Security researchers find vulnerability in Cisco VoIP phones

first_img 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. Columbia Engineering’s computer science Ph.D. candidate Ang Cui designed this device to plug into a Cisco phone and download malware, showing the vulnerabilities of the phone. Credit: Columbia Engineering Citation: Security researchers find vulnerability in Cisco VoIP phones (2012, December 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-vulnerability-cisco-voip.html (Phys.org)—Ang Cui a fifth year PhD student at Columbia University, has given a demonstration at this year’s Amphion Forum in San Francisco, showing a security vulnerability he and colleagues have discovered in Cisco VoIP phones. The vulnerability, he said, allows an intruder to place an electronic device into an on-premise VoIP phone that can be controlled by a nearby smartphone – allowing the “Off Hook Switch” to be manipulated in such as way as to effectively turn the phone into a two-way walkie-talkie. He noted also that once a single phone had been breached all others on the same network could be breached as well though the single device. Cui’s demonstration was part of an overall theme – that embedded devices are vulnerable to attack by people bent on espionage or who wish to cause harm. He noted that devices such as network printers are quite often installed without adequate protection, leaving them open to attack by those outside of the system who wish to get in. VoIP phones, he says, use roughly the same type of technology and thus are equally vulnerable.VoIP phones are normal looking phones that make and receive telephone calls using the Internet instead of the traditional phone network. Many large corporations have installed them because of their increased utility. Governments use them as well, Cui demonstrated, by presenting pictures of them sitting in several different governmental offices, including that of the Director of the CIA. In his demonstration, he affixed a simple circuit board (he calls it the Thingp3wn3r) to a VoIP phone that he said could just as easily have been in someone’s real office – in just minutes. Next, he demonstrated the effectiveness of the Thingp3wn3r by accessing it via a smartphone app. Words he spoke in the vicinity of the phone, despite the receiver being down – the traditional mode of putting a phone offline – were picked up by the circuit board and transmitted to the smarthone app and played for all to hear. The end result is an ability to place a bug in an office using a simple circuit board and available hardware.Cui and his professor, Salvatore Stolfo notified Cisco of the vulnerability prior to the demonstration and Cisco has responded by creating a patch that prevents the vulnerability from occurring. Those who are concerned about the vulnerability of their own systems are urged to contact Cisco for support. More information: ids.cs.columbia.edu/sites/defa … iles/paper-acsac.pdfPress release © 2012 Phys.org Explore further Study Shows Thousands of Consumer Internet Connectivity Devices Are Vulnerable to Attacklast_img read more

Math model suggests fishing out older members may destroy collective fish school

first_img(Phys.org) —A team of researchers from Denmark and Italy has created a mathematical model that suggests that if older members of a school of fish are removed, the school may no longer be able to find its way to migration targets. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society: Interface, the researchers describe how they created a model based on stochastic networks and how it revealed that older members in a school of fish may hold the information necessary for the school to find its way to migration areas. Robot fish found able to lead real fish (w/ video) A school of sardines in Italy. Credit: Wikimedia / Alessandro Duci © 2014 Phys.org Explore further More information: Fishing out collective memory of migratory schools, J. R. Soc. Interface 6 June 2014 vol. 11 no. 95 20140043. rsif.royalsocietypublishing.or … ntent/11/95/20140043AbstractAnimals form groups for many reasons, but there are costs and benefits associated with group formation. One of the benefits is collective memory. In groups on the move, social interactions play a crucial role in the cohesion and the ability to make consensus decisions. When migrating from spawning to feeding areas, fish schools need to retain a collective memory of the destination site over thousands of kilometres, and changes in group formation or individual preference can produce sudden changes in migration pathways. We propose a modelling framework, based on stochastic adaptive networks, that can reproduce this collective behaviour. We assume that three factors control group formation and school migration behaviour: the intensity of social interaction, the relative number of informed individuals and the strength of preference that informed individuals have for a particular migration area. We treat these factors independently and relate the individuals’ preferences to the experience and memory for certain migration sites. We demonstrate that removal of knowledgeable individuals or alteration of individual preference can produce rapid changes in group formation and collective behaviour. For example, intensive fishing targeting the migratory species and also their preferred prey can reduce both terms to a point at which migration to the destination sites is suddenly stopped. The conceptual approaches represented by our modelling framework may therefore be able to explain large-scale changes in fish migration and spatial distribution.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Journal of the Royal Society Interface Citation: Math model suggests fishing out older members may destroy collective fish school memory (2014, March 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-03-math-fishing-older-members-fish.html Stochastic adaptive networks are networks that behave according to the whims of its individual members. In this new effort, the researchers applied lessons learned in the past regarding such networks to schools of fish. They did so by programming in three major factors of fish swimming in schools: the relative strength of linking interactions between individual fish, the percentage of older fish relative to those that were younger, and how strong a preference the older fish had for particular migratory destinations. By adjusting the constraints, the researchers were able to see which factors were most critical in allowing or preventing a particular school from functioning as a viable unit, and most specifically, whether they were able to migrate to where they needed to go to survive.In analyzing what they’d observed, the researchers noted that two of the factors—cohesion of the group, and the presence of older fish—were more important to school survival than any particular migration destination. They noted also that removal of the older fish tended to damage the collective memory of the group and prevented the school from migrating at all. In the real world, that would mean that if fishermen catch the older fish that hold the memories of where to go when it’s time to migrate, the rest of the school won’t know what to do, and likely as a result, will die without even trying.The model might explain, the researchers note, why it is that when a population of fish is decimated (such as bluefin tuna in the 60s) and then efforts are made to help them repopulate, such efforts are oftentimes unsuccessful because there is no way to reintroduce the lost collective memory.The researchers next plan to improve their model by adding data obtained from real life studies of fish populations, including those that have been overfished. The hope is that a model can be constructed that will help prevent collapse of other fish species due to current fishing techniques.last_img read more

