first_imgThe authors of the paper in the previous entry (09/06/2006) found that bacteria swim with near perfect propulsive efficiency.  They only mentioned evolution one time, but it’s short and to the pointless.  It wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: “Such measurements can shed light on how this remarkable ability to swim evolves among different microorganisms.”Still waiting in the dark for payment on this promissory note (03/27/2003 commentary).(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgObama administration proposed changesThe U.S. Interior Department recognizes that changes are needed, a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times said, and proposed more oversight of the self-report sales figures from coal companies. The government also is looking at the discounts that are “routinely” applied to payments as well as “noncompetitive lease sales.”“But the department should not stop there,” wrote David J. Hayes and James H. Stock in the March 24 column. “The federal government should also take into account the economic consequences of burning coal when pricing this fuel. The price for taxpayer-owned coal should reflect, in some measure, the added costs associated with the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.”Taxpayers, they note, already are on the hook for the major costs of responding to the effects of global climate change, including rising sea levels, coastal storm surges, damage to forests and the prospect of more droughts.Hayes and Stack suggested the Interior Department impose a “carbon adder” on coal sales that could be used to help defray the costs of responding to climate change.“Computing the appropriate carbon adder will not be easy, but that should not deter the Interior Department from accounting for a meaningful portion of coal’s climate impact when updating the federal coal royalty rate,” they wrote. “…The greenhouse gas burden from coal taken from government lands can no longer be ignored.” Reforms would increase revenuesChanging the way that the coal is valued, from the mine price to the market price, would mean billions of dollars in additional income, the report said.“Moving the point of valuation would improve transparency,” it says. “Market prices of coal are known. The BLM and the public would have easy access to coal valuation data.”Further, reform would lower administrative costs, simplify the valuation process, and make it easier to determine what a fair return is.The report offers three scenarios, ranging from a revenue neutral plan with total collections of $3.9 billion to a system based on the “gross market price” of coal paying a royalty rage of 12% and bringing in $9.5 billion in collections. Although blamed for a variety of environmental ills, coal remains an important source of revenue for the U.S. government through bonus and royalty payments from the companies that mine it on federally owned land. Earnings, however, fall well short of what’s required by law, according to a report from Headwaters Economics.Researchers for the nonprofit research group said that U.S. taxpayers may have been shortchanged by roughly $850 million between 2008 and 2012 because payments from mine operators were well below statutory requirements, averaging an effective royalty rate of 4.9% of the value of the coal instead of the 12.3% required by law. Bonuses paid at the time leases are awarded provided an extra 1.7%.The federal government owns about one-third of total coal reserves in the U.S., and the bonus and royalty payments on mineral extractions from public lands and waters are the largest non-tax source of income for the U.S. Treasury, the report says.“Despite the importance of this revenue stream,” the report’s authors said, “little information is available to describe accurately the return to the public from taxation of federal coal resources.”The program administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Natural Resources Revenues (ONRR) is intended to create jobs and economic development and also guarantee a fair return for taxpayers.There are at least three problems with the current system, according to the report:Royalty rates applied to each lease, and the prices used to calculate the royalties owed to the government, “are all considered proprietary and data are withheld.” In other words, no one would seem to know whether the correct royalties are being paid.Administration costs are high.Valuation procedures may be unfair. The ONRR sets the value of extracted coal at the “first point of sale at or near the mine,” limiting royalties when the coal is re-marketed at higher prices down the line.last_img read more

