SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans who lost their jobs after hurricanes Maria and Irma can start applying for disaster unemployment assistance after the U.S. doubled the 26 weeks of benefits.The National Employment Law Project said Wednesday that more 10,000 Puerto Ricans are eligible and that lump-sum payments could total nearly $30 million, with individual payments ranging from $2,000 to $3,000.But legal advocates say the conditions set by Puerto Rico’s government will make it hard for many to apply. They say workers have to provide documents in person and that internet options are unavailable.Advocates are trying to reach out to families that qualify but worry they won’t reach many given that more than an estimated 130,000 people fled Puerto Rico after the two major hurricanes hit the Caribbean in September 2017.The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Love them or hate them, electric scooters are everywhere — zipping along city streets and littered on sidewalks, to the dismay of pedestrians and drivers who must share the road.And now they have overtaken station-based bicycles as the most popular form of shared transportation outside transit and cars in the U.S.According to a new report released Wednesday by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, riders took 38.5 million trips on shared electric scooters in 2018, eclipsing the 36.5 million trips on shared, docked bicycles.Riders also took trips on 3 million dockless pedal bikes, which can be picked up and dropped off anywhere, and 6.5 million dockless electric bikes in 2018, but the report notes those numbers are declining.One reason for electric scooters’ fast growth: companies are jockeying for strategic position in the so-called micromobility revolution, where consumers are embracing shared scooters and bikes for short trips and exploring alternatives to car ownership buoyed by the ubiquity of smartphones.Riders took 84 million trips on micromobility services in 2018, more than double the number from the year before, according to the report. Electric scooters helped drive that trend, with more than 85,000 of them available for public use in the U.S. compared with 57,000 station-based bikes.To be sure, scooter companies face challenges from every direction, including vandalism, theft, rider injuries, intense competition and aggressive regulations in cities across the country.Yet the industry persists and venture capitalists, ride-hailing companies and traditional auto manufacturers have poured millions of dollars into the fledgling business.The original bike-share systems in the U.S. developed after cities invited them in, said Kate Fillin-Yeh, director of strategy for the National Association for City Transportation Officials.“In the last year-and-a-half, it’s a very different animal,” she said. “The companies are in some cases trying to beat each other to the market.”Bird, a Santa Monica-based scooter company launched in late 2017, raised $418 million and rang up more than 10 million rides in its first year. Lime, which offers shared bikes and scooters, clocked more than 12 million rides and $467 million in investment in its first 15 months.Car manufacturers and ride-hailing companies are taking notice, and some have made their own plays in the space with larger ambitions than scooters alone.Uber bought Jump Bikes, an electric bike and scooter company that operates in about two dozen cities, and last year it invested $30 million in Lime, which is in more than 100 cities worldwide.Ford, which bought scooter company Spin in November, said deploying electric scooters will help the company eventually roll out autonomous vehicles by building critical relationships with U.S. cities as they work together to craft regulations and build out infrastructure.“In this next revolution of micromobility, the cities are taking a more active stance in how they’re going to participate,” Sunny Madra, vice-president of Ford’s mobility businesses, told The Associated Press late last year. “By doing this now in advance of autonomous programs and other forms of mobility that will come up, this is a great way for us to make sure that we’re a part of the transformation of mobility.”If it seems like electric scooters popped up overnight, that’s because they did. Several companies distributed them throughout cities without permission or permits, reminding local officials of when ride-hailing companies such as Uber launched in their markets years ago without warning.But cities learned from that experience and have been more aggressive about regulating scooters. San Francisco, for instance, kicked out Bird, Lime and Spin and instituted a competition for permits, ultimately awarding them to relative underdogs Scoot and Skip and capping the number of scooters they could deploy. New York City does not allow shared electric scooters, although legislation has been introduce to change the rule.As a condition for operating there, many cities are requiring scooter companies to share their troves of location data, which show where the scooters are and the routes they take. That can be valuable to plan bike routes and docking stations or to understand traffic patterns.It also raises questions about user privacy. The location data provided to cities is not linked to names, emails or other directly identifiable information, but “if you take enough GPS data points and begin attaching other data sets, it can be used to identify specific individuals,” said Regina Clewlow, CEO of Populus, a company that helps cities securely access data for policy and planning while protecting privacy.Another consequence of electric scooters is head injuries. Dr. Vishal Bansal, director of trauma surgery at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego, noticed many riders were getting on scooters at night intoxicated, without wearing a helmet, taking “30, 40 years of what we’ve learned about injury prevention and has just thrown it out the window,” he said.