Using Aliens to Titillate the Public

first_imgGeologists cannot even figure out our own planet (next headline), but some of them claim to know a lot about other planets – their geological history, and even their prospects for life.  Is it fair to tease the public with the L-word life when so much remains to be understood on the ground under our feet?Mars life:  A new study reported by PhysOrg from a JPL press release claims that Mars had a nearly global wet era 4 billion years ago.  Talk about water on Mars has gone back and forth for decades; was it really necessary to evolve life there by just adding water?  “The new findings suggest that the formation of water-related minerals, and thus at least part of the wet period that may have been most favorable to life, occurred between that early giant impact and the later time when younger sediments formed an overlying mantle.”  (Nobody saw that impact, by the way.)Mars hands:  “If there’s life on Mars, it could be right-handed,” teased a headline on New Scientist.  The article was about chiral molecules, but it made Mars a lively place.  Some astrobiologists have never been able to forgive the 1976 Viking landers for not finding life.  One experiment gave ambiguous results that are the basis for ongoing hopes.  They keep trying to find other explanations for the gas that Viking measured coming out of a prepared broth when Martian soil was added.  Jeffrey Bada, astrobiologist at Scripps, still thinks non-biological explanations can explain this.  “No matter how you construct an experiment, Mars is likely to throw you a curve ball,” he said.Europa bones:  An Arizona planetologist has an easier way to look for life on Europa.  PhysOrg reported how he feels one could find evidence of it on the surface without having to drill through the ice.  It might not even be microbes, Richard Greenberg (U of Arizona) said: “there’s always the possibility that we could find structures – something analogous to skeletal remains.”Starry avatars:  A JPL press release seemed to play on the public’s fascination with the recent 3-D alien movie by starting, “Many scientists speculate that our galaxy could be full of places like Pandora from the movie ‘Avatar’ — Earth-like worlds in solar systems besides our own.”  So have they found any?  Nope; just looking.  “Once considered the stuff of science fiction, it may not be long before Earth-like planets, or, in the case of Pandora, Earth-like moons of giant planets, are found to exist other places besides the silver screen.”  That was in a paragraph captioned, “Pandora, up close and personal.”  Incidentally, the real Pandora is a small moon of Saturn.  Here it is, up close and personal from Cassini.  Not quite like the movies.For SETI fans, Space.com announced that Frank Drake is retiring as director of the SETI Institute, and is turning the job of “Chief Alien Life Hunter” to long-time astrobiologist David Morrison.  Even though NASA doesn’t do SETI work, Morrison revealed an inside secret: “The SETI Institute has partnered with scientists at NASA Ames in a teaming arrangement that has greatly benefited both organizations.  The Institute played an especially important role in the development of the new multidisciplinary field of astrobiology.”  The two fields are closely allied, if for no other reason than the fact that neither has any evidence to support its reason for being.This has all the appearance of a cult (see CMI essay).  Only in this case, we have a cult funded by taxpayer dollars and preached by the mainstream media.  It’s not science if you have no evidence.  Whatever happened to separation of search and state?(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Tourism month kicks off in SA

