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AUTOMATION MAKES US DUMBER

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down.

It has been a slow process. The first wave of automation rolled through U.S. industry after World War II, when manufacturers began installing electronically controlled equipment in their plants. The new machines made factories more efficient and companies more profitable. They were also heralded as emancipators. By relieving factory hands of routine chores, they would do more than boost productivity. They would elevate laborers, giving them more invigorating jobs and more valuable talents. The new technology would be ennobling.

Then, in the 1950s, a Harvard Business School professor named James Bright went into the field to study automation’s actual effects on a variety of industries, from heavy manufacturing to oil refining to bread baking. Factory conditions, he discovered, were anything but uplifting. More often than not, the new machines were leaving workers with drabber, less demanding jobs. An automated milling machine, for example, didn’t transform the metalworker into a more creative artisan; it turned him into a pusher of buttons.

Bright concluded that the overriding effect of automation was (in the jargon of labor economists) to “de-skill” workers rather than to “up-skill” them. “The lesson should be increasingly clear,” he wrote in 1966. “Highly complex equipment” did not require “skilled operators. The ‘skill’ can be built into the machine.”

We are learning that lesson again today on a much broader scale. As software has become capable of analysis and decision-making, automation has leapt out of the factory and into the white-collar world. Computers are taking over the kinds of knowledge work long considered the preserve of well-educated, well-trained professionals: Pilots rely on computers to fly planes; doctors consult them in diagnosing ailments; architects use them to design buildings. Automation’s new wave is hitting just about everyone.

Computers aren’t taking away all the jobs done by talented people. But computers are changing the way the work gets done. And the evidence is mounting that the same de-skilling effect that ate into the talents of factory workers last century is starting to gnaw away at professional skills, even highly specialized ones. Yesterday’s machine operators are today’s computer operators.

Just look skyward. Since their invention a century ago, autopilots have helped to make air travel safer and more efficient. That happy trend continued with the introduction of computerized “fly-by-wire” jets in the 1970s. But now, aviation experts worry that we’ve gone too far. We have shifted so many cockpit tasks from humans to computers that pilots are losing their edge—and beginning to exhibit what the British aviation researcher Matthew Ebbatson calls “skill fade.”
In 2007, while working on his doctoral thesis at Cranfield University’s School of Engineering, Mr. Ebbatson conducted an experiment with a group of airline pilots. He had them perform a difficult maneuver in a flight simulator—bringing a Boeing jet with a crippled engine in for a landing in rough weather—and measured subtle indicators of their skill, such as the precision with which they maintained the plane’s airspeed.

When he compared the simulator readings with the aviators’ actual flight records, he found a close connection between a pilot’s adroitness at the controls and the amount of time the pilot had recently spent flying planes manually. “Flying skills decay quite rapidly towards the fringes of ‘tolerable’ performance without relatively frequent practice,” Mr. Ebbatson concluded. But computers now handle most flight operations between takeoff and touchdown—so “frequent practice” is exactly what pilots are not getting.

Even a slight decay in manual flying ability can risk tragedy. A rusty pilot is more likely to make a mistake in an emergency. Automation-related pilot errors have been implicated in several recent air disasters, including the 2009 crashes of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo and Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, and the botched landing ofAsiana Flight 214 in San Francisco in 2013.

Late last year, a report from a Federal Aviation Administration task force on cockpit technology documented a growing link between crashes and an overreliance on automation. Pilots have become “accustomed to watching things happen, and reacting, instead of being proactive,” the panel warned. The FAA is now urging airlines to get pilots to spend more time flying by hand.

As software improves, the people using it become less likely to sharpen their own know-how. Applications that offer lots of prompts and tips are often to blame; simpler, less solicitous programs push people harder to think, act and learn.
Ten years ago, information scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands had a group of people carry out complicated analytical and planning tasks using either rudimentary software that provided no assistance or sophisticated software that offered a great deal of aid. The researchers found that the people using the simple software developed better strategies, made fewer mistakes and developed a deeper aptitude for the work. The people using the more advanced software, meanwhile, would often “aimlessly click around” when confronted with a tricky problem. The supposedly helpful software actually short-circuited their thinking and learning.

The philosopher Hubert Dreyfus of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in 2002 that human expertise develops through “experience in a variety of situations, all seen from the same perspective but requiring different tactical decisions.” In other words, our skills get sharper only through practice, when we use them regularly to overcome different sorts of difficult challenges.

The goal of modern software, by contrast, is to ease our way through such challenges. Arduous, painstaking work is exactly what programmers are most eager to automate—after all, that is where the immediate efficiency gains tend to lie. In other words, a fundamental tension ripples between the interests of the people doing the automation and the interests of the people doing the work.

Nevertheless, automation’s scope continues to widen. With the rise of electronic health records, physicians increasingly rely on software templates to guide them through patient exams. The programs incorporate valuable checklists and alerts, but they also make medicine more routinized and formulaic—and distance doctors from their patients.

