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5 Tips to Get People to Open Your Emails

As a company that wants to market to people who receive a lot of email, how do you cut through the noise and get them to at least open your messages? It’s all about using the right subject line. That’s according to Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science, a Los Angeles startup that turns big-data analytics and predictive algorithms into retention marketing campaigns. His company analyzed about 100 subject lines emailed to 3.7 million people targeted across 22 marketing campaigns. Here’s what Retention Science learned about the subject lines that entice people to open an email.

1. The ideal length is six to 10 words.

While subject lines using fewer words can outperform those with more, they also leave less room to get an idea across and can be less clear. Plus, more than 10 words usually will drop off the edge of a subject line. “The more emails you send out, the more succinct your email subject lines should be,” he says.

2. Use the person’s name.

People pay attention when they see their name. Retention Science found a 3 percent increase in open rates for emails using someone’s first name versus those that did not.

3. Be strategic about when and how often you send your emails.

Jao recommends no more than two emails per week. And think about when your target demographic is most likely to be in a frame of mind to be open to your marketing. When are new mothers or young professionals taking care of work and when are they taking care of life? When are they most likely to want to buy something? “A lot of professionals who are in the office all day, around 3 or 4 p.m. they are looking for a little bit of distraction from their work and they take a quick break,” he says. “So they’re looking at what articles are being published or what new products are on sale.”

4. Include trending movie and song titles.

One campaign Retention Science tracked included Adele’s song “Rumor Has It” in the subject line. “It leaves a little bit of mystique about what this email should be about,” he says. “It had a really, really high open rate because people can relate to that song title.”

5. Include multiple topics in your email subject line.

For example, “How to live forever: Improve brain function through meditation” or “Check out our latest purses and Louis Vuitton shoes.” This tactic increases the chances one of the topics will appeal to a customer or potential customer.

World Mental Health Day: Eat happy to feel happy

(PTI) Feeling down in the dumps, consumed with anxiety at the thought of the day ahead or unable to muster the energy to face the outside world? Your mood enhancer is as close as the fridge, stocked hopefully with happy food like banana and berries, kale and cabbage.

You are what you eat’ should be an everyday mantra to keep you healthy in body and also to keep you fit mentally is the new thinking in the medical community, which is increasingly using nutritional psychiatry to combat a spectrum of ailments.

Consuming a “happy diet” can help “avoid, treat and prevent” depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses, said several medical consultants and researchers on World Mental Health Day, observed every year on October 10.

According to clinical psychologist Preeti Singh, research in the field of nutritional psychiatry has shown that optimisation of micro-nutrients is a “viable way to avoid, treat and prevent mental illnesses”.

“Poor nutrition is a significant risk factor for developing mental illnesses,” the doctor at Gurgaon’s Paras Hospital told PTI.

Not more than a couple of decades old, nutritional psychiatry goes beyond treating mental illnesses solely through medication, and explores food items containing specific micro-nutrients (omega-3, B vitamins, amino acids, zinc, magnesium and iron) as a possible treatment to keep the mind happy.

A “happy diet” can comprise leafy vegetables like kale, cabbage and spinach as well as broccoli, mushrooms, red/yellow bell peppers, zucchini, onions, oregano, and vitamin-rich fruits like berries, apples, oranges, peaches and pears.

Proteins can be consumed in the form of eggs, cheese, chicken and fish, while nuts, almonds, and pistachios can supply the micro-nutrients.

The mental health awareness movement gained momentum in India when Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone opened up about her battle with depression in 2015, reassuring those suffering that it was ‘okay to not feel okay’.

A 2018 study by global medical journal Lancet noted that people with mental illnesses accounted for nearly 6.5 per cent of the Indian population, which, it said, was likely to increase to 20 per cent in 2020.

Diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety and PTSD a few years ago, UK-based teacher Kasturi Roy Bardhan said she found relief in medication, face-to-face therapy as well as a change in diet.

She was unable to find work for a long time and, when she did, dragging herself to work became an “everyday battle”, she recalled.

“Making sure you are eating healthy, or food that you generally associate with positive memories or thoughts makes you feel better emotionally,” the 29-year-old said.

A September 2019 study conducted by Australia’s Deakin University revealed that dietary intervention can reduce depressive symptoms in individuals more efficiently than social support, which is known to be helpful for people with mental health issues.

For the experiment, adults with major depressive disorders were recruited and randomly assigned to receive either social support or support from a clinical dietician over a three-month period.

The results showed that around 33 per cent of those in the dietary support group met criteria for remission of major depression, compared to only 8 per cent of those in the social support group.

“The results of the team’s new study offer a possible new treatment approach to depression, one of the world’s most prevalent and costly medical disorders,” Felice Jacka, director of Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre, said in the report.

Biologically put, chemicals produced in the gut also affect the brain, and by altering the type of food, it is possible to improve one’s brain health.

“Food is generally associated with just weight loss and weight gain,” said Mumbai-based nutritional consultant Jaydeep Bhuta.

He explained that the consumption of certain food items helps release happy hormones that get processed by the brain and help to improve the mood.

“There’s a saying — ‘You are what you eat’. It simply means that whatever you eat, directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately your mood,” Bhuta said.

Banana, for instance, is known to be a great mood uplifter, added Delhi-based nutritionist Surbhi Aggarwal.

“It releases the happy hormone serotonin. So, we can say, ‘Eating one banana every day, keeps the mental health issues away’,” she added.

One can keep the happiness metre high by consuming antioxidant-rich products such as apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, kiwis, tomatoes, along with healthy carbohydrates that can be found in abundance in legumes.

