Students break swimming record

first_imgOxford students Lennard Lee, Harry Fisher and Nicholas Berry have broken the British record for crossing the Straits of Gibraltar, raising over £1,700 for charity through their account at http://www.justgiving.com/gibstraits. The three students, who met through the Oxford University swimming club, swum the 22km from Spain to Morocco in three hours and 38 minutes, beating the previous high-profile record set by Little Britain actor David Walliams and Olympic rower James Cracknell by almost an hour. Queens medic Lee, who finished his degree this year, is believed to be the first Malaysian to have completed the feat. The passage across the Straits of Gibraltar is widely considered one of the most challenging and dangerous swims in the world. Before their attempt the students highlighted the potential pitfalls of sharks, killer whales, jelly fish, currents of up to 5km/hour and icy cold water temperatures. The money raised will go to children’s charity the Variety Club, which works to provide care, equipment and practical support for sick, disabled and disadvantaged children.last_img read more

Fescue Fungus

first_imgWhile many people know that the microbes in our guts are an important part of our health, many are unaware that microbes are just as important to our crops.Different microbes can help plants acquire nutrients, fend off pests and disease, and produce higher yields, but we know very little about how these partnerships work. University of Georgia researchers are working to understand these partnerships so that they can be used to breed better, more sustainable crops.A team of researchers at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has received a $1.35 million grant from the National Science Foundation to better understand how plants interact with their microbiomes.“Just like people, plants host trillions of microbes that live on, around and inside them,” said principal investigator Jason Wallace, a CAES professor of crop and soil sciences. “Some of these cause disease but many are beneficial, helping the plant thrive in harsh conditions, but we don’t know how this interaction works.”“Learning how a plant’s microbes make it more resilient could be an important key to developing more sustainable and stress-tolerant crops in the future.”Wallace’s team is focusing on a grass called tall fescue, which has been grown for animal feed for over 70 years and covers 40 million acres across the U.S.While breeding more water-efficient fescue has been a goal of plant breeders for decades, UGA geneticists are taking a new approach. They are investigating how the grass interacts with symbiotic fungi, which has been found to fortify it against heat and drought stress.Some types of tall fescue have a fungus, Epichlo? coenophiala, living inside them, which helps the plant survive drought, heat and disease. It also helps the grass fend off insects and predators.Ironically, this partnership was discovered because the fungus usually produces toxic chemicals, ergot alkaloids, that make cattle sick. UGA was instrumental in breeding the first commercial varieties with toxin-free strains back in the 1990s.Wallace’s team will be working with fescue that contains the fungus to understand how such a beneficial partnership works, including how the plant and fungus communicate with each other and how their interaction leads to higher stress tolerance in the plant.The hope is that understanding this system will show how similarly strong, beneficial partnerships can be made in other crops to boost agricultural production and sustainability.Wallace is partnering with Carolyn Young, an associate professor at the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to carry out this research.To complete this work, Wallace, Young and their research teams will analyze thousands of fescue plants to find how the plant influences fungal growth and toxin production. They will also investigate how the plant forms relationships with new varieties of fungus, such as ones that do not produce toxins, and how the fungus helps the plant survive under heat stress that would normally kill it.In addition to the work with fescue, Wallace and Young will assist middle- and high-school teachers in developing hands-on teaching projects related to these topics that they can implement in their own classrooms. This will give students a better understanding of plant-microbe partnerships and the ways that microbes impact the larger ecosystem.The grant period will run from 2019 through 2022, but some parts of the project are already underway.For more information or for updates on their progress, visit wallacelab.uga.edu. For more information about the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at CAES, visit cropsoil.uga.edu.last_img read more

Mallard’s Team of the Week — LVR Baseball Team

first_imgMallard’s Source for sports would like to send the Bombers off on a positive note with Team of the Week honours.The 2014 Bombers include, Coach Kyle Mace, Brandon Hufty, Eric Hurley, Austin Tambellini, John Barabonoff, Keaton  Roch, Hanno Southam, Gunn Woo Park, Manager Kelly Vrugteveen, coach Ron Mace, Mathew Brind’Amour, Dylan Jacobs, Reese Tambellini, Ben Le Marquand, Casey Harrison, Lincoln Rosenblood, Braeden Zarikoff and Sawyer Hunt. The L.V. Rogers Bombers conclude the 2014 High School Baseball season in Southern Alberta this weekend where LVR will be playing double headers in Raymond and Coaldale.The Bombers enter the weekend 13-8 on the season.last_img

