Washington radio broadcasters rain on 49ers Slip ‘N Slide victory celebration

first_imgBy now you have likely been made aware of the hard feelings 49ers players engendered with their Slip-‘N-Slidefest following Sunday’s 9-0 victory over the NFL’s Washington franchisee.In time, it says here, the team’s launderers will forgive them.Not so the Washington radio crew. As the 49ers expressed sheer ebullience which comes when you go to 6-0 by skunking an outgunned opponent, the tsk, tsk, tsk-ing could be heard in Monticello.“The Niners go sliding as though they were soccer players …last_img

South Africa to export fruit to Thailand

first_img13 June 2012 South African fruit will be exported to Thailand following the establishment of a new market, the Department of Agriculture announced on Monday.The agreement came after 14 years of negotiations, spokeswoman Piwe Mbiko said.“The availability of an additional export market such as this holds economic benefits in terms of the income generated as well as the potential for further growth and job creation,” Mbiko said.Mbiko said citrus fruit destined for the Asian country included sweet orange (citrus sinensis), mandarin (citrus reticulata), lemon (citrus limon) and grapefruit (citrus paradisi).“Fruit types to be exported to the Kingdom of Thailand must be produced in and sourced from commercial orchards that have been registered with and pre-approved by the department,” Mbiko added.Registered orchards participating in the programme will be expected to implement good agricultural practices to ensure that listed quarantine pests of concern to the Thai market are effectively managed.Mbiko said that, as a precautionary measure, mandatory sanitary treatment for false codling moth, Mediterranean fruit fly and Natal fruit fly would be conducted on the produce before it was exported.Sapalast_img read more

SA telescope captures giant star flares

first_img16 May 2013 In a significant milestone for South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the first scientific paper based on observations using the KAT-7 demonstrator radio telescope has been accepted for publication by the prestigious journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society. The seven-dish KAT-7 is paving the way for the 64-dish MeerKAT telescope, due to be commissioned in 2014/15 both as a precursor to the SKA and as one of the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right. “This is a significant milestone for South Africa’s SKA project, proving that our engineers are able to deliver a cutting-edge scientific instrument, and that our scientists are able to use it for frontier science,” Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said in a statement on Thursday. “It bodes well for the delivery of our 64-dish MeerKAT telescope, currently under construction in the Karoo, and for our ability to play a key role in building and commissioning thousands of SKA antennas over the next 10 years.” Giant outbursts from binary star system According to SKA South Africa, local and international astronomers using the KAT-7 telescope in the Karoo along the existing 26-metre radio telescope at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) near Johannesburg, have observed “a neutron star system known as Circinus X-1 as it fires energetic matter from its core in extensive, compact jets that flare brightly”. The details of the flares are visible only in radio waves. Circinus X-1 is a two-star system in which one of the companion stars is a high-density neutron star – an extremely dense and compact remnant of an exploded star, only about 20 kilometres in diameter. When the two stars are at their closest in their elliptical orbit, the gravity of the dense neutron star pulls material from the companion star, causing a powerful jet of material to blast out from the system. When KAT-7 observed Circinus X-1 between December 2011 and January 2012, the system flared twice at levels among the highest observed in recent years. KAT-7 was able to catch both these flares and follow them as they progressed – the first time that the system has been observed in such detail during multiple flare cycles. “One way of explaining what is happening is that the compact neutron star gobbles up part of its companion star and then fires much of this matter back out again,” said Dr Richard Armstrong, a SKA Fellow at the University of Cape Town and lead author of the paper reporting these results. “The dramatic radio flares happen when the matter Circinus X-1 has violently ejected slows down as it smashes into the surrounding gas.” At the same time, Circinus X-1 was being observed at HartRAO at two higher frequencies as part of a long-term study of this object. HartRAO Emeritus Astronomer Dr George Nicolson, a pioneer of radio astronomy in South Africa, said the flares were much stronger at the higher frequencies, “and by combining the three sets of measurements, we could study how each flare evolved as time progressed and investigate details of the turbulent interactions of the jet. “These types of observations help us to understand how matter is accreted onto extremely dense systems, such as neutron stars and black holes,” Armstrong said. “They also shed light on how neutron stars are able to generate these powerful outflows and associated radio bursts.”Development of the ThunderKAT project According to Professor Justin Jonas, associate director for science and engineering at SKA South Africa, the KAT-7 telescope was built as an engineering test bed to refine the design and systems for the MeerKAT telescope, “but we are absolutely delighted that it has turned out to be a top quality science instrument, capable of producing significant science. “We plan to continue using KAT-7 to do science until at least 2015, when part of the 64-dish MeerKAT telescope will become available to researchers,” Jonas said. The observations and analysis that went into the paper accepted for publication involved collaborative work by scientists from SKA South Africa along with local and international universities. This work forms part of the development of the ThunderKAT project on MeerKAT, which aims to find many more of these types of systems in the galaxy, and to search for new types of radio systems that change rapidly with time. According to the two leaders of the ThunderKAT project, Professor Rob Fender of the University of Southampton in the UK and Professor Patrick Woudt of the University of Cape Town, the project will search for all types of radio bursts and flashes in KAT-7 and MeerKAT data on timescales from seconds to years. Finding and studying the systems that produce these outbursts will allow scientists to test the extremes of physics, and are beyond anything achievable in any laboratory on Earth. “These systems provide a unique glimpse of the laws of physics operating in extraordinary regimes”, Woudt says, “and nearly all such events are associated with transient radio emissions.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

