CEC rules out return to ballot paper system

first_imgKolkata: Rejecting the demand of bringing back the ballot paper system of voting, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Friday said that there is no question of going back to the bygone era. “We are not going back to the era of ballot papers. The Honourable Supreme Court has more than once said that ballot paper is a thing of the past,” Arora, who is in the city to attend an event at an educational institute, told reporters. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, one of the most vocal critics of electronic voting machines (EVMs), herself gave a call to shun the voting machines and return to ballot papers during Trinamool Congress’ Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21. Recently, Maharashtra Navnirman Senachief Raj Thackeray met Banerjee and invited her for a massive campaign against using EVMs in Indian elections in which several opposition leaders, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, will be present.last_img read more


OREA seeking input on improving transparency of real estate industry

first_imgTORONTO – The Ontario Real Estate Association is seeking feedback on whether it should push the provincial government into modernizing the real estate industry to make it more transparent.In a white paper released Thursday, OREA said the current sales system creates “suspicion and mistrust” by forcing prospective buyers to “blind bid” because realtors cannot disclose the contents of an offer to anyone other than the seller.“The unsuccessful buyers often feel they didn’t have a fair chance and could have bid higher if they had known what they were up against,” said OREA, in its white paper. “The winning buyer may feel they ‘overpaid’ because they were the successful offer.”OREA’s president Ettore Cardarelli said whatever feedback OREA collects will inform the final policy proposals its board sends to the provincial government, which agreed to a review of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act in April 2017.While Cardarelli stressed OREA is not taking an official position on the issue, he said many buyers in favour of bringing more transparency to the bid system lost out on a home purchase and want access to what others offered, so it can inform their future bids or reveal how much they lost out by.He said more transparency on the issue “won’t necessarily guarantee you the sale,” but makes people “feel better that they lost out in a more open process.”Christopher Alexander, the EVP and regional director at RE/MAX, applauded OREA for debating changes to bidding, but said “it will be hard for there to be a win-win situation for buyers and sellers.”“Someone is going to lose out,” he said. “If everyone knows what each other is bidding then sellers might feel like they lost out on some money. However, if (the system) continues the way it is, buyers often feel like they overpaid, or had they known, they would have paid more.”Aside from ways to create more transparency in the bid system, OREA is asking members to weigh in on a broad set of issues, including whether agents should be fined for not showing up to viewings and not offering timely or reasonable explanations for the cancellations, whether term limits for buyer and seller contracts or early termination provisions for clients should be instituted, and whether OREA members should be issued photo identification cards to offer more security to viewings.It is also looking into ways the province can boost trust in realtors, by seeking advice on whether they should automatically deny registration to realtor applicants with violent or fraudulent criminal convictions within the last 10 years, force applicants with a previously revoked registration to wait two years before reapplying and expand its definition of the trade to account for the “growing” number of people calling themselves “housing consultants,” while completing transactions and often targeting new Canadians.OREA has been advocating for a review of the act since last fall because it says the act was introduced 15 years ago and since then “times have changed.”A final report on the act from a provincial task force is expected to be released in September.last_img read more


