USC emphasizes defense with Utah on horizon

first_imgPutting on the brakes · During practice this week, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and the USC defense has put a lot of focus into slowing down the Utah offense, which leads all Pac-12 teams in red zone efficiency. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanWith the Trojans hosting No. 3 Utah on Saturday, USC could have one final chance to save their season. Interim head coach Clay Helton appreciated the focus and toughness throughout practice on Wednesday, especially with the defense.Helton made a point to focus on turnovers in practice.“I think it’s going to be an unbelievable key in the game,” Helton said. “[It’s] something we really stressed in practice.”Helton emphasized that the team is looking to carry the momentum it builds in practice into Saturday’s game.Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox made a point that Saturday’s game against the Utes will be a physical one.“They’re a physical, physical team,” Wilcox said. “It’s going to be a brawl.”Reflecting on the team’s performance against Notre Dame, Wilcox wanted the defense to focus on cleaning up multiple aspects of their game, like having better technique in terms of finishing on the ball.“We have to execute overall,” Wilcox said. “Execution is a result of your preparation through the week.”On both the offense and the defense, freshmen are continuing to make an impact on the field.“These freshmen are really providing a spark for us,” Helton said. “We’re young but we’re extremely talented.”Freshman cornerback Iman Marshall has impressed many, especially Wilcox, with his ability to adapt so quickly to the speed and physicality of the college game.“He’s extremely competitive,” Wilcox said. “It’s what enabled him to play early.”Helton also talked about how Marshall could have a bigger impact on defense so that sophomore Adoree’ Jackson can get more playing time on offense.On the defense, linebacker Cameron Smith has been garnering national attention. Smith leads the team with 53 tackles and is grabbing attention for the Dick Butkus Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best linebacker.Offensively, tailback Ronald Jones II has been a standout for the Trojans with his ability to complement USC’s committee of running backs this season.“I’m actually playing more than I thought I was,” Jones said. “I’m really happy where I’m at.”Helton mentioned after the Notre Dame game that his one regret was not getting the ball into Jones’s hands more often. For Jones, he doesn’t look at the game as his playing time and his snap count, but how the team performs as a whole.“I just want to win at the end of the day,” Jones said.Though he has been performing well, he knows that there are aspects of his game that he needs to work on such as  his over-the-head catching, flat routes and pass protection.Jones joked that he was able to block well in high school because the majority of his opponents  were the same size as him.“I knew blocking [it] was going to be a challenge,” Jones said about improving new aspects of his game.Looking ahead to Utah, Helton has three keys for the team to focus on: stopping the run, running the ball and protecting the ball. He knows that it will be hard to contain Utah senior running back Devontae Booker, saying he’s the type of guy who will keep driving even after the defense makes initial contact.“[He’s the] most physical runner in our conference,” Helton said. “His leg drive on contact is incredible.”Helton also worked on limiting the number of penalties on the offense.“Hand placement is really important for us,” Helton said.Helton explained how the team’s key to limiting offensive penalties is becoming aware of their hand placement upon contact on the offensive line.Even though they’re facing an undefeated Utah, the Trojans are still optimistic about their ability to battle on Saturday.“It’ll be a great challenge for us,” Wilcox said. “But our guys will be excited to play.”The Trojans will hold one more practice on Thursday before returning to the Coliseum on Saturday to take on the undefeated Utes.last_img read more

Former UConn forward enters state drug program

first_imgVERNON, Conn. (AP)—Former Connecticut forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel was admitted Wednesday into a state drug education program that could leave him without a criminal record.Rockville Superior Court Judge Laura F. Baldini accepted Coombs-McDaniel’s application for the program for first-time offenders and ordered him to take 10 drug education classes and perform 75 hours of community service. Misdemeanor drug charges will be dismissed if he complies with the requirements in the next year. Jamal Coombs-McDaniel Coombs-McDaniel was arrested in April on campus and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police say Coombs-McDaniel and two friends were found with 5.6 grams of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and a package of cigars used to smoke marijuana. Outside of court, he told The Associated Press that he wanted to apologize to UConn fans and especially his former teammates.“The team knows I’m sorry, and the coaching staff knows and that’s what really matters to me,” he said. “If they’ve accepted it, so should everybody else. I had a good ride at UConn, and I know they are going to have a great season next year.”Connecticut lawmakers just passed legislation that will decriminalize the possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana. When the law goes into effect on July 1, it will become an infraction, resulting in a $150 fine for a first offense.Coombs-McDaniel was charged under the current law, which makes possession punishable by a possible jail term and larger fines.Coombs-McDaniel and the school announced shortly after his arrest that he would be transferring from UConn. The 6-foot-7 junior said he wants more playing time, and the decision had nothing to do with his legal problems.Coombs-McDaniel played in all 41 of UConn’s games during its national championship season. He was a favorite with the UConn student section, which broke into a chorus of “Coooombs” when he scored. He had a three-game stretch in February during which he averaged more than 21 points per game, but was never a consistent threat off the bench after that.UConn coach Jim Calhoun issued a statement when Coombs-McDaniel announced he was leaving the team that wished him well.“He was a very important part of our national championship this season,” Calhoun said, “and I know is capable of great success in the future.”last_img read more

