Helping Military Families Transition from an IFSP to an IEP

first_imgAudra Classen, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at The University of Southern Mississippi in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. Her expertise lies in supporting the academic and behavioral development of young children from birth to age eight.  Dr. Classen is actively engaged in research to develop culturally responsive and family-centered services for military families and their young children. Watch as Audra Classen, Ph.D., shares with the MFLN FD Early Intervention team how providers can help military families transition from an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Also check out the links to several useful resources for providers below.Dr. Classen writes:Early educators who develop a detailed IFSP/IEP document, which can be transportable to the next school district, build “trust” and a “personal connection” with military families. Listening to families and developing a detailed IFSP/IEP may prevent families from experiencing a less than satisfactory and frustrating experience when they transition to a new education setting.  Preventing discourse and promoting a positive family professional partnership is ideal for supporting young children and their families. In addition, some school personnel should consider each military families’ situation to determine if expediting the special education process is appropriate. Expediting the process can be a proactive way to demonstrate responsiveness towards military families’ unique needs thus providing relief and comfort to parents that full and appropriate services are in place sooner. Furthermore, when school personnel take the time to actively engage military families in the IFSP/IEP process, the family gains a sense of control which can be particularly important given the lack of control families are experiencing in other areas of their family life during relocations and deployments. For parents, this sense of control and accomplishment in terms of their child’s education may prevent feelings of defensiveness and/or anxiousness and promote better child and family outcomes.A transcript of this video can be found here.Be sure to click on the following resources:IDEA barriers to military families who move frequentlyLetter from the Dept. of Education regarding military children with disabilitiesThe Military Child and Special EducationInterstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military ChildrenLegal Issues Facing Military Families with Special Needs Childrenlast_img read more

Resource Discovery: Universal Design for Learning

first_imgEarlier this week, Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D. presented on “Advocating for Universal Design for Learning in Classrooms.”Throughout the presentation, Dr. Mahadevan provided many examples of the different principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – Representation, Action and Expression, and Engagement. To watch a recording of this webinar please click here – Advocating for Universal Design for Learning in Classrooms.This presentation provided resources to help participants better understand what UDL is, and ways in which parents/guardians and students can self-advocate for UDL to be incorporated in classrooms. 1.  A Parent’s Guide to Universal Design for Learning (UDL): This resource from the National Center for Learning Disabilities was designed to give parents and guardians a better understanding of the background and benefits of UDL, a breakdown of the three UDL principles, as well as information on how UDL and Assistive Technology and Accommodations can work hand-in-hand. 2.  Universal Design for Learning Checklist: Mahadevan’s printable checklists helps parents, guardians, and educators identify which UDL practices they are currently using, which UDL strategies they would like additional training on, and which UDL practices they would like to add to their current instruction. Additional resources were provided with the presentation and can be found at Universal Design for Learning Resources.Another great place to learn about available resources is our Successful Transition for Students with Special Needs: What Resources are Available to You webinar presented by Dr. Mahadevan earlier this year.This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 1, 2017.last_img read more

NAB 2014: DaVinci Resolve 11 Announcement

first_imgNotable Feature: Camera Tracking and StabilizerDaVinci Resolve also has built-in camera tracking and image stabilization making it easier to get a cinematic look. While most major editing softwares already incorporate this feature we will be interested to see how well it works. DaVinci Resolve 11 features a redesigned editing interface and over 70 new features.DaVinci Resolve is a color grading and correction software that has long been used to create Hollywood-style color effects and has been used on films including Skyfall, Les Miserables, and Zero Dark Thirty. Now, the latest announcement by Blackmagic Design aims to make DaVinci Resolve a competitor in the video editing world.DaVinci Resolve 11DaVinci Resolve 11 has over 70 new features including:Redesigned edit bayNew timeline binUpdated editing index3rd party open effects Split video and audio in and out pointsJKL trimming Cutting a clip using the keyboardFilm transition transitionsKeyframe interpolationUpdated text editorCamera RAW pallet is updatedColor match paletteColor chart auto gradeGroup gradingMultiple language supportMulti user collaborative workflow Notable Feature: Automatic Color MatchingThe most interesting feature seems to be the automatic color matching feature. Simply place the color matching box over the box of your professional color chart and watch as DaVinci resolve creates a baseline color correction. This feature saves a lot of time for those of us who normally have to map the colors by hand. Pricing and AvailabilityDavinci Resolve comes in 3 varieties: DaVinci Resolve Lite is FREE but missing some featuresDaVinci Resolve software is $995DaVinci Resolve with color correction surface for $29,995You can download Resolve from Blackmagic’s website.What do you think of DaVinci Resolve 11? read more