Amazon HQ favourites Similar basics different vibes

first_imgNEW YORK — The communities said to be favoured to become homes to a pair of big, new East Coast bases for Amazon are both riverfront stretches of major metropolitan areas with ample transportation and space for workers.But there are plenty of differences between New York’s Long Island City and Crystal City in northern Virginia.Set within eyeshot of the nation’s capital, Crystal City is a thicket of 1980s-era office towers trying to plug into new economic energy after thousands of federal jobs moved elsewhere.Rapidly growing Long Island City is an old manufacturing area already being reinvented as a hub for 21st-century industry, creativity and urbane living.Seattle-based Amazon, which set out last year to situate one additional headquarters but now may reportedly open two, has declined to comment on its plans. But people familiar with the talks said this week that Long Island City and Crystal City have emerged as front runners for the “HQ2” project and its total of 50,000 jobs.A look at two communities said to be at the top of Amazon’s list.LONG ISLAND CITYIt’s already the fastest-developing neighbourhood in the nation’s most populous city, and Amazon could pump up the volume in this buzzy part of Queens.If chosen, the neighbourhood stands to burnish New York City’s reputation as a tech capital. Landing Amazon would also cement Long Island City’s transformation from a faded manufacturing zone to a vibrant, of-the-moment enclave of waterfront skyscrapers, modernized warehouses and artsy-tech ambience across the East River from midtown Manhattan.“I joke that we’re experiencing explosive growth 30 years in the making,” says Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, a neighbourhood development group.But Long Island City also has been straining to handle its growth.Days before the potential Amazon news emerged, the city announced a $180 million plan to address Long Island City’s packed schools, street design and a sewage system that groans in heavy rain. But those projects will just catch up with current needs, says area City Councilman Jimmy van Bramer.“I know that there are a lot of people cheerleading for this, but HQ2 has to work for Queens and the people of Queens. It can’t just be good for Amazon,” says van Bramer, a Democrat.Once a bustling factory and freight-moving area, Long Island City saw many of its plants and warehouses closed as manufacturing shriveled in New York City.The neighbourhood’s rebirth began in the 1980s, when officials broached redeveloping a swath of the waterfront, while artists were drawn by warehouse spaces, affordable rents and a building that is now the MoMA PS1 museum. Silvercup Studios — where such TV shows as “Sex and the City,” ”30 Rock” and “The Sopranos” have been filmed — opened in 1983.Long Island City gained a new commercial stature, and the start of a high-rise skyline, when the banking giant now called Citi opened an office tower there in 1989. But the area’s growth lately has been driven by residential building.Some 9,150 new apartments and homes have been built since 2010, more than in any other New York City neighbourhood, according to the city Planning Department . Thousands more units are in the works.New York has striven for nearly a decade to position itself as a tech hotspot.Venture capitalists poured $5.8 billion into New York-area startups last quarter, more than any other region except the San Francisco area, according to the consulting and accounting firm PwC . Established tech giants, including Google and Facebook, have been expanding their New York footprints.Still, landing HQ2 would represent “incredible validation of just how far New York has come,” says Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future think-tank .Waiting for a subway, Long Island City community board chairwoman Denise Keehan-Smith could envision Amazon benefiting the neighbourhood.“But I think we have to be careful about it,” she said.CRYSTAL CITYIf any place in America can absorb 25,000 Amazon jobs without disruption, it may well be Crystal City, Virginia, where nearly that many jobs have vanished over the last 15 years.The neighbourhood in Arlington County is bounded by the Potomac River and the nation’s capital on one side, by the Pentagon on another and Reagan National Airport on a third.Despite its prime location and abundant transportation options, the neighbourhood has been hit by a massive outflow of jobs. The Patent and Trademark Office began moving more than 7,000 jobs out of Crystal City in 2003. In 2005, the Defence Department announced plans to move roughly 17,000 jobs elsewhere as part of a base realignment.Arlington County has worked hard to bring in new employers, and had some success. The Public Broadcasting Service moved its headquarters to Crystal City in 2006.Still, large swaths of the neighbourhood remain vacant. Among other challenges, the area has fought to overcome a reputation for outdated architecture.Crystal City is populated by ’70s and ’80s-era office buildings. The buildings are connected by a network of tunnels populated with food-court style dining options, hair salons and newsstands. The tunnels leave the ground-level outdoor streetscape sometimes looking empty.Brookings Institution urban planner Jenny Schuetz suggested the buildings may require an upgrade, or even replacement. But she noted that while people often associate tech companies with converted lofts or state-of-the art workspaces, many big Silicon Valley tech companies actually work out of ’80s-era office buildings.For all the talk about antiquated architecture, people who’ve actually worked in Crystal City appreciate its convenience and its worker-friendly features, including the tunnels.“I loved it here,” said Christine Gentry of Greenbelt, Maryland, as she ate breakfast in a largely empty food court. She works for the Patent and Trademark Office and preferred the days when her office was in Crystal City.“Everything is accessible here,” she said. “When it was raining or snowing or sleeting, I never had to go out.”Perhaps no place better illustrates the vibe of Crystal City than the region’s only revolving restaurant, the Skydome atop the Doubletree Crystal City. Diners enjoy a panoramic view of the D.C. skyline, completing a full rotation every 47 minutes.Sam Getachew, the hotel’s food and beverage manager, said the restaurant fits the neighbourhood’s retro atmosphere.“It’s huge draw,” Getchew said. “People come for the curiosity of it.”The only downside, he said, is that “when customers get up to go to the restroom, they don’t know where they are when they come back.”___Barakat reported from Crystal City, Virginia.Jennifer Peltz And Matthew Barakat, The Associated Presslast_img read more


