How To Beat Your Larger Competitors

first_imgWhat are you doing to future relationships in your dream client accounts so that you can make yourself known and obtain an opportunity to compete?How do you stay engaged with your dream clients during the periods where they are working with your competitors so that you have successfully made your case when they are dissatisfied enough to move to a smaller company? Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now I grew up in a business that was much smaller than the major competitors with whom we battled for business. I learned to sell by competing with competitors with revenue thousands of times greater than my company for the largest prospects in my territory. Rarely did I have to compete against a company of equal or smaller revenue.Here is a pattern I picked up that’s worth sharing.The Safer ChoiceThey used to say “Nobody got fired for hiring IBM.” Maybe they still say this.It is easy for companies to choose a large, well-established company as their partner. You don’t get to be a large corporation without building the processes and systems that allow you to do good work. A large company appears to be safer because many others have chosen them as a partner, they have great resources, and they seem to be less of a risk when it comes to execution.The first time through a real buying process a lot of big businesses choose other large companies as their partners. And so do a lot of smaller companies.It’s Not Us, It’s ThemWhen the larger company doesn’t produce the expected results, it’s very easy for the customer to believe that the larger company is to blame. In many cases this is true. Those same processes and systems that allow a large business to scale also make it tough for them to customize their approach to individual clients or customers. This is where bigger companies begin to have some challenges.By not being able to customize their solution or give attention to some of their many customers, larger companies end up creating enough dissatisfaction that they open themselves up to the threat of being competitively displaced. That sounds like an excellent opportunity, but much of the time, the buying company isn’t quite ready to let go of the safer choice. So they choose another larger company as their partner, believing that switching partners will change the result.Ready for Real ChangeAfter a couple of rounds with larger companies as partners, many companies are ready for real change. They find out that the solution they want is going to require a partner who is willing and able to customize a solution specifically tailored to them and their business. This is when the playing field is leveled and smaller competitors who have done their homework have a chance to win.You have to start nurturing your dream clients now to ensure you get an opportunity to compete. This is how you punch above your weight class.The Long GameThe first time you compete, win or lose, you get to meet the people who make decisions. You also get a chance to start building your case.The second time you compete, you get an opportunity to deepen the relationship and show your dream client how your ability to tailor your solution will give them what they want.The third time you compete, if you’ve nurtured relationships, you massively increase your odds of winning because you are known and because your dream client is continually disappointed with the results larger companies fail to provide.last_img read more

Dealing with Risks Real and Perceived

first_imgAt the end of the buyer’s process in evaluating change and a potential new partner, they worry about risks.Some of these risks are real. Some of them are not real but must be treated as if they are.Real Risks That Prevent Buyers from Saying YesThe risk that you may fail in delivering the outcome you are selling is real. Even though you don’t believe that it will happen, it is something that may happen. Your dream client has likely had a the experience of a partner failing before, and it isn’t unreasonable for your prospective client to be afraid to make a decision when they are concerned about whether they will get what they bargained for.The risk that you may sell your dream client your solution and disappear when things get difficult is very real. In fact, it’s likely that some of the contacts within your prospect’s company have been bamboozled in the past, and it is why they express skepticism now. Even if you have no intention of disappearing, the risk is real.Your prospective client may fear paying too much and that you cannot really justify the delta between your price and your competitors. It doesn’t mean that you cannot justify the delta, it’s the fear that you won’t that gives your prospective client cause for concern. They want to believe you are better, but what if you’re not?Perceived Risks That Block DealsSome risks your dream client perceives are not real. But they still require your attention.Your prospective client may worry that your smaller size is a risk and indicates a potential inability to execute. They may believe your diminutive size is an indication that you don’t have the necessary resources to deliver the outcomes you are promising. Even though it may be more likely that your larger competitor who has grown through acquisitions is straddled with crippling debt requiring the bulk of their profit to pay the interest on their loans, they may perceive bigger as safer.Some may be concerned that you don’t have experience in their exact industry or vertical. This is a similar mistake we make in hiring, believing experience counts more than anything else, even though it isn’t often true. In just as many cases the principles and values that allow you to serve some clients in one industry well easily translate to clients in a different industry. The fear is still real.Whether or not the risks are real or perceived, you must treat them as if they are real. Without discussing the issues to help your prospective client resolve their concerns about risk, you are in danger of losing your opportunity.It isn’t your prospective clients job to resolve their own concerns. That’s what you are there to do.last_img read more

Disciplines and Goals – Episode 43

first_imgDisciplines and goals are different. Goals are important, but disciplines can be even more important.last_img

The Only Two Business Strategies – Episode 65

first_imgThings are moving in one of two directions. They are either moving towards being super-transactional or super-relational. You have to choose one of these strategies.last_img