Gurgaon-based theatre artiste Sakshi Gandhi was prescribed food rich in iron, and vitamin D to treat her depression, which was adversely affecting her day-to-day life.

Her sleeping patterns changed, she would have disturbing thoughts and completely stopped socialising, she said.

“A change in diet along with exercises was prescribed. It helped in the overall increase of energy levels, and I stopped feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically,” she added.

Both medical experts, as well as nutritionists, agree that while a balanced diet can enhance the treatment of mental illnesses, it is not an alternative to traditional medication.

“Right food can enhance the positive effect of the medication but this can’t be an alternative to psychotropic drugs (medication capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behaviour), said Shweta Sharma, a clinical psychologist at Gurgaon’s Columbia Asia hospital.

“With the right diet, one can control side effects and the duration to continue the medication,” she added.

So if you are not feeling great, talk to friends, exercise, seek professional help — but also remember to eat happy.

Iran women freely at FIFA soccer match, 1st time in decades

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Flag-draped Iranian women watched a FIFA soccer match from inside a Tehran stadium Thursday, the first time they’ve been freely allowed into a stadium in decades.

The 2022 World Cup qualifier between Team Melli and Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium marks a decades-long push by Iranian women to be able to watch matches, something hard-liners in Iran’s Shiite theocracy to this day still oppose.

Iran allocated only 4,000 tickets for women in a stadium that seats about 80,000 people, keeping them separated from men and under the protection of female police officers. That’s even though face-painted Iranian women have cheered for their team abroad for years despite the 1981 ban that followed the country’s Islamic Revolution.

We are so happy that finally we got the chance to go to the stadium. It’s an extraordinary feeling,” said Zahra Pashaei, a 29-year-old nurse who has only known soccer games from television. “At least for me, 22 or 23 years of longing and regret lies behind this.”

Iran scored in the game’s fifth minute with a long shot by midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi. On Iran’s conservatively controlled state television, which carried the match live, a shot of the cheering crowd included ecstatic women spectators. They followed with another goal in the 10th minute.

While Iran for years has considered letting women into soccer matches, the decision to allow them in Thursday came as part of intense pressure from FIFA, the world body governing the sport. Iran faced a potential ban if it didn’t allow women into the match.

That pressure has grown both with FIFA and Iran’s soccer-loving public since September, when an Iranian woman detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a soccer stadium to watch a match died after setting herself on fire upon learning she learned she could spend six months in prison.

The self-immolation death of 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari, who became known as the “Blue Girl” for her love of the Iranian team Esteghlal, shocked Iranian officials and the public, becoming an immediate hashtag trend across social media in the Islamic Republic.

Iran is the world’s last nation to bar women from soccer matches. Saudi Arabia recently began allowing women into soccer matches in the kingdom.

Iran women’s football compares in world games

Iran which is in the Asian Football Confederation, ranks 71 out of all 161 active teams. Chart shows the highest and lowest ranked teams in each of the six regional confederations:

Hard-liners and traditional Shiite clerics, citing their own interpretation of Islamic law, believe in segregating men and women at public events, as well as keeping women out of men’s sports. They’ve maintained tight control on social mores in the times since the Islamic Revolution, which saw women required to cover their hair and also wear the black, all-encompassing chador while working in government jobs.

The effort to allow women back into stadiums has gone through fits and starts since the revolution. Iran even barred a woman from hold a sign for the country when it attends its first Summer Olympics in 1986 in South Korea. A group of Irish women received special permission to attend a qualifier between Iran and Ireland in Tehran in 2001.

In 2006, former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted women to attend matches to “improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere.” However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, opposed the decision.

Then, last year, Iranian authorities allowed a select group of women into Azadi Stadium by invitation only to watch the Asian Champion League final.

Activist groups outside of Iran, however, remain suspicious of Tehran. Amnesty International called the decision “a cynical publicity stunt by the authorities intended to whitewash their image.”

“Instead of taking half-hearted steps to address their discriminatory treatment of women who want to watch football, the Iranian authorities should lift all restrictions on women attending football matches, including domestic league games, across the country,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director.

Still, many in Iran embraced the move, like shopkeeper Amir Ali Bagheri, who sold the nurse Pashaei a new Team Melli jersey ahead of the match.

“They (women) are so excited they are going to the stadium,” he said. “God willing, there will be freedom sooner so that they can attend all matches, not just the national team matches. That will be much better.”


General Electric Insurance Business: A Quick Overview

How General Electric Insurance works with its insurance business and why it’s affecting its financial statements? Is the firm’s accounting incorrect? Is it a fraud?

ome analysts agree that the company is having issues when the topic is the accounting. Investors are trying to find out what is going on in the company. Analysts are worried by future liabilities and are mainly bear on the security due to the issues of insurance accounting were many questions surge, and not everybody can answer.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) is expecting a return on its insurance portfolio assets, moving to modify its asset mix, with low-interest rates, earnings are harder for the company. Analysts state that the company has enough cash to meet its liabilities in the future. An accountant investigated General Electric financial statements and claims that the company is hiding nearly $40 billion in losses in its long-term care insurance business. Also, he says that is the biggest fraud he and his team ever investigated, CNN reported.

