According to a study by the University of California at Berkeley, traditional search engines such as Google and Yahoo index only about 0.2% of the Internet. The remaining 99.8%, known as the “deep Web,” is a vast body of public and subscription-based information that traditional search engines can’t access. With Infovell, users search with key phrases up to 25,000 words long, rather than keywords. Image credit: Infovell. To dig into this “invisible” information, scientists have developed a new search engine called Infovell geared at helping researchers find often obscure data in the deep Web. As scientists working on the Human Genome Project, Infovell´s founders designed the new searching technology based on methods in genomics research. Instead of using keywords, Infovell accepts much longer search terms, and in any language.”There are no ´keywords´ in genetics,” explains Infovell´s Web site. “New unique and powerful techniques have been developed to extract knowledge from genes. Now, through Infovell, these techniques have, for the first time, been applied to language and other symbol systems, shattering long-held barriers in search and leapfrogging the capabilities of current search providers to deliver the World´s Research Engine.”While keywords may work fine for the general public looking for popular and accessible content, they don´t often meet the needs of researchers looking for specific data. As information in the deep web continues to grow, Infovell explains that a one-size-fits-all approach to searching will make academic searching even more challenging.One reason is the nature of deep Web sites themselves. While many popular Web sites are specifically designed to be search-engine friendly, a lot of deep Web content is unstructured, making it difficult for keyword-based search engines to index. Further, the deep Web does not receive much traffic, meaning these pages don´t have many incoming links and therefore aren´t ranked highly by systems such as Google´s PageRank. And for private sites, barriers such as registration and subscription requirements also make it difficult for search engines to access them. Searching with keywords also presents a trade-off between being too general and getting millions of irrelevant results, or being too specific and not getting any results at all. After getting results, users then have to sift through many pages looking for what they need.But with Infovell, users search with “KeyPhrases,” from paragraphs to whole documents or even sets of documents up to 25,000 words. Because it´s born out of the world of genomics, Infovell is also language-independent. Users can search in English, Chinese, Arabic, or even mathematical symbols, chemical formulas, or musical notes. “The key requirement is that the information is in digital format, and it can be stored in a linear, sequential and segregated manner,” according to Infovell´s site.Infovell´s technology allows users to locate the most current and comprehensive documents and published articles from billions of pages, with topics including life sciences, medicine, patents, industry news, and other reference content. Currently, some researchers use advanced search options provided by individual sites to try to get around keyword search engines. However, these search engines require users to learn special syntax, and only work for the site they´re at. The advantage of Infovell is that it doesn´t require special training (and it doesn´t use Boolean operators, taxonomies or clustering); rather, it is easy to use and can search everything at once. Although Infovell is not the first attempt at a search engine for crawling the deep Web, its developers hope that researchers will benefit from Infovell´s advantages more in the future, especially as the deep Web continues to grow. Infovell is being demonstrated at DEMOfall08, a conference for emerging technologies taking place in San Diego on September 7-9. Users can sign up for a 30-day risk-free trial at Infovell´s Web site, and Infovell is initially available on a subscription basis. Later this year, Infovell will release a free beta version on a limited basis without some of the advanced features in the premium version.More information: www.infovell.comVia: www.networkworld.com Citation: Infovell’s ‘research engine’ finds deep Web pages that Google, Yahoo miss (2008, September 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-09-infovell-deep-web-pages-google.html 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.
Right now, there are experiments going on in many laboratories, attempting to determine whether axionlike particles really do exist. One is happening at CERN, and that is the experiment Burrage is most interested in. “The experimenters are using what is called the CERN Axion Solar Telescope,” she says. “It has a cap on the end of a telescope pointed at the sun that would keep out photons. Axionlike particles, though, would pass through the cap. Then a magnetic field would be passed through the telescope, changing any axionlike particles into photons. If you could see light, even with the cap on, it would be a good indicator of the existence of these particles.” Other experiments are going on at Fermi Lab and at DESY, and involve a similar process that would result in the appearance of light “passing through” a thick barrier.At the present time, though, Burrage and her colleagues are interested in looking at the dimming results of other astronomical objects. “We are interested in the lab results of the experiments with axionlike particles, but we are not involved. Instead, we are looking to see if other types of astronomical objects are affected as the way active galactic nuclei are. If these effects are seen in observations of other objects, the case for axionlike particles is strengthened.”More information: Clare Burrage, Anne-Christine Davis, Douglas J. Shaw, “Active Galactic Nuclei Shed Light on Axionlike Particles,” Physical Review Letters (2009). Avialable online: link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.201101 . Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: Galactic nuclei offer some indication of axionlike particles (2009, May 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-05-galactic-nuclei-indication-axionlike-particles.html (PhysOrg.com) — “Axionlike particles are interesting because they come up regularly when scientists study string theory. By looking at their properties, you hope to learn about string theory, or some other unified theory of physics. From a cosmological point of view, axionlike particles are of interest because they could be connected to dark energy,” Clare Burrage tells PhysOrg.com. The main hiccup in this study of axionlike particles, however, is the fact that their existence – much like their cousins, axions – has yet to be proven. Explore further Burrage is a scientist at Deutsches Elektonen-Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg, Germany. She believes that some cosmological evidence for axionlike particles might have been found. Along with Anne-Christine Davis at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, U.K., and Douglas Shaw at Queen Mary University of London, Burrage has been studying luminosity relations in active galactic nuclei. The team believes that their results offer a good case for the existence of axionlike particles, which are thought to have low mass and weak interactions. Their work is available in Physical Review Letters: “Active Galactic Nuclei Shed Light on Axionlike Particles.”“For a long time, it has been speculated that a magnetic field could be used to change photons into axionlike particles. It is possible to look for these particles in the laboratory, and it is also possible to look for them using astronomy. We are looking for axionlike particles in astronomy, first by comparing observations of active galactic nuclei to what we expect to be the effects of the presence of axionlike particles.”Active galactic nuclei are compact regions at the centers of galaxies. These nuclei are characterized by higher than normal luminosity. Using galactic centers for reference has long been a practice when discovering distant objects and determining cosmic evolution. Burrage and her peers suggest that active galactic nuclei appear dimmer than they should, due to the presence of axionlike particles. “We have seen in the past that if photons pass through a magnetic field, like one might have near galactic nuclei, and they are converted to axionlike particles, you would lose a lot of light,” she explains. “You would see a much dimmer object than expected. That is what we are seeing when we look at the precision measurements we have studied.”Burrage points out that, while the results of this data crunching are encouraging, they are not conclusive. “The problem with astronomy is that you can’t go out and poke the galaxy,” she says. “There’s a lot about the physics that we don’t understand. There could be another explanation that mimics the effects we are looking for. We need to see it in the lab as well, if we want to back up our assertion that we are dealing with axionlike particles.” 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. Is dark matter made of axions?
