Meerut braveheart fights goons single-handedly, onlookers click pictures

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Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In a road rage incident in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city, a brave woman single-handedly fought off goons who were misbehaving with her husband in broad day light at a crowded place.

And shamefully enough there were several onlookers at the scene yet none came forward to help the couple.

The feud started when the goons, driving a Santro car, hit the couple on bike while they were on their way back home.

What more horrible was that the people present at the moment instead extending a helping hand towards the fighting couple were seen clicking pictures.

The woman later told several news channels that while fighting goons she and her husband sought help from the people present at the scene but no one came forward to help them.

The victim and her husband somehow managed to escape the goons, saving their lives.

In some of the photographs taken by the bystanders a policeman can also be seen who apparently didn’t come to the rescue of the woman and her husband.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested one assailant and the hunt is on to nab the other two absconding attackers.

Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar applauded the Meerut braveheart’s courage saying, “Good on her for single handedly fighting them off. Well done lady..(sic)”

This Guy Tracks Everything About Himself And Puts It Up Online For Everyone To See

Software developer and designer Anand Sharma started tracking everything about himself in March, including how many steps he takes in a day, the distance traveled, how he traveled there (bike, walking, plane, etc) and even how many GitHub commits or Instagram uploads he’s made throughout the day.

The idea seems to have been bubbling for a while. Sharma left his job as the design director at Quizlet in April. As he tells it, 104 days, 9 countries, 60 cities, 1280 commits and 14 burritos later, April Zero, the site he built to track everything about himself and display it to the world, was born.

Sharma uses various apps on his phone such as Nike+, FourSquare and Moves to track it all. He even made an illustration of how it’s laid out and put it up on April Zero so we can see how he organizes. As he says on the site, “I’ve measured my heart rate 494 times and typically it beats 69 times per minute. In the past 130 days, I’ve pushed 1,494 commits to this site, gone on 32 runs & eaten 15 burritos.” The man loves his burritos.

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Everything he tracks for health on a daily basis:

  • Steps walked every day
  • Latest runs with speed, distance, map
  • Rock climbing
  • Heart rates throughout the day
  • Weight
  • Bodyfat %
  • Blood levels

Everything else he’s tracking about himself every day:

  • Github commits (number of files and lines of code changed, commit message)
  • Photos on Instagram
  • Tweets

Things he tracks that are not up for public display just yet:

  • Things I do on my computer/phone (what websites I go to, # of emails read and replied to, activity in Photoshop, etc.)
  • Sleep
  • Food & drink
  • Mood
  • Scuba diving (location, depth, species seen, etc.)

Sharma was enjoying a little R&R in Arkbar when I reached out to ask just why he would go to the trouble of tracking all of this and displaying it up on the web for the world to see. He told me candidly, “Knowing that my activity is being tracked and published to the world has been a really great motivator to do interesting things or try harder. Especially for things like whether to go running, or how fast/far I go. If no one else was watching I might cut corners, but now I feel like I’m being held accountable, like I’d be letting down my visitors and friends otherwise. I also found myself going out a bit more, and to more interesting, diverse places. Earlier this year I would go to the same burrito place 5 times a week; it was delicious. Now I find myself trying to mix it up for the benefit of the historical record.”
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He also said it was helping him to make overall better decisions. Sharma illustrated this with how he’s been tracking his vitamin level. “My Vitamin D is low right now, so I know I need to spend more time in the sun and not forget to take my vitamins. I think I’m so used to seeing things on digital interfaces that it has become the way I most easily think and process information. And seeing it change in response to things I do creates a great feedback loop,” Sharma told me.

He says the visuals and daily tracking work better because data is often a bit different from our memory, which is much more selective and limited.

“Finding the right balance in a world where there is never enough time and everything is trying to get your attention is really hard, and this helps make it a bit easier.”

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He also looks at and tracks all the locations he’s been to, travel between those places (walking, driving, flying, boat, etc.), how long it took, how far he went, and even the route he took to get there.

“My location is the biggest thing I track and the backbone for all the other data,” says Sharma. “It gives everything context where otherwise it would just be a bunch of disconnected stats.”

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All that is well and good for one man, but Sharma hints of a bigger plan down the road. He’s building something he calls the Gyroscope.