India women narrowly lose tri series tournament to Australia in finals

first_imgImage Courtesy: AFPAdvertisement 4dnNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vswu5Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E7ay( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 3cWould you ever consider trying this?😱jn3mcCan your students do this? 🌚k1bRoller skating! Powered by Firework Started back in January, the 2020 Australia women’s Tri-Nation T20 Series among the women cricket teams of Australia, England and India has concluded, and the hosts have clinched the series victory, after defeating the Indian team in the final today in Melbourne. It was a close call between the two teams, and after a highly tensed game that could have gone either way, its the Aussies that came on top, beating India by 11 runs at the Junction Oval.Advertisement Image Courtesy: AFPAustralia scored a total of 155 for 6 wickets in the first innings. Chasing the target, the Indian team made all their efforts, but ultimately fell short in front of an amazing Aussie bowling squad, especially Jess Jonassen, who secured her first international 5 wicket haul, and was awarded the Player Of The Match award. Indian teenage sensation Richa Ghosh made her international T20 debut.The tournament, which is observed as a final preparation before the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, kicked off from 31st January. The three teams battled it out in a league table. While all three teams had equally scored four points, the Englishwomen had the lowest Net run rate (NRR) of –0.169, and the other two teams proceeded for the final.Advertisement Beth Mooney was the main factor behind Australia’s total. The 26 year old opener scored a swashbuckling 71-not out from 54 balls, with nine boundaries. With a total of 208 runs across the series, Mooney was awarded the Player of the Series award. The Indian bowlers Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad both secured two wickets each.While the Women in Blue opener Smriti Mandhana started off the chase with a stunning knock of 37-ball-66 with twelve boundaries, her efforts went in vain as their whole batting order was wiped out in front of a brutal Aussie bowling squad after scoring 244 runs, with a brilliant performance from Jonassen securing five wickets.Advertisement It was an unlucky day for Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who had to leave the 22 yards on just 14 runs. While Mandhana kept going till the 15th over, the Indian middle order fell prey to Jonassen’s vicious attacks in the later overs“In the last three overs we couldn’t take the pressure and ended up losing wickets,” Kaur said in the post match interview.Aussie skipper Meg Lanning appreciated Mandhana’s marvellous effort, and added that her wicket became the turning point of the match.“It was a really good all-round performance. Getting Mandhana was the game-changer, she was whacking us all over the park,” Lanning told reporters.Also read-Find out which two Indian cricketers made the ICC Women’s ODI and T20 teams of the year!KL Rahul claims he will settle unfinished business with NZ bowler James Neesham in IPL Advertisementlast_img read more

