Month: August 2019

Lithiumion ultracapacitor could recharge power tools in minutes

first_img More information: Ioxusvia: Technology Review Explore further 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. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Improved polymers for lithium ion batteries pave the way for next generation of electric and hybrid cars Ioxus’ product line of hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors. Image credit: Ioxus. The new lithium-ion ultracapacitor was developed by Ioxus, a company based in Oneonta, New York. The company specializes in making ultracapacitors for hybrid-electric buses and engine start-stop systems in fuel-efficient cars. In general, hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors are similar to traditional lithium-ion batteries, except that they store charge at the surface of the electrodes instead of within the electrodes. Although the concept of hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors has been around for 20 years, demand for alternative energy-storage devices has inspired recent improvements.Typically, standard ultracapacitors can store only about 5% as much energy as lithium-ion batteries. Ioxus’ new hybrid system can store about twice as much as standard ultracapacitors, although this is still much less than standard lithium-ion batteries. However, the advantage of ultracapacitors is that they can capture and release energy in seconds, providing a much faster recharge time compared with lithium-ion batteries. In addition, traditional lithium-ion batteries can be recharged only a few hundred times, which is much less than the 20,000 cycles provided by the hybrid system. In other words, the hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors have more power than lithium-ion batteries, but less energy storage.In the future, the hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitor could also be used for regenerative braking in vehicles, especially if it could be scaled up to provide greater energy storage. Since vehicle braking systems need to be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, the hybrid system’s cycle life will also need to be improved. Citation: Lithium-ion ultracapacitor could recharge power tools in minutes (2011, January 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-lithium-ion-ultracapacitor-recharge-power-tools.html (PhysOrg.com) — Although many people keep a few power tools in the garage or basement for weekend projects, the tools usually don’t get used very often. Fully recharging the battery in a drill or saw can take several hours, even if the tool is only used for a few minutes. But with a hybrid energy-storage device that combines a lithium-ion battery with an ultracapacitor, power tools could be recharged in about one minute and have a lifetime of more than 20,000 charges. The downside is that the power tool could run for only about 1/15 as long as it would on a normal battery.last_img read more

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A breath of Beijing air gets metagenomics treatment

Explore further More information: Environmental Science & Technology paper: pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es4048472Nature News story: www.nature.com/news/beijing-sm … -of-microbes-1.14640 Journal information: Environmental Science & Technology They took 14 air samples over seven consecutive days. Using genome sequencing, they found about 1,300 different microbial species in the heavy smog period of early last year. The scientists compared their results with a large gene database. What about their findings? Most of the microbes they found were benign but a few were responsible for allergies and respiratory disease. As Nature News reported, the most abundant species identified was Geodermatophilus obscurus, That is a common soil bacterium. Streptococcus pneumonia, however, was also part of the brew, which can cause pneumonia, along with Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungal allergen, and other bacteria typically found in faeces. “Our results,” wrote the researchers, “suggested that the majority of the inhalable microorganisms were soil-associated and nonpathogenic to humans. Nevertheless, the sequences of several respiratory microbial allergens and pathogens were identified and their relative abundance appeared to have increased with increased concentrations of PM pollution.”The authors suggested that their findings may provide an important reference for environmental scientists, health workers and city planners. The researchers also suggested, according to Nature News, that clinical studies explore signs of the same microbes in the sputum of patients with respiratory tract infections, to assess whether smoggier days lead to more infections.Metagenomics, which can analyze microbial communities regardless of the ability of member organisms to be cultured in the laboratory, is recognized as a powerful approach. Nature Reviews also describes metagenomics as “based on the genomic analysis of microbial DNA that is extracted directly from communities in environmental samples.” Citation: A breath of Beijing air gets metagenomics treatment (2014, February 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-02-beijing-air-metagenomics-treatment.html Delhi says air ‘not as bad’ as Beijing after smog scrutiny 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. © 2014 Phys.org (Phys.org) —A Friday report in Nature News handles a well-publicized topic, the air quality in Beijing. That may seem like rather old news, but the Friday report has new information on the city’s troubling air quality. Scientists were looking for information about the potential for pathogens and allergens in Beijing’s air and they turned to “metagenomics” as their study tool. The research team described what they were seeking in their paper, “Inhalable Microorganisms in Beijing’s PM2.5 and PM10 Pollutants during a Severe Smog Event,” for Environmental Science & Technology. “While the physical and chemical properties of PM pollutants have been extensively studied, much less is known about the inhalable microorganisms. Most existing data on airborne microbial communities using 16S or 18S rRNA gene sequencing to categorize bacteria or fungi into the family or genus levels do not provide information on their allergenic and pathogenic potentials. Here we employed metagenomic methods to analyze the microbial composition of Beijing’s PM pollutants during a severe January smog event.” A woman wearing a face mask walks on an overpass in Beijing on January 16, 2014 read more