In a study conducted in 2007-08 in upstate New York, SUNY Albany professor Timothy Hoff interviewed more than 75 primary-care physicians who had adopted computerized systems. The doctors felt that the software was impoverishing their understanding of patients, diminishing their “ability to make informed decisions around diagnosis and treatment.”
Harvard Medical School professor Beth Lown, in a 2012 journal article written with her student Dayron Rodriquez, warned that when doctors become “screen-driven,” following a computer’s prompts rather than “the patient’s narrative thread,” their thinking can become constricted. In the worst cases, they may miss important diagnostic signals.

The risk isn’t just theoretical. In a recent paper published in the journal Diagnosis, three medical researchers—including Hardeep Singh, director of the health policy, quality and informatics program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston—examined the misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S., at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. They argue that the digital templates used by the hospital’s clinicians to record patient information probably helped to induce a kind of tunnel vision. “These highly constrained tools,” the researchers write, “are optimized for data capture but at the expense of sacrificing their utility for appropriate triage and diagnosis, leading users to miss the forest for the trees.” Medical software, they write, is no “replacement for basic history-taking, examination skills, and critical thinking.”

Even creative trades are increasingly suffering from automation’s de-skilling effects. Computer-aided design has helped architects to construct buildings with unusual shapes and materials, but when computers are brought into the design process too early, they can deaden the aesthetic sensitivity and conceptual insight that come from sketching and model-building.

Working by hand, psychological studies have found, is better for unlocking designers’ originality, expands their working memory and strengthens their tactile sense. A sketchpad is an “intelligence amplifier,” says Nigel Cross, a design professor at the Open University in the U.K.

When software takes over, manual skills wane. In his book “The Thinking Hand,” the Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa argues that overreliance on computers makes it harder for designers to appreciate the subtlest, most human qualities of their buildings. “The false precision and apparent finiteness of the computer image” narrow a designer’s perspective, he writes, which can mean technically stunning but emotionally sterile work. As University of Miami architecture professor Jacob Brillhart wrote in a 2011 paper, modern computer systems can translate sets of dimensions into precise 3-D renderings with incredible speed, but they also breed “more banal, lazy, and uneventful designs that are void of intellect, imagination and emotion.”

We do not have to resign ourselves to this situation, however. Automation needn’t remove challenges from our work and diminish our skills. Those losses stem from what ergonomists and other scholars call “technology-centered automation,” a design philosophy that has come to dominate the thinking of programmers and engineers.

When system designers begin a project, they first consider the capabilities of computers, with an eye toward delegating as much of the work as possible to the software. The human operator is assigned whatever is left over, which usually consists of relatively passive chores such as entering data, following templates and monitoring displays.

This philosophy traps people in a vicious cycle of de-skilling. By isolating them from hard work, it dulls their skills and increases the odds that they will make mistakes. When those mistakes happen, designers respond by seeking to further restrict people’s responsibilities—spurring a new round of de-skilling.

Because the prevailing technique “emphasizes the needs of technology over those of humans,” it forces people “into a supporting role, one for which we are most unsuited,” writes the cognitive scientist and design researcher Donald Norman of the University of California, San Diego.

There is an alternative.

In “human-centered automation,” the talents of people take precedence. Systems are designed to keep the human operator in what engineers call “the decision loop”—the continuing process of action, feedback and judgment-making. That keeps workers attentive and engaged and promotes the kind of challenging practice that strengthens skills.
In this model, software plays an essential but secondary role. It takes over routine functions that a human operator has already mastered, issues alerts when unexpected situations arise, provides fresh information that expands the operator’s perspective and counters the biases that often distort human thinking. The technology becomes the expert’s partner, not the expert’s replacement.

Pushing automation in a more humane direction doesn’t require any technical breakthroughs. It requires a shift in priorities and a renewed focus on human strengths and weaknesses.

Airlines, for example, could program cockpit computers to shift control back and forth between computer and pilot during a flight. By keeping the aviator alert and active, that small change could make flying even safer.

In accounting, medicine and other professions, software could be far less intrusive, giving people room to exercise their own judgment before serving up algorithmically derived suggestions.

When it comes to the computerization of knowledge work, writes John Lee of the University of Iowa, “a less-automated approach, which places the automation in the role of critiquing the operator, has met with much more success” than the typical practice of supplanting human judgment with machine calculations. The best decision-support systems provide professionals with “alternative interpretations, hypotheses, or choices.”

