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Teaching teenagers to spread their wings - Sushil Mungekar trains students to become entrepreneurs

On a Sunday morning, eager teenagers got together in groups at a Matunga school to make presentations. This was not a dry, academic session. The Class IX students were competing to present their business plans before a jury. They talked effortlessly about costing, marketing strategies and business plans and even how they could sustain customer interest. Some groups presented models, others brought out charts, made PowerPoint presentations and answered queries on business plans. Cheered by enthusiastic parents and queried relentlessly by their jury, the teenagers pitched their business plans like seasoned entrepreneurs before investors.
There were some interesting ideas around chocolate: One group wanted to start a restaurant where people could learn to make chocolates from professionals; another wanted to set up an online firm that would sell chocolates from around the world; others wanted to make a chocolate perfume and chocolate-coated medicines. “My father has been a businessman for …
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Oxford launches first-ever Hindi ‘Word of the Year’

New Delhi: Oxford Dictionaries will have a Hindi Word of the Year for 2017. The Hindi Word of the Year will be a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest this year. The chosen word should reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the year. It is not necessarily a new word, but should be one that is strongly linked somehow to 2017. This word of the year will be announced in January 2018. Oxford Dictionaries has called on Hindi speakers across the country to help choose the word. Submissions need to be made before November 29. Following the public suggestions, the word will be chosen by the Hindi Dictionaries team at Oxford University Press (OUP) along with an advisory panel of language experts who each bring a unique perspective. The panel includes writer-publisher Namita Gokhle, Indian language expert Kritika Agrawal, journalist Saurabh Dwivedi, senior editorial manager at OUP India Malika Ghosh, and Ranchi University associate professor Poonam Nigam Sahay. K…

What the UGC ruling on plagiarism means for Indian academia

In many ways, India’s attitude towards copying and pasting of content exemplifies the stand it usually takes on IPR-related issues such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs and geographical indications, which has consistently fallen short of international best practices.
The UGC’s draft rules for students states that in non-core areas, plagiarism of up to 10% would not invite any penalty while that of between 10% and 40% would mean the students will have to submit a revised research paper within six months.(THINKSTOCK)
The new rules approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the higher education regulatory body, say that researchers will lose their registration and teachers their jobs if found guilty of plagiarising. There will be graded punishment for offenders. This essential move should have come much earlier to ensure that Indian academia is a wellspring of fresh ideas rather than a morass of regurgitated thoughts. Plagiarism — the practice of taking someone else’s…

IISc, JNU and BHU in India’s Ivy League - National institutional ranking identifies top universities; Delhi and Tamil Nadu colleges excel

In a sector that has witnessed a lot of churn of late, including student unrest, the roster of excellence continues to remain stolidly predictable, with the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) India Rankings 2018 throwing no surprises. The third edition of the NIRF Rankings, released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on Tuesday, included overall rankings across disciplines and as well as category-wise ranking for engineering, pharmacy, medical, management, architecture, law, university and colleges. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, retained its position as India’s top-ranked university for the third year in a row. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was ranked second, followed by Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in the third place. Overall toppers The top 10 in the ‘overall’ category (which considers all higher educational institutions irrespective of discipline) again had the IISc at the top and included six Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), wi…

IIT Guwahati develops silk scaffold for bone regeneration - With trials on rabbit models showing promise, the next tests will be on larger animals

A scaffold made of silk composite functionalised with copper-doped bioactive glass to facilitate faster bone regeneration has been developed by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati. The scaffold seeded with stem cells was found to differentiate into bone cells, facilitate growth of blood vessels and successfully integrate the newly formed bone cells with the native bone. The researchers were able to replicate the results in rabbits using functionalised non-mulberry silk composite. Rabbits with scaffolds implanted at the site of bone injury showed successful growth of bone cells and integration with the native bone at the end of three months. Commercially available synthetic grafts have a failure rate of about 25% and 30-60% complication rates. This is due to slower bonding with native bone and poor blood vessel growth. The team led by Prof. Biman Mandal from the Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering at IIT Guwahati developed the silk composite by adding chop…

Pencils that carry seeds script a success story - Eco-entrepreneur in Telangana uses recycled paper and natural raw material for the production

Imagine a pencil that could grow into a sapling after you discard it. Or a pencil made of old newspapers, actually water-resistant. Yes, they are real, and available. G. Pramod Kumar, an MBA-turned entrepreneur set up Samiksha Enterprises and makes Rainbow Paper Pencils. The idea was born after a reflection on the philosophy of pencils, and a desire to start his own business. Help came from his cousin a machine manufacturer in Mumbai. Now his unit adds to the rhythmic click-clack in the weavers' colony at Nelapatla village here. The pencils that Mr. Kumar makes have only eco-friendly, natural ingredients – gum, newsprint paper and lead. Moreover, the equipment used is as mundane as the ingredients - pencil roller, polisher and cutter. Probably a first in Telangana, Mr. Kumar says, four 7-inch paper pencils can be produced from a centre-spread of a newspaper. And about 12 kg old newspapers, or a below 50 gsm (grams per square metre, indicating the lightness or heaviness of the paper) …

10 biggest features in the next version of Android OS - The upcoming operating system will have interesting features to make the ecosystem more intuitive and save time

Google has recently released a preview of the next version Android, dubbed Android P (for now). The new OS is out in the form of Developer Preview 1 and is likely to get an official introduction in May during Google’s annual developer conference I/O 2018. Although the entire list of Android P features is not out yet, check out all that’s new in the operating system:
1. Support for iPhone X-like notch on the display Yes, Google is following Apple. The Android P Developer Preview 1 comes with the ‘Display Cutout’ support. The new OS version will support full screen smartphones with a dedicated space for speakers and the front cameras, something that sounds a lot like what we have seen with the iPhone X.
Gmail-like ‘Smart Replies’ coming to messages It’s been a while since Google unveiled its ‘Smart Reply’ to Inbox, Gmail and Allo platforms. These are automated responses that show up as a reply to mails or a chat, using machine learning algorithm. These will now come to messages to your sa…