by, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweet28Share69Share32Email129 SharesA powerful antidote to the seemingly relentless trauma and divisiveness gripping our country is to do something unexpected — start an Age Friendly revolution.The global Age-Friendly City movement overseen by the World Health Organization and AARP has the potential to counter the increasing viciousness of our political discourse and heal the trauma of recent events by transcending ideology and rallying humanity around the universal experience we all hold in common — aging.As John F. Kennedy said, “We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”Of all the toxic -isms that needlessly divide our communities — racism, sexism, jingoism, ableism — AGEISM stands out because it amplifies all the other -isms and, eventually, every single one of us will feel its sting. But I strongly believe that Disrupting Ageism head on, bringing together people of different ages and knocking down ageist stereotypes, has the power to expose, combat and heal prejudices of all stripes and kinds.Whatever condition a community currently finds itself in, the AARP Age-Friendly framework provides a roadmap for improving livability that benefits everyone. It challenges cities to address affordable housing, expand low-cost public transportation, and provide opportunities for older adults to be active and engaged in the community, as well as improving healthcare. Communities can move at their own pace while holding elected officials and other leaders accountable for progress, and the -isms could slowly begin to dissipate.Over the past four years as director of Dr. Bill Thomas’ ChangingAging Tour I’ve had the privilege to visit 120 communities in North America in partnership with AARP’s bold #DisruptAging initiative. At every one of these Tour stops we’ve sat down with community stakeholders to discuss the most pressing concerns and most exciting opportunities to disrupt aging in their communities.Indeed, ageism is universally the most common topic of discussion in these meetings. The good news is that nearly every one of these communities has made combating ageism through development of age friendly communities a top priority.Earlier this year we performed to robust Age Friendly communities in the Pacific Northwest and New England. We also celebrated with Santa Clara County in April becoming the nation’s first county to have all of its cities adopt an Age-Friendly status. Nearly 180 towns, cities and counties across the U.S. have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and more sign up every day. Last week on Tour we championed Western New York’s Age Friendly Erie County movement with a show in Amherst. Then we barnstormed Indiana to plant the seeds for Age Friendly communities in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Evansville, with support from AARP Indiana.One of the most exciting days I’ve ever had on tour came in Evansville. We were hosted by the University of Southern Indiana (USI), who convened a group of 60 students, faculty and older adults from the community. We conducted a participatory design exercise called 25/10 Crowd Sourcing to tap the group and generate a series of “Ten Times Bolder” ideas to disrupt aging in their community. We then crowdsourced the ideas and ranked them to identify the top five. Here are the results:Make building a multi-generational housing complex part of the University of Southern Indiana’s Master Plan.Create 55+ living in proximity to students, open and welcoming to all sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds – with a purpose of helping each other with daily life and future planning.Incorporate preschools, colleges, housing and senior homes together. Where the college students have free housing in exchange for volunteer hours.What about creating a college-like community for elders to improve social, intellectual and spiritual growth?Use the campus day care to team up with adult day care. ChangingAging coach Kyrié Carpenter helps facilitate 25/10 Crowd Sourcing activity at USI Sept. 22, 2017It was incredible to see a multigenerational group of 60 people nearly spontaneously reach a consensus on a vision for an age friendly future in their community. It demonstrated the power of bringing people together of different ages to break down barriers and tackle a shared problem. We had so much fun that USI has invited the ChangingAging Tour to perform on campus November 6, 2017 and explore a potential partnership to tackle one of their Ten Times Bolder ideas.I believe the Age Friendly revolution is already here and it proves that we have more in common than we do dividing us. I hope you’ll join. Related PostsThe Manifesto Against Ageism is HereAbout eight years ago, Ashton Applewhite began interviewing people over 80 for a project called “So when are you going to retire?” It didn’t take her long to realize that almost everything she thought she knew about aging was wrong. So she wrote a book to set the record straight.People PowerFor the 2017 ChangingAging Tour, we are taking a page from grassroots movements to break down boundaries and inspire genuine multi-generational engagement.Disrupting the Stale Youth/Age DualityHow do we challenge a Youth/Age orthodoxy that is so entrenched and so powerful and which remains, for all practical purposes, invisible?Tweet28Share69Share32Email129 SharesTags: Age-Friendly Ageism Intergenerational USI
Source:https://www.nibib.nih.gov/news-events/newsroom/metabolic-imaging-targets-early-signs-disease-development Jun 13 2018Chronic conditions including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer often begin with early, subtle changes in cellular metabolism. Now researchers at Tufts University have developed a non-invasive optical imaging technique that detects these changes, providing an early window of opportunity for new research and potential therapeutic development.”Before visible disease symptoms and damage occur, disease begins with changes in molecules involved in metabolism that hamper the ability of tissues and cells to function properly,” explained Behrouz Shabestari, Ph.D., director of the program in Optical Imaging at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. “This work from Tufts is an innovative and highly significant approach for detecting early molecular signatures of disease.”The laboratory of Irene Georgakoudi, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts and lead researcher on the study, specializes in using light to interact with the key molecules that run cellular metabolism. Their methods allow imaging of changes in these key molecules over time without disturbing or damaging the cells.The group used a technique called two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) microscopy to monitor the activity of two molecules involved in numerous metabolic functions in all cells: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Both NADH and FAD are key components of the cell’s continuous chemical reactions that store energy and then release that energy when needed to keep the cell alive and functioning.TPEF imaging excites these molecules with a near infrared laser beam. The resultant fluorescent signal provides an optical tool to monitor physiologic and biochemical events within the cells, which could indicate dysfunction and disease onset.To test whether the imaging system could identify irregularities in cell metabolism, the researchers used TPEF to image cultured cells in which they altered major metabolic processes where NADH and FAD have critical roles. Live cells that were used included heart cells, epithelial cells, stem cells, and brown adipose (fat) cells. By changing metabolic function while imaging NADH and FAD, they determined whether changes in the specific fluorescent patterns of these two molecules were good indicators of the health or function of the cell.Related StoriesPorvair Sciences’ ultra-flat Krystal glass bottom microplates for imaging applicationsCUIMC selects MILabs for upgrades to its molecular imaging capabilitiesBioTek introduces new wide FOV camera for Cytation 5 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode ReaderCells were imaged under varying experimental conditions that alter normal metabolic processes involved in producing energy. Examples of the conditions tested include starving cells of glucose, growing cells in low oxygen levels (so energy production is inefficient), and exposing cells to cold temperature (affecting energy storage).Under each of the experimental conditions, TPEF imaging revealed unique patterns and intensity profiles of fluorescence that indicated that NADH and FAD were in certain chemical forms or locations that could serve as a map to understand why a cell is not functioning properly.”These results demonstrate the utility of this non-invasive imaging technique for identifying unhealthy cells that could be early indications of disease development,” said Georgakoudi. “By simultaneously combining the imaging and analysis of cells under multiple conditions we were able to see the presence of metabolic changes as well as their chemical nature at the single-cell level.”The metabolic changes created in the cells are similar to changes that occur in diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. “We believe the technique will ultimately become an important new platform used to understand and detect such diseases early in the process,” said Georgakoudi. “TPEF will also be an invaluable tool to monitor metabolic changes in response to new treatments designed to slow or stop disease before the onset of tissue degeneration or damage.”