Strict speed limit on highway

He said that the maximum speed limit will be enforced to prevent accidents from taking place.Last week a car travelling at over 100 kmph crashed into a side protective barrier on the highway killing two people and injuring three others. (Colombo Gazette) Report by Indika Sri Aravinda The police said that a strict speed limit will be enforced for vehicles travelling on the southern highway.Police spokesman SP Budhika Siriwardena said that vehicles travelling over 100 kmph on the highway  will be fined. read more


Football Urban Meyer looks forward to Big Ten Championship

After defeating Michigan 62-39 on Saturday, head coach Urban Meyer is now preparing Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship where the Buckeyes will take on No. 19 Northwestern on Saturday in Indianapolis. Even with more on the line than just a Big Ten title, Meyer said in his weekly Monday press conference that this game is only special if his team wins it. “I used to say compete for championships in November,” Meyer said. “And [assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti] went a step further and said get to Indy. Now we’re in Indy so go win it.The Buckeyes will face a Northwestern team that lost all three of its non-conference games this season and lost one Big Ten game to then-No. 14 Michigan. The Wildcats have ranked wins against then-No. 20 Michigan State, then-No. 20 Wisconsin and then-No. 21 Iowa.Meyer complimented Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and how he runs his program heading into the championship game. “I think he’s one of the best coaches in college football,” Meyer said. “I don’t “think” he is. He’s one of the best coaches in college football. And his kids plays like that.” Wyatt Davis replaces Knox at right guard After redshirt senior right guard Demetrius Knox left the game in the fourth quarter of Ohio State’s win against Michigan, Meyer reiterated redshirt freshman offensive lineman Wyatt Davis would take the start the Big Ten Championship on Saturday against No. 19 Northwestern. “Wyatt Davis was going to get his first start as a Buckeye, and there’s a lot of confidence around here because I’ve been talking about it for five weeks now,” Meyer said. “He’s the next man in.” Meyer likes what he has seen from Davis in practice. “He’s a rugged guy. And he’s been scratching and clawing for playing time ever since probably five, six weeks ago, and has been close,” Meyer said. “But we didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the five guys in there.” Meyer said redshirt freshman Josh Myers, who he described as having a great month and a half of practices, junior Joshua Alabi and redshirt junior Branden Bowen, who Meyer said is “back to almost what he was” after suffering a leg injury last season. Meyer said the Michigan game was the best he has seen the offensive line play, not allowing a sack against the Wolverines, saying the unit has shown a level of consistency over the past few weeks. Now with the Knox injury, Meyer said he has a level of depth at the offensive line he had not had earlier in the season. “Remember about five weeks ago we were down to the last tack, last group of guys, and now we’ve got some depth,” Meyer said. Meyer wants Martell in the game Even with the lack of success for redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell in the Michigan game when he entered in the red zone, Meyer said he wants to try and continue to utilize his skill set in some way. “I’m a Tate Martell fan,” Meyer said. “So I’m pushing it real hard. And we’re going to do what’s best.” Martell recorded one yard on two rushes within the 10-yard line against the Wolverines on Saturday, failing to convert a red zone trip to a touchdown each time he entered the game. Meyer said it’s not just the play of the quarterback. There are other factors that determine the success of that particular red zone package. For the head coach, it is simple why he may continue to use Martell in those kinds of situations. “I want him in the game,” Meyer said. read more


