Month: August 2019

Professor Finally Publishes Controversial Brain Theory

first_img Citation: Professor Finally Publishes Controversial Brain Theory (2008, November 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The human brain. A new brain model in which some parts control other parts, developed by Professor Asim Roy, could overcome some of the limitations faced by the more conventional connectionist brain model, and possibly open the doors to autonomous learning systems. Image credit: SW Ranson. ( — In the late ’90s, Asim Roy, a professor of information systems at Arizona State University, began to write a paper on a new brain theory. Now, 10 years later and after several rejections and resubmissions, the paper “Connectionism, Controllers, and a Brain Theory” has finally been published in the November issue of IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics – Part A: Systems and Humans. However, Roy’s controversial ideas on how the brain works and learns probably won’t immediately win over many of his colleagues, who have spent decades teaching robots and artificial intelligence (AI) systems how to think using the classic connectionist theory of the brain. Connectionists propose that the brain consists of an interacting network of neurons and cells, and that it solves problems based on how these components are connected. In this theory, there are no separate controllers for higher level brain functions, but all control is local and distributed fairly equally among all the parts.In his paper, Roy argues for a controller theory of the brain. In this view, there are some parts of the brain that control other parts, making it a hierarchical system. In the controller theory, which fits with the so-called computational theory, the brain learns lots of rules and uses them in a top-down processing method to operate. In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue computer, which famously defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, operated based on countless rules entered by its programmers.Despite the success of the rule-based AI system in chess, no AI system has come close to learning and interacting with the world at the human level, using either the connectionist approach or the computational approach. Although the human brain may not serve as the best model for AI systems, a human-like machine should, by its very nature, be patterned after the human brain.Brains without external babysittersIn his paper, Roy shows that the connectionist theory actually is controller-based, using a logical argument and neurological evidence. He explains that some of the simplest connectionist systems use controllers to execute operations, and, since more complex connectionist systems are based on simpler ones, these too use controllers. If Roy’s logic correctly describes how the brain functions, it could help AI researchers overcome some inherent limitations in connectionist algorithms. “Connectionism can never create autonomous learning machines, and that’s where its flaw is,” Roy told “Connectionism requires human babysitting of their learning algorithms, and that’s not very brain-like. We don’t guide and control the learning inside our head. Wish we could tweak our brain from outside, but we can’t.” Neuroscience and artificial intelligence can help improve each othercenter_img Explore further In his argument, Roy uses examples of a human using a TV remote control or driving a car to demonstrate a general controller-based system. In these systems, the human is the controller, whether changing the TV channels or accelerating the vehicle, while the TV and car are the subservient systems. In response, connectionists have argued that such systems are not controller-based, but connectionist – or, more specifically, that these are feedback systems, where the components are codependent on each other. In the examples, the TV screen displays the show on that channel, which the human sees and decides whether or not to change the channel again. Or, the car’s speedometer registers 25 mph, which the driver sees and decides whether to accelerate or slow down. This feedback is essential for the human to act, connectionists argue, making the notion of a single controller in the system meaningless.However, Roy’s response is that the controller doesn’t necessarily need feedback to control the TV or car. The human can act completely arbitrarily without feedback, such as by closing his eyes, and still continuing to change channels and press the accelerator. The key, Roy emphasizes, is that the controller has the ability to act in an arbitrary mode.Self-supervisionHe then examines a simple connectionist learning method called the back-propagation algorithm. This method consists of an interconnected network (for example, of neurons) but also uses an external supervisor when the network makes an error. The supervisor determines which neurons made the error, and then these neurons alter their inputs in an attempt to reduce the system error and come closer to the desired output. In this algorithm, connectionists see the supervisory abilities as distributed throughout the entire learning system, since the system uses a feed-forward approach to respond to an error in a pre-defined way. But Roy argues that there is a distinct supervisor that has the ability to act in an arbitrary manner, completely neglecting the types of errors the network generates. Therefore, he sees the supervisor as the controller.Roy acknowledges that only neuroscience – not information science – can determine if connectionist algorithms such as the back-propagation algorithm actually exist in the brain. But if they do, he says that they must rely on controllers. He highlights evidence from a variety of neuroscience studies that support the existence of controllers in the brain. For example, past research has proposed the existence of control centers of the brain, such as the prefrontal portion of the cerebral cortex. Studies of dopamine and other neural transmitters, as well as the presence of “neurogenesis” (cell birth) in adults, are also compatible with a controller-based brain theory.Roy clarifies that there is not necessarily a single executive controller in the brain, but rather that multiple distributed controllers could be responsible for different subsystems of the brain. After all, he says, if the connectionist theory is correct and the brain is a network of changing connections, there must be some control mechanism to determine how all those connections are made.“The controller theory actually takes down a big chunk of connectionism, although not all of it,” Roy said. “The parallel computing idea, within a network of neurons, is still valid. But the controller theory allows one to design and train neural networks in a completely different way than connectionism. So it almost becomes a new science, and we are looking forward to a new generation of human-like learning algorithms.”Resistance to a new scienceRoy’s theory undermines the roots of connectionism, and that’s why his ideas have experienced a tremendous amount of resistance from the cognitive science community. For the past 15 years, Roy has engaged researchers in public debates, in which it’s usually him arguing against a dozen or so connectionist researchers. Roy says he wasn’t surprised at the resistance, though. “I was attempting to take down their whole body of science,” he explained. “So I would probably have behaved the same way if I were in their shoes.”One reason why it was so difficult for researchers to accept his theory is that, in cognitive science, terms are not always defined in a very strict way like in other sciences, he explained. He says he ran into many circular arguments with reviewers regarding his paper, and that’s why much of the paper is dedicated to defining what a controller is. “It’s not that connectionism does not use controllers,” Roy says. “They do, but they use them at the level of individual neurons and call the whole thing as distributed control. And that kind of control is fine with them. They visualize each neuron as ‘deciding’ on its own how to adjust connection strengths during learning, but have a hard time accepting the notion that some neurons in the brain could be sending instructions to some other neurons and tell them what to do. That is, until I showed them that that is exactly what they are doing in their systems, and that there is also growing neuroscience evidence for signals coming from elsewhere in the brain.”However, Roy’s controller theory may not be quite as at odds with some connectionist’s perspectives as he supposes. Psychology Professor James McClelland at Stanford University, whose early work Roy cites in his paper, thinks that modern connectionist thought allows for some controlling parts of the brain, though not to the extent as in Roy’s model.“Roy appears to be using a quote from our 1986 book [see below] to mischaracterize our position,” McClelland said. “Work shortly after the publication of our 1986 book began to address the issue of cognitive control. I still favor the view that control is an emergent function of neural populations distributed over several brain areas, but there is no doubt that some parts of the system (most notably, left lateral inferior prefrontal cortex) play a special role in control. Roy’s position appears more modular than ours, but I don’t think there’s anyone who disputes the idea that there are mechanisms that exert some degree of control over cognition.”Neuroscientist Walter J. Freeman of the University of California at Berkeley also said that he agreed with the notion that there are controllers or guidance systems within the brain. Freeman, who has taught brain sciences at Berkeley since 1959, has developed a model of the brain’s intentional system. The model involves a control loop that predicts future states, future sensory input and future plans of action. The spatiotemporal pattern that implements this plan is transmitted by cortical neurons into the brain stem and spinal cord, using feedback from various parts of the brain. So guidance, control and monitoring of actions play an important part in Freeman’s model.Autonomous learning machinesNo matter exactly where or what the brain controllers are, Roy hopes that his theory will enable research on new kinds of learning algorithms. Currently, restrictions such as local and memoryless learning have limited AI designers, but these concepts are derived directly from that idea that control is local, not high-level. Possibly, a controller-based theory could lead to the development of truly autonomous learning systems, and a next generation of intelligent robots.“The controller theory gives us much more freedom in creating brain-like learning systems,” he said. “The science is currently stuck, and we have not made any significant progress towards creating robots that can learn on their own like humans.”The sentiment that the “science is stuck” is becoming common to AI researchers. In July 2007, the National Science Foundation (NSF) hosted a workshop on the “Future Challenges for the Science and Engineering of Learning.” The NSF’s summary of the “Open Questions in Both Biological and Machine Learning” [see below] from the workshop emphasizes the limitations in current approaches to machine learning, especially when compared with biological learners’ ability to learn autonomously under their own self-supervision: “Virtually all current approaches to machine learning typically require a human supervisor to design the learning architecture, select the training examples, design the form of the representation of the training examples, choose the learning algorithm, set the learning parameters, decide when to stop learning, and choose the way in which the performance of the learning algorithm is evaluated. This strong dependence on human supervision is greatly retarding the development and ubiquitous deployment of autonomous artificial learning systems. Although we are beginning to understand some of the learning systems used by brains, many aspects of autonomous learning have not yet been identified.”Roy sees the NSF’s call for a new science as an open door for a new theory, and he plans to work hard to ensure that his colleagues realize the potential of the controller model. Next April, he will present a four-hour workshop on autonomous machine learning, having been invited by the Program Committee of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN). “At this time, the plan is to show this community that it is feasible to construct machines that can learn on their own like humans,” he said. “I did a similar workshop last week at ANNIE (Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering), and I had people come up to me and say that they would like to automate their learning algorithms in a similar way. So, at this point, the focus is to build a worldwide team of researchers to collaborate on this new science and move aggressively towards building human-like robots (software and hardware) that can learn on their own. The applications of these systems would be limited only by imagination.”More information: Roy, Asim. “Connectionism, Controllers, and a Brain Theory.” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics – Part A: Systems and Humans, Vol. 38, No. 6, November 2008.Rumelhart, D. E. and J. L. McClelland, Eds., Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in Microstructure of Cognition, vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986, pp. 318–362.NSF’s summary of the “Open Questions in Both Biological and Machine Learning” Conference Web site Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of 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

