Pill Mill

first_imgA Houston physician couple has been charged with running a pill mill.Dr. Arun Sharma and his wife, Dr. Kiran Sharma, are charged with a $9 million medical fraud scheme, including illegitimately dispensing hundreds of thousands of prescription pain pills through their Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis and Pain Centers in Webster and Baytown, Texas. Law enforcement agents recovered nearly $1.5 million in cash from their home and safe deposit boxes.According to the FBI, Dr. Arun Sharma prescribed 615,671 tablets of Vicosan, 66,000 tablets of Xanax and 26,000 tablets of Valium over a nine-month period from September 2008 to May 2009, charging $100 in cash for each Vicodan prescription and seeing as many as 70 patients daily.The couple are also accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $8.7 million for facet joint injections that they never injected.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Cosmic Parallels

first_img“The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavors in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind.”   — Albert Einstein Perhaps one of the most exciting — and unsettling — concepts in modern cosmology is the theory that we inhabit a parallel universe. “There are vibrations of different universes right here, right now. We’re just not in tune with them. There are probably other parallel universes in our living room — this is modern physics. This is the modern interpretation of quantum theory, that many worlds represent reality,” says Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at New York University and author of Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos.    Computer illustration of parallel universes. Illustration: Cliff Pickover, www.pickover.comPhysicists hypothesize several levels of parallel universes. Max Tegmark, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, even envisions an infinite number of parallel universes: “In Infinite space, the most unlikely events must take place somewhere. People with the same appearance, name and memories as you, who play out every possible permutations of your life choices.”The concept of parallel universes may be novel and disconcerting to scientists, but it rests very comfortably in ancient Hindu cosmology. The Puranas, Hindu religious texts thought to date back to between 500 B.C. to 1500 B.C., are replete with descriptions of many worlds whose inhabitants are ruled by kings in the human plane and gods in a higher plane. The many gods, in turn, belong to many different worlds and planes of existence. At the highest level of the hierarchy are the trinity, namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha, ruling the divine kingdoms. Brahma is the creator, who dreams the universe into being, which is maintained by Vishnu. What humans perceive as reality is in fact the dream of Brahma, misled by matter. Brahman (not to be confused with Brahma) is the ground of all reality and existence. Brahman is uncreated, external, infinite and all-embracing. It is the ultimate cause and goal of all that exists. All beings emanate from Brahman; all beings return back to the same source. Brahman is in all things and it is the true Self (atman) of all beings.The Paingala Upanishad, another religious text, describes the many worlds created by Brahman: “With those quintuplicated elements he created endless cores of macrocosms and for each of these fourteen appropriate worlds and globular gross bodies fit for each planes of them all.”   Giant galaxy string.  Image: NASAIn his best-selling series Cosmos, renowned astronomer Carl Sagan reflected on the parallels between modern cosmology and Hindu philosophy, noting: “Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt, by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology .… There is the deep and the appealing notion that the universe is but the dream of the god who after a 100 Brahma years dissolves himself into a dreamless sleep and the universe dissolves with him until after another Brahma century he starts recomposes himself and begins again the dream, the great cosmic lotus dream. Meanwhile, elsewhere there are an infinite number of other universes each with its own god dreaming the cosmic dream.”Among the many universes envisioned by physicists, one exists in extra dimensions and might be physically very close to us. As creatures of a three-dimensional world, we may not perceive it. But scientists hope that these universes might drop some clues to help us identify them, like ripples in a pond help us locate the actual disturbance. Modern scientific theories of creation and the world of particle physics help us develop a picture of our cosmos, which might be just one of many possible universes.    Milky Way bar. Image: NASAObservational evidence in support of parallel universes has come from NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). While analyzing the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation data, scientists discovered evidence of a huge void spanning almost one billion light years (1 light year is approximately 9.5 trillion kms). The void in the infant universe represents the absence of any material, which otherwise should have become stars and planets. None of the current cosmological theories can explain such huge voids in the data. Some physicists interpret this as the unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own. Physicist Mersini-Houghton and her colleagues have proposed a theory of entangled universes, under which they predict two huge voids, not just one. One of them has been found by WMAP data and they expect new data will reveal a second similar void. The recently launched Planck satellite by the European Space Agency, whose exceedingly sensitive detectors measure CMB radiation and which captured its first image in early September, may be able to ascertain this second void.Vedic cosmology has scores of other eerie parallels with some of the most cutting edge recent cosmological theories of multiverse, oscillating universe, and the Big Bang, so it should come as no surprise that some of the greatest minds in science have turned to these 3,500-year-old cosmological ideas for inspiration and questions about our enigmatic universe. The Danish nuclear physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr once wrote, “I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.”   Image of the dwarf galaxy NGC 1569 and IC 2163Image: European Space AgencyStriking as these similarities are, it does not mean that modern science has vindicated Vedic cosmology. For one, these modern cosmological theories may themselves be disproved and besides, many physicists remain skeptical of these theories. Some cosmologists, for instance, question the whole notion of multiverse. According to them, if the universe encompasses everything we know or ever want to know, it rules out any room for parallel universes. Some other models suggest that universes are finite in number and restricted by mathematical formulations.The idea that all structures that exist mathematically also exist physically is the foundation of the parallel universe concept. This hypothesis, known as the “ultimate ensemble,” predicts the existence of all universes that can be defined by mathematical equations. But many physicists disagree on the ground that all mathematical structures are not well defined.Nevertheless, the concept of many worlds or parallel universes, which would have invited the ridicule of mainstream physicists, as it did when it was first proposed more than a half a century ago by U.S. physicist Hugh Everett, is currently one of the hottest trends in theoretical physics. The multiverse theory is the inevitable result of quantum mechanics, which represents a set of multiple “probable” states for a particle. When an observation is made, the particle chooses one of the multiple states measured by the observer and the other states collapse. This is the most basic principle behind the existence of many universes or multiverses.   Interacting Spiral Galaxies nGC 2207 and IC 2163 Image: NASA, ESA, STSCI.Quantum physics, the study of the minutest particles that make up matter, has been remarkably successful, but it reveals a picture of a quantum reality so strange that our minds are unable to grasp it. For instance, quantum mechanical experiments have proved that objective reality is unlikely to have a separate existence. The nature of the ultimate reality is intertwined with our actions and uncertainty rules when we observe it. This is contrary to our common sense view that reality has an existence independent of the observer. In the realm of the smallest particles, however, objective reality is not an absolute entity that can be measured definitely as is true in classical physics.Erwin Schrodinger, a leading theorist in quantum mechanics, who had a life-long interest in Vedanta philosophy, wrote: “What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just appearances. The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.”    Pinwheel galaxy M10. Image: NASAThis is not very far removed from the concept of Brahman — the self-existent, immanent and transcendent supreme and ultimate reality. Brahman is the fundamental divine cause of everything in and beyond the universe. The nature of Brahman is explained as personal and impersonal and it is the source of creation of the universe and Gods. The universe and all the objects in it are the manifestation of a fundamental reality, which science doesn’t know yet. We understand the universe as an exchange of matter and energy and scientists often disagree about the fundamental building blocks of these phenomena.The absence of objective reality implies that the material world could be an illusion — or, what Hindu sages call Maya. In Hinduism, Maya is the natural illusion that the material world is the only reality. It is a skewed perception, albeit commonly held, to believe that the material world is the fundamental reality. Maya, which has its roots in the Upanishads, denotes the power of God to make human beings believe in an illusion. The material world is the manifestation of Brahman, the infinite and immortal reality that is responsible for matter, energy, space, time and every being. The scriptures and philosophies seek to unveil the illusion to learn the ultimate truth.Science employs its own methods and procedures toward that goal. Our universe and its subjects are creatures of spirit coated with matter that conceals the spirit from the light. Science can demonstrate its processes, is based on rationality and logic, and can be comprehended, but we are somewhat lost in the scheme of the ancient wisdom. Consider for example, this Upanishad expression, “That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — That Thou Art.”   Whirlpool galaxy M51   Image: NASA, ESAOur interpretations of the evolution of the cosmos, once based on myths and legends, have advanced markedly in the last century. We live in a universe that is beaming with billions of galaxies that are continuously expanding. We now know that this expansion is accelerating and we will never know what is beyond our cosmic horizon as no light will ever reach us from the expanding universe. It is ironic that we need many universes for the existence of our own universe.The scientific approach always assumes that fundamental reality is different from us and we are independent observers seeking truth. But many researchers now believe that we must rethink this assumption. Our observation impacts the observed reality, because we are part of it. This essentially is the Adwaitha philosophy, a cornerstone of Hinduism, which asserts that Brahman (ultimate reality) and Atman (self) are the same. Such a non-dualistic approach is advocated by many modern researchers, who argue that the effect of observation either changes reality or creates new realities. The Nataraja statute casts a shadow over the CERN, the      European Organizationfor Nuclear Research, which has  built the world’s largest particle collider.  