Darwin Acid Eats Literature

first_imgA potent acid has fallen on the bookshelf, eating away the minds and intentions of its characters, dissolving romances and adventures into a hideous morass of uniform consistency.    Prominent evolutionist Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, wrote that evolution is like a “universal acid” that cannot be contained in its scientific vial.  It spills over onto every traditional belief and transforms everything it touches.  For an example, look what it does to literature.  John Whitfield, a freelance science writer from London, writing in Nature,1 explored the concept of “Literary darwinism”2 as a form of “Textual selection.”  In the article, a cartoon shows a monkey with Darwin’s face pondering Homer’s Iliad.  What is “literary darwinism”?  It is looking at all the characters and actions in literature as outworkings of the processes of evolution.  It is reading literature through the glasses of an evolutionary theory of mind.  It interprets every action of the characters as sexual strategies to pass on one’s genes.When, at the beginning of The Iliad – and Western literature – King Agamemnon steals Achilles’ slave-girl, Briseis, the king tells the world’s greatest warrior that he is doing so “to let you know that I am more powerful than you, and to teach others not to bandy words with me and openly defy their king”.  But literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall believes that the true focus of Homer’s epic is not royal authority, but royal genes.    Gottschall is one of a group of researchers, calling themselves literary darwinists, devoted to studying literature using the concepts of evolutionary biology and the empirical, quantitative methods of the sciences.  “Women in Homer are not a proxy for status and honour,” says Gottschall.  “At bottom, the men in the stories are motivated by reproductive concerns.  Every homeric raid involves killing the men and abducting the women.”  The violent world of the epics, he says, reflects a society where men fought for scarce mates and chieftains had access to as many women as slaves and concubines.  And he thinks that everything written since Homer is open to similar analysis. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Lest one think this is an idle pastime of a few academic elitists, Whitfield explains that literary darwinists are on “a crusade, an attempt to shake up literary criticism.”  They believe they have the scientific approach, founded on an evolutionary theory of mind, that will bring an objective “truth” to literary criticism.  Approaching texts with reference only to “the subjective and the social”, in their opinion, fails to understand “human motives and cognitive biases” that have been shaped by evolution.    This sounds like a new variety of social deconstruction, but its promoters say it’s not.  “The problem, say the literary darwinists, is that for the past few decades the humanities have, in the case of critics deconstructing texts, denied the need for a theory of human nature, asserting that the study of texts can be concerned with nothing outside those texts.”  According to one literary darwinist, earlier forms of social deconstruction only got parts of the truth but missed the important thing:Those influenced by freudianism, for example, might read a novel looking for hints of a child’s sexual desire for its parent.  A marxist would seek out economic and class conflicts.  [Joseph] Carroll [U of Missouri, St. Louis] has no truck with this: “The theories up to this point have all had a little bit of the truth, but have also all been fundamentally flawed,” he says.  “None comes to terms with the fundamental facts of human evolution.”How does literary darwinism work in practice?  Whitfield gives a few examples that illustrate the breadth of the territory eyed by this new crusade:Poetry:  One literary darwinist “uses ideas from cognitive science in her analysis of the mother-child bond in William Wordsworth’s Prelude.”Novels:  “A darwinian analysis of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, he [Carroll] says, goes beyond the simple idea that women look for fortune in men, to show how such animal concerns are filtered through the vast flexibility of human behaviour, cultural conditions and individual variation.“I don’t look at Pride and Prejudice and try to sort out what is biological and what is cultural,” says Carroll.  “I look at it and examine the way underlying biological dispositions are organized in a specific cultural ecology.  Nobody in the novel escapes the problems of mate selection, status and forming alliances.  But the characters also integrate these concerns with human qualities, such as intelligence, character, morals and cultivation.”  The noble, romantic characters, such as Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy, integrate successfully, hiding their reproductive issues beneath their social graces.  The more comic characters, such as Elizabeth Bennett’s mother, do not (although in marrying off her daughters, she is quite the evolutionary success).Comedy:  “Romantic comedies play upon the audience’s pleasure at seeing reproductive strategies rewarded.”Tragedy:  Tragedies, like when Medea kills her children, “appeal by invoking recoil from maladaptive acts.”Folk literature:  Gottschall found that “the majority of folk tales feature brave heroes marrying beautiful heroines, with the two living happily ever after.”To the literary darwinists, therefore, everything in the arts and humanities is fair game.  Novels and poems, epic tales and movies, histories and fantasies – indeed, everything written about the human condition – are the spoils of war as the scientists invade the humanities, gathering rich data on the “natural history of our species.”  As they plunder, texts are robbed of their original meaning and whatever the authors thought they were saying.  Everything must now be reinterpreted according to the Laws of Natural Selection and Sexual Selection.    Like any conquerors, the literary darwinists argue they are improving a bad situation.  They feel they are filling a void left by a long tradition of literary criticism that has “lost its place” and is wandering in a sphere of “obscurantism and irrelevance” with arguments settled solely by the one who “deploys the sharpest rhetoric and the best memory.”  In its place, literary darwinism offers “testable, durable knowledge” by applying “evolutionary psychology” to “work out what a story is ‘really’ about, not in some ultimate, metaphysical sense, but in the sense of whether a wide range of people interpret a work in the same way.”    Does this mean that literary darwinism is concerned primarily with attaining a new social consensus, with political ramifications?  It seems so.  Whitfield ends, “Ultimately, the theories of human nature that become widely held in a society will influence how that society believes people respond to their environments, and how they should be treated.”  The literary darwinists are not just trying to toss one more opinion into the ring.  They really are on a crusade.  Whitfield quotes Gottschall,3 “Literary scholars aren’t harmless,” Gottschall says.  “When we get it wrong it matters.”1John Whitfield, “Literary darwinism: Textual selection,” Nature 439, 388-389 (26 January 2006) | doi:10.1038/439388a.2Notice that Whitfield’s frequent use of uncapitalized darwinism, darwinist and darwinian demonstrates that Darwin’s name has become an idiomatic parcel of the English language.3Jonathan Gottschall is co-editor of a series of essays on literary darwinism, entitled, The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (eds Gottschall, J. & Wilson, D. S., Northwestern Univ. Press, Evanston, Illinois, 2005).  He also has an upcoming book, The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer.Friends, Romans, first Corinthians, lend me your ears.  I come to bury Darwin, not to praise him.  The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.  So let it be with Darwin.  The noble Gottschall hath told you Homer was ambitious: if it were so, it were a grievous fault, and grievously hath Darwin answered it…. O judgement!  thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.  Bear with me; my heart is in the coffin there with Wordsworth, and I must pause till it come back to me.    If you have had enough of Darwin’s acerbic dregs, if you shudder at the destruction left in his wake, if this reduction of all that is noble and praiseworthy into sexual actions of mindless selfish genes leaves you horrified (realizing that no land is exempt, not even Narnia nor Jerusalem), if you have woken up to realize this is a crusade of titanic proportions, if you understand that Dennett’s universal acid has congealed into The Blob that is on the move, swallowing whole universities and institutions (12/21/2005), then rise to the occasion.  The darwinists have a vulnerability that neutralizes their acid and turns it into harmless vapor.  If you were perceptive, you caught it in their very words.  Joseph Carroll spoke of “the truth.”  Say those three little words that make the orcs freeze in their tracks and stab their own chests: What is Truth?(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Web Apps With Push Notifications: W3C Begins Work to Make it Happen

first_imgReal-time alerts and notifications are a powerful feature being added to more applications every day; the addition of real-time notifications can make a big difference in user experience and peoples’ work performance when using apps. Unfortunately, there’s not one standard way to easily code these notifications across platforms and there’s very little support for web apps seeking to send notifications to users. It’s been one of the advantages that desktop apps have had over the web. That could be about to change.The web’s primary international standards organization, the W3C, has decided to tackle the issue with the formation of a new Web Notification Working Group this week. The Working Group is developing a standardized way for web developers to notify users of an event on a page when they aren’t looking at the page itself. This could be key in making web apps just as powerful as native apps on the desktop or mobile device. The Group has published an Editor’s Draft for the specification and it’s a good read. The possible implementations accounted for today could be the foundation of vital new features the web apps we use and build tomorrow. Want a web-based Twitter client with popup desktop messages? A web-based banking app with push alerts to mobile devices? There are a whole lot of possibilities when you imagine combining the advantages of the web with a cross-platform standard for notification APIs.What’s IncludedWant a web-based Twitter client with popup desktop messages? A web-based banking app with push alerts to mobile devices? There are a whole lot of possibilities when you imagine combining the advantages of the web with a cross-platform standard for notification APIs.The document is scoped to define “APIs [Application Programming Interfaces] to generate notifications to alert users outside of the web page.” The types of notifications discussed include ambient, interactive and persistent notifications, deliverable cross-platform to a user’s screen ala Growl, to an application’s chrome or to a mobile device. If you’re an alert geek like me, that sounds pretty great.Alerts like this are generally only possible for desktop apps. Michael Richardson, engineer at Urban Airship, a company that pushes rich media mobile notifications as a service for developers, put it like this:“Anybody familiar with OS X and Growl has been using things like this for a while. One thing modern desktop notification systems are missing is a standard that allows better communication between web apps and users in front of their computer. Previously, the only method has been email, which sucks. This will be a good step towards promoting web applications as first class citizens.”The W3C draft spec discusses a snooze button for alerts, external device notifications and “simultaneous execution contexts (like a multi-tab email application) to show notifications without creating duplicate notifications.” For web apps!Behind the ScenesThe Working Group is slated to work until the end of January 2012 and is chaired by a 23 year old Dutch engineer from Opera named Anne van Kesteren (@annevk). The draft spec was edited by John Gregg, a Microsoft-turned-Google software engineer who led development of the Webkit desktop notifications API that Chrome recently made accessible to extension developers. Discussion of the web notifications standard will occur over a public email list that appears not to have been initiated yet.This should be one to watch; this could be a key group in building a foundation for the real-time web user interfaces of the future.Thanks to Palm’s Dion Almaer for being the first within our circle to mention this. Tags:#Browsers#Real-Time Web#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Ambulance driver, doctor carry patient in a sling in Odisha’s hilly terrain

first_imgIn an exemplary show of service, a doctor, with the support of an ambulance driver, carried an ailing patient on a makeshift sling for over 5 km in a remote, hilly, jungle terrain to provide the orphan teenager proper medical care in Odisha’s Malkangiri district on Tuesday.The physician is Dr. Shakti Prasad Mishra, an Ayurveda doctor posted in the Khairaput Block of Malkangiri district for a mobile health unit project taken up under the National Health Mission (NHM). On Tuesday morning, Dr. Mishra received information that a seriously ill tribal teenager, Kumulu Kirsani, at the Nuagada village of the Badadural Panchayat.But the ambulance could not reach the village due to the lack of a proper road. Instead, Dr. Mishra preferred to trek to the village to check on the patient. As his condition was serious, he had to be shifted to the Malkangiri District Headquarter Hospital. No help was available to move the patient to the ambulance parked 5 km away.“Having no other way to save the patient, the ambulance driver Gobind Nagulu and I decided to carry him on a makeshift sling,” said Dr. Mishra. They had to pass through hilly jungle terrain and cross mountain streams to reach the main road where the ambulance was parked. Dr. Mishra hails from the Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha. He has been serving in the remote areas of Malkangiri district since 2012. “The satisfaction that a physician gets by serving to save a life, the ultimate level [in such work], is a joy to cherish,” he said.last_img read more

Slumping Milwaukee Bucks fire coach Jason Kidd

first_img“Sometimes that requires change. That’s the judgment that was made by Jon Horst. We the ownership are universal in support of that,” he added.Milwaukee has largely treaded water in the wide-open East even after adding talented guard Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Suns in November. The Bucks are hoping to get Jabari Parker back in a few weeks from a left knee injury that has kept him out all season.Milwaukee is 8-12 since going a season-high five games over .500 on Dec. 9.Asked to assess the problems with the Bucks, Prunty said, “Well, I think the bottom line is, we’ve talked about this as a staff, is that we have been consistently inconsistent.”Bledsoe said he was shocked by the firing of Kidd, whom he called a mentor.“I thought he did a great job, but it’s a business. You can’t control it,” Bledsoe said.This is an important year for the franchise, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary and getting ready for the opening of a new downtown arena next season.“We believe that making this change now is important for the organization and gives our players the best chance to reach their full potential this season and beyond,” Horst said. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting But the Bucks had lost four of five to fall to 23-22 going into Monday night’s game against Phoenix and had been prone to defensive lapses, especially on the perimeter. Turnovers were an issue of late as well.General manager Jon Horst, who was promoted from director of basketball operations in June, said it was time for a change. Kidd was fired hours before the Suns game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAssistant coach Joe Prunty will serve as interim coach for the rest of the season, co-owner Wes Edens said in an interview before the game.Under Kidd, the Bucks had a regular-season record of 139-152. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “A general manager in the NHL had a statement once: ‘If something is inevitable, why wait?’” Horst said at a news conference.Horst added that the decision was made “relatively quickly,” and was not in the works through the season.“We just felt that we got to a point in the season where this team could do more and could perform at a different level in a different way and (we are) looking for a fresh approach and different voice in leadership for the team,” Horst said.Kidd was hired a few months after a group led by Edens and Mark Lasry bought the team in April 2014. The Bucks traded two future second-draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets for the then-first year coach.“I think Jason’s done obviously a tremendous amount for the organization. He’s a good friend, he’s a soon-to-be Hall of Fame basketball player,” Edens said. “But we think this team can be the best team in the East and we want to give ourselves every chance we can to do that.ADVERTISEMENT Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:29Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Liverpool loses at last-place Swansea 1-0 in big EPL shock NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Read Next This Jan. 15, 2018 photo shows Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd looking on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Washington. The Bucks have relieved Kidd from his head coaching duties, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)MILWAUKEE — Seeking change amid midseason struggles, the Milwaukee Bucks fired coach Jason Kidd on Monday after a slide that left a team with designs on challenging the NBA’s best in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.It was a surprising end to Kidd’s three-plus-season tenure in Milwaukee, during which the Bucks made the playoffs twice, exiting in the first round each time. Giannis Antetokounmpo turned into an All-Star under his watch, and the Bucks were considered an emerging force in the East at the start of the season.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

2013 IPL spot fixing: BCCI Ombudsman to reconsider Sreesanth punishment in 3 months

first_imgThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman Justice D K Jain will have to decide on the fresh quantum of punishment for India cricketer S Sreesanth in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case, the Supreme Court announced on Friday.A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph said this while hearing an application filed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).BCCI has said that since its disciplinary committee, which had earlier dealt with Sreesanth’s matter is no longer operational, the matter be referred to the ombudsman appointed by the apex court.On March 15, the top court had set aside the BCCI disciplinary committee’s order imposing a life ban on Sreesanth for his alleged involvement in the matter.The court had then said that the disciplinary committee may reconsider within three months the quantum of punishment to be given to Sreesanth.The Apex Court had revoked the life ban on Sreesanth in February. BCCI Ombudsman DK Jain now has three months to come up with a new punishment for Sreesanth.Sreesanth had filed a plea challenging the decision of a division bench of the Kerala High Court which had restored the life ban imposed on him by the BCCI.In January, Sreesanth had told the Supreme Court that he had “stubbornly” refused to be involved in match-fixing during 2013 IPL and referred to the transcript of the recorded conversation to back his assertion.The fast bowler, who was banned for life for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing during 2013 IPL, had told the court in the January hearing that the bookie tried to drag him into spot-fixing but he did not fall for it.advertisementAlso Read | Thank god I didn’t announce my retirement: Sreesanth after SC revokes his life banAlso Read | SC order on Sreesanth will come up for serious deliberation at next COA meet: Vinod RaiAlso Read | Supreme Court asks why Sreesanth didn’t inform BCCI about being approached for spot-fixinglast_img read more

Indigenous youth visiting APTN meet with Prime Minister sit in on live

first_imgDennis WardAPTN National NewsIt’s not every day you get the chance to run into a sitting Prime Minister.But some youth associated with Winnipeg’s Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre did just that.APTN often gives tours, especially to Indigenous students. The youth from Ma Mawi knew there was a chance they’d get to see Justin Trudeau in-the-flesh. But they didn’t expect to speak with him, never mind shake his hand.In a rare turn of events, the youth were able to sit-in on APTN’s special interview with the Prime Minister.Some even got a little [email protected]last_img