Verizon 11111 announcement Verizon iPhone early next month

first_imgVerizon’s highly awaited (well, since last week) announcement is about to kick off and we are live at the event. This post will be updated as things progress, so check back often for fresh news. Everything starts at 11am Eastern time.The event is starting, right on time. The lights are down, here comes the President of Verizon, Lowell McAdam. He points out a truism-if the press write something long enough and hard enough, it’s going to come true.Today, “two great industry innovators are going to come together”. McAdam is going on about how great Verizon’s network is, how much data they can deliver, how wonderful FiOS is, how fast LTE is, and so on. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Verizon likes to talk about their network and its reliability/speed.Today Verizon is partnering with Apple. Over the last two years Verizon and Apple started having technical discussions about a CDMA iPhone. They spent a year developing the phone and getting the network great. Then in late 2010 Verizon introduced the iPad.iPhone 4 hits Verizon “early next month”.Apple’s Tim Cook is on stage. He’s very excited to bring the iPhone to Verizon’s 93M subscribers. There is a new CDMA iPhone with all the features people expect, like the Retina display and Facetime. This is just the beginning of a great teamwork between Apple and Verizon.Launch details from Verizon’s Dan Mead. Verizon is excited to offer the world’s first CDMA iPhone. Verizone training is ready to go, all the backend scaling is done, and merchandising is ready to go, will be hitting all Verizon and Apple store. Customer services delivering is scaling up as well, all in preparation of a huge influx of users. The network is ready. Verizon has been “drive testing” the CDMA iPhone with thousands of devices on their network. They have been planning for this for a long time and have lots of headroom built into their network. Fiber-to-the-cell-site is installed and Verizon is committed to their 3G network even as 4G progresses.February 3rd – existing Verizon customers can preorder the iPhone – $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB.February 10th – Everyone else can order the iPhone 4 from Verizon – same pricing.Will include 3G personal hotspot.Q&A time!How many CDMA iPhones can you manufacturer in the 1st quarter?Tim Cook – “Tremendous opportunity” ahead of them but not speaking any specifics numbers.Is the CDMA iPhone on a 1 year upgrade cycle or will it be upgrade in the summer?Cook – No commentWhy is this a CDMA device, not LTE?Cooke – Two reasons- 1st gen LTE chipsets have device compromises that Apple would not make. Secondly Verizon customers want the iPhone now.McAdams – We have a tremendous 3G network, the best in the country, and this was the right thing to do at the right time.Is the CDMA iPhone exclusive to Verizon?Cook – Multi-year  non-exclusive, but no comment on terms.Changes that had to be made to the antenna?Cook – Antenna optimized for CDMA. It’s going to be a great job.McAdam – Verizon has done extensive testing and sees no issues with the phone.What happens when you are using data you get a phone call?McAdams – The same as other CDMA devices (no call)Extra charge for tethering? And features in this that aren’t in others?McAdams- No comment on pricing aside from phone stuff.Cook- Yes, there is a new feature: the personal hotspot that can connect up to 5 devices.When will we see an LTE iPhone? Will there be any data caps like AT&T?Cook – No comment on LTE iPhone.McAdams – No comment on pricing or strategy.What is the experience difference with CDMA? (you can’t connect to data while on call)Cook –  Number 1 question he’s gotten – when will the iPhone work on Verizon. He could not be happier about the release. Those (93M) people who asked will be willing to make the tradeoff.last_img read more