Kootenay Lake Fishing Report — June starting out with a bang

first_imgMay was a busy month for us on the water, and June has started out with a bang.  Still lots of inconsistent weather, but we’ve managed to fish through it all.  Here’s the latest reports from Kerry Reed at Reel Adventures Sportfishing. Kootenay Lake:The month of May was a good month on Kootenay for fish numbers. We had lots of days with 10 – 20 fish coming to the boat.  There was even some nice weather to enjoy for a while.  And while the hot weather was happening, we also witnessed the annual flying ant hatch.  And that is usually the beginning of good fishing.  All the fish in the lake are now into a regular feeding pattern.  In fact, the ant hatch creates a frenzy.  It was an exciting couple weeks while the ants were floating on the surface.  And hopefully the fishing remains steady from here on.Rainbows between 2 – 5 Lbs have been coming in daily and I heard about a couple bigger fish caught over 12 Lbs as well, so there’s still some bigger fish around.  Bull trout have been getting more aggressive lately as well.  Bulls up to 12 Lbs have been caught, with the average being between 3 – 7 Lbs.And last week we had our limited Kokanee fishery for the month of June.  It proved to be a great couple of days.  The Kokanee have been packing on the weight since last month.  These fish were averaging 15 – 20 inches, with some up and over 2 Lbs.  That will make a meal.  On day 1, we had our limit within the first half hour.  Thats some great fishing!  And on the next day it took a bit longer, but still managed 3 peoples limits within an hour.  Got to love it when the fish cooperate.  Looking forward to the next opening in July.  Fish should be even bigger.  Stay tuned……. Arrow Lake:We headed over to Arrow Lake for a few trips last week also, and it was a nice change of scenery.  The fishing was pretty good as well.  Rainbows up to 12 Lbs and Bull Trout up to 12 Lbs were caught recently.  I marked a lot of schools of kokanee over there also, which is a good sign that there is some food for our bigger fish.  Arrow Lake could be on an upward trend.  We’ll see.On our last trip there, we managed to land 1 big Rainbow, 1 big Bull Trout, and about 8 more smaller Rainbows.  So, it was definitely worth the trip.  Looking forward to some more trips over there this year. Columbia River:The river has been producing well lately.  Even with the high water, the fish are still feeding and the fishing has been fun.  Although, when the foul weather was passing through, the fish seemed to shut down a bit.  But, on the good days we were averaging 15 – 20 fish all between 16 – 20 inches.  Quality fishing on the river for sure.  Both techniques of flyfishing or spin casting were working.Looking forward to some consistent weather and some consistent water levels to help make the fishing even better.  This next couple of months should be a blast on the river. What are they biting on ???? On Kootenay Lake, we have been catching most of our Rainbows on the surface.  Bucktail flies in my favourite colors have been working best.  Lucky numbers:  210, 214, 215, 222, & 226 have been producing the best for me.  Also a mix of spoons and hockey sticks have been producing some good Rainbows.  Gibbs Delta hockey sticks in black/grey,  Blue s/Uv, and even the orange TKO’s have caught a few.  Also still catching a few on the Skinny G in the ‘No Bananas’ pattern.Bull trout have been coming in on the usual Highliner flasher in the Lemon lime color with g-force spoons or green spatter back hoochies.  The Bulls have been getting closer to the surface lately and we have been catching more and more above the 50ft mark.On the Arrow Lake it was similar.  Most of our Rainbows were caught on the same color bucktails, but our Bulls were more attracted to our 4″ and 5″ plugs.  Same as Kootenay, the fish were mostly on the surface and down to about 50ft.And finally on the Columbia, our favourite technique has been fly fishing.  Floating lines with indicators has worked well in the eddies.  And sinking lines with wooly buggers has  been producing in the tail outs.  Also still catching on the spinning gear as well.  The usual 3-way set-up on the bottom has produced some nice fish lately.That should cover it for now.We will be dividing our fleet of boats up in the next couple of weeks to cover all the aspects.  We will have 1 boat heading to Ucluelet for Salmon and Halibut as of July 1, and we will still have a couple boats on Kootenay for the summer months, as well as our jet boat on the Columbia for some fast paced fly fishing.Drop us a line if you’d like us to help plan your next adventure.Tight lines……………….Kerry ReedReel Adventures SportfishingNelson B.C250-505-4963www.reeladventuresfishing.comlast_img read more

Second-half latest: Preston 0 QPR 1 – Rangers within sight of victory at Deepdale

first_imgSebastian Polter’s early goal has left QPR within sight of the club’s first win at Deepdale since 1980. The German striker, left unmarked at the far post, headed home Alejandro Faurlin’s fifth-minute corner.Rangers have since defended well, although Jordan Hugill had a chance to equalise when he headed over from Greg Cunningham’s cross.And Polter almost forced a second goal when he beat shaky keeper Anders Lindegaard in the air to get his head to Karl Henry’s hanging cross, but the loose ball fell kindly for Preston.Preston made a determined start to the second half but Rangers have looked a threat on the counter attack, with the in-form Junior Hoilett involved in much of their best work.Hoilett crossed for Polter, whose effort flashed across the face of goal, and Alejandro Faurlin’s shot was blocked as the midfielder attempted to force the ball home.Rangers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made a change with 12 minutes remaining, sending Massimo Luongo on in place of the hardworking Jamie Mackie.QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Angella, Hill, Perch, Faurlin, Henry, Mackie (Luongo 78), Chery, Hoilett, Polter.Subs: Ingram, Hall, Tozser, El Khayati, Washington, Petrasso.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Active Moons Challenge Old-Age Beliefs

