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first_imgLONDON (AP):Leicester had little to celebrate last Christmas. Languishing in last place in the Premier League, the team was facing instant relegation back to the second tier.Now Leicester are looking down on everyone.From propping up the league, Leicester have surged to the pinnacle inside 12 months and rivals are trying to figure out how to replicate their feat. It has not been accomplished by a spending splurge but through astute bargain buys far expecting expectations and a managerial change that had most pundits forecasting a relegation struggle.The turnaround is as astonishing and unforeseen as Chelsea’s collapse from champions to a team now hovering above the relegation zone. When Leicester beat the champions earlier this month it no longer seemed such a shock, although it cost Jose Mourinho his Chelsea job.The tale of the two clubs and their contrasting fortunes is the biggest surprise in the history of the Premier League.”I don’t know how it’s possible,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri reflected this week. “I think it’s a fantastic achievement. If I understood very well, never at this time was Leicester top of the league.”This team, based in an east Midlands city better known for its textiles industry and rugby side, has never won the top prize in English football. Not in the post-1992 Premier League era or any time stretching back into the 19th century. The only major honour Leicester have ever collected is the League Cup, with the third and most recent triumph coming in 2000.Aware how close Leicester came to being relegated last season under Nigel Pearson – before a stunning late revival that was not enough to keep him in a job – Ranieri has cooled fan expectations. The target for this season remains reaching the 40-point mark that should guarantee a place in the Premier League next season. That can be achieved at the halfway point today when a win at Liverpool would lift Leicester to 41 points.As Leicester have remained among the front-runners throughout the season, the widespread expectation has been it was a matter of if – not when – Leicester start to slip down the standings. Two matches from the halfway point and everyone is still waiting.The whole season has been one long mission in defying the critics. Leicester were considered foolish for plucking Ranieri from the ranks of unemployed coaches to replace Pearson in July. It had been 11 years since he had managed in England with Chelsea – during which he was often labelled “The Tinkerman” for constantly changing the starting line up – and he had been out of work since an embarrassing spell in charge of the Greece national team.”I am waiting for when people change my nickname from ‘Tinkerman’ to ‘Thinkerman,'” quipped Ranieri, whose avuncular and calm demeanour contrasts with the league’s more erratic coaches.One thing Ranieri does not own up to thinking about is lifting the trophy for the world’s richest football competition in May.”I think we aren’t ready to fight to be champions,” he said, even as Leicester sit two points in front of Arsenal and six ahead of Manchester City.In the off season, Leicester’s net spending of around $30 million was one sixth of Manchester City’s outlay.”We don’t have the high quality like City, Arsenal, but we fight together,” Ranieri said. “Every ball for us is the last ball. That’s what we believe.”last_img read more

first_imgMyriads of organisms live in and on our bodies, reminds an article in the Feb. 27 issue of Science,1 and they’re not just freeloaders on a hayride.  We need them, and they need us.  “We are not alone,” claim the three microbiologist authors, but “we get by with a little help from our (little) friends.”  Is this an uneasy truce between enemies, or a loving relationship between friends, promoting health and happiness?  Microbiologists have tended to investigate the nasty germs, but does that focus give a distorted picture?  “Remarkably,” the authors note, “we know far less about the thousands of species that make up our intrinsic microbiota than we know about the few dozen microbes that cause disease.”  We need to start thinking of ourselves as communities, they say:Genomic and evolutionary analyses show us that we are not the single “individuals” that we think we are.  Instead, we and other complex organisms are composed of an interconnected ecosystem of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells whose interactions can best be understood in the context of community ecology.The authors feel the community is a result of coevolution, but seem somewhat befuddled at the growing realization that many of our beneficial bacteria share mechanisms with the harmful ones.  Friend or foe, they ask:The historical emphasis on pathogenic bacteria and their diseases has led to an assumption that genes encoding virulence factors are specific to those relationships.  However, several of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie interactions between an animal and its beneficial microbiota are remarkably similar to those first found in pathogens.  Svanborg described how molecules that enhance persistence at a site where a given microbe is a member of the normal microbiota can be the very factors that promote disease when these bacteria emigrate to other sites of the body…. Thus, the presence of these genes may indicate the potential for host interactions, which may be pathogenic or benign according to how these genes are regulated or the sensitivity of the tissue in which they are expressed.The Type III secretion systems, for instance, “first described as a mechanism by which animal pathogens hijack their host‘s cell biology, have been implicated in mutualistic associations between nonpathogenic bacteria and their hosts.”  The study of these heretofore misunderstood relationships, they say, forms a “wide-open frontier” with big paradigm shifts ahead:As the depth of host-microbe interactions and the mechanisms underlying them continue to be unraveled, fundamental paradigms of pathogenic microbiology, developmental biology, and immunology will need to be reevaluated.  For this reason, a specific recommendation arising from the workshop is that biology be taught in a new way, incorporating our growing knowledge about the importance of beneficial microbial interactions and their evolutionary, ecological, and biochemical impact on both animals and plants.1Edward Ruby, Brian Henderson, Margaret McFall-Ngai, “Microbiology: We Get By with a Little Help from Our (Little) Friends,” Science.One of the most frequent and hard-to-answer criticisms of creation science has been the presence of pathogens.  Bacteria and viruses, if designed, would seem to be the nefarious products of a malevolent genius rather than of a compassionate Creator.  This was one of the main reasons for Darwin’s slide to agnosticism, from youthful admiration of Paley to middle-aged rejection of Christianity, revelation and purpose in nature.  While most people can appreciate the abundant evidences of design in nature, creationists have been hard pressed to explain disease-causing bacteria and viruses.    But what if they were beneficial living machines running wild, out of bounds and out of control?  The Type III secretion system looks like a weapon, designed to inject poison into a hapless victim.  But could it have originally been like a compassionate doctor’s hypodermic needle, intended for good?  Instead of weapons, were pathogens originally regulatory devices, meant to act as governors on our engines?  Do our metaphors mislead us?  After all, too much of a good thing can be bad.  We need accelerators, but we need brakes, too.    These authors seem open to the possibility that harmful pathogens may be the exception rather than the rule.  They point out that beneficial interactions probably vastly outnumber harmful ones, and at least some of the harmful ones may be beneficial interactions out of kilter.  Their chosen belief is that these interactions “coevolved” on the long Darwinian road from bacteria to man, but this fails to explain the intricate design of even the one-celled organisms.  There is an alternative explanation that should not be arbitrarily dismissed, because it explains good design gone bad: the curse because of sin.    See also 03/14/2003 and 02/21/2002 entries on this subject, and also the next headline, below.(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img15 August 2007South Africa will only consider culling its elephants as a last resort, after either translocation or contraception, says the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.The department’s chief director, Leseho Sello, was briefing a parliamentary committee on environmental affairs and tourism this week on managing the country’s vast elephant populationSello said Environment and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk had instructed that culling only be considered as a last resort, while noting that massive local and international pressure from animal welfare groups and others made culling a very unattractive option.The culling of these huge but gentle beasts is a delicate and extremely emotional issue for many people, she said.South Africa is developing a strategy to deal with the increasing numbers of elephants in the country, which presents a threat to the sustainability of the environment they inhabit.Sello was unable to provide the committee with actual figures of elephant populations, or the number of elephants the Kruger National Park could handle, but one Member of Parliament said “anecdotal evidence” pointed to a population in excess of 6 000.Sello said reports indicate that the large numbers of elephants in areas like the Kruger National Park could harm the environment to such a point where large sections of the park could become completely barren.This would reduce the animals’ own food sources and ultimately result in a situation where the growth of the population could then threaten their survival.She added that neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania were facing similar problems.Anti-culling lobbyistsSello told the committee that lobbyists had sent many petitions against elephant culling to Van Schalkwyk, with some even threatening to organise tourist boycotts should the government resort to culling to reduce elephant populations.Given that tourism is a major contributor to South Africa’s economy, and with eco-tourism being one of the fastest growing areas in the sector, such actions would be undesirable.“It is not wise to fix one problem and thereby create an even bigger one,” Sello said, adding that a moratorium on culling had been in place since the mid-1990s.However, she said one could not conserve elephants at the cost of all other species.TranslocationTranslocation of the animals remained a key option but was also one that needed to be handled sensitively, because the social nature of elephants meant that entire herds would need to be moved to single destinations, making it an expensive option.While many of South Africa’s neighbouring countries also have large populations, the committee pointed out that countries emerging from recent wars had radically reduced animal populations and that they could benefit from such translocations.Such countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Mozambique, with the latter already being a recipient of several elephants.Sello added that other countries, such as Tunisia, were continually approaching the ministry asking for animals.She said that once the department had finalised its strategy, it would need to be applied uniformly across the country, and that both government-funded parks and private game farms with elephants, most of whom are represented by the Elephant Management Owner’s Association, would need to abide by the regulations.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its research partners predict that western Lake Erie will experience a significant harmful algal bloom this summer, potentially reaching levels last seen in 2013 and 2014, though smaller than the record bloom of 2015.This year’s bloom is expected to measure 7.5 on the severity index, but could range between 6.5 and nine. An index above five indicates a potentially harmful bloom. The severity index is based on a bloom’s biomass — the amount of its harmful algae — over a sustained period. The largest blooms, 2011 and 2015, were 10 and 10.5, respectively.Early season projections from NOAA and its partners partners predicted a larger than normal bloom. This is the final seasonal forecast. The Lake Erie forecast is part of a NOAA ecological forecasting initiative that aims to deliver accurate, relevant, timely and reliable ecological forecasts directly to coastal resource managers and the public.The size of a bloom isn’t necessarily an indication of how toxic it is. The toxins in a large bloom may not be as concentrated as in a smaller bloom. NOAA is currently developing tools to predict how toxic blooms will be.“The Lake Erie harmful algal bloom forecast is another example of NOAA’s ongoing efforts to provide science-based information to water managers and public health officials as they make decisions to protect their communities,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. “We will continue to work with our partners to bring the most accurate data and tools to future forecasts for the region.”In recent years, blooms have appeared in late July in the far western basin of Lake Erie, and increased in early August, although heavy rain in mid-July may push the late July bloom further into the basin. Calm winds tend to allow the algal toxins to concentrate, making blooms more harmful. Most of the rest of the lake will not be affected.“A bloom of this size is evidence that the research and outreach efforts currently underway to reduce nutrient loading, optimize water treatment, and understand bloom dynamics need to continue,” said Christopher Winslow, Ph.D., director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. “Despite the predicted size of this year’s bloom, much of the lake will be algae free throughout the bloom season and the lake remains a key asset for the state.”In addition to the seasonal forecast, NOAA also issues bi-weekly forecasts during the bloom season. This year, NOAA will begin incorporating additional satellite data into its Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast System that will enhance accuracy and detail. The data come from Sentinel-3, a new satellite that measures coastal water color as part of the European Union’s Copernicus program. NOAA’s Lake Erie HAB forecast bulletins are available online and by subscription.“Sentinel-3 will provide additional detail and sensitivity, and it will assure our ability to assess the state of Lake Erie well into the next decade,” said Richard Stumpf, Ph.D., NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s lead for the seasonal Lake Erie bloom forecast. “A second Sentinel-3 will be launched later this year; the pair will assure that we can consistently see features that are one tenth the size of blooms we can see now.”Nutrient load data for the forecasts came from Heidelberg University. The forecast models are run by NOAA’s NCCOS, the University of Michigan, North Carolina State University, LimnoTech, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Field observations used for monitoring and modeling are done in partnership with NOAA’s Ohio River Forecast Center, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, Ohio State University’s Sea Grant Program and Stone Laboratory, University of Toledo, and Ohio EPA.last_img read more

first_imgFacebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Walled gardens are already under attack because of the ease of sending content like messages and photos from one website to another. Sites that don’t let content flow in and out freely, when that’s what users want, are fighting against the powerful tide of the internet.Now a new proposal aims to take things to the next level and send a payload of item-type specific action options along with every piece of content that gets shot across the internet. A loose body of innovators from some of the biggest social networking companies online have begun discussing an addition to the Activity Streams standard format called an Action Stream. That could blow the world of social networking wide open, allowing users to try out other competing social networks without losing their ability to interact with friends on Facebook, for example. Earlier this month social software designer Adrian Chan offered up a proposal for what he called Action Streams. Tags:#Features#news#NYT#social networks#web Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Action streams would not only share status/activity update meta-data but also permit updates to function as actions. For example, an invitation update posted in twitter could be accepted in Buzz. The vision for action streams thus involves a distributed and decentralized ecosystem of coupled action posts, rendered by third party stream clients and within participating social networks.This idea was added tonight to the Activity Streams wiki where it will be discussed by the community building the Activity Streams format. The standard types of actions that can be taken in regard to content items of the same categories on Amazon and Facebook were listed as prior art. The discussion has just begun, and data interoperability isn’t something that everyone at big social networks agrees is in their best short-term interests. These idea are exciting and are supported by a substantial number of people, though. The Activity Streams discussion is participated in by engineers from companies like Google, Facebook, Nokia, Yahoo and others. Chris Messina, who joined Google in January, is one of the key voices, and semantic web builder Monica Keller, who left MySpace for Facebook last month, appears to be taking an even more active role in the effort than she had before.If Activity Streams with Actions can be implemented effectively, that would mean not only that you could participate in any social network you choose and still read messages from outside that network – you could also interact with them from those other networks as well. RSVP to Facebook event invites, tag yourself in photos, etc. without visiting Facebook, but from within whichever social network won your heart through its superior features or design.You could interact with your friends on Google Buzz from inside Facebook, or from a social network that doesn’t even exist yet. More and better social networks would spring into existence because the ability to see and interact with friends would no longer be a scarce resource hoarded by the biggest social networks.If you think social networking is a world-changing phenomenon today, imagine what it might be like if interoperable social networks sprung up like wildflowers. It’s one thing to make content available in a standard format – but making some basic actions transmittable and standardized would make the prospect of communication across networks all the more real and powerful. That could mean an environment ripe for innovation and a better experience every day for users. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

first_imgA look into how digital cameras are continuing to change the landscape of the film and video industry, both nowt and into the near future.If 2018 was the year of the mirrorless camera (in that digital mirrorless cameras finally overtook the popular DSLR camera design), 2019 is shaping up to be the year of 4K, 6K, or maybe even 8K. With the recent introductions of two new affordable 6K prosumer cameras, with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and the Panasonic Lumix S1H, we have officially moved into the next age of digital video.At least, that’s what it would seem from just looking at the spec sheets. The real question now becomes: What are filmmakers and videographers supposed to do with all these new cameras and technological breakthroughs? Are we supposed to chase the latest and greatest every six months? Or, is it wiser to chase the dropping prices of the old models that really aren’t that outdated, yet?Let’s take a look at some of the trends that are currently re-shaping the film and video industry from the ground up to see if we can glean some insights into how video professionals should adjust, invest, and ultimately keep making quality films.Highly Competitive BrandsImage by Andrij Vatsyk.Not that the digital camera community used to be a singular monopoly (or duopoly even), but with the fast rise of brands like Blackmagic Design and others, there are more manufacturers in the game than ever before.The big names like Canon, Sony, and Panasonic are still around and doing their best to stay relevant in video (look at Canon’s quick attempt to catch up with its own mirrorless offering — the Canon EOS R).But even with some substantial breakthroughs (again, mostly just in spec sheets) with the likes of the Sharp 8K, it’s officially the wild west for camera designers big and small. So, now brands are currently working around the clock to outdo each other in this market. Until some start dropping out, it doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing up anytime soon.6K and HigherIt only feels like a year ago (because it was) that 4K was finally set to become the new standard. And, it was a long time coming because it just wasn’t that easy for many film and video professionals to make the transition. Not only did everyone need to upgrade their cameras and gear, but workflow and processing updates were needed to keep up.Now, on the cusp of 6K cameras threatening to flood the market, it really seems like 8K is close at its heels. Which, at this point, begs the question: Is everyone really ready to make the adjustments again? If so, take a hard look at your editing, uploading, and storage workflows before you make your next big camera jump!Cameras Under $1,000Image by brubs.Conversely, while the digital camera market for these new 4K and 6K (many with max resolution at 60fps) seems to be hovering in the $2,000 to $4,000 price range, we have a new class of cameras that’s quietly sneaking in around or under the $1,000 mark. (Yes, you still have your cinema camera class pushing $6,000 and much higher.)Yet, for many beginning filmmakers (or just those lucky enough to have tons of expendable income or revenue to reinvest), these “cheaper” cameras are actually pretty solid options. And, as these new digital cameras come out every few months (it seems), it just means that price drops and re-sale options become much more available.Specs First MentalityPerhaps the most troubling aspect of this newly forming digital camera landscape is the hyper spec-focused mentality by both the manufacturers and consumers. From crowded NAB floors to big spectacle product reveal live streams, the industry seems to be at a fever point of everyone simply chasing that next better spec sheet.Yes, that’s part of the progression of the industry. But, for many of the latest cameras’ early testers, we do get plenty of examples of other, less flashy requests for the manufacturers.It bears repeating that the camera will never make the film, the video, or the project. A short film shot with a 6K camera over a full HD doesn’t mean it’ll be any more successful, accepted into any bigger film festivals, or better satisfy any clients. And, while these new cameras might be exciting and great, it’s important for filmmakers and video professionals to remind themselves that the camera (and the whole camera industry) is still just a tool for you to apply your craft.Top image via denniro.For more filmmaking tips and industry insights, check out these articles below.7 Things You Can Definitely Take Away from Film SchoolWhy We’re in the Golden Age of Documentary FilmmakingFilmmaking Insights: The Hidden Power of Director’s Commentary5 Tips on How to Create a Great Short Documentary FilmIndustry Insights: How to Sustain a Career as a Filmmakerlast_img read more

first_imgChakat Aboh, the consensus candidate of five major political parties in Arunachal Pradesh, on Monday filed her nominations for the byelection to the Khonsa West Assembly constituency in Tirap district. She is the widow of Tirong Aboh, who was gunned down by extremists in May soon after winning the seat on a National People’s Party (NPP) ticket.Three others — Yumsem Matey, Wangchu Lowang and Azet Homtok — filed nominations as independent candidates too.“I filed the nomination as an independent candidate as suggested by all the political parties of the State,” she said after submitting her papers on the last day of nomination for the bypoll slated for October 21.Ms. Aboh said she could not disappoint the people of the constituency who wanted her to take her husband’s place in the Assembly. “I am indebted to Chief Minister Pema Khandu and the leaders of five political parties for being chosen the consensus candidate,” she said.last_img read more

first_imgHigh on confidence after steamrolling the opposition in the first three matches before snatching an improbable win in the next, a rampaging India would look to rout New Zealand with a 5- 0 series whitewash in the fifth and final ODI in Chennai on Friday.Fortunately for fans in Chennai, who have seen abandonment of matches due to inclement weather in the past, sun has come out brightly since Wednesday after continous rain for the past few days.With weather gods relenting, the ground is expected to be fully fit and a full match appears to be on the cards at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.Most of the Indian top- order batsmen have been among runs in the series, with the exception of Murli Vijay, and most of them have come up with good performances in all the four previous matches to take their side to comfortable victories.The only time India had hiccups in the series was in Bangalore on Tuesday with the home side in trouble at 188 for five at one stage while chasing a daunting target of 316 runs.But from the way Yusuf Pathan butchered New Zealand bowlers to single- handedly take India to a five- wicket win, it seems the Kiwis face an uphill task in the final match as well. Yusuf’s blitzkrieg unbeaten 123 off 96 balls and useful contributions from Saurabh Tiwary (37 not out), Rohit Sharma (44) and Parthiv Patel (53) must have boosted the confidence of the side that they will go for a clean sweep.Stand in skipper Gautam Gambhir has led from the front, hitting back- to- back centuries to top the batting averages in the four matches so far. Gambhir has scored 329 runs with an average of 164.50, followed by Virat Kohli ( 232 runs).advertisementGambhir himself was upbeat with the chance to complete a memorable series clean sweep.” We need to win this game. It is important. It would be good to have five wins in a row and wind up the series before heading to South Africa and it would be useful,” he said. However, India will have to improve upon their bowling in the last ODI in Bangalore where they leaked runs in the death overs, an oft- repeated problem for the side.Off- spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has done a decent job in the series so far with eight wickets from four matches though he was expensive in the last ODI. Yusuf and Yuvraj Singh have also chipped in with useful contributions with six and three wickets respectively in the series.Left- arm pacer Ashish Nehra has been found struggling with just three wickets in the four matches, conceding 197 runs.Zaheer Khan, having missed the first two ODIs due to injury, has taken two from the two matches.For New Zealand though it has been a tough tour of India having lost the three- match Test series 0- 1 and an ODI whitewash looming. The Daniel Vettori- led side would, however, be happy with the way they cornered India in Bangalore before a Yusuf special bailed the home side out.New Zealand top- order batsmen fired in unison for the first time in the series in Bangalore to post 315 and the visitors desperately want to end their forgettable tour on a winning note.With the big guns like Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Scott Styris coming a cropper, James Franklin is the top rungetter for New Zealand in the series with 170 runs from two matches.CHENNAI DOSSIERGround’s name: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk First match played: Between India vs Australia on October 9, 1987 Total matches played: 12 India played: 6 matches, Won: 2, Lost: 3 New Zealand played: 2 matches, Lost: 1, Abandoned: 1HIGHEST INNINGS TOTALSFor India: 292( 49.2) vs Pak, May 21, 1997 For New Zealand: 286- 9 ( 50) vs Australia, March 11, 1996LOWEST INNINGS TOTALSFor India: 268( 48) vs WI, Jan 27, 2007HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORES194* Saeed Anwar Pak vs Ind, May 21, 1997 For India: 107, R Dravid vs Pak, May 21, 1997 For NZ: 130, C Harris vs Australia, March 11, 1996BEST BOWLING5- 61, Aaqib Javed, Pak vs Ind, May 21, 1997 For India: 4- 34, A Agarkar vs Eng, Jan 25, 2002 For NZ: 1- 21, N Astle vs Australia, March 11, 1996Compiled by Manoj KumarWith inputs from PTIlast_img read more