Photo: CERNIf a physical reality exists independent of human experience and that reality can only be expressed with our most logical language, mathematics, then observational science is not the only way to comprehend the ultimate mystery. This formulates the possible intersection of science, philosophy and ancient wisdom. Unlike the West, religion and science are not opposed fundamentally in Hindu traditions. Freeman Dyson, a theoretical physicist famous for his work in Quantum Field theory, says “Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but both look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.”Human eyes operate on the visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing us to view only objects that emit light, which comprise only a small fraction of the universe. In modern times, telescopes replaced the unaided eye in the hunt for the unknown. Operating from ground and space, these telescopes scan the cosmos to draw pictures of material objects. Even with telescopes, we exploit the electromagnetic radiation to weave images of the cosmos. Whether it is gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves or visible light, throughout human history we have been dependent upon different forms of light to learn of cosmic events, which document our own history. The early universe was not transparent to light, which implies that we can write the history of our cosmos only up to the point when the first light began its journey, long after the creation of the universe. Additionally, the interaction of light with matter distorts the details of the information it carries. However, unlike light, gravitational waves propagate through cosmos without reflection or refraction. That could potentially allow us to create a pure picture of the cosmos beyond the levels light allows us.    M101 Galaxy composite image.  Image: NASA, ESAThe gravity wave detection is the objectives of LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory). Two of the biggest such interferometers in the United States — one in Hanford, Wash., and the other in Livingston, La. —are collectively called LIGO. These systems are sensitive enough to detect the ripples in the space-time fabric caused by cosmic events, such as supernova explosions, and transmitted by gravity waves. These waves carry the information of events, such as the explosion and collision of stars. It is estimated that by 2010, direct detection of gravity waves will be possible. Gravity is the weakest of all known forces in the nature and has confounded physicists for decades. Now string theorists believe that gravity may be leaking into parallel universes or other dimensions.The Big BangThe Big Bang, symbolizing the finite beginning of the infinite universe from a primordial hot and dense condition nearly 13.7 billion years ago, is presently the leading theory of the origin of the Cosmos, displacing another popular “steady state” model. The big bang theory is rooted in astronomer Edwin Hubble’s observations that the galaxies are expanding and moving away from each other. Evidence of the expansion was also found in the cosmic microwave background radiation captured by the Hubble Telescope in 2003. The big bang theory, formulated by George Gamow, still faces formidable challenges to meet the standards of science, but it is the best prevailing model for the universe’s origins.    Stars of the Galactic Center.  Image: Susan Stolovy SSC/CaltechThe Hymn of Creation (Nasadiya Sukta) in the Rig Veda, written around 1500 B.C., describes similar big bang origins of the universe:“Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.What covered in, and where? And what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this all was indiscriminated chaos.All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.”(Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith)   Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232   Image: NSOThe discovery of the accelerating nature of universe’s expansion demands a force surpassing gravity and stretching the fabric of the cosmos. Physicists call it dark energy, and the big bang model predicts that the universe consists of 73% dark energy and 23% dark matter. Normal matter, which constitutes just four percent of the universe, makes up all the stars, planets and living and non-living things that are known to us. The Big Bang model needs dark energy to account for the current state of the universe, although scientists have no lucid explanation for it. In fact, scientists believe dark energy is the same as the cosmological constant originally introduced by Albert Einstein to counterbalance the gravitational attraction of matter in the universe. He later discarded the cosmological constant when Hubble’s observations proved the expansion of the universe. Now, modern cosmologists think Einstein’s cosmological constant holds the key to the accelerated expansion of the universe.The cosmological constant is one of the biggest enigmas of modern cosmology. The comprehension of the cosmological constant might successfully explain repulsive dark energy. Two scenarios have been predicted for the distant future of the universe — the Big Rip or the Big Crunch. Depending on the critical density of the universe, these are the probable future of our cosmos. Either way, the current universe will end in trillions of years to come. That inevitable fate of the universe has led cosmologists to speculate on what follows the demise of our universe.Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University recently proposed that the cosmological constant was once much larger, but that its value decayed with each manifestation of the universe. Their theory argues that the universe came into existence not just once, but in endless cycles of death and birth. Known as the “Cyclic Universe Theory,” it could explain the dark energy and its role in the acceleration of the universe. Because of endless cycles, the universe would be far older than the 13.7 billion years that scientists currently estimate. Steinhardt and Turok estimate that each cosmic cycle lasts about a trillion years. During this time, the universe runs its natural course, but all the while matter and energy fan out through space until they are extremely diluted. Once that happens, a cosmic collision follows, and each collision is essentially a new Big Bang that infuses the aging Universe with new matter and energy. In scientific terms, energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change forms and also matter-energy exchange is possible. When the current form of matter is destroyed, it can pave the way for a new form of matter or energy.   Some scientists speculate that the huge void in the WmaP satellite data (Infant Universe) is an indication of parallel universes.  Image: NASA/WMAPThe metaphorical similarities between the newly proposed cyclic universe theory and Hindu cosmology are astounding. Hindus cosmology speaks about the universe being created, destroyed, and recreated in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. Brahma creates a new universe that would eventually be destroyed to begin another universe. According to Hindu cosmology, Brahma himself undergoes destruction after 100 Brahma years, 311 trillion years in the human scale, to pave the way for a new Brahma and thus a new universe. Gods are also subjected to the laws of nature and their lives occupy the cosmos in time scales that are comparable to the astronomical scales in such an oscillating universe.For instance, Kalpa, which is a day in the life of Brahma, is 4.32 billion years, the estimated age of Earth. By contrast, the common time scales of the universe in both Western science and religion until just a century ago, were just a few thousand years, not the billions and trillions of years envisaged by Vedic cosmology. As another example, the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomy textbook from ancient India, computed the earth’s diameter as 7,840 miles, against the modern measurement of 7,909 miles. Similar calculations of the earth-moon distance of 253,000 miles is reasonably close to the current measured distance of 238,857 miles. Surya Siddhanta also provides close estimates of the diameters of five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. What makes these measurements especially striking is that they are believed to have been written between 600 B.C. to 1500 B.C. That is almost 3,000 years before Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler revolutionized Western astronomy, just by shifting from an earth-centered universe to a sun centric one.However, remarkable as these similarities are, there are also significant departures between Vedic and modern cosmology. The Sun’s diameter (32,500 miles, according to Surya Siddhanta) is far from the modern day value of 870,000 miles. Modern science postulates that organic molecules (matter) evolved to become life and consciousness, which is fundamentally different from Hindu philosophy’s approach that they cannot evolve from matter unless matter has the inherent potential to provide life and consciousness. Furthermore, the Big Bang model proposes that the mass-energy before the universe came into being was concentrated at a single point. The Vedas, by contrast, assert that in the beginning there was no mass-energy and it was a complete void. Even the cyclic model of the universe, while bearing some similarity to Hindu cosmology, is different. The ancient model says the cycles are independent, but modern cyclic theory assumes dependence.Nevertheless, many modern cosmologists, awakened to the limits of observational sciences, are intrigued by the cosmological visions of the Vedas and the Upanishads, even though we don’t understand the processes that yielded their cosmic insights. Perhaps the strongest symbolic acknowledgment of the parallels between modern and Vedic cosmology is reflected in the Natraja statue outside CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has built the world largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), 17 miles in circumference, capable of shooting particles at 99.9999% the speed of light, on the France Switzerland border. When the collider becomes fully operational in 2010, it will look for the Higgs Boson, often referred to as “God’s particle,” which is suspected to be responsible for determining the mass of a material object.The fundamental particles are mainly classified into two Fermions ( a reference to Enrico Fermi,who conducted the first nuclear chain reaction that led to the development of first nuclear bomb) and Bosons (a reference to S.N Bose, the Indian physicist who published his findings with Einstein in 1924, now known as Bose-Einstein statistics). Bosons play a crucial role of interaction between different fermions to create normal matter.The 6 feet Natraja statue gifted to CERN in 2004 by the Indian government depicts Shiva’s dance of creation and destruction, not unlike the dance of fundamental particles that generate and destruct, manifesting the interchangeable nature of matter and energy in the universe.A plaque next to the Shiva statue captures the modern significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance from Fritjof Capra’s best-seller The Tao of Physics: “Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter and for the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created different forms of visual images of dancing Shiva in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.” Dreams of ForeverWhatever awe one experiences at the vast expanse of the night sky, it is difficult for the human mind to comprehend the scale of the universe.The sun, the star at the center of our solar system, is almost 93 million miles away. It takes light from the sun 8 minutes to reach us, so the sun we see is actually the way it was 8 minutes earlier. The sun dominates our solar system, accounting for 99.86 percent of its mass. 1.3 million earth’s could fit inside the sun, whose diameter of 870,000 miles is 110 times that of earth.But even the sun and our solar system are a faint dust in the vastness of the universe, which is infinite in volume, populated with 100 billion galaxies, each with trillions of stars in the observable universe alone.The distances are so vast that astronomers represent them in light years, equivalent to 5.9 trillion miles, the distance covered by light, the fastest permissible speed, in one year. A typical galaxy is 30,000 light years in diameter and is separated from its nearest neighbor by 3 million light years. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is 100,000 light years in diameter and the closest galaxy to us is 2.5 million light years away. It would take us 100,000 years traveling at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second to traverse our galaxy edge to edge.Cosmologists believe our universe originated 13.73 billion years ago with a Big Bang, although newer oscillating theories of the universe postulate that the Big Bang was only the most recent recreation of the universe, which has been through countless cycles of births and destruction over trillions of years.  Related Itemslast_img read more

