptional strength and durablity, but their optical, electrical, and magnetic properties could be vastly improved as well. The number of potential applications, such as smart sensors and ultra-efficient “solid-state” lighting, as well as entire industries impacted, such as automobiles and defense, is staggering. “Nanostructured materials offer a unique opportunity to realize perfect materials with greatly improved properties,” said NCSU materials scientist Jagdish (Jay) Narayan, the study’s sole researcher, to “Copper, for example, can be made as strong as steel by reducing the grain/feature size so that defects cease to exist.”In his paper describing the work, published in the August 7 online edition of the Journal of Applied Physics, Narayan discusses the many types of defects that can be present in a material and shows, via theoretical arguments and a couple of specific examples, how controlling grain size may be able to prevent them.For example, one type of defect is a dislocation, an irregularity in the repetitive pattern of a crystalline material that compromises strength. It is nearly impossible to eliminate dislocations, Narayan says, but reducing the grain size can theoretically restrict the movement of a dislocation so that it can’t propagate through the rest of the material. For copper, he calculates that this will occur at the critical grain size of about 7.5 nanometers (nm).He provides a specific example of how grain size affects a material’s properties, using a nanocomposite material made of two compounds, tungsten carbide (WC) and nickel aluminide (NiAl). The NiAl component acts as a hardening agent, bonding with atoms at the surface of WC nanoparticles. Because WC-NiAl grains are all about the same size, it is a good material for testing how grain size affects hardness. The results show the hardness of WC-NiAl increases as its grain size decreases, but only down to a critical grain size. Below that, the material begins to get softer. Citation: Nanoscience May Produce ‘Perfect’ Materials (2006, August 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Figure 1: Transmission electron microscope images of WC-NiAl, with (top) an average grain size of 11 nm and (bottom) an average grain size of 6 nm. Nanoporous material nets contaminant from watercenter_img Nanoscience may provide a way to engineer materials that are virtually defect-free – perfect, that is. Explore further But there are some challenges to overcome before a “perfect” material could truly be achieved. The problems lie at the interfaces between grains, where the surfaces of two grains meet. There, some defects may persist because it is difficult for scientists to control certain properties and grain-to-grain interactions, such as atomic structure, chemistry, and atomic bonding.Just how difficult is determined by the ratio of surface atoms to inner-grain atoms. As grain size gets smaller, this ratio gets larger – there are more and more surface atoms relative to non-surface atoms. Through additional research, scientists may be able to make adjacent grains come together harmoniously and prevent defects between them.Citation: Journal of Applied Physics, Volume 100, 0034039 (2006)By Laura Mgrdichian, Copyright 2006 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

Optic lobe of giant squid found proportionally smaller than for other cephalopods

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. The dramatization of an underwater encounter between the sperm whale and giant squid, from a diorama in the Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History. Credit: Mike Goren/Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0 Journal information: Royal Society Open Science (—A team of researchers in Taiwan has found that despite having outsized eyes, giant squid do not have an overly large optic lobe to match. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes carrying out a study of a giant squid captured alive by local fishermen and what they found upon examining the vision processing parts of its brain. As the researchers note, despite their notoriety, some aspects of the giant squid have not been studied very well—this is because they are very rarely captured alive. Study of the live brain of the squid, for example, has been extremely limited. In this new effort, the researchers took advantage of a unique opportunity—local fishermen happened to catch one of the elusive sea creatures and alerted the researchers to the find.It has often been noted that giant squid have eyes that are so large they look somewhat comical, but unfortunately, little work has been done to understand their size and thus what benefits they confer to squids. For that reason, upon finding a live specimen on their table, the researchers immediately focused on the optic lobe using MRI—they found that despite the huge eyes, the lobe was not larger proportionally than that of other cephalopods, and in fact, was actually smaller. The researchers found that the cortex, which is used by other cephalopods to process visual information, was neuron rich, while the medulla was not—it is used by other cephalopods for communicating visually with others of their kind.The researchers note that their findings are not surprising—smaller cephalopods live in well-lit close quarters with other cephalopods in visually complex environments, and thus much more visual communication (like camouflage) is needed. The finding also confirms suspicions that the large eyes of the giant squid have evolved to capture more light in a dark underwater environment, particularly light emitted by clouds of bioluminescence that indicate a sperm whale is nearby—one of the few sea creatures that prey on giant squid. Despite multicolor camouflage, cuttlefish, squid and octopus are colorblindcenter_img More information: Yung-Chieh Liu et al. Mismatch between the eye and the optic lobe in the giant squid, Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170289AbstractGiant squids (Architeuthis) are a legendary species among the cephalopods. They live in the deep sea and are well known for their enormous body and giant eyes. It has been suggested that their giant eyes are not adapted for the detection of either mates or prey at distance, but rather are best suited for monitoring very large predators, such as sperm whales, at distances exceeding 120 m and at a depth below 600 m (Nilsson et al. 2012 Curr. Biol. 22, 683–688. (DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.02.031)). However, it is not clear how the brain of giant squids processes visual information. In this study, the optic lobe of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux, male, mantle length 89 cm), which was caught by local fishermen off the northeastern coast of Taiwan, was scanned using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging in order to examine its internal structure. It was evident that the volume ratio of the optic lobe to the eye in the giant squid is much smaller than that in the oval squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) and the cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis). Furthermore, the cell density in the cortex of the optic lobe is significantly higher in the giant squid than in oval squids and cuttlefish, with the relative thickness of the cortex being much larger in Architeuthis optic lobe than in cuttlefish. This indicates that the relative size of the medulla of the optic lobe in the giant squid is disproportionally smaller compared with these two cephalopod species. This morphological study of the giant squid brain, though limited only to the optic lobe, provides the first evidence to support that the optic lobe cortex, the visual information processing area in cephalopods, is well developed in the giant squid. In comparison, the optic lobe medulla, the visuomotor integration centre in cephalopods, is much less developed in the giant squid than other species. This finding suggests that, despite the giant eye and a full-fledged cortex within the optic lobe, the brain of giant squids has not evolved proportionally in terms of performing complex tasks compared with shallow-water cephalopod species. © 2017 Citation: Optic lobe of giant squid found proportionally smaller than for other cephalopods (2017, July 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furtherlast_img read more

