I am disciplined in my thoughts and my actions, keeping the commitments I make to myself and to others.I am optimistic, choosing to hold firm to the belief that I have the power to achieve a positive outcome, regardless of how difficult things may appear.I love a good fight, knowing that anything worth having is worth fighting for.I take initiative, acting to make a difference before it is necessary to do so.I exercise my resourcefulness, using my creativity and imagination to overcome obstacles and create value.I am determined, never giving up, never giving in, and always persevering in the pursuit of worthy goals.I care deeply for other people, exercising all of my attributes to make a positive difference in the lives I touch.I am empathetic and considerate of other people’s feelings, knowing that the path they travel isn’t an easy one.I listen to others before I communicate my message, and I say nothing that would harm another.I am a positive example for others who would step on to the path and chase their dream by walking my talk.I bring my best self to every endeavor, doing my absolute best to create value.I create value before claiming any, ensuring that all parties benefit from any engagement.QuestionsWhat’s the code that you live by?Do you have a personal philosophy?What is your formula for success?
The title of this blog post is an exact quote from a prospective client to a group of salespeople, one of whom was ready and willing, PowerPoint at the ready, to dive right into the slide deck. The words were said with a smile, but they were also a threat that the prospective client intended to keep.“If you turn on PowerPoint, I’m throwing you out.”While the death of PowerPoint is greatly exaggerated, it’s clear that your prospects, your clients, and your team shouldn’t have to face the Hell that is your plowing through a massive slide deck with no engagement.So what’s better?The Deck Supports the DialogueThe best way I have found to use a slide deck is to pack it full of every slide I will ever need, driving it with menus. You can create a menu slide (or slides), and then use buttons to take you to each slide when you need it to support a dialogue.The key is to engage in the dialogue, only going to the PowerPoint when you need visual support for the points that you are making.You start the dialogue by saying something that sounds like this, “I have a massive slide deck here, but I don’t intend to use it except to better support our dialogue with some visuals. What I’d like to do is talk with you about what’s really important, and if we need to show you something, we’ll pull up the slide.”It’s not that your prospective clients and your existing clients don’t want to see your slides; they don’t want to listen to you plow through every slide in deck. They don’t want you to read to them, and they don’t want you to make all the points that they could read for themselves. And they definitely don’t want you to recite everything that you have ever done in hopes of bumping into something interesting.But you can use the deck to effectively support the dialogue.The Last WordYou slide deck doesn’t create trust. It doesn’t build relationships. What your clients and dream clients are looking for is someone that cares enough to help them get the results they need. They are looking for someone that can speak to their business issues and challenges and help them with ideas. They want to know who you are, how you think, and what you believe.Dialogue is what produces the outcomes your clients want from your presentation. Presenting your whole deck is your crutch.QuestionsWhat do your clients want out of a presentation?When is PowerPoint the best way to get them that outcome?How can you use PowerPoint to support a dialogue instead of replace it?What are your very best tips for using PowerPoint effectively?
I was speaking in Omaha, Nebraska, so I invited Mark Hunter (www.thesaleshunter.com) to dinner.
National Conference (NC) president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday said the youngsters of Kashmir “were laying down their lives for their rights”.Apparently referring to militants and youth who disrupt anti-militancy operations, Dr. Abdullah said: “These boys are rendering sacrifices not to become MLAs, MPs or Ministers… but to demand their right: ‘this is our land and we are its rightful owners’.”He said there was growing anger in J&K because the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had “joined hands with the communal forces”.“These young men are full of resentment because of how New Delhi has always and continues to see and define them through the narrow, conventional prism of law and order dynamics.”Calling for New Delhi’s engagement with the “alienated and anguished youth”, he said, “We are not condoning violence or turmoil — nor are we supporting strife. We are seeking that the root cause of alienation be addressed rather than continue treating the symptoms with administrative mechanisms.”