On the Run for Love: Couple Bridges a Buddhist-Muslim Divide

first_imgIn front of a tin-roofed house with the Himalaya Mountains rising behind it, about 300 wedding guests waited on a big green lawn, eager for the arrival of the bride and groom.As the couple appeared, the guests formed a happy scrum around them, whisking them through the doorway and into the house. The rooms smelled of the coming feast: tandoori chicken, salty tea, fresh rolls and succulent goat meat cooked in yogurt and spices.But the bride’s entire family was conspicuously missing from the party.The bride, Stanzin Saldon, is from a Buddhist family, and the groom, Murtaza Agha, is a Muslim. Both grew up in Ladakh, a remote region of Jammu and Kashmir state in India. So what happens around here when a Buddhist woman falls for a Muslim man? Chaos.The young couple’s romance has spawned protests, shut down businesses, caused fistfights and pitted Muslim and Buddhist leaders against each other. The police have been forced to intervene, and so have the courts.Murtaza Agha, left, and Stanzin Saldon, with garlands of Indian rupees around their necks, are greeted by friends and relatives during their wedding reception in Kargil. Photo: Kazym Syed/The New York TimesFor several days the two even had to go on the run. They drove around the nearby Kashmir Valley, which is crawling with militants and soldiers, worried sick about being caught together.But Saldon, flush with fresh love, would do it all over again. “We found peace in a conflict region,” she said earnestly.The Ladakh region is widely considered one of India’s most charming spots. The main town, Leh, feels like a glass museum case of traditional Buddhist culture delicately perched on a shelf high in the Himalayas. Each year, thousands of Indian and foreign tourists come here to stroll around the old Buddhist monasteries, take pictures of the saffron-robed monks and eat yak-cheese pizza.In the west lies the mainly Muslim town of Kargil, where green-domed mosques rise behind stores with Arabic names. Taking Kargil and Leh together, this region’s population is about a quarter million, split roughly in half between Buddhists and Muslims, along with a few Hindus.In Leh, Buddhist women grumble that there aren’t enough Buddhist men around because so many have become monks.The Buddhist-Muslim divide seems to be getting sharper in this part of the world. Neighboring Bangladesh is struggling to absorb hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas, an ethnic group from Myanmar, who recently fled atrocities by Myanmar’s military and Buddhist majority.But to Saldon, 30, and Agha, 32, none of this mattered.Theirs is a Ladakh love affair, through and through. They met on a college trekking trip to the Himalayas. They kept in touch. Agha, a government engineer, and Saldon, a social worker, both lived in the city of Jammu, south of Ladakh, and they couldn’t stop calling each other for coffee and lunch. Saldon said she could feel herself falling in love with the soft-spoken and gentle-mannered Agha. But she kept it a secret.After she was nearly killed in a rickshaw accident, though, she recalled, “It was Murtaza’s face that floated before my eyes. I decided life was too short and I should confess my love.”Agha, who grew up in Kargil, couldn’t have been happier.But when he told his family he wanted to marry a Buddhist girl from Leh, his father’s response was: Impossible.“Why marry a Leh girl?” his family kept asking. There were so many more Muslim options.In July 2016, with help from one of Agha’s uncles, the couple held a very small private wedding under a clear blue sky by one of Kargil’s sparkling mountain streams.Then they went back to their jobs, the world oblivious to their relationship. They maintained separate homes, planning to one day unite.Stanzin Saldon, in red, is ushered into her wedding reception in Kargil. Photo: Kazym Syed/The New York TimesBut soon their family members found out. While Agha’s people took it in stride, Saldon’s went berserk. They pulled her out of Jammu and locked her in the family home in Leh. Her father spat in her face, and later called on shamans to perform ceremonies to try to make her forget about Agha, she said.Saldon said she lost 20 pounds. She was heartsick to be away from Agha and terrified of her father, who kept screaming at her.“I was totally cut off from the outside world,” she said. “I feared death as my father shouted, ‘Why did you not die no sooner than you were born?”’One morning she sneaked out. She knew her family would chase her, so she went to court and won a restraining order demanding that they leave her alone.But the problem was bigger than her family now, and things in Leh were about to get sticky.The Buddhist community association was so outraged by the relationship, and the fact that Saldon had fled, that it sent young men stomping through Leh’s main bazaar, demanding that all the shopkeepers help bring her back. Buddhist toughs threatened taxi drivers and merchants from Kargil, telling them they weren’t allowed to work in Leh. A few men got into fistfights — all over a couple most of them didn’t even know.The Buddhist association tried to drag in the state government, sending a letter in September that read, “We have repeatedly asked the Muslim community leaders to sensitize their communities to stay away from such wicked and depraved acts which otherwise will lead to communal unrest.”The head of a Muslim organization in Kargil shot off a counter letter asking Buddhists to calm down. The state government declined to get involved, except for sending more police officers to the market.Leh’s Buddhists remain bitter.“The Muslims are trying to finish us off,” said Gushe Konchok Namgyal, a head lama, as he slurped a bowl of lentils and rice in a 500-year-old monastery.Not only is it crucial that Buddhists marry Buddhists, he said, but Buddhist women should have a dozen children to match the Muslims, or the Buddhists will “face extinction.”Harsh Malhotra, chief coordinator for the Love Commandos, a voluntary Indian organization that helps couples fight off arranged marriages and deal with harassment from their families, said this case was getting attention across the country. But he wasn’t surprised.“Just as the Ganges flows freely, so, too, lovers of any caste, creed and sect,” he said.This Ladakhi version of Romeo and Juliet was easy to politicize, he said, because the couple came from middle-class backgrounds and were perfect fodder for “those who consider themselves to be the self-appointed guardians of culture and society.”Leh has since calmed down. But the episode has put a little extra steam in the quest by some of Leh’s Buddhists to get more autonomy for the Ladakh region.As for the couple, they seem to have weathered this unscathed. She is hoping her parents will come around someday soon and welcome her and her husband with a hug.At their long-delayed wedding reception in September, Saldon was beaming as Agha’s relatives draped a garland of Indian rupees around her neck.She now lives with Agha in an apartment in Jammu, which is mostly Hindu and, for this young couple, considered neutral territory.And just as the Buddhist leaders feared, she has converted to Islam.— Suhasini Raj and Jeffrey Gettleman © 2017 New York Times Related Itemslast_img read more