Jul 23 2018New research has shown that older adults who exercise above current recommended levels have a reduced risk of developing chronic disease compared with those who do not exercise.Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 1,500 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 10-year period.People who engaged in the highest levels of total physical activity were twice as lively to avoid stroke, heart disease, angina, cancer and diabetes, and be in optimal physical and mental shape 10 years later, experts found.Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that adults who did more than 5000 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET minutes) each week saw the greatest reduction in the risk of chronic disease.Related StoriesLiver fat biomarker levels linked with metabolic health benefits of exercise, study findsExercise during pregnancy can promote bone health of both mother and childIt’s never too late to take up exercise, advise researchers”Essentially we found that older adults who did the most exercise were twice as likely to be disease-free and fully functional,” she said.”Our study showed that high levels of physical activity increase the likelihood of surviving an extra 10 years free from chronic diseases, mental impairment and disability.”Currently, the World Health Organization recommends at least 600 MET minutes of physical activity each week. That is equivalent to 150 minutes of brisk walking or 75 minutes of running.”With aging demographics in most countries, a major challenge is how to increase the quality and years of healthy life,” Associate Professor Gopinath said.”Our findings suggest that physical activity levels need to be several times higher than what the World Health Organization currently recommends to significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease.”Some older adults may not be able to engage in vigorous activity or high levels of physical activity.”But we encourage older adults who are inactive to do some physical activity, and those who currently only engage in moderate exercise to incorporate more vigorous activity where possible,” she concluded.The research compiled data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.It is one of the world’s largest epidemiology studies, measuring diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.Source: https://www.westmeadinstitute.org.au/news-and-events/2018/exercise-cuts-risk-of-chronic-disease-in-older-adu
It doesn’t take long for tropical zebrafish to get hooked on hydrocodone. Within a week, they will risk their lives thousands of times per hour to get a dose of the opioid, shows the first study that let the fish themselves choose when to take a hit. To train them, researchers released 1.5 milligrams of hydrocodone per liter of water every time they swam over a shallow platform. The drug quickly filtered out of the tank, so they had to keep going back if they wanted to maintain their high. After just 5 days, the trained fish were visiting the opioid-delivering platform almost 2000 times every 50 minutes, the team reports online today in Behavioral Brain Research. When no drug was present, they visited the platform only about 200 times. Fish normally avoid shallow water, where they’re more likely to be spotted by predators. But over and over again, the jonesing zebrafish left the safety of deep water for the shallow platform. When the team rigged the tank so it took several visits to get a hit, the fish ramped up their efforts, returning as many as 20 times for one dose. Previous studies have shown that zebrafish exposed to opioids become stressed and anxious when the drug is taken away, displaying symptoms of withdrawal. But this is the first time scientists have shown that zebrafish will expend effort—and even court danger—to get a dose. Because zebrafish and humans share the same opioid receptor in their brains, as well as neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that signal pleasure and reward, the team hopes to use them to screen for new treatments for opioid addiction. By Emily UnderwoodAug. 25, 2017 , 2:00 PM Tropical fish fiend for opioids, too
The last image taken of Ultima Thule before New Horizons flew by the rocky body. By Paul VoosenJan. 1, 2019 , 3:30 PM NASA/APL LAUREL, MARYLAND—Cheers erupted just after 10:30 a.m. today in a small control room at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) here. Alice Bowman, the mission operation manager for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, had just announced that the spacecraft had successfully rendezvoused with MU69, a tiny, frigid object on the edge of the solar system, far beyond Pluto. “We’ve just accomplished the most distant flyby,” she said.Because of transmission delays and the finite speed of radio waves, the triumph occurred last night, at 12:33 a.m., while the team was celebrating the New Year with sparkling wine and a new song from Brian May, the Queen guitarist—and, thanks to his astrophysics degree, a participating scientist on the mission. The 10-hour lag had been a tense wait for some of the team, fretful that their weekslong search for hazards around MU69 (or “Ultima Thule,” its nickname), such as fugitive moons or rings, had missed something before the spacecraft sped past at a distance of some 3500 kilometers. But Alan Stern, a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, who is principal investigator for the $800 million mission, which explored Pluto in 2015, said he was confident. “I wasn’t worried about it. Got a nice night’s sleep.”Finally, after a 4-hour wait for the probe to complete a series of automated observations with its three cameras and six more hours for the transmission to reach Earth from MU69’s location in the distant Kuiper belt, 6.6 billion kilometers from Earth, the first drips of data arrived via NASA’s 70-meter Deep Space Network antenna in Madrid: New Horizons had hurtled past MU69 at 14 kilometers per second and survived. “In lock with telemetry,” Bowman said. Surviving encounter beyond Pluto, NASA probe begins relaying view of Kuiper belt object A roll call of the spacecraft’s instruments followed, with each reporting back “green”—healthy. And then came the most important confirmation: The spacecraft’s solid state hard drives were full of new science data, Bowman announced. “We have a healthy spacecraft.”A half-hour later, the New Horizons team poured into an APL auditorium to a 5-minute standing ovation and a parade of high-fives from APL staff. “I can’t think a better reason to stay up late and get up early than this,” said APL’s head of space science, Michael Ryschkewitsch. Because of the government shutdown, which includes NASA, the agency’s acting director of planetary science, Lori Glaze, was attending as a private citizen and could not speak in her official role. But, Ryschkewitsch added, “Lori asked me to tell you how proud the agency is.”With the festivities over and confirmation of the spacecraft’s survival, the real science begins. Unlike every other object previously visited by NASA, including Pluto, MU69 is believed to be unchanged since it formed in its current orbit billions of years ago, granting a window to the solar system’s earliest days. This pristine, primordial history should allow scientists to tease out important clues about the history of the Kuiper belt, the distant and unknown menagerie of objects beyond Neptune, along with insights to the formation and migration of the planets. The data will be slow in coming. Given the uncertainty of MU69’s position—it was discovered only 4 years ago and only a fraction of its orbit is known—New Horizons’s first images had to cover a wide field, at low resolution. By this evening, the team should have a 100-pixel image in hand; higher resolutions will follow in the next couple of days, with the best shots not arriving until February. But these first images, Stern added, “will reveal the basic geology and structure for us. We’re going to start writing our first scientific paper next week.” That means some late nights; the team has a meeting scheduled at 10 p.m. tonight.At a press briefing after confirmation of the flyby’s success, the team released its last view of MU69 before the encounter, taken some 800,000 kilometers away. The image (above) revealed what looked like a peanut or bowling pin, some 32 kilometers long by 16 kilometers wide, with a slight possibility still that MU69 could be a binary object.The mission had already cleared up one mystery: why the light reflecting off the object does not fluctuate, as might be expected from an irregular spinning body. A series of three approach photos revealed the reason: The rotation axis of MU69 was pointed toward the spacecraft, said Hal Weaver, the mission’s project scientist. “It’s almost like a propeller blade. And that explains everything.” The object makes a full rotation every 15 or 30 hours, he added.Whatever the return is from its MU69 flyby, Stern hopes its mission isn’t done. The spacecraft is funded through 2021; during much of that time, it will be beaming back data from its flyby. But the spacecraft will scan two dozen other Kuiper belt objects with its modest telescope, in the hopes of extrapolating its findings from MU69 to the broader belt.The MU69 encounter has also left New Horizons with enough fuel and power to attempt another flyby, albeit one not as close as its pass today, Stern noted last month. “We will be in the Kuiper belt until 2027 or 2028,” he said. While astronomers on Earth would strain to find another target, it’s likely that New Horizons itself could track one down. “There’s plenty of time to think that search through.”For more on the MU69 flyby and what it could reveal, start here.
