Researchers hope to build universal human age estimator

first_img More information: Bingbing Ni, et al. “Web Image and Video Mining towards Universal and Robust Age Estimator.” IEEE Transactions on Multimedia. DOI:10.1109/TMM.2011.2167317 Explore further Copyright 2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Researcher sees new angles in visual search Citation: Researchers hope to build universal human age estimator (2011, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-universal-human-age.html The top 10 ranked face instances (left) vs. the bottom 10 ranked face instances (right) for the age labels 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80. Image credit: Bingbing Ni, et al. ©2011 IEEE 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. The researchers, Bingbing Ni of the Advanced Digital Sciences Center in Singapore, along with Zheng Song and Shuicheng Yan from the National University of Singapore, have published their study in a recent issue of IEEE Transactions on Multimedia. To begin, the researchers developed an automatic web image and video mining scheme, in which they used age-related search queries to collect nearly 400,000 images from popular image search engines such as Flickr and Google Images as well as 10,000 YouTube video clips. The face images were tagged with ages, and were used to develop a novel learning algorithm for training the system. Although the faces in the video clips were not tagged with ages, the researchers could still use them for training, as they provided the same face at different angles and different lighting conditions.Although there have been several other computerized human age estimators, this system has by far the largest database of facial images compared to the others: after poor-quality images and false alarms were removed, the database contained 77,000 images containing 219,000 faces. In addition, unlike some of the previous smaller databases, the images in this database included faces of people from different racial groups, and had different illumination conditions and different qualities. This diversity gave the system a “universal” capability.A demo video on intelligent advertising using the universal human age estimator. Video credit: Bingbing Ni, et al.“The greatest significance is that, using web-based mining, there is no need to manually construct a face image database, which is quite labor-intensive and costly,” Ni told PhysOrg.com. “And the automatically mined web image database possesses the generalization capability, e.g., models trained on this data can be applied to general faces.”For general image qualities, the model could estimate a person’s age to within an average range of ±5 years. In the future, the researchers hope to further improve the system by minimizing errors, particularly for mediocre image qualities.A computer that can estimate a person’s age, regardless of race or image quality, could have a variety of applications, such as for demographic data collection in supermarkets and other public areas, age-specific human-computer interfaces, and human identification based on old ID photos. Another use, as Ni explains, is age-oriented commercial advertisements.“For example, digital signage applications – installed in shopping malls, vending machines, etc., automatically estimate the customers’ ages and recommend corresponding product advertisements,” he said. (PhysOrg.com) — As humans, we have a knack for estimating another person’s age quite accurately just by glancing at their face. Although age estimation may seem relatively simple to us, computers have a much more difficult time performing the task. In one of the latest attempts to build a computer that can accurately estimate a person’s age, researchers have taken a bottom-up approach to the challenge, collecting hundreds of thousands of images and videos from the Internet to train the system. Their goal is to build a universal human age estimator that is applicable to all ethnic groups and various image qualities.last_img read more

Botanists suggest Voynich illustrations similar to plants in Mexico

first_img New study suggests Voynich text is not a hoax More information: A Preliminary Analysis of the Botany, Zoology, and Mineralogy of the Voynich Manuscript, HerbalGram, 2013: cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/ … 00-feat-voynich.html Explore further (Phys.org) —A pair of botanists has published a paper in HerbalGram in which they note similarities between plant illustrations in the famed Voynich Manuscript and plant illustrations in old Mexican botanical books and suggest it might mean the Vonyich Manuscript has New World origins. Credit: HerbalGram The Voynich Manuscript is a text (found in 1912 in an Italian monastery by book dealer Wilfred Voynich) believed to have been written in the 15th century (carbon dated to a time between 1404 and 1438) by an unknown author. It’s attracted notice because it’s written in a language that no one has ever been able to decipher despite over a century of trying. Making things even more interesting are illustrations throughout the manuscript that sometimes defy explanation—such as plants that no one has been able to identify. Some experts have suggested that the manuscript is a hoax, created by someone several centuries ago as a lark or ruse, for some unknown purpose. Others suggest the manuscript appears to be real in a sense as it does appear to follow some sort of grammar. In their paper, Arthur Tucker and Rexford Talbert suggest the key to solving the mystery might lie in the illustrations, rather than the text. One section of the manuscript appears to be devoted to botany—words flow across pages decorated with illustrations of mysterious plants. Tucker and Talbert noticed that at least one of the plants in the manuscript reminded them of a plant they’d seen illustrated in an old Mexican botany book. Their interest piqued, they gathered as many such texts as they could find and set to work looking to see if they could match plants in the botany books with those in the Voynich Manuscript. In so doing, they say they have found 37 matches out of the 303 depicted. They also note some matches between six animals and at least one mineral.The two botanists aren’t suggesting their findings prove anything, instead they suggest that perhaps more work ought to be done investigating the possibility that the manuscript was written in old Mexico in an ancient Aztec language such as Nahuatl, which is still actually spoken in some remote parts of Mexico. © 2014 Phys.org Citation: Botanists suggest Voynich illustrations similar to plants in Mexico (2014, February 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-02-botanists-voynich-similar-mexico.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.last_img read more