Scientists Use Half A MosquitoWorth of DNA to Produce Whole Genome

first_img We Now Know the DNA of GuacamoleDecoded Great White Shark Genome Could Help Cure Cancer A tiny mosquito made history this week when it became the first fly to have its whole genetic code read by scientists.Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Pacific Biosciences used just “half a mosquito-worth” of DNA to produce a whole, high-quality genome.Their groundbreaking discovery, detailed in a paper published by the journal Genes, could open the door to understanding the “true genetic diversity” of arthropods, according to the Sanger Institute.“This advancement in sequencing technology is vital to decoding the genomes of a huge number of species in the tree of life, giving us greater power to completely understand genetic diversity within even the tiniest species,” Mara Lawniczak, co-lead author from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said in a statement.Extracting enough DNA from small organisms to build an individual genome has long proved difficult. Which is why this development is so important for the scientific community.Last year, collaborating organizations launched the Earth BioGenome Project—a global mission to sequence and all 1.5 million known species of animals, plants, protozoa, and fungi on the planet.The task is estimated to take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion, and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage space.And it’s an ideal program to house this newly generated mosquito genome.A genome is the genetic material of an organism; it can be used as a reference to explore differences in susceptibility to disease, fitness, and adaptation within others of the same species.It is traditionally much easier to extract DNA from some species—say, a soft-shelled turtle, turkey vulture, or chimpanzee—than others. This, the Sanger Institute said, leaves the genetic codes of insects and similarly sized critters inaccessible.Previously, scientists have had to pool the DNA of multiple individuals of the same species or inbreed them, both of which can create gaps and errors in genome sequences.In this case, researchers pulled deoxyribonucleic acid from an Anopheles coluzzii mosquito, then sent it to PacBio, which tweaked the process by removing two steps that often result in the loss of DNA.From just 100 nanograms of genetic code, the team generated a high-quality genome, allowing nearly half of this mosquito species’ previously unplaced DNA fragments to be moved into the correct chromosomal context.That’s great news for insects and humans: This process could eventually make it possible to assemble the whole genetic code of a patient’s cancer from a single biopsy.“The sequencing technology also shows promise for reading the whole genetic code of an individual patient’s cancer biopsy,” the Sanger Institute’s Peter Campbell explained. “[One hundred] nanograms of DNA collected with a needle prick could be enough to give a detailed view of the cancer’s genetics and inform targeted therapies for that specific patient.”More on Geek.com:Let Your DNA Guide You to the Right UniversityBody Painting Might Protect You From Insect BitesGoogle Fights Bad Bugs With Good Bugs in California Stay on targetlast_img read more


Farm Bill Update

first_imgASA has consistently called for a new five-year farm bill to provide certainty and long-term stability in farm support programs during this ongoing period of low crop prices and farm incomes – circumstances exacerbated by China’s retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans during the current trade war with China. With volatile conditions surrounding U.S. trade relationships and agricultural exports, we need the confidence boost that a new farm bill would provide.Staff for both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are trying to resolve outstanding differences in their respective versions of the bill prior to the lame duck session of Congress that will follow the mid-term elections on Nov. 6. The optimistic forecast would be to have compromises worked out for the farm bill Conference Committee to approve after Congress returns on Nov. 13. Even under this best-case scenario, the Committee would have only three weeks, including the week of Thanksgiving, to prepare a Conference Report that both chambers could vote on before the 115th Congress adjourns.  This could happen on Dec. 7, when the Continuing Resolution funding government operations in FY-2019 will expire. A new CR could be passed extending funding through Dec. 21, which would give the farm bill effort another two weeks.Major obstacles on which the “Big Four”— Agriculture Committee Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson – have not been able to agree include changes the House bill makes to the Commodities, Conservation and Nutrition Titles of the 2014 Agricultural Act.  In Title 1 (Commodities), the House would eliminate PLC and ARC payments for base acres that weren’t planted to a program crop in 2009 to 2017 and use the savings to allow farmers who experienced a 20-week drought during 2008-2012 to update their PLC and ARC payment yields.  Depending on how analysis of these provisions is done, an estimated seven million acres of “underplanted” base would lose payments, while farmers in 417 counties in west Texas and neighboring states would receive about $500 million over ten years, primarily through higher cotton yields under the PLC program.  The Title II (Conservation) change would merge the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) into EQIP, reducing the cost of supporting conservation practices on working lands.  The major change in Title IV (Nutrition) is the tightening of work requirements and transfer of funds to establish state job training programs.ASA has strongly supported increased funding for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and the Market Access Program (MAP). While MAP is funded through 2018, authorization and funding for FMD lapsed when the 2014 Farm Bill expired at the end of September.  The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) indicates that it has enough resources to continue overseas soybean export promotion programs and activities into 2019, but an extension of both FMD and MAP is needed before the end of this year.The 115th Congress will adjourn once funding for FY-2019 is approved in December.  If a new bill cannot be completed by then and, faced with expiration of the current dairy program after December 31 (the so-called “dairy cliff”), an extension of the current 2014 Farm Bill would be necessary.  This would most likely be for at least one year rather than kicking it to the new Congress through a short-term extension.  There has been some talk of a three-year extension to get farm legislation beyond the next elections—and hopefully beyond the current volatile trade conditions facing U.S. soybean farmers.last_img read more