Don’t judge Frayser without asking a community how it feels to mourn their youth over and over again. What do people do with their pain and trauma when it gets to be too much, when a city has ignored them, when their loss is too great and they can no longer yell at the sky?— Tami Sawyer (@tamisawyer) June 13, 2019 More By NewsOne Staff SUBSCRIBE @CityOfMemphis police shot some man and left him for dead and didn’t get him in the ambulance just left him in the grass pic.twitter.com/Zt3quRs77v— 「𝚃𝚒」- $ADxVisions (@GxdCxmplex) June 13, 2019There were protests Wednesday night, which allegedly resulted in at least 24 officers and two journalists being injured, the Washington Post reported.“Let me be clear — the aggression shown towards our officers and deputies tonight was unwarranted,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland wrote on Facebook before continuing. “I was proud of our first responders. I’m impressed by their professionalism and incredible restraint as they endured concrete rocks being thrown at them and people spitting at them.”City Commissioner Tami Sawyer offered a tweet of caution. Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. “While attempting to stop the individual, he reportedly rammed his vehicle into the officers’ vehicles multiple times before exiting with a weapon,” TBI said in a statement. “The officers fired striking and killing the individual. No officers were injured.”Police have not identified Brandon Webber as the victim, but local family members have.Officers shot at Webber as many as 20 times, his cousin Demetrick Skinner said. Webber allegedly died in front of his family’s front yard. Yolanda Holmes, Webber’s aunt, said she was trying to confirm if Webber was actually shooting at the police.A person named Ronni Williams claiming to be Webber’s cousin took to Twitter to defend him as an “honor student” who should not be labeled as a “drug dealer.” Jesse Jackson Demands ‘Justice Now’ At EJ Bradford’s Moving Funeral Ceremony Clearly, there needs to be more transparency in this case. We hope the family of Brandon Webber gets justice.SEE ALSO:All The Ways Cops Are Still Trying To Cover Up LaQuan McDonald’s ExecutionOutrageous! Figurines Of White Cherub Crushing Head Of Black Angel Removed From Dollar StoreMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clothes Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist A video of Brandon Webbers baby mother who’s is in labor right now. He was handcuffed when he died, law enforcement apparently broke his neck. This is heartbreaking, keep their family in your prayers. Keeping you all updated NOT MY VIDEO. pic.twitter.com/oqqRkzQtPC— MOTHER OF MUSIC. (@PUTITONlCE) June 13, 2019Another user said Webber was shot, left for dead and police “didn’t get him in the ambulance just left him in the grass.” UPDATED: 11:16 a.m. EDT — There was outrage in Memphis overnight after a young man named Brandon Webber was shot and killed by law enforcement Wednesday night. City residents staged a massive protest resulting in several officers being injured. Black Lives Matter , Brandon Webber , Memphis You can NOT label this young man as a drug dealer he was a honor student, who attended the University of Memphis, strived for greatness even though the odds were against him even more as he grew up. He was changing becoming a better man everyday by his family #justiceforBrandon pic.twitter.com/D6HP4jyPO4— Ronni Williams (@ronni_2k) June 13, 2019Keli McAlister, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said in a news conference early Thursday that it was “unclear” how many marshals had fired at Webber, according to The Washington Post.The video below is allegedly of Webber’s girlfriend in labor. She claimed Webber was shot while he was in handcuffs and the police broke his neck. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said the U.S. Marshal Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force and other law enforcement agencies were executing multiple felony warrants on Webber in Frayser, a neighborhood near downtown Memphis, around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the Daily Memphian reported. A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Family
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a habitual liar, which has served her well in Trump’s deplorable White House but now she is gone. Trump made the announcement on Twitter.See Also: Bill Cosby Sentenced To 3 To 10 Years In Prison For Sexual Assault Conviction April Ryan called her for firing when the Mueller report was released back in April and just moments ago she tweeted, “Do tell.” See below: Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist Do tell @samstein! https://t.co/VuteRribOr— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) June 13, 2019Ryan called for her Sanders to be fired after the Mueller report was released, telling CNN, “Not only does she not have credibility, but she also lied. The American people can’t trust her. They can’t trust what’s said from the president’s mouthpiece. Therefore, she should be let go. She should be fired, end of the story. It’s fire me Thursday or fire me Good Friday. She needs to go. “She also added, “Sarah plays a dangerous game in that room, and so has Sean [Spicer.] The game is dangerous because she is lying to the American public. She says the press is fake when she is faking reports from the people’s house. She’s calling us fake. We’ve had colleagues who have moved from their houses because of threats. I have to have security because of being called fake and all sorts of things from that White House. It’s time for her to go.” Trump wrote on hateful Twitter account, “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas.” A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ I’m going to re-post this because it’s very important. Sarah Sanders, the spokesperson for the White House, admitted to lying to the press and the American people in the Mueller Report. Then she went on Hannity last night to lie about lying. #FireSarahSanders #ResignSarah 1/ pic.twitter.com/HpaBYnoTij— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) April 19, 2019 ….She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019There is no word on why she is leaving the White House but Mueller report explained how Sanders admitted to lying to the American people, see the receipts below: More By NewsOne Staff Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. SUBSCRIBE Bill Cosby Gets Sentenced For His Sexual Assault Conviction April Ryan: “She lied-the American people can’t trust her-it’s fire me Thursday or fire me Good Friday, but she needs to go-Sarah plays a dangerous game in that room-she says the press is fake when she’s faking reports from the people’s house.” #FireSarahSanders #ResignSarah pic.twitter.com/7iFMQNYkqh— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) April 19, 2019Sanders has not held a press brief in over three months. She will stay at the White House until the end of the month.Good riddance… now we have to worry about her replacement.SEE ALSO:All The Ways Cops Are Still Trying To Cover Up LaQuan McDonald’s ExecutionOutrageous! Figurines Of White Cherub Crushing Head Of Black Angel Removed From Dollar StoreMeet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s Clothes Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. April Ryan , Donald Trump , Sarah Huckabee Sanders Watch below: After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019He continued, “She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas – she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!” Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Family