Jinnah’s Daughter Dina Wadia Dies at 98

first_imgDina Wadia, 98, the only child of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and mother of one of the richest men in India, died in New York on Nov. 2. Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, and his daughter had been estranged as she married a Parsi man.Wadia lived in New York’s high-end Madison Avenue and had a close relationship with her son Nusli Wadia, the founder of Bombay Dyeing, Britannia Industries and Go Air.At the time of her death, she was surrounded by many of her family members, including Nusli, daughter Diana, grandsons Ness and Jeh Wadia, Jeh’s wife Celina and two great-grandchildren Jah and Ella Wadia.Dina had refused to move to Pakistan in 1947 and instead chose to marry Neville Wadia, who was a Parsi like her mother and heir to a textile business. Dina’s mother Rattanbai Petit, or Ruttie, was also from an affluent Parsi family but she chose to marry the 42-year-old Jinnah at the age of 18. She eloped with Jinnah and converted to Islam. Ruttie or Maryam Jinnah, who was born into the Petit-Tata family, was the second wife of Jinnah, who was a Khoja Muslim. She died at the age of 29. Dina, who was born in London on August 15, 1919, was nine years old then.Ruttie was a careless parent, according to author Sheela Reddy’s book Mr and Mrs Jinnah, which also says that Dina did not have a name until she turned 10. Reddy in her book says that the marriage of Jinnah and Ruttie was that of opposites, and adds, “Jinnah, who was almost as old as Ruttie’s father, was dour, proud, withdrawn, cautious and from a conservative Khoja Muslim family. Ruttie was pampered, impulsive, emotional, extravagant and reckless.”Dina was raised by her maternal grandmother Dinbai Petit and took on her surname. While Jinnah was preparing to carve out a Muslim-majority nation after Partition, his daughter fell in love with a man from a community she was raised in. She grew up in Mumbai’s elite circles and believed that to be her city.When she told her father that she wanted to marry Neville, he is said to have said, “There are millions of Muslim boys in India, is he the only one you were waiting for?” to which Dina responded, “There were millions of Muslim girls in India, why did you marry my mother then?”Her marriage to Neville did not last. She moved to London and then to New York.Despite the distance and the strain in her relationship with her father, they wrote to each other. However, she was not allowed to visit Pakistan even when Jinnah was on his deathbed. She was able to visit the country for his funeral and twice later to meet her aunt, Fatima — to whom Jinnah had willed his south Mumbai property, now popularly known as the Jinnah House. Dina was involved in a legal battle with the government of India over her rights to the house as Jinnah had not named her in his will and her aunt also passed away. The government wanted to declare it an “evacuee property” that is worth almost $400 million now.According to historian Andrew Whitehead, who met Dina in 2002 at her Madison Avenue apartment, she was her father’s daughter and did not like that people in Pakistan “worshipped” her father. Related Itemsdina wadiajinnah houseJinnah Indian familyJinnah Mumbaimuhammad ali jinnahness wadianusli wadiarattanbai petitlast_img read more

Simona Halep moves closer to reclaiming World No. 1 spot

first_imgView comments Halep will try to reach her first South Florida final and reclaim the top spot by defeating the winner of a later all-Czech contest between world number five Karolina Pliskova and Marketa Vondrousova.A fantastic recovery from 1-5 down in the second set showed a mental toughness displayed by only the very best.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I started well and played some smart tennis but in the second set, she started to raise her game,” Halep said. “My coach said I was rushing a bit so I managed to calm down. That was great advice.”Halep converted seven of eight break points and hit 24 winners compared to 14 from Wang, whose first serve percentage dipped to 47%. Wang was aiming for her own slice of history, knowing landing the title would have made her the first Chinese woman in the top 10 since Li Na retired at the end of 2014. She responded strongly in her first Miami quarter-final after falling behind.The world number 18 was all over the Halep service game, which had showed signs of weakness early on, returning with real aggression to establish a 5-1 lead — a run that saw her win 12 points in a row.Halep managed to regain composure and broke for 5-2 as Wang started to get nervous. The reigning French Open champion broke again and suddenly had the chance to draw level in the second set.That chance looked lost as Wang stormed 0-40 up on the Romanian’s serve, but Halep superbly saved all three sets points before a brilliant running forehand winner down the line to equalize 5-5.Another break gave her the platform to serve for the match, which was sealed when Wang hit long.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving LATEST STORIES Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen to miss rest of season due to ‘extreme fatigue’center_img Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 27: Simona Halep of Romania celebrates defeating Qiang Wang of China during day ten at the Miami Open tennis on March 27, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Julian Finney/Getty Images/AFPRomania’s Simona Halep moved closer to reclaiming the world number one ranking Wednesday, advancing into the WTA and ATP Miami Open semi-finals by defeating China’s Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-5.Following Tuesday’s exit of Petra Kvitova, Halep needs only to reach Saturday’s final at Hard Rock Stadium to knock Japan’s Naomi Osaka from atop the women’s rankings despite her second major title in this year’s Australian Open.ADVERTISEMENT Google Philippines names new country director Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon eventlast_img read more

ICC World Twenty20: How Darren Sammy got it spot on for West Indies women

first_imgAfter clinching the World Twenty20 women’s title beating Australia here, West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor on Sunday heaped praise on her team for giving their best and said she was waiting for this moment for a long time.The West Indies beat three-time defending champions Australia by eight wickets in the final at the Eden Gardens here. (World T20 final: West Indies vs England, Live Scores) For the West Indies, Hayley Matthews (66) and captain Stafanie Taylor (59) were the top two run-scorers chasing Australia’s total of 148/5.”I’ve been waiting for this a long time and it has come at the right time. We played some fantastic cricket today. Didn’t get the start we wanted with the bowling but the batting has done it for us,” skipper Stefanie said at the post-match presentation ceremony here.”Fantastic to know that the men’s team were behind us. (Men’s captain) Darren Sammy sent me a text this morning that we were going to win, just wanted us to back ourselves and give our best,” she said.WATCH: Unbelievable scenes here in Eden Gardens as #WI Women share their celebrations with #WI Men! #WT20 #WT20Finalhttps://t.co/UngZJQzpdX ICC (@ICC) April 3, 2016This is the first time the West Indies have won the trophy. By winning, they halted Australia’s juggernaut that had won three consecutive World T20s from 2010 onwards.last_img read more

Sauber cancel planned F1 engine deal with Honda

first_imgSauber’s planned Formula One partnership with troubled engine maker Honda from 2018 has been cancelled, the Swiss-based team said in a statement at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday.Sauber, who currently use a year-old Ferrari power unit, said a new engine partner would be announced soon.”It is very unfortunate that we have to discontinue the planned collaboration with Honda at this stage,” said newly-hired team principal Frederic Vasseur, who was previously the Renault team boss.”However, this decision has been made for strategic reasons, and with the best intent for the future of the Sauber F1 Team in mind. We would like to thank Honda for their collaboration, and wish them all the best for their future in Formula One.”last_img

Infographic: The Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

first_imgThe average person may see anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads in a single day. From binge-watching your favorite shows to checking the pile of coupons in your mailbox, advertisers have inundated our lives. Most of the ads we see… Full Story,Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person. But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to… Full Story,You may not find it on an official calendar anywhere, but Friendsgiving is a newer holiday that has gained popularity in recent years. Much like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time to gather around the table with loved ones in the… Full Story,My birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Not much of a football fan? Don’t know what all the cheesehead hat-wearing and face paint-smearing is all about? Skip hanging out at the local sports bar or sitting in the stands at a game, and put on your entrepreneurial… Full Story,Living paycheck to paycheck can feel like an endless scramble. Rent is due on the first but your paycheck won’t clear until the second. On top of everything, you need to pay for groceries, a bus ticket, and utilities before… Full Story,Decision fatigue is the decline in energy and focus you experience after making too many decisions. This mental drain causes your brain to abandon your willpower in order to seek more immediate rewards, which leads to poor decision making and… Full Story,If you ask a random person on the street what they do, chances are they have a lot of slashes and hyphens in their job titles. In this day and age, if you don’t have multiple sources of income… Full Story,Do you consider yourself a financially responsible young adult? Personally, I like to think that my finances are mostly in order. Rent, student loans, car payments—everything big is blocked off nicely. If the math works out right, I have a… Full Story,In the financial world, nothing evokes feelings of terror quite like the word “bankruptcy”. It’s become synonymous with a complete and utter collapse of one’s finances – a black hole that’s almost impossible to climb out of. When you declare… Full Storylast_img read more

Are You Drinking a Million Dollar Latte?

first_imgHas an organization or university offered you an opportunity with a stipend? Whether it’s an internship or apprenticeship, a stipend is a set amount of money that helps offset living expenses. This fixed amount is financial support provided while you’re… Full Story,Truth is, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to college: new friends, a new routine, (college parties!), and more independence. But along with all these perks, it’s also time to start thinking about your finances…. Full Story,A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Banker’s Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN…. Full Story,It’s stressful enough having a car loan over your head and staying on top of your monthly payments. But what if you have an upside-down car loan — in other words, the amount you owe on your set of wheels… Full Story,When you’re trying to get your financial house in order, it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. You might stress about how to adjust your budget, where to find some extra cash for the holidays or what funds to… Full Story,Shortly after graduating from New York University with a Master’s degree, Melanie Lockert turned to food stamps, as she worked her way out of $81,000 in student loans. “There were a lot of emotions around carrying that debt. It caused… Full Story,Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers… Full Story,While we don’t yet have flying cars that collapse to the size of a suitcase, pneumatic tubes that transport us from room to room or machines that automatically bathe and clothe us in the morning, every day we’re getting closer… Full Story,Times have changed since Grams and Gramps were your age, looking to settle down and buy their first home. But today the house with the white picket fence—or that trendy loft in downtown—isn’t completely out of the question if you… Full Story,We recently hosted a Twitter chat as part of our #RealTalkSeries. And let’s just say, things definitely got real. Many of you joined us to discuss “taboo” and cringe-worthy money questions such as how to improve a bad credit score,… Full Storylast_img read more