Only Do One Thing At a Time

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now The proliferation of tools, apps, and modern business practices has increased the number of distractions with the power to interrupt your work to a number just shy of infinite. When email was new and novel, a chime to notify you of a new message in your inbox was helpful. The inbox, the phone, and an open door were the only ways you might be distracted from your work. The new currency of excellence is focus, something that requires giving yourself over to what’s most important and avoiding distractions. If you want to do excellent—and meaningful—work, focus on one thing at a time.On a Need to Know BasisEmail: Your email program notifies you that you just received a message, something that might have been useful at a time before email became the primary form of communication. If you have your email notifications on now, the frequency of interruption matches the second hand on a clock, making the notification of an email something close to useless. Most people leave their inbox open, responding to email in real-time, opening themselves up to innumerable distractions, most of which are not worth the cost of shifting your focus.Chat: Your messaging service or chat program notifies you that some conversation you are part of has new messages. Because other people can tag you in those messages, you are interrupted when they seek your attention. The intention behind these programs is that you could catch up when it makes sense. But the tools initially designed to replace email communication more often resemble the telephone’s synchronous communication.Smartphone: The smartphone and its many applications provide an endless parade of notifications and distractions. Every application, from the task manager that is supposed to help you be more productive, to the social apps that are supposed to keep you connected to people, all come with notifications, each promising to keep you updated, and in doing so, robbing you of your focus. Add texting to this device, and you have the ultimate weapon of mass distraction.Open Workspace: If you are unfortunate enough to work in an open office space, you are plagued by the option for anyone to interrupt you at any time and for any reason. It’s also likely that you can’t get through dinner without picking up your phone every five minutes. Not that anyone notices while they engage with their smartphone.While all of these tools may be useful in some cases, do you need to know the information they provide now? Is each communication so valuable that you must stop what you are doing to review it, decide what it means, and respond to it? The answer is a resounding, “no!” Almost nothing requires your immediate attention.More Than One Thing at a TimeComputers are designed for multitasking. In some ways, humans are also capable of doing more than one thing at a time. But humans are not capable of doing two things that require their attention at the same time. You can drive to work without having to concentrate on the route and listen to the radio, that pattern having been burned in over time. You can wash the dishes and talk to someone at the same time without any trouble. But some tasks require your full focus and attention.You cannot read an email and write a report at the same time. Nor can you have a meaningful conversation with someone you care about while answering your email and checking every text message as it arrives. When you are doing more than one thing at a time, you are not multitasking. Instead, you are shifting your attention between the different tasks.There is no single outcome you might generate that is improved by shifting your attention to every potential distraction. The opposite, however, is true; you significantly improve your results when you give yourself over to some piece of work.Giving Yourself Over to Your WorkI am using the word “work” broadly here. Work means some outcome you need to create, be it a work project or task or date night. Because it is possible for your body to be in one place and your mind somewhere else, giving yourself over to your work requires that you bring them together in the same spaceThe way to give yourself over to work is to focus on one task at a time for, say, ninety minutes. To do so, you have to refuse to allow anything else to capture any small part of your attention.If everything is important enough to deserve your attention, then nothing is important. When you assign the same value to an email or text message as the conversation you are having with someone on your team, you are surely undervaluing the more important of the two. When you stop working on your most important project or initiative because your phone notified you that someone commented on your social post, you are assigning too much value to something with no chance of creating the same long term value as your most important project.Writing This PostAs I am writing this post, I have a single application open. I have no web browser on my screen. The notifications function on my laptop is completely disabled. It is very early in the morning, and there is little chance anyone will need—or want—my attention.My smartphone is on the desk, but it is in Do Not Disturb mode, allowing no texts or calls except for the people in my favorites list, which includes my family members. All the notifications on all the applications on my iPhone are turned off, as I refuse notifications from all apps when I install them, with very few exceptions, my calendar being the primary app I allow to notify me. As I am writing this, my phone chimed to let me know I have a meeting in ten minutes. I can get so focused that I lose track of time, which makes that a notification worth allowing.I have written close to a thousand words in about forty-five minutes, something that might have taken more than two hours had I not given it my full and undivided attention.Excellence is in the OutcomesIn a world where almost everyone has forfeited the right to give themselves over to something long enough to do excellent work, doing so makes you a stand out. You cannot do anything with excellence when you allow your focus to be pulled this way and that by the trivial.last_img read more

Atmaram Nadkarni to appear on behalf of Goa in Mahadayi dispute

first_imgThe Union Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Judicial Section, has granted permission to Advocate Atmaram N. S. Nadkarni, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to represent the State of Goa in the matter of Mahadayi Inter-State River Dispute Tribunal.The permission has been granted in relaxation of rules with the stipulation that his appearance will be as an Advocate and not as Additional Solicitor General.Earlier on Februrary 22, the then-Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar, had requested permission to allow Mr. Nadkarni to appear on behalf of the State.last_img

NDFB(S) militants killed in encounter

first_imgPolice on Thursday killed two NDFB (S) militants and seized large quantity of arms and ammunition from their possession following an encounter in Chirang district.“The encounter took place at Simlaguri under Amguri police station. The slain militants have been identified as Lukus Narzary and David Islary and both of them were trained in Myanmar,” Bodoland Territory Administrative Districts (BTAD) IGP Anurag Agarwal said.“An INSAS rifle, a pistol, a hand grenade and bullets were seized from them,” the officer said. PTIlast_img