first_imgBeyond the asteroid belt, where sunlight is weak, small bodies that should be old and cold seem young and active.  Here are some recent papers and reports about some of the moons around the gas giants showing more signs of vitality than expected for bodies assumed to be billions of years old.Jupiter’s Io: Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii detected a big outburst of the Tvashtar volcano on Io.  Reported in Icarus,1a, the eruption lasted over a month from April to June 2006.  The temperature extended over 60 square kilometers and emitted 7.7 trillion watts.  The authors noted the activity at Tvashtar seen by the New Horizons spacecraft in February this year (10/15/2007), but could not say if it was a continuation of the eruption they observed.    Another paper in Icarus found plumes near Pele.1b  Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team detected sulfur and sulfur dioxide plumes in February 2003, March 2003 and January 2004.  These plumes showed dramatic variability over a matter of days and weeks.  Additional plumes were detected at other locations.    Another paper in Icarus recalculated the heat output of Io’s volcanoes downward.2  This somewhat mitigates the problem of explaining the anomalously high temperatures measured, but still shows that, within error, Io’s heat output is right at the edge of what can be explained by theory – 1340K measured, 1300K theoretical.  Even so, getting the hot lava out in a 20-30% liquid crust while keeping the mountains up presents other theoretical problems.  The authors said that it is still possible the lavas are ultramafic (see “Io, Io, It’s Off to Work I Go,” 05/04/2004).  Whether or not the heat output can fit tidal flexing models, “Io has a staggering rate of volcanism,” they said.  “…if the observed heat loss were all provided by mafic lavas, ~500 km3 would have to be erupted each year (Blaney et al., 1995) compared to ~4 km3 per year for the Earth.”Note this admission: “if there were no efficient means of recycling the crust into the mantle, we would actually see only relatively low temperature silicate volcanism on Io.”  Models of Io’s interior, therefore, include the recycling assumption: “The fact that eruption temperatures in excess of 1100 °C are observed requires that there be an efficient recycling mechanism and that there is limited differentiation between the crust and mantle.”  This requirement comes from the assumption that Io is 4.5 billion years old.Jupiter’s Europa:  A paper in Icarus about Europa this month,3 though focused primarily on its magnetic interactions with Jupiter, repeated the well-known evidence of the moon’s youthfulness:Galileo measurements of Europa’s gravitational field and modeling show Europa to be a differentiated satellite consisting of a metallic core, a silicate mantle and a water ice�liquid outer shell.  The minimum water ice�liquid outer shell thickness is about 80 km for plausible mantle densities (Anderson et al., 1998).  High resolution data obtained with the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system show evidence of a young and thin, cracked and ruptured ice shell (e.g., [Belton et al., 1996] and [Carr et al., 1998]).  The geological observations imply that warm, convecting material existed at shallow depths within the subsurface at the time of its recent geological deformation.A dazzling montage of Europa, reprocessed from Galileo images, was posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 2.Saturn’s Titan:  A range of mountains on Saturn’s largest moon Titan was discovered by radar imaging in 2005.  This month in Icarus,4 Cassini scientists analyzed this feature which stands out from the rest of the moon’s mostly gentle terrain.  As with the Appalachians on earth, they said “erosion seems to act fast enough (or mountain-building slow enough) to preclude the formation of abundant features taller than a few hundred meters.”  They estimated the age of the range at 20 to 100 million years old maximum – which would be less than 1/40 the assumed age of the moon.  “This is short for planetary geological timescales, and further corroborates the conclusion from the dearth of impact craters [refs] that the surface overall is less than a billion years old.”  These figures should be understood as upper limits.Saturn’s Enceladus:  The geyser moon of Saturn got another write-up in Icarus this month.5  This time, however, the focus was not on the plumes at the south pole, but on the wrinkles and ridges near the equator.  The ridges appear to be up to 400m high and 3-4 km apart.  This area may lack the tiger stripes and eruptions of the south polar terrain, but has been active recently as well: there are “extensive sets of parallel, north�south trending ridges and troughs occur within the planitiae themselves, and evidence for resurfacing and extensional tectonics abounds.”    Models of fracturing caused by unstable extension (stretching) of the crust are 2 to 3 times too low to account for the observed ridges.  