Explore further Who’s in first? Physicists develop new football ranking system © 2009 PhysOrg.com More information: http://www.thepowerrank.com/ “A few years ago, I got interested in the technology behind Google’s search engine,” Feng told PhysOrg.com. “After looking into the PageRank algorithm, I realized it had the same origin in random processes that I use in my research every day… I thought suitable modifications of the algorithm should apply to ranking sports teams.”As Feng explains, the Power Rank algorithm requires only two parameters: the game score and the home field advantage (in the NFL, the home field advantage is considered to be three points). “There is no human bias, no memory of last season, and no style points,” he said. The idea is that this neutral ranking method can provide more accurate results than other methods, such as the simple win-loss record. For example, the Power Rank method ranks New England in third place in the NFL (behind New Orleans and Indianapolis); while these top two teams both have 12-0 records, New England’s record is 7-5. In contrast, Jacksonville, which also has a 7-5 record, is ranked 20th of 32 teams.To determine these rankings, the Power Rank algorithm is based on the concept of a network, where the nodes are the teams and the links between nodes are defined by games played between those teams. When two teams play each other, a number is assigned to the link (arrow) between those teams, based on the score and location of the game. The number is an estimate of the probability that the team at the head of the arrow beats the team at the tail on a future neutral site. A larger margin of victory implies a higher number on the edge from loser to winner. (There are two arrows between each pair of teams, with the arrows pointing in opposite directions, and the numbers on each arrow add up to 1.00, or 100%).Then, based on all the games in the league, each team receives a value. The teams are ranked in order by their values, similar to how Google’s PageRank algorithm ranks webpages. For example, in PageRank, a website becomes highly ranked when other highly ranked websites link to it; similarly, teams earn their rank by beating other highly ranked teams. The average value of the league is zero, so that teams with a positive (negative) value are slightly better (worse) than the average team.On the Power Rank website, Feng gives some examples to demonstrate how the algorithm works. In the NFL, suppose that San Francisco beats Chicago 55-21, Chicago beats New York 23-20, and New York beats San Francisco 35-32, with each team winning at home. If an algorithm only considered wins and losses, the three teams would be ranked equally since they each have one win.However, the score of each game gives additional information, which the Power Rank algorithm uses. The results of the algorithm are shown in the figure above. With this basic information, the Power Rank algorithm has attempted to sort out the contradiction that San Francisco beat Chicago but also lost to New York, who Chicago beat. Of course, the team’s values are based on only two games, so the values are probably not very accurate until more games are played.On the Power Rank website, Feng currently has a list of all 120 NCAA college football teams, as well as a list of all 32 NFL teams ranked by the algorithm. So far, he has not compared the algorithm’s predictions to individual game results, but he plans to do so soon. In addition, Feng plans to apply the algorithm to international soccer before next year’s World Cup. Although it may be tempting to use the Power Rank algorithm to predict individual games, Feng explains that the purpose of the algorithm is primarily to rank teams, not for guessing the future.”It is impossible to predict the outcome of a single game,” Feng said. “There are so many arbitrary factors to take into consideration, such as injuries. The Power Rank is truly about ranking teams based on how they have performed in the past. The ability to predict future outcomes based only on past scores serves to validate the rankings.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (PhysOrg.com) — Sports fans may be interested in a new system that ranks NFL and college football teams in a simple, straightforward way, similar to how Google PageRank ranks webpages. The new sports algorithm, called the Power Rank, is being developed by Ed Feng, a researcher in statistical mechanics at Sandia National Laboratory, although this project is independent of his work at Sandia. An example of the Power Rank algorithm: if San Francisco beats Chicago 55-21, Chicago beats New York 23-20, and New York beats San Francisco 35-32, the resulting network is shown on the left, and the teams’ values on the right. Credit: Ed Feng. Citation: New Algorithm Ranks Sports Teams like Google’s PageRank (2009, December 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-12-algorithm-sports-teams-google-pagerank.html
Sony Playstation Network begins restoration of their online network (w/video) (PhysOrg.com) — Only a few days after Sony brought their PlayStation Network back on-line hackers have shown that the PSN is still vulnerable to attacks. This time around hackers have reset user account passwords by using their email address and date of birth. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: via Nyleveia.com News of this third attack first appeared on Nyleveia.com which warned users that their accounts are still not safe. According to Nyleveia.com “…the exploit involves a vulnerability in the password reset form currently implemented, not properly verifying tokens”.Sony has since then blocked PSN login access to a number of its site, and the PSN password reset site has also been taken offline. The company has stated: “unfortunately this also means that those who are still trying to change their password via Playstation.com or Qriocity.com will be unable to do so for the time being.”Sony went on to say, “in the meantime you will still be able to sign into PSN via your PlayStation 3 and PSP devices to connect to game services and view Trophy/Friends information.”According to Nyleveia.com website: “I would suggest that you secure your accounts now by creating a completely new email that you will not use anywhere else, and switching your PSN account to use this new email.””You risk having your account stolen, when this hack becomes more public, if you do not make sure that your PSN account’s email is one that cannot be affiliated with or otherwise traced to you.”It would seem that Sony has a lot more work ahead of them. Their customers are going to less likely believe them when they say that their network is now secure. Explore further With Sony’s PlayStation Network back online only a few days, attackers have breached the system for a third time. This time going for a vulnerability with the system’s password reset. Citation: Sony PlayStation Network hacked again by resetting user passwords (2011, May 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-05-sony-playstation-network-hacked-resetting.html © 2010 PhysOrg.com
Bloom’s Energy Server (Phys.org) — Proving that it’s serious about becoming greener, EBay has announced that a new data center being built in Utah will run entirely on fuel cells, a move that other giants in the technology sector have been hesitant to take. Currently, those companies using fuel cells to power their data centers use them as a supplemental source of power, clearly worried about relying on a still new and in some ways unproven technology. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further The new data center is to be built in South Jordan, Utah as an addition to an already existing data center. The existing center will continue to draw power from the grid, while the new one will be powered exclusively by fuel cells, but will be hooked to the grid as a backup measure. EBay also has another data center in South Jordan that processes PayPal transactions, though there are no plans currently in place to make any modifications to its power source structure. As fuel cell technology has matured, it’s undergone a name change; it used to be called hydrogen fuel cell technology, but because other sources of fuel can now be uses as well, the name has become more generic. Still, the fuel cells for the South Jordan center will be of the hydrogen variety, though EBay has said that it will pay a premium for the creation of an equal amount of biogas in other places to offset the hydrogen used to power its plant. In addition to helping to save the environment, the center is expected to save on electricity costs as the price of hydrogen has dropped dramatically over the past several years.With fuel cells, the gas is not burned to produce heat to boil water to turn turbines to create electricity, as occurs with other processes. Instead, a chemical reaction occurs at high temperatures and the electricity produced is used to continuously recharge large batteries, which in turn are used to power the plant; this means carbon dioxide and water and very little else is released into the environment, making the process much cleaner than with fossil fuel burning plants. And because the electricity is made onsite, none is lost in transit and the need for bulky and expensive backup generators is eliminated.To generate the huge amount of power required by the data center, Bloom Energy, maker of the cells will string together enough of them to generate the six million watts the company believes it will need. Each fuel cell is capable of producing about 1.75 million kilowatt hours a year. Construction of the new plant is expected to commence almost immediately with completion likely by the middle of next year. © 2012 Phys.Org Citation: EBay to power new data center with fuel cells (2012, June 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-06-ebay-power-center-fuel-cells.html Apple plans nation’s biggest private fuel cell energy project in NC
More information: Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices, PNAS, Published online before print April 29, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218453110 AbstractThis research demonstrates how promoting the environment can negatively affect adoption of energy efficiency in the United States because of the political polarization surrounding environmental issues. Study 1 demonstrated that more politically conservative individuals were less in favor of investment in energy-efficient technology than were those who were more politically liberal. This finding was driven primarily by the lessened psychological value that more conservative individuals placed on reducing carbon emissions. Study 2 showed that this difference has consequences: In a real-choice context, more conservative individuals were less likely to purchase a more expensive energy-efficient light bulb when it was labeled with an environmental message than when it was unlabeled. These results highlight the importance of taking into account psychological value-based considerations in the individual adoption of energy-efficient technology in the United States and beyond.Press release Name-brand or generic? Your political ideology might influence your choice Explore further Citation: Study finds political ideology impacts decision-making regarding energy-efficient products (2013, April 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-political-ideology-impacts-decision-making-energy-efficient.html © 2013 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences In the first study, 657 people (divided roughly in half by gender) were asked to fill out a questionnaire that was designed to reveal the person’s political leanings as well as their energy-saving product purchasing habits. In analyzing the answers given by the participants, the researchers found a trend that suggested that the more conservative a person’s political views, the less favorably they saw products advertised as environmentally friendly. Those with such leanings tended to claim they were more likely to buy such products, however, if they were instead advertised as money saving investments. Conversely, those with more liberal leanings tended to be more receptive towards buying products solely because they believed they would help solve environmental