Effort to rescue trees on levees

first_imgRemoving trees and shrubs from the California levees would create barren culverts, critics of the federal policy say. “Let’s not forget we are a proud city of trees,” said Gregory Kondos, a Sacramento artist who paints the tree-lined levees. Spokesman Dana Cruikshank said the corps is drafting a new national policy that would allow some small trees and shrubs to remain. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – An Army Corps of Engineers policy is threatening trees and shrubs on 1,600 miles of Central Valley levees. The policy requires levees to be cleared of all vegetation to preserve channel capacity and allow access for inspections and repairs. It’s based largely on conditions along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, where levees were built back from the rivers and there is ample wildlife habitat between the levees and the water’s edge. But levees were built close to the water in California to create high water velocity to wash mining debris out of the rivers following the Gold Rush. last_img read more

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Council prepares to grit selected routes on Monday morning

first_imgDonegal County Council has announced that a number of main routes across Donegal will be gritted on Monday morning.Donegal is expected to see more strong winds and wintry weather overnight, with winds gradually easing before dawn.A Status Orange wind warning will be in place for Donegal until 6am. The following routes will be gritted from 6AM on Monday 9th December:01: National Primary North02: National Primary Central07: Milford South09: Cill Ulta East12: Binswilly13: Stranorlar North14: Stranorlar East15: Stranorlar West18: Donegal SouthLT: Letterkenny TownCouncil prepares to grit selected routes on Monday morning was last modified: December 8th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Fishing the North Coast: Rockfish, tuna still viable options out of Eureka

first_imgEven though the calendar is creeping towards November, there’s still a few viable options for Eureka offshore anglers. A few boats ran for tuna out of Eureka on Monday, and even more made the trek out of Crescent City. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing made the run from Eureka and found good conditions roughly 45 miles from the Humboldt Bay entrance.“The water color and temperature were good, but we didn’t find any big concentrations of fish,” said Klassen. “We got a handful on baits …last_img read more

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Natural Selection Theory Makes Scientists Lazy

first_imgFolks, if you want to evolve resistance to Darwine, then please learn the art of Baloney Detecting. ‘Natural selection’ is a vacuous concept that provides a convenient way out from doing the hard work of science.In the history of science, certain concepts have seemed intuitively obvious to natural philosophers, beyond the need of questioning. To Ptolemy, the earth was fixed. To Greeks and medieval scholars, sickness was caused by humors or vapors. To early moderns, vermin sprang from filth (spontaneous generation). Victorians believed in the myth of progress (which Darwin’s theory fit perfectly). In the 20th century, Marxists explained everything as manifestations of the “class struggle” (which also fit the ideas of Darwin and Malthus).Rather than question whether these concepts could bear the weight of the evidence, the true believers merely assumed them. It should not be surprising, therefore, that scientists in the 21st century have their own myths. As we shall see, “natural selection” is the current myth in biology. Many lazy scientists feel they have done their work to simply refer to natural selection as the cause of whatever phenomenon they are investigating. If you don’t believe it, here are some recent examples in the news.[Note: Please read the sections “Clarifying the Claim” and “What to Look For” in the January 10 article before proceeding.]Natural selection and spatial memory link shown in mountain chickadee research (Science Daily). Scientists in Reno, Nevada collected data on survival of chickadees in the Sierra Nevada mountains in wintertime. “Chickadees with better learning and memory skills, needed to find numerous food caches, are more likely to survive their first winter, a long-term study of mountain chickadees has found.” Why was that? “Enhanced spatial cognition and brain power evolves via natural selection,” they conclude. But if natural selection (NS) were a directional, progressive law of nature, chickadees would be today’s Einsteins after millions of years. Why would any dumb chicks be born? And yet all through the research, the chickadees were still chickadees! No speciation occurred. Darwin used NS to explain the origin of species—indeed, the entire biosphere—not just variations within species. The students involved worked hard on data collection, but here’s what one said: “Results like these (about natural selection) make the long days of digging out snowmobiles, shoveling snow and programming our chickadee feeders from underneath a tarp in sleeting weather worth the effort twice over.” They were not lazy about data collection, certainly; they were lazy about explanation. Other possibilities than NS should have been considered, such as pre-programmed adaptability. Saying “Stuff Happens” (NS) says nothing at all.Darwin’s finches don’t tell the whole story of avian evolution (Phys.org). This article provides good news and bad news. The good news is that the icon of Darwin’s finches is in trouble (again). The bad news is that the scientists at University College London won’t let go of their lucky charm, natural selection, which perpetuated the icon to begin with. The authors show extreme bird beaks which, they agree, cannot be explained by natural selection due to competition for food. But like a bad habit, in comes the old NS mindset. Measuring beaks and skulls, they tell a new selectionist just-so story:The researchers also discovered that birds who eat grains—such as finches and quail—and those who survive on the nectar of flowers—like hummingbirds—exhibit the highest rate of cranial evolution. By contrast, terrestrial carnivores—hawks, falcons, owls and other birds who hunt and eat using their talons—exhibit a very slow rate of cranial change.“This is where natural selection comes into play,” said Professor Anjali Goswami, a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum and a co-author on the study.“Birds that eat nectar or seeds are going to experience lots of competition for resources and must evolve in order to survive.“In the end, they admit their story is simplistic. “Our study focused on the skull, but we hypothesise that other parts of the body could be shaped by diet and ecology, such as wings, talons, and stomachs,” they say, raising the perhapsimaybecouldness index to justify their lazy explanation.Darwin’s rabbit helps to explain the fightback against myxomatosis (Phys.org). Examples of resistance to pathogens are often cited as examples of NS in action. “Nearly seventy years after myxomatosis decimated the rabbit populations of Australia, Britain and France, a new study reveals how the species has evolved genetic resistance to the disease through natural selection,” the story goes. In this case again, though, the research starts and ends with one species. Nothing evolved. Take away the threat, and the population would probably return to its previous ratio. The flawed reasoning in this article could be applied to Jews in WWII. Did the ones who survived the death camps evolve resistance to Nazism by natural selection? Perish the thought!How genes and evolution shape gender – and transgender – identity (The Conversation). This article represents a new low in selection theory. It demonstrates that having a PhD is no protection from absurdity and social pressure. Dr Jenny Graves claims that our sexual identity is selected (naturally) by the genes of the opposite sex. And then she uses this claim to rationalize the gender fluidity trend, saying:These variants of sexual identity and behaviour may therefore be considered examples of what we call “sexual antagonism”, in which a gene variant has different selective values in men and women. It makes for the amazing variety of human sexual behaviours that we are beginning to recognise.Is she a racist? Does she not realize that we are all Homo sapiens? Is she denying free will? Then, logically, natural selection must have caused her to write comedy, as she follows social fads off the cliff. (Visited 372 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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South Africa reaches out to Haiti