“Basically Gyroscope is version 2 of what I’ve made already,” Sharma says. “Since launching [April Zero] I’ve gotten hundreds of messages from people asking how they can get their own, many of them not in the Valley, wanting to pay money for it. After seeing it in action and playing with live data I think a natural response has been “Oh yeah, I need this.”

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He tells me the actual implementation will be very different for most people. “Most people don’t care at all about rock climbing. Many people don’t code or have Github commits. These were things that made sense for me specifically,” says Sharma.

The underlying vision for him — to measure, visualize and understand the things you personally care about — applies to everyone. “No more needing to go out and buy a 100 dollar bracelet or something to get started. It’s a much better experience to tell people to instantly download a free app than buy something and wait a week for it to come,” he tells me.

Sharma still needs to figure out a few things like privacy and security while he builds the Gyroscope. “I’ve made all of my info public to the whole world, but of course I don’t expect others to do that,” Sharma says.  But he also believes in the power of sharing personal information, like he did. “Imagine some of your friends were easily able to see what you did yesterday or whether you’ve been in a good mood lately. I want to make tools to be able to easily share with trusted friends while still maintaining privacy, especially for the more medical and sensitive stuff.”

The timeline from April Zero will be one of the core components of Gyroscope, according to Sharma. He also hints at the inclusion of more diverse and interesting data options. A little something that could be customized to everyone, individually perhaps? Some things are still in just the ideas phase for now, it seems. In the meantime Sharma plans to continue updating us with the latest in his resting heart rate, last dive pic and where in the world he swung his kettle bell last. Looks like he’s now in Tokyo, according to the site.

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Road Workers Found This Mysterious Box Underground. They Decided To Look Inside And…

Road workers in the eastern China were given the task of widening a road in the city of Taizhou, in the Jiangsu Province. They were digging about 6 feet below the surface when they came across something completely by chance that no one was expecting to find. They hit something solid while digging and after a bit of research they realized that they had actually hit buried tomb. It was time to call in professional archeologists to unearth and reveal this mystery. They found that the chamber was over 700 years old.

Here is the tomb after it was unearthed. A team worked together to open the box without disturbing the contents.

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Here the team prepares to see what was inside for the first time after 700 years.

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Encased in the stone tomb was a wooden box.

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After opening the box they found that the contents were rare silks and linens lying in some sort of brown liquid.

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They discovered a mummy of a woman under the layers of fabric.

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They were amazed to see the body and contents in near perfect shape for being underground for over 700 years.

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They think the mummy was a high ranking member of the Ming Dynasty.

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She was adorned with beautiful jewelry from the time period.

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The team carefully moved the woman out of her tomb for the first time.

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She was wrapped in many rare layers of fabric that would have been common for a high ranking member of the Ming Dynasty.

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Whatever she was preserved in was remarkable. She even had her eyebrows still attached.

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This close up of her shoes shows how well preserved her corpse was.

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This is a rare find and with advancements in archeology today she will stay preserved in a museum.

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What an incredible find to just stumble upon. This find will answer many questions about the Ming Dynasty and the forbidden city in China. After excavating the site, archeologists found 2 other coffins that they are researching now. Im sure we will see more on this story as time passes and data is analyzed. Only time will unearth the beautiful secrets from the past.

If Kennedy, Eisenhower, Alexander the Great Et Al Were Leaders in Finance

The world of finance can sometimes resemble a war zone; it takes a special set of skills to successfully negotiate the chaos, pressure and personalities. So, when you think about it, the most renowned world leaders would probably fare well in this environment. Let’s look at past world leaders, their strengths and weaknesses and how they would measure up if they were to work in finance today. Could success on the battlefield or in the White House translate into success in the boardroom? Read on to take a look at where these famous personalities might have found a niche in the corporate world.

John F. Kennedy – Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing and Sales

The scion of not one but two influential families, Kennedy was groomed for some level of notable power and fame, if not the presidency itself, from birth. (The untimely war death of the original Kennedy presidential hopeful, Jack’s older brother Joe, created a vacancy.)

It’s a general rule of human relations that ceteris paribus, people are genetically predisposed to buy their goods and services from the charismatic rather than from the dour. More than any leader on this list, Kennedy had an abundance of charisma and photogeneity, which might sound superficial but which became vital qualities for a world leader in a new age of mass media, television, and eternal campaigning. And if any president was a natural salesman, it was the man who convinced a prosperous nation of 180 million that a 43-year-old could make a viable presidential candidate.