General Electric Insurance Debate

“In fact, GE’s $38 billion in accounting fraud amounts to over 40% of GE’s market capitalization, making it far more serious than either the Enron or WorldCom accounting frauds,” the analyst Markopolos wrote in the report. Enron’s fraud scandal bankrupted the energy company in 2001, while telecom WorldCom was bankrupted in 2002 after its fraud was revealed, CNN reported. Therefore, he says the solution is that the company will need massive injections of cash to pay future claims. One of the accusations that the analyst makes is the comparison of the revenues in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 the company had $26.8B, and in 2017, the company increased to $36.0 billion.

“GE has been running a decades-long accounting fraud by only providing top-line revenue and bottom-line profits for its business units and getting away with leaving out cost of goods sold,” Markopolos said.

The company does not agree with the analyst. “The claims made by Mr. Markopolos are meritless,” the conglomerate said in a statement. GE said that it “has never met, spoken to or had contact with Mr. Markopolos, and we are extremely disappointed that an individual with no direct knowledge of GE would choose to make such serious and unsubstantiated claims.” We hope that the company is posting legal information with ethical purposes.

Overview

GE created General Electric Insurance in 1966 to provide GE employees with superior insurance at competitive rates accordingly with the company’s website.

Here Are Some of the Most Efficient Education Options for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs generally love to learn. Whether it’s attending conferences, working with mentors or evaluating their own successes and failures, learning is a core function of any entrepreneurial venture. Some aim to learn on the go, while others prefer to gain specific skills in a more traditional educational setting. If you count yourself among the latter, here’s a rundown of continuing education options that could benefit you as an entrepreneur

Before You Jump In

We all have our preferred method of learning, whether it’s hands-on, reading, lectures, projects or something else entirely. So once you’ve decided to start a formal education process, begin by asking yourself how you learn best — and use that to choose the best educational setting for your needs. 

Next, know what you don’t know. In other words, what are the gaps in your entrepreneurial education that you want to fill? Maybe you need a basic understanding of accounting or a better understanding of a product life cycle. Once you’ve identified your need, narrow your search to those areas to avoid being overwhelmed by choices or distracted by a topic that won’t serve you or your business.

Finally, make sure that the course will be worth your time. Look for classes taught by instructors with meaningful experience in the topic being taught. Make sure there are clearly defined course takeaways and data on former students’ success. Always lean towards classes that have requirements beyond simply showing up. You want a class that incorporates hands-on learning and experience. 

Online Courses

There are thousands of online courses available for entrepreneurs, with topics ranging from growing your business to podcasting. Many are free, andand some are offered through Harvard, MIT and other institutions. Websites like Udemy offer a selection of instructor-taught business courses with fees ranging from about $12 to $25.

If you want your online course to build towards a degree or certification, you have several options. Coursera offers classes accepted by many well-known colleges and universities across the country, including the University of Illinois, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University. Alison offers both certificate and college-credit classes under their Entrepreneur category, and many of them are free. In addition, many colleges and universities offer their own online programs, often at lower costs than their on-campus classes.

U.S. College and University Certification Programs

Many colleges and universities now offer specific courses in entrepreneurship, and they’re often formatted as full-time three-month certification programs, either on campus or online, which can help limit your time away from your business as you pursue your education. Few programs have an application process, so interested individuals can simply sign up, pay the fee and begin. Note that the costs of these certifications can be high, ranging from $2,000 to $11,000 depending on the provider and the length of the program.

Options include Harvard University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, Rice University’s Essentials of Entrepreneurship Certificate and the University of California, Irvine’s Accelerated Certificate Program for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. These are only a few examples of certification programs available across the country.

International Programs 

For entrepreneurs interested in growing an international business — or who are simply looking for an adventure as well as an education — there are several international schools that offer entrepreneurship certifications or summer programs. A program abroad can provide a new perspective on entrepreneurship while allowing you to network with people from around the world. For example, Oxford Summer Schooloffers a course for students 18 to 25 years of age called Global Business, Management and Finance. The London School of Business offers an Entrepreneurship Summer School as part of the school’s Strategy and Entrepreneurship program, which is open to all ages. And if you’re multi-lingual, there are short courses available worldwide.

Report: US plans to allow some technology sales to Huawei

NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump administration plans to issue licenses to U.S. companies to supply “nonsensitive goods” to Chinese tech giant Huawei, The New York Times reported, in a move that might help to cool tensions ahead of trade talks.

President Donald Trump gave approval last week to begin issuing licenses, the Times said Wednesday. It cited unidentified people familiar with the matter and gave no indication what technologies might be covered.

Sanctions announced in May require U.S. vendors to obtain government permission for sales of processor chips and other technology to Huawei Technologies Ltd., one of the biggest makers of smartphones and network switching equipment.

Huawei, China’s first global technology brand, has said loss of access to American components and support for technology such as Google music, maps and other services threaten its smartphone sales. American suppliers of processor chips and other technology say they stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue.

The report comes as U.S. and Chinese negotiators were due to meet Thursday in Washington for a 13th round of talks aimed at ending a tariff war over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology ambitions.

The White House has postponed enforcement of the sanctions, but Huawei’s founder has said he expects them to go ahead. U.S. officials have said Washington would allow sales to Huawei of technology that is available from other sources.

US Commerce Secretary praises Australia, criticizes China

PERTH, Australia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross slammed China’s trade practices and trumpeted America’s economic relationship with Australia amid the festering trade war with Beijing.

Ross told a business gathering in Sydney on Thursday that President Donald Trump did not want to use tariffs to get China to change its ways but felt it was necessary.

The comments came as U.S. and Chinese officials prepared to resume trade talks in Washington later in the day.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last year to implement tariffs against Chinese goods has shaken world markets and added to uncertainty over the global economic outlook.