Three murder convicts who were being escorted back to the high-security Yerwada Jail in Pune escaped from police custody at the Katraj Ghat area, making it the third such incident of security lapse on the part of the city police in less than a week.The criminals, Raju Pathare (25) and Santosh Jagtap (30) hailed from the township of Pimpri-Chinchwad, while Santosh Chandilkar (25) is a resident of Mulshi Taluk. All three are history-sheeters with cases of robbery, possession of arms and attempt to murder lodged against them and were being lodged in Yerwada prison.According to sources, the convicts had appeared before the court in Khandala on April 10 and their next hearing was scheduled for April 21.The incident occurred on Monday night as the trio were being brought back from Khandala court in connection with a murder case. The convicts requested their police escort to stop the van as it neared the mountainous Katraj tunnel, stating that they needed to relieve themselves.They managed to hoodwink their guard and disappear as the police searched in vain for them. A massive manhunt is underway.The incident comes less than 48 hours after a murder suspect and his aide escaped from the city’s Khadki police station last Sunday.Siraj Allauddin Qureshi (40), the leader of a criminal gang in Khadki, was nabbed on April 1 in connection with hacking a 21-year-old college student, Yogiraj Khandale, to death on March 31.The police had also arrested 12 others for their alleged involvement in the murder. A local court had remanded all suspects in police custody till April 10.Qureshi, complaining of diarrhoea, had requested a change of place. He then escaped along with another suspect who was brought in for questioning in connection with the same murder in the wee hours of Sunday, leading the city police to spread a massive dragnet to nab the criminal.The station duty officer of the Khadki police station, along with two constables on the night watch, has been suspended.Last Saturday, yet another criminal, Kailas Yadav (42), who was taken into custody in a case of alleged criminal intimidation, broke out from the Erandwane police station.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government at the Centre saying that country was not safe in their hands. “What is happening at the border in Jammu and Kashmir everyday? Our soldiers are not only being killed, but their bodies are being mutilated…and what had they promised earlier,” asked the RJD chief while addressing journalists at his residence here. On NITI Aayog’s recent suggestion that Parliament and Assembly elections should be held simultaneously, Mr. Prasad said,“They (BJP govt. at the Centre) wanted to destroy the federal structure of the country and finish off regional parties”. ‘Dissolve Parliament’He dared Mr Modi to “dissolve Parliament and hold Lok Sabha polls along with Assembly polls due in some States. “Pata chal jayega (He will get to know)”.“Has patharbaazi (stone throwing) stopped in Jammu and Kashmir? Has Maoist activity stopped in the country? Earlier, they had said notebandi se Jammu-Kashmir mein patharbaji band ho jayega, maowadiyon ka jama paisa barbaad ho jayega…hua kya? (has it all been done?)”. Mr Prasad questioned the Central government over its Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the Clean Ganga projects. Earlier, Mr. Modi had asked all MPs to adopt a village for their development. “Have those villages been developed?”, the RJD chief said.‘Rohtak case gruesome’Mr. Prasad also took up the rape incident in Rohtak in Haryana. Wherever there was a BJP government, such incidents have been taking place. “The Rohtak incident is more gruesome than the Nirbhaya case,” he said. “The country is passing through very dangerous and difficult times… He wants no one to question him…he wants to become a dictator,” he alleged. “But we’ll not sit idle…I’ve called for a rally on August 27 in Patna in which all the non-BJP parties have been invited…We’ll finish off the BJP in the 2019 General Elections together,” Mr Prasad said.JD(U) yet to decideHowever, his ruling alliance partner Janata Dal (United) said it was yet to decide on attending the rally. “There is enough time for it,” said State JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh on Sunday. The BJP mocked at Mr. Prasad’s proposed rally in Patna as senior State party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said, “Who knows if Lalu Prasad will be in or outside jail by August 27?”.
The flood situation in Assam deteriorated on Sunday with one person losing his life, while nearly five lakh people are hit across 15 districts.Concerned over the grim flood condition in Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and took stock of the prevailing situation in the State besides assuring him of all Central help.According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), one person died in the swirling flood waters in Karimganj district. With this, the total number of persons losing their lives in this year’s flood-related cases has gone up to 26, including seven in Guwahati. The ASDMA said more than 4.87 lakh people are currently suffering in Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Golaghat, Cachar, Dhemaji, Biswanath, Karimganj, Sonitpur, Majuli, Barpeta, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Morigaon and Chirang districts.3.83 lakh affected Till Saturday, 3.83 lakh people were affected in the latest wave of flood across the State. Around 1,096 villages are under water and nearly 41,200 hectares of crop area have been damaged, ASDMA said, adding, the worst affected is Lakhimpur, where over 1.21 lakh people have been affected by the deluge, followed by Karimganj with more than 1.19 lakh sufferers. Authorities are running 181 relief camps and distribution centres in 10 districts, where 17,744 persons are currently taking shelter. Across the Sstate, 1,88,148 animals and poultry have been affected by the flood waters. Due to the impact of flood waters, many roads, embankments and bridges have been damaged in several districts, including Majuli, Dhemaji, Morigaon, Biswanath, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Jorhat, Karimganj, Sonitpur and Nagaon.Above danger markThe Brahmaputra is flowing above danger mark at Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, along with Dibrugarh, Goalpara and Dhubri towns. Other rivers in the State are also flowing above danger mark.
Urging the Maharashtra government to seize the “great opportunity” and take the initiative to beautify Haji Ali dargah and its surroundings in Mumbai, the Supreme Court on Monday said it “hoped and expected” the work to be completed by December 31 so that the visitors in the new year can see the famed shrine in all its splendour.A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed that a meeting be held on September 4 by the Mumbai Collector and all other stakeholders to finalise the proposed beautification plans.“Why don’t you do the beautification and get the credit for it? It will not cost you much… It is a great opportunity for you,” Chief Justice Khehar told the Maharashtra government.The State’s counsel said he would convey this to the authorities. The court posted the case for hearing on October 4, when the finally approved plan would be placed before it. The court had earlier directed the authorities to remove all encroachments around the dargah and made it clear that no excuses for non-compliance of the Bombay High Court order to remove squatters in the contentious 908 square metre area near the shrine would be accepted. It observed that “believers of religion will never support encroachments,” while refusing pleas by the shopkeepers to modify its order directing the removal of encroachments near the historic 700-year-old shrine.
The juvenile, apprehended in connection with the alleged murder of his seven-year-old school mate was on Saturday sent to judicial custody till November 22. He will be kept at an observation home.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced the 16-year-old before Judicial Magistrate (First Class) of the Juvenile Justice Board Devinder Singh. The CBI said the “custodial interrogation of the child in conflict with law was almost complete and he was no more required in police custody”. The father of the juvenile also moved the JJ Board seeking appropriate action against CBI officials for allegedly violating its orders. The application said the CBI had violated the Board’s orders that interrogation be conducted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for three days.
A man who consumed poison before Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal last week after suffering losses allegedly due to demonetisation and GST died during treatment in Dehradun on Tuesday, hospital sources said.Prakash Pandey, a resident of Haldwani, had recounted his story to Mr. Uniyal during a ‘Janata Darbar’ programme at the BJP office in the State capital on Saturday.Mr. Pandey had introduced himself as a transporter during the event. He told the Minister that he was struggling to repay loans after demonetisation of high value currency notes and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax hit his business.He said he was forced to consume poison as his attempts to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP chief Amit Shah through letters had failed.When BJP workers realised Mr. Pandey had consumed poison, they rushed him in the Minister’s car to Doon Hospital, from where he was later referred to Max Hospital in Dehradun.Mr. Pandey died at the hospital on Tuesday.Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said he was sad to learn about Mr. Pandey’s death. Mr. Pandey was on life support, but could not be saved “as he had taken more than the fatal dose of poison,” Mr. Rawat told reporters.Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said the death was a “shameful” incident for the State government.