White Balance Footage in Final Cut Pro X

first_imgManual Color Balance in Final Cut Pro XTo manually white balance your clips in FCPX, you’ll need to use some simple editing techniques like cropping to pull of this trick. (I learned this from Mark Spencer’s Ripple Training tutorial. Check it out at the end of the post.)1. Find a small area that should be white. Use the Crop Tool to crop the image to that small area.2. Open up Waveforms (Command + 7), click on Settings, select RGB Parade.The RGB Parade will show you which colors have the strongest cast. In this particular clip, you’ll notice a lot of red peaking in the RGB parade and a good amount of green. Since the small area we have cropped is supposed to be white, we want all three of the peaks to align with each other. To do so, you’ll need to adjust the points on the Color Board.3. Open the Color Board (Command + 6) and select the Color tab. Adjust the pucks as necessary. (Start with Global.)Since there is too much red in this clip, we can either add more of red’s complementary color (cyan) or we can remove some red. For simplicity, let’s remove some red.Move the Global puck along the horizontal line towards red, and then pull the puck down to remove red. Now keep an eye on the RGB parade. Look for a point where all three colors have equal peaks.4. Remove the Crop. Adjust the Color and Exposure to fine tune the image.Once you remove the crop, you’ll be able to see the total effect of the white balance on your footage. You’ll now need to hop back into the color tab and fine tune the Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows.  Here is a look at the clips after a manual balance. I could still play with the blues and greens, but I don’t need the shot to be perfect. For projects like this, there will be a final color grade that will enhance the story. But, now that I have a white balanced shot — it’s going to be a lot easier to keep a consistent look throughout the film.To follow along in video format, check out Mark Spencer’s Ripple Training tutorial here.Got any tips for white balancing in FCPX? Share them in the comments below! For some reason you can’t just simply white balance footage in Final Cut Pro X with the push of a button. Here’s a workaround that doesn’t require any plugins.Top image via ShutterstockWithout using a plugin, the workaround for white balancing in Final Cut Pro X honestly requires far too many steps. That said, it can be done relatively easily. It just requires a few editing tricks to get you there. Here are two different ways to white balance in FCPX.Automatic Color Balance in Final Cut Pro XThe first option is to use the Automatic Color Balance tool. This can be done when importing footage or after clips have been placed in the timeline. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work. When it does, it’s the fastest way to white balance footage. If if doesn’t work, you will need to manually white balance.The Final Cut Pro X color balance feature samples the darkest and lightest areas of the luma channel, and then adjusts the shadows and highlights to neutralize color casts. The issue is the balanced footage isn’t necessarily white balanced, the clip merely adjusts to maximize contrast to have the widest luma range.When importing clips, just scroll through the Media Import popup and make sure Analyze for balance color is selected.Alternatively, you can select the clip on the timeline, go to the top menu and click on Modify, select Balance Color.Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t always work for white balancing. For this specific test clip, you’ll notice how the wedding dress certainly is not white after using Automatic White Balance, so I have to white balance manually.last_img read more