first_imgTags:#deep work#productivity#shallow work Stephan Spencer Related Posts There’s so much happening in the world right now. It’s easy to forget that we’re living through a major upheaval in the way we work and live. In fact, being constantly distracted by the latest political scandal or viral video is part of the problem: with so many shiny objects constantly vying for our attention, we’ve forgotten the benefits of deep concentration and given up some of our brainpower for the cheap thrills of the internet. We live in the shallows, constantly flitting from one diversion to the next, never stopping long enough to really get a handle on the bigger questions in our work, our relationships, or even our lives.“Who cares,” you might say. “So what if I’m addicted to my phone? So is everyone else.”True. But consider this: a lot of the menial administrative tasks you do in your job are likely to be automated in the near future.If you’re an employee, contractor, or even a small business owner, you will soon be competing with AI bots who can work more quickly and cheaply than you ever could.Those who survive in the new economy will be the ones who can offer the kind of value that computers can’t: profound and counterintuitive insights, unique skillsets, and remarkable flexibility.You can’t get any of those things by downloading an app.Those who survive will have moved out of the shallows and embraced deep work.What is Deep Work?The concept of deep work comes from productivity expert and professor Cal Newport, who published a book titled Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.In the book, Newport explains that there are two types of work.Shallow work, which he defines as “non-cognitive, logistical” or minor duties performed in a state of distraction, and deep work, which he defines as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”Most people spend their days doing shallow work, and it’s often these low-value tasks that keep us from more important, higher-value work. For example, have you ever been trying to focus on a big project and been distracted by a trivial email that you felt you needed to respond to immediately?Obviously, it is incredibly difficult to completely remove these types of distractions from your life, especially in the modern office environment. And, there’s a major reason why we’re more attracted to these types of tasks: they’re quick and easy and give us a sense of accomplishment. In the long term, however, they’re holding us back from bigger career and life goals.So, what can you do about it?Diving inDeep work isn’t about working harder or longer. It’s about working smarter. Ideally, deep work is about transforming your workdays from a random series of reactive events and chaotic busyness into a well-oiled schedule that allows you to prioritize the highest-value tasks.Deep work is more than just a set of good habits. It’s a skill that needs to be learned. As Cal said when I interviewed him for my podcast, “the ability to perform deep work well is a skill that must be trained. It’s like playing the guitar—something you wouldn’t expect to be good at, unless you actually practiced and trained for a long period of time. It’s important to emphasize that because a lot of people think about deep work more like a habit, such as flossing their teeth.”That might sound scary, but it isn’t. Here are four simple steps you can take to begin a deep work regime today:Step 1: Schedule time for deep workReclaiming your focus means exercising control over your schedule. Start planning out your weeks and block out sections of time for deep work. How you do it is completely up to you. Some people prefer to alternate between sessions of deep work and more menial tasks on a single day, while others will block out multiple days in a row in order to achieve serious concentration.The most important thing to remember is that you’re training yourself to reach a state of deep concentration, so you need to be disciplined in sticking to your routine. Step 2: Create a distraction-free environment  Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, from phones to co-workers to kids—and you’re going to want to get rid of them all!If you work in an open plan office, consider booking a private room or working from home if you can. If the internet is a problem for you, switch off your phone and disconnect your laptop. Stick to pen and paper or even go to the local library if you have to, just make sure you have a clear and calm environment that facilitates deep concentration.It also helps to associate a particular location with deep work, for example a different office, or even a completely different building.Step 3: Embrace rest and relaxationDeep work isn’t just about cutting out distractions so you can focus on big projects. It’s also about getting a good night’s rest and turning up to work refreshed and relaxed. When you leave the office, avoid the temptation of answering emails or working late into the night.It’s important to give your body and brain time to recuperate. Instead, spend your free time exploring your hobbies or focusing on your family and friends.Step 4: Make yourself accountableDeep work is about more than “getting Zen” at the office. It’s about improving your productivity, especially when it comes to