People Looks to Capitalize on Newman Death

first_imgBut to publish a special book about an actor who devoted most of his own second act to the community, to sick kids, to others, and not make it even partially charitable smacks of desperation—a money grab at best, and a manipulative tabloid move at worst (People confirmed that the book had been in the works before Newman passed on).Note to People: maybe pay a little less for those Clay Aiken pictures next time and you won’t have to do stuff like this. Perhaps it’s because his death hit closer to home than other celebrities (I live in Westport, Connecticut, just a few short apple tosses from his farmhouse, and worked at the local playhouse the summer he starred in “Our Town”). Perhaps it’s because his philanthropic food company has raised more than $250 million for charities. Perhaps it’s because he was simply a good guy.But People’s announcement that they are putting together a 96-page book about Paul Newman, slapping it with a $12 cover price and rushing 450,000 copies to newsstands leaves a sour taste in my mouth (not unlike, you might say, Newman’s Own Virgin Lemonade, which is lip-puckeringly sweet—just how Newman liked it).A spokesperson for People confirmed that the book is for-profit and pointed out that the magazine has a long history of publishing tribute books—Johnny Carson and Princess Diana, to name two.I realize that publishing is a business, and deaths—however tragic—represent an opportunity for magazine publishers to capitalize on newsstand sales (see: Heath Ledger, and People’s related cover coup). Both People and Entertainment Weekly are devoting their covers to Newman (EW, in a relatively classy move, going with no cover lines), hoping to equal the success they had with Ledger. (People sold 1,816,546 single copies, 20 percent more than its 1.51 million average, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations; EW sold 54,641, 36 percent more than its average.) And I’m sure, in terms of tributes, this one will be top-shelf. last_img read more