UN peace role for South African Nicholas “Fink’ Haysom

first_img8 October 2014Sixty-two-year-old Nicholas Haysom, Nelson Mandela’s former legal adviser, is the United Nation’s new chief in Afghanistan. Popularly known as “Fink’ to his friends, Haysom brings with him a wealth of experience as head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama).Haysom, who has been deputy special representative since 2012, succeeds Jan Kubiš of Slovakia. Before his appointment by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as his special representative in Afghanistan on 1 October, Haysom was Ban’s political adviser in New York, and before that UN adviser to the constitutional negotiations in post-war Iraq.Anti-apartheid politicsHaysom went to school at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal and obtained degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Cape Town where he was SRC chairman and president of the National Union of South African Students. He was active in anti-apartheid student politics and spent several periods in detention. He later practised law in Joburg.Haysom, who was deeply involved in the negotiations which produced South Africa’s first democratic government in 1994, is conscious that Afghanistan is not South Africa or any of the other countries where he has tried to resolve bitter conflicts over the past 20 years, including Burundi, Sudan and Iraq.In Afghanistan, he takes command of UN operations in a country where the newly elected government is still very much at war with Taliban Islamist extremists. Speaking from Kabul, Haysom said he was lucky to be taking up office during a lull in the country’s turbulent politics.New Afghanistan governmentUnder guidance of the UN and the international community, a new government of national unity is being formed after bitterly contested presidential elections between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Ghani was eventually declared winner of the elections and a new government of national unity has been formed, with Ghani as president (succeeding Hamid Karzai) and Abdullah as “chief executive’ pending an amendment to the constitution to create a new position of prime minister that he will fill.The new Afghanistan government faces significant and immediate challenges, chief among these being insufficient money in the coffers to pay salaries of civil servants. In addition, Afghanistan is a country where sharp ethnic tension reinforces political divisions, according to Haysom. Ghani belongs to the dominant Pashtun tribe, while Abdullah comes from another major group, the Tajiks.“And so the formation of the government of national unity was widely welcomed by the international community, the neighbours and a large section of the Afghan population,’ he said.Haysom said there were elements in both factions of government who did not believe that a government of national unity served their interests. But he was confident that the government would develop the clear sense of unity of purpose it would need to succeed.But Haysom said he believed Ghani and Abdullah were capable of governing inclusively and both seemed to be personally committed to the government of national unity.Taliban threatOn the Taliban threat, Ghani declared in his inaugural presidential address that he would launch a peace process with the group. Haysom noted that war was not sustainable in the long term. Peace was required to attract investors and to prevent the drain of Afghanistan’s capital and skills. In any case, financing an army, comprising more than 350 000 soldiers, was imposing a huge burden on one of the world’s poorest countries.Haysom said for peace to emerge in Afghanistan both the government of national unity and the Taliban would have to recognise that they were caught in a hurting stalemate with no prospect of a military victory by either.Haysom said the UN had been in contact with the Taliban for the past two to three years, mostly for practical purposes such as gaining access to contested areas for delivering humanitarian aid and seeking ways to avoid civilian casualties.But the UN had also engaged them on the idea of participating in an intra-Afghan peace dialogue which some had seemed agreeable to. That dialogue would have to be owned and led by Afghans themselves. Any UN role could only be supportive and, accordingly, the international community must wait for the new government to decide on its approach.End to civil warHaysom’s sense from his contacts with the Taliban was that the more moderate and nationalist members did not want the civil war to drag on interminably, destroying the country’s human and material capital.A recent agreement between the new Afghan government and the US and Nato to allow some troops to remain beyond 2014 was not a game-changer from a purely security perspective. However, it was a positive development from a psychological and political perspective. It was a clear signal to ordinary Afghans of the international community’s intention to stay the course.In addition, it would help guarantee financial support, and hence the viability of the Afghan security forces, rather than supplementing existing combat troops, according to Haysom.Peter Fabriciuslast_img read more