Marketing and sales executives at major multinationals have job requirements that differ in kind, not merely in degree, from their smaller counterparts. A successful worldwide VP needs to be fluent in other cultures, literally if not figuratively. Kennedy was educated in the United Kingdom, and traveled extensively throughout France, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Egypt and what are now Israel, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and the Czech Republic before the onset of World War II. He then spent 4 years on the other side of the world as a naval officer, commanding sailors and earning medals while fighting the Japanese in the Pacific Theater.

To reach untapped markets, a competent senior vice president of worldwide marketing and sales needs to be ready to adapt to any contingency: the job requires skills that go far beyond taking orders and ensuring that the widgets are delivered on time. And no president dealt with more unexpected and varied crises in a shorter period than did Kennedy. It takes someone supremely confident and organized to invade a neighboring nation (albeit unsuccessfully), thwart Communism both in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and contain a bellicose Soviet Union without causing global conflagration – all while expanding civil rights back home and setting into motion man’s first journey to the moon.

A VP of worldwide marketing and sales is directly responsible for increasing revenue, ever on the lookout for greater streams from multiple sources. To the extent that the analogy carries into political leadership, Kennedy had a greater hand than almost anyone in developing the contemporary American “brand” and advocating for its growing use and acceptance around the world.

Dwight D. Eisenhower – Director of Financial Planning and Analysis
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. He came up through the Army ranks as a specialist in logistics and supply, authoring mobilization plans for the military prior to the outbreak of World War II. During the war, Eisenhower impressed military colleagues and U.S. and international political leaders with his leadership and diplomatic abilities while leading the military effort composed of different nations and often difficult personalities (such as General George S. Patton). A huge military campaign became a coherent one, increasing the likelihood of success.

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) directors often spend many years in a financial-planning capacity, and in the course of carrying out these responsibilities, become highly acquainted with the various businesses of the company. They are often next in line for the job of chief financial officer (CFO). If they do assume this executive role, they will have to develop relationships with Wall Street – just as Eisenhower had to work with and coordinate America’s wartime efforts with the political and military leaders of its allied nations.

FP&A involves extensive amounts of historical analysis, but also forward-looking assessments of the organization and the industry in which that entity competes. Several high-level and smaller-scale drivers and variables are reviewed to help management with short-term and long-term financial and operational forecasts for the business. If the company is large enough, the FP&A director may be tasked to coordinate reporting functions with the various finance managers or controllers of the different divisions within the company – if he has the sufficient skill and respect. Otherwise, the chief financial officer may have to do it himself (and the director’s time in that role may be limited as the CFO searches for an appropriate replacement).

Alexander The Great Director of Mergers & Acquisitions / Corporate Development
Alexander the Great led Macedonia into one of history’s largest campaigns of conquest. Tutored and mentored by Aristotle, Alexander integrated many foreign armies into the Macedonian army as their drive for expansion continued. The Macedonian empire extended from southern Europe, through portions of the Middle East, all the way to western and northern India. While integration of conquered kingdoms was practiced, Alexander also displayed military viciousness in executing residents of local towns and forts that resisted his army. Some historians consider him more of a general than a statesman, although Alexander also made large attempts at cultural and social integration of East and West by encouraging intermarriage and the adoption of foreign customers.

 

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) directors, along with senior members of management within a company, analyze several areas:

  • Capabilities, strengths and improvement areas for the organization
  • The strategic and competitive landscape
  • Key product and service providers within the industry
  • The capital markets

A company may offer core products beneficial to its customers, but may not manufacture accessories or replacement parts critical for the smooth operation of its clients. Or the company may have strong branding and quality products, but may have a weak sales and marketing team. If the company has sufficient cash and robust prospects – and debt is available in the capital markets – M&A directors can champion a merger with another well positioned company and/or acquisitions of smaller companies to improve the organization. The company will have paid for, and secured, benefits that allow it to more aggressively compete against its competitors.