Freelance Tips: 7 Best Practices for Invoicing Clients

first_img5. Download Links and FilesIt also helps to include final links for all your files and deliverables with your invoice (either in the notes or in your invoice email). If you haven’t discussed a fee for archiving and preserving files, you can set up downloads for a final consolidation of all necessary assets and footage by using Dropbox, WeTransfer or Vimeo.You can take this opportunity to suggest they download all footage and assets within seven days (or whatever your file-hosting website encourages), as you will not be able to keep them longer than that. (If your client has additional concerns, you can work something out.)6. Include W-9Image via Zodiact.Film and video professionals operating in the United States working on any project (or projects) that add up to over $600 in a calendar year need to fill out a W-9 tax form listing the “employer.” Both parties will need this form for their taxes. Your client will probably send this to you eventually, but many larger agencies won’t even submit your invoice until they get your W-9.To jump-start the process, keep a W-9 form already filled out to send over with your invoice. Some companies may ask for one that includes their information, but they might just add that themselves. Just be sure to update this every year.You can read more about W-9 forms here, and download a copy here.7. State an Expected Due Date (but recognize protocol)Image via Jamesboy Nuchaikong.You may also notice that many invoice templates have a spot for a due date. You might feel that something like this is unnecessary (and would undermine trust), but if you’re working with professionals, they should appreciate your expectations — and therefore be quick to let you know if they can’t meet them.Ideally, it’s best when freelancers can ask for half of a project’s payment up front in the form of a deposit. But if you’re working toward an invoice-upon-delivery method, giving a range from two to six weeks is the industry standard. They very well could deliver payment quicker, but in many larger organizations, invoice billings get passed off to a financial team that may have its own protocol (which can sometimes be 30 to 60 days). Find out when you’re discussing the scope of work so you’ll know what to expect.Bonus: More Free Templates!Image via Dragan Grkic.100 Free Invoice PDF TemplatesInvoice Templates | FreshBooksFree Invoice Templates For Word, Excel, Open OfficeFree Video Production Invoice TemplateVideo production Invoice TemplateAnd for more articles, information, and resources for freelance film and video production, check out some of these links.Tips for Successful Video and Film FreelancingFreelance Video: Keep A Client From Doing ItTax Deductions and Resources for FreelancersFreelance Video: Managing Client ExpectationsFreelance Archives — PremiumBeat Invoicing clients doesn’t have to be scary. Follow these seven best practices to make your invoices clear and professional.Cover image via Rawpixel.com.In a perfect world, once a freelance video project is wrapped, clients would be all too happy to hand over a stack of cold, hard cash (along with a gift basket from Lands’ End including several seasonally appropriate fleeces). However, in the real world, that’s very rarely the case.Most of the time, the onus falls on the freelancer to deliver an invoice at the most appropriate time. This isn’t always at the very end of a project because some projects seem to simply never end. In any case, creating a detailed, professional, and direct invoice can help move things along and define how, when, and how much your clients should pay for your hard work.Let’s look at seven best practices for freelance video invoices.1. Find the Right TemplateImage via StarLine.You can always make an invoice from scratch. Simply typing something up in a word processor is fine, but if you have some design chops, you can whip one up on your own with your own branding, logos, etc.For the rest of us less design-minded individuals, there are plenty of templates available online. You can find some for Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Apple Pages. They should all be mostly the same, but they should have some variations in spacing and layouts. Choose the one that gives you the most flexibility and the right aesthetic for your brand.2. Define Project ScopeImage via baranq.Ideally, you should define project scope well before diving into production (or post-production, if it’s strictly an editing gig). A contract or statement of work well help define these things upfront. (You can read more about these things here.) However, when submitting an invoice, it’s important to restate, point-by-point, the agreed-upon scope — and that you have now completed each task.3. Line Item vs. Full AmountImage via wutzkohphoto.Most invoice templates accommodate line item pricing breakdowns. These templates will also usually add up the totals for you. However, depending on your project, you may or may not want to use line item (or unit item) pricing; rather, you can just list full amounts.Film and video invoicing gets tricky when you start line item pricing things like gear rentals, hourly editing rates, and incurred expenses. However, while an invoice page can fill up, I’ve found that clients appreciate the line-by-line breakdown of just how you arrived at those numbers.Things like camera and gear rates are important to include, as many clients can quickly change the conversation to suggest that your camera/gear is somehow just a part of what you charge to show up and shoot.If you have agreed to a lump sum project that is not set to change, using a line item breakdown to add up your actual worth (then subtracting a discount to honor your original agreement) is a great way to show how much your services will cost in the future, while still fulfilling your agreement.4. Clearly Defined Dates of CompletionImage via This Is Me.When working with bigger companies and agencies (i.e. clients who are also working for clients), clearly defined completion dates for deliverables becomes more important (as they need to pass those dates onto others in their organizations). Most invoice templates will include a space to add notes — this would be where you can list clear dates. Here’s an example:Half-Day B-Roll Shoot — completed 10/2/17Interview Shoot — completed 10/3/17Raw Footage and Assets — delivered via Dropbox 10/4/17Final Video (w/ revisions) — delivered via Vimeo 10/14/17last_img read more

Price and Mutually Assured Destruction

first_imgDuring the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both built massive nuclear arsenals. Both built nuclear missiles, both armed them with warheads, and both aimed them at the other’s major cities.The idea was that if one side should attack, the other side would respond in kind. There would be no winner. Both sides would be destroyed. The reason to build up the arsenal was to ensure that the other side would be destroyed. It was mutually assured destruction.This is what competing on price is for the sales organizations; it’s mutually assured destruction. There are more than two competitors, but there are plenty of sales organizations engaging in this exercise.You’re competing for a deal. Your competitor proposes a lower price. So you lower your price to win.In the next engagement, you know your competitor will propose a lower price, so you preemptively offer a slightly lower price than before. Then your competitor lowers theirs. This time they win and you lose.None of this is a secret. A third competitor competing against you for an opportunity, knowing that you’ve beaten them in the last two opportunities with your lower price, decides to lower their price.It’s an arms race. Off we go, chasing the bottom, everyone’s margins declining. No one has the profit necessary to execute on their client’s biggest or strategic initiatives. Soon, the industry is commoditized, no one can differentiate their offerings, and margins decline even further.The only way to win this battle is to not fight it. Selling lowest price is building nuclear missiles at the fastest rate possible. Your effort to beat your competitors for deals on price results in you defeating yourself. Your time, your money, and your energy, all need to be devoted to creating as much value as possible so that you can claim some portion as profit, better serve your clients, and grow to even greater heights of value creation.The Soviet Union bankrupted their economy. In part it was due to their command economy. In part it was due to their attempts to win an arms race. Competing on price is mutually assured destruction.QuestionsWhen is it okay to compete on price? When is it not okay?Is your company’s primary value creation lowest price? Is it your business model?How low will you go before you give up and let your competitor win?What would happen if you went the other direction and tried to create and capture more value? What if you really tried to be better? Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