problems.In the second study, 210 volunteers were interviewed and then given $2 each to purchase a light bulb. The light bulbs offered for sale were either “normal” or an energy efficient variety (with a higher price.) The higher priced bulbs were identical but were advertised in two different ways: one made claims about how the light bulb was good for the planet, the other claimed to save the buyer money by using less electricity. The researchers found those with more conservative views were less inclined to buy the special bulbs when the labeling touted its planet-saving features. When it was labeled as a money-saver however, conservatives were quite willing to buy them. Those with a more liberal view were found willing to buy the special bulb regardless of which advertising was used. In another variant of the study, the researchers found that both conservatives and liberals bought the special bulb over the “normal” bulb if they were priced the same.The researchers suggest that those people in the study with conservative ideology were not necessarily against buying so-called green products, but have been conditioned to associate such terms with liberalism, and thus, shy away from products labeled as such. Because of this, the researchers suggest those that market such products look towards creating new phrases that aren’t tied to one group or another when making their pitches. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —Two researchers from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and another from Duke University in North Carolina together have found that a person’s political ideology might impact his or her decision-making when purchasing products described as good for the environment, versus, money saving. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes two field studies they conducted to better understand the issues involved and the results they found.
© 2014 Phys.org Citation: Physicists propose identification of a gravitational arrow of time (2014, November 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-physicists-identification-gravitational-arrow.html Configuration of masses evolving under Newtonian gravity. Barbour et al. show that nearly all such systems have a moment of “lowest complexity,” which they identify as a unique “past” from which two “futures” emerge. Journal information: Physical Review Letters Data from ‘old’ experiment appears to constrain the idea of dark photons as part of dark matter theory More information: Identification of a Gravitational Arrow of Time, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 181101 – Published 29 October 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.181101 (free PDF)ABSTRACTIt is widely believed that special initial conditions must be imposed on any time-symmetric law if its solutions are to exhibit behavior of any kind that defines an “arrow of time.” We show that this is not so. The simplest nontrivial time-symmetric law that can be used to model a dynamically closed universe is the Newtonian N-body problem with vanishing total energy and angular momentum. Because of special properties of this system (likely to be shared by any law of the Universe), its typical solutions all divide at a uniquely defined point into two halves. In each, a well-defined measure of shape complexity fluctuates but grows irreversibly between rising bounds from that point. Structures that store dynamical information are created as the complexity grows and act as “records.” Each solution can be viewed as having a single past and two distinct futures emerging from it. Any internal observer must be in one half of the solution and will only be aware of the records of one branch and deduce a unique past and future direction from inspection of the available records. For all the advances made in understanding the world around us, there are still two very basic fundamental concepts that have defied explanation: time and gravity. Though we have progressed greatly in measuring both and using both to understand other concepts, we still today are no closer to understanding either than we were when we first conceptualized them. Such an acknowledgment suggests that we likely have a major flaw in our understanding of the universe. In considering such a possibility, the three physicists with this new effort suggest we might look at time in a completely new way—by dividing a dynamically closed universe (ala the Newtonian N-body problem) into two halves with shape complexity growing from a single point—each solution to the problem can then be considered as having one past but two distinctly futures. In such a scenario, an observer would of necessity have to exist on one side or the other, and thus would only ever have that perspective. Critical to this idea is that the all of the energy and angular momentum in such a system would have to be zero.In essence, the team has removed time from mathematical functions that describe the energy of the universe—that’s what allows for splitting the equations that have been created to describe the evolution of the universe into two parts, with both having initial low complexity moving to higher complexity (similar in some respects to theories of time based on entropy). The proposal by the trio though phrased in a way as to suggest it’s a solution to the arrow of time problem, is not likely to be addressed as such by the physics community—it’s more likely to be considered as yet another theory that works mathematically, yet still can’t answer the basic question of what is time. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —A trio of physicists is proposing a new direction for understanding the concept of time. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Julian Barbour, of College Farm in the U.K., Tim Koslowski of the University of New Brunswick in Canada and Flavio Mercati of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics also in Canada, describe their new ideas beginning with the suggestion that initial conditions don’t necessarily need to be imposed on time-symmetric law when attempting to describe solutions to behaviors that define an “arrow of time.”
Citation: Researchers discover first manganese based superconductor (2015, March 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-manganese-based-superconductor.html Electron spin could be the key to high-temperature superconductivity (Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from the Institute of Physics in China and the University of Tokyo has found the first instance of a manganese based superconductor. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team describes the technique they used to discover the superconductor properties in the material which many had thought would not be possible due to its high degree of magnetism. Pressure-temperature phase diagram of the helical magnet MnP . Although several different magnetic phases are indicated—helical (Screw), ferromagnetic (FM), and antiferromagnetic (AFM)—all are likely to be variants of the helical phase. Suppression of the magnetism by pressure gives rise to a superconducting phase, similar to what is observed in the related helical magnet CrAs [5, 6], as seen in the inset, where the resistivity versus temperature at a pressure of 8.1 GPa is plotted. Credit: Jin-Guang Cheng/Beijing National Laboratory Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Pressure Induced Superconductivity on the border of Magnetic Order in MnP, J.-G. Cheng, K. Matsubayashi, W. Wu, J. P. Sun, F. K. Lin, J. L. Luo, and Y. Uwatoko, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 117001 – Published 16 March 2015 . journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/ … ysRevLett.114.117001 . On Arxiv: arxiv.org/abs/1412.7883ABSTRACTWe report the discovery of superconductivity on the border of long-range magnetic order in the itinerant-electron helimagnet MnP via the application of high pressure. Superconductivity with Tsc≈1 K emerges and exists merely near the critical pressure Pc≈8 GPa, where the long-range magnetic order just vanishes. The present finding makes MnP the first Mn-based superconductor. The close proximity of superconductivity to a magnetic instability suggests an unconventional pairing mechanism. Moreover, the detailed analysis of the normal-state transport properties evidenced non-Fermi-liquid behavior and the dramatic enhancement of the quasiparticle effective mass near Pc associated with the magnetic quantum fluctuations. , arXiv Journal information: Physical Review Letters © 2015 Phys.org Until recently, the idea that a material such as manganese phosphide could have a superconducting state, was ruled out because conventional superconductors have a property where electrons formed couplets known as Cooper pairs—and magnetism disrupted them. But then it was found that using magnetism suppression techniques allowed researchers to discover superconductor states in some organic or even iron based materials where it wasn’t driven by Cooper pairs. In this new effort, the researchers worked backwards, subjecting materials to both a range of temperatures and varying degrees of pressure. That allowed them to test the properties of materials over a whole range of scenarios that might be likely to allow for a superconducting state to exist and to create phase diagrams. In so doing, they found that putting a sample of manganese phosphide in a freezer at 1K and then increasing pressure to 8 gigapascals suppressed its magnetism which led to a sudden drop in resistivity and thus a superconducting state. Also, because of the high percentage of volume fraction, the researchers were able to rule out the chance that the property was localized.Manganese phosphide is a helical magnet, the researchers note—which suggests that other materials with a magnetic spin that is shaped like a spiral might exist. But that isn’t the end of study for manganese phosphide, thus far nothing else is known about its superconducting state—that means more research will have to be done learn more about it in general and to find out if it might be useful for some applications. But meanwhile, because their technique worked so well, the researchers plan to carry out similar experiments on a wide variety of other materials to find out if some of them might have superconducting properties under certain conditions as well.
