Month: August 2019 Page 1 of 8

Generally Speaking A Primer on General Relativity

first_img“The one sentence statement of general relativity is that ‘gravity is the curvature of spacetime,’” explains Dr. Sean Carroll, assistant professor of physics at the University of Chicago. “Really, the differences come in understanding what that sentence means.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Carroll says that origin of the theory of general relativity dates to 1905, when scientists, notably including Albert Einstein, realized that space and time are related characteristics of a four-dimensional existence. “When you meet someone for coffee,” says Carroll, “you have to give four numbers of where to meet. Three of them are in space — latitude, longitude, and height above ground — and the fourth is what time to meet.”However, within this new 4-D framework, says Carroll, Einstein could not understand gravity, and how it worked in spacetime. He decided that rather than being a force, like electromagnetism, gravity must be a property: a geometric curvature. Even though we agree that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees, this rule changes when a curve is involved. When that same triangle is put on a sphere, the angles add up to more than 180 degrees. Likewise, when the curvature of spacetime is recognized, the basic rules thought to apply to gravity are changed.Lately, though, general relativity has been looked at closely. Carroll says that while no evidence exists for the overthrow of the theory of general relativity, there are some points where general relativity may not apply. “General relativity is doing really well,” he explains to, “but there are two places where it might break down.”These two places, Carroll says, have to do with very short distances and on very large scales. With very short distances, in terms of quantum mechanics, there are problems with gravity and with general relativity. The theory does not apply in the same way as it does with longer spacetime distances. “In classical general relativity, spacetime has a geometry; in quantum gravity, there should be a wave function that tells us what the likelihood is that spacetime has one of various geometries,” Carroll explains. Even though no experiment exists yet that has cracked the theory of quantum gravity, a new test is being developed in Europe to try and work toward just that (read about it on other breakdown might occur on large scales. There is still much about the larger scales that remain hypothetical. General relativity is one of those things. “There is still a question of how much curvature is caused by a certain amount of energy and mass,” says Carroll. “Einstein suggested an equation that related energy to the curvature of spacetime, but it may be right in some circumstances and not in others.” He explains that breaking down dark energy and matter is necessary to understand the implications, but that, so far, their existence is only known through their gravity. “That could be a sign that general relativity breaks down at this scale.”Carroll also addresses the case of special relativity. “Special relativity is special because it is a special case of general relativity. General relativity is, well, general, and special relativity is one particular case.”In the case of special relativity, gravity is “turned off.” Carroll explains that gravity can be ignored in this subset because it is such a weak force. “Special relativity deals with the idea that different people moving at different velocities will have different perceptions of what they see, and gravity is not taken into account.” But, he continues, work with particle accelerators show that special relativity is extremely accurate for many experiments.Understanding general relativity is more a function of realizing that gravity is a property of spacetime, and one of its properties is gravity, which is actually a curvature. The effects we see, explains Carroll, comes from the fact that particles cannot move in a straight line. “Particles are trying to move in straight lines,” he says, “but there are no straight lines because spacetime is curved.”By Miranda Marquit, Copyright 2006 PhysOrg.comcenter_img Citation: Generally Speaking: A Primer on General Relativity (2006, April 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Researchers Demonstrate Quantum Teleportation and Memory in Tandem

first_img Citation: Researchers Demonstrate Quantum Teleportation and Memory in Tandem (2008, January 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further Coupling qubits to sound in a multimode cavity This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img In research that may be a key step toward real-life quantum communication—the transmission of information using atoms, photons, or other quantum objects—researchers created an experiment in which a quantum bit of information is transported across a distance of seven meters and briefly stored in memory. This is the first time that both quantum memory and teleportation, as the information transfer is known, have been demonstrated in a single experiment. The experiment was performed by scientists from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the University of Science and Technology of China, and the Atomic Institute of the Austrian Universities in Austria. The work was led by Prof. Jian-Wei Pan, a physicist at the University of Heidelberg.A quantum bit, or qubit, is the most basic unit of quantum information. It takes the form of a particular configuration, or “state,” of an atom or photon. Unlike a traditional computer bit, the most basic piece of information a computer can store, qubits represent the superposition of “0” and “1,” rather than either a 0 or 1. Additonally, a qubit cannot be copied in the traditional sense. It can only be transferred, without leaving any trace of the original.Quantum teleportation is the way to transfer an unknown quantum state to a distant location without getting any information about the state in the course of this transfer. When a qubit is teleported across a distance, the process is remarkable in that the sending and receiving qubits are not physically connected in any way, and do not “know” of each other’s existence. But through a quantum phenomenon called entanglement, one qubit is nonetheless able to assume the quantum state of another without physically interacting with it.In the present research, described in the January 20 online edition of Nature Physics, an unknown quantum state of a photonic qubit is transferred into quantum memory via teleportation and is stored by two clusters of rubidium atoms. Each cluster contains approximately one million atoms, collected by a magneto-optical trap. The teleported photonic qubit can be stored in memory and read out up to eight microseconds (millionths of a second) before the state is lost.“Such an interface to map the quantum states of photons onto the quantum states of matter, and to retrieve them without destroying the quantum character of the stored information, is an essential part of future quantum technologies,” said Pan to “It represents an important step towards efficient and scalable connection of quantum networks.”The quantum states carried by the photonic qubits are encoded in the photons’ polarization, or the alignment of the photons’ emitted electric fields. Each rubidium cluster encodes the information as a collective spin state over all of the electrons in the cluster. Like other unchangeable properties like mass and charge, spin, or angular momentum, is an intrinsic characteristic of an electron.First, the research group entangled the polarization state of the photons and the spin state of the atom clusters. This entanglement is then exploited to teleport the unknown state of a single photonic qubit onto an atomic qubit seven meters away. This is done by taking a simultaneous measurement of the entangled photons and the photon to be teleported. Taking that measurement entangles the two photons and projects the second photon’s state onto the atom clusters.This setup does have some serious problems. The quantum memory duration is very short and the probability that the photon will be teleported is low. Therefore, the researchers say that “significant improvements” need to be made before the scheme could be used in practical applications.Citation: Yu-Ao Chen, Shuai Chen, Zhen-Sheng Yuan, Bo Zhao, Chih-Sung Chuu, Jörg Schmiedmayer & Jian-Wei Pan Nature Physics advance online publication, 20 January 2008 (DOI:10.1038/nphys832).Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of read more

Scientists Measure Differences Between Normal and Cancer Cell Surfaces

first_img Molecular Imaging of Cells Likely with New Take on Atomic Force Microscopy Scanning electron microscope images of a cancerous (left) and normal cell, showing the differences in cell “brush.” Image courtesy Igor Sokolov. ( — Scientists know that cancerous cells and normal cells have different physical features, but the details of these differences, and why they occur, are not well understood. In a recent edition of Nature Nanotechnology, researchers report measurements of certain physical differences between the surfaces of normal and cancerous cells, suggesting a new way to characterize cancer cells and a possible route for detection. Explore further The group, composed of researchers from the Nanoengineering and Biotechnology Laboratories Center at Clarkson University, was studying human cervical cells. Led by Igor Sokolov, they focused on the cells’ surface features, including microridges and hair-like microvilii, which, perhaps acting like sensors, are one key way that the cells interact with their environment. Together, these features form a cell’s “brush.”They found that normal cervical cells tend to have a brush layer consisting of a single average length – 2.4 micrometers (millionths of a meter) – while the cancerous cells have mostly two typical lengths – 2.6 and 0.45 micrometers. Additionally, their analysis showed that the long cancer-cell brush is about half as dense as that of the normal-cell brush while the short cancer-cell brush is more than twice as dense.The group made these findings using an atomic force microscope (AFM), a high-resolution device that can resolve details down to a fraction of a nanometer. The AFM works by scanning a surface with a tiny cantilever, a beam supported on one end so that it can move up and down. In an AFM, the beam is tipped with a nanometer-scale curved needle often made of silicon or silicon nitride. When brought near a sample, forces between the needle tip and the surface cause the cantilever to deflect. When the entire surface is scanned, the result is a set of force data that represents a surface map of the sample. By analyzing the forces, researchers can recover the nature and type of surface interactions. In previous studies, scientists treated the surface of a cell as flat. In their work, the Clarkson researchers used various supporting techniques, including electron microscopy and confocal scanning laser microscopy, to show that the cell surface is sufficiently “brushy” to be visible in the AFM data. The researchers processed the forces using a “brush on soft surface” model, the type of model used to study polymer brushes (polymer chains tethered to a surface). Prior to this work, scientists had not looked at cell brush in this way.The AFM method has an edge over other microscopy techniques, such as electron microscopy, because it can work with viable cells, avoiding misrepresentations of the cell structure and saving time on sample preparation.More information: Nature Nanotechnology advance online publication 12 April 2009, DOI:10.1038/nnano.2009.77© 2009 Citation: Scientists Measure Differences Between Normal and Cancer Cell Surfaces (2009, May 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Lightbeam from Mozilla shines light on online tracking

first_img Firefox has Click-to-Play cure for plugin plague More information: Explore further Citation: Lightbeam from Mozilla shines light on online tracking (2013, October 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Mozilla is now announcing a way to see who is watching you with its release of an add-on called Lightbeam. This is a Firefox add-on that will help Firefox users to both see and understand who is behind the data-tracking curtain. Announced Friday by Mozilla, the software community behind the Firefox browser, the plug-in is to show how one’s Internet browsing is being monitored. You can stop Lightbeam at any time by disabling it or uninstalling the add-on. Your Lightbeam data can be easily saved or deleted. Mozilla’s team points out that the “bad” in tracking lies in our lack of awareness of who is tracking and why. “Not all tracking is bad. Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content and enhance your online experience. But tracking can happen without the user’s knowledge,” according to Mozilla. “It should be you who decides when, how and if you want your browsing data to be shared. We recognize the importance of transparency and our mission is all about empowering users—both with tools and information.”Once the curtain is lifted, the Mozilla idea is that the user can make better, informed decisions about protecting privacy. Lightbeam reveals the parts of tracking that are not transparent to the average user. Viewers get to see third-party sites that one interacts with on the Web. Lightbeam shows relationships between these third parties and the sites you visit, relationships which one may not have been aware.Lightbeam comes to users via a download produced by Mozilla. The browser extension can create a real-time graph of all of the tracking cookies being deposited on your browser in your daily travels across sites. The add-on has three graphic representations, Graph, Clock and List. The Graph view is a visualization of every site you visit and third-party requests made from your browser. The Clock view shows connections over a 24-hour period. The List view has options for zooming in.Meantime, Mozilla is asking users’ help so that they can learn something too. Users can contribute their data to Mozilla’s Lightbeam database, a central open database showing how first- and third-party sites are connected to each other. Mozilla said, “Data from Lightbeam can help us and others to understand third party relationships on the web and promote further research in the field of online tracking and privacy.”The user also has the opportunity to disable crowdsourcing, however. The user can turn it off at any time. Lightbeam has its own “Privacy Notice,” in which Mozilla says, ” If you choose to send Lightbeam data to Mozilla (that’s us), our privacy policy describes how we handle that data.” The code for Lightbeam has been posted to Github. Lightbeam was funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Lightbeam was also helped by students at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, in implementing visualizations for the add-on.center_img ( —Marketing professionals often tell the public that tracking Website visitors has its positive side. After all, businesses offering services can transform the data they collect to produce more relevant ads and promotional content for users. They can get a better grip on customer tastes. Retailers can keep up with user preferences so that customers can get what they want. All the same, one cannot take away that uncomfortable human response that someone from behind a curtain, which is not see-through, is watching you. The concept of tracking and being tracked is one that raises concerns for more than just a few. © 2013 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Models suggest little brown bats more susceptible to fungus than bigger bats

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Big eared townsend bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) Credit: Public Domain Journal information: Science Advances Citation: Models suggest little brown bats more susceptible to fungus than bigger bats (2016, February 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore further More information: D. T. S. Hayman et al. Environment, host, and fungal traits predict continental-scale white-nose syndrome in bats, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500831center_img © 2016 (—A team of researchers with members from several institutions in New Zealand and the U.S. has found, via modeling, that little brown bats in North America are likely more susceptible to dying due to a certain fungal infection than bigger brown bats, due to their size and habitat. The team has published their results in the journal Science Advances. Scientists and environmentalists alike have become concerned as the number of little brown bats in North America dying due to a fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome, has climbed into the millions. The fungus attacks the facial skin while the bats are hibernating, causing them to wake from hibernation early—that in turn causes them to die from exposure due to early expenditure of energy reserves. Prior studies have shown that other bats in North America and Europe are not harmed by the fungus and that has led to this newest effort to find out why there is such a stark difference between species.To learn more, the researchers conducted simulations to better understand the conditions that lead to fungal growth and then developed models based on the simulations they ran. Next they built models that mimicked the energy requirements of hibernating bats, taking into account the energy needs for the little brown bats, big brown bats, and also their European cousins, serotine and greater mouse-eared bats. They also noted that white-nose syndrome is relatively new to North America—prior studies have indicated the fungus migrated from Europe.In studying the results offered by all of the models, the researchers found that the energy requirements of hibernating bats varied by species as did metabolic rates, and that both were related to size. They also found that the fungus showed faster growth in areas of high humidity. The team also noted that the little brown bats, besides being smaller than all the others under study, also tended to hibernate in more humid parts of the country.Taken together, the data from the models suggests that it is likely the reason that little brown bats are more susceptible to dying from the fungus is because of their smaller size and because they hibernate in areas where the fungus grows faster. The team also suggests that European bats may have evolved traits that help them fight off the fungus—over their much longer history with the disease. Explaining species differences in bat mortality from white-nose syndromelast_img read more

When art meets Heritage

What happens when art meets heritage? The Ananya Dance Festival will bring you the answer. One of the most awaited classical dance festivals, it features specially designed group choreographs that light up the majestic Old Fort every year.The five-day classical dance extravaganza is in its 11th year. It is organised by the Department of Art, Culture, Languages of the Government of Delhi and Seher in association with Archaeological Survey of India [ASI], which celebrates its 150 years. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘Ananya is an attempt to popularise the Indian classical arts among the youth. In this age of reality television, our heritage and culture needs to be repackaged innovatively and preserved amongst the future generations. The festival is one such attempt to showcase Indian classical dances in their purest form so that the traditional arts would reach out to more and more people of all ages and strata of society,’ said Sanjeev Bhargava, Creative Director, Ananya. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe festival will start with an opening Bharatnatyam performance titled ‘Shiva Shakti’ based on Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi [Shakti].‘Shiva Shakti is a dance centered on energy. It depicts the synergised power mingled with Panch Pota [five elements]. The 50 minute choreographed ballet will be put up by a troupe of 11 artistes,’ explained choreographer Saroja Vaidyanathan.Nearly hundred school children will also get a chance to interact with artistes at the festival. The workshop also aims to extend Ananya’s endeavour of introducing people to the possibilities of making a connection with traditional arts and architecture in their own lives and the potential of continuing to experiment with these in the contemporary era. ‘This time we have also introduced an outreach programme whose objective is two fold. One to foster a vision of taking Indian culture to the students. And the second is to present the creative industry – music, dance, theatre, art and related professions to be encouraged amongst the younger generation as viable alternative career options,’ added Bhargava.DETAILAt: Purana Qila [Old Fort]When: 6 October – 10 October Timings: 7 pm onwards  Entry: Free read more

Vintage santana at his best

Even at the age of 65 Carlos Santana can rock and play his uniquely soulful guitar as enigmatically and with as much fervor as he did in Woodstock of 1969. With his tight band comprising of a strong rhythm and horn section, the 10 Grammy winner was a treat for all the rock fans at the F1 Rocks concert at Galgotia University grounds last Sunday. The concert was presented by Vladivar and produced by DNA Networks.The repertoire was a collection of his greatest hits but the fascinating quality Santana has that he can get together a completely new line up of backing musicians that deliver.  And deliver they did with powerhouse support. His current touring line-up includes Tony Lindsay on Vocals, Raul Rekow on Congas, Dennis Chambers on Drums, Karl Perrazzo on Percussions, Benjamin Rietveld on Bass and David Mathews on Keyboards. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Although this was Santana’s first outing in India he is no stranger to the country as he has been inspired by Indian spirituality in the past and even temporarily adopted the middle name of ‘Devadip’. In a press conference the previous evening he said that he used music to spread world peace and heal the planet and to come to India was to connect with spiritual principles whose awareness he imbibed in the sixties. He said they do what religion and politicians have failed to do and at the concert too he again reiterated that he brings the message of One Light, One Love and Peace. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixA high point in the concert was with his wife Cindy Blackman on the drums. She is also an acclaimed jazz and rock drummer having toured with Lenny Kravitz and other jazz greats. She backed Santana playing his ever spiritually uplifting classic ‘Europa’ culminating in a dexterous drum solo. Santana was in his electrifying best in a mesmerizing lead solo in ‘Jingo’. Other memorable compositions rendered were ‘Evil Ways’, ‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Oye Como Va’, ‘Smooth’ and the ever popular ‘Soul Sacrifice’ which included a medleys of his favourite riffs and even the James Bond Theme! The only composition that failed to inspire initially was ‘Game of Love’ as Tipriti of Soulmate who was invited on stage was not familiar with the song but Santana deserves praise for his magnanimity to encourage her. She however excelled in ‘Smooth’ as well as ‘Make Somebody Happy’ along with vocalist Tony Lindsay who himself is an 11 Grammy winner and has spent 20 years with Santana as a frontman.Soulmate were the opening act and set the mood with their great blues originals with Tipriti and her powerful vocals and Rudy on lead guitar. Rudy also presented his track ‘Moon Flower’ inspired by Santana’s ‘Europa’. read more

Asansol Durgapur Development Authority to launch app to pay off dues

first_imgKolkata: Asansol Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA) is all set to introduce an app to facilitate payment of dues by the residents, right through their android or iOS mobile phone. ADDA will soon be integrating all the offices and shops located on land under it for systematic mopping up of the rent dues. It may be mentioned that a new payment gateway service namely “ADDA online” was launched in July last year, so that residents could pay all sort of taxes online right from their home. In the second phase, ADDA will integrate shops and both government and private offices that are entitled to pay rent to it for being situated on its land. “Most of these businessmen would visit our office once in three months, collect details of payments and then clear the dues. Delayed payments have become a cause of worry. Hence, we have decided to launch an app ensuring on-time payments. They will receive the details of their payment dues by 5th of every month and have to clear off the dues by the end of the month. They will have deposit the amount in an account of a private bank with which we have tied up for this purpose,” Arun Prasad, CEO of ADDA said adding that they are in talks with a couple of nationalised banks too in this regard. Since its inception, ADDA, through its online payment gateway, has earned revenue of Rs 11 crore with more than 3,000 customers being registered. The payment gateway was devised for collection of various fees like development charges, water charges, mortgage fees, transfer fees, ground rent among others. Presently, payment for as many as nineteen fees can be done through this portal. With the integration of shops and offices, ADDA will be earning at least Rs 3 crore more. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”The manual system to pay fees took a lot of time in processing and reflecting in our system. However, through this app-based online mode of payment, it will get processed immediately. Most importantly, residents do not have to take any hassle of traveling all the way to our office for payments,” chairman of ADDA Tapas Banerjee said. The app-based service will be launched in July when ADDA will observe the first anniversary of its online payment system. ADDA covers an extensive area of 1603 square km comprising two municipal corporations and eight development blocks.last_img read more

South Kolkata set to entice pandalhoppers with plethora of exciting themes

first_imgKolkata: The stage is set for pandal-hopping with the pleasant sky and forecast of no further rain. The Pujas in South Kolkata and Southwest Kolkata have lined up a number of innovative themes to attract the revellers.Mudiali Club on S R Das Road has adopted the theme Mayer Aanchal. The blend of dokra with Banglar patachitra and collaboration between various folk and tribal art forms from Bengal will come alive at the pandal. ‘Sankhas’ and ‘polas’ have been used to deck up the pandal. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Shibmandir Club on Lake Temple Road is following the theme Maatir Taney Mayer Kache Phera. The jungles are getting depleting with rapid urbanisation. However, people should not forget their roots. The new generation settled abroad or outside the state should return to their roots, which is the message being reciprocated through the theme.Naktala Udayan Sangha is delivering the message that moments are fleeting and cannot be captured, through its theme Kal (Time). Meanwhile, the famous Suruchi Sangha is celebrating mother and soil together through their theme. Flowers and earthen pots in various shapes and shades have been used for pandal decoration. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedBhowanipore Swadhin Sangha acknowledges the contribution of the Santhals in the freedom struggle of the country, through its theme of Joy Jitkaur Deban Mena (Say we shall overcome), which is based on a Santhali poem penned by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Hogla leaves, barks of trees, leaves of maize, earthen pots and oil lamps have been used to decorate the pandal. Santhal adivasis will be present in the pandal with their typical musical instruments like dhamsa and madol, for entertaining pandal-hoppers. Badamtala Ashar Sangha at Rashbehari Crossing speaks for equal opportunity and equality for women through its theme Sab Charitra Kalpanik. 66 Palli on Nepal Bhattacharjee Street depicts the slow revival of taant and the turnaround of the weavers thorough their theme Taant: Bengal’s own weave.Tridhara Sammilani near Deshapriya Park is trying to revive the lost traditions of Bengal through the theme Prakriti Ratan e Shajabo Joton e. The aim is to familiarise generation Y with the clay and jute artisans of the state, whose prowess remains unacknowledged in this mechanised world.Chetla Agrani is portraying the emptiness experienced after loss through its theme Bisharjan. A palatial building has been erected for people to understand the futility of existence, along with a pond in front of the idol where visitors will see the reflection of Devi Durga. The pond would serve as a symbol where people can shed their sins.Santoshpur Lake Pally between Sukanta Setu and EM Bypass has the theme Maayer Heshel. The ingredients used in the kitchen to prepare meals have been used to decorate the pandal. Six tonnes of turmeric has been used for the same. Behala Natun Dal appeals to the children through their theme to feel the happiness of nature and break the shackles of the digital world in which they are engrossed.last_img read more

Back To Basics

first_imgAfter over-the-top dramas and slick urban stories, Hindi cinema is drawing inspiration from small-town India.Hindi cinema is fast evolving even as the industry grapples with keeping its finger on the pulse of changing audience tastes. Despite this uncertainty, one thing’s certain – larger-than-life dramas that inspired flights of fantasy in the audience are passe. Hindi movies are no longer aspirational, at least, not in the traditional sense of the term. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSo, out with dream sequences in foreign locations and uber-cool settings as shown in films like Student Of The Year, Jab We Met, 2 States, 3 Idiots, OK Jaanu and many others. It seems Dangal, which released in December 2016, was a turning point. The film seems to have struck a desi chord and set off a trend where stories that are grounded and simple in terms of their setting are capturing the audience’s hearts. Take a look at the success stories that released this year and their performance at the ticket counter. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe year 2017 started with two superstars, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan, coming out with decently successful films like Raees and Kaabil. Both films were not only set against the most basic backdrops but also presented heroes that the audience could easily relate to. These two movies were followed by films like Jolly LLB 2, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Tubelight, Hindi Medium, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and several others. Interestingly, while almost every filmmaker is trying to elbow their way to the `100-crore club, the top four films in the `300-crore club – Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan and Aamir Khan’s PK and Dangal, featured somewhat rustic concepts.The recent line-up of films makes one wonder whether there is a deliberate shift towards cinema that connects with the Indian audience at a basic level. Or is it pure coincidence that we have a slew of ‘grounded scripts’ making their way to the silver screen in quick succession?To shed some light on this, we spoke to experts from the industry. Here’s what they had to say:AANAND L RAI, PRODUCER-DIRECTOR I have never deliberately placed a film in a rural setting; it has happened naturally. I have made no attempt to ‘Indianise’ a storyline to make it more appealing. It is the world in which the story is set that attracts me. Whenever one forces something, it is bound to backfire. This year, people have been connecting with ethnic storylines and things have been flowing in that direction naturally. But we have to be careful not to push too much in that direction.BHUSHAN KUMAR, PRODUCERMany of our current films have been shot at beautiful locations in our country. The location of a story in our Hindi films usually turns out to be a character in the film. So, if you want your film to look convincing, it is important to shoot within the country. It helps the audience connect with the film easily.JAYANTILAL GADA, PRODUCER This is not the first time films are being shot in India; we shoot overseas only when we are offered tax benefits. It majorly depends on the script of the film. Last year, we had a lot of films that were shot in India but if the story requires the film to have a foreign country as its backdrop, we go for it. Nowadays, audiences are accepting good scripts. It is more about ‘film following’ than ‘fan following’. People are looking for content. Films like Baahubali have proved that people will watch a film only if it has strong content. No one knew who Prabhas was in other parts of the country before this film released. Recently, Hindi Medium and Bareilly Ki Barfi have made a mark.SUBHASH GHAI, DIRECTOR I have written and directed 19 movies, of which only four movies were shot abroad. Pardes, Taal, Yaadien and Yuvraaj were films where locations were the part of the stories. I prefer to shoot in India as we tell stories of Indian people. Also, we know these people who are connected with their roots. The fascination for foreign locations is just a personal fascination; it is no longer a fascination with the audience, with social media growing.NITESH TIWARI, DIRECTOR For me, it is always the story and the characters that should dictate the location and not vice versa. If the story doesn’t really demand a particular location, then there is merit in setting it up in a location that allows the characters to flourish and the story to be told more interestingly. In that case, small – or mid-town India is getting chosen more often now because it has a distinct and charming appeal that people haven’t experienced much. NIKKHIL ADVANI, DIRECTOR / PRODUCER I think as filmmakers we still do not know what will work but a lot of us have finally begun looking for inspiration from within India. I don’t think it’s only about desi versus foreign, even in Baazaar, we are making a film about India, about Mumbai and power, money, rules that are always broken. Once again, as filmmakers, we chose to take inspiration from real life incidents that have rocked the financial markets.ANUBHAV SINHA, DIRECTOR / PRODUCER That’s the real India. What connects with the audience is a good story. It’s true that more films are being shot within India. There’s a bunch of new filmmakers who are setting their films in India. People are identifying with those stories more and more because those films are about our problems, our celebrations. So they are more rooted in our society and that is why they are connecting with people better. I have only shot Thathastu in India. Most of my movies have been shot abroad. And I am shooting in India next month. The reason is that I got a little tired of stories that were set abroad. So it happened organically. BOIlast_img

Dog care tips to beat the heat

first_imgThe scorching heat takes a toll not only on humans but on animals as well. If you own a dog or you can care for a street dog, save them from the heat by keeping them hydrated and don’t serve them day old food in the summer season, suggest experts. Rashi Narang, Founder at Heads Up For Tails, and Akshay Kanitkar, Director- Operations at PetSutra, have listed ways for you to keep your paw-friends happy:Keep them indoors during the day: Do not take your pets for a walk during the scorching day hours. Ensure walks are restricted to only early mornings and post sunset during the summer months. Dogs are extremely sensitive to heat and apart from falling ill, they may also develop cracks on their paws due to walking on the hot concrete during the days. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBe sure to look at your dog’s paws to check for discoloration, cuts, and bruises. Apply dog paw cream regularly and make them wear dog socks to prevent the paws from burning.Travelling: Avoid going for long drives with your pet, as the heat is too strong for him/her to handle. Also, do not leave your dog in your car during summers.Grooming and spa: Take your dog out for regular grooming sessions including a bath and trimming of coat only if necessary. Contrary to popular belief, it is not advisable to shave off your dog’s coat in summers as their coats are protective layers that safeguard them from sunburns and heat strokes. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSponge with wipes: Since it is neither possible nor advisable to bathe your dog multiple times in a week, occasional wet wipe sponging followed by thorough drying and brushing of coat can also be a good way to remove dirt, allowing their skin to breathe better and cool off.Brush well everyday: It helps manage circulation of blood better and aids in temperature control. It also helps them shed dead hair making the dog feel lighter and more active.Include liquids in diet or moisten the food: To ensure the dogs are well hydrated during summer, it is advisable to moisten their food and also serve them healthy liquids like coconut water and homemade chhaach in small proportions, every now and then.Change the water in their bowl every hour and keep an extra bowl of water, before going to bed.If your dog can’t get the refreshment from you, then they might go looking elsewhere and that can mean a potentially dangerous situation. Higher temperatures can accelerate the growth of bacteria in standing water and thirsty pets can also drink hazardous liquids if they are parched.Take them for cool dip on the weekends: If your dog is comfortable with and exposed to swimming, nothing beats a good swim session and some fun splashing around in a pool. There are many pet exclusive pools that have hygienic pools for your dogs to dip in.Ensure that post-swimming the dog is rinsed well in normal water and thoroughly dried.Uneaten food: Just like human food, bacterial growth accelerates in dog food also, during summers. Avoid serving uneaten food to your pet if they tend to have it outdoors. Pets that eat their food inside can still have leftover food of last 4 to 5 hours; yet overnight left food is a big no.last_img read more

EC likely to deploy 134 Central Force companies for 2nd phase

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission (EC) is likely to deploy 134 companies of Central Forces for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state, which is scheduled to be held on April 18. Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raigunj will go to polls on the day.Sources in the office of the Bengal Chief Electoral Officer said that at present there are 83 companies of Central Forces in the state, of which 2 companies will be kept in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar for guarding the strong rooms. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe remaining 81 companies have already started their movement in the three seats for the second phase. In addition to this, the state has already got the commitment of 25 more companies from other states, which will take the number to 106. “We already have six companies of Central Forces stationed in Darjeeling, which will take the number to 112 companies. In addition to this, we have requisitioned for another 28 companies, for which the Election Commission has made a verbal commitment,” a source in the CEO’s office said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe 25 additional companies of forces which are likely to reach the state by Sunday evening, include 10 companies from Meghalaya Armed Police, 5 companies from Nagaland Police, 8 companies from Sikkim and 2 from Tripura. There are a total of 5,390 booths in the second phase. In Darjeeling, 90 percent of the 874 booths are sensitive. The Commission is hoping to deploy Central Forces in all the booths in the second phase, to ensure peaceful elections. The state armed police will also be deployed. Additional CEO Sanjoy Basu said on Friday that the final poll percentage in Cooch Behar stood at 83.88, while in Alipurduar it is 83.7. The poll percentage in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was 82.62 and 83.3 respectively for Cooch Behar and Alipurduar. Meanwhile, Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey held a meeting with Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajesh Kumar at the Kolkata Port Trust guest house. Sources said that Dubey has instructed Kumar to have proper security arrangements in place for Ram Navami on Sunday, April 14. “A number of rallies will take place in the city during Ram Navami. The political parties will also hold campaigns. So we have to take all possible measures to ensure that both can be held smoothly,” a senior Kolkata Police official said.last_img read more

Staples that every men should follow to nail office style

first_imgOffice wear calls for subtle outfits that makes a style statement in its own way and this task becomes even more difficult for men because of limited options available. However following some staple trend can make a huge difference in your personality. Experts list five staples that men need to create an impression in office. Oxford: A perfect pick for any formal occasion, oxfords are taking the shoe industry by the storm. Filled with suave, these shoes promise a unique style statement and speak volumes about one’s personality. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfLaptop sleeves: Making a lasting impression in your daily routine, laptop sleeves are a basic for all working men yet they can add a classy appeal to your formal ensemble. With multiple zippers and soft cotton linings, these bags are easy to carry and can enhance your style quotient.Loafers: With long working hours and miles to walk, loafers are identified as the most comfortable and convenient in style. Available in varied designs and colours, these shoes are timeless in nature and can be paired with staple trousers, jeans, chinos paired with a shirt, t-shirt or a sweatshirt. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveMessenger bags: Stylish yet comfortable, messenger bags for men are the most worthwhile choice when it comes to carrying a lot of stuff without making a mess. Perfect for holding laptops, a file or even a lunch box, these bags also give a modish appeal to your entire office look.Tassel shoes: Making inroads in the men’s shoe industry, tassel lifts up the fashion levels of a normal slip on, making it an ideal choice for an uber cool office look. Capturing the classic essence of style with a touch of elegant modernity, get these shoes in double shaded colours with a glossy finish and the round or pointed front arch to choose from.last_img read more

Tribute to the man who brought Indian cinema on the world map

first_imgKolkata: The 98th birth anniversary of Satyajit Ray was celebrated in the city on Thursday.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted “Maharaja Tomare Selam… Fondly remembering Satyajit Ray, legendary filmmaker, on his birth anniversary.” At Mother’s Wax museum in New Town, the wax statue of Ray was garlanded on the occasion by the chairman of Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) Debashis Sen. Orbits of Convergence: Ray’s Tagore, a unique programme by the Tollygunge Club, brought together the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray. The event, conceptualised, scripted and directed by Subha Pal, with inputs from Subhashish Majumder, is an audio-visual presentation of Tagore’s works, which have been made into films by Satyajit Ray, along with the screening of a documentary on Tagore, made in 1961 on the birth centenary of Rabindranath. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataTagore was very close to the Ray family and had visited the Garpar house of the Rays when Sukumar, Ray’s father, fell ill and died prematurely. Tagore loved Ray because he lost his father at an early age. There will be play-readings too, followed by the recital of poetry and some songs which are reminiscent of both Tagore and Ray’s works. “This event is a tribute to mark the birth anniversary of two luminaries from Bengal — Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray. Since both their birthdays fall in the month of May, we decided to host a programme which focuses on how Ray’s films brought world-wide fame to Tagore’s works. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIt’s not that Tagore wasn’t so popular among the people before. But Ray’s works captured beautifully the meaning inherent in Tagore’s works, which were lost in translation,” says Subha Pal, the director. Clippings from five films by Ray which included Teen Konya, Charulata, Ghare Baire, Postmaster and Monihara had been shown at the event. Barun Chanda, who acted in Ray’s Shimabaddha, spoke about Tagore’s interest in movies, during the latter part of his life. Biplab Das Gupta presented the play-reading while director Ashoke Vishwanathan enacted the characters from Ghare Baire and Monihara. Rohini and Debashish Ray Chaudhuri sang songs along with Apala Basu. The programme will also include songs from Ray’s films, as he used some of Tagore’s poems in his films to highlight a particular moment. “Ray’s love for music was much evident in movies like Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen and Hirak Rajar Deshe and we will also include some songs from these movies,” Subha said. On his 98th Birth anniversary, Indian Museum ,ministry of Culture,is celebrating the day by organising an exhibition of photographs and Memorabilia at Pre-History Gallery, Indian Museum.last_img read more

St Lawrence Reliving schoolhood through music

first_imgThe St Lawrence School Old boys Association is drumming up their musical event ‘Utsav’ in a new format in December, where alumni from other schools of the city will be invited to participate. A plethora of school rock bands will be coming on stage in competitive space to showcase their music and to relive their “school memories”.The rockfest will be held as part of the annual day celebration of the school and will play out for at least five hours on stage. “We are not looking for any great musicians here. All of us wanted to get up on stage and show off our musical skills when we were in school. We are just trying to relive that memory here,” said Father Sebastian James sj, Principal of the school and President of SLOBA. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfEver since its inception in 1985, SLOBA has been making a huge contribution towards the overall growth and development of the alma mater and fulfilling social obligations in the Lawrencian spirit of Service Above Self. Over the past 32 years, the signature event has been the successful running of SLOBA Free Clinic (now in its 31st year) which looks after the medical needs of the poor in the neighbourhood of the school. “A corporate tie up will help us expand the scope of treatment even further”, secretary of SLOBA, Aniban Banerjee told Millennium Post. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe association organises a slew of other activities involving its old and new students like the SLOBA Annual Inter-School Debate Competition held in August (now in its 11th year), the SLOBA Annual Inter-School Cricket Tournament held in November (now in its 14th year). Other events which draw students and teachers alike are the SLOBA Annual Reunion held on the first Sunday of December every year (for 35 years now), the award of scholarships and grants to students of the school since 1987, the awarding of retirement benefits to teaching and non-teaching staff of the school since 1987. Another popular event is the active participation in the stellar school event Tin N Can. Expression 2017 is another landmark event to promote world peace through sports, an event supported by Peace and Sport Monaco and International Olympic Association. Future goals of the association include the betterment of the free clinic with introduction of affordable diagnostic services and the creation of a benevolent fund for alumni, retired teachers and staff.last_img read more

Cutting pollution wont cause Global warming spike

first_imgFears that efforts to reduce air pollution could dramatically speed up the process of global warming may be unfounded, according to a study unveiled recently.. Scientists have long worried that air pollution, while having a devastating impact on human health, may paradoxically have been acting as a ‘brake’ on the heating of the atmosphere, said researchers at the University of Reading in the UK. Pollution particles help clouds to form with more water droplets, meaning they reflect more of the Sun’s energy back into space, they said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfUntil now, the extent to which pollution inadvertently helps to cool the planet has not been clear. If the cooling is strong, it would mean that efforts to clean up the air could actually accelerate global warming, making efforts to tackle climate change even more difficult. However, new research published in the journal Nature has shown pollution affects different clouds in different ways. While some clouds get thicker, others become thinner, meaning pollution is unlikely to offset more than half of greenhouse gas warming, researchers said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe findings offer greater hope that current plans to curb global warming by moving to cleaner sources of energy may still work without leading to an unexpected extra source of heating, they said. “Until now, it was assumed that thicker clouds form when water droplets condense around the particles in polluted air, delaying rainfall, and allowing clouds to reflect more sunlight back into space,” said Velle Toll, lead author of the study, now at the University of Tartu in Estonia. “To test this, we studied satellite data from clouds near sources of pollution. In fact, there was little change in average water content across all the polluted clouds we found, showing that pollution makes little difference overall to many types of clouds. Some clouds got thicker, but other areas thinned out,” Toll said. Th study reduces a big area of uncertainty for future forecasts of the climate. “Our study provides more evidence that cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollution is a win-win situation for the health of people’s lungs and for preventing the worst impacts of climate change,” said Toll. The researchers scoured the world for clouds formed over areas of pollution using near-infrared satellite images. Clouds affected by pollution appear ‘brighter’ in these images, researchers said. They located hundreds of polluted clouds around the world, produced by tiny pollution particles from sources such as volcanoes, cities, ships, factories and wildfires. The team analysed whether changes to clouds simulated by climate models are accurate, in order to better predict future climate change. “The fear that reducing air pollution could lead to a spike in global warming has been a lingering concern for climate scientists,” said Nicolas Bellouin, study co-author from the University of Reading. The study provides assurances that polluted air has a limited ability to prevent the atmosphere from heating up, in addition to being bad for people’s health. “There is now one less excuse for us not to cut emissions of both air pollution and greenhouse gases, or we will continue to see temperature rises that put people and the natural world in danger.”last_img read more

Colin Washington isnt a Top 4 team because of their Fake ID

first_imgThe first College Football Playoff Rankings came out and Washington fans are up in arms that the undefeated Huskies are ranked outside the Top 5, behind the one-loss Texas A&M Aggies.The rapid improvement of the young Huskies under Chris Peterson has been one of the storylines of the college football season. The Huskies development as a program is at least a year ahead of schedule by any estimate. To speed up the rebuild, they front loaded their schedule with cupcakes, but now that they’ve entered the national conversation, their résumé doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of other teams ranked ahead of them. That doesn’t stop the message board warriors from clamoring that they’ve been robbed.Today in The Herd, Colin said the Huskies shouldn’t be ranked in the Top 4 in the first poll, because, despite their undefeated record, their out of conference schedule is embarrassing.  And, their early season domination of Stanford, and NSFW 70-21 win over Oregon are less impressive because the teams have a combined 8 losses on the year.“Washington has played a garbage out of conference schedule. Struggled to win at awful Arizona. And we now know that Stanford and Oregon aren’t very good.” Advertisement He pointed out that of the Huskies 8 wins, two have come against Portland State and Idaho, and they struggled to beat a 2-6 Arizona team. Colin refuses to be browbeat into submission just because a team is undefeated.“I’ve never been paralyzed by records in college football. 8-0 is not necessarily better than 7-1. Because college football, unlike the NFL, you can control 25 to 30% of your schedule. So, I’m not paralyzed by it. In fact, I go the other way. I rip Iowa, I rip schools that try to do the Fake I.D. at the nightclub. They want to get in. They haven’t earned it.”Washington is more legit than Iowa, or recent Fake I.D. Nebraska. They’ll probably run the table, but to this point their schedule doesn’t measure up. Texas A&M deserves the nod in the rankings because their only loss is to #1 Alabama, and they’ve played a tougher schedule.Don’t bring the McLovin I.D. from Hawaii and expect to get into Club Cowherd for the Playoffs. It’s not happening.Where @ColinCowherd compares Washington Football to Ken Bone— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) November 2, 2016last_img read more

Colin Belichick returning to the Giants would stick it to Robert Kraft

first_img Advertisement Seth Wickersham’s bombshell piece on the Patriots and the triumvirate of Belichick, Brady and Kraft is the sports equivalent of Fire and Fury, dishing on all of the palace intrigue and power struggles within the normally secretive Patriots organization. The article largely confirmed Colin’s theory that Belichick wanted to keep Garoppolo and trade Brady, but was ultimately overruled by Robert Kraft, who sided with the 40-year-old QB.With Belichick’s long term future in New England highly in doubt, Colin speculated that Belichick will likely retire, but if he doesn’t, the one landing spot that would stick it to Robert Kraft would be the Giants.Belichick respects the ownership, has pieces to engineer a quick turnaround with a team that won 11 games in 2016, has the second pick in the draft, and it’s the one franchise that has had Kraft’s number during his team’s historic run. There’s also Boston’s deep insecurity about New York being the big brother of the East Coast.All that would be left in New England would be a 41-year old Brady and Kraft, and the reality that the end of everything is right around the corner. Watch Colin explain why Belichick returning to the Giants would be the perfect next chapter to today’s drama:If Bill Belichick doesn’t retire, @ColinCowherd has his next landing spot picked out: The New York Giants— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 5, 2018last_img read more

How to Move the Needle in Digital Health

first_imgMarch 13, 2014 Digital health is big business, with $7.4 billion flowing into the space since 2010. This explosion of interest in digital health has some experts wondering what the future holds. “Despite this exuberance and excitement, there is much to do,” says Marc Monseau, the founder of Mint Collective.Monseau moderated a panel of healthcare experts at Austin’s SXSW festival this week entitled “The Digital Health Bubble: Is it About to Burst?” He and other industry leaders  explored the steps that new solutions will need to take to be true game changers in a new and untested landscape. Below, we pull together the panel’s main takeaways.Remember your client. Don’t be so clever you neglect who healthcare really serves. Says Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of THINK-Health and the Health Populi Blog. “Who is the real customer in healthcare? The patient!” Sarasohn-Kahn points out that healthcare enjoys a consumer base that covers the entire population of the United States and that not enough companies take advantage of its full reach.Think big. For success, scalability is essential. Says Marco Smit of Next Innovation Health Partners, “A lot of people outside of healthcare are building things for themselves. “If you don’t solve problems at scale, it will be the end of your company.”Additionally, Sarasohn-Kahn says new services shouldn’t overlook the per capita cost of medical care. She says, “If we move the needle on each individual, you’re changing the cost curve.” The best products will serve doctors, patients and employers. “An app that only touches on aspect of the system [isn’t the Holy Grail].”Fix the experience. Make healthcare pleasant, efficient and centered on the patient and you can change the face of an industry. “Convenience in healthcare,” Smit continued. “When was the last time you heard those words in the same sentence?” Adds Sarasohn-Kahn. “Make it like Jiffy Lube. Lower the wait time. Get them in and get them out. Make healthcare fun, sexy even.”A carrot approach. Sarasohn-Kahn says that digital wellness plans that encourage healthy living will be hugely important. She points out the ‘carrot approach’ used by app GymPact and how it “incorporates behavioral economics to do the right thing throughout the day.” For instance, the app offers users a coupon to eat salad to help convince them to skip junk food. “Healthcare is getting smarter about what motivates us,” she says. This kind of product “nudges” people toward a healthier lifestyle and ultimately has an impact on employers, physicians, pharmacists and patients.Improve results. When it comes to healthcare, investors want a product that will provide actual medical results. “Build an evidence strategy early on. People buy into healthcare based on evidence,” Smit says. “Don’t go to your comfort zone and just tinker with technology.”Reduce friction. Robert Stern, the chief executive officer of Point of Care 360, says that the most successful companies working in the digital health field are those that connect patients and physicians. In his experience, doctors don’t want to deal with email and they don’t want to deal with the cloud — they want something that instantly connects.”What if during the actual visit, a patient could bring in data he’s gathered on himself with an app and sync it with the doctor’s clinical decision-making platform?” Stern asks. Through extensive crowdsourcing, his company has learned that patients want to track their health in between appointments. The various third party apps that patients use to track this information aren’t trustworthy or organized. “Clinicians can’t follow that information,” he says. The killer platform would coexist with the physician’s system and sync on the spot.Do your research. Entrepreneurs need to do their homework to find new solutions.  Says Smit, “This is a young space. Think about white spaces where no one is working.” Replace things, he says, don’t just add to what’s already there.Suggests Sarasohn-Kahn, “Look at physician workflow and see how people do their jobs.” She says, “Help doctors solve work flow. Help patients make decisions. How can you make things more efficient [for doctors]? How can you delight [patients]?”Be patient. No, the digital healthcare bubble is not about to burst because to the tech community, it’s not hot. “The number of exits is increasing, but exits outside of healthcare are much higher,” Smit says.The first billion dollar exit will set the mold for healthcare and help wary investors see a model to follow. “The investor community for digital health doesn’t really exist yet,” he continued. “[Investors] are investing in proven companies. It’s not an innovation investment. It’s a financial investment.”Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Jane Sarasohn-Kahn and omitted Marco Smit’s first name and company Next Innovation Health Partners.  Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »last_img read more

Can We Agree That the Nokia Buy Was a Total Disaster for

first_img Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Given that Microsoft is about to axe another 7,800 employees, take a restructuring charge of $750 million to $850 million related to the layoffs plus a $7.6 billion impairment charge, it’s hard to argue that the $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s phone business 18 months ago was anything but folly.The Nokia deal was seen as Steve Ballmer’s baby. The former Microsoft CEO was hell-bent on fixing Microsoft’s mobile business where it was getting buried by Apple and Android devices. It could even be argued that buying its way into mobile was faster and maybe cheaper than building that business organically.Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett is in that camp. “Nokia got Microsoft into the hardware business where no one was betting on Windows Phone, but at a steep price. I think they couldn’t afford not to get in that business and the alternative would have been to invent it from scratch which would have taken longer.”One former Microsoft manager, who still works with the company as a partner, said Nokia was a “buddy deal between Ballmer and Stephen Elop,” the former Microsoft exec who left to become CEO of Nokia and returned to Microsoft as part of the acquisition. “They should have made a movie, not a deal,” he said. (Elop left Microsoft two weeks ago as part of a reorg.)Ballmer was driven to purchase Nokia by Google- and Apple-envy, which might have been fine if the company had executed well, but it didn’t, said David Linthicum, an independent analyst. Last year it was clear that something was awry when the company announced plans to cut 18,000 employees, many from the phone unit.“Now, Microsoft will likely focus on users that want enhanced management capabilities and security. That’s going to be a tough course to follow considering that other phone and mobile OS providers have been working hard to provide management and security capabilities as well. So, what does Microsoft do different? Not much,” Linthicum said via email.Others think that some lemonade may be squeezed out of this lemon yet.“If Microsoft owns the rights to the hardware and the OS they could redeem themselves in Africa and other emerging markets. Those markets have 4 to 5 billion people that have not been touched by tech. They don’t need smart phones. They’ll start with super-feature phones. The telcos and other infrastructure providers are going to make a fortune. Microsoft may have a chance to play here too. We shall see how they play their hand,” said the former exec.So, the question is now, as it’s been for the past year: Can CEO Satya Nadella, who took the job in February, 2014, execute where his predecessor did not? So far it looks like he is willing and able to make the tough choices he telegraphed last month in an internal memo. And that’s probably a good thing for Microsoft. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 3 min read July 9, 2015last_img read more

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