Researchers print inside gels to create unique shapes

first_imgThe researchers suggest that in the future, the technique might be used to print intricate electronics, or more importantly, living tissue, though there is still a long way to go before that can happen—one of the hurdles may be cleanly separating the printed object from the gel. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the University of Florida has taken the technique of printing objects inside of a gel a step further by using a highly shear-rate sensitive gel. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes the technique and the wide variety of objects they were able to print. Synthetic DNA gel points the way to printing artificial organs Cross-linked structures can be removed from the granular gel. Model jellyfish structures are photopolymerized and then washed in water. Floating in a water bath, the jellyfish exhibit life-like motions in gentle convective currents. Credit: T. Bhattacharjee, K. Schulze, W.G. Sawyer, and T.E. Angelini, University of Florida 3D printing has come a long way in a short time, objects are now being created around the world in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago. But despite the gains that have been made there is still one problem area: printing objects that tend to collapse during the printing process. Imagine trying to print a jellyfish for example, the material that makes up its body would sag after the first few injections preventing the rest of the creature from being printed. To get around this problem, researchers have been experimenting with scaffolding, and gels. Hard scaffolding only works in very limited applications—gels on the other hand, can be used in nearly limitless ways. They work by holding the object in place while it is being printed. In this new effort, the researchers have refined the process to the degree that they were able to print extremely thin walled closed shells and delicate branched networks.To improve the process, the team used a commercially available gel made of particles that are just 7µm-wide—that allowed for more precision when printing. To print an object, a gel (the researches describe it as very similar to hand washing gel), is poured into a container, then the printer goes to work—the print-head is shaped like a needle and is dipped down into the gel where “ink” (made of polymers or other materials) is ejected. The ink comes out as a liquid but solidifies as soon as it is ejected into the gel. The printer moves the head around depositing the ink until the object has been completely printed. Once complete the object is pulled from the gel and cleaned. Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Science Advances The example of Russian dolls illustrates the unique capabilities of the technique. Writing in the granular gel medium allows the exquisitely controlled creation of detailed surfaces with both smooth curves and sharp corners. The stability and precision provided by the granular gel allow large delicate structures to be assembled in seemingly impossible configurations. Credit: T. Bhattacharjee and T.E. Angelini, University of Florida Citation: Researchers print inside gels to create unique shapes (2015, September 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-gels-unique.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

HATSouth discovers four hot Jupiter exoplanets

first_img More information: HATS-50b through HATS-53b: four transiting hot Jupiters orbiting G-type stars discovered by the HATSouth survey, arXiv:1712.04324 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1712.04324AbstractWe report the discovery of four close-in transiting exoplanets, HATS-50 through HATS-53, discovered using the HATSouth three-continent network of homogeneous and automated telescopes. These new exoplanets belong to the class of hot Jupiters and orbit G-type dwarf stars, with brightness in the range V=12.5-14.0 mag. While HATS-53 has many physical characteristics similar to the Sun, the other three stars appear to be metal rich, larger and more massive. Three of the new exoplanets, namely HATS-50, HATS-51 and HATS-53, have low density and similar orbital period. Instead, HATS-52 is more dense and has a shorter orbital period. It also receives an intensive radiation from its parent star and, consequently, presents a high equilibrium temperature. HATS-50 shows a marginal additional transit feature consistent with an ultra-short period hot super Neptune, which will be able to be confirmed with TESS photometry. Explore further Citation: HATSouth discovers four ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanets (2017, December 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-12-hatsouth-hot-jupiter-exoplanets.html The Hungarian-made Automated Telescope Network-South (HATSouth) Exoplanet Survey is a network of 24 robotic wide-field telescopes. The telescopes are distributed over three locations in the southern hemisphere (Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, the H.E.S.S. site in Namibia, and Siding Spring Observatory in Australia). The primary goal of the HATSouth survey is to discover and characterize a large number of transiting extrasolar planets, reaching out to long periods and down to small planetary radii.To date, HATSouth has identified nearly 2,000 candidate transiting alien worlds of which more than 40 were confirmed as planets. Now, a group of researchers led by Thomas Henning of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, reports the discovery of four new exoplanets, expanding the list of exoworlds found by HATSouth.Using telescopes of the HATSouth network, Henning’s team observed four G-type dwarf stars known as HATS-50, HATS-51, HATS-52 and HATS-53 between March 2010 and February 2016. They also detected transit signals in the light curves of these stars. The planetary nature of the newly found signals was confirmed through photometric follow-up observations and extensive radial velocity measurements.”We report the discovery of four close-in transiting exoplanets (HATS-50b through HATS-53b), discovered using the HATSouth three-continent network of homogeneous and automated telescopes,” the researchers wrote in the paper.HATS-50b is the smallest and least massive alien world of all of the newly discovered exoplanets. It has a radius of about 1.13 Jupiter radii and a mass of approximately 0.39 Jupiter radii. The planet orbits its parent star every 3.83 days at a distance of about 0.05 AU from the host and has an equilibrium temperature of 1,348 K. The system is located some 2,300 light years away from the Earth.With a radius of approximately 1.41 Jupiter radii, HATS-51b is the largest exoworld among the four newly found extrasolar worlds. It is about 23 percent less massive than our solar system’s biggest planet, and has an equilibrium temperature of 1,553 K. HATS-51b has an orbital period of 3.35 days, a semimajor axis of nearly 0.05 AU and is located about 1,560 light years away.In contrast to other exoplanets described in the paper, HATS-52b is a relatively very dense planet as with a radius of 1.38 Jupiter radii it is 2.24 times more massive than Jupiter. It has also a very short orbital period, given that it circles its star every 1.37 days at a distance of about 0.025 AU. The planet has an equilibrium temperature of 1,834 K and is located some 2,060 light years from the Earth.HATS-53b has the longest orbital period when compared to other planets detected by Henning’s team – it takes it 3.85 days to fully circle its host, which is nearly 0.05 AU away. The exoplanet has a radius of 1.34 Jupiter radii, but it is about 40 percent less massive than Jupiter. HATS-53b has an equilibrium temperature of 1,312 K. The planetary system is located approximately 2,000 light years away from the Earth.The derived planetary parameters of the four alien worlds indicate that they all belong to the class of exoplanets known as ‘hot Jupiters.’ Objects of this type are similar in characteristics to Jupiter, with orbital periods of less than 10 days. They have high surface temperatures, as they orbit their parent stars very closely. Phase-folded unbinned HATSouth light curves for HATS-50 (upper left), HATS-51 (upper right), HATS-52 (lower left) and HATS-53 (lower right). In each case we show two panels. The top panel shows the full light curve, while the bottom panel shows the light curve zoomed-in on the transit. The solid lines show the model fits to the light curves. The dark filled circles in the bottom panels show the light curves binned in phase with a bin size of 0.002. Credit: Henning et al. 2017. 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. © 2017 Phys.org Four new short-period giant planets discovered An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of four new ‘hot Jupiter’ extrasolar worlds by the HATSouth survey. The newly found exoplanets received designations HATS-50b through HATS-53b. The finding is presented in a paper published December 12 on arXiv.org.last_img read more