Separate experiments show no evidence of violation of Lorentz invariance

first_img When physicists conduct relativistic experiments that involve physical measurement, their findings should not rely on the orientation or speed of the place in which the experiments take place, according to the standard model of particle physics. This principle is known as Lorentz invariance, and testing it is one of the ways of testing the theory of relativity itself. In this new effort, both research teams have tested the principle with the tightest constraints to date and both offer more accuracy than has been seen in the past.One of the groups, with team members from Italy, France and U.S., used a half-century’s worth of data collected via lunar lasing—bouncing a beam off a mirror left on the moon’s surface by manned Apollo missions. The data represents measurements of the moon’s orbit around the Earth as well as its rotation. Using the data, they found it consistent with null coefficients, which meant no violations of Lorentz invariance were found. They also report that their study offered accuracy between 100 and 1000 times better than was possible in previous efforts.The other group was made up of researchers at Carleton College in the U.S. They obtained data from other teams working over several years using superconducting gravimeters to conduct experiments. Such meters can be used to calculate gravitational acceleration by measuring the position of a superconducting sphere as it is levitated in a magnetic field. This team also reported that the coefficients they derived were all consistent with zero. They further note that their efforts were 10 times as accurate as prior efforts and that some of the results were the first of their kind ever obtained.By placing ever tighter constraints when testing physics theories, researchers offer stronger proof that the principles that underlie basic theories such as relativity are sound. Citation: Separate experiments show no evidence of violation of Lorentz invariance (2017, November 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from (—Two teams of researchers working independently of one another have conducted experiments designed to test Lorentz invariance; both report no violations. One of the teams used decades of data from lunar lasing experiments, the other data from experiments conducted over several years using superconducting gravimeters. Both teams have published papers in the journal Physical Review Letters describing their work and their findings. Explore further Still no violation of Lorentz symmetry, despite strongest test yet © 2017 Phys.orgcenter_img More information: 1. A. Bourgoin et al. Lorentz Symmetry Violations from Matter-Gravity Couplings with Lunar Laser Ranging, Physical Review Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.201102 , standard-model extension (SME) is an effective field theory framework aiming at parametrizing any violation to the Lorentz symmetry (LS) in all sectors of physics. In this Letter, we report the first direct experimental measurement of SME coefficients performed simultaneously within two sectors of the SME framework using lunar laser ranging observations. We consider the pure gravitational sector and the classical point-mass limit in the matter sector of the minimal SME. We report no deviation from general relativity and put new realistic stringent constraints on LS violations improving up to 3 orders of magnitude previous estimations.2. Natasha A. Flowers et al. Superconducting-Gravimeter Tests of Local Lorentz Invariance, Physical Review Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.201101 , measurements are used to test the local Lorentz invariance of the gravitational interaction and of matter-gravity couplings. The best laboratory sensitivities to date are achieved via a maximum-reach analysis for 13 Lorentz-violating operators, with some improvements exceeding an order of magnitude. 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. Credit: C. Carreau/ESA, via Physics Journal information: Physical Review Letterslast_img read more