What You Need to Know about 3D Technology & Vision Problems

first_img12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Tags: #Analysis#Multimedia#news#NYT#Real World#Trends#Video Services#web 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Apparently, viewing 3D images, even the glasses-free kind, can negatively impact the vision development in small children. According to a report from The Wall St. Journal, both Nintendo and Toshiba have recently issued warnings about the vision damage that could occur when children under six view 3D video images. To quote, Toshiba’s warning says that “due to the possibility of impact on vision development, viewers of 3D video images should be aged 6 or older.”?Outside the U.S., a Japanese 3D consortium with members like Samsung and LG for example, has issued similar warnings, the WSJ reported.That sounds serious, right?Engadget recently downplayed the dangers though, specifically referencing Nintendo CEO Reggie Fils-Aime’s statement from six months prior that his company’s warning is only in place because children, especially young children, have eyes that are not fully-formed. In other words, it’s no big deal.But the warnings, you should know, aren’t just your run-of-the-mill precautions (do not eat silica gel packets, do not leave child alone with plastic bag) – they’re based on the recommendations of an electronics industry group’s recommendations, Toshiba says. The company’s TV marketing chief, Yuji Motomura declined to tell the WSJ which one, however.We think we may have an idea. The unnamed group could be the well-known [email protected] Consortium, especially considering it recently held a meeting on an oddly related topic: using 3D to diagnose vision problems in young children.Wait: 3D Identifies Vision Problems in Children? Doesn’t Cause It? 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App sarah perez This early research has clearly resulted in the “recommendations” to warn against 3D viewing by small children by the hardware manufacturers like Toshiba, we would guess, as it’s believed that these types of problems fade as children age. (Dr. Powers notes that it’s expected that children will “differ from adults” in terms of discomfort and related issues).At the end of the day, what this really means is that tech enthusiast or not, it may be unwise to plop your smallest children in front of 3D movies like Avatar or Toy Story, for example, and it may be unwise for you to do the same. There’s actually very little research in the effects of long-term 3D viewing on children and adults.Until now, 3D video viewing has been a somewhat isolated experience – a movie here and there, where you wear silly shades for a couple of hours. But with the advancements in the technology, there’s an industry-wide push to 3D-enable all your screens, before the research on what happens by doing so is even complete.And for that reason, manufacturers are prescribing caution, at least for children. What 3D-related warning labels will crop up in the future for the rest of us is still unknown.Image credits: plant – Callipygian, phone – PocketLint, TV – Toshiba Related Posts According to [email protected]’s website, the group met on Dec. 7 in San Diego to discuss several topics relating to vision standards, including the “promotion of the benefits of utilizing stereo viewing for diagnosing and improving vision in children and adults.” In fact, reads the article, “early research by experts has shown that binocular vision issues, which inhibit successful perception of 3D images, are often linked with reading and comprehension issues in children.”Or, more simply put, vision issues mean other developmental problems may be present. And 3D technology could help identify these problems.Well now, that sounds great, right?On the conference’s home page, a session regarding “special issues related to 3D and children” was held mid-day on the 7th. Included in this session was a presentation by Dr. Maureen Powers of the Gemstone Foundation, a research institute in California. You can read through it for yourself here. In it, she described several issues related to viewing 3D images. To save you time, the conclusion is that a large number of school-aged children have binocular vision problems and a relatively large number have binocular dysfunction.What This MeansWhat this means, says Dr. Powers, is that while most children will be fine viewing 3D, but some children will not be comfortable – in fact, the group experiencing discomfort may be as high as 25%. Some of the children will complain, some will not and some will be so uncomfortable that they will not watch 3D video images at all or play games. The best guess at this time is that latter group will be about 5% to 10% of school-age children. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… As the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011) kicks into high gear this week in Las Vegas, we’re again seeing a number of 3D-enabled products from TVs to tablets to mobile devices. It’s the second (or is it third?) coming of 3D, it seems, and this time around it’s often glasses-free.Much of the development around the technology is concerned with bringing 3D to your living room, such as is the case with the 3D-enabled TVs from LG and Toshiba, for example, Samsung’s 3D LED monitors, or the addition of 3D movies to the streaming service VUDU, which can pipe Hollywood entertainment directly into your living room. But 3D is showing up on other screens, too – mobile phonesand tablets, gaming devices and mobile 3D DTV devices – although still in early forms.But before you go all in, early-adopting this new craze, there’s a little tidbit of not-inconsequential data you need to know first.3D Impacts Vision Development, Says Toshibalast_img read more

