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Job 1 for Raiders: Stop the hit parade on Derek Carr

first_imgThe Raiders have made little progress in a 3-11 season … ALAMEDA — Derek Carr didn’t wince when the issue of pass protection was brought up, but could have hardly been blamed if he had.“To be honest, man, going into season, my No. 1 goal, the No. 1 thing I prayed about, was just to finish healthy,” the Raiders quarterback said Thursday. “I didn’t know I was going to get hit the most I ever have. I don’t think any of us saw that happening.”Instead, it’s been target practice.last_img

Insects that Defy Darwin

first_imgStasis and convergence are not what Darwin had in mind, but that’s what new fossils show.Jurassic lacewing butterfly mimic: PhysOrg reports the discovery of a butterfly-like lacewing in the deep Mesozoic. The well-preserved fossils from Kazakhstan and China are dated 50 to 60 million years before the arrival of butterflies, but these members of Order Neuroptera have surprising affinities with Order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), including a long, tubular nectar-feeding proboscis, wing scales, and prominent eye spots on its wings that resemble those of the owl butterfly. The details, with photographs, are in an open-access paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The fossil is so well-preserved, the researchers were able to detect carbon in the insect’s proboscis instead of iron, leading them to believe it fed on nectar, not blood. Since there were not supposed to be any flowering plants when this insect lived, the authors propose that it sipped on the nectar of gymnosperms, although they acknowledge that an “understanding of the ecology in mid-Mesozoic insect clades is sparse”.How is this to be explained in the evolutionary worldview? Co-author David Dilcher of Indiana University says in Science Daily, “we’ve unraveled a surprisingly wide array of physical and ecological similarities between the fossil species and modern butterflies, which shared a common ancestor 320 million years ago.” PhysOrg adds, “Their findings represent a striking example of convergent evolution between these two unrelated lineages, in which the two distinct groups of organisms evolve similar traits as they interact to similar features in their environments.” He personified the blind process of evolution in a joking manner:Evolution is a great innovator, Dilcher said. But at the same time: “if it worked once, why not try it again.”Stasis in diversity: Another headline on PhysOrg announces, “Unbiased statistical analysis of insect fossil records finds diversity unchanged over the past 125 million years.” This contradicts evolutionary expectations, the article says:Insects are astonishingly diverse, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all named animal species living today, and their diversity is widely thought to have increased steadily over evolutionary time. A new study, however, finds that insect diversity actually has not changed much over the past 125 million years. Insects were “extremely diverse in the past as well,” one evolutionist said, even though the rise of flowering plants was thought to stimulate insect diversity:A lot of modern insect groups have close ecological and evolutionary relationships with flowering plants, and the evolution of flowering plants is thought to have spurred rapid diversification of insects. But the new analysis found that the evolution of flowering plants did not make a big difference in insect diversity overall. Presumably, there were many insects that had coevolved with the plants that were dominant before flowering plants came on the scene, and those insect groups would have declined along with the plants they depended on.Knowing that insects don’t usually fossilize well, the team under Matthew Clapham (UC Santa Cruz) tried to avoid preservation bias by building a database of 39,000 insect fossils from about 25,000 species, then analyzing it with statistical methods.Using their own assumptions, evolutionists defeat evolutionary expectations in these two cases. They found similarity where it shouldn’t be. They found stable diversity where they expected an increase. Did you notice that the oft-repeated phrase “was thought” is in past tense? This happens all the time in evolutionary studies; what “was thought” is wrong. So will they modify their thoughts, so that what they are thinking now will influence future thought? Unlikely. So ingrained is evolutionary thinking, what was thought will continue to be thought regardless of the evidence.Convergence should repudiate evolution. It’s hard enough to imagine getting one family of insects by chance with nectar-feeding tools and mouthparts and scale-covered wings with eyespots (see Metamorphosis), let alone two families on completely different lineages. See Brett Miller’s discussion “The Convergence Concoction” to show the extent of similarities where they shouldn’t be according to evolution. But evolutionists are clever storytellers. They turn around and say that the similarities are due to “similar selective pressures.” You can’t win a scientific debate with a storyteller who thinks his imagination is equivalent to scientific evidence. (Visited 86 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa demonstrates algae-to-energy technology

