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Found 38 results

  1. “Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation. Let us affirm that we will be free from these tensions.” This is a test. It's a great quote, actually. Threatening violence just because of caste or communal differences does take us backwards as a society. We are better than this, right? I like to think we are. Now, just take a moment here and guess whose quote it is. Difficult? Okay, let me make it easier. The quote is by a seasoned politician, with a bright future. Try and guess again and keep it to yourself. It's a test, remember. Read on. The controversy around 'Padmavati' has well and truly erupted in the past couple of days. It's been so crazy that I've personally not managed to keep account of all the bounties on the heads of Ranveer, Deepika and Bhansali himself. Is it Rs. 5 crores for deepika's hands or 10 crores for Ranveer's head? And who are these incredibly rich people who are outbidding and sponsoring murders direct on national television? © BCCL What we're witnessing in 'Padmavati' protests is the silent extreme majority, that's not silent anymore. And this is not just a one-off. There have been warning signs we've ignored for a few years now. It's a continuation of the dilution of the Indian culture to suit the extremist views of the right wing. We've seen it in other forms earlier - you eat meat, you die; you speak out against the establishment, you're anti-national; you marry outside your religion, it's love jihad. For a country that prides itself for being incredibly tolerant, the evidence points otherwise. While artists, journalists and anyone with liberal set of values are labelled inconsequential in regards to this new idea of India, the likes of Hindu Mahasabha and Karni Sena are allowed to run amok. Recently, in one of the most bashful displays of power, the Hindu Mahasabha established a 32-inch tall bust of Nathuram Godse, the assassinator of Mahatma Gandhi at its office in Daulatganj, Gwalior City. For them, Godse was a nationalist and the 'temple' at their office is a matter of pride. "Nobody should have any objection to this as we have set up the temple in our own space. It is Mahasabha's own property," said Mahasabha's Vice-president Jaiveer Bharadwaj, justifying his organisation's actions. To understand the current political environment of the country, it's important to know what feeds this kind of hate and activism. India is going through an economic downturn. After a massive blow to the Indian economy because of outlandish and brutal policies that were executed badly, the government lead by Narendra Modi is facing unprecedented backlash from its core group of supporters. Be it jobs or the promise of bringing structural reforms to labour laws, the gulf of difference between what was promised and what's been delivered is slowly changing the mood at the ground level. It's not scary enough for an upset in the upcoming state elections but it will definitely be an issue if the tide doesn't turn soon. © BCCL Therefore, the current wave of nationalism and cultural protectionism is a quick-fix way to divert attention from issues that truly matter. It's a master-stroke by the government in power but there's a thin line between insanity and genius. Historically, whenever the government of the day muddles in issues that flame communal hatred or pit particular communities against each other, it doesn't end well. Be it Indira Gandhi in Kashmir in 1983 or the Sangh Parivar's agenda of Hindutva now, political parties looking to further their vision of a 'new-age' India with societal controls often blows up with horrendous circumstances. In contrast then, the hullabaloo surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum-opus 'Padmavati' is intriguing to say the least. The Rajput community contests that some scenes in the movie depict Rani Padmini as the love interest of Khalji, the bashful Muslim ruler who is supposed to have courted Rani Padmini during his conquests in north India. But according to Bhansali himself, that's not the case because the controversial 'dream sequence' was never filmed. This statement from Bhansali must have cleared all such doubts but somehow it snowballed into a bigger controversy thereafter. “This movie embroiled into so many controversies because of some rumour. Rumour is this, in the movie a dream scene has been filmed between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji. I have already rejected this claim and also given a written proof of this. Today again, I am reiterating through this video that in our movie there is no such scene between Rani Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji, which would hurt the sentiments of anyone,” Bhansali had said in his attempt to clear the rumours. That there's no dream sequence in the movie is abundantly clear from Bhansali's statement as well as the special screening that was held for a handful of media persons. But still, the release of the movie seems to have been deferred. What is it then that makes the story of 'Padmavati' controversial? © BCCL In order to understand the historical account of this story, it's important to note that Khilji defeated the Rana of Chittor in 1303 and subsequently died in 1316. The story of 'Padmavati' though first appears in 1540, in a book of poetry by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, a sufi poet. That there's no mention of Padmavati for 224 years when she's supposed to have committed jauhar to save her honour against a Muslim ruler shows that the Khilji-Padmavati romance theorists did actually got it wrong. Why haven't then the filmmakers made sure that the true story comes out? Were the protests being seen as a good marketing vehicle for a movie with considerable investment? In hindsight, 'Padmavati' the movie doesn't deserve to be released. In fact, it should be banned. The government, by default, should take steps to stop its screening, now or in future, just because we know how inept it was in stopping all the protests and madness around it. If you are not against it, then you are for it, surely. The makers of the movie have given in to threats and political statements that amount to extortion, even though they can objectively convey that there's not even a single frame with both the characters of Padmavati and Khilji onscreen. They have chosen to take a step back and allow a theatre of threats and lunacy to play and sort itself. It puts up a lot of question marks over their beliefs and priorities because if they can't even stand up for their own work, then why should the audience risk a viewing amidst a threatening and violent environment? And so, we come back to what it means for India. What it means for a country where installing a statue of a murderer is tolerable but releasing a movie with stories of characters that might actually be fictional, is a headache? Can we continue to call ourselves modern when every difference of opinion is labelled anti-national? It's all inconsequential. Why? Read that quote once again. “Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation. Let us affirm that we will be free from these tensions.” -Narendra Modi See the irony now? Modi is essentially a politician PM. And the problem with politicians is that they want us to affirm that we will be free from these tensions (communal, caste violence) but only when it suits their agenda. Other than that, be it Padmavati or Bajirao, Godse or Bhindrawale, they're going to leave you at the mercy of the mob because fear is the best form of social control and that is all they crave, especially when they are in power.
  2. With over billion fans across the globe, football is arguably one of the most popular sports on the planet. While football as a sport has been cherished by fans, the footballers, themselves, have enjoyed the status of demigods. There is no shortage of fame or money which in turns explains why some of the hottest women are smitten by footballers. The world of football has certainly seen a number of legendary 'Playboy' figures in the history of the game. Whether it was Manchester United legend George Best who loved women and alcohol as much as football or Italian great Antonio Cassano who once claimed he slept with 600-700 women during his playing career, football has seen it fair share of womanisers. But, when it comes to women, none of them even come close to the skills of Cristiano Ronaldo off the field. The Portuguese star is considered one of the greatest-ever players in the modern game. Barring the World Cup, the 32-year-old has probably won everything there is in football. On top of that, there is a continual influx of money coming through staggering wages and brand endorsements. And, considering that, there's no doubt Ronaldo continues to live his life king size. New animal in the building Bugatti Chiron ðððâï¸ðâï¸ A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Sep 28, 2017 at 10:32am PDT However, going by his past relationships, Ronaldo is not much of a winner when it comes to making it last with women. From hot models to prominent socialites, the Real Madrid talisman has been linked with them all. But, the recent revelation by an aspiring model and reality TV star has undoubtedly left the star striker red-faced. Natacha Rodrigues has sent shockwaves across the football fraternity with claims that the former Manchester United star cheated on his pregnant wife Georgina Rodriguez earlier this year. She further revealed that Ronaldo "used" her for ***. © Instagram/@natachasofs.oficial Speaking to British daily 'The Sun', the 21-year-old said: “I knew he had a girlfriend but we became friends, there was trust between us, a bond. He was a lovely person and after messaging for so long it was amazing to be with him. Our night together was special but afterwards I told him I was going on a Portuguese reality show and he told me not to do it. By the time I came out he'd blocked me. Now I think he just used me for ***. I don't have regrets because being with him was like a dream come true but I feel betrayed.” © Instagram/@cristiano Ronaldo and his current girlfriend Georgina, who gave birth to their first child on 13 November, have been together for 16 months. Earlier, the Real Madrid forward was in a relationship with supermodel Irina Shayk for five years before the pair separated. © Instagram/@irinashayk Even with Irina, Ronaldo was accused of cheating on her. In 2015, Chilean Playboy bunny Daniella Chavez had also claimed that she got together with Ronaldo for the special night while he was still dating Irina. © Instagram/@daniellachavezofficial In an interview with Mexican newspaper Reforma, Daniella claimed: "Cristiano was very shy at first, but when he built up his confidence was quite a man, though still a bit fearful. He loved me, but the idea was not to show it. I just wanted to fulfil a dream and have *** with him. I love his body. (Cristiano liked) my face, my breasts and the fact that he had never slept with a Playmate". Though it's hard to ascertain whether the recent claims of Natacha are true, but going by Ronaldo's history with women, we won't be surprised if more women come forward with similar allegations in near future.