first_imgA girl survivor of the Haiti earthquake. (Image: UN Photo/Logan Abassi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Saul Kgomotso Molobi Department of International Relations Chief Director: Public Diplomacy +27 82 940 1647 RELATED ARTICLES • Super computers to the rescue • Tutu to help island set up TRC • Hope for homeless childrenBongani NkosiSouth Africa has acted swiftly in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince earlier this week.The country’s government, private companies and charity organisations have pledged to help the Caribbean island nation through an aid package that will be delivered by the National Disaster Management Centre.Government has put R1-million (US$134 970) towards the relief effort that will be led by prominent NGOs Rescue South Africa and Gift of the Givers. Private companies, Vodacom, Discovery and Netcare have also come on board and donated funds for the mission.Vodacom, a leading cellular network provider in the country, has given Rescue South Africa R1.5-million ($202 279) to fly out a team of 40 professionals, including trauma doctors, paramedics, search-dog units, specialist rescuers, civil engineers and chemical and safety specialists.“We are honoured to have been able to lend a hand to Rescue SA on their mission to assist the people of Haiti with medical services,” chairperson of the Vodacom Foundation, Mthobi Tyamzashe, said in a statement.Tyamzashe announced that companies in the Vodafone Group, of which Vodacom is part, have also contributed to aid for Haiti. Vodafone in the UK and Spain have each donated more than R300 000 (about $40 403) to the Red Cross to boost its mission, he said.Gift of the Givers’ 10-member search and rescue team left for Haiti on Thursday evening. The team includes a group of professionals skilled in disaster response, urban rescue and life support.The organisation said its team took R2.5-million ($337 372) worth of rescue equipment with them, which will be used to locate survivors trapped in the rubble. They also have a “substantial amount of essential and emergency medicines” with them.Gift of the Givers’ team of skilled trauma medical specialists – including orthopaedic, trauma and maxillo facial surgeons, anaesthetists and advanced life support paramedics – is expected to depart for Haiti over the weekend.The organisation said response from donors has been “very good” and they’re hoping to fly R5-million ($674 558) worth of supplies – including tents, blankets, water purification tablets, high energy and protein supplements, bottled water and additional medicines – over as soon as a Boeing 747 becomes available.It also urging South Africans who want to contribute funds to visit their website at www.giftofthegivers.org or phone 0800 786 777 or +27 33 345 0163.Rescue South Africa and Gift of the Givers are highly experienced in leading critical aid missions on behalf of South Africa. They were both heavily involved in helping Mozambique in 2000 when that country was hit by massive floods.The Salvation Army in South Africa has also appealed to the public to make donations to help it extend its humanitarian efforts in Haiti.Messages of hopeMessages of support for the people of Haiti have been pouring in from South Africa, with President Jacob Zuma sending his official condolences to the country on Wednesday.“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the earthquake either emotionally and psychologically, or through the loss of life of loved ones or destroyed infrastructure,” Zuma said in a statement.Former Haiti president Dr Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who’s been in exile in South Africa since 2004, expressed his intention to return to mourn with his country. But it is not yet clear when he will make the trip.“It is a tragedy that defies expression; a tragedy that compels all people to the highest levels of human compassion and solidarity,” Aristide said. “From Africa, the ancestral home of Haiti, we send our profoundest condolences and love to the thousands of children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters worst affected.”The earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, which has a population of about 3-million, on Tuesday, registering 7.0 on the Richter scale. About 50 000 were killed in the quake, which destroyed one in every 10 homes in the city and left about 300 000 people homeless, according to the United Nations.It also decimated critical buildings, including the country’s Parliament, schools, hospitals and tax office. Rescue and recovery efforts are continuing as thousands of victims, many feared dead, are still trapped under rubble.last_img read more

