What do military families say they need for family education and support?

first_imgAccording to a recent needs assessment conducted by Dr. Angela Huebner and her colleagues at Virginia Tech when it comes to accessing formal support systems such as MilitaryOneSource or support centers, military service members and their families:Prefer getting support information from a “known” person such as a family readiness officer, ombudsmen or key spouse.Are more likely to access a program or service on the recommendation of a trusted friend or family member.Prefer information specific to their installation and/or community as well as information directly affiliated with the military such as the Chain of Command and Squadron Leaders.Use family members, usually the active duty spouse, as a primary source of information about programs and services.Face barriers to using formal support systems such as the perception that most programs are targeted at younger service members and those with families, information overload, fear that accessing support would reflect poorly on service member and inefficient timing of information.How can Military Families Learning Network and the Cooperative Extension System help meet these needs?Cooperative Extension is in a unique position to help military families no matter where they live. CES serves citizens in every county/parish across the country. County-based educators can serve as excellent educators and resources for military families living on and off installations across the country by helping them connect with local information and resources. State specialists and county educators can become the “known” person in their community to help bridge community and military resources for military families.Military Families Learning Network provides additional online resources and information for military families as well as ways for military family service providers to connect, engage and learn more by connecting with colleagues and Extension professionals.last_img read more

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Scholarship Search Tips

first_imgBy Gladys Lawrence, AFCPE-FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship InternMany military families wonder how to maximize their dependents’ chances of scholarships for college. The following advice was given by a mother whose two sons received over $150,000 in scholarships and grants for college:Preparation for receiving scholarships begins well before a student is a senior in high school.  Have him or her take courses which are challenging and be good student.  Also, colleges are more apt to give scholarships to someone who has already received one.  Many organizations and colleges offer scholarships for high school students, even junior high school students, to attend summer academic camps in areas such as math, science, writing, and music. This is an excellent way for a child to grow academically as well as to build up a resume for college that will set their college application apart.  The children of this family received scholarships for summer camps at Bowling Green University and Ohio State University.Involve a military family’s children in community service.  Keep records of the name of the organization, point of contact, address, and hours worked.  These hours can count as work experience and will help show that a student is well-rounded.Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) once a military family’s child is ready to apply for college. It provides an assessment of a family’s ability to pay for college and is a requirement to receive state and Federal financial aid.  Students and/or their parents will designate which schools they want to receive the report.  Usually around late February students will receive an award letter stating which scholarships and grants they will receive from a college.Do not only depend on what a college offers. Advise students to call the college or colleges they are interested in early in the process and ask for a list of outside scholarships.  Check into scholarships for military dependents.  There are many organizations out there such Army Emergency Relief, Amvet, and the Commissary Scholarship.  Emphasize to the college that a student is a military dependent. (Remember that the Post 9-11 GI Bill allows service members to transfer unused benefits to spouse or children.) Check with the high school guidance office for list of local, regional, and national scholarships. Do not overlook small scholarships given through various clubs because every dollar saved will help.  Other good places to check for dependent scholarships are a military family’s bank, credit union, and insurance company and the place of employment for the non-military spouse.Set up a separate email account if you do an online search on any of the various scholarship search engines such Scholarship.com or Fastweb.com; because you will get spam.A final piece of advice: be patient and follow-up on paperwork and  letters of recommendation.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on August 2, 2013last_img read more

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3 Inventive DIY Camera Sliders

first_imgLearn how you can create your own DIY camera slider in these informative how-to videos!A professional camera slider will set you back a few hundred bucks – out of reach for some newbie shooters and hard to justify the cost if you won’t be using it often. Get dramatic, moving shots by creating your own DIY camera slider!  Although there are quite a few DIY slider projects online, these 3 were featured because:The steps to create your own are well laid outThe parts can be found at a local hardware storeThey are all VERY inexpensive to buildIf you’re looking for a DIY slider option for your own shooting, see if one of these homemade projects fits the bill!PVC SliderCost: $20  The guys from Backyard FX have put together this instructional (and funny!) how-to video for their wood and PVC camera slider.  This DIY slider balances on top of a tripod, so you can easily adjust the height.  Two PVC pipes are screwed down onto a 1X4 and used as rails for the sliding camera platform.Steel DIY SliderCost: Under $50  This DIY camera slider utilizes steel rods and sheet metal for a strong sturdy design.  Using products found at his local hardware store, shooter Austin Wilson created this tripod mounted camera slider that looks and functions similar to many pro models.  Spray those rails down with WD40 and you’ve got really smooth slides!Gutter SliderCost: $13  This may be the most low-tech camera slider of the three, but if you’re in a pinch you can build it quickly and for VERY little cost.  Using rain gutter parts you can create this DIY slider that runs the length of the gutter.  Definitely not as stable as professional camera slider models, but major points for ingenuity!last_img read more