Human-centered automation doesn’t constrain progress. Rather, it guides progress onto a more humanistic path, providing an antidote to the all-too-common, misanthropic view that venerates computers and denigrates people.
One of the most exciting examples of the human-focused approach is known as adaptive automation. It employs cutting-edge sensors and interpretive algorithms to monitor people’s physical and mental states, then uses that information to shift tasks and responsibilities between human and computer. When the system senses that an operator is struggling with a difficult procedure, it allocates more tasks to the computer to free the operator of distractions. But when it senses that the operator’s interest is waning, it ratchets up the person’s workload to capture their attention and build their skills.

We are amazed by our computers, and we should be. But we shouldn’t let our enthusiasm lead us to underestimate our own talents. Even the smartest software lacks the common sense, ingenuity and verve of the skilled professional. In cockpits, offices or examination rooms, human experts remain indispensable. Their insight, ingenuity and intuition, honed through hard work and seasoned real-world judgment, can’t be replicated by algorithms or robots.
If we let our own skills fade by relying too much on automation, we are going to render ourselves less capable, less resilient and more subservient to our machines. We will create a world more fit for robots than for us.
Source: Wall Street Journal

MARS MISSION ORBITER TIMELINE

05-11-2013: PSLV-C25, in its twenty fifth flight, successfully launches Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota

07-11-2013: The first orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 01:17 hrs(IST) on Nov 07, 2013 successfully completed

08-11-2013: The second orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:18:51 hrs(IST), with a burn time of 570.6 seconds successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 28814 km to 40186 km

09-11-2013: The third orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 02:10:43 hrs(IST) on Nov 09, 2013, with a burn time of 707 seconds successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 40186km to 71636km.

11-11-2013: In the fourth orbit-raising operation conducted on Nov 11, 2013 the apogee (farthest point to Earth) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was raised from 71,623 km to 78,276 km by imparting an incremental velocity of 35 metres/second (as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise apogee to about 100,000 [1 lakh] km). The spacecraft is in normal health.

12-11-2013: Fourth supplementary orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 05:03:50 hrs(IST) on Nov 12, 2013, with a burn Time of 303.8 seconds successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 78276km to 118642km.

16-11-2013: The fifth orbit raising manoeuvre of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, starting at 01:27 hrs(IST) on Nov 16, 2013, with a burn Time of 243.5 seconds successfully completed. The observed change in Apogee is from 118642km to 192874km.

01-12-2013: Medium Gain Antenna of the Mars Orbiter Spacecraft is powered for long distance communication, subsequent to successful Trans Mars Injection (TMI) manoeuvre. Trans Mars Injection (TMI) operations completed successfully. The liquid engine burn time was 1328.89 sec and the imparted incremental velocity was 647.96 m/sec.

02-12-2013: Spacecraft has travelled a distance of 5,36,000 km by 17:00 hrs (IST) of Dec 2, 2013. It has crossed the distance to Moon’s orbit around Earth (mean distance 3,85,000 km) this morning.

04-12-2013: Spacecraft has traversed beyond the Sphere of Influence (SOI) of Earth extending about 9,25,000 km at around 1:14 hrs (IST) on Dec 4, 2013.

11-12-2013: The first Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) of Spacecraft was carried out successfully at 06:30 hrs (IST) by firing the 22 Newton Thrusters for a duration of 40.5 seconds. The spacecraft is travelling at a distance of about 29 lakh (2.9 million) km away from Earth.11-02-2014: 100 Days Of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft.

09-04-2014: Mars Orbiter Spacecraft Crosses Half Way Mark of its Journey.

12-06-2014: The second Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM-2) of India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was successfully performed on June 11, 2014 at 1630 hrs IST. TCM-2 was performed by firing the spacecraft’s 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
16-09-2014: Time-tagged commands to execute Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) uploaded.

17-09-2014: Uploading of commands for Fourth Trajectory Correction Manoeuver and test-firing of Main Liquid Engine (scheduled for Sep 22, 2014) is in progress.

22-09-2014: Test Firing of Main Liquid Engine of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft is successful.

24-09-2014: Mangalyaan enters Mars orbit.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: MYTH AND REALITY

Over the years, many myths have arisen about what Alzheimer’s disease is, who gets it and how it affects people who have it. These myths can add to the stigma or shame attached to the disease. They can also stand in the way of our ability to understand and help people with it. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disease. It is most often diagnosed in people over 65, but can affect adults at an earlier age.

Myth 1
Because someone in my family has Alzheimer’s disease, I’m going to get it.
Reality: Although genetics (family history) plays a role in the disease, only in five to seven per cent of the cases is the cause connected to genes. In these cases, the disease is the early onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD). Genes may also play a role in the more common, late onset, “sporadic Alzheimer’s disease” form. A person who has a parent or sibling with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease has a slightly higher risk of getting the disease.

Myth 2
Alzheimer’s disease is an old person’s disease.
Reality: Age is the strongest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. But this does not mean that most people develop the disease as they age. Most do not. As well, some younger people, in their 40s or 50s, have been diagnosed with the late onset form of the disease. What’s most important to understand is that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Myth 3
There is a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Reality: There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease yet. But, for some people, medications and treatments can help manage some of the symptoms and improve quality of life. The good news is that researchers have made great progress and a number of drugs now in clinical trials act directly against the disease process.