first_imgThe iconic Table Mountain is a populartourist attraction. Tourism month aimsto encourage more South Africansto visit local destinations. September’s sunny skies and magnificent scenery don’t only mean springtime in South Africa – they also herald the start of a 30-day drive to boost domestic tourism in the country.Kicking off the campaign in Newtown, Johannesburg, on 27 August 2009, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said, “By travelling at home, South Africans contribute meaningfully to the tourism industry and its competitiveness, as well as to local economic growth and job creation.“Domestic and regional tourism is the backbone of a sustainable and robust tourism industry,” he added.According to the minister, the industry is booming in South Africa. In 2008 there were 42.5-million tourists in the country, of which 32.9-million, or 77%, were local. This helped the industry contribute R25.8-billion (US$3.3-billion) to the national GDP, an increase of 29% from the R20-billion ($2.6-billion) generated in 2007.Tourism also constitutes about 7% of employment in South Africa, both directly and indirectly.Sho’t left around the countryAt the tourism month launch in Newtown Van Schalkwyk unveiled the Sho’t Left billboard campaign, which aims to creatively motivate South Africans to travel within their own country.Relaunched in August 2007 by the government-funded body SA Tourism, the Sho’t Left drive aims to promote a culture of local holiday travel, targeting ordinary South Africans and their families who have a desire to see more of the country but don’t know where to go.“Sho’t Left” is derived from everyday South African “taxi lingo”. A commuter wanting a ride to a destination close by will say “Sho’t left, driva” – meaning, I want to jump off just around the corner.The 10 billboards, worth more than R2-million ($258 712), have been strategically placed around Gauteng province – the economic powerhouse of South Africa identified as the greatest source of domestic tourists.“As you travel your own country, you learn more about its diversity and tourism offerings. You also help to improve service levels and the competitiveness of the industry as a whole. This in turn makes all of us better hosts for regional and foreign visitors,” Van Schalkwyk said.“We are less than 300 days away from the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and now is the time for all of us to contribute in every way we can to make sure we offer the world an unmatched experience in our fantastic country.The minister announced that as part of the Sho’t Left campaign, SA Tourism has entered into a new deal with hotel groups, airlines and travel agencies to offer South Africans affordable rates when visiting local destinations.SA Tourism’s new partners include the Peermont Hotel group, Flight Centre travel agency and Computicket Travel booking centre.Celebrating diversitySouth Africa’s month-long drive will be wrapped on 27 September with the celebration of the annual World Tourism Day.For the past 30 years The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has used this day to raise global awareness about the important role that tourism can play, both socially and economically.This year’s theme for World Tourism Day is “Celebrating Diversity”, which explores cultural wealth and the importance of sustainable tourism in ensuring that local traditions thrive alongside those of other cultures.In South Africa, the Department of Tourism will put on celebrations in Kimberley in the Northern Cape province on 29 September.A fitting host for these celebrations, the Northern Cape is firmly committed to developing tourism.In 2008, in a bid to boost economic development, small tourism enterprise development, and job creation, the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation commissioned a tourism resource audit to develop and promote tourism within the province.The project aims to use information generated through surveys as a guiding a process whereby tourism businesses and attractions are clustered together, creating attractive regionalised tourism spread out across the province.Kimberley is synonymous with diamond mining in South Africa, which took off in 1871 and lead to unprecedented growth within the province.The town is known for its “Big Hole” – a tourist attraction in its own right – which, ironically, began as a small hill rich in diamonds, known as Colesberg Koppie.From the late 1800s until 1914 miners tirelessly toiled to remove some 25-million tons of earth from the site, turning the hill into a crater.An observation platform erected close to the site nowadays provides a good view of the “Big Hole”, which is about 365m deep and covers an area close on 15,5 hectares. During its productive years it yielded about 14.5-million carats of diamonds.De Beers, the world’s largest diamond-mining firm with operations now spread across the world, was founded in Kimberley and still has a prominent base in the town.Jumping on the tourism bandwagonSmaller tourism bodies across the country have also lent their support to tourism month by planning a range of special events.In Grahamstown, a small town in the Eastern Cape province made famous by its annual National Arts Festival, the local tourism office, Makana Tourism, is working hard to offer a number of exciting activities during September.“People forget that apart from providing information to tourists and marketing the area to potential tourists, the best tourists are the locals,” said Makana tourism director Willem Makkink, speaking to the town’s online portal Grahamstown.“We are planning a series of tours that will showcase the area. We hope to teach the residents of Makana [the name of the greater municipality incorporating Grahamstown] about the myriad of attractions and activities that are to be found here. We are planning tours of the town, the surrounding villages and sites, and the game reserves,” he said.In keeping with the theme of diversity, Cape Town in the Western Cape province will promote its melting pot of cultures and breathtaking scenery during tourism month through its “My Cape Town” campaign.This will incorporate a series of mini-profile documentaries which will explore the lives of people who live in Cape Town, and why they love the city. Local station Cape Town TV will flight these profiles at various times during the month.The city is also offering a photo competition during September, whereby residents are encouraged to take snaps of the sites that best embody the phrase, “This is the Cape Town I want the world to see”. Budding photographers can submit their entries via www.capetown.travel/worldtourismmonth and stand a chance of winning a cash prize of R15 000 ($2 000).In addition to being tourism month, September also marks a celebration of South Africa’s rich and diverse heritage. While Heritage Day is officially observed every year on 24 September, various relevant activities take place throughout the month, in the form of music, dance, arts and crafts, and literature.This year celebrations take place under the theme “Celebrating South African craft, our heritage”. In keeping with this year’s theme, the fourth World Summit on Arts and Culture will take place in Johannesburg from 22 to 25 September 2009, and will see crafters from across the world gathering there to discuss issues pertinent to the industry.last_img read more