“If your head hits concrete at 20 miles an hour, you are not going to get up,” said Christopher Ziebell, emergency room medical director at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin. “These have little tiny wheels on them, so it doesn’t take much for a rider to go flying off.”Some industry watchers wonder how long the electric scooter phenomenon will last. Veteran auto analyst Maryann Keller calls the billion-dollar valuations that have been reported for some scooter companies nonsensical. Scooters are a capital-intensive business, and there are few ways to differentiate from competitors’ models, making it hard for companies to stand out, she said.“These little fads come and go,” Keller said.For those wishing for the scooter fad to go, they might have to wait a little longer.___Follow Cathy Bussewitz on Twitter: @cbussewitzCathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s airline industry should be opened up to allow more competition from foreign airlines, a consumer group said Wednesday.[np_storybar title=”Why Canadian airports are so expensive and inefficient” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2012/10/27/why-canadian-airports-are-so-expensive-and-inefficient/”%5DGovernment taxes and fees have long carried the blame for the noncompetitive nature of Canadian airports and for the bleed of nearly 5 million passengers a year in search of cheaper flights south of the border. But not everyone agrees taxes and fees are the primary source of what ails the air travel industry in Canada.Continue reading.[/np_storybar]The Consumers’ Association of Canada says Canada’s current policy protects the dominant domestic airlines and limits consumer choice.Association president Bruce Cran says it will use recent polling data to support its call for the federal government to bring about change in Canada’s aviation industry.The telephone survey of about 1,000 people in late January and early February found a large majority of responses were in favour of more foreign competition.Consumers want choice and competition for their travel dollarAmong other things, the Harris/Decima survey found 61% of respondents agreed that foreign airlines should be allowed to compete with Canadian carriers.The survey also found 77% agreed that foreign airlines would give consumers more travel options and 69% agreed they’d lead to lower costs.“Consumers want choice and competition for their travel dollar,” Cran said in a statement Wednesday.“The CAC will use this public opinion data to renew our call for Canada to adopt a dramatically different approach to international aviation,” he added.“It is time to open Canada’s skies and welcome foreign carriers into this market to compete for the business of Canadian travellers.”The survey of 1,015 people in Canada was conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4.Canadian Press
Former DIG Nalaka de Silva was questioned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) again today.He is being investigated over an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and other VVIPs.
The bank robber police dubbed ‘The Vaulter Bandit’ due to his ability to leap over cashier desks to steal money is now behind bars. Jeffrey James Shuman was arrested while on vacation in Switzerland and is now back on Canadian soil.Police say “The Vaulter Bandit” robbed 21 banks across Canada, 17 in the GTA in a span of 5 years including a Scotia Bank off Stone Church road in Hamilton in 2010. Shuman, who has American and French citizenship, wasn’t new to robbing banks he served 9 years in American prison after robbing 15 banks in Florida and Tennessee during the 90’s. Paroled in 2004, he fled the U.S with 3 years remaining in his sentence.Police say they were able to identify Shuman as the vaulting bandit after retrieving some DNA left at the scene of his most recent robbery last May. However, Shuman had already escaped to Europe.“A lot of surveillance when he went into Switzerland and that’s when Swiss authorities took him into custody.”Shuman was arrested in September and ordered to be extradited back to Canada in February. On his flight back police believe Shuman faked a heart condition in an attempt to delay the 30 charges awaiting him in Canada. The plane landed in England, where Shuman was given medical clearance to continue flying.Shuman is set to make a video appearance in court March 11.
Ibrahim Rugova of the Democratic League of Kosovo received 49 of the 70 votes cast but 50 Assembly members did not vote, UNMIK said.According to the UN Mission, the Assembly did not schedule a date for another round of voting.
