By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTPixabay[Heart of Stone by dimitrisvetsikas 1969, February 18, 2017, CCO]When you think about intimate relationships, do you ever think about them in terms of their health status? The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) contends that all relationships exist on a spectrum, ranging from healthy to abusive with unhealthy lying somewhere in the middle. Let’s think about this spectrum by taking a closer look at each category:Healthy: It is important to remember that a healthy relationship does not equal a ‘perfect’ relationship. We may get caught up in this notion now more than ever with the constant reminders from social media that pop up in our news feeds of our friends’ relationships on display. Be realistic when thinking about features of a healthy relationship rather than defining ‘health’ by what you see on the internet and through media. Here are a few features of a healthy relationship from NDVH:Partners talk openly about problems and listen to each other with respect to the opinions being expressedPartners value each other just as they are rather than trying to change them into something or someone they are notPartners will make decisions togetherPartners will enjoy their own personal time rather than feel the need to be together at all timesPartners will have equal economic sayPartners will parent together as a team rather than against each otherUnhealthy: These relationships are somewhere in the middle of healthy and unhealthy, with features that may lean more towards one or the other. In thinking about the features from a healthy relationship standpoint, take a look below at what these features may look like in an unhealthy relationship according to NDVH:Partners fight or do not discuss anything at all when problems arisePartners are not considerate of each other, showing disrespect in their relationshipOne partner may feel that their desire and/or choice is more important than the othersPartners may only spend time with one another, rather than anyone elseIt is assumed that only one partner is responsible for the financesAbusive: People may not even realize that they are in an abusive relationship until much later. They also may assume that because they are not being physically abused, they are not involved in an abusive relationship. It’s important to know what abuse may look like in forms other than physical violence. Taking the same features used as examples in healthy and unhealthy relationships, take a look at what NDVH says about abusive relationships:Partners communicate with each other in ways that are hurtful, threatening, insulting, or demeaningOne of the partners does not respect the feelings, thoughts, decisions, opinions, or safety of the otherThere is no equality in the relationship- one partner makes all of the decisions without the other’s inputOne partner maintains control over finances and the access to itOne partner may use the children to gain power and control over the other partnerRemember that this is referred to as a spectrum because relationships can lie anywhere between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive with a lot of variation somewhere in between. If you would like to learn more about this spectrum and about the resources that The National Domestic Violence Hotline has to offer, visit their website here. You can also watch our webinar On Solid Ground: Exploring Strategies to Help Create and Maintain Healthy Relationships presented by Dr. Alaina Szlachta, Director of Training of NDVH.This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration area on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
By Carol ChurchHave you taken the time to consider where you want to live in your older years? If you’re like most Americans (89% of those over 50, according to research) you likely want to remain in your own home—so-called “aging in place.” There’s nothing too surprising about this; most of us feel happiest in familiar surroundings, within a community of friends and neighbors. And staying in our community may help us stay healthy longer, too.The PracticalitiesBut, what about the practical aspects and costs associated with aging in place? What needs to be considered for this to actually work? And how do the costs of bringing in care compare to the costs of moving to an assisted living facility or other type of facility? These are questions all of us are likely to need to consider eventually-for family members or ourselves.One factor most of us will probably think of is the potential need to modify our homes. Most houses are not set up to accommodate the needs of an older adult who may have trouble with mobility or limited vision, or other challenges.This might include modifying bathrooms and bathtubs to make them easier to enter, making doorways wider, eliminating steps and stairs and/or adding a stair lift, and adding easy-turn handles and grab bars. Electronic technology is also becoming a significant factor in aging in place, making it easier for older adults to be monitored for health and reduced activity. Overall, the average cost to modify a home and make it safe, practical, and comfortable to live in till the end of our days (often called “aging in place”) is likely to be about $9,000-$12,000.Providing CareThen there’s the potential cost of in-home health care. At about $20/hour (typically provided in 2- to 4-hour blocks) this could be $1,000+ month, which sounds high, but is actually low compared to the very high costs of nursing home care (about $3,000-$7,000 per month, though insurance may pick up some of this bill).Of course, another option, and one many choose, is for family to provide care. While this may appear to be “free,” typically it is anything but for the caregiver. According to MetLife, the average value of the wages and work experience lost when an adult woman drops out of the workforce to assume care of an aging relative totals a staggering $143,000. And even when a caregiver does not drop out of the workforce, but simply provides care during nonworking hours, the “cost” in stress and fatigue can be very high, studies show. It may be healthier and in many ways “cheaper” to pay for care, at least some of the time.Covering CostsHow can older adults cover these costs? Of course, we always hope that there are substantial savings in place by this time of life, but if these do not cover the need, there are other options, such as a home-equity loan or line of credit, or even a reverse mortgage. It’s important to know that disabled veterans are also eligible for grants to purchase or adapt housing so that it is appropriate for their needs: visit this page at the VA for more.Aging in place may be the right choice (and a very desired choice) for many, but there are certainly other options, and a time may come when they are needed. Veterans are fortunate to have special options available to them, including Federal Armed Forces Retirement Homes, Officers’ Retirement Communities, State Veterans’ Homes, and VA Nursing Homes. For more about these options, see Retirement Communities, Assisted Living, Nursing Care: Special Options for Veterans and Former Service Members. https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/Guide/LongTermCare/Nursing_Home_and_Residential_Services.aspReferences:Esswein, P. (n.d.) 6 Things You Must Know About Aging in Place. Retrieved from http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T047-C000-S002-6-things-you-must-know-about-aging-in-place.htmlFowler, K. (2016). Weighing the Costs of Aging in Place. Retrieved from http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/1-08-16-weighing-the-costs-of-aging-in-place/US Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). Costs of Care. Retrieved from https://longtermcare.acl.gov/costs-how-to-pay/costs-of-care.htmlU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2017). Measuring the Costs and Savings of Aging in Place. Retrieved from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/fall13/highlight2.html
