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Awesome Resources for Edit Suite Design

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first_imgTwo industry pros sound off about edit suite design. A must read for any video editor looking to update their workspace!Edit suites are changing. In recent years the introduction of smaller and lower cost equipment allows for greater flexibility in your edit suite design.Recently going through an upgrade myself, I know there’s a lot to take into consideration when creating your edit suite design. Will you be having clients in on edit sessions? How many video monitors will you need? Is it soundproof? Editors hoping to improve their workspaces will benefit from two posts by post-production pros Walter Biscardi and Oliver Peters.DIY EDIT SUITE DESIGN POINTERSOliver Peters has been a longtime proponent of effective facility design and his most recent post on designing an edit suite provides a great overview of things to consider. A few takeaways on creating a professional grade suite:• Use an APC unit for power back up and to shield against surges (extends the life of your electronic equipment and will give you enough time to save your work if the power goes out).• Always keep ergonomics in mind.  Comfort should be one of the main priorities in your suite design. You need the right desk and the right chair.• Great tips for insulating walls and ceilings – including double dry wall and using spray foam insulation in the wall.• Don’t purchase a VTR! With the ongoing shift away from tape in favor of file based workflows this is an important consideration. Oliver suggests saving the money (and space in your suite) by instead using an outside vendor in the rare cases that you may have to capture or lay to tape.Read all of Oliver Peters’ edit suite design tips.ANATOMY OF AN EDIT SUITEMany post pros may recognize Walter Biscardi, as he frequently shares his video editing knowledge on Creative Cow and Twitter. In his extensive post on the Anatomy of an Edit Suite, Walter breaks down the construction and components in his own edit workspace. Highlights from his EXTENSIVE overview:• Make the chair your number one priority. You’re going to be sitting it in it all day, everyday. Monitors are raised and on swing arms for a proper viewing position. The keyboard shelf height is adjustable. Keep the emphasis on ergonomics.• Recommendations for specific broadcast reference monitors. Buy reasonably priced reference monitors for all suites (his recommendation: Flanders Scientific). This way, all suites are finish suites – a more efficient setup.• Raise your audio monitors and use bass pads to prevent rattling. Walter shares how he created his own stands from easy to find galvanized pipe.• Put a client computer in your edit suite. When a client’s not in house it can double as a work computer (upload and download files), keeping your edit machine cleaner.Visit BiscardiCreative.com for additional information on their suite design.Additional note: Biscardi Creative recently migrated from being a Final Cut Pro 7 centered shop to Avid Media Composer. Walter shares his rationale for the switch in this post – a good read for any pro trying to determine their FCP alternative.last_img read more

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A Quick Guide to Steadicams

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first_imgOnce mastered, Steadicam is a great way to get professional stabilized footage. In this post, pick up a few tips for Steadicam success.Video from our previous post on the Art of the SteadicamWhat is a Steadicam?A Steadicam is a camera rig that is uniquely designed to stabilize camera shake. First created in the 1970’s, the Steadicam quickly took Hollywood by storm, as a better option for shooting smooth tracking shots. Haskell Wexler was the first to use the Steadicam in the 1976 film Bound for Glory –  that year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.Steadicams can make your footage look incredibly professional but can be a bit complicated to setup properly. Let’s take a quick look at Steadicams – how they work and the different options available.Why Would I Need a Steadicam?If you’ve ever tried to keep an unstabilized camera steady, you know that no matter how steady you might feel, the footage is still going to end up a bit shaky. Using a weight to counterbalance the camera, a Steadicam can get rid of unnecessary shake and obtain smoother footage.How much smoother are Steadicam shots? Check out this comparison video:The footage from the Steadicam isn’t 100% stabilized but compared to the handheld footage it’s not even close. Now you may be asking…How Do I Setup a Steadicam?There are a lot of factors to consider when setting up a Steadicam including:Back weightsFront weightsChoosing the right pegHorizontal stabilizationVertical StabilizationLens weightLens focal lengthCamera WeightAll of these factors can be a bit overwhelming to someone new to working with a Steadicam. But thankfully the folks at CheesyCam have created a quick video demonstrating how to properly set up a Merlin Steadicam, a popular lightweight model that’s ideal for DSLRs and small cameras.Skip to 1:22 to get to the start of the tutorial.How Much Do Steadicams Cost?Commercial Steadicam systems can cost anywhere from $400 for small lightweight models to $60,000 for the top-of-the-line heavy Hollywood options. The cost really depends on your budget and need.If you aren’t up to spending hundreds of dollars on a rig than you can build your own Steadicam for only $30 via Matt Chapman.More Info on SteadicamsSetting up your Steadicam is only half the challenge. It takes years of practice and experience to become a master Steadicam operator (which is why it is a sought after, well paid position in film and television). Check out these links featuring more useful information on Steadicam operation:Tiffin – The makers of Merlin and other professional SteadicamsThe Steadicam Operators Association – professional group for usersSteadicam WorkshopsThe Steadicam Operator’s Handbook – by Focal PressHow Steadicam’s Work – Via How Stuff WorksWiki Steadicam – Via WikipediaHave any tips for using a Steadicam? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

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Why You Shouldn’t Always Be Shooting RAW