Exodus in Meghalaya BJP on cattle trade rule

first_img Bachu Marak, North Garo Hills district president for BJP and too, left BJP. The incident has saddened Mr.  Bernard Marak as BJP brought hundreds of militants back to civilian life. Congress had refused to talk to the militants since ANVC was proscribed in 2000.“But BJP did speak to us within six months of coming to power and by December 2014 we dissolved both ANVC and ANVC-B; about 1000 of us laid down arms and eventually joined the BJP and we are grateful,” Mr. Marak said.Following the ANVC surrender, BJP managed to instill confidence among the Garos, who decide the fate of 24 out of 60 Assembly seats in Meghalaya in the Garo Hills division. “We thought it is not a Hindu party, but like any other political party and so we joined it,” said Mr. Bachu Marak, a businessman. The friendliness of Garos helped BJP and it bagged a seat in 2015 in 30-member Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and the Maraks started to build the party from the scratch. However, the disillusionment of the former militants may affect the BJP in the Assembly election of 2018, feels Mr. Bachu Marak“And the ban on cow slaughter is responsible,” said Mr. Bachu Marak, who left the BJP within a week of Mr. Bernerd Marak’s resignation. Bernard Marak   Bernard Marak   For nearly 15 years, Bernard Marak led a fight against the Indian Union as the elusive chairman of an insurgent outfit demanding a separate homeland. He claims was “a contented man” while operating as a militant. However, two-and-a-half years after signing an agreement with the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]-led government and disbanding his outfit, Mr. Marak is “confused and somewhat saddened.” The reason, he says, is a notification.The problem started with the May 23 notification of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change which says that the cattle buyer “shall…not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter.” The provision has confused the 41-year-old software engineer, also a custodian of indigenous Garo people’s land. He joined the BJP after bidding a farewell to arms.“What is the notification expected to mean,” asks the former district president of the BJP in Tura, who resigned after the notification.“To be precise, I resigned after an altercation with a national level BJP leader, who said that there are 11,000 members of which 10,000 does not consume beef. I was asked to respect their rights,” Mr. Marak said. “But what about the choice of lakhs of Garos of Meghalaya, who consume beef, I asked. To which, I was suggested to start my own party.” Mr. Marak’s desertion was followed by a series of resignations from the BJP – many from his cadres in the outlawed A’chik National Volunteer Council-Breakaway [ANVC-B].  He was inducted in BJP for his skills in organising programmes, and he lost his job for the same set of skills. “I organised a beer and beef festival and they warned me,” he said. Like Mr. Bernerd, he also denied being “sacked” and mailed his resignation letter in which he claims that he is resigning from the party “for dishonouring” his “culture and traditional practices.” Both the Maraks said that beef is “an essential part of a Christian and Garo culture” and a ban on slaughter is “an infringement” on the cultural rights of the indigenous people. Mr. Marak claims that following their resignation “many thousands” of supporters left the BJP in 16 of 24 Assembly constituencies in the Garo Hills where the Maraks and their friends are active, which would “hurt BJP.” Independent sources claim as many as 5000 BJP supporters have left the party following the ban on slaughter, which, however, could not be implemented. Congress-led Meghalaya Assembly rejected the ban on Monday.BJP’s district president Shibun Lyngdoh, however, said that no one other then two Maraks and one youth member have left the party. “So it would in no way affect party’s poll prospects in 2018,” he said on phone from Delhi. Moreover he accused the former presidents for their fate. “They have not formed the internal party committees and was about to be removed, they were aware,” he said.“They were also keen to avail party tickets which they felt were not coming their way so they cut an excuse in the name of beef ban,” said Mr. Lyngdoh. He said the new entrants in the party also made the “old members” like the Maraks “feel insecure.” The Maraks denied the allegations and stuck to their version and even issued a warning. “If BJP keeps trying to change the cultural practices, it would only encourage militancy in the North East,” Mr. Bernerd Marak said.last_img read more

BJP targets Mayawati over ‘controversial’ bungalow

first_imgThe controversy over Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati converting the 13-A Mall Avenue bungalow into a memorial for Dalit icon Kanshi Ram continued on Monday with the BJP raising doubts over it, saying the public has not been allowed to visit it till now.BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra, however, refuted the allegation and said that the memorial was open for public but only after proper security checks.His rebuttal came after BJP spokesman Manish Shukla said, “No one prior to June 2, when the BSP chief announced that she was vacating the bungalow, was allowed to visit the ‘Sri Kanshi Ram Ji Yadgar Vishram Sthal’.”“If 13-A Mall Avenue was ‘Sri Kanshi Ram Ji Yadgar Vishram Sthal’ and it was a museum in the name of Kanshi Ram, why were the common people not allowed entry… people are allowed entry into (other) museums either through ticket or for free,” Mr. Shukla pointed out.“The manner in which Mayawati took media persons on a guided tour of the bungalow that day (June 2)… did it ever happen before? Even the media persons who were invited for press conferences there used to be earlier confined to an open place and were not allowed to move around,” the BJP spokesperson stressed.Mr. Misra said the BJP’s contention was “far from truth”.“People were allowed to visit the campus but after proper security check… it was only the small portion (of the property) that was occupied by the party supremo where entry was restricted,” he said.The BSP chief has moved out of the premises with all her belongings and the bungalow has been handed over to the state’s Estates Department, Misra said.On Saturday, the BSP president had said she was “vacating” the portion of the 13-A Mall Avenue bungalow which her party has already declared as the memorial in the name of founder Kanshi Ram.last_img read more