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What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics

first_img Citation: What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics? (2015, October 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-10-quantum-thermodynamics.html © 2015 Phys.org 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: Raam Uzdin, et al. “Equivalence of Quantum Heat Machines, and Quantum-Thermodynamic Signatures.” Physical Review X. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.5.031044 In a new study, physicists Raam Uzdin, Amikam Levy, and Ronnie Kosloff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have investigated whether there is anything distinctly quantum about thermodynamics at the quantum level, or if “quantum” thermodynamics is really the same as classical thermodynamics. For the first time, they have shown a difference in the thermodynamics of heat machines on the quantum scale: in part of the quantum regime, the three main engine types (two-stroke, four-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent. This means that, despite operating in different ways, all three types of engines exhibit all of the same thermodynamic properties, including generating the same amounts of power and heat, and doing so at the same efficiency. This new “thermodynamical equivalence principle” is purely quantum, as it depends on quantum effects, and does not occur at the classical level.The scientists also showed that, in this quantum regime where all engines are thermodynamically equivalent, it’s possible to extract a quantum-thermodynamic signature that further confirms the presence of quantum effects. They did this by calculating an upper limit on the work output of a classical engine, so that any engine that surpasses this bound must be using a quantum effect—namely, quantum coherence—to generate the additional work. In this study, quantum coherence, which accounts for the wave-like properties of quantum particles, is shown to be critical for power generation at very fast engine cycles. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time [that a difference between quantum and classical thermodynamics has been shown] in heat machines,” Uzdin told Phys.org. “What has been surprising [in the past] is that the classical description has still held at the quantum level, as many authors have shown. The reasons are now understood, and in the face of this classicality, people have started to stray to other types of research, as it was believed that nothing quantum can pop up. Thus, it was very difficult to isolate a generic effect, not just a numerical simulation of a specific case, with a complementing theory that manages to avoid the classicality and demonstrate quantum effects in thermodynamic quantities, such as work and heat.” (Phys.org)—A lot of attention has been given to the differences between the quantum and classical worlds. For example, quantum entanglement, superposition, and teleportation are purely quantum phenomena with no classical counterparts. However, when it comes to certain areas of thermodynamics—specifically, thermal engines and refrigerators—quantum and classical systems so far appear to be nearly identical. It seems that the same thermodynamic laws that govern the engines in our vehicles may also accurately describe the tiniest quantum engines consisting of just a single particle. Maxwell’s demon can use quantum information to generate workcenter_img Physicists have shown that the three main types of engines (four-stroke, two-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent in a certain quantum regime, but not at the classical level. Credit: Uzdin, et al. Published by the American Physical Society under CC-BY-3.0 Explore further One important implication of the new results is that quantum effects may significantly increase the performance of engines at the quantum level. While the current work deals with single-particle engines, the researchers expect that quantum effects may also emerge in multi-particle engines, where quantum entanglement between particles may play a role similar to that of coherence. Journal information: Physical Review X (Left) (a) In the quantum regime where the engine action is relatively small, all three engines generate the same amount of work after the completion of each cycle (the vertical lines indicate a complete cycle). (b) When the engine action is increased, the engines perform differently and the equivalence no longer holds. (Right) Quantum heat engines exhibit a quantum-thermodynamic signature, which occurs in the shaded region above the upper bounds on the power of two-stroke (dashed blue line) and four-stroke (dashed red line) engines. Credit: Uzdin, et al. Published by the American Physical Society under CC-BY-3.0last_img read more

