Tuesday, June 26, 2018

IIT-Bombay leads country in global university rankings

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) emerged the best ranked institute in the country as per the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World rankings, the results of which were declared on Wednesday night.
The institute’s position improved significantly from last year, moving up by 17 places, from 179 to 162. With an overall score of 48.2 out of 100, it scored 52.5 in academic reputation, 72.9 in employer reputation, 54.1 in citation per faculty, 43.3 in faculty student ratio, 4.4 in international faculty and 1.8 in international students, all scores out of a maximum of 100 points.
Among these six parameters, employer reputation is the strongest one with a global rank of 93. Professor Devang Khakhar, director, IIT-B said, “The increase in rank is a reflection of continuous improvement in all spheres of our activity”.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Banglaore bagged the 170th position, while IIT Delhi followed at 172nd place. Meanwhile, like last few years, Mumbai University failed to feature in the top 100, making it to the bottom of the list (800-1000).
Indian institutes did well when it comes to research citations per faculty.

Source: DNA-8th June,2018

Forest dept app to keep track of rescues

In a first major move to not only streamline wildlife rescue, but also bring wildlife rescuers on a common platform, the Thane territorial forest department has launched a smartphone application — Praani Mitra on Monday. The application will help the forest department keep a hawk’s eye on all the rescue activity being carried out in its jurisdiction.
As per senior forest officials, systematic gathering of data didn’t happen that left forest department with little information of what animals were rescued and released from Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan area.
“After an initial screening of wildlife organisations as well as individuals working on wildlife rescue the forest department will give them access to use the applications. Every rescuer will have to first alert the forest department about a rescue call and then after the rescue give details about the species rescued, photographs of it as well as details of the person who alerted them using the app and also have to submit details of the release,” said a forest official stating that this was the brainchild of Dr Jitendra Ramgaonkar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Thane Territorial.
Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden for Thane welcoming the move said that this app would play a very important role in managing the rescue activity. “The app will facilitate in generating crucial data andwill also help in understanding the dynamics of rescue. Over the years we can even have details like which are the species that are the most rescued and which are the areas from where the maximum rescue calls are generated,” said Sharma.

Source: DNA-22nd May,2018

Book lovers are all ears as authors skip print - Audiobooks are gaining popularity as a creative medium

When Michael Lewis had an idea for his next book, a contemporary political narrative, he decided he would test it out first as a 10,000-word magazine article, as he often does before committing to a yearslong project.
But this time he made a surprising pivot. Instead of publishing the story inVanity Fair , where he has been a contributing writer for nearly a decade, he sold it to Audible, the audiobook publisher and retailer.
“You’re not going to be able to read it, you’re only going to be able to listen to it,” Mr. Lewis said. “I’ve become Audible’s first magazine writer.”
Exploding market
Mr. Lewis is part of a growing group of A-list authors bypassing print and releasing audiobook originals, hoping to take advantage of the exploding audiobook market. It’s the latest sign that audiobooks are no longer an appendage of print, but a creative medium in their own right. But the rise of stand-alone audio has also made some traditional publishers nervous, as Audible strikes deals directly with writers, including best-selling authors like historian Robert Caro and novelist Jeffery Deaver.
Audible, which is owned by Amazon and the biggest player with more than 425,000 titles in its online store, has an enormous advantage in this increasingly crowded arena.
Joining the bandwagon
Amazon has been pushing audiobooks on its platform, listing them as “free” with a trial Audible membership, which costs $15 a month, and includes a book each month. (The typical price of a la carte audiobooks ranges from about $15 to $40 depending on the length.)
In the past five years, Hachette has doubled the number of audiobooks it produces; it will release about 700 titles this year. Penguin Random House will put out roughly 1,200 audio titles, up from 652 in 2014, and now has 15 recording studios. Macmillan Audio will release 470 audiobooks this year, a 46% increase over 2017. Two of the company’s biggest recent hits are the audiobooks for James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty , which has sold more than 167,000 copies, and Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury , which sold about 320,000.
Ellen Archer, president of HMH Trade Publishing, said she expects the audio release will boost print sales, rather than cannibalizing them.
“The marketing muscle they’re going to put behind this book is going to drive interest in the print version,” she said.

Source: THE HINDU-4th June,218

Telegram app finally gets an iOS update

Apple has approved an updated version of the Telegram messaging service a day after Telegram complained that it had been prevented from getting software improvements into the hands of iPhone owners worldwide.
Telegram Chief Executive Pavel Durov announced the turnabout on Twitter, thanking Apple and CEO Tim Cook for getting the latest Telegram version “to millions of users, despite the recent setbacks.” On Thursday, Durov had said Apple had refused to allow updates in its App Store since April. Apple has so far resisted a Russian order that month to remove the app from the store entirely, and the update delay sparked concern that Apple was moving to appease authorities there.
Without an update, not all Telegram features worked on the latest iPhone software, and Telegram also said it was running afoul of new European data privacy laws. If the ban had become permanent, Telegram would have grown unsafe over time. Neither Apple nor Telegram explained the reason for the prior lack of approval or for the reversal. 