Two communities clash in U.P. district, hundreds booked

first_imgA clash broke out between two communities outside a gurudwara here following which over 80 identified and hundreds of unidentified people were booked for rioting and damaging public property, the police said on Sunday.Additional SP (rural) Subhash Chandra Shakya said tension erupted on Saturday when a watchman objected to putting up a cart to sell “rakhis” by a 14-year-old girl outside the gurudwara in the Banda area of the district. The watchman also allegedly hit the girl with a stick, the police said.As the news spread, Hindus and Sikhs reached the spot and indulged in stone pelting. Superintendent of Police, Shahjahanpur, S. Chinappa said, “Three FIRs have been registered [on complaints by the girl’s father, a resident of Banda and the police] against more than 80 people from both sides and hundreds of others under various sections of the IPC for rioting and damaging public property.” He said heavy police deployment has been made in the area to maintain law and order. A meeting of the two sides was called by District Magistrate Amrit Tripathi to help law enforcement agencies establish peace, he said.last_img read more

Siberian visitors freeze Assam-Meghalaya border dispute

first_imgUmru village on the Assam-Meghalaya border lacks a road but that doesn’t stop its famous winter visitors — a flock of Amur falcons, the world’s longest travelling raptors.While Doyang Lake near Pangti village in Nagaland’s Wokha district is better known as a stopover for the Amur falcons during their annual migration from their breeding grounds in Mongolia and northern China to warmer South Africa, a flock has been seen since 2010 in Umru. The lack of an access road is not the only problem faced by the villagers. Umru is in Block II, one of 12 disputed areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border, since Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972.Assam claims the village is under Baithalangso Assembly constituency of East Karbi Anlong district while Meghalaya asserts it is under Mawhati Assembly constituency of its Ri-Bhoi district.The 50-odd Gorkha households in the village prefer to be in Assam while the 30 Khasi tribal households want to be in Meghalaya.Common causeBut these disputes are forgotten when the village welcomes the falcons in mid-October, uniting to ensure a safe stay for the birds. Both communities have made common cause in protection of the Amur falcons and have fixed a fine of ₹25,000 for anyone caught ensnaring or killing the birds.“Various factors divide the people, but this should not affect the beautiful birds who know nothing about political boundaries,” L. Khriam, former headman of Umru said. Gorkha elders such as S.B. Chhetri echo the sentiment. Birdwatchers paradiseThe Tyrso Valley Wildlife Protection Society is an NGO formed by the villagers of the eponymous Meghalaya village adjoining Umru. The group has been organising the Amur Falcon Festival since 2015 to celebrate the “birds that have this back-of-beyond area famous”.The festival is scheduled on November 7-8, a fortnight before the birds are expected to soar for the next destination on their migration.“People here have become sensitive about the birds because of our awareness campaigns. They are also opening up to the idea of homestays for birdwatchers and nature lovers who come here for the Amur falcons,” the society’s chairman Jro Shadap said.And the lack of a road had cramped their plans to open up to birdwatchers. The former Congress-led coalition government in Meghalaya under Mukul M. Sangma had sanctioned a nine km road from nearest roadhead, Liarbang and the villagers hope work on the road will begin soon.The Umru-Tyrso area, about 75 km northeast of Shillong, however, is a relatively recent pit stop for the Amur falcons. The birds used to flock to Umwang, also in the Block II disputed area, from 1998-2009 before human interference made them shift base.Wildlife officials in Nagaland also point out that the migratory birds used to roost in very large numbers in the Changtongya Community Conservation Reserve but moved on to Pangti and Yaongyimchen, a lesser roosting site. Efforts are on to revive the Changtongya area, about 100 km north of Pangti, for the migratory raptors.last_img read more

Pakistan resorts to heavy shelling along LoC in J&K; 5 soldiers injured

first_imgThe Army on Tuesday said Pakistan Army violated the ceasefire agreement on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and five soldiers were injured.”Post 6:30 p.m., out of anger and frustration, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling with heavy calibre weapons in 12 to 15 places all along the LoC,” said the Army.He said in exchange of fire five soldiers of Indian Army suffered minor injuries out of which two soldiers were evacuated to  military hospital for medical treatment and are stable. “Indian Army retaliated for effect and our focused fire resulted in severe  destruction to five posts and number of casualties to Pakistan Army,” said the Army. The Army said the Pakistani troops were also seen firing mortars and missiles from civilian houses, using villagers as human shield.Earlier, the Jammu-based Army spokesman, in a statement issued, said ceasefire violations by Pakistan were repoted along the LoC in Akhnoor,  Nowshera, Krishna Ghati Sector.  “Around 5:30 p.m., Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by heavy shelling with mortars and  firing  of small arms along the LoC. Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively,” said the Army.PTI adds:The Pakistan Army resorted to heavy mortar shelling on 55 forward areas in Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts on Tuesday, Army sources said.They targeted civilian hamlets and forward posts from 1730 hours, firing from small, automatic and heavy weaponry in Krishna Gati, Balakote, Khari Karmara, Mankote, Tarkundi (Poonch district), Kalal, Baba Khori, Kalsian, Laam and Jhangar areas (Rajouri) and Pallanwala and Laleali (Jammu). There was no injury or loss of life in the ceasefire violations, an officer said. Indian troops gave a “befitting reply,” he said.Officials said more than a dozen ceasefire violations took place on Tuesday — the fourth consecutive day of Pakistan shelling and firing on Indian posts.last_img read more