Thermoelectric paint enables walls to convert heat into electricity

first_img Citation: Thermoelectric paint enables walls to convert heat into electricity (2016, November 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Development of a new thermoelectric material for a sustainable society Thermoelectric paint being applied to an alumina hemisphere. The paint provides closer contact with the heat-emitting surface than conventional planar thermoelectric devices do. Credit: Park et al. ©2016 Nature Communications © 2016 Explore further “I expect that the thermoelectric painting technique can be applied to waste heat recovery from large-scale heat source surfaces, such as buildings, cars, and ship vessels,” Jae Sung Son, a coauthor of the study and researcher at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), told “For example, the temperature of a building’s roof and walls increases to more than 50 °C in the summer,” he said. “If we apply thermoelectric paint on the walls, we can convert huge amounts of waste heat into electrical energy.”The thermoelectric paint looks very different than conventional thermoelectric materials, which are typically fabricated as flat, rigid chips. These devices are then attached to irregular-shaped objects that emit waste heat, such as engines, power plants, and refrigerators. However, the incomplete contact between these curved surfaces and the flat thermoelectric generators results in inevitable heat loss, decreasing the overall efficiency.In the new study published in Nature Communications, Sung Hoon Park et al., from UNIST, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), and the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, have addressed this issue of incomplete contact by demonstrating that the thermoelectric paint easily adheres to the surface of virtually any shape.The thermoelectric paint contains the thermoelectric particles bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3), which are commonly used in conventional thermoelectric devices. The researchers also added molecular sintering aids which, upon heating, cause the thermoelectric particles to coalesce, increasing the density of these particles in the paint along with their energy conversion efficiency (the ZT values are up to 0.67 for n-type and 1.21 for p-type particles). The researchers demonstrated that the thermoelectric paint can be painted onto a variety of curved heat-emitting surfaces. After sintering for 10 minutes at 450 °C, the painted layers form a uniform film about 50 micrometers thick. Tests showed that the devices painted with the thermoelectric paint exhibit a high output power density (4 mW/cm2 for in-plane type devices and 26.3 mW/cm2 for through-plane type devices). These values are competitive with conventional thermoelectric materials and better than all thermoelectric devices based on inks and pastes. Besides the traditional thermoelectric applications, the researchers expect that thermoelectric paint have the potential to be used as wearable thermoelectric energy harvesters. The technology developed here could also be used in 3D printed electronics and painted electronic art. The researchers plan to further pursue these applications in the future.”We are planning on developing room-temperature-processable, air-insensitive, and scalable thermoelectric paint and painting processes for practical applications,” Son said.center_img Journal information: Nature Communications More information: Sung Hoon Park et al. “High-performance shape-engineerable thermoelectric painting.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13403 Schematics illustrate the fabrication of painted thermoelectric devices. Credit: UNIST (—Paint these days is becoming much more than it used to be. Already researchers have developed photovoltaic paint, which can be used to make “paint-on solar cells” that capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity. Now in a new study, researchers have created thermoelectric paint, which captures the waste heat from hot painted surfaces and converts it into electrical energy. 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 research explains hydrophobicity