These screenwriting tips are fundamental, simple, and have worked for many writers time and again.Whether you are searching for your next great idea, developing a multifaceted protagonist, or finding a plot twist no one saw coming, the source of greatness for all screenwriters comes from the same place: a sheer passion for storytelling. With this passion comes the desire to get better and better at your craft.If you want to tell great, emotive stories then you must write about what moves you, what makes your blood boil or infuses you with great energy. Therein lays one of the great challenges of screenwriting: communicating your story, characters and message to an audience in such a way that makes them feel. After all, we want our stories to leave imprints on the mind once the story has been consumed and left behind.Below are 8 tips that I recommend for the beginner or intermediate screenwriter. By following these ideas your final screenplay will be that much more true to your own vision, and ideally more sellable.1. Read Screenplays of your Favorite FilmsThere are endless amounts of screenplays available online to the general public. If you’ve recently watched a movie you enjoyed, or have a few all-time favorites, track down the screenplay online and get reading.There are many moving parts to how a film gets made and watching that film, will help you to partially understand why it was so successful – the acting, the set design, direction, etc. – however, it is even more helpful to see the film in its original form. When you see the film’s blueprint, you’re able to visualize what has changed since the script was originally written (what worked and what didn’t). Knowing what translates well to the big screen is a very valuable tool to have. It’s also helpful to see the style in which films of different genres are written so that you can apply some of those techniques to your own work.2. Have Something to SayThe best movies are the ones that give you something to think about after the credits have rolled and you’ve left the theatre. This a direct result of the writer having something to say, and having a clear message to send. Not only will this give you, the writer, great direction in creating your story but it will also help you to achieve the goal all writers and filmmakers have: making a film that leaves it’s mark in history.3. Every Scene Needs an Intention or GoalIf you ever come out of a theatre underwhelmed by the film you saw and hear yourself thinking “that was long”, what you actually mean is that you found yourself bored at times (most likely, many times). In most cases, if you find yourself bored then you weren’t given much from your main character(s) by way of their goals or intentions, which is one of the most important elements in writing your story – your characters must have goals!Once you know what your characters aim to achieve you must make sure that every scene in your screenplay acts as a means to your characters end. Further, your audience must be able to identify these intentions throughout the film. It is when your audience can no longer identify what your character has set out to do that they begin to disconnect from the film, look at their watches, and start heading for the car. Ensure that all your scenes layout goals for your characters and upon that goal’s completion, set up another one and so on.These goals will work to support the development of your character, place them in a position to make decisions (hopefully tough ones) and help build their character. Subsequently, this allows the audience to understand what your characters are “made of” and what they stand for, which gives us something to chew on while your story unfolds.4. Make Your Protagonist Likeable Early OnWhile plot points are of course an integral part of a successful screenplay, it is your characters that truly drive your story – specifically your protagonist. It is through their eyes that the story unfolds for an audience, and that the viewer has someone to cheer for. Therefore, when creating your protagonist, audience connection is vital. As a writer, you must get to know your protagonist early on in the writing process and do everything you can to translate their nature/desires/problems on page 1 of your script. Your hero must have hopes, fears, dreams, challenges, etc. and we (the audience) must feel their despair and achievements early on and throughout the duration of the film.5. Less is More When it Comes to TextA screenplay is not meant to read like a novel. At all costs, avoid lengthy paragraphs and overly descriptive writing. First and foremost, a good script should be no more than 120 pages and ideally, should be about 110 pages in length. Therefore, there’s only so much room to work with.A good rule of thumb: if you can’t show it on the screen, then avoid putting it in the script. There is no need to write your characters thoughts or feelings into your screenplay. After all, your audience isn’t reading your script, they are watching a motion picture. Therefore, leave out what can’t be shown visually or revealed in dialogue – it will only throw off the pacing and lead to unnecessary re-writes down the the road, when you could have spent that time revising other elements of the screenplay.6. Avoid Forced Exposition at All CostsThere are few things worse than the sight of constant exposition in a film. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of writing a great story, you feel it’s hard to omit a good portion of it from your script. However, forced exposition must be omitted at all costs.If you have trouble identifying what ‘must go’, understand that your writing will feel forced if 1) your characters are engaged in a conversation about subject matter in which they should obviously already be familiar; and 2) your characters bring up crucial information about the story out of nowhere, for the sake of informing the audience about key facts, which are integral to our understanding of the film. These awkward ways of feeding the audience information will not reflect real human behavior or interaction and will profoundly affect the ways in which your audience must relate or empathize with your characters. Audiences are generally quite smart and will pick up on things naturally, so always remember that you don’t need to shove it down their throats.7. Write DailyIt can be a challenge to consistently write, which is why even for the best writers out there it requires focus and discipline. As a professional writer, you must commit to writing/working on your script each and every day. Set your intentions early on in the writing process and commit to your goals. Writing can be an arduous task but if you set an intention to write every single day, then two things will happen: you will become a better writer and you WILL finish your script.8. FinishWhen it comes to screenwriting, many people will argue what the “hardest part” is. Is it the simple act of getting started? Or is finding a unique story that is different than what we’ve seen before? Maybe it’s letting go of scenes that you like, but just aren’t working.In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of the process is knowing when to stop. Hanging on to your screenplay and making revision after revision (beyond the scope of what’s necessary) renders your script overworked, and ultimately makes the story feel tired. Of course, take the required time to get your ideas down on paper, and make as many edits as you (and those helping) deem necessary, but know when to let go and identify when you’ve got a product that is ready to be shot and seen.There is no question that as a screenwriter, you are passionate about storytelling. If your goal is to write screenplays at a professional level, then you must consider the dangers that prevent you from telling a great story, as well as the techniques available to help your story transcend the realm of text to motion pictures. You need to do your homework, dedicate yourself to your craft, have a clear message to send, make your characters as human as possible (people with dreams that must be realized in spite of conflict), and know when your text begins to compromise how your story will be interpreted and felt by your audience. Above all, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to tell a complete story and be open to the constructive feedback that will make your script a success.