  3. Defending champions and back-to-back Champions League winners, Real Madrid have fallen eight points off the top with arch-rivals Barcelona leading the La Liga table after 11 matches. For the first time since 1995, Los Blancos failed to win any of their opening three home games. Their loss at Girona was their first defeat to a top-tier debutant since 1990. And, they've lost two of their last three games in all competitions so far. Among many reasons behind their noticeable slump, the harrowing form of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in the league is probably the biggest. The 32-year-old was recently crowned the Best FIFA Men's Player for 2017, but his on-field exploits so far in the league have been far from that. His own struggles in front of goal reflect Real's across the pitch this season. However, if there's anything the Portuguese footballer is cherished for, it's probably his hunger to be the best in business on the back of sheer dedication and hard-work. That's exactly why he was seen sweating it out in training, while his Real teammates were away on international duty. © Reuters After being excused from international duty with Portugal by Coach Fernando Santos, Ronaldo decided to make full use of the extra space at the club's training ground where he showed the old flash of brilliance we're all accustomed to seeing with a sublime goal. While standing on his own in the penalty area, Ronaldo met a cross with his shoulder and threw the weight of his muscular torso at the ball to send it flying towards the goal. His unbelievable shouldered effort didn't just found the back of the net, but it did so by absolutely bamboozling the goalkeeper who was just left to watch the ball sail over his head and into the far corner. ððð¥ #RMCity Bravo, @Cristiano! A post shared by Real Madrid C.F. ð (@realmadrid) on Nov 10, 2017 at 1:39am PST It was arguably the perfect goal to score in front of his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr who was invited by his father at Real Madrid's training ground. And, fortunately for his fans, a camera was recording at the time of the incident and the resulting video was shared on Instagram. © Instagram/@cristiano Continuing to amaze even at the age of 32, Ronaldo showed he can still find the back of the net - using his shoulder - as he did here in this outrageous lob during training. Surely, there was no pressure on, and crucially, no defenders in his face to distract. But, it still takes an incredible level of skill to pull off such a feat which almost made us believe that we were watching a FIFA 18 video. In his seven La Liga appearances so far, Ronaldo has scored just one goal - his worst start to a league season at the Bernabeu. On the other hand, his rival Lionel Messi has found the back of the net on 12 occasions in 11 games. Of his 48 shots in the Spanish league this campaign, Ronaldo has a strike rate of just 2.08 per cent. He is currently 710th in the strike-rate ranking across the top five leagues in Europe. © Reuters But, despite his poor La Liga form, the Real Madrid forward has scored eight goals across all competitions, with six of those strikes coming in the UEFA Champions League. And, going by his recent exploits in the obsessive training sessions, it won't be long before we see Ronaldo hit the ground running, especially after he made a bet with his Real mates that he'll bag the Pichichi award at the end of the campaign.
  4. When it comes to flying cars, the concept has always been a fantasy ever since the automobile was first invented. However, it may not be a fantasy anymore as Uber and NASA are partnering up to develop a flying taxi that might just be ready to take over the skies by 2020. © Uber The taxi-hailing company signed a deal with NASA yesterday to develop an air traffic management system so that Uber can fly their taxis safely. The partnership was announced by Jeff Holden, Uber head of product on Wednesday. The agreement was signed as a part of NASA's Space Act Agreement where it allows a collective of industry leaders and other companies to work towards safer and efficient flying taxis and unmanned aerial systems. The flying taxis will be flown at low altitudes so that it does not interfere with the traditional air traffic of jets and other aircrafts. Uber detailed how the concept will actually work and their long-term vision for the flying taxi service in a marketing video. Check it out: The flying taxi service will be able to pick up and drop off up to four passengers at selected locations. Uber has not discussed the pricing model for the service, although Uber expects the ride to cost as much as an UberX trip. That's actually really cheap! © Uber Uber has already been investing in self-driving cars and also announced plans for flying taxis in cities like Dallas and Dubai by 2020. However, Uber has now added Los Angeles to the list of cities that will host trials for the service. Uber may just be pushing the envelope, however, there is no way to ascertain whether this service will be expanded to other countries. A self-driven taxi may never be seen in India due to the country's driving habits and lack of basic driving etiquette. We sure as hell are not expecting a flying taxi service to enter India, especially with all this smog around us! © Uber However, the flying taxi service may also be the saving grace for traffic problems in a city like New Delhi. Uber predicts that a trip of 15 kilometres will take about 30 minutes as compared to 1 hour 20 minutes in a car.
  5. KARACHI: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal remarked that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor became a reality due to the efforts of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. While addressing the Pakistan International Trade Fair 2017 on Friday, the interior minister shared that projects worth Rs27 billion have been completed under CPEC. Iqbal also claimed that China invested $35 billion in Pakistan at a time when no other country was interested. China is truly Pakistan?s ?friend in need, a friend indeed?, he remarked. The investors in Pakistan were scared to invest in the country due to its conditions but China helped us through this time, he added. CPEC helped diversify energy generation projects, he remarked, adding that now Pakistan will not be dependent on other countries for resources such as oil and liquefied natural gas. Three hundred and sixty LNG projects are being worked on under CPEC, he added. Seventy years ago, no one would have imagined capitalising on the coal available in Tharparkar, he remarked, adding that the resource is now being tapped courtesy of CPEC. Pakistan International Trade Fair has been organised by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Badar Expo. The expo, which was inaugurated by President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday, seeks to provide a platform to entrepreneurs to showcase their products to buyers from more than 20 countries.