Toxin in centipede venom identified

first_img Researchers have known for quite some time that golden head centipedes (aka the Chinese red-headed centipede), which live in Asia and Hawaii are able to subdue prey larger than its own size, in some cases, much larger—testing in a lab showed a centipede was able to take down a mouse, a creature 15 times its size. Until now, it was not known what was in the venom that made it so powerful. In this new effort, the researchers report that they have isolated the toxin in the venom, which they call Ssm Spooky Toxin—the Ssm comes from the scientific name of the centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. The team found the toxin by testing the chemicals in the venom one by one—a laborious process. The toxin works, the team reports, by blocking potassium from moving in and out of cells. Such blockage prevents the brain from signaling the heart to beat, and the animal dies very quickly. Potassium movement is also important for cells in airways, which means the victim of a bite also starts having problems breathing.When people are bitten by a golden head centipede, they experience a lot of pain, so much that many take themselves to a hospital for relief. It is actually quite common—in Hawaii, the researchers note, centipede bites accounted for approximately 1 in 10 emergency room visits due to natural causes over the years 2004 to 2008 (averaging approximately 400 a year). Deaths from such bites are rare, however. Prior research has shown that a drug called retigabine is able to reestablish potassium channels—it is normally used as an anticonvulsant medicine for epilepsy patients. In this case, it might be used instead as an antidote for people bitten by the centipede. More information: Lei Luo et al. Centipedes subdue giant prey by blocking KCNQ channels, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1714760115AbstractCentipedes can subdue giant prey by using venom, which is metabolically expensive to synthesize and thus used frugally through efficiently disrupting essential physiological systems. Here, we show that a centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans, ∼3 g) can subdue a mouse (∼45 g) within 30 seconds. We found that this observation is largely due to a peptide toxin in the venom, SsTx, and further established that SsTx blocks KCNQ potassium channels to exert the lethal toxicity. We also demonstrated that a KCNQ opener, retigabine, neutralizes the toxicity of a centipede’s venom. The study indicates that centipedes’ venom has evolved to simultaneously disrupt cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems by targeting the broadly distributed KCNQ channels, thus providing a therapeutic strategy for centipede envenomation. Explore further A team of researchers from several institutions in China has identified the toxin in golden head centipede venom. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how they found the toxin that makes the venom so deadly to prey and also identified a possible antidote for it. First widespread look at evolution of venomous centipedes Citation: Toxin in centipede venom identified (2018, January 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-toxin-centipede-venom.htmlcenter_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences A golden head centipede attacks a Kunming mouse. Credit: PNAS © 2018 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.last_img read more

Study suggests Earths water was present before impact that caused creation of

first_img Meteorites such as these carbonaceous chondrites are thought to have delivered water to the Earth–but an outstanding question is when. A new study points to the early incorporation of water in the growing Earth. Credit: Nicolas Dauphas Explore further The prevailing theory regarding how the moon’s origin is that a Mars-sized protoplanet slammed into protoplanetary Earth, and the ejected material coalesced to form the moon. The prevailing theory regarding how water came to exist on Earth is that most of it was delivered by asteroids and comets. In this new effort, the researchers present evidence that bolsters the first theory but conflicts strongly with the second.The team studied both moon rocks brought back to Earth by the Apollo astronauts and volcanic rocks retrieved by others from the ocean floor. The researchers looked specifically at oxygen isotopes. Studying isotopes in rocks offers scientists a means for comparing material from different origins such as asteroids, planets or even comets—each tends to have its own unique composition signature.The researchers report that oxygen isotopes from the moon and Earth are remarkably similar—they found just a three to four ppm difference between them. This finding bolsters the theory that the moon was formed from material from the Earth due to a collision. But it runs counter to the idea that water came from comets or asteroids, because if it had come from such sources, the isotopes would have differed from those found in rocks on the moon. Thus, most of the water that was present in the protoplanetary Earth likely survived the impact, suggesting it did not come from elsewhere. A team of researchers from the U.K., France and the U.S. has found evidence that suggests that most of the water on Earth was present before the impact that created the moon. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes their study and comparison of moon and Earth rocks, and what they found. The idea that water could survive such an impact has implications for the search for life beyond our solar system—exoplanets that are thought to have suffered collisions are typically removed from lists describing possible life-sustaining celestial bodies. Now, they may have to be included. © 2018 Phys.org Gallium in lunar samples explains loss of moon’s easily vaporized elementscenter_img Journal information: Science Advances More information: Richard C. Greenwood et al. Oxygen isotopic evidence for accretion of Earth’s water before a high-energy Moon-forming giant impact, Science Advances (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao5928AbstractThe Earth-Moon system likely formed as a result of a collision between two large planetary objects. Debate about their relative masses, the impact energy involved, and the extent of isotopic homogenization continues. We present the results of a high-precision oxygen isotope study of an extensive suite of lunar and terrestrial samples. We demonstrate that lunar rocks and terrestrial basalts show a 3 to 4 ppm (parts per million), statistically resolvable, difference in Δ17O. Taking aubrite meteorites as a candidate impactor material, we show that the giant impact scenario involved nearly complete mixing between the target and impactor. Alternatively, the degree of similarity between the Δ17O values of the impactor and the proto-Earth must have been significantly closer than that between Earth and aubrites. If the Earth-Moon system evolved from an initially highly vaporized and isotopically homogenized state, as indicated by recent dynamical models, then the terrestrial basalt-lunar oxygen isotope difference detected by our study may be a reflection of post–giant impact additions to Earth. On the basis of this assumption, our data indicate that post–giant impact additions to Earth could have contributed between 5 and 30% of Earth’s water, depending on global water estimates. Consequently, our data indicate that the bulk of Earth’s water was accreted before the giant impact and not later, as often proposed. Citation: Study suggests Earth’s water was present before impact that caused creation of the moon (2018, March 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-earth-impact-creation-moon.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. This image shows the far side of the Moon, illuminated by the Sun. Credit: NASAlast_img read more

District police yet to make arrests over tigers death

first_imgKolkata: Although two days have passed since the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger was found dead inside Bagghora forest near Lalgarh with multiple injuries, the district police are yet to make any arrests in this regard.A senior police officer of Jhargram claimed they have interrogated 12 people from the nearby village in this connection so far. The district police super clarified that no FIR was lodged against any particular person. A section of media had reported saying that an FIR was lodged against two hunters who received injuries after being attacked by the tiger. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe district police super Alok Rajoria on Sunday said the FIR was lodged by the range officer against unknown persons in connection with the death of the big cat. A case has been started under various sections of Wild Life Protection Act.”There was confusion that an FIR was lodged against two persons. However, it was not lodged against any particular person. We have already interrogated 12 villagers in this connection so far. The two victims – Bablu Hansda and Badal Hasda Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedwho received injuries are also being interrogated. We are talking to the forest department officials in this regard,” Rajoria said during a press conference on Sunday.It was learnt that the two injured persons during investigation have told the police that they did not know about the presence of tiger in the forest. They also narrated the whole incident of getting attacked by the tiger attack.It can also be mentioned here that the postmortem report hinted that the skull of the tiger was crushed by heavy substances. Injury marks also suggested that the tribes who took part in the hunting festival attacked the animal with various weapons. A spear like weapon remained stuck in its throat when it’s body was recovered by the forest department.According to preliminary investigation, police suspect that nearly some one taking part in the hunting festival had attacked the tiger. Police are yet to identify the accused who hit the tiger with the weapons. The CCTV footages are also being examined in this connection so far.last_img read more