Improving the accuracy of longread genome sequencing

first_img More information: Accurate circular consensus long-read sequencing improves variant detection and assembly of a human genome, Nature Biotechnology (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0217-9 Targeting DNA sequencing for plant biodiversity research Journal information: Nature Biotechnology The researchers began their work by noting that the current status quo in DNA sequencing technology allows for sequencing short sequences (short reads) accurately, or long sequences (long reads) less accurately. In this new effort, they sought to improve the accuracy of long-read sequencing. More specifically, they sought to improve the accuracy of a circular consensus sequencing (CCS) technique using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing as performed by Pacific Bioscience (PacBio). Most of the team working on the project were from PacBio—other members were from Google, Stanford University, the Max Planck Institute, Saarland University, DNAnexius, NIST, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins University.The CCS technique (which is not considered a long-read technique) currently in use by PacBio involves the use of hairpin adapters, which are ligated onto the ends of DNA molecules to create a template. A polymerase starts at the adapter and moves across the DNA piece, adding bases as it goes, creating the read. The technique also involves moving the polymerase across the DNA bit multiple times. The researchers note that the CCS technique has typically been used with base lengths of 1000 to 2000 bases. By improving the technique, the team was able to read up to 10,000 bases accurately.The researchers report that their improvements were based mostly on improving the quality of DNA used at the start of sequencing. The quality of DNA was improved by starting the reactions before loading the DNA and then waiting for up to an hour—if they found the polymerase was still moving, it had to be of higher quality. They also made sure that the DNA molecules were all of uniform size—they did this by using a SageELF instrument.The team reports that the improved technique generated long reads (averaging 13.5 kilobases) with a 99.9 percent accuracy rate. 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. © 2019 Science X Networkcenter_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further Citation: Improving the accuracy of long-read genome sequencing (2019, August 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-08-accuracy-long-read-genome-sequencing.html A team of researchers from institutions in the U.S., Germany and China has developed a way to improve the accuracy of long-read genome sequencing. In their paper published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the group outlines how they improved an existing technique, and how well it works.last_img read more

Rural youth Govt moves to encourage entrepreneurship

first_imgAfter successful launch of ‘Make in India’ campaign to a give a fillip to dying domestic manufacturing industry, the NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to launch Startup Village Entrepreneurship Programme by March this year. The scheme, which is a flagship programme promoted by PM Modi, aims to hone up entrepreneurship skills among rural youths by providing financial assistance as well as training assistance from the Centre. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJITalking to Millennium Post, Rural Development Secretary LC Goyal informed that the structure of PM’s pet project has almost been finalised after consulting different stakeholders. “The final blue print of the scheme would be sent to the PM for his approval by the end of this month. After getting sanctioned from PM Modi, the project would be rolled out across the country within two months.”Giving details about the proposed scheme, Goyal said, “The scheme would help in providing employment to at least 2 lakh rural youth, which will lessen their dependency on rural job scheme. The Rural Development Ministry has planned a corpus fund of Rs 400 crore for the better implementation of village entrepreneurship programme.” Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindOn the question of how it will function, the Rural Development Secretary said, “Suitable villages would be identified at every panchayat level and after that youths with entrepreneurship potential would be selected. The selected youths would be trained to hone up skills.”The financial assistance would be provided for opening of kirana stores, flour mills, toy manufacturing units, etc. There are no details about how many numbers of villages would be selected for first phase of this flagship programme, which will first start for the five years, Goyal said, on the sidelines of a press meet organised to spell out the achievements of Rural ministry in the seven months.“Though, it will too early to speculate about the success of village entrepreneurship programme, but one thing is clear that it will add only confusion among rural youths. In the country where there are about 14 lakh villages, such populist schemes would hardly make any impact,” said Madhuresh, a land reform activist.last_img read more

State takes steps to ensure support to farmers during unusual rainfall

first_imgKolkata: The state Agriculture department is taking all necessary steps to ensure that farmers do not face any inconvenience due to unusual rainfall in Birbhum, East Burdwan and a part of Murshidabad district.The Agriculture department came in touch with other concerned departments in this connection and a meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday in Birbhum. A meeting for East Burdwan district has already taken place and a similar meeting in Murshidabad district will also be held. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThough the drizzle due to depression since Monday has brought a little respite to the situation, the state government is eyeing a permanent solution and taking all necessary measures in this regard. According to a senior official of the state Agriculture department, it is always good if the soil remains moist during the harvest of paddy as it ensures a better yield. So steps were taken to extend support to the farmers as soon as unusual rainfall was noticed in different parts of Birbhum, East Burdwan and Murshidabad. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedOn Wednesday’s meeting at Suri in Birbhum, state Agriculture minister Asish Banerjee and Pradip Majumdar, the agriculture advisor to the Chief Minister, will be present in the discussion along with senior representatives from the Zilla Parishad, all the concerned MLAs, senior officials of the state Irrigation department, Power department. It is learnt that the state Irrigation department is leaving no stone unturned to supply water in such areas including Nanoor in Birbhum. The rice mill owners were also directed to supply water from the reservoirs in the mills in such areas and the owners have assured all assistance in this connection. The official said after identification of such areas, the first step is to create the necessary infrastructure so that farmers do not face any problem and decisions in this regard will be taken in the meeting. The meeting for Birbhum district is scheduled on Wednesday and a similar one will be held for Murshidabad as well. However, the schedule of the meeting in Murshidabad district is yet to be finalised. Banerjee said that the endeavour is to create the infrastructure that will also ensure sufficient supply of water not only for paddy cultivation but for other crops as well. It is learnt that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was also concerned over the situation and directed concerned officials to take measures in this connection.last_img read more

