Friday, February 27, 2015

Unhappy with your appraisal? Speak to your boss

Not happy with your appraisal this year? Don’t worry. Just write or talk to your boss. Firms including Virtusa Corp, HCL Technologies, MakeMyTrip, Tata Group, Godrej and RPG Group are welcoming feedback from their employees as part of a new human resource (HR) practice to control attrition.

Companies are also making efforts to create the appraisal process fair and interactive to retain talent.

“Employees can now give (written or vocal) feedback on the quality of appraisal discussions they had with their managers,” said R Anand, vicepresident, global rewards, people and leadership, HCL Technologies. “In case of dissatisfaction, the reviewer is informed along with the respective HR manager who is responsible to bring the discussion to a satisfactory close.”

Many companies are conducting surveys and organsiing group meetings where employees can convey disappointments or suggestions to their immediate bosses as well as the top management.

MakeMyTrip, a travel portal, is coaching its appraisers about tips on the art of receiving feedback.

Virtusa Corp, a Nasdaqlisted IT company, will carry out employee surveys on the appraisal process.

“We are encouraging our employees to provide feedback on the performance appraisal process through engagement surveys and group meetings,” said Ratish Jha, head, HR, Raychem RPG. “The appraisal process is designed to enhance employee development, and we want to know if it is achieving this purpose.”

Staffing companies also feel that receiving feedback is a welcome trend. “This is a welcome trend,” said Mayank Chandra, managing partner, Antal International, an UKbased staffing firm. “However, firms should ensure impartiality among team members.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars 2015: the full list of winners

The 87th Academy Awards have now ended in Los Angeles. Here’s a list of the awards recipients in full.

Best supporting actor
WINNER: JK Simmons for Whiplash
Robert Duvall for The Judge
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher

Achievement in costume design
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B Sheppard
Mr Turner – Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier
Foxcatcher – Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard
Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White

Best foreign-language film
WINNER: Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski
Tangerines – Zaza Urushadze
Leviathan – Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales – Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu – Abderrahmane Sissako

Best live-action short film

WINNER: The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby, James Lucas
Aya – Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp – Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger

Best documentary short subject

WINNER: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry
Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse – Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper – Gabriel Serra
White Earth – Christian Jensen
Achievement in sound mixing
WINNER: Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
American Sniper – John T Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar – Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee

Achievement in sound editing

WINNER: American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Birdman – Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar – Richard King
Unbroken – Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro

Best supporting actress

WINNER: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Laura Dern for Wild
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone for Birdman
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Achievement in visual effects
WINNER: Interstellar – Paul J Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R Fisher
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

Best animated short film
WINNER: Feast – Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed
The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi
Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
A Single Life – Joris Oprins

Best animated feature film
WINNER: Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Best production design
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game: Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar: Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods: Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr Turner: Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

Achievement in cinematography
WINNER: Birdman: Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Robert D Yeoman
Ida: Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr Turner: Dick Pope
Unbroken: Roger Deakins

Achievement in film editing
WINNER: Whiplash – Tom Cross
Boyhood – Sandra Adair
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
American Sniper – Joel Cox, Gary Roach

Best documentary feature

WINNER: Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara

Best original song

WINNER: Glory from Selma – Lonnie Lynn (Common), John Stephens (John Legend)
The Lego Movie – Shawn Patterson (Everything Is Awesome)
Beyond the Lights – Diane Warren (Grateful)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond (I’m Not Gonna Miss You)
Begin Again – Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois (Lost Stars)

Best original score

WINNER: Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game 
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
Jóhann Jóhannsson– The Theory of Everything 
Gary Yershon – Mr Turner

Original screenplay

WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
E Max Frye, Dan Futterman – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Adapted screenplay

WINNER: Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Jason Hall – American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten – The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Best Director

WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Best Actor

WINNER: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman

Best Actress

WINNER: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Best Picture

WINNER: Birdman
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In pics: India in celebratory mode after win, TV sets smashed in Pakistan

After holding its nerves throughout the day, India witnessed spontaneous outburst of revelry late in the afternoon as the cricket crazy nation launched its World Cup campaign in style by thrashing Pakistan by 76 runs.
As the arch-rivals clashed in distant Adelaide on a Sunday, Indians mostly stayed indoors and remained glued to television sets resulting in largely deserted streets. 

Following the victory, scores of young bikers wearing patriotism on their sleeves zipped through the city streets waving the tri-colour with gusto.
From drawing rooms to the country's frontiers, celebrations erupted across the nation as India.
Cricket fans distributed sweets and burst firecrackers, while many came out on roads and danced to the beating of drums as soon as Mohit Sharma took the last wicket of Sohail Khan to seal Pakistan's fate in Adelaide.
The jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed along the International Border in Jammu also celebrated the victory of team India by distributing sweets among themselves.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a wave of congratulations for the Indian cricket team by tweeting,"Congrats Team India. Well played. We are all very proud of you."

President Pranab Mukherjee in his message to Indian captain Dhoni, the President said: "My congratulations to you and all members of the Indian Cricket team on the victory in the first match of ICC World Cup 2015 against Pakistan.
Silence descends on Karachi after defeat to India
An eerie silence descended on Pakistan's biggest city after its national cricket team was annihilated.
Dubbed as 'war without the guns' the passionate Pakistani cricket community including former players, pundits, critics and fans were left disappointed and dejected after watching Misbah-ul-Haq and his men fail to stop the Indian juggernaut against them in World Cup.
Since the wee hours there was an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation for the match here as boys and girls dressed in the traditional green shirts went around blaring horns and playing songs before finally getting down to watch the live action.
Big screens were installed at closed and open spaces as fans converged to watch the match.
In the distance one could hear horns blaring and at times even celebratory gunfire during the match when Pakistan did well.
But these times were few and at the end of the match it was the same old story for the fans.
"Now we have to wait for another four years to try to end this jinx. Yaar what is this team... didn't they realise the importance of the occasion. Look at how Dhoni and his players remained focused," an irate cricket fan Sabrina said in the upmarket Clifton area.
There was a grudging admiration for Virat Kohli in the cricket discussions taking place at pan shops, coffee outlets and tea stalls as the roads which were supposed to be filled with fans celebrating remained deserted even after the match.
"It is really disappointing at how the team let us down today. You wait for a long time for this match and I just feel so bad for the fans who prayed for success," Pakistan's former opener Mohsin Khan said.

Not surprisingly angry cricket fans vented their anger on social networking sites with Ahmed Shehzad, Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal the target of most digs.
Fans wasted no time in highlighting the mistakes committed by Pakistan in the match including Kohli's dropped catch by Akmal.
There was though no violence reported from any part of the city.
The reason for this could be that today's match was the first for both teams in this World Cup.
These feelings were echoed by Baba Gulzar who runs a popular video outlet in Clifton.
"Chalo abhi World Cup baqi hai and if we play well we can still beat India in the semi-finals or final," an ever optimistic Baba said. 
Angry Pak fans in Karachi smash TV sets
Angry with their team's defeat at the hands of arch-rival India in a cricket World Cup match, Pakistani fans came out on the streets here and smashed their TV sets to express disappointment.
A Pakistani TV channel showed visuals of people taking to streets with TV sets and smashing them to pieces to show their anger at the Pakistan team's showing.

Pak army fires at Indian post on day of electric World cup clash

Pakistan rangers targeted Indian outposts near Tavi in RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, a day when cricket teams from the two nations clashed in their opening match of the World Cup — a tie billed as “war without guns”.
The rangers targeted a Border Security Force (BSF) post on the international border. A police officer said the rangers fired three rounds at 10.50am, once again violating the 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir border. The BSF, whose 127 battalion was at the post, retaliated. No one was injured on the Indian side.
"The firing stopped immediately after the rangers used small arms to target the BSF outpost," the officer said.
Pakistan Saturday too violated the ceasefire in the same when the Rangers targeted a BSF post with a mortar shell. The mortar fell 300 meters away from the post.
The ceasefire violations came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rang up his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Friday to wish his cricket team luck ahead of the match between the arch-rivals.
Experts said India hoped to use the sporting contest to rebuild troubled relations between the two nations.
In 2011, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited his Pakistan counterpart to watch a game of cricket in India and discuss reviving a peace process. The "cricket diplomacy" had offered more symbolic gestures than any breakthroughs in a conflict that has lasted for more than sixty-five years.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dejavu: Messi does to Neymar what Ronaldinho did to him in 2008

Lionel Messi asked Neymar to take the penalty against Villareal, and the Brazilian went on to miss the spot-kick. Apart from the fact that it was the first time since 2010 when Messi didn’t take a penalty while he was on the pitch, this entire sequence of events was very interesting, as it was almost an exact copy of an incident that took place seven years ago.

It was the second leg of a Copa del Rey encounter in 2008 between Barcelona and Villareal, at the Camp Nou. The home team were leading 1-0 and had just been awarded a penalty. Ronaldinho, the club’s designated penalty taker, came to the pitch just then, and so was happy to let Lionel Messi to take the spot-kick.

In normal circumstances, there wouldn’t really have been much cause for concern. Messi had the entire team’s trust, and he showed great confidence in stepping up to take it.
As luck would have it, the Argentine’s penalty was saved by Villareal’s Diego Lopez. Following the save, Ronaldinho went up to Messi and consoled him. 

Here’s the video of the same:

Fast forward to 2015, and almost the exact sequence of events repeated themselves. Lionel Messi let Neymar take the penalty, who ended up missing his spot-kick. The match was again in the Copa del Rey, and co-incidentally, against Villareal! In fact, both times, the penalty was taken at the same end of the Camp Nou!

Call it co-incidence or the magic of the Copa del Rey, or the mystery of the Camp Nou, but history just repeated itself!

Why stress makes some people more vulnerable to depression

One reason why social stress makes some people more vulnerable to depression than others could be due to deficiency of serotonin, a crucial brain chemical linked to the feeling of well-being and happiness, a study suggests.

"Our results are very exciting because they establish that low serotonin could be a contributing factor to the development of depression in response to psycho-social stress in a genetically defined animal model of serotonin deficiency," said senior author Marc Caron from Duke University's School of Medicine in the US.

Following exposure to stress, the serotonin-deficient mice also did not respond to a standard anti-depressant fluoxetine (Prozac), which works by boosting serotonin transmission between neighbouring neurons.

The new results may help explain why some people with depression seem unresponsive to treatment with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most common anti-depressant drugs on the market today.

In the new study, researchers used a transgenic mouse strain called Tph2KI that has only 20-40 percent of normal levels of serotonin in its brain. These mice harbour an extremely rare mutation that was first identified in a small group of people with major depression.

The researchers tested the responses of these mice to a type of psycho-social stress: social defeat stress.

The team stressed out mice by housing them each with an aggressive stranger mouse briefly every day for 7-10 days.

Later, the scientists examined whether the test mice would avoid interacting with an unfamiliar mouse - a depression-like behaviour.

A week of social stress was not sufficient for normal mice to show signs of depression, but the serotonin-deficient mice did.

Top 10 umpires who have officiated most matches in World Cup history

Late England umpire David Shepherd holds the record for umpiring in the most number of Cricket World Cup matches. Shepherd stood in 46 matches across 6 World Cups between 1983 and 2003 and also officiated in three successive World Cup finals in 1996,1999 and 2003.

Following him in second place is West Indian Steve Bucknor, who stood in 45 games.

Winner of five straight Umpire of the Year awards, Simon Taufel is fourth with his tally of 23 matches, which included the high-octane 2011 World Cup semi-final encounter between India and Pakistan. Srinivas Venkataraghavan stood in the same number of games as the Australian and also officiated in two semi-finals – 1996 and 1999.
Pakistan’s Aleem Dar also makes an appearance as does Australian Daryl Harper. Billy Bowden, Dickie Bird and Khizer Hyat round off the list, with each having officiated in 18 games apiece.
Here are the top 10 umpires who have officiated most matches at the Cricket World Cup:
1.David ShepherdEngland46
2.Steve BucknorWest Indies45
3.Rudi KoertzenSouth Africa25
4.Simon TaufelAustralia23
5.S VenkataraghavanIndia23
6.Aleem DarPakistan22
7.Daryl HarperAustralia22
8.Billy BowdenNew Zealand18
9.Dickie BirdEngland18
10.Khizer HayatPakistan18