Perhaps some other process amplified the stretching.  Because Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is more massive, the grooves on that moon are even harder to explain, they said.    The tremendous range of ages of surface features on Enceladus led the scientists to begin their paper with an obvious but astonishing statement: “Saturn’s moon Enceladus is one of the great enigmas of the outer Solar System.”Neptune’s Triton:  One would think the farther out you go from the sun, the colder it gets, and, therefore, the more quiescent.  That is surely not the case at Neptune, which has some of the strongest winds, and for its moon Triton, another aging body sporting a young physique.  “Triton’s geological complexity ranks with Europa and Titan,” said another paper in Icarus this month that claimed the moon Triton has a “negligible surface age.”6    All the impact craters on Triton cluster on the leading hemisphere, suggesting a pummeling from objects in orbit around Neptune.  None of the craters appear to have come from outside the system.  The authors put an upper limit of 50 million years on the heavily cratered leading hemisphere, and 6 million years on the Neptune-facing “cantaloupe terrain” observed by Voyager 2 in 1989.  This would be negligible indeed – about 1/10 of 1% of the assumed age of the solar system.    The authors considered whether the young-looking terrain was resurfaced because of the cratering or other factors in the past, and ruled them out.  “no matter what, Triton has to have actively resurfaced on a time scale short compared to its age,” they said.  Obviously, “From the perspective of Triton’s thermal history, there is little distinction between a world that remains active for 4.0 billion years and a world that remains active for 4.5 billion years.”  The resurfacing rate on Triton has probably been high for a long time, they judged.  In fact, “Our results push Triton’s surface to even younger, perhaps negligible, ages.  If we accept the hypothesis that most of Triton’s large craters are not heliocentric [i.e., not caused by interlopers from all angles], then the surface may be significantly younger than Europa’s.  The consensus is that Triton’s surface is very young, and therefore is probably geologically active today.”Sources of heating that might keep small bodies active include (1) radioactive heating in the core, (2) tidal flexing, (3) impacts.  It seems unlikely any of these could work non-stop for 4.5 billion years on moons as small as Enceladus; indeed, a paper in the September issue of Icarus said that resonance and tidal heating is insufficient to account for the observed flux; “Therefore, the source of endogenic activity of Enceladus remains unexplained.”7  And if the activity began just recently, why at a time when humans are present to observe it?1a.  Laver, de Pater and Marchis, “Tvashtar awakening detected in April 2006 with OSIRIS at the W.M. Keck Observatory,” Icarus, Volume 191, Issue 2, 15 November 2007, Pages 749-754.1b.  Jessup, Spencer and Yelle, “Sulfur volcanism on Io,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 24-40.2.  Keszthelyi et al, “New estimates for Io eruption temperatures: Implications for the interior,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 2, 15 December 2007, Pages 491-502.3.  Schilling, Neubauer, Saur, “Time-varying interaction of Europa with the jovian magnetosphere: Constraints on the conductivity of Europa’s subsurface ocean,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 41-55.4.  Radebaugh, Lorenz, Kirk, Lunine, Stofan, Lopes, Wall and the Cassini Radar team, “Mountains on Titan observed by Cassini Radar,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 77-91.5.  Bland, Beyer and Showman, “Unstable Extension of Enceladus’ Lithosphere,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 92-105.6.  Schenk and Zahnle, “On the negligible surface age of Triton,” Icarus, Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 135-149.7.  Rappaport, Iess, Tortora, Anabtawi, Asmar, Somenzi and Zingoni, “Mass and interior of Enceladus from Cassini data analysis,” Icarus, Volume 190, Issue 1, September 2007, Pages 175-178.As if this weren’t enough, there is recent evidence that Pluto, Charon and some of the Kuiper Belt objects and minor planets at the farthest reaches of the solar system also show activity on their surfaces.    CEH is one of very few websites reporting the latest papers from leading scientific journals with a critical analysis of their evolutionary implications.  TV documentaries and textbooks rarely mention these very serious problems with standard theories of the solar system.  You have just seen that the best planetary scientists in the world, constrained within their chosen billions-of-years mindset, have many questions and few answers.  We hope you find this liberating.(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Floral wealth in caring hands