When one thinks of Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz, music is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind. However, a music theory professor from the University of Michigan has recently unearthed what is believed to be one of several popular pieces of music played at Auschwitz.Auschwitz, in Poland, was one of a network of concentration camps set up by the Nazis during the Second World War. It was first built to house Polish political prisoners, the first of whom arrived at the camp in 1940.Auschwitz-Birkenau main track. Photo by C.Puisney CC BY-SA 3.0It consisted primarily of three parts: Auschwitz I, the original section; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, which was both a concentration and extermination camp; and Auschwitz III-Monowitz, which was a labor camp. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was one of the largest sites of Jewish extermination: around 1.1 million people are believed to have died at the camp, 90 percent of whom were Jews.Life in the camps was extremely hard to say the least. Prisoners’ days lasted from between 3:00 and 4:30 in the morning (depending on the season) until the evening. They had little food, no rest during their 12-hour workday, and accommodations were beyond deplorable. Sanitary conditions were miserable, with inadequate latrines until some were installed in 1943, and little fresh water.Still photograph from the Soviet Film of the liberation of Auschwitz.Vermin like rats and lice were rampant, and many prisoners died of typhus and other bacterial infections, not to mention starvation and malnourishment. In short, it was a brutal, horrifying existence for all who were imprisoned.So it is surprising, perhaps, to discover that the music played at Auschwitz was particularly upbeat. According to Professor Patricia Hall, who examined the manuscripts of music from the camp, she was “completely thrown” by the song titles, let alone the actual music.Auschwitz, Poland – January 1, 2011: The Auschwitz concentration camp is located about 50 km from Krakow. The picture shows two rows of electrical barbed wire surrounding the camp on winter day.Hall had traveled to Auschwitz in 2016 with the hope that she could learn more about the music that had been played at the camps during the Second World War. Two of the more popular song titles translated as “The Most Beautiful Time of Life” and “Sing a Song When You’re Sad.”Over the next two years, she examined several other hand-written music manuscripts that had been arranged and performed by prisoners. Eventually, this led to the performance of one of these pieces for the first time since 1945.Oswiecim, Poland – February 16, 2018: The famous arch of the concentration camp Auschwitz. Inscription: Arbeit macht frei (work sets you free).In essence, Hall wanted to resurrect the music that had been lost to time after the liberation of the camps. “I’ve used the expression, ‘giving life,’ to this manuscript that’s been sitting somewhere for 75 years. … Researching one of these manuscripts is just the beginning — you want people to be able to hear what these pieces sound like. … I think one of the messages I’ve taken from this is the fact that even in a horrendous situation like a concentration camp, that these men were able to produce this beautiful music.”In order to make this happen, she asked for help from another university professor, Oriol Sans, who is director of the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, as well as Josh Devries, a graduate student who was able to transcribe the manuscripts into music notation software in order to make them easier to read and play.In October 2018, the ensemble gathered to record “The Most Beautiful Time of Life.” In its first public presentation since the Second World War, the piece was performed at a concert in November 2018 at the University of Michigan.“Selection” of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at Auschwitz-II (Birkenau), May/June 1944When Professor Patricia Hall played the recording at one of her university lectures, the audience was visibly uncomfortable. The piece is upbeat, a foxtrot, and featured “euphoric lyrics” about falling in love in the spring and cherishing one’s precious time. It was not at all what her audience was expecting: “I’ve heard various adjectives used to describe this foxtrot, even like ‘twisted,’ given the situation that it was performed in and created in.”Using data from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Hall was able to identify the three musicians who had originally arranged the music, as two of them had signed it with their prisoner identification numbers.The original manuscript. Photo by Auschwitz-Birkenau State MuseumThey were Antoni Gargul (number 5665) and Maksymilian Pilat (number 5131). And because the museum’s archives also had photographs of the two men, Hall was able to put faces to the names associated with the manuscript. As she stated, “The transformation of going from a number to the face of this person was a very dramatic experience for me.”Both museum officials and survivors of the concentration camps have stated that musicians received more food, clean clothes and were spared from the hardest labor. They would be stationed at the gates of the camp to play cheerful marching music for the prisoners as they left for work.However, they were not entirely immune to the camp and all of its horrors. According to Hall, “We like to think of a narrative in which the musicians were saved because they had that ability to play instruments. However, it’s been documented by another prisoner (in an orchestra) that around 50 of them … were taken out and shot.”Something unusual struck Hall about the “Most Beautiful Time of Life,” however. It was arranged only for a tuba, trombone and violins, which were not likely to have been used in a work orchestra. She deduced that there had actually been a dancehall at Auschwitz: “They would play Sunday concerts in front of Commandant [Rudolf] Höss’ villa … playing for at least one hour these dance arrangements, so that soldiers, SS, could dance.” This would explain its foxtrot tempo.While, understandably, many people still had strong adverse reactions to the music, Hall has come to her own conclusion: “What’s finally resolved it to some degree for me … is the fact that given the worst conditions possible — many of which we can’t even appreciate — these men still managed to create this joyful, beautiful music.”Read another story from us: The World’s Oldest Nun who Defied the Nazis and Sheltered Jews During WWIIMusic therapy has been used for years in professional contexts with amazing results. So it is not hard to understand why, while living in somewhere as horrifying as Auschwitz, the human spirit would rise to make music in order to combat reality. That this music has survived and been resurrected, makes it all the better.