In a series of tweets on Saturday Union Minister Jayant Sinha said that he was “honouring the due process of law” after a row erupted over him felicitating eight men who were earlier convicted for mob lynching.The eight men were held guilty of killing a meat trader Alimuddin Ansari in the name of cow vigilantism in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand on June 30 last year.Later, eight people, including a local BJP leader Nityanand Mahto, were arrested and convicted by a trial court in March this year. However, the life sentences of those held guilty were suspended by the Jharkhand high court last week.On Tuesday, when those men came out of Hazaribagh jail on bail, they met Mr. Sinha at his residence where he garlanded them. Mr. Sinha represents Hazaribagh constituency in Parliament.Later, a row erupted over Mr Sinha felicitating those eight men convicted for lynching a meat trader. “This is despicable,” tweeted leader of Opposition in Jharkhand assembly and JMM leader Hemant Soren.Mr. Sinha on Saturday posted a series of tweets saying “though he condemned violence and rejected vigilantism he had misgivings about the trial of the men convicted by a fast-track court.”“I unequivocally condemn all acts of violence and reject any type of vigilantism. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy. Any unlawful acts, particularly those that violate the rights of any citizen, should be punished with the full force of the law”, said Mr. Sinha.He tweeted, “I have repeatedly expressed my misgivings about the Fast-Track Court judgment sentencing each accused to life imprisonment. I am pleased that the Hon’ble High Court will hear the matter as a statutory court of appeal to test the correctness of the Fast-Track Court order.”He added, “I have full faith in our judicial system and the rule of law. Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honoring the due process of law. Those that are innocent will be spared and the guilty will be appropriately punished.”The BJP government in Jharkhand had ordered the police to quickly probe the case and sent it to a fast-track court. The court verdict came nine months after the incident.
BJP president Amit Shah will take stock of the party’s preparedness for the Assembly polls later this year during his visit here on Saturday, State unit leaders said on Tuesday.Mr. Shah will address the concluding session of a two-day meeting of the Rajasthan BJP’s working committee and also hold other meetings to discuss poll strategy.Social media teamBJP MLAs, Ministers, MPs, district presidents and members of its units for youth, women, Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes are attending the working committee meeting.Mr. Shah will also interact with social media volunteers, party leaders said.The BJP president is expected to review the progress on the tasks he had set out for the State unit during his Rajasthan visit a year back.He had then outlined a programme to make the party invincible in Rajasthan. But just months later, the party lost the Lok Sabha bypolls in Ajmer and Alwar and an Assembly by-election in Mandalgarh.During his July 21-23 visit last year, Mr. Shah had tasked the leaders to strengthen the party’s booth-level organisation and implement the ‘vistarak’ scheme in which workers reach out to voters.Party leaders said the BJP has so far appointed ‘vistaraks’ in nearly half of the Assembly constituencies in the State.State BJP general secretary Bhajan Lal Sharma said the party workers are working at the ground level on the tasks assigned by Mr. Shah last year.‘Vistarak’ scheme “There has been progress on implementing the ‘vistarak’ scheme and on setting up party offices,” he said.But the party is troubled by dissent from MLAs Ghanshyam Tiwari, Gyan Dev Ahuja and Bhawani Singh Rajawat, who have been giving anti-government statements.
The Odisha government on Monday launched a Public Bicycle Sharing system to reduce traffic congestion, enhance space efficiency, and improve air quality in Bhubaneswar.Capital Region Urban Transport and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited have come together for the PBS, which has been christened as ‘Mo Cycle’ system.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off a promotional rally on Monday from Airport Square to Kalinaga Stadium in this regard.More than 300 cyclists took part in the rally to generate public awareness. Initially, 2,000 cycles will be available at about 400 Mo Cycle stations in different locations of the city.According to the BSCL, riders can take cycles from any location and drop them off at any destination of their choice. The operators will coordinate to ensure the redistribution and availability of cycles at high-demand locations.“Unlike rentals under the PBS system, cycles stored in a closely spaced network of stations will be made available to riders for short term shared use. This new system would encourage use of the same cycle by multiple riders every day,” said an official.Users would have to download Mo Cycle application and register for a nominal monthly subscription. The rider can locate the nearest Mo Cycle station and unlock the cycle through Quick Response Code scan. Technology interventions such as GPS and smart locks are an integral part of the system.
