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It began as a tale of a mother and a daughter, two Indian Americans who are gold thieves, but expanded into a magical realist story about two immigrant families and about the costs of ambition, says Atlanta-based author Sanjena Sathian, of her debut novel, “Gold Diggers” (HarperCollins).
“It began as a story of a mother and a daughter, two Indian Americans who are gold thieves, which is based on a real series of gold thefts that took place in various American suburbs,” Sathian, the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Malayali translators who was raised in the US by immigrant parents and traces her literary heritage to Mumbai, a city with which she still maintains her links, told IANS in an interview.
“I wrote it over two years while in graduate school at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It became the book it is today when I settled on the narrator – not the mother or the daughter, but their neighbor Neil, who gets involved in the thefts with them. From there, as I wrote, the book expanded and became a magical realist story about two immigrant families and about the costs of ambition,” Sathian explained.
A floundering teenager growing up in Atlanta’s suburbs, Neil Narayan doesn’t have the same drive as everyone around him. The expectations of his immigrant parents for him are high, and he tries to want their version of success, but mostly, Neil just wants his neighbor Anita Dayal.
But Anita has a secret: she and her mother, Anjali, have been brewing an ancient alchemical potion from stolen gold that transfers the ambition of the jewelry’s original owner to the drinker. Anita needs just a little boost to get into Harvard, but when Neil – who needs a whole lot more – joins in the plot, events spiral into a tragedy that rips their community apart.
Spanning two continents, two coasts, and four epochs, “Gold Diggers” expertly balances social satire and magical realism, asking what a community must do to achieve the American dream. A considerable amount of research went into the book.
“It’s about gold, so I looked into the histories of alchemy in China, India, and Europe, and at the American gold rushes. I read quite a lot for what only became a few pages, but there’s an important part that takes place in the 1849 California gold rush. We meet a character from then-Bombay who has found his way to California. I really did find such a character, and became very interested in how an Indian man may have wound up in America in the 19th century,” the author elaborated.
“I’m thrilled that ‘Gold Diggers’ has a home at the vaunted HarperCollins India! As the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Malayali translators, my own literary heritage begins in India, and I’ve long dreamt of having readers there. Living in Mumbai for several years myself and interviewing my family about their time growing up and attending college in then-Bombay was essential in writing the book, so I’m delighted to bring the work to India,” she said.
Santhian has worked as a journalist in San Fransisco and Mumbai and her award-winning short fiction appear in the literary journals Conjunctions, Boulevard, Joyland, Salt Hill, and The Master’s Review. She’s written nonfiction for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Food and Wine, and more. She has taught creative writing to high school, college, and graduate students in Iowa, Alaska, and New Zealand and recently founded the Bombay Writers’ Workshop.
“I’ve been teaching writing for a few years now and wanted to set up some creative writing courses in Mumbai, where I have lived on and off. The Bombay Writers’ Workshop launched last year – I had planned a 9-week workshop, meeting in Colaba in South Bombay – but due to COVID, I was back in the US and led it online. It was still a wonderful experience leading a class where we had mostly Indian writers in the Zoom room.
“We spent three weeks learning to read for craft, studying the use of the image in, say, the poems of Arun Kolatkar, and character in the stories of Akhil Sharma, etc. Then we did workshops, in which people submitted a piece of prose – fiction or nonfiction – and their fellow students and I critiqued it. This is the style of creative writing education pioneered by my alma mater, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I’m looking forward to doing this in person, hopefully in 2022,” Sathian elaborated. (IANS/JC)
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)