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first_imgWith raw shooting cameras so readily available, many filmmakers are opting to shoot raw as much as possible. Although there are some huge benefits with regards to raw image capture, there are also some major downsides. Raw isn’t always the best choice.There is no denying that a raw image will almost always look better than the same image captured with a compressed format. Just like shooting raw still photos (as opposed to JPEG) raw video delivers a final image that has maximized dynamic range, detail and overall image quality. If you’re reading this article, chances are you know very well just how beneficial the raw format can be. While I personally love shooting raw and use it for many of my narrative projects, there are many instances where it isn’t the right choice and I decide to shoot straight to ProRes, or to another compressed codec. Throughout this post, I want to touch on some of the reasons why you might NOT want to shoot on raw, since most of us already understand the many benefits of capturing a raw image.Limited Camera ChoiceMany shooters make the mistake of believing that they need to shoot raw in order to achieve the results they are looking for – specifically when it comes to narrative. This unfortunately leads them to limit their camera choice severely by eliminating many other great camera options than may not shoot raw. This can be particularly problematic in a number of scenarios, one of which being low-light shooting situations. For example, you might want to shoot a scene for your film at night using available street light, which in itself is a difficult task. If you don’t have a lot of experience with many raw shooting cameras (let’s use the RED Epic as an example in this case), you might not realize that most of the current raw cameras that are on the market don’t perform well in low light. So if you were to go out and rent an Epic to go and shoot your night scene, you might end up with some really grainy and unusable footage. Yes, it will be raw, but no that doesn’t mean it will look good. Conversely if you were to shoot on a camera like the Canon C300, you would likely be able to get much better results even though the camera itself isn’t nearly as powerful, and is recording to a heavily compressed format.The key takeaway when it comes to camera choice, is that the ability to shoot raw should never be your number one concern unless you are shooting something very specific that absolutely needs the additional flexibility of raw. Having the ability to shoot raw when you need it is great, but if it is going to mean that you are choosing a camera that limits your shooting options in other ways – it’s never going to be the best choice.Massive Data RequirementsAny raw camera is going to require a lot of storage, which can become very costly and cumbersome to deal with. While some cameras (such as REDs) will shoot to a compressed raw format, many others (like the BMCC) shoot uncompressed raw, and either way the file sizes for any given raw clip are going to be very large.When you consider the amount of storage that you need not only to store your dailies, but also to make backups of everything – you’re looking at a pretty big expense and a much more involved post process. You might feel like these particular issues aren’t a big deal for you, and maybe they aren’t…but it’s worth pointing out that a huge amount of television series and feature films that shoot on the Arri Alexa (which can shoot raw or ProRes), opt to shoot ProRes in order to streamline their workflow. Any great DP that I have ever worked with that owns or shoots with an Alexa regularly have no problem shooting to ProRes, even though it’s a compressed format since they know how great that image can look and they are confident enough in their skill set to not have to rely on raw to save them in post.Color Grading Is A MustIf you plan to shoot raw, you need to plan for a pretty involved color grading session. Chances are, even if you are shooting to ProRes or any other compressed format you are going to be color grading to some degree, but when shooting raw the overall workflow becomes more dense.I make a good portion of my living as a colorist and work with raw footage as well as compressed footage nearly every day, and from first hand experience I would say that I normally prefer working with compressed material if it was well shot. This may come as a surprise as obviously raw is a better format for color grading on a technical level (as it holds way more data in each clip), but how much does it matter?Raw can be immensely helpful when dealing with a blown out window, or any number of other situations that were difficult to shoot on the day of. But in many cases you simply don’t need the power that raw offers. When an experienced DP hands off a ProRes project to me, I know that I’ll likely be able to color grade it a lot more easily than when an inexperienced DP hands off a raw project to me. The reason of course being that the experienced DP has lit and exposed their image in a way that calls for a less intensive color grading session, and therefore needs to rely less on the raw image format.ConclusionRaw is a great format, and I appreciate the benefits of shooting with it. Many of my own films have been shot on RED or BMCC in raw. However, there are some major considerations when it comes to shooting raw including the limited camera options you have, the big data requirements, and the need for a more involved color grading process. There is something to be said about shooting with a camera that is simple to use (especially on a small scale shoot) and will allow you to stay light on your feet and not miss critical shots as a result of becoming bogged down with the raw format. You need to approach your choice carefully.last_img read more

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Video Editing Quick Tip: Stack Timelines in Premiere Pro

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first_imgKnowing how to stack timelines in Premiere Pro can really expedite your video editing workflow. Here’s how it’s done.Top image via ShutterstockPremiere Pro provides the ability to stack (aka “pancake“) timelines on top of each other. This simplifies the act of moving sequences and clips back and forth in a seamless “drag and drop” and benefits you by stopping interruptions to the flow of your edit.Below, Dylan Osborn provides an excellent walkthrough of the steps needed to stack timelines in Premiere Pro. The tutorial also dives into how you can edit clips from one sequence to another instead of copying and pasting. (After the video, we’ll go through the process step-by-step.) 1. Drag Edited SequenceTo begin, drag the edited sequence you wish to pull from over to your source monitor. 2. Open in TimelineClick on the Source Monitors Settings and hit Open Sequence in Timeline. This will open the sequence and move your Project Timeline over.3. Drag and DropFinally,  simply click and hold on the Source Monitor tab and drag/drop it on top of your project timeline! Voilà!Have multiple timelines helped you in the past? Share your experiences in the comments below!last_img read more

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Gear Basics: Is Filming with a Pancake Lens a Viable Option?