ShareTweetSharePinOctavia Bonnie will face UWP’s Ernie Jno Finn who is also a former educatorFormer high school principal and wife of a pastor, Octavia “Teacher Bonnie” Alfred, will be officially presented this weekend, as the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate for the Castle Bruce Constituency.The event will be held on Sunday, 19th May 2019, at the playing field in Sikwi, Castle Bruce.In a post on its Facebook page, the DLP invites the public to attend, “the Grand Launch of Mrs. Octavia Alfred ‘Teacher Bonnie’, the Dominica Labour Party’s new candidate to serve and represent the residents of the Castle Bruce constituency, on Sunday, May 19th at the Castle Bruce Playing Field.”Entertainment for the event which is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm, is expected to include performances by Signal Band, First Serenade, Keks Mafia, Reo and Quan.
By Diana Hutchison The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board met on March 20 and one of the items for consideration was an increase in wages in the coming fiscal year for employees ofSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad March 27, 2018 College board to consider wage increase for employees
Photo by Toni GibbonsPastor Dave Marshall of Calvary Community Bible Fellowship (left) along with Dale Call (right), building inspector with Snowflake Planning and Zoning, explained the request to develop an administrative office and youth facility on the property located at 89 E. Third S. St. during the Snowflake Town Council meeting. January 16, 2019 By Toni Gibbons The Snowflake Town Council approved two development requests at the meeting on Jan. 8. One was for new construction of an assisted living facility west of the Snowflake Municipal GolfSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad Snowflake gives OK to two new developments
Post Comment(s) Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on the Security Council to act against those responsible to maintain security in the Gulf region.“Some parties in the region are trying to instigate fires in the region and we must be aware of that,” he told the 15-member council, without specifically naming anyone.Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah described the tanker attacks as a threat to international peace and security.“This is the most recent event in a series of acts of sabotage that are threatening the security of maritime corridors as well as threatening energy security of the world,” he told the Security Council. With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps UK says seized Iranian oil tanker could be released The attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies.United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned attacks on two oil tankers on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman that left one ablaze and both adrift, warning that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region.” Related News Advertising “I strongly condemn any attack against civilian vessels. Facts must be established and responsibilities clarified,” he told a meeting of the UN Security Council on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.The attacks were the second in a month near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway for world oil supplies.The United States and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for last month’s attacks using limpet mines on four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a charge Tehran denies. Advertising Hassan Rouhani says Iran ready to talk to US if sanctions lifted By Reuters |United Nations | Updated: June 14, 2019 12:40:00 am
India’s buying of S-400 from Russia will have serious implications on defence ties: US Advertising S-400 missile deal: ‘Can’t wish away defence ties with Russia’ In July last year, the US communicated that it was ready to grant India (along with Indonesia and Vietnam) a waiver on the CAATSA sanctions. The waiver also conveyed the acceptance by the US that India could not be dictated on its strategic interests by a third country.Why is US opposed to S-400 air defence system?The Russian-built S-400 Triumf — identified by NATO as the SA-21 Growler — is the world’s most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range surface-to-air missile system, and is considered much more effective than the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system developed by the US.Explained: What S-400 air defence system deal with Russia means to IndiaIn August 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which specifically targets Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Title II of the Act seeks to punish Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections, by taking aim at its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions. Section 231 empowers the US President to impose at least five of 12 listed sanctions — enumerated in Section 235 — on persons engaged in a “significant transaction” with the Russian defence and intelligence sectors.The US State Department has notified 39 Russian entities, “significant transactions” with which could make third parties liable to sanctions. Almost all major Russian defence manufacturing and export companies/entities including Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Corporation JSC, the manufacturers of the S-400 system, are on the list. US President Donald Trump Saturday told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the issue over Ankara’s procurement of S-400 air defence systems from Russia can be resolved without damaging bilateral ties, Reuters quoted the Turkish presidency as saying. The meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Osaka is being seen as a progressive step in easing the strained relations between the US and Turkey.In a statement following talks between Erdogan and Trump, the Turkish presidency said Erdogan had voiced concerns about US actions that may harm the strategic partnership between the two NATO allies.Before meeting Trump, Erdogan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and reiterated his stand on the S-400 deal, saying there were no setbacks in it, adding that “eyes are on the delivery process”, expected in the first half of July. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield 6 Comment(s) Related News Turkey’s Erdogan says S-400 systems will be delivered within 10 days: reports After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan The S-400 deal with Russia can leave Turkey vulnerable to US sanctions under CAATSA, which specifically targets Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The United States also says the S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defence network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.If Turkey goes ahead with the deal, it may face expulsion from the F-35 programme among other measures that could deal a significant blow to Turkey’s already ailing economy and its defence industry sector.India will do what is in its national interestIndia is also in talks with Russia over the procurement of S-400 air defence system. The matter was raised during the recent visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s India visit where he met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, but the two sides could not come to a conclusion on the issue. After the meeting, Jaishankar had said that India will do what is in its national interest.Over the last decade, US defence deals with India have grown from near zero to worth $15 billion, including key Indian acquisitions such as C-17 Globemaster and C-130J transport aircraft, P-8(I) maritime reconnaissance aircraft, M777 lightweight howitzers, Harpoon missiles, and Apache and Chinook helicopters. The US will likely accept India’s request for Sea Guardian drones, and American manufacturers including Lockheed Martin and Boeing are contenders for mega arms deals with India. Best Of Express Advertising India and Turkey are vying for an S-400 deal with Russia, something which invites sanctions from the US under CAATSA.The S-400 air defence system deal has been a bone of contention in the US’ relations with Turkey and India, as it calls for sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). While Turkey has dismissed the warnings and said it would not back down, India has said it will do what is in its national interest. By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: June 29, 2019 5:15:07 pm
