Bad Bug Summer

first_imgMcPherson and other scientists with the College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences are working to help Georgia farmers grow more soybeans more profitably. Soybeans have lost acreage in the state in recent years. But the numbers have picked up inthe past two years. Georgia farmers planted 430,000 acres to soybeans in 1997, a 7.5percent increase over 1996. “We’re seeing more insects in the field this year than we have in the past five or six,” saidBob McPherson, a University of Georgia scientist. “Some varieties are devastated by insects,” he said. “Some are resistant, and we’re learningthe best ones to plant so farmers don’t have to spray as many pesticides.” “Often, we’ll get varieties the scientists from other states record as insect-resistant, withmaybe 20 percent of the foliage eaten by insects,” he said. “Here they’ll destroy 60 or 70percent. It’s a whole new ball game.” These varieties come from all over the Southeast. “They send their test varieties herebecause we’ve got so many insects,” McPherson said. A light year for insects in Georgia,particularly south Georgia, is worse than a bad year in most states around us. This has been a great year for insects in Georgia. Lots of them out there attacking andeating everything they find. Farm crops provide a virtual buffet for dozens of insectspecies that eat their fill, reproduce and keep eating.center_img McPherson said that’s good for the farmer and the environment. If farmers don’t have tospray as often, their cost to grow soybeans drops. And it puts fewer chemicals into the airand potentially into the water. Soybeans appear in the most unlikely places in your daily life. John Woodruff, anextension agronomist, said the average person has about 15 contacts with soybeanproducts every day. It’s in everything from lipstick to crackers and even ink. It’s not so much that they’re resistant, he said, as that some varieties tolerate insect damageand still produce a good crop. McPherson, an entomologist at the UGA Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Ga.,is working on a test that shows which of 27 soybean varieties are most insect-resistant. That’s not-so-good news for farmers. But it’s great for researchers.last_img read more

Leaner pigs

first_imgSo how do you make a leaner pig without putting the pig on adiet?Dean, his UGA colleagues and researchers from the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture are working together to identify the genesconnected with fat development and fat-cell reproduction.”By identifying these genes we can discover what regulates them,”he said. “Our hope is that if we can understand them, we cancontrol them genetically.”The researchers are also interested in finding out why thesegenes react differently in individual animals. Less fat would mean more profit for farmers who are now losingmoney on fat waste. Sharon OmahenUniversity of Georgia A fatter pig doesn’t make more profitFarmers also lose money in feed costs, too, when they feed aplump pig. University of Georgia researchers are working to raise farmers’profits by trimming the amount of fat in pigs.”The idea is to produce a leaner pig with a better ratio of meatcarcass value to fat carcass value,” said Roger Dean, an animalscientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. center_img “Fat has an awful lot of energy in it,” Dean said. “When a farmerfeeds a pig a lot of corn all winter long, he doesn’t like seeingthat fat being cut out and thrown away as waste.” “There was a time when fat was more valuable, and farmers couldmake money by selling lard and fat by-products,” Dean said. “Nowthe by-products aren’t as plentiful, so fat doesn’t have theeconomic value it once had.” Searching for and studying fat genes”We want to know why the genes that control fat development makesome pigs fatter than others,” Dean said. “There are probablymore genetic differences among individuals and between breedsthat make some fatter than others.”Once this is determined, farmers will know which breeds are thebest lean-meat producers and which individuals are the best toselect as breeding stock.”We know a great deal about the genes that are involved, butwe’ve got a long road ahead,” Dean said. “The work has progresseda long way, not only in our lab, but labs all around thecountry.”last_img read more

Pinpointing pests

first_imgCase of mistaken identity”Most of the spider samples that people think are brown reclusesare actually filistatids or southern house spiders,” she said. “The brown recluse has six eyes arranged in three pairs.”Ames says the “fiddle” is much larger on the brown recluse thanon the southern house spider. “The fiddle, or violin, is the marking on the spider’s back thathas a shape resembling the musical instrument,” she said. “It’sso small on the southern house spider that it’s almostinsignificant.”The most common samples Ames receives are what she refers to as”stored product and paper” insects.”These are the insects, like drugstore beetles and sawtoothedgrain beetles, that are found in flour and other pantryproducts,” she said. “I get a lot of Indian meal moth samplesbecause they get into dog food and bird seed.” Microscope often essentialAmes says county agents send these common samples to her becausemany stored product pests are very small and require a microscopeto ensure a positive identification. She gets a lot of termitesamples for the same reason. “I get a lot of termites, because extension agents want to haveconfirmation before they give homeowners that kind of news,” shesaid.Ames also identifies a lot of insects that homeowners view asharmful. “I often get insects that homeowners have found in groups,” shesaid. “When insects congregate, people usually assume they are upto no good.”But not all of the insects Ames identifies are harmful. “I get a lot of beneficial insect samples just because they bite,sting or are scary looking,” she said. In addition to the spider, termite and stored product samples,Ames gets a fair number of centipede, giant flatheaded worm andgiant resin bee samples, too. Thousands to dateAmes says if a homeowner has captured it, chances are she canand has identified it. Most of the samples Ames receives come toher in vials of alcohol.Since 2002, she has identified more than 2,000 insect and weedsamples through the laboratory which is operated by the UGACollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Although theinsect samples vary from year to year, Ames says most of thesamples are either ornamental insects, stored product-paperinsects or spiders. By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaLisa Ames spends her workdays getting up close and personal withinsects, about 500 a year to be exact.Working in the University of Georgia’s Homeowner Insect and WeedDiagnostic Laboratory in Griffin, Ga., Ames helps UGA CooperativeExtension agents identify insect samples for Georgia homeowners.”Most of the time, the county agents can easily identify theinsects that are brought into their offices,” she said. “I getinvolved when the samples aren’t so easy to identify.” Drought reduces samplesThe number of samples she’s received this year has been reducedby the state’s drought conditions.In addition to the insect samples, Ames also identifies about 50weed samples per year, most of which are submitted in April andJuly.last_img read more

Termite Behavior

first_imgHomeowners who tackle termites may think the tiny insects spend their days eating wood. But a University of Georgia entomologist says 80 percent of the time they do absolutely nothing.“As a group, they always look busy. But as individuals, only a few of them actually spend their time digging,” said Brian Forschler, a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. To control a pest, you first have to know how if operates: its likes and dislikes, what it eats, where it lives, its enemies, etc. Over the years, researchers have made great strides into understanding termite behavior, said Forschler who has studied termites for more than 20 years. “In the late 1800s to early 1900s they were called white ants. In the 1920s, scientists placed them in a special order (Isoptera) apart from ants. In 2007 they were identified as social cockroaches and classified in the order Blattodea that contains roaches,” Forschler said. “So you see, science isn’t written in stone. It’s constantly being questioned.”Forschler collects termites in wooden bait traps, takes them back to his Athens laboratory and watches them in action. “We put sections of 4-inch PVC pipe in the ground, and fill (them) with wooden sandwiches. The problem is figuring out what happens while we aren’t there – we are just getting a snapshot view of their lives,” he said.Over the years, Forschler has tracked termite colonies, collected termites, dyed them blue or red and released them to track their movement. And he’s created artificial termite families to see how they interact outside their home nests. In one study, his then graduate student Jeff Whittman placed six groups of termites in tiny arenas and video taped their behavior for seven days. “They are simple creatures. They did about 10 things. (They) stood around, moved, chewed, tunneled, cleaned other termites and defecated,” he said. “They’re like cows and other animals that feed on cellulose. They spend time throwing-up and chewing their cud.” Termites forage for food for themselves and take food from other termites, but they never share their cud, he said.The UGA research team found termites to be very clean animals. “We consistently saw them clean each other. A termite doesn’t clean itself, except for its antenna. They depend on their brothers and sisters to clean them,” he said.Adult termites (the king and queen) can reportedly live for 20 years, and Forschler has termites in his collection that are over 14 years old. “I have some in my lab that are 13 to 14 years old from logs in Georgia, and they were likely 4 years old when we collected them. A number of different types of social insects live that long. It’s not unusual,” he said.Forschler’s research has also revealed that termites are not random foragers. They tend to use the same access points over and over.On test sites, used since 2000 on UGA Athens campus, 83 percent of the infestations identified by Forschler’s team entered buildings using expansion joints, 11 percent followed cracks in stone foundations, 4 percent liked areas where wood was in contact with the ground and 2 percent used the weep holes in brick veneer.Forschler has identified the following termite traits:The queens lay most of their eggs in the spring.An average colony contains around 50,000 termites, until they locate a large food resource (like a house, tree stump, or large log). Over the course of a few years that same colony can grow to include hundreds of thousands of termites.Termites need a humid environment to survive.Five species of subterranean termites are native to Georgia and one invasive species, the Formosan subterranean termite.Five of those species swarm and release new adults (kings and queens, called alates) in the late winter and spring (February-May), while one does so in late summer (July-September).Colonies move all the time and often don’t return to the same spot.Termites have to swallow soil-applied termiticides to die, not just touch the pesticide.For advice from UGA on selecting a termite control service, see publication B 1241 at read more

Westbury Woman Admits $71K Theft from Nonprofit

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Westbury woman has admitted to stealing a Suffolk County resident’s identity, which she then used to cash $71,000 in stolen checks from a Rockville Centre-based Jewish charity.Marie Augustin pleaded guilty Tuesday at Nassau County court to grand larceny and identity theft.Prosecutors said the 42-year-old opened several business bank accounts in the names of the vendors of the Jewish National Fund so that she could cash checks stolen from the nonprofit by using the stolen identity and a fake driver’s license in February.Nassau County police began investigating when Augustin tried to make a withdrawal after depositing a check stolen from the Jewish National Fund, a nonprofit that develops land in Israel. She had also deposited two other stolen checks—on in the amount of $79,338.24 and the other for $30,000—into other business accounts she had created, authorities said.Investigators found that Augustin had also made $5,100 worth of withdrawals from the identity theft victim’s account by falsely claiming that her debit card was missing, presenting the false driver license as identification and then having a new debit card issued, according to prosecutors.There was no apparent relationship between the charity and the identity theft other than Augustin, who was arrested in April.Judge David Sullivan is expected to sentence Augustin on Sept. 29 to two consecutive terms of nine months in jail, a civil judgment of $180,577.48 to the Jewish National Fund and $400 in reparations to the identity theft victim.last_img read more

Digital transformation or digital optimisation: A journey versus a starting point

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » There’s a lot of noise in high places. Senior executives are asking questions. They’re demanding answers.What are they talking about?Digital transformation.It’s important, because Europe is currently operating at only 12 percent of its digital potential, while the U.S. is operating at 18 percent, according to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Industry Digitization Index.Confusion reigns.The reason there is so much perplexity is that, quite simply, somewhere along the way, digital transformation has mutated into a multi-headed monster that now encompasses many disciplines: Consulting, virtualisation, Agile, process automation, etc. With this mutation, the clarity of the real meaning of the concept of digital transformation has been lost. I believe businesses and senior executives are confusing, quite reasonably, the difference between digital transformation and digital optimisation.Let’s explore further.last_img read more

Mahathir strengthens hand amid Malaysian political turmoil

first_img“He has total freedom to decide as he pleases,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of pollster Merdeka.In one of his first acts as interim leader, Mahathir disbanded his entire cabinet late on Monday, opening up political negotiations to form another government.An official from Mahathir’s Bersatu party, which is trying to put together one alliance, said a group of senior members met with Mahathir on Tuesday.The Democratic Action Party (DAP), part of a rival pact, also said it wanted Mahathir to continue in office. Interviews with the KingUnder Malaysia’s constitution, any lawmaker who can command a majority in parliament can stake a claim to form a government, which must then be approved by the king.The palace said the king would hold individual interviews with all 222 elected members of the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, to assess who was likely to succeed.”For Malaysians, the trauma of uncertainty is hard to overstate,” the pro-establishment New Straits Times newspaper wrote in an editorial.The political crisis comes at a particularly bad time for the Malaysian economy, after growth fell to a decade low in the final quarter of last year. Mahathir had been scheduled to announce a stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday.Malaysia’s stock market recovered slightly on Tuesday after falling to an eight-year low on Monday while the currency also rose after hitting a near six-month low.Mahathir and Anwar formed the Pakatan Harapan coalition to defeat the UMNO party and its Barisan Nasional alliance in 2018. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy prime minister when he was arrested and jailed in the late 1990s for sodomy and corruption, charges that Anwar and his supporters maintain were aimed at ending his political career. “He is the person most likely to be the next prime minister,” said DAP parliamentarian Ong Kian Ming.Whatever the outcome of coalition talks, it will mark yet another realignment of politics just two years after Mahathir made a stunning political comeback to topple former leader Najib Razak and bring down the party that had ruled for six decades – and which he had once led.Mahathir, a former doctor, is credited with transforming Malaysia into an industrial nation from a rural farming backwater when he previously served as prime minister from 1981 to his retirement 2003. Topics :center_img Rival political factions competed to win favor with Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday after he plunged Malaysia into political turmoil by resigning as prime minister, reinforcing the likelihood his shock move will strengthen his power.Mahathir, who at 94 is the world’s oldest government leader, stepped down on Monday but was immediately named as interim prime minister by Malaysia’s king – a role that carries all the authority of a permanent leader.The move effectively broke apart an increasingly fragile and unpopular coalition Mahathir had formed with old rival Anwar Ibrahim, 72, to win government on an anti-corruption platform in 2018. It also potentially freed Mahathir from a pre-election promise to hand over the reins to Anwar before his term ends in 2023. “Just another day in the office,” Mahathir said in a post on his official Twitter account that was accompanied by a series of photos of him reading through paperwork at the prime ministerial desk.last_img read more

Inner-city beauty attracts interest and intrigue

first_imgInside 18 Gatling Rd, Cannon Hill“Buyers see it as a desirable suburb because it’s close to the city, local schools and amenities.“It also that Bulimba lifestyle, without the hefty price tag.“Cannon Hill offers quality family homes at affordable prices.”Ms Fechner said this was a good indication of the market in the area. “The area will continute to attract young families and couples wanting to buy,” she said. Inside 18 Gatling Rd, Cannon HillMs Fechner said the new owners were a young family local to the area. “We’re seeing a lot of young people wanting to buy in Cannon Hill,” she said. “It’s becoming increasingly popular. The home at 18 Gatling Rd, Cannon HillMarketing agent Rachel Fechner, who at the time was working for McGrath Real Estate, Bulimba and signed the contract, said 18 Gatling Rd, Cannon Hill attracted more than 100 online inquiries. “We had a good mix of first home buyers and families,” Ms Fechner said.“It’s a stylish, renovated home on a low maintenance block with nothing left to do but move in and enjoy.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agocenter_img 18 Gatling Rd, Cannon HillThis renovated home has sold for $865,000.last_img read more

Juncker Commission to ‘eliminate’ EU funding of EIOPA

first_img“On the latter, you should find a way to eliminate EU and national budgetary contributions to the ESAs, which should be wholly financed by the sectors they supervise.”The recommendations for governance and funding reform follow on from a report, endorsed over the summer by the outgoing European executive, for the funding of the ESAs through an industry levy.Additionally, the report suggested that EIOPA’s two stakeholder groups – one for occupational pensions, one for the insurance industry – should be merged.Juncker further tasked Hill to work on greater long-term funding for the European economy, an issue first examined by the current internal markets commission.The letter said Hill should work with Commission vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness Jyrki Katainen, who in his new role will be in charge of the Commission’s economic portfolios, to outline ways of improving the investment environment within three months of taking office.It added: “This will include seeking appropriate ways to revive sustainable and high-quality securitisation markets, to reduce the cost of raising capital in the Union and to develop alternatives to our companies’ dependence on bank funding.”Juncker also called for the creation of a capital markets union by 2019 “with a view to maximising the benefits of capital markets and non-bank financial institutions to the real economy”.The drive for a capital markets union is likely to focus on ways of encouraging pension investors to increase exposure to real estate and direct lending, two areas previously highlighted.Despite the loss of the current internal markets commission, with Hill in charge of the portfolio where it relates to financial regulation, incoming internal markets commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska is still likely to have an impact on the pensions agenda.Juncker instructed the Polish commissioner to ensure a “fully functioning single market for goods and services”, including the free movements of jobs – a matter recently touched on by the supplementary pensions rights directive.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesJean-Claude Juncker’s mission letters to the incoming European commissioners The UK’s new European commissioner for financial services, Jonathan Hill, is set to overhaul the governance and financing of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), with the pensions and insurance industry soon to be fully responsible for all costs.Hill, who was today confirmed as incoming Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s candidate for the newly formed commission for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, will also be tasked with fostering greater long-term investment in the European economy.In a letter from Juncker to the UK commissioner, the former Luxembourg prime minister said Hill’s role would be to review how the three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) and the European Systemic Risk Board would function.“Particular attention should be paid to reviewing the governance and the financing of these agencies,” Juncker said.last_img read more

GMS: Pakistani Scrapyards Ready to Reopen to Tankers

first_imgPakistan’s shipbreaking yards seem to have reached an end of a near 18-month saga as they are ready to reopen their doors to tankers, according to a report from GMS, a cash buyer of ships for recycling.The country’s provincial government signed off and consented to the lifting of restrictions on import of tankers imposed in February 2017, in the aftermath of two major incidents in Gadani shipbreaking yards.GMS said that the final two signatures required for the Pakistani market to reopen for tankers were delivered last week. Other than the issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOC), expected early this week, “nearly everything is in place for wet units to start arriving to Gadani yards.”Tankers will have to be totally gas free for hot works clean, with all cargo residues, slops and sludges completely cleaned from all cargo and slop tanks, similar to the Indian and Bangladeshi guidelines. Hot works certificates issued at the last port of call, rather than the more stringent local explosives inspector demands in Alang and Chittagong, may allegedly be locally accepted.“What seems clear is that Pakistani levels will not immediately jump up to match cash buyer expectations and a fair degree of lowballing is likely to ensue as end buyers seek to acquire a bargain or two,” GMS said.“It may be a case of waiting to see who blinks first, as most cash buyers will certainly not offload tonnage at some of the below market rates emanating from Pakistan and will likely hold out, bearing in mind the recent slowdown of fresh market offerings.”Demolition of tankers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers was banned at Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yards following the incidents, caused by the absence of safety measures. These included an explosion on November 1, 2016, which killed at least 28 workers, and a fire on January 9, 2017, which took the lives of another 5 workers.last_img read more