Developing a dualgradient ultrafast biomimetic snapping hydrogel material

first_img TOP: Transformation of a dual-gradient composite hydrogel sheet into complex shapes by programming energy pre-storage. (A) Inverse snapping of a composite hydrogel sheet in 20°C water after NIR irradiation regionally of the sheet in air. (B) Programmable folding of a composite hydrogel sheet into a cube in 20°C water after NIR irradiation of the highlighted regions in air. Scale bars, 1 cm. BOTTOM: General criterion for inverse snapping of hydrogel sheets. (A) Production diagram of various hydrogel sheets: composite hydrogel sheets under different initial TH, bilayer PNIPAM hydrogel sheets with different dual gradients, and bilayer hydrogel sheets with different single gradients. (B and C) Deformation of different bilayer hydrogel sheets under the stimuli of 20° and 40°C: double gradients (B) and single gradient (C). Scale bars, 1 cm. Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174. LEFT: Illustrative scheme of the snapping deformation. (A) Snapping of the Venus flytrap. (B) Inverse snapping of a dual-gradient hydrogel sheet. (C) A carton showing the cross section of a dual-gradient hydrogel. RIGHT: Inverse snapping of dual-gradient rGO/PDMAEMA hydrogel sheets. (A and B) Schematic illustration (A) and cross-sectional SEM image (B) of the dual-gradient structure of rGO/PDMAEMA hydrogel sheets. (C) Shape transformation of the sheets in response to temperature variation. (D and E) Inverse snapping of the sheets with strip patterns to form chiral structures with controlled handedness. Scale bars, 1 cm (C and D). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174 When the scientists submerged the patterned hydrogel material from water at 200C into 600C higher than its volume phase transition temperature, the originally flat composite hydrogel sheet curved up. On replacing it in the 200C water bath, the hydrogel took a completely different route to reverse transform its shape, giving rise to a new intermediate state. Fan et al. observed the rapid, inverse snap (in less than 1 second) associated with a sharply increased bending angle from 38 degrees to 540 degrees, to gradually unroll and become a flat structure as before, in approximately 60 mins. The scientists deduced the inverse snapping of hydrogel sheets as a new mechanism of energy transformation and divided the process to three stages. (1) Converting part of the prestored thermal/chemical effective energy (E*) into cumulative elastic energy during curled sheet unrolling. (2) Instantaneous release of accumulated elastic energy (E’) in the form of snapping, and (3) Gradual release of the rest energy (E”) to curl further after snapping. Temperature variation in the experimental setup affected the deformation rate of the hydrogel sheet. As a result, Fan et al. were able to quantitatively program the snapping rate of the sheets by tuning the magnitude of its prestored energy with variable temperatures, to stimulate the gel. LEFT: Illustrative scheme of the snapping deformation. (A) Snapping of the Venus flytrap. (B) Inverse snapping of a dual-gradient hydrogel sheet. (C) A carton showing the cross section of a dual-gradient hydrogel. RIGHT: Inverse snapping of dual-gradient rGO/PDMAEMA hydrogel sheets. (A and B) Schematic illustration (A) and cross-sectional SEM image (B) of the dual-gradient structure of rGO/PDMAEMA hydrogel sheets. (C) Shape transformation of the sheets in response to temperature variation. (D and E) Inverse snapping of the sheets with strip patterns to form chiral structures with controlled handedness. Scale bars, 1 cm (C and D). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174 Fan et al. controlled the magnitude and location of stored energy in the hydrogel sheets to program their snapping reaction and achieve different structures and actuation behaviors. They developed a theoretical model thereafter to demonstrate the crucial role of dual gradients and predicted the snapping motion of a variety of different hydrogel materials. The new design principle will provide guidance to engineer actuation materials for applications in tissue engineering, soft robotics and as active medical implants. The results are now published in Science Advances. Shape transformation is ubiquitous in living systems such as carnivorous plants that strategically capture prey, providing a natural source of inspiration to engineer functional shape-transforming materials in the lab. Responsive hydrogels are capable of shape transformation under a variety of stimuli, with promising applications already delivered in soft robotics, drug delivery, tissue engineering and microfluidics. Scientists have used thermo-responsive polymers such as poly(N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA) and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) to design such shape-transforming materials. Shape transformation of hydrogels mainly rely on the different swelling rates of hydrogels in different regions of the materials, where the gradual shape evolution is driven via in-plane and out-of-plane mismatch in the changing volume of hydrogels. Present efforts therefore focus on enhancing the shape complexity to diversify the materials response to external stimuli. , Angewandte Chemie More information: 1. Dual-gradient enabled ultrafast biomimetic snapping of hydrogel materials DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174 , Wenxin Fan et al., 19 April 2019, Science Advances.2. A light-driven artificial flytrap Owies M. Wani et al. 23 May 2017, Nature Communications.3. Advances in engineering hydrogels … 37/eaaf3627.abstract Yu Shrike Zhang and Ali Khademhosseini. 05 May 2017, Science.4. Photothermally reprogrammable buckling of nanocomposite gel sheets … .1002/anie.201412160 Adam W. Hauser, 05 March 2015, Angewandte Chemie (International Edition in English). Hydrogels change water and solute dynamics As a proof-of-principle, they demonstrated the self-regulated actuation capabilities, where the pre-stimulated hydrogel sheet snapping mechanism triggered weight lifting in water temperatures varying from 200C to 600C. The maximum weight that could be lifted increased with changing temperature. The scientists provided a concept to control energy storage and release in hydrogels, allowing intelligent materials design with programmable motion instilled with abilities for mass identification and power regulation. Due to the weak polyelectrolyte nature of PDMAEMA, Fan et al. also showed that the snapping motion could be regulated by stimulating the gel pH through ion strength (IS) variation. As with temperature stimulation, the hydrogel sheets demonstrated similar mechanistic behavior, under a broad range of IS conditions. The new materials were thus built with versatility to surpass the existing limitations of narrow operating conditions in materials engineering. The scientists also showed that the composite hydrogels were responsive to near-infrared (NIR) light due to photothermal effects of the constituent rGO. They demonstrated programmable folding of the gel sheet into a cube via controlled light exposure and energy storage within the sheet as an example, with great potential in biomedicine for minimally invasive surgical procedures and in soft robotics. The scientists then quantified the snapping process to establish a general criterion for inverse snapping and credited the characteristic nature to the dual-gradient structure of the hydrogel sheet. The scientists verified the general criterion of inverse snapping by comparing the deformation behaviors of bi-layered PNIPAM hydrogel sheets with dual gradients and those with cross-linking density alone. They found that the dual-gradient PNIPAM sheets exhibited inverse snapping motions, while all single-gradient hydrogels only showed conventional simple bending in response to thermal stimulation. Lifting processes of the hydrogel actuator after energy storage at 60°C. Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174. Citation: Developing a dual-gradient ultrafast biomimetic snapping hydrogel material (2019, April 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from In this way, the scientists demonstrated a general principle to design hydrogels using the energy transformation ability to trigger programmable snapping deformation. They controlled the magnitude and site of energy pre-storage in the hydrogels to program inverse snapping and achieve different actuations and structures. Fan et al. credited the energy transformation-induced snapping to the dual-gradient structure (containing a polymer chain density gradient and cross-linking density gradient). They ultimately proposed a theoretical model to interpret and predict the snapping of hydrogels, which agreed with the experimental observations. The dual-gradient hydrogel can work directly as a self-propelled, intelligent actuator infused with the ability to identify weights and control power under constant stimuli. The research will provide new insights to rapidly actuate diverse materials alongside practical guidance in the design and development of autonomous actuators, soft robotics and active medical implants in the future.center_img As an example, leaves of the Venus flytrap can rapidly close and capture insects in one-tenth of a second, which is distinct from synthetic hydrogels that have thus far only shown gradual and relatively slow shape transformation. The extremely rapid motion of the Venus flytrap is credited to the accumulation and quick release of energy that can assist the sudden, yet, discontinuous motion essential to develop ultrafast actuators with broad applications in soft robotics through biomimicry. Existing approaches to achieve this type of motion rely on reversible switching between concave and convex structures of bi-stable polymeric sheets – but this strategy only allows limited structural complexity and actuation behavior. As a result, an existing need remains to design new principles of snapping motion that will be interlaced into responsive biomaterials. , Nature Communications Inverse snapping of hydrogel sheet submerged from 60°C into 20°C water. Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7174. Bioinspired materials are designed and engineered to mimic the biological functions of nature; however fast actuation is an important but challenging task to recreate in the lab. In a recent study, Wenxin Fan and co-workers in the interdisciplinary departments of materials science, engineering, chemistry, biochemistry and macromolecular science in the USA and China, presented a new paradigm to design responsive hydrogel sheets that could exhibit ultrafast and inverse snapping deformation. They engineered the hydrogel sheets with dual-gradient architecture to accumulate elastic energy in the polymers by converting prestored energy for rapid reverse snapping and energy release. , Science Advances In the present work, Fan et al. reported a nature-inspired design of responsive hydrogel sheets that accumulated elastic energy and rapidly released the energy during ultrafast snapping deformation. Using experimental results and theoretical models, the scientists showed that the snapping motion of the hydrogels originated from their dual-gradient (polymer chain density gradient and cross-linking density gradient) structural design. In the experiments they used reduced graphene oxide (rGO)/PDMAEMA composite hydrogel sheets with dual gradient structures as a model system and demonstrated that the sheets could accumulate elastic energy and convert the pre-stored thermal or chemical energy to rapidly snap. Mechanically, the novel hydrogel could snap in reverse under a second (<1 s), to release the stored elastic energy in response to external stimuli. Fan et al. were able to tune the velocity, angle and location of snapping in the hydrogel sheet to control the position and magnitude of prestored energy. As a result, the scientists were able to program the sheets to achieve different structures and actuation behaviors. They propose to extend the new design principles of snapping deformation to other materials including neat hydrogels and elastomers in future work. Fan et al. first engineered the composite rGO/PDMAEMA composite hydrogel under ultraviolet (UV)-induced free radical generation of GO (graphene oxide) to initiate polymerization of the DMAEMA (monomer) and N,N'-methylene-bis-acrylamide (MBA; crosslinking agent). They irradiated a mixture of GO, DMAEMA and MBA filled in-between a sealed space with UV light and showed how the light intensity along the side generated a higher concentration of free radicals on the GO surface for faster polymerization. The fabrication process characteristically allowed higher chain density and crosslinking density of the hydrogel, which was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Raman spectra. Journal information: Science Explore further © 2019 Science X Network 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