SCO decides to include India as full member

first_imgShanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Friday decided to include India as a full member, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to offer to work with the six- member grouping to enhance connectivity, combat terror and create an environment for boosting trade by easing barriers.India, which has an Observer status for the past 10 years, will technically become the member by next year after completion of certain procedures. Beijing-based SCO currently has China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as members. Along with India, the process to include Pakistan as a member was also initiated here on Friday.  Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepen“I convey our deep sense of gratitude to the members of SCO for accepting India as a full member,” Modi said after the announcement was made at the Summit, attended by leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.“Our membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a natural extension” of the relationships that India has with member countries “and mirrors the region’s place in India’s future”, he said. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanNoting that India’s membership “reflects the natural links of history”, he said, “it will also promote peace and prosperity in this vast region that has often been called the pivot of human history.” Modi said the membership also advances the shared vision to reconnect and integrate Eurasia’s different region.India was made an Observer in the SCO in 2005 and it made an application last year for full membership of the grouping whose focus is on connectivity, counter-terrorism cooperation, bolstering cooperation in energy sector, enhancing trade and dealing with drug trafficking. “We will work with SCO to combat terrorism and extremism that is a rising threat to the entire region. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is a future that the Afghan people richly deserve, but it will also advance peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” the Prime Minister said. “As we look forward, we would lend our support to improving transportation and communication networks in the region. We can create a vast network of physical and digital connectivity that extends from Eurasia’s northern corner to Asia’s southern shores. The International North South Transportation Corridor is a step in that direction,” he said.Modi, who attended the SCO Summit soon after his bilateral meeting with Sharif, congratulated Pakistan for joining the SCO.last_img read more

Proteas crumble after Amla AB depart

first_imgIndian bowlers led by Ravichandran Ashwin showed outstanding perseverance to end South Africa’s dogged resistance and register a comprehensive 337 run victory in the final cricket Test, winning the four-match series by a historic 3-0 margin.Needing a mammoth 481 to win, South Africa depended on their ultra-defensive strategy before being bowled out for 143 in 143.1 overs, the last five wickets falling for a mere seven runs in a dramatic collapse.The 3-0 series win also enabled India to climb upto No 2 in the ICC Test rankings. Also Read – A league of his own!Fittingly Ashwin (5/61 in 49.1 overs) got the final wicket with an angular delivery that Morne Morkel left and was bowled, triggering scenes of celebration in the Indian dressing room and among the players on the ground.Skipper Virat Kohli and Man of the Match Ajinkya Rahane picked the souvenir stumps as players engaged in hearty celebrations and also thanked the spectators who gave them a standing ovation.The Proteas, courtesy AB de Villiers’ 43 off 297 balls, looked like pulling off an improbable draw from the jaws of defeat before the Indian bowling came to life in the final session courtesy pacer Umesh Yadav’s fiery spell and Ravichandran Ashwin ending the stodgy De Villiers’ near six- hour battle. Also Read – Domingo named new Bangladesh cricket coachAshwin produced a magical delivery a sharp bouncing off-break that de Villiers played awkwardly and the resultant catch was taken by Jadeja at leg-slip.The emphatic Test series victory more than made up for the losses in the ODIs and Twenty20s played earlier.Credit should also be given to Umesh Yadav (3/9 in 21 overs) for starting the slide in the final session by rattling Dane Vilas and Kyle Abbott’s stumps. Dane Piedt was gone when Wriddhiman Saha took a stunner. The visions of victory were raised in the post-lunch session, Faf Du Plessis’ (10, 97 balls) resistance ended when Ravindra Jadeja bowled an armer which the right-hander intended to play for the turn. It hit plumb in-front much to the delight of Jadeja.India’s most successful bowler in the series, Ravichandran Ashwin got his 30th victim when JP Duminy (0) was caught plumb on the backfoot having played a dozen of deliveries.Having got a couple of wickets, the drooping shoulders of the Indian fielders suddenly had some life in them.The Proteas, who continued with their ‘Blockathon’ added only 21 runs in the first session of the final day consuming another 35 overs while the post lunch session produced 42 runs in 31 overs.With a session left, it looked as if South Africa were inching towards one of their most creditable draws in Test history.However, the Indian bowlers ensured that the hosts wrapped up the series in style.While the pitch made it easier for the South Africans but no credit can be snatched away from currently the world’s best batsman, De Villiers, who showed that a class player can change and adapt his game according to adverse situations.De Villiers was in that zone where he did have only one thing in mind. Defend dourly and destroy the opposition’s confidence.It was not destructive T20 batting for which he is so revered but slow disintegration of a team that has been on top on 10 out of the 12 days of Test cricket that has happened during the series.There were times when the odd boundary was hit and the players carried out the formality of picking the ball from the boundary and throwing it back to the bowler.In the morning session, Jadeja ended Hashim Amla’s dogged vigil with a beautiful delivery but de Villiers frustrated the Indian bowlers no end.  Amla faced 244 balls for his ‘epic’ 25 before Jadeja bowled him with one that drifted in and then straightened knock the off-stump.If Amla was not enough, in came Du Plessis, who surpassed his skipper’s South African record, set on Sunday, of playing 46 dot balls before opening his account.Du Plessis played 52 dots before taking a single of the 53rd delivery. He in fact also surpassed Grant Flower (51 balls vs New Zealand in 2000) to become the third slowest player of all time to open his account.Make no mistake, Du Plessis has done this kind of defending earlier in Adelaide (2012) when he batted close to eight hours (7 hours and 46 minutes) to score 110 and denied the Aussies what looked like an inevitable win.And his partner in crime was none other than de Villiers, who had played 220 balls for his 33 in that particular match. Amla’s strike-rate of 10.44 might have put everyone to sleep but his was a perfect example of how to save a Test match from a miraculously hopeless position.Amla’s innings might set future templates on how to save a match as the art of drawing a Test match has become virtually extinct.Obviously the drab Kotla wicket which became literally lifeless on the final morning did help but it is never easy to save a Test match by batting out more than 160 overs but South Africa nearly did the unthinkable.India’s Test captain Virat Kohli was at his jovial best as he took a dig at the media stating that his team always “had answers” when it came to winning matches irrespective of the playing conditions.Kohli has had to answer the maximum questions on spin-friendly tracks provided at Mohali and Nagpur where the Test matches ended inside three days.When asked if he has replied to all those who were seeking an answer on how the team plays in adverse conditions, Kohli gave a tongue-in cheek reply.“We always knew the answer. It is you people, who perhaps did not get the answer but today I guess you got the answer. I was waiting for this question (laughs), 5-6 questions and no questions on the pitch. No questions on whether the ball was turning,” he had that wry smile on his face as everyone presented started laughing.He then explained that what is being written is not in his hands but terming victories on basis of pitches prepared was something that he found unfair.“The articles that are being written and what people read is also a sort of reaction. You watch something and you write an article. So when you ask a question on a specific issue, you will get a specific answer (from me). It’s not that you will ask a question and I will say ‘Next question’. Obviously I will answer that but I have a way of explaining while giving an answer,” the skipper said.“We believe we can win against any opposition at any place in the world. Now how that will be presented (by you) is not in our control. We can only control our performance with the bat and the ball. We can’t control what people hear and read.“Now, I can’t sit and vouch about how good a team we are. You are free to write whatever you want. All we can do is to perform. If we do well, you will write good things, if we falter, our weaknesses will be pointed out which is fair. But if it’s written that pitch is a factor in victory, then it’s unfair,” Kohli in a polite yet firm manner put across his point on the entire debate about the tracks.Kohli also lauded the dogged defending by the Proteas and called it a “difficult skill” as it also tested the ability of his bowlers.last_img read more