In Focus: Touch World Cup – Germany

first_imgIn the lead-up to the 2015 FIT Touch World Cup, we catch up with Bob Kalman from Germany as they embark on their second World Cup campaign.How big is Touch in Germany?Touch Germany now has over 400 active players and this is growing on a daily basis.The national champions for 2014 are “TiB Berlin” who went through the 2014 season with an unbeaten record against German teams.Who is a player from Germany that is one to watch out for at the 2015 TWC?Touch Germany will be missing a few key players from the previous European Championships in Wales in 2014. However the strength of the Germans always has been the girls. This year, captain Yvonne Giesen will return as well as Svenja Strotta, Lena Dietz and Ute Kohlheim, making up some of the best ladies in continental Europe.Germany are currently sending one team (Mixed Open) to the 2015 TWC, what are your goals for the event?Germany has several strong veteran players in the team for 2015, but also several players who will be making their international debuts.  The goal of the German squad this year is to turn the rookies into veterans so that they can take back to their local clubs all the experience that comes with playing in Oz.What are you most looking forward to for your trip to Australia?I will be traveling with a 2 year old toddler on the 30 hour trip over to Australia, so one thing that I am personally NOT looking forward to is the flight over, but the whole team is looking forward to the tournament and learning as much as they can whilst they are out there.If you want to keep in touch with Germany in the lead-up to the 2015 TWC, visit the following:WebsiteFacebookRelated LinksGermany: 2015 TWClast_img read more

10 days ago​Allardyce: Why would Pochettino quit Spurs for Man Utd?

first_img​Allardyce: Why would Pochettino quit Spurs for Man Utd?by Freddie Taylor10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Bolton, Everton and England boss Sam Allardyce has questioned why Mauricio Pochettino would leave Tottenham for Manchester United.With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in danger of losing his job at United, several reporters have linked Pochettino to the top job at Old Trafford.Given the poor form of Tottenham, it is possible that a Pochettino exit could happen in the winter or summer.But Allardyce believes the Argentine coach would be better off staying put because Spurs have a superior squad to United.Metro quote “Big Sam” as saying: “I can’t see Mauricio going anywhere at the moment.”Tottenham are a better squad than Manchester United – and that is a telling fact.”It’s alright saying, ‘this is Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world’. But has it got the team to go with it to represent Manchester United?” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Colin Cowherd Brings The Doom And Gloom As He Breaks Down Wisconsin’s 2016 Schedule

first_imgColin Cowherd goes through Wisconsin's football schedule.YouTube/Colin CowherdOn his show, FOX Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd has been going through the schedules of major college football programs and giving his early projections for the upcoming season. He likes Michigan and USC this fall, but when it comes to the Wisconsin Badgers, his breakdown is not nearly as encouraging.Cowherd’s four biggest factors that play into his prediction are:1. The loss of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to LSU.2. The graduation of Joel Stave.3. Wisconsin’s schedule: “the toughest schedule I think I’ve seen in the Big Ten in years.”4. The defense is strong in the back, a bit weaker up front.Here is Cowherd’s full breakdown: That is a 6-6 season, with wins over Akron, Georgia State, Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota, and losses to Alabama, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Northwestern. He’s not wrong about the schedule; the Badgers play the four best teams from the 2015 Big Ten season in a row from September 24 to October 22. Yikes.last_img read more