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Creative Inspiration: The Power of Thinking Differently

first_imgBe inspired by these creatives!  Boost your own creativity and productivity by thinking differently.The point of this post is hopefully to inspire you to not only think differently, but act differently and in acting differently create better work. I’ve pulled together a few of my most recent inspiring finds (in the hope that they’ll inspire you as much as they have me) to think, act and do differently…more creatively and more productively. The original inspiration for this post came from a story I read about the design simplicity for a juice box in Japan:Design Thinking“Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.” – Donald A Norman.The first point of inspiration is that of simplicity. In good design, the form and the function are rolled into one seamless, attractive entity. There are no extraneous parts, flourishes or bit and bobs. This banana juice box just looks like a banana-juice-box. It’s pretty perfect. Any extra writing or labels or information would kill the striking simplicity of the design. Its not confusing in anyway.Good design lets the user get straight to using the your product, service or software without reading the manual or asking for help. Apple are famous for their good design and for very good reason:In The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A Norman (which is one of 5 books for creatives that everyone should read) he points out that by simplifying design we can clearly communicate to the user what they need to do to use a product.As a film editor this call for simplicity makes me think that I can add all the flashy graphics, cool looking color grade and sound effects I want, but if the story in its simplest form doesn’t work, the rest doesn’t matter. Less is still more. What would it look like to strip what you create, down to its simplest form?Re-Thinking ThinkingI was reading recently about the process of adapting to living in New York that a post production guy was going through, after moving to the US office of one of my favorite London production companies. Having to downsize dramatically not only required thinking simply but also creatively. For a flavor of what I mean, check out this intensely creative use of 420 square feet of New York real-estate:So often I find myself thinking that I need more stuff – tools, plugins, gadgets and gizmos to get more work done. But really I just need to make the most of what I already have with some thoughtful, creative re-thinking. By re-thinking I mean forcing myself to look at what I do in a whole new light. How can I make small tweaks to what I do day to day that would make me much more productive and creative?Templates and presets spring to mind as my video editing equivalent of fold-away furniture. Sure it might only take me a few minutes a couple of times a day to throw something through a compression program to make a client’s email-sized video file. But that’s still exporting the master file, opening Compressor, setting the parameters, hitting submit, opening the batch monitor and waiting for the file, finding the file and copying it to the Dropbox folder (or uploading via WeTransfer), copying the public link and pasting that into an email.So I’ve made myself an automator solution that does it all for me.  All I have to hit is ‘export’ and walk away. Sometime later I’ll get an email that I can then easily forward to my client. If building that kind of thing sounds too complex then a simple droplet on your desktop could do away with half of your work in one move.Taking the time to re-think what you do is the most valuable time you can spend. Find the things you do regularly and see if you can think of a better way of doing them, streamlining your processes. It could be incredibly simple things like mapping new keyboard shortcuts in your creative program of choice or building a template invoice for each client or whatever your equivalent is. Taking the time to re-think will most always be worth it.Outward ThinkingRon Finley is an incredibly inspiring gardener whose art is to take over public spaces and make them fruitful again:Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, defiance, beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”I find Ron’s story to be both an inspiration and a provocation. An inspiration to dust off my window boxes and try to persuade them to once again sustain fruitful and useful life – herbs for the scent and the flavor – and a provocation to be creative in ways that are outside of my ‘normal’ creative field.Creativity is a habit that grows through being fed, nurtured and worked. Finding creative sources that inspire and provoke you, but originate from outside of your usual sphere will bring in fresh insights (in a cross pollinating way – to really stretch the gardening metaphor) and fresh challenges to your creative work. Open up your thinking to what’s happening outside.last_img read more

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Cutting on the Blink: Editing Tips From Walter Murch

first_imgWalter Murch’s work as a film editor and sound designer is vital to the history of cinema and he has some serious wisdom to impart to any film and video maker.Top Image: Walter Murch on Apocalypse Now via TransomWalter Murch is a master film editor and sound designer with many famous film credits to his name, including Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, and Jarhead. He’s even directed a movie, Return to Oz. In his highly regarded book, In the Blink of an Eye, Murch offers film and video makers a wonderfully succinct guide to approaching the craft and philosophy of editing. Rule of SixMurch’s “Rule of Six” is a nice hierarchical breakdown to keep in mind when deciding upon where to make a cut, and lists the decision-making factors in this order:Emotion (51%)Story (23%)Rhythm (10%)Eye-Trace (7%)Two-Dimensional Plane of Screen (5%)Three Dimensional Space of Action (4%)Nikole Hidalgo has made a video to illustrate Murch’s rule:Murch admits that the percentage assigned to each item on the list is not the thing to fixate upon, even though it does indicate a significant value difference between the two extremes of emotion and screen space. Rather, the order of the items is the key here and the resulting guide is a good editing checklist when in doubt about a crucial edit on your next movie.Return to Oz via DisneyThe BlinkPerhaps more interestingly, Murch has proposed a theory about how the rate, or speed, in which we blink our eyes may actually be suggestive of our mental state and the way in which we are processing information.According to Murch, to refrain from blinking suggests intense concentration whereas rapid blinking suggests agitation and distraction. There is a middle ground between these two extremes where our blinking coincides with a rhythmic digestion of thoughts and ideas. In other words, the visible evidence of our brain chewing information is through our eyes. This blinking principle can apply to life and it can also apply to filmmaking. It has seemingly guided Murch’s editing razor over the course of his career as he has searched for rhythm and cinematic truth in countless movie scenes. The Conversation via ParamountMurch believes that good actors blink in a way that seems natural to the flow of information within a narrative and the editor can structure cuts and scene rhythms around the way actors blink their eyes. With this advice, it’s seems advisable to schedule a screen test into your casting process whenever possible. The way an actor blinks may be the window into their ability to be natural and believably emotive in your movie. Sven Pape has put Murch’s blink technique into direct action in his own editing work, and has even made a video about editing the film Flesh and Blood:About a decade ago, Transom ran a great article by Walter Murch about his perceptions on sound design. There are some cool examples from his work on Apocalypse Now and THX 1138.If you’d prefer to hear from the man himself, have a look at this video presentation, where Murch talks about making the right editing choices when putting a film together. Murch’s wisdom is undeniable, and his thoughtful approach to cinematic endeavors sets an important precedent for film and video makers. One should aspire to Murch’s contemplation of the medium.Have you employed any of Murch’s suggested techniques in your own work? Has cutting on the blink helped you work your way through a film scene? Please share below.last_img read more