  6. What happens when an NRI comes home for Diwali? They expect quite a few things. This is what they end up getting.
  7. What happens when an NRI comes home for Diwali? They expect quite a few things. This is what they end up getting.
  8. Virtual Reality will change the face of cinema in the next decade -- but only if content keeps up with the advances in technology, industry experts at the Busan International Film Festival predict - AFP BUSAN, South Korea: Virtual Reality will change the face of cinema in the next decade -- but only if content keeps up with the advances in technology, industry experts at the Busan International Film Festival predict. VR is already being heavily promoted by the tech giants, with Facebook and Microsoft launching new headsets they hope will ensure the format goes mainstream. Studios and film-makers are also poised to capitalise, as cinema industry reports estimate VR could generate as much as US$75 billion a year in revenues by 2021. Earlier this year, the IMAX chain opened its first VR cinema in Los Angeles, while the leading film festivals -- including Cannes, Venice, and Tribeca -- now have sections dedicated to recognising ground-breaking work in the medium. "Facebook and Apple are pouring billions of dollars into this industry and these hardware developments are key but it will all come down to content and we are excited by the way that is developing," explained Korean-American filmmaker Eugene Chung, whose production "Arden's Wake" won the Best Virtual Reality award at Venice in September. Chung insisted the format is going to shift public perception and expectations of cinema. "We?re really building the future," he said. But revolutions in cinema do not always play out; despite their early hype, 3D movies have struggled to rival traditional film consumption. IMAX has scaled back its 3D screenings, while box office figures in the US show declining audience interest, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. But proponents of VR insist this time, it is different, and the format is likely to succeed because it fully immerses viewers in the imaginary environment. BIFF programmer Park Jin, who organised the event's VR section, which comprises more than 30 features, documentaries and animations, described VR as the "future of cinema". 'A strange game' In Busan there has been a huge buzz around the VR programme, with constant queues to experience what is on offer -- both individual booths and a cinema are showcasing films. "It feels a bit strange at first, a bit like a game, but once I got used to the equipment it was quite exciting,? said 60-year-old Kim Young-min, who had come to BIFF to take in a retrospective of legendary Korean actor Shin Seong-il but had been lured over to the VR show by her daughter. Experts say therein lies the catch -- the "computer game" feel to some shows can be a little off-putting. "We need to find some emotion and how to engage the viewer in that," said filmmaker Che Min-Hyuk, a producer at the VR Lab run by Korean media industry giants CJ. "As filmmakers with VR we still don't really know how far it will take us and the audience." Chung conceded the industry needs to tread carefully -- going to the movies will not be the same social experience if everyone is in their own world wearing headsets. "We think the impact of this medium is going to be incredibly powerful," he said, admitting that it would be a voyage into the unknown in terms of social impact. "There's a first spaceship factor. When video games came out I think we as a society underestimated their impact so there are definitely things we need to look out for in VR in the coming years." But film giants are embracing the challenge. At the Cannes festival this year Oscar-winner Alejandro G. Inarritu showcased his VR production "Meat and Sand", while Warner Bros created a trailer in the format to promote Stephen King adaptation 'It'. Dreamscape Immersion, whose investors include Steven Spielberg, 21st Century Fox, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, last month signed a deal with AMC Entertainment, the world's largest theatre chain, to rollout "Virtual Reality Multiplexes" where members explore storylines in virtual worlds and interact with other people's avatars. Director Jerome Blanquet, whose film "Alteration" won an award at the Tribeca Film Festival, said: "VR is like a dream. You can walk, you can fly, you can do anything."
  9. YouTube virtual reality video series ?The Confessional? debuted on Tuesday, featuring comedians Trevor Noah, Judd Apatow and Howie Mandel, as parent company Google races Facebook to attract viewers to the new medium. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc , has boosted funding for virtual reality video producers since it unveiled in October the $79 Daydream View headset, which straps a smartphone display close to a user?s eyes for stereoscopic video. About 500,000 immersive videos are available on YouTube, and the streaming service plans to increase the titles and genres. ?Nearly half the time in VR headsets is spent in video,? Julia Hamilton Trost, partner development manager at Google VR, said in an interview. ?We need to give creators tools to make VR content more easily, then also partner with people to push content to the platform as well.? An undisclosed Google grant to production company Felix & Paul Studios in Montreal funded the creation of ?The Confessional.? In seven, minutes-long episodes over the next few weeks, comedians and YouTube stars including Lilly Singh and Grace Helbig will confess about embarrassing and awkward moments in their lives such as first dates gone wrong. Felix & Paul Studios proposed the idea to Google a few months ago and filmed at Montreal?s Just for Laughs comedy festival in July. Underscoring the infancy of the medium, Felix & Paul co-founder Paul Raphael said ?The Confessional? marked the first time in four years that the studio felt comfortable cutting between shots in a video without disturbing the immersive experience. Jumps can be jarring to viewers, especially when wearing a virtual reality headset, he said. Felix & Paul benefits from government tax credits and venture capital, but most of its work is funded by Facebook or Google. Facebook announced in May plans to spend $50 million on virtual reality content, excluding video games, over an undisclosed period. Google has not specified overall spending for virtual reality. This year, YouTube launched a training program for videomakers with at least 10,000 followers that comes with a project grant of about $30,000. The streaming service also introduced a new video format for semi-immersive videos, which cost less to create. Other Google VR partners have included fashion magazine Vogue and the National Football League. As with other YouTube uploads, virtual reality clips are supported by ads, with revenue split between the company and the uploader.
  10. Anil Kapoor never has, and never will be, dressing for his goddamn age. "As you grow older, you gotta dress simpler" is something he shoved deep in the ground, long, long ago. True, he's always lived life this way, but well, he's never looked back either. What we mean: he's only gotten better with time. Take for instance, his recent terminal #OOTD. There's a checked shirt, classic jeans (if not very slim-fitted), his often-repeated kicks, round sunnies and well...the smartest take on summer layering we've seen in a while. Even today, the man's clearly outsmarting his younger contemporaries (no surprises there). © Viral Bhayani Here's the thing: a 'shacket' exists, you see. It's a menswear staple (it's just not used very often). Or in layman terms, your #1 piece for legit summer layering is the shirt + jacket. Imagine a hybrid that looks like a shirt and jacket, but without any fusing. Which makes it more effortless, easy and makes for a brilliant lightweight jacket for sudden chills. Besides, its presence on a dressing legend like Mr. Kapoor almost seems like a perfect fit. Not saying that the 'shacket' is having its biggest moment right now, but it's definitely a try-piece at some point in your life. © Viral Bhayani Naturally, it also took the actor no efforts to prove his mettle while sporting it. There's nothing extraordinary about how he's styled it, really. Proving, that you don't need celebrity stylists or a million-dollar closet to do complete justice to a rare piece of fashion. So, basically, if you haven't yet, invest in at least a pair today. Pro Tip: Pick darker hues as base.
  11. Facebook Inc plans to release a new virtual reality headset that does not require a separate computer to operate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday. Photo: AFP file SAN JOSE: Facebook Inc plans to release a new virtual reality headset that does not require a separate computer to operate, allowing for more mobile uses than the company?s existing Oculus Rift product, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday. Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference for virtual reality developers, said the ?Oculus Go? device would cost $199 and ship early next year. Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality hardware, expecting that the technology could one day move from a niche interest to a widely used platform for gaming, communication and business applications. In 2014, Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees. The new standalone headset will be more accessible because it will not be tethered to a computer, Zuckerberg said, differentiating the product from the Oculus Rift system and the rival Vive system made by HTC Corp. It will also be different from the Google Daydream headset, made by Alphabet Inc, because it will not require a smartphone to operate. Facebook will permanently cut the price of the Oculus Rift system to $399 from $499, the company said.
  12. The Hindu Mahasabha has come out all guns blazing and targeted the BJP and RSS for destroying Nathuram Godse's legacy. Yes, you read that right. We now live in a country where an organisation is aggrieved for taking away its bragging rights for assassinating someone of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi. Just two days ago the SC appointed amicus curiae Amarendra Sharan, to look into recent documents of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination, which show that Gandhi was killed by a fourth bullet by an unknown person and that this information never came to light. © hinduexistence Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and trustee of Abhinav Bharat, filed the petition. Abhinav Bharat is inspired by Vinayak Savarkar, an accused in the assassination of Gandhi who was later acquitted. Hindu Mahasabha national VP Ashok Sharma said, "Both BJP and RSS owe their existence to the ideology conceived by Hindu Mahasabha and they know that it is only this outfit which can expose the mask these two organisations wear today. Besides, since Mahasabha's identity is inseparable from Nathuram Godse's, they are trying to create some doubt over his role in the assassination to deny him the credit. They know that Mahasabha will be marginalised without Godse." These statements show a lack of respect for the father of the nation and how some fringe groups are disillusioned with the history of modern India. While these groups have always been a part of the Indian political landscape, reining them in is necessary because such statements have the potential to snowball into communal violence.