high-value goals. If you don’t get anything finished, then there’s no point in upending your current work schedule. Create metrics to measure your productivity, and if you can, hold weekly review sessions to keep track of your progress.The superpower of the 21st centuryI agree with Cal when he says that deep work is “the superpower of the 21st century.”As algorithms and robots take on more and more of the menial everyday tasks that keep businesses running, employers and clients are going to be looking to those who can provide real value to their bottom line. That means those who have trained themselves in the art of serious critical reflection.It’s time to dive in to the deep end and tap into your deep work superman or superwoman. If you don’t, you’ll only be left behind. 4 Ways You Can Make Your Workplace an Engine of… Stephan is an internationally recognized SEO Expert, author, blogger professional speaker, consultant, and founder of Netconcepts. A Review of Instagram Marketing by Matthew Lucas Uber vs Lyft: Battling for Supremacy CEOs in Troubled Waters (with Myriam Joire from…last_img read more

first_imgThe Gujarat government on Monday canceled all permissions granted to the bankrupt Sterling group promoted by the absconding Sandesara brothers to develop an all-weather port in Dahej.The absconding promoters of the Sterling group – Nitin and Chetan Sandesara – are alleged to have defrauded over ₹ 14,500 crore of public money. Two of their flagships–Sterling Biotech and Sterling SEZ are in bankruptcy tribunals now.Both the brothers are absconding since their names came up in the bank loan scam and money laundering activities and federal agencies began probing them.“Chief minister Vijay Rupani today decided to cancel all the permissions given for building an all-weather berthing port at Dahej to Sterling Ports of Nitin Sandesara,” the chief minister’s office said in a statement on Monday.“Rupani has also directed the Gujarat Maritime Board to recover the amount that the company had to pay as bank guarantees and also to take re-possession of the 84.95 hectares given to the company for developing the port,” the statement added.The Gujarat Maritime Board and a consortium led by Sterling Biotech had entered into an agreement to develop the Dahej port as an all-weather direct berthing port in 2009.Following this, the board had handed over 84.95 hectares to the group in 2010.The Sterling consortium had formed a new company – Sterling Port – to develop the port and had also signed a concession agreement in 2014 with the board.As per the agreement, the company was to invest ₹ 2,500 crore in the first phase and had to deposit 1.5 percent of the equity along with another ₹ 5 crore as performance guarantee with the maritime board.But the company is yet to start any work on the port, government officials said, adding it even failed to deposit ₹ 37.50 crore which it had to pay as bank guarantee to the government.Earlier in the day, the board of directors of the maritime board met and recommended to cancel the contract, they said, adding following this, the Chief Minister ordered cancellation of all the agreements and permissions given to the Sandesara group.The Sandesaras brothers are alleged to have committed bank frauds to the tune of ₹ 14,500 crore of the one by Sterling Biotech alone is around ₹8,100 crore, according to the Enforcement Directorate. The brothers have been absconding since the federal agency CBI registered a bank fraud case against them in 2017.last_img read more

first_imgTwo children died in a stampede during ‘Chhath puja’ (offering to the sun god) late on Saturday in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.The incident happened near the Sun temple in Deo area of the district where a large number of devotees had gathered to perform the puja to the setting sun.The district officials said the incident happened when the devotees were returning after observing the religious ritual.Sun temple at Deo in Aurangabad district is famous for ‘Chhath puja’ congregation.The deceased children have been identified as Prince Kumar, 4, and a seven-year-old girl from Bihta of Patna district.District Magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal and Superintendent of Police Deepak Barnwal said the incident happened as an unexpected number of devotees had gathered at the temple and this led to a stampede.The officials met the family members of the children and said an ex gratia amount would be given to them.The four-day ‘Chhath puja’ ended on Sunday morning after devotees offered obeisance to the rising sun.last_img read more

