CubaAmericas New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Darsi Ferrer, a dissident public health activist who contributes to independent news media, was finally tried yesterday on charges of “irregularities” and “assault” and was granted a conditional release after being held without trial since July 2009.A physician who heads the independent “Juan Bruno Zayas Health and Human Rights Centre,” Ferrer upset the authorities by gathering and disseminating information about the current state of the Cuban health system and the situation of political prisoners.Ferrer had been held in Valle Grande prison, west of Havana, since his arrest on 21 July 2009, for which the official reason was his “illegal” acquisition of building materials to repair his house . Prosecutors requested a three-year jail sentence, but the court sentenced him yesterday to 15 months and said he could serve the remaining four months under house arrest.“We are obviously relieved by Ferrer’s release even if he was finally given a jail sentence to match the time he already had spent behind bars,” Reporters Without Borders said. “No one is fooled about the real reason for his detention as this is a country in which the authorities tolerate no public expression of dissenting views. His release was not in any way an act of clemency or, even less so, a sign of an improvement in respect for basis rights and freedoms.”Cuba still has approximately 200 prisoners of conscience, who include 24 journalists. One of them is the Reporters Without Borders correspondent Ricardo González Alfonso, who has been held since the “Black Spring” crackdown of March 2003.Dissidents continue to be the target of harassment, repression and hate campaigns by the authorities and their supporters. Hablemos Press, a small independent news agency, reported that two more journalists, José Manuel Caraballo Bravo and Raúl Arias Márquez of the Agencia de Prensa Libre Avileña (APLA), were arrested on 21 June.Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the community of Latin American countries to intercede on behalf of Cuba’s imprisoned journalists and dissidents, some of whom have fallen seriously ill since their arrest CubaAmericas October 15, 2020 Find out more June 23, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Dissident doctor and reporter paroled after nearly a year in pre-trial detention Help by sharing this information RSF_en RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago Receive email alerts to go further Follow the news on Cuba Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet News May 6, 2020 Find out more October 12, 2018 Find out more News News News Organisation
Georgia farmers should expect dry weather when they plant their crops this spring, but Pam Knox, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences agricultural climatologist, anticipates an active tropical storm season in the Atlantic Ocean this summer.Growers watch the weather closely because it determines when growers schedule operations like spraying, cattle grazing and irrigation.“Coming out of the moderate La Nina event that we had this winter, neutral conditions are expected by late spring,” Knox said. “When this happens, there seem to be drier conditions that are not good for planting.”Once crops are planted, growers rely on rainfall or irrigation to supply water to the crops. If there is a lack of precipitation, farmers must increase the operation of their irrigation pivots.Precipitation in Georgia was low in January and February, which caused an increase in drought conditions. But cooler weather and increased rainfall in March alleviated some of those dry conditions, Knox said.Because it is an El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral year, the interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean produces a slight periodic variation between below-normal and above-normal sea surface temperatures. This means that, during hurricane season, from June 1 through Nov. 30, there will likely be more named storms.Last year, Hurricane Irma damaged crops across the southwestern part of Georgia. The Gulf of Mexico is very warm again this spring, which could lead to the rapid intensification of storms over that region, according to Knox.“I suggest closely monitoring the weather forecast to see if you are in the path of a storm,” Knox said.To deliver updated news to growers, Knox uses observations and satellites to track weather predictions. “I look at all of these models to simulate what we might expect, but weather is always changing,” Knox said. “You always have to be prepared.”Knox writes a daily blog, where she details weather outlooks for the week and other crop news. For more information, visit the Climate and Agriculture in the South East blog at site.extension.uga.edu/climate/author/pknox/.Julie Jernigan is an intern at UGA-Tifton.