  13. The Google logo is seen on a smartphone in front of a displayed HTC logo in this illustration taken September 21, 2017. REUTERS TAIPEI/SINGAPORE: When HTC Corp brought back founder Cher Wang two years ago to turn around the struggling Taiwanese mobile phone maker, investors hoped she could stem a sharp loss in market share to Apple and Samsung Electronics. But the gamble to rebuild the early smartphone pioneer?s reputation failed, as its market share has continued to dwindle - to below 1 percent from closer to 10 percent in 2011. On Thursday, Wang announced HTC was shifting around 2,000 staff, mainly handset engineers, to Alphabet?s Google in a $1.1 billion deal that casts doubts over the company?s longer-term future. ?Our main consideration is that our brand will continue,? Chialin Chang, who heads HTC?s mobile business, told reporters. ?So our major releases will be as usual. In future, HTC will concentrate not on our portfolio size, but what?s in the portfolio.? Wang, a pioneer in Taiwan?s male-dominated technology industry, founded HTC 20 years ago as a contract manufacturer and established it as a leader, designing and making Microsoft-powered smartphones. It later turned out its own branded phones, but often struggled to translate positive early reviews into strong sales, despite spending heavily on marketing, including a collaboration with ?Iron Man? star Robert Downey Jr for its flagship HTC One phone. It also struggled to carve out a strong consumer brand in a market where Apple and Samsung grew quickly and have since been joined by Chinese rivals such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. HTC shares have slumped around 90 percent since the company?s 2011 peak. This week?s deal marks a retreat from HTC?s smartphone legacy. ?It may take a hard look at its smartphone business ... and think it?s probably better to wind it down as soon as possible rather than for it to drain more cash,? said David Dai, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. ?If it focuses on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), there?s a much more concrete chance the company turns things around.? That prospect pushed up HTC shares by their daily maximum of 10 percent on Friday, valuing the company at around $1.7 billion, as some investors hope the Google cash helps HTC focus on its Vive VR headsets and reduce its development costs. HTC Chief Financial Officer Peter Shen said the deal will cut operating costs by 30-40 percent. Glimmer of hope While the Google cash throws HTC a lifeline for now, it may find it hard to retain staff, analysts said. Google has cherry-picked the best people, said a former HTC executive who has spoken to current employees, adding: ?It?s hard to see how anyone remaining would be enthusiastic.? ?Google?s investment will probably slow, but not stop, HTC?s decline,? said Neil Mawston, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. Even Vive faces tough competition against the likes of Samsung and Sony Corp, which control half the $2 billion global AR and VR headset market. HTC saw flat second-quarter growth, and had 4.4 percent market share after a price reduction. ?Vive remains in the red; free cash flow is negative; book value is eroding; and sales growth is decelerating,? JP Morgan analyst Narci Chang said in a note following the Google deal. ?Nevertheless... we think HTC might narrow the loss considerably... enough to keep the business afloat and beat the (market) consensus for the next few quarters.? For now, no major VR overhaul has trickled down to staff. ?It (Google?s investment) could be (a good thing), but it?s business as usual,? one Vive employee told Reuters.
  14. The last two days have been nothing less than nightmarish for every Mumbaikar. The city woke up and never slept peacefully for the next 48 hours, at least. The reason being? The floods that have been more of a hindrance than anything else. What every other city-dweller sees is a city that gets a ton of rain in the monsoons that makes everything seem prettier. That's not entirely true and is rarely ever the case for a city that is overcrowded and overtly polluted. Add to that, a lack of space on roads and mediocre infrastructure and you have recipe for disaster when the monsoon sets in. (c) Reuters To put it simply, Mumbaikars live in fear of a repeat telecast—or in this case, weathercast—of August 29th 2017, when the entire city came to a halt; courtesy: the rains. I, personally, am yet to get over the worst memory I've had this season—that of my father falling in one of the potholes; rather manholes on 29th August but still made it back home. The doctor, however, never made it back when faced with a similar incident. (c) Reuters Yes, that's the reality of the Mumbai Monsoon that is often glorified and glossed over in Bollywood flicks. I dare filmmakers to portray the scene more realistically. Rumor mills It all began on 19th September, when heavy rainfall didn't stop; family and friends came out to support each other, call and make sure everyone was safely back home. Early evening on Tuesday, rumours surrounding a cyclone hitting the city started circulating on Whatsapp. However, it was quickly dispelled by the BMC; thank God for that! There were also messages about how the Bandra Worli Sea Link, SV Road and various other routes had been shut due to waterlogging. Mumbai is engulfed in panic and pandemonium during the rains. (c) Reuters ‘'I was trying to find a cab back home, there was none. No Uber No Ola. Rickshaws wouldn't help either. But it was 6 pm and I had nowhere to be, so I decided to stay in one of the hotels, first their café and then their lobby,'' says one Mumbaikar who requested to remain anonymous. Travel Woes At the airport, the main runway was shut, following the skidding of a Spicejet aircraft. Flight operations were badly hit and 108 flights were cancelled, while 51 were diverted to different airports. (c) Reuters This didn't just happen on the 19th; but, also continued till 20th late evening. “I was just hoping my flight would take off. It was supposed to take off at 4:30 pm but it didn't until 9:30 pm. There were massive amounts of crowds at the security and boarding gates. The lounge wasn't empty either, but I managed to sit” says traveller Meghna Petkar. Not just the airports, but even public commuters suffered. A video went viral over the internet when an inter-state train passed by Nalasopara station and splashed water all over the platform. And due to the excessive amount of waterlogging, all trains were delayed, or not working. (c) Reuters The roads were another story altogether, with subways flooded, roads shut, waterlogged, all worked overtime to heighten the panic as Mumbaikars scrambled to get back home. The Spirit of Mumbai – or not? Due to the rains, various Mumbai university students who have been already facing months of delay in results also had to undergo their own dilemmas; which also makes you wonder what kind of a system is our government running, anyway. I mean you lack basic infrastructural elements and to add to that, you're not even well-equipped in the education or medical sections. (c) Reuters One such student, Disha Bhatt, talked to us about her dilemma. “I'm totally troubled by the rains because I had to go to the Mumbai University. Thanks to their faulty system and horrible management, I was given zero in a paper and almost 30% fewer marks in a paper. I couldn't go to the university because of the rains and they refuse to extend the dates. And since they will be shut for 2 days due to rains. Our results of evaluation will get pushed to even further dates. Delaying the whole admission process into the second year of MA,” she told us. (c) Reuters It doesn't stop there. Wait till you read this next bit! “I sense that men just don't see situations. They don't understand the plight of how it's so difficult to manage in a crowded place for women. All you see is, they're pouncing on you like animals,” says Kamakshi Sharma, who was stuck at the Andheri Station, waiting for her father to help get her back home safely. She soon realized that all lecherous men at the station were ogling at her. “While you walk, while you are on a call, while you wait for someone. It irritated me until I reached home,” she complains. “It wasn't a rape case. It was no molestation. But, it doesn't take away from the fact that it was a disgusted feeling, seeing men trying to come to touch you without your knowledge. When you are busy doing your work, they very well know to do their job. Sick.” She managed to reach home safely within an hour. But, let's at least try to imagine how many such Kamakshi's would be out and about facing and overcoming this discomfort. (c) Reuters Yet, there are others who manage to see the brighter side to every situation. One such person is Myron Braganza. “Humanity rekindles again. Animals are struggling for help. But, some men use it as an advantage to harass, grope or molest women. People are on the streets cleaning up the water rather than waiting for BMC. Mumbai is united.” I guess every cloud has a silver lining. And that's probably the irony of a city like Mumbai. Some come out to help; others would pay to just stand on the dry sidelines that are above the water levels, and watch. (c) Reuters The point to remember during the Mumbai floods is that it's best to just stay indoors as much as possible. Order some delicious food, cook or binge watch your favourite show or movie! Thank God for the Swiggys and the Freshmenus of the digital world and of course, Netflix really solves the chill problem. And while you're being grateful, try to help those who have none. (c) Reuters You can follow official social media handles and see through the baseless rumours or panic. You can even use helplines issued by the officials. Avoid areas that are known to be water-logged and flooding and try to spread awareness as much as you can to people around you. Make sure you keep all devices charged, in case of long power cuts that could leave you stranded. Don't go out and play some football and act cool just because they did so in DDLJ, or they do so in the football leagues. Keep your wits about you. Instead, you could go out and help those who are in trouble. That's a much better way of being cool.