Story on Sister Nivedita comes out in Wimbledon newsletter

first_imgKolkata: Over a century after Sister Nivedita’s death, Wimbledon newsletter has carried a story on her and the Wimbledon library has set up a separate section dedicated to her on her sesquicentennial birth anniversary. Pamela Greenwood, a local writer, has written a piece on Sister Nivedita, which is more less her life’s sketch. She starts with the days when Margaret Noble, later Sister Nivedita, had first come to Wimbledon and joined Madame de Leew’s Froebel School in Berkeley Place in 1890. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsLater, she opened her own school and named it as The Ruskin School in 1892. At the Sesame Club, she met Swami Vivekananda in London in 1895.The interest in Nivedita started increasing in England more than 100 years after her death in Darjeeling in 1911. A Blue Plaque was installed at her 21 High Street residence in November 2017. Chief Minister Mamata banerjee was present at the function, along with Swami Suhitanandaji, one of the vice-presidents of RKM. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedSarada Basu, a scholar on Nivedita, who is trying to contact the descendants of the Noble family, said Greenwood is now working on the book written by Muktipranaji.In Wimbledon museum, there is a temporary exhibition on her life and work. There are some books on Sister and two statues of Sister and Swami Vivekananda, which Mamata Banerjee had taken with her, have been kept there.The authorities of Wimbledon cemetery have agreed to install a half bust of Sister Nivedita beside her grave. She was cremated in Darjeeling and her ashes were sent to her house by Jagdish Chandra Bose.last_img read more

Savouring Delhis flavours

first_imgIt is that time of the year, when everyone is on an exploration drive to savour diverse flavours and often end their search with Delhi, as an unmatched destination for street food. To celebrate the tradition of food in the capital, Delhi Tourism came out with the concept of Dilli Ke Pakwaan in the year 2010 during the commonwealth games. Since then, the journey has been immensely successful and this time again fifth in series, Dilli ke Pakwaan 2014 is an authentic treat. Exclusive food items by nearly 40 participating vendors will make that perfect Dilli Ka Zaika. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’In  a bid to give an organised space to street food vendors in the region and usher in a new wave of vibrancy in street food arena, Delhi Tourism in association with Govt. of Delhi had introduced this seven day street food saga in the capital. The festival was being held at Baba Kharak Singh Marg from December 24 and commenced on December 30 and celebrated Delhi’s love for street food. Christmas festivities are over but the feast continued at Dilli Ke Pakwaan with around 40 food stalls offering more than 60 different dishes. The cold weather did not stop people from stepping out of their homes and taste the flavours of Delhi.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe festival was not just about food but goes beyond the regular, with different cultural performances lined up every evening. From puppet shows, youth-centric musical performances, to magical Qawwali night and Rajasthani folk dance and music, there were numerous entertainment avenues. Visitor-friendly activities like ‘Art in Motion Cars’ encouraged people to paint on autorickshaws stationed at the venue. Dilli Ke Pakwaan  also offered numerous activities like recipe competition, food photography crash course, expert food talk, musical evenings, art and craft section along with others. Dilli Dil Se, recipe competition cum food talk  allowed people to freely drop their secret recipes and earn recognition, and pioneering expert from the industry will also be conducting talks on healthy food and special diets. Dilli Belly, a food photography workshop aimed to impart the skill of clicking beautiful photos using basic camera devices/ mobile phones.  In a special societal welfare opportunity at Dilli Ke Pakwaan, an NGO Antardrishti, along with its sister project Antarkranti was given a platform to showcase its exquisite products at the venue. Antardrishti works towards the benefit of visually impaired, while Antarkranti helps in rehabilitation and reformation of prison inmates. Another feature at the event was the Home for Food Tradition (HFT) movement that has taken upon itself the task of providing wholesome meals to people on the move. The idea is to bring the hygienic, wholesome, and health-oriented organic meals out of the confines of capital’s malls, five star hotels, and hi-dining joints, and democratise their availability on the streets of Delhi for common man at an affordable price through a network of specially designed network of trawlers. In other words, it aims to provide affordable meals, planned to take care of one’s nutritional requirements, while serving it hot in the streets of Delhi in a manner that is portable and reusable. In short, when it comes to planning a wholesome meal every day, Home for Food Traditions is fostering the care of a mother, with a touch of professionalism. This is happening in Todapur Village of Delhi under the supervision of Home for Food Tradition (HFT) to create Right to Eat Movement.last_img read more

Shantanu Sen turns saviour for hapless elderly couple

first_imgKolkata: In a rare gesture, Trinamool Congress MP Dr Shantanu Sen has assured to bear the medical expenses of an elderly couple in Sodepur.Unable to bear the medical expenses of his nonagenarian wife who is suffering from paralysis, Gourishankar Debnath (98) chose a unique way to collect money from people. Every morning, he used to go to Sodepur railway station and recite poems written by him. Some people listened to his poems and gave him money. A vernacular television channel had aired this report. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAttracted by the report, Dr Sen went to the house of the elderly couple and assured to bear their medical expenses. The woman needs physiotherapy, while the couple need other medicines. Dr Sen examined the couple as well.Dr Sen said the physiotherapy session will start immediately and he will arrange the other medicines that are required. “As a medical practitioner, I consider this a rare opportunity to serve the couple. I have examined them and will do whatever is required,” he said.Debnath said they had no one to look after them and the money which they had in the bank had been exhausted. “I have no other option but to ask people for help. But who will help me? So I recited the proems which I have written and some people at Sodepur railway station who got interested, listened to my recitation and gave me some money. We are touched by Dr Sen’s gesture and pray for his success,” he maintained.last_img read more