8 Methods That Psychologists Use to Get Rid of Stress

first_imgPsychologists are specialists who help us resolve problems, overcome fears, and sort out our feelings so that we can be calm and healthy. But they are also human beings and sometimes they have to cope with stress too.8. Write down everything that comes to mind.John Duffy, a clinical psychologist, and the author of a book about teenagers’ upbringing says, “To reduce stress, I make notes. Thoughts, situations, relationships with people, article ideas. I write down and give structure to everything that comes to my mind. This creative process is really helpful because we forget about problems, our head becomes clear, the tension goes down. After that, I can see things from a different perspective.”7. Be choosy when buying ingredients for a dish you want to cook.Psychotherapist, writer, and teacher Jeffrey Sumber uses such methods to cope with stress:“When I feel depressed, I like to eat. But it should be healthy food or a dish that I’ve never made before. I spend a lot of time going through the store, picking out the ingredients. Then, I cut them carefully, prepare the dressings, and slowly eat the dish. I often post the results on Facebook so as to make my friends envious!”6. Tighten all of your muscles.American psychotherapist Kevin Chapman uses the method of progressive muscle relaxation that was developed in 1920.The idea is simple: after any strong tension, strong relaxation comes. It means that you have to tighten your muscles for 10 seconds and then focus on the feeling of relaxation for 20 seconds.There are 200 exercises for all of the muscle groups in total. Just don’t forget to pay attention to each muscle group.5. React correctly or don’t react at all.Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne doesn’t fight stress. She has a special mantra that she repeats when she gets into a stressful situation. She says, “I can’t change the situation but I can change my reaction.”A positive reaction to a negative situation helps avoid stress and even get some experience if you treat it as a challenge. You can also learn from your mistakes.4. Stop the flow of your thoughts.Psychologist Martin Seligman recommends one easy and popular method that helps clear your head.Clap your hands and scream “Stop! I’ll think about it later!” You also can wear a band on your wrist and snap it or pinch yourself whenever you start thinking about something that isn’t benefiting you at that moment. Use such tricks to stop the cycle of thoughts and postpone a problem for a while. Then, try to switch your attention to an extraordinary object or an exercise.3. Spend an hour on your hobby and things you like.Psychotherapist Amy Przeworski recommends having a period of time when you can do anything you want. Read, draw, cook, exercise — whatever makes you happy. No work, no responsibilities, no negative thoughts, there should be nothing that makes you upset.2. Stimulate your nerves.Toni Bernhard suggests an unusual, but an effective method based on physiology.Swipe your lips with your index finger. This movement touches nerves located on the surface of the lips which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you calm down.1. Try different classic methods.Of course, there are classic ways to get rid of stress that work just as well.For example, a clinical psychologist and the author of a book Living with depression Deborah Serani tries to give her body everything it needs. “I use everything that touches my feelings. For example, I can just sit in my car and listen to jazz on the radio, draw, relax in the hot tub, or enjoy exquisite and tasty tea.”Therapist Joyce Marter uses a method that is common among AA members: to clear your thoughts, you have to do something useful. For example, clear the workspace, wash the dishes, and so on. The main rule is that it should help you divert your attention and it should distract you from thinking about whatever it is that’s stressing you out.Psychologist Susan Newman thinks that there is no a better antidepressant than our friends. And doctor Stephanie Sarkis turns to yoga, sports, or just rest and sleep.The main conceptThe main concept of getting rid of stress is to distance yourself from the problem for a while. And the better you manage to do it, the faster you’ll recover and be ready for new challenges.Sourcelast_img read more

Why People With Anxiety May Have Better Memories

first_imgAnxiety may come with a silver lining, a new study suggests: Feeling anxious in a new situation may help you remember it more vividly.Too much anxiety, though, can have the opposite effect, by impairing recall and causing people to remember neutral details in a negative light.The new study, published in the journal Brain Sciences, serves as reassurance that a little bit of nervousness can be a good thing, says co-author Myra Fernandes, professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “It gives you a heightened sense of awareness and makes you attuned to details you wouldn’t be otherwise,” she says. “That’s a plus if you’re trying to remember something later.”But it also shows that anxiety can color the lens through which people remember events, interactions and conversations from their past, Fernandes says. When anxiety levels get high enough, she adds, it can cause people to withdraw from their surroundings rather than than taking in and storing memories about them.The study involved 80 undergraduate psychology students who were given a standard screening questionnaire to determine their levels of everyday anxiety. They were asked, for example, how often in the last week they’d experienced symptoms like dryness of the mouth or feelings of shakiness. The students were categorized as having either “low” or “high” anxiety, although all of them were considered to have manageable levels. (Those who had been diagnosed with clinical anxiety disorders were excluded from the study.)The students were then asked to study a set of words as they flashed across a computer screen, and to answer simple questions about their spelling or meaning. Some of the words were overlaid onto negative images, like a picture of an automobile accident, and some were overlaid onto neutral images, like a boat or a house.Later, the students were asked to recall words used in the experiment. Overall, memory performance did not differ based on their anxiety levels: Those with low anxiety were better at remembering some words, and those with high anxiety were better at remembering others.But there was one interesting difference. The study authors suspected that words displayed over negative images would be remembered more accurately than words displayed over neutral images, since previous research has suggested that emotional context can make memories stronger. But that was only true for people with higher anxiety levels—suggesting that they’re more susceptible to this type of influence. “Their memories were more emotionally tinted,” says Fernandes, “and as a result rendered more memorable.”Overall, that could mean that anxious people have a memory advantage over non-anxious people, says Fernandes, especially in emotional situations. But it also has a downside: It shows how people can adopt a “negative retrieval mode” when recalling events, which could lead to biased memories. “For people with high anxiety, the emotional context in the background tainted their later memory of these words that were otherwise neutral,” says Fernandes.Co-author Christopher Lee says most people have probably experienced this type of memory bias at some point. “Say you’re having the worst day possible—you slept through your alarm, you slipped and fell in mud—and then the barista at Starbucks asks you a totally neutral question, like if you want whipped cream on your mocha,” he says. “Because you entered this situation in such a negative mindset, you may remember him being rude or hostile or horrible for some reason, even when he’s not.”The study suggests that the more anxious you are, the more vulnerable you may be to this effect, says Lee. “I think a practical takeaway from this study is to be aware of the biases you’re bringing to the table,” says Lee, “and know that they might affect how you’re seeing everything and remembering it later.”Having high anxiety can have other detrimental effects on memory, as well, says Fernandes. “We know from other research that it not only colors our interpretation of events, but it can also influence whether we can even take them in,” she says. “After a certain tipping point, it causes us to shut down and look inward, and we end up ruminating and obsessing rather than observing what’s actually going on around us.”But overall, she says, a little bit of anxiety is still probably better than none at all—especially before events like important meetings, competitions or milestone events like weddings. “Having butterflies in your stomach might actually make that information more memorable to you later on,” she says.Sourcelast_img read more

Exercising during pregnancy can reduce time spent in labour, study finds

first_imgMaintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy can reduce the amount of time spent in labour during childbirth, a study has concluded. There are many proven benefits to exercising while pregnant, such as easing back pain, elevating your energy levels and aiding with post-delivery recovery, as covered by What To Expect.However, new research conducted by the Technical University of Madrid has discovered that it can also impact how long expectant mothers spend in labour.The team of researchers, led by Professor Ruben Barakat, carried out a study with 508 healthy women by randomly assigning them into two groups.253 women were put in the control group, while 255 women were placed in the exercise group.Those in the exercise group were given a moderate aerobic exercise programme throughout their pregnancies, which they followed during three weekly sessions.The researchers then analysed a number of factors while each woman gave birth, including the duration of each stage of labour, the mode of delivery, maternal weight gain, use of an epidural and the weight of the baby.They came to the conclusion that the expectant mothers who had partaken in aerobic workouts during their pregnancies were more likely to spend less time in labour than the women who hadn’t.“A supervised physical exercise programme throughout pregnancy decreased the duration of the first phase of labour as well as total time of the first two phases together, leading to a decrease in total labour time,” they wrote.The women in the exercise group were also less likely to use an epidural during childbirth.Furthermore, neonate macrosomia, which is when a newborn is significantly larger than average, was more prevalent among the mothers in the control group.While exercising during pregnancy may help mothers restore their fitness after giving birth, getting back into shape after carrying a baby for nine months is far easier said than done. Actor Blake Lively recently revealed the struggles that she faced after giving birth.“Turns out you can’t lose the 61lbs you gained during pregnancy by just scrolling through Instagram and wondering why you don’t look like all the bikini models,” she wrote in an Instagram post.Sourcelast_img read more