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Isolating intact bacteria from blood using a microfluidic monolith device

first_img DLS measurement of (a) initial 25× diluted blood, chemically lysed blood, and blood lysed by perfusion through the monolith device, revealing a significant reduction in cell debris size for mechanical monolith lysis over chemical lysis. (b) DLS measurement of E. cloacae suspended in 1× PBS, and sample perfused through the monolith device, showing no change in bacteria size. (c) DLS measurement of 100× diluted blood spiked with E. cloacae, and sample collected from the outlet of a porous monolith. The broad peak in the inlet sample indicates a mixed population of blood cells and small bacterial cells, whereas the outlet sample showed significant reduction in large (>2 µm) cells, as confirmed in the optical images. Scale bars = 25 µm. Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4 More information: Jung Y. Han et al. Isolation of intact bacteria from blood by selective cell lysis in a microfluidic porous silica monolith, Microsystems & Nanoengineering (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4 Susanne Pahlow et al. Isolation and identification of bacteria by means of Raman spectroscopy, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.addr.2015.04.006 Joo H Kang et al. An extracorporeal blood-cleansing device for sepsis therapy, Nature Medicine (2014). DOI: 10.1038/nm.3640 Anna K. Boardman et al. Rapid Microbial Sample Preparation from Blood Using a Novel Concentration Device, PLOS ONE (2015). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116837 Han et al. modified previously reported silica monolith synthesis processes, followed by hydrolysis and condensation of silica to form silica glass at low temperatures. To prepare the silica monolith, the scientists used a precursor solution composed of alkyl silicates, polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a porogen, urea as a source of hydroxyl ions to minimize heterogeneity and acetic acid. When they optimized the synthetic process, the resulting monoliths were homogenous and well-anchored to the silica capillary walls. The scientists measured the thickness of the final skeletal monolith structure and calculated its permeability using high-performance liquid chromatography to control experimental conditions. To minimize intrinsic variation, Han et al. cut the resulting capillary tubes into 5 cm long segments to test permeability before use. 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. How bacteria kill host cells from the inside (a) Integration of a silica monolith brick into a thermoplastic chip. A circular tape is placed on a monolith inserted into a COP substrate, and solvated COP is applied to the exposed surface. After partial drying, the tape is removed, the device is enclosed by another COP substrate, and fluid ports are inserted into holes that provide a flow path through the monolith. (b) SEM image of a monolith brick cut by wafer dicing saw. (c) Image of a device during whole blood perfusion. Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4 (a) RBC lysis efficiency of whole blood in high-throughput devices following perfusion at 10 μL/min (EC E. cloacae, LL L. lactis, BS B. subtilis. Error bars are ±SD. N = 3 for blood and B + EC, and N = 2 for B + LL, B + BS. (b) Blood cell lysis and bacterial separation following serial operation using two monoliths. Surfaces were passivated with BSA/Tween 20. Over 99.999% RBC lysis was obtained while preserving viability of L. lactis and E. cloacae. Scale bars = 100 µm. c Raman spectra of whole blood spiked with E. cloacae (upper) before and (under) after processing through porous silica monolith. Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4. They then developed two complementary methods for low and high-throughput operation to integrate silica monoliths into microfluidic systems. To allow low throughput operation, the scientists embedded monolith-containing capillary segments within thermoplastic microfluidic chips to protect the monolith during integration. For high throughput-selective lysis they used monoliths with larger cross-sectional areas within the microfluidic devices. The complete method of fabrication yielded excellent reliability for leak-free operation during whole blood perfusion. , PLoS ONE They explored the impact of monolithic morphology, geometry and flow conditions on cell lysis and flow regimes that allowed selective cell lysis and selective passage of multiple gram negative and gram positive bacteria. The technique employed by Han et al. allowed rapid sample preparation and bacterial analysis when combined with single-cell Raman spectrometry. The work provides unique sample preparation steps to support rapid and culture-free bacterial analysis for applications in point-of-care biomedical devices. Bacteria in blood can lead to sepsis, infection of tissues and other serious medical conditions, requiring early identification of blood-borne bacteria for effective treatment. The ability to identify bacteria rapidly using point-of-care diagnostics can greatly enhance clinical potential for optimal treatment during early-stage infection. The existing gold standard for bacterial characterization is based on phenotypic cell culture analysis and requires at least 24 hours to collect samples for culture and analysis in a diagnostic and clinical microbiology lab. The existing technique is robust and inexpensive but cannot generate timely results to guide the initial stages of treatment. As proof-of-principle, Han et al. selected Enterobacter cloacae (gram-negative, rod shaped bacteria) to explore their efficacy of passage, alongside three gram-positive bacteria; Lactococcus lactis, Micrococcus luteus and Bacillus