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Priyabrat Biswal lives in a small village in Odisha but this hasn’t come in the way of his building up a veritable treasure trove of autographed images and letters from the Who’s Who of the world — 600 and counting.
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How did this 47-year-old, who lives in Olihan, some 60 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, do it?
By writing simple, yet touching letters over the last three decades to celebrities from different walks of life.
“Out of curiosity, I started writing letters to eminent personalities of the world, hardly realising that it is a hobby to collect autographs. It was like seeking an answer to the question: Do celebrities actually respond to the letters of common men? The answer has put me on the journey of autograph collection through letters,” Biswal said.
Lady Diana, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Mohammad Ali are just some of the famous people who have replied to his letters.
He also has signed photographs of sporting icons like Pele, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Michael Jordan, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graff, Richard Hadlee, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, and their Indian counterparts like Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, Prakash Padukone, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, P.T. Usha, Vishwanathan Anand — not to speak of Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das and many more.
Celebrated writers like Manoj Das, Vikram Seth, Dominique Lappierre and Nobel laureates like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong and Edmund Hillary also hold a special place in the albums.
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“The most prized one in the collection is that of Mother Teresa. It was such a magnanimous gesture from her side to respond,” Biswal said.
He’s also received responses from US Presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George Bush (senior) and Bill Clinton — as well as incumbent Barack Obama. Other notables include Kofi Annan, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, as also almost all former Indian Presidents and Prime Ministers after 1986.
The 1999 super cyclone dealt him a body blow and almost wiped out his collection but his never-say-die resolve saw him painstakingly re-build it to its present state.
Biswal feels the public relations skills he has built up over the years have greately helped him in his endeavour. And, with life becoming more fast-track in an internet and social-networking age, he still prefers writing letters, justifying it as a more personal way of communication.
“The probability of response (of late) is very low. I cannot help but keep writing,” an optimistic Priyabrat said.
He also aims at sensitising the public, especially the youth, on the dying art of writing letters and promoting autograph collection as a hobby.
“An autograph collectors’ club in the state would be a good option for helping newcomers start this hobby. It will not only bring them closer to their favourite heroes but also help others to know about them from close quarters,” Biswal concluded.
As robots evolve to do more work around us, the UK-based humanoid robot manufacturer Engineered Arts has infused more human-like facial expressions into one of its robots, which may leave you with an eerie feeling.
In a video posted on YouTube, the robot called 'Ameca' displays various human expressions, like appearing to "wake up" from sleep, as its face shows confusion and frustration when it opens its eyes.
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Once awake, 'Ameca' starts looking at its hands and arms, opens its mouth and raises its eyebrows, just like a human does.
At the end of the video, Ameca smiles and holds a welcoming hand out towards the viewer.
According to Engineered Arts, the humanoid bot is currently unable to walk and it is working towards giving it the ability in the near future.
"Designed specifically as a platform for development into future robotics technologies, 'Ameca' is the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot interaction," says the company.
The 'Ameca' hardware is a development based on its own research into humanoid robotics and built on its advanced 'Mesmer' technology.
Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.Unsplash
Also read: NASA humanoid robot dances to technology
Engineered Arts is slated to put 'Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.
"Human-like Artificial Intelligence needs a human-like artificial body. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems can be tested and developed on Ameca alongside our powerful 'Tritium' robot operating system," the company posted on its website. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Humanoid Robot, Ameca, Technology)
Microsoft has disrupted the activities of a China-based hacking group, gaining control of the malicious websites the group used to attack organisations in the US and 28 other countries around the world.
The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) said in a statement that a federal court in Virginia granted its request to seize websites of the hacking group called 'Nickel', enabling the company to cut off Nickel's access to its victims and prevent the websites from being used to execute attacks.
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"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations," said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.
Obtaining control of the malicious websites and redirecting traffic from those sites to Microsoft's secure servers will help the company protect existing and future victims while learning more about Nickel's activities.
Also Read : Fortnite : A Gold Mine for Hackers
"Our disruption will not prevent Nickel from continuing other hacking activities, but we do believe we have removed a key piece of the infrastructure the group has been relying on for this latest wave of attacks," Burt said late on Monday.
To date, in 24 lawsuits - five against nation-state actors -- Microsoft has taken down more than 10,000 malicious websites used by cybercriminals and nearly 600 sites used by nation-state actors.
"We have also successfully blocked the registration of 600,000 sites to get ahead of criminal actors that planned to use them maliciously in the future," the tech giant informed.
"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations."Unsplash
In some observed activity, Nickel malware used exploits targeting unpatched on-premises Exchange Server and SharePoint systems.
"However, we have not observed any new vulnerabilities in Microsoft products as part of these attacks. Microsoft has created unique signatures to detect and protect from known Nickel activity through our security products, like Microsoft 365 Defender," the company noted.
Nickel has targeted organisations in both the private and public sectors, including diplomatic organisations and ministries of foreign affairs in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : hacking, China, Microsoft, website, victim, intelligence, attack, malicious, traffic, server, company, disruption, lawsuits, cybercriminals, vulnerability.)
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Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.
MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.
"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.
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In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.Unsplash
Also read: Realme Unveils First 5G Smartphone
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.
The chipset can handle screens with up to a 180Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolutions. It is also the first chipset to have an 18-bit image signal processor, offering the ability to capture 4K HDR video using up to three cameras at the same time, or still photos using up to a massive 320MP sensor. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: 5G, smartphones, Mediatek)