BlackBerrys Chen a delay of mass market driverless cars wouldnt be a

first_imgTORONTO – Mass market driverless vehicles may be ready for the road later than previous estimates, but BlackBerry Ltd. CEO John Chen said Wednesday he doesn’t consider that a problem for his company’s autonomous vehicle technology plans.“An awful lot of things have to happen between now and then to make that happen including, but not limited to, government policy on safety standards,” Chen said.Chen has heard, anecdotally, that the introduction of commercially available autonomous vehicles might come later than 2021, a stated goal of BMW and Honda.People “in the know” have been mentioning the year 2025 as a more likely date, he saidChen said it’s hearsay but “I believe 2025 makes quite a lot of sense.”BlackBerry’s QNX conducted a basic street test in Ottawa at the Kanata North Technology Park in October but its next step will be to participate in a test track trial in Toronto with its partner Renesas Electronics America Inc.Chen said it will be at least a year before BlackBerry’s ready for another autonomous vehicle trial on the streets of Toronto.Last week’s pedestrian fatality during a test of a Uber self-driving vehicle in a Phoenix, AZ., suburb has caused the ride-hailing company to suspend its on-road testing program, including in Toronto.Chen said BlackBerry isn’t a supplier to Uber or to Google-affiliated Waymo.The autonomous car market is currently a small part of BlackBerry’s revenue but an important part of its future, Chen said.BlackBerry is positioning itself to supply software components to Tier 1 automotive suppliers, including Canada’s Magna International, although it’s also working directly with Ford and, more recently Jaguar Land Rover.Earlier Wednesday, BlackBerry announced a net loss of $10 million or six cents per share under U.S. generally accepted accounting compared with a loss of $47 million a year ago. Analysts had estimated a net loss of eight cents per share.BlackBerry Ltd.’s revenue and adjusted earnings also came in above analyst estimates in its fourth quarter, as all three of the company’s main software divisions showed growth.The Waterloo, Ont.-based company, which reports in U.S. currency, had $233 million of revenue for the quarter ended Feb. 28. Its operating income was $19 million or five cents per share.Analysts had estimated BlackBerry would have $216.4 million of revenue for the quarter and break even on an adjusted basis, with zero cents per share of operating income, according to Thomson Reuters data.Chen, who has been BlackBerry’s chief executive and executive chairman since joining the company in November 2013, said he was pleased with the company’s progress since it decided to stop manufacturing smartphones.All three of its software divisions — focused on enterprise, intellectual property licensing and automotive markets — grew in the fourth quarter, both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter, he said.“Our strategy is working,” Chen said. “This gives us confidence that we could capitalize on the significant market opportunities available today as well as in the future.”The current opportunities include enterprise software and services that provide governments and regulated industries, such as banking, the tools to provide secure communication for their employees, partners and customers.“The heritage of BlackBerry gives us the right to play in this area, both from a know-how and a reputational point of view,” Chen said in an interview.He said there’s an opportunity to “upsell” to current enterprise customers with products and services such as the BlackBerry Bridge, announced last week, which is designed to provide heightened security to all Microsoft Office applications used by an organization’s workforce, suppliers and business partners.The Bridge product is currently in final customer trials prior to general availability.Besides its traditional vertical market segments, BlackBerry is seeing expanded opportunities within the hospital, pharmaceutical and energy markets. It’s also building its presence in China, Korea, and Japan, he said.For Chen, BlackBerry’s future includes opportunities for securely connected devices, such as its Radar hardware and service for the trucking industry, and for QNX software embedded in connected and autonomous vehicles.BlackBerry’s shares were little changed Thursday, trading at about $16. That’s up nearly 70 per cent over the past year.Two weeks ago, the company announced a five-year contract extension for Chen, which runs to November 2023 and is weighted toward long-term performance-based equity and cash awards, in addition to a time-based equity award. His base salary, short-term cash incentive and benefits won’t change.Companies in this story: (TSX:BB)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version failed to mention BlackBerry conducted a basic street trial in Ottawa in October.last_img read more