On Bad Intentions in Sales

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now Your language and body language project your intentions, whether or not you are conscious of this fact or whether or not you want your intentions known.My friend Charlie Green’s trust equation suggests that the more self-oriented you are, the less you are trusted. What makes you self-oriented? What signals bad intentions?Pitching your product instead of trying to help your client produce better results is self-oriented. It says to your dream client that you are more concerned with your deal than their results.Mentioning your company’s profitability or your personal commission reeks of self-orientation. It betrays that you are more concerned with your gain than your clients.Not really listening is an indication that what you have to say next is more important than what your client just said. You may not believe that they can feel that, but it hits your prospective client like a hammer.There aren’t too many things you can do that will betray your bad intentions more than old school closing behaviors. Asking for commitments that you haven’t earned signals bad intentions.Sometimes we appear to have bad intentions without meaning to. We believe so strongly in our product that we pitch like the devil because we know it can help, all while unintentionally ignoring the results your dream client really needs.We push back on price by explaining that the customer’s demand eliminates our profitability instead of sharing that price is really about the investment necessary to produce the results your dream client wants.We ask for commitments too soon, without having first built the trust necessary rather than spending the time developing a stronger foundation for our relationship. We want to go faster, and that manifestation of self-interest looks like bad intentions.You have to want to win. You have to want to compete. But if your intentions are purely motivated by getting what you want, you will never do as well as you might in sales (or any other human relationship).last_img read more

8 Lies About Selling

first_imgHere are 8 lies about selling: Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now It is enough to just be helpful. It is true that you create value by helping your buyer. You help them discover their needs. You help them determine the cause of their problems. You help them evaluate their choices and the accompanying trade-offs. Providing them with information promptly isn’t enough to help to make you a trusted advisor. You need to have chops.Selling has changed so much that . . . There is no doubt that selling has changed. And so has buying. But the core of selling hasn’t changed much. You still need to be known. You still need to be trusted. You still need to be liked. You still need to know how to help your dream client produce better results than they are now. And you still need to ask for and gain commitments.Salespeople are no longer necessary. You can buy things on the Internet. You can find information on the Internet too. But when the decision you need to make is complex, risky, and expensive, you are going to want to work with a professional.Inside sales will replace the need for field sales. Every week I get an email from a sales consultant who insists that a field sales force is unnecessary. Along with a lot of other folks, he believes that inside sales people are all that any business needs. There is no doubt that there are good reasons to drive the costs out of some sales operations. But because something is the right idea for one business doesn’t make it right for all businesses. Face to face sales isn’t going away anytime soon.The majority of buyers are engaged online. Everyone is online. Everyone is on Facebook. A lot of people are on LinkedIn. But not everyone is online engaging with salespeople. One reason this is true is that using the social tools to engage buyers isn’t easy for a lot of sales organizations. In some industries, like SAAS industries, a lot of people in a lot of different roles are engaged. But in some huge, old industries, not so much.The new “new” thing is the magic bullet. Every couple of years a new process, methodology, or technology is touted as the magic bullet. All of these processes, methodologies, and technologies are valuable. But none of them ever lives up to the hype. None of them ever turns out to be the magic bullet. Because there isn’t one.You must wait for buyer’s to engage. Waiting isn’t a strategy. It’s a particularly bad strategy for a sales organization. No matter how good your inbound marketing efforts are, it’s a bad idea to allow inbound leads to determine your destiny. You still need to target your dream clients and proactively and professionally pursue them.You must wait for buyers to ask to buy. If waiting for your dream client to engage is a bad idea, then waiting for them to tell you that they are ready to buy is an even worse idea. The idea that you need to wait for your dream client to ask you if they can buy is nonsense. You still need to ask for all of the commitments you need. If you’ve earned those commitments, you should have no hesitation about asking.last_img read more

A Note to the Sales Manager: You Do Not Have Time Not to Coach

first_imgSales managers and leaders often cite a lack of time as the reason they don’t coach their salespeople. This is to misunderstand one of the primary benefits of coaching: an increase in available time.Where Does the Time GoIf you have to spend time working your sales team’s deals, you are doing two jobs at the same time. You are both a sales manager and a sales rep. It is sometimes necessary for you to work high value, high visibility deals, but that shouldn’t be your primary role (in many businesses, anyway). Closing deals for your salespeople takes time.If every problem and challenge requires your immediate attention, you are living in reactive mode. The big dream client one of your salespeople is pursuing hasn’t returned your contract yet because it’s still in legal. Another prospective client wants change to the solution your salesperson proposed, and they’re not sure what to do.All these things are important, and they all take time. In fact, the better your salespeople do creating opportunities, the busier you are helping them with their challenges.Internal meetings steal time, mostly without generating any real benefit. Email is also a massive time suck, especially the notes that you are copied on due to a lack of psychological safety inside the organization. The list of things that could dominate your time is interminable.How to Get Your Time BackCoaching doesn’t take time; it makes time.The better and more frequently you coach the individuals on your team, the more they grow and develop. At some point, they will tell you, “I don’t need you on this call. I’ve got this.” By closing deals for your salespeople, you are creating dependents. Because you believe you have to close their deals, they’re likely to believe it, too.When you coach people, they grow and develop. When they grow and develop, they become more and more independent. When they become independent, they don’t need nearly as much of your time.There aren’t more than a few choices of what to do when a contract is stuck in legal. A few questions about the context of the situation and you can easily make a decision as to what to try first and what might be a backup plan. Coaching this scenario prevents you from having to repeat this exercise over and over again. This principle applies to most of the challenges you solve on a day-to-day basis.Coaching requires that your salespeople exercise their resourcefulness and initiative to solve their own problems. The more they can work through their challenges on their own, the more time is returned to you.If You Don’t Have Time to CoachMany of the interactions you have with the people you lead is an opportunity to coach. The more you coach, the more time you will have.If you believe you don’t have time to coach, you don’t have time not to coach.last_img read more