Auto driver beats up couple arrested

first_imgKolkata: An auto-rickshaw driver has allegedly beaten up a couple who was riding on a scooter following a quarrel that took place between them near 8B bus stand in Jadavpur on Saturday morning.On the basis of the complaint lodged by the victims, the police have arrested the accused driver, identified as Uttam Rout. A local leader of the auto-rickshaw union told the police that the couple was riding their vehicle in a wrong route flouting the traffic norms when the accused auto-rickshaw driver tried to stop them. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAs the accused demanded an explanation, the youth who was riding the scooter with a girl as the pillion, allegedly abused the auto driver. This led to a quarrel between the youth and the auto-rickshaw driver. A scuffle soon broke out between them. The victims, on the other hand, alleged that the accused auto-rickshaw driver stepped out of the vehicle and started beating up the youth. He had received injuries on his face as well. When the girl came to his rescue, she was also roughed up by the accused. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe couple told the police that other auto-rickshaw drivers gathered at the spot and started hurling abuses at them. The incident caused huge chaos at the 8B bus stand area in the morning following the incident. The couple also told the police that they did not flout any traffic norms and were riding the scooter properly. According to the local sources, none of the duo had been wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. They claimed that the auto-driver suddenly stopped their scooter and started misbehaving with them. After being informed, the police reached the spot and held the youth for interrogation. They have arrested the auto-rickshaw driver on the basis of a specific complaint. Police have also started a probe in this regard.last_img read more

Winter wanes mercury to climb higher in city for next few days

first_imgKolkata: The temperature in the city may go up further in the next three days, predicted the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.The Met office said on Tuesday that the mercury, which has already been soaring in all the South Bengal districts, will continue to do so in the next couple of days. The cold wave condition, which was prevailing in South Bengal for the past two weeks, has improved. The situation is under control in most of the districts in South Bengal. The lowest temperature in the city on Tuesday rose to 13.8 degree Celsius, while the highest temperature of the day remained at 27.8 degree Celsius, which is three degrees above normal. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalFor the past three days, the temperature was hovering over 12 degree Celsius. The temperature is expected to marginally rise in the next three days. The temperature had started dipping in the city and its adjoining districts before Christmas. The temperature went down to 11.5 degree Celsius on December 27. The weather office, however, has not clearly mentioned if the winter chill is going to go away from the city completely. According to a weather official, the occasional rise and fall in the temperature is quite common during this period. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe people in North Bengal districts, however, continue to feel a cold shiver as the temperature in some places remained below 10 degree Celsius. A senior weather official on Tuesday said that a cold wave condition is still prevailing in North Bengal districts and the situation will continue in the next few days. People in South Bengal districts will, however, get some respite from the cold wave condition, during which the city witnessed the temperature drop to nearly 10 degree Celsius. Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that the tropical cyclone ‘Pabuk’ that had hit Andaman Sea two days ago after originating over the Gulf of Thailand, has turned into a low pressure zone in the region, bringing some more rainfall in Andaman Island.last_img read more

Mob attacks man in Cooch Behar cops rescue him

first_imgKolkata: Local residents brutally beat up a man suspecting him to be a cattle thief on Saturday night at Kotwali in Cooch Behar. Later, police rescued the injured person and rushed him to Cooch Behar Medical College and Hospital.Since the past few months, criminals were stealing cattle at Kotwali. Despite security measures, none could be arrested. Late on Saturday night, some local residents noticed a person roaming aimlessly at Lankabar on Kalighat road in Cooch Behar. On suspicion, some of them detained him and asked what he was doing there at that time. As he could not give them a reasonable answer, local residents started beating him. Meanwhile, Kotwali police station was informed about the incident. Upon getting information, the officers rushed to the spot to rescue the man. When police officers tried to rescue him, local residents opposed the police for taking necessary action. Even, police personnel who went to the spot to rescue the man were detained later. A distress message was sent to the headquarters. Later, a large force led by senior officials went to the spot and managed to rescue the injured man along with police personnel. Till Sunday night, the police could not establish the man’s identity as officers could not talk to him because of his unstable health condition.last_img read more

Ruma Guha Thakurta breathes her last at 85

first_imgKolkata: Renowned singer-actor Ruma Guha Thakurta passed away at her South Kolkata residence on Monday morning. She was 85-years-old and suffering from age related ailments.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went to her residence to pay respects to the departed soul. She was cremated at the Keoratala crematorium with state honours. Minister of state for Information and Cultural Affairs Indranil Sen also went to her residence to pay his last respects. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataLater, Banerjee tweeted: “Saddened at the passing away of Ruma Guha Thakurta. Her contributions to the field of music will always be remembered. My condolences to her family and her admirers.” Born to Satyen Ghosh and singer Sita Devi, Ruma got initial training in music from her parents. She married Kishore Kumar in 1951 and the couple had their son Amit Kumar from this marriage. They got divorced in 1958 and she later married Arup Guha Thakurta. From her second marriage, she had a son Ayan and daughter Sromona. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateHer acting debut came in Amiya Chakraborty’s Jwar Bhata in 1944. She acted in the film alongside Dilip Kumar, which was his inaugural role as well. She had also acted in Nitin Bose’s Mashaal in 1944. She had acted in two films directed by Satyajit Ray, namely Abhijan and Ganashatru. She did playback in Tin Kanya, which was also directed by Ray. Some other well known films where Ruma was the playback singer, include Joradighir Chowdhury paribar, Baksha Badal, Jodi Jantem and Amrita Kumbher Sandhane.last_img read more

Bengal leading in GDP growth rate while country suffers deep recession Amit

first_imgKolkata: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra on Saturday slammed the Narendra Modi government at the Centre holding it responsible for pushing the Indian economy in a state of deep recession with unemployment rate reaching its pinnacle in the last 45 years. The minister also pointed out a contrast picture of Bengal where the GDP growth (12.58 percent) has been among the highest compared to other states in the country.”India is going through deep recession and the unemployment rate has reached its 45 year high at 6.1 percent in 2018-19. There is hardly any job opportunities in the country especially for the young generation. However, the Centre is mum and is in a state of deep policy paralysis. The GDP growth that has fallen to 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 is the lowest growth rate in the last five years (between 2014-15 and 2018-19) which is a clear pointer that the common people are under tremendous stress,” Mitra said during a press conference at Nabanna. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAccording to him, the Centre’s investments in new projects have plunged to 15 years low in the quarter ending June 2019. “New projects announced in June quarter 2019 is 81 percent lower than what was announced in March quarter 2019 and 87 percent lower than the same period a year back,” he added. Mitra reiterated that as per figures released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for the fiscal 2018-19 Bengal has been able to register a GDP growth of 12.58 — the highest in the country and is among the four states that have managed a GDP growth of over 10 percent. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateBengal is followed by Andhra Pradesh which has recorded GDP growth of 11.02, Bihar with 10.53 and Telangana 10.5 percent respectively. Goa is at the bottom of the list with 0.47 percent growth rate, he said. “We are holding the baton and moving forward while the rest of the country is going through serious recession,” Mitra added. “The dismal economic state of the country is reflected through a number of parameters — the industrial output growth had fallen to 2 percent in June 2019 which was 7 percent in June 2018, the industrial production had plunged to 1.2 percent in this June from 6.9 percent last year, the capital goods sector growth is at a negative 6.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent last year (June), the manufacturing growth has fallen to 1.2 percent this June against 6.9 percent in June last year,” the minister added. He also alleged that at a time when the country’s economy is in doldrums the industrialists are being threatened of arrest. A sense of fear has gripped the industrialists with the arrest clause being included in the law. “They are arresting those who cannot spend 2 percent of CSR. The corporate now have started speaking up about the threats. They are becoming NRIs with the fear psychosis forcing them to leave India and shift base,” Mitra asserted.The minister also pointed out that the FDI, which the Central government often boasts of, is having a negative growth of 1.09 percent in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. “All the major players in the automobile sector are witnessing a reasonable decline in sales which is contributing to job losses. This sector employs 3.5 crore people directly and indirectly and they are in serious trouble,” he added. He even slammed the Centre for being in denial mode about these issues of the masses. “They should consult the states and take the opinion of the political parties to come out with a solution,” Mitra maintained.last_img read more