subtilis. During the experiments, they perfused bacterial solutions through the microfluidic monoliths with varying geometry and flow conditions to test the passage of bacteria and blood cell lysis using dynamic light scattering (DLS). For instance, the perfusion of purified E. cloacae through the monolith did not yield discernable changes in the DLS peaks, indicating the intact passage of bacteria. The scientists showed the effect of the length of the porous monolith device on the efficiency of red blood cell lysis (RBC). The results indicated that RBC lysis efficiency increased significantly for monolith lengths above 1 mm. Han et al. also studied the fate of white blood cells (WBCs) during operation of the monolith device, the cells could not pass through the monolith without being lysed similar to RBCs. Technically, RBCs deformed to a discoid shape to pass through the monolith, which caused significantly increased membrane tension to result in RBC lysis. Comparatively, bacterial cells had similar dimensions to the monolith pores and therefore required less cell wall expansion for successful passage without rupture. The scientists optimized the parameters of the device for diverse bacteria to tolerate high levels of membrane stress without rupture. Further developments ensured the intact passage of bacteria without degradation and with viability.center_img For high-throughput bacterial passage, the scientists diluted the blood in the capillary devices. However, as an alternative, they could also extend the capacity of monoliths for whole blood lysis. The devices processed more than 400 µL of whole blood spiked with bacteria before exhibiting a significant increase in back pressure, due to clogging as a result of cell lysis and also due to intact leukocytes (WBCs) trapped within the porous matrix.To locate target bacteria, Han et al. obtained a sample deposited on to a glass slide, after it passed through the monolith-process. They conducted single-cell Raman analysis by manually scanning the optical probe across the sample. They expect the use of selective lysis technology, coupled to confocal Raman microscopy in the future to improve the process of detecting bacterial strains of interest at low concentrations in a defined location of interest. In this way, Jung Y. Han and colleagues developed a microfluidic monolith to efficiently isolate intact bacteria with wide-ranging theranostic, point-of-care potential for clinical applications. They envision the union of confocal Raman microscopy tools that are currently largely confined to the research lab with emerging miniaturized and handheld systems to pave the way towards rapid and portable point-of-care devices. TOP: (a) Synthesis of porous silica monolith in fused silica capillary and thermoplastic mold via sol–gel chemistry. (b) Competitive reactions during the synthesis of monolith. Silanol groups present on glass capillary form covalent bonds with the monolith during this step. BOTTOM: (a) SEM image of a silica monolith synthesized within a 100 μm ID fused silica capillary, revealing uniform porosity and excellent wall anchoring of the monolith. (b) Histogram of pore size. Critical diameter for RBC hemolysis (2r*) is marked with an arrow. Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4 Emerging single-cell diagnostics rely on the potential to rapidly and efficiently isolate bacteria from complex biological matrices. In a recent study now published in Microsystems and Nanoengineering, Jung Y. Han and colleagues at the interdisciplinary Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering in the U.S. developed a device to isolate intact and viable bacteria from whole blood using a microfluidic, porous silica monolith. They achieved mechanical hemolysis while providing passage of intact and viable bacteria through the monoliths for size-based bacterial isolation and selective lysis. Han et al. described a process to synthesize large quantities of discrete capillary-bound monolith elements and millimeter-scale monolith bricks to integrate into microfluidic chips. In the present work, Han et al. explored microfluidic devices integrated with porous silica monoliths as simple flow-through elements for selective blood cell analysis and the intact isolation of bacteria. Monoliths are highly porous materials composed of open cell morphology with twisting paths of fluid flow. Scientists can control monolithic pore morphology via high mechanical surface stress during cell perfusion for mechanical hemolysis of blood cells, while allowing intact and viable bacteria to travel the winding flow paths for their culture-free isolation. Han et al. used the approach of selective passage for bacteria in whole blood under flow conditions for gram positive and gram-negative species, despite differences of the bacterial strains. The technique of high-throughput selective monolith lysis combined with powerful analytical methods such as Raman spectroscopy can allow culture-free analysis of bacteria in whole blood at the level of the single cell. (a) Monolith length dependence of RBC hemolysis. Totally, 50× diluted blood in 1× PBS was perfused through capillary monoliths of various lengths at a flow rate of 10 μL/min. (b) Passage rate of RBC and viable bacteria at different flow rates and lengths of monolith-containing capillary. Scale bars = 50 µm. Error bars are ±1SD. Contrast of optical images was adjusted for visibility. Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0063-4 Journal information: Nature Medicine © 2019 Science X Network Citation: Isolating intact bacteria from blood using a microfluidic monolith device (2019, July 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-isolating-intact-bacteria-blood-microfluidic.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