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Sorry state of public exams

first_imgStudents sit for a public examination. Prothom Alo File PhotoQuestion paper leaks have become a regular phenomenon in the country’s public examinations of late, while many question papers are printed full of errors, leaving the nation’s education system in jeopardy.Until now, these acts-students copying from others’ scripts, teachers telling examinees the answers, or question papers going outside the exam centres-were done covertly. However, the situation has worsened and leaked question papers are now sold on social media or at the dormitories in the open.The number of public exams has increased in the country, which means the number of examinees has increased as well. About 7.5 million students are appearing for four public exams – PEC (Primary Education Completion), JSC (Junior School Certificate), SSC (Secondary School Certificate) and HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate).Numerous faults in the question papers and wholesale adoption of unfair means are creating social instability. However, the education ministry, the primary and mass education ministry, and the education boards-all are failing to take effective measures to address the problem.There was a rumour that the question paper of PEC’s Science exam held on Wednesday was also leaked.Md Sohrab Hossain, secretary at the education ministry’s Secondary and Higher Education Division, told Prothom Alo on Wednesday, “Leaking of question papers cannot be prevented in the current process. We have formed committees to check the feasibility of having separate question papers for different exam centres. We shall take steps once we get their report.”Question papers full of errorsThe Bangladesh and Global Studies question paper in the ongoing PEC exam was full of errors.One of the questions there read, ‘What would happen if no the Mujibnagar govt. was formed’.In another question, the ‘liberation war’ was written as ‘freedom fight’.There were several other mistakes, and these mostly happened in Sylhet and Narayanganj areas.Seeking anonymity, two school teachers of English version told Prothom Alo that this was not the only time an English question paper was full of errors. Rather, this happens very often as the translators are not that skilled.Another question read, ‘What was the consequence of the British policy ‘divide and rule’ here?’ and the options were racial discrimination, social discrimination, cultural discrimination and economic discrimination. Students got confused by these options. In most cases incompetent people are being recruited as teachers and education officers, which is worsening the situation further, former professor of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research (IER), Siddiqur Rahman, told Prothom Alo.Qualified people who are morally upright should be appointed to such posts, he observed.The National Academy of Primary Education (NAPE) at Mymensingh prepares the question papers for the PEC exams. As many as eight sets of question papers are printed and used at different locations. It’s the education officers who translate these question papers.NAPE managing director Md Shah Alam acknowledged the mistakes.“It is true that it was a big mistake. But, they cannot see the question papers,” he said, adding that they would look into the issue and take necessary steps.The Home Science question paper of the recently concluded JSC exam was full of errors as well.Last year there were 11 errors in the Mathematics question paper of Jessore Board, five in the Physics question paper of Dhaka Board, seven in Bangla question paper of Rajshahi Board, and 11 in the Bangla and English versions of the Mathematics question paper of the Chittagong Board.At several places exams were held with two-year-old questions. This also happened in 2012 at Kurigram and Habiganj disctricts, and Dhaka’s Keraniganj.Tapan Kumar Sarkar, controller of examinations of the Dhaka education board, said, “We take a number of steps, including blacklisting the people responsible for the errors.”Leaks in days prior to examInvestigation reveals that question papers are not leaked only on the morning of the exam days, but in some instances, as many as two or three days before as well. Along with BG (Bangladesh Government) Press and exam centres, persons at the distribution level are also involved in the leaking.Previously, question papers of one or two subjects used to be leaked occasionally but since 2012 the trend has changed. Question papers of almost all the subjects are being leaked these days.A detective branch (DB) official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (west) told Prothom Alo they detained Gazirchot AM High School and College principal Md Mozaffar Ahmed and eight others on 27 March for their alleged involvement in question paper leaking.The detainees informed police that being secretary of a centre of the last SSC examination, Mozaffar Ahmed, along with one of his office assistants, would go to collect question papers from Savar model police station early on exam day. The then Savar upazilla secondary education officer was one of the question paper distributors there.Principal Mozaffar Ahmed and his office assistant would collect the next exam’s question papers along with the questions of the respective day’s exam and spread that around. Police also found that they used their facebook IDs to disseminate sample questions the night before the exams.Police investigation also revealed that sometimes the same teachers are appointed to prepare question papers for several years. They share the questions with students of their schools and coaching centres in the name of giving suggestions.The investigation also revealed that there is a chance of leaking during the typing of questions at the BG press.Two high-ups of the education ministry and secondary and higher secondary education board of Dhaka acknowledged they changed the English question paper of the SSC exam on exam day as it was leaked the previous night.Earlier in 2014, English and Mathematics question papers of HSC exams were leaked the night before the exams. But from 2015 onwards, some teachers have been breaking the seals of packed question papers just 1-2 hours before the exams and sending out images of the questions. The same happened in the recently concluded JSC MCQ (multiple choice question) exam.“[People used to] leak question papers before too, but that was limited. It has increased recently. A good student gets frustrated when he sees that a bad one is doing well getting leaked questions. [As a result] they lose confidence as they grow up. Quality of education is being severely hampered,” said BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) professor M Kaykobad.Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid, however, said on several occasions that some miscreants known as teachers are leaking questions on the exam days. They are under surveillance and being seized.Identical question might act as boomerangThe education ministry plans to print question papers at the centres on the day of a public exam, to curb the trend.Several officials of the education ministry, though, informed that the plan will not be implemented in the next SSC exam. BG press will print the question papers again.As eight boards will use identical question papers in the next SSC exam, officials of the education ministry suspect the situation will worsen. Questions leaked at one place will spread quickly across the country and create havoc.*This piece, originally published in the Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrinlast_img read more

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Quader castigates BNP for complaining to foreigners

first_imgBangladesh Awami general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoAwami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday said BNP has nothing other than complaining to foreigners after its failure in both the election and its movement, reports UNB.He also described the remarks of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir over the national election as ‘delirium of a failed politician’.Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, came up with the remarks while talking to reporters before a joint meeting of Awami League presidium members and the party’s different associate bodies at its Bangabandhu Avenue office.”They (BNP) couldn’t wage a movement over the last 10 years. We thank them as they joined the national election. But they utterly failed in the election, too,” he said.Quader further said, “What can be their (BNP’s) resort now as they have failed in its movement and the election? Now they’re complaining to foreigners and it’s their old habit.”He said the Awami League was more united during the 11th parliamentary election than in the past. “We achieved a massive victory as we could show a stronger unity through excellent coordination under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.”The Awami League general secretary said their president Sheikh Hasina’s strong stance against evil and communal forces also helped the party get an unforgettable victory in the election.The minister said their party will celebrate the victory through a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on 19 January.At the beginning of the meeting, one minute silence was observed paying homage to party former secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam.Four days after being elected an MP of the 11th parliament, Awami League presidium member and public administration minister Syed Ashraful Islam died of lung cancer at a hospital in Thailand on Thursday night at the age of 67.last_img read more

