Kolkata chronicler distraught over news of flooding of his Kerala house

first_imgKolkata: Eminent Kolkata chronicler and writer P T Nair on Tuesday expressed worry over the flooding of his house in Ernakulam in Kerala where he has stored archival records of the city’srich past.The ground floor of his house at Chandamangalam in Ernakulam district of Kerala, where he had stored his rich collection of old newspaper clippings and other papers in the city, is still submerged and cannot be reached as all the approach roads are still flooded. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHis family members had, however, escaped in the nick of time.”As the flood waters approached my son Manoj, daughter-in-law Seema and my grandchildren quickly got into their vehicle and rushed to their sister Maya’s residence in Ernakulam town, which is around 15 km from the Chandamangalam house on August 16,” Nair said.Nair stays in the city with his wife Sitha. Stating that he is now in regular contact with his family over phone, the 85-year-old said: “I had never heard about any calamity of this magnitude in Kerala in my life time.Nair, who has archived Kolkata’s history for the last 63 years, is worried about the fate of the old newspaper clippings stored in the ground floor of his house.”I do not know what happened to the records which I had collected so painstakingly over the decades and preserved them. I would like to retrieve whatever remains once the water level recedes and visit our house,” said the author of over 50 books on Kolkata.last_img read more

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Mamata remembers martyrs of Bengals food crisis movement

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday remembered the martyrs of the 1959 Khadya Andolan and said her government has ensured food security for 90 per cent of the state’s population. “Remembering the martyrs of 1959 Khadya Andolan. In Bangla, we provide food security to 90% (8.59 crore) of the State’s people, through the Khadya Sathi scheme,” Banerjee wrote on Twitter. West Bengal witnessed a mass movement in the late 1958 by the then undivided CPI and other left groups protesting against the food crisis. The movement for food (Khadya Andolon) reached its peak in August, 1959 after several people involved in the movement including farmers and women, were killed in police firing during a protest rally. Banerjee who came to power in the state in 2011, also said her government also provides special assistance to the people of Maoist-infested Jangalmahal comprising of Bengal’s western districts, north Bengal hills and coastal regions of state that is often hit by cyclone.last_img read more

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KMC looks to get cooperation of Kolkata Police in tackling dengue

first_imgKolkata: The Health department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will soon hold a meeting with Kolkata Police seeking the latter’s cooperation over conducting drives against vector-borne diseases in locked buildings.”Section 546 of the KMC Act empowers the commissioner to take up drives in buildings under lock and key for a long period of time by breaking open the lock , if the civic body feels that the building may have turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, in certain parts of the city, there have been lack of cooperation on the part of the police which has acted as a hindrance in such drives. We will soon hold a meeting with the top brass of the police to ensure proper support in this area,” a senior official of KMC’s health department said.Member Mayor-in-Council (Health) Atin Ghosh chaired a meeting on the present situation of dengue drives in the city and what measures need to be taken to clear impediments, if any for conducting drives smoothly. It is learnt that Ghosh had said in the meeting that he may take up the matter with Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar if such non cooperation continues after some councillors pointed out their difficulties in holding drives at locked building premises. As per section 546, KMC after breaking the lock will conduct cleanliness drive in the building and will then put the same under a new lock and key and the key will handed over to the officer-in-charge of the police station under which the building falls. KMC has been holding such meetings at regular intervals at the borough level to ensure that dengue drive and awareness campaigns gain momentum.”We have also found out that a number of condemned buildings of the railways in the city are under lock and key and drives need to be conducted there immediately,” the senior official said.KMC will also hold meetings with representatives from apartments in the city urging them to keep their premises clean. “There are also problems with some business establishments who are doing business but have not put in place any drainage or conservancy measures in place,” he maintained.”It is true that the number of dengue cases has been much less in comparison to the previous year. However, there is no place for complacency,” the official added.last_img read more

