See also:Austin gives QPR vital victory over LeicesterRangers dealt with pressure, says RedknappBoost for QPR as Yun injury fears are allayedRangers not interested in AlvarezFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
SAN FRANCISCO — In the first practice since five-straight NBA Finals runs, Warriors coach Steve Kerr opened training camp Tuesday with one of the longest practices under his tenure. Two-and-half hours. Probably an hour longer, to his estimation, than any practice last season.“This is different,” Kerr said. “We’re having to stop and teach, more stops and starts, more instruction, more Why’s and How’s. The first part of camp will especially be, I think, more detailed. And then once we get …
Often the most interesting science stories are the ones about us– how our bodies and minds function. Actions we perform each day without much thought are made possible by precision engineering, sometimes at the molecular level. Here is a selection of news briefs about human superpowers.Electrical engineering: We have untold myriads of electrical voltage sensors in our cells. They are so small, scientists must use extremely delicate techniques of X-ray crystallography to try to determine their structure. Science Now summarizes recent papers by Roderick MacKinnon et al. (see 05/01/2003, 3/12/2002 entries) about potassium channels in the membranes of neurons. The structure of the pores and the adjacent voltage sensors is coming into focus. There are four positively-charged arginine molecules (amino acids) that sit on top of the voltage sensors that surround the channel. “These charged arginines,” the article says, “move in response to changes in the voltage across the cell membrane, pressing up and down on the lever that opens and closes the pore.” Just how this movement takes place is still unknown, but it happens really fast. That’s what makes you cry ouch almost instantly after stubbing your toe: an electrical current, set up by these voltage-dependent ion channels, travelled from neuron to neuron from toe to brain in a fraction of a second.Optical engineering: What could be clearer than a cornea? This outer surface of the eye looks simple, like a glass lens, but it is very complex. EurekAlert summarized work by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The scientists identified 141 distinct proteins in the cornea, 70% of which were previously unknown. (For the structure of protein, see our online book). These complex molecules perform many important roles, such as “antimicrobial defense, heme and iron transport, tissue protection against UV-radiation and oxidative stress,” it lists. “Several other proteins were known antiangiogenic factors, which prevent the formation of blood vessels.” The cornea is not a mere gateway for light, but a lively, active place, constantly undergoing maintenance, repair and cleaning. The September issue of Sky and Telescope recommends that you think carefully before deciding on laser surgery on this delicate, dynamic, living surface.Software engineering: Perceiving perception: Your brain uses database technology. A press release from Howard Hughes Medical Institute states that “The brain may interpret the information it receives from sensory neurons using a code more complicated than scientists previously thought.” This “perception code,” studied by experiments with monkeys (which presumably have similar neuronal equipment to humans) found that “most attention to the first 250 milliseconds of neural firing, and that their attention falls off exponentially from there.” Maybe some form of attention deficit is built in to deal with TMUI (too much uninteresting information). See also a related report on EurekAlert about work at Johns Hopkins, “How the brain understands pictures.” Researchers found that “the system continuously organizes the whole scene, even though we usually are attending only to a small part of it.” Three or four times per second, the brain organizes the chunks of a scene into something like a database, according to a “sophisticated program” to “select and process the information that is relevant at a given moment.” As one researcher visualized it, imagine the challenge of pulling order out of a chaotic jumble of Lego blocks. He said, “the visual system first has to arrange this bag of blocks into useful ‘chunks’ and provide threads by which one or the other chunk can be pulled out for further processing.”The Cellular 007: When major threats arise, sometimes you have to give the cops their leash and turn them loose to do whatever is necessary to maintain security. EurekAlert reported on work by Yokoyama et al. at Washington School of Medicine. They found that natural killer cells act like the “James Bond” of the immune system. Under certain circumstances, the body gives them a “license to kill” – “the arsenals of natural killer cells only become fully armed after a receptor on their surfaces interacts with a molecule on the surfaces of other cells.” That’s the warrant to search and destroy. The article says that these natural killer cells are produced in the bone marrow, and that the entire population is replaced in a week’s time. “The molecular details of the process were so unusual,” says the report, “that Yokoyama and his colleagues found themselves struggling to develop terms to describe it to other immunologists.”Safe Stem Cells: Scientists at Pittsburgh School of Medicine, reports EurekAlert, have found that discarded placentas apparently contain stem cells with the “same potential as the more controversial counterparts,” embryonic stem cells. If so, then “placentas would no longer be relegated to the trashcan,” but become a lifesaving source of regenerative