Astronauts say look forward to space launch after Soyuz accident

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The launch of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft is scheduled on December 3, 2018 from the Russian-leased Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome.
BAIKONUR(KAZAKHSTAN): Astronauts set to board the first manned space mission since an unprecedented accident aboard Russia’s Soyuz, on Sunday brushed aside safety concerns, saying they were ready to take risks.

Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Monday.

They will head to the ISS after a Soyuz rocket carrying Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin and US astronaut Nick Hague failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off.

The pair escaped unharmed, but the failed launch was the first such incident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a new setback for the country’s once proud space industry.

The crew heading to the ISS dismissed any possible concerns about their safety.

“Risk is part of our profession,” crew commander Oleg Kononenko told a news conference at Baikonur, adding they “absolutely” trusted teams preparing them for the flight.

“We are psychologically and technically prepared for blast-off and any situation which, God forbid, may occur on board,” the 54-year-old said.

Anne McClain, a 39-year-old former military pilot, struck a similar note.

“We feel very ready for it,” she said.

Canada’s Saint-Jacques added that Soyuz spacecraft was “incredibly safe,” noting it was “actually reassuring” to witness the October aborted launch from Baikonur.

The accident highlighted the “smart design of the Soyuz and the incredible work that the search and rescue people here on the ground are ready to do every launch,” the 48-year-old said.

Russia said last month the launch of the Soyuz rocket failed because of a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome. But officials insisted the spacecraft remains reliable.

Saint-Jacques will be the first Canadian astronaut to visit the space station since Chris Hadfield, who recorded a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity classic aboard the ISS in 2013.

Canada’s governor general and former astronaut Julie Payette is expected to be among dignitaries to watch Monday’s launch.

Of the trio set to reach the ISS six hours after blastoff, both Saint-Jacques and McClain will fly for the first time. Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission to add to an impressive 533 days in space.

NASA’s McClain was deployed to Iraq and represented the United States women’s national rugby union team in the past.

She has said that training to spacewalk was similar to rugby since it demands “grit, toughness, mental focus, and more”

[“source=forbes]

Solo: A Star Wars Story Has Lots to Show, Nothing to Say

Solo: A Star Wars Story Has Lots to Show, Nothing to Say

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story is out in theatres
  • It’s set before the events of 1977’s Star Wars
  • Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke star in Solo

Last year, George R.R. Martin – the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels that have been adapted at HBO – said that of the several Game of Thrones spin-off ideas in development, not even one touched upon the period immediately prior to the current saga. “There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know,” he added. Instead, Martin wants them to show parts of his universe that haven’t already been talked about.

On the other hand, the powers that-be at Lucasfilm – under Disney’s ownership – are more than happy to take the safer route and expand on events and characters we already know about, as it guarantees a financial windfall by drawing most if not all existing fans of the franchise. Partly thanks to Harrison Ford, Han Solo is one of the most famous characters in pop culture, let alone Star Wars. Telling his origin story, as the new standalone Star Wars film – Solo, out May 25 worldwide – does, is the definition of low-hanging fruit.

What makes that problem worse is that even before it starts, the big pieces of the puzzle are already in place. Owing to the original trilogy – now retroactively titled Episode IV, V and VI – that ran from 1977-1983, we know Han will meet Chewbacca, the two will then encounter Lando Calrissian, from whom Han will win the Millennium Falcon in a bet, with which he’ll make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. That’s not a lot of room to create a meaningful story – written by Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jonathan – in addition to the fact there’s no stakes for our heroes.

 

On top of that, Solo: A Star Wars Story is also dealing with a limited arc for a young Han, since he has to end up as the cocky and overpromising guy Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi meet in the Mos Eisley cantina. And that means the film can’t attribute qualities to him that you wouldn’t normally associate with him, even though he’s about a decade younger in this than in the original trilogy. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t try; Solo has moments where it pokes fun at his ill-advised bravado, but it’s still filling in the portrait of a guy who thinks he can do everything himself.

Solo: A Star Wars Story begins by introducing the pair of Han (Alden Ehrenreich, from Hail, Caesar!) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, from Game of Thrones) on their homeworld of Corellia, who are in love and languishing in slum-like conditions. Years later, Han enlists in the Imperial forces, meets a criminal of dubious morals named Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson, from War for the Planet of the Apes), and then takes on a job for crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany, from Avengers: Infinity War). That sets Soloin motion and brings other characters into the picture.

What unfolds from there is a part heist and part Western film, as Han and Co. go about achieving their mission – it involves stealing something ultra-valuable and getting it somewhere else as quickly as possible – while making new friends and new enemies along the way. The former involves Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the captain and original owner of the Millennium Falcon, and his first mate, a hilarious and outspoken droid called L3-37 (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, from Fleabag). There are bit part roles for Westworld’s Thandie Newton and director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) as well.

solo star wars lando calrissian Solo A Star Wars Story

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

 

Like the previous standalone chapter Rogue One, there’s nothing about the Jedi and lightsabers here, and even less about the Empire or the Force. Similarly, all the new characters Solo: A Star Wars Story introduces are ultimately dispensable too, since none of them can show up in later entries. But unlike Rogue One, the film, seemingly with an eye on potential sequels – Ehrenreich has a three-picture deal in his contract – creates subplots that aren’t tied up properly by the end. It’s here that Solo even connects to the prequel trilogy from 1999-2005.

Unfortunately, there’s little justification for a second visit, when the first is rather unimaginative. Save for a few scattered moments, the film doesn’t grab you until an hour in. And though it’s got the makings of some unique action set-pieces, they aren’t handled in a way that would make them memorable. Even when the Millennium Falcon is being attacked by TIE fighters late-game, there’s no sense of the excitement that was apparent in J.J. Abrams’ 2015 soft reboot The Force Awakens, and Rian Johnson’s 2017 follow-up The Last Jedi.

Part of this stems from the botched handling of the production. The original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie), were fired over four months into filming, after clashing with Lucasfilm execs including Kasdan over their directorial approach. They thought they were hired to bring their comedic flavour to Star Wars, but their heavy improvisational technique – the duo sometimes shot a dozen takes that weren’t always in line with what the script said – didn’t sit well with Kasdan, and they were replaced by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), who’s seen as a safe choice.

It’s a testament to Howard’s experience that he not only managed to keep the film on track for its scheduled release, but that Solo: A Star Wars Story feels cohesive despite being the product of two entirely different visions: according to a behind-the-scenes report, 70 percent of the finished film is Howard’s, with the rest being the work of Lord and Miller. But because Howard was hired last minute to simply bring the script to life, the film lacks an authoritative touch and ends up feeling like a by-the-numbers bland heist film.

solo star wars qira Solo A Star Wars Story

Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

 

Moreover, less than six months after Star Wars took some of its boldest steps courtesy Johnson – including a welcome dressing down of why trigger-happy hotshots can cause more harm than good – Solo is happy to play it easy. A few unexpected twists towards the end, and the work of its top-notch cast – Waller-Bridge is excellent and powers some of the film’s best moments, Glover is instantly charismatic and a scene-stealer as the trailers promised, and Clarke lands the note she’s asked to play, that of an intriguing yet enigmatic female lead – simply aren’t enough.

Despite how damning the preceding paragraphs may sound, Solo isn’t a bad movie per se. It’s just fine. The film will help buff up the encyclopaedia pages in a certain period, give Disney another chance to sell more Star Wars merchandise, and lays the groundwork for sequels leading up to Episode IV – A New Hope (“Star Wars” for the purists). But it never takes off in a fashion that would please its titular hero – John Williams’ iconic soundtrack is also on a leash for the longest time, unfortunately – mainly because it’s too predictable to make any wild manoeuvres.

We’ll never know what Lord and Miller would’ve done with Solo: A Star Wars Story, even as the underlying story would’ve been the same. It’s also possible their version would have been horrible, and that Lucasfilm was right in removing them before it was too late. But if Star Wars is going to keep swinging the pendulum back even as its world expands – reports abound of more standalone chapters with Obi-Wan and others, alongside all-new stories from Johnson, Favreau, and Game of Thrones creators – the least it can do is not be borderline cynical about it.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

What Not To Say During A Salary Negotiation

If you want things to go your way, don’t say any of this

Get the best offer possible during your salary negotiation

Preparation pays off, literally, when it comes to salary negotiations. Research about the market and company standards can only take you so far – you need to be able to pitch yourself too. There are some phrases people tend to use in these discussions that don’t really end up working in their favour – despite what they (or you) believe. Here are a few of them. Remember not to say any of this during your next salary negotiation.

1. ‘I’m getting married/moving house/etc’

Let us try to say this as politely as possible – no one cares. Your personal matters are just that – personal. And you can not expect them to influence any professional decisions made at that meeting. The best thing to do is avoid talking about your personal dilemmas, no matter how much they’re affecting you, and focus on the work you’re doing and it’s worth.

2. ‘I’m sorry but…’

Don’t apologise. We all tend to use the word quite liberally, especially when talking to superiors. But there is nothing to apologise for here – you’re talking about your remuneration, which is your right. Don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about it. You’ve worked hard for it.

3. ‘I need/want… ‘

But do you really ‘need’ it? And if you want it, so what? We’re sure every person wants a higher salary. But what’s more important is – do they deserve it? Sometimes the answer to that is no. During your salary negotiations, instead of telling them what you want, tell them what you deserve – and why.

4. ‘I have another offer that is much higher’

Take it then? You don’t want your prospective employer to think you’re in it just for the money. If the other company is offering you more money, and that’s all that matters, you would have taken it anyway. So don’t play that card and try to keep the focus of the conversation on the offer you’re discussing.

5. ‘I haven’t had a raise in so long’

You need to put your point across, without sounding like you’re whining and saying this doesn’t help your case. Bringing their attention to the fact that you have not gotten a raise only makes them think that there has been no reason for you to get a raise.

6. ‘But others are getting paid more to do less work’

Again, trying to compare yourself to others won’t work, nor it is your place to do so. Talk about how much time and effort you have been putting in, irrespective of others – but as soon as you make it seem like a competition, you’re going to lose favour in the discussion. Also, it makes you sound like a gossip-monger.

7. ‘I want more…’

‘More’ is too vague for you to use in this discussion. ‘More’ can be 2% more than the original offer was. There is no room for ‘more’ in this negotiation. Talk about how much more you would like the offer to be and they might take you seriously.

[“Source-ndtv”]

IIMs say CAT 2017 registrations lower than 2016

Apart from the IIMs, several other business schools use the Common Admission Test (CAT) score for admission. CAT 2017 will be held on 26 November. Photo: HT

Apart from the IIMs, several other business schools use the Common Admission Test (CAT) score for admission. CAT 2017 will be held on 26 November. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) said Monday that while an extended registration window propelled the Common Admission Test (CAT) registration numbers to nearly 231,000, these were still slightly below the 2016 numbers.

By the original deadline of 20 September, the IIMs had received around 211,000. They subsequently extended the deadline to 25 September.

In 2016, the IIMs received 232,434 applications for the test. Apart from the IIMs, several other business schools use CAT score for admission.

“The final registration numbers are around 2.31 lakh. Around around 20,000 (registrations) were added during the extended window,” said Neeraj Dwivedi, convener of CAT 2017.

Dwivedi, also a professor of IIM Lucknow, said exact numbers would be available on Tuesday.

India has 20 IIMs admitting nearly 4,000 students into their flagship post graduate programme in management.

IIM Lucknow, which is conducting CAT 2017, will allow candidates to correct errors in application between 27 and 30 September. CAT 2017 will be conducted across 140 cities on 26 November.

[“Source-livemint”]