Dabo Swinney recruited a 5star tackle from Ohio by telling him Urban

first_imgThe #1 offensive tackle in the country, 5-star recruit Jackson Carman from Fairfield, Ohio, shocked many by committing to Clemson, rather than staying home to play for Urban Meyer and Ohio State.When asked what led to his decision, the 6’6”, 330 pound road grader mentioned that part of Swinney’s recruiting pitch to him was pushing the idea that Urban Meyer’s coaching career was on the back nine. Carman qualified that the pitch wasn’t the only reason he committed to Swinney, but it was a factor.It probably also didn’t hurt that Dabo has beaten Urban in their last two head-to-head meetings, including a curb stomping in last year’s playoffs.Recruiting is a dirty business, but no one knows this better than Meyer. Now he’ll just have to sign an obscene ‘Jim Harbaugh lifetime deal’ to put this narrative to rest.Dabo Swinney told Jackson Carman during his recruitment that Urban Meyer is on the back end of his career in terms of years left. “It wasn’t a major factor, but it was an underlying one,” Carman said.— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) December 20, 2017 Here’s a video of Carman bulldozing high school kids. Recruiting is a dirty business. Urban lost this round.last_img read more

VIDEO Everything about micd up Jimmy G leading the gamewinning drive against

first_img Advertisement Jimmy Garoppolo looks like an A-list movie star, and he expertly played the role of ‘superstar franchise quarterback’ while mic’d up during the final drive against the Titans that led to the game-winning field goal on Sunday.Jimmy G gave the Niners and their fans their first dose of the Patriot Way by demonstrating complete command of an offense, coverage adjustments, and the cool end of game management he learned while studying at The Tom Brady Academy in New England. It’s also clear, most importantly, that he has the full confidence of his teammates.Everything about this video screams franchise star. Nothing jump starts a rebuild like finding a quarterback, and John Lynch has his guy with Garoppolo.Cool, calm and collected.@JimmyG_10 was wired for sound during the game-winning drive. Enjoy ?— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 21, 2017last_img read more

65YearOld ExNavy Grandpa is Crushing Kids at Their Own Video Games

first_imgCompetitive gaming is most certainly a young man’s “sport,” which is why the emergence of a 65-year-old gaming grandpa who dominates at Apex Legends is the last thing you would expect. The gamer, who uses the screen name GrndPaGaming, is out of place, but also right at home on the head set and cleaning up against the younger comp on his Twitch livestream account that has 150,000 followers.Whatever Ninja is, this 20-year Navy veteran and grandfather of 2 is the opposite, but everyone likes an underdog story. This is a clip of grandpa racking up kills and talking smack to some no good whipper snappers. Get off his lawn.last_img