Marketing Lessons from Presidential Campaigns

first_img 1970’s    trade shows interesting article Political analyst Craig Shirley says, “The internet, email, blogs, and websites [today] is to organizational politics as the telephone was starting in the 1940’s or what direct mail was starting in the 1960’s.”  Once again, I couldn’t agree more. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack for his presidential run in 2008.  Romney is convinced that winning the hearts and minds of the blogosphere is absolutely critical to his winning the ’08 Republican primary.  The interesting thing about the political blogosphere is that the authors and readers are mostly the political junkies who are passionate about local politics.  These are the same people who others listen to regarding early impressions of candidates at cocktail parties and summer bbq’s. on how Mitt Romney is marketing to the blogosphere Marketing Tool Evolution — Brian Halligan. Romney hired a 24 year old who formerly worked on Senator Frist’s online initiatives to help him with outreach to the blogosphere.  It sounds like it is a fulltime role where he finds the thought leaders per region, communicates directly with the bloggers, gets meetings for Romney with the bloggers, and does spin control on his messaging in the comments sections of political blogs.  Reaching the Influencers — BD Lessons for Small Businesses & Startups I worked at For the most relevant blogs, “subscribe” to them via here I suspect many businesses will  start hiring people dedicated to influencing the blogosphere and be including that in staff member’s job descriptions such that in a few years it will become commonplace.  I suspect many of you do not have a fulltime staffer in your ’07 budget, so here’s what I recommend.  First, you should get a handle on your own market’s early adopter watercooler by going Crossing the Voter Chasm — Strategy Lessons for Small Businesses & Startups RSS There was an now Democratization of Influencecenter_img Another pithy insight of Moore’s is that most innovators and early adopters cannot be “found” by vendors/candidates, rather they tend to “find” you.  I had felt that insight in action in my own career.  At Groove Networks in the v1 timeframe, we spent real money on sales people and programs that uncovered prospects who paid for pilot projects, but in the final analysis, the companies that succeeded with the product in our early days were the ones that “found” us (Glaxo, HP, & Darpa in particular).  However, I am starting to change my opinion on whether these early adopters can be “found” by candidates and vendors.  Specifically, all of the early adopters in most industries today hang around the same online water cooler — the blogosphere.  Today, you can not only find your industry’s early adopters, but you can engage them on their own terms. Parametric Technology Corporation 1960’s    direct mail 1980’s    seminar road show series .  For the articles that you find most interesting, leave thoughtful comments with links back to your own sites.  The writers of the blogs will be thrilled because you are adding to the discussion and will check out your site.  The other interested readers will do the same — all goodness as you are entering the water cooler conversation. I am going to keep an eye on the upcoming presidential campaigns to see if there are any other best practices or innovative uses of technology that emerge that might be applicable to small businesses and strategy.  Despite the bad feeling in my stomach that the negative ads cause, there are a lot of smart folks and big budgets working on presidential elections and the incentives are “all or nothing,” so some good innovations should emerge from them. Originally published Jan 4, 2007 1:22:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 1990’s    email marketing In terms of the evolution of marketing tools, I would expand upon Shirley’s analogy: throughout the 1990’s.  Early majority customers were influenced by two analysts (Daratech and Dataquest) and the vendors themselves (PTC, IBM, EDS, and Autodesk).  Today, the whole “analyst” business is being disrupted by the blogosphere.  In that industry there are MANY new blogs with people talking about computer aided design and product lifecycle management software.  Potential customers are far less influenced today by the vendors than they used to be because the information that was out there in other people’s heads is now democratized and findable through search engines and blogosphere. to find it.  If you did not find the water cooler, check back in a few weeks — there are 100,000 new blogs started every day.  [If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll already know that I think you should start your own “industry” blog] Among the many interesting insights espoused in Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” is that relatively unknown companies/candidates get their new product/message through to the mainstream marketplace by first targeting the innovators in an industry, then the early adopters who are influenced by the innovators, then the early majority who are (somewhat) influenced by the early adopters, etc., etc.  In the political blogosphere, the blog writers are the equivalent of innovators and the blog readers are the equivalent of the early adopters.  As Romney is a relative unknown compared with McCain and others, he seems to be working on this strategy by targeting the blogosphere early in his campaign process. Many relatively unknown small businesses and startups have a lot in common with Romney.  Rather than spending large amounts of money with PR agencies to influence the mainstream media, I suggest that you might consider spending time cultivating the early adopter community gathering around the blogosphere water cooler.  [As an aside, I have found that most PR companies are struggling to get their arms around the blogosphere — they have great relationships with mainstream media, but the blogosphere is too new and too decentralized for them to get a handle on how to garner influence.] When I think about how we found customers at PTC in the 1990’s, mostly it was outbound coldcalls by sales reps.  The effectiveness of that mode of communication/prospecting is dramatically lower today than it was 10 years ago.  If your phone rings on your office desk, do you pick it up?  I must admit, I don’t because I do not want to get trapped by a cold caller.  Furthermore, the internet has transformed the way people want to consume information — we have become a self-service oriented society where want to be able to do our research on our own terms.  The internet has essentially made most marketplaces more efficient (or flat as Thomas Friedman likes to say). 1940’s    phone 2000’s    blogosphering (rss, blogs, discussion forums, social bookmarking) Romney said in a New Republic article, “New media a great force for the democratization of information.  No longer can a few newspapers and TV stations control what information we have access to.”  I couldn’t agree more.last_img read more

Twitter Gets Business-Savvy with New Business Center

first_img before. social media in the corporate world , many platforms have introduced nifty features to help businesses create accounts and increase their reach online. Facebook has and learn how to manage your company brand effectively using social media. Marketing Takeaways automatically become With a whole bundle of new business features, Twitter Business After several months of beta testing, the new service is now ready to launch for business accounts on the popular microblogging site. For now, it has only been rolled out to a handful of accounts on an invite-only basis. The selected accounts will be asked to participate in testing the “Twitter Toolkit” and will receive access to the new features. Over time, it will be made available to all companies on Twitter. What’s New in the Twitter Business Center? ! The new features include customizable page contents, a “Verified Account” badge, extra preferences, and the ability to add multiple contributors to the account. When a business clicks “Get Started”, they are asked to fill in more information about their business and contact information. They then has made it easier than ever to take your company online. Take advantage of the added preferences to reach out to your customers and interact with them personally as this new business center is launched to all users. Direct messages are a great way to boost customer service and reply to people instantly. Even if the business owner doesn’t have time to monitor Twitter, the ability to add multiple contributors to an account makes it easy to share the work. Remember, people are already talking about your business online, so it’s best to jump into the Learn how to use social media to manage your company brand. Originally published May 12, 2010 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 only available to individual users Company Profilescenter_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , LinkedIn has Center. Twitter a “Verified Account”, a feature that was Twitter Updates With the growing popularity of Video: How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Company Brand Online Topics: Download the free video Business Pages Several exclusive features will become available for companies to better communicate with customers and improve their online presence. The coolest new feature will be the ability to accept direct messages from followers, whether or not companies are following them back. Previously, users could only connect via DM when both parties followed each other, often limiting the amount of interaction between companies and customers. Now businesses can directly respond to messages without following someone back first. conversation and make your presence known , and now Twitter has thelast_img read more