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Artwork that charts the trajectories of mind

first_imgA solo show titled ‘Metaphors of the Moon’ will be presented by Studio Adda at the Lalit Kala Akademi from May 11- 17. The present series of the paintings, Metaphors of the Moon, chart the trajectories of the mind as it travels from absence to presence in a cyclic repetition. The mind is the metaphor for the Moon. It represents the cyclic process of thought, its creation, immersion and regeneration. The lessons of the Moon are about the fragility of reconciliation and the assurance of restoration. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe paintings are a visualization of the individualized collective mind that embraces the one and the infinite, with the same ease as it deals with universal pain, suffering and loss. The mind engages naturally with the task of the larger and impersonal, rather than the smaller and personal. Like the Moon, the mind too reduces itself to fit the mortal world. The mind binds itself to the temporal, despite the knowledge of its timelessness, and expanse. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveKota Neelima’s paintings for the past decade have been inspired by the questions of existence and creation andexplored the healthy tradition of doubt and scepticism in Indian philosophical thought. Her worksinterrogate the concepts of creation, causation and karma, as paths of reconciliation.Drawing from her study of the Upanishads, and her own understanding of contemporary India as an author about poverty and spirituality, Neelima’s works are part of public and private spaces in India and other countries, including the Museum of Sacred Art in Belgium.last_img read more

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Election heat dries up blood banks in South Dinajpur

first_imgBalurghat: The election season witnesses massive campaigning with all eyes on political debates raging in every nook and corner of the country. This is also the time when health and awareness camps take a backseat as organisations involved with such programmes find it difficult to organise drives because of reduced turnout due to poll activities.The ongoing election here in South Dinajpur has hit donation and availability of blood. Both blood banks in Balurghat and Gangarampur have been suffering as very few blood donation camps are being held by welfare organizations. According to an official source, no blood donation camp has been organised nearly for a month here. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”The shortage of blood has led to unprecedented pressure on relatives of patients. The crisis deepened since the Election Commission of India issued a directive barring political leader and the representatives of political parties from organising any camp during the polls,” said a source of district health department adding that more than 80 per cent of their supply are being collected through voluntary collection. During summers, blood banks face crisis and the stock dips by 30 per cent but at present the problem compounded because of the polls. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateNGOs, social welfare organisations, local youth clubs or political parties are busy with campaigns and other poll-related activities. “The election fever has taken a toll on blood collection resulting to an acute shortage of supply in the two principal state-run blood banks of Balurghat and Gangarampur. About 1,200 unit of blood is required every month at the blood banks for operations and blood transfusion for Thalassemia patients,” said a source. In Balurghat, at present, about 40 units of blood are stored. Of the 40 units, 16 units are for A positive group, one unit for A negative, 20 units for B positive, one unit for B negative and one unit for O positive group. There is no blood for AB and O negative groups in the district hospital. In Gangarampur sub-divisional hospital, the stock of blood is almost nil. The relatives of patients are being asked to arrange for donors. However, most of them are returning in empty-handed. The condition of other blood banks in the town is no better. Chief medical officer of health (South Dinajpur) Dr Sukumar Dey said: “No major blood donation camp has being conducted during the last month because of the ongoing elections. We have appealed all the donors and social organisations to conduct blood donation camps to tide over the crisis.”last_img read more

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Muscular men favour inequality in society