Setting Expectations and Coaching your team

first_imgMake it Clear that There Are No Dumb Questions.Don’t assume that your staff and trades will immediately understand everything you are asking for when making the changes that green building will require.Most people are agreeable and want to please their superiors, so you will often hear “yes” when you ask if they understand, but this does not always mean that they do, in fact, understand you. Make it clear that it is not only OK to ask for more details and explanations, but it is important that they ask questions until they know exactly what you want, and they should continue to ask questions through the job as needed.People worry that they might sound stupid if they ask questions, often because they have been treated that way in the past by other employers. Be a positive influence on them—encourage them to question you. Listen carefully to what they are saying, compliment them for taking the time to bring important issues to your attention, and get them what they need promptly. Make it clear that it is important to you that they take the time to get all the information to do the job correctly the first time, instead of doing it wrong because they were afraid to ask a question.Established an important two-part rule: 1) If I give you an assignment and you tell me you can do it, it is your responsibility. 2) If you tell me you have all you can handle and I give you something else, it is no longer your responsibility if you fail.It is important for every team member to say when they have enough on their plate. My favorite employees were the ones who knew their limits and told me when they could not take on anything else. The best ones would ask, “If I add this project to my list which one do you want to fail?”Watch out for team members who don’t know their limits, particularly when they are dealing with new techniques and materials involved in green building. I have looked employees in the eye and asked them specifically— “Can you handle your current workload?” to which they answer “yes,” only to fail miserably a few weeks later, complaining that I gave them too much work, or they didn’t understand what I wanted, and how could I expect them to do everything?We are all adults, and we need to act like it. If someone tells me that they can’t take on any more work and I give them an additional assignment, I have absolved them of the responsibility of failure, it is now on me. If they don’t tell me that they are too busy and willingly take on more, then it is their responsibility if they fail. Coach these people to learn when to say no, or send them on their way.You also need to take your share of the responsibility—be aware when you are overloading your team—they could be telling you that they have had enough but you may not be listening. Make sure you have not created an atmosphere where people are afraid to speak out.Being a good manager requires bi-directional communication skills in order to make your team and your projects successful.last_img read more

In the news today Dec 20

first_imgFour stories in the news for Thursday, Dec. 20———WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM ADDS VOICE TO SEATBELT PUSHPlayers with the University of Alberta Pandas women’s hockey team are adding their voices to calls for mandatory seatbelts on team buses. The women’s team was returning to Edmonton from a game in Calgary on November 24th when its chartered bus clipped a semi that was pulled over on the highway. Several of the players say their first thoughts were about the Humboldt Broncos crash. Sixteen people were killed and 13 players were injured in April after a bus carrying the Saskatchewan junior hockey team and a semi collided.———MAN GUILTY OF KILLING CALGARY WOMAN AND HER DAUGHTERTearful loved ones stood and applauded after a jury found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter. Edward Downey, 48, had testified he didn’t kill Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman in July 2016. “Now, I can go home and bury Sara and Taliyah’s ashes and forever let them rest in peace,” Baillie’s mother, Janet Fredette, said after Wednesday’s verdict. The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but it has yet to be determined whether Downey will have to wait 25 or 50 years to be eligible for parole.———BILL TO PREVENT STRIKE AT OPG EXPECTED TO PASSThe Ontario government is expected to pass legislation today that would prevent a strike or lockout at a utility that provides roughly half of the province’s power. The government called legislators back from the holiday break on Monday in an effort to end the dispute between the Power Workers’ Union and Ontario Power Generation, saying the move was necessary to stave off outages. The Progressive Conservatives say their bill, if passed, will send the matter to arbitration so it can be resolved without jeopardizing the province’s electricity supply.———SMOKE TOP WEATHER STORY IN CANADA THIS YEARChoking from smoke, sweltering in the heat or cursing early or late snow, Canadians could be forgiven for asking just what the heck happened to the weather in 2018. “It was almost a smorgasbord of everything that could go wrong,” said David Phillips, senior climate scientist for Environment Canada. Smoke, said Phillips, was Canada’s top weather story this year. Driven by hot, dry conditions, the number of fires was higher than last year and the area burned was double the 25-year averages. Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and down the Pacific Coast to California darkened skies and soured air for more than 10 million Canadians.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— A court appearance is scheduled today for three people who pleaded guilty to a naked kidnapping near Leduc, Alta., in November 2017.— Unifor national president Jerry Dias holds news conference following a meeting with General Motors on the future of the Oshawa, Ont. assembly plant.— BlackBerry will hold a conference call today to discuss financial results from its fiscal 2019 third quarter.The Canadian Presslast_img read more