Revoke Rajiv’s Bharat Ratna, says Satti

first_imgHolding Rajiv Gandhi responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti on Saturday said that Bharat Ratna conferred on the late Prime Minister must be revoked to heal the wounds of the Sikh community. In a statement, Mr. Satti said that over 5,000 Sikhs were burnt alive in the country, including in Delhi, and Rajiv Gandhi had justified it by allegedly saying that when a big tree falls, the earth shakes.last_img

No job without local language skills: Assam literary body

first_imgAn influential, century-old literary organisation in Assam has issued a diktat saying people who do not know Assamese or any other indigenous language would not be allowed to work in the State.The Assam Sahitya Sabha, established in 1917, has also set the BJP-led government a month’s deadline to make Kendriya Vidyalayas and schools affiliated to the CBSE on introduce any recognised indigenous tongue as the third language up to Class 12.Private universities such as Don Bosco University that have allegedly resisted using a local language as a medium of instruction have also been asked to fall in line or face punitive action.“We have served notice according to the provisions of the Assam Accord (of 1985 that ended a six-year agitation for ejecting illegal migrants). The Centre should have made an effort to protect the cultural and linguistic identity of the indigenous peoples. We have to protect our identity,” Paramananda Rajbongshi, president of the Sabha said in a statement on Thursday.The Sabha has been at the forefront of a movement for resisting the threat to Assamese and other local tongues from mainstream languages.last_img read more

Not a Whiff of Life on Mars

first_imgLike a hound sniffing the wind, NASA’s Curiosity rover, the 899-kilogram, car-sized robot that landed on Mars 13 months ago, has analyzed the Red Planet’s thin atmosphere and found no traces of the gas methane. That finding will disappoint many people, as methane is a potential sign of life. (Some microbes make it, and cows belch it in huge quantities.) It also puts the kibosh on claims that, at least occasionally, large clouds, or “plumes,” of methane appear on Mars. Or so say the authors of the new work. The researchers who made some of the earlier observations are sticking to their guns.Even skeptics of the previous claims say Curiosity’s data do not prove that Mars is devoid of methane or life. But the results will dampen the excitement whipped up by previous reports, predicts Kevin Zahnle, a planetologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who does not work on Curiosity. “The certainty that methane is there will go away,” he says, even if its presence can’t be ruled out.The quest for martian methane has a long history. The first observation came in 1969 from researchers working with NASA’s Mariner 7 spacecraft, which flew past Mars. Months later, the team backed off that claim. In 2004, scientists working with the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter reported traces of methane. Like the Mariner researchers, the Mars Express team aimed to detect methane by studying the spectrum of sunlight passing through the martian atmosphere and looking for evidence that infrared light of specific wavelengths had been absorbed by methane to form “spectral lines.” Others doubt that the spectrometer’s resolution was fine enough to spot the gas.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The strongest evidence for methane comes from a team led by Michael Mumma, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Using Earth-based telescopes to study sunlight reflected from the planet, the team found concentrations as high as 45 parts per billion near three geological features at a specific time: summer in the northern hemisphere of Mars in the Earth year 2003. The gas may have seeped from cliff faces heated by the sun, Mumma speculates. Trapped methane could be evidence of microbial life—ongoing or long ago—below the surface.But there’s a catch: The researchers have seen no methane since 2006. That absence is puzzling, as methane on Mars ought to linger hundreds of years before sunlight breaks it down. So some other process must destroy the methane much faster, Mumma and colleagues argued in Science in 2009.Curiosity’s on-the-spot measurements aim to clarify the issue. “We’re the first measurement from the martian surface,” says Christopher Webster, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and lead author of the new study. That’s a big advantage. Whereas Earth-based observers must sift possible martian signals from the far larger ones from Earth’s atmosphere, Curiosity’s Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) probes isolated gulps of martian gases. Shining a laser through the gas, TLS can measure spectral lines with far higher resolution than terrestrial telescopes and detect methane with much greater sensitivity.The TLS team sees no methane. Given the estimated uncertainties in their method, the researchers place an upper limit on methane in the martian atmosphere of 1.3 parts per billion, as they report online today in Science.So do the results rule out the existence of the plumes? That depends on whom you ask. Mumma stands by his observations and argues that because methane on Mars must break down quickly, the new limit poses no problems. “So far the TLS results don’t challenge anything we said in the 2009 paper,” he says. Webster sees it differently. Had the methane measured by Mumma spread out evenly over the planet, then TLS should have detected a concentration of 6 parts per billion, he says. Explaining the gas’s rapid disappearance “requires physics and chemistry that is unknown,” he says—a point that Mumma happily accepts.Scientists generally agree that Mars should have at least a little methane. The gas can be produced through nonbiological processes. And researchers say it’s still possible that the martian surface contains pockets of methane-producing microbial life. TLS researchers will keep sniffing. They can improve the sensitivity of their measurements at least 10-fold by pumping the carbon dioxide out of their samples to concentrate the other substances in them, says Paul Mahaffy, a planetary scientist at Goddard and a member of the TLS team: “My one-liner would be, the hunt for the elusive methane continues.”last_img read more