(PhysOrg.com) — Researchers at Daresbury science park in Britain have offered a glimpse into what might be the future of nuclear energy production by showcasing a scaled down particle accelerator; one, that when combined with others just like it, could produce nuclear energy based on thorium, rather than uranium. Dubbed the Electron Machine with Many Applications (EMMA), the accelerator, a much smaller version of the kind used in physics research, such as the Large Hadron Collider, could be used to provide an accelerated beam necessary for the type of nuclear reaction used in a theoretical thorium plant. The EMMA ring in relation to the main ERLP (ALICE) accelerator. Thorium, named for the Norse god of thunder, is a silver-white metal found in abundance all over the planet, and is only very slightly radioactive and as such is a member of the elements known as actinides which, like uranium, occasionally spin off particles which make it useful for energy production. But unlike uranium, thorium is relatively clean because it decays much faster leaving far less reactive byproducts behind; and because it requires a constant bombardment of particles to keep it reacting, is incapable of producing a meltdown; something on the minds of people in the aftermath the Fukushima disaster.That’s where EMMA enters the picture. To produce the constant stream of particles needed to keep a thorium reaction going, an accelerator is needed, but it wouldn’t have to be the huge billion dollar kind, more like the kind you could fit in your garage, or in this case in a lab on the boggy Cheshire flatland, just east of Liverpool, where reporters from the U.K. newspaper Mail, were recently given a tour. They report that EMMA is “an object of scientific beauty…” Scientists have known since the 1950’s that thorium could be used to produce electricity, just as uranium is today; what kept them from doing so was the desire to use technology that could be used in conjunction with atomic weapons, which pushed thorium research aside due to its impracticality for such applications. Today however, things have obviously changed, several countries besides Britain are taking a very hard look at thorium and the ways it could be put to good use and at small particle accelerators too; the team in Britain is also currently at work designing the Particle Accelerator for Medical Applications (Pamela) to be used to help treat hard to reach cancer in patients. © 2010 PhysOrg.com A future energy giant? India’s thorium-based nuclear plans Explore further Citation: New pint sized particle accelerator leads the way to clean nuclear energy (2011, June 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-06-pint-sized-particle-nuclear-energy.html 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.
Toward a pill to enable celiac patients to eat foods containing gluten © 2013 Phys.org Explore further More information: Sustained gastrointestinal activity of dendronized polymer–enzyme conjugates, Nature Chemistry (2013) doi:10.1038/nchem.1675AbstractMethods to stabilize and retain enzyme activity in the gastrointestinal tract are investigated rarely because of the difficulty of protecting proteins from an environment that has evolved to promote their digestion. Preventing the degradation of enzymes under these conditions, however, is critical for the development of new protein-based oral therapies. Here we show that covalent conjugation to polymers can stabilize orally administered therapeutic enzymes at different locations in the gastrointestinal tract. Architecturally and functionally diverse polymers are used to protect enzymes sterically from inactivation and to promote interactions with mucin on the stomach wall. Using this approach the in vivo activity of enzymes can be sustained for several hours in the stomach and/or in the small intestine. These findings provide new insight and a firm basis for the development of new therapeutic and imaging strategies based on orally administered proteins using a simple and accessible technology. Journal information: Nature Chemistry Citation: Polymers could help enzymes treat diseases (2013, June 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-polymers-enzymes-diseases.html Enzymes lose their structure and break up into their component parts easily. To correct this problem, biochemists have been attaching polymers to enzymes for decades. This makes the enzymes stable enough for use in pharmaceuticals. Doctors tend to administer these modified enzymes by injection or other non-oral routes, so they do not have to pass through the GI tract. Some oral medications contain enzymes; these have coatings to prevent stomach acid from attacking them. However, it is hard to predict how well the coatings will work in individual patients, so such medicines are not very reliable.Recently, scientists modified an enzyme that breaks down phenylalanine, the amino acid that causes a problem for people with phenylketonuria (PKU), by combining it with the polymer polyethylene glycol (PEG). When given orally, this polymer-enzyme conjugate helped reduce phenylalanine levels in mice with PKU. Leroux’s team, which had been studying celiac disease, tried to see if it could achieve similar results by attaching polymers to enzymes that break down gluten, the protein that triggers the disease. An enzyme that digests gluten before it reaches the small intestine would benefit celiac sufferers greatly. Enzymes known as proline-specific endopeptidases (PEPs) break down gluten. However, they are denaturized and deactivated in the stomach. The researchers tried to stabilize different types of PEPs by attaching different polymers to them. They labeled the modified enzymes with a fluorescent substance and fed them to rats. Enzymes attached to dendronized polymers, which have a linear main chain and dendron-type side chain, remained active in the rats’ stomachs for more than three hours. The researchers think that the dendronized polymers may provide a protective effect by adhering to the mucus in the stomach lining. They are now performing further studies on mutated enzymes to gain a better understanding of how the polymers prevent enzymes from degrading. Schematic depiction of the behaviour of MX–polymer conjugates in the GI tract. After oral administration, MX–PG1 interacts with the negatively charged gastric mucin layer, which results in strong mucoadhesion. MX–PDL, MX–PAA and MX–mPEG do not (or only weakly) interact with the mucin layer. Credit: (c) Nature Chemistry (2013) doi:10.1038/nchem.1675 (Phys.org) —Conditions such as celiac disease, phenylketonuria, lactose intolerance and exocrine pancreatic disease involve abnormal enzyme activity. Enzymes administered orally could help sufferers. However, because enzymes, like all proteins, break down in the stomach and small intestine, they cannot usually survive in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract long enough to be effective. In a study published in Nature Chemistry, Jean-Christophe Leroux and his colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology report they have found polymers that, when attached to enzymes, will prevent the enzymes from degrading in the GI tract. The research paves the way for new medical treatments. 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.
© 2013 Phys.org More information: Evidence for supernova injection into the solar nebula and the decoupling of r-process nucleosynthesis, PNAS, Published online before print October 7, 2013, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1307759110AbstractThe isotopic composition of our Solar System reflects the blending of materials derived from numerous past nucleosynthetic events, each characterized by a distinct isotopic signature. We show that the isotopic compositions of elements spanning a large mass range in the earliest formed solids in our Solar System, calcium–aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), are uniform, and yet distinct from the average Solar System composition. Relative to younger objects in the Solar System, CAIs contain positive r-process anomalies in isotopes A < 140 and negative r-process anomalies in isotopes A > 140. This fundamental difference in the isotopic character of CAIs around mass 140 necessitates (i) the existence of multiple sources for r-process nucleosynthesis and (ii) the injection of supernova material into a reservoir untapped by CAIs. A scenario of late supernova injection into the protoplanetary disk is consistent with formation of our Solar System in an active star-forming region of the galaxy. Early solar system garnet-like mineral named for Livermore cosmochemist A 520g individual of the Allende meteorite shower. Credit: H. Raab / Wikipedia. Explore further (Phys.org) —A combined team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Arizona State University has found isotopic evidence of a supernova inside of a meteorite that fell to Earth in 1969. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the team describes how isotopes found in the Allende meteorite differ from those found on Earth or on the moon, suggesting they came directly from a supernova rather than from a debris field that followed. Scientists agree that our solar system formed approximately four and a half billion years ago—how exactly it happened, however, is still a matter of debate. Most agree that it was likely the result of one or more stars exploding, because the heavy matter that makes up our planet is only known to form in stars, or when they explode as a supernova. Research has even led to a theory describing how three types of isotopes come about: p-, s- and r-processes, from which all matter heavier than nickel is made. In this new effort, the researchers found isotopes inside the Allende meteorite that conform to the r-process; this they contend, suggests that the isotopic material very likely came about directly when a supernova exploded. The rest of the meteorite (the outer shell) likely came about as debris from the explosion followed sometime later. This discovery has added new details to theories about the way our solar system came to exist.One theory suggests that a single supernova explosion led to the creation of our sun and later the planets as debris from the explosions entered the system. Another suggests that our sun could have been created by more than one supernova, all of which would have likely contributed, via debris, to the matter that coalesced into planets. The material in the Allende meteorite helps refine such theories by narrowing the window of its injection into our system to a relatively small time frame—perhaps as small as 20 to 50 thousand years.Clumps inside the meteorite, known as inclusions, are believed to represent some of the oldest material in the solar system and offer the best evidence possible of what was happening as our solar system was being created. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: Reexamination of Allende meteorite reveals isotopic evidence of supernova (2013, October 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-reexamination-allende-meteorite-reveals-isotopic.html 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.
Journal information: Earth and Planetary Science Letters Citation: Meteorite find may be ‘missing half’ of interstellar collision (2014, July 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-07-meteorite-interstellar-collision.html For several years scientists have debated the reason behind a lull, then sudden resurgence of biodiversity on planet Earth a little over 500 million years ago—some suggest the resurgence was due to a sudden major increase in the number of meteorite impacts. The increase, theorists suggest, came about due to an impact between two asteroids, likely somewhere between Jupiter and Mars. Debris from the remains of one of those objects is believed to be the source of L chondrites, which have been found in many places around the globe. But, until now, no evidence of the other asteroid has been found on Earth, putting a damper on the theory—some have suggested the second asteroid simply vaporized on impact. The meteorite found in Sweden has reignited interest, however, because it’s possible it is a piece of that second asteroid (because it appears to have been part of the same meteor shower as the L chondrites), which if true, will add a lot of credence to the entire theory that seeks to explain the sudden resurgence of life during the early part of the Ordovician period.The meteorite was found by quarry workers three years ago—other meteorites have been found in the same quarry before, but all of them were L chondrites. It was different from the other’s, the researchers noted, after studying its crystals, but was in the same rock layer and dating in the lab, suggesting it arrived during the same time period as part of a wider meteor shower. While still in the same class of primitive achondrites as L chondrites, it’s not exactly the same because of small differences in its elemental composition. The team is hopeful that the finding suggests that others will be found, hopefully some that can offer more evidence of their origin.The unique meteorite has not been given an official name yet—for now it’s simply being referred to as the “mysterious object.” The Thorsberg quarry and the Mysterious Object. (A) Thorsberg quarry on June 15, 2013. The Österplana church is seen in the back. (B) The Mysterious Object from the Glaskarten 3 bed. The meteorite is 8 × 6.5 × 2 cm in size. It was found in the youngest quarried bed of the Thorsberg quarry, at the top of the section. Credit: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 400, 15 August 2014, Pages 145–152. Explore further Research shows collision created Chelyabinsk asteroid (Phys.org) —A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Sweden and Switzerland studying a meteorite found in a Swedish quarry is reporting that the rock is unlike anything else ever found. In their paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, they suggest the meteorite might just be evidence of a collision between two asteroids millions of years ago. 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. More information: A fossil winonaite-like meteorite in Ordovician limestone: A piece of the impactor that broke up the L-chondrite parent body? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 400, 15 August 2014, Pages 145–152. www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0012821X14003367AbstractAbout a quarter of all meteorites falling on Earth today originate from the breakup of the L-chondrite parent body ∼470 Ma ago, the largest documented breakup in the asteroid belt in the past ∼3 Ga. A window into the flux of meteorites to Earth shortly after this event comes from the recovery of about 100 fossil L chondrites (1–21 cm in diameter) in a quarry of mid-Ordovician limestone in southern Sweden. Here we report on the first non-L-chondritic meteorite from the quarry, an 8 cm large winonaite-related meteorite of a type not known among present-day meteorite falls and finds. The noble gas data for relict spinels recovered from the meteorite show that it may be a remnant of the body that hit and broke up the L-chondrite parent body, creating one of the major asteroid families in the asteroid belt. After two decades of systematic recovery of fossil meteorites and relict extraterrestrial spinel grains from marine limestone, it appears that the meteorite flux to Earth in the mid-Ordovician was very different from that of today. © 2014 Phys.org
Credit: CC0 Public Domain More information: Robotic space exploration agents, Science Robotics (2017). robotics.sciencemag.org/lookup … /scirobotics.aan4831AbstractLimitations on interplanetary communications create operations latencies and slow progress in planetary surface missions, with particular challenges to narrow–field-of-view science instruments requiring precise targeting. The AEGIS (Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science) autonomous targeting system has been in routine use on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover since May 2016, selecting targets for the ChemCam remote geochemical spectrometer instrument. AEGIS operates in two modes; in autonomous target selection, it identifies geological targets in images from the rover’s navigation cameras, choosing for itself targets that match the parameters specified by mission scientists the most, and immediately measures them with ChemCam, without Earth in the loop. In autonomous pointing refinement, the system corrects small pointing errors on the order of a few milliradians in observations targeted by operators on Earth, allowing very small features to be observed reliably on the first attempt. AEGIS consistently recognizes and selects the geological materials requested of it, parsing and interpreting geological scenes in tens to hundreds of seconds with very limited computing resources. Performance in autonomously selecting the most desired target material over the last 2.5 kilometers of driving into previously unexplored terrain exceeds 93% (where ~24% is expected without intelligent targeting), and all observations resulted in a successful geochemical observation. The system has substantially reduced lost time on the mission and markedly increased the pace of data collection with ChemCam. AEGIS autonomy has rapidly been adopted as an exploration tool by the mission scientists and has influenced their strategy for exploring the rover’s environment. Despite recent successes, such as placing roving robots on Mars and sending craft to Venus, Saturn and other parts of the solar system, space scientists all agree that space science is still difficult. It is not easy to design a craft capable of venturing out to distant points in space and have them work as designed. All manner of difficulties must be imagined and measures taken to account for them. In the future, Chien and Wegstff suggest, things are only going to get more difficult as scientists send craft farther into space. Doing so, they suggest, will require more probes, which means they will have to be a lot smarter—in many situations, they may have to carry out their entire mission without intervention from humans back on Earth. They will have to be able to learn, too, so that they can change how they go about their activities. This, the pair notes, means that they will have to be equipped with advanced artificial intelligence systems that are capable of understanding requirements and carrying out activities autonomously that will serve to achieve desired goals.Such systems, for example, will need to be able to identify situations like the difference between normal planetary conditions and a storm that has arisen. Or they might need to be able to recognize changes in season, the difference between snow and ice, or when water is moving. They will need to be able to use their tools to look at their surroundings and to choose the best parts to study, and perhaps use what they find to conduct further studies.Adding intelligence to robotic probes, the researchers suggest, could enable probes sent to places as far away as Alpha Centauri, which would take so long that the generation of scientists receiving the data will succeed the generation that launched the mission. Because of that, the probe will need to know how to do everything itself. 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. Citation: JPL scientists predict future space probes will have artificial intelligence to operate autonomously (2017, June 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-06-jpl-scientists-future-space-probes.html NASA develops AI for future exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface oceans Journal information: Science Robotics © 2017 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A pair of space scientists working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology has written a Focus piece for the journal Science Robotics. Steve Chien and Kiri Wagstaff suggest that future space probes will be given enough intelligence to carry out much of their mission without prompts from people back on Earth. Explore further
520-million-year-old arthropod brains turn paleontology on its head © 2018 Phys.org The fossils are from Kerygmachela kierkegaardi, a type of sea creature that lived from approximately 521 to 514 million years ago. The creatures were approximately 25 centimeters in length, had large eyes and had 11 feather-shaped swimming flaps on their sides. They also had a long, thin tail, long twin appendages on their round heads, which they apparently used for grasping prey, and, as this new evidence shows, a single-segment brain. It is the brain that is newsworthy in this new effort—prior fossilized samples of Kerygmachela have been found before, but this is the first time that fossilized brains have been uncovered. The fossilized brains, the team notes, are made of thin carbon films.The team reports that they found 15 fossilized brains in all, some of which also had associated fossilized nervous system tissue. Because the brains had just one segment, it is assumed that they were less complex than those with three segments, suggesting limited behavioral attributes. These findings call into question the assumption that the common ancestor of all arthropods and vertebrates had three-segmented brains. But, the team also notes, despite having just one segment, the creature clearly had enough brain power to survive during the Cambrian explosion. They also note that the creature’s large eyes represent an intermediate evolutionary step between creatures with very simple eyes and those with eyes that are far more complex.The fossils were located at a site named Sirius Passet on the northern tip of Greenland. The researchers found them by canvassing shale plots on land and using hammers to crack apart layers of shale which had protected the fossils from the elements over millions of years, allowing for the preservation of the fossilize brains. The fossilized brains represent some of the oldest ever found. Journal information: Nature Communications More information: Tae-Yoon S. Park et al. Brain and eyes of Kerygmachela reveal protocerebral ancestry of the panarthropod head, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03464-wAbstractRecent discoveries of fossil nervous tissue in Cambrian fossils have allowed researchers to trace the origin and evolution of the complex arthropod head and brain based on stem groups close to the origin of the clade, rather than on extant, highly derived members. Here we show that Kerygmachela from Sirius Passet, North Greenland, a primitive stem-group euarthropod, exhibits a diminutive (protocerebral) brain that innervates both the eyes and frontal appendages. It has been surmised, based on developmental evidence, that the ancestor of vertebrates and arthropods had a tripartite brain, which is refuted by the fossil evidence presented here. Furthermore, based on the discovery of eyes in Kerygmachela, we suggest that the complex compound eyes in arthropods evolved from simple ocelli, present in onychophorans and tardigrades, rather than through the incorporation of a set of modified limbs. 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. Explore further Citation: Fossilized brains of ancient sea creatures found in northern Greenland (2018, March 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-fossilized-brains-ancient-sea-creatures.html A team of researchers from Korea, the U.K. and Denmark has found fossilized brains of sea creatures that lived during the Cambrian explosion. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes features of the brains and why they believe their findings may overturn a commonly held belief about the ancestry of panarthropods and invertebrate panarthropods and also vertebrates. Reconstruction of Kerygmachela kierkegaardi. a Dorsal reconstruction of the head region with the central nervous system (orange), anterior neural projection (yellow), and muscular pharynx (blue). b Artistic reconstruction of K. kierkegaardi. el eye lobe, mo mouth opening, nap anterior neural projection, nb branching of nerve, nc nerve cord, nfa frontal appendage nervous tract, npc protocerebrum, nop optic nerve, phr pharynx. Artwork by Rebecca Gelernter (nearbirdstudios.com). Credit: Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03464-w