Source:DNA-4th June,2018

This Assam kid, aged 4, is ‘Youngest Author of India’

Lakhimpur (Assam): At an age when children can barely string two sentences together, four-year old Ayan Gogoi Gohain of Assam’s North Lakhimpur district has earned the rare distinction of ‘Youngest Author of India’.
The India Book of Records has bestowed the title on Gohain, a student of St Mary’s School in North Lakhimpur, for his book ‘Honeycomb’, published in January.
The book, priced Rs 250, comprises 30 anecdotes and accompanying illustrations by the toddler.
India Book of Records documents extraordinary feats by individuals across the country. It awarded Gohain with a plaque and a certificate in January for his achievement.
According to the blurb of the book, the preschooler took to painting at the age of one. By three, he could “compose stories” all by himself.
“The amazing journey of Honeycomb started when he began to address his insatiable love for words, colours, sounds, tastes and sights with his keen observation,” it read.
Gohain, who lives with his grandparents, said he writes about everyday things that catches his fancy. His parents are based in Mizoram.
“I see what is happening around and write about it. It could be anything a chat with my grandfather, or something new I just learned,” the toddler said. The four-year-old boy considers his grandfather Purno Kanta Gogoi his ‘best friend and ‘hero’.
“My grandfather inspires me to paint and write about new stuff every day. He is my story teller, a rock star and a football lover. He is my best friend. My Chocolate Man!” Gohain gushed.
“He is a wonder kid. I remember he had once seen a rainbow and composed a poem, comparing its seven colours with the seven notes of music,” Gogoi recounted.

Source:DNA-6th June,2018

Indian entrepreneurs win $1 mn prize for safety device - Smart button concealed in wearables can send alerts in case of emergency

A group of young Indian entrepreneurs have won a $1 million dollar prize by developing a wearable smart device that women can use to send out emergency alerts if threatened or assaulted.
New Delhi-based Leaf Wearables was among the five finalists selected from 85 teams hailing from 18 countries for the ‘Women’s Safety XPRIZE’ instituted by Indian-American philanthropists Anu and Naveen Jain.
The technology start-up, founded by students of IIT Delhi and Delhi Technological University, won the prize for their project ‘Safer Pro’, an enhanced version of their earlier safety devices.
“Women safety is a global problem, it’s a global epidemic. A safe environment for women is a fundamental human right, it should not be considered a luxury and yet in today’s world, with so much advancement in technology and innovation, we still haven not been able to solve this problem,” Anu Jain said at the award ceremony organised in the United Nations on Wednesday.
Teams participating in the challenge had to create a device, costing no more than $40 and able to work without Internet, that can inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert if a woman is facing a threat and transmit information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds.
Leaf Wearables’ Manik Mehta, Niharika Rajiv and Avinash Bansal collected the prize for their innovation. “It was in 2012 that the Nirbhaya rape took place in Delhi,” Mr. Mehta said, adding that it was then that they decided: “Enough is enough. Delhi is unsafe and things are not changing at all. We have got to solve this problem.”
The start-up has previously launched two wearable devices. “We are not saying we have made the perfect device. We are saying we are working on the problem and we are going to make one billion families safe and connected,” Mr. Mehta said. Ms. Rajiv said the prize money would help jump-start all their efforts.
Audio recordings
The smart device by Leaf Wearables will also be able to make audio recordings, which could be used as evidence.
Naveen Jain, founder of several technological companies including Moon Express, Viome and Bluedot said that none of the solutions and projects required cell phones or wifi, so even if a person’s phone was taken away, the devices could help track the person’s exact location. All solutions were tested live in front of the judging panel and in simulated testing environments in April 2018 — including on public transportation in Mumbai — taking routes unknown to the teams to test the mobility and advanced functionality of their devices.
The finalists were Artemis from Switzerland, led by Nicee Srivastava and Katerina Zisaki, who developed data analytics for wearables and IoT devices, which provide a way to improve women’s safety via the ability to trigger an alert through gestures and physiological signals.
Globally, one out of every three women and girls experiences physical or sexual violence — or both — from an intimate partner, or sexual violence by a non-partner, the United Nations estimates. The figure is twice as high in some countries.
The first round of competition had 85 teams, including app developers, technology researchers, schools and start-ups.
One team of finalists developed a device that could “detect a user’s panic, fear and stress” by monitoring speech and physiological changes.
Finalists also included a device “camouflaged as a fashion accessory” that could send hands-free alerts. Another drew on global positioning services, cellular data and Bluetooth to connect women to emergency services.
A team from Switzerland, led by Nicee Srivastava and Katerina Zisaki, developed data analytics for wearables.
The finalists other than the winning team received prizes of $50,000 each from contributions by two other donors who each gave $100,000.