How to Stop Laptop Theft

first_imgBelkin USB Laptop Security AlarmAdvise your notebook users to carry unobtrusive bags that don’t scream “laptop inside.” Messenger bags, knapsacks, and rolling overnighters with inner pockets all make good alternatives to dedicated laptop bags. Finally you may want to recommend that employees who travel a lot use an alarm. The Belkin USB Laptop Security Alarm ($55) function as cable locks but sound an alarm if someone cuts the cable. The Doberman Laptop Defender Portable USB Computer Alarm ($30) incorporates a motion sensor that triggers a loud alarm if the device attached to it is moved.Some final, more-specific advice for employees:Never leave your laptop unguarded in a hotel or conference room. Protect it by using a cable lock or a hotel safe. If neither of these is available, take the laptop with you.At the office, lock portables in a special drawer or safe when you go home for the night.Never leave a laptop bag on a car seat in plain view. Always lock it in the trunk–but do so out of the sight of others in the parking lot.Triple-guard your bag at airports (one of the most common theft locations). When waiting at a gate, place your bag between your feet.A little preparation can go a long way toward preventing laptop theft, and toward recovering a machine after it’s lost. For less than $100 per machine, you can add tags, tracking software, and locking systems that may save you many times that amount.Becky Waring is a Berkeley-based freelance writer specializing in personal technology. January 1, 2008 If you run a small business, your biggest IT worry is probably not when or whether to upgrade to Vista; it’s how to keep your valuable equipment–and the even more precious data it contains–out of the hands of thieves. Laptops and mobile gadgets like cell phones, PDAs, and USB flash drives have become a necessity in many business settings. And such equipment now spends more time than ever outside the office, as employees work at home or in the nearest Starbucks.That development presents a huge opportunity for loss and theft. Laptop thefts out of parked cars and conference rooms may grab headlines, but a far greater number of devices simply get left behind in places like cabs, subways, and airplanes. reports that La Guardia airport alone has accumulated more than 70,000 unclaimed laptops and PDAs in its lost and found. According to Accenture, 10 to 15 percent of all handheld computers, PDAs, mobile phones, and pagers are eventually lost by their owners.Laptops have become increasingly attractive targets for identity thieves, too. A 2006 Ponemon Institute study reported an 81 percent increase in the number of companies reporting stolen laptops between 2005 and 2006. Even notebooks that never leave the office can be targets, as many thefts are inside jobs.Most small businesses can weather the physical loss of a laptop or two, especially if their insurance policy covers the hardware. But the files on the machine may raise more-troubling issues: They can hold trade secrets or financial and customer data; they may not be backed up on a central server; and losing them may trigger embarrassing public reporting requirements under several recent federal and state laws.According to a 2007 survey by McAfee and Datamonitor, a data breach involving personal customer information could cost a company, on average, $268,000 in reporting expenses–even if the data is never used. And one-third of the companies surveyed said that a major security breach had the potential to put them out of business entirely.You can take several key steps to protect both your laptops and your data. By adopting these measures, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of losing key hardware and data.Track Your Laptop With an IDThe first step is to slap an ID tag on each laptop, BlackBerry, digital camera, and USB key your business owns, and record it with a recovery service. An astonishingly large number of businesses never record even the serial numbers of their equipment, police say, making it impossible for authorities to reunite found items with their rightful owners. Tracking tags give you an opportunity to enter serial number information as you tag each item, after which you can use the recovery service as a basic inventory system. (You should definitely maintain serial-number records, as well as purchase receipts, in case of insurance claims.)Recovery services report recovery rates of 75 percent and higher on tagged items. Evidently, most people who find laptops are honest, and by offering prepaid returns and a reward on the tag (which lists an 800 number), the service makes it easy to do the right thing.The services have you register each item on the Web, with identifying information; then they contact you to arrange return if an item is found. The price is nominal, usually around $5-$10 per label, with quantity discounts. Vendors that offer labeling and recovery services include ArmorTag, BoomerangIt, StuffBak, TrackItBack,, and zReturn. Some of these companies sell lifetime service for a fixed price, while others use a yearly subscription model. Some charge a recovery fee if an item is found. TrackItBack sells multipacks, which bring costs down to $5 per label, with lifetime service and no administrative or shipping fees on recovered items. TrackItBack will even send you a free replacement tag if the original comes off.The recovery firms unanimously cite privacy considerations and their 24-hour phone service as reasons to use their labels instead of just a taped-on business card or an inventory tag from your own company. The labels themselves may deter theft, as they render an item harder to fence. Labels are available for portable projectors, keys, eyeglasses, Bluetooth headsets, GPS devices, luggage, and more–not just laptops and cell phones. Anything that moves can and probably should be protected. Rely on Recovery Software If a thief steals your laptop, tracking and recovery software can help you get it back. Absolute Software’s ComputraceComplete ($50 per year), Brigadoon’s PC PhoneHome ($30 lifetime), Inspice’s Inspice Trace ($30/year), XTool’s Laptop Tracker ($40 per year for Small Business Edition) and zTrace Technologies’ zTrace Gold ($50 per year) are tracking utilities that connect periodically to a central server. When any of these does so, the associated service can trace your laptop’s location on the Internet and summon the local police to recover it. Absolute Software claims that Computrace can survive on a laptop even if the thief successfully reinstalls the operating system, reformats the hard drive, or (in some laptop models) swaps out the hard drive.Some tracking products also have such features as the ability to wipe out key data if a laptop is stolen, or to take a photo of the thief if the machine has a built-in camera. The laptop’s location may be pinpointed by IP address or by GPS, depending on the device and the service. Discounts vary among the services, depending on such variables as features, number of devices covered, and duration of contract, but the overall expense for most businesses pales in comparison to the cost of data loss.ComputraceComplete is the market leader, with a broad set of features, from asset and software license management (another great tool for small businesses) to a remote data deletion capability that meets Department of Defense standards. The company guarantees recovery of your computer within 30 days; if it fails to produce the lost unit, it will pay you 90 percent of the device’s original purchase price, up to $1000. Back Up and Encrypt Your DataRegardless of the precautions you take, a laptop may still get lost or stolen. So it’s vital to keep the loss to a minimum by ensuring that all important data is backed up and encrypted.Encrypting data on laptops and on USB drives is relatively easy these days, thanks to numerous inexpensive security tools that provide military-grade encryption. But these programs are only as effective as their users allow them to be, so make sure that your business’s employees understand how to take care of their equipment. For instance, instead of letting a laptop sleep during travel, they should shut it down completely, thereby locking the drive.Employees must also understand which folders are encrypted and how to back up files when out of the office. An online backup/sync service can handle this task very efficiently. Make sure that the one you use demonstrates its routine so you can tell whether it is functioning properly. See for suggestions on selecting a low-cost online backup service. Educate Your EmployeesThe human factor in laptop security may be the most important one–and it is certainly the easiest to overlook. Most laptops are accidentally abandoned, not purloined, and even instances of actual theft usually amount to crimes of opportunity. Physical security is the single best way to prevent loss. Unfortunately, persuading employees to guard company property with the same attention and zeal they would devote to their own purse or wallet is a difficult.Develop a written company policy on safeguarding mobile equipment, and periodically reinforce awareness of the consequences of laptop theft. Employees need to realize that they may lose, along with the laptop, their personal Web passwords and e-mail, any work not backed up, and whatever else they might have stowed in the laptop bag–such as keys, USB flash drives, and company papers. Remind workers about the importance of taking personal responsibility for company property, and review the consequences of noncompliance. Do periodic spot-checks to ensure that people are adhering to company guidelines. And while you’re at it, emphasize the need to use backup and encryption software. In all of these security systems, the user is the weak link. Brought to you by PCWorld 9 min read Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more