first_imgMen with higher physical strength, like well-built muscules, are more likely to favour inequality in society as well as have apathetic political attitudes towards redistribution of resources, according to a study. “The study shows a stronger correlation between physical strength and political attitudes…(it) supports that raw physical strength is indeed the decisive factor,” said Lasse Laustsen, Associate Professor from the Aarhus University in the UK. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccording to the researchers, the findings may help explain the paradox of why some men with limited financial resources still favour financial inequality although they would in fact benefit from a greater redistribution of resources. “Our analysis suggests that these men expects to be able to rise in the hierarchy on their own. And once they reach the top of the hierarchy, an unequal society will increase their chances of maintaining that position,” said Laustsen. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe study, published in the journal Political Psychology, takes a cue from the study of animals which explains that physical strength shapes the conflict behaviour of animals. If animals are larger and stronger than their rivals, they are prone to attempt to assert themselves in the struggle for status and resources. However, if they are weaker than their rivals, they are likely to withdraw from the conflict. In the new study, the same logic applies to modern men when they reason about political conflicts about the redistribution of resources in society, the researchers said. “Today, physical strength is highly unlikely to affect how big a share of society’s resources you are able to acquire. However, our data shows that physical strength nonetheless continues to affect men’s political attitudes towards redistribution,” Laustsen added. For the study, the team measured and asked about the physical strength of 6,349 participants who belonged to different nationalities. The results showed that men who trained their upper-bodies for two months became more positive towards inequality. However, no link between physical strength and political attitudes concerning women was observed.last_img read more

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Tree Rings are Used to Accurately Date Cataclysmic Prehistoric Events

first_imgWhen you look at the cross-section of a tree, you see a series of concentric rings. One ring is the layer of wood produced in one growing season. According to Icogitate, each ring marks where the dark later growing wood of the previous year meets the paler-colored early wood of the next year’s growth. One annual ring is one dark ring and one light ring together.Counting the rings can tell us how long the tree has lived; more rings means an older tree. Tree rings can tell us other things, too. For example, they can potentially help us place events from the distant past more precisely in time.Drill for dendrochronology sampling and growth ring counting. Photo by Hannes GrobeCC BY-SA 2.5According to a story in The Guardian, archaeologists believe they have found a way to put more accurate dates on events that happened in prehistory.Rare and intense solar storms have left their mark on fields and trees around the world for the last 5,000 years.The growth rings of a tree at Bristol Zoo, England. Each ring represents one year; the outside rings, near the bark, are the youngest.Michael Dee, of Oxford University, thinks that evidence of this sort of storm can help us put precise years to some of history’s uncertain dates, such as when the Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed or when the Vikings first came to the Americas.Closer view of a stump with age estimate left by a large Pin Oak infected by Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Ewing. Photo by Famartin CC BY-SA 3.0Dendrochronology is the science of dating events by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth in trees or timber.For decades scientists have been using tree rings and carbon-dating to build a timeline of events that confirm historical accounts – sometimes even events that predate written history.Annual rings, larch; Larix decidua.Carbon-dating works by comparing the ratio between two isotopes of carbon – carbon-14 and carbon-12 – in old, organic material.Carbon-14 in the upper atmosphere is pretty constant, due to the planet being constantly bombarded with cosmic rays.Diagram of secondary growth in a tree showing idealized vertical and horizontal sections. A new layer of wood is added in each growing season, thickening the stem, existing branches, and roots to form a growth ring. Photo by Chiswick Chap CC By SA 4.0Since isotopes decay at a known and predictable rate, the proportion of C14 to C12 in, for example, old wood, tells us about how old it is.Carbon dating isn’t very precise, however, in that the results can be plus or minus 50 years. It’s also expensive.Geomagnetic solar storms have the potential to damage and shut down power grids and communications networks worldwideSevere solar storms, though, can cause trees to have much higher levels of carbon-14 during the years that the storms occur – up to 20 times higher than in a normal year.These storms would affect every existing tree and plant on the planet when they occur.That can help determine what year historical events happened. By comparing these high carbon-14 tree rings to building materials from ancient structures, the structures can be more accurately dated and the correlating historical events better pinpointed in time.Close up view of a tree trunk showing the annual growth rings.According to the Daily Mail, analysis of trees in California’s bristlecone pine forest showed evidence of these types of elevated carbon-14 levels occurring in 5480 B.C.An international team led by Japanese scientists from Nagoya University measured carbon-14 levels in trees in that forest, some of which have lived for thousands of years and hold in their rings records of solar events that have affected Earth through a great deal of its history.Heart-shaped tree rings.Scientists said that the elevated carbon levels they found showed a more abrupt change than any they had seen, except for similar changes occurring in 774 A.D and 994 A.D., and their use of annual tree-ring data, rather than using data by the decade, is what allowed them to place it in time.They attribute the data to being the result of a change in magnetic activity in the sun, combined with strong solar bursts, or a very weak sun.Old tree rings telling time and age of trunk.Michael Dee and his co-author, Benjamin Pope, in an article for the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society are proposing a new field of study, astrochronology, that will use this solar evidence as a means of “tying down” so-called “floating chronologies,” such as those of ancient Egypt, the collapse of the Mayan civilization and the Bronze Age, to fixed dates on the universal calendar.Read another story from us: Rare, Gorgeous Photos of Ancient Trees Around the GlobeNone of this had been known before, because the study of tree rings is generally done by decadal sets of rings, rather than annual, and so the carbon-14 spikes hadn’t been noticed. Now, though, we have an opportunity to be able to better fit together the pieces of our early history, and learn more about how it all goes together.last_img read more