Low pressure area formed heavy rain likely in South Bengal

first_imgKolkata: The MeT department on Tuesday predicted heavy rain in South Bengal from Wednesday night owing to formation of a low pressure area over eastcentral Bay of Bengal.The low pressure is likely to become more marked and concentrate into a depression by Wednesday night, the weatherman said. The system is likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Andhra Pradesh and South Odisha coasts during the period, the Met said.Rainfall in South Bengal may commence from Wednesday night and may continue till Saturday. Heavy rainfall is likely from Thursday in the districts of North and South 24-Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly.All the districts of South Bengal are likely to experience heavy rain owing to the depression on Friday, the MeT said. Fishermen were told not to venture along and off Bengal, Odisha coasts and towards Bangladesh coasts from September 19 to 21, the weatherman said.last_img read more

Delhi hosts 21st EU film festival

first_imgTreating the movie buffs of the national Capital, the 21st edition of ‘European Union film festival,’ marked a successful debut with the premiere show of Coriolanus, a British film, on Friday. This three-week-long festival, organised by Delegation of European Union and Embassies of EU member states in partnership with local organisations, will witness 24 award winning European movies from 24 European countries.Inaugurated by Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the EU to India, the festival will traverse through 11 cities in India including Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Jodhpur till August 14.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Welcoming film lovers from across the country Alan Gemmell OBE, Director British Council India said, “The festival is a fantastic opportunity to share ideas, use stories to bring us together and celebrate the shared love of film in India, UK and across the EU.”The 24 European movies that will be shown in the festival are based on perennial themes – the redemption of love, the resilience of youth, and love for one’s family, presented in a contemporary manner and in accordance with today’s world.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixBringing literary geniuses like Cervantes and Shakespeare to the screen, directors have given each story a modern setup and a 21st century story-line.  The opening movie, Coriolanus, a Ralph Fiennes directed Shakespeare drama highlighted the fickle-mindedness and hypocrisy of a war-torn Rome, where Martius, a great soldier and a man of inflexible self-belief despises the general populace. The hungry citizen of Rome are ready to listen to anyone who offers them false promises; manipulated and manoeuvred for political benefits, they banish Martius from Rome.  Thus, turning the great soldier into a vengeance seeking anti-hero, who joins his arch-enemy Aufidius and in the end is betrayed by him.  This tragedy is another work of art from Shakespeare, after Antony and Cleopatra, that perfectly displays the fallacy of human psyche and the way it is affected by greed, pride and love. Portrayal of women has always acquired a special place in his plays and in Coriolanus, Volumnia— Martius’ mother, has an immense effect on his life. She is strong, determined and willing to sacrifice anything for her country.The festival will be screening movies across varied genres ranging from the comedy of the absurd to gripping drama, unexpected romance and heart-throbbing action. “Films have a universal appeal. The European Union Film Festival has won a special place in the Indian film calendar and in the hearts of viewers by showcasing the wry, the unexpected, the beautiful and even the tragic events of ordinary lives in unfamiliar settings,” said Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India.More such award winning movies from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom will be screened in various locations across the city and the schedule can be found on their official website. The entry is based on first-come-first-serve basis, with mandatory registration.last_img read more

TMC eyes Delhi says its mega rally will sound BJPs death knell

first_imgKolkata: With an eye on Delhi, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is all geared up for Saturday’s “united opposition rally”, which party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said would sound the “death knell” for the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls. Leaders of over 20 opposition parties are expected to attend the rally at the iconic Brigade Parade Ground here on Saturday to vow to put up a united fight against the “misrule” of the saffron party. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash Bengal The TMC hopes to use the rally as a platform to prop Banerjee as a leader who can “take along other parties” and challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the general election. Banerjee, the brain behind the mega opposition rally, on Thursday said the regional parties would be the deciding factor in the Lok Sabha polls. “It will be a ‘United India Rally’ against the misrule of the BJP. It will sound the death knell for the BJP … The saffron party’s seat count in the general election will not cross 125. The number of seats the state parties will win will be much higher than that of the BJP’s. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “The federal parties, that is the regional parties, will be the deciding factor after the elections,” she claimed. Chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, H D Kumaraswamy, N Chandrababu Naidu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) M K Stalin, besides dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha are among those billed to attend the mega rally. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and his party colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi will also take part in the rally. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Ajit Singh, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha will also be present on the stage alongside the TMC supremo. Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who quit the BJP on Tuesday, is also set to attend the meet. The rally will, however, miss the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati. They have deputed senior party leaders to attend the programme. The three politicians had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy last year. According to state Congress sources, the party unit was not very keen on Kharge and Singhvi attending the rally as it would send a wrong message to its workers who are fighting against the TMC in West Bengal. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with the other Left parties, has decided to give the rally a miss. Asked to comment on Mayawati skipping the rally, Banerjee said BSP’s “senior leader Satish Chandra Mishra will be attending, which is a big thing for us”. About the TMC’s ambitions in the national arena, a senior party leader said, “Nobody can deny that Mamata Banerjee is one of the most popular Opposition leaders in the country and can take others along with her to fight the BJP. She has experience both as a (former) central minister and as a chief minister. The rest is for the people to decide.” Several top TMC leaders, during the campaign meetings for the rally, had claimed that the “people are waiting for Mamata Banerjee” and urged the party workers to ensure that the next government at the Centre was formed under her leadership. The BJP leadership predictably mocked the rally, saying the Opposition should first decide on its prime ministerial candidate and then think of ousting Narendra Modi and the ruling party.last_img read more