first_imgRosh Sewpersad pioneered Cape Town’s first public-private environmental stewardship programme to preserve the country’s valuable fynbos heritage. Watsonias, found on Nirvana Farm, a type of Atlantis Sandveld fybos. Gladiolus caryophyllaceus which was thought to be extinct in the wild was rediscovered at Nirvana Fynbos Reserve in 2006. Controlled burns are important as they help to regenerate and activate dormant fynbos seeds.(Images: Rosh Sewpersad)MEDIA CONTACTS• Rosh Sewpersad +27 21 658 7206Wilma den HartighA South African fynbos conservationist has taken the lead to establish Cape Town’s first ever public-private environmental stewardship programme to preserve the country’s valuable fynbos heritage.Fynbos is a term given to a collection of plants, mainly shrubs, which form part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. This is the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and the only one to be found entirely within one country. It is home to more types of indigenous plants than any similar sized area on earth.It all started in 2005, when Rosh Sewpersad bought a piece of land near the town of Atlantis in South Africa’s West Coast region.The land came at a good price and his goal was to rehabilitate the farm, but this was not an easy job – it was severely neglected and densely overgrown with alien vegetation.“While exploring the farm we had to tie string to the shrubs not to get lost,” he remembers.Sewpersad had no idea that once he started clearing the overgrown vegetation on Nirvana Farm he would discover an endangered species of fynbos known as Atlantis Sandveld.This was a significant find as Atlantis Sandveld was previously thought to be extinct.Working with land ownersThrough his efforts to rehabilitate the land, Sewpersad realised the importance of involving private land owners to protect South Africa’s fynbos vegetation.To protect as much fynbos as possible, conservation efforts can’t focus only on reserves and parks, particularly as some of South Africa’s most scarce and threatened habitats are in private ownership.“The amount of fynbos found on private land is significant,” Sewpersad says.In 2009 the first ever stewardship agreement was established with the City of Cape Town, under which Nirvana Farm was declared a conservation area.The programme offers various incentives for land owners, such as rates rebates and support from the City of Cape Town’s fire department to perform ecological burns.“Controlled burns are important as they help to regenerate and activate dormant fynbos seeds,” explains Sewpersad.Through the programme landowners are also supplied with herbicides that prevent alien vegetation from sprouting again.A love for conservationSewpersad, who works as a systems analyst, has no formal training in botany or conservation but it is his interest in the indigenous shrubs that drives him.“I’ve always been interested in conservation causes so it was a natural progression to get involved in fynbos,” he says.His work to preserve the internationally significant biodiversity on Nirvana Farm is also getting noticed, and recently the Mail & Guardian newspaper named him one of this year’s 200 young South Africans, an annual campaign recognising young people under the age of 35 who are doing extraordinary things.A uniquely South African plant under threatSouth Africa’s treasured fynbos vegetation is something unique that the country can lay claim to, and it is an important part of the country’s natural and cultural heritage.Fynbos is famous not only for the diversity of its plant species but also the beauty of its wildflowers.“Preserving fynbos makes sense for so many reasons,” Sewpersad says.Cape fynbos is characterised by exceptionally high numbers of highly localised species – including some that are restricted to areas as little as one square kilometre.It is a major draw card for tourism in the Western Cape, but fynbos has also been used extensively in food preparation, for natural medicine and even in popular culture with traditional songs such as Suikerbossie ek wil jou hê (Afrikaans for ‘Sugarbush, I want you so’), says Sewpersad.This is an Afrikaans folk song and the word “suikerbossie” is used as a term of endearment that could be translated as “sweetie”. The suikerbossie is also a species of protea endemic to the Cape Floral kingdom.Alien vegetation is a threatBut now the conservation of fynbos is coming under pressure and Sewpersad says that in the Cape more than one-third of the species are endangered.The greatest threats to Sandveld fynbos are unsustainable land use and the encroachment of introduced alien vegetation such as Acacia saligna or Port Jackson, Australian myrtle and wattle.Sandveld fynbos was once found along the West Coast, almost as far as the Namibian border. According to Sewpersad it mostly occurs in acidic, coarse-grained soils that are poor in nitrogen and phosphorus.It rarely develops in areas of drought and occurs on the sandy soils of the mountains and coastal plains.This is why alien vegetation is a serious threat to the survival of such fynbos species.Sewpersad explains that in the 1950s and 1960s alien vegetation was introduced to stabilise sand dunes on the West Coast.“At the time, they didn’t realise impact in years to come,” he says.As alien vegetation has no natural predators, there is no way to keep populations in check. “What alien vegetation does is change the soil type so that it becomes unfriendly to fynbos.”Expanding the programmeNext Sewpersad would like to expand the programme to make larger conservation reserves or corridors of fynbos.“This will increase conservation impact if the area is larger,” he says. “Conservation becomes more effective when you link up various green belts.”He is working with the City of Cape Town to establish such corridors, but says this part of the project is also a good opportunity for private companies to get involved through corporate social investment projects.He believes South Africa should do more to market the unique shrub. Fynbos isn’t only beautiful to look at, but it could be exported successfully as cut flowers. After all, one of South Africa’s biggest exports, rooibos tea, is also derived from fynbos species endemic to the Clanwilliam Cederberg area.As he continues to rehabilitate the farm and restore it to its natural beauty, he’s discovering more exceptionally rare and endangered species. Already 186 other plants have been unearthed, of which 33 are critically endangered and on the Red Data list of threatened species.Sewpersad’s dedication to protecting this internationally significant vegetation type is paying off, but he says there is more work to do.“We work hard to remain true to our role as custodians of a last remaining example of naturally-occurring Atlantis Sandveld fynbos in the world – a product of 71-million years of evolution,” he says.last_img read more