The invisible social engineering at work in West Bengal

first_imgAsked for help to make a tour of the area where a month earlier communal tension had mounted in North 24 Paraganas district adjacent to Kolkata, the Hindu Jagran Manch sent two guides. They are friends, in their late twenties to early thirties, and keen to talk about the “awakening of the Bengali Hindus”. They live in Baduria block of North 24 Paraganas, the second most populous district in the country after Thane, with a population of over one crore.Earlier in the month, it was in Baduria that a Facebook meme maligning Islam had triggered communal tension in parts of the district for over a week, affecting both Hindus and Muslims. The meme was allegedly uploaded by a student, now in police custody.One of the guides, Anindya Acharjee, was a lower-rung leader of the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). While studying law in Kolkata he was attracted to the Democratic Youth Federation of India for “nearly a decade”. In fact he is still with the local unit of the DYFI, but preparing to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.”The youth are leaving the CPI(M) in large numbers. The Hindus are joining the BJP and the Muslims are approaching the TMC. Ten or twelve young Muslim men of the DYFI came to me recently. They are going to join the Trinamool Congress,” he said. A local leader of the TMC’s student wing, Salim Mollah, based in Swarupnagar block, further south of Baduria, gave a nuanced-sounding explanation to the emerging communal division within the CPI(M).”A month ago when the situation flared up, indeed there was a split along religious lines [within the CPI-M],” he said, adding a caveat: “But our interactions [with Hindus] are far more cordial now. Much like what it was a month back when the troubles broke out.” He says both Hindu and Muslim youth are “returning” to the TMC. “The politics of dividing people on religious lines – rather than political lines – has failed.”Along religious linesThe politics of division along religious lines, however, has its history rooted in Bengal’s Partition. The people of Baduria, Swarupnagar and Basirhat blocks – where there were rivalries – are partly a product of past communal violence across the border in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) six decades ago.”So perhaps the July violence reminded us of what we witnessed decades back,” observes 78-year-old Sudhanshu Mandal, a retired carpenter and a CPI sympathiser. He came to Baduria as a refugee when he was 10, following an attack on Hindus in Muladi in East Pakistan. To Mr. Mandal and his community, intermittent communal flare-ups in West Bengal bring back memories of riots in East Pakistan. He was standing outside a bamboo and tin thatched room which had a couple of ‘sickle and stalk of grain’-bearing flags at the entrance, indicating that it is a CPI office, in Baduria’s Chandipur Colony. He said the “times are a-changing” in Bengal. “They [the CPI] gave us a lot. This land, established as a refugee camp, turned later into a residential colony. Thanks to the CPI and the CPI(M) we could build our homes and we can now be considered a part of the growing middle class… but times are a-changing.”The number of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh who came over to Bengal over the decades could be anybody’s guess. During the 2016 elections a former local MP, Manjul Krishna Thakur, told The Hindu that Matuas, a religious sect of Bangladeshi Dalits who predominantly belong to the Namasudra caste, is “a factor in 78 of 294 Assembly segments”. Namasudras and several other castes among the refugees are serously influenced by the growing communal hostility in Bengal, feels Mr. Mandal.”There is a growing uncertainty – this fear that we may get attacked as we were in Muladi – as we live among the Muslims. This is changing our politics. If it continues we may end up joining the BJP,” said the communist sympathiser of five decades, as the crowd around him, mostly young men from the neighbourhood, cheered.”We are all Hindus here,” they shouted in unison. A couple of them yelled: “Jai Shri Ram.” One of them, Tapash Biswas, a local retailer, with a saffron scarf around his neck, said, “We are not CPI(M), TMC or Congress – we are all Hindus.” Titas Biswas, the secretary of the Hindu Jagran Manch in Basirhat subdivision, did not deny that communal flare-ups were aiding a sharp polarisation, which was helping the Hindu right-wing parties.”The Hindus lack unity but the July incident has united us and we’ve gained,” says Mr. Biswas. He, however, insists that the Hindu nationalist outfits have not provoked the unrest “to unite Hindus”. The two-time MLA of the area, Mohammad Selim Gayen of the CPI(M), acknowledges that divisions on communal line are “a reality”.”Hindus and Muslims have indeed felt disappointed with the role of the TMC administration, and in certain areas [the two communities were] kind of face-to-face. Following the Facebook post, Muslims blocked the road. The administration failed to act to remove the post and eventually the two communities had a face-off. But it’s the job of political activists like us to bridge the gap and we are campaigning door to door to defuse tension and people are responding positively,” Mr. Gayen said. He did not deny that he observed “such a trend” when Hindus were joining the BJP and the Muslims were aligning with the TMC, following the commotion.While such trends can be witnessed all across the State, the TMC leadership denies any “major change” in their support base. ”They [BJP] are trying to split Bengal on Hindu-Muslim lines and outsourcing [the work] to a few organisations whose job it is to routinely provoke people. The recent incident [of posting the meme] is not the work of a 17-year-old boy… they have a bigger game plan,” said Jyoti Priya Mallick, the president of TMC unit in North 24 Paraganas and a Minister. But BJP president Dilip Ghosh called the allegation “baseless”.Scheduled Castes vs MuslimsOn a Tuesday afternoon two weeks after the riot, a local BJP leader, Swapan Das, visited Godownpara, which formerly housed a railway yard, in Bashirhat subdivision to meet the residents. The residents – as it was in Chandipur – are Bangladeshi and Indian Dalits who came to North 24 Paraganas over the decades. They are the ones who claim to have “resisted” the Muslims around the first week of July. “Let us not forget that it is these poor men and women who saved Bashirhat from Muslims in the first week of July. I have come to meet them,” said Mr. Das. His co-party worker tells the locals, in the presence of this correspondent, that they have “some survey plans for the area”.Nearly all residents of Godownpara are daily wage-earners; they are usually hired by a contractor to paint walls and houses in suburban areas and are paid about Rs. 300 a day. All of them belong to about half a dozen Scheduled Caste categories and the leaders of a section of Hindu outfits do not deny they are consistently “working” among Dalits to “resist Islam”.Tapan Ghosh, the founder-president of Hindu Samhati, has been working among these castes in many districts of Bengal for long. He does not deny that “only these lower castes” are “capable of resisting Islamic aggression”.”These lower castes, whom I would describe as a warrior class, were never in a position to take decisions, while the upper castes have not resisted Islamic aggression,” he said. He listed “the lower castes” as Namasudras who came from Bangladesh, and other Bengali Scheduled Castes as Poundra Kshatriya (cultivators), Jan Kshatriya (fishermen), Karma Kshatriya (palanquin-bearers) in North 24 Paraganas. “We work among them,” he admitted.”In the rest of Bengal these other lower castes who have been neglected for centuries are Bagdis, Bauris, Dom and Hanris. In North Bengal they are Rajbanshis and Santhals (tribals) in some parts. They are also among the warrior community of Bengal. My objective is to strengthen all of them so they may resist the aggression of Islam,” he added.Interestingly, all these communities put together constitute 25 to 30% of West Bengal’s population. If Mr. Ghosh or the Hindu outfits manage to penetrate these communities, which they claim they have done, it could severely affect the standing and future prospects of the TMC.last_img read more