Drink beer, save the environment. That’s the rallying cry of DB Breweries, a New Zealand-based company helping to combat the global sand shortage.The firm, as reported by AdWeek, built a fleet of machines that crush empty glass bottles into a sand substitute, used to save the nation’s “pristine beaches.”Sand is used in everything from construction to pharmaceuticals; a major ingredient of mortar, plaster, concrete, and asphalt, businesses often collect beach sand in bulk. As a result, according to DB, two-thirds of the world’s beaches are retreating.“Amazingly, the answer to the sand shortage could be to drink beer,” the company said in a promotional video (below).The machines—likely for use in bars and restaurants across the island—recycle empties right before your drunken eyes. Push the container through a bottle-shaped hole, then watch as a vacuum system removes silica dust and plastic labels, leaving behind pure glass sand. Each bottle produces 200 grams of powder substitute in about five seconds.DB BreweriesDB Export Beer Bottle Sand will be distributed for roading projects, commercial and residential construction, even golf bunkers. The brewery is currently finalizing a two-year deal with DryMix, New Zealand’s largest producer of bagged concrete, AdWeek reported.DB Breweries“Kiwis, we love our beaches, and we love our beer,” Sean O’Donnell, marketing director at DB Breweries, said in the video. “So wouldn’t it be great if you could have a beer and do something for the environment? I mean, that’s pretty exciting.”Tipplers can look for the “Drink DB Export, save our beaches” label on the neck of local beer bottles—a reminder to salvage the container.“We can’t solve the problem alone, but we knew we could do more to help,” O’Donnell told AdWeek. “We’re proud to launch an initiative that can help us do our bit to protect our beaches for future generations.”This recycling program follows 2015’s successful “Brewtoleum” campaign, in which DB turned leftover yeast from the brewing process into clean-burning, conflict-free biofuel.You can bring recycled flare to your own home too. Why wait?! Fiber-Based Six-Pack Can Rings Offer Eco-Friendly Alternative to PlasticEven More Kellogg’s Cereal Gets Re-Born as Craft Beer Stay on target
British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and personal genomics firm 23andMe inked a four-year deal to use human genetics as the basis for fighting disease.The goal of the collaboration, according to a joint press release, is to “gather insights and discover novel drug targets driving disease progression and develop therapies for serious unmet medical needs based on those discoveries.”I’ll give you a moment to chew over that mission statement.Meanwhile, big pharma is scouring more than 5 million customers’ saliva.Alongside their spit samples, 23andMe users are asked for consent to use their DNA in scientific research—an opt-in clause now extended to drug discovery and development.“Participating in 23andMe’s research is always voluntary and requires customers to affirmatively consent to participate,” co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki promised.Those who agree will be “de-identified,” so GSK cannot single out individuals. Both companies, meanwhile, have “stringent security protections” for collecting, storing, and transferring information.But that’s not enough to ease some security advocates’ minds.“If people are concerned about their social security numbers being stolen, they should be concerned about their genetic information being misused,” Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told Time magazine.“This information is never 100 percent safe. The risk is magnified when one organization shares it with a second organization,” he continued. “When information moves from one place to another, there’s always a chance for it to be intercepted by unintended third parties.”That’s a chance GSK and 23andMe are willing to take—in the name of saving lives.“This collaboration will enable us to deliver on what many customers have been asking for—cures or treatments for disease,” Wojcicki said in a statement.Together, GSK and 23andMe are focused on R&D activities that will improve target selection for the discovery of better precision medicines; support identification of patient subgroups most likely to respond to targeted treatments; and allow more effective recruitment of patients for clinical studies.“We know that drug targets with genetic validation have a significantly higher chance of ultimately demonstrating a benefit for patients and becoming medicines,” according to GSK Chief Scientific Officer Hal Barron.GSK also made a $300 million equity investment in its new partner.For more on DNA testing visit our sister site PCMag for their complete round-up and recommendations.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target We Now Know the DNA of GuacamoleDNA From Tooth Solves Shark Bite Mystery, 25 Years Later