material. See also the MSNBC News report.Navigational Guidance and Control: Those orthogonal semicircular canals in our inner ears do more than just help balance. Because they respond to acceleration and deceleration, reports EurekAlert on work by the Institute of Neurology in London, they provide the brain with inputs for an “on-line movement guidance system” that is crucial when visual cues are absent, such as finding your way in a dark room. Additionally, the otolith organs (see 10/10/2003 entry), part of the vestibular system, are essential for determining which way is up. The article states that “the inner-ear vestibular organs provide what is essentially an on-line movement guidance system for maintaining the accuracy of whole-body movements.” This not only helps those of us lost in the dark, but highly-trained specialists undergoing “complex, high-precision whole-body movements, such as those of the gymnast or circus performer.” Visualize an acrobat balancing and catching a jug on his head and making it spin around, or picture an Olympic gymnast on uneven bars nailing a double twisting dismount, or a skater executing a perfect triple Lutz. You can bet those vestibular organs are working overtime. The full article by Brian L. Day and Richard C. Fitzpatrick, loaded with praise for the vestibular system, can be found on Current Biology, Volume 15, Issue 15, 9 August 2005, pages R583-R586. Here is the opening paragraph:Small, beautifully formed and locked in the skull, the vestibular organs continuously bombard the brain with messages. The messages are quite unlike any others. They tell of accelerations, how the head is rotating and translating and its orientation in space. The messages never stop and cannot be turned off. Even when we are completely motionless, they signal the relentless pull of gravity. Perhaps because of their constant monologue, the vestibular sensation is different to the other senses. There is no overt, readily recognizable, localisable, conscious sensation from these organs. They provide a silent sense. A body is a terrible thing to waste (speaking of waist, there can be too much of a good thing). Whether your body is fully functional or afflicted with a malady or two, you have a marvelous set of capabilities, and a dignity underscored by the complexity of the engineering that went into your making. Even if you are completely disabled, there is more complex engineering working properly under the skin than you could possibly realize. Fill in the box you were given. Exercise, eat right, practice. Maintain your machinery in optimum working order. Aim your body at something noble and worthwhile. You have a huge support infrastructure, with a staff of trillions behind the scenes, hoping you will make the right choices.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
“Education spending has grown by 14 percent a year for the past three years and accounts for R140.4-billion in the spending plans of provinces and national government for 2008/09,” Manuel said during his 2009/10 Budget speech. South African state spending on education remains its single biggest investment, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday. A further R330-million would go towards to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, while funding was also available for the establishment of a new National Education Evaluation Unit, which would evaluate a new salary dispensation for teachers, linked to school and teacher performance. An additional R700-million would be allocated for higher education subsidies and to accommodate anticipated growth in student enrolment from 783 900 in 2008 to 836 800 by 2011. There would also be a strengthening of training colleges and a recapitalisation of technical schools over the next three years, Manuel said. 11 February 2009 The President also raised concerns about the drop-out rate, particularly at secondary and tertiary levels, and challenged the country’s education system to produce the kind of skills needed by society. “Trends in performance, both in terms of teaching and learning, show a worrying persistence of the social divisions of the past,” he said. “Ironically, precisely where education is most needed to help break the cycle of poverty is where infrastructure, administrative and teacher capacity are least impressive,” Motlanthe said during the opening of Parliament. The government’s key priorities in education included extending the no-fee school policy from the current 40 percent to 60 percent of schools, expanding the school nutrition programme, reducing average class sizes in schools, serving lower income communities, and increasing expenditure on school buildings. President Kgalema Motlanthe, in his state of the nation address on Friday, said he was concerned at a trend of schools in rural and impoverished areas lacking infrastructure and capacity. Source: BuaNews