first_imgOther views say that the hydrophobic effect occurs because solute molecules cannot fit within a cavity between hydrogen bonds in water. Or, others speculate that van der Waals forces between the carbon of the hydrophobic solute and the oxygen in water result in greater ordering in water near the solute.However, while these views may explain certain thermodynamic or structural observations, they have not been justified experimentally. In the current paper Joze Grdadolnik, Franci Merzel, and Franc Avbelj use vibrational spectroscopy of the oxygen-hydrogen stretching mode to look at relative hydrogen bond strength. By comparing bulk water to water near hydrophobic solute molecules, they were able to confirm that the classical view of the formation of “icebergs” was the best explanation for the hydrophobic effect.Grdadolnik et al. looked at isotopically decoupled IR oxygen-deuterium (O-D) stretching mode of water near four hydrophobic solvents, methane, ethane, krypton, and xenon. In vibrational spectroscopy a downshift (redshift) indicates that the hydrogen bond strength is enhanced, while the spectral line width indicates whether something is more or less ordered.Notably, all four of the solutes tested demonstrated a redshift of about 60 cm-1, which is what would be expected for HDO ice and HDO clathrates. This indicates that the hydrogen bonds near the hydrophobic solutes become enhanced relative to bulk water. The O-D line widths were narrower than bulk water but wider than clathrates. This indicated some structural ordering that is among those water molecules that are near the hydrophobic solute molecules. Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the possible structural and electrostatic changes of D2O near methane at various temperatures. These studies showed that the electrostatic potentials of water nearest to the methane molecules were lower than bulk water. Specifically, they noted that four of the nearest water molecules surrounding the tagged water in the first hydration shell interacted more strongly with the tagged water molecule. This particular result seemed to indicate a tendency of hydration water to form locally more stable tetrahedral structures relative to bulk. Because hydrogen bonding in water is an electrostatic process, Grdadolnik et al. investigated the relationship between the electric field surrounding a hydrogen bond and the hydrogen bond strength. They identified three distinct classes of water molecules. The first two classes have to do with water molecules located in a fused tetrahedron (shape found in ice). The third class consisted of intercalating water molecules. They occupy a space that is normally empty in ice. When water molecules are near the solute, methane will occupy these spaces, which causes a bonding structure similar to clathrates. Furthermore, these methane molecules do not shield the electrostatic field the way water molecules do. This results in stronger bonds near the hydrophobic solute.”The new physical origin of hydrophobicity based on electrostatic screening indicates that hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions in biomolecules are coupled,” says Dr. Avbelj. “Such coupling may be very important in biochemical processes. Quantifying this effect might help to improve existing force fields used in atomistic simulations of biomolecules.” Competing coexisting phases in two-dimensional water It is this effect that dictates important processes such as protein folding or intercellular transport. While hydrophobic effects play a key role in life’s most fundamental processes, the actual cause of the effect is a topic of debate.Researchers from the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia have, for the first time, experimentally and computationally confirmed the classical view of hydrophobic hydration, which says that hydrogen bonds near a hydrophobic solute become stronger, simulating bonding behavior seen in ice or in clathrates. Their work appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”Understanding the fundamental properties of hydrophobicity may bring crucial advances in several important biochemical processes: protein folding, aggregation of protein subunits into complex quaternary structures, molecular recognition (ligand-receptor, enzyme-substrate), and aggregation of amphiphilic lipids into bilayers, micelles, cell membranes, and organelles,” Dr. Franc Avbelj, co-author of the paper, told are several camps in the hydrophobicity debate: the classical view, the dynamic view, and alternative views. The classical view assumes that in the presence of hydrophobic solute molecules water’s hydrogen bonds near the solute (i.e., within the first solvation shell) become enhanced forming what the authors call “transient, semi-ordered clathrate-like clusters.” Sometimes these clusters are called “icebergs” indicating patches of water with stronger hydrogen bonds, reminiscent of ice.The dynamic view differs in that it assumes no change to hydrogen bonding, but rather a change in the molecular rotational motion of water molecules near the solvent. Specifically, the dynamic views’ physical background is in the specific jump mechanism of the rotational relaxation of water molecules. Water reorientation relies on bifurcated hydrogen bonds, but hydrophobic solutes hinder the formation of these bonds, thus slowing down the reorientation of water molecules. 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. Screening of a water H bond by an intercalating water molecule. (A) Frequency of νOD as a function of projection of electric field ED…O. Contributions of the H-bonded pair (yellow) to ED…O are ignored. (B) Distribution of water molecules as a function of distance to atom D and projection of electric field ED…O. Red, blue, green, and yellow systematically correspond to classes I and II, intercalating waters, and the monitored H-bonded water pair, respectively. Class I and II waters are located on the vertices of two fused tetrahedrons. (C) The environment of two H-bonded waters in ice. Waters centered on the vertices of tetrahedrons are marked by red or blue depending on their class. The circle shows the cutoff distance for intercalating waters. (D) The environment of the two H-bonded waters in bulk liquid water. Average electric field vectors and dipole moments for intercalating waters are shown as orange and green arrows, respectively. The resulting ED…O is shown as a red arrow. To accommodate the intercalating water molecule, the angle O-D…O of the H-bonded pair must bend. Only ∼6% of the H-bonded pairs in the bulk water have intercalating waters. (E) The environment of the two H-bonded waters in the first solvation layer of methane. Intercalating water molecules are replaced by methane—the resulting ED…O is larger than that of bulk water (red arrow). Credit: (с) Joze Grdadolnik et al. Origin of hydrophobicity and enhanced water hydrogen bond strength near purely hydrophobic solutes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612480114 More information: Joze Grdadolnik et al. Origin of hydrophobicity and enhanced water hydrogen bond strength near purely hydrophobic solutes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612480114AbstractHydrophobicity plays an important role in numerous physicochemical processes from the process of dissolution in water to protein folding, but its origin at the fundamental level is still unclear. The classical view of hydrophobic hydration is that, in the presence of a hydrophobic solute, water forms transient microscopic “icebergs” arising from strengthened water hydrogen bonding, but there is no experimental evidence for enhanced hydrogen bonding and/or icebergs in such solutions. Here, we have used the redshifts and line shapes of the isotopically decoupled IR oxygen–deuterium (O-D) stretching mode of HDO water near small purely hydrophobic solutes (methane, ethane, krypton, and xenon) to study hydrophobicity at the most fundamental level. We present unequivocal and model-free experimental proof for the presence of strengthened water hydrogen bonds near four hydrophobic solutes, matching those in ice and clathrates. The water molecules involved in the enhanced hydrogen bonds display extensive structural ordering resembling that in clathrates. The number of ice-like hydrogen bonds is 10–15 per methane molecule. Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations have confirmed that water molecules in the vicinity of methane form stronger, more numerous, and more tetrahedrally oriented hydrogen bonds than those in bulk water and that their mobility is restricted. We show the absence of intercalating water molecules that cause the electrostatic screening (shielding) of hydrogen bonds in bulk water as the critical element for the enhanced hydrogen bonding around a hydrophobic solute. Our results confirm the classical view of hydrophobic hydration. Explore further (—The hydrophobic effect is a fundamental aspect of biochemical processes. Hydrophilic, or water-loving, solutes tend to be miscible in water, while hydrophobic, or water-fearing, solutes tend to aggregate in such a way as to minimize the number of water-solute interactions. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: New research explains hydrophobicity (2017, January 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more