Trump has imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and plans to tax an additional $160 billion of imports on Dec. 15. His administration accuses China of violating free trade commitments by using unfair tactics to force foreign companies to share advanced technology.

“We do not love tariffs, in fact we would prefer not to use them, but after years of discussions and no action, tariffs are finally forcing China to pay attention to our concerns,” Ross said.

“We could have had a deal two-and-a-half years ago without going through the whole tit-for-tat on tariffs that we have,” he added.

Ross said the U.S. believes China needs to mend its ways. “China has refused to change its behavior,” he said. “In fact, its global trade practices have only gotten worse.

“If we can get China to abide by the global rules of trade, every nation in the world will benefit,” he said.

Resource-rich Australia relies on China for one-third of its export earnings. But Ross told the business leaders America is Australia’s “most important” economic partner.

“China may import more from Australia than the United States does, but their value-add to the Australian economy — and to the lives of Australians — is shockingly limited,” he said.

The U.S. accounts for 27% of foreign investment in Australia, and American companies employ more than 400,000 Australians, he said.

China, by contrast, represents less than 2% of foreign investment in Australia.

“So, I think it’s easy to blow out of proportion who has the more significant relationship with Australia,” he said.

Dipping below the surface

Slovenia is a country shaped by water – its landscape sculpted by thermal springs, freshwater lakes, racing rivers and picturesque coastline. People have been coming here since Roman times to bathe, drink and swim in the mineral-infused waters. Here are just some of the ways you can immerse yourself

Sea water and saline

In the south-west corner of the country, where Slovenia borders the Adriatic Sea, you’ll find 1000-year-old natural salt pools teeming with wildlife. Head to Sečovlje Salina Nature Park and stroll along grassy trails that weave their way between glassy pools – where tiny red brine shrimp make their home and nearly 300 species of birds flitter about among the reeds.

The waters here are not only good for wildlife. The salt is said to help aid muscle relaxation and alleviate a number of skin conditions.

Tucked away among the saltpans, about 10 minutes’ drive away, is Lepa Vida – a stylish open-air spa with an array of turquoise salt-pools dotted among weathered boardwalks with a backdrop of spectacular views over parklands, where you can cleanse yourself of all thoughts of home.

Mineral waters

Slovenia is renowned for the quality of its drinking water. There are around 7,500 natural springs dotted around the country. Take your water bottle with you while out hiking, and you can fill up straight from the source – crystal clear mineral water being filtered through layers of rock as it cascades down the slopes of the Julian Alps.

On the bustling streets of the capital city, Ljubljana, there’s high quality drinking water on tap in the city’s public fountains. Good thing, too: it’s thirsty work exploring the art galleries, museums and food markets you’ll find in the streets leading off from the Ljubljanica River.

In the east of the country there’s an entire spa dedicated to drinking water. People have been coming to RogaškaSlatina for centuries to sip the town’s naturally sparkling waters, which are served at a range of temperatures in a specially designed pavilion. One of the key ingredients in the water here is magnesium – with over 1,040 milligrams per liter – which is believed to help alleviate various symptoms including heartburn and constipation.

Mud and peat

It’s not just Slovenia’s waters that are good for you. At Terme Zreče Wellness and Spa Center, just over an hour from Ljubljana, there’s a variety of treatments that utilize mountain peat. Found in high altitude marshes among the woodlands of the Pohorje Hills, this mineral-rich peat is packed with nutrients that are renowned for their health-giving properties. A selection of treatments – from wraps to baths – are said to help alleviate aches and pains, skin conditions and various other maladies.

Locally-sourced mud that is naturally infused with nutrient-rich volcanic ash is used here, too. Warmed and then applied to the skin, it gently transfers the heat to aching joints.

Just as the waters differ from place to place, so too does the make-up of the mud. At Talaso Strunjan on Slovenia’s west coast, therapists use locally-sourced mud (or ‘fango’) in an array of wraps, to help alleviate muscular pain and more. Formed during the evaporation of nearby salt-pans, nutrient-rich mud is said to be beneficial for back pain, rheumatism and other issues.

Even the air here has added health benefits. A blend of aromatic aerosols – formed from sea salt and the lush local vegetation – are said to help alleviate some respiratory issues. Head up to the nearby cliffs above Moon Bay, and stare out across the Adriatic Sea while breathing it all in.

Thermal waters

In all there are around 87 natural thermal springs located across Slovenia. Most of them lie in the Pannonian region, in the east of the country, which is where you’ll find find Moravske Toplice – home to the famous ‘black waters’ renowned for their health-giving properties, which are naturally heated in a deep underground spring. High levels of iron and manganese in the water here are said to help soothe achy joints and relieve skin conditions. These naturally-occurring elements are also what gives the water its distinctive dark coloring, which is actually more of a deep green color than truly black.

There are many pools to choose from – both indoors and al fresco – so you can lie back in the sunshine and let it all wash over you, or have a specialist put together a bespoke program of treatments. These usually consist of a morning dip in the thermal pools – or ‘black gold’ as the locals call it followed by afternoon sessions where a specialist applies mud wraps to your body.

Active waters

You don’t have to head to a spa to feel the benefit of Slovenia’s waters. Across the country there are numerous rivers and lakes offering all kinds of adventures.

On a rafting trip on the Soča River, the color of the water alone is enough to awaken your senses – a vivid turquoise enhanced by micro particles of limestone that catch the light. There are stretches of rapids to suit all experience levels, and local guides available to lend a hand with the paddling. As you glide downstream past intimate little beaches and limestone rock walls – surrounded on all sides by the craggy peaks of the Julian Alps – it’s hard to believe you’re just over an hour from the buzz of Ljubljana.

Similarly close to the capital is Lake Bohinj – where there are all kinds of ways to experience the water. Paddleboarding is popular here; grab some equipment from one of the nearby rental stores and you can spend an afternoon exploring some of the hidden nooks and crannies that lie among the trees on the opposite shore. If balance is not your strong-point then you can get on the water in a kayak too – or hire a rowing boat and spend a relaxing afternoon.

Of course one of the most relaxing ways to experience the water here is simply to swim; the lake’s gently-sloping bottom and naturally clean waters make it ideal for families.

Another place that’s great for swimming is Lake Bled – about half an hour down the road. At Grajsko kopališče (also known as the Castle bathing area), just below the famous castle, there’s an outdoor pool that’s fenced off from the main lake, while Velika Zaka Bay on the opposite side of the lake is also a popular spot.

This telescope could ‘see’ inside alien worlds for the first time

Astronomers have discovered several thousand exoplanets, but beyond their size, mass, and—for a precious few—a hint of what’s in their upper atmospheres, they remain shrouded in mystery. But last week in France, observers unveiled a radio telescope that could reveal what is going on inside an exoplanet. The telescope, tuned to search for beamlike radio signals whipped up by a magnetic field, could show whether a planet has a magnetic dynamo—a churning, liquid metallic core like Earth’s.

“It’s a probe into internal structure that there is no other way to get at right now,” says astrophysicist Evgenya Shkolnik of Arizona State University in Tempe, who is not involved in the project.

What the telescope finds could help researchers understand planet formation and whether the six planets with magnetic fields in our solar system are typical. The signals would also be clues to a planet’s habitability. Magnetic fields protect a planet’s surface from cosmic rays and the wind of charged particles from its star, which can harm life. By deflecting stellar wind, a magnetic field could also prevent the particles from scouring away a planet’s life-nurturing atmosphere. “This opens up an extra door to study exoplanets at a distance,” says Jean-Mathias Griessmeier of the University of Orléans in France.

Officially inaugurated last week, the telescope will be a station within the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), a European radio array centered in the Netherlands. Sited at the Nançay Radioastronomy Station in France, the New Extension in Nançay Upgrading LOFAR (NenuFAR), as the instrument is called, will aid in LOFAR’s quest to find signals from the early universe’s first stars. But it will also devote a large fraction of its time to scanning a range of radio frequencies for signs of exoplanetary magnetic fields. “It’s only a matter of time [before a detection], probably months,” Shkolnik predicts.

In the mid-1950s, astronomers first detected radio bursts from Jupiter. Ions that escape from its volcanic moon Io get swept up by the planet’s magnetic field and gyrate around the field lines. The whirling ions emit radio photons, which prompt other ions, gyrating in concert, to spawn more photons, resulting in a coherent beam, like a natural laser. Later, detectors in space picked up weaker and lower frequency radio signals from other planets, driven by solar wind particles caught in their magnetic fields.

Even Jupiter’s strong signal is too weak to be seen at light-year distances. But many of the exoplanets detected so far are “hot Jupiters,” gas giants that orbit their stars more closely than Mercury does the sun. Such a planet would be buffeted by a stronger stellar wind—offering more electrons to be whipped up by the planet’s magnetosphere into a signal that could be a million times stronger than Jupiter’s. In theory, a beam that powerful could be detected from Earth.

Arrays like LOFAR have found suggestive signals before, but nothing certain. NenuFAR, more sensitive at low frequencies and dedicated to the hunt, may have better luck. It will eventually contain nearly 2000 antennas resembling denuded, wire-frame Christmas trees. Most will sit in a 400-meter-wide core, with a few more widely spread. The receivers pick up frequencies from below 85 megahertz (MHz)—the bottom of the FM radio band—down to 10 MHz, below which the ionosphere blocks any signals from space.

NenuFAR has been gathering data since July with 60% of its antennas working. At the inauguration, the array’s principal investigator, Philippe Zarka of the Paris Observatory in Meudon, said he hopes to have 80% of the hardware in place by the end of the year while the team seeks more funding. So far, it has secured 80% of the €15 million needed to build and operate the array, from government funders, universities, and local authorities.

The NenuFAR team will soon devote days-long observing runs to each of a dozen or so nearby hot Jupiters, waiting for a beam of radio energy to sweep past Earth. Other observatories are joining the hunt. The Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array in California will have 352 antennas when it is complete next year. It isn’t as sensitive as NenuFAR, so rather than focusing on known exoplanets, it will observe the whole sky continuously. With luck, it will catch the rare, extra bright radio flash of a planet struck by a coronal mass ejection—a fast-moving bubble of stellar wind—says principal investigator Gregg Hallinan of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Because NenuFAR and other ground-based telescopes have a lower limit of 10 MHz, they will be limited to detecting hot Jupiters—unlikely locales for life. Earth-like exoplanets probably have weaker magnetic fields that produce radio emissions below 10 MHz. To escape the ionosphere that blocks lower frequencies, radio astronomers will have to search from space or the far side of the moon. The latest plan for a lunar radio telescope, known as the Farside Array, is now being considered by the U.S. decadal survey of astrophysics, a priority setting exercise.

Astronomers may have to range far from Earth to find a place like home.

The Prehistoric Ages: How Humans Lived Before Written Records

Earth’s beginnings can be traced back 4.5 billion years, but human evolution only counts for a tiny speck of its history. The Prehistoric Period—or when there was human life before records documented human activity—roughly dates from 2.5 million years ago to 1,200 B.C. It is generally categorized in three archaeological periods: the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

From the invention of tools made for hunting to advances in food production and agriculture to early examples of art and religion, this enormous time span—ending roughly 3,200 years ago (dates vary upon region)—was a period of great transformation. Here’s a closer look:

The Stone Age

The Paleolithic Age
Early human ancestors painting a bison inside a cave during the Paleolithic Age.Prisma/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Divided into three periods: Paleolithic (or Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (or Middle Stone Age), and Neolithic (or New Stone Age), this era is marked by the use of tools by our early human ancestors (who evolved around 30,000 B.C.) and the eventual transformation from a culture of hunting and gathering to farming and food production. During this era, early humans shared the planet with a number of now-extinct hominin relatives, including Neanderthals and Denisovans. 

In the Paleolithic period (roughly 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.), early humans lived in caves or simple huts or tepees and were hunters and gatherers. They used basic stone and bone tools, as well as crude stone axes, for hunting birds and wild animals. They cooked their prey, including woolly mammoths, deer and bison, using controlled fire. They also fished and collected berries, fruit and nuts. 

Ancient humans in the Paleolithic period were also the first to leave behind art. They used combinations of minerals, ochres, burnt bone meal and charcoal mixed into water, blood, animal fats and tree saps to etch humans, animals and signs. They also carved small figurines from stones, clay, bones and antlers.

The end of this period marked the end of the last Ice Age, which resulted in the extinction of many large mammals and rising sea levels and climate change that eventually caused man to migrate.

Mesolithic Period
The Shell Mound People, or Kitchen-Middeners, were hunter-gatherers of the late Mesolithic and early Neolithic period. They get their name from the distinctive mounds (middens) of shells and other kitchen debris they left behind.Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

During the Mesolithic period (about 10,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C.), humans used small stone tools, now also polished and sometimes crafted with points and attached to antlers, bone or wood to serve as spears and arrows. They often lived nomadically in camps near rivers and other bodies of water. Agriculture was introduced during this time, which led to more permanent settlements in villages. 

Finally, during the Neolithic period (roughly 8,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C.), ancient humans switched from hunter/gatherer mode to agriculture and food production. They domesticated animals and cultivated cereal grains. They used polished hand axes, adzes for ploughing and tilling the land and started to settle in the plains. Advancements were made not only in tools but also in farming, home construction and art, including pottery, sewing and weaving.

The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age
Village life in Grimspound, a late Bronze Age settlement situated on Dartmoor in Devon, England.English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images

During the Bronze Age (about 3,000 B.C. to 1,300 B.C.), metalworking advances were made, as bronze, a copper and tin alloy, was discovered. Now used for weapons and tools, the harder metal replaced its stone predecessors, and helped spark innovations including the ox-drawn plow and the wheel.

This time period also brought advances in architecture and art, including the invention of the potter’s wheel, and textiles—clothing consisted of mostly wool items such as skirts, kilts, tunics and cloaks. Home dwellings morphed to so-called roundhouses, consisting of a circular stone wall with a thatched or turf roof, complete with a fireplace or hearth, and more villages and cities began to form. 

Organized government, law and warfare, as well as beginnings of religion, also came into play during the Bronze Age, perhaps most notably relating to the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids during this time. The earliest written accounts, including Egyptian hieroglyphs and petroglyphs (rock engravings), are also dated to this era.

The Iron Age

The Iron Age
Home life during the Iron Age.English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The discovery of ways to heat and forge iron kicked off the Iron Age(roughly 1,300 B.C. to 900 B.C.). At the time, the metal was seen as more precious than gold, and wrought iron (which would be replaced by steel with the advent of smelting iron) was easier to manufacture than bronze.

Along with mass production of steel tools and weapons, the age saw even further advances in architecture, with four-room homes, some complete with stables for animals, joining more rudimentary hill forts, as well as royal palaces, temples and other religious structures. Early city planning also took place, with blocks of homes being erected along paved or cobblestone streets and water systems put into place. 

Agriculture, art and religion all became more sophisticated, and writing systems and written documentation, including alphabets, began to emerge, ushering in the Early Historical Period.

Mexico mayor tied to car and dragged along by angry locals

Eleven people have been arrested in southern Mexico after the mayor of their village was dragged out of his office, tied to a pick-up truck and dragged through the streets.

Police intervened to free Mayor Jorge Luis Escandón Hernández, who reportedly suffered no major injuries.

It was the second attack by farmers demanding that he fulfil his campaign promise to repair a local road.

Extra officers have been deployed to the village in Chiapas state.

Mayors and local politicians in Mexico are often targeted by drug gangs when they refuse to cooperate with their criminal schemes but it is less common for them to be attacked over their campaign promises.

Mr Escandón said he would press charges for abduction and attempted murder.

Video taken by bystanders outside the mayor’s office showed a group of men pulling him out of the building and forcing him onto the back of the vehicle.

Footage captured later by a CCTV showed him being dragged along, tied with a rope around his hands to the back of the truck through the streets of Santa Rita, which forms part of Las Margaritas.

It took dozens of municipal police officers to stop the vehicle and rescue the mayor. Several people were injured in scuffles between the police and those who had abducted the mayor.

7 Reasons why Millennials Quit.

  • Lack of autonomy

Millennials need to know that they have the opportunity and elbow room to do bring their creativity and thought-process to the table. Micro-management and rigid processes will make them feel that their thoughts are not valued at the workplace. To engage them better, keep their minds engaged on invention as much as execution. Give them to opportunity to present new thoughts and provide feedback.

  • Lack of impact

Millennials need to know that they are making a dent in the ecosystem and that their presence is not merely redundant to the system. It is thus essential that before projects, the kick of meeting must include the possible impact of the project on clients, team, themselves and also to the people at large. When millennials see purpose in an activity, they do it with enhanced vigour.

  • Lack of feedback

Millennials need to know what they did well and how can they do better, faster. If your team discusses feedback formally only during the yearly appraisal cycles, there’s a good chance millennials won’t stick around for long. Rather, make time for having more continuous feedback, perhaps multiple times within a project cycle. It might include investment of time but it is better RoI vis-a-vis the hiring and training costs due to higher employee churn.

  • Lack of training

Many hiring professionals I have interacted with love to use the phrase “they need to hit the ground running”. While that might be a fair expectation considering the nature of business, millennials do not appreciate doing something they don’t feel adequately prepared for. They need to feel confident that they are equipped to perform the task that is expected of them. Invest in formal and informal training to instill millennials with the confidence that they are equipped with the arsenal to perform more effectively.

  • Time based vs performance based approach

Millennials do not appreciate a culture where warming a chair for more hours is rewarded more than better performance. Many workplaces have a pseudo-belief that they are purely performance based but yet have an actual bias towards employees who sit back for longer hours. Cultures need to explore and actively discourage over-working and should encourage employees to complete their tasks within usual office timings. Millennials appreciate having flexible timing and having control over when and how they can complete tasks.

  • Lack of Respect 

A manager told a young hire at my previous company “You aren’t married, why do you need to get back home earlier?” The young hire felt severely discouraged that his personal life was not being adequately respected. Millenials might have different priorities as compared to baby-boomers but they value them as much, if not more. When you respect their priorities, they will respect yours.

  1. 20th Century rules

Millenials do not appreciate 20th century rules and process and want things to move faster. Processes like lack of flexibility to work from home, stick check in and check out timings and having an intricate process to do expense claims are minor irritants that develop fatigue and impact their performance. Aim to make your necessary processes more lean and if possible, invite inputs of people impacted by processes before making the decision.

It is time that workplaces realise that criticising the ‘millennial way’ will not help. They need to adapt the workplace and processes to suit them and not expect it the other way around. With the soon to follow Gen-Z who are expected to be even more pronounced in their behaviours, requirements and speed vis-a-vis millennials, traditional workplaces need to buckle up because there seems to be some turbulence ahead.

R.K. Narayan- the Greatest Indian Writer Ever!

Today we bow down and celebrate the life of a very talented son of Bharat Mata, R.K. Narayan.

When R. K. Narayan died, in the spring of 2001 at the age of ninety-four, his legacy seemed assured. Over seven decades of literary activity, he had produced fourteen novels, countless essays, and dozens of stories, the majority of his fiction set in a South Indian town that he called Malgudi. No more a feature of atlases than Trollope’s Barchester, Narayan’s Malgudi put modern Indian writing on the map. For although a handful of Indian novels had been written in English during the nineteenth century, and both Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand had found readers for their novels in English by the nineteen-thirties, it was Narayan—two generations before Salman Rushdie—who began to produce the first world-renowned body of work not rendered in any of India’s many vernacular languages. As such, there seemed little risk of hyperbole when Narayan’s obituary in the Guardian said that he was held to be “India’s greatest writer in English of the twentieth century.”

R. K. Narayan is considered as one of leading figures of early Indian literature in English. He is the one who made India accessible to the people in foreign countries—he gave unfamiliar people a window to peep into Indian culture and sensibilities. His simple and modest writing style is often compared to that of the great American author William Faulkner. Narayan came from a humble south Indian background where he was consistently encouraged to involve himself into literature. Which is why, after finishing his graduation, he decided to stay at home and write. His work involves novels like: ‘The Guide’, ‘The Financial Man’, ‘Mr. Sampath’, ‘The Dark Room’, ‘The English Teacher’, ‘A Tiger for Malgudi’, etc. Although Narayan’s contribution to the Indian literature is beyond description and the way he grabbed foreign audience’s attention for Indian literature is commendable too but he will always be remembered for the invention of Malgudi, a semi-urban fictional town in southern India where most of his stories were set. Narayan won numerous accolades for his literary work: Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Bhushan, AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature, honorary membership of the American Academy of Arts and Literature, Padma Vibhushan, etc.

Childhood & Early life

  • R. K. Narayan was born in Chennai, Indian in 1906 in a working class south Indian family. His father was a school headmaster and because his father had to be frequently transferred for his job, Narayan spent most of his childhood in the loving care of his grandmother, Parvati.
  • It was his grandmother who taught him arithmetic, mythology and Sanskrit. He also attended many different schools in Chennai like, Lutheran Mission School, Christian College High School, etc. He was interested in English literature since he was very young.
  • His reading habit further developed when he moved to Mysore with his family and there his father’s schools library offered him gems of writing from authors like Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Wodehouse, etc.
  • In 1926, he passed the university examination and joined Maharaja College of Mysore. After completing his graduation, Narayan took a job as a school teacher in a local school. Soon after, he realized that he could only be happy in writing fiction, which is why he decided to stay at home and write.

Career

  • Narayan’s decision of staying at home and writing was supported in every way by his family and in 1930, he wrote his first novel called ‘Swami and Friends’ which was rejected by a lot of publishers. But this book was important in the sense that it was with this that he created the fictional town of Malgudi.
  • After getting married in 1933, Narayan became a reporter for a newspaper called ‘The Justice’ and in the meantime, he sent the manuscript of ‘Swami and Friends’ to his friend at Oxford who in turn showed it to Graham Greene. Greene got the book published.
  • His second novel, ‘The Bachelors of Arts’, was published in 1937,. It was based on his experiences at college. This book was again published by Graham Greene who by now started counseling Narayan on how to write and what to write about to target the English speaking audience.
  • In 1938, Narayan wrote his third novel called ‘The Dark Room’ dealt with the subject of emotional abuse within a marriage and it was warmly received, both by readers and critics. The same year his father expired and he had to accept regular commission by the government.
  • In 1939, his wife’s unfortunate demise left Narayan depressed and disgruntled. But he continued to write and came out with his fourth book called ‘The English Teacher’ which was more autobiographical than any of his prior novels.
  • After this, Narayan authored books like, ‘Mr. Sampath’ (1949), ‘The Financial Expert’ (1951) and ‘Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)’, etc.
  • He wrote ‘The Guide’ in 1956 while he was touring United States. It earned him the Sahitya Akademi Award.
  • In 1961, he wrote his next novel called ‘The Man-Eater of Malgudi’. After finishing this book, he travelled to the United States and Australia. He also gave lectures on Indian literature in Sydney and Melbourne. With his growing success, he also started writing columns for The Hindu and The Atlantic.
  • His first mythological work ‘Gods, Demons and Others’, a collection of short stories was published in 1964. His book was illustrated by his younger brother R. K. Laxman, who was a famous cartoonist.
  • In 1967, he came up with his next novel titled ‘The Vendor of Sweets’. Later, that year Narayan travelled to England, where he received the first of his honorary doctorates from the University of Leeds.
  • Within next few years he started translating Kamba Ramayanam to English—a promise he made to his dying uncle once.
  • Narayan was asked by the government of Karnataka to write a book to promote tourism which he republished in 1980 with the title of ‘The Emerald Route’. In the same year he was named as the honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
  • In 1980, Narayan was chosen as the member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament and throughout his 6 years term he focused on the education system and how little children suffer in it.
  • During the 1980s Narayan wrote prolifically. His works during this peiod include: ‘Malgudi Days’ (1982), ‘Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories’, ‘A Tiger for Malgudi’ (1983), ‘Talkative Man’ (1986) and ‘A Writer’s Nightmare’ (1987).

In 1990s, his published works include: ‘The World of Nagaraj (1990)’, ‘Grandmother’s Tale (1992)’, ‘The Grandmother’s Tale and Other Stories (1994)’, etc.

Major Works

  • R.K. Narayan made India accessible to the outside world through his literature. He will be remembered for the invention of Malgudi, a semi-urban fictional town in southern India where most of his stories were set.

Awards & Achievements

  • Narayan won numerous accolades for his literary works. These include: Sahitya Akademi Award (1958), Padma Bhushan (1964), AC Benson Medal by the British Royal Society of Literature (1980), and Padma Vibhushan (2001).

Personal Life & Legacy

  • In 1933, Narayan met his future wife Rajam, a 15 year old girl, and fell deeply in love with her. They managed to get married despite many astrological and financial hurdles.
  • Rajam died of typhoid in 1939 and left a three year old daughter for Narayan to take care of. Her death caused a great shock in his life and he was left depressed and uprooted for a long period of time. He never remarried in his life.
  • Narayan died in 2001 at the age of 94. He was planning on writing his next novel, a story on a grandfather, just before he expired.

Trivia

  • He was very fond of the publisher of The Hindu, N. Ram, and used to spend all his time, towards the end of his life, conversing with him over coffee.
  • Narayan is regarded as one of the three leading English language Indian fiction writers, along with Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand.

India drops 10 positions in Global Competitiveness Index

(IANS) India fell 10 positions, to the 68th rank, in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index.

The concept of Global Competitiveness Index 4.0. 2019 is anchored in growth accounting theory, which measures the sum of growth in the factors of production — labour and capital — and of total factor productivity (TFP).

India ranks 68th, down 10 places in 2019. The drop is only partly the consequence of a relatively small decline in score (61.4 points, -0.7 points), but also, and more significantly, the progress made by several countries ranked close to India: Colombia (62.7, +1.1 points, 57th position), Azerbaijan (58th), South Africa (60th) and Turkey (61st),” said the Global Competitiveness Report 2019.

India trails China (28th, 73.9) by 40 places and 14 points.

The report showed that along with Brazil (71st), it is among the low-performing BRICS countries, although the competitiveness profiles of the two economies are quite different.

India ranks beyond 100th on five pillars and features in the top 50 of just four pillars. However, it does rank high on macroeconomic stability (43rd) and market size (3rd). Its financial sector (40th) is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate (106th), which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system (89th), it said.

This comes as a major blow for India as it aims to become a major player in the world and become a $5 trillion economy by the financial year 2024-25.

India, however, performs well when it comes to innovation (35th), well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies, the report said.

Electrification rate was almost 90 per cent in 2017, up 7 percentage points from 2015. At the same time, health conditions remain poor, as reflected in low healthy life expectancy (59.4 years, 109th), which is one of the shortest outside Africa and significantly below the South Asian average.

The report also said that India must also grow its skills base and in terms of product-market efficiency the country stands at 101st position.

“Product market efficiency (50.4, 101st) is undermined by a lack of trade openness (43.9, 131st) and the labour market is characterised by a lack of worker rights” protections, insufficiently developed active labour market policies and critically low participation of women (ratio of female workers to male workers of 0.26, 128th),” it said.

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