Dastangoi – from Gandhi to Mahatma

first_imgThe classic Urdu oral storytelling art form of ‘Dastangoi’ intertwined with the defiant poetry of the early 20th century brought alive the journey of Gandhi from ‘Mohandas to Mahatma’ in the national Capital.39-year-old Fouzia Dastango, credited as the first female Dastagoi artiste, presented ‘Dastan-e-Gandhi’ on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi through the dying art form of ‘Dastangoi’ here recently.”The aim of Dastaan-e-Gandhi is to revive the abiding interest in the inspiring story of Mahatma Gandhi using newer ways to involve various stakeholders, including intelligentsia, academia and voluntary organizations to spread Bapu’s Message,” she said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”The young generation which is shaping today’s India and who will create the country’s future should be told about his life and his mission, and this is what we are doing,” she explained.’Dastaan-e-Gandhi’ performed by Fouzia and Fazal Rashid touched upon India’s struggle for freedom and Gandhi’s tryst with Satyagraha and his fight against injustice and racism. The event was organised by India International Center in collaboration with Sarvodaya International Trust. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveProfessor Danish Iqbal, who penned the script for the performance, said it was a “mounting challenge” to present the life of Mahatma in an hour format.”There are many facets to Mahatma’s life. It was very challenging to present his life in a ‘Dastangoi’ format. But we focussed on the underlying the message of his life rather than talking about his milestones,” he said. Iqbal, who teaches at Jamia Millia Islamia University here, said many efforts were being taken to revive the art form of ‘Dastangoi’ and that the youth are the torchbearers of such a revival. “‘Dastangoi’ is a simple, yet powerful art form. It is performed by a minimum of two artistes. It does not require the expensive paraphernalia of lights, set and costumes. The art form is now being revived, especially by the young who are creating groups, like in theatre, to take Dastangoi to the masses,” he said.Fouzia, who has been performing ‘Dastangoi’ since the past 8 years, said her cultural roots have found their way back into her work.”I owe my performances to the by-lanes of Old Delhi. It is here that I performed for the first time. Apart from that, the events around me also translate into my work,” she said.The artiste has presented ‘Dastangoi’ on a range of issues, including the languages of Delhi, women issues and those concerning children.Talking about the relevance of Gandhian philosophy in contemporary times, Indira Verma of Sarvodaya International Trust said, “You call it idealism or romanticism, but I have a hope or I must say I am sure, the day will come when Gandhiism will become a reality more than a philosophy which will make this world a better place.” Fouzia said her dream was to perform at the Jama Masjid, where people from all walks of life, can be her audience. She summed up in her classical way of “Chaley Chalo ke Voh Manzil abhi Nahin Aayi (move ahead as the destination is far away)”.last_img read more

Body of 23yearold found hanging at Bishnupur residence

first_imgKolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a 23-year-old youth whose body was found hanging from the ceiling inside his house in Bishnupur, South 24-Parganas. Police have started a case of unnatural death in this regard. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that the victim might have committed suicide after being jilted in love. The victim, Asish Mondal (23), a resident of Joyrampur area might have in depression for the past few days, Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifepolice suspect. On the fateful day, the family members knocked on the door of the victim repeatedly but he did not respond. They reported the matter to the local residents who in turn informed police. Police personnel broke open the door only to find the victim hanging from the ceiling fan. The body was recovered and sent for an autopsy. The investigating officers seized a laptop and a mobile phone from the victim’s room. Police said the victim used to stay at his maternal uncles’ house in South 24-Parganas for the past few months. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe family members of the victim told police the victim used to play various games on his mobile phone. He also used to talk to his friends. Cops are yet to ascertain the exact cause behind him committing suicide. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that he had a relationship with a girl. The victim’s family members told police that the youth often spoke on phone for nearly an hour during the night. They also heard him talking on phone on Saturday night. Police are investigating if he had taken the drastic step after the girl with whom he had a relationship refused to continue it. Police are waiting for the autopsy report which might throw some light on the death of the victim. The investigating officers are also examining his mobile phone and laptop which might provide clues in this connection.last_img read more

Class VII student dead aunt injured after truck hits bicycle

first_imgKolkata: A student of Class VII, who was riding on a bicycle as a pillion with his aunt, was killed after being hit by a speeding truck. The victim’s aunt sustained serious injuries and is undergoing treatment at a local hospital.The incident occurred near Padmapukur area of Baruipur in South 24-Parganas on Saturday morning. Police said the victim, Imran Sardar (11), was returning home on his aunt’s bicycle at around 9 am when a truck hit them from behind. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSardar died on the spot while his aunt received several injuries in various parts of her body. The truck driver and helper fled the spot immediately after the accident happened leaving the vehicle at the site. Local residents rushed to the spot and rushed the injured woman to the hospital. After being informed, the police reached the spot and recovered the body of the victim and sent it for postmortem. The incident resulted in traffic jam in the area for nearly half-an-hour with the vehicles coming to a standstill. The situation was later brought under control by the police personnel. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedSome local residents also staged a demonstration protesting against reckless driving of vehicles. They alleged that there is no proper traffic management system in the area as a result of which accidents often take place in Baruipur. They also claimed that the accident would not have happened had there been some traffic police personnel deployed in the area. The agitation was later lifted by the locals following assurances from the top cops. Police said Sardar was a student of a private school at Madarihat and a resident of Balarampur area of the same district. The vehicle has been seized and raids are being conducted to nab the truck driver.last_img read more