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Houston Educators Push Back Against Proposed Salary Freeze

first_img Trustee Sergio Lira, Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo and several educators joined the press conference.Capo emphasized that if Houston schools improved enough to avoid a state-mandated takeover, it’s because of teachers.“And this is not the way to welcome them back to a new year when we need them focused the most on doing the best for our kids with the least,” Capo said.Santos said that she believes the $2 billion budget, which the board approved at the end of July, can cover the $6 million needed for the raises, if district administrators account for the departure of veteran, higher paid teachers.Lucia Moreno, who teaches at Rucker Elementary, said that she has to use her own money to buy equipment like cameras that her students need and her school can’t afford. Now she wonders how she’ll be able to pay for students’ supplies without an expected pay bump of about $1,000.“So where does that money come? They wind up losing. Who loses? Our kids in the East End,” Moreno said.The Houston school board is expected to vote on the compensation plan at its meeting next week. Laura IsenseeTrustee Elizabeth Santos told reporters that she believes the HISD budget can cover $6 million in scheduled raises for teachers.Dozens of educators spoke out against the proposed pay freeze at the Houston district headquarters Thursday afternoon, saying it’s not the way to “welcome” teachers back to school.Houston school board member and teacher Elizabeth Santos said that her fellow educators were shocked to find out that the administration at the Houston Independent School District wants to freeze their salaries for this school year — and not give anyone scheduled raises.“It’s simply not right to tell teachers that their pay is being cut days before they return to their classrooms for the new school year,” Santos said. “Beyond that, it’s not smart. As a district, we must ensure we don’t lose our most valuable asset for educating our children — experienced classroom teachers.” Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:center_img X 00:00 /00:53 Sharelast_img read more

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Nearthreshold computing could enable up to 100x reduction in power consumption