Backing Up ProjectsAbove, I said I sometimes use the export option to back up a project file off-drive because I’m incredibly paranoid about losing an edit. However, in Resolve 15, we also have a dedicated backup system. First, let’s distinguish between creating a backup and autosaving. When Resolve automatically saves your project, it overwrites the existing save with a new version that includes all of the changes since the last save — the basics right? A backup, however, will be of an older variation of the project, depending on when you create it.For example, Resolve creates backups every X minutes, every X hours, and every X days. If you generate backups every 20 minutes, you’ll have three backups until the creation of the hourly backup. The first hourly backup is inherently going to be different from the third hourly backup. This system is ideal if you accidentally delete an important timeline and don’t realize it until it’s too late. With backups, you can revert to an earlier version of the project.To find the project backup option, hit Ctrl+ to open the preferences panel (also located under DaVinci Resolve in the top menu), and select “Project Save and Load.”With this setting activated, Resolve will save multiple backup projects comparable to the grandfather-father-son backup rotation. By default, this setting is inactive; therefore, if you’re loading up Resolve for the first time and want to automatically back up your projects, you’re going to need to turn this feature on.As you can see from the menu, there are a lot of backup options, and after a day of editing, you’re going to have many backups of your project. You don’t have to worry about there being too many, as they only generate when changes are being implemented — and they write over themselves on a first-in-and-out basis. Once you reach your maximum X-minutes backups, the first one will get replaced with the next X-minute backup and so on.To find your backups, head to the Project Manager, right-click, and hit “Project Backups.” From here, you can load and delete individual backups. Interested in Resolve’s capability as an NLE? These guidelines will help you navigate working with project files in this renowned application.When you initially open Resolve, you’ll see a project window called the Project Manager. Here, you can load an existing project, or you can create a new project from scratch. However, you may notice that you don’t get to choose where the project file will be stored. Even when saving your project through the “Save Copy As” function, you still don’t get to choose the location — only the name. This is because Resolve operates within an industry-standard database system. Any item that isn’t a media file will be stored in the database. Admittedly, if you haven’t worked with a system like this, it can seem daunting at first. A quick Google search for “DaVinci Resolve save location” will bring up hundreds of frantic search queries from worried users.In hindsight, I can say it makes a lot of sense. All projects are stored in the same place on your system drive, but if you need to back up, transfer, or import a project, you do so within Resolve and not in explorer or finder as you would with Premiere. In fact, renaming or moving projects outside of Resolve can result in a project becoming corrupted. It’s a big no-no.Let’s have a look at how you execute these tasks.Transferring and RestoringIn your Project Manager, right-click on a project and select archive.This will copy all of the media in your project to the destination folder. Rest assured: the original media will remain untouched in its original location. It’s important to note that if you’re using hundreds of gigabytes of media, not only is the process going to take a while, you’re also going to have to make sure the new drive has enough available space.How an archived project folder will appear. With your project fully archived, you need to restore it to use in Resolve. Back in the project window, right-click anywhere, and hit “restore.” Navigate to the archived project folder, and select open. Resolve will then import the project, bins, and media exactly as you left them prior to archiving. If you were previously a Premiere Pro user, you might find yourself in familiar territory with this process.Import and ExportWhen you open the contextual menu in the project manager, you’ll also see an option to import and export a project.At first, this may seem like the same thing as archiving and restoring, but the primary difference is that you are only exporting the project files — the timelines, bins, settings. Everything but the media.This is for when you need to work from a different computer, and you already have the media on the other machine. If you’re hyper-cautious, you could also use this function to make a backup of your project to store in the cloud or on a flash drive.A quick note regarding this process: if you export a project, then place it on the desktop of a new computer, you will be unable to open the project directly from the file itself. It doesn’t matter if you associate the file type with Resolve, it still won’t open the software. Even if you have Resolve open, the project will not load. You have to import back through the project window.However, when you import a project from another computer, you’ll notice that all of the media is offline — even if you have the same media on your computer. Therefore, you will need to relink your media.Thankfully, this is a very straightforward process. You don’t want to individually relink media clips, as that’s a tedious process — as is relinking individual bins. Instead, right-click on the master bin, and select “Relink Clips for Selected Bins.” From here, navigate to your media folder, click open, and Resolve will relink the missing files. Save AsFinally, we have the “Save As” function. I’m sure everyone will know how Save As works, but it’s important to know that when you use Save As, you will immediately switch over and begin editing the new copy, not the original.Perhaps the most crucial bit of information about the way Resolve handles project files is their deletion, as deleting a project from the Project Manager is permanent.As you can see in the popup above, you cannot undo the action — you will not find the project file in the recycling bin, and if you go to the database folder on your hard drive, you won’t be able to bring it back by hitting Ctrl+Z.Lewis McGregor is a certified DaVinci Resolve trainer.Looking for more on Resolve? Check out these articles.Get To Know DaVinci Resolve 15’s Super Scale FeatureHow to Add Sound Effects to a Sound Library in DaVinci Resolve 15Revamped Text Features in the New DaVinci Resolve 15Everything You Need to Know About the LUT Browser in DaVinci Resolve 15
When you have a problem or challenge, the best way to gain control is to take massive action.
Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now The perfect business card will not win you new accounts. It might look better than any other business card your dream client has even seen, but it will not do enough by itself to create any real value for them, nor will it define you as the right business partner. There is little reason to obsess over your business card.No one has met a person who really wants your four-color glossy sales brochure. That person does not exist. What does your sales collateral really do for your prospective client other than cure their insomnia or give them something to throw away later? If you expect a brochure to help you displace your competitor, you are going to be disappointed.There aren’t many people who love a good slide deck as much as I do. My main deck has hundreds of slides, all of them professionally designed. I want the concepts to be clear and compelling, so I in invest in making sure that this is true. The deck, however, supports a conversation, a dialogue. As good as a deck may be, it cannot do your selling for you. It is only there to support you with visuals, nothing else.Design matters a great deal when it comes to proposals. The presentation of the idea is enhanced by great design and excellent graphics. It shows an attention to detail, and it helps to prove that you are buttoned up and professional. It will not, however, win a deal for you. The work you do leading up to the presentation of the proposal is going to outweigh any design aesthetics, as nice as they are. The content of the proposal, the solution if you will, is more important than the design.For most of my life, I have walked into sales meetings with nothing more than a legal pad and a pen, believing everything else is a gimmick at best, a distraction at worst. The intangibles, like your business acumen, your situational knowledge, your rapport skills, your ability to shape a compelling future vision, and your ability to help people produce better results count for far more than your business card, your brochures and sales sheets, your slide deck, or your proposal.There is no tangible substitute that eliminates the need to develop the intangibles.