The 25 Most Important Mobile Media Apps

first_img Facebook I have some good news. Mobile media isn’t all that scary. In fact, the cool thing about mobile media is that you probably know more about it than you think. Vlingo replaces every instance when you have to type on your smartphone with voice commands. It covers your phone’s basic messaging functions, voice calls, Facebook updates, and personal notes. On Android and BlackBerry, the app will even read your incoming messages to you. 60 Second Marketer Talk To Me Analytics App The Huffington Post With that in mind, I’ve adapted a list of the 25 most important mobile media apps for business. By downloading these apps and using them in your business life, you’ll be on the road to being a smartphone Twitter . And once you’re a power user, you can start figuring out new and innovative ways to use mobile media to connect with customers. Originally published May 18, 2011 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 How to Make Money with Social Media MobiTV Bloomberg Mobile You don’t have to be sitting behind a desk to update your Twitter status. The mobile version lets you stay connected wherever you are. : Originally, Talk To Me translated only English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian with its speech-to-speech functionality. Now it has many other languages from which to choose. Foursquare Financial Tools Do you agree that these are the most important apps for business? What other mobile apps do you use for business? : Utilities To maintain your usernames and passwords on your iPhone in one place, try 1Password. The mobile app syncs with the desktop version as well. If you wish, you can use it to store other personal information, too, such as your Social Security number and credit card numbers. power user : : Downloading the AccuWeather app allows you to view your two-day forecast based on your GPS coordinates. : No need to lose a bidding war because you’re on the go. With eBay mobile, you can search, buy, pay, and check the status of your eBay activity on your phone. : : Evernote Analytics App provides full mobile service for your Google Analytics data. You can check everything from reports to specific data, and the tidy interface makes it even easier to navigate than the web-based service. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack CNNMoney Google Maps : Mobile Apps Amazon Remembers Topics: CamCard Barcode Scanner Barcode Scanner handles bar codes – including 2D QR codes – and lets you look up the associated product or URL for instant price checks and comparison shopping. ABC News Mobile : Organizers/Time Savers The Weather Channel : The mobile version of this popular news and opinion online newspaper features breaking news, blogs, and original content. :center_img ). Social Applications : The Weather Channel’s app and the mobile version of Weather.com provide up-to-date weather information, text alerts, animated maps, and more. Shopping You can update your Facebook page on the fly with its mobile version. You can even update your Facebook Places profile, which lets people know where you’re eating, drinking, relaxing, or just hanging out. : If you’re at a trade show or in a meeting and someone mentions a great new business book, wouldn’t it be great to order it right at that moment? With Amazon’s free mobile phone app, you can order it on the fly. (Shameless plug: If you’re on Amazon looking for books on social media, check out my new book called, How to Make Money with Social Media CamCard lets you scan business cards and automatically add that information to your phone’s contact list and/or your Outlook or Gmail account. Sound good? : This is a terrific application that allows you to exchange contact information, photos, social networking information, and calendar events just by “bumping” your phone with another Bump user. eBay If you’re like a lot of people, you’re still trying to wrap your mind around how to use mobile media to connect with customers. You may be thinking, “Great. I finally figured out how to use social media for my business, and now they want me to learn all about mobile media, too.” With breaking business stories and complete in-depth market coverage in a customizable format, CNNMoney provides real-time reporting of financial news and analysis, as well as data and charts. Ready to “check in” to your favorite restaurant, bar, mall, or retail store? If you do it enough, you’ll become Mayor or be eligible for discount coupons. Ready to exchange LinkedIn contacts just by bumping your phone? Or perhaps you want read someone’s profile while you’re waiting for them at a restaurant. If that sounds enticing, then this application is for you. News and Information Applications Scoutmob : This application is for all those who love to be in the know. You can receive text alerts about breaking news, watch video, listen to podcasts, or read articles – all on your mobile phone. : . Bump Vlingo AccuWeather : : Much like Foursquare, Gowalla allows you to share your location with friends, all the while accumulating digital souvenirs that may be redeemable for real-life rewards. LinkedIn Gowalla Great. Here’s a list of the 25 most important mobile media apps for business. 1Password Image credit: : Productivity and chief content officer at the generaly : This web site allows you to send coupons for local stores and restaurants to your phone, which you can then redeem by simply showing the cashier the text message. What would men do without Google Maps? They’d have to ask for directions, which, of course, will never happen. Fortunately, Google invented its Map app for guys (like me) who are too stubborn to stop and ask for directions. : With ShopSavvy, you can use your phone’s camera to scan any bar code and receive a list of prices and inventory information for the same product at local stores and online retailers, ensuring you get the lowest price every time. : After you create a text note, photo, or audio note, you can synch them to your PC or to the web. : This is a guest blog post from Jamie Turner, co-author of : Use this app when you’re on the go and want to access financial news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market-trends analysis, customized lists of stocks, and more. ShopSavvy : Missing your favorite TV shows is no longer an issue. With MobiTV, you can watch shows whenever and wherever on your mobile phone.last_img read more

4 Digital Event Marketing Lessons From the Ames Straw Poll

first_img targeted marketing efforts Many candidates used display ads on the [free] Ames Straw Poll website to grab the attention of undecided voters. Bachmann used strong call-to-action links on the site asking visitors if they wanted to take part in her entertainment events in Ames, which linked to landing pages with forms asking for support. When possible, always remember to take advantage of the larger event’s website reach and other ways to appeal to the majority of the audience. The larger event will most likely draw new and , which focused on encouraging Iowa residents to attend the event to vote, was the key to her success. In terms of marketing, many agree that the Ames Straw Poll showcases the organizational and marketing strengths of each candidate. What sets it apart from other contests along the road to the White House is that there is a stronger focus by the candidates on grassroots, Marketing Implications of the Ames Straw Poll social media 4. Use friendly competition and incentives to spread awareness and increase engagement. In order to be successful at the Ames Straw Poll, candidates’ marketing skills are put to the test, as they must locate legal residents of Iowa and then convince these voters to 1) support them, 2) purchase a $30 ticket to attend the Ames Straw Poll, and 3) show up on the day of the event. If candidates can do this with enough people, they’ve demonstrated their organization’s grassroots marketing skills and organizing efforts. Therefore, the efforts that some candidates take to achieve success at the Ames Straw Poll provide helpful insight into grassroots event marketing. Below are some digital event marketing lessons marketers can learn from the Ames Straw Poll. qualified leads for your business , so think of it as yet another qualified channel to generate more leads! Bachmann set up a strong presence in Iowa with her digital team to generate buzz about the Ames Iowa Poll. Instead of focusing on a “Vote for Bachmann” message, the digital team focused its marketing on the candidate’s events associated with the poll. If you are new to industry in which you’re marketing, promote your event in a way that positions exciting news or value relevant to your event, rather than focusing your marketing on what you’re hoping to achieve with the event (in Bachmann’s case, votes). If your goal is to get discovered, be creative with how you attract your audience. Once you gain a following and generate buzz around the event, you can market yourself later. Did you follow the Ames Straw Poll? What other event marketing lessons can you share? as opposed to traditional, wholesale media campaigns, primarily because there is an established audience upon which to focus. Only die hard, well-informed and passionate ‘politicos’ are interested in attending the Ames Straw Poll. 1. Make the event the focus of your marketing push. One of the biggest challenges for candidates in the Ames Straw Poll is attendance. Candidates need to generate interest in the event, but they also need to ensure voters actually attend to cast their vote. Most candidates created online platforms for their voters to RSVP or register for a bus ride to the event. For your own events, consider using a platform like Eventbrite so people can RSVP and see who else is planning to attend. Creating a sense of a ‘team’ by allowing attendees to see that they’re not alone generates excitement about you and the event. By creating multiple platforms for your attendees to actively commit, you can secure a more accurate count of the day’s attendees. Think of enticing ways to generate multiple forms of commitment from attendees to be sure you’ll attract a strong showing.center_img 3. Make it easy, and get people to commit. This past Saturday, the Ames Straw Poll was held in Iowa, which is the first test of the Republican candidates’ organizational strength in their quests to gain the Republican Party’s nomination for president. The event takes place each summer before the year of the presidential election. The winner of this year’s poll was Michele Bachmann, and many believe her 2. Use the larger event platform to generate leads. Prior to the poll, candidate Tim Pawlenty motivated supporters by creating a competition to take action through Digital Event Marketing Lessons From the Ames Straw Poll Topics: set up a Facebook Page Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack to spread awareness. He Originally published Aug 17, 2011 3:05:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 that linked supporters and awarded points to supporters for completing specific tasks such as posting Facebook messages to promote his candidacy. Top performers were awarded prizes. The key takeaway here is to leverage your existing supporters or customers to spread the word to their own networks. Have loyal customers? Find ways in which you can get them to promote your event throughout their own networks. Make sure you motivate them appropriately, and thank and reward them for their efforts. internet marketing strategy Event Marketinglast_img read more