Myth 4
Memory loss means Alzheimer’s disease.
Reality: Many people have trouble with their memory. This by itself does not mean they have Alzheimer’s disease. When memory loss affects day-to-day function and is combined with lack of judgment and reasoning, or changes in the ability to communicate, it’s best to see a doctor to find out the cause of the symptoms.

Myth 5
You can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Reality: No treatment can prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are learning, however, that lifestyle choices that keep mind and body fit may help lower the risk of developing the disease. These choices include being physically active; eating healthy foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and fish; keeping your brain challenged; reducing stress, keeping an eye on your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels; avoiding traumatic brain injury; and keeping socially active.
Some people believe that avoiding aluminum in cooking utensils (pots and pans) reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although there’s been a lot research into the connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, there’s no definite evidence to show a link. The disease appears to develop when the different risk factors combine. This includes older age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. These factors overwhelm the natural capacity of the brain to deal with them.

Myth 6
Vitamins, supplements and memory boosters can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Reality: Many studies have been done to see how effective products such as vitamins E, B, and C, gingko biloba, folate, and selenium may be in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are mixed and inconclusive. Research in this area is ongoing.

Myth 7
If I’m diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my life is over.
Reality: Many people with the disease live meaningful, active lives. They have a sense of purpose and do not feel their lives are over. Alzheimer’s disease is often diagnosed earlier now than it used to be and we have medications that may help slow down the disease. It is also important for the person with Alzheimer’s disease to be in an appropriate setting, and to be provided with services, support and activities to help enrich their quality of life as the disease progresses.

Myth 8
All people with Alzheimer’s disease become violent and aggressive.
Reality: Alzheimer’s disease affects each person differently. Not everyone with the disease becomes aggressive. The memory loss and resulting confusion are often frustrating or even frightening. By learning about the disease, adapting the person’s surroundings and changing the way we communicate with the person, aggressive responses may be preventable.

Myth 9
People with Alzheimer’s disease cannot understand what is going on around them.
Reality: Some people with Alzheimer’s disease understand what is going on around them. Other people have difficulty. Although the disease affects each person differently, it does affect how people are able communicate and make sense of the world around them. When we assume someone does not understand, we can unintentionally hurt the person’s feelings. The person with Alzheimer’s disease is still the same person and needs to be treated with dignity and respect.

Myth 10
Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal.
Reality: Alzheimer’s disease is fatal. The disease not only robs people of their memory, it destroys brain cells, so the body forgets how to do what it needs to do to survive, such as talk, move, or eat.

Source: Alzheimer’s Society

NELSON MANDELA – THE LEGEND

Freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.

That was Nelson Mandela who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid.

His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him.

"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison," Mandela said after he was freed in 1990.

Mandela, a former president, battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the consciousness of the nation and the world.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father," South African President Jacob Zuma said. "What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves."

His U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, echoed the same sentiment.

"We've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth," Obama said. "He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages."

A hero to blacks and whites

Mandela became the nation's conscience as it healed from the scars of apartheid.

Zuma: This is a moment of deepest sorrow

His defiance of white minority rule and long incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world's attention on apartheid, the legalized racial segregation enforced by the South African government until 1994.

In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from a militant freedom fighter, to a prisoner, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman.

Years after his 1999 retirement from the presidency, Mandela was considered the ideal head of state. He became a yardstick for African leaders, who consistently fell short when measured against him.

Warm, lanky and charismatic in his silk, earth-toned dashikis, he was quick to admit to his shortcomings, endearing him further in a culture in which leaders rarely do.

His steely gaze disarmed opponents. So did his flashy smile.

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 for transitioning the nation from a system of racial segregation, described their first meeting.

"I had read, of course, everything I could read about him beforehand. I was well-briefed," he said.

"I was impressed, however, by how tall he was. By the ramrod straightness of his stature, and realized that this is a very special man. He had an aura around him. He's truly a very dignified and a very admirable person."

For many South Africans, he was simply Madiba, his traditional clan name. Others affectionately called him Tata, the word for father in his Xhosa tribe.

A nation on edge

Mandela last appeared in public during the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa. His absences from the limelight and frequent hospitalizations left the nation on edge, prompting Zuma to reassure citizens every time he fell sick.

"Mandela is woven into the fabric of the country and the world," said Ayo Johnson, director of Viewpoint Africa, which sells content about the continent to media outlets.

When he was around, South Africans had faith that their leaders would live up to the nation's ideals, according to Johnson.

"He was a father figure, elder statesman and global ambassador," Johnson said. "He was the guarantee, almost like an insurance policy, that South Africa's young democracy and its leaders will pursue the nation's best interests."