A day after he “unfollowed” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other leaders on Twitter and deleted all political tweets from his timeline, Gujarat’s leader of the opposition Shankersinh Vaghela on Monday clarified that he wasn’t joining the saffron party as rumoured.On Sunday, Mr. Vaghela skipped the Gujarat Congress IT cell meeting and announced at a function in north Gujarat that he “was unlikely to contest any election now.” Subsequently, his social media manager unfollowed all leaders from his official twitter handle @Shankersinhbapu and deleted all political tweets.“I want to ask who is spreading all these rumours and gossips about my joining BJP,” Mr. Vaghela said, while talking to the media in Gandhinagar on Monday.According to him, his decision to unfollow Mr. Gandhi and other leaders was not personal. He had decided to get off social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook because they were creating misunderstanding.“I have earlier also made it clear that I am not in the race to be CM candidate of the Congress. However, there were some messages like “Bapu as CM” being circulated on the social media. So now, I have decided to be inactive on the social media for now” said Mr Vaghela as he tried to explain that he was not “sulking” or putting pressure on the Congress high command to make him CM nominee ahead of the assembly polls to be held later this year.Mr Vaghela also stressed that the Congress party would contest the polls under the leadership of state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, a former union minister.It may be noted that the 77 year old Vaghela, who was been Chief Minister and also union cabinet minister, has been pushing the party leadership to announce him as CM nominee despite the high command’s repeated indications that no leader would be declared CM candidate in Gujarat.Earlier, Vaghela had organised a meeting of party legislators in Gandhinagar in the presence of Gurudas Kamat, the then in charge of Gujarat affairs for the Congress party, at which many legislators had reportedly told Kamat to accept Vaghela as CM candidate.Subsequently, Kamat was replaced by the high command as general secretary in charge of the party in Gujarat.
Officers of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) conducted raids at five properties owned by the D.S. Kulkarni (DSK) group on Thursday.Four properties in the city, including Mr. Kulkarni’s residence on Senapati Bapat Road and the group’s office on J.M. Road, and its corporate office in Mumbai were raided. However, the developer was not found at his home or the offices during the searches, said police.More than 8,000 persons, mostly senior citizens, are believed to have invested in the fixed deposit (FD) scheme of the group. The police estimate that there are 33,000 investments in Mr. Kulkarni’s FD scheme. While the total amount of investors’ money is yet to be ascertained, Right to Information (RTI) activist Vijay Kumbhar estimates the sum to be ₹1,500 crore. An EOW official said, “We have so far received nearly 300 complaints against Mr. Kulkarni accusing him of not returning the money of investors. Based on these complaints, we carried out searches at his home and offices. We are scrutinising computer data, official papers and bank details of Mr. Kulkarni and his kin.”On October 28, the city police registered an FIR against Mr. Kulkarni and his wife, Hemanti, under sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act, and under relevant sections of the IPC. Cheque bouncing cases In August this year, several investors filed cheque bouncing cases against the builder, his company and relatives in local courts. They demanded that his passport be impounded to prevent him from leaving the country. The complainants alleged that the developer invested their hard-earned money in his ambitious 300-acre Dream City township project of luxury apartments at Loni Kalbhor.
The dissident Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nana Patole who was a member of parliament representing the Gondia-Bhandara constituency in Maharashtra, resigned on Friday. Following his resignation, he has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Other Backward Caste (OBC) credentials, and claimed the party has done nothing for the benefit of the community other than drum up support for garnering votes by projecting Mr.Modi’s caste status.Speaking to The Hindu in an exclusive interview, Mr.Patole said that he would be campaigning against the BJP in Gujarat elections.Full text of the interview.Why did you quit the BJP and resign as an MP?The Maharashtra BJP government and central BJP government made many promises during the election campaigns to get elected, but after getting elected they repeatedly ignored those promises. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Yavatmal district in the farmers-suicide-prone Vidarbha region (during 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign) for his ‘Chai pe Charcha’ and promised the farmers there that if his government came to power, he would implement the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation, and would give one and half times the going rate for the farmers’ crops.They came to power by making wholesale promises, but they cheated the farmers immediately after the elections by filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court that they would not implement the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations. The rate of farmers’ suicide has increased by 34% in last three years. I had been repeatedly raising these issues in the Lok Sabha and at party forums. There was a meeting regarding the farmers’ problems at the Prime Minister’s residence during last year’s winter session of parliament.I raised some questions about the farmers’ issues during this meeting but the Prime Minister got angry with me. When I raised issues about the socio-economic and educational problems of the OBCs, the PM was again annoyed with me. That was a trigger somewhere (for quitting the party). I was repeatedly raising issues such as the fishermen’s issues, the closure of industries, the bad impact of the demonetization and the GST. The government did not act on all these issues.The BJP had promised that the central government will provide employment to two crore people in the country and create five lakh jobs in the state (Maharashtra). However, instead of providing employment or business opportunities, they have snatched common people’s