The renewed search for at least 13 miners trapped deep inside a water-filled coal mine in Meghalaya for the past 18 days did not yield any result on Sunday. The high-power pumps brought in by multiple agencies to drain the water out too could not be operated for technical reasons.Officials said six divers of the Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) spent four hours underwater surveying the interior of the submerged coal mine at Ksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills districts. The mine is about 350 ft deep with about 70 ft of water, officials said. The miners are believed to be trapped in rat-holes from where they were possibly scraping out coal when the disaster struck. The mining was being carried out illegally in violation of an April 2014 ban by the National Green Tribunal.Rat holes detectedOfficials said the divers had detected some narrow rat-holes branching out of the main tunnel, some of them covered by debris indicating that the miners had either hit an aquifer or a huge volume of water had flooded in from an adjoining abandoned mine.“One positive sign was that the Navy divers went much deeper than our limit of about 40 ft. They dived closer to the base of the pit and detected a few rat-holes. It was more of an assessment for taking sophisticated equipment down,” NDRF deputy commandant Santosh Kumar Singh said.Expert opinionThe divers, he added, went in at 2 p.m. after a boat was lowered into the pit for use as a diving platform.Mining expert Jaswant Singh Gill, who has been monitoring the rescue operation, said it might be possible to operate the high-power pumps on Monday after a platform is built over the level of the water. “If all the pumps are in operation, the water can be drained out within five days,” he said.The pumps, according to officials of the Odisha Fire Service — one of the agencies along with Navy engaged in the operation — can be submerged in the pit that measures about 150 sq. ft.
An alleged rhino poacher escaped from the lock-up of the Bagari Forest Division of the Kaziranga National Park four days after he was arrested.Kaziranga forest guards and the police at Jakhalabandha town in Nagaon district nearby had in a joint operation caught Akhter Ali near the national park on May 9. He was brought to the forest division’s lock-up that has been in need of repairs.Twenty-seven-year-old Ali, wanted in a December 2018 poaching case, gave the guards the slip in the evening. “We became suspicious when he took a long time to emerge from the toilet. We found he had escaped,” an official said, adding that the police have been alerted. The accused used to reside at Bandardubi adjoining the national park before moving to Garubandha in Jakhalabandha more than two years ago. Poachers had killed 84 rhinos in Assam between 2008 and 2018. A majority of them were in Kaziranga, one of four rhino habitats in the State. In 2018, six rhinos were killed in Kaziranga, a UNESCO World Heritage site and also a tiger reserve. The trend has been declining since 2016 when 14 rhinos were killed in the park by poachers.This period was marked by a spike in the number of arrest of poachers – 95 in 2016, 117 in 2017 and 104 last year. The rhino census carried out in the 430 sq km Kaziranga in March 2018 had estimated the one-horned animal’s population at 2,413, marginally up from 2,401 during the previous census in 2015.
“What’s for dinner?” The words roll off the tongue without even thinking about it—for adults, at least. But how do humans learn to speak as children? Now, a new study in mice shows how a gene, called FOXP2, implicated in a language disorder may have changed between humans and chimps to make learning to speak possible—or at least a little easier.As a uniquely human trait, language has long baffled evolutionary biologists. Not until FOXP2 was linked to a genetic disorder that caused problems in forming words could they even begin to study language’s roots in our genes. Soon after that discovery, a team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, discovered that just two bases, the letters that make up DNA, distinguished the human and chimp versions of FOXP2. To try to determine how those changes influenced the gene’s function, that group put the human version of the gene in mice. In 2009, they observed that these “humanized” mice produced more frequent and complex alarm calls, suggesting the human mutations may have been involved in the evolution of more complex speech.Another study showed that humanized mice have different activity in the part of the brain called the striatum, which is involved in learning, among other tasks. But the details of how the human FOXP2 mutations might affect real-world learning remained murky. To solve the mystery, the Max Planck researchers sent graduate student Christiane Schreiweis to work with Ann Graybiel, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. She’s an expert in testing mouse smarts by seeing how quickly they can learn to find rewards in mazes.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In humans and other animals, learning occurs in two ways, Graybiel explains. The first requires breaking the task at hand into distinct steps and performing them one at a time. For example, to learn to ride a bike, you first need to remember to hold the handlebars straight, then to put your feet on the pedals, and finally push with your legs to make the pedals go around. At some point, though, these step-by-step movements become habit and you switch to the second type of learning, which is based on unconscious repetition. Now, your bike riding improves simply by repeating the task, rather than thinking through each step.To figure out which type of learning may have been aided by the changes in the human version of FOXP2, Schreiweis tested humanized mice in mazes. In some cases, the mice were required to remember that turning right always led to a reward, indicating that they had acquired the repetitive habit