Centre rushes 10000 troops to Kashmir

first_imgNew Delhi: The Centre has ordered rushing of about 10,000 central forces personnel to the Kashmir valley in order to strengthen counter-insurgency operations and law and order duties there, officials said Saturday. They said the Union home ministry has ordered the deployment of 100 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) on July 25 on an “immediate” basis. Officials said that 100 more companies are expected to be sent to the valley. One CAPF company comprises about 100 personnel. The latest units will be drawn from the CRPF (50 companies), SSB (30) and ITBP and BSF will contribute 10 each, they said. Also Read – Shashi Tharoor accepts Modi’s language challenge Advertise With Us The ministry has said that these personnel will be deployed to strengthen the counter-insurgency grid and law and order duties in the Kashmir Valley, they said. They are being air lifted and sent by trains, officials said. It is understood that the new units will reinforce the strength of the security forces already present in the valley who are conducting the annual Amarnath Yatra and carrying out counter-terrorism operations daily, they added. Also Read – HC declines protection to Shivakumar from arrest Advertise With Us The troops will be addition to about 65 regular battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force in the valley and over 20 other battalions of other forces deployed to conduct the yatra that will end on August 15. One CAPF battalion has about 1,000 personnel. The new strength of the troops will also help in the conduct of the assembly polls in the state that are expected to be held in some time, they said.last_img read more


Time to drop Dinesh Karthik Kedar Jadhav selection panel needs to build

first_imgLeading into the World Cup, there were concerns with the Indian middle order – it was not fixed, there was no certainty over the positions and it was brittle. The middle order muddle has been causing plenty of headaches to the selection committee and when India lost their semi-final clash to New Zealand, these questions came back to bite them.Now, as per reports, the selection committee has made up its mind to revamp the middle order and opt for fresh faces to give them an extended run. This could also mean that it is the end of the road for the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav.Over-the-hill players need to go Dinesh KarthikRyan Pierse/Getty ImagesThis comes as an extension of the policy which was put into place ever since MS Dhoni took over as the captain – the selectors try to build a team for any upcoming tournament almost two years in advance and with the World T20 slated to be held next year, the process could start right about now.The selection committee, led by MSK Prasad, will be in charge till the BCCI elections are held but it has been reported that they will handle the transition phase keeping an eye on the shortest format.As per PTI, ‘over-the-hill’ players like Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav could face the axe as the selectors would want to phase them out. Both these players have not had consistent returns despite being persisted with. Dinesh Karthik struggled in the Test series last year and despite this, was taken to England owing to his wicket-keeping skills. Also, Kedar Jadhav’s inclusion in the lower order was baffling considering he was not used much as a bowler and there is a clear lack of a power game. Twitter/Cricket World CupAs things stand right now, the nucleus of this side is in place. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant will be the lynchpins of this side and with Chahal and Shami always in good nick, there are a couple of positions up for grabs. This is where the likes of Shreyas Iyer Iyer, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal come into the fray.”We are not shying away from accepting that we didn’t stand up to the challenge and we were not good enough under pressure. We have to accept that and accept the failure as it shows on the scoreboard,” Indian skipper Virat Kohli said after the match and now, is the time to start building a new middle order.last_img read more