first_img Copyright 2010 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. In a recent study, a team of researchers, Ronald Dreslinski, et al., from the University of Michigan, have investigated a solution to the power problem by using a method called near-threshold computing (NTC). In the NTC method, electronic devices operate at lower voltages than normal, which reduces energy consumption. The researchers predict that NTC could enable future computer systems to reduce energy requirements by 10 to 100 times or more, by optimizing them for low-voltage operation. Unfortunately, low-voltage operation also involves performance trade-offs: specifically, performance loss, performance variation, and memory and logic failures. Continuing Moore’s lawAs the researchers explain, reducing power consumption is essential for allowing the continuation of Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. Continuing this exponential growth is becoming more and more difficult, and power consumption is the largest barrier to meaningful increases in chip density. While engineers can design chips to hold additional transistors, power consumption has begun to prohibit these devices from actually being used. As the researchers explain, engineers are currently facing “a curious design dilemma: more gates can now fit on a die, but a growing fraction cannot actually be used due to strict power limits. … It is not an exaggeration to state that developing energy-efficient solutions is critical to the survival of the semiconductor industry.” In the past, technologies that required large amounts of power eventually became replaced by more energy-efficient technologies; for example, vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors. Today, transistors are arranged using CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) circuitry design techniques. Since beyond-CMOS technologies are still far from being commercially viable, and large investments have been made in CMOS-based infrastructure, the Michigan researchers predict that CMOS will likely be around for a while. For this reason, solutions to the power problem must come from within. Using Moore’s law as the metric of progress has become misleading: starting around the 65-nm node, improvements in packing densities no longer translate to proportional increases in performance or energy efficiency. Researchers predict that near-threshold computing could restore the relationship between transistor density and energy efficiency. Credit: Dreslinski, et al. ©2010 IEEE. “NTC is an enabling technology that allows for continued scaling of CMOS-based devices, while significantly improving energy efficiency,” Dreslinski told PhysOrg.com. “The major impact of the work is that, for a fixed battery lifetime, significantly more transistors can be used, allowing for greater functionality. Particularly, [NTC allows] the full use of all transistors offered by technology scaling, eliminating ‘Dark Silicon’ that occurs as we scale to future technology nodes beyond 22 nm where ’more transistors can be placed on chip, but will be unable to be turned on concurrently.’”Operating at threshold voltageNear-threshold computing could be the key to decreasing power requirements without overturning the entire CMOS framework, the researchers say. Although low-voltage computing is already popular as an energy-efficient technique for ultralow-energy niche markets such as wristwatches and hearing aids, its large circuit delays lead to large energy leakages that have made it impractical for most computing segments. So far, these ultralow-energy devices have operated at extremely low “subthreshold” voltages, from around 200 millivolts down to the theoretical lower limit of 36 millivolts. Conventional voltage operation is about 1.0 volts. Meanwhile, near-threshold operation occurs around 400-500 millivolts, or near a device’s threshold voltage.Operating at near-threshold rather than subthreshold voltages could provide a compromise, enabling devices to require less energy while minimizing the energy leakage. This improved trade-off could potentially open up low-voltage design to mainstream semiconductor products. However, near-threshold computing still faces the other three challenges mentioned earlier: a 10 times performance loss, five times increase in performance variation, and an increase in functional failure rate of five orders of magnitude. These challenges have not been widely addressed so far, but the Michigan researchers spend the bulk of their analysis reviewing the current research to overcome these barriers.Part of the attraction of near-threshold computing is that it could have nearly universal applications in high-demand segments, such as data centers and personal computing. As the Web continues to grow, more data centers and servers are needed to host websites, and their power consumption is currently doubling about every five years. Personal computing devices, many of which are portable, could also benefit from increased battery lifetime due to reduced power needs. Dreslinski notes that previous studies have shown that the impact of NTC on devices will vary based on a particular consumer’s usage. “A user who only uses their device for making phone calls won’t see much impact because most of the power is consumed outside the CPU,” he said. “However, users who utilize music/video players and other compute-intensive tasks on their phone could see significant battery life improvements and reduced heat generated by the device. Quantifying these numbers is difficult based on the varying workloads of users coupled with parallel advances in battery technologies. My unofficial estimate would be a 1.5x to 2x improvement in battery lifetime, although some users could see significantly more or less.”Near-threshold computing could also be useful in sensor-based systems, which have applications in biomedical implants, among other areas. While these sensors may have a size of about 1 mm3, they often require batteries that are many orders of magnitude larger than the electronics themselves. By reducing the power requirements by up to 100 times in sensors, near-threshold computing could open the doors to many possible future designs. (PhysOrg.com) — While electronic devices have greatly improved in many regards, such as in storage capacity, graphics, and overall performance, etc., they still have a weight hanging around their neck: they’re huge energy hogs. When it comes to energy efficiency, today’s computers, cell phones, and other gadgets are little better off than those from a decade ago, or more. The problem of power goes beyond being green and saving money. For electrical engineers, power has become the primary design constraint for future electronic devices. Without lowering power consumption, improvements made in other areas of electronic devices could be useless, simply because there isn’t enough power to support them. 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.center_img Explore further Nanotech SRAM for battery devices unveiled Citation: Near-threshold computing could enable up to 100x reduction in power consumption (2010, February 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-02-near-threshold-enable-100x-reduction-power.html More information: Ronald G. Dreslinski, Michael Wieckowski, David Blaauw, Dennis Sylvester, Trevor Mudge. “Near-Threshold Computing: Reclaiming Moore’s Law Through Energy Efficient Integrated Circuits.” Proceedings of the IEEE. Vol. 98, No. 2, February 2010. Doi:10.1109/JPROC2009.2034764last_img read more

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