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Study Questions Mainstay Treatment For Mild As

first_img hsyncoban https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/me/2019/08/20190826_me_study_questions… by NPR News April Dembosky 8.26.19 7:32am Steroid inhalers commonly used to prevent asthma attacks may not work any better than a placebo for many people with mild asthma, according to recent research.Synthetic corticosteroids mimic the steroid hormone cortisol, reducing inflammation in the airways. But the drug targets a type of inflammation that may be found in far fewer patients than previously thought, research in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds. Among patients age 12 and older in the study who had mild, persistent asthma, more than half did just as well, or better, on a placebo as they did on a steroid inhaler.”We’re suggesting that it’s time to reevaluate what the standard recommended form of treatment is for these milder patients,” says Stephen Lazarus, a pulmonologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the study’s lead author.Since the early 1990s, the international guideline for treating patients with mild, persistent asthma has been to use a low-dose steroid inhaler twice a day. The recommendation was based mainly on studies of people with severe asthma; the thinking was that if people with mild symptoms used the steroid inhaler early on, it would prevent damage to their airways later.But when the medications didn’t seem to reduce asthma attacks, doctors blamed the patients.”For many years, I think we’ve attributed their poor asthma control to the fact that they weren’t taking their medicines,” Lazarus says, “and it may be that many of them were taking their medicines — they just weren’t working.”Lazarus and his team studied around 300 patients who had mild asthma. The vast majority — 73% — did not have Type 2 inflammation, an inflammation characterized by a high level of eosinophilic white blood cells, which are believed to be much more prevalent among asthma patients.Of those patients, 66% did just as well, or better, on a placebo as on the steroid inhaler mometasone in terms of urgent care visits, days when they had trouble breathing or nights when they woke up because they were unable to breathe.Merck, the drug company that makes mometasone, declined to comment on the study.”We may be giving people steroids, subjecting them to potential adverse effects and the increased costs, without a significant clinical benefit,” Lazarus says.While inhaled steroids are generally safe, there is some risk for bone loss, cataracts, glaucoma and thinning of the skin.Bone loss has long been a concern for asthma patient Suzanne Leigh, who works in UCSF’s media department.”I’m a low-BMI white woman with a history of autoimmune disease, which puts me at high risk for osteoporosis,” says Leigh.When she read the study, Leigh says, she was frustrated to learn that the $500 asthma inhaler she uses — one that increases her risk of breaking a hip in a few years — might not even work.”I don’t know where I go from here,” she says. “Do I continue with the medication, or do I stop — and end up in the emergency department?”Lazarus suggests she follow her doctor’s current recommendation. While the study suggests that guidelines on treatments for mild asthma may ultimately shift, a bigger, longer study is needed, Lazarus says, before any major clinical changes are made.”If someone has evidence of episodic, periodic asthma and asthma exacerbations that lead to emergency department visits and they respond when treated with inhaled steroids, then it kind of doesn’t matter what the lab test shows,” he says. “If they have a clinical response that is genuine, that probably is an appropriate treatment regimen.”But in general, he says, there is no magic lab test that can say which asthma patients will respond to inhalers and which ones won’t.”I would say that if you have people who are taking inhaled steroids and they’re not responding, the answer is not necessarily to just continue to escalate the dose,” he says, “but to question whether there’s an alternative.”Copyright 2019 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.center_img Study Questions Mainstay Treatment For Mild Asthma last_img read more