The Final Report On The Impact Of Hurricane Harvey Has Been Released

first_imgNASA/NOAAHurricane Harvey.The Harris County Flood Control District has released its final report.The district says a total of 1 trillion gallons of water fell across Harris County — that’s enough to fill the NRG Stadium more than 14 hundred times and run Niagara Falls for 15 days.When the the rain totals were averaged out, the county saw nearly 70 percent of its entire annual rainfall.. within only a 4 day period. The report says more than 60 thousand Harris County residents were rescued using government resources.Tens of thousands of others were rescued by volunteers. More than 154,000 homes flooded in the county, nearly 70 percent of those were located outside the 100-year floodplain. Over half of those homes didn’t have flood insurance. The district says previous flood control projects – including buyouts – potentially spared around 24,000 homes from Harvey’s floodwaters.   Sharelast_img read more


Male New World monkeys attract females by washing in urine

first_imgWild Capuchin monkey (Cebus capucinus), on a tree near a river bank in the jungles of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Image: David M. Jensen/Wikipedia. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Citation: Male New World monkeys attract females by washing in urine (2011, February 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-02-male-world-monkeys-females-urine.html More information: Why do capuchin monkeys urine wash? An experimental test of the sexual communication hypothesis using fMRI, by Kimberley A. Phillips et al. American Journal of Primatology Early View, DOI:10.1002/ajp.20931 Urine sprays during courtship send mixed messages Explore further The new research, by Dr Kimberley Phillips and colleagues of the Department of Psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to study the brains of four adult female tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) while they were smelling the urine of juvenile males and of sexually mature adults.The results showed the monkeys’ brain scans were different when they were exposed to the urine of juveniles and adults, becoming much more active when the urine was from adult males. Several regions of the brain were activated when the females were sniffing the adult male urine, especially those regions associated with olfactory processing.Dr Phillips and her team suggest the increased activity shows the urine is being used as a means of communicating the male’s sexual availability and social status. The females’ ability to discriminate between the urine of young monkeys and sexually mature adults also suggests the females are able to detect the higher levels of testosterone in the adult males’ urine. Higher testosterone levels are linked with sexual maturity and also higher social status in capuchin monkeys.Previous hypotheses put forward to explain the urine-washing behavior included maintenance of body temperature and as a means of identification of individuals, but studies testing these hypotheses have been inconclusive. Another study reported that when females solicited the males, which they do when they are at their peak in fertility, the males increased the frequency of washing with urine.Several other species of New World monkeys show the same behavior of urinating into their hands and then rubbing it on their fur. They include squirrel monkeys, mantled howler monkeys, and other species of capuchins.The paper is published in the American Journal of Primatology. Dr Phillips, an associate professor of psychology, is investigating the biological and neurological bases of primate behaviors. (PhysOrg.com) — Male capuchin monkeys have been observed to urinate on their hands and then rub the urine vigorously into their fur, and now a new study by scientists in Texas suggests the behavior signals their availability to females, and the females find the smell of the urine-soaked fur attractive. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more