The UK’s pension fund trade body has rejected changes proposed by the government in relation to trustees taking members’ views into account, saying they were “neither practical nor purposeful”. Last month the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched a consultation on proposed changes to the investment regulations for occupational pension schemes, which aimed to clear up confusion – stemming from the wording of the current rules – about trustees’ duties to consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) matters in investment.Responding to the consultation, which closed yesterday, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said it supported the proposed clarification of the difference between ethical considerations and financially material ESG considerations, but that it did not support the proposed changes with respect to scheme members’ views.“As currently presented, we think that the proposals in this area run the risk of causing greater confusion for trustees, raising false expectations among members and potentially reducing members’ willingness to engage with their pension savings,” said the PLSA. Caroline Escott, investment and DB policy lead at the PLSA and author of the response to the DWP consultationThe desirability of any regulatory requirements could then be considered once evidence had been gathered to inform potential solutions to the challenges involved in taking member views into account, the PLSA said.According to the association, the risk of misinterpretation and false expectations being raised among pension scheme members was despite the DWP’s consultation document making clear that trustees retain primacy on investment issues and the government’s commitment to getting this message across – including to the “surrounding press”.Clarity needed on interaction with IORP II The association also registered concerns about the proposals for trustees of defined contribution (DC) schemes to report on how they implemented their investment principles.The PLSA warned that the costs of producing such a report, in particular for smaller schemes, would outweigh the limited benefits.It also urged the government to explain to the industry how the proposed changes to the investment regulations align with new requirements for responsible investment placed on schemes by the new EU pension fund directive.IORP II, as the legislation is known, must be implemented by member states by 13 January, two months before the UK is to leave the EU.The PLSA also suggested that the DWP consider whether requirements for schemes to produce a statement of investment principles should be split for defined benefit and DC schemes.Row over climate change reference The PLSA also said it did not believe a reference to climate change specifically should be included in the new regulations.The association said it was not helpful to pick out specific examples of ESG factors in the regulations themselves, as doing so might lead trustees to infer that it was the most important factor to consider when others may be more relevant to their portfolio.Explicitly mentioning climate change also suggested it would always be material in all cases, when this may not be the case, the association said.However, activist law firm ClientEarth hit back at the PLSA’s stance.Alice Garton, a finance lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “Climate change must be on trustees’ agendas – too many pension professionals are still worryingly under-informed about the pressing portfolio risks it poses.“The recent proposals from the DWP are a crucial step in making that happen and not a moment too soon. It would be hugely irresponsible to row back on this important development.”In a statement ClientEarth acknowledged that the pension fund association’s response to the DWP consultation stated that “climate change poses a substantial risk to the business models of companies in nearly every sector, and the stability of the financial system”.According to ClientEarth, the scale and systemic nature of the risks associated with climate change and the low carbon transition set climate change apart from other ESG factors.The PLSA and ClientEarth co-published a report in 2017 to support trustees in integrating climate risk into investment decision-making. The DWP proposed that trustees be required to set out the extent to which they take members’ views on non-financial matters into account when making investment decisions.The PLSA said the government should drop the proposed changes and the Pensions Regulator should instead provide further guidance on what constituted best practice “on thinking about when to canvass member views”.
Infantino joined the IOC at the weekend, four years after he assumed the top job at FIFA, and he stressed that women football deserved more at the Games. “We must give women the role or place they deserve,” the FIFA boss told David Owen [insidethegames]. He added that making the women’s tournament the same size as the men’s was “perhaps” a discussion worth having.Advertisement Promoted Content10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do6 Ridiculous Health Myths That Are Actually TruePortuguese Street Artist Creates Hyper-Realistic 3D GraffitiBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?7 Theories About The Death Of Our UniverseThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read More5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?A Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs7 Universities In The World Where Education Costs Too MuchWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time? Read Also: FIFA Ban legal battle: Siasia turns to Gofundme to raise $250,000 Currently, the men’s tournament has 16 participating teams in the Olympic, four more than the Women’s tournament. The 49-year-old Swiss national was elected by 63 votes to 13 at the 135th IOC Session on Friday. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 FIFA President Gianni Infantino has revealed that the IOC will consider increasing the number of teams participating in the Women’s Olympic football tournament in the future. Loading…