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first_imgWhat is a pancake lens, and should you be using one? In this write-up, we cover everything you should consider before attaching one to your camera.When you’re first getting into filmmaking, the sheer amount of basic information you need to learn can be overwhelming. You may spend weeks learning how to capture audio correctly, only to discover that different microphones will have different polar patterns and capture sound differently — and the process starts over. The same goes for lenses. On a fundamental level, it can be easy to trip over something as simple as the terms for a lens. You can have a tilt-shift prime lens or a telephoto zoom lens with macro capabilities. If you’re new, it will get confusing quickly. Pancake lenses are no exception.“Pancake” is the colloquial term-turned-commercial name for short-barreled lenses. They are usually no longer than 35mm, rarely over 40mm in focal length, and will commonly sit at f/2.8, but you can find faster lenses on the market (the lens in the cover photo is a 20mm f/1.7). In regards to price point, they sit on the edge of the budget-friendly market, averaging about $200. The faster and better-built pancake lenses will, of course, increase the price and land at the bottom end of the intermediate market. How will it change my images?So, what exactly will a pancake lens do to your image? Will it flatten the image? Will there be a sweeping barrel distortion? No. A 20mm pancake lens will produce the same image as a 20mm full-sized lens (minus the disparity in the quality of the lens elements). A pancake lens is, for all intents and purposes, just a thin lens. That’s it. A short-barreled lens. It can be a thin prime, such as a Canon 24mm, or a small zoom, like the Olympus 14-42mm. But it will not alter the way that light travels through the lens to the sensor. Very few companies market short-barreled lenses as pancake lenses. The B&H listing may reference the lens as a pancake shape, or Amazon presents a variety of lenses when you search for “pancake lens,” but you’ll often find that the majority are not titled as such.Can I use One For Filmmaking?The quality of the pancake lens comes down to brand and glass. They are, after all, budget lenses, so don’t expect world-class glass. Further, the electronic functions like the autofocus and aperture changes are going to be clunkier than you’d see with a higher-end lens.That said, how are these as filmmaking lenses (there’s nothing to say that you can’t use them as such). In fact, the following travel video is the product of a pancake lens, and it looks beautiful.Of course, the most notable aspect of the lens is the size. As a result of its compact nature, we don’t get a focus ring to grip. Depending on the brand on the lens, you’re only going to have a focus ring at around 5mm, at most — if that. Canon and Nikon pancake lenses are quite notorious for very small focus rings on budget lenses.If you use a follow focus or like to pull focus with your fingers on the focus ring, you’ll find focusing impractical — but not impossible. You can find accessories to help with focus pulling, such as the DSLR Solutions Follow Focus. However, I often find that adding additional pieces of equipment to a tool designed to be compact defeats the purpose of buying that tool in the first place.I wanted a smaller lens to take with me when galavanting around the coast, and as a previous owner of a Canon pancake lens, I was worried about the lack of focus ring handling. However, the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 has quite a thick focus ring, making it very practical for manual focus. In the case of the 20mm, it actually accounts for at least half of the overall length of the lens itself. So, they are out there; they just require a bit of searching.Secondly, since the lens is compact and discreet, it’s not going to be the same quality as a Canon L series. The lens is going to feel light and cheap, and while some pancake lenses do have a metal housing, more often than not, they’ll be plastic. They also can’t resist accidental force like a more expensive lens. Conversely, due to the size and weight, dropping one will have less impact than dropping a heavy lens. (It is, of course, recommended that you avoid dropping lenses.)Finally, and while this shouldn’t matter if the images you’re capturing are good, some inexperienced clients think larger equipment automatically yields better results. Therefore, showcasing a DSLR with a “toy-like” lens may fail to impress and cost you the job. But, if you’re only just buying your first lens for your first camera, let’s not rush into job searching just yet.ConclusionUltimately, once you remove the commercial branding, a pancake lens is a budget prime or zoom lens. Whether that lens can capture sharp and vibrant images is up to the lens critics. But in regards to filmmaking, while it’s still a viable solution for vlogging and travel videos, for any kind of narrative work, the inability to wrap your fingers around the focus ring or attach a follow focus means this lens is not a suitable choice.Looking for more info on lenses? Check out these articles.5 Reasons You Should Purchase a “Nifty Fifty” 50mm LensBest Lenses for Gimbal CinematographyWhy Cinema Lenses Will Improve Your Next Film ProjectA Look at the ARRI/Zeiss Master and Ultra Prime LensesShould You Use Vintage Lenses on Your Next Project?last_img read more

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On Your Competitors and Pricing

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first_imgWe spend an awful lot of time and energy worrying about our competitors. You need to know how they create value, how they compete, and how they win so you can give them a good fight. But beyond that, you aren’t going to beat your competitors by playing their game; you are going to beat them by playing your game.You can’t win a fight with someone who is willing to die to beat you. So, you don’t fight that fight.They Will Go Where You Won’tWhen I was a young kid, I hung around with the roughest of rough crowds. Some of my friends were gifted fighters. Some were just mean. It never seemed to matter how much skill someone had when it came to fighting, the guy that won the fight was the guy that was willing to go someplace the other guy wasn’t willing to go.Some guys were willing to dish out more damage; they never felt bad about doing it either. They were just mean guys. Other guys were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to win. They were willing to bring themselves close to serious physical harm just to win.This is what you are up against.Doling Out PunishmentSome of your competitors are willing to destroy their business model faster than you are willing to destroy your business model.If your business model isn’t built around lowest price and you compete that way, your competitor is doling out the punishment. By trying to follow them and winning on price, you are destroying your profitability—and with it your ability to deliver for your clients.This isn’t your fight. If you built your value proposition on trust, caring, and delivering for your clients, this is the fastest and surest way to destroy what you’ve built. It might look like you are winning, but I promise: you are really losing.Willing to Die to WinSome of your competitors are willing to go out of business faster than you are willing to go out of business.That’s not a race you should try to win.I know some companies that have sold price for so long, their debt is now approaching their annual revenue. They’ve acquired. Their cost structures have increased over time. Now they are straddled with debt and all they can do is try to feed the beast more revenue. They continually fail their clients, and everyone inside the company is miserable and stretched. These stories never end well—for the company, for their clients, or for their employees. As it turns out, you actually need profits to survive.Why would you want to fight this fight? You are better off being a smaller, profitable, company than you are a giant, poorly performing, client-disappointing, loss-making machine.Sometimes it’s best to walk away from a fight. You never lose a fight that you never engage in. Instead, play your game better than anyone else.QuestionsDo you compete against companies that are destroying their model by selling price? How do you avoid following them down this path?Who do you compete against that is trying to go out of business faster than you? How do you let them win that race?What game should you be playing? How do you stick to your game and not get goaded into a fight that’s not for you? Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Ten Things I Wish I’d Have Known Before I Managed Salespeople