of turning right and their skill had become “unconscious.” In other cases, they had to look around and figure out that the reward was always on the east arm of the maze, a task that required the behavioral flexibility of step-by-step learning. That’s because, depending on where in the maze the mouse started, it had to look around to figure out where to go.When humanized mice and wild mice were put in mazes that engaged both types of learning, the humanized mice mastered the route to the reward faster than their wild counterparts, report Schreiweis, Graybiel, and their colleagues online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But when the mice were engaged in just one type of learning, humanized and wild mice did equally well on all the tests. That was unexpected; the researchers forecast that the humanized mice would have some advantage in at least one of the learning types.When other scientists tried to repeat the maze trials that showed a difference between the wild and humanized mice, however, they, too, found no difference in learning abilities. “It was very fascinating but a bit frustrating, too,” Graybiel recalls.She began to wonder if the improvement they saw initially was related to interactions between the two types of learning. The team also realized that Schreiweis had set up her mazes in a crowded lab full of computers, lab benches, and wall posters that the mice could turn to for clues about their location in the maze. In contrast, the other teams had done their tests in less cluttered, or even empty, rooms.When Schreiweis and her colleagues put their mazes back in a crowded room, the humanized mice excelled once again. Furthermore, in yet another series of tests, they demonstrated that humanized mice that had already been trained in step-by-step learning were more readily able to switch to repetitive learning. And cellular studies bolstered this conclusion: Each type of learning involves a different part of the striatum, and the part for learning by repetition was more primed for action in the humanized mouse.The results suggest the human version of the FOXP2 gene may enable a quick switch to repetitive learning—an ability that could have helped infants 200,000 years ago better communicate with their parents. Better communication might have increased their odds of survival and enabled the new version of FOXP2 to spread throughout the entire human population, suggests Björn Brembs, a neurobiologist at the University of Regensburg in Germany, who was not involved with the work.”The findings fit well with what we already knew about FOXP2 but, importantly, bridge the gap between behavioral, genetic, and evolutionary knowledge,” says Dianne Newbury, a geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, U.K., who was not involved with the new research. “They help us to understand how the FOXP2 gene might have been important in the evolution of the human brain and direct us towards neural mechanisms that play a role in speech and language acquisition.”Faraneh Vargha-Khadem, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London who was not involved with the work, also applauds the study but is not sure how relevant the findings are to speech in particular. In the maze experiments, mice depend on visual cues to figure out what to do, whereas infants are responding to audio cues. “If you really want to deal with the right [brain] circuit, you have to work with the right stimuli,” she says.Study co-author Simon Fisher of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, emphasizes that FOXP2 is just one piece of this evolutionary puzzle. “It is clear that our human speech and language capacities involve many different genes, interacting in complex networks, so there will never be an explanation of our unique ability in terms of just a single molecule.”
The French secretary of state for higher education and research, Geneviève Fioraso, has stepped down for health reasons, the French government announced yesterday. The minister in charge of national education, higher education, and research, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, will temporarily take over her duties.Fioraso became minister for higher education and research in May 2012 after François Hollande was elected president; her role was downgraded to that of secretary of state last year in a Cabinet reshuffle. Fioraso’s main achievement was a new law that aimed to simplify France’s higher education and research landscape and give the nation a stronger strategic research agenda; it was passed in 2013 after an exhaustive nationwide consultation.Limited by France’s austerity policies, Fioraso had few budget increases to offer, however, and she came under fire from groups that hoped that she would make a more radical break with the policies of the right-wing government of Nicolas Sarkozy. She was pressured to increase baseline funding for universities and research centers and create more permanent positions for early-career researchers, culminating in a 3-week protest in October.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(*)“We find that she hasn’t done anything good for research,” says Guillaume Bossis, a biologist at the National Center for Scientific Research and spokesman for Sciences en Marche, the group behind last year’s protests. Bossis says Fioraso ignored protests from the scientific community and pretended that all was well while only a minority of well-supported researchers was happy. But Alain Beretz, president of the University of Strasbourg, told Le Monde that he “very much appreciated her commitment to the universities.”Quitting the government is “heartbreaking,” Fioraso told regional newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré yesterday. The French press has speculated that Hollande will name her successor in another Cabinet reshuffle after France’s departmental elections, which are scheduled for 22 and 29 March.
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