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Create Animated Titles in After Effects

first_imgHave any tips for creating animated titles in After Effects? Share in the comments below. Learn how to design animated corporate titles in After Effects for your video production projects.Whether you are a video producer or an editor, if you work on corporate or explainer videos, you may need to overlay titles to share information that does not come across through dialogue. Corporate titles are a great way to communicate visual information, and they can lend a stylistic touch to your content.Creating corporate titles is easy, but the design can make or break your project. If you have to share information through overlaid titles, make sure the animation is not distracting and the design flows with your video. The last thing you want is a title that draws attention from your video content. Keep your information short and to the point.Download Free Animated Titles Project FileTo download the free animated titles project file from the tutorial above. Simply click the following download button.DOWNLOAD FREE ANIMATED TITLES AFTER EFFECTS PROJECTThe Keys to Creating Clean Corporate TitlesThe following points can help you create effective titles for your videos:Use a clean typeface that is minimalistic and easy to read.If necessary, use two variations of a font style, like “light” and “bold” to highlight specific information.If you work with shape layers, try to use the primary color of your logo.Keep the title and shape animation subtle. “Easy Ease” keyframes work best.Great Title TemplatesPressed for time to create your own Corporate titles? Check out these two great templates from RocketStock.com.Designer TitlesDesigner Titles is a fantastic resource if you need versatile titles for your next video project.VenueVenue is another great template for quickly adding minimal titles to your scene. It’s perfect for modern corporate videos.24 Free Lower ThirdsIf you want to download an amazing collection of free lower thirds for After Effects, check out this free 4k template, ready for your high-res project.last_img read more

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Rumor: Panasonic to Announce a New GH5s Model in 2018

first_imgRumors suggest Panasonic may unveil the Lumix GH5s, a sister camera to their already-popular micro four thirds camera. Here’s what we know.Top image via Panasonic. As we get closer to the major electronics and photography trade shows in January and February, several rumors are surfacing that Panasonic is going to announce a new version of their flagship GH5 mirrorless camera.According to Photo Rumors, the GH5s is supposedly a more video-focused camera, tailored to meet the needs of the many videographers already using Panasonic’s mirrorless cameras.Per the Photo Rumors report, we should see state of the art video functions, improved low light performance and a higher launch price compared to the GH5.This is a quick turnaround for a new GH5, as the last model debuted just one year ago. That camera just received a firmware update in October.The highly anticipated V2.0 firmware for the Panasonic GH5 is finally available. One of the newest features is the ability to record with an ALL-Intra compression, rather than using Long GOP. With all the excitement over this new addition to the GH5, many casual GH5 owners are flocking to the forums to find out what the fuss is about and if it is worth purchasing larger memory cards to film with the new compression format.You can read more about the GH5 V2.0 firmware update here. The GH5 carries an MSRP of $1,999 USD, so expect the GH5s to cost a little bit more. We could even see a very slight price drop on the GH5, but it’s still too early to tell.We will continue to follow this story and announce any future news. Be sure to follow PremiumBeat on Facebook and Twitter for updates.last_img read more

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What the Marvel Cinematic Universe Means for the Future of Film