Aais power girl Taniya Sanyal

first_imgTwentyfive-year-old Taniya Sanyal, hailing from Kolkata, has broken all rules to set a new record, as she became the first women firefighter at the Airport’s Authority of India (AAI). It is a unique initiative taken by AAI to break the misogyny in the field of emergency firefighting as they inducted women as equal stakeholders in the industry’s workforce. AAI is growing at a rapid pace as India is set to become the third largest aviation market in the world by 2020. The expansion of the airports demand skilled workforce and AAI currently has 3,310 firefighters for its 129 airports. The firefighter force is a mandatory department which is required for the safe landing of planes across the country. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”My prior experience of having set new recruitment rules for lady firefighters at Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation came handy here. At AAI, we have set new standards for recruiting women firefighters. Taniya is the first lady to have joined the ranks. I look forward to many more women firefighters standing at par with our male counterparts in the future,” AAI Chairman Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra said to Millennium Post.Taniya has been always inspired by her lady teachers, who have encouraged her to accomplish everything that she has aspired for. Her parents have always stood by as a support system, giving her the freedom to carve her own destination. She remembers – how her parents accompanied her to Bhubneshwar all the way from Kolkata for her AAI entrance examination. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThis is the 73rd batch off AAI’s fire training and, among the 55 candidates of BTC (Basic Training Course), she is undergoing the same rigorous, extensive training as the rest of her 54 male batchmates. The four-month training, which commenced on January 28 and will be ending on June 9, will entitle her to the position of Junior Assistant in fire service. Taniya expressed her excitements in joining the team and said, she is indeed thankful to AAI for giving her such a noble opportunity to be the first woman in the fire service – which could go a long way in encouraging several others to join this dynamic profession. The firefighting team is a vital force in the aviation sector and introducing women has set a new standard for the selection procedure. The physical standards for male firefighters included a basic height requirement of about 1.6 meters and a minimum weight of 50 kg. The minimum weight for women firefighters was set at 40 kg and the height norms were also reduced. Despite relaxing the norms, the work requirements for women firefighters have been kept exactly the same, which is an important aspect of promoting gender equality.Taniya, talking about her future, says unambiguously that she wants to excel in this field and wants to motivate more women to participate. She has always been an out-of-the-box thinker and her profession demands her service to humankind. As a part of AAI, she wishes to explore several more possibilities and opportunities with them.The Kolkata girl has an MSc in Botany and a specialisation in Bharatnatyam, Kathak, and Rabindranritya. From being a girl next door to becoming a power girl, Taniya Sanyal wants to be an inspiration for the women of our country. To them she’d say, “Be confident and try something new, because you never know what is waiting for you.”last_img read more

Documentary on woman railway employee bags award for creativity

first_imgKolkata: South Eastern Railway’s (SER) documentary on braveheart Pushpa Sing, who is keyman in the engineering department, under Kharagpur Division has won the ‘Best Creativity Award’ in the 64th All India Inter Railway Documentary Competition held at Ahmedabad, recently.The unique documentary was conceptualised by P.S. Mishra, general manager of South Eastern Railway. This documentary video was released on International Women’s Day this year and Pushpa was felicitated by the Chairman, Railway Board, on that very day. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataPuspa Singh, a woman with strong determination, devoted herself to her duty bypassing all hardships. All through the video presentation, her courageous deeds in various odds were vividly and vehemently picturized. Her work and activities overwhelmed the audience during the competition. Twenty Railways and Railway PSUs participated in the competition. Meanwhile, with a view to provide secured and comfortable journey to the passengers, South Eastern Railway has planned to run Howrah-Puri Express and Puri –Howrah Express (opposite direction) with modern LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches instead of existing conventional coaches. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThe services of Howrah-Puri Express with LHB rake will start from Howrah with effect from April 30 and from Puri on May 1. The Howrah Puri Express with the installation of the new LHB rakes will have one AC first class compartment, three AC 2 Tier coaches, four AC 3 tier compartments, eleven sleeper class coaches and two general second class bogies. The LHB coaches have a number of facilities. During collision or derailment, the coaches do not climb onto adjacent coaches, due to the use of Center Buffer Coupling.last_img read more

15 countries come together for food and fashion carnival

first_imgCD Foundation recently organised an International Food and Fashion Festival in collaboration with multiple embassies, partnering with the luxury five-star Eros Hotel. Speaking on the occasion, Charu Das, Director of CD Foundation said: “15 countries coming together for 22 events, made this 8-day long extravaganza one of the greatest events of all time”.Chefs from different embassies and countries participated to showcase their cuisines. Fashion shows by designers from different countries were highlight of the evenings. The event also witnessed renowned artists from across the world presenting Jazz/ Sufi/ Classical performances to enthrall the audience. Mornings of all the eight days saw Ambassadors and diplomats from their respective countries interacting with guests over coffee/ tea. Afternoon masterclass was a super hit event with Chef Khulood Atiq (UAE), Chef Leila Denarol (France), Chef Petr (Czech Republic), Faeq Hamza sir ( Palestine) and others who talked about their popular local cuisine.last_img read more

Infant mortality rate has reduced in West Bengal Mamata

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said infant mortality rate in the state has come down from 32 to 25 per 1,000 live births. “In #Bangla, we have reduced infant mortality rate (IMR) from 32 to 25 per 1,000 live births,” Banerjee said in a tweet, on the occasion of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) Day. The chief minister said ORS are a cost-effective method of health intervention. “Acute diarrhoeal diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality in infants,” Banerjee added.last_img read more

First look of Gulshan Grovers biography unveiled

first_imgMumbai: Biography of the quintessential Bad Man of Bollywood – the celebrated actor Gulshan Grover – is being published next month by Penguin. The first look of ‘Bad Man’ was released recently. With stories of projects within India and internationally, Gulshan Grover’s journey has been unique and replete with eccentric and iconic roles.The actor says, “I have been a part of many stories across regions and languages but this is a completely new experience for me. Having my story told in a book is exciting and yet unnerving.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDirector Mahesh Bhatt, who has directed Grover in several films, says, “The ability to deconstruct and reinvent one’s persona is the lifeblood of all successful durable entertainers all through history. The reason Gulshan Grover has been able to survive in this novelty seeking business, where the audience is continuously asking for a new, fresh experience, is because he manages to do just that. Gulshan is a shape-shifter.” Swati Chopra, Senior Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India, adds, “Gulshan Grover’s ability to immerse himself into a role, often villainous, is legendary. Through his biography, we get a rare insight into the mind and world of the ‘Bad man’ of Bollywood. We are delighted to be publishing it.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveGulshan Grover has always stood on his own, right from the start of his career. At a time when aspiring actors would covet the lead role in a film, he stood out by choosing villainous roles that he went on to perform with absolute finesse. His breakout role came in Ram Lakhan, which gave him the title of ‘Bad Man’. In this authorised biography, written by senior journalist Roshmila Bhattacharya, Grover talks about his life’s journey – the ups and downs, films, failures, his successes, the industry through the decades, balancing Bollywood with other work and his international projects, and how he has always stayed relevant. Published by Penguin India, ‘Bad Man’ will be available at bookstores near you and online, at the click of a finger releasing this July.last_img read more