BJD MLA performs last rites of poor woman

first_imgA legislator, his son and nephew performed the last rites of a destitute woman after no villager came forward for her funeral fearing ostracisation in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district.Ramesh Patua, MLA from Rengali constituency, decided to perform the woman’s last rites after the local police informed him that no one from Amanapali village under Chudamal gram panchayat was ready to touch her body.The woman, a beggar, lived with her ailing brother-in-law and survived on leftovers from community feasts. Her caste was unknown to the villagers.Ostracisation fears“It did not take me much time to understand why nobody was coming forward for the last rites of the deceased. [According to a practice in the village] If a person touches a body belonging to another caste, he is ostracised by his own community. As I was away from the spot, I sent two youngsters from my family to take the body to the burial ground,” said Mr. Patua, who was elected on a BJD ticket.Amanapali is 2 km from Loida, Mr. Patua’s village in Sambalpur district. Although Amanapali is in Jharsguda constituency, the Rengali MLA did not show any hesitation in attending to the crisis. “I thought the two youngsters may not be able to handle the situation, so I rushed to the spot. We brought four bamboo poles and prepared a bier to carry the body. Since I did not want any controversy by tinkering with the existing beliefs, we took the body to the ground and performed the last rites,” the MLA said.While most of the rituals were performed according to Hindu beliefs, the body was buried as there was not much time to arrange for a cremation, the MLA said. The woman’s relative was too unwell to participate in the funeral.Mr. Patua, one of the poorest MLAs in Odisha, does not have enough land and still stays in a rented house.last_img read more