Potbased medical pet products closer to fruition as research grows

first_imgTORONTO – Canadian pets are a few steps closer to getting their paws on pot-based medical treatments in Canada as more cannabis companies research marijuana’s efficacy for companion animals.Canopy Growth Corp. is the latest medical marijuana company to enter the potentially lucrative pet market with its announcement this week that it will embark on a Health Canada-approved clinical trial to research the use of cannabis-based products to treat animal anxiety.The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Dr. Shane Renwick says there’s been a flurry of cannabis-related pet health research as Canada’s laws on recreational cannabis crystallize ahead of legalization on Oct. 17.The association’s national issues and animal welfare manager expects there to be more clinical trials in the pipeline going forward.“We hope that there will be the research required to allow safe registered products on the market in the not-too-distant future… It will offer alternatives in a lot of cases to medications we’re currently using for a variety of conditions,” Renwick added. “So it’s an exciting potential that we see.”Dr. Renwick said the association’s members have fielded many queries from clients asking about treating their pets ailments, such as pain, with cannabis. However, there is no legal avenue for veterinarians to prescribe pot, unlike for medical physicians, and not enough clinical evidence to support it, he added.The association is hopeful that Health Canada will eventually approve some cannabis-based veterinary health products that its members can prescribe for their pet clients, and each clinical trial approval brings them “one step closer” in the process, he said.Many cannabis companies have been positioning themselves to cash in on the drug’s potential for pets as the country prepares up to for legalization of cannabis for adult use this fall.Canopy on Wednesday announced it got the green light from the Veterinary Drug Directorate of Health Canada for its research into the use of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, enriched oil to treat anxiety in certain animals. The research will be conducted by Canopy Animal Health, a division of Canopy’s affiliated research arm.“The use of natural-occurring cannabinoids as a therapy for companion animals is a logical new forefront of medical discovery… These trial approvals mark a significant milestone on the journey of making cannabis-based drugs accepted and recommended by veterinarians,” said Marc Wayne, managing director, Canopy Health Innovations, in a statement.CannTrust Holdings Inc. in April entered into a letter of intent with Grey Wolf Animal Health Inc. to develop cannabis products to support the well-being of pets. B.C.-based True Leaf Medicine in 2015 established True Leaf Pet Inc. to produce hemp-based products for sale worldwide.True Leaf said that in its 2018 fiscal year, sales of pet products totalled $1.4 million, up 280 per cent from the previous year.It’s tough to quantify the size of the nascent market for cannabis products for pets.In 2017, sales of cannabis products marketed for pets at medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries was nearly $7 million in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, according to BDS Analytics. In Colorado, sales of pet products grew 49 per cent in 2017, versus growth across all product categories at 15 per cent, it said.The pet pot segment growth, however, comes from an initially low base and its hard to gauge demand, said Greg Shoenfeld, vice president of operations for BDS Analytics, based in Colorado. However, in an increasingly competitive cannabis landscape, catering to pets can be a differentiator, he said.“Being able to develop a presence with the pet loving consumer could be a point of strength,” Shoenfeld said.Renwick believes there is a “huge” demand for safe, tested cannabis-based products for pets. The CVMA has been advocating that veterinarians should have the same ability as medical physicians to prescribe them as well.“Our pets are living longer, generally, cancer and other illnesses can produce a good deal of pain and discomfort for animals near the end of their lives,” he said.“And owners today are much more cognizant of wanting to alleviate any suffering that animals might endure.”last_img read more

30 injured after severe turbulence hits New Yorkbound flight

first_imgNew York: At least 30 people were injured after a New York-bound flight from Istanbul, Turkey, encountered severe turbulence, the authorities said.The Turkish Airlines flight 001, a Boeing 777 plane, encountered the turbulence about 45 minutes before it landed at 5.35 p.m. on Saturday, according to the authorities at the JFK International Airport here.One flight attendant broke her leg, The New York Times quoted Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as saying. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherThe rest of the injuries were minor, and included “bumps, bruises and cuts”, Coleman added.The 30 injured people have been hospitalised.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that the pilot declared an emergency and reported that several passengers were injured.Turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to passengers and flight attendants, excluding fatal accidents, according to the FAAIn 2017, 17 passengers and members of the flight crew were injured in turbulence. In 2016, that number was 44. Since 2002 the highest annual number has been 94, in 2009.last_img read more

France fines Google 150000 euros in data privacy row

first_imgParis- France’s data protection watchdog on Wednesday fined Google 150,000 euros ($205,000) — the maximum possible — for failing to comply with its privacy guidelines for personal data.The watchdog, the CNIL, also ordered the US Internet giant to publish a statement relating to its decision on its French homepage for at least 48 hours within the next eight days.last_img

Ohio State mens basketball trying to right the ship before postseason play

Senior forward Sam Thompson (right) keeps his eye on the ball during a game against Penn State on Feb. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 75-55.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerWith just four regular season games remaining before tournament play takes over the college basketball landscape, the Ohio State men’s basketball team is limping back to Columbus.Having played eight of its last 12 games on the road, the Buckeyes have lost three of their last five games including back-to-back losses to Michigan and Michigan State. The good news for OSU is that three of its last four games are set to be played at the Schottenstein Center, with the last road game coming against Penn State next Wednesday.OSU coach Thad Matta said he knew months ago that the current stretch of road games could make or break the Buckeyes’ season.“I knew in July when the Big Ten schedule came out, I said, ‘My God, coming out of Ann Arbor if our heads are above water, and we’ve got a decent mojo about us, we’ve got a shot,’” Matta said Wednesday. “The biggest thing that I’m at right now is, ‘Hey guys, look, we’re OK. We know what we’ve gotta do, we know how we’ve gotta do it, now let’s walk out on the court and get the job done.’”Doing just that will be key if the Buckeyes want to make their seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.OSU, which has slipped to a No. 8 seed in ESPN’s most recent bracket projections, has not been seeded that low since the 2009 tournament when the Buckeyes fell to No. 9 seed Siena in double overtime.That team, which lost in Dayton, boasted just one senior (a walk-on) and had little NCAA Tournament experience.Despite that, Matta said he doesn’t believe he has to do anything extra to motivate or educate his current freshman-laden roster about the big dance.“Times have changed. I remember, I don’t know if it was ‘08, I had a team meeting one time and said, ‘How many of you freshmen know how to get in the NCAA tournament?’ They didn’t know,” Matta said. “Now, that’s been seven years ago and everybody knows. I like where they (the current freshmen) are in terms of how they’re playing and how they are getting better. I would hope the four seniors that have been here would be telling them those things. I am sure they know that, I don’t like to bring it up.”One of those seniors, forward Sam Thompson, has been as far as the Final Four in the tournament.Thompson, who played 12 minutes in a 64-62 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2012 semifinal as a freshman, said getting back to the NCAA Tournament remains in OSU’s sights.“Obviously the end goal is to make the NCAA Tournament. For the seniors that have been deep in the tournament, we know that there is no better feeling,” Thompson said. “For the young guys, they all came here for an opportunity to play in the tournament. We know that we have some work to do, as far as our résumé, but our goal is to get better, our goal is to play our best basketball. We know if we do that, everything else will work itself out.”The Buckeyes are getting set to try and right the ship Thursday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who have dropped their last five games.Despite the Cornhuskers’ poor form, Thompson said he expects a motivated and fired-up squad coming in from Lincoln, Neb.The Cornhuskers might have extra motivation coming from the fact that coach Tim Miles revoked the team’s access to their locker room after a 74-46 loss at home to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday.“I didn’t hear anything about it until coach Matta told us when he was sort of setting the stage,” Thompson said of Nebraska’s lockout. “We know they are going to come in and play hard. I guess their locker room is on the line now. We know they are going to come in and give us their best shot. We know that we have to be ready to play. Our mindset doesn’t really change.”The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers are set to tip off at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. read more