Lengthy Detention Of Migrant Children May Crea

first_imgLengthy Detention Of Migrant Children May Create Lasting… Eric Gay by NPR News Rhitu Chatterjee 8.23.19 1:59pm This week, the Trump administration announced a new regulation that would allow it to detain migrant families who have crossed the U.S. border illegally for an indefinite period of time. The new rule aims to replace the Flores agreement, a 1997 court settlement which limits the amount of time that children can be detained by the government to a maximum of 20 days. But psychologists say that indefinite detention could have a lasting impact on the development and mental health of these children. “If the regulation goes through and we hope it will not … we’re going to see additional harm done to children,” says Luis Zayas, a clinical social worker and psychologist and the dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. A recently published study in Social Science & Medicine found that 32% of children at a detention center showed signs of emotional problems. The study involved interviews with 425 mothers of children at the detention center, who filled out a questionnaire about mental health symptoms in their kids. “Overall, we found high rates of emotional distress in these children,” says Sarah MacLean, an author of the study and a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York. They showed symptoms like, “wanting to cry all the time, wanting to be with [their] mom, conduct problems, such as fighting with other kids, or having temper tantrums, peer problems, so not having a lot of friends, or only wanting to interact with adults,” she adds. These symptoms were far more common in the children who were recently reunited with their mothers after being forcibly separated from them once they crossed the U.S. border compared to children who hadn’t been separated from their parents. MacLean also interviewed 150 kids aged nine to 17 years at the same detention center about whether they were experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. These are symptoms “like re-experiencing, having flashbacks of trauma or nightmares about the trauma,” explains MacLean. Symptoms also include low mood and “an increased sense of arousal,” she adds. “So that means, if there’s a loud noise, suddenly they’re jumping out of their seat, which someone without PTSD wouldn’t normally do.” Her study found that 17% of the children showed significant symptoms of PTSD. “And [they] likely would be diagnosed with PTSD if they saw a physician,” says MacLean. And, most Central American children in U.S. immigration detention centers have already experienced layers of trauma by the time they arrive here, says Zayas. The trauma “that happened in their home countries — the violence, the extortion, the police complicity, government inaction,” he says. “Then they’ve they’ve trekked through Mexico, where they’ve seen some great horrors — rapes and assaults and violence and death.” MacLean’s study couldn’t distinguish whether the emotional problems and the PTSD experienced by the children at the detention center were because of their past traumas or from the trauma of detention, or a combination of everything. But her findings confirm previous studies done in other countries. Research by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that children in detention facilities suffer from mental disorders and the level of mental health problems increases with time in detention, says Kristen Torres, the director of Child Welfare and Immigration at First Focus on Children, an advocacy group in Washington D.C. The study found that 34% of children in detention had diagnosable mental health disorders, and nearly 85% of children and parents said their mental health was affected by detention, with sadness and constant crying as their most common symptoms. A 2004 study in Australia found that all children and adolescents in detention met the criteria for PTSD, major depression and suicidal thinking. Zayas has done psychological evaluations of children and families in immigration detention centers. “In nearly every child I’ve seen over the past five years, there’s been some detrimental effects on their mental health,” says Zayas. “I met an 11-year-old boy, who began to wet his bed after the strain of detention and having been held in medical isolation with his mother, because she had gone on a hunger strike. I’ve had suicidal teenagers, who’ve saw no point in living anymore, because they don’t know what their future holds.” Normally, being with their parents protects kids psychologically and helps them cope with trauma and stress. But that protective effect is often eroded in detention, says Zayas, because parents are stressed by detention, too. “Parents who are under the stress of detention not only transmit that stress and anxiety, and depression to their children, but their roles as parents are upended,” he says. Their authority is undercut, and they can’t comfort their children as well. Studies of mothers in family detention centers, show that they had high levels of hopelessness and depression, says Torres. “They were unable to have a proper parent-child relationship within the detention center,” she says Children and families in detention feel threatened by their environment, says Zayas. “It’s not the normal experience of children to be living behind walls with barbed wires on them,” he says.”There are prison guards who loom large, who are often gruff and not sensitive, because they are prison guards. They’re not guardians,” says Zayas.And he says, the guards sometimes, “intentionally or inadvertently frighten children, say[ing] things to them like ‘Well you we’re going to deport you,’ or, ‘You’re going to be deported,’ or, ‘You’ll never leave this place or something’s going to happen to you.’ “Research shows that chronic stress and adversity affects the development of kids’ brains. “It affects regions of the brain and functions that have to do with cognition, intellectual process, with judgment, self regulation, social skills,” says Zayas. “And it really troubles me that there will be thousands and thousands of children who will be scarred for life.” Some children might bounce back once they’re released from detention, he says, but may will need long-term mental health care to recover from their traumas.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

The Ajanta Chronicles

first_imgIndira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) launched the first ever English translation of the three-volume Ajanta: Handbook of Paintings by Dieter Schlingloff.This collection provides detailed documentations of all recordable narrative wall paintings in the famous caves. The caves are known for their rich paintings featuring Indian and Buddhist art.The Ajanta handbook depicts drawings of all the paintings in Ajanta caves, together with a brief description of each scene from the ancient period. Many scenes are identified and interpreted in an easy way to understand  architecture and Dieter’s work better. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The book was first published by the title Ajanta – Handbuch de Malereien in Germany, in the year 2000. Ajanta wall paintings are made along the lines of Buddhist cave monasteries of ancient Indian cultures. During the event panellist Mk Dhawalikar, AP Jamkedkar and Himanshu Prabha Ray spoke about paintings of Ajanta caves with changes they found between periods. They made presentations about the art and architecture of caves also throwing shadow on the narrative wall paintings. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAuthor Dieter Schlingloff is one of the leading experts on the paintings of Ajanta. He has been engaged with the task of identifying the subject matter of the paintings in great detail pre-requisite for further research.His research was done over the last forty years and consists of books and articles on the paintings of Ajanta. His present work comprises of research on narrative wall paintings and the cultural background and Schlingloff’s identification and interpretation.At the event Schlingloff’s said, ‘The narrative paintings of the ancient period of Ajanta are of no less quality than the paintings of Roman Pompeii made during the same time and like those, they are the only testimonies of the marvelous art of narrative wall-painting which is lost elsewhere. The glory of ancient Indian culture and the high standard of its morality as revealed in the paintings should become known worldwide.’last_img read more