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first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Balance activity and effectiveness. When I first managed salespeople, I was laser-focused on activity. Over time I learned that, even though an active rep will bump into deals, you can’t build a high-performing sales organization on activity alone. That takes a careful balance of both activity and effectiveness. You have to do as much work—or more—on building that effectiveness.Hire for attributes. Even though I worked in staffing, I defaulted to always hiring for experience. That’s always my clients wanted, too. I believed that by hiring for experience, I wouldn’t have to do so much managing. I believed it would make my job easier. Over time, I found that managing is easier when you hire people with the right attributes and coach, train, and develop them.You live and die by your pipeline. It’s easy to be distracted by all kinds of sales management tasks. But the real action is in the pipeline. I wish I’d have known that your future is easily predicted in the pipeline you have right now. If you want to know what the next two quarters look like, your pipeline has the answer. And there is no cramming for sales results.Serve salespeople before the organization. The organization makes incredible demands of the sales manager. Many of those demands do nothing to help the sales manager or to help his team produce better results. The more time I spent with salespeople, actively helping them with their live deals, the better the results. Even if the organization has to wait for what it needs, I learned it is better to serve the sales force first.You sell to your organization. I had know idea how much time I would need to spend selling within my own organization. Even though we all want the same things, there are all kinds of agreements that need to be negotiated. For clients. For the sales force. For the company’s benefit. Your team needs you to sell on their behalf. And, a lot of the time, you’re the only one that can make the internal sale.You build and manage the process. It was great to find someone that could sell. It was awesome to help someone grow into an effective salesperson. But the challenge is in notching the whole sales organization up. The real key to a high performing sales force is in building and managing a process that improves the performance of the 80% of the sales force that makes the top 20% possible.You have to see for yourself. If you really want to know how a salesperson performs in front of your prospective clients, you have to go see for yourself. It’s impossibly difficult to know how to help if you haven’t seen it for yourself. My ability to know how to help salespeople was improved by seeing things for myself.There is only one forecast date that matters. It doesn’t matter what the close date in your sales force automation says, if it isn’t a date your dream client has agreed to, the opportunity isn’t going to close on that date. Period.Show no mercy when cleaning the pipeline. Salespeople are happy to work on opportunities. They need opportunities to make their number. But much of what comes into the pipeline aren’t really opportunities. I wish I’d have known sooner that you have to protect the sales force from themselves when it comes to disqualifying. Show. No. Mercy.The big lever is caring enough to personally coach. I managed salespeople. But, if you want a high performing sales force, you need to care enough about the individuals on your team to coach them directly. It takes time and energy. But that investment is returned many times over in results. Yesterday I wrote about ten things I wish I’d have known before I started selling professionally. Here are ten things that I wish I’d have known before I started managing a sales force.last_img read more

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The Sky Is Falling!

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first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”Henny Penny would have you believe that the sky is falling, that the end is near. She would most definitely have you believe that your world is coming to end.Henny Penny will tell you that the balance of power in selling has shifted, that the buyer is now completely in control, and that you have no choice as to whether or not you are commoditized. The doom-saying chicken doesn’t believe that anyone can create value because she cannot, refusing to see or hear anything to the contrary.Henny Penny would have you believe—like she does—that because some roles are going to be automated, that all roles will be automated. Hence, you have no place in a future that has no place for you. This disturbed bird wants you to share in her fear. She wants you to be paranoid and to overact with her.According to said Hen:The cold call is dead.The field sales force is dead.Traditional prospecting is dead.Opportunity creation is dead.Closing is dead.Selling is dead. And soon, you too will be relegated to the ash heap of history.This frightened, feathered fowl will squawk about this trend and that trend, offering you evidence that what she foretells is true and unavoidable, leaving out the evidence and information that would suggest that her reading is skewed and inaccurate.The problem with large, loud Chicken Littles that run around making noise about the end of the world is that they are only speaking of their own experience. Because an acorn fell from a tree and hit them on the head, they believe that their experience is shared universally by one and all. In the end, all who followed Henny Penny end up being eaten by a fox.Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t ignore trends that require you to change and grow. But while you are doing so, don’t listen to those who would feed you their fears.last_img read more

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Selling is the New Sales

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first_imgA funny thing happened to B2B sales over the last little while. Technology displaced conversation about sales. For certain, there was a lot of talk about the internet, social media, automation, and the merging of sales with marketing, with commerce finding a channel in many new communication mediums and the leveraging of technologies. And a lot of transactions have occurred, and a lot of money has changed hands in exchange for value (or something like it).While all of this hoopla about technology, salesmanship has mostly been ignored, thought by some to have been replaced by new channels, with salesmanship increasingly less important (with some Henny Penny’s suggesting the end times are near).This is one man’s view, but more and more sales organizations are coming to realize that the value of salesmanship and the need to create new opportunities, the promise of technology and new media being unfulfilled despite their time and effort. These same organizations are also finding that not only have they lost the ability to create opportunities, they’ve also lost a good deal of their ability to win them.The internet was supposed to be the new sales channel. Social media was supposed to cause prospects to beat a path to your door, creating more opportunities with far less effort—and fewer sales resources. For all the attention social selling generated, there is not a whisper about it now. Automation, which was supposed to return time to salespeople, has mostly been leveraged to send an email to nurture relationships, missing the fact that nurturing cannot be automated because it is personal and requires caring. The toolkit that allows salespeople to market themselves as a brand is exceptional, but that has proven difficult to scale across a sales force (while being much easier for content creators).Now, the conversation is turning back to fundamentals, like prospecting, like the telephone, like effectiveness. It’s turning to building salespeople who can create value for clients and who can create opportunities and build a pipeline, the number one topic I have heard for more than a year (missed numbers, no hedge against the unforeseen and the unforeseeable, and slow progress in turning things around).Sales is the new sales, and salesmanship is back in style. 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 Nowlast_img read more

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U.P. civic polls begin on November 22

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first_imgThe BJP has fielded the highest number of ‘crorepatis’ in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh urban body election, according to data analysed by an NGO. It also had the highest number of candidates with criminal record.Voting for 452 municipal posts, including 16 Mayoral posts, will be held in three phases starting November 22. Counting will be on December 1.The data on assets were compiled by Election Watch of the Association for Democratic Reforms, which analyses elections and builds public awareness. Four out of 14, or 29%, of the BJP’s mayoral candidates in U.P. have criminal cases against them. The BSP comes a close second with 21%, or three out of 14 candidates. The SP and the Congress shared the third position among the major parties: 13% of their Mayor candidates have criminal records. The AAP has only one such candidate.Overall, 20 of the 195 candidates across U.P. for the Mayor posts have criminal records against them, 17 of them of a serious nature. Chaudhary Basheer, an independent candidate from Agra, topped the table with six criminal cases under his belt.None of the candidates in Lucknow, reserved for women this time, has a criminal background.The BJP shared the honours for candidates with the highest declared assets with the BSP. Seventy-nine percent of the candidates fielded by the BJP and BSP are crorepatis. It is 73% in the case of SP and the Congress.Overall, across U.P., 70 out of 195, or 38% of the candidates, are declared crorepatis. Navin Kumar Jain, the BJP candidate in Agra, was by far the richest with assets worth ₹409 crore, followed by his party colleague Abhilasha Gupta from Allahabad who declared ₹58 crore. Brijendra Vyas Damdam Maharaj, the BSP nominee in Jhansi, was the third richest with assets worth ₹37 crore.Anil Sharma, coordinator, U.P. Election Watch, said while there was the usual display of money power in the municipal polls, which include Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats, some candidates resorted to innovative ways to escape the radar of the Election Commission. If a candidate was distributing biryani in Jhansi, another in Gorakhpur was giving out free footballs. In Moradabad, a candidate tried to lure voters by distributing brass items, while in Lucknow, a candidate gifted wall clocks in his ward. In Ambedkarnagar, the ADR found, candidates were distributing free biryani and liquor.A good signThe Election Watch also observed that voters this year seemed to consider the credentials of the candidate, instead of merely focusing on party affiliations. “People have shown a tendency to back good candidates. It is a good sign,” said Sanjay Singh, coordinator of the Election Watch. But how did he come to this conclusion? “It was based on a focused group discussion involving 500 people,” he said.last_img read more

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Dhawala is Himachal pro tem Speaker

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first_imgSenior BJP leader and MLA from the politically important district of Kangra, Ramesh Dhawala, who could not make it to the Cabinet, was made the pro tem Speaker of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly. He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Acharya Dev Vrat. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and his Cabinet colleagues including Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and Health Minister Vipin Parmar were present at the ceremony.Mr. Dhawala was a Cabinet Minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government from 1998 to 2003. He had then won as an independent candidate (BJP rebel) and was instrumental in the formation of the first BJP government.last_img

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Barpeta hopes NRC will heal its bitter wounds

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first_imgTwo memorials some 30 km apart have for long defined the psychological divide in the Muslim-majority Barpeta, a district that has spawned quite a few agitations in post-Independence Assam.Every day, Kalimun Nessa wipes the dirt off the memorial outside her house at Khandakar Para village, which lists her second son, Maidul Islam Molla among the four martyrs of the 2010 anti-NRC protests.Maidul was 25 when he became a ‘martyr’ of an agitation spearheaded by the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) against a pilot project of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2010.The outsider tagThe police had opened fire on hundreds of protestors who allegedly tried to storm the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Barpeta on July 21 that year. Maidul was hit by a bullet in his chest.“I would often ask Allah why Maidul, the second of my four sons had to die that day. The NRC has made me realise he died so that 10 others would live without the burden of the Bangladeshi tag,” Kalimun Nessa, 62, said.Still retain faithA high school dropout, Maidul used to run a small rice and spice mill at home. The unit shut down after he died.Of the 18 family members he left behind, 16 have made it to the final NRC draft published on July 30. The two members who were left out include Maidul’s aunt Abida Begum.“We are among 40 lakh people excluded from the list, I hear. But we have faith that the final NRC will be an error-free one and settle the (illegal immigrants) issue once and for all,” she said.Khandakar Para has some 4,000 people, and almost every house has one or more members missing from the NRC.In adjoining Kumullipara village, daily wager Nur Begum is the only member of her family not in the NRC.Like Maidul, her 55-year-old husband Majam Ali, who was transporting goods in a handcart, died of bullet wounds in the anti-NRC agitation.Nur Begum’s name does not figure in the final NRC list though her father Burhan Uddin figured in the 1951 NRC, as her legacy code 120-0034-9821 suggests.“They rejected my documents, including one provided by the Kumullipara gram panchayat secretary. I may or may not be included, but the NRC will for our people be a rashtriya daleel (national agreement) that no one can erase,” she said.The youngest of the four ‘martyrs’ was Khandakar Motaleb Ali, 20, also of Kumullipara. The fourth was Sirajul Haque, 27, of Baniarpara nearby. Desperate for peace“If need be, I would sacrifice my other three sons for a correct NRC that ensures peaceful coexistence without anyone being suspected,” Sirajul’s father Kalachand, 60, said.The AAMSU observes May 26 as its martyrs day. The day honours the four who died in the anti-NRC movement along with others who died for the cause of minority rights. “Their death led to discussions among stakeholders, including AAMSU and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), and changes in modalities of the updating exercise, with the Supreme Court eventually monitoring it,” AAMSU’s cultural secretary Moniruz Zaman told The Hindu.The feeling is similar at Ujan Borbori, the village where Khargeswar Talukdar lived. He died in a police crackdown on another group of protesters 31 years ago. Ujan Borbori, 30 km east of the engraved marble that remembers the ‘NRC martyrs’ at Khandakar Para, sports a memorial in Khargeswar’s honour. The memorial adjoins a government-run school in his name. Khargeswar was just 18 when be became the first of 855 martyrs of the Assam Agitation against illegal immigrants that began in 1979. The agitation ended with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.“Though some issues need to be ironed out, the NRC has reassured us that my brother’s death has not gone in vain. We hope it ends the Bangladeshi issue that has dominated the socio-political landscape and stolen our happiness for decades,” said Chandra Kanta Talukdar, the youngest of Khargeswar’s seven siblings.Khargeswar died in 1979 when protestors tried to prevent Begum Abida, wife of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, from filing her nomination for the Barpeta Lok Sabha seat.Co-existence shatteredEver since it was carved out of Kamrup district in 1983 at the peak of Assam Agitation, Barpeta has been synonymous with migration of Bengalis —Muslims and Hindus — from Bangladesh. But old-timers say the area had been an epitome of co-existence until the seeds of division were sown during the Assam Agitation.They refer to Montu Nag, who became AASU’s first Bengali Hindu secretary despite coming from East Pakistan in 1960 and living in one of two refugee colonies — Sonkuchi and Theka — in Barpeta town. He had spearheaded the Assam Agitation in the district in 1979 along with Bengali Muslim leaders Asgar Ali and Abdul Hai Nagori, now a Congress MLA. But the camaraderie snapped a year later with Bengali leaders of AASU deciding to form the AAMSU at the landmark Barpeta Road Howly College in 1980. Things were never the same again.“Barpeta never had a communal problem. But something changed after the Assam Agitation and political parties began cashing-in on religious and linguistic divide. The NRC has given us hope of Barpeta returning to the good old days,” Padmanil Sarma, an AASU leaders of 1979 vintage, said.“We hope so too. An error-free NRC should spell death for divisive politics, and that is what Barpeta and hopefully the country beyond wants,” Mr. Zaman said.last_img read more

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NIA recovers more pistols in Manipur missing arms case

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first_imgThe National Investigation Agency has recovered six more of the 56 pistols that went missing from the armoury of the 2nd Battalion of the Manipur Rifles during 2016-17 only to land in the hands of extremists.The recovery of the pistols on Saturday from a place 20 km from Manipur capital Imphal followed NIA’s arrest of Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip, 72, on charges of illegally “procuring” police weapons and distributing them among militant groups “to wage war against the State”.20 recovered so farThe NIA has so far recovered 20 of the missing pistols since taking over investigation into the missing arms case in May. The trigger for the probe was the recovery of three pistols besides two German-made rifles and a semi-automatic shotgun from an SUV near Manipur’s Ukhrul town on May 21 during a search by the Assam Rifles.An NIA spokesperson said David Hangshing, the chairman of the extremist Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) who was arrested on Friday, had provided the address of the place were the six 9mm pistols had been hidden. The KRA is in an agreement of suspension of operations with the government.“During interrogation, he said he had received the police pistols from Saikul (Assembly seat) MLA Haokip,” he said.Matching numbersThe seized pistols were found to be from the lot of missing pistols. The serial numbers of five pistols matched with those of the missing pistols while that of one pistol had been erased, the spokesperson said.Hanshing was on Saturday produced before a magistrate, who remanded him to police custody. He will now be produced before a special NIA court.Mr. Haokip is one of 11 persons arrested in connection with the case of the missing police pistols. One of these pistols, bearing licence number 18506735, was seized from his Imphal residence during a raid on July 30.Two other pistols – a U.S.-made Beretta and an unlicensed 9mm Pietro Beretta Gardone pistol, made in Italy – were also seized from Mr. Haokip’s residence.Investigations revealed that apart from KRA, some of the 9mm police pistols reached United Kuki Liberation Front, another Manipur-based extremist outfit. Nine of these pistols were recovered from the house of this group’s chief Soson Haokip in Imphal on Thursday.last_img read more

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Zika cases in Rajasthan monitored

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first_imgCases of the Zika virus disease have been reported in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The outbreak was detected through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system, said a release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Monday.J. P. Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, has set-up a seven-member high level Central team, which was deputed to Jaipur immediately following the detection of the first case, to assist the State Government in control and containment measures. The situation is being monitored on a daily basis; the Minister is reviewing. 22 casesTill date, a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A Control Room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to undertake regular monitoring of the situation noted the release.“All suspect cases in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories,” noted the Union Ministry.The Zika virus is an emerging disease, currently being reported in 86 countries worldwide.last_img read more

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Heavy snowfall shuts highways in Kashmir

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first_imgKashmir witnessed an early spell of snowfall this year on Saturday, forcing closure of all three major highways connecting the valley with rest of the country. Air traffic was also stopped.“Moderate to heavy snowfall of 1.5 feet was reported in Kashmir valley, with highest snow formation in upper reaches and passes like Zojila. It’s the fourth time in the past two decades that Kashmir witnessed snowfall in November,” said Sonam Lotus, who heads the meteorological department in Srinagar.The three main highways — Jammu-Srinagar, Poonch-Srinagar and Kargil-Srinagar — were closed, cutting off the valley from the rest of India. The Leh-Manali-Zanskar route was also closed due to the snowfall. Over 100 stranded passengers were rescued from the Mughal Road, connecting the Pir Panjal valley with Srinagar.Air traffic suspended Air traffic was also suspended after snow accumulated on the runway at the airport in capital Srinagar. Seven Srinagar-bound flights were cancelled.Authorities have set up emergency control rooms across the valley “to meet any eventuality”.Srinagar recorded a day temperature of 6.3° Celsius, a dip of 13° from normal, sparking a cold wave. “There will be gradual improvement in the weather from Sunday,” said Mr. Lotus.Snowfall also affected power supply in Srinagar. Chief Engineer of the Power Development Department Hashmat Qazi said the snowfall resulted in trees, with thick foliage, “coming down heavily on electrical lines, damaging most of the 33KV lines.”“A full-fledged restoration work is underway but continuous snowfall has made it very difficult to maintain the lines, resulting in decreased power supply to just 80 MW as against the normal 1150 MW,” he said.Snow brings cheerThere was a wave of cheer among hundreds of locals and domestic tourists, as all hotspot tourist destinations of Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg received heavy snowfall.Hundreds of locals uploaded live videos and pictures, as people greeted each other online on the season’s first snowfall. Kashmir has tradition to greet relatives and friends on the first snowfall.Apple crop damagedThe unusually early snowfall has damaged standing harvest of apple in north and south Kashmir. The snow uprooted the fruit-laden trees. Orchardists have appealed to the government to assess the damage in the Valley and “recommend compensation”.“The snow in the Valley looks beautiful as it heralds the arrival of winter but spare a thought for the horticulturalists. Part of the Apple crop is still on the trees, a large part is on the ground waiting sorting and packing and the trees still have leaves,” wrote National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah.last_img read more

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Congress finalises list of probable candidates for 26 LS seats in Maharashtra

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first_imgThe Maharashtra unit of Congress has recommended names of probable candidates for 26 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State, proposing only one name each in seven of the seats. Milind Deora (Mumbai South), Sushil Kumar Shinde (Solapur), Charulata Tokas (Wardha), Mukul Wasnik (Ramtek), Rajeev Satav (Hingoli), Manikrao Thakre (Yavatmal) and Amita Chavan (Nanded) have no competitors in their respective constituencies. The recommendations will now be presented to the all-India screening committee for final approval, and the candidates will be confirmed at the highest level.On Tuesday, the State Congress held a meeting to discuss names suggested from district committees for 26 of the 48 constituencies in Maharashtra. According to sources, the party will not contest more than 26 seats in the State. State Congress president Ashok Chavan, who currently represents Nanded in the Lok Sabha, seems to have decided not to seek re-election and instead concentrate on State politics. His wife, MLA Amita Chavan, is the proposed candidate for the constituency.The party has also recommended Abhay Chhajed and Mohan Joshi in Pune, Vishal Patil, Prithviraj Patil and Mohan Kadam in Sangli, and Utkarsha Rupawate, Bhausaheb Kamble and Raju Waghmare in Shirdi. All constituencies have three or more interested candidates. In Mumbai, Mr. Deora is the only name sent to Delhi from Mumbai South, while a number of individuals have shown interest in contesting from Mumbai North West, including Suresh Shetty, Kripashankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam. Mr. Nirupam had won the election from Mumbai North in 2009, and lost in 2014. His plan to contest a different seat hasn’t gone down too well within the party ranks. While Priya Dutt declining to contest from Mumbai North Central, the local leadership has suggested her name along with that of Nagma, Hussain Dalwai and Baba Siddiqui. From Mumbai South Central, Eknath Gaikwad, Bhalchandra Munagekar or Uttam Khobragade might contest the election.last_img read more

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U.P. BJP leader’s father killed in road accident

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first_imgTwo persons, including the father of a Uttar Pradesh BJP leader, died when their car rammed a truck here on Sunday due to poor visibility owing to dense fog, the police said. Om Prakash Pathak (65) – father of BJP leader Subrat Pathak – along with his relative Mahesh Dubey (55) died in the accident on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, they said. Three other occupants of the ill-fated car, which was on its way to Kannauj from Ghaziabad, were seriously injured and referred to Kanpur for treatment, they added. “The accident took place around 4 a.m. on Sunday, when the car rammed a stationary dumper on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway owing to fog,” Additional Superintendent of Police K.C. Goswami said. Pile-upThe accident, that took place in the Faguha Bhatta area under the Tirwa police station, led to a multi-vehicle pile-up, he added.last_img read more

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SC pulls up Assam government over inadequate functioning of Foreigners’ Tribunals

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first_imgThe Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Assam government over inadequacies in the functioning of Foreigners’ Tribunals in the state and sought details on it by March 27. The government told a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, that 50,000 migrants were declared foreigners by the Tribunal in the past 10 years. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, said around 900 people were kept in six detention centres of the State.The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said the State government would have to specify through an affidavit whether the foreigners tribunals functioning in the State were adequate and how they were functioning. The top court, however, added that it was not insisting on the presence of Assam chief secretary in the court at present. The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander through advocate Prashant Bhushan on the plight of foreigners in detention centres. The plea alleged that they were kept in detention indefinitely just because they were not Indians and were treated as “illegal aliens”.During the previous hearing, the court had expressed concern over thousands of illegal migrants being kept in detention centres for years in Assam without being repatriated or deported to their countries of origin. It had raised several issues connected with the detention centre and said the detainees could not be held for an indefinite period. The apex court had also sought to know the condition of detention centres, saying the PIL alleged sub-human conditions there. Mr. Mehta had said there was a need for evolving a mechanism for repatriating them and it should be done expeditiously. The solicitor general was responding to the January 28 queries of the apex court, which had asked the Centre and State to provide details of functional detention centres in Assam and the foreigners detained in them during the last 10 years.Mr. Mehta had told the apex court that 938 people were lodged in six detention centres in Assam and 823 of them have been declared foreigners by tribunals. The Centre had said over 27,000 foreigners have been pushed back at border points while attempting to enter India illegally.last_img read more

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Deadly Virus Widespread in British Bumblebees

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first_imgHoney bees are apparently the Typhoid Marys of the pollinator world. A study suggests that honey bees spread two kinds of pathogens to wild bumblebees. And one of these, deformed wing virus (DWV), is killing bumblebees across the United Kingdom, perhaps contributing to the decline of the nation’s wild populations. The wide occurrence of DWV is “truly alarming,” says molecular ecologist Peter Neumann of the University of Bern, who was not involved in the study.DWV can be nasty. Like many other viruses in honey bees, DWV spreads in two ways. Worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) will transmit it orally to other workers, generally resulting in a benign infection. But the parasitic varroa mite is a carrier, too. When the mite feeds on bee pupae, infecting them with DWV, the virus causes ghastly deformities. Young bees develop with bloated abdomens and shrunken or crumpled wings, making DWV one of the worst viral diseases in commercial honey bee hives.DWV first turned up in 2004 among commercial bumblebees; the insect, Bombus terrestris, is often used in greenhouses, particularly to pollinate tomatoes. Commercial breeders initially noticed that about 10% of their bumblebee queens had died with tiny, misshapen wings. Then, Elke Genersch of the Institute for Bee Research in Hohen Neuendorf, Germany, and colleagues discovered that the dead bumblebees had been infected with DWV. The researchers suspected that honey bees had orally infected the bumblebees, because breeders use honey bees to encourage bumblebee queens to start new nests.No one knew the extent of DWV in wild bumblebees. Matthias Fürst and Mark Brown of Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham and colleagues collected honey bees and bumblebees from 26 sites across Great Britain. The virus was present in 11% of the bumblebees and replicating in more than a third of those, suggesting active infections, they report in Nature. The virus is probably even more common than those data indicate, Brown noted in a telephone press conference. Bees “on their deathbed are not going to be caught by our sampling scheme,” he said.The team found genetic evidence that the virus is shared between the species: When honey bees and bumblebees lived near each other, both had a similar strain of the virus. Because DWV was more prevalent in honey bees—36% were infected—the researchers believe it spreads from them to bumblebees. The team also found the same pattern with the fungal pathogen Nosema ceranae, but it did not appear to cause problems for bumblebees.DWV, on the other hand, spelled trouble. When the researchers fed bumblebees food contaminated with the virus, symptoms of the disease emerged. (See photos of bumblebees with deformed wings, not from this study.) Worker bees became sick and died on average 6 days sooner than normal, a major reduction from the typical lifespan of 21 days. A bumblebee nest contains fewer than several hundred worker bees, so any widespread DWV infection could devastate the nest’s ability to gather enough food.  Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, agrees it is likely that honey bees are infecting bumblebees. “This highlights the need to better manage honey bees in a responsible manner and find ways to conserve all pollinators,” he says. Wild bumblebee populations, which help pollinate some field crops, appear to be declining in many places, so the need is urgent. There is no way to treat sick bees, so the best strategy is to keep honey bee hives as healthy as possible, in particular by controlling the varroa mites, which worsen infections in honey bees.last_img read more

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Key narcolepsy–influenza vaccine findings retracted

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first_imgFollowing the 2009 swine flu pandemic, roughly one out of 15,000 children in Europe who received the H1N1 vaccine called Pandemrix developed narcolepsy, a disorder that causes irresistible sleepiness. A leading explanation for the rash of narcolepsy cases is that a fragment of the H1N1 virus used to produce Pandemrix may have triggered an autoimmune reaction in some vulnerable children. Researchers have struggled to find evidence for that hypothesis, however. This week, the picture grew murkier when Stanford University researchers retracted a paper in Science Translational Medicine, published 18 December 2013, that was hailed as the first evidence to support the immunological hypothesis. After several attempts, scientists say they are unable to replicate a key part of the experiment.For more, see the full story in this week’s issue of Science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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