Alternative to Lakshman Jhula to be built soon: Uttarakhand CM Rawat Explained: Why has the Uttarakhand govt shut down Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh Iconic Lakshman Jhula in distress, to be closed down Advertising The recommendation from the experts came after they found that most parts of the 450-feet long iron suspension bridge were in ‘fail’ or ‘collapse’ condition, Additional Chief Secretary Om Prakash was quoted as saying by PTI.According to the expert team, the bridge cannot sustain any more load and so all vehicular and pedestrian movement on the bridge has been closed effective immediately. The decision was taken as keeping it operational could have been risky, the official said.The additional secretary also said that the bridge had witnessed an unprecedented rise in traffic and pedestrian movement in recent times and the bridge towers appear to be leaning towards one side, Rishikesh’s Lakshman Jhula. (Source: WikimediaCommons)The iconic suspension bridge in Rishikesh, Lakshman Jhula has been closed for traffic Friday after a team of experts declared that it could not sustain anymore load, officials told PTI. By Express Web Desk |Dehradun | Updated: July 13, 2019 2:13:19 am Related News In its report, the experts reported: “It is highly recommended that the bridge should be closed with immediate effect otherwise any big mishap can take place anytime.”The Jhula is one of the main attractions for tourists and devotees coming to Rishikesh, the pedestrian bridge also used by two-wheelers was named after Hindu mythological character Lakshman. It is believed that he used jute ropes as a bridge to cross the Ganges river.Many Hindi films and serials like “Ganga Ki Saugandh”, “Sanyasi” have been shot at the Lakshman Jhula. 3 Comment(s) Advertising
Explained: Why Rajasthan HC judges don’t want to be called ‘My Lord’ Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Advertising Cops booked for alleged gangrape of Dalit woman in Rajasthan At the Karimpur school in Dholpur, Mittal is playing a game of ank seedhi with the children in one of the rooms. It’s 12.45 pm, minutes left for dispersal. Rakhi’s mother, a cook at the school, turns up at the door and Rakhi asks Mittal if she can leave. As she heads out, she says, “Bade hoke main teacher banungi… aap ki tarah. Achcha, aap teacher nahin hain? Journalist? Phir mein journalist banoongi (I will grow up to be a teacher like you. You are a journalist? I will be a journalist then).” Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Advertising NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home In Rajasthan, the progress of every child is tracked through three Summative Assessments and internal tests. The Sunday Express visited schools in Nagaur and Dhlolpur districts between February and May (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)THE nine-year-old gasps twice before she speaks, haltingly, in English, “I… I am Rakhi. I am studying in Class 4.” For those tense seconds, Rakhi stands stiff, staring at the floor, pinching the seams of her coffee brown uniform kurta. Written by Uma Vishnu | Rajasthan | Updated: July 14, 2019 7:59:15 am In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief By now, Arman has done the three-digit subtraction and Mittal triumphantly pushes the notebook our way. “See, ek dum theek.” Arman smiles, his brow still knit.***Mittal is part of the State Initiative for Quality Education (SIQE), a quiet revolution sweeping through Rajasthan’s government schools, where a focus on improving learning levels has seen an entire department recalibrate its working. From tracking every child’s learning levels to identifying the ones who have fallen behind and teaching them in smaller groups; from teachers making 15-day teaching plans for the class and for individual children; from Activity Based Learning kits to workshops through video conferencing to help teachers make maths and science less dreary, SIQE involves everyone from the local panchayat to the education secretary and all in between — principals, teachers and the students themselves.The results have been showing. In the last National Achievement Survey (NAS), conducted in 2017, which tests children in Classes 3, 5 and 8 for language, science, mathematics and social studies, Rajasthan scored the highest in Class 8 among all states — language (a state-wide average score of 67%), mathematics (57%), and science (62%). The Sunday Express listed all districts across India according to their NAS Class 8 maths score and of the top 10 districts, six were from Rajasthan, with Nagaur (70.53%), Dholpur (70.11%) and Dausa (68.49%) the Top 3. Besides, in the Performance Grading Index for school education (2017-18) prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and released earlier this year, Rajasthan ranked the highest in ‘learning outcomes and quality’, scoring 168 out of 180 points. Rakhi, a Class 4 student of the Karimpur school, with her family — mother Bhuri, siblings, cousin and her pet goat Ilu. (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)The trigger for much of this churn is classrooms such as Mittal’s. Best Of Express Related News Behind Mittal’s desk is a pink chart paper with names of all 86 children in the school from Classes 1 to 5. Against each name are two columns — one the child’s class, and the other the “kaksha sthar” or grade level indicating the child’s learning level. Rakhi’s is Class 4, Class 4; Arman’s is Class 4, Class 1.Of the 69 children from classes 2 to 5 in the school, the learning levels of 54 are not up to grade. Mittal says that when the year began, there were only six children among 18 in Class 5 who were grade appropriate; that number has now gone up to nine.“By the time they finish Class 5, we have to make sure all these children can do what a Class 5 child should be doing in terms of reading, writing, maths and science. There is a lot of work left,” says Mittal, adding, “But at least now we know what the problem is, which child to focus on.”In Rajasthan’s government schools, every child in the primary classes has a “portfolio”, usually a paper file which holds his/her worksheets done in class and assessed by the teacher. The file also tracks the child’s progress through three Summative Assessments and internal tests. More Explained Rakhi is Rakhi-I on her yellow portfolio. “That’s because there are two Rakhis in Class 4,” says Mittal, thumbing through Rakhi-I’s worksheets — multiplication sums, an essay on trees, fill in the blanks and a lotus that she has drawn, with the teachers’ comments scrawled along the margins.The school is by an open sewage pool. “This is not the sight that should be greeting children every morning. Please do something about this,” Mittal tells a group of officials from the Education Department who are on an impromptu visit to the school.There are other problems too. The school has five classrooms, but only two teachers, so the students from classes 1 to 5 share three classrooms. “We bring small gifts, notebooks, pens, to keep the children motivated. We also get them to do activity-based learning,” she says.Mittal says she and her husband, who works in the Dholpur collectorate, have sat up several nights to make these props —sthaniya man patti to teach place value; ank seedhi, a game modelled on snakes and ladders; and a way to do addition and subtraction with match sticks. But a favourite with children is gale ka number, for which Mittal has fashioned number tags from old playing cards which children wear around their necks. So for instance, if Rakhi gets the 72 tag, she stays 72 for the entire day and understands the number vis-à-vis other numbers — that 72 is 5 more than Armaan’s 67, 2 more than 70 and so on. “This way, numbers come alive and stay less abstract. It’s good to know that 72 has its uses, that it’s more than just a number that has to be placed in units and tens places,” says Mittal. The ABL kaksh at the Rajkiya Adarsh school in Vishnoda village, Dholpur, has lines on the walls for children to write on and activities to make learning fun. (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)Under the SIQE programme, 4,068 schools in Rajasthan — 159 of these in Dholpur — have a designated room for Activity Based Learning (ABL) sessions for the primary grades. The state sanctions Rs 20,000 for these ABL kaksh or rooms — Rs 6,700 for a specially designed ABL kit and Rs 13,300 for the display boards, painting work and desks.Recognising a “severe learning crisis” in India, the recent draft National Education Policy (NEP) too recommended a similar model of activity-based learning in the primary and pre-primary classes. “Classrooms will allow flexible seating