  15. The book opens with a scene from a typical Monday morning in an Indian corporate environment. The protagonist is trying to get on with life on a Monday morning, as is every Indian middle-aged guy. The protagonist has a great job—good money, professional success and people who appreciate his work. But, it's not enough. The problem? A mid-life crisis. Sounds familiar? That's because it is. © Pexels Mukund and Chaddha, the two key characters of the book are all Indian males—they're got secure jobs that pay the bills and more; but, they don't do what they love. And they go on this way till it comes to hit them out of nowhere. One resigns to find his ‘calling'; while the other is fired. The narrative is like listening to your typical guy friend talk about his daily life; it's non-pretentious, casual and rustic. It does get monotonous at certain points when the author somehow fails to intrigue the readers in the finer details of the plotlines. However, once you've delved deep enough into the book, you find yourself strangely invested in the lives of Mukund and Chaddha and the courses each one's own life takes. © Bloomsbury India Blowfish is majorly about life and everything that comes along with it. The book is the literal representation of the saying that starts, like, ‘When life gives you melons…' However, what you do with the melons is each one's own decision and that's what Tripathi writes about in Blowfish. Why You Should Read Blowfish? Because the book is about every one of us who is struggling—to make ends meet, to find meaning in what we do, to meet targets and to make the most of life, without screwing up. It's about finding satisfaction in life. It's about work, love, friendships, relationships, the Indian corporate environment and the mentality of Indian professionals. © Pexels It's easy to relate to the protagonists; for the simple reason that the protagonists are a reflection of the reader. Through most of the scenarios that the author takes you through in Blowfish, you'll be able to find some incredibly relatable instance of your own life glaring back at you. And that's why you should read Blowfish, Because nothing will relate and connect with you better; not even the next guy who's probably going through something similar. © Siddharth Tripathi via Facebook And aside from the slightly long drawn details that you'll occasionally find yourself wanting to skip, you'll find that Tripathi has a particular brand of wit that is fast, funny and hard-hitting. Tripathi paints a realistic picture of everyday scenarios and manages to craft a story that is one of every Indian guy. He isn't a Chetan Bhagat, or a Durjoy Dutta. He doesn't paint it any colour that it isn't meant to be. So, if you're looking for storylines that border on a Bollywood script, you might not find it in Blowfish. What you will find is an absence of flashy cars, posh bungalows and melodrama that is overhyped at the very least. You will find WagonRs, typical Gurgaon traffic jams and moments of happiness and joy in the little, more real instances that happen—both, in the book and in real life. Read Blowfish if you really want to connect with reality, with a few laughs and a pinch of salt.
  16. It is possible that the technology could help produce changes in the nervous system when it?s used to help reprogram how a person responds to pain. Photo: AFP Virtual reality games might help ease pain not just by distracting players from what ails them, but also by triggering changes in the brain, a recent research review suggests. Distraction may indeed play a role in pain relief, the review of six small studies suggests. But it?s also possible that the technology could help produce changes in the nervous system when it?s used to help reprogram how a person responds to pain. ?Guided imagery has long been a treatment for psychological disorders, and virtual reality is a more immersive way to provide guided imagery,? said lead study author Dr Anita Gupta of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. ?More research is needed to tell if virtual reality is truly effective, but having more options to treat pain is promising,? Gupta said by email. Virtual reality technology has been around for decades, first coming to prominence when the military used it for flight simulators. The earliest hardware filled an entire room, but as the technology has become smaller and cheaper to produce, it?s increasingly being used for a variety of medical purposes including wound care, physical therapy, dental pain relief and burn treatment. Today, mass-produced virtual reality devices may require no more than a smartphone and special headsets to operate, and a growing number of people use these gadgets to play video games and take lifelike, three-dimensional tours of places they might not be able to visit in real life. For the current study, researchers reviewed articles published from 2000 to 2016 that explored different ways virtual reality might augment pain relief. Altogether, researchers identified four small experiments that randomly assigned some patients to try virtual reality for pain relief as well as two pilot studies of the technology for this use. In addition to acute pain, several studies looked at chronic pain states such as headaches or fibromyalgia. These studies also combined virtual reality with other treatments such as biofeedback mechanisms and cognitive behavioural therapy. Taken together, the results from the small studies in the current analysis suggest that virtual reality might help with what?s known as conditioning and exposure therapy, a form of behaviour therapy that involves helping patients change their response to pain when they feel it. More research in larger groups of patients is needed to draw firm conclusions about how well virtual reality works for pain relief, the authors caution in the journal Pain Medicine. But the results suggest that virtual reality treatments for chronic pain might help reduce reliance on opioid painkillers and potentially help curb misuse of these addictive medications. Patients need to understand that virtual reality is just a tool to design treatments, and not a treatment by itself, said Max Ortiz Catalan, a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, who wasn?t involved in the current study. ?You can?t prescribe virtual reality, but treatments that employ it, and the methods of such treatments are what matters,? he said by email. ?Two different methods can use virtual reality and one works while the other doesn?t depending on how virtual reality is used.? Side effects of virtual reality can include motion sickness, nausea and dizziness, Gupta said. Still, it?s a non-invasive approach option that is becoming more widely available and more affordable. ?I would certainly try this as part of a traditional treatment plan with routine guidance from a board-certified pain specialist who understands the risks and benefits of all treatments involved and what works best,? Gupta said.
  17. Apple Watches displayed during a launch event in Cupertino, California, September 12, 2017/REUTERS CUPERTINO: More than two years after releasing the Apple Watch, Apple Inc has finally been able to replicate 1940s comic strip technology, an advance that analysts say will spur sales. The Series 3 of the Apple Watch, released on Tuesday along with the much-anticipated iPhone X, features wireless LTE connectivity. That means customers will be able to make phone calls or send text messages from the watch without needing to have an iPhone nearby, as they do with earlier models. The ability to make calls with a wristwatch has captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts at least since it was prominently featured in ?Dick Tracy,? the comic about a private detective who, starting in 1946, used calls from his wrist to help bust bad guys. ?This has been our vision from the beginning,? Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said at the launch event. ?Now you can go for a run with just your watch and still be connected. It?s really nice to know you can be reached if needed.? To be sure, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has sold smart watches with mobile data connectivity since 2014, but the first devices were bulky and suffered from poor battery life because the data connection consumed extra power. They also require a separate phone number. Apple claims its new Series 3, on the other hand, will have up to 18 hours of battery life and is just a fraction of a millimeter thicker that its previous Series 2. And it will have the same phone number as a customer?s iPhone, which will still be required for the initial set up of the watch. Apple said that all four major U.S. carriers will offer service for the watch, and AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US Inc both said it would cost an extra $10 a month. Analysts generally believe the new connectivity could ignite sales, though there is little consensus as to how much. Jeff Williams, Apple COO, speaks as product images are shown behind him during a launch event in Cupertino, California, September 12, 2017/REUTERS At $399, the new Watch is only slightly more expensive than the previous model, the $329 Series 2, which introduced standalone GPS capability. That $70 extra buys much more useful capabilities - including the ability to stream music from Apple Music. ?The third time is the charm for the watch,? said Bob O?Donnell of Techanalysis Research. What may hold some consumers back is the monthly recurring charge, which would far exceed the extra cost of the Series 3 over older watches over time, said Brian Blau, an Apple analyst with Gartner. ?Yes, you do have to pay for that extra data plan, but it sounds like the carriers are at least going to make it relatively easy to do,? Blau said. Apple does not say how many Apple Watches it sells. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes Apple will sell 12 million watches in its fiscal 2017 and 14 million to 15 million in fiscal 2018. Gene Munster with Loup Ventures predicted a much bigger bump, to 26 million units in 2018. Either way, Apple is putting new pressure on smartwatch rivals such as Fitbit Inc and Garmin Ltd, which would be hard-pressed from a technical and business standpoint to match Apple?s wireless features. But the new Apple Watch still requires an iPhone, which Fitbit believes leaves it ample market room to sell wearable devices that work with all phones, not just iPhones. ?With Android comprising approximately 80 percent of the global smartphone market, broad compatibility remains a core differentiator for Fitbit,? the company said in a statement to Reuters. Garmin did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours. The Watch will remain a blip in Apple?s sales, which were $215 billion last year. But it may be taking its place as part of a family of products that Apple loyalists cannot do without - all by making a schoolboy fantasy from the 1940s into reality for the masses.