There are telling nuggets of Mandela's character in the many autobiographies about him.

An unmovable stubbornness. A quick, easy smile. An even quicker frown when accosted with a discussion he wanted no part of.

War averted

Despite chronic political violence before the vote that put him in office in 1994, South Africa avoided a full-fledged civil war in its transition from apartheid to multiparty democracy. The peace was due in large part to the leadership and vision of Mandela and de Klerk.

"We were expected by the world to self-destruct in the bloodiest civil war along racial grounds," Mandela said during a 2004 celebration to mark a decade of democracy in South Africa.

"Not only did we avert such racial conflagration, we created amongst ourselves one of the most exemplary and progressive nonracial and nonsexist democratic orders in the contemporary world."

Mandela represented a new breed of African liberation leaders, breaking from others of his era such as Robert Mugabe by serving one term.

In neighboring Zimbabwe, Mugabe has been president since 1987. A lot of African leaders overstayed their welcomes and remained in office for years, sometimes decades, making Mandela an anomaly.

But he was not always popular in world capitals.

Until 2008, the United States had placed him and other members of the African National Congress on its terror list because of their militant fight against the apartheid regime.

Humble beginnings

Rolihlahla Mandela started his journey in the tiny village of Mvezo, in the hills of the Eastern Cape, where he was born on July 18, 1918. His teacher later named him Nelson as part of a custom to give all schoolchildren Christian names.

His father died when he was 9, and the local tribal chief took him in and educated him.

Mandela attended school in rural Qunu, where he retreated before returning to Johannesburg to be near medical facilities.

He briefly attended University College of Fort Hare but was expelled after taking part in a protest with Oliver Tambo, with whom he later operated the nation's first black law firm.

In subsequent years, he completed a bachelor's degree through correspondence courses and studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He left without graduating in 1948.

Four years before he left the university, he helped form the youth league of the African National Congress, hoping to transform the organization into a more radical movement. He was dissatisfied with the ANC and its old-guard politics.

And so began Mandela's civil disobedience and lifelong commitment to breaking the shackles of segregation in South Africa.

Escalating trouble

In 1956, Mandela and dozens of other political activists were charged with high treason for activities against the government. His trial lasted five years, but he was ultimately acquitted.

Meanwhile, the fight for equality got bloodier.

Four years after his treason charges, police shot 69 unarmed black protesters in Sharpeville township as they demonstrated outside a station. The Sharpeville Massacre was condemned worldwide, and it spurred Mandela to take a more militant tone in the fight against apartheid.

The South African government outlawed the ANC after the massacre, and an angry Mandela went underground to form a new military wing of the organization.

"There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against a government whose reply is only savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people," Mandela said during his time on the run.

During that period, he left South Africa and secretly travelled under a fake name. The press nicknamed him "the Black Pimpernel" because of his police evasion tactics.

Militant resistance

The African National Congress heeded calls for stronger action against the apartheid regime, and Mandela helped launch an armed wing to attack government symbols, including post offices and offices.

The armed struggle was a defence mechanism against government violence, he said.

"My people, Africans, are turning to deliberate acts of violence and of force against the government in order to persuade the government, in the only language which this government shows by its own behaviour that it understands," Mandela said at the time.

"If there is no dawning of sanity on the part of the government -- ultimately, the dispute between the government and my people will finish up by being settled in violence and by force."

The campaign of violence against the state resulted in civilian casualties.

Long imprisonment

In 1962, Mandela secretly received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia. When he returned home later that year, he was arrested and charged with illegal exit of the country and incitement to strike.

Mandela represented himself at the trial and was briefly imprisoned before being returned to court. In 1964, after the famous Rivonia trial, he was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

At the trial, instead of testifying, he opted to give a speech that was more than four hours long, and ended with a defiant statement.

"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination," he said. "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

His next stop was the Robben Island prison, where he spent 18 of his 27 years in detention. He described his early days there as harsh.

"There was a lot of physical abuse, and many of my colleagues went through that humiliation," he said.

One of those colleagues was Khehla Shubane, 57, who was imprisoned in Robben Island during Mandela's last years there. Though they were in different sections of the prison, he said, Mandela was a towering figure.

"He demanded better rights for us all in prison. The right to get more letters, get newspapers, listen to the radio, better food, right to study," Shubane said. "It may not sound like much to the outside world, but when you are in prison, that's all you have."

And Mandela's khaki prison pants, he said, were always crisp and ironed.

"Most of us chaps were lazy, we would hang our clothes out to dry and wear them with creases. We were in a prison, we didn't care. But Mandela, every time I saw him, he looked sharp."

After 18 years, he was transferred to other prisons, where he experienced better conditions until he was freed in 1990.

Months before his release, he obtained a bachelor's in law in absentia from the University of South Africa.