first_img30 January 2014 Innovative technology that uses algae to convert waste coal dust into a clean, high-quality coal which can readily be processed into biofuel was publicly demonstrated at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth on Monday. The pioneering technology has been developed by the university over the past three years with funding from the Department of Science and Technology, and plans are afoot for its products to be commercialised, the university said in a statement ahead of Monday’s showcasing event. One of the main areas of research at university’s institute of chemical technology, InnoVenton, has been the conversion of waste coal into a usable, high-quality clean coal using algal biomass. The institute’s researchers have found that the microalgae can be combined with coal and charcoal and acts as an excellent binder for fine coal. “If you mix coal dust and algae biomass, the algae adsorps [collects] onto the surface of the coal and binds the dust together,” InnoVenton’s Professor Ben Zeelie said. The result is a coal-algae composite [briquette or pellet], for which they’ve coined – and trademarked – the name “Coalgae”. “The Coalgae composites may be used as a substitute in applications that require coal, or may be further processed through a variety of additional technologies, such as pyrolysis (heating in the absence of oxygen),” the institute said. “The result of the additional processing is a bio-fossil crude oil blend that may be processed into a variety of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, and heavy fuel oil. “Carbon sequestration, the upgrading of low grade coal and the production of clean water (a spin-off of the process) are among the advantages of the production of Coalgae, which, along with the production of the bio-crude oil, have presented commercial opportunities.” According to the institute, consulting engineering firm Hatch-Goba recently completed a pre-feasibility engineering study on the microalgae technologies, resulting in a “robust and cost-effective” design for Coalgae production on a semi- and full commercial scale. A full feasibility study will be conducted in the first half of this year. The institute demonstrated various aspects of Coalgae technology on Monday, include the cultivation of microalgae in a closed photo-bioreactor system developed by the university, the use of coal-generated flue gas to meet the microalgae’s need for carbon dioxide and fixed nitrogen, the harvesting of the microalgae, the production of the coal-microalgae composites, and their conversion into raw bio-crude oil. Speaking at the event, the Department of Science and Technology’s deputy director-general for research, development and innovation, Mmboneni Muofhe, said the technology would help to separate South Africa’s biofuels sector from its food-producing sector, and bring the realisation of a full-fledged biofuels industry in the country one step closer. South African fuel producers will begin mandatory blending of petrol and diesel with biofuels from 1 October 2015 as the country moves to encourage investment in its biofuels sector and reduce its reliance on imported fuel. “By 2015, the government intends all transport fuels to be a blend, with biofuels making up at least two percent of the blend. Coalgae exceeds this target,” the department said in a statement last week. And there’s certainly no shortage of raw material at hand. Millions of tons of coal dust go to waste every year in South Africa and elsewhere. According the department, the country currently has over 1-billion tonnes of discarded coal or coal “fines” (fine coal particles), which constitute a serious environmental nuisance. In addition, Coalgae can be delivered using existing petroleum or petrochemical infrastructure. “The ability to combine the two feedstocks (coal fines and algae) means that only one process is necessary, instead of two,” the department said. “Another advantage is that the technology will reduce the logistical challenges of accessing blended biofuels, as well as the capital investments required for the blending and distribution infrastructure.” SAinfo reporter and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Universitylast_img read more