arrangements; learning materials will be safe, stimulating, developmentally appropriate, low cost, and preferably created using environmentally-friendly and locally-sourced materials… (such as) picture cards, puzzles, dominoes, simple musical instruments,” the report said.The Rajkiya Adarsh Uch Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Vishnoda village, Dholpur, has just completed work on its ABL kaksh. As children sit around in little groups around colourful tables, playing pretend games with fake currency, principal Rajendra Bagela says, “This is how learning should be. We were probably doing it wrong all this while.”He then joins the children in a song and dance session — about a kagaz ki gudiya (paper doll) without ears, eyes, arms, etc., and how it uses a rabbit’s ears to hear, an owl’s eyes to see and so on.The Karimpur school doesn’t have an ABL room yet, but Mittal isn’t waiting for one to be sanctioned. “I made these activities myself. I learnt some of this during one of the videoconferencing programmes I attended,” she says.Across Rajasthan, for two days every two months, teachers assemble in select schools for a live videoconferencing session, during which experts and educationists talk to teachers in far-flung areas about simple activities to make learning fun. These sessions are usually held in model or ‘Adarsh’ schools. There is usually one such school with classes from 1 to 12 in each gram panchayat that acts as a mentor for other schools in the area.“Each time, over two lakh teachers across 3,000 schools in the state turn up for these videoconferencing sessions,” says Mukesh Garg, Dholpur’s Additional District Programme Coordinator of Samagra Shiksha or SAMSA, an integrated scheme for school education from primary to Class 12.***In 2013-14 then chief minister Vasundhara Raje set up the CM’s Advisory Council, with nine sub-groups, including on health, power and education. Led by educationists such as Urvashi Sahni, founder and CEO of the Lucknow-based Study Hall Education Foundation, Gowri Ishwaran, CEO of the Global Education & Leadership Foundation, and Arun Kapur of Delhi’s Vasant Valley School, the education sub-group held a series of deliberations on reforms, with SIQE topping their agenda.Like several good ideas, this one too would have stayed on paper if not for an army of inspired footsoldiers led by Naresh Pal Gangwar, a 1994-batch IAS officer who came in as Principal Secretary in charge of School Education. Gangwar instantly recognised that the scale was huge and the base dismal — according to the HRD Ministry’s DISE data for 2013-14, Rajasthan had 83,564 government schools with over 64 lakh children and over three lakh teachers, but saw very little by way of learning. At the Karimpur school, Kamlesh Mittal teaches children using props she designed. (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)The 2013 Annual Status of Education Survey, conducted by NGO Pratham and released early 2014, showed that only 41.1% of Class 5 government school students nationwide could read a Class 2 textbook and only 20.8% could do division. The figures for Rajasthan were worse — only 35.8% Class 5 students could read a Class 2 textbook and only 15.2% could do division.Thus began a process of overhaul. To begin with, the complex school organisation system — with multiple buildings and managements for primary, upper primary, and secondary schools — was rationalised. The state carried out one of the biggest school integration exercises, merging more than 17,000 primary and upper primary schools with secondary and higher secondary schools by April 2014, often in the face of resistance by parents, teachers and activists.The recent Economic Survey too had recommended consolidation or merger of elementary schools to make them viable, given a projected 18.4 per cent decline in the population of children in the 5-14 age group between 2021 and 2041.There have been more changes in Rajasthan: Adarsh schools were chosen, teachers and principals were given leadership training, 1.25 lakh teachers were recruited and pending promotions cleared. Through all this, a clear line of communication was established — both through the official Shala Darpan, the one-stop portal for everything from student portfolios to teacher vacancies to daily communication, and about 12,000 WhatsApp groups.“The entire department got synergised. Everybody had a voice and transmission loss was reduced. We got feedback instantly and could start working to rectify or go ahead with what we planned,” says Gangwar, who is now Principal Secretary, Energy.Buildings were spruced and basic facilities such as toilets, drinking water and boundary walls put in place. Many schools got a new look, with a fresh coat of paint and wall paintings. School buildings painted to look like train coaches are currently the most popular design, says Garg, the SAMSA coordinator in Dholpur.There are, however, challenges. In the absence of adequate funding — the Interim Budget presented in February set aside 16.8% for education — much of this change has depended heavily on individual leaders, especially principals and teachers who have been motivated to, besides contributing money themselves, raise funds from the community through crowdfunding.Almost every government school in the state has an Akshay Petika, a box where members of the community make donations, anything from as low as Re 1 to a few thousands. The Petika is opened only during meetings of the school management committee, which has parents and community leaders as members. Schools also prominently display a list of ‘Bhamashas’ or members of the village community who have made significant contributions. The money is used to fund anything from sweaters for children to desks and fans in classrooms. Priyanka, on the right, with her friends at the Kasturba school in Kuchaman, Nagaur. Daughter of a marble worker, her education is funded by the state. (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)In August 2017, the Department of Education set up Gyan Sankalp, an online portal that encourages individuals, companies and non-profits to adopt a school, make donations or support a project. Since its launch, the government has raised Rs 100.2 crore through the portal.N K Gupta, State Project Director, SAMSA, admits to other challenges, among them, the quality of teacher training. “Earlier, once teachers got into the system, there was no training of any kind. Now we have six to 10 categories of training. However, we need to improve the quality of training and strengthen DIETs (District Institutes of Education and Training). Many of these DIETS have 50% vacancies,” he says.Nevertheless, Gupta adds, there’s no going back. “The change that has come in through SIQE is now a regular feature. Governments may come and go but this will continue. We have managed to fill a lot of teacher vacancies, with about 32,000 new teachers since the Congress government took over. Some more are in the pipeline. Once all that is done, there will be less than 5% vacancies,” says Gupta, a 2004-batch IAS officer. ***Over 500 km from Dholpur, on the state’s eastern fringes, is Nagaur, a district in the catchment area of the Sambhar lake, known more for its salt pans and granite and lignite mines, less for the NAS it topped in 2017.Nikita Meel knows what it feels to be on top. The daughter of a marble worker in Makarana block of Nagaur, Nikita scored 92.16% in her Class 10, with a perfect A+ in mathematics, earning her a laptop under the Rajasthan government’s Laptop Yojana. “It’s a Lenovo. I left it behind at home. My father uses it, mostly plays games that I taught him. My brother uses it too,” she says.Under the scheme, the top 6,000 students of the state, besides 100 toppers in each district, get laptops.Nikita is a student of the Government Surji Devi Kabra Girls Senior Secondary School in Kuchaman block of the district and stays in the government-run Sharade hostel for Classes 9-12. The hostel shares a compound with the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Awasiya Vidyalaya, a residential school for girls from Classes 6 to 8, one of 200-odd such schools in the state for children from SC/ST, backward and minority communities, with 25% seats reserved for EWS.Nikita’s younger sister studies in the Kasturba school and brother back home in the village.It’s around 7 pm, dinner time, and the girls are eating soyabean and chapatis, sometimes four to a plate. “We have been together so long, this feels like family,” says Nikita.A group of girls sit on the steps of the Kasturba building, discussing the plot of Kumkum