Delta Air Lines has joined competitor American Airlines in deferring deliveries of widebody Airbus A350 jets but it still expects to be flying the fuel-efficient aircraft later this year.Delta announced it would defer 10 of its 25 A350-900 deliveries set for 2019-20 by two to three years with an option of “additional flexible delivery’’.The deferral is part of a deal which saw it place an expanded order for 30 additional conventional engine option Airbus A321-200 single-aisle aircraft.The Atlanta, Georgia-based airline announced its schedule for its first A350-900 aircraft remained in place and it expected to take five of the aircraft in 2107. It planned to operate the first A350 revenue flight in the fourth quarter, featuring its Delta One suite and Premium Select cabin. “These agreements better align our widebody and narrowbody order books with our fleet replacement needs,” said Delta chief operating officer Gil West.Delta currently operates 19 A321s and the additional planes will see it take 112 of the aircraft by 2021, primarily to replace older aircraft on US domestic routes.Its decision to defer the 10 A350s comes after American decided to delay delivery of its first A350-900 from spring this year to late 2018.American said deliveries would continue through to 2022, two years later than originally scheduled, with two A350s due in 2018 and five each in 2019 and 2020.The deferral would reduce capital expenditures in 2017 and 2018 and provide “capacity flexibility”, it said.Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said the order for the additional A321ceos, powered by CFM56 engines and equipped with fuel-saving wing tip devices called sharklets, was a vote of confidence in the aircraft and demonstrated the aircraft’s operator, investor and passenger appeal.The manufacturer will deliver many of Delta’s A321s from its Us manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.Airbus says the Mobile plant is expected to produce four aircraft per month by the end of this year with most going to US customers.
30 November 2010The South African subsidiary of multinational power and automation group ABB has won an order worth US$43-million (about R307-million) from state power utility Eskom to supply equipment for the Kusile power station being built in Mpumalanga.ABB will supply medium-voltage switchgear as well as protection and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) equipment for the thermal power plant, which comprises six supercritical combustion units with a total generating capacity of 4 800 megawatts.State-of-the-art productsThe company will design, engineer, supply, install and commission the equipment, including indoor switchgear for primary distribution, the latest range of control products and the REA range of protection relays. ABB will also supply a Micro-SCADA automation solution to optimise control and ensure reliable operation.“These state-of-the-art products offer maximum control and protection, enabling an efficient and reliable supply of electricity,” ABB Power Products division head Bernhard Jucker said in a statement this week.“We support Eskom in its efforts to improve power supplies and meet the growing need for electricity in the country.”Enhancing safetyAccording to ABB, the REA range is an extremely fast and reliable arc protection system that combines a unique sensor technique with instantaneous and reliable fault detection, reducing the risk of network damage, enhancing safety and enabling the smooth restoration of power in the event of a disruption.“With ABB’s tailor-made solutions, we are well positioned to contribute cutting-edge technology to South Africa’s major energy challenges,” said ABB South Africa CEO Carlos Pone.“The Kusile project will generate cost effective electricity into the South African grid and will to help meet the growing demand for electricity in South Africa.”In September this year, ABB also won a US$23-million (about R163-million) order from Eskom to provide a plant solution for the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, currently under construction on the border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Environmental Activist Gets a White House JobWASHINGTON, D.C. — Author and activist Van Jones has a new job as President Barack Obama’s adviser on green jobs and energy initiatives. Jones, a strong advocate for environmental justice, is the founder of Green For All, an Oakland, California, organization that works to create green jobs in impoverished neighborhoods. Jones is also the author of the 2008 bestseller The Green Collar Economy.Jones will be joining the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Nancy Sutley, CEQ chair, said, “Van Jones has been a strong voice for green jobs, and we look forward to having him work with departments and agencies to advance the president’s agenda of creating 21st-century jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources.”According to a statement issued by Green for All, Jones’ White House job will involve “helping to shape and implement job-generating climate policy; working to ensure equal protection and equal opportunity in the administration’s climate and energy proposals; and publicly advocating the administration’s environmental and energy agenda.”A handyman, not a czarIn an interview with Michael Burnham of Greenwire, Jones rejected the suggestion that he will become Obama’s “green jobs czar.” Jones said, “I’m the green-jobs handyman. I’m there to serve. I’m there to help as a leader in the field of green jobs, which is a new field. I’m happy to come and serve and be helpful, but there’s no such thing as a green-jobs ‘czar.’ ”In his conversation with Jones, Burnham noted, “A Rutgers University report . . . suggests that most green job openings will not be new occupations, but rather traditional occupations with a new layer of ‘green’ skills and credentials; for example, laborers and building contractors who need specialized training and certification to perform home-weatherization audits.” Jones responded, “That’s one of the exciting things about this. Sometimes people think we’re talking about some exotic occupation from Mars that nobody’s ever heard of; that we’re talking about George Jetson or Buck Rogers when we’re thinking about green jobs. We’re not talking about solar ray guns; we’re talking about caulking guns as one of the major tools we’re going to need to be smarter with energy. Those are jobs our existing workforce, with a little training, can start doing right away.”