Monkeys Use Minds to Control Avatar Arms

first_imgMost of us don’t think twice when we extend our arms to hug a friend or push a shopping cart—our limbs work together seamlessly to follow our mental commands. For researchers designing brain-controlled prosthetic limbs for people, however, this coordinated arm movement is a daunting technical challenge. A new study showing that monkeys can move two virtual limbs with only their brain activity is a major step toward achieving that goal, scientists say.The brain controls movement by sending electrical signals to our muscles through nerve cells. When limb-connecting nerve cells are damaged or a limb is amputated, the brain is still able to produce those motion-inducing signals, but the limb can’t receive them or simply doesn’t exist. In recent years, scientists have worked to create devices called brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that can pick up these interrupted electrical signals and control the movements of a computer cursor or a real or virtual prosthetic.So far, the success of BMIs in humans has been largely limited to moving single body parts, such as a hand or an arm. Last year, for example, a woman paralyzed from the neck down for 10 years commanded a robotic arm to pick up and lift a piece of chocolate to her mouth just by thinking about it. But, “no device will ever work for people unless it restores bimanual behaviors,” says neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, senior author of the paper. “You need to use both arms and hands for the simplest tasks.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In 2011, Nicolelis made waves by announcing on The Daily Show that he is developing a robotic, thought-controlled “exoskeleton” that will allow paralyzed people to walk again. Further raising the stakes, he pledged that the robotic body suit will enable a paralyzed person to kick a soccer ball during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Brazil World Cup. (Nicolelis is Brazilian and his research is partly funded by the nation’s government.)That feat will require decoding the complex neural signals that coordinate two legs as they walk together and keep a person upright. Now, by successfully training two monkeys to control virtual arms using only their minds, Nicolelis’s team has moved closer to that goal. The new experiment involved two monkeys, a male and a female. Before it began, each monkey had electrodes implanted into its right and left brain hemisphere, which recorded the activity of up to 500 neurons acting together—the highest number of neurons yet used in such an experiment, Nicolelis says. The animal’s task was to control the movement of two avatar arms on a computer monitor: To get a fruit juice reward, it had to place both hands over two circles and hold them there for 100 milliseconds, as demonstrated in the video above. A computer algorithm processed the monkey’s brain activity, homing in on patterns of neurons firing as it learned to do the task.The female monkey, called monkey C, first learned how to get the juice by moving joysticks with her real arms and hands—as she manipulated the joysticks, the right and left avatar arms did what she wished. After practicing this during regular 20- to 40-minute sessions over the course of a year, she was strapped into a padded chair so that she couldn’t move her own arms or hands, and trained to control the avatar arms just by thinking. After weeks of practice, she was able to complete the task more than 75% of the time, the scientists report today in Science Translational Medicine.Because a paralyzed person or amputee can’t necessarily practice a task using joysticks, the next step was to determine whether observation alone could teach the BMI. Monkey M, a male, wasn’t allowed to use the joysticks or move his arms at any point in the experiment—he simply observed the task being performed. It took longer for him to learn, but monkey M also learned to control the virtual arms using only his thoughts. Both animals’ performances improved over time, and the researchers noticed that their neuronal firing patterns changed as this happened, suggesting that their brains were adapting to the BMI devices. This could be because the monkeys came to consider the virtual arms as part of their own bodies, Nicolelis suggests. “The animals literally incorporate the avatar as if the avatar was them.”The basic technology that Nicolelis and colleagues used to extract instructions for movement from the mishmash of monkey brain signals isn’t new, says Jose Contreras-Vidal, a biomedical engineer at the University of Houston in Texas. The real advance of the study, he says, is that the team was able to figure out which neurons they needed to record to control two arms working together. Although one might assume that it would be possible to simply combine neural activity from two arms acting independently, the study shows that cells act differently when they are coordinating the movements of two limbs than they do when separately instructing one limb or the other, he says. This is the first study to extract and use that complex information to coordinate arm movements in real time, Contreras-Vidal says.Although he agrees that the new study is strong, Andrew Schwartz, a neurobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, thinks scientists can do better. Even though the monkeys’ task was quite simple, they had only about a 45% success rate overall, he notes. “I’m looking forward to higher performance and success rates and more realistic natural movements.”Nicolelis may have shown that the monkeys can learn to use these avatar arms to complete a one simple task, but it’s not clear that the same type of training will work for the more complex activities that humans need to perform, Contreras-Vidal cautions. “This is a first step.”last_img read more