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Going the Coldplay way

first_imgThe urban dictionary defines a Coldplayer as  what the fans of the British Alternative Rock Band Coldplay call themselves. As one of the world’s most popular artists, Coldplay have sold a total of over 55 million copies of their five studio albums over a period of 12 years.Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single Yellow in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year, Parachutes. The band’s second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002 Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’), was released to critical acclaim and won multiple awards. Their next release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, was met with mostly positive reviews upon its release, though some critics felt that it was inferior to its predecessor. The band’s fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) released again to largely positive reviews, earning several Grammy nominations and wins at the 51st Grammy Awards. Coldplayer India attempts to bring the music and the vibe of a Coldplay show to venues across India by putting together experienced musicians from top acts in the Capital. Coldplayer India is – Sherry Matthews (vocals),  Aashish Mandhwani (guitar and vocals),  Ritwik De (guitars, vocals and keyboards), Suyash Gabriel (drums) and Sergio Dinarte (bass). Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAashish plays guitar for one of Delhi’s established rock acts Fire Exit. With over 200 shows and an album with Fire Exit, he has played at most major festivals held in India over the last 6 years. Ritwik is the lead guitarist and singer of MindFlew. Suyash currently does sessions for Delhi-based bands including The Doppler Effectand TribU2. Having started off with Western Classical and Broadway at the age of 8, Sherry Mathews went on to perform at various platforms in and around India. He has been part of Artistes Unlimited since it’s initiation and has sung backup vocals for Delhi-based bands Advaita and Them Clones to name a few. He currently is the lead vocalist for Cobbled Street, a Jazz-Funk band and The Doppler Effect, a Progressive Rock band and TribU2, a U2 tribute band. Born in El Salvador,  Sergio Dinarte started to play classical guitar at the age of 12. He is currently in Delhi, playing with acts such as the Ghost Crabs, New Delhi roots, Negra Pradera.last_img read more

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Budget raises tax deduction limit to Rs444 lakh for IT payer

