Irish soldiers ‘safe and well’ in Lebanon following Israeli mortar fire

first_imgMembers of the Irish Defence Forces sought protection in bunkers for about four hours in south Lebanon after their area of operations came under fire from the Israeli army.The UN peacekeepers in the 450-strong battalion, members of the 114th infantry battalion, took cover after an exchange of fire between the Israeli defence forces and the Iranian-supported Hezbollah on Sunday afternoon.The Irish soldiers responded to the codeword “Groundhog” directing them to take cover in bomb shelters and to don helmets and body armour as the incoming fire from the Israeli forces fell in their area, according to The Irish Times.  The Defence Forces tweeted that Irish personnel were “out of shelters” and “resuming routine” on Sunday evening, several hours after announcing that they had taken shelter “as a precautionary measure” after the rockets were fired on Sunday afternoon.None of the Irish troops were injured. A spokesman for the Defence Forces said that they were “safe and well.”Irish soldiers ‘safe and well’ in Lebanon following Israeli mortar fire was last modified: September 2nd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sharks’ Erik Karlsson continues to make strides

first_imgSAN JOSE — Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson took the pass from Tomas Hertl as he was backtracking inside his own blue line and took six small strides before he got to the red line.He then fed a return pass — one that got under the stick of William Karlsson — back to Hertl, who created some space for himself and snapped a shot that got past Marc-Andre Fleury just 1:16 into the first period of Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.It was just a quick little burst from Karlsson on Thursday …last_img read more

Peer Review Goes Public

first_imgA scientific revolution for the internet age is taking place: peer review is coming out of its secrecy into public light.  Tired of the dominance of big-name journals and their editorial policies, independent-minded researchers are taking their publications to the web.  The revolution is explained by AP reporter Alicia Chang (see Yahoo News), and by the editors of The New Atlantis.    The new methods of bringing scientific research to visibility has problems of its own.  It’s too early to say if it will succeed.  But with scandals in its closet and complaints of plagiarism, favoritism and stifling of non-traditional ideas, traditional peer review has come under growing criticism.  The freedom of the internet is making open-access sites like arXiv and PLoS a growth industry, while the big-name journals are having to crack open their inner sanctums with blogs, open-access articles and other internet-savvy innovations.This is a trend to watch.  We don’t know yet if the problems will outweigh the benefits.  It might become comparable to how cable and the web ended the dominance of the mainline news broadcast networks.  Did you know that peer review is a relatively recent phenomenon?  Though early modern scientists stressed the need for sharing and verifying experimental results, peer review as practiced today did not become common till after World War II.  Now, it has too often hindered the very quality it set out to establish.  Authors fear giving away their life work to rivals who might wind up on the review committees.  Journals tend to look for ground-breaking and sensational works, downplaying ordinary but important work.  And worst of all, ideas outside the mainstream are often silently dropped from view.    Competition is good for ideas; Darwinism has for too long been a stifling orthodoxy.  There will be problems.  Mavericks might get carried away in this new wild west.  Readers might consider an online paper authoritative without sufficient warrant.  The potential benefits look strong, though.  This might stimulate more student interest in science, and the new freedom may lead to more bold exploration of new promising leads (like intelligent design).  Wikis and blogs will permit rapid validation and falsification, and lively debate among scholars.  With the new “multitude of counselors” there may be more safety than the few secret reviewers of the past provided.  Welcome to Web 2.0; hang on.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