Calls for release

His freedom followed years of an international outcry led by Winnie Mandela, a social worker whom he married in 1958, three months after divorcing his first wife.

Mandela was banned from reading newspapers, but his wife provided a link to the outside world.

She told him of the growing calls for his release and updated him on the fight against apartheid.

World pressure mounted to free Mandela with the imposition of political, economic and sporting sanctions, and the white minority government became more isolated.

In 1988 at age 70, Mandela was hospitalized with tuberculosis, a disease whose effects plagued him until the day he died. He recovered and was sent to a minimum security prison farm, where he was given his own quarters and could receive additional visitors.

Among them, in an unprecedented meeting, was South Africa's president, P.W. Botha.

Change was in the air.

When Botha's successor, de Klerk, took over, he pledged to negotiate an end to apartheid.

Free at last

On February 11, 1990, Mandela walked out of prison to thunderous applause, his clenched right fist raised above his head.

Still as upright and proud, he would say, as the day he walked into prison nearly three decades earlier.

He reassured ANC supporters that his release was not part of a government deal and informed whites that he intended to work toward reconciliation.

Four years after his release, in South Africa's first multiracial elections, he became the nation's first black president.

"The day he was inducted as president, we stood on the terraces of the Union Building," de Klerk remembered years later. "He took my hand and lifted it up. He put his arm around me, and we showed a unity that resounded through South Africa and the world."

Broken marriage, then love

His union to Winnie Mandela, however, did not have such a happy ending. They officially divorced in 1996.

For the two, it was a fiery love story, derailed by his ambition to end apartheid. During his time in prison, Mandela wrote his wife long letters, expressing his guilt at putting political activism before family. Before the separation, Winnie Mandela was implicated in violence, including a conviction for being an accessory to assault in the death of a teenage township activist.

Mandela found love again two years after the divorce.

On his 80th birthday, he married Graca Machel, the widow of former Mozambique president, Samora Machel.

Only three of Mandela's children are still alive. He had 18 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Symbolic rugby

South Africa's fight for reconciliation was epitomized at the 1995 rugby World Cup Final in Johannesburg, when it played heavily favored New Zealand.

As the dominant sport of white Afrikaners, rugby was reviled by blacks in South Africa. They often cheered for rivals playing their national team.

Mandela's deft use of the national team to heal South Africa was captured in director Clint Eastwood's 2009 feature film "Invictus," starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the white South African captain of the rugby team.

Before the real-life game, Mandela walked onto the pitch, wearing a green-and-gold South African jersey bearing Pienaar's number on the back.

"I will never forget the goosebumps that stood on my arms when he walked out onto the pitch before the game started," said Rory Steyn, his bodyguard for most of his presidency.

"That crowd, which was almost exclusively white ... started to chant his name. That one act of putting on a No. 6 jersey did more than any other statement in bringing white South Africans and Afrikaners on side with new South Africa."

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A promise honored

In 1999, Mandela did not seek a second term as president, keeping his promise to serve only one term. Thabo Mbeki succeeded him in June of the same year.

After leaving the presidency, he retired from active politics, but remained in the public eye, championing causes such as human rights, world peace and the fight against AIDS.

It was a decision born of tragedy: His only surviving son, Makgatho Mandela, died of AIDS at age 55 in 2005. Another son, Madiba Thembekile, was killed in a car crash in 1969.

Mandela's 90th birthday party in London's Hyde Park was dedicated to HIV awareness and prevention, and was titled 46664, his prison number on Robben Island.

A resounding voice

Mandela continued to be a voice for developing nations.

He criticized U.S. President George W. Bush for launching the 2003 war against Iraq, and accused the United States of "wanting to plunge the world into a Holocaust."

And as he was acclaimed as the force behind ending apartheid, he made it clear he was only one of many who helped transform South Africa into a democracy.

In 2004, a few weeks before he turned 86, he announced his retirement from public life to spend more time with his loved ones.

"Don't call me, I'll call you," he said as he stepped away from his hectic schedule.

'Like a boy of 15'

But there was a big treat in store for the avid sportsman.

When South Africa was awarded the 2010 football World Cup, Mandela said he felt "like a boy of 15."

In July that year, Mandela beamed and waved at fans during the final of the tournament in Johannesburg's Soccer City. It was his last public appearance.

"I would like to be remembered not as anyone unique or special, but as part of a great team in this country that has struggled for many years, for decades and even centuries," he said. "The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall."

With him gone, South Africans are left to embody his promise and idealism.

Source: NBC

REMEMBERING DR. RADHAKRISHNAN

The first Vice President of India and the second President of India, Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was born in a poor Brahmin family of South India on 5th September 1888. His father earned very less income and had to take care of a big family. Though his father wanted him to become a priest and not join school and learn English, Radhakirshnan was finally sent to school of the local area itself.