Fake job racket busted 2 held for posing as govt officials

first_imgKolkata: Two persons arrested for duping several job seekers on the context of proving them with jobs in the Indian Coast Guard. One of the accused pretended to be an officer of the Indian Coast Guard and was wearing coast guard uniform. The duo were identified as Subrata Biswas and Dipankar Ghosh.According to the sources, the cheaters recently published an advertisement in a newspaper mentioning that several openings are there in the Indian Coast Guard. To get a job, the job seekers needed to go through a course from their institution. After successful completion of the course, they will guaranteed a job in the Indian Coast Guard. In the advertisement, it was also mentioned that no fee was needed to be given for the Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifebeginner’s course. The cheated job seekers alleged that though no fee was to be given for the beginners course, Biswas and Ghosh took money in other ways from them. On Wednesday, they were asked to appear at their institution and asked to sign on a bond where it was written that the job seekers did not have to pay them . Later, the job seekers were asked Rs 60,000 after which they would get the selection letter. On hearing this, the job seekers felt they were being duped and informed Gopalnagar police station. Later, police arrested the duo and recovered several incriminating documents and a set of Indian Coast Guard uniforms from the office. It is suspected that the duo might have connection with a fake job racket.last_img read more

Two arrested with 32 kg heroin

first_imgKolkata: The Special Task Force have arrested two persons from the city and recovered crude heroin weighing around 3.2 kg from the city.Acting on a tip-off, the STF officials on Saturday evening intercepted a private vehicle on Munsi Prem Chand Sarani under Hastings police station. During a search, the police found the heroin kept inside the car. These materials were kept concealed inside the door in such a manner that they would avoid the eyes of the people who would open the door from outside. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe police recovered about 3.208 kg (approx) of crude heroin and the accused were held for interrogation. After an interrogation the police arrested the duo — Dipak Roy (46) and Kumar Chetri (34). Roy is a resident of Anlong in Assam while Chetri hails from Tezpur area of the same district. According to the police, the approximate cost of narcotics may be between Rs 3 crore to Rs 12 crore. Police are trying to know if the accused are a part of any interstate narcotic smuggling racket. They are interrogating the duo to know the names of other accused, who might have been involved in the incident.last_img read more

Kashmiris raise concerns over relatives safety in Valley urge govt to revive

first_imgKolkata: Kashmiris living in the city are spending sleepless nights after scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution as they are unable to talk or meet their relatives, who are at present living in the Valley. “It has been four days I couldn’t talk to my sons, who stays in Kashmir. My mind is not working. I don’t know what to do. I urge the government to allow us to talk to our relatives over the phone,” Mushtaq Ahmad Mattoo, who has been running a Kashmiri Shawl shop in Kolkata for the past 25 years, told Millennium Post. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataWhile the mobile data internet services, cellular networks, and SMS services were snapped at 11 pm on Sunday, flight operations in Kashmir will remain cancelled from Wednesday. “On Sunday, I booked my flight ticket to go to Kashmir on August 9. But, today I came to know from my travel agent that it has been cancelled because there will be no flights operating in Kashmir from tomorrow,” Mushtaq said. Another Kahmiri Shawl shop owner, on the promise of anonymity, shared his ordeal and pointed out that he had stopped travelling in train because of rise of mob lynching incidents. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”I am a Muslim and top of that I am also a Kashmiri. I don’t travel in trains because I am afraid that people having fanatic mentality might kill me and no one will come to my rescue,” he said. Meanwhile, tour operators have also claimed cancellation of flights to Kashmir will incur loss to their business. “Kashmir is a popular tourist destination. On an average, we take at least 90 people for Kashmir tour every year. If flight operations are suspended in Kashmir then it will hit 40 % of our profit,” said Ziaul Haque Shaikh of Adventure Education Tours (Mumbai) Pvt Ltd, who takes people on tour across India. Following the revocation order, Article 370 of the Constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir no longer exists.last_img read more