Benjamin Franklin was Very Popular with French Women

first_imgDuring the 1780s, Benjamin Franklin, already in his 70s was serving a diplomatic post in France as American ambassador. His performance for the job was stellar and proved worthy for the American cause. As good as he was making his way with French diplomats, he also had his way with French women. Well, in fact, with many women keeping in mind his flourishing intimate history.Our admired and esteemed Founding Father, inventor, writer, and scientist, did have an exceptional prowess to impress women with his libido since a very young age.Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) , North American printer, publisher, writer, scientist, inventor and statesman.As we learn from his autobiography his urges remained ubiquitous even late into life. “The hard-to-be-governed passion of my youth had hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell my way,” he writes.His libido indeed ‘hurried’ him once he was in Paris, though at the beginning he was a bit feeble. His wife Deborah Read with whom he had been married for 44 years had recently passed away due to a stroke in their home in Philadelphia. Franklin quickly recovered, however. The two of them had grown distant over the last years.Benjamin Franklin’s Reception at the Court of France 1778In the French capital, Franklin was a popular face and the attention he received from French women soothed him well. He was their perfect ‘amitie amoureuse’ which translates to amorous friendship in English.The term describes a special form of intimacy which entails the exchange of tender cheek kisses and hugs, exchange of affectionate words over a cup of coffee and in letters, but not necessarily going to bed with someone.Aerial view of the gardens of the Petit Trianon. The Petit Trianon is in the center, the Temple de l’Amour is behind, the Pavillon français is in front in the same perspective. Photo by ToucanWings CC BY-SA 3.0At Versailles for instance, Franklin met with Marie Therese Louise of Savoy, Princess de Lamballe who was a close confidante of Queen Marie Antoinette. He befriended Princess de Lamballe and once joined her on a trip to Amsterdam.Madame la princesse de Lamballe by Antoine-François Callet (circa 1776, Callet)He also sought close female friends among his neighbors. One of them was Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy. The two of them lived in Passy, at the time a fancy neighborhood outside Paris. Franklin lived in this neighborhood for most of his stay in France, from early 1777 until the summer of 1785.Anne-Louise was much younger than Franklin, with almost 40 years age difference. She had an ear for music and was the composer of March of the Insurgents which toasts the victory of America in the War of Independence.Statue of Benjamin Franklin at Washington Square Park in San Francisco, CA. It was donated to the city of San Francisco by Henry Cogswell in 1879.“She follows with invitations to tea, chess games and tete-a-tetes in which she pours out her troubled soul to him. The delighted Franklin, now in his 70s, soon presses her for more tangible evidence of her affection. She plays coy, however, and steers the relationship with ‘Cher Papa’ (her endearing term for him that soon catches on widely) into a safer daughter-father pattern, over his useless protests,” writes Claude-Anne Lopez, author of Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris.Another woman Franklin got close to was Countess d’Houdetot, who was 25 years his junior. Also called Sophie, she is best noted for having inspired the French writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau during the 1750s.Depiction of the 1776 Staten Island Peace Conference. On the right stands Admiral Richard, Lord Howe. On the left, John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Benjamin FranklinComing from a well-moneyed family and married to an army man, this countess loved discussing politics with Franklin. However their conversation probably gravitated away from politics, especially taking into account that one of the letters she sent to Ben read “a million tender compliments to Mr. Franklin” at its signature.But perhaps the most intriguing woman to whom Franklin fell for in Paris and with whom he probably had a more intimate relationship with was Anne-Catherine de Ligniville or simply Madame Helvétius.When Franklin met her, she was already a widow, just like himself. In her 60s, she was called Minette by her friends and was an exceptionally jubilant and animated person. They were most definitely a good match.Benjamin Franklin in London, 1767. Painting by David Martin, displayed in the White House.Madame Helvétius had used the inherited fortunes from her late husband to open the hottest salon in the city–La Société d’Auteuil. Stories from her smashing parties traveled far and wide. Her salon gathered the most esteemed intellectuals which Franklin found most enjoyable. He loved this place. Keeping company in the salon was also Madame Helvétius’s small army of fancy Angora cats.While Franklin was captivated by Madame Helvétius, not all of his friends liked the idea of them together. We learn that from letters authored by Abigail Adams, spouse of statesman John Adams. John and Abigail were invited to dinner with Franklin and Madame Helvétius during their trip to Paris, a city which Abigail described as “the very dirtiest place I ever saw.”Anne-Catherine de Ligniville HelvétiusFor Madame Helvétius, Abigail writes: “I was highly disgusted and never wish for an acquaintance with any Ladies of this cast.” She goes on: “After dinner she threw herself upon a settee where she shew more than her feet. She had a little Lap Dog who was, next to the Dr., her favorite. This She kisst and when he wet the floor she wiped up with her chemise. This is one of the Drs. most intimate Friends, with whom he dines once every week and She with him.”This letter was sent to Lucy Cranch and is dated 5th September 1784 a year before Franklin departed from France. And why did he leave?At the time rumors were flagrantly shared that Franklin wanted to propose to Madame Helvétius. Both of them were widowed and enjoyed each other’s company. If he did indeed propose, apparently his proposal was turned down. Friends criticizes Madame Helvétius for her reported decision and Franklin was deeply missed by more than just one woman in Paris.Read another story from us: In the late 1700s, Benjamin Franklin invented a musical instrument that some thought caused melancholia and even deathWhen Benjamin Franklin passed away in 1790 he was buried next to his wife. As instructed in his will, the writing on the tomb simply reads ‘Benjamin and Deborah Franklin’.last_img read more