Beyond Foursquare: What Search Engines Could Do With Location Data

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#Location#NYT#web center_img Foursquare says it’s in talks with all the major search engines to index the startup’s location data. We’re hearing that Google in particular may be in talks with all the major players in the location-based social networking market. What would a big search engine do with a little startup’s check-ins and annotations about locations? Here are some ideas.The paid partnerships between Google, Microsoft and Yahoo with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and more that were launched last Fall could provide a model, but location provides new opportunities, as well. Isn’t it amazing that on a Web so dependent on Google, there are emergent new kinds of websites so valuable they can charge giant search engines for their content? Here are some things Google might do with that content.Related:Why We Check-in: The Reasons People Use Location-Based Social NetworksFoursquare’s Location Layers – This is BigWhat Twitter’s New Geolocation Makes PossibleReal-time searchLast fall Google started including Tweets, fresh blog posts and more in a live scrolling box on the search results page for particularly hot search queries. Mobile location-based social networks, their comments and tips could help populate those kind of search results for certain keywords or venues.Searching for the big basketball game? Why not include the notes and tips of people checking in at the game right now in the results? Check-ins in general have a lot of potential. Google-backed social TV app Miso or entertainment check-in app GetGlue could power media check-ins that would make search results much fresher.Super Social MapsWhy not annotate map search with live and archival location check-in notes, annotations, tips, etc.? Imagine searching for directions to a venue and being told how many people and which friends were currently checked in there on Loopt, Whrrl and Foursquare. Seeing not just restaurant reviews from CitySearch and Trip Advisor but quick tips from location networks? Sounds like a great idea to me.Mobile SearchNo need to go into too much detail about this: Check-in app content would be a very logical addition to mobile search results. The growth of branded layers of content annotating locations means that a Google mobile search could become a search for nearby content published by the Independent Film Channel, the Huffington Post, etc. That makes mobile search and location networks more appealing for everyone.Privacy, monetization, relevance, personalization, temporal strategies and other matters still need to be figured out. These networks are still very small. The largest among them, Foursquare, has a reported 2 million users. That’s less than 25% the size of StumbleUpon, for example, and just over one third the size of curation blogging platform Tumblr.The potential for location-based social networks is huge, though. And the search engines know it. That’s why they are talking to the startups. For these little startups, this kind of monetization could be an important life-line to fund their continued innovation, too. Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