The Care and Feeding of Strategic Clients

first_imgStrategic clients require more from you than other clients. All clients are important, but your strategic clients have a different set of needs. They need you to be more engaged, and they need you to deliver greater outcomes than you would for a client that doesn’t have their same needs.CommunicationYour strategic clients require more communication. Because your relationship is deeper, they need to you to be aware of what they’re doing, and they need to know what you are doing. This isn’t just a good idea, it’s critical.You have to communicate with your strategic clients so that you understand their strategy. This is high level communication that ensures that you know where they are going, and that you are aligning the right resources to do your part. You also have to communicate much more frequently at a more tactical level, to make sure what is being delivered is working.Caring requires constant communication.ExecutionYou simply cannot retain a strategic client without being able to execute effectively. If they are strategic, they rely on what you sell to a great enough extent that you cannot fail them. The fastest way to lose a strategic account is to fail to execute.This is about outcomes. You are accountable for the outcomes you sell. The care and feeding of your strategic clients requires that you execute continuously. It’s not that you can’t have problems. It’s not that things can’t go wrong, or that you can’t hit a rough patch. You strategic clients have those same problems. It’s your ability to smooth out those rough spots and execute that allows you retain their business.Improved Performance, Yours and TheirsOver time, you have to help your strategic clients get better. Over that same period of time, you also have to get better.What you do has to help your strategic client get better at producing the results they need. You need to help them improve what they are doing. You will notice things as you execute, and those things will allow you to help them make changes, changes that improve their performance.You have to get better too. As you work together, you have to get better at delivering the outcomes you produce. As my friend, David Allen says, “The better you get, the better you better get.” It’s not enough to rest on your laurels. Or to believe your contract secures your relationship.New Value, New OutcomesBut wait. There’s more.The value that you created when you helped your strategic client understand their world and that led them to choose you is just the beginning. The value that you created as you executed is what allowed you to build the relationship. This is necessary, but not sufficient.From quarter to quarter and year to year, you have to create new value. You have to generate new ideas and new initiatives that take things up another level, that generate new outcomes. Some of these ideas and initiatives will be small, and some will be transformative. Sometimes the small ideas are what allow you to see the greater ideas. They are all important.The care and feeding of your strategic clients has always been about creating value. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Cricket therapy

first_imgFor 26-year-old Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, an ideal winter afternoon means playing a good game of cricket. And even though he bats well, bowling is his passion. So what makes this Howrah boy different from the average young man who loves to toss around a ball? For the last seven years, Jyotirmoy,For 26-year-old Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, an ideal winter afternoon means playing a good game of cricket. And even though he bats well, bowling is his passion. So what makes this Howrah boy different from the average young man who loves to toss around a ball? For the last seven years, Jyotirmoy has been an inmate at Presidency Jail, or “correctional home” as they are called in West Bengal-serving a life sentence for murder. He suffers from bouts of depression due to the social ostracism. “There is a huge stigma attached to being imprisoned and we find a staggering number of inmates suffering from mental illnesses,” says B.D. Sharma, ADGP, Correctional Services.To alleviate this sense of dejection, the Rotary Club of Central Kolkata and Satyam Seva Kendra are conducting “a social experiment”. The Rotarians recently played a cricket match against inmates of three prisons and are planning to host an inter-jail cricket tournament soon.They also plan to introduce employment opportunities for inmates, which will continue even after they are released from prison. “We are working on a programme whereby the inmates can take up tailoring of hosiery goods,” says Mudar Patherya, member, Rotary Club. “It’s a win-win situation. The inmates will be able to earn 10-fold more than their current wages while decreasing the cost of production for companies which will outsource the work.””Competitive sports and other activities help us feel normal. It doesn’t feel like a jail,” smiles 29-year-old Dhirendra Kumar Jha, who is under trial for kidnapping and murder and has already spent seven years in prison.advertisementlast_img read more