first_imgJaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba players in action during the final of the Pro Kabaddi league in Mumbai.As Jaipur Pink Panthers’ captain Niketan Gautam stepped into the ballroom of the after-party hosted by promoter Anand Mahindra in honour of the Pro Kabaddi League winners (PKL) at the Four Seasons’,Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba players in action during the final of the Pro Kabaddi league in Mumbai.As Jaipur Pink Panthers’ captain Niketan Gautam stepped into the ballroom of the after-party hosted by promoter Anand Mahindra in honour of the Pro Kabaddi League winners (PKL) at the Four Seasons’ Hotel, Mumbai, he could not help but break into a dance with his trophy. He hugged people with it, grabbed hors d’oeuvres with it, shook hands of corporate honchos, air-kissed socialites with it, and headed to the dance floor with it.His teammates, stylishly attired in pink and blue and gathered around star player Mani, aka Maninder Singh, followed suit, awkwardly spreading out in a space they were clearly not used to. Jasvir Singh, sledger par excellence on field, grinned nervously. As the runners-up, U Mumba, shyly filed in, ushers pushed them out away from entering via the dining area and through the main hall, where they downed their drinks too quickly, and stuck to the sides of the halls. Rajesh Narwal, 24, the raider from Ridhana in Haryana, bent to touch the feet of team owner Ronnie Screwvala and his wife Zarine Mehta as they entered. By 1 a.m., a busload of Puneri Paltans joined in, and by 3 a.m., the Patna Pirates were tearing each others’ shirts off. At the first afterparty of the first PKL season, coveted by corporate well-heeled, the boys from baulk lines, its stars, were finally cool.And it’s taking some getting used to. Rahul Choudhari, star raider for the Telugu Titans, and one of the most stylish players in the league, has been overwhelmed. “I am not able to sit, in a bus, on a flight, without people coming up to me,” he says. At 26, he is watching his mother being inundated with marriage proposals. But more than anything else, where some 70 clubs played kabaddi in his hometown of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, he says, over 250 have mushroomed. The story repeats, from Patna Pirates captain Rakesh Kumar, who is from Nizampur in Delhi, to Anup Kumar, who is from Palra in Haryana and leads U Mumba. Where the IPL had 453 million viewers in the first 15 days, and the FIFA World Cup attracted 129 million viewers, Star Sports says the PKL hit 288 million viewers.advertisementIt’s what founder PKL promoters and brothers-in-law Charu Sharma and Mahindra call “bringing kabaddi out of the shadows and into the sunlight”. Sharma, leaning excitedly into every stand in the finals, accedes his sun is now shining brightly indeed. They’ve just announced a women’s league and a World Cup. He says as a franchise they kept expenses low and generated revenues reasonable enough to allow them to dream of breaking even. At the start of the season, Sharma kept telling team owners not to sell to people who would make them wait two days in their offices. Today, he says, they are welcomed, but no one is selling. There is faith that profitability will come.The myth that kabaddi is a rural sport is broken. The 415 professional kabaddi clubs in Greater Mumbai, the highest of any city in India, are increasingly relevant, catapulted from being leisure clubs to prime-time TRP base and potential consumer base to sell merchandise. Mahindra’s association with the sport has been to use his visibility and those of team owners such as Jaipur Pink Panthers’ Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to grab the eyeballs.Non-Bollywood team owners such as Rajesh Shah of Mukund Steel, who owns Patna Pirates, have gone the whole hog. Shah has enlisted the presence of friend Vivek Oberoi, and created a theme song ‘Dhool Chata De’ written by Prasoon Joshi, composed by Aadesh Srivastava and sung by Kailash Kher to make the bang bigger. Kabaddi is a sport that has spanned urban, suburban and rural categories across income groups because it needs no equipment more than a 13x 10 sq m piece of land. In schools and towns across India, it is played on mud, derivative of the akhadas, often barefoot, and is one of the few sports that is played equally by both genders.In commercialising and hyping the sport, Sharma admits the promoters have merely tapped into an “underground” movement that has always existed. Collaterally, they have triggered a trickle-down effect that is making kabaddi popular in the gullies. Communication on the field is physical, it is in the tease of a gait, in the aggression of the slap of a thigh. This allows a vocal Indian, unhandicapped by status, dialect or gender, to win. The single largest reason for its connect is this Indianness, this negotiated tradition, says Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani. Over the past few years, top players across sports have emerged from Tier-II and Tier-III towns, and an India that once thought that to be western was cool is increasingly comfortable with the idea of being Indian. “Where we were taken by surprise is with the connect with the younger generation. We simply didn’t expect it,” says Biyani. More than just popular, the players admit, kabaddi has made being