Death of the 5Page Website

first_img Register Now » 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Are you considering building a website for your small business–or having one built for you? Before you dive in and create one, it’s crucial that you consider your website an investment in your business and act accordingly. This means looking down the road and making sure that the way you build your site allows you flexibility and a cost-effective way to grow the site–and, in turn, your business.Redefining the WebsiteA website, though based on technology, is fundamentally a marketing tool. This is an important concept to understand because when you think about your website this way, you will recognize that a website, like your other marketing initiatives, should always be changing. Your website is not like a book, where you print a copy and are finished.When you decide to build a website with a template service or through a web developer, avoid this statement: “I want a basic five-page website to get me started.” More important, avoid the packages of services that sell you on this idea; it is a way to get you to rely on them for everything.Changeability Is KeyNo, you don’t want your first website to be a static five pages long. The truth is, in two months you are going to need to make changes to your services, products, special offers–the list goes on. Now you’re paying for changes and new pages to be added, and the price tag for that small, basic, cost-effective website will, at the end of the year, be triple what you planned on spending.Remember that your website is a marketing tool, so if you are planning on using search engine optimization or search engine marketing as marketing strategies, you will need the ability to make changes to your website. This is because search engines give high value to fresh content on websites (along with a slew of other factors), and SEM strategies include creating fresh landing pages.You don’t know what you don’t know, so here is the truth about what everyone needs–even if you’re just starting out. You need a website that gives you the ability to grow. You need a website that gives you a way to add pages, edit content and upload files. And because you have these needs, the best solution is using some type of content management system.Invest in Function, Not PagesToday’s small businesses need the ability to control their content just as much as larger companies. You don’t need an advanced design, but you do need a website that allows you to change the text on all the pages, the ability to add photographs to your pages and embed code from outside sources like today’s social media tools.Think of it this way: You are not buying a prefabricated, rigid square box with sides, a top and a bottom. That would be limiting. You are investing in the flexible software for your website that will allow you to swap in and out designs and add functions as you wish to grow your website into its own unique shape. Invest in scalability.A Picture Is Worth 1,000 WordsToday’s template applications and modern content management systems don’t require that you be an expert in HTML and CSS, but if you are adding images or badges from your favorite social networks, you should get a little training on how these items work.Working with an image program ahead of time to resize or crop images before you upload them will help you better understand how picture size and image size relate. Many of today’s content managers will resize photos for you, but to ensure that your website’s photos load quickly, it is better to resize before uploading. A little training will increase your success in managing the visual aspects of your website.Remember: Your website is essentially a marketing tool for your business, so it should be able to change and grow alongside the other dynamic pieces of your marketing plan. Don’t paint your business into a corner with a “cost-effective” website that could eaily become costly and ineffective. June 10, 2010last_img read more

A Shortcut for Building Mobile Local Guides

first_img Register Now » January 25, 2011 This story appears in the February 2011 issue of . Subscribe » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Local Knowledge: Stacy & Dan Guidice.Photo© Kevin GarrettPickens County, located against the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia, isn’t exactly a tourist hot spot, especially with metropolitan Atlanta only about an hour’s drive away. Dan and Stacy Guidice want to change that.In late 2010 the couple, who live in Big Canoe, Ga.–the Pickens region’s county seat–launched NGAtops, a website and iPhone app spotlighting the people, places and things that set the area apart. Optimized for visitors and natives alike, the app includes an events calendar, photos, videos and local listings for hotels, ranches, golf courses and eateries, complete with GPS-enabled maps and directions. If it’s happening in northern Georgia, it’s happening on NGAtops.”Before we launched, there was [no] single resource to aggregate all the wonderful things we have here, like kayaking and hiking and fishing and all the good restaurants,” says Dan, who oversees ad sales for NGAtops while Stacy supervises editorial. “It’s a beautiful spot, but we tend to be isolated up here. When people drive through town, we have to give them a reason to stop.”The Guidices rolled out NGAtops in partnership with TownWizard, a software provider in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., that supplies web and mobile app templates that let small-town entrepreneurs build guide services previously limited to major urban areas. The concept grew out of, a site developed by co-founder Mike Ragsdale to promote attractions along Florida’s Gulf Coast.”I started the 30A website as a personal tool. I wanted to remember all the neat places I wanted to take [visitors],” Ragsdale says. “From there I developed an iPhone app that includes the same content. I knew people on vacation would use this app–people aren’t bringing their laptops and PCs when they travel, but they all have smartphones.”The TownWizard software platform costs $495 to launch, with a monthly license fee of $195. TownWizard helps its partners get their websites and applications up and running, including submitting each app to Apple’s App Store.”We teach you how to operate the content management system and how to enter information,” Ragsdale says. “Most of all, we help you understand how to grow your brand. You’re not building an app–you’re building a brand that defines entertainment and dining in your community.”Once TownWizard signs up a partner from a given locale, that area is off the board: “You own that market–we won’t compete with you,” Ragsdale says, adding that each partner can designate a ZIP code they wish to serve, with all adjacent ZIP codes included in their exclusivity deal. TownWizard has signed up more than 30 regional partners so far.”What we’re doing is so different from national travel apps,” he says. “You just can’t automate this stuff. It’s got to be authentic–otherwise you’re not going to know about that great local place. Even more important, you have to know about the local personalities. That’s why each app has a unique flavor.”Just like Pickens County itself, NGAtops won’t thrive if it remains little more than a well-kept secret, so the Guidices are marketing the service throughout northern Georgia, meeting with local businesses and handing out promotional decals at regional festivals.”You have to build it, then you have to go out and sell it,” Dan says, adding that NGAtops made more than $7,000 in advertising sales its first two months after going live. “Our pitch to customers is that we’re all in this together.” 4 min readlast_img read more

Artificial Photosynthesis Breakthrough Aims to Save Us All From Global Warming

first_img 2 min read Enroll Now for Free 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 Nowcenter_img May 1, 2015 I know, let’s take one of the most harmful gasses on Earth and transform it into useful stuff like biofuel or even plastics? Sounds easier said than done, but one group of researchers has accomplished the impossible — using science that essentially copycats Mother Nature herself.Allow me to explain.Image credit: University of California, Berkeley Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California, Berkeley, could have just solved climate change — what many believe is one of the worst threats to the future of humanity. The researchers created an artificial photosynthesis prototype system. Sounds like a mouthful, right? Essentially, the system uses solar energy to trap carbon dioxide and synthesize it into acetate, a basic building block for organic compounds. The acetate could then be used to create cleaner, greener versions of things, like pharmaceuticals, plastics and, most importantly, renewable biofuels.Related: This Contraption Transforms Houseplants Into Musical Instruments In case you’re a little dusty on your 9th-grade biology, photosynthesis is the chemical process by which plants convert carbon dioxide, water and light into pure, clean oxygen — the very stuff we need to stay alive.The lab-made version of photosynthesis would lead to clean fuel and hopefully lots more of it. The process involves a system that integrates carbon dioxide-eating E.coli bacteria and sunlight-catching semi-conducting nanowires. It might not sound like the stuff of a big-time breakthrough, but scientists at Berkeley think the system could be the first major step toward the global warming solution many are looking for. If they’re right, and if they can replicate the system on a larger scale, the carbon in our atmosphere could be harnessed and transformed into renewable gas.Related: Modernist’s Cuisine’s Food Lab and the Science of FlavorBuh-bye, fossil fuel dependence and greenhouse gas pollution. How awesome would that be?”Our system has the potential to fundamentally change the chemical and oil industry in that we can produce chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way,” said lead chemist on the project Peidong Yang, “rather than extracting them from deep below the ground.”Yang also called the whole thing one, big “crazy idea.” Crazy or not, it sounds pretty brilliant.Related: Meet Plantoid, the Robot That Grows Like the Roots of a Plantlast_img read more