More information: R. Kyong-Song et al. Evidence for partial melt in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu (Changbaishan), Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and China, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501513AbstractMt. Paektu (also known as Changbaishan) is an enigmatic volcano on the border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China. Despite being responsible for one of the largest eruptions in history, comparatively little is known about its magmatic evolution, geochronology, or underlying structure. We present receiver function results from an unprecedented seismic deployment in the DPRK. These are the first estimates of the crustal structure on the DPRK side of the volcano and, indeed, for anywhere beneath the DPRK. The crust 60 km from the volcano has a thickness of 35 km and a bulk VP/VS of 1.76, similar to that of the Sino-Korean craton. The VP/VS ratio increases ~20 km from the volcano, rising to >1.87 directly beneath the volcano. This shows that a large region of the crust has been modified by magmatism associated with the volcanism. Such high values of VP/VS suggest that partial melt is present in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu. This region of melt represents a potential source for magmas erupted in the last few thousand years and may be associated with an episode of volcanic unrest observed between 2002 and 2005. (Phys.org)—A team with members from the U.K., the U.S., China and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, has worked together to learn more about a volcano sitting on the North Korea/Chinese border. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they set up seismic monitors and collected data for a two year period and what that data revealed. Baekdu Mountain—Baitoushan volcano (Paektu-san), in the Changbai Mountains along the border of China and North Korea in Northeast Asia. Credit: Wikipedia This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. North Korea, as most are aware, is a secretive country, allowing very little information in our out regarding almost everything, and that includes geological data. Unfortunately, this has until recently included what has been described as a dangerous volcano on the border between North Korea and China—back in 946 AD it went off in what has been called one of the largest eruptions on record. It also sits in the vicinity of 1.6 million people. The volcano is called Mount Paektu on the Korean side and Changbaishan on the Chinese side. North Korean researchers have been studying the volcano for some time on their side of the border and Chinese researchers have been studying their side—what has been missing is a concerted effort to study the volcano as a whole to both learn more about it, and to see if it might be possible to determine if the volcano is likely to erupt again anytime soon.The collaborative effort consisted of setting up six state-of-the-art seismic monitors in a 60 kilometer-long line east from the summit to far into the countryside and monitoring them for the period August 2013 to August 2015. Analysis of the data from the monitors revealed a large portion of the crust below the volcano appeared to be at least partially molten, a hint that the volcano could erupt. The team also studied the area around the volcano, looking for debris thrown from the volcano during prior eruptions, and found evidence of superheated clouds of very hot gasses and ashes sweeping downhill along with large mudslides. That suggested that if the volcano erupts again, it could cause serious flooding if the summit lake is unleashed, or worse a worldwide climate impact as ash is pushed into the sky and sulfur dioxide is released. Alaska volcano settles down after late March eruption Explore further Journal information: Science Advances Citation: International team gets a seismic look at North Korean/Chinese volcano (2016, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-04-international-team-seismic-north-koreanchinese.html © 2016 Phys.org
The choice to follow the loner track even if it means wasted resources probably sounds familiar. Such useless waste, a “tragedy of the commons,” as the authors call it, is one that societies face in all kinds of situations. Study author Jörg Gross, assistant professor at Leiden University’s Institute of Psychology, cites several examples of real-world problems from modern life that inspired the study, including use of public versus private transportation. After all, almost everyone needs to get from Location A to Location B. Rather than create universal public transit solutions, though, people more often turn to using private vehicles. The cultural aspect of these findings stands out, says Michael Varnum, assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, who was not involved in the study. “That these students live in the Netherlands is interesting,” he says, because Dutch society has a solid social safety net with good infrastructure, public health care and education. “I would guess that the effects observed in the present studies might be more pronounced in societies that have greater levels of income inequality and less generous public benefits, such as the U.S.” Researchers at Leiden University, the Netherlands, addressed that question using a computer game in which students had to decide whether to use a set of virtual resources to solve a problem individually or collectively. The investigators found that these study participants had a “remarkable tendency” to waste resources for the sake of an independent solution rather than efficiently using what in the social sciences is referred to as “the commons.” The study results were published April 17 in Science Advances. What credo would you choose: “Share and share alike?” or “To each his own”? The choice doesn’t relate only to material goods or socialism versus capitalism. It can also reflect attitudes about how we solve our collective problems, such as affordable access to health care or threats from climate change. Despite the existence of shared resources in our lives—water, air, land, tax dollars—some people will lean into a go-it-alone approach, with each individual deciding for themselves what’s best. Others will look to group decision-making. What’s the tipping point for shifting from maverick to team player? To observe these effects, Gross and co-author Carsten K.W. De Dreu, who is affiliated with both Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, split up 160 participants into 40 groups of four people each. The groups faced a simulated problem that they could solve by committing sufficient resources to it individually or as a community. Participants, each given 100 resource points to start, could put their virtual resources into either a personal pool or a shared pool. Read the whole story: Scientific American
The ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav is spreading it colours with mesmerising plays staged everyday. On Wednesday, a non-verbal play titled Life-In-Progress was staged, the play had no defined linear narrative but a series of images that look at our lives, our surrounding world and our inner spaces.Old newspapers and trash, a rag-picker, creepy crawlies, creatures from nightmares, dreamscapes, nebulous faces, dismembered hands, plastic bottles, curious people, devouring mouths, grabbing hands, running, masking, unmasking and more trash make haunting images that hold your imagination for a few moments and then disappear into the trash. The 50-minute play was staged by Delhi based group Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The play titled, Sindu Kirilli had two interwoven stories. In the first, a young girl decides to leave her elderly grandfather behind on their farm in the valley so that she can escape to the city and pursue her dreams of becoming a famous singer. In the second story, an ageing playwright prepares to leave behind the ‘artificial’ world of theatre and urban life and move back to his origins in the farmland. His days of planning and dreaming about the ‘glorious future’ are nearing an end just as the young girl’s are beginning. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe significance of the plot lies in the themes it presents before the audience and the secrets it reveals about the characters. Sindu Kirilli is essentially a tale of hope being passed down from one generation to the next. A group from Sri Lanka, Red Wings Theatre Group presented it in Sinhala language.Another non-verbal play Maya II was presented by Sharma Arts and Craft House (SACH), Manipur. The theme was Maya, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals, and makes them behold a world which they cannot say either that it is or that it is not – for it is like a dream, it is like the sunshine on the sand which the traveller takes from afar for water. The process of perpetuating the population through sexual union between the male and the female is natural. But aspiring for something that is far away is like the desire of the moth for the star; this is also human nature and a cause behind the teeming populace. These are just some of the ideas that Maya II attempts to explore. The play Nihsanga Samrat (The Lonely Monarch) is based on a novel by Sunil Gangopadhyay.Presented in Bengali by group Paikpara Indraranga from Kolkata the play is a saga of the life and times of Bengali Theatre thespian, Shishir Kumar Bhaduri who has almost become a legend for the current generation. The play presents a collage of various aspects of his life, on and off the stage, with many of his plays being revisited in the context of his personal life. It is an effort to look at the legend as a human being, unveiling all mythical anecdotes – a man who could disregard an award like the Padma Bhushan with ease, who lived with the aim of fulfilling his lifelong dream to create the Institution of National Theatre, who could rebuff the conventional route to success in his quest for a unique format of Indian theatre which would be independent of the British dramatic parameters that were then prevalent – a man who faced every challenge and accolade in life with equal stoicism.Japanese non-verbal play titled, Utsushi was created at the special request of international festivals willing to present Sankai Juku. Composed of excerpts from the repertory pieces, it has been newly reworked and re-staged in order to become a piece that contains the quintessence of the art of the choreographer Ushio Amagatsu.When: Till 15 January
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold a meeting of the task force to ensure that prices of essential commodities do not go up in the state.The meeting is scheduled to be held on June 6 at Nabanna, the state Secretariat and all the concerned ministers and officials have been asked to be present.It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister has already expressed her concern apprehending a hike in prices of essential goods after the arbitrary increase in the fuel prices. She had earlier tweeted: “We are very concerned about the rising prices of petrol and diesel. This will certainly affect prices all around. Common people, farmers and many will suffer.” Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe Chief Minister had also attacked the Centre for its “indifferent” attitude towards the issue and urged all anti-BJP political parties to go for a statewide agitation. There were also protest rallies across the state against the abnormal hike in prices of petrol and diesel.The state government had always taken steps to check the rampant increase in the prices of essential goods in the past and there is also a task force that maintains a strict vigil to oversee that the commoners are not harassed. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedNow, the state government is going to hold the meeting in which all the aspects in this connection will be discussed in detail.A few days ago there was a hike in potato prices. It was sold at around Rs 20 per kg at various markets in the city. The state Agriculture Marketing department took necessary and immediate measures after identifying that the price of the potato had shot up just for a particular section of middlemen.With the increase in the prices of petrol and diesel, the cost of transportation of goods has also gone up. It is leaving an effect on prices of vegetables, rice and other essential commodities.In such a situation, the state government is chalking out a plan to take necessary steps to give respite to the common people as much as possible. There would also be discussions in the meeting to ensure that prices of essential goods do not go up ahead of the forthcoming festivals in the state.