Outdoor Updates: Mussels are being killed by a mysterious disease

first_imgThe die offs stand out because they are affecting only mussels. “It seemed very strange that there was one species out of a biodiverse assemblage that was being affected,” Tony Goldberg, a veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin told The Guardian. “From an epidemiologist perspective that is a red flag for infectious disease.”  In Tennessee, researchers are studying the mass die-off of the pheasantshell mussel in the Clinch River, which has spread up the river into Virginia. Usually, mass die-offs of animals in rivers are caused by human action, such as oil spills, but scientists suspect this event is caused by disease.  It’s not the first time a mass die-off of mussels has been observed in Tennessee. In the 1980’s and 1990’s a similar phenomenon took place on the Holston and Powell Rivers. Back then, researchers were also unable to determine the cause. “When you talk about these massive global extinctions, these are the species that are really blinking out,” Jordan Richard, a wildlife biologist studying the Clinch River mussel die-off told The Guardian. “And there’s so many of them nobody even notices.” Mussels are dying off, killed by a mysterious disease in places around the U.S., including Tennessee and Virginia The death of a large number of mussels can change the ecosystem in rivers. And the worry is not just for the mussels. If it is a disease killing the invertebrates, there’s a chance it could adapt and spread to other freshwater species over time. There are approximately 300 freshwater mussel species in North America, 71% of which are considered endangered, threatened or of concern. In the southeast alone, it is estimated that close to 24 species of mussels have gone extinct.last_img read more

SETI Sans ETI So Far

first_imgThere’s “no din of alien chatter in our neighborhood,” writes Richard Kerr in the Feb. 20 issue of Science.1  “Early-generation searches for extraterrestrial intelligence are coming up empty-handed, but the SETI community is carrying on,” he writes.  Search pioneer Frank Drake admits “We found nothing” in the latest Project Phoenix, a survey of 700 nearby sunlike stars.  James Trefil adds, “this idea there’s a galactic club that we would join as soon as we started … doesn’t look like it’s panning out.”  Paul Horowitz is not near ready to quit, though, urged on by the conviction that “There’s got to be life in the galaxy.”  Statistically, even with optimistic assumptions, it would not be probable to have found one by now – just hopeful.    Upcoming searches promise to be quicker and more powerful.  But if there are only 10,000 alien civilizations surfing the galactic radio internet, it could take decades to find one.  The importance of a positive signal keeps the search going.  Until one is found, however, SETI has been termed by Seth Shostak as “looking for an uncertain manifestation of a hypothetical presence.”1Richard Kerr, “No Din of Alien Chatter in Our Neighborhood,” Science Volume 303, Number 5661, Issue of 20 Feb 2004, p. 1133.Without the belief in Darwinian evolution, one wonders how much motivation SETI would have.  Would believers in God expect to find life all over the universe trying to contact us?  If so, would they work this hard looking?  The Darwin Party seems to think a discovery of alien life would disprove the Bible, but is that necessarily true?  Why would it not just as clearly indicate creation?  What if the aliens tell us they evolved, but are lying?  What if they turn out to be storytellers as incorrigible as members of the Darwin Party here on earth?    It’s fun, but maybe not useful, to speculate about things we cannot know.  Take your pick on this one.  Not even all secularists, though, agree SETI is worthwhile.  Michael Crichton used it as an example of policy-driven pseudoscience, essentially a religion (see 12/27/2003).  The only data point we have so far is that the local neighborhood is not teeming with alien broadcasters on the channels we are checking.  Maybe that means something.    If nothing else, the SETI researchers are making a great case for intelligent design (see 07/29/2002).  Their core assumption is that a nonrandom, coded message would be convincing evidence of intelligence, even if they knew nothing about the sender.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Visitors marvel at SA’s natural wonder

first_imgThe Mother City and her mountain worked their magic on a group of foreign journalists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who were on a flying visit to South Africa.They were here as guests of Brand South Africa, the agency responsible for marketing the country abroad, on a fact-finding mission and to build relationships between the two regions.Fresh from an interesting and informative few days in Johannesburg and keen to sample the famed delights of the Cape, they had just two days in the city to network, gather information and, of course, fit in some sightseeing.On day one, Tuesday 13 March, the weather in the morning was glorious – sunny blue skies, a light breeze and temperatures that Capetonians consider on the hot side – at least hot enough to hit the beach and dive into the cold ocean.Calling the Gulf states your home, though, means that 33 or so degrees is “comfortable”, in the words of Bahaa Alawam, a Syrian journalist working out of the Gulf.He was joined by Mahmood Saberi of Gulf News, a Dubai publication; Peter Smith of Dubai Gulf Business; Hala Saqqa, a senior account executive at Hill and Knowlton Strategies in Dubai; and Roger Romanos, a senior editor at the Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group.The plan was to spend the morning at presentations indoors, with the Department of Trade and Industry.On the agenda were South Africa’s industrial policy, priority industry sectors and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) exports and agri-processing businesses that export to the UAE/GCC, namely Western Cape fruit and juice exporters, beef and fishing, fruit and vegetables, processed foods, and franchising.The next item on the itinerary was a trip on the cableway up Table Mountain. Cape Town’s weather, however, is nothing if not fickle. By noon the wind had picked up and by 1pm the clouds were cascading over the southern side of the mountain.Closed on account of the weatherA cable car trip to the top of Table Mountain is always a treat.By 2pm the cableway was closed for the day as the wind howled and clouds poured over the mountain and down the gorges. On the upside, the group did get to see her dressed in her famous tablecloth.Instead of the planned trip energetic tour guide, Irwin Horsban of Kaylin Tours, packed the group back into the bus and took them on a memorable drive down Kloof Nek and into Camps Bay, on the western side of the Cape peninsule .A stop for lunch and refreshments on the beachfront was a real treat, said Saberi. Romanos, who is originally from Lebanon but has been working in Saudi Arabia for six years, agreed. “What a fantastic place,” he gushed. “It was beautiful, spectacular.”On the way back to the hotel the ever-affable Horsban took the group on a detour through the Bo-Kaap, with colourful houses and history, followed by a splendid seafood dinner at the popular V&A Waterfront that was variously described as “good”, “delicious” and “expensive”.Wednesday – and Mother Nature came out to play, offering a glorious day without a breath of wind. Again, the morning was taken up with presentations and information-sharing, this time at the Oil and Gas Expo.The historic Robben Island was on the agenda for the afternoon, but everyone opted for the mountain instead. Walking on one of the new seven wonders of nature trumped heritage.On the mountainThe cableway was open, and cars were parked for several kilometres down the winding mountain road. But with tickets pre-booked online and a taxi ride to the cableway station there was little delay before the group was ushered into the large and airy cable car.The car takes 65 people at a time, which can be a bit of a squash. There is no need to hog the windows though, as the floor rotates during the ascent, giving each passenger a 360° view.Romanos spoke about investments. His company organises conferences between businesses, and he believes there is much scope for the two regions to work together. “Arab businesses are looking for opportunity,” he said.When the group stepped out at the top the views took their breath away and they spent a good two hours wandering around, taking pictures and marvelling at the cute dassies, or rock hyraxes – these little animals are closely related to the elephant.“I am half-way between happy and depressed,” said Saqqa, “happy to be here, but depressed that soon I have to return to civilisation.”Her sentiments were shared by the other members of the group. Smith said: “I see Johannesburg is for business, but Cape Town is more for pleasure.”There was time for some cold refreshments before a walk on the white sands of Camp’s Bay beach and dinner at a traditional restaurant in the city bowl.“We are sad to go, but have enjoyed our time here,” said Alawam.  Source: Mediaclub South Africalast_img read more

Transport Month 2016

first_imgIn October every year South Africa celebrates its public transport, and road, rail, air and maritime infrastructure, during Transport Month. This year the theme of the month is “Together we move South Africa forward”.James Hall Museum of Transport: a nod to land transportThe James Hall Museum of Transport in Johannesburg preserves and collects the country’s transport heritage. Here, from schoolchildren to motor enthusiasts, from tourists to ordinary citizens, everyone will find something to catch their eye. READ MORE >Five South African motorsport legendsFrom the late Gugu Zulu to recent MotoGP champ Brad Binder, South African motorsport boasts a host of legends, champions and superstars. Meet some of the country’s best behind the wheel. READ MORE >Transport Month celebrates the ‘heartbeat’ of South Africa’s economy“A resilient and fast-growing economy is at the heart of our radical economic transformation agenda and our National Development Plan,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters at the launch of Transport Month at Mmorogong village in North West. READ MORE >Public transport: Buses and trains in South AfricaWhile South Africa is well served by an extensive road network, conveniently offering travellers to ability to reach all corners of the country by car, it is still a large country to explore and those not used to driving long distances, there are other options available to travel around South Africa, both between cities and around metropolitan areas. READ MORE >Driving in South AfricaWhen visiting South Africa, the self-driving option is a viable and enjoyable way to get around the country. South Africa has excellent road infrastructure, large vehicle-hire fleets run by international and local rental companies, great weather and plenty of stunning scenery. READ MORE >Domestic flights in South AfricaSouth Africa has a number of airlines flying between its major cities as well as to some of its smaller ones, with fares ranging from first-class to cut-price economy. Flights can be booked online from anywhere in the world. READ MORE >Infographic: Joburg by taxi – a practical guideGetting around Joburg on a minibus taxi can be daunting for newbies. But once you know your short right from your after robot, and your Diepsloot from your Orange Farm, it’s the fastest, most popular and often the cheapest way to get where you want to go. READ MORE >last_img read more

Dhoni’s dropped catches

first_imgDhoni trying to take a catch in India match against Ireland at DelhiA day after India’s final over loss to South Africa at Nagpur, a Mumbai friend smsed Sachin Tendulkar in Marathi, “Aplache daant aani aplache aont, dosh kunala dweicha (It’s your teeth, your lips, whom will you blame).”Tendulkar had expressed disgust at the way India’s middle-order batsmen had thrown away their wickets. He also did not like the last over bloomer by Ashish Nehra and felt Harbhajan Singh was a natural choice for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The master blaster’s reply to his friend was a terse “yes”.Under fire for choosing Nehra, Dhoni played with a straight bat when attacked at the post-match press conference. Then he locked himself up. He was visibly upset and even suggested that he could carry a cellphone next time he stepped on to the ground so that India’s cricket experts (read fans and reporters) could tweet and post remarks on facebook.The speculation over Dhoni’s combination for the game and the team’s commitment continued for more than 48 hours after the defeat. “I sincerely don’t know what Nehra is doing in the team because he is unfit most of the time. He hasn’t had enough match practice,” says former wicket-keeper and chief selector Kiran More. “In Delhi, Nehra bowled only one over.””Once many called his decisions his natural instinct, now it is his obstinacy that is causing problems for the side,” says former Australian cricketer Dean Jones, who has already panned the side and its chances for the World Cup as a midsummer night’s dream. Consider some of Dhoni’s mistakes.advertisementOver-confidence In the World Twenty20 in 2007, Joginder Sharma bowled the final over when Pakistan needed 13 runs. It worked. But it did not work with Nehra who was preferred over Harbhajan Singh against South Africa.The Piyush factor He continues to back Piyush Chawla, the leg spinner, over a competent R. Ashwin who has the support of the selection board.Disorder within The batting order is messy. What is the ideal order? Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag as openers, followed by Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Dhoni himself. But the move to switch Yusuf Pathan and Virat Kohli from their designated slots failed against England and South Africa. The tinkering is not working.All bowled out It’s no secret that bowling is a huge cause of worry. The captain keeps defensive fields and allows the batsmen to milk the bowlers for easy singles. There is no pressure on the batsmen to play rash shots.The selectors are somewhat reconciled to the captain’s plan that Suresh Raina will replace Yusuf Pathan but they don’t agree with the skipper over his persistence with Chawla. The selection committee headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth backed Ashwin right from the beginning of the World Cup and doesn’t want Chawla’s presence in the side.There are many who are wondering why Dhoni is toying with the batting order. “The middle order should definitely be more rigid because this is a crucial chunk for any team,” former Indian captain Kapil Dev told a television channel.Team insiders say Dhoni is determined to stick to his own theory on how to run India’s World Cup campaign and appears fairly confident that the boys can bounce back. Many, of course, feel the boys-as their body language suggests-will not be able to withstand the pressure. The Nagpur loss rattled the team so much that many skipped breakfast the next day. India will know if Dhoni’s boys have recovered enough to beat the West Indies on March 20 at Chennai. The venue is also home to chief selector Srikkanth and N. Srinivasan, bcci’s all-powerful secretary.last_img read more

Six Nations youth battle band council

first_imgAPTN National NewsA sit-in by young people in Six Nations will continue for now.Over the past three months, several youth have occupied space outside of an old police station.They want a safe place for them to go when they face a crisis.The band council, however, wants them removed.APTN National News reporter Candace Maracle has this story.last_img

Hot Takedown for March 24 2015 Vintage Michigan State Fixing The Womens

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Links to what we discuss in this week’s show:FiveThirtyEight’s continually updated March Madness predictions.Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings.FiveThirtyEight’s ongoing March Madness reporting.Michigan State’s historical SRS ratings.The “white paper” prepared by Val Ackerman on the state of women’s college basketball.How the Celtics are trying to balance the middle ground between tanking and greatness.New Zealand reaches the Cricket World Cup final for the first time. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. This week, we discuss the first weekend of March Madness and why Tom Izzo’s Michigan State teams always seem to beat expectations; whether the Princeton women, even in defeat, showed that they were criminally under-seeded; the rumors that the Oklahoma City Thunder may trade Kevin Durant before he bolts through free agency; and what it would take for cricket to go mainstream in the U.S.Stream the episode by clicking play above, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients below. By Chadwick Matlin, Kate Fagan, Neil Paine and Jody Avirgan If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.CORRECTION (March 25, 12:14 p.m.): In this week’s podcast, we incorrectly said the Cricket World Cup uses the T20 format for matches. It uses the typical One Day International format, which gives each side 50 overs. That is still much shorter than the traditional “test” matches, but longer than T20, in which each side gets 20 overs. read more

JAMAICA MORTGAGE BANK LEAD FINANCIER OF UWI STUDENT HOUSING

first_img Keynote Speaker on Opening of Natl Tourism Symposium in TCI Related Items:courtney wynter, Jamaican mortgage bank, university of west indies Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Student invites Obama to Turks and Caicos; he says ‘Absolutely’ Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKingston, 19 Sept 2014 (Jamaica Information Service) – ​The Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) is the lead financier for the first phase of a major housing project on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), which will provide accommodation for 1,584 students over the next three years.Ground was broken on Thursday (September 18) for the development, which is being undertaken at a cost of $4 billion.Under phase one of the project, 576 units will be constructed at a cost of $1.35 billion for delivery by August 2015. The JMB and National Commercial Bank have signed a syndicated loan agreement with 138 Student Living Jamaica Ltd, the developers and proposed operator of the new residences, for the first phase, with JMB taking on the role of lead bank.A syndicated loan is one that is offered by a group of lenders (called a syndicate) who work together to provide funds for a single borrower.General Manager of JMB, Courtney Wynter, said the project can contribute to economic progress through investment in education, and housing development and construction, which are key drivers of growth. “Our analysis shows that for every $250 million that is spent by the housing sector the Government benefits by earning about $103 million, which is just about 40 per cent”, he noted.Mr. Wynter pointed out that the public-private partnership for student accommodation is the first of its kind in Jamaica.“The JMB is excited to be leading this innovative approach to financing. The project will have a tremendous impact on education and training as it supports the university’s strategic drive to increase enrolment, particularly in the areas of medicine, law and engineering,” he added.The housing development involves the construction of 11 six-storey buildings and will be configured to allow access for the disabled.The construction period is 36 to 48 months and should be completed in three segments at the beginning of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 academic years. KIDNEY SPECIALIST RETURNS HOME, WORKING AT HOSPITALSlast_img read more