first_imgWhat the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbusters mean for filmmakers and the ongoing development of the industry.In a great think piece on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), film critic Matt Zoller Seitz argues that Avengers: Endgame “represents the decisive defeat of ‘content’ by ‘cinema.’” While that may be true as far as film consumers are concerned, it raises a much different question for filmmakers: How will we adjust in this bold new future of “content”?It took me several years of going out of my way to ignore the MCU films before I finally succumbed and dove into Avengers: Infinity War. I had sworn off superhero movies (of any make) after Spiderman 3. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the genre had at least figured out how to not make me want to vomit in the theater.But, in retroactively viewing the rest of the 22-movie MCU cannon, I felt my resolve melt away into a pleasant, numb warmness built on spectacle, familiar emotional cues, and a few well-placed comedic quips. However, while the consumer in me found peace, the filmmaker in me was a bit worried.While there have always been big-budget blockbusters, what do these 22 mega-blockbusters mean for the industry? Are they pulling the medium to greater heights? Or are they pushing out everyone else in their wake? And, asking as a nobody indie filmmaker, What does that mean for the rest of us?Note: This article is on what the MCU movies mean for the industry moving forward. For more information on the cameras, lenses, and filmmaking techniques of the MCU movies, check out these articles:The Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic UniverseThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase TwoThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase Three Film as a Cultural EventThe biggest shift in the industry, as Zoller Seitz is quick to point out, is that these mega-blockbuster film premieres have become less about — you know — a film premiering, and much more of a cultural event. Where were you when “the snap” happened?While this is good for drumming up buzz on social media (and press about said buzz), it also quickly dilutes the value of the actual film in question. This was the problem in the early 2000s superhero movies, when many of the films suffered with less focus on scripts and filmmaking, in favor of marketing and merchandising.And, while the studios have more recently been putting further resources back into focusing on strong scripts, better performances, and highly capable filmmakers, it continues to create an environment where the quality of the product is less valuable than the event itself.A Full Calendar of ProductionsThe first movie in the MCU “Infinity Saga” was Iron Man in 2008. And, while “Phase One” consists of six movies over six years, “Phase Two” features six movies released over a span of two years, and “Phase Three” ramps production up to ten movies over three years time.At this rate, it’d probably be safe to assume that Marvel alone will at least continue to produce and release two or three movies a year, for the foreseeable future. This creates a fully packed, yearly, around the clock calendar of Blockbuster movie production.Will this fatigue audiences? Maybe. Will it fatigue producers, filmmakers ,and production houses? Probably. But, all of those can be replaced. With so many films in production at any given time, studios like Marvel will most probably need a fresh stream of talent, crews, and post houses — ready to work long hours — to keep the production machine churning.Special Effects and Spectacle BurnoutWhich brings us to the spectacle and special effects of these MCU movies. It’s been well documented that to bring beautiful effects and spectacle to the screen, in many of your favorite movies and animated features, there are teams of overworked (and often underpaid) artists. Many of these artists are no more than contract workers with post houses, working project by project, which creates an ecosystem rife with long hours, quick hires, and quicker layoffs.And, while the industry has, perhaps, improved in the last few years, the need for special effects work continues to grow. Hopefully, for those who are interested in careers in post-production filmmaking, this need will eventually weigh out in favor of companies who value work-life balance and fair compensation.The Death of the Mid-Budget FeatureAnother known exploit of this new super blockbuster culture has been the death of the middle-budget feature film. According to Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men), “Something happened that nobody can make a movie between $500,000 and $80 million.”If you’re an indie filmmaker looking to follow up your DIY breakout feature, you may find that your options are still pretty limited, in terms of securing funding for anything bigger. Unless you’re a filmmaker with name recognition grandfathered in to a time when the $30 million dollar blockbuster existed, many modern indie filmmakers are finding themselves perpetually stuck in the same low-budget space.A New Path EmergesHowever, if there is any silver lining to the MCU, as well as the future for up-and-coming indie filmmakers, it’s the recent success of indie-filmmakers-turned-MCU-helming directors, including Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, the Russo Brothers, and DC director Patty Jenkins.All of these filmmakers blazed what is becoming a new path from low-budget indie success to directing $100-million-plus blockbusters. Yet, for every success story like the Russo brothers, there are still countless others who don’t get the opportunities of these Avengers behemoths.This ultimately creates a filmmaking future that might offer up some big paychecks — for those who might be willing to take the reins on some of these mega-blockbuster franchises one day, or steady work if you’re interested in production on these behemoths — but continues to create a vacuum that just might, in fact, be the end of “cinema,” as we know it.All images via Marvel Studios.For more filmmaking industry insights, trends, and analysis, here are some other great articles to dive into:Industry Insights: How to Sustain a Career as a Filmmaker5 Advantages of Self-Distributing Your Next Feature FilmFirst-Time Filmmakers: How Do You Build a Cast Without a Budget?Insights into the State of the Music Video Production IndustryFilmmaking Fads and Trends: Don’t Let Them Bother Youlast_img read more

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Bragging Rights

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now No one likes a braggart. But you don’t have to brag. You just have to do something that earns you bragging rights.What big, worthwhile accomplishment did you get done today that is worth bragging about?What massive action did you take that generated some brag-worthy outcome?What did you do today that stretched you beyond your comfort zone and caused you to think, “Man, did I just do that? I hope someone was watching!”What action taken today is going to look like a work of pure genius 90 days from now? What did you do that you’re going to be able to trace back to the prescience you had today?What difficult client situation did you deal with like a boss, changing the game for them and for you and your company? What did you do that moved the needle in a big way?Every day is an opportunity to do something noteworthy, something important, something worth bragging about, even if you don’t do the bragging. If you can’t point to anything you’ve done that is meaningful or worthwhile? Then you are in luck; you get to try again tomorrow.The best way to earn bragging rights is to decide what you are going to do that is brag-worthy before you even start your day. If you plan where and how you will spend your time, you increase the odds that you do something worth noting. You also increase your odds of doing something important enough to point to when you tackle the easiest, foulest, most difficult tasks first every day. If the rest of your day doesn’t go as well as you wished it would, you will always be able to point to having completed that most difficult task before doing anything easier—and less important.Big play-makers make big plays.What did you do that’s worth bragging about? What will you do tomorrow to earn your bragging rights?last_img read more

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The One Thing You Can Do to Triple Your Productivity