Further investigation warranted in death of Provo man Recommended for you No medical report yet in Capron death Related Items:dead, dr. edward smith, ppp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 18 Jan 2016 – In an exclusive interview, Dr. Edward Smith of the People Progressive Party revealed to Magnetic Media that his party is essentially, dead. “Well I will be honest with you, the PPP party at this time, it is basically defunct. And specifically the reason why, the PPP party was intended to represent all, that means Turks and Caicos Islanders, Haitians, Americans, Bahamians you name it but somehow along the way, the leadership has lost its way.” Smith said he is being courted by two of the three political parties; and while he refrained from saying who he is leaning more toward when it comes to possibly running in the 2016 General Elections, he made it clear that it is not the governing PNP. Murdered father of two, shot in the head
During this week Alaskans are encouraged to ensure their homes and businesses are equipped with properly functioning fire safety equipment, such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. The national slogan for the 2018 Fire Prevention Week is “LOOK. LISTEN. LEARN. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” Alaska State Fire Marshal David Taylor, Director of Fire and Life Safety: “The vast majority of the injuries and deaths experienced in Alaska due to fires were preventable and that is simply unacceptable. We can do better. It is imperative that Alaskans protect their homes and families by using simple fire prevention measures like supervising all their cooking and being cautious of electric heaters and wood burning stoves.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享National Fire Prevention Week began on October 7, and runs through October 13. In the state of Alaska, fire is a serious public safety concern. In 2017, there were 799 residential structure fires reported in Alaska, which resulted in 18 deaths, more than 50 civilians injured, and 31 firefighter injuries. Property losses were estimated at over $33.6 million, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Smaller companies spent more on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the last fiscal, ending March 2015, than their larger counterparts, according to a report by Crisil.About 1,300 listed companies in India fell under the “mandatory 2% CSR spend” ambit, of which as many as 75% formally reported CSR activity, spending on average 1.35% of their net profit â€” or well below the mandatory 2%, Crisil said.”Smaller companies were relatively more enthusiastic about spending on CSR activity compared to their larger counterparts in the 2015 fiscal. Clearly, they are not short on altruistic, society-building motivation. This also reflects a broad-basing of CSR activity in India Inc,” said Crisil in a report.Over 90% of the companies had opted to spend on CSR despite a 50% tax break on donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, the report said.Private sector companies have been as socially responsive as their public-sector peers, and ended up spending marginally more than the latter.Crisil said another Rs 5,200 crore could have been spent had all companies met the 2% norm, which would have taken the cumulative expenditure to Rs 12,000 crore for FY2015.For the bigger companies, the challenge is the large size of their spending mandate, so they need considerable time and effort to conceptualise and design processes to maximise outcomes, it said.Companies in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh had spent more on CSR than those in industrialised states.”Other than industrialised states such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where companies have performed well in terms of CSR spending, it is heartening to see companies based in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh spending more than the national average,” Crisil said.
The Supreme Court on Sunday extended time for the government up to December 10 to issue a gazette notification on lower court judges’ conduct rules, reports UNB.A five-member Appellate Division bench, led by acting chief justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, passed the order following a time-petition filed by attorney general Mahbubey Alam in the morning.The SC also set 10 December for the next hearing on the matter.On 30 November, law minister Anisul Huq said his ministry had sent the draft of the gazette to the Prime Minister’s Office. Once the PM gives consent to the draft, it will be sent to president’s office, said the minister.After the president’s approval, the law ministry will issue the much-awaited gazette notification, he added.On 6 November, Anisul Huq, after a meeting with acting chief justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, said the gazette notification would be issued before 3 December if the president permits.On 5 November, the apex court extended time for the government up to 3 December to publish the gazette notification.With this, the Appellate Division extended time for at least 30 times in the last one year.The lower judiciary was officially separated in November 2007 but the disciplinary rules for lower court judges are yet to be formulated.On 2 December 1999, the Supreme Court in the Masdar Hossain case issued a seven-point directive, including formulating separate disciplinary rules, for the lower court judges.The law ministry on 7 May 2015 sent a draft of the rules to the Supreme Court which is similar to the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1985.
Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros delivers a speech on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on 24 January 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. Photo: AFPBillionaire investor George Soros on Thursday said Chinese president Xi Jinping was “the most dangerous enemy” of free societies for presiding over a high-tech surveillance regime.”China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced,” he said, noting concerns too about Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies,” Soros told a dinner audience on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos.The Hungarian-born philanthropist said US tech giants such as Facebook must be reined in by authorities for the good of democracy.He pointed “to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes”.Soros dwelt on concerns in the West about Chinese tech giants ZTE and Huawei, as countries roll out next-generation 5G wireless networks.He said US president Donald Trump should crack down hard on the companies as part of a more focussed effort on China instead of taking on “practically the whole world” in trade conflicts.”If these companies came to dominate the 5G market, they would present an unacceptable security risk for the rest of the world,” Soros said in a speech, copies of which were distributed in Chinese.’Total control’Communist China under Xi has been building a cutting-edge system including facial recognition to keep tabs on its citizens, and Soros said algorithms would calculate how dangerous a threat individuals might pose to the regime.”The ‘social credit’ system, if it became operational, would give Xi total control over the people,” he said at the dinner, which was open to media.”Since Xi is the most dangerous enemy of the open society, we must pin our hopes on the Chinese people, and especially on the business community and a political elite willing to uphold the Confucian tradition,” he said, referencing the ancient history of Chinese officials speaking truth to power, on pain of imprisonment or death.”This doesn’t mean that those of us who believe in the open society should remain passive,” Soros added.”The reality is that we are in a Cold War that threatens to turn into a hot one.”On the other hand, if Xi and Trump were no longer in power, an opportunity would present itself to develop greater cooperation between the two cyber-superpowers.”Soros’s dinner speeches are an annual tradition at the elite business forum in Davos, and this year it came after a particularly difficult period for his Open Society Foundations.Last month, the Soros-funded Central European University said it had been “forced” to move its most prestigious study programmes to Vienna after a bitter legal battle with the right-wing government of prime minister Viktor Orban in his native Hungary.Soros did not touch on the issue in his Davos speech, but did say: “Those of us who want to preserve the open society must work together and form an effective alliance. We have a task that can’t be left to governments.”
– / 9It’s been one year since Harvey hit Houston. Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look back at some of the biggest storms that have impacted Greater Houston…its development, policies, and people.On the eighth and final episode of Hurricane Season, Andrew Schneider examines Harvey.This episode uses the song In Pursuit of Silence by Daniel Birch (www.danielbirchmusic.com) Listen This article is part of the Hurricane Season podcast Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /15:43
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced this week that an upcoming mission would be named Eugene Parker. Parker was responsible for discovering solar wind. Fitting, because the mission that bears his name will try to “touch” the sun and learn as much as it can about the constant stream of particles and radiation that we describe as “wind.” NASA has been doing a lot of interesting testing lately.The mission will launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy — currently the most powerful rocket still in use. After that, it will take a whopping seven years to get near and nearer the sun. It will do several Venusian flybys that will ultimately take it eight times closer than any craft has ever been — a mere 3.7 million miles.The mission will take some time to set-up because while you’d think it’d be easy to just ‘fall’ towards the sun, orbital mechanics aren’t so forgiving. As you fall, you exchange gravitational potential energy for kinetic energy, in essence, helping you pick up loads of speed. But the faster something travels, the higher the orbit it wants to settle into. That’s what causes comets and the like to take very long, elliptical orbits. In any case, if you fall too hard, you’ll either crash into the sun or get slung out of the system entirely. So, while they seem easier, trips to the inner solar system are insanely complex.If all that goes well, though, the Parker Solar Probe, as it has been dubbed, will take samples of the sun’s atmosphere and send as much data as it can back to Earth. At just four million miles, the probe would technically be in the highest layers of the sun’s atmosphere. And that’s a much rougher place than it sounds. The upper atmosphere, known as the corona, or crown, is actually much, much hotter than the surface, for one. That’s thanks to the sound energy — yes sound energy — that the sun’s constant churning, exploding surface gives off. This is also where you’ll find solar storms and all kinds of bad stuff.That’s exactly why we need to study it, too. Solar weather can have big consequences for us here on Earth. It messes with our power grid, can damage sensitive electronics, and take out satellites. It’s essential that as our world becomes more and more dependent upon electronics and communications technology, we need to know more about what causes these storms, how we can predict them and what we might do to protect ourselves.Parker will try to trace the