Woman delivers baby in wheelchair; Meghalaya HC ticks case

first_imgThe Meghalaya High Court has taken note of the case of a woman who lost her baby after being made to sit in a wheelchair during delivery in a government-run hospital in Shillong.The court of Chief Justice S.R. Sen and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, clubbing the case taken on “suo motu cognisance of deficiencies in health services” in Meghalaya with a previous case, on Tuesday sought a report in this regard from the State government.A 20-year-old woman was admitted in Shillong’s Ganesh Das Hospital around 9 a.m. on August 29 and was administered a pill for forced labour at 4 p.m. She delivered the baby in a room near the emergency ward after 2 a.m. on August 30.The baby was declared dead more than an hour later. The discharge slip from the hospital said the woman delivered a dead foetus on August 30 at 3.35 a.m., though the woman’s sister had called up her family to break the news of a “healthy baby” having been delivered.Wheeled to labour roomThree days later, the woman said that she was asked to sit in a wheelchair while the head of the baby was emerging. Women’s rights activists, who stood beside her, said the nurses should have helped her deliver the baby on the bed instead of forcing her to sit on the wheelchair, or a stretcher should have been used to take her to the labour room. The nurses wheeled her to a room near the emergency section where the baby was delivered. “Despite repeated pleas, the nurses did not say whether the baby was a boy or a girl. A nurse wrapped the baby in a piece of cloth and put it in a bucket that appeared to be a trash basket full of ants,” she was reported as saying. Meghalaya Health Minister Alexander L. Hek said he has sought a report from the hospital in writing, though the authorities had clarified verbally.“We came to know two more babies died on the night this lady was made to sit inhumanly on a wheelchair during delivery. We have sought information on the number of newborn deaths in the hospital over the years,” rights activist Agnes Kharshiing told The Hindu.last_img read more

INLD splits, Ajay Chautala to float new party

first_imgThe Indian National Lok Dal split on November 17 with former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala’s elder son Ajay Singh Chautala declaring he will set up a new party.“I hand over the INLD and the spectacles (party symbol) to my younger brother as a gift,” Ajay Singh Chautala, who was recently expelled from the party, told supporters in Jind. The announcement ends the simmering power struggle in the Indian National Lok Dal.Ajay Singh Chautala and his brother Abhay Singh Chautala held parallel meetings on November 17.The elder brother had termed his event as a meeting of the party’s State executive, a move which the other faction said was illegal.Mr. Abhay Singh Chautala held a party workers meeting in Chandigarh, where he hit out at his brother, saying those who staked claim over the party have themselves left.Ajay Singh Chautala, who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail along with his father Om Prakash Chautala in a teachers recruitment scam, said the new party will hold a rally in Jind on December 9.Ajay Singh Chautala is currently on a two-week parole.last_img read more

Farmer earns ₹6 from onions, sends it to CM

first_imgA farmer from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar has sent a money order of ₹6 to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to protest against crashing prices of onions. Shreyas Abhale said on Sunday that after selling 2,657 kg onions at the rate of ₹1 per kg at the Sangamner market, he was left with only ₹6 after deducting transport costs. “I felt disappointed… decided to send the amount to the CM,” Mr. Abhale said.last_img

No reason to support Cong. in U.P.: Bhim Army

first_imgThe Bhim Army has said the Congress has done nothing for Dalits during its 60-year rule and there is no reason for it to support the party in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls. The remarks by Bhim Army’s national president Vinay Ratan Singh came days after Congress general secretary in-charge for east Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met its chief Chandrashekhar Azad at a hospital in Meerut on Wednesday, which is being seen as a Dalit outreach move of her party. “The Congress fought B.R. Ambedkar. The party ruled the country for so long, but did nothing for us. Atrocities were inflicted on Dalits under its rule. It gave rise to the RSS and the BJP,” Mr. Singh alleged. He added, “There’s not a single reason for us to support it.” Special request“She wanted to meet Chandrashekhar bhai, but he said no. She then made a special request and they met for a few minutes. No political issue figured in their talks,” Mr. Singh said.The Dalit group’s founder, Chandrashekhar Azad, had announced at a rally in the Capital on Friday that he would contest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi and welcomed support of all parties, including the Congress, to take on the BJP. Mr. Azad had also sought the support of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party for his candidature, saying his group would back their alliance in other seats.Mr. Singh said the Bhim Army would not have supported BSP supremo Mayawati had she not been part of the Dalit movement and asked SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to make amends for the mistakes of his party. He said a few people in the SP have taken up the issues of Dalits. “But mistakes have been made and Akhilesh Yadav should give an answer. He should make amends if he wants Dalits to vote for his party,” Mr. Singh said.Mulayam’s remarkHe was referring to SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comment in Parliament that Mr. Modi should become the Prime Minister again and the party’s alleged silence on Dalit issues. Asked about Ms. Mayawati terming the Bhim Army a product of the BJP during the 2017 Saharanpur clashes, he said, “We would have never supported her and her party had she not been part of the Dalit movement. There are a number of Dalit MPs and MLAs who are not part of this movement. We have nothing to do with them.” Mr. Singh added that a candidate would also be fielded against Union Minister Smriti Irani. He said that they would also field candidates in Punjab which has a considerable Dalit population. The State sends 13 representatives to the Lok Sabha. The Chandrashekhar-led group shot to limelight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Saharanpur. Chandrashekhar was arrested after the clashes. Though he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court, the U.P. Police arrested him under the stringent National Security Act. He was released in September 2018 after 16 months in jail.last_img read more