Radhakrishnan was a brilliant student from the very start and most of his studies were covered through scholarships. At the age of 17, he joined the Madras Christian College and attained his bachelors and masters in the field of philosophy. The 21-year-old Radhakrishnan, after graduating with good marks from the Madras University, got selected as an Assistant Lecturer at the Madras Presidency College and chose to work there.

On a mere salary of just Rs.17 per month, Radhakrishnan faced hardships in managing a house of around 8 people. With time, his hard work, intelligence and wonderful and famous ways of teaching lessons paid him back and he was chosen as the Vice Chancellor of Andhra University when he was around 40 years of age. After 3 years, he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. He actively participated in the protests when the Banaras Hindu University was fighting against getting shut. He rapidly got renowned amongst the British Bureaucrats as well the then Indian leaders.

The Bharat Ratna Awardee (1954), held the position of the Vice President of India from May 1952 to May 1962. He was then made the President of India from May 1962 to May 1967. At the age of 86, he peacefully died on 19 April 1975.
On the birth occasion of Dr. Radhakrishnan, the 5th of September, in fond remembrance of the great teacher, India celebrates its Teacher's Day where students across the country participate in certain programs prepared exclusively for their teachers. Students make their teachers feel special in the form of flowers and hand made cards too.

ECHOES OF LIFE

A son and his father were walking on the mountains. Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
Curious, he yells: "Who are you?" He gets the answer: "Who are you?” And then he yells to the mountain: "I admire you!” The voice answers: "I admire you!"

Angered at the response, he screams: "Coward!". He receives the answer: "Coward!” He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?". The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention." Again the man screams: "You are a champion!” The voice answers: "You are a champion!”
The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give you back everything you have given to it."
Your life is not a coincidence. It's a reflection of you!"

RAKSHABANDHAN – A FESTIVAL OF BONDING

The chaste bond of love between a brother and a sister is one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. 'Raksha Bandhan' or 'Rakhi' is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy thread around the wrist. This thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the ‘Rakhi’. It means 'a bond of protection', and Raksha Bandhansignifies that the strong must protect the weak from all that’s evil.
The ritual is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan, on which sisters tie the sacred Rakhi string on their brothers' right wrists, and pray for their long life. Rakhis are ideally made of silk with gold and silver threads, beautifully crafted embroidered sequins, and studded with semi precious stones.

The Social Binding
This ritual not only strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, but also transcends the confines of the family. When a Rakhi is tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbours, it underscores the need for a harmonious social life, where every individual co-exist peacefully as brothers and sisters. All members of the community commit to protect each other and the society in such congregational Rakhi Utsavs, popularized by the Nobel laureate Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

The Auspicious Full Moon
In Northern India, Rakhi Purnima is also called Kajri Purnima or Kajri Navami, when wheat or barley is sown, and goddess Bhagwati is worshipped. In Western states, the festival is called Nariyal Purnima or the Coconut Full Moon. In Southern India, Shravan Purnima is an important religious occasion, especially for the Brahmins. Raksha Bandhan is known by various names:Vish Tarak - the destroyer of venom, Punya Pradayak - the bestower of boons, and Pap Nashak- the destroyer of sins.

Rakhi in History
The strong bond represented by Rakhi has resulted in innumerable political ties among kingdoms and princely states. The pages of Indian history testify that the Rajput and Maratha queens have sent Rakhis even to Mughal kings who, despite their differences, have assuaged their Rakhi-sisters by offering help and protection at critical moments and honoured the fraternal bond. Even matrimonial alliances have been established between kingdoms through the exchange of Rakhis. History has it that the great Hindu King Porus refrained from striking Alexander, the Great because the latter’s wife had approached this mighty adversary and tied a Rakhi on his hand, prior to the battle, urging him not to hurt her husband.

Rakhi Myths & Legends
According to one mythological allusion, Rakhi was intended to be the worship of the sea-god Varuna. Hence, offerings of coconut to Varuna, ceremonial bathing and fairs at waterfronts accompany this festival.

There are also myths that describe the ritual as observed by Indrani and Yamuna for their respective brothers Indra and Yama.

Once, Lord Indra stood almost vanquished in a long-drawn battle against the demons. Full of remorse, he sought the advice of Guru Brihaspati, who suggested for his sortie the auspicious day of Shravan Purnima (fullmoon day of the month of Shravan). On that day, Indra's wife and Brihaspati tied a sacred thread on the wrist of Indra, who then attacked the demon with renewed force and routed him.

Thus the Raksha Bhandhan symbolizes all aspects of protection of the good from evil forces. Even in the great epic Mahabharata, we find Krishna advising Yudhishtthir to tie the puissant Rakhi to guard himself against impending evils.
In the ancient Puranik scriptures, it is said that King Bali's stronghold had been the Raakhi. Hence while tying the rakhi this couplet is usually recited:

"Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala"
"I am tying a Rakhi on you, like the one on mighty demon king Bali. Be firm, O Rakhi, do not falter."