The Saint Behind Santa Claus – Unwrapping the Real St Nicholas

first_imgDecember 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, a figure recognized as one of the many inspirations for Santa Claus. But the real saint is very different from the jolly old man we know. For a start, he is often named as the patron saint of merchants, bankers, sailors, small children, and prostitutes.Nicholas was born on March 15, 270 in Patara, Lycia in the Roman Empire to very wealthy parents.Detail of a late medieval Greek Orthodox icon showing Saint Nicholas slapping Arius at the First Council of Nicaea, a famous incident whose historicity is disputed.When Nicholas was only eighteen years old, his parents died and he inherited their fortune. However, he didn’t luxuriate in that money but tried to distribute it to the poor.Nicholas was a devout Christian. He knew that to gain entry to Heaven, he needed to do good on Earth without reward or recognition. As such, he would often give his money away anonymously.This attitude towards generosity gave rise to a story which many of us will identify as being a source for the modern day interpretation of Santa Claus. However, it is also this story which sets Saint Nicholas up as the patron saint of prostitutes.The dowry for the three virgins by Gentile da Fabriano (c. 1425), Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome.Nicholas heard tales of an honest man who had fallen into poverty. He had three daughters but with no money, he had no dowry to offer any suitors to marry them.Given the times they lived in, poor and unmarried women would often be sold by their fathers into slavery or prostitution.However, Nicholas was moved to help this family. One night, he strolled past their house and threw a bag of coins through the window. There was enough money for a dowry, and the father was delighted. He married off his eldest daughter very handsomely.Saint Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death by Ilya Repin (1888).While it was good news for the eldest daughter, there were still the two other daughters to care for. The man’s poverty was unabated, and he faced having to sell his second daughter. The night before the sale was due to take place, Nicholas again threw in a bag of coins which enabled the second daughter to get married.The poor man was determined to identify and thank his benefactor. So, the night before his third daughter was to be sold off, he waited up for and accosted Nicholas when he threw in the final purse.Saint Nicholas, Russian icon from first quarter of the 18th century (Kizhi monastery, Karelia)The father fell to his knees and thanked Nicholas for his generosity. Nicholas would take nothing in return except the father’s solemn assurance that he would never reveal Nicholas as the mysterious benefactor.Over the years, this story has been embellished and details have been added that tie Saint Nicholas to traditional Christmas customs. For example, in one version the money lands in a shoe, explaining the tradition in Holland of leaving out a shoe for “Sinterklaas” rather than a stocking.Saint Nicholas depicted in a 14th century English book of hours.In another version, the father shut the window, hoping that the benefactor would be obliged to knock on the door, but Nicholas merely threw the coins down the chimney instead – starting an association between Saint Nicholas, chimneys, and gifts which persists to this day in our own culture.Other tales are told about the saint, linking him with other poor unfortunates who then went on to claim him as their protector.In one story, he was on a ship when a terrible storm hit. However, he rebuked the waves and shamed them into being calm. From then on, he was the patron saint of sailors.Russian Orthodox statue of Saint Nicolas, now in a corner near the church in Demre.As well as the protector of young girls, he also became the patron saint of young boys after a resurrection miracle was attributed to him.The stories differ as to whether the boys’ murderer was a butcher, a greedy innkeeper, or a shopkeeper who merely hated children. In any event, this odious man killed three young boys, stole their money, dismembered them and hid them in pickling barrels.Nicholas heard of the incident. He visited the scene of the crime and prayed intensely to God who heard his prayers and brought the three boys back to life.Ruins of the 4th century church on the island of Gemile where some scholars believe Saint Nicholas was originally entombed.When he was Bishop of Myra, Nicholas is also said to have intervened in the execution of three men. He declared the men were innocent and that one of the jurors who had convicted them had received a bribe.Because of this story, and due to his famously generous spirit as well as his trustworthiness, he became the patron saint of pawnbrokers, bankers, and money lenders.Samuel Littlewood in his book The Story of Santa Claus links Nicholas’ trustworthiness and his patronage of children with a theory that when small children cry “Nix!” to call a playground truce, they are calling on this very saint to protect them and ensure that their agreement is honored.A classic American image of Santa Claus.In 1087, some sailors from the city of Bari took Nicholas’s bones from Myra and brought them back to their own land, arriving in port on May 9th. As a result, Nicholas was given two saint’s days: May 9th and December 6th.However, a rather quaint old Russian tale provides an alternative reason for his dual celebrations. Saint Cassian was walking down a road when he came across a peasant whose cart was stuck in the mud. Cassian refused to help because it would sully his saint’s robes.Later on, Nicholas passed by and he helped the carter, becoming covered in mud as a result.Photograph of the desecrated sarcophagus in the St. Nicholas Church, Demre, where Saint Nicholas’s bones were kept before they were removed and taken to Bari in 1087. Photo by Sjoehest CC BY-SA 3.0When the two saints came back to heaven, Cassian assured God that he’d acted responsibly and had not soiled his heavenly clothes while walking the earth. Nicholas admitted that he had done the opposite, but God was so pleased with Nicholas’s actions that he decreed the saint should have two days honoring him.In contrast, God decreed that Cassian should have only one day in his honor – that being February 29th (meaning his day comes round only once every four years).Read another story from us: The Christmas Truce of 1914 – When WWI Enemies Briefly Mingled as FriendsWhile there are many tales told about Santa Claus and his generosity – with new ones being made up every year – it should be remembered that Saint Nicholas has just as many tales that deserve to be retold during the festive period.last_img read more

Betty White Celebrates 97th Birthday With Poker Game

first_imgBetty White is 97 years of age! On January 17th she celebrated her 97th birthday with friends … and poker. “Sources close to her tell TMZ she’s using the special occasion as a reason to hook up with some friends Thursday night and play poker,” reported TMZ. “We’re told Betty’s poker pals go way back — she’s been anteing up with them for decades.”This might come as no great surprise to fans of Betty White, the last surviving member of the Golden Girls cast, whose age has never been an issue with her.Betty White at the Time 100 gala in 2010. Photo by David Shankbone CC BY 2.0Last year, in an interview in Parade magazine, Betty White joked that she credited her age and long life to hot dogs and vodka.Parade asked, “Does she have any tricks or tips for living happily and healthily for more than nine decades? Indeed: ‘Enjoy life,’ she says. ‘Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, Hey, that was great! It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.’ ”Photo of John Hillerman and Betty White from The Betty White Show.White was born in 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, moving to California with her parents as a child.She began her television career in the late 1930s. In her twenties she had tried to break into acting but was unsuccessful at first. She was turned down over and over for being “unphotogenic,” but she was never deterred. “You just keep plugging away,” she said to Parade. “You don’t give up.”Photo of Allen Ludden and wife Betty White, who were appearing in a play in Ogunquit, Maine.She starred on Life with Elizabeth in the 1950s and then stayed popular with TV audiences through appearances on talk, game, and variety shows.White reached even greater fame when she co-starred on the Mary Tyler Moore Show playing Sue Ann Nivens, the TV chef and helpful homemaker with a sharp wit. In a Minneapolis television newsroom, when she wasn’t pursuing male colleagues, Sue Ann “could be counted on to make funny, yet poignant, quips at Mary Tyler Moore’s expense.”Photo of Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter and Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.White won two Emmy Awards for her work on the series.Her next big hit was the 1980s’ Golden Girls, playing the sweet and naive Rose Nylund alongside co-stars Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty.“We all had such fun together,” Betty recalled in October 2015 at the age of 93 to US Weekly, decades after the groundbreaking series in which four women proved that life doesn’t stop at 60. “It was such a special experience.”The Golden Girls. Photo by Getty ImagesThe secret to the show’s success was the cast members’ chemistry.“It started the first day of the first read-through for the pilot,” White recalled. “We showed up for the read-through [and] it was like batting a tennis ball over the net. It was so exciting to be with four people with that chemistry. I’ll never forget that first read. It was like we had been working together forever. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.”Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens, hostess of the WJM-TV Happy Homemaker show, from the television program The Mary Tyler Moore Show.Betty White and Rue McClanahan (who played Blanche, the man-hungry Southern belle) were already pals, having worked together on Mama’s Family, and were delighted to reconnect on the Golden Girls set. “They would play little word games on the set when the cameras weren’t rolling,” says an observer. “There was such love and friendship between them.”It was otherwise with Bea Arthur.Although they very much respected each other as actresses, high-spirited White and introverted Arthur (who played sharp-tongued Dorothy) sometimes clashed. “You didn’t mess with Bea!” Betty once said of her co-star, who died of cancer in 2009 at age 86. “Bea was very strong. But you loved her.”White has served for more than four decades as a trustee and on the board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, and in 2012 published a book, Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo, with photos and anecdotes of her favorite animals there.Read another story from us: Golden Girl Bea Arthur was one of the First Female Marines to Serve in WWIIHow does she want to be remembered? “Warmly,” she told Parade. “I hope they remember something funny. I hope they remember a laugh.”last_img read more

Man Takes Police on Wild Chase in Car Painted like Dukes of

first_imgThe “General Lee” from the TV show Dukes of Hazzard fame was back in a chase evading the law again. Though this time it wasn’t Boss Hogg it was escaping from it was the Florida police department. A Florida man and former horse jockey is behind bars in connection with arson (his wife’s home took the brunt of that) and leading officers on a high-speed chase in a Dodge Challenger painted to look like the Dodge Charger ‘General Lee’ from Dukes of Hazzard. The Dukes of Hazzard was an American action-comedy TV show spanning 147 episodes over 7 seasons from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985. The series took its inspiration from the 1975 film Moonrunners, which had many identical or similar character names and concepts.The General Lee. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen CC by 2.0The show portrayed the wild adventures of “the Duke boys”, cousins Bo and Luke Duke, who lived on the family farm in fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, along with their attractive female cousin Daisy Duke (where purportedly the name of the low cut jean shorts derived from) and their wise old Uncle Jesse.The cast of Dukes of Hazzard. Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty ImagesThe Duke boys drive rampantly around town, skidding out, going aerial in famous slo-mo jump shots, and having a good time in their customized 1969 Dodge Charger, dubbed the “General Lee”. All the while of course they’re evading the crooked county commissioner Boss Hogg and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and his equally inept deputies.  However, due to the Duke boys’ fundamentally good nature, they often grudgingly end up helping Boss Hogg out of some sort of trouble he’s gotten himself into.Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) and John Schneider (Bo Duke)The famous General Lee car (referring to the Civil War Confederate general Robert E. Lee) which serves as a focal point of the show was based on a 1969 Dodge Charger. It was orange with a Confederate flag painted on the roof, the words “GENERAL LEE” over each door, and the number “01” on each door.  Since it was built as a race car, the doors of the car were welded shut for the show. Due to the constant flow of damaging stunts and jumps the cars were required to do, an estimated 309 Chargers were used throughout the run of the series. Only 17 of them are still known to exist.The General Lee and Dukes of Hazzard logo. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen CC BY 2.0Back to the chase at hand. Click Orlando reported that Oswald Pereira, the driver of the aforementioned General Lee, is looking at a variety of charges including arson, fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, and resisting without violence. Police say Pereira got into an argument with his wife and set the house ablaze before taking off in the painted Dodge Charger. We can only imagine if he felt like one of the Duke boys racing off with the hapless Sheriff Coltrane hot on his heels. It is also unclear at the moment just why exactly Pereira had this mock-up version of the General Lee car.Related Video:The car however, didn’t make it through the entire chase. At some point, Pereira ditched the Dodge for a GMC Yukon. With officers hot on pursuit he led them on a high-speed chase to the adjoining county, where he was finally found hiding in the closet of a mobile home and arrested. His ill-advised moment, which could’ve been taken directly from a Dukes of Hazzard chase, over and done with.Related Article: Hundreds Of Dodge Chargers Were Destroyed Making The Dukes Of HazzardPereira was the only person injured in both the blaze and ensuing car chase. He is a former horse jockey and the people who know him say that he is a very nice man who loved his job. Which makes this all the more weirder. They also say that he was a devoted family man who must have been “very distraught” to set the fire and go headlong into the chase. However, a look at the records paints a slightly different story in that he was arrested for theft earlier this year and domestic abuse in 2018.It is unclear what will become of the General Lee car used in the chase.last_img read more

Michael Phelps is going to race a great white shark

first_img Advertisement It’s still unclear how they plan to pull this off logistically. Obviously they aren’t going to let the shark in a pool with Phelps, separated only by lane ropes. That could have a worse outcome than Ryan Lochte at a Rio gas station at 3 AM.Phelps vs. Shark. July 23. Two will enter, hopefully two will leave. It will probably be better than Mayweather/McGregor.Here’s a preview of what Phelps is up against, sort of: 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps can swim like a fish, and now he’s going to to race a great white shark.That’s not a typo, The Discovery Channel has just issued a press release announcing the inter-special swimming super race, set for July 23:They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds. But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark – the race is on!last_img read more

No sports fans are more spoiled than Boston fans

first_imgAlso:Colin’s Final, Final 2017 NFL Predictions3-word summaries of every NFL team These Patriots could be more dominant than the undefeated 2007 teamThe Patriots aren’t exactly dark horses, coming off their Super Bowl win, but in New England there are different degrees of dominance.Colin thinks this Pats team has a chance to be the most dominant Belichick has fielded since the record setting 2007 team, that went undefeated until losing in the Super Bowl thanks to David Tyree’s miracle catch.He believes this year’s team could dominate, not just because New England has added more playmakers like Brandin Cooks and get Gronk back, but because their competition in the AFC has eroded to the point where it’s not clear who will challenge them.Brady’s arch rival Peyton Manning is long gone. Big Ben is slowly eroding. In their division, the Bills and Jets look like they’re playing for draft position, and Miami just signed their starting quarterback 5 minutes before the start of the season. No sports fans are more spoiled than Boston fansBoston fans have the ultimate victim complex. Despite winning recent titles in all three major sports, they still think everyone is out to get them. Patriots fans still can’t get over Deflategate, even though they just won the Super Bowl, and are planning to give Roger Goodell the business when he shows up for the opener tonight.After 5 Patriots Super Bowls, 2 Red Sox World Series championships, and 2 titles from the Celtics – just since 2000- Colin is sick of hearing how bad Boston fans have it. He thinks they resemble a trust fund kid who has everything, but still thinks they’re being picked on.Every other professional sports city wishes they had it as “bad” as Boston does.center_img Guests:Greg Cosell – NFL Films and NFL Matchup producerAlbert Breer – MMQB writerTony Gonzalez – Fox NFL Sunday Kickoff co-host and former All-Pro tight end with the Chiefs and FalconsRob Parker – FS1 NFL AnalystCharlie Weis – Former Notre Dame Head Coach and Patriots Offensive Coordinatorlast_img read more

Boston isnt ready to take down Cleveland in the East

first_imgAlso:The NFL is always selling hopeGuests:Nick Wright – Co-host of First Thing’s First joins the show to talk Cavs struggles; why Isaiah Thomas isn’t a great teammate; and if Jayson Tatum is hitting a wall with the CelticsDoug Gottlieb – FS1 Analyst and host of The Doug Gottlieb Show is in-studio talking Coach Cal vs. Coach K, and Cleveland locker room dysfunction.Chris Broussard – College basketball writer is in-studio talking Cavs struggles, and why Ty Lue should consider moving Isaiah Thomas to the bench if he continues to struggle.Jason McIntyre – FS1 Analyst is in-studio talking Cavs struggles, and why LeBron wouldn’t be a good fit with the Rockets.Greg Jennings – FS1 NFL Analyst is talking Eagles/Pats; and why he isn’t as sold as Colin that Andrew Luck is still an elite QB. LeBron is the best overall NBA player of all-timeLeBron scored his 30,000th point last night, joining elite company, and becoming the youngest player to do pass the milestone. Colin thinks LeBron entering the club is even more impressive because LeBron isn’t a scorer first.Even more impressive is that LeBron will end up surpassing Magic’s career assist total, even though he wasn’t surrounded by the anywhere near as talented a supporting cast as Johnson. Michael Jordan may be the greatest player of all-time, but LeBron is the most complete all-around player of all-time. Boston isn’t ready to take down Cleveland in the EastThe Cavs have been a complete mess recently, and the chatter that the Celtics could take out Cleveland and win the East, this year, has become more prevalent.Colin has said Brad Stevens is the best coach in the NBA, but he still thinks Boston is a year away from surpassing Cleveland as the top dog in the conference. Even though the Celtics have the East’s best current record, standout rookie Jayson Tatum has suddenly hit the rookie wall and won’t be a factor in the playoffs. Also, “LeBron stopper” Jae Crowder is now on the Cavs, and there isn’t a clear heir apparent.Boston has done a tremendous job with their rebuild, but they aren’t ready to beat LeBron in a 7 game series, this year.last_img read more

VIDEO Nick Saban calls exTennessee HC Butch Jones an intern on the

first_img We have these rules and I don’t even know what they’re called, like we can’t hire high school coaches. We can’t hire people that have recruited other players that we’re recruiting and all that. You have to go through a process with the NCAA, and that finally got completed today.”Even though being called an intern sounds bad, most Tennessee fans would probably argue Jones isn’t qualified after his head coaching tenure. Now go get Saban some coffee. Advertisement Nick Saban and Alabama are coming off yet another national championship and, like every year, there’s turnover with the players and coaching staff.One addition to Saban’s massive staff is fired former Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones, who was just run out of Knoxville after a pathetic showing by the Vols last season. Jones was widely mocked on social media as incompetent during his time as a head coach, which is why Saban referring to him as an ‘intern’ on the Tide staff during yesterday’s press conference is sure to draw some laughs.Contrary to those hoping Saban was shaming Jones with the label, he explained it was mostly due to NCAA rules restrictions:“He’s an intern, an analyst. I guess we could have several names for it. He can’t coach on the field. He can work with us off the field. And today was actually the first time he was cleared by the NCAA. last_img read more

Demi Lovato Knocked Out Jay Glazers Front Tooth with an MMA Training

first_imgAside from being one of the most wired-in insiders in the NFL media, Jay Glazer has also made a name for himself by training celebrities and athletes in MMA at his famous ‘Unbreakable’ gym in L.A.Glazer found out last night that some of these pampered celebrities are tougher than they look when he got one of his front teeth knocked out courtesy of a punch landed by actress Demi Lovato. The former Disney teen star posted a video of Glazer taking the whole thing like a champ.Who wore it better? Glazer or Leon Spinks?last_img