Sports organisation brings joy into lives of ‘special’ children in Delhi

first_imgCan and able: Mentally challenged children in Delhi prepare for the GamesTushar Bhatia’s eyes, twinkling from behind thick glasses, and the unruly black hair covering his forehead make him look like a chubby Harry Potter, straight out of a J.K. Rowling book.Like any other 11-year-old, life centres on school. The,Can and able: Mentally challenged children in Delhi prepare for the GamesTushar Bhatia’s eyes, twinkling from behind thick glasses, and the unruly black hair covering his forehead make him look like a chubby Harry Potter, straight out of a J.K. Rowling book.Like any other 11-year-old, life centres on school. The class he enjoys most is computers; he has recently learnt a lot about making files. He is fond of music and dance and admires Shah Rukh Khan’s brand of footloose eurhythmics.Some day when he is “grown up” and has “a big black moustache” he might marry Rani Mukherjee, his Bollywood dream girl. Among other things he loves, mention sports and Tushar’s face lights up-he enjoys being on the field with the wind in his hair. But he is not just another child treading the usual path of school, college and a white-collar job. Tushar is “special”.The endearing things he says have to be heard carefully, or you might miss their meaning completely. And you might have to repeat yourself a few times before he is able to respond.Tushar is one of the thousands of children born every year with various types of brain damage. He attends classes at Tamana, one of Delhi’s dozen or so “Special Schools”. Life for these children and their parents is hard. It is a continuous battle against odds that are as intimidating as they are disheartening.Just about a year ago, however, preparations began for an event that is today bringing ringing laughter (not unaccompanied by tears of joy and pride for parents) into their lives-the National Games 2002 organised by the Special Olympics Bharat (SOB), the Indian chapter of the organisation that holds an international sports meet called the Special Olympics for “special” children.Twelve sport disciplines ranging from the standard track-and-field and basketball to specially formulated ones like “floor hockey” (similar to ice hockey but played on a smooth, non-ice surface) and the 100 m “walk” are all part of the schedule. Athletes selected in this meet will represent India at the Special Olympics in Dublin, Ireland, next year.advertisementThere is great enthusiasm for the event after SOB took some radical decisions last year. While the SOB is no newcomer to India (it has been around for almost 20 years), the participation level had been deeply disappointing, leaving organisers wondering what they had to do to make it an event that would make a difference in the lives of these children.First, SOB shifted its headquarters from Bangalore to Delhi. State committees to organise sports were set up in 26 states. The professional approach paid rich dividends. From a few thousands over the years, the SOB movement managed an explosion of registrations, with 20,000 special participants registering by the beginning of 2002.Special camps focusing on training parents and volunteers as coaches for special children were organised with experts coming from Washington. A huge public-relations drive was undertaken.SOB approached state governments for their cooperation in holding the National Games 2002, which were held in seven cities-Chennai, Pondicherry, Kochi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Delhi- through September and October.The focus is not “faster, higher, stronger”. It’s about giving every special child a chance to be cheered by onlookers, to be a part of a movement and feel as if he or she belongs.There is an instant sparkle in Tushar’s eyes as he describes how he took part in the inaugural torch run in Delhi on September 7 and actually got to hold the torch. Sonia Singh, 25, who has participated in the track-and-field events in the past few years, is looking forward to her events this year as well.”I’m definitely going to win a medal,” she says, busy training with obvious enjoyment at Delhi’s National Stadium despite sneakers that are torn and a wish for “a new T-shirt”. Piyush Jain, another Delhi participant, is competing in the 100 m walk. He grins indulgently at Sonia’s wish, almost as if to say, “Girls! Always wanting new clothes,” and continues with his warm-up exercises.SOB coach Harpreet Singh says that participating alone can make a world of difference to the child. He recalls how many of those who took part in the games earlier came out of the experience with a new confidence and began responding with surprising success to their school curriculum.Some participants of previous years have since left their special schools to go out and take up employment in the outside world. Says SOB Chairman Air Marshal (Retd) Denzil Keelor: “These children are beautiful and talented too. They just need to be given a chance and they will amaze you with what they can do.” Such is the magic of the Special Olympics. Young Tushar, for one, would agree.advertisementlast_img read more