  18. Growing up in the 80's and 90's, education always played a vital part of our formative years. Apart from usual subjects that we chose to study, we were taught unforgettable value systems and miraculous intellectual transitions. We would embrace everything that we learnt through our teachers and our guides and school was an empirical experience to shape our belief system. School was also our safe space. It was beyond doubt the only institution our parents trusted our safety with and they would feel at ease knowing we're not tainted by any form of negativity, otherwise experienced outside, in society. The relief on their faces when the school bus would safely take us to school was indisputable. We're not negating the fact that education does not play a vital role in the lives of kids these days but we're always struggling with the inevitable decision- which is the best education institution to place our children in? From safety concerns, to the overall development of the child to even debating steep fee structures, everything is a part and parcel of recognising a good school. Unfortunately today, to build great educational value systems in schools, safety is crassly being compromised on and questioned each day. It's ironic how schools are trying their best to keep up with their standards yet they care the least about the environment the child is being exposed to, within their own premises. © Retuers The recent incident of a child losing his life at a reputed school in Gurgaon sent shock waves across the country and an unsparing chill down our spine. The perpetrator, with all the brutality he could conjure, sexually assaulted and murdered the child in cold blood, inside the school bathroom. Two days later, a 5-year-old girl was allegedly raped in another reputed school in Delhi, by the school's security guard. These incidents are not one off and do not stand alone. Have we forgotten the death of a 4-year-old child, when he slipped and fell on the second floor corridor of the school? We're just wondering, where did the ‘flawless' education system go wrong. Where is the essence of safety, the one we look for, for our children inside the school premises? Has it drastically depleted? Can we no longer trust the most trusted institution in our society, today? Along with the rise of molestation and murder cases of children inside school premises, there is a drastic fall in the accountability measures the school should be taking for such incidents. The school, in principle should be accountable for handling the situation in such tardy and tactless ways. It's their responsibility and when parents demand an answer, schools shouldn't shy away from owning up to the incident in question. But leaving all that aside, what is our role to play in this? By our, we mean the society, the parents, the observers and the silent readers. A safe school builds culture of safety, where the authorities stress both on alertness and awareness. Apart from watching out for sexual violence in school, schools should nurture a safe haven for kids on an autopilot. This also means the parents and society in general should be fearless in facing the school management and not crumble under the weight of their threats. The parents should fearlessly ask for stricter rules and regulations within school premises and not exemplify complacency. © Retuers What measures should be taken to make sure schools are safe for your children today? To start with, we would love to stress on the fact that kids today need to be taught the importance of touch and be made familiar with terms like ‘molestation, rape and sexual predators'. Not explicitly but it should be in their purview of ‘right and wrong'. They should be made aware of the right kind of touch from the wrong kind of touch. They should be taught that bullying and emotional exploitation are not part of school curriculum. Teachers and parents alike can partake in this imperative teaching and prepare the child for the worst for him or her to come out of the situation, unscathed. Individualistic attention to every child is important too. Each child sees and reacts to a situation differently. To recognise the stimulus in an individual and take measures accordingly is very important. Even if a school is allowing 40 children in a class, individually, they should all be given adequate attention. Teachers can then form proper safety measure knowing the vulnerability each child displays, in a difficult situation and they can further teach the child to act or react appropriately, in a given situation. Through an evolved study by civil society experts on nation-wide child protection policies, it was revealed that only 10% schools had an active child protection policy and just 1% schools had a sexual harassment policy for school children. Now isn't it the schools responsibility to charter these policies actively till they become a norm? But we see the demise of sincerity in following these safety measures each day and children are left to pay the heavy debt, due to authoritarian callousness. © Retuers We don't wish for a utopian society. We wish for simple, important things in life. Child safety is one of them. It's the most basic measure of protection while growing up, so why is it going unnoticed? It's time to let go of the fear we have to question the right authority and demand stricter rules and laws that should be implemented for nurturing the best years of a child's life and not diminish them altogether.
  19. MARTIN: The condition called lazy eye has long been considered untreatable in adults, but a clinic in Slovakia says a treatment does exist, and it?s simple as child?s play - literally. Lazy eye, or amblyopia, typically occurs in farsighted patients when the brain shuts down data coming from the eye with less clear vision and uses only the healthy eye. People with amblyopia typically do not have three-dimensional vision. Now the UVEA clinic in Martin, in northern Slovakia, is testing a treatment that uses a pair of virtual reality goggles and a computer game to shake the lazy eye out of its torpor. ?Patients put on the VR goggles that show two different pictures to each eye and start playing a computer game, navigating a spaceship or playing basketball,? said Anders Rustand Holm, a doctor at the clinic ?We can improve sight by forcing the lazy eye to cooperate with the healthy eye. You have to use both eyes to play the game. You?re training them to cooperate,? Holm said. The usual treatment has been using an eye patch on the stronger eye or blurring its vision with atropine, forcing the amblyopic eye to take over. But it works best on patients younger than six or seven, and most people are first diagnosed when they enter school when it might be too late. ?People with well-established amblyopia had no possibilities until now,? Holm said. The clinic?s doctors use the Oculus Rift headset, owned by a division of Facebook, and software developed by the US company Vivid Vision. They have treated some 300 patients with amblyopia since 2015. The average improvement was one line in an eye chart in a month. They were the first in the world to publish the results of a clinical trial of the treatment, in June in a peer-reviewed journal BMC Ophthalmology. ?I was told that my condition is untreatable. I?ve been in this treatment for a month and my vision has already improved by one line in the eye chart,? said Patrik Turek, a 21-year-old construction worker hoping to eventually lose his semi-rimless metal glasses. The treatment for previously untreatable condition might get even more accessible in the future. ?At the moment, it?s quite costly - you need a good computer, with a good pair of glasses with virtual reality. But this is definitely something that will be possible in the future when it gets more cost effective. People will be able to buy them themselves and apply this treatment at home,? Holm said.
  20. Have you spent time in your yesteryears trying to free the princess and beat the hell outta Bowser while playing Super Mario Bros. on your Ninetendo? The short stout guy with a big nose and a moustache was mostly seen climbing down pipes and underground spaces wearing his red overalls. Obviously we assumed or were told he's a plumber by profession and not the kinda plumber you'd call home to fix your flush (if you know what we mean) but the rugged kind who would fight Koopalings and eat magic mushrooms to umm grow. © Geocaching Recently though, at the 25th anniversary celebrations of Super Mario Bros. in New York, Shigeru Miyamoto , the creator of Mario and Zelda, announced that Mario was in fact a carpenter when he first appeared in Donkey Kong ( the game that takes place on a construction site). Why was he a carpenter? That's a great question. Plumbers and carpenters don't really come from far away schools of thought. Back in 1981, when Donkey Kong was released as a game, it was designed to fit the 16-by-16 inch screen, before the characters that could stand out in the medium were developed. © Amino Apps The game basically revolved around a gorilla who kidnaps a girl and all you had to do was chase the gorilla to save her. Because the game was designed around, what seemed like a construction site, Mario was then given the carpenter avatar. But with the release of Mario Bros. in 1983, the character drastically changed. If you remember, Mario had a brother called Luigi who was introduced in the game too and since most of the game was played underground, he was switched to a plumber. So basically, the scenario always detected Mario's role in a particular game and setting. © Laser Time Other than a drastic change in profession, Miyamoto also revealed that Mario wore a hat because it was difficult to animate his hair, eyebrows or forehead at the time, to fit the 16-by-16 ratio, so it was an easy tool to use, to not draw any of the features above his big nose! How's that for a revelation! Carpenter or plumber, with or without a hat, Mario was Miyamoto's best creation in the 80's and it took the world by storm. Every 80's kid would look back in joy today and fondly remember the short ‘lil dude with red overalls trying to save the princess, along with his brother!