Shipwrecked Crew that Ate Each Other Eerily Mimicked an Edgar Allan Poe

first_imgFiction often mimics history. Movies, plays, and books can take ideas and inspiration from historical events to create compelling stories that hold the attention of audiences around the world. It was a different story, however, for the crew of the Mignonette. Duhaime.org’s LawMag tells us the story of the Mignonette, a short-range yacht that sailed from Southampton, England on May 19, 1884.Sketch of the Mignonette by Tom Dudley.The port they were sailing to? Sydney, Australia, 13,337 nautical miles away. With a crew of four people, the Mignonette wasn’t a large vessel and wasn’t created with strong winds and tall waves in mind, two things which are very common out in the open ocean. This would prove to be a problem for the small craft.On July 5, 1884, the Mignonette was set upon by a storm which whipped the sea into a froth and threw the small craft around, causing massive amounts of damage.The crew — Tom Dudley, Edwin Stephens, Edmund Brooks, and the seventeen-year-old Richard Parker — climbed into the lifeboat and escaped the destruction of the yacht. This would only be the start of their problems, however.Memorial stone to Richard Parker in Peartree Green, Southampton. Photo by Hethurs CC BY-SA 3.0The four men soon realized they had only grabbed two small tins of preserved turnips and no water. To add to their desperate situation, they were more than 1,600 miles from the Cape of Good Hope and over 2,000 miles from South America.Out in the middle of the ocean with no salvation in sight, the men quickly lost hope. They remained disheartened, desperate, and seemingly doomed, for fifteen days. Then, young Richard Parker broke. He reached out of the boat, cupped his hands, and drank seawater. This would end up being a death sentence.When a person drinks seawater, it causes horrible side effects. This is doubly so when you have an empty stomach, which allows the salt to flood the system without being diffused through food. The symptoms start with severe dehydration, the salt pulling water out of your system. If untreated, an overexposure of this salt causes headaches, dizziness, and blood in the urine and stool. Eventually, the salt can cause kidney failure, seizures, and ultimately death.Photograph of the lifeboat exhibited at Falmouth in 1884.This was the situation for Richard Parker. The young man quickly started to feel the effects and within days had sunk into a delirious and near-death state. This made the Captain, Tom Dudley, bring up the old tradition of drawing lots. The other men made no move to do so. Captain Dudley came to a decision. In court, he gave testimony about the event. “I took out my knife — first offering a prayer to God to forgive us for what we were about to do and for the rash act, that our souls might be saved — and I said to the boy, ‘Richard, your time has come.’ The boy said, ‘What me, Sir?’ I said, ‘Yes, my boy.’”The Euxine.According to Captain Dudley’s testamony, Parker was then bled and eaten by the remaining crew. Five days later, on July 29th, the men were saved and taken to Falmouth, England. Two of the men were sentenced to death, but were given conditional pardons and served six months in prison.The case became famous, and people realized the correlation to the Edgar Allan Poe novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.Edgar Allan Poe in 1849In the story, the main character, Arthur Gordon Pym, finds himself in the same situation as the Mignonette crew, with a group of four men starving on a shattered vessel. The men end up drawing splinters of wood, and the unlucky man who drew the shortest splinter happened to also be named Richard Parker.Parker faced his death in the book very differently from the real Richard Parker. “He made no resistance whatever, and was stabbed in the back by Peters, when he fell instantly dead.”Read another story from us: Charles Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s Most Famous WorkIn the book, the men proceeded to eat the dead crewman over the course of four days, just as the crew of the Mignonette had, and were close to death when they were finally saved. This was only novel that Edgar Allan Poe published, and, in this case, history mimicked fiction in a horrific way.last_img read more

One of the Oddest Museums in the World is Dedicated to Broken

first_imgA bad break-up is a devastating experience for all concerned. Some ex-partners sink into a depression, others endlessly pore over what went wrong, and the rest just bottle it up. In Zagreb, capital of Croatia, there’s a place where such demons can be released and confronted. But this place isn’t a psychiatrist’s office or medical facility. It’s a museum.The Museum of Broken Relationships exists so that what’s left behind from a union can be celebrated, and indeed contemplated.The Museum of Broken Relationships (Croatian: Muzej prekinutih veza) is a museum in Zagreb, Croatia, dedicated to failed love relationships.As co-founder Olinka Vistica put it in a piece for National Geographic, “We transformed the concept of a museum from that temple about historic things. Museums can be about you and about me…”Just as objects like ancient swords and pottery carry the weight of those times, so do items in this Museum’s collection. Take the toy rabbit donated by film producer Vistica and her former love, sculptor Dražen Grubišić.After their 4-year relationship ended in 2003, this small creature and a holiday snap were chosen to symbolize what they used to have to the world at large. The need to share spread from there.Zagreb ‘s Museum of Broken Relationships entrance interior. Photo by Prosopee CC BY SA 3.0An art exhibit grew from the unhappy event, followed by a world tour and finally what a Vice article on the collection described as a “globally-crowdsourced supply of woe.”The Museum of Broken Relationships set up home in a former palace owned by painter Count Kulmer in late 2010.And just like in a traditional museum, if the items on display look obscure there is accompanying text to help the casual visitor.Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia, June 2012. Photo by Robert Nyman CC by 2.0It would be easy to chuckle at some of the strange examples donated over the years. These range from a damaged gnome, which “squats under the description of its angry flight through the air on the day marking divorce of a 20-year marriage” (National Geographic), to a can of love incense. As Vice states, “The description beside this groovy-looking container … simply reads: ‘Doesn’t work.’.”Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia, June 2012. Photo by Robert Nyman CC BY 2.0There are also macabre exhibits, such as a pair of severed mannequin hands. Yet these share the space with more touching items. National Geographic writes that “A letter from first loves parting ways in Sarajevo on the brink of the war that dissolved Yugoslavia memorializes yet another romance that never stood a chance.”In addition to physical remnants, the museum offers a virtual space where precious documents and the like can be uploaded.Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships. Photo by Prosopee CC BY SA 3.0There is also the option to record a message or even a confession. Everything is strictly confidential of course.Whether surreal or profound, Vistica sees the Museum as an important human resource. Speaking to Time Out, she said “All the stories tell us of a universal and yet personal experience… The connection between the visitor and what is presented is so obvious and direct… I wouldn’t say this is a cemetery of love, quite the contrary, this is about building new relationships and emotions, and honouring old ones.”This exhibit, labeled “ex-axe” was donated by a woman from Berlin. She used it to chop her former lover’s furniture in frustration after being left for another woman: “two weeks after she left, she came back for the furniture. It was neatly arranged into small heaps and fragments of wood. She took that trash and left my apartment for good. The axe was promoted to a therapy instrument.” Photo by Robert Nyman CC BY 2.0The idea caught on. A Los Angeles branch of the museum opened in 2016, and the establishment resembles a typical museum in that merchandise can be obtained in a gift shop.National Geographic wrote about “commissioned work from local designers like bad memory erasers” and “jewellery stringing shards of broken china.”The irony of the Museum of Broken Relationships is its location, positioned between two churches. Apparently “brides and grooms rotate for portraits against these spiritual backdrops, while wedding guests refuel during the happy day with coffee on the terrace of the museum’s well-positioned cafe.”Read another story from us: 8 Creepy Museums in AmericaNew couples in the first flushes of romance may think nothing of visiting the tragic resting place of burnt-out love. However, they should tread carefully, for one day they too could be adding a contribution to this unusual collection.last_img read more