“Coach Caryl has pushed me hard from the moment I stepped on campus and she recognizes potential in people to achieve their goals.” Cockrell said. “She knew I could get through the injury and that kept me going.” Other women competing in the NCAA Championships include freshmen Bailey Lear with the 4×400 relay and Lanae-Tava Thomas with the 100 and 200 sprints; sophomores Chanel Brissett for the 100 hurdles, Kaelin Roberts as an alternate for the 4×400; and TeeTee Terry with the 100 and 200 sprints; juniors Kyra Constantine for the 400 sprint and Mecca McGlaston as an alternate for the 4×100 and 4×400 relays; redshirt junior Angie Annelus for the 100 and 200 sprints; and senior Margaux Jones with the long jump. The Trojans entered the postseason as one of the strongest overall in the nation. In the Pac-12 Championships, the women’s team came away with first place, while the men took fifth. “My body felt like it was in a car accident when I first started training at USC,” Cockrell told USC Athletics. After its recent success in the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, the USC track and field program will send 18 athletes to the NCAA Championships Wednesday in Austin, Texas. Other athletes competing include freshman Eric Allen Jr. for the 200-meter sprint, sophomores Cameron Samuel for hurdles and Earnest Sears III for the high jump; junior Isaiah Jewett for the 800-meter sprint; redshirt juniors Nathan Bultman with the hammer throw and Matthew Katnik for shot put; and senior Marquis Morris with the 110 hurdles. “I’m ready and I’m tired of second place,” Cockrell said regarding this season’s championships. “I’ve been an All-American every year I’ve been here and that’s something I’m proud of, but I’m ready for an individual championship.” The NCAA Championships will be held Wednesday through Saturday in Austin, Texas. Cutting edge · All-American hurdler Anna Cockrell (left) seeks to add a championship to her accolades as a Trojan. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan) Both the men’s and women’s teams have come a long way and both hope to add a coveted championship banner when all is done. Cockrell credits coach Caryl Smith Gilbert for helping her overcome her hamstring injury during the last indoor season, allowing her to improve her performance both physically and mentally upon return. However, it was not long before Cockrell established herself as a force to be reckoned with. She was on the 4×400 team that won in a miraculous comeback during the 2018 NCAA Championships. The men’s team is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation and will field eight athletes, including Ayden Owens for decathlon, who snatched the Male Pac-12 Freshman of the Year distinction this year. He was the only male Trojan to earn a Pac-12 award. At 6-foot-2-inches, Owens became the Gatorade Pennsylvania Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year during his senior year of high school. Cockrell has been particularly valuable for the women’s team, acting as its anchor throughout the 15-meet-long regular season. However, she admits that her career as a Trojan has not always been easy. The No. 2 women’s team will send ten athletes to this week’s championship, including junior Anna Cockrell for the 100- and 400-meter hurdles. Cockrell won the 200-meter title and placed second for the 400-meter hurdles at last year’s NCAA Championships. In his first season as a Trojan, Owens posted unprecedented numbers. He ran the 100-meter dash in 10.43 seconds, completed the 110-meter hurdle in 13.76 seconds, and achieved a 24-foot-8-inch long jump, all top five marks for USC. The men’s team hopes Owen continues his success and bring home a championship win for the program. Cockrell boasts a number of accolades outside of track. She spoke at USC’s student-athlete graduation in May and is preparing to begin her graduate studies in Public Policy.
BILL NEAL:10 The question comes to me over and over and over, as well it should. After all, I am the OVERTIME MAN…man! How can the Miami Heat destroy the Indiana Pacers one day and then get destroyed the next? Simple. It’s all about match up. Some teams just match up better than others. For example, in another arena, Muhammad Ali beat everybody and their mother and predicted the round on top of that. But Ken Norton gave Ali fits. Tyson scared everybody but Evander Holyfield. And you know the Pirates can’t do a thing with the Brewers… sometimes it’s just match ups.:09 Sometimes you get the “Tiger” and sometimes the Tiger gets you. Don’t sweat the little tournaments. His focus is on the major majors.:08 Alright, I am gonna tell it cause I know none of you won’t. And I don’t mind telling it either. Look, I am a big man, been a big man all my life. Come from big stock. Cornbread, Yams, Mac & Cheese, Ribs and such. So I know what it’s like to be big. Hell, I played D-tackle at 297 pounds (yea, and played it well too so shut-up!) Anyway, back to my point… as I said, I can relate so if the shoe fits don’t take it personal… just put it on! Big girls… yo big girls… yes, big mama’s, I am talking to you. We see you coming. We know you’re in the room. You – don’t – need – to – shout – it – out with blonde, blonde, blonde hair. Nor do you have to wear a rainbow of colors. And this need you have to wear the black tights five sizes too small just amazes me… actually us. It ain’t just me, but “the others” are scared to say anything. And last and certainly not least, if you can bend over and not see where the end of your dress is, that means it’s too short mmmmaaaannnn! Just remember, the two most important big girl rules. No. 1 – One size don’t fit all. No. 2 – Don’t get it twisted… everybody can’t be “Monique”! Holler!!! Please send your concerns and complaints to Smitty’s Bar and Grill, c/o Smitty.:07 I can’t make this any clearer. From 1975 to 1990, Bobby Byrd was the most dominant one/two guard in Western Pa., and he proved it everywhere he played, from the Connie Hawkins League to the Due Brown 5th Avenue League, to Brookville and every other tournament in a five state radius. As a matter of fact, in 1979, when he went toe to toe with the great Norm Nixon in the heat of the Hawkins League, he was probably the best all around guard in Pittsburgh and that included Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris. Curtis Aiken, Chip Harris, Mark McCloud, Bum Coates, Ron McCrae, Petey Harris, Hosea Champaine… say what?!? Now somebody run tell that… oh don’t worry, here’s the number 412- 628-4856! I know you ganna call on this one.
“The Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference is a high calibre college league that’s been going strong for over 50 years, so we’re looking at these games as an important challenge for our group above and beyond our typical preseason preparations.”Selkirk hosts Huskies on Friday night at the Nelson and District Community Complex Arena at 8 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Castlegar Recreation Complex. The Huskies finished seventh in the nine-team ACAC as an expansion team last season, posting a record of 7-17-1-3 and just barely missing out on postseason action.The squad features a number of B.C.-born players, including former Beaver Valley Nitehawks forward Ryan Sookro and BCHL veterans Brody Lynott (Alberni Valley Bulldogs), Luke Hannas (Prince George Spruce Kings) and Steve Axford (Powell River Kings). “We’re looking forward to seeing the style and intensity of play in the BCIHL,” Keyano head coach Paul Strand said.”Many of our players are from B.C. and are looking forward to playing games in front of friends and family. These games will be a good test and hopefully will provide a memorable experience for the college and the players. It’s trips like these I remember most from my college days.” The upcoming weekend set against Keyano marks the first of five match-ups for the Saints against ACAC opposition.Selkirk travels to Edmonton to face Concordia University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Grant McEwan University on the weekend of September 20-22.The Saints will then return home for a pair of games against league rivals Trinity Western University on September 27/28 before the regular season begins on Friday, October 4 at home to Eastern Washington. General admission tickets for both games this weekend will be available at the door for $5. The Selkirk College Saints dominated the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League last season.Now the men’s Hockey program get a chance to test the waters from across the BC/Alberta border when Selkirk plays its first-ever games against Alberta college league competition this weekend in Nelson and Castlegar.Alberta- based Keyano College of Fort McMurray visits the West Kootenays for a pair of exhibition contests. “We’re expecting Keyano College to be a very tough and talented opponent,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois.
Did you notice how many times the Darwinian arguments were vacuous stories, leaving the real questions begging? This kind of storytelling masquerading as explanation will, unfortunately, be with us until the Darwinian edifice implodes, a long-overdue event. You can help hasten its eventuality by drawing attention to the design specifications scientists find in nature, to the observation that biomimetics (one of the hottest trends in science) assumes good design, and that dysteleological arguments are appeals to religion. Science will get along just fine without the tacked-on personifications and just-so stories that are the besetting sins of the Darwin Party. The rest of us can simply delight in the never-ending wonders of living things. Let’s help put the fascination back in biology with intelligent design.(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 1. Elizabeth Pennisi, “Bio-Inspired Engineering: Manta Machines,” Science, 27 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6033 pp. 1028-1029, DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6033.1028. The plants and animals around us seem so ordinary, but they all are so extraordinary, the extraordinary becomes ordinary simply because of their numbers. But if you expanded the sample space to include the entire solar system, what we have in earth’s biosphere should astonish everyone. Here are some notable fellow creatures. Monarch butterflies: You can raise Monarchs in your garden. Loretta Downs does it, and told her experience on PhysOrg. The article speaks of “the miracle of the monarch,” its “unlikely story,” its “stained-glass wings of orange and black with drips of white,” and “the most uncanny butterfly with so much wisdom tucked deep inside its jade-green chrysalis, the transformation chamber that dangles from a leaf, where striped caterpillar unfolds into winged beauty, catching drifts of wind.” Poetic excess? Not for her. “It’s a mystery, and we don’t get so close to these kinds of mysteries,” says Downs. “To watch this unfolding, it’s a miracle. There is no better symbol for transformation, for the mystery of death” that metamorphoses into “something altogether new” – a rebirth. She finds it a healing, comforting experience to watch her butterflies. Monarchs are featured in the new Illustra Media documentary Metamorphosis, to be released on DVD June 15 and on Blu-Ray on July 6. Flowering plants: PhysOrg “What makes leaves sprout in the spring?” In Canada a few weeks ago, trees were barren, but now they are bursting with buds. There’s a transformation you won’t find on Mars or Venus. The question was answered by Malcolm Campbell of University of Toronto – at least to the extent science understands this “complex program” the article claims was “designed by the trees over tens of thousands of years,” years Campbell obviously never experienced. He described how day length, temperature and water availability are factors. Trees key on a cold snap in autumn being long enough to trigger the program, followed by a sufficient number of warm days in the spring. Then global warming entered the discussion, but despite the triggers mentioned by Campbell, the question remains: what makes leaves sprout in the spring? Wired seeds: Cute seedlings in the process of sprouting decorate an article on Science Daily promising, “Genetic ‘Wiring’ of Seeds Revealed.” Work at the University of Nottingham has discovered that “the same mechanism that controls germination is responsible for another important decision in the life cycle of plants — when to start flowering.” Once again, environmental cues like temperature, light, moisture and nutrients trigger a complex program to unfold. The researchers found a gene network, which they dubbed SeedNet, that’s involved in both seed germination and plant flowering. The internal and external factors ensure that “the decision for a seed to germinate is made at the perfect moment to ensure survival,” the article said. How could such a wonder arise? The article attributed it to purposeless causes, rooted in chance, that act like a goddess: “evolution has genetically ‘wired’ seeds in a very complex way to avoid making potentially deadly mistakes,” the article claimed (see 04/23/2011). Similarly, evolution took credit for the double duty of the genetic network: “Given that seeds were evolved long after plants developed their ability to withstand environmental stress, this indicated that plants have adapted existing genes to fulfil a different role.” Modular design is usually thought of as good planning and foresight. Cicadas: Those noisy cricket-like bugs called cicadas will be emerging from their underground hideouts in the American south this summer. Some will live underground for 13 years before celebrating their brief above-ground mating rituals; others 17 years. Why are these intervals prime numbers? Live Science explained: “It is no mere coincidence that cicadas have evolved indivisible life cycles,” Natalie Wolchover wrote. “As explained by the entomologist Stephen Jay Gould, prime cycles have a major evolutionary advantage over cycles that are multiples of smaller numbers of years, and for a simple reason: They make cicadas more elusive.” If they came up in 18 years, for instance, predators with life cycles of two, three or six years could get lucky every third or ninth, sixth, or third generation. There are fewer coincidences with prime numbers because they are not divisible by any other integer. As plausible as this sounds, it avoids the question of what the ninth, sixth, and third generations of predators would eat in between the lucky coincidences. It also says nothing about how the pupae survive these many years underground, and even more amazing, how they all wake up on cue for a few weeks of frenzied mating, only to bury themselves as eggs once again for another Brigadoon sleep underground. Dinosaur necking: Matt Walker had an unusual blog entry for his feature “Nature Wonder Monkey” on the BBC News. He was going to explain the tremendously long necks of sauropods (and of giraffes, for that matter). Enter the theory of sexual selection. While it seemed Walker might present a triumphal account of how sexual selection produced these long necks, the ending was rather different. He debunked the idea. He quoted evolutionists who have discredited the idea that sexual selection produced long necks and other flashy traits like peacock tails. In particular, Mike Taylor [U of Bristol] tested sexual selection on 39 giraffes and found no correlation between neck length and sexual success. While Matt Walker left room for sexual selection in crabs and birds, he accepted Taylor’s extended conclusion, “There is no example, anywhere, of a type of four-legged animal, of which there are many species, that has evolved a single trait to be sexy.” For sauropods, too, “A sexy neck just didn’t get the reptilian juices flowing,” he quipped. That leaves any evolutionary explanation for the “even more remarkable species such as Argentinosaurus, which holds the record for being both the heaviest land animal ever, and the longest,” dangling with no support. Decorative spiders: Did you know that some orb-weaving spiders decorate their webs? The BBC News explored this phenomenon for answers, but admitted that “exactly why the spiders adorn their webs is unclear.” Leading contender for this “tricky area” is that the spider adds highly-visible webbing in the center where it resides to make the web more visible to animals that might accidentally damage them. A researcher in Australia said, “The debate about [its] function has lasted for over 100 years and is still highly controversial.” Another theory is that the decorations attract prey with the decorations. What reporter Victoria Gill left out was any explanation for how a lowly spider could calculate costs, strategize, be motivated, or “tactically use the decorations” by an evolutionary process. Those are the verbs of teleonomy. Smallest flying insect: The smallest flying insect is a parasitic wasp. PhysOrg has a photo of one of these little guys with a 1mm wingspan walking up a tiny egg of a cabbage white butterfly. Using a 22,000-frame-per-second Phantom camera, the Flight Artists team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands recorded their acrobatics: “The high speed movies show how the parasitic wasp jumps up into the air, elegantly flaps around, and then somehow lands – the insect sometimes boldly lands face-first” but can also land on its feet and head butt other wasps. Time for some stats: wings beat at 350 strokes per second. Weighs one 40,000th of a gram. Hitchhikes rides on other insects, such as butterflies. What this means is that the hardware and software for controlled flight, navigation and reproduction is all packaged into a very tiny animal. The article includes a short video of the wasps in slow motion. On a small white butterfly, the wasp shows up as a speck on the butterfly’s face bristles under its compound eye. The Flight Artists team next wants to take its “extraordinary camera” to investigate how birds, bats, bees and even seeds fly, to “make the invisible visible” and “to shoot images of fliers in Nature that fascinate them.” See their website at FlightArtists.com. Manta ray: A contest was held last month at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, Maryland. It was between two robot-building teams trying to imitate the elegant swimming of the manta ray. “Swimming like butterflies underwater, with mesmerizing ease and grace, manta rays are the envy of engineers seeking more efficient underwater vehicles,” Elisabeth Pennisi wrote for Science this week.1 In an article under the category “Bio-Inspired Engineering,” she detailed how teams from Princeton and University of Virginia both failed, ending in a draw. One of the contestants has long been enraptured with these gentle giants that can grow up to five meters wide. “They are such self-possessed, graceful animals,” Alexander Smits said. “It was almost mystical,” he added, thinking about his swim with these creatures years ago in Australia. “I decided I’ve got to know something about them.” No wonder; here’s what Pennisi wrote about their specifications: Mantas are everything one could want in an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). “I’ve thought for a long time that the people who are interested in robotic mimicry were missing the boat in not looking at manta rays,” says Adam Summers, a comparative biomechanist at Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington state. Most fish swing their body from side to side, and “that’s not very handy if you are trying to stuff [instruments] inside.” The manta body is stiff. Mantas are also quiet, efficient swimmers—AUVs tend to be one or the other. The best AUVs have a turning radius of 0.7 body lengths; the manta needs just 0.27 its body length and maneuvers like a fighter plane. Based on the two robots’ performance, “in terms of maneuverability, we’re on the right track” in understanding how mantas achieve such grace, says Frank Fish, a functional morphologist at West Chester University in Pennsylvania who is working with UVa and Princeton on the manta project. Snipe hunt: Want to know the world speed-distance record for migratory birds? According to PhysOrg, it’s the great snipe, an endangered species. Arctic terns fly farther at slower speeds, and peregrine falcons fly faster for shorter distances, but this winner excels at both speed and distance. “Swedish scientists found that the birds fly non-stop over a distance of around 4,200 miles at a phenomenal 60 mph.” Some took off in Sweden and landed in central Africa, 4,225 miles away, in just 3.5 days. This was a surprise. “We never expected record-breaking flights for this ordinary bird,” they said. They had no idea where this species went after leaving Scandinavia, either. Tracking devices on some of the birds revealed their secret. The article ended with a list of other speed records in the animal kingdom. Trivia provided by article: “The word ‘sniper’ originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India: if a hunter was skilled enough to kill an elusive snipe, he was called a sniper.” After the snipe article, someone left a comment, noting “the total absense [sic] of any evolutionary talk in this article.” He said, “I guess the researchers know that there’s really no evolutionary explanation for this phenomenal ability and so they keep their minds focused on what works in reality. No side-tracking into nonsense speculation of evolutionary origins here.” An evolutionist immediately retorted with an example of bad design – i.e., why God would not have made the world the way it is. He apparently didn’t notice or care that he made a religious, not scientific, argument (see Darwin’s God blog).
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest No change in our outlook this morning. We remain dry through at least Friday in all areas of the state. Once again, the big rains for next week are up for some debate, but all data points toward some action. Temps today will not be quite as warm as yesterday, and temps tomorrow through the end of the week pull back into the upper 40s and low 50s. We see full sunshine through Friday, although clouds may start to push into western areas late on Friday. Showers develop over the a large part of Ohio for Saturday and Sunday, scattered through each day. Combined rain totals will be from a few hundredths to .4” with 80% coverage. The map at right shows combined rain totals out of the system this weekend. On Monday we see clouds take their own sweet time to break up. We wont rule out a few hit and miss showers, particularly in western Ohio and central Ohio. However coverage of any moisture on Monday will be limited to 40% of the state. We follow that up with a sunny and dry Tuesday. Rain remains on track for next Wednesday. The European model moves the system through quickly, while other models suggest a longer tail on this system, with more rain Thursday. We will leave rain totals mostly under half an inch, but will expand the upper end of the range, looking for .2”-.7” over 90% of the state. We may have to boost totals if rains keep good intensity into Thursday. Dry for next Friday, the 2nd and the start of the weekend Saturday morning. Then, however, clouds increase, and we have another strong low coming in from the west for late Saturday the 3rd and going through Sunday the 4th. This system looks to be rather rain laden, but we are pulling back on rains just a bit, because we think thunderstorm potential is lower than our initial thoughts. We are putting rain totals at .25”-1” over the entire state. We continue to look for another system going toward the 7th with .25”-1” potential, and then another front around the 11th, making the first part of November very active and wet.
Achieving the net-zero-energy performance mark is rarely easy, but it is less often done in obscurity thanks to competitions such as the Solar Decathlon, the Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, the Zero Energy Challenge in Massachusetts, and the Net Zero Energy Building Award contest, which is conducted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) and now soliciting entries for its 2011 edition.The NZE Building Award competition will enter its third season in 2011. The winner in 2009 was a 2,800-sq.-ft. house in Charlotte, Vermont, whose owners, both architects, designed it to include a superinsulated shell, passive solar orientation, a 10-kW wind turbine, and a ground-source heat pump. The 2010 winner, a 1,152-sq.-ft. home called the Montague Urban Homestead, features a superinsulated envelope, a high degree of airtightness, a 4.94-kW photovoltaic system, and solar hot water. (Montague Urban Homestead also won the 2009 Massachusetts Zero Energy Challenge.)NESEA says it will welcome entries, for any building type, through December 15, 2010, for the next NZE Building Award, which will be presented at the Building Energy 11 Conference + Trade Show scheduled for March 8-10 in Boston. Eligibility is limited to buildings in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) as well as those in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. The winner receives a $10,000 cash prize.Key criteriaThe contest is designed to highlight the design ingenuity, materials, mechanics, craftsmanship, and occupant behaviors that combine to bring a building’s performance to net-zero energy. Eligible buildings must have been continuously occupied for at least a year, during which time their operation at net-zero energy must be documented.Beyond performance, a three-judge panel of experts will also focus on the overall design of each project and its replicability, since one aim of the contest is to celebrate buildings that can be reproduced relatively easily.One disqualifying factor, NESEA adds, would be idiosyncratic behavior by the building’s occupants, which might include “acceptance of unduly low thermostat settings; dietary regimens that dispense with refrigerators; perpetual candlelight reading.” In other words, sensible conservation measures are encouraged, but extreme occupant behavior is not.NESEA also points out that projects that achieve net-zero-energy performance with smaller energy conversion systems tend to be favored over those that feature “brute force” deployments of large renewable-energy installations.Click here for details about NZE Building Award submission requirements.