Bhagya and Kundli Bhagya, two soap operas they watch back to back, from 8 pm to 9 pm. “After dinner, we study for an hour and then come to the TV room. But even if we don’t watch the serials for some days, the story is still the same,” chuckles Priyanka, who is in Class 7 and stays here with her sister.Priyanka is a member of the school Bal Sansad or Children’s Parliament, a concept introduced by the state government to inculcate a sense of leadership among children. “Mein school ki bhojan mantri hoon aur safai mantri bhi (I am the school’s food and cleanliness minister). I have to make sure children don’t waste food. Also, if they have complaints about the food, I talk to our warden about it. Then there are others — a pradhan mantri, water minister, health minister….”Warden Sharda Chaudhary, who has been working with the school for 10 years, earning Rs 12,000 a month, says, “This place is like their home. All of them come from extremely deprived families and we do our best to keep them happy. The government sanctions Rs 55 per child, with which we are supposed to provide them milk, toast, breakfast, fruits, tea, lunch and dinner. We end up spending a lot more.” Several school buildings in Dholpur have been painted to look like trains to attract students. (Express photo by Uma Vishnu)The following morning, Block Elementary Education Officer Dinesh Singh, who is carrying out an inspection of the MDM (mid-day meal) scheme across the block, makes a stop at the Burdako Ki Dhani Primary School by the main road. He notices two teachers sitting in the verandah outside and asks them, “Why aren’t you in your classes? And why are the children roaming around?”Bhagwani Mahich, the senior teacher, responds: “Sir, there are only 12 students. Padhane me mazaa tabhi hota hai jab bachche honge (teaching is fun only when there are enough students)….” Singh cuts her short sharply. “If teaching doesn’t interest you, you should find something else to do. There are several people who can take your place,” he says.As he drives out, Singh says, “See, there are problems. The school has already got a notice for closure. To be fair to the teachers, there are very few homes in this area and they too send children to private schools because the buses come right to their doorsteps. But that’s also why these teachers should work doubly hard — visit homes, show them the portfolios of children so that parents realise how much work goes on in government schools.” Advertising Gehlot: Will bring law against mob lynching, honour killing The mountain of a task done, she tosses back her hair, breaks into a high-wattage smile and sticks out her hand: “How are you? How was your day?” But her teacher Kamlesh Mittal isn’t letting her off soon. “Here, do some maths,” she says, pushing a long notebook in her direction. “9,999 + 825 + 7,000…,” she says in Hindi. “Dhyan se, seedhi banake (carefully, with the place values right, like a ladder)….”Mittal, in charge of the primary school in Karimpur in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district, has been a teacher for 31 years. “See how good they are,” she says as Rakhi gets the sum right. “Maths is not a problem for these children. It’s English that they struggle with. And there, we can’t help them much.”Next, it’s Arman’s turn. He walks up to Mittal’s desk, his brow knit with worry. “Show me how you do this subtraction,” she says, giving him a notebook with two three-digit numbers. As the boy uses his left hand to count, Mittal says, “When Arman got into Class 4, he was terrible at maths. I started by giving him Class 1 maths, sometimes Class 2. Now he comes and asks, ‘Ma’am, what can I solve?’.” Post Comment(s)
Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter. Taking On the Established Players Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as “Beam.” In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers.The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft. New co-streaming functionality will allow four PC streamers to combine their respective broadcasts into a single split-screen stream. This feature soon will roll out to Xbox gamers as well. In addition, Microsoft announced that it has launched new Mixer Create mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. They are currently in beta, but both will support self-broadcasting and the ability to stream mobile games soon.There also will be a Mixer page on the Xbox One Dashboard, which will feature some of the most unique and popular streams curated by a dedicated support team. This will further showcase the variety of diverse, creative content from the streaming community. Moreover, Microsoft’s Mixer will feature the always-on, moderated Channel One that allows users to see the breadth of content available across the platform.Further, Mixer will serve as a gamer’s eye to Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference on June 11. Beam It Up Microsoft’s efforts suggest that it may be aiming for a virtual mixer-style gaming party. However, gamers already have numerous options to meet up and engage, and co-op gameplay may not be enough to draw in new users.”Crowd play is interesting, but the application has to be engaging in order to found a long-term role,” cautioned Steve Bailey, senior analyst for games at IHS Markit.”A handful of PS4 games employed a similar idea a few years back, but it didn’t seem to gain much traction, and we’re only just beginning to explore the potential of games with meaningful crowd-voting systems,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Novelty alone won’t be enough to carry this idea, so Mixer and developers will have to continue working closely to realize its potential,” Bailey added. “Mixer will also have to show that it can grow its audience, to make this effort ultimately worthwhile for developers.” A name change from the generic “Beam” to the equally generic “Mixer” may do little to get gamers off Twitch and YouTube, but the fact that the platform will offer live functionality to the PC and console could help set it apart.”From the console perspective, various streaming facilities have been available on PS4 and Xbox One for quite some time now, so the question Mixer has to answer is, why should people use it over, say, Twitch?” pondered Bailey.”Features and superior integration are the first hurdles. … Co-streaming and crowd play are both interesting ideas, but that brings us to the next set of hurdles — content that leverages these features in compelling ways,” Bailey added.”Team-based combat games are perfect for co-streaming, and so could fit well with many e-sports titles, as well as a number of key shooter properties on Xbox One,” he pointed out.Superior functionality could be the winning mix for Microsoft, however.”Its key differentiators — interactivity and low-latency — are strong, and arguably elevate Mixer above rivals like Twitch and YouTube in terms of performance,” suggested SuperData Research’s van Dreunen.”We’ve seen in the past that a higher-quality standard is no match for a platform or format that is more popular,” he added.”Another thing Mixer needs to implement is the ability for players to buy games directly through the service — via Microsoft’s stores — and for the streamers to take a percentage of any purchases that they trigger,” said IHS Markit’s Bailey. “Twitch currently offers this, but for PC games only. Mixer could open up that opportunity for Xbox One games.” Mixing It Up With the In-Crowd Microsoft acquired Beam last August, only some eight months after its launch, to compete against game streaming on Amazon’s Twitch and YouTube.When it launched, Beam attempted to differentiate itself from the competition by providing online competitions that could be streamed in real time. That helped it attract an audience, not to mention interest from Microsoft.Now the newly branded Mixer could allow Microsoft to capture a segment of the gaming audience that likes to watch rather than actually play today’s most popular titles.”Microsoft necessarily has to compete but has been on the back foot in the live-streaming space,” said Joost van Dreunen, principal analyst at SuperData Research.”With the rebranding and hopefully a continued development effort, Microsoft has created an opportunity for itself, albeit it slim,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Historically, network-based strategies such as these are challenging, because neither content creators nor viewers are keen on switching platforms,” added van Dreunen. “So Microsoft will have to come up with something unique that will draw people to its service.”