The Power of Core Duo Portables

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals April 1, 2006 6 min read This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. If you’ve been thinking about picking up a new laptop or 10 for your mobile work force, now is a great time to go shopping. The first portables using Intel’s Centrino Duo mobile technology platform are starting to fill retail and e-tail shelves, and AMD’s dual-core entry should be here by summer.The shift to multicore processing–in the case of Intel’s Core Duo, two engines on a single chip–is a computing sea change with special significance for portables. It’s not that chip makers won’t continue to drive throughput by revving up processor clock cycles. The issue is that increased throughput tends to gobble battery power and generate heat–long the twin millstones surrounding portability. Today’s microprocessor circuits are so thin–thinner than a human cell, in fact–that the more electricity pushed through them, the more they leak.The new approach is to get more work done by adding lower-cycle computing engines that emphasize energy conservation. It debuted in the dual-core desktops AMD and Intel released last summer. But Core Duo represents such a vast improvement over those designs, says Jim McGregor, principal analyst for In-Stat/MDR, it’s really in a class of its own. “They did this one right,” says McGregor. “This is one good multicore processor.”Refinements that improve throughput and/or reduce electricity usage extend across the entire Centrino Duo mobile platform, which also includes the new 945 Express chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection Wi-Fi transceiver. But principal among them, says McGregor, is the degree to which both Core Duo computation units communicate with one another and truly work in tandem. Both tap the same large cache, the entire amount of which can be used by either execution unit when necessary. Instruction allocation logic has been improved in half a dozen ways, so Core Duo does a better job shuttling instructions between processor, cache and main memory, making better use of processor cycles.At the same time, idle portions of this version of Centrino go to sleep more quickly and deeply than previous architectures. That includes the faster 945 Express chipset, which has a more powerful graphics engine and a 25 percent faster front-side bus. For the first time, unused registers in L2 cache (occupying most die real estate) can be turned off. Basically, Centrino Duo packs more work into faster bursts than its predecessors, then goes to sleep.”Our engineers call it HUGI–hurry up and get idle,” says Karen Regis, marketing director for Intel’s Mobile Platforms Group. “The goal is to get work done in less time and quickly transition into one of the lower sleep states.” That approach lets Centrino Duo work 70 percent faster than its mobile predecessor overall, while using about 28 percent less electricity.Results Can VaryThat’s quite a leap ahead for any new architecture, but your laptop’s performance and battery life could easily vary. It depends on how well its builder exploits the new technology, how it’s appointed–for example, a 17-inch vs. a 14-inch display–and the uses to which you put it. When a range of industry-standard benchmarks were run on comparably appointed Lenovo Pentium M and Core Duo notebooks, the results, predictably, varied widely by application (see www.intel.com/performance/mobile/centrino.htm). But the Core Duo machine beat the older technology under every scenario.Core Duo’s strengths are most apparent when using multithreaded, media-heavy content creators like Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Roxio VideoWave. More math can be done faster when instructions are divvied up between multiple cores. But Windows XP is a multithreaded OS, so benefits can accrue anytime you’re multitasking–especially with high-bandwidth combinations like creating a PowerPoint presentation while running background virus or spyware scans.Of course, the large displays and special graphics adapters in media-oriented powerhouses like Acer’s Travelmate 8204WLMi and Dell’s Inspiron E1705 could quickly spend Duo’s power savings. But laptops like Lenovo’s ThinkPad X60 ultralight emphasize battery life, and others offer a balance of power and power savings. There’s no question, though, that energy conservation is the new design mantra. In a reversal of history, Intel’s mobile technology will become its pre-eminent architecture going forward.”While Centrino looks like it was intended for mobile platforms,” says Regis, “it’s going into desktops, into ViiV systems and servers–anywhere customers are concerned about energy consumption, noise and heat.”Hurry Up or Wait?Core Duo T and L versions are being released at Pentium M price points, so Centrino Duo portables should be at last-generation prices once Intel gets the distribution pipeline filled. In a market where vendors pass their savings on to customers fairly quickly, a single-core follow-on Intel calls Core Solo should pressure prices further.Pentium M portables, of course, are being blown out of inventory, and that perfectly good technology is fine for staff with low-impact computing needs. The buying decision is more complicated if you’re shopping at the top of the line.Should you wait to check out the dual-core version of AMD’s Turion 64 this summer? What about Intel’s 64-bit Centrino upgrade–code-named Merom–a bit later? It depends on what type of portables you need and how soon you need them. The good news is, whatever you need only gets better and cheaper from here. But it wouldn’t hurt to start shopping.Two For the ShowIntel’s new twice-as-fun mobile processor in four flavors:Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi: A VoIP phone and rotating video camera in its 15.4-inch widescreen give Acer’s 8204WLMi hands-free communications and videoconferencing capabilities. Starts at $2,500.Apple MacBook Pro: Finally, an Intel-based Apple for the rest of us, with Mac’s usual people-pleasing features like built-in video and DVD. Starts at $2,000.Dell Inspiron E1705: Put a desktop display in an 8-pound portable, add NVIDIA graphics, and you get Dell’s gaming powerhouse. Starts at $2,300.Lenovo ThinkPad X60: With a 12.1-inch display and extended battery, the 3.7-pound X60 advertises a 37 percent power savings and a full day of computing. Starts at $2,000.Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur’s technology editor. Register Now »last_img read more