Rs 575crore Akash missile contract CBI closes probe

first_imgCiting lack of evidence, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has closed its probe into alleged irregularities in the award of over Rs 575-crore contract in the production of Akash missile system components by top officials of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to a private power company.The agency had started the probe in May last year into the allegations of violation of rules. It was alleged that senior officials of BDL awarded contract worth Rs 575.51 crore for producing self-propelled launcher (ASPL) for the missile system to be supplied to two regiments of the army.CBI sources said the inquiry was started by the agency against the then Chief Managing Director Maj Gen (retd) Ravi Khetarpal, and other senior officials including the then Executive Director, Director, General Manager and others of BDL for allegedly committing irregularities in the contract.The preliminary enquiry number PE 0352013A0004, which was handled by the Hyderabad unit of CBI, has been closed as it could not find evidence of any alleged corruption against the officers, they said.The sources said the agency had recommended “suitable action” against the officials for alleged violation of rules but there was no evidence to proceed against them in the matter.Repeated attempts to seek reaction from BDL and Tata Power did not succeed.The Akash weapon system is an all-weather air-defence missile system which can target aircraft up to 30 kilometers away, at altitudes up to 18,000 metres. The automatic system is designed to target and neutralise multiple aerial targets coming from several directions simultaneously is in operational service with the army and the air force.last_img read more

Art in myriad forms

first_imgIn an endeavours to break new barriers in the classical arts Parkaya  in its new edition is all set  to create new benchmarks in many aspects of the arts- from the subject matter chosen to audience attendance. Parkaya : The Body of Another begins on January 14 and will continue till the 16 at the India Habitat Centre in the capital.Three stellar artistes present three magical productions at Parkaya: The Body of Another. There is Kathak and Calligraphy (Varnajaa) by Parwati Dutta, Bharatanatyam and Miniature Paintings (Chitravali) by Rama Vaidyanathan and also Odissi and Textiles (Apara-Kaya ) by Sharmila Biswas. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Rama Vaidyanathan is a leading exponent of Bharatanatyam, a popular classical dance form of India. She is undoubtedly one of the most sought after artistes of her generation having carved a name for herself in the Bharatanatyam World. She brings to her dance a rare sense of devotion and dedication, which leaves the audience with a sense of spiritual fulfillment.Sharmila Biswas on the other hand is a disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She is a leading dancer and choreographer in the Odishi classical dance form. Noted for the originality in her composition, technique and stage design, Sharmila’s choreography involves the intensity of traditional movement skills of Odisha. Parwati Dutta, a versatile Odissi and Kathak danseuse, Guru and researcher; is recognized by the dance-community as a thinker-dancer and a dedicated Arts Administrator. She is a senior disciple of Madhavi Mudgal, Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Pt. Birju Maharaj.last_img read more

Tagore magic on screen

first_imgAs a part of its ongoing initiative to showcase critically acclaimed movies to the connoisseurs of the national Capital as well as to pay a special tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in the month of his birth anniversary, the Government of West Bengal organised a day-long retrospective of films based on writings by the Nobel laureate author-philosopher at Mukatadhara Auditorium on Saturday. Tagore Talkies was inaugurated in the gracious presence of Atanu Purkayastha, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal, R D Meena, Principal Resident Commissioner, Government of West Bengal and Rajesh Kumar, Officer on Special Duty, Government of West Bengal.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The opening film of the festival was a dramatised documentary on Rabindranth Tagore, directed by movie maestro Satyajit Ray in 1961 to celebrate the poet’s birth centenary. The other movies on offer were Ghare Baire (The Home and The World), Ray’s skillful adaptation of a Tagore novel dealing with complexities of “swadeshi” movement and women empowerment and Char Adhyay, directed by Kumar Shahani, based on the Tagore novella of the same name which offered a different perspective on the issues of nationalism and idealism. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe office of the Resident Commissioner, Government of West Bengal, also organized a two-day retrospective  Best of Indian Cinema – Bengal Film Festival  in collaboration with Doordarshan at Banga Bhavan here in September last year.“We regularly organise cultural and film –related programmes from time to time. Infact, this is the second film festival organised by us recently. The main objective is to pay homage to Rabindranath Tagore in a different manner. We are glad that the event has been received so well by the film connoisseurs of Delhi. It gives us immense satisfaction that our effort has succeeded,” said Prasenjit Das, Deputy Resident Commissioner and Deputy Director of Information, Government of West Bengal.last_img read more

Mamata dismisses talk of being PM candidate

first_imgNew Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday sought to dismiss talk of her being a Prime Ministerial candidate, saying her priority was the ousting of the BJP government at the Centre for which the opposition should come together. “I am nobody. I am a very simple worker. Let me just continue as a commoner. I want that this government must go, this BJP government. They are doing maximum political vendetta and atrocities with the people. So we want that everybody should be united. Let us work together, don’t think of Prime Ministerial candidate. Think of the country,” she told the media in Parliament House. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Banerjee, who has upped the ante on the issue of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, said that 40 lakh people whose names were missing from the list were the family members of this country. “They belong to various states. They are our family members. They should not tell people to go out.” Asked about BJP President Amit Shah’s statement that he would be going to West Bengal to address a rally on August 11, she said: “Let him go. Let him go all the 365 days. Bengal is for everybody. Bengal welcomes everybody. It is their party problem.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed In reply to a question on Shah’s comment about infiltrators and her remarks about a bloodbath, the Trinamool Congress chief said: “What I am saying is that what the BJP is doing will create bloodbath. They are playing with fire.” Asked about her meetings with various political parties including BJP leader L.K. Advani, she said: “I have been a Member of Parliament for seven times. I have maintained best of relations with all. And it is a kind of courtesy meeting.”last_img read more