In Academia, Women Collaborate Less With Their Same-Sex Juniors

first_imgIn that crucial period before tenure, assistant professors must publish or perish. Co-authoring a paper with a senior faculty member down the hall can make all the difference. But at least for female psychologists, that collaborator tends to be male, even when there are female full professors available, according to a new study. The authors say that the findings may reveal yet another barrier toward women advancing in academia.The researchers honed in on psychology because of all the scientific fields they examined, it had the highest prevalence of high-ranking women. They surveyed 50 psychology departments at U.S. and Canadian universities. More than other scientific fields, psychology is heading for gender parity, though it’s not there yet. While the gender ratio of assistant professors is almost exactly even, with slightly more females, full-professor males still outnumbered females 2 to 1 in their data. The researchers surveyed the psychologists’ research publications from 2008 to 2011. Because the study focused on collaborations within departments, they focused only on the 459 papers that had a full professor and one other member of the same department as co-authors. Such collaborations can make all the difference for junior faculty. If they don’t publish major papers within 6 years, they are unlikely to make tenure, which can often spell doom for their academic careers. Then they tallied how many of those collaborations happened between two full professors or across ranks—a full professor co-authoring with an assistant professor—and calculated the gender ratios. Of course, even if collaboration is completely gender-blind, those gender ratios would not be equally split between male-male and male-female pairs, because there are twice as many male full professors and the rate of publication varies between departments. So the team calculated what the expected gender ratios would be if the psychologists in their study were just randomly collaborating with members of their own departments. If the published papers match those expected ratios, then that would indicate that gender does not play a large role in the collaborations of psychologists within their departments.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)That’s not what the researchers found. In a 4-year period, female full professors co-authored only 14 papers with female junior faculty members in their departments, half as many as expected, the team reports online today in Current Biology. Female full professors did collaborate as much as expected with female peers in their departments, as well as male junior faculty.Female academics face several challenges that their male colleagues don’t, says lead author Joyce Benenson, a psychologist at Emmanuel College in Boston  (who co-authored the paper with Richard Wrangham, a full professor at Harvard University where Berenson worked previously as junior faculty). “Besides greater investment in child care and lower self-confidence than men, along with discrimination by men towards women—which by the way is present by 3 years of age— women don’t obtain the same level of support as men do from [higher ranked] same-sex individuals.” Berenson notes that the difference starts early in development. “From early childhood onwards, girls [more than boys] prefer to interact with one other equal same-sex peer in an exclusive, intensive, intimate relationship. … This means that higher-ranked and lower-ranked girls are avoided and extraneous girls are excluded.”For some senior female psychologists, the results are worrying. “I remember talking about this with other women my age when I was much younger,” says Linda Bartoshuk, a full professor of psychology at the University of Florida in Gainesville who has seen her share of gender bias among scientists. “Some older women treated us younger women almost worse than some men did,” she says. “We called it the ‘Queen Bee syndrome.’ We saw it as a phenomenon of passing on abuse. Women who had been treated unfairly saw this as some kind of right of passage and felt entitled to pass it on.” The lack of collaboration found in the study may reflect similar attitudes, she says, although it could also be due to female junior faculty approaching senior males preferentially, in spite of help offered from senior women.“There is a lot of literature on this in organizations where high-status women are disliked by subordinate women,” Benenson says. But so far she has identified only the lack of collaboration among female psychologists across ranks, not the cause. However, the pattern matches the social behaviors of chimpanzees, she says, where the males “interact [more] in groups with differently ranked individuals, and tolerate conflict more readily than females.” Knowing that this pattern holds even among female scientists should be helpful. “Only by increasing awareness of this can women work to overcome what I consider an innate propensity to favor kin, helpful men, and an equal [rank] female best friend.”last_img read more

To Discover Gravitational Waves, Someone’s Got to Keep the Antarctic Telescope Cold

first_imgWhen researchers announced last week that they had detected gravitational waves from an instant after the big bang, team members doffed their hats to electrical engineer Steffen Richter, who has wintered at the South Pole for the past 3 years to help operate the telescope that made it all possible, known as BICEP. Richter, 42, has spent several additional winters at the South Pole starting in 1997, when he first traveled there to work on another instrument, AMANDA, which laid the groundwork for the IceCube neutrino detection experiment. He shared his experience working at the bottom of the world in a conversation with ScienceInsider. His remarks have been edited for brevity and clarity.Q: What do you remember of your first trip to the South Pole?S.R.: It was very exciting. We had a really small crew over the winter—just 28 people. I remember getting all these medical tests before I could begin working. Being there is the closest thing there is to being an astronaut.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Q: What is it like to live there over the winter? S.R.: You have about 4 months of darkness. We all live at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. When you look out the window, you can see the geographic South Pole. It’s like a college dorm, a long hallway with shared bathrooms.Q: What’s involved in taking care of the BICEP telescope?S.R.: I go out to the telescope every day, and I check out the telescope, make sure it’s running OK. Every few days, we have to fill it with liquid helium to keep it cold. We transfer liquid helium from a storage facility, put it on a snowmobile with a crane, and drive it out to the telescope, which is three-quarters of a mile away from the base. While I’m working on the crane to pour the helium, my partner drives the snowmobile in circles. We don’t want the engine to stop. Vehicles don’t like the cold at all.Q: It’s already freezing there. How cold does the telescope have to be to detect cosmic microwaves? S.R.: The telescope is cooled to 4 kelvin. The detectors operate at a quarter of a degree above zero. At that temperature, it takes very little energy to excite the detectors. If you jump up and down next to the telescope, that’s enough energy that you will see a signal.Q: Have you jumped up and down next to the telescope?S.R.: Yes. I do that to make people aware that they shouldn’t be slamming car doors or anything when they are nearby. You can of course subtract this type of noise from the signal, but still.Q: How do you stay sane?S.R.: I work out a lot. I run on the treadmill, I do a lot of rowing on the rowing machine. I listen to music. We have a huge movie library. There are parties. People organize art shows.By August, most people at the station are pretty worn out. They are emotionally and physically drained. The whole energy level of the station goes down. And then, as soon as you see first light of spring, people run outside into the sun.Q: What do you like about your job?S.R.: It’s an adventure, and it suits my personality. I go outside every day, even when it’s dark. You can really enjoy the stars. It’s amazing how much you can see because there is no light pollution. You see a beautiful aurora. I enjoy the spectacular show that’s on every single day. What’s the point of being at the South Pole if you’re simply going to sit in an office?last_img read more