first_imgIn the Budget for 2015-16, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed raising the tax deduction limit by Rs 10,000 for payment towards health insurance premium.At the same time, exemption of transport allowance has been doubled to Rs 19,200 per year.So, the deduction limit has been raised by Rs 19,200 per year as the Finance Minister has proposed raising tax deduction limit on few counts.”…the fifth pillar of my taxation proposals this year is extension of benefits to middle class tax payers,” he said in his Budget speech. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJITo provide social safety net and the facility of pension to individuals, an additional deduction of Rs 50,000 is proposed to be provided for contribution to the New Pension Scheme under Section 80CCD, he said.”This will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society,” he said.Transport allowance exemption is being increased from Rs 800 to Rs 1,600 per month, he added.Besides, the other deduction has been maintained namely — deduction under section 80C of Rs 1.5 lakh while deduction under section 80CCD Rs 50,000. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindAt the same time tax deduction on account of interest on house property loan self occupied property has been unchanged at Rs 2 lakh.”Having raised the basic exemption limit and 80C limit etc last year, there was hardly any scope for further concession. Raising the limit of health insurance premium, transport allowance exemption and additional deduction of 50,000 for NPS will help taxpayers to save little more in taxes,” PwC India Partner and Leader Personal Tax Kuldip Kumar said. Commenting on tax deduction limit, PNB MetLife MD Tarun Chugh said the proposal to increase the tax benefits for health insurance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 is a welcome step.”Currently, over 78-80 per cent of health care expenses are funded by the Indians out of their own pocket and this move will encourage people to increase their coverage keeping in the mind the rising cost of healthcare,” he said.With the reduction of corporate tax rate in a phased manner from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next 4 years, India Inc has a tax clarity for next five years at-least, Rakesh Nagia, Managing Partner Nagia & Company.Additionally, he said, with a view to tax the super-rich in an efficient manner, FM has duly taxed the super rich by abolishing wealth tax and levying 2 per cent surcharge.Govt raises farm credit target to Rs 8.5 lakh cr for 2015-16The government today raised the farm credit target by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 8.5 lakh crore, allocated Rs 5,300 crore for flagship irrigation programme and announced plans to set up a common agricultural national market to boost farmers’ income that is “under stress”.The government has clubbed 10 major schemes, including National Food Security Mission, under the umbrella scheme “Krishionnati Yojana” to be implemented by states with central assistance of Rs 9,000 crore during the 2015-16 fiscal.Another Rs 5,300 crore has been allocated to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchai Yojana (PMGSY) to boost irrigation as currently more than 60 per cent of farm land is rainfed.Presenting his maiden full-fledged Budget for 2015-16, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Farm credit underpins the efforts of our hard- working farmers. I have, therefore, set up an ambitious target of Rs 8.5 lakh crore of credit during the year 2015-16 which, I am sure, the banks will surpass.”Farmers have been availing crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent interest rate. However, the effective rate of interest for farmers who repay on time is 4 per cent.Noting that farm incomes are under stress, Jaitely listed out raising farmers’ income as one of the major challenges ahead for the government.”While the farmer is no longer in the clutches of local trader, his produce still does not command the best national price. To increase the incomes of farmers, it is imperative that we create a National agricultural market, which will have incidental benefit of moderating price rises. I intend this year to work with States, in NITI, for the creation of a Unified National Agriculture Market,” he said.Emphasising that raising productivity and realisation of reasonable price for agri-produce is essential for the welfare of rural people, Jaitley said, “We should commit to increase irrigation area, improve efficiency of distinct irrigation scheme, promoting agro-based industries for value addition, increasing farm income and reasonable prices for farmers produce.”To support agriculture sector with the help of effective and hassle-free agricultural credit with special focus on small and marginal farmers, the Finance Minister allocated Rs 25,000 crore in 2015-16 to the corpus of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund set up under NABARD.last_img read more

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IMI mulls offshore campus at Chinas Sichuan province

first_imgKOLKATA: International Management Institute (IMI) Kolkata is planning to set up its offshore campus at Chengdu in Sichuan province of China.”We are in talks with the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences for collaboration to commence an MBA course on our proposed offshore campus. Our focus will be on management and business research,” said Arindam Banik, director of IMI Kolkata.The Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences has been playing a major role as a think tank and idea treasury in the social and economic development of Sichuan Province. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsBanik said various proposals pertaining to the collaboration are being finalised. “The Chinese students interested in studying MBA course under IIM will have to do a yearly language course before taking up MBA on the proposed campus. The medium of instruction will be English,” he added.IMI presently has three campuses — Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Delhi. Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, which was founded in 1978, has been currently developed into a research base and centre of philosophy and social sciences with a wide range of subjects, reasonable talent structure, distinctive academic features and outstanding scientific research achievements in Sichuan Province. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedTalking about another major initiative, Banik said IMI is also working on a plan to impart training in English to as many as 70,000 teachers of Bangladesh, including both primary and secondary school teachers. The Bangladesh government had approached Asian Development Bank (ADB) for loan and has been allocated Rs 179 crore for the purpose of scaling the English communication skills of their teachers. “They are in search of an ideal institute and we are in talks for finalising the modalities. The training on communication skills will lay emphasis on the use of technology for teaching,” Banik said. The training will be in batches, phase-wise.IMI Kolkata that presently runs a two year PGDM course is planning to start an Executive MBA programme from 2019 and MBA in Entrepreneurship from 2020.last_img read more

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Motivated people control their destiny

first_img“The importance of motivation (or MO), otherwise known as drive and ambition, is of critical importance to a successful life and overall subjective well-being,” Dr. Bobby Hoffman, an educator and researcher in cognitive and motivational efficiency at the University of Central Florida, told in an e-mail interview from Orlando that grew out of his response to a book review that this correspondent had done.“Motivated people feel in control of their destiny and look at adversity as an opportunity for personal growth,” he added. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The degree of effort we are willing to invest in a task is a measurement of motivation. Hence, it is not surprising to know that all the personalities interviewed by Hoffman in sports, music, politics, business and entertainment as examples of motivated behaviour for his latest book, “Motivation for Learning and Performance”, had one common attitude to life that bonded them – that of elevated control beliefs.They did not shift blame for any life or career setbacks, because “each individual felt in control of their destiny and truly believed that their decisions and behaviours determined what they do, where they do it, and how it turns out”. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSelf-awareness, which is a conscious recognition of our personal beliefs and an understanding of how those beliefs influence the targets we set and the strategies we use to attain our chosen objectives, is a key aspect of MO.Alec Torelli, a professional poker player, who wants a certain lifestyle, uses his ability to achieve his goal of travelling the world freely and experiencing new things without being tied down to a desk or a job with regular hours. Despite not being excited by public recognition of his talents, Torelli is motivated by his strong control beliefs — though he cannot control the cards he is dealt, he is in control of how he responds to them. “We are all self-motivated, but we are rarely 100 per cent aligned with the expectations of schools, employers, and some of the important people in our lives,” Hoffman explained. On techniques he uses to motivate his students and his two children, he said that the strategies differ as different groups and cultures have specific and appropriate normative behaviour. “What works in one setting may be denounced in another.” For example, the degree of independence we cultivate in our children changes according to the country of birth, secular values, and political climate, the educator said.As a professor, Hoffman leads by example, demonstrating adaptive motivational behaviour and strategies. For instance, he breaks down complex work into manageable pieces which “address maladaptive emotion and instills confidence” in an anxious student.He also lays stress on reflection as a huge part of motivated behaviour. “As life-long learners, we need to continually reassess the effectiveness of our efforts and be open to making changes,” he said.For entrepreneurs and business holders, Hoffman advises compatibility with individuals and organizational priorities; because “although we can list many factors that relate to organisational success that do not include people, ultimately people must execute the organisational strategy”.“The abundance of such factors inhibits concluding that one factor has a dominant influence,” he added.The diverse group of people the author interviewed are entwined in the conversational narrative, making students feel connected to the profiles, and “learn that all successful people encounter obstacles and make mistakes just like we do.”last_img read more

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Kolkatans get to feast eyes on sun halo

first_imgKolkata: People in Kolkata and its surroundings got a celestial treat on Wednesday morning at around 10:45 am, as they looked up in the sky towards the sun. A spectacular ring of light was seen surrounding the sun. The ring was a perfect circle with the sun at the centre. This absolutely dazzling ‘halo’ of the sun was observed till noon.People were enthralled and excited by this celestial sight, which was evident as photographs of the phenomenon went viral on social networking sites. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”The 22 degree halo of the sun” as it is called, because the angular distance of the light ring is exactly 22 degrees from the sun at the centre, occurs because of the interaction of sunlight with ice crystals suspended in the air in a particular type of cloud.”The ice crystals responsible for the halos are typically suspended in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds in the upper troposphere, which are typically present at a height of 5-8 km from the earth’s surface,” said Debiprosad Duari, director, research & academic, MP Birla Planetarium. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPAccording to Duari, the particular shape and orientation of the crystals are responsible for the type of halo observed. It is hypothesised that the ice crystals present in the cirrus clouds are typically hexagonal in shape. When the sunlight falls on these crystals, it gets refracted while passing through hexagonal crystals and gets bent by 22 degrees or more. As a result, a bright ring of light forms around the sun at an angle of 22 degrees.The 22 degree halo of the sun can occur whenever there are moisture-laden cirrus clouds in the sky near the sun and it is a local phenomenon.This is not a very rare phenomenon and happens quite regularly at different places, depending upon favourable atmospheric conditions. The duration of the 22 degree halo of the sun depends on the cloud formations and the air currents in the atmosphere.last_img read more

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