The new rules of Indian Premier League which will be applied from next year have left Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan “a bit confused” and the Bollywood superstar said it would have been “fair for everyone” if all the players are put up for auction in November.”New IPL rules a bit confusing. Two new teams added (good). All players should go into pool to make it fair for everyone. Simple & straight,” Shah Rukh wrote on his twitter page.With the inclusion of two new teams in the IPL — Sahara Pune Warriors and Kochi team, the IPL Governing Council proposed a revised structure but it has not gone down too well with some of the franchise owners voicing their concerns publicly.The new rules state that the 10 teams will be divided into two groups and there would be 74 matches in the next three IPL seasons.The eight original franchises will be allowed to retain four players, including a foreigner. Besides the four players, the rest of the squad would be selected through open bidding.It has also been made mandatory for the players retained to be amongst the registered players for the 2010 season. The fee of the players retained would be decided after mutual agreement between the stakeholders.The salary cap of the franchisees has also been raised to USD 9 million. But if any franchisee retains all the four players, it will have USD 4.5 million per year to spend on other players.The new rules have limited the number of players to be 30 for a squad.advertisement
England’s Moeen Ali has publicly committed to joining the touring party to Bangladesh should he be selected, despite security concerns ahead of the five-week tour. (Also Read: England go from ODI flops to record-breakers)One-day captain Eoin Morgan acknowledged on Friday he was undecided about whether he would participate over security worries following the attack by gunmen on a cafe in Dhaka in July in which 22 people were killed.An English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delegation recently visited Bangladesh to conduct a risk assessment and announced on August 25 that the tour would go ahead, and while the touring squad has not been named, it remains to be seen whether other players will follow Moeen’s lead.”If selected, I’ll definitely go,” Moeen told journalists on Saturday. “I’m pretty happy with everything and really looking forward to it.”Everyone’s different and has their own views on things,” he added, “and as a team, you back others’ decisions.”It’s up to the individual. There’s no pressure on anyone, it’s up to that person and how he feels.”England are due to arrive in Bangladesh on September 30 for three one-day internationals and two Tests.Australia pulled out of their tour of Bangladesh in 2015 over security concerns and did not compete in the under-19 World Cup in the south Asian country earlier this season for the same reason.’NOT SAFE ANYWHERE'”My view is you’re not safe anywhere these days,” Worcestershire’s Moeen said. “I think you can be anywhere and still not be safe. I totally understand, and I back every decision people make.”advertisementEngland wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow has also expressed confidence in the ECB’s advice but stopped short of committing to the tour.”I’ve not made a 100 percent decision,” he told journalists on Friday. “The world at the moment is not necessarily the safest place, that’s in England, that’s in Australia, South Africa, in Bangladesh.”You’ve got to ask questions because, if you don’t, you don’t have peace of mind.”
zoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Vista Shipping, a joint venture between Hafnia and CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping, has secured a USD 111 million loan to finance four newbuildings.The term loan facility, that would finance four new LR1 tankers being built at Guangzhou Shipyard International, was agreed with a banking consortium consisting of KfW IPEX-Bank, Societe Generale Hong Kong Branch and OCBC Singapore.The parties would each participate with 33% as lenders at the term loan facility and have reached financial close.The 12-year post-delivery financing profits from Sinosure cover and is secured by first-ranking ship mortgages over the vessels as well as joint and several guarantees from Hafnia and CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping.