Article 35-A: Tension mounts in J&K ahead of SC hearing

Image result for Article 35-A: Tension mounts in J&K ahead of SC hearingPalpable tension is building up in different parts of Kashmir valley in the run up to the crucial hearing of Article 35-A in the Supreme Court next week.

The apex court is hearing a bunch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of article 35-A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 35A, was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order. The regional mainstream political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have opposed the move.

Anticipating more trouble on ground zero, the state government Saturday launched massive crackdown against separatists, Jamaat-e-Islami activists  and several others by carrying out nocturnal raids on their premises.

Meanwhile, to contain public anger and handle law and order situation centre also rushed additional 100 companies by air to further beef up security ‘bandobast’ in the region.

The move triggered endless rounds of speculations  in different parts of Kashmir valley as local residents in the valley and mainstream politicians linked it with the emerging security scenario in the aftermath of terror strike on a CRPF convoy in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

To register their protest against the detention of Yasin Malik and  Jamaat Chief Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz the joint resistance leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani,  Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik issued a shutdown call for Sunday.

In a statement issued on Saturday, JRL said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.”

Several mainstream politicians also reacted strongly to these developments on ground zero.

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said the ‘arbitrary’ moves will only precipitate matters in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba in a tweet while reacting on arrest of Hurriyat leaders and workers of Jamaat said under what legal grounds are their arrests justified?, saying “You can imprison a person but not his ideas.”

“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned nocturnal crackdown on JKLF chief  Yasin Malik and Jamat-e-Islami leadership and cadres.

In a tweet, Mirwaiz said such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground, saying that force and intimidation will only worsen the situation.

“Strongly condemn the nocturnal crackdown on Jamat-e-Islami leadership and cadres and the arrest of Yasin Malik. Such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground. Force and intimidation will only worsen the situation,” Mirwaiz tweeted.

Peoples Conference Chairman and former cabinet minister Sajjad Lone tweeted, “Gov seems to be on an arrest spree. Just a word of caution. Large scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a tried tested and failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work.Things will worsen”.

Authorities in Srinagar have ordered imposition of restrictions under section 144 of CrPC within the territorial jurisdictons of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj police stations of the district on Sunday. The restrictions have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.

Local residents, in panic mode are stocking ration supplies and other essential items like Petrol and medicines to sustain themselves for longer duration.

Reacting to the situation former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “People in the valley, especially the cities & towns, are taking everything said or done as a sign that some big trouble is just around the corner. People are hoarding food & fuel. Some government orders are adding to the sense of panic”.

[“source=dailypioneer”]

New technology being tested that aims to prevent 65 percent of pedestrian collisions

Image result for New technology being tested that aims to prevent 65 percent of pedestrian collisionsWashington — Car makers hope new technology can help save lives. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deadly pedestrian accidents are up 45 percent nationwide since 2009. The Department of Transportation finds the nearly 6,000 killed in 2017 made up 19 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Now IIHS is testing technology it believes could prevent up to 65 percent of pedestrians collisions, cutting deaths by 58 percent.

The technology uses cameras and sensors to warn drivers and, if needed, automatically applies the brakes. The institute tested the system on 11 small SUVs. Nine earned either superior or advanced ratings for avoiding or reducing the severity of collisions at speeds ranging from 12 to 37 miles an hour.

The Subraru Forester and Toyota RAV4 did the best. But the BMW system did so poorly it received no credit at all.

“It either didn’t break or didn’t mitigate the speed enough,” said David Aylor, with IIHS.

IIHS wants the technology to be standard on all vehicles in the near future.

 

[“source=cbsnews”]

This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AI

Image result for This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AIThe use of fake news stories for political disinformation has become a major concern for governments around the world in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded Russia used false news reports, spread through social media, to try to sway voters. Writing these stories still needed someone to sit behind a keyboard.

Now OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research group in San Francisco, has unveiled a machine learning algorithm that can generate coherent text, including fake news articles, after being given just a small sample to build on. The algorithm can be tuned to imitate the writing style of the sample text.

Here’s an example of the system at work that OpenAI provided. The system was only given the first two sentences, which were written by a human:

A train carriage containing controlled nuclear materials was stolen in Cincinnati today. Its whereabouts are unknown.

And this is the rest of the news article that the AI wrote, with no human guidance:

The incident occurred on the downtown train line, which runs from Covington and Ashland stations.

In an email to Ohio news outlets, the U.S. Department of Energy said it is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to find the thief.

“The theft of this nuclear material will have significant negative consequences on public and environmental health, our workforce and the economy of our nation,” said Tom Hicks, the U.S. Energy Secretary, in a statement. “Our top priority is to secure the theft and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

The stolen material was taken from the University of Cincinnati’s Research Triangle Park nuclear research site, according to a news release from Department officials.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not immediately release any information.

According to the release, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Security is leading that team’s investigation.

“The safety of people, the environment and the nation’s nuclear stockpile is our highest priority,” Hicks said. “We will get to the bottom of this and make no excuses.

Because of its potential to be misused for creating disinformation, OpenAI said it had chosen not to make the most powerful versions of its algorithm available for public use nor was it publishing the source code and training data used to create the software.

 

[“source=fortune”]

The grip of technology

My Internet has been down since the morning of February 7 and, at the time of writing this on February 14, the problem was ongoing. So much for the “we will send a technician in three to five working days” promise made by my service provider. Imagine in this day and age that policy still exists, though. Life certainly is not on in that regard.

To be honest, this experience has taught me that in as much as I frequently threaten to drop everything and get off the technology grid for a few days, I really can’t do it. I feel completely lost. As lost as Hansel and Gretel wandering through a forest of technological frustration. All the devices and gadgets are there, but it’s like they serve no purpose. And to make matters worse, a few months ago I had cancelled my mobile data plan and opted for a call-as-you-go plan because I saw no need to keep paying for a data plan when there is wifi just about everywhere.

So basically, it meant that because I could not possibly work from home. I had to get up, get dressed, spend at least two hours in traffic to the office and back. And while I was at home, I had no way of getting quick information, no Netflix, no social media, no YouTube. I had no idea what mischief Fallon was up to in the latest Dynasty episode, had no idea what was trending on FB, unable to communicate via WhatsApp, nothing. When it came to helping my son with homework, I was unable to Google fast answers and had to resort to old school methods of guiding him along. It was either I read and re-read the method to change a decimal into a fraction until I grasped the concept (never did at school), or phone a friend (easier option). And while I did get time to do quite a bit of reading, my tech withdrawal symptoms were bad, to the point where I felt like the walls were closing in.

This whole experience got me to thinking, if my old Gen X tail, which is tottering on the borders of barely understanding the technology and embracing it, was having such a hard time coping with the absence of said technology, what can I expect of my ten-year-old who knows nothing else? Who, it seems, knew everything there was to know about an iPad from the day he was born. Who was so confused the first time he picked up a landline and heard a dial tone. “Aunty, come and hear the strange noise the phone is making,” he had said as he led her in earnest to where the fixed line was plugged in. Who assists me when I’m having problems with my computer and phone, very impatiently, mind you, because I’m “too slow”. The same kid who, a few weeks ago sat with his manual and set up his new PS4 with zero assistance from me because I didn’t know how to begin to help him. How can I now expect him to do things in the same way I did them?

I recall about a year ago he was doing his Vocabulary homework, and instead of using his hard copy dictionary he googled the words and wrote down the meanings. I, of course, insisted that he do it the traditional way – the way I knew how. “You won’t have a computer and Internet service in the exam room to Google the words,” I told him. “Neither will I have a dictionary,” he countered. “You are always saying I take too long to complete my homework. This way is easier and faster,” he pressed. He beefed up his argument with the fact that he knows how to use the dictionary in case there is a tech failure. He was right and I relented. Because lets face it, there is no going back to doing some things the old school way. Things like hard copy encyclopedias and dictionaries can now be deemed pre-historic.

So, I thought, if I have suffered so much from this experience, I can only imagine what he must be going through. How can I reprimand him for being in a foul mood because he can’t hook up with his friends on the PS to play Fortnite? Or because he can’t get some well-deserved time off after lessons to binge on one of his favourite Netflix series? Or that he can’t chat with his friend Isabella in Ohio on WhatsApp? I understand that reading, outdoor play etc are important and that there should be a limit on the amount of time children spend on screens. But just as my generation and the generations before and after had that special something that was “our life”, technology is this generation’s and we can’t fight it. No wonder he reacted as if there was a death in the family each time I threatened to sell or give away his precious devices as a form of punishment. After this experience, I will have to be a bit more lenient with my threats. Note to self, stay away from “sell” or “give away”.

As for my former Internet service provider, I thank you for the lesson, but I’ve learnt it well enough. I don’t want or need a repeat.

 

[“source=newsday”]

Recapping the saga of a misogynistic beer article that enraged the brewing world this week

There are stages to controversies in the social media age. First, the scandal breaks. Then it spreads. Criticism rains down on the perceived offender from across the internet. A few beats later, that person emerges publicly to defend themselves. The public generally rejects such an apology or criticizes the apology itself. Eventually, heads roll and/or the public moves on. End scene.

The craft beer world has moved through precisely those steps this week. A few days ago, an article published on the front page of regional beer publication Great Lakes Brewing News began making the social-media rounds. The article, which ran under the byline of Great Lakes Brewing News publisher Bill Metzger, ostensibly was about Scotch ale and cask ale, but its sexist tone drew swift and forceful criticism. Choice lines from the 2,800-word hybrid article/essay, which was written in the first-person, include: “In the age of #metoo, the pendulum has swung too far. One aggressive move and a man’s career can derail. I feel the walls closing around me, my room to move shrinking. My instincts to bed every woman I see are reducing from a king-sized mattress to a cot, the size of which I only remember from a tour in Iraq.”

You can read more excerpts via The Buffalo News, including the article’s repeated mentions of using alcohol to lower women’s sexual inhibitions.

When I first saw screenshots of the article, I blinked slowly. How was any of this about beer? How did this get published on the front page of… anything? What does Bill Metzger have to say for himself? Other beer writers and breweries themselves were equally upset, with some who’d advertised in the publication condemning the piece and withdrawing future ads. (Metzger’s Brewing News company publishes other regional beer newspapers as well.) Some breweries burned the publication in effigy.

So, we’ve arrived at the scandal stage where the accused emerges to defend themselves. Per a screenshot posted by the creative director for Chicago’s Pipeworks brewery, who criticized the article on Twitter, Bill Metzger responded to her with the below message which includes the by-now-a-punchline phrase: “I’m sorry you were offended.”

A statement on Great Lakes Brewing News’ Facebook page states the article was intended as parody and does not reflect the views of the author. Metzger’s statement continues: “Nowhere in this piece is there an endorsement of misogyny nor hatred. It is a simple parody of a disgusting attitude that I have seen often. We have been publishing the occasional piece that does anger people as some topics seem too toxic to discuss rationally. And it most certainly does not reflect my views; those who actually know me beyond a few articles written and/or published know that much.”

Forbes beer writer Tara Nurin, who has long covered women’s role in beer, spoke to Metzger by phone and found him “genuinely and deeply pained that his admittedly misbegotten attempt to highlight the problem of sexual harassment and assault in brewing has backfired so badly.” Still, she and other beer writers ultimately reject his parody defense, with writer Robin LeBlanc calling the whole mess “a special kind of trainwreck.” This beer writer agrees.

There’s never a good time for failed satire about sexual assault, but Metzger’s timing is especially bad. Earlier this month, the CEO of Actual Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, stepped down amid an investigation into allegations he repeatedly sexually assaulted multiple women. Last year, Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing faced backlash from retailers and customers after one of its brewers inappropriately touched an employee of another brewery, bringing to light what some called a larger “bro culture” within Melvin.

Though women in any male-dominated industry face challenges, those challenges can be especially dangerous when your daily job functions involve alcohol. I’ve seen the beer industry take important steps to make itself safer and more welcoming to women and minorities, but as recent stories of assault and discrimination illustrate, there is still much work to be done. That women’s painful efforts to share their #metoo experiences would be the object of abysmal satire only prove how long the road will be.

 

[“source=thetakeout”]

 

Virginia delegate backs off plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax

Image result for Virginia delegate backs off plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax(CNN)Virginia delegate Patrick Hope on Monday backed off his plans to introduce articles of impeachment against embattled Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

“Yesterday I sent draft language to my colleagues on the first step of an impeachment action regarding the Lt. Governor. There has been an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback which has led to additional conversations that need to take place before anything is filed,” he wrote in a tweet early Monday.
Hope’s decision came during a conference call Sunday night with Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates in which members voiced their strong opinion to Hope that the caucus was not prepared for articles of impeachment to be introduced, according to a source familiar with the talks.
In another tweet, Hope said, “We owe it to all parties involved – especially the victims – to make sure that we have thought through every option the General Assembly has,” adding that he believes the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault. According to the source, Hope was assured during the call that Democrats will support some form of an independent investigation into the matter.
“I promise that my work on this issue will be tireless until we have a process and outcome that treats these women with the respect they deserve going forward,” he wrote in a third tweet.
Hope’s plan to introduce articles of impeachment had been in the works since at least Friday. In an email sent to his House Democratic colleagues, he said that he planned to file a resolution first thing Monday morning that lists the reasons he believes that Fairfax’s conduct warrants removal from office.
The lieutenant governor was accused by two women of sexual assault, including rape by one of the women. Fairfax released a statement on Saturday acknowledging both interactions with the women, but said both instances were consensual.
Had Hope introduced the resolution, it would have been the first step in the removal process. The process begins in the House, and if it passes with a majority vote, it moves to the Senate, where a trial would be held to determine if Fairfax will be removed.
The resolution must have the support of the Speaker of the House, Republican Kirkland Cox, in order to even be brought for a vote for the house floor. He had not indicated if he would allow that to happen.
The resolution would have come at a time when the top three elected officials in Virginia are embroiled in scandal. A photo surfaced from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s decades-old medical school yearbook showing one person wearing blackface and one person wearing a white KKK hood and robe. Northam said he has no plans to resign despite mounting pressure. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted last week he wore blackface at a 1980 party.
A copy of the drafted resolution, obtained by CNN, reads, “the House of Delegates believes all allegations of sexual assault must be taken with the utmost seriousness,” and describes the allegations made by the two women as “credible in nature.”
The resolution reads: “now, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That proceedings for the impeachment of Lieutenant Governor Justin E. Fairfax shall be initiated.”
The resolution also would have directed the House Committee for Courts of Justice to hold hearings “to inquire into the allegations made against” Fairfax, and whether his alleged actions against the two women “constitute conduct sufficient to provide grounds for impeachment pursuant to Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Fairfax’s spokeswoman Lauren Burke issued a statement in response to reports that Hope was planning to introduce the resolution that reads, “The Lt. Governor is aggressively exploring options for a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation of these allegations. We hope, for example, that the FBI will show a willingness to investigate.”
“It is especially important in the most difficult of times that we pay attention to our fundamental Constitutional values,” the statement continues. “He believes that an inherently political process is not the most likely path for learning the truth.”
“The Lt. Governor is confident in the truth that will emerge from an independent impartial investigation,” the statement reads.
[“source=edition.cnn”]

Self-love in the age of technology

As Valentine’s Day rolls around, here’s how technology took centre-stage in our ‘self-love lives’ — for better or worse

At 10.30 pm on October 29, 1969, the first message on the Internet was sent by UCLA student Charley Kline in the form of two letters ‘lo’. Romantics, to this day, debate that it was obviously meant to be ‘love’, whereas irrefutable records show Charley meant to type ‘login’ and the system had crashed after the first two letters.

Fast forward 50 years to present-day and we can send all sorts of lovey-dovey messages in the form of quick texts, GIFs, SnapChats, videos, Instagram stories… the list is endless. Given there are countless expressions and forms of love in the digital space, thanks to technology mediating everything we do, this behemoth blanket of binaries became more than just an aid — it is now a crutch, a platform and our confidante.

We’ve seen love traverse from paper to screen to holograms to Artificial Intelligence — even to the point when, if we’re bored enough, we can ask Siri if they love us. It’s not just romantic love to which our technology panders; there is body positivity and self-love, so let’s take a look at these, and evaluate if the Internet is doing justice or doing harm.

Micro-blogging sites such as Instagram and Facebook have contributed big-time to both the depreciation and appreciation of self-love. We tend to judge our self-worth in terms of likes, responses, the number of private messages we get, and so on. Maybe, ease up on social media, whether it means taking a break for a few days or even going full-Monty and removing yourself entirely from the platform to become more purposeful in other ways.

That’s what psychologist Raisa Luther of Hope Trust recommends too. “Mental health is impacted by everything around us. As the saying goes for our body: you are what you eat, the same goes for our mind as well. What we feed our mind manifests in good or ill mental health.”

“Further, technology is a highly powerful tool in developing or destroying relationships. It reduces the importance and need for face-to-face interaction — this can result in changing the very face and nature of human relationships,” Raisa continues, “I fear that we are so influenced by technology and its various components that we may one day forget what it means to be human, or feel human. I have seen the same in my practice, where people get so influenced by technology that it affects their self-worth, self-esteem and even their identity. FOMO leads to a lot of my clients leading dual lives — and sometimes it is difficult to maintain boundaries between an online persona and the real, offline self.”

We heart pods
  • Though the rise of the podcast was driven by true crime narratives, stories on the world of startups and more, Love and relationships have not been very far behind. The popular Modern Love podcast by The New York Times is one of the most popular podcasts in this genre. Bengaluru-based Paravathi Shiva, an IT specialist, says, “When I was growing up, dealing with college breakups and infatuations, you only had agony aunt columns or extremely weird late-night radio shows, where the host spoke in a high-pitched voice and dispensed repetitive advice. That has changed now. I am married now and listen to podcasts on relationships and more. Most of these podcasts are conversational and extremely relatable, making you feel like you are part of the conversation and not just a member of the audience. In the Modern Love podcast, I was very moved by the reading of You May Want to Marry my Husband, an essay written by writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It was beautifully-written, of course, but listening to it was even better.” Sales manager Shuvan C from Delhi agrees with this assessment. “I do not listen to many podcasts. However, I do like to listen in to the art of love podcast, where a dating expert offers an entertaining take on love and relationships. The best part about podcasts is that it is more informative and has lovely stories. I am single and feel that it makes me more confident to negotiate the complex web of relationships.”
  • (As told to Nikhil Varma)

However, studies show the response is quite dependent on a person’s disposition; are they naturally vulnerable to social pressures imbibed by technology? “We found that having a sense of purpose allowed people to navigate virtual feedback with more rigidity and persistence. With a sense of purpose, they’re not so malleable to the number of likes they receive… Purposeful people noticed the positive feedback, but did not rely on it to feel good about themselves,” surmises Cornell University professor Anthony Burrow, co-author of study ‘‘Likes’ less likely to affect self-esteem of people with purpose’.

Video ga-ga

YouTube, despite its ongoing strife around policy and content creation, does have its happy corners, and with beauty vlogging an all-time rage, the subculture of body positivity channels has been crawling up the subscriber ladder, but not necessarily T-series-style. And no, we aren’t referring to over-hyped fitness gurus or flat-tummy-detox-tea sponsors who live for monetisation!

Pooja Kochar runs one of India’s growing channels, ‘30ish’, for body positivity chats. “30ish is trusting its internal GPS and turning towards YouTube. We are being mentored by #YouTubeSpaceMumbai to understand viewer preference for digital content,” she says on her site, “We conceptualise, create content and manage execution of social media campaigns which are completely customised. These campaigns are further supported through our blog, Twitter feed and Instagram page. We will live your brand, to give it the most authentic narrative.”

The cross-promotion of platforms for community-driven positivity is ideal in rebuilding the YouTube algorithms a lot of users have a problem with, especially with the site’s very flawed and clearly capitalistic ‘Trending’ section. With the Internet brimming with life-threatening challenge videos and dangerous pranks, it’ll be useful to employ to our advantage.

So this Valentine’s Day, when you see hearts and cheesy texts floating around, be sure to love yourself first and foremost.

 

[“source=thehindu”]

The best from the science journals: Story of sleep and sea stars

Here are some of the most interesting research to have appeared in top science journals last week

Rock-a-bye baby

Published in Current Biology

Have trouble sleeping? Buy a rocking bed. Two studies published last week have found out that continuous rocking helps in falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly. In the first study, 18 adults underwent a sleep monitoring programme in a lab and the researchers noted that the group that slept on a gentle rocking bed had more non-REM deep sleep. The second study carried on mice was able to point out that the rocking promoted sleep through a rhythmic stimulation of the vestibular system(the region in the inner ear that maintains balance).

Expanding jelly tablet

Credit: MIT

Credit: MIT

Credit: MITPublished in Nature Communications

Similar to the growing water jelly balls you have at home, MIT engineers have designed a soft tablet that can grow in your stomach and stay there for about a month. But why? The researchers say that this hydrogel device can be used to closely study the digestive system. It can even help monitor medication-taking patterns, track cancers or ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract

 

King-sized in Kuiper

Published in Nature Astronomy

The Kuiper Belt, the doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects beyond Neptune, has always fascinated astronomers. Believed to be leftovers of the early Solar System, objects floating in this belt help to understand the formation and evolution of our Solar System. Now astronomers have discovered a Kuiper belt object with a radius of about 1.3 km, the largest discovered so far. They hope to decipher more about the growth phase of objects and planets in the outer Solar System.

‘GO dough’ graphene

Credit: Northwestern University

Credit: Northwestern University

 

Credit: Northwestern UniversityPublished in Nature Communications

What happens when scientists awaken the child in them? They create play dough with a twist. A group of researchers from Northwestern University, USA has turned graphene oxide(GO) into a soft dough that can be shaped into 3D structures. The GO dough makes storage and transport of graphene oxide easier. It also has enhanced the mechanical properties of graphene and can be used to make electrocatalysts.

See you, sea stars

The sea star: A side-by-side comparison of two photographs taken near Croker Island in British Columbia. At left, thousands of sunflower sea stars swarm Croker Rock on Oct. 9, 2013. At right, the same site, three weeks later, with the sea stars vanished.

The sea star: A side-by-side comparison of two photographs taken near Croker Island in British Columbia. At left, thousands of sunflower sea stars swarm Croker Rock on Oct. 9, 2013. At right, the same site, three weeks later, with the sea stars vanished.   | Photo Credit: UC Davis

Published in Science Advances

After affecting corals and crustaceans, warming oceans have now led to a massive decline in sea star population. Researchers have pointed out that infectious viral disease and increasing sea surface temperatures are the

main reasons. Divers noted that between 2013 and 2017, the population collapsed and they were unable to find the sea stars in areas where they once reported an abundance of the species.

 

 

[“source=thehindu”]

Few open-access journals meet requirements of Plan S, study says

Only a small proportion of open-access scientific journals fully meet the draft requirements of Plan S, the initiative primarily by European funders to make all papers developed with their support free to read, a study has found. Compliance with the rules could cost the remaining journals, especially smaller ones, more than they can afford.

Plan S, which takes effect next year, stipulates that any published research funded by its members must appear on open-access platforms that meet certain requirements. At most, only 889, or 15%, of 5987 science and medical journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) would fully comply with Plan S, according to data gathered by Jan Erik Frantsvåg of the University of Tromsø–the Arctic University of Norway and Tormod Strømme of the University of Bergen in Norway. They published their findings on the Preprints platform on 16 January. Even fewer journals in the social sciences and humanities complied fully: only 193, or 3%, of 6290 such publications.

Frantsvåg and Strømme identified 14 criteria in the Plan S draft rules that journals must meet if participating funders are to permit publication in them. Some rules concern editorial policy, such as that journals must allow authors to retain copyright. Others deal with technical matters—journals must provide full text in machine-readable formats, such as XML, to allow for text and data mining. Of the 14 criteria, Frantsvåg and Strømme could assess only nine criteria using available DOAJ data, which means even fewer than 15% of science and biomedical journals might fully comply with Plan S.

Frantsvåg and Strømme add that a lack of compliance doesn’t necessarily signal a lack of quality. Only one of the nine criteria they reviewed relates to quality: the requirement for some form of peer review. Almost all journals registered in the DOAJ meet this criterion, they report. The DOAJ is a large compendium of open-access journals that meet certain standards of quality control.

The required technical fixes may be too expensive for some smaller open-access journals unless Plan S provides them deadline extensions, exempts them, or helps them develop open-source publishing software that meets the requirements, the study says. That’s especially true for the many open-access journals that don’t charge author fees. Larger publishers will probably find it easier to meet Plan S’s requirements, Frantsvåg and Strømme say. Their journals are closer to full compliance with Plan S than other journals are, thanks to economies of scale and higher revenues.

Frantsvåg and Strømme say they aren’t arguing against Plan S. “But we want to warn that the current timeline will pose a threat to a number of open access journals of good scholarly quality that scholars do not want to lose,” they write. Much of the public debate about Plan S’s consequences has focused on limiting researchers’ ability to publish in traditional, prestigious, subscription-based journals, they note, rather than the plan’s effects on open-access journals.

Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy in Brussels, who is one of the architects of Plan S, wrote in an email to ScienceInsider that existing open-access journals demonstrate that viable, high-quality alternatives to subscription-based journals already exist.

Compliance with Plan S “is a responsibility of the journals, platforms, and repositories themselves,” he wrote. “Our revised implementation guidance, which will be presented in the spring following public consultation, will show that the road to full compliance with Plan S is quite feasible.” (The public comment period ends 8 February.)

The Plan S funders are already providing support to help publishers make the transition, Smits said. The Wellcome Trust hired a contractor this month to help scientific societies that publish both open-access and subscription-based journals develop business models under which they could make all their journals open access.

“For some, [compliance] will not require that much, for others, a bit more will have to be done, as is also mentioned in the study,” Smits wrote. “I am convinced that an increasing number of [open-access] publishers are willing to go that extra mile because they certainly will want to include in their journals the high volume of high-quality research output coming in the future from Plan S grantholders.”

 

[“source=sciencemag”]

Here’s some of the technology that’s set to make a ‘quantum leap’ in 2019

The Bell Nexus flying taxi at the 2019 CES.

From foldable cellphones to high tech burgers, more than 4,500 companies showcased their latest technology at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show which took place in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Even though tech behemoth Apple does not make an appearance, the trade show gives the public a glimpse at emerging tech trends for 2019 and beyond.

One of the most anticipated technologies is 5G – the next generation wireless network that experts say could be as much as ten times faster than broadband.

Cutting edge tech

Cutting edge tech  12:31 PM ET Fri, 18 Jan 2019 | 04:23

“I see a huge quantum leap from going from 4G to 5G, much bigger than 3G to 4G. And of course, my expectation is that we are going to see so much more innovation,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC recently.

Chris Velazco, Engadget’s senior mobile editor told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview that “2019 is going to be the year of 5G, this is going to be the first year people will actually be able to buy devices and jump on the 5G networks,” he said.

As a result, 5G “will have really big ramifications for the way we use our devices and the way these devices talk to each other,” he added.

The technology won’t be for everyone, however – at least not right away. Meanwhile, Velazo admitted that 5G technology “still feels like it’s a lot of talk. We don’t have a great sense of how these things pan out in more concrete ways.”

Yet one technology that did make an impression at CES was foldable screen technology. At the event, LG showcased a 4K OLED TV that rolls up when you don’t want to watch it.

The 65-inch 4K OLED TV when it's fully unrolled.

Watch this super thin TV roll up and disappear in seconds  11:46 AM ET Mon, 7 Jan 2019 | 01:31

But it’s not just big screens: A Chinese company called Royole showed off its flexible screen technology for a smartphone/table called the FlexPai. This is the world’s first commercially available foldable phone, and it beat Samsung and Apple to market. The company is currently taking orders: The cost? A whopping $1,318, even more than an iPhone.

However you may want to hold off. Velazco had a chance to check out the device while at CES, and he admitted “they’re maybe not the most polished devices.”

Yet he found the technology compelling. “The ability to fold out and use the phone as a tablet is frankly really powerful,” he told CNBC.

If you’re looking to take a deeper dive into meditation, a Canadian company called Interaxon recently released the Muse 2.

The headband goes across your forehead and reads brainwaves in real-time. It then uses auditory cues to provide feedback on the user’s meditation state.

When it comes to virtual and augmented reality (AR) technology, it usually means wearing large glasses over your eyes, blocking out the world around you.

Chinese startup Nreal has plans this year to release their version called Light – which as its name suggests – is a lighter version.

“They’ve been able to take the technology that makes some really impressive AR devices like the Microsoft HoloLens and the Magic Leap and converted it down to this form factor,” Velazco told CNBC.

Impossible Burger

Air New Zealand
Impossible Burger

But the tech editor admits one of the bigger surprises at CES, based on the level of people that seemed into it, was Gillette’s heated razor. And the name really says it all.

“It’s a heated razor that’s meant to sort of replicate the experience of getting a hot towel wet shave at a barber shop.” The razor is not in stores yet but according to Engadet’s report, it will retail for $160.

Another surprising find at CES was burgers. Impossible Foods showed off their latest meatless burger recipe: Impossible Burger 2.0.

“The original Impossible Burger used wheat protein and it tasted pretty good, but it kind of didn’t give you the same kind of mouth feel that a traditional burger would,” Velazco explained. “So they rejiggered the formula. This [latest version] is based on soy protein.”

He added: “You actually get a bit more of the experience of eating meat, plus I think the flavor has been upgraded as well.”

[“source=cnbc”]