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Messages - Monir Hossan

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Smartphone / The future of smartphone tech
« on: July 09, 2018, 11:44:48 AM »
It has been a mostly boring year for smartphones. For the first time in history, smartphone sales figures across the US declined last year. Things just aren't the same anymore, with flagships touting the same features and no real substantial improvement. The ones which offer anything over your previous smartphones cost a fortune. But all is not lost. There's still hope for the smartphone industry, and here are some of the trends you might see this year.


Gaming smartphones

Up till now, Smartphones only had a few market segments for covering price ranges. But with the arrival of the Razer phone, the market changed gradually. Earlier this year, we saw the Xiaomi Blackshark and ZTE Red Magic release. ASUS has already promised the release of the ROG phone in the near future, and a plethora of accessories to support the gaming-focused smartphone. All of this has been kicked off with the release of PUBG on mobile platforms for completely free. Expect to see a lot more of these gaming smartphones arrive in the coming days.

Face recognition
Face recognition tech has been around for years, and it was expected to hit the mass market with the release of the iPhone X. We might have seen the implementation of it on the OPPO F7 and the One Plus 5T, but none of these were nearly as secure. Another patent from Samsung suggests their work on a biometric camera which uses both the iris scanner and 3D face recognition tech.

AR and VR
The current state of AR and VR is in a questionable state, yet the tech is getting cheaper day-by-day. Apple showed off its AR capability on its newest iOS update, and some other Android smartphone manufacturers have followed suit. Hopefully, we'll see a lot more AR applications throughout the next few years as AR gets more accurate and sees wider usage.

Malleable displays
The concept first started a long time ago, back in 2013 when Samsung revealed a foldable AMOLED Panel which functioned amazingly even after 100,000 bends. The project eventually took form as Samsung Galaxy X, and now it's closer than ever. And Samsung isn't the only one running this race, last year Microsoft patented a foldable display, presumably for its Surface phone. LG even patented a flexible display with a smartpen, hinting towards its attempts at catching up with the world.

New flagships around the corner
Qualcomm's newest flagships are around the corner, as just a few days ago a Japanese media site leaked an unknown Sony device getting benchmarked on Geekbench with the score being 30% higher than Qualcomm's current flagship, Snapdragon 845. Obviously, other than performance boosts, Qualcomm is expected to implement dedicated computing units for AI.

The future of connectivity
Up til now, the details about Qualcomm's upcoming flagship SoC, Snapdragon 855, has been scarce. We know that it's supposedly a 7nm chip and possibly manufactured by TSMC. It's a smaller chip than the 845, so we can expect some power efficiency from this brand-new chipset. Qualcomm is more interested in pushing its X50 modem supposedly bundled with the 855. In late 2017, Qualcomm announced a successful trial of their X50 modem supposedly running 5G connections. This hints that future flagships might feature 5G modem, and Qualcomm might be powering the first batch.

Mobile payment
Mobile payment sees a wider application with Android Pay and Samsung Pay getting used across the world. It's hard to say which one's faster to win the race, but Samsung Pay's winning for now with its Magnetic Secure Transmission tech, supposedly supported by around 90% of all US retailers. As NFC becomes the norm, mobile payment is sure to get more secure. Who knows, maybe Google might decide to buy one of our own mobile banking giants.

Wireless charging will be widespread
A few days ago, famous Youtuber LinusTech Tips featured a wireless charging module which charges out of thin air in a selected area. This device also should charge smartphones relatively faster- which is surprising. Probably not far off before you see this device in a Starbucks store as manufacturers start racing to support this tech.

The bezels are dead
2017 was the year of the notch, and that trend has watered down to mid-level smartphones in 2018. Needless to say, it was time to innovate. As so, Smartphone giants OPPO and Vivo decided to release their own take on the bezel-less competition. Samsung and Apple failed to be the first one to remove bezels completely, however, as Vivo Apex was the first phone with seemingly no bezel. This is a sign of things to come, as with the death of bezels, virtual buttons are slowly becoming the norm.

Under display fingerprint scanner
We've already seen this tech pouring in, but it'll be even faster. First seen in the X20 from Vivo, major players such as HTC, Apple, Samsung or Xiaomi are yet to introduce the feature in their phones. But we presume that under-display fingerprint reading is the future, as it's getting faster day-by-day. And it's a change we all want because fingerprint scanners on the back or front do play a role in the aesthetics of the device.

Link for more: https://www.thedailystar.net/bytes/the-future-smartphone-tech-1602103
Source: The Daily Star

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IOT (Internet of Things) / The IoT's Perplexing Security Problems
« on: July 03, 2018, 02:51:22 PM »


Worldwide spending on the Internet of Things will total nearly US$773 billion this year, IDC has predicted.

The IoT will sustain a compound annual growth rate of 14.4 percent, and spending will hit $1.1 trillion by 2021, according to the firm's forecast late last year.

Consumer IoT spending will total $62 billion this year, making it the fourth largest industry segment, after manufacturing, transportation and utilities. The leading consumer use cases will be related to the smart home, including home automation, security and smart appliances, IDC said.

Cross-industry IoT spending, which encompasses connected vehicles and smart buildings, will gobble up $92 billion this year, and will be among the top areas of spending for the next three years.

IoT growth will get a boost from new approaches coming from firms such as China's Tuya Smart, for example, which combines hardware access, cloud services, and app development in a process that lets manufacturers transform standard products into smart products within one day.


Shadow IoT Devices on Enterprise Networks
One third of companies in the U.S., the UK and Germany have more than 1,000 shadow IoT devices connected to their network on a typical day, according to a recent Infoblox survey of 1,000 IT directors across the U.S., the UK, Germany and the UAE.