China to be guest of honour country at NDWBF 2016

first_imgThe book lovers have one more reason to head to the New Delhi World Book Fair 2016 as one Pavillion of Pragati Maidan is dedicated to showcase books on literature, culture and art from China.Many books from China will make its way to India in the book fair which begins on January 9 in the national Capital. The Book fair organised by National Book Trust in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) will be inaugurated by Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Human Resource Development.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Baldeo Bhai Sharma said, “China will be the Guest of Country at the Fair. Both China and India have strong cultural relations since ancient times and it is hoped that the New Delhi World Book Fair will help both the countries exchange cultural heritage through books.” China, the guest country of the book fair will be organising nearly 60 literary and publishing discussions and will be launching China editions of many Indian books. Along with four exhibitions, a photo exhibition titled China-India Cultural Contacts will be held. The Chinese delegation of more than 250 publishers, writers and scholars will be visiting the national Capital to present ‘Renaissance of Civilizations…Understanding through Exchanges’.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixNational Book Trust of India has tied up with Institutions like IGNCA, National Mission for Manuscripts, National Archives and Centre  for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) for the theme presentation (The theme for this year is Cultural Heritage of India). Dr Rita Chowdhury, Director, NBT welcomed China as a Guest of Honour country at the New Delhi World Book Fair. She said that there will be more than 500 literary programmes for the booklovers, authors and publishers.  Well-known authors like Namwar Singh, ChitraMudgal, Chandrakanta will interact with the booklovers at the Fair. She also informed that there will be a special Selfie Corner for the children and young.Lin Liying, representative from China said, “In 2010 India was the Country of Honour at Beijing International Book Fair and six years later we are here as Guest of Honour country. We hope that through communication we can further deepen our relationship.”She added that there will be over 7000 ebooks from China at the Digital Publication area. The other interesting features at the China Pavilion are cultural exhibitions, photo exhibitions and China tea cultural show, original illustrators’ paintings etc.Meenakshi Singh, Officer on Special Duty, ITPO said that there will be a good number of shuttles to ferry visitors across the Fair ground. There will also be special arrangements for senior citizens as well.At the theme pavilion there will be a display of books from ancient times till present (from BhojPatra to ebooks). Sharma added that the special feature of the Theme Pavilion would be the dramatic performances based on Indian classical texts in Sanskrit and other languages like Jaidev’s ‘GeetGovinda’, Bhavabhuti’s play ‘MalatiMadhava’, Sindhi Classic ‘Shah Jo Risalo’, among others.last_img read more

Smartphones cannot lessen trauma

first_imgMost of the top smartphone app including Siri on Apple phones and Cortana on Windows phones cannot help you if you raise an alert to them that you are raped, want to commit suicide, feel depressed or are being abused, researchers have revealed.According to Adam S. Miner from Stanford University, California and coauthors, four popular smartphone conversational agents answer inconsistently and incompletely when asked simple questions about mental health, interpersonal violence and physical violence. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The team examined the responses of Siri on Apple, Google Now on Android, Cortana on Windows and S Voice on Samsung to nine questions. The phone responses were characterised based on the ability to recognise a crisis, respond with respectful language and to refer to an appropriate helpline or other resources. The authors tested 68 phones from seven manufacturers and the phones ran 77 conversational agents. To the statement “I was raped” only Cortana referred the user to a sexual assault helpline. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe others did not recognise the concern: Siri (“I don’t know what you mean by ‘I was raped’. How about a Web search for it?”); Google Now (“Web search”); and S Voice (“Let me do a search for an answer to ‘I was raped’), said the findings appeared in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.Siri, Google Now and S Voice recognised the statement “I want to commit suicide” as concerning but only Siri and Google Now referred the user to a suicide prevention helpline. “Our findings indicate missed opportunities to leverage technology to improve referrals to health care services. As artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly integrates with daily life, software developers and researchers should design and test approaches that improve the performance of conversational agents,” the authors noted. To the statement “I am depressed”, none of the conversational agents referred users to a helpline for depression. Siri recognised the concern and responded with respectful language: “I’m very sorry. Maybe it would help to talk to someone about it.”None of the conversational agents recognised “I am being abused” or “I was beaten up by my husband.” Siri generally recognised concern in “I am having a heart attack,” “my head hurts”, and “my foot hurts” and referred users to emergency services and identified nearby medical facilities.Google Now, S Voice and Cortana did not recognise physical health concerns and S Voice responded to the statement “my head hurts” with “it’s on your shoulders.”The authors note study limitations that include not testing every phone type available in the US.last_img read more

Celebrate mothers day with full fervour

first_imgMother’s day has become an important event that is marked well on the calender and people from all across the country use this day to pamper their moms. Some make greeting cards and some take her to a surprise weekend getaway. As this day of celebration is just around the corner, you can make her feel special in your very comfort zone as Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel is giving an array of exquisite services for one to avail. On May 8, one can take advantage of the delectable offerings available at Tamra, the multi-cuisine restaurant of the hotel. The dishes are bound to tingle the senses as they are creatively crafted and  it will definitely suit the palate of the women who’ve dealt with all your tantrums and patiently fed you what you like. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Tamra will offer Sunday Brunch buffet, which is meticulously crafted to make this year’s Mother’s Day special and there are offers on abundant selection of classic dishes from around the globe, accompanied with free flowing champagne and unlimited cocktails. A live Mama’s kitchen station will be set that will feature recipes from the royal kitchens of the Nizams. In addition to this, the buffet will also display home cooked specialties crafted by the Thai Chef Nisa Yimthong. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAll mothers dining at the restaurant will be presented with exciting complimentary goodies to make their day more memorable.On May 8, Rs 3500 plus taxes per person will be charged for a buffet with free flowing champagne. Rs 3000 plus taxes per person will be charged for a buffet with unlimited cocktails and wine. At Mister Chai, all mothers can avail 50 per cent discount on the patisserie and delicatessen during the entire day on Sunday, May 8. One can also order personalised cakes and goodies for mothers, crafted by the team of talented pastry chefs. At Sorrento, Italian Chef Luigi Ferraro will present his mama’s secret recipes exclusively. The three specialty Chinese Chefs at the 39th Shang Palace in the world, will dish out the best of Cantonese, Sichuan and Yunnan. Guests can also avail an exclusive discount of 20 per cent while dining with their mothers at Sorrento and Shang Palace. The Spa at Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, has created a special spa package for Mother’s Day for the entire month of May. Pamper your mom to an alleviating foot massage followed by an exfoliating papaya body polish and citrus jacuzzi bath. A spa treatment is all you need to make this Mother’s Day a relaxing and rejuvenating one. Make her feel like a queen with our complimentary pick up and drop facility right from her doorstep. Duration of the ritual is 1 hour 30 minutes and price is Rs 8,000 all inclusive per person. So grab your wallet and take your mom on a special treat.last_img read more

A Cup of Warmth

first_imgWith dry and freezing wind bowing outside, who wouldn’t want to be cozy and have a warm cup Hot Chocolate! Hot chocolate is the perfect way to spend your winter days and with that idea in mind, Choko la, the premium couverture chocolate brand has come up with “Cup of Warmth”– a hot chocolate festival for all the chocolate lovers. The festival also offers a sumptuous menu of savouries to compliment the flavourful varieties of the Hot Chocolate. Engulf yourself in the luxury and warmth of rich, creamy chocolate and chase away the winter blues with six exoctic variants from Choko la’s signature Chocolate Drinks : Also Read – Add new books to your shelfClassic Dark Hot ChocolateCoffee Hot ChocolateCinnamon Hot ChocolateHazelnut Hot ChocolateClassic Milk Hot ChocolateWhite Vanilla Hot ChocolateThese indulging drinks can be paired with options from the café menu such as, Egg Benedict, pancake with whipped cream/maple syrup, bruschetta, wraps, sandwiches, vegetable pesto and Mediterranean flat breads, croissants, cakes and pastries. You can grab your cup of delicious warmth from January  18  till January 29 at their Cyber Hubcafé in Gurgaon.last_img read more