Source: THE HINDU-8th June,2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

Glenmark introduces inhaler in Denmark

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd. has unveiled a generic version of Seretide Accuhaler in Denmark. Glenmark on Wednesday said this was the company’s first inhaled respiratory product introduction in Europe. It is the first generic firm to get regulatory approval for substitution in Denmark for the generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Seretide Accuhaler, according to a statement from Glenmark.Glenmark had entered into a strategic development and licensing agreement with Celon Pharma S.A. to develop and market the generic version – Fluticasone/Salmeterol dry powder inhaler in 15 European countries.
The Fluticasone/Salmeterol dry powder inhaler is a combination product for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Glenmark had already received National Marketing Authorisations for the product in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
“Denmark is the first country in Europe where Glenmark has launched its generic Fluticasone/Salmeterol Dry powder Inhaler (DPI) and we plan to commercialize this product across the Nordics in the near future,” said Achin Gupta, Executive Vice President and Business Head of Europe and Latin America, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The release, quoting IQVIA data, said Fluticasone/Salmeterol DPI had sales of $ 864 million in Europe during the 12 month ended September 2017.

source: THE HINDU-16th June,2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

More breast cancer patients can skip chemo, says study - It focusses on the response of women with early-stage of cancer to gene therapy

Some 70% of women with early-stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk of cancer recurrence can safely skip chemotherapy after their tumours have been removed, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.
“This is a major finding,” said Dr. Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who helped organise the government-funded study more than a decade ago.
“It means that maybe 100,000 women in the U.S. alone do not require chemotherapy,” Mr. Norton said.
The research, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, studied how to treat women with early-stage breast cancer that responds to hormone therapy.
Women were deemed to have a medium level risk of the cancer coming back based on a 21-gene panel known as Oncotype DX from Genomic Health. The test predicts the likelihood of cancer recurrence within 10 years. Those who score low on the test — from zero to 10 —are already told to skip chemotherapy after their tumours are removed and they receive hormone therapy. Those who score high — 26 to 100 — receive both hormone therapy and chemotherapy.
The study, dubbed TAILORx, was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It involved more than 10,000 women with breast cancer that had not spread to nearby lymph nodes and whose tumours respond to hormone therapy and test negative for the HER2 gene. Of those, 6,711 scored in the intermediate range of 11-25, and were randomly assigned hormone therapy alone or hormone therapy plus chemotherapy.
The study found that all women over 50 with this type of breast cancer could skip chemotherapy, a group that represented 85% of the study’s population. In addition, women 50 and younger who scored between zero and 15 could be spared chemotherapy and its toxic side effects.
Some benefits
However, chemotherapy did offer some benefit to women aged 50 and younger who had a cancer recurrence score of 16-25, researchers found. Dr. Steven Shak, chief scientific officer at Genomic Health, said about four in 10 women in the U.S. with early stage breast cancers are not tested for recurrence risk. He expects the study’s results will change that practice.
“This is going to provide the highest level of evidence now for our test being indispensable in clinical practice,” Dr. Shak said.
The company currently provides tests to more than 900,000 patients in more than 90 countries, Dr. Shak said. In the United States, the test costs $4,000 and is covered by Medicare and all major private insurers.

 Source: THE HINDU-4th June,2018

China commences testing of heavy-ion cancer treatment - Radiation treatment is capable of killing cancer cells with high-energy electrons

Beijing: Chinese researchers have begun clinical testing of heavy-ion medical accelerators capable of killing cancer cells with high-energy electrons, officials said on Sunday.
Researchers said that the accelerators entered clinical testing for cancer patients in the northwest Gansu province in May.
Cancer radiation treatments employing heavy-ion accelerators can bombard a target with high-energy electrons to kill cancer cells.

Xiao Guoqing, head of the Institute of Modern Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it is widely considered the most effective way of fighting tumours.
Compared to the traditional therapy such as radiation, heavy-ion treatment is considered to have more balanced properties with less radiation on healthy cells.
The treatment period is shorter and the therapy could more effectively control cancer cells.

The institute in Lanzhou, capital of the northwest Gansu province, developed the accelerators in 2015.
It took two years for the accelerators to undergo medical equipment testing. Registration and testing were completed in April and clinical tests began, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Currently, the institute has produced two sets of the cancer treatment equipment, one each in Lanzhou and Wuwei City, which has a high rate of stomach cancer.
Patients were selected from Gansu Provincial Cancer Hospital and Wuwei Cancer Hospital.