The reported shadow IoT devices included the following:

Fitness trackers - 49 percent;
Digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home - 47 percent;
Smart TVs - 46 percent;
Smart kitchen devices such as connected microwaves - 33 percent; and
Gaming consoles - 30 percent.
There were 1,570 identifiable Google Home assistants deployed on enterprise networks in the U.S. as of March, according to the Infoblox survey. There were 2,350 identifiable smart TVs deployed on enterprise networks in Germany, and nearly 6,000 identifiable cameras deployed on UK enterprise networks.

Shadow IoT devices are devices connected to the company network but not purchased or managed by the IT department, according to Infoblox.

"Often IoT devices are added to the network without the direct knowledge of IT," noted Bob Noel, director of strategic relationships and marketing for Plixer.

"Companies need to pay attention to the deployment of IoT devices, which are regularly put online with default passwords, legacy code riddled with known vulnerabilities, and a lack of defined policies and procedures to monitor them, leaving companies extremely vulnerable," he told the E-Commerce Times.

More than 80 percent of organizations surveyed said security was the top consideration in IoT purchase decisions, said Brent Iadarola, VP of mobile & wireless communications at Frost & Sullivan.

However, "the unfortunate reality today is that unknown assets and unmanaged networks continue to exist in enterprise networks and are often overlooked by vulnerability scanners and solutions that monitor network changes," he told the E-Commerce Times.

Still, "we have started to see some movement towards integrated IoT security solutions that offer end-to-end data collection, analysis and response in a single management and operations platform," Iadarola noted.

Security for the IoT
"IoT security is highly fragmented and many devices are vulnerable," observed Kristen Hanich, research analyst at Parks Associates.

"There are a large number of devices out there with known weaknesses that can easily be exploited by commonly available attacks," she told the E-Commerce Times.

Most of these devices won't receive protective updates, Hanich said, and "as most IoT devices are put in place for years or even decades, this will lead to hundreds of millions of vulnerable devices."

Cybercriminals have been launching newer and more creative attacks on IoT devices, either to compromise them or to leverage them in botnets.

For example, Wicked -- the latest version of the Mirai botnet malware, originally released in 2016 -- leverages at least three new exploits.

A new version of the "Hide-and-Seek" botnet, which controls more than 32,000 IoT devices, uses custom-built peer-to-peer communication and multiple anti-tampering techniques, according to BitDefender.

"We should be preparing ourselves for many years of attacks powered by IoT botnets," Sean Newman, director of product management for Corero Security, told the E-Commerce Times.

Cost is a problem with IoT security, Parks Associates' Hanich noted. "Security must be built-in from the onset, which takes time and effort. It also requires regular maintenance and updates after selling the devices, potentially for many years."

Many device makers are skipping security to keep their prices down, she pointed out, as security "does not drive unit sales of their products."

Medical Devices and IoT Security
The IoT's healthcare component includes connected medical devices and consumer wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Medical device manufacturers increasingly have been incorporating connectivity to the Internet, but 53 percent of healthcare providers and 43 percent of medical device manufacturers don't test their medical devices for security, noted Siddharth Shah, a healthcare industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Few have taken significant steps to avoid being hacked, he told the E-Commerce Times.

Network-connected medical devices "promise an entirely new level of value for patients and doctors," said Frost & Sullivan healthcare industry analyst Kamaljit Behera.

However, "they also introduce new cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could affect clinical operations and put patient care at risk," he told the E-Commerce Times.

"The perceived risk from connected medical devices within the hospital is high, but steps are now being taken to prevent attacks," said Frost's Shah. "Still, there's lots to be done."

The risk to enterprise networks of being hacked through consumer healthcare-related devices "isn't a big issue," according to Greg Caressi, global business unit leader for transformational health at Frost & Sullivan.

"Personal devices are not commonly connected to private corporate networks other than healthcare IT vendors," he told the E-Commerce Times.

Google and Apple have been leading the charge of smart devices into the healthcare realm, with other companies, such as fitness device manufacturers, following suit.

Link: https://www.technewsworld.com/story/85400.html
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A Security Manager's Guide to Vendor Risk Management is enclosed.

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Over the last 5-10 years, we’ve seen a major uptick in the number of regulations across all sectors regarding cybersecurity. The following is a brief look at how cybersecurity regulations have been implemented across seven sectors and divisions.

Financial security
The financial sector has a number of cybersecurity requirements set by federal and state regulators. The most common set of requirements is found in the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council handbook, or FFIEC-IT. That body is comprised of a number of booklets that contain resources and requirements financial institutions are expected to adhere to. There are also a number of different guidances that financial regulatory bodies put out. An example is the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), which has put out guidance on third-party risk management. That guidance is issued to all organizations that fall under their oversight.

Retail
The retail sector isn’t federally regulated, but it does follow regulations from the Payment Card Industry Security Council’s Data Security Standard (or PCI DSS). This group issues security standards that any organization that processes payment cards or holds payment card data is required to follow.

Healthcare
The best-known standard for cybersecurity compliance healthcare is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA establishes cybersecurity standards for healthcare organizations, insurers, and the third-party service providers medical organizations do business with.

Defense
As a condition of providing a service to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), businesses must meet cyber requirements set up in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and Procedures, Guidance, and Information (PGI). DFARS outlines cybersecurity standards a third party must meet and comply with prior to doing business with the DOD in order to protect sensitive defense information.

Consumer Data
Currently, 47 out of 50 states (and the District of Columbia) have enacted cybersecurity compliance requirements for organizations to notify states about security breaches that compromise customer data. For instance, if your company holds sensitive personal information about customers—like social security numbers, account numbers, or payment card information—and you experience a breach, you’re obligated to notify those affected. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can also penalize organizations for failing to adequately protect consumer data.

Insurance
While regulations for insurance departments and companies vary state by state, many have issued requirements to protect consumer information. Furthermore, we’ve seen increased interest in adding more regulations in this area. In October 2016, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed new regulation around cybersecurity for both financial organizations and insurance companies.

Energy
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to establish cybersecurity regulations over a number of electric utility companies and operators. The standards are created by a nonprofit authority known as the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the regulations are known as the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards.

Something for all sectors to keep in mind...
While cybersecurity compliance with regulations is a critical goal, ongoing management of cybersecurity—both your own and your vendors’—shouldn’t be understated. Protecting critical data and information is less about the label of compliance and more about creating and adhering to a cybersecurity program.

If you need some tips on how to create a cybersecurity program for your vendors, download this ebook. It covers the questions you need to ask all of your vendors, risk vectors and configurations to keep in mind, and the impact of continuous risk monitoring software

Link: https://www.bitsighttech.com/blog/cybersecurity-compliance-regulations-for-7-industry-sectors

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Cyber security is increasingly recognised to be a people issue as much as a technical one. Boards now understand that their own employees may be the weak link in an organisation’s cyber defences. This article provides a self-assessment matrix to help organisations understand how effectively they are mitigating cyber insider risk and thus enable them to embark on a programme of improvement.

INTRODUCTION

Cyber Insiders – a Board Issue (Cyber Security Review, Summer 2014 edition) attracted considerable interest. For many readers the distinctions between cyber insiders who could be “witting or unwitting” and “malicious or non-malicious” were novel. Many had previously been unsighted on CPNI’s excellent insider threat research2 and the evidence that indicated the existence of nine factors at organisational level that enable insider acts to take place. Most readers accepted that the proposed “10 Steps to Cyber Insider Protection” were a valuable approach to addressing the organisational level factors which enable insider acts to take place.

Link: http://www.cybersecurity-review.com/articles/cyber-insider-risk-mitigation-maturity-matrix/

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Internet Risk / Ten Ways Evolving Technology Affects Cybersecurity
« on: July 03, 2018, 01:30:34 PM »


The ever-evolving digital age affects cybersecurity more than most people realize. The rate of cybercrimes has grown exponentially and is consistent with the growth of technology. As technology expands and develops, so do the cybercrimes that are committed. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, so has the ability to seek out cybercrimes before they happen and protect people when they occur.

Here are ten ways developing technology has changed cybersecurity:

1. Corporate Security Breaches
The majority of these corporate security breaches occur when hackers exploit employees through social engineering and scams. With advancements in technology, hackers are becoming more skilled at finding holes and cracks in corporate security systems and can gain access to protected files and data, posing a significant cybersecurity threat. Unfortunately, 2012 may be a record year for corporate security breaches.

2. Spear Phishing
Unlike regular phishing emails that target random people, culprits who normally lead spear phishing scams are seeking information for monetary gain; business secrets or private information. Spear phishing occurs when hackers target employees through emails that appear to be from colleagues within their own organizations, allowing cyber criminals to steal personal information. With the progressive technology available today, hackers are able to send emails to employees disguised as others within the company – making this a substantial cybersecurity risk.



Cyber criminals are increasingly using social media to engage in identity theft schemes, and entice individuals to download malicious codes or reveal passwords. Experienced hackers can easily hack into users social media accounts and later use that information to venture into your personal email account, work email account and banking information.

The average user shares a lot of information on social media sites; most reveal a person’s name, age, birthday, hometown and family members, while others can go as far as revealing addresses, phone numbers and even up to the minute location updates. Some of this information can reveal just enough for a hacker to find the opportunity and steal your identity online.

4. Social Media Security Breaches
Not only do social media sites give hackers access to personal information, some sites can also share your exact whereabouts at any point in time. And if someone knows where you are – they also know where you are not. For instance, the social media network Foursquare allows users to “check in” to the places they visit such as school, work, restaurants or even the movie theater. Any number of people can easily tell where you are, and at what time of day by logging into the social network and looking at your profile. The indicator that you are away from home base can put your valuables and safety at risk.



As mobile technology is continuously emerging, so are mobile cybersecurity threats. Currently, 45 percent of cell phone owners have smartphones, which hold more data than the older alternative models. Every new phone, tablet and mobile device serves as an additional opportunity for a cyber attacker to gain access to someone’s personal data. As many mobile devices can be plugged into computers to be charged, sharing charging ports with others can create malware issues for many different devises.

6. Data has Gone Digital
Hard copy information is increasingly less common – practically everything is digital these days. Though often protected by a password, most information is stored on a shared network. As a result, a hacker could gain access to the network and obtain valuable information that could put individuals or businesses at risk.


As more businesses shift to cloud computing and save documents and information to cloud networks poses an additional cybersecurity risk. This method is attractive option to many businesses, as cloud computing and storage is extremely efficient and cost effective. However, certain sophisticated security measures must be put into place to protect information on the cloud. While this technology is continuously emerging, it is crucial for companies to implement security precautions to combat the evolving trends.

8. Advanced Employee Training
As previously noted, with the expanding smartphone market, people are becoming more technologically savvy and need to be educated as technology develops. Proper training should be employed so that the company’s workforce understands the cybersecurity threats, and how to avoid them. Consequently, employees can use this knowledge to get information from their employers from databases, the cloud or on company-shared servers.

9. Hacktivism
In 2012 there have been a few instances of hacktivism – the act of hacking for a political or social reason. Hackers are taking the practice to the next level and attempting to reach websites with a large number of visitors accessing information in order to affect as many people as possible. Large websites and companies are at a higher online security risk for these types of acts.

10. Botnets
A botnet is a number of computers set up to forward information (like spam and viruses) to other computers. In the past, botnets were set up to take email and password credentials, which were very useful to spammers. However, with the emergence and advancements in technology, botnets are collecting more data from computers such as name, address, age, financial information, online activity and more. They will then gather your information and sell the data to others. Personal data can be bought and sold by a number of companies and businesses, which is how spammers can obtain so many email addresses. These advanced botnets pose a considerable security risk making personal information extremely vulnerable.

With the upward progression in technology, the presence of hackers and other cybersecurity threats are also on the rise. With increased awareness and knowledge of technology, from consumers and hackers alike, the risks for cyber fraud are heightened. In order for individuals and corporations to protect their information online, it is important for security precautions to be taken to protect against cybersecurity breaches. An online Master's in Cybersecurity from Utica College offers students advanced knowledge and hands-on experience in intelligence, critical infrastructures, and investigative principles as they relate to cybercrime in today’s digital age.

Link: https://programs.online.utica.edu/articles/ten-ways-evolving-technology-affects-cybersecurity-0321

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‘প্রথম আলো’ অনলাইনে গত ২৫ জুন ২০১৮-তে ‘বিদেশমুখী শিক্ষক ও ফিরে না আসার দেশপ্রেম’ শিরোনামে আমার লেখাটি প্রকাশিত হয়। লেখাটি প্রকাশিত হওয়ার পর থেকেই অনেকের কাছ থেকে অনুরোধ আসছে এর উল্টো পিঠটিকে নিয়েও লেখার জন্য। কারণ মুদ্রার এক পিঠ থাকলেও উল্টো পিঠটিও তো থাকে; যা নিয়েও আলোচনা-সমালোচনা হওয়া জরুরি বৈকি! গত লেখাটিতে মূল বিষয় ছিল আমাদের দেশের সরকারি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় পর্যায়ের অনেক শিক্ষকই উচ্চশিক্ষার জন্য তাঁদের চাকরি রেখে নির্দিষ্ট চুক্তিপত্র সম্পাদনের ভিত্তিতে দেশের বাইরে থেকে পড়া কিংবা গবেষণা শেষ করেও শর্তমাফিক ঠিক সময়ের মধ্যে দেশে ফেরত আসতে চান না। এমনকি অনেকেই সময় বাড়িয়ে নেন। এ ক্ষেত্রে তাঁরা বছরের পর বছর ধরে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষকের পদ যেমন ধরে রাখছেন, ঠিক তেমনি দেশকে তাঁরা বঞ্চিত করছেন উচ্চশিক্ষার বিকাশে। সোজা কথা, দেশে ফেরত আসতে না চাইলে শুধু শুধু তাঁরা তাঁদের শিক্ষকতার পদটি আটকিয়ে না রেখে আরেকজন মেধাবীকে সুযোগদান করাই এ ক্ষেত্রে শ্রেয়। লেখাটিতে বলা হয়নি যে দেশের বাইরে শিক্ষকেরা কেন থাকবেন না? থাকুন, তাতে কারও কোনো সমস্যা নেই। বরং মূল বিষয়, যখন শিক্ষা ছুটি শেষে দেশে ফিরছেন না কিংবা দীর্ঘায়িত করছেন শিক্ষা ছুটি, আবার নিয়ম অনুযায়ী বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়কে তাঁর প্রাপ্যতা বুঝিয়েও দিচ্ছেন না, তখন শিক্ষক হিসেবে এ দায়ভার কে নেবে? তবে দেশে যাঁরা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে শিক্ষকতা করছেন, বিদেশ থেকে ফিরে তাঁদের সঙ্গে কথা বললে আবার অন্য রকম অব্যক্ত কিছু কথা শুনতে হয় তাঁদের অভিজ্ঞতা থেকে।

বেশির ভাগের মতে, এখানে শিক্ষকতায় নিষ্ঠা নিয়ে থাকা অনেক কষ্টকর। বিশেষ করে যাঁরা শুধু শিক্ষকতা আর নিজেদের গবেষণা নিয়ে থাকতে চান, তাঁদের তো আরও সমস্যা। আমাদের দেশে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়গুলোতে একজন শিক্ষক মৌলিক কোনো বিষয়ে গবেষণা করতে চাইলে তাঁকে নিয়মের বেড়াজালে পড়ে প্রায়ই হাঁসফাঁস করতে হয়। এমনকি সরকারিভাবে গবেষণার জন্য যে ন্যূনতম থোক বরাদ্দ আছে, সেই অর্থ হাতে আসতে আসতেও অনেককেই বলতে শোনা গেছে, ‘গবেষণা করব, নাকি ফরমালিটি সামলাব, ছেড়ে দে মা কেঁদে বাঁচি?’ সে ক্ষেত্রে আমাদের বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় মঞ্জুরি কমিশন আরও সহজ কিছু পন্থা গবেষকদের উৎসাহিত করার জন্য অবলম্বন করতে পারে গবেষণা আর উচ্চশিক্ষার উন্নয়নের কথা চিন্তা করে।

এরপর অনেকের ভাষ্য অনুযায়ী, আপনাকে বিভিন্ন দলের রঙে নিজেকে রাঙাতে হবে, নতুবা অনিয়ম-দুর্নীতি মেনে মাথা নিচু করে হাঁটতে হবে। এগুলো বন্ধ না হলে মেধাবীরা দেশে থেকে উচ্চশিক্ষার ক্ষেত্রে অবদান রাখার ব্যাপারে একেবারেই নিরুৎসাহিত হয়ে পড়বেন। কারণ তাঁদের মতে, যোগ্য মেধাবী শিক্ষকেরা এসবের ভেতর থাকতে পারেন না কখনো, যেখানে কোনো ঝামেলা ছাড়াই বিদেশের ল্যাবে বসে তাঁরা চালিয়ে যাচ্ছেন, তাঁদের উন্নত গবেষণা, যার প্রতিফলন বিশ্বের নামকরা অনেক বিজ্ঞান সাময়িকীতে পাওয়া যায় অহরহ। এমনকি সব সময়ই দেখা গেছে, যে শিক্ষক দেশের বাইরে আছেন, প্রতিবছরই দু-তিনটি কিংবা এর বেশি গবেষণায় নিজেদের সম্পৃক্ত রাখছেন, প্রবন্ধ প্রকাশ করছেন। কিন্তু দেশে ফেরত এসে নিজেদের বিভাগে যোগ দেওয়া অধিকাংশ শিক্ষকের একই অভিমত, ‘গবেষণা করার মতো হাতে আর সময় নেই...?’ তাঁরা ব্যস্ত হয়ে পড়েন একাডেমিক অনেক কাজে, যাকে শুধু ‘ম্যানেজেরিয়াল জব’ বললেও ভুল হবে না মোটেও। অথচ তাঁদেরই এখন বেশি সময় দেওয়া উচিত নতুন শিক্ষাপদ্ধতি এবং গবেষণার উন্নয়নে। আর এ বিষয়গুলো বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের প্রধানকে আরও আন্তরিকতার সঙ্গে দেখা একান্ত প্রয়োজন তাঁদের নিজেদের উন্নতির স্বার্থেই। কারণ, মনে রাখতে হবে, শুধু অর্থ দিয়েও কিন্তু ভালো কিছুর আশা করা যায় না, প্রয়োজন পর্যাপ্ত সুযোগ ও কাজের স্বাধীনতা। আর এ বিষয়টিই আমরা একেবারে ভুলে বসে আছি অমায়িকভাবে।

তা ছাড়া আমাদের দেশে এখনো শিক্ষক নিয়োগের বেলায় শুধু স্নাতক পর্যায়ের উচ্চ নম্বরকেই সর্বোচ্চ মেধার প্রমাণ বলে ধরা হয়। সে ক্ষেত্রে স্নাতক পর্যায়ের পরের গবেষণা কিংবা শিক্ষাক্ষেত্রে যতই উন্নতি করুক না কেন, সেগুলো হয়ে যায় গৌণ। আর আমাদের বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়গুলোর পিছিয়ে পড়ার আরেকটি বড় কারণ এই পুরোনো আমলের ধ্যানধারণা। বিশেষ করে, বিশ্বের যেসব বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়কে সাধারণত মানদণ্ড হিসেবে ধরা হয়, সেখানে শুধু নম্বরভিত্তিক শিক্ষাপদ্ধতিকে পাশ কাটিয়ে শিক্ষক নিয়োগের বেলায় অনেক বেশি মাত্রায় দেখা হয়, প্রতিবছর তার ধারাবাহিক গবেষণার উন্নয়ন, শিক্ষার পাশাপাশি অন্যান্য একাডেমিক অবদান যাকে আমরা ‘কো-কারিকুলাম অ্যাক্টিভিটি’ বলে থাকি। এ ছাড়া গবেষণায় অর্থ জোগাড়ের দক্ষতা, এমনকি তাঁর মধ্যে শিক্ষক হিসেবে ‘মোটিভেশনাল’ ক্ষমতা আছে কি না, ইত্যাদিকে। উচ্চ সিজিপিএ দরকার, তবে তাঁদের কাছে সেটিই সবকিছু নয়। অথচ আমরা এভাবেই চলছি বছরের পর বছর ধরে, আর চলার পথে হোঁচট খাচ্ছি প্রতিনিয়তই। তাই শিক্ষায় সামগ্রিক উন্নয়নের জন্য আমাদের এগুলো অবশ্যই ভাবতে হবে। প্রকৃতপ‌ক্ষে যাঁরা নিজেদের দিনের পর দিন ধরে মেধাবী থেকে আরও মেধাবী করে তুলছেন, তাঁদের সুযোগ দিতে হবে। তবেই তো তাঁরা দেশে ফেরায় উৎসাহিত হবেন।

সবচেয়ে যে বিষয়টি নিয়ে বেশির ভাগ শিক্ষককেই ভাবতে দেখেছি, সেটি হচ্ছে গবেষণা খাতে অপর্যাপ্ত বরাদ্দ। ভারত, মালয়েশিয়া, সিঙ্গাপুর, হংকংয়ে গবেষণাক্ষেত্রে আলাদা অর্থায়নের ব্যবস্থা আছে, যার মাধ্যমে যোগ্যতার ভিত্তিতে একজন গবেষক মৌলিক গবেষণায় অংশ নিতে পারে। অথচ আমাদের দেশে এগুলো নিয়ে তেমন কোনো বিকার নেই কারও—যার কারণে অনেকেই বিমুখ হয়ে বেছে নেন প্রবাসী গবেষকের জীবন। এমনকি দেশে যা-ই গবেষণা হচ্ছে না কেন, এরও যথাযথ মর্যাদা দেওয়ার বেলায় আমলাতান্ত্রিক কার্পণ্য যেন সব জায়গায়। এ থেকে বেরিয়ে আসার উপায় ভাবতে হবে যথাযথ কর্তৃপক্ষকে—সময় থাকতেই।

অনেকেই আবার শিক্ষকদের প্রতি রাষ্ট্রের মানসিকতাকে দায়ী করেছেন দেশে না ফেরার অন্যতম কারণ হিসেবে। কারণ তাঁদের মতে, মেধার দাম যেখানে আছে, সেখানেই তো মেধাবীরা যাবেন। এমনও বলতে শোনা গেছে, উচ্চশিক্ষা শেষে দেশে ফেরত এসেছেন ঠিকই, ফলও ভালো কিন্তু কোনো এক নিয়মের বেড়াজালে তাঁরা দেশে উচ্চশিক্ষা ক্ষেত্রে অবদান রাখতে পারছেন না এবং দিন শেষে আবার বাইরে চলে যাচ্ছেন। তা ছাড়া একই বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে সময়, অবস্থান ও শিক্ষকভেদে অনেক বৈরী নিয়মের প্রচলনকেও অনেকেই দায়ী করেন এমন অবস্থার জন্য। আজ দেশে মেধার মূল্য যদি সঠিকভাবে মেধাবীরা পান কিংবা শতভাগ না পেলেও যদি পাওয়ার ব্যবস্থাপনা কিংবা নিয়মনীতি সঠিক থাকে, তাহলে তাঁদের ভাষ্য অনুযায়ী অবশ্যই তাঁরা দেশে ফিরে এসে শিক্ষাক্ষেত্রের উন্নতিতে হাত লাগাবেন। আর সেই সুযোগের অপেক্ষায় আজ আমাদের উচ্চশিক্ষার ক্ষেত্রটি। কারণ দেশের উন্নতির জন্য মেধাবীদের যোগসূত্র অবশ্যই প্রয়োজন, সে জন্য দরকার সঠিক পরিকল্পনা আর বাস্তবায়ন।

সজল চৌধুরী: সহকারী অধ্যাপক, স্থাপত্য বিভাগ, চট্টগ্রাম প্রকৌশল ও প্রযুক্তি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়, চট্টগ্রাম
http://www.prothomalo.com/opinion/article/1523796/%E0%A6%AE%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%A7%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%AC%E0%A7%80-%E0%A6%B6%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%95%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B7%E0%A6%95%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%BE-%E0%A6%A6%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%87-%E0%A6%AB%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%9B%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%A8-%E0%A6%A8%E0%A6%BE-%E0%A6%95%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%A8

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Economy / Finance Bill 2018-19 passed in parliament
« on: June 28, 2018, 12:52:37 PM »

Parliament members passed the Finance Bill 2018 in Jatiya Sangsad in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The proposed budget finally got some changes, including reducing of VAT on internet service, continuation of VAT exemption on computer and its parts and increase in cigarette prices, reports UNB. Finance Minister AMA Muhith reduced the VAT on internet service to 5 percent from the proposed 15 percent. The Finance Minister exempted 5 percent additional VAT from assembling mobile phone sets.

He increased the prices of 10-stick low category cigarettes from Tk 32 to Tk 35 while that of high-category 10-stick cigarettes to Tk 105 from Tk 101. Muhith also increased the tariff of per gram Jarda at Tk 1.20 while that for Gul Tk 0.60. He waived the supplementary duty from petroleum jelly considering its wide range of use during the winter by the rural and marginal people.

The Finance Minister removed 10 percent supplementary duty on filament bulbs as energy bulbs are still costly for the poor and marginal people. He withdrew 7 percent additional VAT on locally produced motorcycles. Muhith increased the import duty of bulk Filled Milk Powder from 10 percent to 25 percent like previous time to protect the local milk industries. He, however, scrapped a proposal to increase import duty on Dry Mixed Ingredient, which is used as the healthy element to fill up the nutrition deficit, to 15 percent from 10 percent. The duty rate will be the same like previous year.

He lowered the import duty from 15 percent to 10 percent on Unprinted PVC Sheet that is used for SIM card or Smartcard. The Finance Minister reduced the regulatory duty of double cabin pick-up 2000-3000 cc from existing 25 percent to 20 percent. Finance Minister AMA Muhith moved the bill which was passed by voice vote in the House. Before the passage of the bill, the Finance Minister joined the general discussion on the proposed budget for 2018-19 fiscal year. He said the achievement of the present government towards implementing the budget in the outgoing fiscal year is laudable. "Especially, there has been significant development on utilisation of foreign assistance." Besides, the project directors have been empowered to implement the budget from the next fiscal year, Muhith said. About the education sector, the veteran minister said allocations would be made from July 1 next for enlistment of education in the MPO scheme after withholding the system for over the last nine years.

"At the same time, some allocations will be made in each area to change the MPO system while some additional allocations will be made to make new classrooms demolishing the old and dilapidated education institutions," he added. He expressed his high hope to implement the budget and achieve the target of 7.8 percent GDP growth in the coming financial year. Taking part in the budget discussion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said there is no criticism about the proposed budget this time. "Through implementing this budget, Bangladesh will advance one more step," she said.

She also said Bangladesh will be able to achieve 7.8 percent growth this year. Opposition bench members Fakhrul Imam, Nurul Islam Omar, Kazi Feroz Rashid, Nurul Islam Milon and Rawshan Ara Mannan, and Independent MP Rustam Ali Farazi proposed publishing the bill for eliciting public opinions. However, their proposals were rejected by voice vote. The Finance Minister moved the bill which was passed by voice vote. The bill was introduced in the House on June 7. The House accepted some amendments to the Finance Bill, 2018 brought by M Shahiduzzaman Sarkar (Naogaon-2).

Source: http://www.observerbd.com/details.php?id=144891

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This week's news that 22 percent of people worldwide will be obese by 2045 if trends continue put the spotlight on the health of the youngest generations. With child obesity on the rise in the US and 18 percent of children and teenagers aged 5-19 classified as overweight or obese in 2016, according to the World Health Organization, here are five tips for parents designed to help protect children from the dangers of this global epidemic.

Pay attention to your lifestyle before your child is born
According to a study published by the British medical journal The Lancet in April of this year, children born to obese parents and children born to mothers who eat an unbalanced diet during pregnancy (including diet sodas) may be predisposed to obesity. It follows that embracing a healthier lifestyle before your child is born can help to prevent him or her from developing obesity later on.

Delay giving them sugar for as long as possible
Nutritionists warn against the excessive consumption of sugar too early in life. Before the age of three, they recommend limiting treats to fruit puree, dairy snacks, and the occasional cookie, all the more so because parents who feed children too much sugar often do not give them enough healthy fats in the form of eggs, goat and ewe's cheese and oleaginous fruits and nuts. Heavily processed industrial foods (pastries, chocolate bars, breads and manufactured cereals, pizzas, fruit juices, jams and spreads) should be avoided, especially if they contain fructose or glucose syrup.

Less screen-time and more sports
Along with increased cardiovascular risk, children who accumulate extra pounds before the age of five may keep them well into their teens and adulthood. To help children avoid becoming couch potatoes, parents should exercise themselves, spend less time in front of screens and set a good example. The goal should be to emphasize outdoor and sports activities that appeal to children.

Make sure they get enough sleep
Diet and exercise are not the only factors that favor obesity. Numerous studies have shown that lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on children's weight, because it increases their appetite for fatty and sugary foods. Under-18s who sleep less than they should are more likely to be overweight (+58%), according to a meta-analysis recently published by the journal Sleep. Children aged 13 to 17 should get eight to ten hours of sleep per day, while children in the three-to-five age group need 10 to 13 hours per day.

Encourage children to meditate
Not only do they reduce stress and anxiety, meditation and hypnosis are also effective for the treatment of addictions, and notably food addictions in young children. In a program that began this year at the University Hospital of Rouen, in France's Seine-Maritime, close to 60 patients have been taught how to resist the lure of food through the use of techniques that focus their attention elsewhere.

Source: https://www.thedailystar.net/health/childhood-obesity-five-prevention-tips-parents-1582684

13
ICT / Satya Nadella says, Robots not a threat to human labour
« on: May 29, 2018, 11:09:49 AM »


Microsoft's Indian-origin chief, Satya Nadella, does not believe in the "fallacy" that robots will overtake human labour and is confident that artificial intelligence (AI) will solve more problems than cause them. The 50-year-old chief of the tech major expressed optimism in the impact of technology on human lives if applied ethically, Nadella said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

"I don't believe in that lump of labour fallacy, we don't know all the jobs that are going to be there," he said in reference to robots versus human labour.

If robots do replace humans, he says mechanisms such as universal basic income may be needed, drawing comparisons with the labour movement, but that humans will always need jobs.

"There is a certain amount of dignity to what is work so we need to have an incentive system," he said. "What I think needs to be done in 2018 is more dialogue around the ethics, the principles that we can use for the engineers and companies that are building AI, so that the choices we make do not cause us to create systems with bias that's the tangible thing we should be working on," he added. On Brexit, the Microsoft chief believes the UK has "great human capital, great industry, a great system" and therefore in the future it will continue to thrive, with some "turns".

The software giant, responsible for Windows, Office and Internet Explorer, has changed under Nadella's command, the newspaper notes. "What we have learned is to just be consistent in building trust and just making sure that you're not just measuring your success by your own success," Nadella says. On the current debate around privacy, he praised Microsoft's business model because it is based on customers being successful, and if they are successful they will pay. He said: "So we are not one of these transaction-driven or ad-driven or marketplace-driven economies.

Source: http://www.daily-sun.com/post/312132/2018/05/29/Satya-Nadella-says-Robots-not-a-threat-to-human-labour

14
Agriculture / ‘DCCI Agro Service Desk’ inaugurated
« on: May 29, 2018, 11:00:46 AM »

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has inaugurated a help desk named ‘DCCI Agro Service Desk’ at its premises for the development of Bangladesh’s agriculture sector as well as to assist the stakeholders and entrepreneurs of this sector.

DCCI Senior Vice President Kamrul Islam inaugurated the desk on Sunday. The desk was set up with the support of USAID’s Agriculture Value Chain (AVC) Project.

During the programme, Kamrul Islam said that the contribution of agriculture to county’s GDP is 14.75 percent and it employs 40.6 percent (around 24.5 million people) of the total employment.

He said the export earnings from Agro-food reached to US$553 million in 2016-2017 which is only 1.59 percent of total export basket.

He said Global Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) is an internationally recognised standard practiced by the farmers or producers by adopting which we can ensure safety and quality food chain, capturing new market advantages, improve workers’ health, working conditions and creating new market opportunities for farmers/exporters in developing countries.

To enter into the world market especially the European and US markets, GAP and other standards need to be strictly maintained.

The DCCI leader said the government is trying to formulate Bangladesh G.A.P. initially to ensure the method and practice of this international standard.

Chief of Party, AVC Project Paul Bundick, Vice President of DCCI Riyadh Hossain, Directors, DCCI Imran Ahmed, KMN Manjurul Hoque, representative of Global G.A.P. Lisa Heinemann and Secretary General, DCCI AHM Rezaul Kabir were present at that time.

Source: http://english.bdreport24.com/dcci-agro-service-desk-inaugurated/

15

যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বোস্টনে চালু হয়েছে ‘স্পাইস’ নামের এই রেস্তোরাঁ। ম্যাসাচুসেটস ইনস্টিটিউট অব টেকনোলজি থেকে পাস করা ২০ জন রোবোটিকস প্রকৌশলী এই রেস্তোরাঁর উদ্যোক্তা। রেস্তোরাঁর ওয়েবসাইট থেকে ছবিটি নেওয়া

রান্নার কাজকে অনেকেই শিল্প বলে অভিহিত করে থাকেন। ইদানীং অবশ্য রান্নাবান্নায় সূক্ষ্ম হিসাব-নিকাশ ঢুকে গেছে। পুষ্টিগুণ নিয়ে এতটা চিন্তাভাবনা মনে হয় আগে ছিল না। সেদিক থেকে অনেকেই রান্নার কাজকে বিজ্ঞানের সঙ্গে তুলনা দিয়ে থাকেন। শিল্প আর বিজ্ঞানের মধ্যে এ নিয়ে বিতর্ক চলছেই। তবে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে সম্প্রতি এমন একটি রেস্তোরাঁ চালু হয়েছে, যেখানে শিল্পের চেয়ে বিজ্ঞানের ছোঁয়াই বেশি। কারণ সেখানে রান্নার দায়িত্বে আছে রোবট!

দ্য ওয়াশিংটন পোস্ট-এর খবরে বলা হয়েছে, যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বোস্টনে চালু হয়েছে ‘স্পাইস’ নামের এই রেস্তোরাঁ। ম্যাসাচুসেটস ইনস্টিটিউট অব টেকনোলজি থেকে পাস করা ২০ জন রোবোটিকস প্রকৌশলী এই রেস্তোরাঁর উদ্যোক্তা। তাঁরা জোট বেঁধেছেন বিখ্যাত শেফ ড্যানিয়েল বুলিদের সঙ্গে। স্পাইসে আছে স্বয়ংক্রিয়ভাবে খাবার রান্না করার সাতটি যন্ত্র। মাত্র তিন মিনিট বা তারও কম সময়ে এই যন্ত্রগুলো খাবার রাঁধতে পারে।

রেস্তোরাঁর সহপ্রতিষ্ঠাতা মাইকেল ফারিদ জানান রোবটের খাবার রান্নার বিস্তারিত। তিনি বলেন, ‘যখনই আপনি খাবারের অর্ডার দেবেন, তখনই আমাদের রেস্তোরাঁয় থাকা উপকরণ সরবরাহ করার ব্যবস্থাটি চালু হয়ে যাবে। রেফ্রিজারেটর থেকে উপকরণ সংগ্রহ করে তা স্বয়ংক্রিয়ভাবে সঠিক আকারে কাটা হবে। এরপর তা ৪৫০ ডিগ্রি ফারেনহাইট তাপমাত্রায় বিশুদ্ধ করা হবে। পরে শুরু হবে রান্নার প্রক্রিয়া। সব কাজ শেষে যন্ত্র থেকে বের হয়ে একটি বাটিতে পৌঁছে যাবে রান্না করা খাবার। এরপর তা সাজিয়ে-গুছিয়ে পরিবেশন করা হয়।’

রেস্তোরাঁটি চালানোর জন্য প্রাথমিকভাবে কিছু মানুষকেও নিয়োগ দিতে হয়েছে। মূলত গ্রাহকদের প্রযুক্তিগত দিকগুলো বোঝাতে এবং রান্না করা খাবারের সৌন্দর্য বৃদ্ধির জন্য এসব কর্মীকে নেওয়া হয়েছে। রেস্তোরাঁর ওয়েবসাইট থেকে ছবিটি নেওয়া

স্পাইসের দাবি, তারাই বিশ্বের প্রথম রেস্তোরাঁ, যার ‘রোবোটিক রান্নাঘর’ আছে এবং তা দিয়ে জটিল রেসিপির খাবার তৈরি করা যায়। উদ্যোক্তারা এই রেস্তোরাঁর প্রাথমিক কাজ শুরু হয়েছিল ম্যাসাচুসেটস ইনস্টিটিউট অব টেকনোলজিতে। প্রথমে প্রোটোটাইপ দিয়ে শুরু হয় পরীক্ষা-নিরীক্ষা। এখন তা বাস্তব রূপ পেয়েছে।

মজার বিষয় হলো, গ্রাহকদের জন্য এই রেস্তোরাঁয় গ্রাহকদের খাবারের টেবিলে আছে একটি করে টাচ স্ক্রিন। তাতে নিজেদের পছন্দমতো পরিমাণের উপকরণ বাছাই করতে পারবেন গ্রাহকেরা। স্ক্রিনে ওই খাবারের ক্যালরির পরিমাণও জানা যাবে। খাবারের প্রকার চূড়ান্ত করার পর কাজ শুরু করে দেবে রোবট। খাবার তৈরির পর কম্পিউটার স্ক্রিনে জানিয়ে দেওয়া হয়। এ ছাড়া পরিষ্কার-পরিচ্ছন্নতার কাজটিও করে রোবট।

মাইকেল ফারিদ বলেন, ‘আমরা যে রোবটটি তৈরি করেছি, তার কোনো মানুষের আকৃতি নেই। এখন এই বিষয়টি নিয়ে কাজ করছি। গ্রাহকদের আরও ভালো অভিজ্ঞতা দিতে চাই আমরা।’

স্পাইসের দাবি, তারাই বিশ্বের প্রথম রেস্তোরাঁ, যার ‘রোবোটিক রান্নাঘর’ আছে এবং তা দিয়ে জটিল রেসিপির খাবার তৈরি করা যায়। রেস্তোরাঁর ওয়েবসাইট থেকে ছবিটি নেওয়া

রেস্তোরাঁয় রোবটের ব্যবহার এই প্রথম নয়। তবে জটিল ধরনের রান্নায় রোবটের ব্যবহার আগে হয়নি। বেশির ভাগ ক্ষেত্রেই পরিচারক ও খাবার পরিবেশনের ক্ষেত্রে রোবটের ব্যবহার করা হয়েছে।

সহপ্রতিষ্ঠাতা মাইকেল ফারিদ বলেন, রান্নায় রোবট ব্যবহারের কারণে একদিকে যেমন কর্মদক্ষতা বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে, অন্যদিকে কমে গেছে পরিচালন ব্যয়। রেস্তোরাঁটি চালানোর জন্য প্রাথমিকভাবে কিছু মানুষকেও নিয়োগ দিতে হয়েছে। মূলত গ্রাহকদের প্রযুক্তিগত দিকগুলো বোঝাতে এবং রান্না করা খাবারের সৌন্দর্য বৃদ্ধির জন্য এসব কর্মী নেওয়া হয়েছে।

Source: http://www.prothomalo.com/international/article/1492536/%E0%A6%8F%E0%A6%87-%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B8%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%A4%E0%A7%8B%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%81%E0%A7%9F-%E0%A6%86%E0%A6%9B%E0%A7%87-%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%81%E0%A6%A7%E0%A7%81%E0%A6%A8%E0%A6%BF-%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%8B%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%9F

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