UNESCO rejects Australia’s bid to shrink Tasmanian World Heritage Site

first_imgSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—It took less than 10 minutes for a U.N. panel to unanimously reject Australia’s controversial bid to remove 74,039 hectares of wildlands in Tasmania from a designated World Heritage Site. To the delight of scientists and conservationists, not one delegate at this week’s meeting in Doha backed the proposal, submitted last January by Australia’s conservative government.Delegates from Germany, Colombia, and Portugal spoke against Australia’s bid prior to the 24 June vote of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Portugal’s delegate said the justifications for delisting were “feeble” and would set an “unacceptable precedent. … If this committee cares for conservation … we cannot accept this requested delisting.”Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, said he was “disappointed” by the decision. Australia’s environment minister, Greg Hunt, said: “Australia accepts and will consider the decision of the World Heritage Committee.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was expanded in 2013 under Australia’s previous Labor government. The Abbott government, however, asked to delist part of the site as part of a “minor boundary modification,” arguing that the area was “degraded,” “logged,” or part of a plantation. As a result, “these areas detract from the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and its overall integrity,” the government’s request argued.The claims were widely condemned by the environmental community, as well as by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So the critics were pleased by the UNESCO committee’s verdict. ”Absolutely thrilled,” said Senator Christine Milne, leader of Australia’s Greens party, in an interview with Fairfax Media.But the Tasmanian forest isn’t, well, out the woods yet, cautions forest scientist David Bowman of the University of Tasmania, Hobart. “Thorny problems” lie ahead, he says, including securing sufficient funding for management of the site and figuring out how to prepare for climate change impacts, such as fire, pests, and disease. World Heritage protection does not guarantee the forests are “locked up” from all forms of development, noted University of Melbourne researchers Tom Fairman and Rod Keenan in an article written for The Conversation, a news website. The forests will need “active management,” they write, noting that due to federal budget cuts, park management agencies must manage larger areas with fewer resources.The World Heritage Committee’s rejection of the Tasmania request wasn’t the only Australia-related news out of Doha. Last week, delegates warned that the Great Barrier Reef could be placed on a list of threatened sites due to plans to dump up to 3 million cubic meters of dredge spoils inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site.last_img read more

One type of motivation may be key to success

first_imgDo you want to lose weight? Make more money? Learn to play the piano? Your odds of achieving any of these goals depend not just on how motivated you are, but also, according to a new study of West Point cadets, the source of that motivation.There are two types of motivation. Internal motivation drives people to achieve a goal for its own sake, whereas external motivation is not directly related to the goal itself. For example, if you are learning how to play the violin, you may be internally motivated by your love of the instrument, but also externally motivated by your parents’ pride or your hope that the skill will help you get into a better college.According to one school of thought, internal motivations and external motivations are both effective. But some psychologists argue that only the internal motivations work for long-term goals, such as career achievement or learning new skills. 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Every year, about 1300 young men and women enter the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Only about 1000 of them graduate. Of those graduates, a smaller portion pursue military careers beyond the mandatory 5 years of service. And fewer still are selected for early promotion, a mark for those on their way to the top ranks. What motivations do these students have when they enter West Point? It turns out that the academy has recorded just that through its annual survey of the incoming cadets, as well as by tracking their career outcomes.Getting access to that information wasn’t easy. Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz, psychologists at Yale University and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, respectively, asked West Point 7 years ago if they could work with these data. “This then began a process,” Wrzesniewski says, of navigating bureaucracy and orchestrating official approval from the military and their home institutions. In the end, they got 14 years of data on the motivations and outcomes for more than 10,000 cadets.The first task was teasing apart the different types of motivations. West Point asks its incoming cadets to describe their motivations using a series of questions and numerical scales. The researchers created a composite score for each cadet that captured the ratio of internal to external motivations. For example, cadets had to choose a point on a scale for “Desire to be an Army officer”—which by definition is an internal motivation—and also for “My parents wanted me to go,” which is an external one. Then they measured how much of the variation in career outcomes matched up with that ratio.At least for military officers, intrinsic motivation is the only thing that matters. Even when other factors were accounted for—such as race, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, and scholastic scores—cadets with primarily internal motives were about 20% more likely to make it through West Point than the average. For cadets who did not have primarily internal motivations—even if they were equally driven by internal motives and external motives such as getting a good job or becoming physically fit—their chances of graduating were worse than average, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And compared with the cadets with primarily internal motivations, the mixed-motive cadets had a 10% lower chance of sticking with a military career and a 20% lower chance of being promoted early. The study “reveals that intrinsic motivation is powerful, but it is also fragile,” says Adam Grant, a psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Even when West Point cadets found their work interesting and meaningful, if they were also strongly motivated by extrinsic rewards,” such as a good salary or the respect of their peers, “they were less likely to complete their studies, continue their service, and get promoted early.” This creates a paradox for ambitious people. If achieving a goal strikes you as having many benefits beyond the goal itself, but you care too much about those added benefits, you are more likely to fail.last_img read more