What Are Your Infections?

first_imgIf you had an infection somewhere in your body, you would know because you would feel bad. Maybe you would be tired and run down, or maybe you would have some other, much worse symptoms. If you felt bad long enough, you might go to the doctor to rid yourself of the infection so you could feel better.Your mind is also full of all kinds of infections. These infections cause you to feel bad in a different way. You might feel fine physically, but you might have self-limiting beliefs or an unhealthy attitude. These infections can make you feel fearful, angry, unhappy, or passive-aggressive. They provide you with excuses. They sap of you of your emotional energy, and much worse.These infections are made up of your thoughts, your beliefs, you fears, and your ideas about how things are supposed to be. You picked up these infections from other people, including your parents, your peers in school, your co-workers, the television news, and your Facebook feed.Here are three things you need to know about what your infections.You don’t know you have these infections or how you got them. You have no idea what you are infected with or where you first contracted it. The idea that where you are in your life is someone else’s fault isn’t unique to you; a lot of people carry that infection. The idea that you can be what you want or have what you want because of some circumstances of your birth is as frequent as the common cold.You are spreading your infections. Your children are catching a good bit of what you’ve got. So are your co-workers. You share your fears, your frustrations, and your deeply-held beliefs without ever considering that you are passing these things on to others, including the people you love.You can choose your infections. Most people, me included, are guilty of confirmation bias. We tend to seek information that confirms what we already believe, ignoring any evidence to the contrary. It would take courage to face our fears and admit to ourselves that we have stolen our own power. But once you are aware of your infections, you can replace them. The self-limiting beliefs can be replaced by an empowering set of beliefs. All you need to do is find someone who believes something that you vehemently disagree with and try on their beliefs.Successful people, no matter how original, are infected with what has always infected successful people. Those who aren’t as successful as they want to be all share a very common, very well-known set of infections. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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What It Means to Hustle

first_imgThe idea that you should hustle means that you should work harder, that you should work with a great sense of urgency, and that you should focus your attention on the very few things that actually produce results.It has nothing to do with the hours you work. It doesn’t require an 18 hour day, but there is nothing wrong with working long days if that is what you need to do.It has nothing to do with being an entrepreneur unless you are an entrepreneur. You can hustle while you are working for the man, and that can be an extraordinarily rewarding endeavor. Jamie Dimon reports to a board of directors, and he owns some shares. Not the company.Hard Work Makes Dreams Come TrueYou aren’t “hustling” just because you have a startup, unless you are working hard. Talking about your business is not the same thing as doing the work of propping up a business. It sure as Hell isn’t about showing up at conferences with a business card and tee shirt with your logo on it.To hustle is to work hard.Act With HasteToo few people work with a sense of urgency. Instead, they spend their days “at work,” reacting to things that come their way, almost none of which is urgent. Urgency is what makes you a hustler.In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Burr, “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time. Every day you fight like you’re running out of time . . .”To hustle is to work like you are running out of time. Time, the one finite, completely non-renewable resource of which you are given an allotment free and clear, yours to do with what you will. Or yours to squander. Waste not, want not.Do Meaningful WorkMost of the things that have your attention do not deserve your attention. Almost everything is a distraction. Except the very things that produce the results that you want to produce. The things that are aligned with your purpose. The things that make up the meaningful work you were put here to do.Hustle isn’t talk. Hustle isn’t glamorous. Hustle isn’t hours worked. It’s the hard work that most people won’t do because they’d rather be comfortable than stretched. It’s the sense of urgency that compels you to produce. Today.Right now. It’s the one, two, or three things that produce results and make a difference, the things you are going to point to as your contribution and your legacy.Are you working like you’re running out of time? You are running out of time.last_img read more

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Change the Outcome or Change the Investment

first_imgIf the outcome your prospective client wants exceeds the amount of money they can invest in obtaining it, something has to change. Either the outcome has to change, or the investment has to change. As it stands, they are in direct opposition to each other.Change the OutcomeChanging the expected outcome can make it possible for your prospective client to use their budget wisely and to generate some portion of the outcome they seek. Maybe achieving  80 percent of the original desired outcome makes more sense with the existing budget.If you find it difficult to speak with your prospective client about their inability to invest the right amount of money to achieve their desired outcomes, you are going to find it even more difficult to tell them that you failed to deliver that outcome because they failed to make the necessary investment. The time to have this conversation is before you agree to an investment that doesn’t match the outcome.You’re better off agreeing to a different outcome, even if it means a different solution, and even if it means you lose the business.Change the InvestmentAnyone can have anything they want, provided they’re willing to pay for it. They can have your gold plated solution if they are willing to make the necessary investment. They can have 24-hour service, as long as they pay for that service. They can have special concessions and customizations that no one else on earth can have, if they want to spend the money.In situations where there is a conflict between the desired outcome and the investment, increasing the investment eliminates any conflict in achieving a prospective client’s desired outcomes. If your prospective client insists on the outcome, you have to insist on the investment.We often fear the wrong dangers. We fear asking the prospective client for more money once they’ve told us their budget, when the real danger is taking their money and failing them.If your prospective client wants champagne, they need a budget to match their desire. If their budget dictates that they can only afford beer, they can only afford beer. Even if they really want champagne.last_img read more

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See Something. Say Something.

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now Seeing something and not saying something is condoning that behavior.I learned a great deal from the CEO for whom I worked for many years. If she walked into the lobby and it wasn’t impeccably clean, she would immediately move people to clean it up and improve the appearance. It mattered how we appeared to the outside world, and it made a statement about who we are.If a client had an issue that required a call she would insist that the call be made immediately, and the issue resolved as quickly as possible. This set a standard for how things were done. It became part of the culture. If there was a problem, we addressed it.You can take a long time to recognize that, as a leader, when you see something that isn’t right, allowing it to continue without saying something is condoning that behavior. This is true even when you don’t condone the behavior and you want it to be otherwise. In this case, silence is consent.You may want to believe that there is only so much bandwidth for correcting everything you see that’s not being done to the standard you set. You may want to believe that you need to keep some powder dry for the bigger issues. But this is more of a broken-windows sort of issue. By setting the standard on small things, you make it easier to set the standard on big things. There is no reason to keep your powder dry, and by refusing to consent to letting the small things go, you are raising the standard and making it easier not to let the big things go.As the leader you set the pace. You set the standard. You get to decide who you and your team are, what you stand for, and what you won’t stand for. If you don’t want to stand for a low standard, you cannot allow your silence to be consent. You cannot ignore an issue and allow people to believe you condone the behavior.last_img read more

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You Need A Theory for Why Your Dream Client Should Change

first_imgOne of the reasons prospecting is so difficult is because most of us swim in Red Oceans, crowded markets with fierce competition (read my new column on Forbes for more on Red Ocean strategy). In the Red Ocean, success requires that you displace your competitor, taking their clients from them while working to protect yours from being taken from you. When your dream client already has a partner, they often believe there is little cause to meet with another salesperson.Even if you have clear and compelling differentiation, unless your dream client believes that is true—or that it is even a possibility—gaining the Commitment for Time is difficult. Unless you know something that will benefit your dream client, it’s can be a real challenge to move your dream client to meet with you. To trade enough value in exchange for the time you are asking your prospective client to give you, you need to have some theory as to why they should change, even if you are less direct in your approach.What’s Changed?At some point in the past, your dream client changed from one partner to another partner. They didn’t go to the trouble to change for no reason. They changed partners because they were compelled by something—and someone—to do something to produce a better result. If your prospect is not already engaged in the process of changing, you have to provide the reason they should change for them. One of the places you might start this conversation is what has changed since they started working with their current partner.What has changed in your dream client’s industry that may be challenging them or providing them with opportunities?What has changed in your industry that has caused you to make changes to better serve your clients?When you look at the clients you have won this year, what were the factors that influenced their decision to do something different—and with you as their new partner?What you know here provides you with a potential theory why your dream client should change what they are doing—and who they have as a partner in those results.What Is Changing and Why?The truth about competitive displacements is that they take a lot of time and effort, both of which tend to be worthwhile investments because the clients you win tend to be large, strategic, and partner-oriented, all of which allows you to do your best work. When this is true, the time you spend working on being known as someone with ideas worth pursuing allows you to get way out in front of any opportunity for a displacement by nurturing the relationships you need. The time it takes provides you with an opportunity to share what is changing and why, building the case for change.What are the changes that are just visible now but with implications for your client’s future results?Why are these changes going to have a negative impact on what your dream client is doing now or how will they provide a new opportunity?Answering these questions provides you with a theory as to why your dream client needs to change now—or soon will. If you are calling them with the intention of displacing your competitor, your product, services, or solution isn’t likely to be enough to cause them to fire their longtime partner. If you don’t have a better reason for your prospective client to change, they aren’t likely to have one either. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Modi, Shah ‘dreaming of harming’ Uttar Pradesh: Mayawati

first_imgHitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, BSP supremo Mayawati today termed them as “guru—chela” who, she claimed, are .“dreaming of harming” Uttar Pradesh.“Guru and chela have together harmed the country…’guru’ means Modi and ‘chela’ means Shah… now, they together are dreaming of harming the state,” she alleged at an election rally here.BJP leaders have been referring to Mayawati and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, as ‘bua—bhatija’ (aunt and nephew) during campaigning.Referring to Shah’s ‘KASAB’ acronym for the Congress, SP and BSP, Mayawati reiterated, “There is no other Kasab (meaning terrorist) bigger than the BJP president… Gujarat is an example before you to see and ensure that this Kasab does not come (to power) here“.She said, “Muslims need to vote en masse for the BSP, whose Dalit vote is intact and is ready to defeat the BJP…if Muslims vote for the BSP, the BJP will get a setback and it will not be able to come to power in the state.” Alleging that minorities, especially Muslims, are being given “step—motherly treatment” she cautioned Muslims against voting for the SP, saying it would “directly benefit the BJP“.She also alleged that BJP will “end reservation by following the RSS agenda” or will make it ineffective.On BJP’s promise that the party would bring prosperity on coming to power in the state, Mayawati said, “After playing petty politics of graveyard—cremation ground, Kasab, slaughter houses and donkeys of Gujarat they are now making more promises.“They can make any promise they want like the ones made during the Lok Sabha polls, but people will not fall for it,” she said.Because of the wrong policies of the BJP—led government at the Centre and the SP government in Uttar Pradesh, 22 crore people of the state are angry and frustrated, Mayawati claimed.On the SP—Congress alliance, the BSP chief said, “The Samajwadi Party is considered symbolic to crime, corruption and ‘jungle raj’ People have to decide whether they will vote for the tainted face of SP—Congress or the clean one of BSP which has shown how the rule of law is imposed.”last_img read more

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Aadhaar cloud over Nepali students in U.P.

first_imgNearly 1,000 Nepali students enrolled in madrasas in the State might not be able to take the Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Board exams due to lack of Aadhaar cards which are mandatory for the test, a madrasa teachers’ body said on Tuesday.The situation has prompted the Madarise Arbia Teachers’ Association to write to the Madrasa Shiksha Parishad in this regard.“Forms of madrasa exams are being filled. If the mandatory provision of providing the Aadhaar number is not withdrawn, then 1,000 students hailing from Nepal will not be able to take the exam for munshi, maulvi, aalim, kaamil and faazil,” said MATA general secretary Diwan Sahab Jaman Khan.Nepalese citizens get birth and citizenship certificates, and based on one of these documents, they are given admissions to madrasas in India, he said.“The last date to fill the exam form is February 10, and without Aadhaar details, the forms will not be accepted,” Mr. Khan said.Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, however, said he isn’t aware of the issue. “We are yet to get any such case,” he said. On whether students from Nepal would be able to appear in the exams without Aadhaar, Mr. Sharma said, “If any such incident comes before the government, we will hold a department meeting and take a decision as per the provisions of our laws.”UPMEB Registrar Rahul Gupta said that the government has been apprised about the matter and he was awaiting directives.last_img read more

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Woman gang-raped, video uploaded on social media

first_imgA 40-year-old woman was raped by six youths in Rajasthan’s Baran district who filmed the crime and uploaded the video on social media, police said on Saturday, March 10, 2018. The crime was committed around a month ago but the victim lodged a report in Mahila police station of Baran district after she came to know about the video being uploaded on social media, they said. Police have booked the six persons under section 376 of the IPC and various sections of the IT Act but none of the accused have been arrested so far. The woman, who works as a labourer at a roadside dhaba in Kota, lodged a complaint on March 5 against the six youths, SHO Mahila police station, Baran Anis Ahamed said. The victim, in her complaint, alleged that around a month ago, when she reached Baran to visit her in-laws’ family, one of the accused, Chetan Meena (21), who was also familiar to her, took her on his motorbike to an isolated place near Samaspura village in pretext of dropping her to her destination. Five others joined Meena and they took turns to rape her, the victim said, alleging that the accused also filmed the crime on mobile. They dropped her near her in-laws’ house the next day and threatened to kill her family members if she disclosed the matter to others. She could gather the courage to file a police complaint only after she came to know that the video had been uploaded on the internet and was being circulated throughout the area, the SHO said. The victim’s statement would be recorded before a magistrate on Monday, the SHO said. Further investigation into the matter has been handed over to the DSP, Baran, the SHO added.last_img read more

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A battle between two political families

first_imgThe Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll scheduled for May 28 is set to witness a battle between two women from two politically powerful and rival families of western Uttar Pradesh. The BJP on Tuesday officially declared Mriganka Singh as its candidate. She will go head-to-head against former MP Tabassum Begum, who is strategically contesting on an RLD ticket but with the open support of the SP and understanding with the BSP.Mriganka Singh is the daughter of former Kairana MP and BJP stalwart Hukum Singh, whose death in February due to illness necessitated the bypoll. Tabassum Begum is the widow of Munawwar Hasan, who was MP from both Kairana and Muzaffarnagar seats in 1996 and 2004 before he died in a road accident in 2008. While Munawwar, whose father Athar Hasan was also an MP, contested on an SP ticket, his wife Tabassum won in 2009 after his death as a BSP candidate. In 2014, BJP’s Hukum Singh won the Kairana Lok Sabha seat, defeating Tabassum’s son Nahid Hasan, then only 26, by 2.35 lakh votes even though he secured an impressive 3.29 lakh votes, in a highly polarised contest post the Muzaffarnagar riots.An opportunity The bypoll will also provide an opportunity for Mriganka Singh to avenge her defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections at the hands of Nahid Hasan, who as an SP candidate defeated her by over 21,000 votes in Kairana despite a high-pitched campaign by the BJP on the controversial and polarising subject of exodus of Hindus. In that election, Hukum Singh’s nephew Anl Chauhan, unhappy over being ticket, contested on an RLD ticket, eventually helping Nahid Hasan widen the gap over Mirganka.While sources said the BJP is expected to raise the exodus issue again in the campaign, Mriganka will, to a large extent, rely on the legacy of her father. On the other hand, by fielding Tabassum on an RLD ticket, the SP has attempted to bridge the gap between Muslims and Jats almost five years after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal violence polarised the entire region and dismantled old political arithmetic between the two communities.The nomination will help keep the RLD relevant while safeguarding the opposition against potential communal polarisation which would have become imminent had Tabassum contested on an SP ticket without the RLD involvement. Tabassum will file her nomination on Wednesday and the RLD plans to put up a show of strength on the occasion, with more Hindu Jats than Muslims expected to be visible, as per strategy.“Eighty per cent Jats are are already with us. After campaigning that will reach 90%. This election will heal all remaining wounds between Jats and Muslims,” Masood Ahmed, RLD UP president, told The Hindu.However, BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said the RLD had become an irrelevant party and the legacy and development work of Hukum Singh would see his daughter through comfortably. “The RLD is not in a position to contest elections. All votes for development, oppressed classes, farmers and backwards will go to the BJP,” Mr. Chandramohan said. The RLD had won the Kairana seat in 1999 and 2004. In 2014, under the Modi wave, the BJP had secured 5.65 lakh votes , which was more than the votes of the RLD, the BSP and the SP combined.BJP bypolls candidatesApart from Ms. Singh’s candidature from Kairana for the Lok Sabha bypoll, the BJP on Tuesday evening announced candidates for four Assembly bypolls too. The party has fielded Avani Singh for the U.P. Assembly bypoll from Noorpur, Madhav Lal Singh from Gomia in Jharkhand, Munni Devi from Tharali in Uttarakhand and Sujit Ghosh, a retired police officer, from Maheshtala in West Bengal.last_img read more

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State issues new rules for star-category hotels, hospitals

first_imgThe Maharashtra government has issued a fresh set of guidelines for star-category hotels and hospitals to streamline construction activities in hill stations, that have become rampant. The new rules, made applicable to Lonavala for a start, make it mandatory for hotels to construct a service floor, and hospitals to have space for treatment plants and other infrastructure under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation. The rules will be extended to other tourist spots and hill stations soon, officials said. The changes made to the Development Control Rules (DCR) make it mandatory to have a service floor of not more than 1.8 metres’ height to maintain facilities such as water supply, sewage disposal units and electricity stations under one roof. “This is to ensure construction activities for hotels are more coordinated, which is not the case in hill stations where it is more frequent and fast,” said an official of the State Urban Development Department. The changes have been introduced keeping in mind ‘public interest’, and will be included as “new” regulations in the DCR. “In most of these hotels, facilities such as power and sewage plants are not coordinated and maintained. This leads developers to tinker with the structure and the floor space index,” an official said.Lonavala is spread over 37 sq. km. and about 450 new building permissions are granted by the local corporation every year, severely burdening the existing infrastructure. The hill station is home to more than 10,000 registered properties.last_img read more

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Boycott everything Kashmiri, tweets Tathagata Roy

first_imgMeghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Tuesday tweeted that he was “inclined to agree” with an unnamed retired Army officer’s call to boycott everything Kashmiri, including the Amarnath Yatra, as a response to the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel on February 14.“An appeal from a retired colonel of the Indian Army: Don’t visit Kashmir, don’t go to Amarnath for the next 2 years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesman who come every winter. Boycott everything Kashmiri. I am inclined to agree,” read his tweet.Replying to a tweet by retired Major Gaurav Arya, the Meghalaya Governor suggested that the Indian Army should take a leaf out of the book of its Pakistan counterpart in dealing with Kashmiris.“The Pakistan Army (who are handling the Kashmiri separatists) was among their own in East Pakistan in 1971. They slaughtered and raped right and left. And they would have kept EP but for the whacking from India. I am not suggesting that we go that far. But at least some distance (sic)?” Mr. Roy said on Twitter.Sharp reactionsHis tweets have attracted sharp reactions with some saying his comments virtually absolved Pakistan by shifting the blame for the attack on Kashmiris.Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in reply to Mr. Roy’s tweets: “People like Tathagata want Kashmir but without Kashmiris. They’d sooner see us driven into the sea. He’ll be best placed to know he can’t have one without the other so what’s it to be?”Not new to controversiesMr. Roy had posted controversial tweets even when he was the Governor of Tripura.On March 23, 2015, he tweeted on the ‘fighting back’ nature of Hindus by pointing out: “One exception was Gujarat, 2002. I’m glad you appreciate what the Hindus did then.”Four months later, on July 31, he tweeted that many people who attended the last rites of 1993 Mumbai blast accused Yakub Memon were “potential terrorists”.last_img read more

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Madha LS seat: Sanjay Shinde is NCP’s candidate

first_imgEnding the suspense over the candidature of the Madha Lok Sabha constituency in Solapur, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday announced the nomination of Solapur Zilla Parishad president Sanjay Shinde for it.Speaking in Baramati, Mr. Pawar also announced the candidacy of Ranajagjitsinha Patil, son of NCP stalwart and former MP Padamsinha Patil, for the Osmanabad Lok Sabha constituency.Earlier, the NCP top brass announced that Mr. Pawar himself would be contesting from Madha until he withdrew earlier this month. Mr. Shinde, an influential figure in Solapur’s politics, is the brother of Babanrao Shinde, the NCP legislator from the Madha Assembly constituency. He is also a supporter of NCP leader Ajit Pawar and an adversary of the Mohite-Patil clan.Mr. Shinde had managed to win the Solapur Zilla Parishad with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As a result, the announcement of his candidature is considered a homecoming of sorts to the NCP. “He is not re-entering the NCP fold. He was already a member of our family. I have full confidence that [Mr. Shinde] and his associates will work for the welfare of Solapur and win the Madha Lok Sabha with more votes than I secured in 2009,” Mr. Pawar said. He further said that the NCP-Congress alliance would win the maximum seats in Maharashtra in the general election.Mr. Pawar’s decision to field Mr. Shinde is seen as an attempt to weaken the hold of his fellow partyman, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, the present MP of Madha, over Solapur. Mr. Shinde’s candidacy also satisfies Mr. Ajit, another adversary of the Mohite-Patil clan.Thanking Mr. Pawar and Mr. Ajit for advocating his candidacy, Mr. Shinde said, “Those entrusted with the leadership of Solapur made some mistakes. This began in 2010-11 when the administration of local establishments, including sugar cooperatives, was being mishandled. As a result, constituents were drifting away from the NCP.”Mr. Shinde also said that while he had complained about the local NCP leadership in the past, he never drifted away from the party’s ideology and he had remained loyal to Mr. Pawar and Mr. Ajit.Meanwhile, the BJP may field Rohan Deshmukh, the son of BJP leader and State Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh, to take on Mr. Shinde in the coming election.last_img read more

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Supreme Court cancels bail of ex-Minister Yogendra Sao

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the bail of former Jharkhand Minister Yogendra Sao, against whom several cases of rioting and instigating violence have been registered. A Bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde said it is satisfied that there have been breach of bail conditions imposed on Sao in December 2017 as his “unauthorised presence” was found in Jharkhand. Sao had been directed to stay in Bhopal. The apex court comprising justices S.A. Nazeer and Indira Banerjee transferred the trial in 18 criminal cases against Sao and his MLA wife Nirmala Devi, an accused in similar cases, from Hazaribagh to Ranchi. Wife’s bail stays However, the top court rejected the State government’s plea seeking cancellation of Nirmala Devi’s bail, saying the deviations in bail conditions in her case were minor in nature. It refused to accept Devi’s prayer to allow her to stay in Patna instead of Bhopal. On January 21, the Jharkhand government had told the apex court that Sao was threatening an investigating officer posted in Barkagaon police station in Hazaribagh district and a case has been registered against him. The State government had asked for cancellation of Sao and Devi’s bail, saying they were not staying in Bhopal as directed by the top court and also did not attend trial court proceedings when they were in Jharkhand. On January 15, the apex court had asked Sao and his wife to explain on how many occasions they did not attend trial court proceedings despite being in the State. The top court had also asked the couple about the circumstances in which they were out of Bhopal, saying the exception granted to them was that they would enter Jharkhand only to attend trial court proceedings. Both Sao and Devi were granted bail on December 15, 2017, by the top court and they were directed to stay in Bhopal as a bail condition. They were allowed to visit Jharkhand only for court hearings under police protection after intimating Bhopal superintendent of police. The Jharkhand government has said that out of 260 days, Sao had been in Jharkhand for more than 150 days and hardly spent 25 days in Bhopal. It has claimed that Sao travelled out of Bhopal on 24 occasions, out of which he travelled to Delhi a dozen times.last_img read more