Why Rakhi?
Rituals like Rakhi, there is no doubt, help ease out various societal strains, induce fellow-feeling, open up channels of expression, give us an opportunity to rework on our role as human beings and, most importantly, bring joy in our mundane lives.
“May all be happy
May all be free from ills
May all behold only the good
May none be in distress.”

MOVE OVER HIGGS; HERE COMES BOSON

Yes, it is official now! British physicist Higgs and Belgian Physicist Englert have been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. They predicted the existence of the subatomic particle Higgs boson or God’s particle nearly 50 years ago and were proven right last year. So, after a period of 50 years they were still awarded the highest honour for their discovery. But what about the Bose in boson?

Kolkata born physicist Satyendranath Bose is considered the father of the concept of boson particle of the ‘God particle’. But he was not even considered for the Nobel while he was alive. In fact the surprising part is that several Nobel awards have been given for research related to the Boson concept and the one given for Higgs boson is one among many. Well, certainly not the first snub.

According to a science magazine, Bose wrote a paper in 1924 in which he derived Planck’s quantum radiation law without referencing classical physics – which he was able to do by counting states with identical properties. The paper would later verify seminal in making the field of quantum statistics.

Bose sent the paper to Albert Einstein in Germany, and the scientist recognised its importance, translated it into German and submitted it on Bose’s behalf to the prestigious scientific journal Zeitschrift für Physik. The publication led to recognition, and Bose was granted a place of absence to work in Europe for two years at X-ray and crystallography laboratories, where he worked alongside Einstein and Marie Curie, among others.

Einstein had adopted Bose’s thought and extended it to atoms, which led to the prediction of the existence of phenomena that became known as the Bose-Einstein Condensate, a dense pool of bosons – particles with integer spin that were named for Bose.

According to a July 2012 New York Times condition in which Bose is described as the “Father of the ‘God Particle’”, the scientist’s interests wandered into other fields, including philosophy, literature and the Indian independence movement. He published another physics paper in 1937 and in the early 1950s worked on unified field theories.

Numerous Nobel Prizes were awarded for research related to the concepts of the boson and the Bose-Einstein Condensate. Bose was never awarded a Nobel Prize, despite his work on particle statistics, which clarified the behaviour of photons and “opened the door to new dreams on statistics of Microsystems that obey the rules of quantum theory,” according to physicist Jayant Narlikar, who said Bose’s finding was one of the top 10 achievements of 20th-century Indian science.

But Bose himself had responded simply when questioned how he felt about the Nobel Prize snub: “I have got all the recognition I deserve.”

The world did not do justice to the great physicist. But we Indians should not forget the person who was responsible for the God’s particle.

A POEM FOR PARENTS

A POEM FOR ALL PARENTS

If I had my child to raise all over again,

I’d finger paint more and point the finger less.

I’d do less correcting and more connecting.

I’d take eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious and seriously play.

I’d run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I’d be firm less often and affirm much more.

I’d build self-esteem first and the house later.

I’d teach less about the love of power and more about the power of love!!!

ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO MAKE MISTAKES

Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes

We all learn from our mistakes. Every situation is an opportunity for growth. Obviously there are certain mistakes you want to protect your kids from, such as playing on a busy road or sticking their hand on a hot burner. But in other situations,they’ll learn more if left to discover the consequences themselves.

Consider these points to help you be more patient and accepting of your children’s mistakes:

1. Children are children. Because of a child’s age, coordination, lack of judgment, or simplified thought processes, kids are not going to be able to perform a task the way a teen or adult can.

2. Children are works in progress. Because children are developing, learning and growing every day, each new day provides them with opportunities for success.

3. Sometimes when children err, they have a natural tendency to want to try again. Because this behavior shows perseverance and great effort, parents can reinforce these positive characteristics by simply allowing them to try the task again.

4. Learning from trial and error is still learning. If you observe your child trying a task over and over again without frustration, he’s probably learning something on each try.

5. There are other things more important than doing a job “right.” So what if, when your child is done making the bed, the bedspread is crooked? If you consider what matters most, you’ll come up with some characteristics your child demonstrates that you can be proud of.

6. Your child’s self-esteem depends on your reactions. How you react when your child makes a misstep shows him what you think and believe about him.

• When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, allowing him to err at something while at the same time, accepting him the way he is, sends powerful messages of unconditional acceptance and love to your child.

8. Avoid generating or expressing strong emotions related to your child’s blunder.It’s wise to remain neutral and objective when speaking to a child about his performance of a task.
Making it okay for your child to err will go a long way toward solidifying his sense of self and building his self-esteem.

If you consider and apply these ideas when parenting, you and your child will be more comfortable when they experience errors. Because of your approach, they’ll embrace life with optimism, perseverance and feelings of confidence.

Photo: Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes