Cabinet clears modified scheme to enhance ethanol production


Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved modified scheme to enhance ethanol distillation capacity in the country for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn & sorghum), sugarcane and sugar beet.

It also gave its approval for deepening and optimisation of inner harbour facilities including development of Western dock on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode to handle cape size vessels at Paradip Port.

The estimated project cost is ₹3,005 crore, Union Minister for Shipping, Ports and Waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya, told reporters at a Cabinet briefing.

The Cabinet has also approved Industrial Corridor nodes at Krishnapatnam and Tumakuru. The Multi Modal Logistics Hub and Multi Modal Transport Hub at Greater Noida was also approved. The proposals have total estimated cost of ₹ 7,725 crore and an estimated employment generation of more than 2.8 lakh persons. This will position India as a strong player in global value chains with developed land parcels in cities for immediate allotment for attracting investments, an official release said.

Akash missile system export

The Cabinet also approved export of Akash Missile System and creation of a committee for faster approval of exports. Akash — surface to air missile with a range of 25 kilometres—is country’s important missile with over 96 per cent indigenisation. The missile was inducted in 2014 in Indian Air Force and in 2015 in Indian Army.

This initiative would help the country to improve its defence products and make them globally competitive, an official release said. The export version of Akash will be different from System currently deployed with Indian Armed Forces.

To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a committee comprising of Raksha Mantri, External Affairs Minister and National Security Advisor has been created.

The government intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms to achieve $5 billion of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.

Indian Missions

The Union Cabinet also approved the opening of 3 Indian Missions in Estonia, Paraguay and Dominican Republic in 2021. This is expected to help expand India’s diplomatic footprint, deepen political relations and enable bilateral trade growth, investment and economic engagements, facilitate stronger people to people contacts, bolster political outreach in multilateral fora and help garner support for India’s foreign policy objectives.

MoU with Bhutan

The Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian government and government of Bhutan on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. This MoU was signed on November 19 by both sides at Bengaluru/Thimpu and exchanged, an official release said.



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Boosting Ability to Be Playful May Enhance Satisfaction With Life



A new study finds that simple exercises can help make people more playful, which helps them feel more satisfied with their lives.

The new study from psychologists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Germany found that just a week of exercises can boost a person’s playfulness, which then improves their mood.

Playfulness is a personality trait that is expressed differently in people, the researchers noted.

“Particularly playful people have a hard time dealing with boredom. They manage to turn almost any everyday situation into an entertaining or personally engaging experience,” said Professor René Proyer, a psychologist at MLU.

For example, they enjoy word games and mental games, are curious, or just like playing around, he elaborated.

But this does not mean these people are particularly silly or frivolous, according to Proyer. On the contrary, earlier studies by the MLU researchers found that adults can put this inclination to playfulness to positive use in many situations. They have an eye for detail, can easily adopt new perspectives, and can make even a monotonous task interesting for them, they explained.

Until now it had been unclear whether playfulness could be trained and what effect this might have on people, the researchers said.

That led them to conduct a study on 533 people, teaming up with researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and Pennsylvania State University in the United States.

Participants were randomly divided into one of three experimental groups or a placebo or control group.

The people in the experimental groups completed one of three daily exercises for seven days. The exercises were intended to boost their playfulness.

For instance, one group was asked to write down three situations from that day in which they had behaved particularly playful before going to bed.

Another group was asked to use their inclination to be playful in an unfamiliar situation, for example in their professional life, and write down that experience.

The third group was asked to reflect more broadly on the playful behavior they had observed in themselves that day.

In contrast, the placebo group received a task that had no influence on the experiment, according to the researchers.

“All of these methods are based on established interventions of positive psychology,” said Kay Brauer, a researcher in Proyer’s group.

Participants in all the groups filled out a questionnaire before and immediately after weeks one, two, four, and 12 after the intervention, which helped the researchers measure various personality traits.

“Our assumption was that the exercises would lead people to consciously focus their attention on playfulness and use it more often. This could result in positive emotions, which in turn would affect the person’s well-being,” Brauer said.

And the tasks did lead to an increase in playfulness, the researchers reported.

They also observed a temporary, moderate improvement in the participants’ well-being.

“Our study is the first intervention study on adults to show that playfulness can be induced and that this has positive effects for them,” Proyer said.

The results of the study serve as a starting point for new research questions and practical applications, according to the researchers.

“I believe that we can use this knowledge in everyday life to improve various aspects,” Proyer said.

For example, special interventions in the workplace could lead to more fun or a potential to be more innovative at work. Or romantic partners could do similar exercises that might increase their satisfaction in their relationship.

“This does not mean that every company needs table tennis tables or a playground slide. However, one idea would be to allow employees to consciously integrate playfulness into their everyday work and, as a supervisor, to set an example for this kind of behavior,” Proyer concluded.

The study was published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.

Source: Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Leverage Existing Content to Enhance Your Offerings in the Fitness Industry


You can’t be everything to everybody. This statement rings true in many facets of life, but in recent years it has become especially poignant for health and exercise professionals. Fitness and nutrition are no longer considered “one size fits all,” and the ability to customize your programming or services for your clients is limitless, meaning that helping a person achieve their wellness goals can require hours and hours each week, making it impossible to scale your business if you try to do everything yourself. That’s why it’s become so important to learn how to leverage established tools. 

It is easy to admit the need for third-party tools that support your business—the websites, booking software, social media accounts and marketing materials. But when it comes to utilizing tools that deliver additional fitness or nutrition content, health and exercise professionals sometimes get defensive and view these resources as competition. Here is the truth: If you simply focus on the personal relationships you develop with your clients, you will never be replaced by a virtual fitness offering.  

As a health and exercise professional, you have to be mindful of your time and focus on where you add value. If you continue to burn the candle at both ends, you will eventually burn out and that won’t help anyone. Your value comes from the relationships you develop with your clients. 

Value comes from communication. Take the time to get to know your clients so you can better understand what they want, what may be holding them back and, ultimately, how you can empower them. 

Value comes from customization. Mass market programs service a general need, but it is important to understand that real results come from customization. You add value by creating a program tailored to each client’s specific goals, understanding their limitations and evolving the program as your client progresses. 

Value comes from accountability. The idea of accountability may be the single most important piece to a client’s success; knowing that you are there to support, encourage, hold them accountable and help them get back on track when they slip can be more valuable to a client’s success than the actual workout.

At the end of the day, recreating the wheel when it comes to fitness and nutrition content is not what’s adding value for your clients. Instead of trying to create all of the programming yourself, direct your clients to high-quality third-party content. To service the needs of a diverse client base, research digital fitness providers (e.g., Peleton® App, Openfit®, Nike Training Club) that can provide safe and effective virtual workouts for those days when you cannot directly train your client. Leveraging a third-party content provider increases the value of your services, helps your clients achieve their goals faster and, ultimately, allows you to grow your business.

You can’t be everything to everybody if you want to succeed as a health and exercise professional. Leverage established tools where it makes sense so you can focus on where you add the most value for your clients. 



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Platypuses should be listed as vulnerable in Victoria to enhance protections, scientific panel advises


Victorian platypuses are at high risk of becoming extinct in the wild in the coming years and should be officially listed as vulnerable to protect them, the state’s Scientific Advisory Panel has recommended.

It has been 18 months since a nomination was put forward to be considered by the panel, and its final recommendation has been released.

The State Government has 60 days from the final recommendation to decide whether to endorse it, which would result in a greater level of protection for the species.

The report states that understanding the distribution of the species across the state relies in anecdotal sightings and historical records which suggest platypuses were widely distributed in waterways across the state — except for Wilson’s Promontory and the Mornington Peninsula.

It describes the current distribution of the species as “severely fragmented”.

It points to evidence that further degradation of aquatic systems under pressure from climate change and human population growth are predicted.

“While currently still widely distributed in Victoria, there is mounting evidence that platypus populations have reduced considerably in terms of abundance and distribution in the past 30 years due to multiple stressors that directly impact the species or degrade aquatic ecosystems,” the report said.

The decline is not uniform, with populations considered to be relatively stable in the Grampians National Park compared with those around Melbourne and in the state’s north.

The Grampians National Park is one of the few areas in Victoria where platypus populations are considered relatively stable.(Commons: SkareMedia)

In some areas affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, platypus populations have never returned.

The report also points to a 2019 State Government ban on opera house nets which are used to catch yabbies but frequently result in the accidental drowning of platypuses.

Photographer wishes species was ‘doing okay’

The application for the listing was submitted by conservation and wildlife photojournalist Doug Gimesy in May 2018.

“But clearly this isn’t the case and that makes me really sad.”

Mr Gimesy said he hoped the panel’s recommendation drew more attention to the negative effects of population growth, identified as a threat to the habitats of platypuses alongside other factors such as climate change.

“There is no way in my mind that after a two-year review, and given what is happening to our environment, that the ministers could justify rejecting the recommendation of experts on their scientific committee,” the photographer said.

“I hope at least when it’s listed, this will not only benefit Victoria’s platypuses, but will also have a flow-on effect to help protect less iconic but just as vulnerable species that also depend on our rivers and streams.”

A Victorian Government spokesperson said the a decision on the Scientific Advisory Committee recommendation would be made within 60 days.

If the platypus was listed as vulnerable the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning would draft an action statement to plan further conservation actions, the spokesperson said.



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How AI can enhance your approach to DevOps


  • The market valuation of DevOps will hit US$17 billion by 2026, Global Market Insights says
  • AI has the potential to further streamline operations, enhancing processes and performance

DevOps is a methodology aimed at unifying software development and operations to boost a company’s ability to deliver applications at high velocity.

It’s a trendsetting software development approach, but its success is down to its proven ability to breed efficiency, and it brings many quantifiable benefits to enterprises, including shorter development cycles, faster time to market, a higher rate of deployment frequency, and more reliable products. 

Global Market Insights found that the market valuation of DevOps will reach US$17 billion by 2026, as more and more businesses pile in. Red Hat’s chief agilist, Jen Krieger, previously told TechHQ that as all businesses become tech companies, all should be considering embracing this approach to development.   

DevOps is about the correlation of people, processes, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to end-users, and while it adds automation and consistency to operations, there is still the need for manual, repeatable processes — and that means there’s space for artificial intelligence technologies to enhance that efficiency further, enabling the people to take on more targeted, innovative work. 

Companies can resort to AI data mapping techniques to accelerate data transformation processes. At the same time, machine learning (ML) used in data mapping will also automate data integrations, allowing businesses to extract business intelligence and drive important business decisions quickly. 

Taking it a step further, organizations can push for AI/ML-powered DevOps for self-healing and self-managing processes, preventing abrupt disruptions and script breaks. Besides that, organizations can opt for AI to recommend solutions to write more efficient and resilient code, based on the analysis of past application builds and performance. 

The ability of AI and ML to scan through troves of data with higher precision will play an essential role in delivering better security. Through a centralized logging architecture, employees can detect and highlight any suspicious activities on the network. With the help of AI, organizations can track and learn of the hacker’s motive in trying to breach a system. This capability will help DevOps teams to navigate through existing threats and mitigate the impact.  

Communication is also a vital component in DevOps strategy, but it’s often one of the biggest challenges when organizations move to the methodology when so much information is flowing through the system. Using AI-powered technology like chatbots, certain comms channels can become more streamlined and proactive.

Most importantly, DevOps backed with AI/ML technologies will deliver better customer experience. Interestingly, just like how AI/ML technologies can root out security threats in a network and provide a holistic view, the same ability can be applied to improving user experience. AI and ML can inspect user behavior in identifying the type of application modules and functions responsible for the heavy lifting. This knowledge will, in turn, guide the DevOps team to focus on areas essential for user experience, working on the core elements that will have a maximum impact upon a new version or release. 

The integration of AI/ML technologies opens up new streams and enhanced functions in DevOps processes but also, development and operations teams will be equipped with state-of-the-art resources and be at the forefront of innovation. 





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