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Travelers can now Stay at any of these Incredible Historic Castle Hotels

first_imgFor history lovers, a stay in a historic castle is a dream come true, although for many of us, this dream is likely to remain a fantasy. However, an increasing number of historical castles are now opening their doors to travelers, and a night in one of them could be more affordable than you think. According to HomeAway, castles are emerging as a dominant trend in the tourism industry. Demand for historical holiday locations has shot up by 55 percent in recent years, perhaps in response to the increased popularity of medieval-themed TV shows such as Game of Thrones.This increase in demand has also provided a much-needed opportunity for owners of these historic sites, many of whom are struggling to keep up with the high maintenance costs of running such large, old buildings. In particular, Europe is littered with beautiful, ancient castles, and many of them are now welcoming guests for a holiday with a historical twist. Tulloch Castle, ScotlandTulloch Castle. Photo by Peter Moore CC BY-SA 2.0Scotland is blessed with an abundance of dramatic castles and fortresses, but Tulloch Castle in Dingwall, Ross-Shire is perhaps the most atmospheric. This beautiful castle was constructed in the 12th century and is the ancestral home of Clan Davidson.Tulloch Castle. Photo by David Maclennan CC BY-SA 2.0This important piece of Scottish heritage has been carefully restored, retaining original period features such as the wood-paneled dining hall.However, according to Visit Scotland, travelers to Tulloch Castle may find themselves with more company than they expected, as the castle is also home to a number of resident ghosts.Caisteal Gorach. Photo by Iain Macaulay CC BY-SA 2.0In particular, the ghost of former owner Elizabeth Davidson is said to haunt the castle as the Green Lady, appearing only to the most distressed or sorrowful guests. Cliveden House, EnglandCliveden, view looking north from the Ring in the Parterre showing Terrace Pavilion and Clock Tower to the left with Lower Terrace and Borghese Balustrade below. Photo by WyrdLight.com CC BY 3.0Cliveden House is one of England’s premier historic stately homes, and many rich and famous members of the British elite have stayed here over the centuries.In particular, the house is famous for the wild and lavish parties thrown by Nancy and Waldorf Astor in the early 20th century, hosting guests such as Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and even Mahatma Gandhi.Cliveden HouseAccording to the National Trust, it was also the location of the notorious Profumo scandal that rocked the British establishment in the 1960s. More recently, Meghan Markel stayed here immediately prior to her marriage to Prince Harry.English country houseCliveden is an impressive property, located in the pleasant Berkshire countryside and set in 400 acres of stunning grounds along the banks of the River Thames. Today it has been completely renovated to include a sumptuous hotel and spa – the perfect combination of history and luxury.Lisheen Castle, IrelandLisheen Castle. Photo by HerryLawford CC BY 2.0Lisheen Castle, located in County Tipperary, is a compact 18th century house that may be rented out in its entirety. Burned down by the IRA in 1921, Lisheen Castle was left as a ruin for almost 80 years before it was restored by its current owners.Lisheen Castle. Photo by HerryLawford CC By 2.0Comprising nine bedrooms and bathrooms, and lovingly renovated with authentic 19th century furnishings and features, Lisheen Castle offers a truly atmospheric slice of Irish history.Furthermore, it is within close distance of the iconic Cliffs of Mohar and the medieval town of Kilkenny.Inverlochy Castle, ScotlandInverlochy Castle Hotel. Photo by Johnny Durnan CC BY-SA 2.0In 1873, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary following a week staying at Inverlochy Castle, stating that she “never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”Queen Victoria initiated the British royal family’s obsession with all things Scottish, and after a trip here it’s easy to see why.Inverlochy Castle Hotel. Photo by Johnny Durnan CC BY-SA 2.0Inverlochy Castle is an imposing 19th century fortress set in rich, abundant grounds, covered in Scottish heather and thistle. Rooms here don’t come cheap, but it offers an epic setting steeped in royal and Scottish history.Hotel de la Cité, Carcassonne, FranceHôtel de la Cité de Carcassonne. Photo by Tournasol7 CC BY SA 3.0The medieval walled city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of France’s most impressive examples of medieval architecture.Visitors to this beautiful corner of France can even stay inside the medieval fortress that dominates the city, in the luxurious Hotel de la Cité.Carcassonne has a long and rich history, having survived siege, plague, and even a crusade directed at the Cathar religious sect that dominated the city in the 13th century.Read another story from us: Europe’s Greatest Castle was Built by a “Mad” King who Lived in a Dream WorldIn a far cry from its medieval predecessor, the castle now contains a Michelin-starred restaurant and opulent modern rooms, all within the medieval castle. Some of the rooms even occupy the iconic fortress towers, and look down over the medieval city.last_img read more

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The Bizarre Story of James Jesse Strang – Michigans Opulent Mormon King

first_imgThis is the story of James Jesse Strang, the first and only King of Michigan. Well, alright, it wasn’t ALL of Michigan, and he wasn’t really king, but he thought so, and enough other people did so that for a time it did seem as if there was a little kingdom on an island in Lake Michigan. James Strang was born in New York in 1813, and his childhood dreams included becoming the next Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte. He was a good student with lots of promise and kept a highly profound personal diary as a youth, but like other would-be dictators, he drifted in early adulthood, moving throughout upstate New York.Finally, despite his father’s arguing that his son should be a farmer like he was, Strang chose to train as a lawyer. He was admitted to the Bar at age 23.James Strang daguerreotype, 1856In the 19th century, much like today, serving as a lawyer was a springboard to public service and/or political office, and Strang became a county postmaster and editor of a newspaper.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsHe later founded the first daily newspaper in northern Michigan. He did not feel particularly religious and considered himself a “freethinker”, but became a Baptist minister in 1843. Strang left the Baptist church when he discovered the Mormon religion and met its leader, Joseph Smith, shortly thereafter. He and Smith got along well, and Strang was personally baptized by the Mormon Prophet.Joseph Smith III — Son of Joseph Smith. Leader of the “Reorganized” church 1860-1914When Smith was murdered in March 1844, Strang claimed to be the new Mormon leader, as did a number of others, most notably Brigham Young, who led the majority of Mormons to Utah. This left Strang with a small but growing number of followers and supporters, including Smith’s brother and mother.The power struggle continued for some three years with increasingly bitter internal debate until Young was recognized by most Mormons as the new leader of the faith. Young, Strang and others in the Church of Latter Day Saints felt that the church was called to claim territory in the west, at the time undeveloped country.Strangite church building in Voree, Wisconsin (2005). Photo by John Hamer CC BY-SA 3.0While Young and most of the Mormons headed to Utah, Strang, followed by the many who believed him to be the rightful leader, made his way to the island of Big Beaver, Michigan in 1848.Strang told them he was guided by God to found the so-called “Second Stake of Zion” there, and like Smith and Young, claimed to have been appointed by God’s angels as their leader. However, Mormon belief included a council of elders who were to be consulted on significant matters.Page three of Strang’s Letter of AppointmentMost people accepted the claim, but many of his followers left because of his dictatorial tendencies and brusque manner. Still others left because he initially disagreed with standing Mormon belief on polygamy, which he vehemently opposed. But in 1849, he reversed course and became a strong supporter of the practice, eventually marrying five women and fathering 14 children.Despite losing some followers, Strang and his fellows gained others and sent missionary groups not only throughout the northern U.S. but also to England (though that venture met with failure).By 1850, Strang felt strong enough in his position and that his colony was doing well enough for him to claim the title he seemed to have always wanted: king. He cited Joseph Smith’s writings and the fact that Smith had been secretly crowned “king” just before his murder.Related Video: “Hunger Stone” warnings appear on rocks made visible by droughtNothing about Strang’s “coronation” was modest, though one might expect a religious leader to be so. He seemed to take a cue from Napoleon and wore a bright red flannel robe topped with white fur. His crown (not gold, but tin) was polished to a shine and included a cluster of glass stars on the front. He also wore a Roman-type breastplate and a wooden scepter. It seemed his childhood dreams had come true.Big Beaver Island is 25 miles from the coast and that remote location allowed Strang to rule his kingdom without interference from the mainland. His 2,500 hard-working followers actually managed to make Big Beaver Island a going concern, replacing Mackinac Island as the main refueling stop for steamers and becoming a supplier of fish, lumber, and potatoes to the mainland.Beaver Island. Photo by www.terraprints.com CC BY 2.5This success and what many believed to be the peculiar nature of Strang’s religion and rule caused much hostility among Michiganders. Fanning the fire was the fact that the Mormons had pushed many of the locals out of prime fishing spots.The practice of polygamy was also antithetical to most Americans religious beliefs. This would cause problems not only for Strang’s sect but for the Mormons in Utah as well.Powerful local politicians put pressure on President Millard Fillmore to do something about Strang, and the U.S. District Attorney filed charges against Strang.Millard FillmoreThese charges included murder and treason. Strang was not only acquitted on the charges that many people knew were false, but the whole process gave him new popularity, and he was elected to the state legislature in 1853.While in the legislature, Strang actually made a good impression and a number of friends, but also made enemies due to his supporting bills which would have banned the sale of alcohol to Native Americans.Back on Big Beaver Island, however, his rule as “king” was becoming more and more authoritarian, and people began to resent it. He began to regulate personal aspects of people’s lives, including women’s dress.Iron Ore Bay, Beaver IslandHe called for women to HAVE to wear loose-fitting smocks over a pair of pantaloons. Most of the women went along with Strang’s decree, but a number were resentful, as were their husbands.So strong was Strang’s hold over much of the island’s population that he ordered two of the protesting husbands whipped. These men then sought revenge and on June 16, 1856, they lay in wait for Strang and shot him down. He died three weeks later.When Strang died, those mainlanders who opposed him and the Mormon faith formed an armed posse, landed on the island and forced the settlers to leave.Read another story from us: The Fabled Remote Island where Medieval Irish Monks Battled the Forces of EvilMany of them went to Utah to join the Mormons there, while others founded smaller settlements which recognized Strang’s place as king even in death.last_img read more

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VIDEO Tournament Cinderella UMBC looked anything but unstoppable in 8339 blowout loss

first_img16-seed UMBC pulled off the holy grail of NCAA Tournament upsets with a blowout win against 1-seed Virginia. The retrievers seemed nearly unstoppable in the dismantling of the ACC Champs, and because it was the first time most people had seen them play, it’s hard to imagine them as anything other than unbeatable.But, UMBC wasn’t a 16-seed for nothing and their 25-10 regular season featured some less magical moments, like when they got housed by the University of Albany, 83-39, in January. As incredible as the Retrievers were against UVA, they were equally awful against U of A, and at one point trailed 53-14 in the second half.These highlights are bizarre considering the incredible first impression they left, but they are human, after all. This one got ugly.last_img

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