MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgAlmost ten year ago, the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapon (LiNCSA) was created in compliance with Article 18 of ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons adopted by Heads of Member States on June 14, 2006.Until very recently, the work of Messengers of Peace (MOP) concentrated largely on peace advocacy with little emphasis on its security components, which remains the flipside of the coin. During our usual early Monday morning dialogue among peace messengers, it hits us:Most of the young volunteer peace messengers working on various peace initiatives are unaware that LiNCSA is the sole authority responsible for coordinating arms marking, record-keeping and tracing in Liberia. The limited awareness of young people is further compounded by the dangers linked to the proliferation of small arms in the country.At Messengers of Peace-Liberia, it is our intention to educate young minds on staying away from guns and crime. Surrogate markers for sustainable peace include low crime rates; regulated gun control laws; well established food security; improved access to health, and; education programs.Ongoing global events in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and most recently France, clearly show that small arms and light weapons pose serious threats to not just global but to regional peace and stability. There is simply no logic or rationale for the horrific acts of terror committed by those with access to weaponry.In the critical sphere of peace and security, small arms and light weapons should not be allowed in the hands of unauthorized uniformed security personnel, radicals and extremists. While it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens, and not the citizens to protect the state, it is also the obligation of every Liberian to protect self and others by serving as vigilantes, and reporting the presence as well as movement of small arms in their communities.The role of the Liberian National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (LiNCSA) to promote a gun free state and the sustenance of lasting peace and stability in Liberia through a robust Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) control program can only be accomplished through the active participation of everyone. There is a need to sensitize the public and encourage their participation.While continuing to build on media advocacy for peace, the targets of a national sensitization program would include calls for frequent consultations between volatile as well as vulnerable communities, civil society and the increased presence of LiNCSA officials.For people, particularly young people living in Liberia, the end objective is a peaceful and secure future. No more guns and no more war in Liberia. As young people we must commit to sustainable peace in Liberia. To do this, we also have a role to play in the control of small arms.Until next week, when we come to you with another piece on Dialogue Among Peace Messengers and the numerous initiatives in place for the control of small arms and light weapons in Liberia, Peace First! Peace Above All Else!May Peace Prevail in our generation and beyond!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Wither, Liberian Agriculture?

first_imgThe nation yesterday morning awoke to a shocking surprise—the replacement of Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah by his Deputy for Technical Services, Madam Seklau Wiles.The breaking news came late Wednesday night, in the State radio ELBC’s 10 o’clock newscast.What caused the sudden announcement is what everyone would like to know. Minister Zinnah’s boss, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, dropped the bombshell just as she was departing for a private visit to the United States. But the public would not know until Madam President was far into the skies, well on her way to Washington.It is a well-known fact that the President, in her nearly 11 and a half years in office, has had hard luck with her Agriculture Ministers, most especially the first two—Dr. J. Chris Toe and Dr. Florence Chenoweth, both of whom had been well trained in Agriculture, each having attained the PhD.So what were the problems with the first two? Both had had considerable experiences in the field of agriculture long before Ellen called them to office. Chris had served in the 1970s and 80s in one of the most successful agricultural enterprises Liberia had ever known, the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC). President Sirleaf called him from the presidency of Strayer College in Washington, D.C. But just as he took up the new assignment, there was an ongoing boom in the price of natural rubber, and two major rubber plantations, the Cavalla Rubber Plantation in Maryland County and the Guthrie Rubber Plantation in Bomi County, whose original owners having long departed the country, were now in the hands of the Liberian government. The government contracted the National Rubber Planters Association (NTAL) to run both plantations, and they did so with efficiency. But the passing of liquid cash—United States dollars—seemed too lucrative and NTAL soon found itself out of both deals. This led to great controversies and confusion between the Agriculture Ministry and Rubber Planters, which Chris Toe did not survive.Then entered Dr. Florence Chenoweth as Ellen’s second Agriculture Minister. It was Florence’s second time holding the post. She served as Agriculture Minister for many years in the Tolbert government. Dr. Chenoweth was in office far longer than Dr. Toe’s three years, but with the same difference—not much to account for. In her over six years as Agriculture Minister, Liberia remained a net importer of food—and we are talking not only of our staple, rice, but also meat—believe it or not, chicken and even eggs, massive amounts of these from Holland and other European countries; and also vegetables, including fresh tomatoes and even bitter ball, from neighboring countries with the same rainfall and soil as Liberia.Nor did Ministers Toe and Chenoweth, when the rubber price was good, have the foresight to diversify some of the rubber money—or encouraging rubber planters to grow coffee and cocoa, whose prices on the world market were great at the time. Cocoa until recently was over US$2000 per metric ton, and there were modern varieties of the product that were ready for production in less than three years, compared to five to six years for older varieties.Oh! How we in Liberia have become so accustomed to wasting our time, for absolutely no reason except our lackadaisical nature, our penchant for greed, selfishness and lack of vision. We indulge in shortsighted inaction while our neighbors forge ahead, leaving us consistently behind.When Dr. Moses Zinnah, Ellen’s third Agriculture Minister, was appointed in August 2015, this newspaper, the Daily Observer, immediately embraced him and flooded him with all kinds of advice to help him succeed. When we called him yesterday to find out what had happened, why his sudden removal, he said the President did not think he was moving fast enough with the achievements she had expected. He further complained about ‘meetings, meetings, meetings,’ that normally left him only night time to work. What of time to visit the farmers, and to undertake sustained supervision to make sure that farmers were receiving the agricultural extension services required to help them grow better farms?The new Agriculture Minister, Madam Seklau Wiles, has less than seven and a half months remaining on the job. But she has two great advantages: she is a well- trained Animal Husbandry expert and might be able to address our poultry and eggs problem by encouraging our poultry farmers to produce more, and our pig and cattle growers to set the stage for takeoff within the next few years.Her second great advantage is her husband, Dr. Walter Wiles, also a well-trained agriculturist, who heads the nation’s leading agricultural research outfit, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI).There is no way he can sit there, in that most critical position, and see her fail.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Highway 2 has been re-opened

first_imgHighway 2 just south of Pouce Coupe is now open following an accident Thursday morning.The accident occurred at about 11 am roughly 4 km south of Pouce Coupe near Gumbo Gulch.This collision involved a semi truck and a small car. The driver of the car, a young female from the Edmonton area, died at the scene. The driver of the truck is uninjured.- Advertisement -Traffic is still being directed away from the area by Cariboo Road Services and the road. For more on the current condition of the road Click Here and visit the Ministry of Transportation Website for the latest info.The cause of the accident remains under investigation. The name of the deceased is being held pending notification of next of kin.last_img

Netherlands beat Italy to reach first ever World Cup semi

first_imgThe result also means they have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as one of the three best performing European sides in France.“The most important thing is that we won against Italy,” said Sherida Spitse, who set up both goals with stunning set-piece deliveries.“That I can be important with my free-kicks I know that, but the most important thing is that we are going to the semi-finals and Tokyo.”Both teams had complained about the scheduling of the match in the middle of the afternoon during a punishing early summer heatwave that is sweeping Europe.However it was the Dutch who responded best to the on-pitch humidity, with temperatures creeping over 30 degrees Celsius, completely dominating the second half in an impressive display that will give whoever wins later on Saturday pause for thought.“It was really, really warm out there, but I’m just trying to tell myself that it’s not hot,” said Dominique Bloodworth, one of four Arsenal players in the Dutch team.“The second half I felt much better and that we were going to score a goal and win the game so that gives you wings.”– Out of luck –The Dutch struggled initially to get behind Italy’s tenacious back line despite being gifted the the ball on countless occasions, and the ‘Azzurre’ had the best opportunities of a cagey opening half through Valentina Bergamaschi and her AC Milan teammate Valentina Giacinti.However, they took control of the match early in the second half, with Lieke Martens twice forcing Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani into action and Miedema just failing to connect with Desiree Van Lunteren’s fizzing low cross seven minutes after the break.Danielle van de Donk then hit the bar just before the hour mark with a dipping effort before Spitse saw her powerful free-kick flick out off the post.Italy’s luck ran out in the 70th minute when Spitse whipped in a perfect cross from the left flank that Arsenal striker Miedema glanced home with her head to make it 61 goals in 80 international matches.Italy wilted and 10 minutes later the Dutch sealed their place in the last four, Spitse with another precise delivery that van der Gragt emphatically headed home at the far post to end the contest and Italy’s dream run in France, with their players crying in the aftermath.“We are really upset because we got this far and had the chance to qualify for the Olympics. That’s what we dreamed of,” said Barbara Bonansea, who started their unexpected run with two goals against Australia in their opening group game.Italy had not reached the quarter-finals since the very first women’s World Cup in 1991.“No-one expected all this from us so we can’t be anything but happy.”The United States and England will face off in the other semi-final on Tuesday after the Americans beat France 2-1 in a pulsating encounter on Friday. England beat Norway 3-0 on Thursday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The Netherlands celebrate history at the women’s World Cup after defeating Italy © AFP / Denis CharletVALENCIENNES, France, Jun 29 – The Netherlands reached the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup for the first time in their history on Saturday after Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt scored in a 2-0 win over Italy in Valenciennes.Appearing at just their second World Cup, the Dutch will travel to Lyon to face one of Germany or Sweden, who play later in Rennes, in the last four after fine headers from record goal-scorer Miedema and Van der Gragt in the last 20 minutes of this quarter-final.last_img read more

£100K-a-week! Chelsea man has baffled a lot of people with this move

first_img1 Chelsea favourite John Terry will reportedly sign for Bournemouth There are reports circulating that John Terry will join Bournemouth when his Chelsea contract expires in July.Terry, 36, has kept everyone guessing about what his next move will be and it appears he will keep playing football.And the defender will reportedly earn £100,000-a-week to move to the Cherries, who also have secured the signing of Jermain Defoe, however, the transfer has left some people baffled as you can see from the tweets below.RANKED: The 30 ultimate one club footballerslast_img

DONEGAL LEAGUE: ALL THE REPORTS, RESULTS AND FIXTURES

first_imgREPORTSSaturday 20th February 2016 Old Orchard Saturday DivisionOrchard F.C. 2 Arranmore United 2This top of the table clash ended 2-2 with the visitors, maybe, happier with a draw as it keeps them two points ahead of Orchard with a game in hand. The first half produced very little with neither side having any clear cut opportunities. Arranmore took the lead after 60 minutes when Gavin Mc Glanaghey curled home from 15 yards out. Orchard almost got back on level terms five minutes later when an Arranmore defender cleared off the line for a corner. They came even closer from the resulting corner when Redmond Doherty saw his beautifully struck shot from 25 yards out come back off the post. Orchard did find an equaliser when a great cross from John Boyle was handed by an Arranmore defender giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Micheal Doherty kept his nerve to slot home. The goal certainly lifted Orchard and they began to get on top of proceedings. However Arranmore were always dangerous on the counter attack and they broke away to make it 2-1 with Mc Glanaghey getting his second of the day after rounding the keeper to score a fine goal from a difficult angle. It looked like Arranmore were going to take the three points but Joe McCarron had other ideas. With virtually the last kick of the game his cross from the left evaded everyone to sneak in at the back post. Best for Orchard was John Paul Doran. Best for Arranmore was Gavin Mc Glanaghey.Mulroy Celtic 7 Fintown Harps AFC 1Mulroy cruised to victory in today’s game against Fintown which was played in tough conditions in Tri a Loch. Mulroy dominated throughout, Shane Friel getting an early goal after good approach play from Michael Sweeney. Sweeney himself had a fine afternoon bagging five goals with Shaun Martin getting the other . Mulroy now travel to Arranmore for a mouth-watering fixture next weekend. Best for Mulroy were Michael Sweeney and Enda Coll. Ref: Con McLaughlinDrumbar F.C. P Strand Rovers P(Match Postponed)Drumkeen United P Glencar Celtic P(Match Postponed)Glencar Inn Saturday Reserve DivisionErne Wanderers Reserves 2 Keadue Rovers Reserves 1Erne went 1-0 up in the first minute with a ball over the top playing in Mark Dorrian, the Keadue keeper pulled off a great save but the ball fell kindly to Aaron Fannon who slotted it home. The home side kept the pressure on and doubled their lead on 15 minutes with Nicky Sheerin scoring from a free kick from just outside the area. Erne created a few more chance in the first half but failed to capitalise fully on their possession. The second half was more of the same but as the game wore on Keadue found their feet and started creating a few chances of their own and pulled a goal back in the dying minutes. The game finished 2-1 giving Erne back to back wins going into next week’s away game against Donegal Town Reserves.St. Catherines Reserves P Milford United Reserves P(Match Postponed)Glenea United Reserves 3 Glenree United Reserves 0Glenree played Glenea at Glasserchoo in wintery conditions. There were few clear cut chances in the first half and sides where level at half time. Glenea started the better in the second half and duly took the lead via a Glenree own goal. They then quickly extended the lead from a free kick. They made it 3-0 when they scored from some good passing that lead to a cross and a headed goal at the back post. The match ended 3-0. Glenree’s John Mc Clafferty had a fine performance. A good team performance from Glenea. Referee: Michael Mc FaddenCastlefin Celtic Reserves 3 Curragh Athletic Reserves 0Castlefin maintained their perfect home record with a comfortable victory over neighbours Curragh Athletic. The hosts started the brighter and created the first chance when Matthew O’Rourke broke through but failed to finish from close range. In the 20th minute a Michael Dunnion free kick from the left was headed home by Ian Ward at the back post. Castlefin began to dominate and created numerous chances but James Mc Menamin and O’ Rourke failed to convert. The second half began in the same fashion and the hosts doubled their lead when Ronan Tourish broke down the left and squared to Matthew O’ Rourke who tapped home from 12 yards with 55 minutes on the clock. Castlefin increased their lead ten minutes later when a Tourish through ball played in Keith Nelis who slotted home. Curragh’s Simon Cromie had the visitor’s best chance but he shot narrowly wide in a frustrating day for the visitors. Best for Castlefin were: Michael Dunnion and Damien Doherty. Best for Curragh were: Simon Cromie and Jason Woods. Referee: James MalseedREPORTSSunday 21st February 2016Oscar Traynor TrophyDonegal Junior League 1 NEFL 1(Donegal Junior League won on penalties a.e.t.)The Donegal Junior League representative side battled their way through to the semi-final of this year’s tournament. They defeated the NEFL on Sunday afternoon at ‘The Moss’ and are now looking forward to a semi-final against the Clare League. The game will be played in Clare on a date still to be finalised. NEFL took the lead after only eight minutes and it was a body blow that Donegal failed to shrug off until the interval. They were the better team from the start of the second half and more than deserved Kyle Black’s equaliser. When extra time couldn’t separate the sides it went to a penalty shoot-out. When the prescribed five penalties were taken the teams were still deadlocked at 4-4. Sudden death was gaining momentum when Donegal netminder Joe Coll sprang to his right to save from Delaney and League Chairman John Joe Mc Cafferty will now be steering his coach towards the banner County where his League squad managed by Brian Dorrian will hope to qualify for the Oscar Traynor Trophy Final 2016. Indeed that Final, should it transpire, could be against the Inishowen League who are the current holders of the Trophy. They face the Galway League in their Quarter Final next month hoping to qualify for a semi-final against the Leinster Senior League.CT Ball Division TwoErne Wanderers 1 Glenree United 1Erne Wanderers hosted Glenree United on Sunday and the hosts were left scratching their heads at how Glenree stole a point in the 92nd minute. Erne played against the elements in the first half and controlled the game creating a couple of chances. Glenree struggled to get near O’ Brien’s goal and it stayed deadlocked until halftime. The second half was all Erne and how they didn’t score until the seventy ninth minute will remain a mystery as Ballyshannon man John Cunningham kept everything out that was threw at him until Sticky Ward tapped home from 6 yards when Cunningham could only parry Phillip Patton’s shot into ward’s path. They thought they saw the game out when they cleared a free kick. Glenree however sneaked in at the back post to equalise with a fine finish from Patrick Mc Groddy from a narrow angle.Deele Harps 5 Copany Rovers 2Deele welcomed Copany to The Athletic Grounds on Sunday and the home side took all three points to maintain their push for promotion. In difficult pitch conditions Deele settled best and were pressing well but lacking the final pass to break down the Copany defence. It was 29 minutes before the deadlock was broken when talisman Shane Gallagher tapped home following good work from Kevy Mc Brearty. The second half began with Deele pressing but against the run of play Copany equalised on 55 minutes. A long punt forward from the Copany keeper was misjudged by two Deele defenders and Gary Mc Groary finished well. Deele rallied again and regained the lead on 68 minutes when Shane Gallagher wriggled free on the right and centred for Kieran McGowan who rifled home to the roof of the net. On 72 minutes Shane Gallagher was played in by Barry Curran and Gallagher made no mistake firing low past the keeper. The game was over as a contest on 79 minutes when Shane Gallagher completed his hat-trick. Left back Paul Lynch pressed high and poked the ball through to Gallagher who finished clinically. Goal five came on 85 minutes when the impressive Paul Lynch rampaged through from left back and played a one-two with Kevy Mc Brearty then a one-two with Shane Gallagher before firing home through the keeper’s legs. Copany grabbed another goal on 90 minutes when Deele lost possession on half way and Paul Patton scored a cracker from 20 yards. Team Performances. Referee: Michael Mulhern. RESULTSSaturday 20th February 2016Old Orchard Saturday DivisionOrchard F.C. 2 v 2 Arranmore UnitedMulroy Celtic 7 v 1 Fintown Harps AFCDrumbar F.C. P v P Strand RoversDrumkeen United P v P Glencar CelticGlencar Inn Saturday Reserve DivisionErne Wanderers Reserves 2 v 1 Keadue Rovers ReservesSt. Catherines Reserves P v P Milford United ReservesGlenea United Reserves 3 v 0 Glenree United ReservesCastlefin Celtic Reserves 3 v 0 Curragh Athletic ReservesSunday 21st February 2016Oscar Traynor TrophyDonegal Junior League 1 v 1a.e.t. NEFL(Donegal Junior League won on penalties)CT Ball Division TwoErne Wanderers 1 v 1 Glenree UnitedDeele Harps 5 v 2 Copany RoversFIXTURESSaturday 27th February 2016 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Old Orchard Saturday DivisionArranmore United v Mulroy Celtic (K.O. 1p.m.)Fintown Harps AFC v Drumkeen UnitedGlencar Inn Saturday Reserve DivisionDonegal Town Reserves v Erne Wanderers ReservesKeadue Rovers Reserves v St. Catherines ReservesCurragh Athletic Reserves v Milford United ReservesGlenree United Reserves v Drumoghill F.C. ReservesCastlefin Celtic Reserves v Cappry Rovers ReservesSunday 28th February 2016 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Ulster Junior CupKildrum Tigers v Glenea United (K.O. 1.30 p.m.)Ulster Junior ShieldGlencar Celtic v Killylough F.C. (K.O. 1.30 p.m.)Cootehill Harps v Glenea United Reserves (K.O. 1.30 p.m.)Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionCappry Rovers v Kilmacrennan CelticRathmullan Celtic v Milford UnitedCastlefin Celtic v Gweedore CelticDrumoghill F.C. v St. CatherinesTemple Domestic Appliances Division OneConvoy Arsenal v Keadue RoversCranford United v Lifford CelticGweedore United v Lagan HarpsDonegal Town v Raphoe TownCT Ball Division TwoEany Celtic v Curragh AthleticLetterbarrow Celtic v Deele HarpsGlenree United v Whitestrand UnitedBallybofey United v Copany RoversDunkineely Celtic v Erne WanderersDONEGAL LEAGUE: ALL THE REPORTS, RESULTS AND FIXTURES was last modified: February 21st, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal Leaguelast_img read more

Sean Manaea looks back at his no-hitter with Boston Red Sox in town

first_imgOAKLAND — The Boston Red Sox returned to the Coliseum Monday for the first time since hoisting the World Series trophy last October. But before they were crowned champs, it was Sean Manaea who found himself on top of the world at the expense of the Red Sox earlier that season.April 21, 2018 is a day Manaea will remember forever. It’s the day he threw a no-hitter against Boston. From the pregame meal to the final out, Manaea remembers the entire day pretty vividly now just a couple of weeks …last_img

Silly Stories About Early Man

first_img(Visited 235 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The few fossils of alleged human ancestors leave a lot of room for imagination.We lead off with Live Science‘s super-silly headline, “Nom Nom! Paleo Diet Helped Humans Evolve Speech.” To say this right, you need to use the caveman accent: Nom nom. Meat help man evolve speak. Harvard evolutionary anthropologists used a form of torture to get their story going:Scientists who forced volunteers to chew raw goat flesh (yes, chew) have found that such meat-gnawing likely caused human teeth and jaws to shrink throughout our evolutionary history.Slicing raw flesh into smaller pieces and then chewing would have helped ancient hominins spend less time and energy eating than their ancestors. These changes, in turn, might have supported the evolution of speech and language by changing human facial anatomy, scientists added.Oh. Well if scientists said it, then—wow. They must know. It’s not Lamarckian, is this? someone whispers. PhysOrg tries a more scholarly headline: “Processing food before eating likely played key role in human evolution, study finds.” Oh. Well if a study found it, then—wow. The BBC News showed no restraint, posting “Meat eating accelerated face evolution” in large font over artwork of naked apemen scavenging a carcass.Big brains make big bodies. Mark Grabowski at the American Museum of Natural History has a new evolutionary twist: as early man’s brain grew, it “pulled along” a body size to match. Science Daily explains his idea. This new just-so story may get him in trouble with other Darwinians. “While selection no doubt played a role in refining the physical changes that came with larger body sizes, my findings suggest it was not the driving force behind body-size evolution in our lineage,” Grabowski said. “Therefore, evolutionary models for the origins of Homo based on an adaptive increase in body size need to be reconsidered.” Will this ever happen to Grabowski’s own story? Will it need to be reconsidered? Why not now? Maybe he could explain why bigger is better. Wouldn’t there be a “driving force” to miniaturize the brain for energy cost savings, and pull the body down to a smaller, more maneuverable size? Maybe he could also describe this pulling force. Could he measure it like a good physicist?Genes determine your virginity. This idea is making the rounds: Cambridge researchers have identified 38 genes that influence when you will lose your virginity (see Live Science and New Scientist). But so what? New Scientist comments, providing an interview with the researchers. They admit that social influences (e.g., religion, social mores) have much more influence on the age of first sex. That being the case, how can anyone measure such a moral choice in material genes? By comparison, genes for tallness may influence a 7-foot man to bump his head on doorways, but that doesn’t mean he is going to walk around with bruises all his life. And that’s an obvious case. While genes undoubtedly affect our dispositions, genes for personality type and maturity are notoriously hard to measure. An impulsive, early-maturing teen still has the capacity (and responsibility) for self-control.Everything you know is wrong (again). This is the lament uttered after almost every new find in paleoanthropology. New Scientist gives us the latest version: “Oldest ever human genome sequence may rewrite human history.” The latest puzzles, overturns of convention, and alterations of the timeline come from a new Neanderthal genome echoed by Science Daily and Nature News. The new anomalous dates require modern humans and Neanderthals to have diverged 430,000 years ago. Odd, isn’t it, that after being so long distinct, they could still have sex and produce fertile offspring just a few tens of thousands of years ago in the evolutionary scheme? Get the full theory rescue story in Nature. More about this in Science Magazine from the usual suspects. Another Nature paper’s authors look familiar.Neanderthal matches. It’s also odd that it took the Neanderthals 390,000 of those years to figure out how to use manganese dioxide for fire making. That’s a long science experiment for such smart hominids. PhysOrg says,The selection and use of manganese dioxide for fire making is unknown from the ethnographic record of recent hunter gatherers. This knowledge had been lost. This unusual behaviour holds potential significance for our understanding of Neanderthal cognitive capabilities through the extent of their knowledge and insights. The actions involved in the preferential selection of a specific, non-combustible material and its use to make fire are not obvious nor intuitive. The knowledge and insights suggested by Neanderthal selection of manganese dioxide and use in fire-making are surprising and qualitatively different from the expertise commonly associated with Neanderthals.Interestingly, whilst Neanderthals may have sourced and used manganese dioxide in fire making 50,000 years ago, manganese dioxide has important uses today in energy storage (batteries) and potentially in future clean energy production systems.Next just-so story. Whenever you see “likely” you know the storyteller is making things up. Here’s a headline from Live Science: “Why Neanderthals Likely Fathered Few Kids with Modern Humans.” The story hinges on analysis of Y chromosome differences between Neanderthals and modern humans. Supposedly, the differences led to more miscarriages. One wonders why the parents didn’t figure out that mixed marriages were not working well. One also wonders whether the scientists considered the possibility of genomic damage in the samples over time. Problem #3: this article pushes the Neanderthal-modern split back even further, to 590,000 years, and with it, the problems of genetic incompatibility and delayed technology.Insert miracle here. In a letter to PNAS, Ajit Varki ponders “Why are there no persisting hybrids of humans with Denisovans, Neanderthals, or anyone else?” After all, if they got together and had grandkids, one might expect some enduring lineages today. Insert miracle here, as we observe Varki’s perhapsimaybecouldness index skyrocket:Although genomic evidence indicates interbreeding, the number of functional genes incorporated is limited, resulting in a “leaky replacement”, without persistence of true hybrids. Thus, our single BMH [behaviorally modern human] (sub)species was the “winner” in every contact/replacement event, spanning tens of thousands of years. I cannot find any other example wherein a single (sub)species from one geographic origin completely replaced all extant cross-fertile (sub)species in every planetary location, with limited introgression of functional genetic material from replaced taxa, and leaving no hybrid species. Typically, one instead finds multiple cross-fertile (sub)species, with hybrid zones in between.Although this apparent one-of-a-kind phenomenon could have occurred by chance, the singularity allows one to posit a uniquely complex genetic/biological/cultural transition of BMHs. As Pääbo suggested, adaptive accumulation of an “explosive constellation” of genetic variants (alleles) could have endowed BMHs with an unparalleled combination of cognitive features, guaranteeing success at every subsequent encounter with other hominins.Unique happenstances are generally frowned on in scientific explanations. They lead to embarrassing admissions such as, “This explanation works, except when it doesn’t.” Varki’s particular miracle also runs afoul of political correctness:Such “human exceptionalism” is currently frowned upon, as are extraordinary explanations of evolutionary events. However, unless there are other clear examples of such complete replacement of all related taxa by one single (sub)species, BMHs may indeed be a rare exception.Varki is not done with miracle stories yet. He’s got a lottery encore. The scenario “suggests an improbable BMH transition through a long-standing “psychological evolutionary barrier”–– possibly involving initially maladaptive features such as reality denial and mortality salience, which conspired to generate the winning combination.” Ummm… “reality denial.” Interesting choice of words.The Hobbit. Along with older dates for the extinction of so-called Homo floresiensis (see BBC News) come a flurry of new stories. The revised date (50,000 years instead of 12,000) is closer to the alleged arrival of modern humans in their Indonesian territory. Aha! This must mean that those mean modern humans are responsible! Altogether now: one, two, three, four,Did humans drive ‘hobbit’ species to extinction? (Ewen Callaway in Nature)Did Modern Humans Wipe Out the ‘Hobbits’? (Adam Hoffman in National Geographic)Did hobbits live alongside modern humans? (Charles Q. Choi in Live Science)Indonesian ‘Hobbits’ may have died out sooner than thought (Science Daily)Below its artwork contrived to make the naked hobbits look as ape-like as possible, the BBC quotes an Australian anthropologist about the earlier “head-scratcher” situation, i.e., “how it was possible for floresiensis to survive for 30,000 to 40,000 years after modern humans are believed to have passed through Indonesia.” Turn on your Aussie dialogue: “Well, it now seems we weren’t living alongside this little species for very long, if at all [mate]. And once again it smells of modern humans having a role in the downfall of yet another species.” Here’s how it works. You get the blame even though you weren’t there. Why? You’re a member of a privileged class. Even though you love The Hobbit, your race caused their downfall along with many species, so you must bear the guilt. Pay up those reparations! “But to whom? They’re all gone,” you protest. That’s been pre-arranged. You must pay in the form of higher taxes to fund evolutionary anthropologists so that they can continue their storytelling.Now that we’ve shown how to respond to silly stories, try your hand at these others:Australopithecus fossils found east of the Great Rift Valley: New remains demonstrate early hominid’s adaptability (Science Daily)A world map of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry in modern humans (Science Daily)Five matings for moderns, Neandertals (Ann Gibbons in Nature)How extinct humans left their mark on us (BBC News)Ancient DNA identifies ‘early Neanderthals’ (BBC News)Asian stone tools hint humans left Africa earlier than thought (New Scientist)When humans split from the apes (PhysOrg)last_img read more

Contest winners’ products reaching broader audience

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Leave a CommentSarah Steinbrunner isn’t a mom, but the 21-year-old Ohio State University senior is well aware that, for many children, the traditional lunch staple of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich isn’t an option. Too many kids these days have peanut allergies, some so serious that peanut products aren’t allowed anywhere near them.Accepting the Signature Food Contest award for Beannut Butter in 2018 were, from left, Collin Crooks, a sophomore at Ohio State University and Banzo Foods bookkeeper; Taylor Crooks, company CEO and 2018 Ohio University graduate and Sarah Steinbrunner, a senior at OSU and the company’s Chief Science Officer. With them is Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp.So she and her boyfriend, Taylor Crooks, 22, decided to develop a “butter” that tastes like peanuts but contains no nuts at all.Their Beannut Butter (which is being rebranded with the name Yippea) was one of two products that judges picked in July as the 2018 winners of the Ohio Signature Food Contest, a statewide competition held annually by the Center for Innovative Food Technology and sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.Last year’s contest, which showcases innovative products, drew 75 entries. A panel of judges scored each product on its viability, commercialization potential and overall marketplace appeal, as well as the entrant’s business strategy.Also rising to the top was Sweet and Spicy Maple BBQ Sauce, the brainchild of former Bissell Maple Farm employee Tanya Kidd, who created a sauce that’s a blend of maple syrup, tomato paste and a bit of cayenne pepper.“There’s a million barbecue sauces out there,” said Nate Bissell, 39, owner of the farm in Jefferson in Ashtabula County. “But this is maple based and that’s what makes it unique.”Bissell has been making the sauce for eight years and selling it mostly out of the farm’s storefront. Its main ingredient comes from sugar water that’s left after maple syrup has been made. The sugar rinse water, which is about 3 to 5 percent maple sugar, is boiled down into maple syrup for the sauce. Last year, that resulted in 400 gallons of Sweet and Spicy sauce.“Basically we recycle that rinse water instead of putting it down the drain,” Bissell said. He said employees also steam-clean stainless steel drums that other farmers use for making maple syrup, and that rinse water also is boiled down and used for the sauce.“I have all the equipment to bottle it and we already had it analyzed,” he said. “But we need to find someone to help us package it, someone to partner with. I’m hoping that winning this contest will help us find a co-packer who could make it. We’re hoping the additional advice and guidance we get will help us move to the next step.”Steinbrunner and Crooks were in a different place when they won the contest; they were just starting their business, Banzo Foods, to sell the bean butter spread that Steinbrunner had created after much trial and error in the kitchen of her OSU-area apartment. As a food-science major she’d help develop an allergy-free cookie out of garbanzo beans with a group of other OSU students during her junior year. The effort brought out an entrepreneurial streak she hadn’t known she’d had and she decided to make an allergy-free spread.“There was a bigger market for a spread because there’s a huge gap in the marketplace for something that’s nut free,” Steinbrunner said. “We really want to market it as something that’s safe for people to eat. It’s never going to taste exactly like peanut butter, but it’s a lot closer to the taste than other alternatives.”Besides their original product, Steinbrunner and Crooks have developed two additional flavors — chocolate and spice cookie — and have sold the product at a farmer’s market, a specialty store and on Amazon. They’re negotiating to sell their butters in a national grocery chain and their goal is to eventually find investors and mass market the product.In the meantime, they’ve entered the product into national competitions at several universities and have received plenty of business advice, as well as certifications for their creation through the Signature Food Contest.“They got us ready to go in to talk to retailers and not be embarrassed,” said Crooks, a 2018 Ohio University graduate and Banzo Foods CEO.About CIFT Signature Food Contest in 2019The deadline to enter this year’s Signature Food Contest is May 31. Applicants must have an interest in commercializing the product, provide product samples and discuss market opportunities and business plans.Contest winners receive the support from CIFT, which includes testing products for shelf stability, advice on labeling, business planning, product development, regulations and batch-product preparations and the use of a commercially licensed kitchen in Bowling Green.Products do not have to be fully designed or ready for market. An application and additional information about the contest is available online.At left: Nate Bissell’s Sweet and Spicy maple sugar infused barbecue sauce was one of two winners of 2018’s Center for Innovative Food Technology Signature Food Contest.Photos by Peggy Turbett Leave a Commentlast_img read more

The rumble beneath their feet: Maharashtra’s Palghar fears a larger earthquake

first_img The tremors have been numerous. Since November, hundreds of earthquakes, ranging between 1 and 4.3 on the local magnitude scale, or ML (broadly equivalent to the widely used moment magnitude, or Mw), have struck Palghar district, 150 km north of Mumbai. Around 18 of Palghar’s villages, with 63,000 residents, have borne the brunt because of their proximity to the epicentres.These earthquake “swarms”, as clusters of small quakes are called, have pushed Hyderabad’s National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and Delhi’s National Centre for Seismology (NCS) to install seismometers in the region. These devices will help measure the magnitude of the quakes. The district administration, meanwhile, is scrambling to provide tents for those who are too scared to live in their homes; some 1,300 community tents have been distributed. Simultaneously, a team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, headed by structural engineer Ravi Sinha, is training Palghar’s engineers and masons to assess the safety of constructions in the quake hotspots.Much of this panic could have been avoided if existing building regulations had been better enforced. Long before these temblors began, Palghar was classified as Zone 3 on India’s seismic zoning map, which means it can expect quakes measuring up to 6-6.5 on the Mw scale; for comparison, the devastating 1993 Latur quake measured 6.1 Mw. So, local laws require all constructions in Palghar to be designed for such quakes. They must comply with the National Building Code and tick multiple boxes of earthquake-resistant design.As things stand, repeated battering by the swarms have left several homes with cracks, and a handful with collapsed walls. A preliminary assessment in Dahanu and Talasari subdivisions, the worst hit locations, has identified 1,750 damaged houses. While these are mostly in rural areas, where the enforcement of seismic codes is poorer, urban areas may not be better off.According to IIT Bombay’s analysis of the 2011 Housing Census data, 10 lakh people in Palghar live in potentially weak homes. Unless these structures are upgraded, the region will likely suffer loss of life in the event of a larger quake.The chances of a large quake (upto 6.5 Mw) are no longer remote, according to seismologists. Even though the initial suspicion was that the swarms were a temporary phenomenon linked to rains, NGRI seismologists have argued that the real reason is tectonic activity along a geological fault in Palghar. “If it is related to a fault, we cannot be complacent that quakes will continue to be small,” says Mr. Sinha. Moreover, given that the epicentres are in rural areas, “it is likely that a disproportionately large fraction of buildings will be damaged with relatively low shaking,” he adds. Scientists divided on causes of Palghar quake | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe The scale of the exercise is currently restricted to the 18 quake hotspots, although a larger temblor would spread farther. Around 90 local engineers will be trained. They will scan buildings and inform occupants about safety.Public structures, such as schools and hospitals, will be the top priority, with the government paying for their strengthening. “The idea is that, in the event of a real Zone 3 earthquake, the government’s own capacity should not be degraded,” says Mr. Sinha. Private constructions, on the other hand, will have to fund themselves. Only low-income groups will get financial help through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.There isn’t much time. Once the monsoon arrives, the government tents may not hold up. So, the assessments must be completed earlier. At the end of it, some of Palghar’s residents may learn that their homes are safe enough to return to, says Mr. Sinha. Others may have to upgrade their houses, while still others will have to rebuild altogether.The compliance gapPalghar’s unpreparedness is typical of large parts of India today. Close to 60% of the country lies in Zones 3, 4 and 5, which means these areas can experience moderate to severe quakes. These places legally require all construction to comply with the seismic codes developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards. Yet, a swarm of small temblors has disrupted life in Palghar.Why has compliance been below par? The reasons are complex. First, the worst affected areas are villages, where there is a shortfall of trained engineers. So, even though local laws require home owners to consult a licensed structural engineer and meet NBC requirements, it often doesn’t happen. Says Aseemkumar Gupta, Secretary of the State’s Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department, “It would be wrong on my part to say that for every building constructed in rural Palghar, there is a structural consultant applying his mind about Zone 3 earthquake issues. It doesn’t happen for 99% of the small houses.”In urban areas, the problems are different. Many constructions are slums built without municipal permissions. Others may follow seismic codes on paper, but not in reality, given the added costs. And municipal bodies do not have the resources to police everyone.It was to tackle such issues that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) published earthquake management guidelines in 2007. The ambitious document recommended wide-ranging measures such as training engineers, improving enforcement, and raising public awareness.But implementation has been uneven because it isn’t a small task, says Kamal Kishore, an NDMA member. Between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, for example, close to 3 crore new brick masonry houses came up in India’s earthquake-prone regions. To ensure compliance of all of them would need many more engineers than municipal bodies have at present. “You simply can’t do it overnight,” Mr. Kishore says. “Even countries that have turned over their entire building stock successfully have taken not years, but decades.”Rare, but deadlyThere is another obstacle in the way of earthquake preparedness: quakes are rare, despite their deadliness. Further, intra-plate earthquakes, which occur deep inside the peninsula — such as the Latur, Bhuj and even Palghar quakes — are even more infrequent, compared to Himalayan ones. This makes it likelier that peninsular inhabitants will be unaware of the region’s seismic history. “A large number of people have forgotten about the 1993 Maharashtra earthquake. It’s been more than 25 years and a whole generation has turned over since then,” says Mr. Kishore. Not knowing how much damage an earthquake can wreak can take away motivation to spend money on seismic compliance.Still, globally, there is a growing realisation that earthquakes do more than kill humans; they cause mass migrations, job losses, and economic stagnation. Mr. Sinha cites New Zealand’s Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, which measured 6.3 Mw and 7 Mw. Because the region was known to be situated on a fault, most buildings were appropriately designed. As a result, casualties were fewer than they would have been otherwise.The problem was that even though most structures survived, they subsequently became unusable. “They were designed to be safe against fatalities, but not designed to be stronger than that,” says Mr. Sinha. “So they were not safe for people to return after the quakes.” As a result, Christchurch, until then a thriving manufacturing hub, had to demolish over 600 commercial buildings, and cordon off sections for days. According to a 2015 paper in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 6,000 businesses were displaced by the cordon. The New Zealand Treasury estimated the capital cost of the quakes to be equal to 20% of the country’s GDP, a significant hit.For Palghar’s residents, though, GDP is the farthest thing on the mind. It’s the everyday anxiety of not knowing if their homes will collapse, and of sleeping in tents, that gnaws. “We suffered a lot in the initial days,” says Patel. When the tremors began, schoolchildren slept under the open sky during the chilly winter nights. Now, they have tents and bunk beds, but it would be nice just to get back to their rooms. When the earthquakes first began in November 2018, the children of Palghar’s Nareshwadi Learning Centre were terrified. The youngest, aged 5-7 years, burst into tears. Five months later, the tremors continue, but the children are used to it, much to the chagrin of the school coordinator, Vivek Siyaram Patel. He would like them to stay alert and dash out of their classrooms every time the ground shakes. That’s what they have been taught to do.But when the largest quake occurred on March 1, its noise was like a large Diwali bomb, “the bigger kids ran out but the younger children kept sitting inside. It’s like they were used to it,” says Mr. Patel.Like thousands of residents of Palghar, a district on Maharashtra’s coastline, Mr. Patel and the rest of the staff at Nareshwadi, a residential school for underprivileged children, aren’t sure if their buildings will withstand further shaking. Cracks have already appeared in the school’s dining hall. A few of the tall metal rods that support the hall’s sloping roof have bent with each quake. Unsure of whether everything will come down with the next tremor, some 220 of the school’s boarders now sleep in tents.Also Read Such quakes have distinct characteristics — they are small, shallow, noisy, and typically end after the monsoon water drained. Small means they never exceed 4 in magnitude, making them relatively harmless. Shallow implies that they originate from within 5 km of the earth’s crust. This also makes them audible, in contrast to intermediate and deep earthquakes, which emerge from beyond 60 km.The NCS, the first body to set up 4 seismometers in Palghar in December, opines that the swarms could well be hydro-seismicity. Its calculations show a shallow depth of 3-4 km. “We are going by experience here,” says Vineet K. Gahalaut, NCS director. “We have seen several such swarms in western and central India.” But he cautions that tectonic activity cannot be ruled out.In contrast, NGRI, which also began monitoring the Palghar quakes in January, is convinced that the quakes are tectonic, triggered by the same forces that cause planetary tectonic plates to drift over a ductile layer of the mantle. The NGRI now has six seismometers in Palghar, and its data suggest that most quakes are emerging from between 6 km and 15 km, too deep for rain-related seismicity.Another factor that has swayed the NGRI’s assessment is how long the quakes have continued. “They should have died down by now,” says Mr. Srinagesh. “Usually, they have a lifespan of a month or two.” But the Palghar tremors have continued for nearly five months, at the rate of 30-35 per day. Further, their magnitude has risen, with the largest ML 4.3 quake occurring on March 1.The differences between the NGRI’s and the NCS’ depth estimates could be due to a number of reasons. To calculate depth, scientists use the timings at which seismic waves arrive at their seismometers. Then, based on assumptions of the wave velocity, and distance of each seismometer from the epicentre, they estimate the depth that best fits their data. This means that the calculations have error margins, and depend a lot on assumptions made. Since neither NCS nor NGRI have published their data, it’s hard to say why their estimates differ. “I haven’t seen their data, so I cannot comment on the accuracy. But in general, for geophysical problems, there is no unique solution,” says Mr. Rajendran.Mr. Sinha, however, has seen NGRI’s data and is inclined to buy its arguments. The district administration too is working on the assumption that the quakes are not mere hydro-seismicity. “I have reasons to believe that what the NGRI is saying is correct,” he says.The implications of this are significant. While rain-related seismicity peters away quickly, tectonic quakes can be large and destructive. If so, the current swarms could merely be foreshocks before a bigger temblor. It has happened before. In the year before the 1993 Latur earthquake, NGRI recorded several small earthquakes in the Killari region. No one thought they would end in a large one, given the historical lack of seismicity there, but they did. If the same happened in Palghar today, it would find itself unprepared. Mahesh Gollapudi and Dhiraj Kumar Singh, project assistants at Hyderabad’s National Geophysical Research Institute, collect data from a seismometer in Gagodi village, Palghar. Why are quakes happening at Palghar? Fortifying PalgharThis is why Mr. Sinha’s team is working on a training module for Palghar’s engineers, so that they can assess which buildings are the most vulnerable. Mr. Sinha has his task cut out. Prima facie, many structures in the district aren’t earthquake-resistant. Nevertheless, to strengthen every such home in the district is too massive an exercise. “It’s expensive, not just monetarily, but also in terms of available human resources. There are only so many engineers who can be deployed in Palghar to do this, without affecting the governance of the entire State,” he says. For comparison, a World Bank-funded project to repair and reconstruct 225,000 houses in Latur cost about $220 million and took four years.So, Mr. Sinha’s strategy is to triage: find the most vulnerable of the vulnerable houses. These will be reconstructed, while others will merely be strengthened. “It is possible to do things so that without demolishing and reconstructing a house, we can strengthen it to the extent that it doesn’t collapse. It may still collapse partially, though,” he says. For example, traditional houses made of irregular stones, or “random rubble”, caused heavy casualties in both the Latur and the 2001 Bhuj quakes. Their walls are made of two vertical layers, or wythes, of stones. When tremors hit, these poorly bonded wythes separate and fall apart. So, one fortifying technique is to add long “through stones” at intervals along the wall’s length. These hold the wythes together when shaking occurs.Also Read Maharashtra’s Palghar district to get another seismometer Searching for the causeSeveral residents of Dahanu don’t remember prior earthquakes in the region. “This is the first time I am experiencing it,” says the principal of the Nareshwadi Learning Centre, Babasaheb N. Pawar, who has been in Palghar for 30 years. Then there’s the noise, described sometimes as a deep rumbling and others as a large bomb. “My heart would leap out of my body,” says Mr. Patel. “Can you imagine the condition of the little children?”Still, despite the absence of tremors in Palghar’s memory, the Deccan peninsula has a history of swarms. This phenomenon, thought to be triggered by rains, is called hydro-seismicity. Even though the tremors seem tectonic — the kind that occurred in Bhuj, Latur or Nepal — they aren’t. While both involve geological faults — cracks in the earth’s crust along which rocks can move — that’s where the similarity ends. The movement of the rocks that causes earthquakes is triggered by very different mechanisms.In hydro-seismicity, heavy rains seep into the top layers of earth, compressing the rock beneath and increasing the pressure inside the rock pores. “It’s a bit like a baby elephant sitting on a mattress,” says Kusala Rajendran, a seismologist at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science.According to one estimate, for each 10 m rise in groundwater level, the pore pressure increases by 1 bar (bar is a unit of pressure, equal to 100,000 pascals). When this happens in the vicinity of existing geological faults, the pressure can destabilise them. Another way for rain to trigger quakes is if the water enters faults that are sealed and inactive. “Here, the water can lubricate the clayish contact surface of the fault, causing it to slip,” she explains.Such hydro-seismicity has struck the peninsula before. In October 2017, residents of Hyderabad’s Borabanda suburb experienced small quakes for over a month. They began after intense rains, says D. Srinagesh, who heads NGRI’s seismology observatory, and measured less than 1 ML each, a tiny wobble. “But they sounded like Diwali hydrogen bombs. People grew panicky and were running helter-skelter,” he recalls. When the rains ended, the tremors stopped. Similar phenomena had occurred in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore in 2015, Saurashtra’s Talala in 2007 and 2011, and Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district.Also Readlast_img read more