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LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTER

first_imgReferees John and Louise Frost are refereeing together at the 2006 NTL for the first time, but hopefully the first time of many.After gaining her level 4 qualification in December 2005, Louise is just 23 years old and is here at the Seniors 2006 NTL for the first time, while her father John is here for the third time.“It’s certainly a challenge being at the NTL, it gets you moving to your full potential and is also great for meeting lots of other referees you have heard about but don’t know,” said Louise.“I’ve also really enjoyed running water for other referees, it’s good to know you’re helping and that you’re positive for the referees on the sideline, encouraging them and so forth,” she said.After coming back from an overseas trip and being just a little low on money, John managed to convince Louise that refereeing was the answer to her financial needs.“We’ve refereed at park level together for a while, and I did need the exercise, so dad got me going and now we’re here,” Louise said.“I think that kids and young adults need to know refereeing is an excellent way to build confidence, before I started I was really shy, now I don’t shut up!”They may have started refereeing at park level, but John can see Louise continuing right through to a World Cup event.“I may be bias, but I believe my daughter can go all the way to World Cup competition, she is only 23 but she’s very mature and is becoming a very good referee,” John said.“I’m very proud of her, she’s strong and committed and has fun at the same time.”Louise is also quick to praise her father in the way he handles the players on the field.“He’s an excellent referee, the way he always gives it his all, his words are always wise and he runs really hard,” she said.While the father and daughter combo are yet to referee together at the NTL, it’s clear the example John has set for Louise and the lead she has to follow.last_img read more

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10 months agoWest Ham defender Cresswell: Anderson the new Payet

first_imgWest Ham defender Cresswell: Anderson the new Payetby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham defender Aaron Cresswell has likened Felipe Anderson to former teammate Dimitri Payet.Anderson has been in sensational form in recent weeks, scoring seven goals in his last nine Premier League games.Cresswell said: “I’ve obviously not played as much as I’d have liked this season but every time I have played with him, going forward he’s outstanding.”He is definitely a game-changer. You look at the amount of games he has changed for us and the amount of goals he has scored, assists, created chances, he has been fantastic and long may that continue.”He’s a similar type of player to Payet, coming in off the left and creating things, scoring goals and getting assists, and this season he is our top goalscorer now, he has been fantastic for us.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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CEOs, Hollywood actors got kids to elite US colleges though bribes, fake photos!