first_imgThe word “secret” suggests that there is knowledge available to others that is somehow unavailable to you. There are no secrets when it comes to productivity. Instead, there are principles and disciplines not widely taught or consistently followed. The principles are available to those who would choose to study them, and the disciplines are kept by those who are willing to change their behavior. If you want to triple your productivity, here’s one principle and discipline that will make an immediate difference: Plan your work.Eliminating TimeIf you want to improve your productivity, an excellent place to start is planning the work you are going to do and when you are going to do it. I routinely have hundreds of tasks and dozens of projects in my task manager. I spend a good part of Sunday reviewing them to determine what I am going to do during the week, blocking it on my calendar (Not really on my calendar, but on my task manager. I transfer my work to my physical planner to separate it from what I am intentionally ignoring). Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now If you start each day by reviewing the projects and potential tasks you might attempt to complete during that day, it might take you 30 to 45 minutes to decide what to do. That is time that might have been invested in some project, some task, or some critical outcome.When you don’t know what you need to do, you spend time reviewing all your tasks, identifying your priorities, and deciding what you need to do that day. Because you have not done the work to plan your week and your days, you will give up hours that could have been spent completing those tasks. If you know what you need to do each day, you can eliminate the time spent identifying what jobs you need to complete. You can get straight to work.When you don’t plan your work ahead of time, you live in reactive mode, doing what is now urgent and important because you didn’t do something when it was only important. A task becomes urgent when you postpone completing it and shorten your timeline.Planning your work eliminates the time it takes to start working. Not planning your work reduces the time you need to complete what is important because you are running from one deadline to the next. You get to choose which of these two ways you eliminate time.Eliminating DistractionsWhen you don’t know what you need to do and when you need to do it, you can easily fall prey to the infinite distractions vying for your time and attention.Email: If you are like most people, you will start your day by opening your email inbox to look for things you need to do. Opening the inbox first is putting other people’s priorities above your own and abdicating your responsibility to your real priorities (which are also something you do to benefit others, often with a more significant and more important commitment). There will never be a shortage of emails from your company, your peers, your clients, and people you don’t know who want your time, your attention, and your money.Social: The social channels provide another source of distractions. A quick catchup on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any of the other popular platforms is a way to avoid having to decide what you need to do, and it also feels like a respite from doing what is essential. These channels have been optimized to steal your attention and keep you on the platform as long as possible. You will find none of your priorities on the social channels.Time Waits for No OneIf your inbox steals 30 minutes, and social steals 38 minutes, and it takes you 20 minutes to decide what to do, you will have given up roughly 90 minutes, or something close to twenty percent of your day. That is twenty percent that would easily be put to better use doing almost anything on your task list, but most certainly should have been used on your highest priority.If you waste ninety minutes a day, you will have given up 330 hours in the course of a year. The root cause of your complaints about not having enough time is not a lack of time, but rather the absence of priorities, poor habits, and a lack of planning to put your priorities first.If You Want Control and ResultsA sense of control starts and ends with self-control.When you have control of your projects and your tasks, you gain a sense of certainty, that you know where things are and when they are due. When you have control over the decisions you make, the plan you make provides a sense of control—even when you are surprised by urgencies and emergencies. It’s easier to adjust a plan to deal with surprises than it is to work without a plan at all, going from one thing to the next and getting yourself caught up in “the drift.”The best practice is to plan your week before it starts. By planning your work and blocking time on your calendar, you eliminate the time it takes to figure out what you need to do each day. It also eliminates the possibility of getting mired down in other people’s priorities and the limitless distractions available to you on the small screen. Instead of opening your inbox or your browser, you get straight to work on what’s important.When you start work, knowing how you are going to spend the first ninety minutes and on what priority will ensure that you get more done in a day than most. Planning three ninety-minute blocks per day (roughly half the day), will make you one of the most productive people you know. If you want to triple your output, start by planning your weeks and days.last_img read more

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Patidar leader heats up poll scene with tape on bribery

first_imgThough the BJP in Gujarat has vehemently denied allegations of bribery made by Patidar agitation leader Narendra Patel, who claimed that he was offered ₹1 crore to join the ruling party, Mr. Patel on Thursday brought out an audio clip in which he and Varun Patel are heard discussing the deal struck with the BJP.In the taped mobile conversation, Mr Narendra Patel and Varun Patel, who had broken away from the agitation and joined the saffron party on October 21, are heard discussing about the deal and how the money would be paid to him.In the audio tape, Varun Patel apparently tells Narendra that “he would get 60% now and 40% later.” However, when Narendra Patel insists on the entire amount in one go, Varun tells him to accept 60% “now” and remaining 40% “later”. “You take 60% after the press conference and 40% after the public meeting,” Varun Patel is heard telling Narendra.last_img read more

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Lucknow votes to elect first woman Mayor in 100 years

first_imgLucknow voters on Sunday cast ballots to elect their first woman mayor in the ongoing civic body polls in Uttar Pradesh which already has the distinction of giving the country its first woman Governor and Chief Minister. As many as 23,27,900 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 2,201 polling booths, Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said. As the exercise to choose the first woman mayor in 100 years was in progress, enthusiastic voters queued outside polling stations, enjoying a mellow sunshine on a wintry Sunday afternoon. All the parties fielded women candidates after the Lucknow mayoral seat was reserved for women. Prominent contestants in a field of 19 are Sayukta Bhatia (BJP), Prema Awasthi (Congress), Bulbul Godiyal (BSP), Priyanka Maheshwari (AAP) and Meera Vardhan (SP). Uttar Pradesh is credited with giving the country its first woman governor Sarojini Naidu and chief minister Sucheta Kriplani. Now, the City of Nawabs is poised to break the glass ceiling by electing its first woman mayor since the Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act came was notified way back in 1916. “Our time has come,” feels Bhatia, while the BSP nominee says, “Better late than never”. Vardhan is the kin of educationist Acharya Narendra Dev, while Awasthi is the wife of the late Congress legislator Surendra Nath. Lucknow figured in the second leg of the three-phase municipal elections across the state. The Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act came into being in 1916 and Barrister Syed Nabiullah became the first Indian to head the local body. In 1948, the UP government changed the electoral nature of the local body and introduced the concept of administrator and Bhairav Datt Sanwal (ICS) was appointed to the post. In 1959, the UP Municipalities Act, 1916, was replaced by the Uttar Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, paving the way for the formation of the municipal corporation (nagar mahapalika) in Lucknow on February 1, 1960. It was on the intervention of the Allahabad High Court in 1989 that the government announced local bodies polls. An amendment in the Constitution accorded the status of municipal corporation to Lucknow’s local body retrospectively from May 31, 1994. Provisions were made in the Municipality Act of 1959 to allow citizens to elect a mayor. Provision of reservation to women, SCs, STs and OBCs was also made on a rotational basis. Kriplani, who had come to the forefront during the Quit India Movement in 1942, held the chief minister’s office from 1963 to 1967. She had worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi during the Partition riots. She was one of the few women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly and was part of the sub-committee that drafted the Constitution. Naidu, popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, was the governor of the United Provinces, now known as Uttar Pradesh, from 1947 to 1949. She was born in a Bengali family on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad and was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge. Naidu too was a follower of Mahatama Gandhi and had participated in the freedom struggle. She, later, went on to become the president of the Indian National Congress. Lucknow has thrice sent a woman to the Lok Sabha as its representative with Sheila Kaul being elected in 1971, 1980 and 1984.last_img read more

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Kailadevi tiger births a pointer to space crunch

first_imgThe birth of two tiger cubs in the Kailadevi wildlife sanctuary of Rajasthan’s Karauli district recently has gladdened wildlife enthusiasts across the country, but it also points to a space crunch in the wildlife habitats which has forced the big cats to move out of the main area of Ranthambore National Park on their own.Tigress T-92 was spotted with two cubs, both about three and a half months old, at Ninder Ki Khoh near Mandrayal last week. The tiger cubs have been born in Kailadevi after nearly three decades. The four-and-a-half-year-old T-92 and male T-72, also known as Sultan, with whom it mated, are among the four tigers that have moved from Ranthambhore to Kailadevi.Territorial disputesForest authorities say overpopulation of tigers in Ranthambore National Park had led to territorial disputes, because of which the big cats were making frequent movements to the adjacent Kailadevi wildlife reserve, which had a size of 676 sq. km. T-72 migrated from Sultanpur area of Ranthambore to Mandrayal, when it was threatened by another tiger.The area of new births comprises scrub forest having isolated water sources and is surrounded by villagers and livestock settled in isolated pockets. Located in the Vindhya hill zone, the wildlife reserve has a rocky terrain with slopes, ravines and cave-like depressions, all clad with scanty shrubs and bushes. The banyan and peepal trees offer shade and shelter to tigers.A Ranthambore tigress has given litter outside the main national park area for the first time. Kailadevi’s area has been officially included in about 400 sq. km area of Sawai Madhopur district’s Ranthambore to develop it as a national park with more than 1,000 sq. km area.Lacking support systemTourism and Wildlife Society of India honorary secretary Harsh Vardhan said here on Tuesday that the migration of tigers was a “clear indication” that Ranthambore lacked the basic support system for being administered as a designated tiger reserve. The national park had insufficient forest staff, he said.However, the birth of tiger cubs in Kailadevi had proved that tigers could live along with the villagers and their livestock in a habitat which did not offer much of the natural prey base of sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, etc., said Mr. Vardhan. “As Ranthambore’s main area is unable to accommodate newborn cubs, tigers are exploring new places for their families,” he said.Earlier this month, Ranthambore’s male tiger T-91 was relocated to the protected Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve in Kota district. The tiger had been exploring new territories and living in the peripheral forests near Bundi for the last few months.last_img read more

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Row over Citizenship Bill escalates in Assam

first_imgA BJP MP has warned that Bangladeshi Muslims are a bigger threat to Assam than Hindus from that country, countering opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.Bijoya Chakraborty, who represents Guwahati, was responding to the alleged endorsement of the Bill by the Asom Sattra Mahasabha — the apex body of Vaishnavite monasteries — before the Joint Parliamentary Panel in New Delhi on April 12.The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make ‘persecuted’ Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.Organisations such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have said they will not allow the BJP to implement its plan to “dump Hindu Bangladeshis” in the State by tweaking the Citizenship Act. They have also asked the Mahasabha heads to quit.The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the BJP’s ruling ally, too has joined the anti-Citizenship Bill chorus. The regional party has been threatening to sever ties with the BJP on the issue for more than a year now.‘Not against State’“The Mahasabha knows what it is doing. Some people are making noises without realising that the Bangladeshi Muslims pose a bigger threat to Assam than the Bangladeshi Hindus,” Ms. Chakraborty told presspersons on Friday.The issue of Bangaldeshi migrants has roiled Assam and dominated elections since the anti-foreigners agitation in 1979. The Mahasabha’s secretary, Kusum Kumar Mahanta, denied the criticism, and said the spiritual organisation had done nothing “that is against the interest of the State”. BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said people with vested interests had been creating a wrong impression about the Citizenship Bill. “This is not about Hindu Bangladeshis but religious minorities from neighbouring States, and Assam alone won’t bear the burden of the migrants,” he said.last_img read more

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J&K fourth phase sees just 4.2% polling

first_img Of 244 uncontested wards, the BJP won over 70 and the Congress over 30 in the Kashmir Valley. The BJP, which has won two municipalities, is likely to dominate south Kashmir, while the Congress will dominate central and north Kashmir. Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference is likely to win many wards in north Kashmir.In a first, six Kashmiri migrant Pandits have won wards in south Kashmir, as a record 30 Pandit candidates, living outside the Valley, were in the fray.The four phases saw polls for 79 municipal bodies, with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors and 3,372 nominations filed for 1,145 wards.The Kashmir Valley, in all the phases, registered less than 8.3% polling. This is a huge dip from the turnout of 80% in the panchayat polls in 2011 and 66% in Assembly polls in 2014. However, elections to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in 2017 saw just 7% polling.In contrast with the Valley, the Jammu region, including the Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal, and Kashmir region’s Leh and Kargil consistently registered above 60% polling in all four phases, with Reasi touching the highest 84% turnout.PDP view“The low turnout in J&K shows the impact of the policies adopted by the current dispensation in New Delhi. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee invested in fair elections as a tool to win back hearts and minds and did ignite hope. This time, candidates were imported. It has dented the electoral process and this will go down in the history as even worse than 1987, when mass rigging was held,” said senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar.All the phases saw no violence by militants, though in the run-up to the polls militants had threatened the candidates against filing nominations. Police said stone-pelting incidents saw a dip during the polls. In the lowest turnout recorded in the urban local bodies polls in Jammu and Kashmir, just 4.2% of the electorate voted in the fourth and last phase on Tuesday, further lowering the cumulative percentage of all the phases to 35.1% in the elections held after a gap of 10 years.“Overall 4.2% polling was witnessed in the final phase, with Ganderbal witnessing 11.3% polling in 12 wards with 38 candidates in the fray. Srinagar witnessed 4% polling in 24 wards,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shaleen Kabra.“The counting will be held on October 20,” he added.The impact of the decision to stay away from the polls by two main regional parties, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the boycott call by separatists was visible in the last phase.Pulwama’s recordIn Pulwama district, witness to the most violence this year, the Khrew tehsil saw no candidate in 13 wards. In Pulwama town and its Pampore tehsil, out of 30 wards, a total of seven candidates won uncontested.With results already declared, no polling was held in any ward in Pulwama. “Hundreds of locals, mainly students, nurse wounds inflicted by pellet guns. Even today many residents are behind bars. Holding elections in such a situation is like rubbing salt into the wounds,” said Bashir Ahmad, a fruit seller and a resident of Pulwama.Out of 52 wards won uncontested in the last phase, 13 were from Baramulla’s Pattan, Shopian (17 wards) and Anantnag’s Dooru-Verinag (17). Even capital Srinagar saw a consistent poor turnout at 4%.last_img read more

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Former Arunachal CM urges PM to change Bogibeel bridge opening date

first_imgFormer Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to inaugurate the Bogibeel bride on the Brahmaputra river in Assam on Christmas day.Mr. Modi is scheduled to inaugurate Bogibeel, India’s longest rail and road bridge at 4.94 km, on December 25, also the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Modi government observes December 25 as ‘Good Governance Day’.In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Tuki wrote: “We are aware that you will be inaugurating the Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra on December 25. While I congratulate you for seeing to the completion of this historic bridge, which is of strategic and economic importance to the region, I would at the same time like to request you to kindly defer the said inauguration to any other date as December 25 is Christmas and one of the most important festivals of Christians… A large number of people will be deprived of participation if the inauguration is done on the 25th.”Highway blockadeThursday also saw several organisations belonging to the Tai-Ahom community block National Highway-37 in Dibrugarh district to press for naming the Bogibeel bridge after Swargadeo (emperor) Chaolung Siu-ka-pha, the founder of the Ahom dynasty that ruled Assam for 600 years. The bridge connects Dibrugarh district on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra and Dhemaji district on the opposite bank.last_img read more

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Congress’s campaign attracts voters in rural Ramgarh

first_imgRajasthan’s ruling Congress party is pulling out all the stops in its campaign to win over voters in Alwar district’s Ramgarh, a constituency where the election was countermanded following the death of a candidate.With the January 28 election in this rural heartland seen as a litmus test for the popularity of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s month-old government, the Congress is focusing on its promises of accelerating development.Polling for the Ramgarh seat was postponed after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Laxman Singh died of cardiac arrest on November 29. Because of this, the December 7 Assembly election was held for 199 of the 200 constituencies in the State, in which the Congress won 99 seats and formed the government with the support of its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal.With an eye on the dominant Meo Muslim community in the region, the Congress has fielded Safia Khan, former Zila Pramukh and wife of former MLA Zubair Khan, as its candidate. The voters in the constituency, including the members of Meo Panchayat and Mewat Yuva Sangathan, affirm that Ms. Khan’s work during her tenure as Zila Pramukh between 2009 and 2014 would “give her dividends” in the Assembly polls.Meo Panchayat vice-president Harun Khan said Ms. Khan would be required to pay attention to some of the important local issues, such as construction of the four-lane Naugawan road, supply of power for agriculture during the daytime and the opening of a degree college in Ramgarh. “Voters will support the Congress candidate to get full advantage of development potential in the party’s regime,” he said.At public meetings in the region, Ms. Khan sought to remind voters of the track record of the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose MLA represented Ramgarh in the State Assembly during the last five years. “With what face is the BJP asking for your votes now? It not only stopped the welfare schemes of Congress, but also failed to take any meaningful action for development of Ramgarh,” she asserted in one of her speeches.Ms. Khan told The Hindu after an election meeting at Milakhpur village that the BJP had created an “atmosphere of terror” in eastern Rajasthan during its rule. “Voters here have come to realise the negative outlook of BJP. It neglects the real issues confronting the people… Its sole agenda is promotion of hatred in the society,” she asserted.As Ms. Khan affirmed that the entire country was looking to the election in Ramgarh, her supporters raised slogans declaring that she would win with an “unprecedented margin”.However, noticeable for its absence from the public discourse in the constituency is the subject of attacks byviolent mobs on those carrying cows — an issue that had shot into the limelight in July 2018 following the lynching of Haryana dairy farmer Rakbar Khan near Lalawandi village.Local political observers attribute this to the maturity of the electorate.“The people here know that making references to the cow-related issues would only aggravate the existing communal fault lines,” said Ikram Khan, an associate with the Alwar Mewat Institute of Education and Development. “It will be helpful if the emphasis of electioneering is on the issues of development,” he added.Natwar Singh’s sonThe BSP’s new candidate Jagat Singh, who is son of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, has sought to make the contest in Ramgarh triangular, but without much success.The BJP’s denial of ticket to its sitting Ramgarh MLA Gyandev Ahuja has also not gone down well with the party’s supporters. BJP’s official candidate Sukhwant Singh is trying his best to connect to the people.According to the schedule released by the Election Commission, the 2.35 lakh voters in Ramgarh will exercise their franchise on January 28 and the result will be announced on January 30.last_img read more