Citation: Study confirms that island birds have bigger brains (2018, August 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-island-birds-bigger-brains.html The researchers next wondered why island living might produce birds with bigger brains, and presumably, higher intelligence. They theorized that it seemed plausible that factors such as isolation, an inability to disperse, and a need to expand their niche might cause such a change. They note that isolation would result in a different life history and also would prevent the birds from moving elsewhere should conditions become rough on occasion. They also noted that island life might be more erratic than birds on the mainland experienced, forcing them to look for new ways to find food and otherwise survive. To visualize their theory, the group built a model that depicted birds living under such circumstances. The simulation showed the outcome they expected—the development of larger brains. The researchers note that there has been anecdotal evidence suggesting that birds living on islands have bigger brains than similar birds on the mainland—and two studies carried out to discover if this were true. But both studies turned out to be flawed, which meant there was no real evidence backing up such claims. To learn more, the team searched databases that contained information on 11,554 bird specimens that included brain size data on 110 species living on islands, and 1,821 living on continents. Analysis of the data showed that birds living on islands did have larger brains (relative to body size) on average than continental birds. But this finding led them to the obvious question of whether living on an island caused larger brain growth or whether larger-brained birds were more likely to make their way to an island in the first place. To find the answer to this question, the team went back to the database. This time, they compared the birds by brains size, how closely related they were, and also, of course, where they lived. In so doing, they found that birds evolving over time on an island had bigger brains than their cousins who had stayed home. The researchers claim this suggests very strongly that island life has increased brain size in birds. Picture of a Kea (Nestor notabilis) in the mountains of the South island of New Zealand. Known for their flexible behaviours, Kea’s have one of the biggest brains of the order Psittaciformes. Credit: Jon Sullivan Explore further Bigger brains outsmart harsh climates More information: Ferran Sayol et al. Predictable evolution towards larger brains in birds colonizing oceanic islands, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05280-8AbstractTheory and evidence suggest that some selective pressures are more common on islands than in adjacent mainland habitats, leading evolution to follow predictable trends. The existence of predictable evolutionary trends has nonetheless been difficult to demonstrate, mainly because of the challenge of separating in situ evolution from sorting processes derived from colonization events. Here we use brain size measurements of >1900 avian species to reveal the existence of one such trend: increased brain size in island dwellers. Based on sister-taxa comparisons and phylogenetic ancestral trait estimations, we show that species living on islands have relatively larger brains than their mainland relatives and that these differences mainly reflect in situ evolution rather than varying colonization success. Our findings reinforce the view that in some instances evolution may be predictable, and yield insight into why some animals evolve larger brains despite substantial energetic and developmental costs. 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. © 2018 Phys.org Picture of a female New Zealand Tomtit (Petroica macrocephala) perching on a branch in South island. It’s specific name, literally means “big head”, referring to its large head in comparison to other members of its genus. Credit: Jon Sullivan A team of researchers from Sweden, Canada and Spain has found evidence suggesting that birds that live on islands tend to have bigger brains than their mainland cousins. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes their analysis of data on over 1800 bird species and what they found. Journal information: Nature Communications
What is all about a teenager’s passion? How many of them kick start their pursuit of dreams right from the moment as a budding enthusiast? Are they all about getting glued to their play stations on the couch? Not all of them. A 16 year old Delhi inspiration Ayush Ansal has begun his venture of becoming an author with his first novel The Gentlemen of Finance released at the Indian Habitat Center this 3 April. Ayush, born and brought up in New Delhi is pursuing his secondary education in Gordonstoun, Scotland. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Stein Auditorium of IHC was packed with an young legion interspersed with their vanguards presided by the Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, an young Sachin Pilot, who unveiled the book. The Other guests of honor were Dr Nick Argent, Director, The British School, Vanita Uppal, Principal, Secondary, The British School and the Kapish Mishra, Managing Director, Rupa Publications.Sushil Ansal, Chancellor, Ansal University welcomed the gathering and felicitated the author in his pursuit of his dream and to develop his skills as a big wheel, as the title of the book suggests. Sachin Pilot congratulated Ayush on his efforts and to continue his pursuit of heart and mind.Ayush, an avid guitarist, who has titled the chapters of his book with his favorite songs believes that his emphasis on dedication and determination has led to him being able to balance the demands of academics with other interests.
A media graduate, a soon-to-be lawyer and an ex-IT guy chartered different ways to eventually come together in what-they-call a closely knit English stand up community of India. Gursimran Khamba, Sundeep Rao and Akshay Bd talk to Millennium Post about their brand of humour ahead of a performance in Delhi. Gursimran, popularly known as Khamba, is the serious guy out of this lot. Serious? Comedy? You think that’s an oxymoron? Well, in Khamba’s case, it works and also, ruffles a few feathers. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Khamba is a political satirist who takes digs at current affairs, politics and religion. Starting his career as a blogger in Delhi, he became an online sensation with his quirky takes on significant issues. His popularity made him known amongst English stand up comedians who were building a niche for their brand of comedy back in 2008-2009 in Delhi. When asked about the evolution of English stand up comedy in his view, he says, ‘Unlike earlier, now you have a comedy calendar in metro cities. Like the independent music and film scene, comedy has taken an independent form over these years.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWith a post graduation degree in media and a successful career in stand-up comedy, what lies ahead for Khamba? Would the next big move be television? And pat comes the reply, ‘No!’ . He adds,’ I would like to stick to the internet. I have a podcast, All India Bakchod, up and running. We get to do extensive interviews with stand up comics like Raju Srivastav. Internet offers a lot of freedom that TV cannot. ‘Another blogger-cum-performer from Bengaluru, Sundeep Rao started his career in stand up comedy a year ago. With his undeniable comic aura he leapfrogged to Ash Chandler’s Ministry of Schtick in Mumbai in no time. Talking about his brand of humour, he says, ‘ I studied sociology in college. It reflects through my acts. Urban comedy with a witty take on human behaviour and society is what I usually do.’ Talking about a recent controversy, wherein a comedy channel was banned in India for 10 days, he says, ‘What’s the point of free speech? Anyway, I am sensitive towards the issues I pick up. I know there’s no funny way to talk about rapes and other social issues in society.’Next on our list is Akshaye Bd, a Brahmin from Bengaluru, studying last year of Law in Delhi. Being Brahmin from Bengaluru itself is a subject for stand up comedy for Akshaye. He elaborates, ‘Our society overemphasizes the role of academic degrees in life. That leads to a lot of frustration.’ His anger finds an outlet in comedy. For him, it is a platform that keeps him satisfied because he gets to say things everybody thinks of but no one talks about.The three of them are grateful to Geliophobics Entertainment that keeps on organising more and more performances in the capital. With two to three performances every weekend, the trio believes that Delhi makes for a great avenue for stand up comedy in India.