first_imgBOSTON: Nearly 50 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged on Tuesday in what federal authorities say was a $25 million scam to help wealthy Americans get their children into elite universities like Yale and Stanford. The most sweeping college admissions fraud scheme ever unearthed in the United States was masterminded at a small college-preparation company based in Newport Beach, California, prosecutors said. It relied on bribes to coaches, phony test takers and even doctored photos misrepresenting non-athletic applicants as elite competitors to gain admissions for the offspring of rich parents. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping”These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney in Boston, said at a news conference. “For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.” William “Rick” Singer, 58, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges related to running the scheme through his Edge College & Career Network, which charged from $100,000 to as much as $2.5 million per child for the services, which were masked as contributions to a scam charity Singer runs. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang”I was essentially buying or bribing the coaches for a spot,” Singer said as he pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. “And that occurred very frequently.” Dressed in a dark sweater blazer, wearing glasses, her hair in a ponytail, Huffman, best known for her role in the TV series, “Desperate Housewives,” was among around 20 defendants who appeared in a Los Angeles court. Many were slumped in chairs and one woman tried to hide her face. Huffman’s actor husband William H. Macy, known for roles in movies such as “Fargo” and the hit TV series “Shameless”, sat in the front row of court wearing a gray sweater coat. Magistrate Judge Alexander MacKinnon ordered Huffman’s release on a $250,000 bond before a March 29 hearing in Boston. All the defendants who appeared in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles were likely to be released on bond, Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in an email. Macy has not been charged in the case, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Schleifer told the court he was a “subject of the investigation.” Loughlin’s husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer known for his “Mossimo” brand, sat in court wearing a hooded sweatshirt and close-cropped hair. He was released on a $1 million bond. Loughlin, best known for her role in the ABC sitcom “Full House” and the recent Netflix sequel “Fuller House,” has also been charged. Huffman, Giannulli and Loughlin have yet to enter pleas. The case was the latest in a series of scandals that have rocked the high-stakes, high-stress world of admissions to top colleges. Prosecutors in Boston in recent years have also charged Chinese nationals with cheating on entrance exams, while the College Board, which administers the SAT tests, was rocked in 2016 by a security breach that exposed hundreds of questions planned for tests. Some 300 law enforcement agents swept across the country to make arrests in what agents code-named “Operation Varsity Blues.” Prosecutors have so far named 33 parents, 13 coaches and associates of Singer’s business. Other parents charged include Manuel Henriquez, the chief executive of specialty finance lender Hercules Capital Inc; Gordon Caplan, the co-chairman of international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Bill McGlashan Jr., who heads a buyout investment arm of private equity firm TPG Capital; and Douglas Hodge, the former CEO of the investment management firm Pimco. Representatives for the companies, and for Huffman and Loughlin, either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. The alleged masterminds of scam and parents who paid into it could all face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. On a call with a wealthy parent, prosecutors said, Singer summed up his business: “What we do is help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school.” No students have been charged and authorities said some of them were unaware of the scams. Prosecutors said it was up to the universities what to do with students admitted through cheating. Yale University and the University of Southern California (USC) said that they were cooperating with investigators. “The Department of Justice believes that Yale has been the victim of a crime perpetrated by its former women’s soccer coach,” Yale said in a statement. The coach, Rudolph Meredith, resigned in November after 24 years running the women’s soccer team. Meredith, who is accused of accepting a $400,000 bribe from Singer, is due to plead guilty, prosecutors said. His lawyer declined to comment.last_img read more

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Excessive hygiene can cause antibiotic resistance

first_imgWhile maintaining hygiene is good for health, excess cleanliness could lead to antibiotic resistance often resulting to death and illness as well, suggests a new study. Comparing all existing microorganisms and antibiotic resistances, the researchers at Austria’s University of Graz, showed that microbial diversity decreases in areas with high levels of hygiene and the diversity of resistances increases. The team compared the intensive care unit of the institute with clean rooms subject to strong microbial control in the aerospace industry and with public and private buildings which have hardly any microbial controls. “In environments with strong microbial control in the intensive care unit and industrially used clean rooms, there are increasing antibiotic resistances which show a high potential for combining with pathogens,” said Alexander Mahnert, director at the varsity. The number of people who become ill and die from antibiotic-resistant germs is increasing worldwide, said the study, published in Nature Communications. Hence, the results indicated that a stable microbial diversity in clinical areas counteracts the spread of resistances. With the microbial control of pathogens already being used in cultivated plants and also in humans in the framework of stool transplantation, pursuing such ideas in indoor areas in future is recommended, said Gabriele Berg from the varsity. The team suggested regular airing, houseplants, deliberate use of useful microorganisms and reduction of antibacterial cleaning agents could be the strategies in maintaining or improving microbial diversity.last_img read more

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