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Sir Hilary: Protect Ja’s sporting tradition

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first_imgJamaican sport has reached a pinnacle of excellence which all Jamaicans have a collective responsibility to maintain and sustain.That was the message from Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who was guest speaker at Friday night’s RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.”This extraordinary nation has made a most incredible contribution to sport,” Sir Hilary told the audience at the ceremony to honour Jamaica’s best in sport for 2015.Sir Hilary, who has an affinity to cricket in particular, noted that Jamaican sport history was unique in its style, quality, and performance, and its capacity to establish gender equality in the process.”Jamaica has done what many countries have aspired to do in many areas, but especially in sporting culture. This phenomenal achievement has been recognised and it has been respected,” he said.”There is a tradition of excellence in Jamaica, and this excellence has to be maintained and it has to be sustained. It must be institutionalised and it must be industrialised,” the Barbados-born educator said.some societies”If it is not institutionalised and industrialised it will be lost. I have seen how many nations have lost that excellence they have achieved,” Sir Hilary added.Sir Hilary used West Indies cricket as an example of a sport which had at one stage been excellent but later deteriorated dramatically.”In some societies it is considered a crime to lose that excellence,” he said.”This must never happen to Jamaican sport. I don’t wish to be writing in the closing stages of my career about the fall of Jamaican sport,” he added.”Every child in Jamaica must grow to see that things are designed in Jamaica, patented … exported from Jamaica, representing the legends in Jamaican sport. We are here to celebrate this monument. It must not fall.”Sir Hilary, who gained tenure at age 37, said the University of the West Indies had an important role to play in ensuring that Jamaican sport does not lose its value.”Research, innovation, bringing culture, manufacturing, finance, and technology together to sustain this incredible achievement,” he said.”We all have a responsibility. There has to be accountability. It must not be taken lightly. The efforts of generations must not be dashed overnight.”last_img read more

The Elephant Explosion

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first_imgThe title is not intended to suggest pieces of pachyderm flying all over the place, but rather one paleontologist’s theory about the rapid pace of elephant evolution 60 million years ago.  He bases his ideas on a small fossil he found in Morocco.  According to him, the primitive ancestor of all elephants (order Proboscidea) lived 5 million years earlier than thought, and gave rise to “one of the most spectacular examples of morphological evolution known in Mammalia” that occurred in “a rapid and basically explosive placental radiation.”    Emmanuel Gheerbrant, a paleontologist in Paris, described his fossil Eritherium azzouzorum in PNAS.1  His evolutionary story was picked up by Jeanna Bryner at Live Science who wrote about the “oldest elephant relative found.”  Elephant?  Bryner admitted, “the animal would not have looked much like an elephant.  It was just 1.6 to 2 feet (50 to 60 cm) long and weighed 9 to 11 pounds (4 to 5 kg).”  That’s compared to a modern elephant standing 11 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing 5 tons.  New Scientist joined in, saying that “You wouldn’t have recognized Eritherium as an elephant when it was roaming Morocco 60 million years ago… But detailed study of the newly discovered fossil’s teeth, jaws and skull shows it to be the oldest member yet found of the order Proboscidea, of which elephants are the only living survivors.”  New Scientist hoped that “The new find may shed light on the origins of elephants and other mammals… It shows elephants were making evolutionary progress 5 million years after the dinosaurs died out.”    Since pachyderms didn’t evolve till 34 million years ago, Darwin apparently shipped the trunk 26 million years late.  How, then, could Gheerbrant call this an ancestor of the gentle giants we know and live in the local zoo?  Bryner explained, “The animal’s relation to elephants was determined via analysis of the specimen’s teeth and skull.  While it lacked a trunk, the animal had an enlarged first incisor, which researcher Emmanuel Gheerbrant of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, says represents a primitive tusk.”  It is doubtful that this little animal used a tooth enlarged by millimeters to pull down trees.    That word “primitive” was indeed found all over Gheerbrant’s paper (used 19 times).  Yet for the animal itself, its features would have seemed well adapted for its own environment.  Is not the word “primitive” a judgment call by the paleontologist assuming it was “making evolutionary progress” from primitive to advanced?  That idea would be guilty of circular reasoning.  Another kind of circularity was revealed in the dating of the fossil.  The estimate of 60 million years was based entirely on index fossils and stratigraphy – both of which assume the evolutionary dating scheme the author was trying to use to establish the fossil’s time and place in evolutionary history.    A look through the scientific paper reveals other statements that cast doubt on the author’s confidence that this fossil has anything to do with the evolution of elephants.  For one thing, the photo of the fossil pieces shows no postcranial anatomy.  His judgment was made entirely on pieces of skull and jaw and five teeth.  None of the teeth looks anything like a primitive tusk – nor did he claim so in the paper, regardless of what he told the press.    For another, placement of this fossil in a phylogenetic position with the Proboscidea involved numerous human judgment calls on his part.  He had to juggle which pieces of evidence, based on tiny measurements from the fragmentary fossil, represent plesiomorphies (traits present before the common ancestor), synapomorphies (traits present in the common ancestor), and homoplasies (unrelated but similar traits attributed to “convergent evolution”).  Of the latter, his table listed 11 homoplasies with other unrelated groups.  The factors he considered worthy were then plugged into computer software that tried to build an evolutionary tree out of them.  The outcome of tree-building software, however, can vary widely depending on the criteria inserted or left out, the relative weighting of factors, the algorithm used, and the outgroup selected (see 07/26/2008, 06/26/2008, 10/15/2003, and especially 10/01/2005 and 07/25/2002).    The following quotes reveal something of the contradictory data, the gaps in empirical data from fossils, and the juggling involved in reaching a conclusion.  Notice how his best fit was obtained with his own previous work – raising additional questions about objectivity:The TNT unweighted parsimony analysis including Eritherium yields a very poorly resolved consensus tree mainly resulting from the unstable position of Khamsaconus.  Analysis without Khamsaconus shows that, besides the robust proboscidean relationships of Eritherium, basal relationships among paenungulates remain unstable, as illustrated by the basal polytomy in the consensus (Fig. 3A).  This polytomy is basically related to our poor fossil knowledge of the ancestral morphotype of several orders such as Embrithopoda, Desmostylia, and Anthracobunia.  Our analysis supports a Sirenia-Desmostylia clade sister group of Proboscidea within Tethytheria.  The standard TNT “implied weighting” analysis yields a topology (Fig. 3B), which is nearly identical to that of Gheerbrant et al.Here’s another quote that reveals multiple levels of subjectivity:2The bunodont incipient lophodont morphotype is derived relative to the eutherian condition, and it is distinct from the perissodactyl pattern.  This morphotype is an additional morphological character and one of the most remarkable dental characters reported for close relationships of paenungulates, macroscelideans, and louisinines.  However, our parsimony analysis does not formally support sister-group relationships of the Macroscelidea plus Louisininae and the Paenungulata by contrast to molecular and recent morphological analyses advocating the Afrotheria clade.  The recovered topology (Fig. 3) shows a sister-group relationship of Laurasian lophodont ungulates such as perissodactyls to paenungulates, instead of the macroscelideans (and louisinines).  Similarly, our analysis does not discriminate clearly Laurasian (e.g., phenacodontids) and African (e.g., Ocepeia) “condylarths” as possible early ungulate representatives of molecular laurasiatherian and afrotherian clades.  Fossils gaps, and especially for African taxa, most probably explain poorly resolved cladistic basal relationships of the Paenungulata in our tree (Fig. 3).  These gaps are illustrated by our poor knowledge of the ancestral morphotype of several key paenungulates orders; for instance, the ancestral relative size of the last molar in paenungulates is challenged by Eritherium (M33 not enlarged).  At lower level in the tree, the morphological and fossil gap is even worse for the phylogenetic analysis of the superordinal clade Afrotheria including Tenrecoidea and Tubulidentata, which are excluded from this study because of the lack of Paleogene data.  In this respect, the cladistic study of Eritherium does not help to test the question of the macroscelidean position within Afrotheria.  However, Eritherium dental morphology argues for a bunodont-lophodont, i.e., ungulatelike, ancestral morphotype for the Paenungulata, Louisininae, and Macroscelidea, within putative Afrotheria.A lot of his evolutionary reasoning, therefore, depends on tiny measurements of tooth shape and systematic gaps in fossil evidence.  The “ancestral morphotype” exists only in the evolutionist’s imagination.    Given these empirical problems, it does not appear even possible to arrive at a definitive evolutionary analysis from the fossil evidence.  This creature could have been called one more well-adapted, extinct mammal, like many other well-adapted, extinct mammals, and left at that.  The story of evolution, however, is what received prominence.  Gheerbrant spoke of a “rapid paenungulate radiation at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) transition” several times.  In fact, it was this story line that excused the lack of evidence: “Rapid paenungulate radiation and fossil gaps may explain poorly resolved interordinal relationships,” he said at one point.  The elephants-to-be must have been evolving so quickly they didn’t have time to leave any fossils.  In fact, this rapid evolution involved more than the Proboscidea: there was a “rapid and basically explosive placental radiation,” he said.  That explosion involved all the post-Cretaceous placental mammals.    So here is another explosion to add to the Cambrian explosion: a “basically explosive placental radiation” that was used to support evolutionary theory, as was the Cambrian explosion, by the lack of evidence for it (see 05/10/2008).1.  Emmanuel Gheerbrant, “Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, print June 22, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900251106.2.  Note: the reader does not need to understand the jargon to get a sense of the fudging that goes on.  Curious readers can use Dictionary.com for definitions and the Reference.com page on cladistic analysis.Day by day, we expose the unscientific divination practices of the Darwin sooth-slayers.  Don’t be intimidated by the jargon.  You can look it up.  Learn to perceive the methods, omissions, assumptions and philosophy that makes these modern-day shamans pretend to be doing science, when they are really practicing divination to conjure up the Will of Darwin.(Visited 64 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Twitter Announces Fire Hose Marketplace: Up to 10k Keyword Filters for 30 Cents!

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first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Like a prism to a ray of sunlight, stream-hacking startup Mediasift CEO Nick Halstead took the stage today with Twitter’s Ryan Sarver at the Data 2.0 conference to announce Twitter’s second data resales channel partnership. Halstead’s service will allow customers to parse the full Twitter fire hose along any of the 40 fields of data hidden inside every Tweet, with the addition of augmented data layers from services including Klout (influence metrics), PeerIndex (influence), Qwerly (linked social media accounts) and Lexalytics (text and sentiment analysis). Storage, post-processing and historical snapshots will also be available.The price? Dirt cheap. Halstead told me after the announcement that customers would be able to apply as many as 10,000 keyword filters to the fire hose for as little as 30 cents an hour. The most computationally expensive filtering Mediasift will offer won’t be priced above $8k per year. (Pricing approximate but indicative, Halstead says.) What does this mean? It means that far more developers than ever before will now have a stable, officially approved and very affordable way to access highly targeted slices of data. Twitter just found a way to hand developers an Amazon River’s worth of golden tinker-toys, each with more than 40 points of contact, at commodity prices. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Above: Thanks to Qwerly integration, when you look at a Twitter @username – Mediasift sees more than just the Twitter profile. It sees @username who has bookmarks saved online, plans for public events to attend, photos shared publicly with friends, check-ins to places around town and much more. Any of those are like columns in a spreadsheet of Twitter search results. Show me Tweets with any of the following keywords by people planning to attend event A and who have been to place B or C. Thanks to Qwerly, Twitter didn’t just get a giant new developer search and filter feature – it got integration with a whole lot of other social services. Throw in sentiment and authority filtering and it’s like the social graph just exploded. (Update: Qwerly won’t be live for another week, Halstead says. Likewise, thousands of people have requested and granted Mediasift invites but Halstead says the site will open to the public in coming weeks.)You can make a filtering rule, make it public or private, share and comment on other peoples’ rules and more. While Twitter’s partnership with bulk data reseller Gnip (announced in November) offered half the fire hose in bulk for a whopping $360k or 5% of the fire hose for $60k per year – Mediasift prices and use cases will be very different. Pricing will be modeled like Amazon Cloud Computing and each function’s cost will be spelled out as the user requests it. Geo-filtering is expensive, keyword filtering is cheap – for example. Keyword filtering is done, stable and available now. Storage of the data for post-processing and snapshots of historical data are described as in alpha stages.Want a feed of negative Tweets written by C-level execs about any of 10,000 keywords? Trivial! Basic level service, Halstead says! Want just the Tweets that fit those criteria and are from the North Eastern United States? That you’ll have to pay a little extra for. The possibilities are staggering.All the message contents, all the bio contents, bio contents from other social services (like LinkedIn) associated to peoples’ Twitter accounts via Qwerly, sentiment analysis – all of these will be points of contact where filtering can occur. Want a feed of negative Tweets written by C-level execs about any of 10,000 keywords? Trivial! Basic level service, Halstead says! Want just the Tweets that fit those criteria and are from the North Eastern United States? That you’ll have to pay a little extra for. The possibilities are staggering.Below: This is what a Tweet looks like. Every little message has more than 40 different fields. Mediasift customers will be able to filter the full Twitter fire hose by any of those fields or by data from additional 3rd party services.“Twitter is moving up the value chain by offering the high-level information that developers want,” said ReadWriteWeb contributor and leading social data hacker Pete Warden about the announcement. “Rather than selling commodity information for further processing, this partnership offers a narrow but deep slice.”This is a bet on a future wherein greater value is built by widespread, low-cost access to social data on the part of many and diverse developers. It’s not just raw data either, it’s really rich. It’s the opposite of what the Gnip announcement signalled and what many people have feared – that Twitter would horde its river of data and sell it just to high bidders.More on this in the coming days. I’m very excited to start hacking on it all with ReadWriteWeb’s team of developers. Tags:#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Fannie, Freddie Hold Firm on PACE Program Impasse

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first_imgIt’s final – at least to the extent any government agency’s pronouncement is final: homeowners who borrowed money through Property Assessed Clean Energy funding programs to pay for energy efficiency upgrades, including solar power installations, can’t refinance their mortgages without first paying off their PACE loans, according to guidance issued this week by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which underwrite most of the mortgages approved in the U.S.The ruling was announced on Tuesday despite several weeks of negotiations between the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, and advocates of PACE programs, which have been implemented in 22 states.The principal point of contention remains PACE liens’ super-priority status, which gives them priority over whatever private financing a homeowner may have, including a conventional mortgage. As we noted in a previous post, FHFA worries that these energy-related liens will further burden taxpayers if PACE-participating homeowners default on their mortgages. PACE loan obligations, however, are attached not to the borrower but to the property, with which they remain if the property changes hands. The loans have terms of up to 20 years.A sensitivity to riskBecause of the popularity of PACE in many communities and its potential to reduce long-term energy costs, the Fannie/Freddie ruling, which surfaced in an initial iteration in May, prompted consternation, disappointment, and, eventually, an outcry among many elected officials. A recent New York Times Green blog points out that pro-PACE arguments raised during negotiations, and in lawsuits filed by the state of California and the Sierra Club, have gone nowhere with the FHFA, whose acting director, Edward DeMarco, said in a letter to Representative Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Colorado, that “PACE programs are implemented state by state and locality by locality without uniform standards for consumer protections and appropriate underwriting. FHFA found this particular initiative threatening to the safe and sound operations of its regulated entities and directed that appropriate steps be taken to address such risks.”Janill Richards, a California supervising deputy attorney general, indicated the state will maintain its adversarial approach to the FHFA ruling, telling the Times in an e-mail, “It’s absolutely clear now that the FHFA is not at all interested in working out a solution that would allow PACE to proceed — the agency appears intent only on obstructing the program.”Richards went on to direct attention to a key feature of PACE loans that seems to weaken the FHFA position: “This is another example of the agency treating PACE financing as loans, where, under state law, they’re assessments, and under law, the obligation to pay runs with property and passes on sale.”A legislative remedy?A PACE program resource website, PACENow, is currently configured to serve as a resource for supporters of a bill called the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5766), which is, according to its preamble, designed to “ensure that the underwriting standards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac facilitate the use of property assessed clean energy programs to finance the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.”The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael Thompson, a California Democrat, and has the support of 48 cosponsors. PACENow’s strategy is to further raise the profile of the program and make rescuing it from its FHFA imperilment more of a priority for lawmakers. To that end, the service has developed a “Federal Action Grassroots Toolkit,” which encourages voters to contact their legislators about the issue and to promote the bill through local media and municipal resolutions.last_img read more

How personal beacons can help keep women safe

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first_imgSmall Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Follow the Puck “It’s not at all safe for women to walk around alone in the city at night” is sadly something women often hear.Whether it is a developed or a developing country, women feel unsafe anywhere. Keeping pepper spray or other devices can bring comfort, but may not be a safer solution. You need something that guarantees complete protection and also alerts your family or 911 at the time of emergency. You need personal safety alert device.What are personal safety devices?Personal safety comprises of not only physical safety but also psychosomatic protection. It includes freedom from worry about physical safety as well as belligerence and harassment. Women must be aware of all these terms because many times they have to face different physical or mental abuse from the people around them. See also: Can safety wearables really stop crimes against women?Many companies have stepped forward to work in this direction and even come up with some unique ideas in the form of innovative safety devices to protect women from stalkers. One of the successful devices that have helped several women to protect themselves and alert their loved ones at the time of emergency is personal safety beacon.A safety beacon is a wearable device that women can wear on their wrist, around their neck as a pendant or put it on their vehicle key ring. These devices are gaining a strong foothold in the market as they offer complete safety to the women of all age groups. From school going girls to working women, this device assures safety to all of them. How does this safety device work?These safety beacons are GPS based devices that get activated on the click of a button and share your location information with 911 or your loved ones. When your life is in danger or there is some medical emergency, you can’t control them through a call. Simply click distress beacon and it will be activated instantly despite your location. Whether you are traveling by air, sea or land, your loved ones will be alert about the emergency situation.This alert signal activates the app stored on your mobile device, which in turn send an alert message with your location or message to all the contacts listed in your safety app. Your family and friends will be notified that you have a problem. You can even make a call through safety beacon. Some wearable safety devices also allow you to send emails and text messages to your contacts. There is a lot of hope from safety wearables and emergency alert apps. Women can carry safety device with them and silently let their loved ones track them even if there is no emergency. This safety gadget will definitely go well with your taste and lifestyle. Choose the best brand safety beacon and emergency app and stay safe. Related Posts Vatandeep Pareekcenter_img Tags:#Internet of Things#IoT#security#wearables#Women safety Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more