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Phase 2 poses bigger challenge for NDA in Bihar

first_imgThe second phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar is set to present yet another challenge to the National Democratic Alliance. Four of the five seats going to polls on Thursday are held by the Mahagathbandhan allies.Three seats on the border areas of north-east Bihar — Kishanganj, Purnea and Katihar — are Muslim-dominated and represented by the Congress and JD(U), while the other two — Bhagalpur and Banka — have RJD MPs. The BJP has not put up its candidate on any of these seats as they have gone to alliance partner JD(U) under the seat-sharing pact.Triangular contest In Kishanganj, it’s a triangular contest between the Congress, whose sitting MP Mohammed Asrarul Haq died in December 2018, the JD(U) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which has fielded its State chief Akhtarul Iman in the poll ring. The Congress has fielded Kishanganj MLA Javed Azad while the JD(U) has nominated Mahmood Ashraf on the seat. Around 70% voters of the constituency are from the minority community. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has been extensively campaigning for Mr. Iman and drawing huge crowds, mostly young voters, through his fiery speeches. “This has been a traditional seat of the Congress and I don’t see any reason why people this time will vote otherwise,” said Salim Sahi, a young graduate from the district. The JD(U) is banking on development works done by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.On the neighbouring Katihar seat, the contest is between Congress candidate and five-time MP Tariq Anwar and JD(U) nominee Dulalchand Goswami. Mr. Anwar had won the seat in 2014 on Nationalist Congress Party ticket but recently he joined the Congress. Mr. Goswami, an extremely backward class leader making his debut in the Lok Sabha polls, is said to be a lightweight candidate against Mr. Anwar. However, the NCP too has fielded its candidate, former MLA Mohammed Shakur, to make it a triangular fight. Muslims constitute 38% of the electorate in the constituency. On the Purnea seat, the JD(U) has renominated its sitting MP Santosh Kushwaha against Congress candidate and former MP Uday Singh alias Pappu Singh, brother of N.K. Singh, former chairman of the Finance Commission. Mr. Uday Singh recently quit the BJP to join the Congress. The Muslim voters in Purnea constitute about 40% of the electorate while the OBC and EBC voters too are in sizeable number. The NDA is hoping for a favourable outcome on this seat as a close contest is likely between the two equally powerful candidates.In Bhagalpur and Banka, the RJD has renominated its sitting MPs Shailesh Kumar Mandal and Jai Prakash Yadav who had defeated BJP’s Shahnawaj Hussain and Putul Kumari respectively in the 2014 polls. The JD(U) has fielded Ajay Kumar Mandal in Bhagalpur and Girdhari Yadav on the Banka seat. Ms. Putul Kumari, widow of former Union Minister Digvijay Singh and mother of Shreyasi Singh, gold medallist in 2018 Commonwealth Games, is contesting as an Independent candidate from Banka, giving nightmares to both her rivals.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Kangaroo Leeches Use Horny Male Crabs as Taxicabs

first_imgWhen they must travel, South African leeches (Marsupiobdella africana) prefer to catch a crab. Unlike many leech species, which attach their eggs to hosts, like frogs or fish, to safeguard them from predators, M. africana has a one-of-a-kind internal pouch where offspring are raised for weeks. Yet these kangaroo leeches still latch on to crabs as adults, though they don’t feed on them. That means this phoretic relationship—where one animal uses another merely for transportation—must offer other benefits to the worm. While surveying Cape river crabs near Potchefstroom, South Africa, researchers noticed this ferrying behavior varies by season and by the sex of the crab. Kangaroo leeches began blanketing male crabs just before breeding season. More males were caught by bait traps, suggesting that males are foraging more during this period, as they move into the best positions for courtship. Female crabs witnessed a similar, but smaller, postnuptial bump in the number of leech riders, potentially when extra foraging is needed to satisfy pregnancy demands. Individual crabs averaged only a few dozen leeches during the rest of the year, according to a study published in the International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. By hopping on crabs when they’re covering the most ground and clinging to inaccessible spots, which are harder to groom, kangaroo leeches may use the clawed crawlers as safe harbor from predators, while expanding their freshwater territory.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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