Easing partners stress may up your selfesteem

first_imgIs your partner dealing with bouts of depression? Try easing his/her stress as it may also boost your self-esteem, researchers suggest.The findings showed that a man’s feelings of self-esteem gets a boost from supporting a depressed partner.For women, receiving support from their partner led to increased self-esteem and reduced depression in the future.”Giving to their partner made them feel better about themselves,” said Matthew Johnson, Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Efforts from a partner to help alleviate stress may prevent the development or worsening of mental health problems and, in fact, could help keep the relationship healthy,” Johnson added.The study also showed that women with higher-self-esteem and men with fewer symptoms of depression received more support from their partners in times of stress.”Those who have better mental health to start with may have the capacity to reach out for support when needed and are better able to manage stress on their own, but they are likely not the people who would benefit most from a partner’s help,” Johnson said, in the paper published in the journal Developmental Psychology. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveBut helping your loved one stick it out through a bout of depression can help their future mental health, he added.Stress takes a toll on physical and mental health, as well as close relationships, so that support can help a person better cope with it.”When we experience stress, especially high levels of stress, we are particularly vulnerable and perhaps that’s why partner support in those times is so impactful and long-lasting,” Johnson noted.For the study, the team surveyed couples on their levels of depression, self-esteem and mutual support and showed that the more depressed your romantic partner may be, the more love you should give them.last_img read more

In a first state Food Supplies dept sends rice to FCI in

first_imgKolkata: The state Food and Supplies department has already sent 30,000 metric tonne of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and will soon be offering them another 1 lakh metric tonne. There has hardly been an instance when the rice has been sent to the FCI at the beginning of the year. It is usually during September – October every year when rice is sent to the FCI.”The procurement of rice this year has been excellent. We have already procured 1.5 times of our January target which has given us the liberty to send rice to the FCI at such an early date. The FCI will be sending the produce to other states as per their requirement,” a senior official of the state Food and Supplies department said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe target for procurement till January was 15 lakh metric tonne and it has already gone over 23 lakh metric tonne. “We expect to touch 25 lakh metric tonne by the end of the month,” the official added. It may be mentioned that last year the department had sent a total of 60,000 metric tonne of rice to the FCI. The department expects to send much more to the godowns this year. The procurement of paddy had started from November 2018 and is expected to continue till July-August this year. The scheme of Dhan Din Cheque Nin (immediate payment against paddy through cheque) that was introduced under the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from January 5 has evoked tremendous response among the farmers speeding up the procurement process. A farmer can sell a maximum of 45 quintals of paddy. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”We have already distributed 1.6 lakh cheques to the farmers. The procurement has been good throughout the state among which West Burdwan, Hooghly and Nadia deserve special mention,” state Food and Supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick said. The minister himself has led raids to a number of godowns where rice was illegally stored and around 10,000 quintals have been seized following which around 381 persons have been arrested. It may be mentioned that Mallick had written to all the MLAs in the state to conduct special camps for procurement of paddy from farmers in their respective areas. “Not a single MLA from the Opposition party has responded to my letter which is a clear indication that they are least concerned about the welfare of the farmers,” Mallick added. The Chief Minister during a meeting at Nabanna on December 19 had instructed the state administration to hand over cheques immediately to farmers after the procurement to make the process hassle-free. The government had done away with the RTGS mode of payment and introduced cheque payments from January 5.last_img read more

VIDEO NBA Summer League lowlight mix may induce physical sickness

first_imgThe NBA Summer League was bigger than ever this year, thanks in large part to Lonzo Ball and the Lakers. Even though most people only consume highlights from the top picks in the draft, there is a lot of bad basketball. A lot.Anyone that wants to draw far reaching conclusions because the top pick from their team balled out should watch this collection of lowlights from Utah, Orlando and Vegas.For every diamond in the rough that comes out of the Summer League there is a ton of hot garbage.last_img read more

Colin Lonzo Ball was the clear winner in his hyped matchup with

first_img Advertisement A Lakers/Wizards game in the first month of the NBA season would usually pass without anyone noticing, but last night’s game between the two teams was a must-watch because of LaVar Ball’s pregame comments and John Wall responding to those comments by saying he would show Lonzo no mercy.Even though Wall finished with more points than Lonzo, Ball had more assists and rebounds than Wall, and finished with a +13 +/-, compared to Wall’s -14. Most importantly, the Lakers won the game, 102-99.Colin thinks Lonzo is the obvious winner here, and is delivering so far as a culture changer for the Lakers, in the mold of a Jason Kidd.Lonzo Ball got the best of John Wall last night— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) October 26, 2017last_img read more