Indian, being superstitious, histrionic, emotional, physical and aggressive, incredibly cool.advertisementAlso uniting the players is the newfound pride in the humbleness of background. The burly captain of Puneri Paltans, Wazir Sing, 27, is from a farming family in Ponkheri Kheri in Haryana, works as a policeman and plays for India. He wears his antecedents of struggle and humble origins like a defining badge. All players, in fact, have government jobs. Navneet Gautam has worked with BSNL and ONGC, while Anup Kumar has worked with the CRPF, Air India and is now with Haryana Police. For many families, says Ajay Thakur, the lure of kabaddi was initially in that it was a chance to get a secure government job and pay cheque. These are not players who have had the luxury of endorsement deals. That there is now money in it, a simpler number of lakhs of rupees as opposed to an IPL player’s crores, which they receive as fee for the tournament as per the auction, is a bonus that they never saw coming. Kabaddi, the game of the soil, is making unexpected heroes of the sons of soils.Mitti ki Kasam, or the vow of the earth, is a ritual all kabaddi players follow, as they touch the earth before they enter the pitch and hold it to their eyes and heart in worship. “To us the mitti, the motherland, is everything” says Rakesh Kumar, a railway chief ticket inspector. Despite the shift from earth to synthetic rubber mats, used internationally and introduced in PKL to stylise the game, Kumar doesn’t believe players will ever lose the touch of the soil. “The mats here may be synthetic but back home, we play on mud, so we would never lose that contact. It is what gives us strength,” he says. His teammate, Tae Deok Eom, a star defender from Korea, who speaks little English and has spent his evenings after matches writing every move his rival players make, also touches the earth before entry now, though it is not a practice in Korea.Butter roti, butter naan, tandoori chicken and maa ki dal, he rattles off his newfound favourites. At first his teammates helped him avoid spice, but now he eats what they do. “Why just Mitti ki Kasam, he also shouts ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’,” his teammates tease him. In time spent training in Gujarat, Eom has acquired an Indianness about him, seemingly essential to blend in with the team. For players such as Eom, Waseem Sajjad of Pakistan and Dovlet Bashimov of Turkmenistan, kabaddi has been an introduction to all things quirkily Indian.advertisementThere is a sense of comfort among the players about being able to carry small-town India worldwide. This confidence stems from India topping the kabaddi worldwide rankings. Anup Kumar, captain of U Mumba, admits the changes-30-second raids, players wearing shoes, mats-have been difficult to adapt to. “But you know that if a change is introduced in India, it will soon be introduced worldwide. So you want to be at the forefront of change” he says in Hindi.Kumar, as also several other players, is also comfortable requesting his interviewers to speak in Hindi. The comfort of owning a game invented in India, unlike the adaptation required of those who tour with emerging football or cricketing teams, is intense. It allows Kumar to choose not to struggle with unfamiliar English. They can use a translator, he says. Foreigners on the teams also adapt, picking up Hindi. Kumar is also known for always wearing sunglasses, even off field and at night. He decides his own cool; trend-makers can take it or leave it.U Mumba team owner Screwvala warns against assuming too soon that India has become a leader in kabaddi by being the first to popularise it. “Let’s also remember that there are very few players worldwide. It isn’t great to be on top of those rankings yet. Having said that, more people play kabaddi today than they do even cricket, and cricket itself is on the wane worldwide. I would focus on the fact that we are popularising it within India, rather than internationally, and see where we can take it here,” he says.But India’s influences, as small as they may be, are unmistakably real. David Tsai, a 26-year-old raider from Taiwan, is the first ever professional Kabaddi player from his country, and is studying towards a PhD in kabaddi at the National Taiwan University. He started out by learning kabaddi from YouTube videos of Indian players at the Asian Games matches. “My aim here is to not just play, but to learn new things from India and take them back for my team at home and teach them.” On his return, he will buy regulation game shoes, and pass on techniques that he’s learnt in training.India sets the standards for what gets carried back, he says. There’s greater emphasis on muscle building and weight training in the Southeast Asian countries, he says, but it is every kabaddi player’s dream to come to India and train in technique. “Back home, they call this the Indian NBA” he says. To read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more