In military terms, if an army is comprised mostly of infantry and archers, and that same army conquers a competing military outfit (and its kingdom) that uses ballista (artillery-like weaponry), triremes (small naval fighting vessels) and cavalry (horses), the added capabilities will boost the overall strength of the victorious army as these new weaponries are integrated into the infantry and archer units. Alexander the Great combined two important traits for an M&A director: the ability to conquer and overtake other entities and the softer skill of promoting integration between the acquirer and the acquired.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Managing Director of Private Equity
Franklin Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 to 1945. An educated man from a privileged background, Franklin Roosevelt attended Harvard University and became president of The Harvard Crimson daily newspaper. He secured work experience as a corporate lawyer on Wall Street, as New York state senator, as assistant secretary of the Navy and as New York governor. When Roosevelt became president in 1933, he championed the New Deal, a series of programs that aimed to tackleAmerica’s Great Depression (where nearly one-fifth of the labor force was unemployed) and social instability.

Among the massive initiatives included in the New Deal were the following:

  • Creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps – 250,000 unemployed men were hired to work on rural projects
  • New financing availability for farmers, railroads and the industrial base
  • Creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street
  • Creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority to build dams, power stations and other infrastructure
  • Establishment of the Works Progress Administration, which employed more than 2 million workers
  • Establishment of Social Security, which aimed to provide economic security for the elderly, poor and sick

Partners and managing directors at private equity firms raise pools of investment capital from high-net-worth and institutional investors, which is used to acquire and invest in companies. Private equity partners supervise the engineering effort to improve the companies (and increase their value) while their fund’s capital is invested in them. Managing directors, in partnership with the portfolio companies’ management teams, use a variety of strategies and approaches to increase the value of their organization. Similarly, Roosevelt demonstrated the skills necessary to implement wholesale changes to improve the financial lot of the country.

When a private equity firm acquires a company, several initiatives can follow suit:

  • Managers can institutionalize process improvements across the different divisions and within the corporate function.
  • The company can acquire related companies to enhance the parent organization’s capabilities as well as product and service offerings.
  • Stronger managers and employees are put in place to run the business better.

When portfolio companies are sold, investors earn a return on their investment, and the private equity firm earns a hefty payday. For Roosevelt, his investments in the U.S. economy and infrastructure helped steer the country out of depression.

Henry Kissinger Investor Relations
Henry Kissinger served as national security advisor and secretary of state for President Richard Nixon and continued as secretary of state for President Gerald Ford. Kissinger played a dominant role in U.S. foreign policy, including handling delicate (and often highly tense) relations with China, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. Kissinger led the policy of détente with the USSR, which aimed to relax tensions between the rivals. Kissinger also helped to form closer ties between China and the United States (to put pressure on the Soviets), and negotiated a settlement ending the war in Vietnam. He was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

A director of investor relations is the key company representative that interacts with the organization’s shareholders, Wall Street, the financial community and securities regulators. The responsibilities held in this role integrate finance, marketing, corporate communications and compliance, so this position is generally held as an integrated member of the management team. The management of public companies holds periodic earnings calls with the financial community each quarter to discuss the performance of the company. Investor relations serves as the key contact with the shareholder and financial community as well as securities regulators, and facilitates the informational exchanges between the company and outside parties. A master negotiator like Kissinger would surely be an asset in this position.

The director of investor relations allows the company to provide a unified and common message to external and investor constituents regarding various issues. If you have several messengers, sooner or later you will see conflicting answers and incoherent responses. Consolidating corporate communications within a single function is an effective and efficient way of providing important information when a lot is at stake.

The Bottom Line
While it’s anyone’s guess how the world would be different if Alexander the Great had traded world domination for corporate takeovers, the financial landscape would certainly be interesting. Aspiring financial gurus could take their cue from these historical leaders and apply principles of political or military success to their chosen careers.

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Scientists reconstruct speech through soundproof glass by watching a bag of potato chips

Subtle vibrations can be translated back into audio

 

 

Your bag of potato chips can hear what you’re saying. Now, researchers from MIT are trying to figure out a way to make that bag of chips tell them everything that you said — and apparently they have a method that works. By pointing a video camera at the bag while audio is playing or someone is speaking, researchers can detect tiny vibrations in it that are caused by the sound. When later playing back that recording, MIT says that it has figured out a way to read those vibrations and translate them back into music, speech, or seemingly any other sound.

“THIS IS TOTALLY OUT OF SOME HOLLYWOOD THRILLER.”