20 Ways to Increase Content Visibility on the Top 4 Social Networks

first_img Topics: With all the content and information cluttering the web, it’s a constant struggle to get people’s attention online. And with so many different social media channels available to marketers, it’s difficult to make your content truly stand out.As soon as you follow a few hundred Twitter users, a few hundred Twitter users are inundating your Twitter feed with information that may or may not pertain to you. So the question is, as a marketer, how do you cut through the clutter and direct the attention of prospects and customers to your social media content and messages?To help make your content stand out, we’ve come up with a list of 20 tips for increasing content visibility on the top four social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.How to Increase Content Visibility on Facebook1. Create a business page for your company or brand that shows what your company does beyond make money.2. Do something different. Everyone has a Facebook page now, and most brands are learning that they need to constantly engage with their followers. Start an interactive contest. Offer exclusive content only available to Facebook fans. Give your fans a reason why they should “like” you.3. Experiment with Facebook ads. They allow you to target your audience more accurately and help drive more people to your page.4. Don’t stop with text on Facebook pages: include videos and pictures! YouTube isn’t the only channel you can use to leverage video content and increase brand awareness. Furthermore, include infographics and pictures of people interacting with your brand. Make your Facebook a visual experience for those who visit.5. Create a custom landing page tab to promote content right off the bat. Make it the default landing page tab for new page visitors, and encourage them to like you and download a content offer such as an ebook.How to Increase Content Visibility on Twitter1. Leverage hashtags to not only keep track of who is talking about your company or event, but also to promote content.2. Start discussions with influential people on Twitter. The next time you share an interesting article, they may be the one retweeting it to their thousands of followers.3. Ask questions when you tweet about your content. It gives people a reason to respond, interact, and want to share your information.4. Share pictures on Twitter that relate to your content. Many people just skim their tweets, but if they see a photograph included, they may take a second look.5. Utilize Twitter lists. It helps you keep track of followers who may have previously engaged with you. That way, you can better target your tweets and get the continued attention of people who should be listening.How to Increase Content Visibility on LinkedIn1. LinkedIn isn’t about having the most number of connections. Start discussions on appropriate, industry-related LinkedIn groups to network with other people. When appropriate, link to content you’ve created that addresses a specific discussion topic. To really stand out, create your own group on an industry topic.2. Use LinkedIn Answers to answer industry-related questions and position yourself and your business as a thought leader on a particular subject. Just as in groups, link to your content as well if it supports your answer to the question.3. Create and optimize your LinkedIn Company page. Spend some time generating a following for your company to expand the reach of the content you share through your company updates.4. Share remarkable content through personal accounts, too! Many people don’t think of LinkedIn as a resource for content, but personal status updates give you the opportunity to share professional content. Encourage your colleagues to leverage their personal accounts to share your company’s content, too.5. Respond to others’ posts with references to your content. This will get others interested in some of the content you are posting and help you potentially reach a new audience.Ways to Increase Content Visibility on Google+1. Leverage your Google+ business page. If you haven’t already, create a Google+ business page, encourage your fans to add the page to their Circles, and optimize your page to expand the reach of your content on Google+. Google+ is a social network that thrives off of visual content, so incorporate images often in your Google+ marketing strategy.2. Be strategic about your Circles. When you share content and information, use the Circles to determine who will be the most interested in that information.3. Think outside the box…errr Circle. Consider sharing content using Google Hangouts.4. Tag others in your posts. Not only does it engage them, but it helps to spread your content to their connections, too.5. Make Your Page Eligible for Direct Connect. Google is starting to include Google+ posts from businesses with Direct Connect in its organic search results. Make your page eligible for Direct Connect so you can take advantage of Google+ being part of the most powerful social engine around.How do you make sure your content cuts through the clutter in social media?Photo Credit: The Cake Guru Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Media Strategy Originally published Nov 16, 2011 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

5 Classic Debate Techniques To Help You Nail Your Next Pitch

first_imgYou might be asking, “What the heck does debating have to do with pitching prospects?”A lot, actually.Winning new business for your agency comes down to developing a logical, watertight pitch that combines data and emotion, resists opposition, and impresses your prospects.Winning a debate hinges on those same things.We’ve compiled a list of five debate tips you can steal to turn out a stellar pitch. Check them out below to make your next pitch a winner. Download Now: Free RFP Templates5 Debate Techniques for Better Pitches1) Decide on a single resolution, and stick to it.Resolved: This agency can make your business more money.If you ever took a debate class while in school, you might be familiar with the format of the above statement. Resolutions are positive statements used to focus the main subject of the debate. One side argues for the resolution, and one side argues against.When your team is developing a pitch, try to establish a resolution statement that directly reflects your prospective client’s priorities and goals. If you’re unsure where to start, interview your prospect to gain a greater understanding of what they’re seeking in an agency, and tailor your resolution statement to their business needs.One of the biggest mistakes agencies and freelancers make when pitching prospects is trying to prove too much without proper support. Using a resolution statement can help focus your ideas and evidence into a single, straightforward premise, e.g.: “Our agency can get you more leads,” or “Our agency can expand your social reach.”If you channel all your energy into proving one strong statement — rather than a series of disjointed statements — it will be easier for your prospect to see the substantive value in your proposal. 2) Develop structured arguments, not just claims.The best debaters know that a sound argument is made up of three main components: the claim, the data, and the warrant.The claim is the central idea you’re asserting. It usually takes the form of a specific statement that directly supports your main resolution, e.g.: “Conversion optimizing your website will bring in more leads for your business.” When presented on its own, the claim is essentially worthless to your argument. It doesn’t prove anything, it’s just a statement. The data is the evidence that supports your claim. Think of yourself like a lawyer stating your case: Without the right facts to back up your claims, your case is pretty much meaningless.Data doesn’t have to mean hard statistics. Draw from your previous client success stories, case studies, or even industry trends to beef up your case.The warrant is the bridge that connects your data to your claim, e.g.: “Because many other companies in your industry have found success with conversion optimization, we believe that conversion optimizing your website will bring in more leads for your business.” The “because” statement explains why exactly the data backs up the claim.Before your pitch, plan out your main arguments by identifying the claim, data, and warrant for each point. This system can help you identify weak spots in your presentation. If you can’t adequately support one of your claims, it’s a good sign you need to dig in deeper or scrap it completely.3) Anticipate opposition, and consider how to counter it.Your prospects aren’t exactly the opposition (you want to end up working with them, after all), but they will be looking for places in your presentation that seem weak or opposed to their goals. And the best way to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of questions is to think like your very worst critic.There are two fundamental kinds of opposition you’re likely to face. The first is a rebuttal, which is data or evidence that disagrees with one of your claims.For example, if you presented the claim that conversion optimizing your prospect’s website will get them more leads, a rebuttal to this claim would be an anecdote about a business that conversion optimized their website and didn’t generate more leads. This evidence is in direct opposition to your claim.The second kind of opposition you might face is a counterclaim. While a rebuttal refutes a claim you presented with new evidence, a counterclaim brings up a new claim that directly opposes your own.For example, if you presented the claim that conversion optimizing your prospect’s website is the smartest way to yield more leads, a counterclaim would be that SEO is in fact the better strategy. How can you prepare for rebuttals and counterclaims? Comb through your presentation with a ruthless eye and create your own list of opposing points. Then practice how you would address them before the pitch. This will ensure you aren’t forced to think on your feet when the stakes are high.4) Address all questions head-on.In debate, if you fail to fully address an argument from the opposing team, it’s taken as a concession. It’s essentially the same thing as admitting their argument is correct. This is called a drop, as in: You completely dropped the ball.During your pitch, it’s easy to become so focused on crushing your presentation that you stumble when the prospective client expresses concerns or raises questions you hadn’t considered. It’s important that you give a complete, honest answer to each of their questions, even if the answer is, “I’m not sure right now, but I will find out and get back to you.”Glossing over a concern or not fully answering a question will look far worse to the prospect than attempting to answer to the best of your ability and stumbling a bit. At least it lets the prospect know that you heard them, you understand where they’re coming from, and you’re interested in getting them the right information.5) Remember that your “judges” are human.Although forming logical arguments is central to debates, logic isn’t the whole picture. At the end of the day, you have to impress the judges, and that means delivering your statements with an acute awareness of your audience’s emotions.  Pitches are similar. Your prospects will be impressed by sound arguments that prove your resolution, but they also need to be wooed a little. There needs to be an emotional element that draws them in and makes them truly believe in your proposal.This doesn’t mean you need a flashy gimmick, however, it just means you need to present your pitch in a compelling, human way. If you start to sound robotic, ask yourself: How would I explain this idea to a friend? Stepping back and reevaluating your narrative is key to developing an accessible pitch.How does your agency prep for a big pitch? Let us know in the comments.  Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Business Pitches Originally published Sep 29, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated October 08 2019last_img read more