1 killed in W.B. during clash outside booth

first_imgOne person was killed and a few injured in the third phase of polling when five constituencies of central and north Bengal voted on Tuesday. Till 5 p.m., 78.97% of about 80 lakh voters exercised their franchise. The number of incidents of alleged rigging or booth capturing were considerably less compared to the last two phases. Meanwhile, TMC chief Mamata Banarjee has alleged that the Central Armed Police Force personnel are “influencing” voters to vote for the BJP.Tiarul Sheikh was killed when clashes broke out outside booth number 188 in Bhagawangola block in Murshidabad. His son Mahtab Sheikh alleged that Tiarul was attacked with a machete by two men.last_img

Just how big is Google Scholar? Ummm …

first_imgThe study is very “thorough and creative work,” says bibliometricist Henk Moed, a visiting professor at Sapienza University of Rome and a former senior scientific adviser at Elsevier, who was not involved with the research. By itself, however, the number doesn’t answer some other questions important to academics. One is: What proportion of all scholarly documents is covered by Google Scholar? A previous study by computer scientists Madian Khabsa and C. Lee Giles of Pennsylvania State University, University Park, which estimated the size of Google Scholar at 100 million documents, suggested that it covers about 88% of all scholarly documents accessible on the Web in English. “It’s not complete, but a very good coverage,” Giles says.Another puzzle is how to gauge the quality of Google Scholar’s citation statistics (the number of times a paper is cited by other authors). In general, the citation numbers on Google Scholar tend to be higher than those provided by other sources, Moed says. That’s apparently because databases such as Web of Science require their citation sources to be peer-reviewed and surpass a minimum impact factor, he says, whereas Google Scholar taps into a much broader range of sources.That’s not necessarily bad, Orduña-Malea says, noting that such wide citing practices can help expand the range of papers that researchers read, beyond those published in elite journals. But a potential problem, Moed says, is that some people may think that “the higher the [citation] numbers, the better the database. … But this is not necessarily the case.”Moed’s team is conducting a study that compares citations for the same paper provided by Google Scholar and Scopus. One goal is to discern the sources included in Google’s search engine, he says. So far, the percentage of peer-reviewed sources tapped by Google appears to vary drastically across disciplines, he says.To take the mystery out of such research, both Moed and Orduña-Malea would like to see Google Scholar become more transparent. Indeed, Google’s silence on the size of its index made the authors of the arXiv study wonder “if the company really knows this figure.”But one insider dismisses such musings. “It is of course not difficult to compute,” says Anurag Acharya, a co-founder of Google Scholar who leads its development. Still, he wouldn’t share any numbers with ScienceInsider. He did note, however, that index size is less relevant to search companies such as Google than to subscription-based databases, which can use size as a selling point.One thing seems certain, researchers say: Google Scholar is continuing to expand its coverage of scholarly literature, which is already believed to be the largest among all academic search engines and databases. “Google Scholar, we think, is representing very well the science landscape,” Orduña-Malea says. When it comes to searching for scientific literature, Google Scholar has become a  go-to resource for a growing number of researchers. The powerful academic search engine seems to comb through every academic study in existence. But figuring out exactly how many papers are covered by Google Scholar isn’t easy, recent research shows—in part because of the company’s secretive, tightlipped nature. And some scholars warn the service may be inflating citation counts, although that may not necessarily be a bad thing.Figuring out how many documents are indexed in traditional bibliographic databases, such as Thomson Reuters’s Web of Science and Elsevier’s Scopus, is a piece of cake—a simple query is all it takes. Microsoft Academic Search is similarly transparent. Google Scholar, however, offers no such tools to bibliometric researchers, and the Web search giant has declined to publish the information.To come up with a tally, bibliometricist Enrique Orduña-Malea of the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and his colleagues used four different methods to estimate Google Scholar’s total number of documents. Although each method has distinct limitations, all but one yield similar results, the researchers report in a study posted to the arXiv preprint server earlier this year and updated this month. 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Satellite captures glowing plants from space

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—About 1% of the light that strikes plants is re-emitted as a faint, fluorescent glow—a measure of photosynthetic activity. Today, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union here, scientists released a map of this glow (pictured, with data averaged from August to October of this year) as measured by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. The NASA satellite launched in July with the goal of mapping the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. But the fluorescence map, an unexpected secondary capability, provides a more direct measure of carbon fluxes: the amount mopped up by plants during photosynthesis or released during respiration. The findings will help scientists disentangle inputs and outputs in places like the Amazon rainforest, where there are both big emissions from deforestation and big sinks from photosynthesis. The map reveals that tropical rainforests near the equator are actively sucking up carbon, while the Corn Belt in the eastern United States, near the end of its growing season, is also a sink. Higher resolution fluorescence mapping could one day be used to help assess crop yields and how they respond to drought and heat in a changing climate.last_img read more