While a bag of chips is one example of where this method can be put to work, MIT has found success with it elsewhere, including when watching plant leaves and the surface of a glass of water. While the vibrations that the camera is picking up aren’t observable to the human eye, seemingly anything observable to a camera can work here. For the most part the researchers used a high-speed camera to pick up the vibrations, even using it to detect them on a potato chip bag filmed 15-feet away and through a pane of soundproof glass. Even without a high-speed camera though, researchers were able to use a common digital camera to pick up basic audio information.

“We’re scientists, and sometimes we watch these movies, like James Bond, and we think, ‘This is Hollywood theatrics. It’s not possible to do that. This is ridiculous.’ And suddenly, there you have it,” Alexei Efros, a University of California at Berkeley researcher, says in a statement. “This is totally out of some Hollywood thriller. You know that the killer has admitted his guilt because there’s surveillance footage of his potato chip bag vibrating.” The research is being described in a paper that will be published at the computer graphics conference Siggraph.

Elon Musk warns us that human-level AI is ‘potentially more dangerous than nukes’

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Elon Musk, the mastermind behind SpaceX and Tesla, believes that artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes,” imploring all of humankind “to be super careful with AI,” unless we want the ultimate fate of humanity to closely resemble Judgment Day from Terminator. Personally I think Musk is being a little hyperbolic — after all, we’ve survived more than 60 years of the threat of thermonuclear mutually assured destruction — but still, it’s worth considering Musk’s words in greater detail.

Musk made his comments on Twitter yesterday, after reading Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom. The book deals with the eventual creation of a machine intelligence (artificial general intelligence, AGI) that can rival the human brain, and our fate thereafter. While most experts agree that a human-level AGI is mostly inevitable by this point — it’s just a matter ofwhen — Bostrom contends that humanity still has a big advantage up its sleeve: we get to make the first move. This is what Musk is referring to when he says we need to be careful with AI: We’re rapidly moving towards a Terminator-like scenario, but the actualimplementation of these human-level AIs is down to us. We are the ones who will program how the AI actually works. We are the ones who can imbue the AI with a sense of ethics and morality. We are the ones who can implement safeguards, such as Asimov’s three laws of robotics, to prevent an eventual robocalypse.

In short, if we end up building a race of superintelligent robots, we have no one but ourselves to blame — and Musk, sadly, isn’t too optimistic about humanity putting the right safeguards in place. In a second tweet, Musk says: Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” Here he’s referring to humanity’s role as the precursor to a human-level artificial intelligence — and after the AI is up and running, we’ll be ruled superfluous to AI society and quickly erased.

The Atlas ICBM: The USA's first operational ICBM

Personally, I think Musk is underestimating the tenacity andjoie de vivre of humanity. Ever since the detonation of the first atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the later development of thermonuclear ICBMs that can wipe out whole countries from the other side of the world, humanity has assumed for more than 60 years that the end of the world was always just around the corner. But, hey, we’re still here — and despite occasional geopolitical spats, thermonuclear mutually assured destruction seems less likely by the day.

In other words, yes, it’s possible that we’ll create a superintelligence that turns on its creators — but given how humans are really, really keen to survive, it’s unlikely. Yes, it’s possible that some rogue programmer will create a genocidal AI in his basement — but given the monumental resource requirements and the interdisciplinary specialization necessary for the creation of a human-level machine intelligence, I think this is unlikely. One argument against the proliferation of nuclear weapons is that, while developed nations are reticent about mutually assured destruction, crazy dictators wouldn’t think twice about pushing the big red button. Again, though, despite a lot of close calls, the Atomic Age has still only ever seen the detonation of two nuclear bombs — and that was to end a war, rather than start one. While I agree it’s possible that a “lone crazed programmer” might in theory develop a genocidal superintelligence, again, just like the crazy dictator, I think that’s selling short humanity’s most basic urge to survive.

An aspirational shot of the Tesla Model S

In any case, hopefully Musk will heed his own words of caution. Musk went on the record last year to say that Tesla would put a self-driving car on the road within three years — a task that requires fairly deep and complex artificial intelligence. Of all the Silicon Valley behemoths, Musk’s companies and Google must be two of the most likely to develop human-level machine intelligence.

Featured image by Art Streiber, for Wired