African human genomes decoded

first_imgThe genomes of members of Namiba’sJu/’hoansi tribe, as well as that of DesmondTutu, have been decoded by a groupof scientists from institutions aroundthe world.(Image: Stephan C. Schuster)MEDIA CONTACTS • Anne Buboltz+26 4 81 606 1101 or +1 814 863 6118Janine ErasmusAn international group of scientists have decoded the entire genome of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and an indigenous Namibian, and partially decoded three others, in the hope that it will pave the way for personalised medicine in developing nations.Until the ground-breaking study, genomic decoding focused mostly on the Western world.The 50-strong team, comprising researchers from Australia, Namibia and South Africa, was supported by Pennsylvania State University.The group was co-led by biochemistry and molecular biology professor Stephan Schuster of Penn State’s Eberly College of Science, and Vanessa Hayes of the University of New South Wales.Hayes also works at the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. She expressed her pleasure at the addition of Tutu to the test line-up, saying that the distinguished Nobel laureate was an ideal representative for a large group of Southern Africans because of his Nguni and Tswana heritage.The findings were published in the 18 February issue of the scientific journal Nature.Controversial issuesThe project is not without its controversy, however. The availability of genetic information raises the question of who should be able to access it, and why?Only a small number of genomes have ever been published – one of them is that of James Watson who, together with his colleague Francis Crick, determined the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, earning themselves a Nobel prize in the process.Employees could find themselves the victims of genetic discrimination in the workplace, while insurance companies could structure an individual’s premium or limit the amount of cover, based on the client’s genetic information. There are even more sinister possibilities, such as the development of chemical weapons based on ethnicity.But genetic testing also has many positive implications. The more that is known about human genetics, the more likely it is that researchers will develop life-saving therapy for any number of hereditary diseases.Genetic testing will also increase the chances of detecting serious problems at an early age – or even before birth – to prevent the need for expensive treatment later on.The team hope that the participation of Tutu – known and admired throughout the world not only for his anti-apartheid activism but also for his battle against prostate cancer, polio and tuberculosis – will inspire others to do the same.Potential for better healthGenomic decoding potentially offers tremendous benefits for human health, and holds implications for the way doctors will treat their patients in the future. Now that the new information has been added to current databases, medical research will include Southern Africans, who have not featured prominently in studies to date.“Southern Africans will immediately be included in genome-wide disease association studies as a result of this project,” said Hayes, “increasing our ability to examine regionally significant diseases.”The genome is defined as all DNA carried within a living organism, of which genes are just one component. DNA determines everything about the organism – whether it is plant or animal, its species, and all its biological characteristics.DNA molecules are made of the same four chemicals, or nucleotides, in all living creatures – but the sequence of nucleotides is crucial. Nucleotides occur in pairs, and the human genome has about 3-billion pairs that occur in a sequence unique to each person.Because of this fundamental relationship between living organisms, the comparative study of non-human genomes provides valuable insights into human biology and complex biological systems.The US-based Human Genomic Project was launched in 1990 and ran for 13 years. The project’s goals were to identify all human genes, establish the sequence of all 3-billion DNA pairs, and make the information accessible to scientists for further research while addressing the legal and ethical implications.The full potential of this enormous scientific accomplishment has not been realised yet. Some of the data still to be revealed by researchers in the coming decades include a deeper study of proteins, whose function is regulated by the genes; and the use of genetic variation to predict susceptibility to disease.Ancient peopleThe new study involved three new DNA sequencing techniques, which are significantly faster and more economical than existing technologies. “Human genomics is becoming a realistic and powerful medical resource that will gain momentum in 2010,” said Schuster.The study of how the effectiveness of medicines is influenced by genetic makeup is known as pharmocogenomics, and it is a growing field of research. For example, anti-HIV drugs are known to be less effective in Africans than in Europeans – a problem that could be solved by tweaking the formulation appropriately.The test group consisted of Tutu and four members of the Ju/’hoansi tribe, who live along the border between Namibia and Botswana. !Gubi is the name of the other man whose genome was fully decoded.The indigenous people of Southern Africa, known as San Bushmen, belong to the oldest known lineage of humankind. The San have roamed the Kalahari Desert for many thousands of years in small, mobile groups.“We sequenced the personal genomes of four Bushmen participants who are tribal leaders from their communities and are at least 80 years of age,” said Schuster, “and from one Bantu participant who is in his late 70s,” referring to Tutu. The word “Bantu” is used to refer to the indigenous peoples of Central and Southern Africa who belong to the Niger-Congo language subfamily that includes kiSwahili, isiXhosa, and isiZuluThe study revealed that the people of Southern Africa are distinctly different genetically from those in Asia, Europe and even West Africa. About 1.3-million genetic variants were discovered which will help drug developers to more accurately tailor medications to a specific people, increasing their efficacy.The test group was found to be extremely diverse in genetic terms, with the number of genetic differences exceeding those found to exist between Asians and Europeans.“To know how genes affect health, we need to see the full range of human genetic variation,” said biology professor and study participant Webb Miller of Penn State, “and Southern Africa is the place to look.”A surprise outcome of the study showed that Tutu was genetically related to the Bushmen through his mother. “The fact that the test found that I am related to these wise people who paint rocks makes me feel very privileged and blessed,” said the Archbishop, talking to BBC News.The study also revealed genetic factors such as intolerance to a high-fat diet in the San Bushmen, who still practice their age-old hunter-gatherer lifestyle, making them poorly suited to an agricultural way of life. Other factors, such as their advanced senses and superior physical abilities, explain why their current lifestyle suits them so perfectly.Miller added that the data is freely available on Penn State’s internet servers.last_img read more

More Green From Beans – 6

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Pamela SmithDTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology EditorThrow a crop-production question at Brad and Jacob Wade, and it can quickly escalate into a debate.When asked to rank the top things that determine soybean yield success, Jacob immediately countered: “Volume yield or economic yield?”“Are they the same thing?” his father, Brad, challenged. That comment lights the fuse. Suddenly, the two are bantering back and forth about every aspect of the soybean-production system and what equates to yield — and to Jacob’s point — profitability?The Wades, who farm near McLean, Illinois, nearly always come to a hearty consensus.“We do this a lot,” Brad said. “We’re always asking questions.”“We’re always looking for the next thing to push us to the next level,” Jacob added.Some would say yields come naturally in this part of the soybean belt. McLean County, Illinois (where the town of McLean is also located), led the state and nation in total production of corn (71.9 million bushels) and soybeans (21.5 mb) in 2018. In fairness, it is the largest county in the state, but yields tend to consistently rock here, too.During the last few years, the Wades have seen soybean yields grow consistently, with field averages hitting the 70-bushel-per-acre mark in 2016, 80-bushel beans in 2017 and several fields hitting 90 to 100 bpa in 2018.The father and son agree nature did a lot to push those yields higher, particularly in 2018. “Last year convinced some farmers that they could grow a lot of soybeans without really trying,” Brad said. “This 2019 season may set the record straight.”Soybean farmers are finding ways to boost revenues despite market and trade challenges. This story is the sixth and last in a six-part series, More Green From Beans. The series looked at ways soybean farmers are finding ways to answer trade challenges by boosting revenues through switching up agronomics and finding new markets.NO ONE RECIPEWhen the first soybean yield kings started adding to the soybean yield ledgers, other farmers clamored for their recipes. They still do, said Jerry Cox, Delta, Missouri, a perennial yield contest winner in soybeans and corn.“Foliar feeding, fungicide and timely insecticides are important ingredients, but it’s not as much the recipe as it is timeliness of application and reading the crop,” Cox said.His irrigated entry won the Missouri Soybean Association’s yield top honors in 2017 with 101.17 bpa using a planted population of 110,000 plants per acre. He has continued to reduce populations on high-fertility fields to promote branching, going as low as 75,000 plants per acre on his 2019 plot. However, it’s important to check germination rate on the seed planted before dropping that low, he pointed out.“My best yields seem to come in years when the plant had some sort of stress very early that it fought back from,” Cox added. “If I’ve learned anything over the past 35 years of trying to push the yield envelope, it is that the soybean has something of a mind of its own.”In other words, no matter what road map you chart with inputs and practices, weather can be an overriding factor. Plenty of sunshine before the summer solstice coupled with moderate nighttime temperatures and well-timed rains (or irrigation) tend to bring big bushels, these farmers agree.TRIAL AND SUCCESSStill, everyone knows of neighboring fields that failed to pump out the same number of pods and beans within, despite near-equal soil and weather. To that point, Wade Farms planted nearly 400 acres of replicated soybean trials this year to direct their own farm decisions and to share with local farmers through the seed sales side of their business.Beyond inputs, row widths and populations, they are testing to see if mechanical practices such as singulation and planter pressures matter to soybeans. “The tools we now have to measure and track incremental changes in the crop are going to really change soybean production in coming years,” Jacob said.How to interpret the wacky 2019 season is still a question though. The Wades planted some soybeans as early as March 27 into 33 degree Fahrenheit soil temperature and didn’t see a lot of plant growth until late May. A head-scratcher came when they found a few June-planted fields were averaging 21 to 22 nodes per plant, several more than the early-planted soybeans, which still had more pods.“We know in a typical year that early planting results in more nodes. More nodes equate to more pods and more production,” Jacob said. “I’d say we have 10% less nodes this year overall because we just didn’t get the heat units.”Listening and studying the practices of yield contest winners inspired the Wades to become serious about in-field testing for both efficacy and profitability. “We’ve learned that simply comparing one field to another doesn’t tell us much, especially when that field changes every hundred feet,” Brad said. “Without replicated trials, you can easily misinterpret that something is working or not working.”Digital health imagery helps them track changes in the field, and not everything turns out as expected, Jacob noted. Fuller maturity soybeans, 3.9 relative maturity (RM), have been abandoned on the farm, for example. “They just weren’t performing for us,” he said, explaining that their plots now run from 2.8 RM to 3.7 RM.“We now know that each soybean variety has a personality, and in a way, it needs to be planted and cared for. We tend to understand and make those adjustments in corn, but beans are making breakthroughs,” he said.SIX STEPS TO SOYBEAN SUCCESS:There’s no one way to pump up soybean yields. Brad and Jacob Wade like to look at the soybean decisions as a system. Beyond weather or environment, here are six steps they take to drive yields in central Illinois:1. Genetics: Disease and other defensive resistance needs are weighed along with overall yield potential.2. Early planting: Focus on planting in April to increase node number and number of pods.3. Seed treatment: Early planting increases the need to protect against early-season fungal infections, insects and sudden death syndrome (SDS).4. Crop safety: Preemergence herbicide programs are a must for good weed control, but they select herbicide active ingredients and additives to avoid injury that can come if early planting is followed by cold, wet weather.5. Late-season fungicide/insecticide: The top third of a plant absorbs most of the sunlight. R3 and/or R5 application of fungicide and insecticides are used to protect leaves through seed-fill.6. On-farm research: Prove concepts/products work on your own farm before switching to a new strategy. Replicate and record findings.Pamela Smith can be reached at pamela.smith@dtn.comFollow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN(ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Solar Access on the Florida Ballot

first_imgSolar advocates in Florida say that they have proof that electric utilities are attempting to trick voters into supporting a ballot initiative that appears to broaden their access to solar energy but in fact will do just the opposite. In an article earlier this month, the Miami Herald said that the policy director of a utility-supported think tank admitted at a conference that the utility effort to pass an amendment to the state constitution was “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that would undermine efforts to make solar energy more accessible to Floridians.Florida allows state residents to own or lease solar panels, but does not permit third-party sales. As a blog at Forbes explains, the ballot question would allow residents to lease panels through a utility but does not address third-party power purchase agreements. The ballot measure, supported by a group called Consumers for Smart Solar and $21 million in utility backing, also would let utilities add new fees to the bills of solar customers to compensate for lower sales.Sal Nuzzo, a vice president of the James Madison Institute, was taped saying utility support of the ballot measure amounted to a “little bit of political jiu-jitsu.” Consumers for Smart Solar denied it had hired the think tank, and Nuzzo’s boss later claimed Nuzzo “misspoke.”The Forbes blog noted, “Amendment #1 was labeled as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ by Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente… She went on to say, ‘Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo.’”The fight over Florida’s solar future has been messy, as this earlier report at GBA suggests. A competing group, Floridians for Solar Choice, wants to remove the ban on third-party sales and allow customers to lease their solar generation to neighbors or building tenants. But an attempt to get that measure on the ballot failed.last_img read more

Would You Ever Walk Away From Your Startup?

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Entrepreneurs#startup#yec How to Cultivate the Skill of Being a Creative … You worked long, sometimes fruitless hours to make your startup a reality. Endless meetings, pitches and late-night work sessions later, it’s hard to imagine walking away. Or is it?We asked nine successful entrepreneurs from YEC what exactly it would take for them to walk away from their startups. Here’s what they said:1. Realizing Someone Else Could Do It BetterI am always cognizant of the fact that good founders don’t naturally make good managers, executives or leaders. We have to work at it and try our best to evolve with our companies as they grow from startups into small- and medium-sized businesses. Responsible founders owe it to their stakeholders to always check themselves by asking, “Am I the right person for this job?” If the answer to that is no and the gap can’t be closed, then it is time to consider moving on and begin succession planning.—Christopher Kelly, Convene2. Losing The Passion CompletelyTo walk away from my business, I would need to have reached a space where the passion I once felt was gone completely. I’m not talking about those moments in business where you’re burnt out, tired and don’t feel like producing a single other thing, but rather those moments where you stop and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”If I reached that stage, I’d begin looking at how I could exit the business in such a way that would still preserve the essence of the business and the passion and power that it currently has driving it forward. If I couldn’t do that well, my team and clients would suffer, and I couldn’t deal with that. For me, it all boils down to that: the business has to feel good and do good in order for me to stand strong behind it.—Erin Blaskie, Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist3. Learning Much More About Myself And BusinessBesides an income, the most important thing for me in continuing to work on my company is the constant challenge and learning it provides. I have no idea what I don’t know, but every week I discover something new. I can’t imagine walking away unless I was presented with an opportunity that would stretch me more than I’m being stretched now—along with the tools to help me understand it through mentorship, training, and an amazing team to work with.—Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent4. Walking Away Would Be The Last ResortI couldn’t imagine completely walking away from admitted.ly. I absolute love what our team is building and, most importantly, love my team. I can’t imagine not wanting to work with them. That being said, I also know when to let go. If an idea isn’t working out, I’d never stick with the idea just because it somehow works in my head. Instead of totally walking away, I’d just walk down a different path with my team. I know that we’re flexible enough to abandon our initial idea, but also creative enough to dream up another amazing idea to work on together.—Jessica Brondo, Admitted.ly5. Having the Chance To Start Something NewWe almost sold our business a while back because we got carried away with the idea of someone writing us a big check. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that selling to (and working for) the other company would force us to give up the lifestyles we had built for ourselves along with years of potential revenue, growth, control and excitement from owning our own company. If I were going to walk away today, I would want to know that I have the resources (both financial resources and the right team members) to start something new and equally exciting.—Allie Siarto, Loudpixel6. Being Unable To Pay EmployeesAlthough every startup business will have a lean period when it is hard to pay the bills, it is not morally or ethically acceptable to avoid paying employees. If I were unable to pay the workers who are giving me their support and offering their skills to help my company grow, then I would give up on the business.Even if I am still working on paying loans and other debts to creditors, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that my employees have a safe home environment, food on the table and a way to care for their children. If I ever discover that I will not be able to pay my employees in the future, then I would give them the appropriate recommendations and fair warning that the business will come to a close so that they could find another position.—Jay Wu, A Forever Recovery7. Being Given A Significant PayoutIf I am looking for an excuse to walk away from my startup, then I’m in the wrong business. I absolutely love what I do; that’s why I do it. Sure, if someone offered me a significant payout, it might be time to move on, but until then, I’m not going anywhere!—David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services8. Lacking The Ability To Do WellIf I ever became physically incapacitated and could no longer do a great job operating my company, I would hand over the reins to someone else. Short of that, I don’t see anything convincing me to give up control.—Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors9. Having An Opportunity To Do MoreI really love my business and lifestyle, so it’s hard to imagine walking away from it. But if I were to do so, it would be for an opportunity where I believed that I could make a bigger positive impact than I do now. We only have one life to live, and I want to be a good steward of the gifts I’ve been given.—Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Themcenter_img How to Meet the Demands of the Socially Conscio… How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… scott gerberlast_img read more

Why Your Guest Post Fails

first_imgI know a lot of people firmly believe that you can–and should–increase your web presence by finding other people with a presence and asking them if you can write a guest post. The idea is that, by exposing their audience to you and your ideas, you will gain new community members.For a lot of people, this works. If you’re Chris Brogan, it makes sense to guest post on copyblogger. If you’re coppyblogger, it makes sense to have Chris publish a guest post.Each week, I receive four or five emails asking if the author can provide me with a guest post. I always thank the person for their offer, explain that guest posts don’t align with my strategy here, and ask if I can help promote their content in some other way.I stop short of telling them that I believe their community-building (or attention-getting) strategy is broken. But it is broken.No Shortcuts: A guest post might get you a nice bump in traffic. It might give you a nice little boost in attention. But neither of those are great indicators of success if everything else isn’t right. There is no quick fix for a long term problem.No Content: If your own blog isn’t already chock full of great content, there isn’t any reason to believe that pointing people to your site is going to help you build community. Your site needs to stand on its own; it needs to be worth the reader’s time and attention because it’s a great resource. This counts for a lot more than a recommendation.You Don’t Want Community: If you are selling a product, especially a software product, you don’t really want to build community–you want to advertise. Content about your product, your service, or your offering is marketing–not a guest post.Fake Backlinks: It’s a nice idea to believe that guest posts are going to create the kind of backlinks from highly trafficked sites will improve your SEO results. But there’s a better way to get backlinks: publish something worth linking to in the first place.There are points for style here, too. If your email begins with, “I am a big fan of your blog,” or “I just read your post titled . . ,” you very quickly betray the fact you don’t read the blog and that you are outside the community. If you were part of the community, you would already be known. Guest posts work better when you are already part of the community.Now I am no expert on content marketing. For that, go see copyblogger and Chris Brogan. But the heart of content marketing is content. The more great content you produce, the easier it is to produce the “marketing” results.QuestionsWhat do you want to accomplish through a guest post?Is a guest post the best way to accomplish that goal?Would you do better to focus on producing better content?Are you trying to build community or are you really trying to advertise?last_img read more

India to play against Sri Lanka today to warm up for World T20

first_imgTeam India would begin their ICC World Twenty20 2012 campaign with a warm-up match against hosts Sri Lanka on Saturday. Going into the championship with a loss against New Zealand, India have not quite built up to the big event in a desired fashion. Their bowling lacked potency in the final overs, while the batsmen too failed to chase a modest target despite several wickets in hand. However, they would look at the practice match against the hosts as an ideal opportunity to test out not just their combinations, but also the Lankan conditions. Sri Lanka on the other hand, warmed up for the tournament with a convincing nine wicket win over the West Indies, whom many have touted as one of the favourites owing to their explosive talent. But the Lankans outplayed the Windies convincingly chasing an easy target of 134 with 4 overs to spare. Sri Lanka’s batting worked like a charm in the match announcing themselves before the tournament begins.last_img read more