employment. When I tried to raise these issues with the Prime Minister and Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) personally, they did not even grant me an audience. They instead called me a rebel and tried to make fun of me. They even told the BJP workers in my Lok Sabha constituency to boycott my programs. Their behavior made me realize that they do not want a person who raises common people’s issues. Yesterday, when I had no options left, I submitted my resignation.Why did you take so long to resign? You had been openly critical of the BJP and PM for months now.I kept giving letters to them (PM and CM) and sought their time for meeting to sort out these issues. But nothing happened. However, the day before yesterday when the Prime Minister said that he came from a ‘Nichi Jati’ (lower caste) which why he was being hounded, I was furious. When I was demanding a separate ministry for the OBCs, it was Mr.Modi who had shouted at me and questioned its need saying that the OBC’s don’t need it. I also come from a backward caste but when I raised the issues of my people, you shout at me. But you go in the election and flaunt your OBC background. What have you done for the OBCs? They are still away from progress. All these developments made resign now. Now, I have doubts if Prime Minister Modi is really an OBC. If he had been a genuine OBC, he would not have shouted at me for raising the issues of the OBCs. He would have supported those demands and worked for the OBCs.Are you saying that the Modi government is neglecting the OBCs?Yes, absolutely. In last three years, the OBC students have not been given scholarships. They are still lagging behind in social- cultural and educational development. The PM claims to belong to the backward community but he hasn’t done anything for them. They are making poor farmers’ family members stand in the queue for loan waiver but providing big waivers to big business houses. They allow Vijay Mallya to escape but put OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal behind the bars. If the PM comes from the OBC community then why did he jail an OBC leader like Bhujbal? Why is he being singled out?You have been in touch with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and some Congress leaders….I had been in touch with Uddhav Thackeray, Ashok Chavan (Maharashtra Congress president) and I also spoke to Rahul Gandhi over the phone. I told them about how many farmers and farm laborers have died in Maharashtra due to pesticides. The Maharashtra government showed the forensic laboratory report and claimed that these farmers died because of liquor consumption and not due to pesticides. This is rubbing salt on the wounds of the family members of these deceased farmers and farm laborers.It’s not an allegation that the Modi and Fadnavis governments are anti-farmers, it is a fact. I went and met these families. I realized that I alone could not exert much pressure on the government so I decided to form a group of politicians who can force the government to act which is why I met Uddhav Thackeray. There was no political motive behind my meeting with him. I also demanded support from Mr.Chavan and Rahul Gandhi. The Bt cotton seed producing companies claim that the Bt cotton is pest resistance then what is Bollworm? Defective seeds and banned pesticides are being sold all over the country. I was demanding a law to protect the farmers.What are your future plans?I am going to Ahmadabad on December 11. After Gujarat elections, I will go back to my constituency and travel in the state. After speaking to the people, I will decide whether to join any party or to form my own political outfit. My workers, and the common people are supporting me.Will you contest the by-elections (In Gondia-Bhandara)? You had defeated the NCP leader Praful Patel in 2014 but you might face him again in by-elections.Mr.Praful Patel’s tenure as the aviation minister saw many aviation scandals. Now, it is being said that he is hobnobbing with the BJP. Is he inclined towards the BJP or it is his necessity to do so? Praful Patel is never a subject matter for me as I have defeated in a direct election. I don’t care if the BJP gives him a ticket (from Bhandara-Gondia) or not. The PM said he will jail all the corrupt people. How many corrupt people have been put behind bars? You legalized the black money of corrupt people through demonetization. I am ready for a fight now.
“Preparing an army takes six to seven months but we [RSS cadres] will be battle ready in two-three days…this is our capability and discipline that marks us apart,” said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at a meeting of the organisation in Muzaffarpur on Sunday.He clarified that “ours is not a military or paramilitary organisation but our discipline is just like them.”Mr Bhagwat is on a 10-day tour of Bihar to meet RSS workers, farmers and farm activists from the State and Jharkhand.While recalling the attack by China in 1962, Mr. Bhagwat claimed that it was RSS volunteers who stood till the army reached there. He exhorted RSS volunteers to attend the Shakha daily and “enlist one new RSS member every year.”Amid speculation that he is visiting Bihar in view of the coming 2019 general election, he said he had come for the RSS. “I keep visiting across the country for the RSS expansion,” he added.Later, Mr. Bhagwat reached Patna in the evening and addressed RSS workers at a field in Rajendra Nagar locality. He said, “We have to live and die for the country. If we disunite, it will pose a problem for the country. It is only because of our disunity, others have ruled us.”Vaidya clarifies remarksClarifying Mr. Bhagwat’s remarks, Akhil Bharatiya Prachaar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya said, “Bhagwat ji said that if situation arises and the Constitution permits, the Indian Army would take six months to prepare society, whereas Sangh swayamsevaks can be trained in three days, as Swayamsevaks practise discipline regularly. This was no way a comparison between the Indian Army and the Sangh swayamsevaks but it was a comparison between general society and swayamsevaks. Both are to be trained by the Indian Army only.”Rahul sees ‘insult’ to ArmyReacting to Mr. Bhagwat’s remarks. Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The RSS Chief’s speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Mr Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army.”Mr. Bhagwat is scheduled to leave for Varanasi from Patna on February 15.
Facing ridicule from different sections for claiming that “Internet and information technology existed during the Mahabharata era”, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday defended his statement saying only “narrow-minded people won’t believe it”.He received support from the State’s Governor Tathagata Roy who claimed that Mr. Deb’s observation is “topical”.“Narrow minded people find it tough to believe this (Internet in the Mahabharata era). They want to belittle their own nation and think highly of other countries. Believe the truth. Don’t get confused and don’t confuse,” Mr. Deb told media persons when asked about his controversial statement.The Chief Minister, while speaking at a programme on computerisation of public distribution system here on Tuesday, had said that he believed Internet, information technology and satellite communication existed in the days of Mahabharata. He said in the epic Mahabharata it has been mentioned that Sanjay (the charioteer of Dhritarashtra) gave a live commentary of the war of Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to the blind king Dhritarashtra. The Chief Minister’s statement drew sharp ridicule from his opponents, academicians and social media users who termed his contention as “unscientific”, “illogical” and “retrogressive”.Amidst the controversy, Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy backed the Chief Minister on Twitter. “Tripura Chief Minister’s observations about the happenings of the Puranic period are topical. It is virtually impossible to conceive of devices like ‘Divya drishti’, ‘Pushpaka Ratha’, etc without some kind of prototype and study thereon,” Mr. Roy, himself a civil engineer, said in a tweet. (With PTI inputs)
Mumbai: With multi-cornered electoral battles and all political parties jumping in the fray, graduates and teachers registered as voters from Mumbai, Konkan and Nasik regions are set to choose their four representatives to the Legislative Council on June 25. BJP, Sena go aloneThe ruling allies, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, too have pitted their candidates against each other taking forward the electoral battle which kicked-off from Palghar Lok Sabha bye-election.Teachers residing in Mumbai (city and suburbs) will elect their representative to a seat held by Lok Bharati’s Kapil Patil for the last two terms. Mr. Patil, who has now merged his party with Bihar’s former JDU leader Sharad Yadav, has received support from all opposition parties and will be taking on BJP’s Anil Deshmukh and Shivaji Shendge of Shiv Sena. Record voters“This election runs very different from any other. We have to first register voters, who are teachers residing in Mumbai. We have registered the highest number of teachers. In addition, teachers are aware that I have been raising issues which concern them,” said Mr. Patil. BJP claims that the teachers’ constituency has been its traditional forte and it will reclaim it this time. On Sunday, BJP held a special meeting asking all its elected representatives to start working for Mr. Deshmukh and its candidate for Mumbai graduate constituency, Amit Mehta. Sena’s strongholdThe graduate constituency, where any person who has completed his/her graduation from any UGC-affiliated university and residing in Mumbai can vote, has been with Sena from last many years. Present Health Minister Deepak Sawant represented it but had to resign as the party refused to field him this time. Instead, Sena has fielded Vilas Potnis who will take on Mr. Mehta. Marathi language activist Deepak Pawar too is contesting this poll as an independent. “I am contesting the election to break the mould and make this a constituency that genuinely represents the voice of Mumbai graduates,” he said. The Opposition has extended support to Peasant and Workers Party’s Rajendra Korde, who is confident of winning the seat. “We as an opposition never contested it as seriously as we are doing now. My victory will show that even the graduates are now fed up of this government,” he said. Ex-mayor is candidateIn the Konkan graduate constituency, BJP has fielded Niranjan Davkhare, formerly with the NCP. According to sources, miffed with Mr. Davkhare, NCP top bosses have given clear instruction to ensure his defeat. NCP has fielded Najib Mulla with support from entire opposition, while the Sena has fielded former Thane mayor Sanjay More. With Sena and BJP contesting seperately, Mr. Davkhare may find it tough to retain his seat. The counting of votes will take place on June 28.
The West Bengal government has started repairing 10 flood shelters in Alipurduar district, near the State’s border with Assam, anticipating the arrival of those who have been left out of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “We are prepared for any eventuality,” Alipurduar District Magistrate Nikhil Nirmal told The Hindu. “So far, we have not received any instruction [about people from Assam seeking shelter in Bengal]. But if such a situation arises, we will act according to the government’s instructions.”The shelters are located in Changmari, Pakriguri, Madhya Haldibari and Hemaguri villages in the Kumargram block and Dangi, Chepani and Purba Salbari villages in the Alipurduar II block. Each can accommodate 300 people. Trinamool Congress leaders did not rule out the possibility of the shelters being used to accommodate the people from Assam. “We are waiting for instructions from the government,” a Trinamool MLA said.‘Routine patrolling’Residents said the shelters were being repaired for the first time in the last three to four years. The police deployment on Alipurduar’s border with Assam would not be much. But ever since the draft was published, there had been more patrolling in the area, they said. However, Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Yadav called it “routine.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has “called off” a proposed meeting with representatives of the Isak-Muivah faction of the extremist National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) in Arunachal Pradesh following a wave of protests.The meeting was scheduled for Thursday at Deomali in eastern Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district bordering Myanmar.“The meeting has been called off by New Delhi due to security reasons and unavoidable circumstances,” a statement from the Arunachal Naga Students’ Federation said.Last week, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union had asked Chief Minister Pema Khandu not to allow the meeting on the State’s soil. ‘Bid to create confusion’“It is a premeditated attempt on their [NSCN-IM] part to create confusion on the purported peace talks and sabotage peace in the State as the content of the Framework Agreement is still shrouded in mystery and yet to be made public,” the union’s president Hawa Bagang said.The NSCN(IM) and other factions operate in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh, together called the TCL region. These districts, along with large swathes of Assam and Manipur, are included in the NSCN(IM)’s map of Greater Nagalim encompassing all Naga-inhabited areas beyond Nagaland.The three States neighbouring Nagaland are opposed to the idea of Greater Nagalim and suspect the Centre might have given in to the outfit’s demand while signing the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015.Warning to peopleEastern Naga National Government, a newly-formed insurgent group, had also warned the people of eastern Arunachal Pradesh against attending the MHA’s meeting with NSCN(IM). The group pointed out that the NSCN(IM)’s ‘integration’ demand has nothing to do with Arunachal Pradesh. The perception that the Centre has come close to resolving the 70-year-old Naga political issue has made other States in the northeast restive too. On Wednesday, the Kuki tribal group in Manipur observed a 24-hour shutdown in its areas demanding punitive action against the NSCN(IM) for the ethnic cleansing of Kuki people from 1992-1997.The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), which called the shutdown, said let the Centre know that their land must be excluded from any territorial deal with the NSCN(IM).
At least 100 barrels with Chinese inscriptions indicating explosive chemical content floated down the Siang river after a landslide-induced barrier upstream in Tibet gave way on October 19, an apex students’ body of Arunachal Pradesh said.The barrels containing isocyanate — a toxic chemical — and suspected explosive material could mean that Chinese agencies were carrying out construction activities along or on the Tsangpo (the Chinese call it Yaluzangbu), the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union said. The Tsangpo flows into Arunachal Pradesh as the Siang, which meets two other rivers to form the Brahmaputra in Assam downstream.Administrative heads of the three districts — East Siang, Siang and Upper Siang — said some local people fished out a few blue cylinders that looked like cooking fuel but there was no evidence of chemical or explosive material having flowed down from the Tibetan region.Memorandum to Home Minister The district units of the AAPSU staged a demonstration on Wednesday besides submitting a memorandum to Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking a formal water treaty with Beijing toward a solution to the Siang river crisis.NGOs and riverbank dwellers blame construction of dams and alleged Chinese plans to divert the water of the Tsangpo to parched areas of Xinjiang for the Siang river drying up and flowing with a very high tide in quick succession. The river also turns turbid periodically.“The frequent change in the river’s character has been pronounced in the last 18 months. It is time for New Delhi to be assertive and push for a water treaty with Beijing or all other rivers flowing down into India from Tibet will face the same fate as the Siang,” AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai said.The explosives containing barrels found floating on the Siang were an indication of heavy construction activities across the border that is being played down by New Delhi, he claimed.East Siang’s deputy commissioner Tamiyo Tatak said metallic and plastic material did flow down from the upper reaches of the Siang on October 19, but officials could not ascertain what they were. “We saw some 50-odd containers that drifted away to Assam,” he said.Rajeev Takuk, his counterpart in Siang district to the north, said his officials spotted a few bluish drums floating down a couple of hours after the surge of water entered his district around 4 am at a point where a Bailey bridge connects his district and Upper Siang bordering China.“I am not sure how some people found out they contained explosives or chemicals. The barrels looked more like fuel containers. We cannot come out with conspiracy theories on the basis of some drums that we could not retrieve and study,” he told The Hindu.The AAPSU, however, insisted that the barrels bore Chinese insignia and could have been the cause of the landslide that led to the blocking of the Tsangpo 10 days ago.
The operation to rescue 15 miners trapped in an illegal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 saw some progress on Friday.District officials said the Odisha Fire Service personnel drained out enough water from an old shaft for the other agencies to lower high-power pumps in the main pit where 15 coal miners are trapped.The old and freshly-dug mines are interconnected, and the miners are believed to have either hit an aquifer or a water-filled abandoned mine.“The water in the old shaft receded by 3.5 ft after the Odisha Fire Service personnel used two pumps to drain out 9,00,000 litres,” a spokesperson said. While people from Coal India Limited inserted its pump in the old shaft, those from Kirloskar lowered two pumps in the main shaft,” a spokesperson said.Pumping of water from the main shaft is expected by Saturday, the seventh day of the renewed operation. The water level in the 350 ft deep main shaft needs to go down to a certain level before the Navy divers can go in, officials said.The water level of another interconnected old shaft nearby went down by 13 inches since Thursday. But the level rose again after water seeped in throughout the night.
Seeking to enhance economic, business and cultural relations with African countries, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday assured representatives of African nations that India will continue to be their trusted partner and work closely for their economic and social empowerment. Ms. Swaraj was in Gandhinagar to participate in Africa Day event held as part of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in which representatives, including ministers and diplomats, of over 50 African countries participated. “Our PM has accorded top priority to Africa in our foreign and economic policy. As Africa marches in its journey towards security, renewal and prosperity, India will remain a trusted partner, working closely with Africa for the economic and social empowerment of its people,” she said in her address. “Strong relations between India and Africa will go a long way in redefining the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines,” she said.Stressing the importance of Africa for the government in India, she said it was the first time India dedicated an entire day to a continent during the investors’ meet. According to her, it’s being held during the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi and the 100th birth anniversary of iconic African leader Nelson Mandela.Talking about growing business and economic ties between India and African nations, she said Africa had emerged as an important trade and investment partner of India. “The trade between India and Africa stood at USD 62.66 billion for 2017-18, which reflects a nearly 22% increase over the previous year. India is ranked third largest export destination in Africa,” she added. India has accorded Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme to 38 African countries. She said the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement will further boost trade and economic ties with Africa.“In recent years, there has been a surge in Indian investment in Africa. India is the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investments of USD 54 billion,” she said. Indian investments in African will grow manifold in the coming years due to the Indian government’s thrust in strengthening ties with the resource-rich continent. According to her, major areas identified for investments are minerals and mining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, high-technology manufacturing and information and communication technology.“Currently, 189 projects in 42 African countries for nearly USD 11.4 billion are being implemented under the Indian Line of Credits). These projects have had a positive impact in many African countries and are changing the lives of its people by covering a range of sectors,” she added.
A tribal clan in the eastern Himalayas is miffed with Congress president Rahul Gandhi because he allegedly equated them with thieves.Modi is a clan of the Adi community that mostly inhabits central Arunachal Pradesh. The Modis, numbering about 5,000, are from the Mariyang area of the State’s Upper Siang district.Some members of the clan took offence when Mr. Gandhi — addressing an election rally at Nanded in Maharashtra in April — asked: “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… How come all the thieves have Modi in their names?”Apart from the Prime Minister, the Modis that Mr. Gandhi targeted are the fugitive diamond merchant now in a United Kingdom jail and the former chief of the Indian Premier League banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.What offended the Modis of Arunachal Pradesh was what Mr. Gandhi added to his ‘thief’ analogy at an earlier rally in Karnataka’s Kolar. “We don’t know how many such Modis will come out,” he had said.On May 8, advocate Omit Modi filed a criminal defamation suit in his hometown Pasighat against Mr. Gandhi for his remark on the surname ‘Modi’. The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate subsequently issued a summons to the Congress president.Pasighat, the headquarters of East Siang district, is about 570 km northeast of Guwahati.“The statement was not made in good faith but to malign the reputation of the persons having Modi as surname,” Mr. Omit Modi said, adding that the court has asked Mr. Gandhi to appear before it on July 24.A spokesperson of the community-based Modi Welfare Society said that people should use their freedom of expression with caution in order not to hurt sentiments.‘Owe an apology’“It is unfortunate that Mr. Gandhi has inadvertently insulted the Modi clan. We owe them an apology,” a leader of the Arunachal Pradesh unit of the Congress said on condition of anonymity.The Adis are among the largest indigenous communities in the State. A small population of their community inhabits the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China where they are called Lhoba.
Now in its seventh season, the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory is more popular than ever, averaging 19.79 million viewers per episode; and it’s not going away anytime soon. The comedy—recently extended to 2017—revolves around a gang of physicists and an engineer who work at the California Institute of Technology. Some recurring themes include their dorky obsession with sci-fi and comic books, their roller coaster–like love lives, and their surprisingly accurate scientific research in the lab.Science caught up with David Saltzberg, who’s been the show’s one and only science consultant since it premiered, at this past weekend’s USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. Saltzberg is an astrophysicist at the University of California, Los Angeles. When he’s not sifting through scripts or on the set, you can find him in the classroom or searching for neutrinos in Antarctica.Q: Science last spoke with you in 2008. What’s changed about the show’s portrayal of science since you started? Has it changed at all now that you’re more experienced in consulting?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)D.S.: I’ve certainly gotten more efficient. The writers and I used to have to go back and forth a lot more for me to converge on what they wanted. But now we just finished 7 years together, and so we’re a little bit like an old married couple. We know each other’s thinking a little better.The whiteboards the characters use for equations have actually changed into something where real scientists pitch me their latest results and ask if they can appear on them. It’s sort of become a thing to get on the whiteboards. Dozens of scientists are watching those boards. The big discovery of gravitational waves, which indicated cosmological inflation, got a special place. It appeared on Stephen Hawking’s board, which of course is a much higher level than our main characters’ boards. That was actually vetted by Hawking himself. The producers didn’t want to put something on his board that he wouldn’t be comfortable with, so they took what I had suggested and sent a picture to him. He said he liked it.Q: Speaking of gravitational waves, why do you think it’s important to throw in recent events like that?D.S.: That subject was promoted not just to a whiteboard, but to the actual dialogue, which is appropriate since it’s such a great discovery. It’s really the creative call of the writers. It’s their show and they know what makes sense. But these physicists live in our universe, so this would be something they would talk about. So I think it adds to the reality. I’m not a writer, but when I listen to writers, they talk a lot about creating a world that’s believable, and people getting drawn into the story. And I think the more real things are, the more you can do that.That said, I would never say you have to be accurate in science on television. I think you could make a great story with completely gonzo science. But it’s a creative decision and as long as the creators, in this case, thought that accurate science made sense, I’m here to help them with that.Q: A recent review said the show portrays scientists as these misfits or nerds, and that kids are deterred from science because of this. What’s your response?D.S.: I don’t know exactly what a nerd, or misfit, is, but let’s accept those words for a moment. I read a piece like that in The New York Times and thought it was shockingly offensive to people. I was actually surprised they would print it. What’s wrong with being a misfit? It was a woman writing an op-ed piece who complained about nerds turning people off from science. What’s wrong with being nerdy, for lack of a better word? It’s quite judgmental.Q: What was it that made you decide that you wanted to get into advising TV shows?D.S.: Oh, they asked. I feel like living in LA and being a professor, part of our job is to help local industry. You might normally think that a physicist is helping out industries like Lockheed Martin or Raytheon, but the entertainment industry is another industry that employs a lot of people. And it helps our city, so I’m happy to help when I can. Then it turned out to something bigger where they wanted me around all the time. I could see they were doing a great show and so I was happy to join in.Q: Are there any particular tips you would give to scientists who want to break into this field?D.S.: It’s funny because I never deliberately sought this out. If they’re interested, the best thing to do is contact the Science & Entertainment Exchange. It’s an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and they have an office in Los Angeles. They have a giant Rolodex of industry people and a giant Rolodex of scientists. They consider themselves 1-800-Dial-a-Scientist.So send them an e-mail; they’re very friendly. Tell them what your expertise is. They will probably call and talk to you about your expertise a little bit and then keep you on file. If you’re an expert in some particular type of feldspar and somebody wants to make a movie about that, they will make the connection. They also have events at least once a month in LA where industry people mingle with scientists. I’ve met a number of people and vice versa. It’s done a terrific job melding cultures.Q: How much time does advising take out of your schedule?D.S.: For an episode, it just takes a few hours to look at scripts and put things on the whiteboards. But I also go to just about every taping, which is a few more hours. Luckily, most of this is in the evening. They finish up with scripts and are ready for comments in the evening. Tapings are in the evening. So my evening relaxation is looking at scripts.Right now I’m teaching a large undergraduate class 4 days a week. I’m here in D.C. this weekend, but tonight in my hotel room I’ll maybe be creating a midterm. As for research, we’re planning a big balloon launch in December of this year in Antarctica, so we’re getting ready for that. It’ll be looking for neutrinos hitting the Antarctic ice sheet. We’ve launched it before, but we have a new and improved scientific payload and we’re hoping this time we’ll see the neutrinos [to learn about the origin of cosmic rays].I usually spend about 2 to 3 months at a time in Antarctica. It happened once where I had to look at scripts by e-mail. The executive producer, Chuck Lorre, once said he thinks they’re the only sitcom that sends their scripts to Antarctica for vetting. I think he’s right.Q: Do you plan to see The Big Bang Theory through to the end?D.S.: Yup. Maybe like the universe, there will be no end though.
In the Calnali River in Mexico, two pure species of swordtail fish live side by side with a third population that’s a mix of the original two. Classical models of evolution predict that pure females would not mate with these hybrids, as the hybrids are considered less fit from an evolutionary perspective. But a new study shows that’s not the case. Researchers examined the two pure swordtail species, Xiphophorus birchmanni and Xiphophorus malinche, as well as the hybrids, tagging the animals and extracting DNA to probe their mating patterns. They discovered that X. birchmanni and X. malinche did not mate with each other, but that females of both species mated with the hybrids. Hybrids can therefore act as a channel for genes to flow between the pure species populations, the team will report next month in The American Naturalist. But if the two pure species can’t mate, how did the hybrids form in the first place? The researchers suspect that contaminants in runoff from rural villages confused the fishes’ sense of smell, which typically prevents them from mating with other species. Those contaminants may have weakened over time, re-erecting the olfactory barriers to mating.