Author: Amrata Joshi

Mr. Nikhil Kalla on India, South Africa and the virtue of generosity

Mr. Nikhil Kalla, an accountant at a South African based company made his recent trip to his hometown in India. In a brief discussion with him about his experience, he highlighted how his roots here in India matter and the family oriented culture keeps calling…

IBM introduces Cloudant for Transaction Engine

IBM introduces Cloudant for Transaction Engine

This week, the team at IBM announced that they are enabling Cloudant, an elastically scalable, serverless datastore for Transaction Engine.  Introduced in 2014, this Apache backed database service has delivered scalability and availability while sacrificing some of the consistency and isolation guarantees of traditional relational…

Berkeley-based Gatsby raises $28 million in Series B funding round led by Index Ventures

Berkeley-based Gatsby raises $28 million in Series B funding round led by Index Ventures

This week, the team at Gatsby, a website development tool, announced a $28 million Series B funding round which was led by Index Ventures. CRV and Trinity Ventures also joined this funding round. The team also announced that Shardul Shah, Index Ventures Partner, joined Gatsby’s board of directors. 

Shardul Shah, partner at Index Ventures, said, “Web presence and performance has never been more critical to a brand’s success, yet website technology has been stuck in the 2000s era without an easy path to modernization. Gatsby solves this problem with a first-of-its-kind ecosystem that productizes modern tooling and brings together all the best ways to build the web.”

He further added, “Gatsby’s rapid traction with large brands and the developer community in recent years is a testament to the team’s execution of this vision.”

The web development tool is known for building websites including blogs, portfolio pages, company homepages as well as e-commerce applications. Fortune 500 companies and businesses including  ButcherBox, Capital One, DraftKings, IBM, Impossible Foods, Little Caesars and more have already adopted Gatsby for website development.

Gatsby: Super beneficial for developers!

Developers benefit from the tool as it  provides easy-to-use, secure, collaborative, and high-performing website framework. We have listed a few interesting facts about Gatsby that makes it stand out!

Fastest growing site developer platform

The month-over-month growth of active users on this platform is 10% and it provides around 2,000 plug-ins with 3,300 contributors and 200,000 sites on GitHub.

Easy to integrate!

The platform can easily integrate with WordPress, Drupal, and other CMSs which is a boon to creators and editors!

10x faster

Businesses using this tool see increased conversion rates because Gatsby-built websites load up to 10x faster than the usual sites based on traditional databases. The websites built via this tool are pre-rendered and they are deployed as static pages to a global CDN (content delivery network) and are scalable.

Kyle Mathews, CEO and co-founder of Gatsby said, “The rapid growth of the Gatsby developer community confirms our vision is widely shared and that, collectively, we are blazing the way for building a better, faster, more inclusive web.” 

He further added, “This funding will help us expand our product capabilities so we can become the way to build the web for everyone. We can’t wait until everything from personal portfolios to the largest sites on the web are powered by Gatsby.”

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WaitQ: An application to assist Social Distancing!

WaitQ: An application to assist Social Distancing!

We can make a difference in the COVID-19 world! Looking at the current issue wherein it’s difficult to maintain Social Distancing and people wait in long queues, we have come with a solution to this problem with our application- WaitQ which aims to assist the…

Susan Younger, Louisiana’s healthcare worker’s story on fighting COVID-19

Susan Younger, Louisiana’s healthcare worker’s story on fighting COVID-19

Miss. Susan Younger, a 55 years old home healthcare worker in Louisiana, USA still continues to work amidst the COVID-19 havoc. Her work involves taking care of elderly and disabled patients by going to their houses and helping them.  While talking about the precautionary measures…

Mr. Santosh Pradhan, ICT Research Scholar talks about types of coronaviruses, myths, projects to fight COVID-19 and much more!

Mr. Santosh Pradhan, ICT Research Scholar talks about types of coronaviruses, myths, projects to fight COVID-19 and much more!

Mr. Santosh Prandhan, a Ph.D. Research Scholar (Biochemistry) from ICT Mumbai and a consultant to Life Sciences, Food and Beverage industries share an interesting insight on COVID-19, research, and myths around it. To start with he first gave a brief about the novel COVID-19 infection, he explains that CoVID-19 comes under the family coronaviridae, single-stranded RNA virus of around 25-32 kilobase in length and they mainly cause respiratory illness of varying severity including the common cold and fatal pneumonia. 

7 types of coronaviruses are present

Mr. Pradhan said, If we look at the history, numerous coronaviruses are known which were first discovered in poultry in the 1930 which was known to cause respiratory and neurological disease. There are 7 different types of corona viruses known to cause diseases in humans. 4 of 7 coronaviruses (229E, OC43, NL63 and HUK1) known to cause common cold and rarely respiratory tract infection, pneumonia and can occur in infants, older people and immunocompromised people. According to him, 3 of 7 coronaviruses (SARS-CoV2, MERS, SARS-CoV) cause much more severe and fatal respiratory infection.

Mr. Pradhan along with ICT Mumbai team, Reaxycare bio solution are working on developing a cost-effective diagnostic kit for COVID-19

While highlighting the diagnostic procedure for COVID-19, Mr. Pradhan explained that currently, the protocol that is being used for diagnosis of COVID-19 is RT-PCR (Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) of lower and upper respiratory secretion. And apart from RT-PCR, ELISA and Chest X-Ray are also used for the diagnosis.  

He said, “We at ICT, Mumbai are working on development of a cost effective diagnostic model which can help us to detect the CoVID-19 on site within an hour and doesn’t require any sophisticated instrument.” He further added that a team from ICT Mumbai in collaboration with Lasa supergenerics is also working on the effectiveness of antiviral drug Favipiravir against COVID-19.

Thoughts on the recurrence of COVID-19

When asked about the recurrence of the deadly virus infection once cured, he explained that whenever a virus infects a person, the human body’s immune system produces antibodies that work against epitopes on the virus and a subset of these antibodies can help prevent the virus infection with neutralization process. That’s the reason why we see a person get automatically cured after a few days of incubation.

He further added, “Similarly, in CoVID, 80% of the people get cured automatically and death rate is around 4%. Now once the person get cured from infection, memory cells are generated and when the person comes in contact with a similar virus again, the probability of severity is less.”

Other projects Mr. Pradhan is working on

Mr. Pradhan is also writing a research paper and thesis on ‘’Aflatoxin detection and mitigation strategies” where he has worked on various molecular biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, analytical techniques. He has extensively worked on techniques like Gene expression, Chromatographic purification, and analysis techniques, Antimicrobial techniques, Elisa Development for Aflatoxin detection, Metabolomics studies. He is actively working on Microbial pigments, Smart textiles, Upstream and downstream processing, Enzyme development strategies, preservative-free drinks, and foods.

Myths around COVID-19

According to Mr. Pradhan, there are a lot of myths and hoax stories being shared online on various social media platforms including whatsapp, Tiktok, Instagram as information might be uploaded by someone who might not even have an expertise in that field. Here is a list of myths around COVID-19:

  • Coronavirus is ball-shaped and size is in mm and can be seen with the naked eyes

According to him, the virus cannot be in ‘mm’ and the smallest virus are the parvovirus family having a size of around 20nm while Ebola is one of the biggest virus (with respect to size), which was a major outbreak during 2013-2016 in the western African region.

  • Taking a hot bath will prevent disease

According to him, this doesn’t help as human body temperature is 36 ºC to 37ºC and using more hot water can actually end up burning the skin.

  • Coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bite

Till date there is no evidence that mosquito bite can spread the disease, it is mainly spread by respiratory secretion.

  • Hand dryers are effective in killing CoVID- viruses

No, hand dryers cannot kill the COVID-19 virus hence frequent cleaning hands with alcohol-based sanitizer is important.

  • UV light can be used to kill the viruses

Yes, UV rays can kill the virus but it cannot be used for therapy on the human body as it can cause skin irritation and cancer.

  • Thermal scanners can detect infection

No, thermal scanners are used to check fever, however, an infectious person in the early stage may not have a fever and can give a false-negative result, however a person with fever may show a false positive report for CoVID-19. So thermal scanners are only used to check the probable infected person and it is not a confirmatory test.

  • Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body or clothes can kill Coronavirus

No, CoVID-19 is a respiratory infection where it infects the upper and lower respiratory tract hence spraying alcohol on the body surface and clothes will not cure or kill the virus, in fact spraying such substance can be harmful on the skin, and mucous membrane.

  • The vaccine against pneumonia can protect you from corona

No, vaccines against pneumonia do not protect from the coronavirus.

  • Only older people are affected and killed by the coronavirus

People of all ages can get infected by corona however people with old age and the ones who are immunocompromised are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

To conclude with, he has a small piece of advice for the readers, “With respect to CoVID. I would say Don’t panic, stop forwarding any information without checking its authenticity, take precautionary action aired on authenticate sites like ICMR, CDC, WHO, FDA. If found any symptoms, please get it diagnosed not necessary it will be CoVID-19. It could be a normal flu also and remember more than 80% chances are there that it will be cured automatically by taking supportive care. Finally I would say stay indoors in this emergency and keep yourself updated with authentic information and most important this is the best time to give yourself time.”

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Joshua Ovalles’ take on fight against COVID-19, Social Distancing in Miami and work life amidst the chaos

Joshua Ovalles’ take on fight against COVID-19, Social Distancing in Miami and work life amidst the chaos

Joshua Ovalles, a writer, and poet at Vorfreude Community, a Security Supervisor in Miami has an interesting side to his life. Being a 22-year old, he still manages to work amidst the COVID-19 chaos going around the world. He makes sure that the floors are…

AVA Labs announces its open-sources codebase of the AVA blockchain platform

AVA Labs announces its open-sources codebase of the AVA blockchain platform

AVA Labs, a software development company, has publicly released the codebase of the AVA blockchain platform on Wednesday. Its developers will now be able to use the AVA platform with its toolkit to create smart assets, Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications, and easily launch blockchains. Businesses will now…

9 Reasons why people think of switching their jobs!

9 Reasons why people think of switching their jobs!

In an era where our needs are increasing each day and the salaries aren’t enough to suffice, how often do you think that you need to switch your job? And how often do you let that thought go off considering the career graph?

I am sure most of us go through those thoughts often when we are either frustrated about our salaries we are getting or because of the boss! After doing some research and survey on this, I realized there are quite some legit reasons that are usually ignored because of which the switch happens. I have listed the most relevant ones below:

#1 Bullying

Well, don’t be surprised but people do get bullied at their workplaces when they are new to their office. As per my survey, co-workers pass comments and spread weird rumors around the new joiners. It’s sad that when such employees contact HR for these issues, they are instead blamed for not getting adjusted around the new environment. At few places, employees even end up beating their co-workers but they cover up their act by saying that they were kidding.

#2 Lack of appreciation

Managers often don’t appreciate their team members at the right time and are more inclined towards nitpicking. These managers also end up stealing away the credits for the work done by their employees and get insecure by looking at their progressive employees.

#3 Salary

Well, we all face this problem, don’t we? The problem with most of the organizations is that they don’t give increments to the deserving employees. Even when the employee has performed really well throughout his/her projects, these managers often tend to ignore their growth. The kind of motivation the employees need, managers often forget that. Few small scale organizations delay the salaries, there are cases where employees get their salaries a month later.

#4 Lack of training

The boss will expect the best out of you without teaching you anything! Now that’s a trap when the managers themselves aren’t investing into you. Most of the managers prefer getting the employees onboard and asking them to function as a pro since their day two. Training is not just required in the initial years but the managers can take an initiative to train their employees as and when needed (while starting a new project).

#5 Stubborn Boss

I am sure you must have come across with a sadist and stubborn boss who can never see you happy. This category usually enjoys over the failure of its employees and becomes the Hitler of the organization. With more than five years of experience of being stubborn, these bosses even end up commenting on the way their employees work. They are usually not open to change and prefer not giving any good opportunities to their employees for their growth.

#6 Extra unpaid working hours

I have heard from a few of my friends that they have to stay up two to three hours extra every day which is draining for them. While these organizations don’t pay for the extra hours but employees have to still stay up till late at their offices because of the pressure from the managers. Also, the policy of ‘fixed timings’ in an organization could be stressful for the employees, especially when the in-time is fixed but the out-time is beyond the expected out-time.

#7 Unrealistic targets

A lot of times, managers set unrealistic goals in front of their managers and due to which the executives have to suffer the pain. These managers create a stressful situation in the team and expect the results to be favorable and coming on time.

#8 Dirty politics

A lot of executives often gang up against an employee in a firm and target him/her on everything. This breaks down the morale of the employee and he/she gets depressed. Usually, the HR team doesn’t come to know about what’s cooking in the teams across the organizations and even the employee is not much comfortable about voicing his/her opinion.

#9 Monotonous work

The daily tasks usually have the same pattern and employees don’t get a chance to learn new things. Isn’t it boring to wake up to the same work pattern every day? Well, I feel you!

Let us know what do you think about this!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque attacks: A face of racism?

New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque attacks: A face of racism?

Last week, Australian Brenton Tarrant, a self-described white supremacist had attacked two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand. The world is mourning and is surprised by the peak of anger someone can reach to. This is a tough time for families who lost their loved ones,…