Testing is underway for cancer treatment for the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and limbs.
In order to ensure the safety of the tests, 36 leading doctors in cancer treatment were assigned to oversee the tests.
Xiao said the domestically developed equipment marks the end of China’s dependence on imports. The institute started basic research into the technology in 1993.
Currently, very few hospitals in China offer heavy-ion cancer treatment in China.

Source:DNA-28th May,2018

Researchers find a cure for pulmonary fibrosis

Washington: Developing new medicines to treat pulmonary fibrosis, one of the most common and serious forms of lung disease, is not easy.
However, researchers from the University of Buffalo have worked to develop a biotechnology that could streamline the drug-testing process.
The one reason for developing a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis is that it’s difficult to mimic how the disease damages and scars lung tissue over time, often forcing scientists to employ a hodgepodge of time-consuming and costly techniques to assess the effectiveness of potential treatments.

The innovation relies on the same technology used to print electronic chips, photolithography. Only instead of semiconducting materials, researchers placed upon the chip arrays of thin, pliable lab-grown lung tissues - in other words, its lung-on-a-chip technology.

“Obviously it’s not an entire lung, but the technology can mimic the damaging effects of lung fibrosis. Ultimately, it could change how we test new drugs, making the process quicker and less expensive,” said lead author Ruogang Zhao.
With limited tools for fibrosis study, scientists have struggled to develop medicine to treat the disease. To date, there are only two drugs - pirfenidone and nintedanib - approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that help slow its progress.

Source:DNA-28th May,2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

July-Dec 2018 Semester NPTEL Online Certification courses

NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning)is a joint initiative of the IITs and IISc. Through this initiative, we offer online courses and certification in various topics.

Online course: Free for all, Certification exam: For a nominal fee.

Learn anytime, anywhere! Only requirement: Interest and enthusiasm to learn :)

July-Dec 2018 Semester NPTEL Online Certification courses:

We will be offering around 260+ courses for certification during July-Dec 2018 Semester.

Tentative course list for July-Dec 2018 have been published : Click here to view

Enrollments will open shortly.

Details about each course can be found in the Course introduction page - please click on any course to know more.

The start/end dates and exam dates are as follows:

Start/End/Exam Date 
4 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
Start of course
End of course
Exam dates
Oct -7, 2018
(2 Sessions: 9am-12 noon; 2pm-5pm)
Oct -28, 2018
(2 Sessions: 9am-12 noon; 2pm-5pm)

 Explore courses available for Certification : https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/

The Certification Exam will be on 4, 8 & 12 weeks course, whose contents are available on the NPTEL website.
1. E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam.Certificate will have your name,photograph and the score in the final exam. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT's
2. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc

1. Online Course: Free for all.
2. Certification Exam: 
For a nominal fee.
3. Number of Courses: 260 + (may increase, keep watching!)
4. Duration of Courses: 4,8,12 weeks.
5. This site uses your Google account for authentication. You will need to login (top right) to enroll for any course by clicking the "JOIN" button.
6. After enrollment you will be able to see the course contents as and when they are made available by the course instructors.
7. For any questions about courses and exam registration: Please read the FAQ's given

Friday, June 08, 2018

Personalities Of The Day

Personalities Of The Day -   1)Tim Berners-Lee                     
                                 2) Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, June 01, 2018

10-year-old youngest to scale 13800 ft in the Himalayas

A tough and a demanding trek at minus 8 degrees temperature and wind speed of 30 to 40 nautical miles. All this didn’t deter 10 year old girl Urvi Anil Patil who with her father Anil Patil completed the trek by climbing over 13,800ft Sar Pass in Shivalik ranges of Himalayas.
Urvi’s father Anil Patil is a Zee media representative in Goa and resides in Panjim.
10 year old Urvi is a multifaceted child. She has been undergoing training in Bharat Natyam dance and also learning to strum the guitar. She is a good swimmer and right now busy in shooting a film. She is also a shell collector with a keen interest in wild life.
Her father Anil said that he is a regular trekker and has done many expeditions including the ones in Himalayas. Since his daughter wanted to complete this trek, he also undertook it through Youth Hostels Associations of India. Underlining the significance of his daughter’s success, Anil Patil told, `She is the first 10 year old to complete this trek since generally permission for this trek is given for those who are above 15 year old.’Anil and Urvi completed the trek between May 7’th and May 16’th, 2018.
As a preparation for the trek Urvi used to walk on the beach for one and a half hours in the morning. She also did yoga and exercise for achieving physical fitness. The ice guides also accept that it for the first time that they have witnessed a ten year old take such a difficult trek. While scaling Sar Pass. Urvi told that even though the trek was not easy, she could do it since she was with a group and they used to sing songs and made the trek joyful.
Source: DNA-30th May,2018

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