  21. <p>With an estimated billion-plus individuals as fans, cricket is arguably one of the most popular sport in the world. It drives the masses, evokes strong reactions and has the ability to garner huge revenues. But, despite all the fandom, cricket is yet to find its way back into the Olympic fold.</p> <p>Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of modern Olympics, wanted cricket to feature in the first modern Olympiad way back in 1896. And, thanks to his efforts, cricket made a fleeting appearance in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris where an amateur team (Devon and Somerset Wanderers) from regional Britain comfortably defeated a rabble of mostly British ex-pats (Athletic Club Union) representing France.</p> <p>It was cricket's first and last appearance in the Olympic Games. But, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognising the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2010, the cricket bigwigs have been busy contemplating the idea of making cricket an Olympic sport.</p> <p>Despite being a byword for corruption and greed lately, the fact that the popularity of Olympic Games is challenged by only the football World Cup still makes it a pivotal platform for any sport. And, that is exactly why the ICC is now mulling the idea of pushing cricket's return to the Games with a possible T20 variant in the 2024.</p> <p>But, in an attempt to make it a reality, the ICC needs the support of one of its biggest and most powerful member - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). According to the IOC mandate, the ICC needs to assure them that the top teams and its players will be participating in the event which is why the global cricket body cannot proceed without a nod from the BCCI.</p> <p>With all eyes on the BCCI now, the fate of cricket in returning to the Games still hangs in balance. But, as the debate over whether cricket will breathe the Olympic air again continues, here's why it should be a part of the mega event:</p> New Realm Of Exposure <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" data-original="" alt="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" src="" />© BCCL</p> <p>The Olympics are known to garner more viewership than any other sports event on television, including the football World Cup. A staggering 4.7 billion viewers tuned in to watch the Beijing Olympics in 2008, while 3.6 billion people watched the 2012 London Olympics on TV. That's around 70 per cent of the global audience.</p> <p>Similarly, the 2016 Rio Games witnessed 7.4 billion reach and 3.7 billion active media engagement. The fact that a staggering 350 million people watched the opening ceremony globally clearly sums up the extent of its importance ability to reach the masses.</p> <p>Each sport, while featuring in the Olympics, aims to get a share of those billion sets of eyeballs and cricket is no exception. Even though cricket enjoys a considerable global audience majorly due to its popularity in South Asia, the Olympic coverage will undoubtedly push it into a new realm of exposure.</p> Boon For Associates & Affiliates <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" data-original="" alt="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" src="" />© Reuters</p> <p>While cricket has evolved drastically over the years, it is still catching up in the 95 associate and affiliate nations of the ICC. The minnows have always lacked the exposure and funds to improve their game. The inclusion of cricket in Olympics will only provide the much-needed exposure for countries with little cricketing heritage.</p> <p>Apart from the exposure, it would also unlock the government funding that is generally directed towards Olympic sports in a lot of countries. The financial benefits will help the minnows to develop an effective infrastructure and emerge as a better team in global events.</p> <p>Given that rugby has received at least 25 million euros through national Olympic committees since rejoining, the minnows could very well benefit if cricket manages to become an Olympic sport. With more visibility and relevance, the governments in emerging nations are likely to extend a more welcoming stance to a sport that would, thereon, be able to position itself as genuinely global rather than merely colonial.</p> Finding Future Stars <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" data-original="" alt="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" src="" />© BCCL</p> <p>The international cricket calendar is largely dominated by the stronger and popular Test-playing nations. Apart from the regular Test and ODI series, a World Cup every four years and the biennial World T20s make it very difficult for cricket to fit the Olympics into its busy schedule.</p> <p>That's exactly what football struggled with and entered the Olympics with an under-23 tournament. Cricket can do the same thing and limit the Olympics to younger players, giving talented future stars a platform to shine on a major international stage.</p> <p>Similar to BCCI's approach of finding next generation stars through the Indian Premier League, the Olympic stage can work as a pivotal platform for almost all the playing nations to discover and nurture upcoming talent.</p> Boost For Women's Cricket <p class="articleimg"><img id="ed-img" class="art-lazy imwidth-full" title="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" data-original="" alt="Cricket In Olympics: Why This Far-Fetched Dream Should've Ideally Been A Reality" src="" />© Reuters</p> <p>Cricket has largely been a sport dominated by men, with the women only lurking in the shadows. However, there is now a distinct sense that the landscape is shifting for women's cricket. The recently-concluded ICC Women's World Cup was a prime example. A record 1.1 million tuned in from UK alone to view the India vs England final. It was equivalent to the average audience that tunes in to watch the popular Premier League's Sunday afternoon matches.</p> <p>According to the ICC, the global TV audience reach was over 50 million for the group stage games in the tournament. The ICC website and the app witnessed 32 million page views with 75 million views on their video content. Overall, the global audience for the tournament was between 50-80 percent higher than the last World Cup.</p> <p>But, despite all that, the men's cricket still continues to dominate the sport. Since, there is no bigger stage than the Olympics, the women's cricket will undoubtedly benefit from the mega event. Given its underappreciated status, the women's cricket can enjoy more viewers, brighter stars and a much-needed cash injection.</p> <p>But, most important of them all, it would place women on an equal footing with men in cricket.</p>
  22. Smart-mouthed, mayhem-prone anti-hero "Deadpool" made a virtual reality debut on Wednesday in a "Marvel Powers United" game being tailored for Oculus Rift gear. Developer Sanzaru Games collaborated with Marvel on the virtual version based on the comic character, which was a smash in an eponymous film released last year. The "fast-talking, butt-kicking Merc with a Mouth" joins Captain Marvel, Hulk and Rocket Raccoon in a game that lets players become superheroes fighting together against super-villains. Game fans will get their first shot at "Deadpool" in the Oculus VR game debut this week at Comic-Con in Southern California. More characters are expected to be added to "Marvel Powers United" by the time it is released next year. The price has yet to be announced. "Crack wise and crack skulls as you wield katanas and hand cannon pistols - because why bring a knife to a gunfight when you can have both?" a fact sheet for the game reasons. Players wearing Rift headsets use Touch controllers to whip semi-automatic pistols or Desert Eagle hand-cannons from holsters and blast adversaries, prompting trademark wise cracks from their "Deadpool" persona, an advance test of the game revealed. Katanas, the traditional Japanese swords, are unsheathed by reaching back over one's shoulders, and shuriken, the sharp-edged, star-shaped weapons, are thrown rapid-fire with wrist flicks as Hulk smashes, Rocket Racoon opens fire from above and Captain Marvel obliterates bad guys with photon beams. The ability of Deadpool to heal quickly from almost any injury meanwhile provides an edge as waves of enemies strike. "Marvel Powers United VR" was touted as a first-person, multi-player game featuring explosive battles in settings from the Marvel universe. Zombies and mutants The alliance with Marvel represented a coup for game publisher Oculus Studios, which has been striving to build a library of compelling experiences that will get people to buy Rift's virtual reality gear. Rift and Touch controllers got a temporary price cut this month, bundled together at a discounted price of $399. Zombies from the television series "The Walking Dead" and other demons are coming to life for video game players in virtual worlds. Gamers will be climbing into colossal war machines to battle high-tech armies, wandering mutant-infested post-apocalyptic wastelands and going toe-to-toe with demons in new virtual reality offerings unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) last month. The number of E3 exhibitors involved with virtual or augmented realities more than doubled to 126 from 53 last year. Sony built on the array of games for its PlayStation VR gear, which works with top-selling PlayStation 4 consoles. Sony, HTC and Facebook-owned Oculus are the top players in virtual reality head gear, each striving to stake out territory in the budding market. While Sony's VR headsets work with PS 4 consoles, competing gear requires computers that can handle the demand of processing rich, immersive graphics in real time.