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Dragonflies Lack ‘Smell Center,’ but Can Still Smell

first_imgDragonflies are full of surprises. They have six legs, but most can’t walk. Their giant, 30,000-lens eyes can detect ultraviolet light. And though they lack the brain architecture normally required for a sense of smell, a new study finds that dragonflies may use odors to hunt prey.Smelling, as we humans understand it, requires certain hardware. Our noses are packed with olfactory receptors, each of which is tuned to a precise scent molecule. (Indeed, a recent study suggests we can detect a trillion smells.) When one wafts into our nostrils, these receptors send nerve signals to sensory way stations called glomeruli, which pass them along to the brain for interpretation—“Oh, a rose!” Glomeruli are shared by most terrestrial mammals and insects, and until now, scientists believed they represented the only possible route to a sense of smell. Because dragonflies and their close cousins, damselflies, don’t possess glomeruli or any higher order smell centers in their brains, most scientists believed these insects were unable to smell anything at all.Invertebrate biologist Manuela Rebora at the University of Perugia in Italy was not one of them. When her team took a closer look at dragonfly and damselfly antennae with an electron microscope, they spotted tiny bulbs in pits that resembled olfactory sensilla. Like the insect equivalent of a nose, these sensilla house olfactory neurons. When Rebora’s team exposed the suspected sensilla to scents, they emitted nerve pulses, supporting the idea that damselflies and dragonflies perceive odors.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But to count as a sense of smell, the sensilla would have to do more than chemically react to scents. Their signals would have to actually affect behavior in dragonflies and damselflies. So the researchers built a wind tunnel where fruit flies—a dragonfly delicacy—were concealed behind a cotton screen through which odors could pass. Damselflies gravitated to the spot of the screen just on the other side of the fruit fly cluster, providing the first evidence that scents guide damselfly and dragonfly behavior, the team reports this month in the Journal of Insect Physiology.The results have triggered a debate over what a bona fide sense of smell truly looks like. “No olfactory glomeruli and no higher olfactory processing suggests [dragonflies’] ability to detect a range of odors is strongly limited,” says neuroscientist Nicholas Strausfeld of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who was not involved with the research. This could be the remnants of a regular olfactory system that devolved as dragonfly vision improved, he says.This discovery of smell sans glomeruli echoes a recent one in carrot psyllid bugs, and together, they may open a new view into how olfactory structures are organized, says Joshua Martin, a biologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who was not involved with the research.But the biggest takeaway is that scientists should be careful before declaring an animal can’t sense something, says Robert Olberg, an insect neuroscientist at Union College in Schenectady, New York, who was not involved with the research. “Animals do surprise you.”last_img read more

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As U.S. Climate Changes, White House Embraces the Science Like Never Before

first_imgThe White House has just released its new National Climate Assessment (NCA), and its central scientific message will be familiar to climate scientists and the White House press corps. Climate impacts are already apparent in the United States, they are likely to worsen, and communities should begin factoring climate change into all kinds of decisions. From Hawaii to Maine, from the fishing industry to manufacturing, the report’s 30 chapters emphasize that “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.”What’s new, however, is that after putting climate issues somewhat on the back burner prior to the 2012 elections, the Obama administration is now giving a full-throated, multiday endorsement to the 1300-page document. Top White House adviser John Podesta and several climate scientists are briefing the press this morning, and President Barack Obama will be sitting down today with TV meteorologists in a series of interviews pegged to the report. This afternoon, visiting “stakeholders” from around the country will gather for a high-profile White House briefing and listening session, the first of a series planned around the country in the coming months.Today’s assessment is the third official report produced under a 1990 law that instituted the NCA. “Hundreds of the best climate scientists from across the U.S., not just in the public sector but in the private sector as well, have worked over the last 4 years to produce this report,”  Podesta told the White House press corps during yesterday’s daily press briefing. “It will contain a huge amount of practical, usable knowledge that state and local decision-makers can take advantage of as they plan on or for the impacts of climate change.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)White House science adviser John Holdren told reporters this morning that the report would “reinforce” all three parts of Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan: cutting greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to impacts, and leading internationally. Whether that happens, this is by far the fullest embrace of the assessment process in its tumultuous 24-year history. President Bill Clinton had to fight Congress for years to publish the first national assessment, which came out in 2000. A conservative group sued to stop President George W. Bush from publishing a second one. That administration also scrubbed mention of the 2000 report from official documents, angering climate advocates. An environmental group even sued in 2006 to force Bush to publish the report, then 2 years late; it is supposed to be quadrennial. (Here’s a historical blow-by-blow, by a former federal climate office official.) Insiders consider the second official report, published with little fanfare in 2009 during the early days of Obama’s first term, as a “stillborn” effort.Still, some Washington science policy veterans consider the assessment a rather unique effort for a scientific endeavor, because it includes input from local groups and industries facing possible climate impacts in the future. For instance, scientists and activists involved in the original massive effort that produced the initial 2000 report say the 2014 version also has a strong “bottom-up” flavor. The dozen or so federal agencies that assembled today’s report sponsored some 70 workshops and “listening sessions” over the past 4 years, allowing local groups to not only give input but also shape the report’s form. In addition, small federal grants to state and local nonprofit groups, policymakers, business owners, and academics allowed them to submit formal “input reports” that gave federal officials access to local know-how.The overall message: “We have enough information on climate to act and we know it’s happening,” says climatologist Victoria Keener, among the recipients of the grants. Keener works for the Honolulu-based East-West Center, a nonprofit. As part of her group’s contribution to the NCA, she led a diverse group in 2012 in publishing a 170-page report called Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts. (It’s part of a project called the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment, or PIRCA.) Several of PIRCA’s findings, touching on fishing, sea level rise, disaster planning, and much else, “made it into the final report,” she says. So did one of her document’s anecdotes: It relates how Steve Jacobs, the vice president of a landfill in Waianae, Hawaii, used climate prediction information on La Niña in 2010 to drive a decision to spend $300,000 to upgrade his facility’s storm water system. “When the rain hit we were ready,” he says.Keener and others are hopeful that the NCA has catalyzed a process that doesn’t stop with the publication of the massive document today. And to keep the buzz going, a federal climate office has created discussion boards, planned follow-on meetings, and organized local organizing committees to follow up on the report with meaningful climate adaptation and resilience planning.For her part, Keener says that the White House effort has helped drive local regulatory decisions and government interest, including a ruling by a local water board to alter policies in light of predictions of future dry conditions. (See these minutes, page 5.) And Jacobs says he’s expecting more extreme events in the coming years, and has helped lead local efforts to improve planning for hurricanes on the islands. “We believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he says.The White House and its hundreds of scientist allies are hoping that kind of thinking makes the NCA the rare report in Washington—one that has a real-world impact.But some outsiders say the report could have gone further. The World Wildlife Fund’s Nicky Sundt, a former federal official with the U.S. Global Change Research Program, lauds the new report as part of “a permanent process” to spin out subsequent updates and reports as the nation prepares for climate change. But he says the federal advisory committee that oversees the report, which includes both government and nongovernment members, prevented the process from including “some of the most important policy issues. … There’s nothing in the report on budgets, nothing on national security.”last_img read more

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Sugar helps fuel bitter nutrition debate in U.S., U.K.

first_imgEfforts are under way to convince both American and British consumers to eat healthier foods—and today, government-led proposals on both sides of the Atlantic are, predictably, generating much debate.In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today held a public meeting to discuss draft changes it proposed in February to its Nutrition Facts label, the cliff notes summarizing the amount of fats, protein, carbohydrates, sugars, and more found in food and beverages. FDA hasn’t overhauled the food label since 1993. Since then, obesity rates, eating patterns, and our understanding of various nutrients have changed substantially. “The evidence requires a rethinking,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. That’s the one point upon which everyone seems to agree—but reaching consensus looks unlikely. FDA has received more than 4000 comments on its draft proposal and recently extended the comment period to early August.Like other nutritional advocates, Jacobson, who spoke at today’s meeting in downtown Washington, D.C., embraces FDA’s suggestion to include so-called added sugars—sugars that are added to foods—to labels. “Added sugars exert deleterious health effects beyond empty calories,” agreed Frank Hu, who studies nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston and who also spoke. There’s “compelling evidence,” he argued, that they contribute to obesity and diabetes as well as to other health problems. One question, though, was whether simply listing the amount of added sugars, as FDA proposes, is sufficient. Jacobson wants the agency to include the amount as a percentage of a recommended daily dose—after all, consumers are unlikely to deduce whether 1 gram, 5 grams, or 15 grams are problematic unless they’re provided context. FDA says it lacks a scientific basis for setting such a limit.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)That’s one place FDA diverges from the United Kingdom’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. It released a behemoth 366-page report earlier today recommending that the population as a whole have an average consumption of “free sugar” that’s 5% of the diet. (Free sugar includes added sugars, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit juices.) In both countries, people consume far more added sugar than is considered healthy; in the United States, it makes up on average 16% of calories.Industry groups are not happy with some of the recommendations. “We believe certain aspects of the proposal lack some merit, particularly the addition of added sugar,” said Donna Garren, who was representing the American Frozen Food Institute at the FDA meeting. A BBC story about the U.K. proposal quoted the sugar industry saying that “demonising one ingredient” will not solve the epidemic of obesity.FDA is proposing numerous other changes to its nutrition label. Among them: dropping the requirement to list how much vitamin A and vitamin C are in foods, because evidence suggests deficiencies in those vitamins are rare. Instead, FDA wants manufacturers to list how much vitamin D and potassium their foods include, because of the importance of the first in bone health and the second in controlling blood pressure.As nutritional science advances and, in some cases, becomes increasingly nuanced, there’s concern that efforts to simplify labels so consumers can quickly understand them risk going too far. FDA, for example, wants to enlarge the calorie count in foods. Hu understands this instinct, but points out that calories aren’t everything—highlighting them risks sending customers to buy products with artificial sweeteners that are less healthy, rather than high-calorie foods such as nuts and seeds that are more healthy. FDA is proposing removing the “Calories from Fat” label, because more and more evidence suggests that certain fats are good for you.After lunch today, speaker after speaker stood up to comment on FDA’s plan, usually suggesting the agency was either not doing enough or going too far. Should sodium recommendations be lower? Should phosphorus be added to labels, as a useful guide for people with kidney disease who may need to keep an eye on phosphorus intake? Should FDA’s food labels try to reduce intake of saturated fat? The list goes on—along with the research parsing the many variables of our diets.last_img read more

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Arctic sea ice loss responsible for Eurasia’s deep chill

first_imgA deadly winter cold wave settled over Europe at the end of January 2012, blanketing much of the continent with snow and ultimately causing more than 800 deaths. Such severe winters are becoming more common across Eurasia—and some scientists contend that sea ice loss, by altering circulation patterns, is ultimately to blame for these frequent deep chills. But as climate simulations haven’t yet parsed out the atmospheric response to the loss of sea ice, its influence on Eurasian winters remains a question mark. Now, a new modeling study finds a link between these winters and the decline of sea ice in a part of the Arctic Ocean known as the Barents-Kara sea region, bordering Norway and Russia. The researchers identified several key circulation patterns that affected the winter temperatures from 1979 to 2013, particularly the Arctic Oscillation (a climate pattern that circulates around the Arctic Ocean and tends to confine colder air to the polar latitudes) and a second pattern they call Warm Arctic and Cold Eurasia (WACE), which they found correlates to sea ice loss as well as to particularly strong winters. WACE has been going strong since about 2004 or 2005—and as a result, the probability of severe winters has more than doubled in central Eurasia, they report online today in Nature Geoscience. But these severe winters may be a temporary phase within longer term warming: By the end of the century, the researchers report, the Arctic Oscillation could overpower the cooling effect from WACE—and winter temperatures over Eurasia will gradually increase.last_img read more

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Less tasty shrimp, thanks to climate change

first_imgClimate change won’t just harm marine life—it could also affect how it tastes. A new study finds that as oceans become more acidic—thanks to the carbon dioxide emissions they suck up—they will sour the flavor of shrimp. Researchers took hundreds of northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis, pictured) and put them in tanks with water either of current acidity (pH 8) or projected acidity for 2100 (pH 7.5). The waters were 11°C, at the higher end of the range that shrimp can normally tolerate. The researchers chose that temperature to put their bodies under stress and thus make acidification’s effects stand out more. After 3 weeks, the team counted the number of surviving shrimp and did a taste test with 30 connoisseurs. Shrimp from less acidic waters were 3.4 times as likely to be judged the tastiest, while those from more acidic waters were 2.6 times as likely to be rated the worst tasting. Moreover, shrimp in the more acidic waters were 1.6 times as likely to die, the researchers reported last month in the Journal of Shellfish Research. The findings don’t doom the shrimp industry, but they do show how ocean acidification’s effects on seafood could extend well beyond simple matters of future seafood supplies to issues like quality. It’s possible, the researchers say, that shrimp may find a way to adjust, at least somewhat, to higher acidity in the long run and that acidification may have slightly different effects at different temperatures.last_img read more

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Lists for Fools

first_imgIndra Nooyi, head of soft drink giant PepsiCo, outranks Sonia Gandhi, widely recognized as the real power behind Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in this year’s Forbes annual list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, which is headed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazil’s Pres. Dilma Rousseff.Nooyi is no doubt a highly successful chief executive of a very prominent global company. But honestly, the idea that the head of a company that Apple CEO Steve Jobs once famously ridiculed was in the business of peddling “sugar water,” is more powerful than the power rider behind the world’s second-largest  economically-turbocharged country, is a reflection of the lopsided editorial judgment and naievete of the world’s foremost capitalist magazine.Indeed, Forbes’ list ranks Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates ahead of Gandhi too. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama ranks just behind Gandhi. Forbes’ much ballyhooed influential rankings — for that matter all such people power rankings, “Most Influential South Asians,” “Person of the Year,” etc., etc., — are unquestionably entertaining and popular, but they are neither credible nor of any journalistic reliability or value. What these rankings really are about is that they are fat cash cows for savvy media organizations to milk advertisers and sponsors in conjunction with the opportunities they afford to self-absorbed people to hobnob with other equally self-important (and frequently insecure) people.Forbes explained its ranking methodology as being based in part on its other equally dubious lists, such as its Celebrity 100 for lifestyle and net worth from its World’s Billionaires list “for those with 10 figure bank accounts.” It also factored in “Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube views” for the people it ranked. Guess who doesn’t count in such matrixes? It certainly wasn’t their social media profile that got the only two other Indians, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar (43) and Biocon Founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (99), on the list.The richest people and companies — such as Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s largest companies or the world’s richest — are atleast based on measurable criteria of wealth, and even they hit and miss, because not all assets are in accessible public databases.Bottom line: Read these lists for their titillation value by all means, but don’t let any schmuck in a newsroom tell you who the most powerful or influential person in any field is. Unless you are angling for their list of fools. Related Itemslast_img read more

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