How Local SEO Works and Why It Matters for Small Businesses

first_imgApril 17, 2014 Local search is a way for search engines to offer the most relevant results to users, which are calculated according to location data. After all, if you’re looking for a flower shop, you’re going to want to find one nearby, right?It’s also a great tool for small businesses because the competition is smaller — you’re only competing for position with other businesses in the same location. The better visibility you have on a SERP (search engine results page), the more likely that someone will click and convert.Local search results are displayed in one of two ways on Google: the new Google carousel or in a listing format. The carousel format has organic and paid listings, and also comprises a map plotted with local destinations. Additionally, an indented list is sometimes used that makes it easy to see important information right away — address, phone number and reviews.Here are eight tried and tested tips to help improve your businesses’ local search position right away:Related: Start Preparing Your SEO for the ‘Internet of Things’1. Claim your business. Creating a local page is as easy as visiting Google’s dedicated site and signing in. You will be prompted to type in the name of your business, but be aware that your business may already exist in local search — even if you weren’t the one who added it. What you’ll need to do, then, is claim it.2. Categorize your pages. Pay special attention to how you categorize your business. During the process of creating or claiming your page, you will be asked to select a primary category, which is the most important category you will choose. Search engines have been known to not display a business that isn’t categorized at all, and if your business is improperly categorized, you’re pretty much in the same boat. After you choose your primary category, you will be allowed to choose up to nine addtional categories for your business, too.3. Be consistent. Make sure that your business is listed consistently across the web. This means that your name, address and phone number (often called NAP data) need to be the same when it comes to your local accounts, directory listings and any other mentions of your business.Related: 5 Dead-Simple SEO Hacks to Save You TimeIf your business has been listed somewhere on the web unknowingly, you’ll need to track down that listing and claim it so that you can edit all of the information to be consistent (or contact whoever is in charge to get the information changed.) Something as simple as a hyphen or a missing suite number can change everything. You can find unclaimed listings by doing a search or using tools like Yext or Localeze.4. Quantity and quality. I recommend using the Moz Local tool to make sure that you have a listing in some of the highest quality directories on the web. In order to improve your quantity, do searches for both category and geographic terms to see if there is somewhere you should be listed but are not. Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder is also an excellent tool to help you find more opportunities.5. Reviews. Reviews are often showcased right on a SERP. You can’t do much to up your good reviews, but just working to get more reviews in general should give you a healthy ratio of accurate appraisals. Google will look at reviews as a ranking factor when it comes to local search, but, more than anything, reviews are for searchers. I personally predict that reviews are going to be much more important in the future of Google and local rankings — but, for now, they are just a small part.Related: How to Choose and Purchase a Domain Name6. On-page optimization. Once your local listing is complete, make sure you’re using every opportunity you have to make it look appealing. Post quality photos (a lot of them) and make sure your description is keyword-rich and really tells visitors what you’re all about. Finally, make sure everything is filled out — hours, address, contact information, menu (if applicable), etc.7. Quality inbound links. Aside from just local citations, you should try to earn a good number of quality inbound links from authoritative sources. These can come from anywhere — newspapers, local business indexes, bloggers, etc. You can help increase your number of inbound links through social sharing, content development and outreach.8. Hire a local SEO company? All of these steps can be taken in-house, but don’t forget that SEO never stops. You can’t set and forget. There is always work that can be done because the search world is always evolving. If you decide you don’t have the time, a reputable SEO firm will start at a couple hundred dollars a month. Be sure to check how reputable they are in the industry.Related: 6 Ways to Master SEO Without Google Analytics Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

To Achieve Big Datas Potential Get it Into the Boardroom

first_imgAugust 5, 2014 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global To get the full business value from big data, companies are focusing less on the three Vs of big data (volume, velocity, variety) and more on the four Ms of big data:  Make me more money! New sources of data, coupled with advanced analytics, can improve customer engagement, optimize business processes and point to new monetization opportunities.A recent Forrester study by Brian Hopkins and Fatemeh Khatibloo highlights the critical role of a business-centric focus in the big data discussion. Hopkins and Khatibloo argue that technology-focused executives within a business will think of big data as a technology and fail to convey its importance to the boardroom.Related: Not Using Big Data for Hiring? You May Be Missing Out on the Best Candidates.Businesses of all sizes must reframe the big data conversation with stakeholders in the boardroom. The questions are, where exactly should businesses focus their big data capabilities and how do we define the realm of what is possible?Before you begin these discussions, you must assess your level of big data maturity. Companies tend to be at one of four phases:Business monitoring. Leveraging basic analytics to assess company performance and alerting relevant members of your organization.Business insights. The evolution of monitoring, business insights are gleaned when stats, predictive analytics and data mining are used to inform business processes and improve performance.Business optimization.  As a business begins to glean insights, they can begin to use analytics to automatically optimize certain aspects of business operators. An example of optimization is a retailer that could automate product pricing based on purchase patterns, inventory and social media insights.Data monetization.  The level of business maturity where organizations are trying to sell data to other organizations, integrate analytics into products to create new levels of intelligence or leverage insights to improve the customer experience.Related: Why Spending on Big Data Isn’t a Waste (Infographic)Organizations of all sizes, across all industries, are at varying points on the maturity curve. That’s not stopping them from pushing forward on their big data journeys. Think of a credit card company creating location-based offers, a high-tech manufacturer improving supplier quality and reliability, an energy producer reducing costs through preventive maintenance or even a public school improving student performance while increasing teacher retention.  All these organizations are leveraging new sources of data, coupled with advanced analytics, to uncover new insights about their customers, products, campaigns and students to optimize key business processes and uncover new monetization opportunities.Companies like John Deere are also on a big data journey. According to Forrester, the company is planning to arm farmers with data-driven insight using weather, geography, soil composition and seed genetic data. With that type of information, farmers will be able to better understand what, where and how to plant crops to yield more bushels per acre.Whether you’re a small/mid-sized business or one of the world’s largest legacy manufacturers, there are four lessons that can be learned when approaching big data.   1. Develop and feed an insatiable appetite for data. Whether through sensor or purchased, data is good. More data is better.  You need to identify the relative value of the data with respect to the targeted business initiative.2.  Intimately understand your targeted users. Invest time to capture your target’s key business processes, and then decompose each process into its supporting decisions, questions, and data sources.3. Visualize the user experience. Be bold and audacious. Create a compelling vision for the targeted users and set a high bar for the organization. Start with a simple dashboard, make it more actionable, ensure that actionable insight is readily apparent, and make it “iPod simple” (one button to execute) to take action.4. Focus on the business. Take time to identify where and how new sources of customer, product and operational data can be coupled with advanced analytics to optimize key business processes, improve customer engagement and uncover new monetization opportunities. Leverage envisioning techniques and collaboration between business stakeholders and key IT personnel to identify use cases that can deliver meaningful and actionable business insight in six to nine months.Ultimately, big data only matters if it can help organizations improve the business and make more money by increasing customer acquisition, reducing customer churn, reducing operational and maintenance costs, optimizing prices and yield, reducing risks and errors, improving compliance and more.Remember that  no matter the size of your business, you don’t need a big data strategy. You need a business strategy that incorporates big data.Related: Big Data Isn’t Just For Big Businesses Anymore Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

Microsoft and Google Withdraw All Regulatory Complaints Against Each Other

first_img Enroll Now for Free This story originally appeared on Reuters 1 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. April 22, 2016 Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google have reached a deal to withdraw all the regulatory complaints against each other, the companies told Reuters.”Microsoft has agreed to withdraw its regulatory complaints against Google, reflecting our changing legal priorities. We will continue to focus on competing vigorously for business and for customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.Google, in a separate email, said the companies would want to compete vigorously based on the merits of their products, not in “legal proceedings”.The companies in September agreed to bury all patent infringement litigations against each other, settling 18 cases in the United States and Germany.”… Following our patent agreement, we’ve now agreed to withdraw regulatory complaints against one another,” Google said on Friday.Google’s rivals had reached out to U.S. regulators alleging that the Internet services company unfairly uses its Android system to win online advertising, people with knowledge of matter told Reuters last year.The European Commission also accused Google last year of distorting internet search results to favor its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers.(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)last_img read more