  23. India gave the world the most important contribution in the field of mathematics – Aryabhata's zero. And then we fell silent. We discovered religion and politics, and we realized there was much more fun to be had there. Infosys founder Narayan Murthy burst our bubble when he pointed out that there has been no great invention in India in the past 60 years that has become a household name globally. Murthy, who was speaking at the convocation ceremony at Indian Insititue of Science, Bangalore, said, "Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? Is there one technology that has transformed the productivity of global corporations? Is there one idea that has lead to an earth shaking invention to delight global citizens?" (C) Reuters Murthy talked about how the Massachusets Institute of Technology has given the world some path-breaking inventions like Global Positioning System, Bionic Prostheses and Microchip in the past 50 years. "They demonstrated unusual courage to achieve the plausibly-impossible. The story is similar at many other western institutions of higher education,” he said about MIT. (C) Reuters “On the other hand, let us pause and ask what the contributions of Indian institutions of higher learning, particularly IISc ans IITs, have been over the last sixty-plus years to make our society and the world a better place?” he said. “Our youngsters have not done much impactful research work despite being equal to their counterparts in intellect and energy in Western universities." India is the land of Aryabhatta, the land that mastered the science of surgery way before the rest of the world – it is no secret that learning and genius has flowed freely in the Indian sub-continent. And yet today, we lag behind. Our best brains, the ones that are slogging it out in India, are not able to make a dent in the universe. We are too consumed by our everyday struggles; we are too invested in taking political sides, we are too distracted by the socio-political tumultuous society we live in to focus resources on R&D. H/t - ET
  24. No, Meiyang Chang is not gay. He just portrayed the role of a gay character in one of his recent web-released films. What Meiyang Chang definitely is though, is experimental. And interestingly fashionable (I don't usually notice that kind of stuff; but, can we please just take a moment to applaud his dressing sense, yes?) And that's what got him out of his hometown and on to the big screen. Today, he is a bankable name in the television industry and there isn't much he can't do—be it singing, hosting a show, partaking in one, or playing a queer character onscreen. © Instagram Chang started out as the boy with dreams on Indian Idol Season 3; back when the show still gave us voices worth listening to and talent worth checking out. He won the judges' hearts, became a favourite Alisha Chinai and even came down to the semi finals. Then, he returned next season to co-host the show with Husain Kuwajerwala. He was recently seen in yet another reality TV series, called Rising Star which was a live singing show aired on Colors. He's been around, dabbling in movies, web series, reality shows and most recently, an all-new show on Discovery Channel, called India's Best Jobs. “In the show, we're not just talking about the financially stable jobs; but also and especially about jobs that require a lot of passion and are most probably born out of a lot of passion,” he informs me. In a candid conversation, he leaves no words minced as he talks openly and quite fairly about the state of reality TV in India, an inherent need to changing mindsets, careers and why we need to normalize LGBTQ onscreen. © Instagram On The Reality Of Reality Shows There used to be a time when reality shows were genuinely entertaining, in a refreshing way. There also used to be a time when talent was truly recognized on such shows for the true potential it offered. Meiyang Chang is a product of that intersection of time and space. He's one of the few success stories that stems from the world entertainment reality shows that showcase talent for what it really is. Gone are those days. Now, we have the likes of Bigg Boss and Roadies, each making a mockery of people and emotions; all in the name of entertainment. © Instagram “Reality TV in India seems to be stuck in some entangled loop,” he tells me about the industry. “Of course, it pays and gives us a whirlpool of talent to explore; it gave me a career. “But what tends to happen is after a certain point of time, everything that happens in a reality show seems to be stuck in terms of the creativity and plot lines. We're stuck in a space where we have the same old gags, same old jokes here and there, same old dramatic moments and same old celebrity promotional tactics.” On The Pressure Of Changing Careers Meiyang Chang happens to be a qualified dentist. “If I wasn't a singer or entertainer today; I'd still happily be a qualified dentist because that's who I always was,” he reiterates. “But, this is what I love doing. It would have been great if I was able to manage both my responsibilities; but, given the nature of both professions, it's not possible. So, I'm very happy right now.” In a brief moment, he reminisces his dentistry days, saying, “It was this blessed responsibility that you have; that you help patients get rid of the pain they're suffering from.” “When our parents, or families say ‘Arrey beta aise nahi karna chahiye, yeh karna chahiye, yeh safe hai, secure hai', it's not necessarily that they are coming from a place of ill will. It's probably because that's all that they know about. Did you know that Science, Commerce and Arts ke aage bhi kucch hai? That you can maybe even have adventure sports as a profession not just as a holiday leisure sport?” © Instagram “I'm hoping that a lot of people in the generations before this one stay open minded and willing to let people try things. It specially comes from those parents who had the same opportunities from their parents, or surroundings. And this is where and when people actually learn how you can actually change anything, being an individual. I think millennials have less of the pressure because they're too smart and too stubborn as to we are going to do what we are going to do.” On The Indian Queer Complex “I read an article that said the LGBTQ community in general is almost always linked with sexuality and nothing beyond that—not with their personality and not what they are or what their dreams are. But they're like any other person. And that's the perception that needs to change first and foremost. It will take a lot of time because we already have too many thousands of other things that we are stuck about in the dark ages. I'm probably assuming here; but our fear or our dislike, or lack of community comes from the fact that, for one, it is something that is completely opposite to what we know as normal and also because with the transgender community, ever since childhood we've been brought up with the mentality that ‘inki hai lag jayegi'. So, we as children perceive them as evil and when we grow up as adults we see them as money hungry people. But we don't know anything about them.” © Instagram “I've had gay friends all the way back to when I was in Bangalore where I was studying my dentistry. Back then, Bangalore used to be called the gay capital. I was never a homophobe; I'd never been hit on because the lines were pretty drawn. And when you come to Bombay you realize that there is so much more of that here because that acceptance is more out here. Outside a metro like Bombay, Bangalore or Delhi, a gay character is not as easily understood. It's again the whole point of cosmopolitanism. You understand things a lot better than somebody who is in a well in another city or town. The problem with characters like these which are somewhere still considered taboo is the reference point. What do you take reference from—friends, or movies? Do we have good movies of gay characters in India? No. We have to stop blaming these people and using entertainment to show them in a particular light. Every religion, too, for that matter, targets this community, in some way or the other. And that needs to stop.”
  25. David Frost once said, “Having one child makes you a parent. Having two kids makes you a referee!” and we couldn't agree any less after watching Kanan Gill's hilarious video. If parenting wasn't difficult a task in itself, having a sibling made things worse both for the kids as well the parents. No matter how hard our parents try to convince that they love you and your brother/ sister equally, we know the truth that there is always a favourite child. And we are not that child. © YouTube Kanan Gill hilariously sums up the struggles of every parent and their kids, and we don't think there's anyone who could have been as honest as Gill in explaining the dynamics of parenthood. Giving a whole new definition to the concept of siblings, he explains how the first child is always ‘a project' and the second or third is considered extra, who are there for emergency situations. The reason why the first child is called a project is that he is the one who is the experimental guinea pig. © YouTube From painting, engineering, medical, computer science to judo, swimming or dancing; parents intend to have high hopes from the first born and thus end up putting the entire pressure on them. The burden of studies is primarily put on them and they are ones who are made to dance on ‘chikni chameli' or ‘kala chashma' on days when you have guests at home. We still don't understand, why we have to pull off an ‘India's Got Talent', every time someone comes at our house. However, his jibe didn't end there. The best was yet to come. After trolling siblings, he took the opportunity to take a dig at all the single kids. “If you are an only child it's because your parents had you and then realized that they don't like children” this one line was enough for us to fall for his wit and humour. So folks, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and tag your siblings to let them know who the project is and who is an extra.