origins of solar flares and the like — following the flow of energy within our star. Getting that close requires special solar shields that the craft will deploy en route. It even has two sets of solar panels — one for when it’s out a decent amount, and a second, smaller set that is specially designed for the high-energy environment near our star.On its approach, the Parker probe will also top out at nearly 120 miles per second, making it by far the fastest man-made object ever created. Truly this is landmark mission. So much so that NASA’s official mission renaming ceremony, is the first time the organization has ever named a craft after a living person.Eugene Parker just recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and while the probe will launch next year, NASA took the opportunity to go a little early. (Read more on NASA probes here) Their reasoning being that Parker’s work (the bulk of which dates back to the 50s) was so critical to the mission that everyone thought it best not to wait. In any case, we won’t get the first really substantial data back from Parker for years, but we’ve got a lot to look forward to and to expect from this record-breaking spacecraft. Stay on target Hubble Space Telescope Captures Star’s Eerie Gaseous GlowMoon Glows Brighter Than Sun in NASA Fermi’s Vibrant Images
Kolkata: The state Health department will undertake drives in all government medical colleges and hospitals to assess the existing fire fighting mechanism.The incident of fire at the iconic MCH building of Calcutta Medical College Hospital (CMCH) on last Wednesday prompted the Health department to look into the fire fighting systems installed in these medical colleges.The Health department will also investigate the fire fighting system in other medical colleges and hospitals that are situated in the districts. In case of CMCH, the Health department has been waiting for the report which will be submitted by the 6-member team constituted following the incident of fire. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be mentioned that the CMCH authorities had claimed there was adequate fire fighting mechanism in the MCH building that houses various important departments including pharmacy that had caught fire.Rogi Kalyan Samiti Chairman of CMCH, Dr Nirmal Maji, on the day of the incident said this could be an incident of sabotage. Dr Maji further mentioned that renovation works were carried out at the Public Works Department (PWD) a few days ahead of the incident and submitted a report saying there was hardly any possibility of a short circuit. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedTaking a lesson from the CMCH incident, the Health department has decided to assess the fire fighting systems in all the five state-run medical colleges in the city. The PWD engineers will also be asked to check and repair any possibility of short circuits. The steps have been taken to iron out the risks of fire. Thousands of patients visit the city’s medical colleges on a daily basis while many others undergo treatment at these hospitals.It may be mentioned that the electrical engineers of the PWD conduct surveillance in all the medical colleges and hospitals in the city from time to time to ensure that such incidents do not happen. All the other medical colleges and hospitals that are situated in the districts will also be asked to put in place adequate fire fighting mechanism.The district health officials have also been asked to carry out surveillance in all the hospitals under their jurisdiction.Meanwhile, after carrying out a preliminary enquiry forensic experts suspect that a computer inside the pharmacy might had been on.They are investigating if the fire was caused due to the incident.The fire already had an impact on the health services of the hospital as most of the medicines were destroyed in the fire on Wednesday.
There is no limit to the imagination of children, especially those below five. But not always what they see or feel may leave a positive image in their minds. And it is to guide not only children but also parents on how to battle such inner fears that Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has once again donned the hat of a writer with a new book, ‘There is a Monster Under my Bed’. “The book gives parents a new way of looking at overcoming a child’s fears so that they can talk to their children. If ignored, it may seemingly appear to go away on the surface but the fear will remain in some form forever. Parents need to act quickly to handle childhood fears,” Gandhi, 62, said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfGandhi has written many books on a variety of topics. How did this one come about? Gandhi said her granddaughter Anasuyaa was the inspiration. “One day she (Anasuyaa) came up to me and said she is afraid that there is a monster under her bed. I had to quickly act positive and responded how lucky she is and I also would like to have one. Its then I realised why the book needs to be written,” Gandhi said. Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children, Gandhi said, adding the book has been to make parents aware about how to deal with such situations. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”A child is a newly-hatched baby they is discovering the world while growing and I think genetically they primed to be afraid of what they don’t understand…” “If we can immediately explain them like in darkness you can see the moon, stars and hear the owls then they can get rid of fear,” she explained. And of course, the space under one’s bed which is perhaps the most frightening part. Sometimes, children have difficulty in putting their feet down at night and going to the bathroom because they think something will come out from their bed,” Gandhi pointed out. The book is a handy guideline for parents on how they can turn a scary thought or moment of a child into something positive. A bonus is the beautiful, bright and colourfull illustrations that the children can enjoy.
Cancún, Q.R. — The retention center in Cancun was busy over the weekend with 67 people being sent to the facility as city police continue with their drunk driving campaign.Cancun’s Drive Without Alcohol program was set up at the intersection of the avenues of November 20 with Rancho Viejo, Avenidas Kabah and Nichupté, José López Portillo with Rehoyada and Tulum with Sayil.Over the two-day check period, city police stopped a total of 239 vehicles and had 192 drivers blow. Of those that blew, 67 failed and were sent to the the Municipal Retention Center (el torto) for having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.The Municipal Secretariat of Public Safety and Traffic reported that the 67 motorists who were found at the control points of the Drive Without Alcohol program have to serve time for a period ranging between 12 to 36 hours, depending on their blood alcohol level.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
For one thing, it depends on the complexity of a cube’s scramble. At one end of the spectrum are configurations that require almost no effort to solve. There exist 18 starting positions, for instance, that require a single turn of a single face to resolve. Such simple scrambles would probably never be permitted in a tournament. Then again, the odds of them ever cropping up at random during a competition are, shall we say, small.“There are more than 43 quintillion ways to scramble a Rubik’s cube,” says computer scientist Tom Rokicki. “That’s more positions than there are grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches.”Forty-three quintillion—43,252,003,274,489,856,000 to be exact—is the kind of number that defies analysis. Which is why, for many years, no one knew for certain how many moves were required to solve the cube’s most Gordian scrambles. But in 2010, Rokicki and a small team of computer scientists convinced Google to let them brute-force the problem by using the company’s computers to find the most efficient solution to all 43 billion billion starting configurations. Their proof by exhaustion would have taken a normal computer decades to perform, but Google’s machines cut the compute time to a few weeks. In the end, Rokicki’s team proved that every Rubik’s Cube scramble can be solved in 20 moves, and that the vast majority of them can be solved in even fewer.[embedded content]But just because a computer can identify the most efficient solution to a scrambled cube doesn’t mean a human can. “There’s nobody out there that can look at this cube and say, ah, I’m 18 moves from solved, and this one takes me to 17,’” Rokicki says. “That’s just not something humans can do.” [embedded content]“That was pretty unexpected, to be honest,” Zemdegs says. It’s not that he didn’t think somebody would break his record (“I’ve had enough of them broken over the years that I’m pretty numb to it by now,” he says), he just didn’t expect it to fall so quickly, or by so much. Not since 2008, when the single solve record jumped from 8.72 to 7.08, has the world of speedcubing witnessed such a sizable jump.And yet, Zemdegs knows there are even faster solves on the horizon. “My best single solve, in practice, is 3.01 seconds,” he says, “and I know a couple of people who’ve managed sub-three solves at home, just one-offs.” He estimates that, under perfect conditions, someone at his skill level could solve a cube in 2.5 seconds. “The question is just: When will it happen?”But future records won’t depend entirely on luck. Perhaps there are methods, yet to be discovered, that consistently require fewer than 50 moves—an advance that could drive the record for average solve into the mid-four-second range. Cubing hardware could also improve; today, specially designed speed cubes are easier to twist than the original and contain magnets that help the faces snap into position.And to hear Zemdegs tell it, there will always be room for improvement when it comes to fluidity and finger speed. “You can always be more perfect,” he says.A fallacy, I think to myself, from my side of our video chat. But an enticing one, to be sure. Even on my laptop’s tinny speakers, the sound is unmistakable: the click-clacking, slip-sliding sound of a Rubik’s Cube whipping into shape. “It’s my first solve of the day,” says Australian speedcuber Feliks Zemdegs, somewhat sheepishly. It’s early in Sydney, where he’s speaking to me over video chat from his apartment. Over his shoulder, I can see his unmade bed. On it: a big, squishy, Rubik’s Cube novelty pillow. He looks like he hasn’t been awake for more than 20 minutes. No matter: It takes him less than seven seconds to transfigure the cube in his hands from scrambled to solved.Zemdegs holds numerous cubing records, but he is best known as the most consistently swift solver of the 3 by 3: the canonical three-layered, Mondrian-colored cube. (The toy you’re probably picturing is just one of many mechanical riddles belonging to the genus of so-called twisty puzzles.) Last month, at a speedcubing competition in Brisbane, he set a new world record of 5.69 seconds in the Average of 5 event, wherein contestants each solve five cubes that have been scrambled according to computer-generated instructions. When they’re finished, competitors eliminate their fastest and slowest times and calculate the mean of the remaining three. Zemdegs’ 5.69-second average was an 0.11-second improvement over his previous best, which was also a world record. “Since 2010, I’ve broken the Average-of-5 record probably 10 times,” he says.[embedded content]Short-lived records are common in speedcubing, a relatively young sport. (Sport? Sure, why not?) The first world tournament was held in 1982, eight years after the cube’s invention by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik. There, competitors took up to a minute to solve the cube. But by 2009, the fastest speedsolvers (many of them too young to drive) were unscrambling cubes in a little over 10 seconds. And today, the hundred best speedcubers on earth all average below 7.7 seconds per solve, with the top 10 all coming in at under 6.5. Even if humans could identify the most efficient solution before executing a single turn, actually performing that solution might not be faster than speedcubers’ current methods, which depend on deeply ingrained muscle memory and hair-trigger reflexes.This is perhaps the greatest misconception among people unversed in the ways of the cube: Anyone who solves the puzzle quickly does so not by sheer intuition, but with memorized sequences of moves, called algorithms, which they deploy to solve the cube section by section. Elite speedcubers will commit hundreds of algorithms to memory and practice performing them in their idle moments. Knowing which to use when boils down to pattern recognition: Each algorithm corresponds to a different arrangement of colored squares on the cube. When a speedcuber spots an arrangement they recognize, they perform the corresponding algorithm, bringing the cube one step closer to solved.Stringing algorithms together is a skill unto itself. The very best speedcubers excel at something called “look-ahead”—the ability to spot the pattern that will snap into existence right as they finish the move they are currently performing. A kind of short-throw clairvoyance, look-ahead enables cubers to plan for future algorithms a fraction of a second in advance. This minimizes time-consuming pauses and can give observers the impression that a speedcuber is solving the cube in one uninterrupted string of maneuvers. Using algorithms and look-ahead, the most fleet-fingered cubers in the world average between 50 and 60 moves per solve, which they can execute almost without thinking. “In speedcubing, the second you pause to consider what you’re doing, it’s all over,” Rokicki says. “It’s like dancing in a way, and I know pauses are a big part of dancing, but if you’re dancing and you just stop, well, it’s not part of the dance.”But there’s one variable we still haven’t accounted for: Luck. On rare occasion, by sheer chance, a cube will be scrambled in such a way that it requires fewer moves than usual to solve (think 40 to 50 moves, instead of 50 to 60). On rarer occasions still, a lucky scramble will find itself in the hands of a world-class cuber. And on the rarest occasions of all, that cuber will execute their algorithms not just swiftly but seamlessly, dancing through their solution with near-perfect fluidity. When all these things happen at once, an incredible time can materialize seemingly out of nowhere.That’s precisely what happened last May, when Zemdegs performed a single solve in a then-unprecedented 4.22 seconds. And it’s what happened just six months later, when, at a competition in Wuhu, China, a relatively unknown speedcuber named Yusheng Du solved a cube in just 3.47 seconds. And yet, improvements are becoming more incremental; graph the progression of cubing records, and the resulting curves are unmistakably asymptotic. As speedcubers like Zemdegs approach the limits of their finger-flicking craft, an irresistible question arises: What might that limit be?It’s tempting to arithmetize the problem—to divide the most efficient solution to the cube (as measured in turns) by the solve rate of a world-class cuber (as measured in turns per second). The result would provide a theoretical limit to speedcubing.Solve rates are pretty straightforward: In competition, elite cubers like Zemdegs average just shy of 10 turns per second. (It’s mesmerizing to watch, and makes fidget spinners seem quaint.) As for the fewest number of turns required to solve the puzzle, that’s trickier to pin down. More Great WIRED StoriesInside the hybrid digital-analog lives of childrenThe Chernobyl disaster may have also built a paradiseInside China’s massive surveillance operationBluetooth’s complexity has become a security riskI’m mad as hell about Square’s shady automatic emails🏃🏽♀️ Want the best tools to get healthy? Check out our Gear team’s picks for the best fitness trackers, running gear (including shoes and socks), and best headphones.📩 Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter
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