US demand on autos for NAFTA Make huge changes immediately

first_imgARLINGTON, Va. – The United States is presenting a quadruple-whammy demand on auto manufacturing at the NAFTA negotiations, including a strict “Made In America” requirement with virtually no grace period to give car companies time to adjust.The proposal is viewed as a non-starter by virtually every party involved in automobile production: Canada, Mexico, U.S. industry and even labour groups were calling the proposal completely unattainable.It’s one of the biggest issues of the talks and it’s sure to provoke a backlash on multiple fronts.The U.S. negotiating team showed industry representatives their proposal to Canada and Mexico and it contained four ideas that would complicate auto production, several sources said Friday.First, it requires all cars to include 85 per cent North American content to avoid a tariff, up from the current 62.5 per cent; 50 per cent of a car’s content would have to come from the U.S.; and it would toughen the way content is calculated, with a list upgraded to include parts that didn’t exist in 1994 when NAFTA was originally implemented.A fourth irritant is the minuscule proposed phase-in period.Automakers would have one year to comply with the American-made quota and two years to comply with the overall North American content requirement under the proposal, which is a radical departure not only in substance but also in the timing of phase-in periods normally included in trade agreements.The demands are deemed so impractical the talk in the hallways at the conference site revolves around which of two objectives the Americans are trying to achieve: Sabotage the talks, or shock other parties into concessions.A Canadian auto-parts representative said he tends toward the latter.“My instinct is this is, ‘Art of the Deal,’” said Flavio Volpe. “There are those who think these are poison pills designed … to get the partners to leave the table.”The proposal came as the U.S. made its first significant move on dairy, a traditional sticking point with Canada. Several insiders said Friday the U.S. has asked Canada to scrap its special classifications benefiting domestic producers for things like diafiltered cheese-making products.The U.S. also wants a veto power over future Canadian classification changes.What’s already proposed would lead to changes in Canada’s supply-management system. The U.S. has not yet made any explicit request for a percentage of Canada’s protected dairy market. But that request could still come at any time.Earlier U.S. demands include a termination clause that would cancel NAFTA after five years, unless all parties agree to extend it, and a Buy American rule that would make it far more difficult for non-U.S. companies to bid for public projects.The auto proposal is so controversial, organizations that are normally rivals are allied against it. Volpe’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association says it could create a perverse incentive for producers to leave the continent.Their argument is that it’s far easier to ignore the NAFTA rules and simply pay the U.S. 2.5 per cent import tariff: “It’s not good for the Americans,” Volpe said. “It just doesn’t make sense from a business perspective.”The union representing Canadian auto workers agrees.Unifor’s Jerry Dias says the U.S. would never have the power to enforce the proposed changes because companies would just ignore it: “All this argument about 50 per cent, 70 per cent, 85 per cent, it means nothing as long as the U.S. has a 2.5 per cent tariff. It’s like the emperor with no clothes,” Dias said.“They can yell, scream, threaten, then people say, ‘Okay, here — I’ll pay the 2.5 per cent’.”He said it’s a moot point anyway because there’s no chance Canada or Mexico will ever agree to a NAFTA that looks like what the Americans are proposing.“Get it out of your head. That’s never gonna happen,” Dias said. “This is a deal that is going nowhere very quickly.”Scotiabank analysts agree the proposals would hurt their author.Car companies would have an incentive to move production away from the U.S., and Canada, either to Asia or Mexico, and pay a tariff rather than deal with the rules being proposed by the U.S., said its deputy chief economist.“If accepted, the U.S. (proposal) would be a pyrrhic victory,” said Brett House.House called the proposal a poor solution to a non-existent problem. Growth in auto employment since the Great Recession has skyrocketed in the U.S. to six per cent a year and he said North American content is on the rise in cars produced in Canada and Mexico, contrary to figures being floated by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.“There’s no problem here to address,” he said.One real problem, however, is stagnant wages: U.S. auto salaries have not seen an appreciable increase for years, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dias says that’s the problem everyone should be attacking — by increasing labour standards, especially in Mexico.last_img read more

YouTube revises policy bans dangerous prank videos

first_imgSAN BRUNO, Calif. — YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people from doing dangerous things.The video-sharing network owned by Google is cracking down on harmful or dangerous pranks.Updated policies no longer allow challenges that present “an apparent risk of death” and ban content featuring children “participating in dangerous challenges that pose an imminent risk of injury or bodily harm.”YouTube also says it is drawing the line on content that “intends to incite violence or encourage dangerous or illegal activities” that have a risk of serious harm or death. They include bomb making or pranks that put people in physical danger.A recent “bird box challenge” featured videos of people engaging in activities while blindfolded.People also were sickened in a challenge that involved eating Tide detergent pods.The Associated Presslast_img read more