Where there is pressure there is folk dance’ – stated the Hofesh Shechter company as they took over the Kamani Auditorium on 9 September. History has shown us, time and again, that out of situations of extreme political and sociological turmoil comes art. The blues, jazz, the poetry of the likes of Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou – the list goes on. History also predicts that expression, over the years, becomes more physical. Now, there is dance. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’I do suppose, in this Cold War era when the world totters on the brink of another full-fledged war – Political Mother comes as a reminder to the grim reality that one either controls or is controlled. But at the end of it all – there’s always art. Political Mother did two things for us. One it opened our mind and two it showed us how incredibly a stage can be used. We didn’t know that the Kamani auditorium had the potential to offer so much. The entire performance of 70 minutes kept the full-house glued to the seats and frankly it didn’t even feel that we sat rapt in attention for more than an hour. A one prolonged music piece of sorts with only one song, Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, the performance was an intensely cerebral one while making ample accommodations for goose bumps and elevated heartbeats. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘Political Mother brims with Shechter’s emotional and gritty complexity as an ever more surreal chain of images makes our existence seem more impossible than the events taking place in front of us. A Chinese puzzle of encounters leads to amusing, sad and shocking events that confuse our values and challenge our perceptions of what is normal. It is performed by 10 dancers of the Hofesh Shechter Company and accompanied by Shechter’s cinematic score performed by a band of live musicians.’ explains the Impulse 2 website. Choreographed by Israel born-London based Hofesh Shechter, Political Mother is based on contemporary dance with a lot of folk influences. Shechter attributes what we see on stage to the folk dances he grew up with in his country. The contemporary strain allowed the choreographer free expression and it resulted in something intensely powerful and beautiful. The flawless dance performers were joined by musicians on stage and this added to the overall stunning impact of the production. The standing ovation at the end of it all was much deserved. This performance was a part of British Council’s Impulse 2 programme that will be taking place over September, October and November across the country. The event kicked off with Schechter’s Political Mother and will also be bringing the Scottish Dance Theatre and Avant Garde Dance company to India over the next two months.
Darjeeling: The Bangladesh High Commissioner stated that India and Bangladesh should jointly pressurise Myanmar to take back Rohingyas from Bangladesh.Talking to media persons in Darjeeling, Syed Muazzem Ali, the High Commissioner stated: “The Rohingya issue is an internal issue of Myanmar. The Rohingyas have been residents of Myanmar since generations but the Myanmar Government has not given them citizenship, instead they have pushed the Rohingyas into Bangladesh.” At present, there are 11 lakh Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”The Rohingya issue could give rise to security problems. The more the Rohingyas stay outside Myanmar, the greater the chances of radicalisation. The faster they return to Myanmar, the better it is,” feels the High Commissioner.The High Commissioner arrived in Darjeeling on Tuesday on a three-day visit. He further stated that the Home Minister of India will be visiting Bangladesh for a meeting with his counterpart on July 15.”The present Bangladesh Government has a Zero Tolerance policy towards all acts of terrorism. There are strict mechanisms in place to prevent any such act. Every two years, the Home Ministers of the two countries meet to review full time security of the 4000 km border. Issues including cross border terrorism, human trafficking, smuggling, counterfeit currency are discussed in the meetings,” added Syed Muazzem Ali.Similar meetings are also held between the Border Security Force of India and Border Guards Bangladesh at regular intervals.Bangladesh is all set to emerge as a key player for India’s Look East Act East policy feels the High Commissioner.
The growth story of a buoyant Bengal, aided by the power of traditional knowledge, indigenous skills and creative genius wedded to a resurgent spirit of positivity and aspiration, has been the highlight of West Bengal Day which was celebrated at the India International Trade Fair-2015, focusing on the theme of “Make in India”. The State also exhibits Bengal’s great artistic and cultural heritage, its superb handicrafts and handloom products, its prowess in Information Technology, Power Generation, Industry, Agriculture, Education, Tourism and its present achievements and future opportunities. A pride of place has been reserved for the “Biswa Bangla” initiative, through which all aspects of Bengal’s crafts, culture and creativity will be projected under a single umbrella organization to build a “brand Bengal” in the international market. The folk artistes took an active role to propagate different unique schemes such as Kanyasree, Jubasree, Sikshasree through their performances. This project has brought tremendous enthusiasm among the folk artistes of Bengal. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The evening started with Dhak – Dhol which is an age-old folk musical instruments of Bengal with the Performance by Lalit Badyakar and his troupe, Murshidabad. It was followed by Baul, Kartick Das Baul and his troupe, Birbhum popularly known as the wandering minstrels are a group of singers coming both from Hindu and Muslim communities. Ignoring all kinds of religious and ritualistic autocracy, social stigma and caste barriers, Bauls find out their ‘Mon Amie’ (my love) within simplicity. Music of Baul was main tool to attain his divine grace in the evening. Dances like Rava dance, Raibenshe dance and Chou Dance were presented. The dances were presented with songs and the dancers adorned colourful costumes. The dance forms are marked by the unique gorgeous props and colourful attire used by the dancers. These globally acclaimed dance form was highly appreciated by the viewers.
Kolkata: An Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) from Purbasthali Police Station has been suspended for allegedly extorting money from a businessman. It was also alleged that accused ASI Somnath Das had used a receipt book to collect money. After the incident came to light, Das was suspended and a departmental enquiry has been ordered against him.Sources informed that a few days before Kali Puja, Das demanded money from local businesspersons and shop owners. He claimed that the he is asking money for Kali Puja. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSeveral businessman and shop owners gave him money. Some of them said Das told them that he was instructed by his superiors. When Das approached a businessman identified as Nasir Shaihk he refused to give money. It was alleged that the ASI had told him that it was instructed by his superiors. When Das handed over Shaikh a receipt of Rs 5000, he smelled something was fishy. On the bill it was printed that ‘Purbasthali R G Party’ is collecting donation for their Kali Puja. His doubt grew as to why a police officer would collect money on behalf of R G Party. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedShaikh told Das that he would give the money later an tried to find the cause behind demanding the money. Within a few days, he found that nobody knows anything about such Puja. He then went and reported the whole thing to the superior officers of Purba Bardhaman police. He also sent his complaint to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s department. After receiving the complaint senior police officials asked Das for a explanation which he could not provide. Later, he was suspended for his alleged extortion. On Sunday Police Superintendent of Purba Bardhaman Police Bhaskar Mukherjee said: “The ASI has been suspended. A departmental enquiry has been ordered. Nothing more could be said before completion of the enquiry.”
On the occasion of World Honey Bee Day, when Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena was distributing 1,000 bee-boxes among 100 Mishing Asamese tribe in the Kaziranga forest area, very few people actually knew that KVIC was creating a new sort of world record of distributing maximum number of bee-boxes in a single day – beating the record by Israel.From the very moment Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a call for ‘Sweet Revolution’, the KVIC became active with its enthusiastic ‘Honey Mission’. The mission aims to meet the target of distributing 1, 30,000 bee-boxes before November 2018 across the nation – right from Narmada valley area of Gujarat to Kaziranga forest in Assam and hilly Pampore area of Jammu and Kashmir to dense forests of Mysuru. And, till the date, KVIC had distributed as many as 27,000 bee-boxes, which had happened for the very first time in India Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe KVIC had not only distributed bee-boxes, rather it has aimed to create jobs for youths giving them, an adroit pair of hands. At Kaziranga, practical training was also imparted to those 100 beneficiaries in the examination of honeybee colonies, acquaintance with apicultural equipments, identification and management of bee enemies and diseases, honey extraction and wax purification, and management of bee colonies in spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter seasons. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveBesides giving them certificates of trained bee-keepers, the KVIC experts also delved upon honey bee species, colony organization, the division of labor and life cycle of honey bees; management of honey bee colonies during different seasons. The KVIC also distributed 200 gms honey bottles to 500 school kids of Sankar Dev Sishu Niketan there at Kohera village in Kaziranga. As a whole, altogether 25,000 honey bottles were distributed across the country by KVIC on May 21. KVIC Chairman V K Saxena, who himself monitors the progress of ‘Honey Mission’ round-the-clock said that besides the production of 30,000 kilograms of high-quality honey from these bee-boxes in the zero-pollution Kaziranga area, bee-keeping would open many job avenues for the unemployed youths and aspiring young entrepreneurs. “Being the nodal agency of Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), the KVIC would provide loans for setting up units of processing, packaging and labelling units for the honey,” he said, adding, “The development initiatives taken by KVIC in Assam have given a ray of hope for tribal people here and they are willing to be the part of development. The bee-keeping will also enhance the rich flora and fauna of the Kaziranga forest area through cross-pollination.”
Kolkata: Three persons were convicted for murder at the Barrackpore Fast Track Court IV on Thursday. The court said this was a rare case, in which electronic evidences played a significant role to crack a conventional crime such as murder. The quantum of punishment will be announced on April 24.According to the Public Prosecutor Bibhas Chatterjee, in such cases witnesses play an important role during the trial process. But in this case electronic evidences were found to be helpful. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataStrangely, the Investigating Officer of the case, Kamal Krishna Chakraborty, had suddenly gone missing just before he had to appeared before the court. Later, after almost one-and-a-half month Chakraborty was found in a mental hospital. On January 20, 2018 afternoon, Abhishek Chowbey alias Prince, who was a minor, left his home at Puwasha Para in Jagaddal to attend tuition classes. Before leaving home, he told his mother Renu Devi that he was going to attend the classes with his friends. But Chowbey did not return home. Around 9:45 pm, on the same day, Chowbey’s brother-in-law Sushanta Shaw, who runs a dance school in Delhi, got a call from Chowbey’s mobile number. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe caller told him that he had kidnapped Chowbey and will release him for a ransom of Rs 10 lakh. On January 21, Chowbey’s mother lodged a complaint against in this regard at the Jagaddal police station. During the investigation the cops were able to trace Chowbey until his body was found in the Ganga river on January 30, last year. His body was fished out near Uttarpara and Shaw identified the body. After the autopsy examination, doctors said that he had been strangulated to death and later thrown into the water. Following the recovery of his body, police nabbed three accused persons with whom Chowbey went out on January 20. The trio identified as Md Wakil, Jahid Hussain, and Md. Sarfaraj are Jagaddal residents. Police found Chowbey’s mobile phone from one of the accused persons. During investigation, police officers came to know that Chowbey was killed on the day of his abduction. He was taken to Jubilee Bridge in Naihati and strangled to death. Later, his body was thrown into the river. But to prove that he was alive to get the ransom amount, accused persons had used his phone number and accessed his Facebook account through Chowbey’s mobile phone. During the trial prosecution Chatterjee submitted various evidences such as call details and mobile tower locations of Chowbey from the time he was missing. Also, the Internet Protocol (IP) address provided by the Facebook authority on the request from the police proved that the trio had accessed Chowbey’s Facebook profile to show that he was alive. On Thursday, magistrate Tapas Mitra of Fast Track Court IV in Barrackpore pronounced the trio guilty under sections 302 (murder), 201(destruction of evidence), 365 (kidnapping), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 34 (common intention) of IPC along with 66 (Hacking) 66C (online identity theft) of the Information Technology Act. Chatterjee being a cyber lawyer and public prosecutor has successfully done consecutive five convictions consecutively including this case.
Retail real estate sector has emerged as one of the most vibrant sectors in India in 2018. Apart from commercial office spaces, retail sector saw maximum growth in 2018 in cities like MMR, NCR, Bangalore and Kolkata. As per the research by ANAROCK, the Indian retail sector has attracted an investments of over Rs 5500 crore, between 2015 and 2018, and close to Rs 1300 crore in 2018 alone, which makes the year 2018 the best year for the sector.Today, malls are not just about shopping or movie theatres, it has become more of an experience. Retail spaces are now build around the needs and interests of an increasingly diverse consumer market. Seeing Delhi/NCR as the most promising retail investment market, companies like IKEA, Samsung, Oppo, etc. are setting up there stores here. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfNoida is an affordable city with good infrastructure. The infrastructure developments in the city has made Noida’s real estate market increasingly attractive. With operational malls like Wave Mall, Wave Silver Tower, DLF Mall of India, etc. Noida attracts a lot of consumers from Delhi and other adjoining areas.With new trends like automation in retail experience, Augmented / Virtual reality, better consumer knowledge, etc. retail real estate is going through a phase of resurgence. Understanding that the traditional retail developments are soon to be passé, and the sector needs something more expressive and immersive, Wave has ventured into a new kind of retail concept with High Street Shopping Condominiums (HSSC). HSSC has the necessary innovation that the retail sector requires. It is a shopping arcade build to perfection with great attention to detail. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveTo further discuss future of Noida retail, a session on ‘The great debate: What next for the shoppers’ was held. The event was organised by Wave Group at its High Street Shopping Condominiums (HSSC), Wave City Center, Noida. It saw experts speaking on how retail sector is changing and how Noida is emerging as an ideal retail investment option. In the event, retail professionals as well as online and business development managers across the verticals, discussed what the future holds for this sector. It offered an unparalleled learning experience, along with creating new business avenues. Speaking on the occasion, CJ Singh, Sr President, Wave City Center said, “Noida is the epicentre for retail. It is an ideal destination for retail investment as it is extremely well connected and has an impeccable infrastructure. Noida’s commercial space absorption has been over 3.5 million sq ft in the year 2018. With metro connectivity in every nook and corner of the city, Noida is the place to be. To further tap the potential of the city, Wave Group is coming up with its own High Street Shopping Condominiums (HSSC) at Wave City Center, Sector 32 Noida. It is not just any shopping arcade, it is an experience.” In the event, Neeraj Singh, Director KPMG India, spread light on how a good location helps in greater returns in terms of footfalls, increased ROI and conversion. Noida is one such location. The event saw companies like Yellow Tie Hospitality, Pind Balluchi, L Opéra, etc. as prospective investors looking for partnership opportunities. Experts from brands like Raymond, Delhi Heights, Imly, etc were on the panel to discuss how F&B is becoming the most integral part of retail real estate business, new kind of experiences like VR/AR that are been added to the future retail stores thereby increasing the footfalls, Noida as an ideal location in attracting investments because of developments happening in the city and a lot many other aspects of retail real estate.
The Blazin’ 5 Prediction Podcast for NFL Week 3 is out! Colin sits down with RJ Bell from Pregame.com for the third edition in his web exclusive podcast series to find out where there’s agreement and disagreement from the Vegas wiseguys on his Week 3 Blazin’ 5 picks.Last week, the Titans, Falcons and Broncos helped Colin post his first winning week of the season against the number, and he’s ready to make another power move this week.This week’s Blazin’ 5:49ers (+9.5) vs. Seahawks Rams vs. Bucs (-4.5)Chargers vs. Colts (-2.5)Raiders (+1.5) vs. Titans Redskins (+4.5) vs. Giants See if the wiseguys think Colin can make the house pay in back-to-back weeks, or if he’ll be making a Sully-style crash landing come Monday.The Blazin’ 5 Prediction Podcast is available every Saturday through the end of the football season. Download and subscribe to it exclusively at TheHerdNow.com, iHeart Radio, Google Play, or iTunes. Don’t miss it.
August 21, 2009 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. When you started your first business, who answered the phones? Was it you? Your mother? That nice guy you hired for his baritone pipes, until he billed thousands of dollars in “inappropriate” charges to your fledgling firm?It probably didn’t take long to realize that you need to immediately make a strong, professional impression for your clients to take you seriously. You want them to make contact and imagine a corporate army at the end of the line, even if your troops consist of just a dedicated three or four.The solution for more and more small businesses is voice over IP, or VoIP–the shorthand for phone systems that run through the Internet rather than over traditional telephone networks.VoIP companies often specifically target small businesses, offering full business telephone services–from automated voice answering to conferencing–without having to buy a $50,000 piece of communications hardware the size of your garage beer fridge. Aptela is one example: All you need is a broadband connection–T-1, cable modem or DSL will do. Aptela doesn’t even require you to buy specific phones, though the company does recommend Polycom softphones.Service plans that include unlimited calling start at $29.99 per month, but the Herndon, Va., company also offers a 250-minute business calling plan or a metered usage plan. The price can be 40 percent to 60 percent cheaper than comparable service from a telephone company.”Most small companies want to know, ‘How can I look bigger and have the appearance of a Fortune 500 company?'” says Larry Barker, president and CEO of Aptela. The company’s auto attendant service provides automated phone answering and routing functions with voice talent and scripting customized for your business.The auto attendant not only asks who is calling, but also announces the caller after the connection is made. (Who said the age of heraldry had come and gone?)Other key features include conferencing, integrating with Outlook and routing calls to mobile phones, which comes in mighty handy for a small company.”You can be in different cities or at a vacation home or a hotel, and no one knows,” Barker says. These are the kinds of features that can help make a start-up company seem like it’s been in business forever.Peter Norton, the owner and managing partner of Sanford Rose, an executive recruiting firm, says his experience with the auto attendant feature has been good so far.”We feel like it gives us a competitive advantage because we’re always on the phone,” he says, “but we need to be available and know who’s calling.”That point isn’t lost on Steve Roberson, the co-founder and technical lead of Start-Up Hire, a new job site for venture capital-backed companies.”It makes your company seem more polished–like it has a cohesive presence, even if everyone is spread out,” Roberson says. As Roberson puts it, it’s like that old New Yorker cartoon: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” 3 min read Register Now »