Game group gets word on Intels new extensions for rendering

first_img Citation: Game group gets word on Intel’s new extensions for rendering (2013, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-game-group-word-intel-extensions.html (Phys.org) —Intel was not going to let an event like the Game Developers Conference from March 25 to March 29 in San Francisco, described on the conference site as the world’s largest professionals-only game industry event, go by without talking up the merits of Intel’s stepped-up graphics focus. Intel took advantage of the event’s special audience to announce new capabilities through DirectX extensions for software developers. The extensions will speed up and ease game rendering. © 2013 Phys.org Programmable Blend with PixelSync More information: newsroom.intel.com/community/i … ols-for-gaming-media The first of these extensions, PixelSync, will make it easier for developers to come up with the more challenging types of special effects. In Intel’s release describing these extensions, it said of PixelSync that the extension “provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation.” PixelSync is to help speed up the sorting of transparent graphical elements. Intel said that game developers have looked forward to the kind of capability that PixelSync offers. They can more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry and natural phenomena. “The artists working on ‘Grid2’ have been requesting this type of effect for years, and prior to this, it wasn’t possible to achieve it at a reasonable cost,” said Clive Moody, senior executive producer at Codemasters Racing. Intel also announced another extension, InstantAccess, which will make accessing data in Haswell’s CPU and GPU more efficient. InstantAccess works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from built-in Intel HD Graphics.”These real-time rendering extensions are being released in advance of the launch of Intel’s newest generation of Core processors in order to give developers extra time to begin incorporating them into their products. Initially, these extensions are available through Intel’s implementation of DirectX and on Intel 4th gen Core platforms only,” said Intel. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Intel Upgrades Software Tools to Support Mac OS X Leopardlast_img read more


Researchers suggest reforestation around urban areas to reduce ozone levels

first_img More information: Reforestation as a novel abatement and compliance measure for ground-level ozone, Timm Kroeger, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1409785111 AbstractHigh ambient ozone (O3) concentrations are a widespread and persistent problem globally. Although studies have documented the role of forests in removing O3 and one of its precursors, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the cost effectiveness of using peri-urban reforestation for O3 abatement purposes has not been examined. We develop a methodology that uses available air quality and meteorological data and simplified forest structure growth-mortality and dry deposition models to assess the performance of reforestation for O3 precursor abatement. We apply this methodology to identify the cost-effective design for a hypothetical 405-ha, peri-urban reforestation project in the Houston–Galveston–Brazoria O3 nonattainment area in Texas. The project would remove an estimated 310 tons of (t) O3 and 58 t NO2 total over 30 y. Given its location in a nitrogen oxide (NOx)-limited area, and using the range of Houston area O3 production efficiencies to convert forest O3 removal to its NOx equivalent, this is equivalent to 127–209 t of the regulated NOx. The cost of reforestation per ton of NOx abated compares favorably to that of additional conventional controls if no land costs are incurred, especially if carbon offsets are generated. Purchasing agricultural lands for reforestation removes this cost advantage, but this problem could be overcome through cost-share opportunities that exist due to the public and conservation benefits of reforestation. Our findings suggest that peri-urban reforestation should be considered in O3 control efforts in Houston, other US nonattainment areas, and areas with O3 pollution problems in other countries, wherever O3 formation is predominantly NOx limited. (Phys.org) —A team of research conservationists with members from several universities in the U.S. is suggesting in a paper they’ve had published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that urban areas could benefit by investing in cost effective reforestation efforts around urban areas that currently suffer from high ozone levels. Planting trees, they suggest could help cities bring those levels down. The researchers note that despite aggressive efforts by many metropolitan areas to lower ozone levels in ground level air, levels remain high, causing the populations that live in them to live with an increased risk of health problems—prior research has indicated that as many as 152,000 premature deaths each year can be attributed to the damage ozone inflicts on lungs. Current efforts to combat ozone levels are aimed at the source, factory emissions, etc. Laws limiting emissions have not kept up with growth however, leading to increases in ozone levels. The researchers suggest a different approach—remove the ozone by planting trees. They suggest that land be purchased on the outskirts of cities with high ozone levels to be converted to forest—trees they note, remove both ozone, and one of its precursors.To bolster their point, the researchers looked at the Houston metro area in Texas, a part of the country with consistently high ozone levels. Land that is currently used for agriculture on the outskirts, they claim, could be purchased and replanted with trees, creating a 1.5-square-mile forest. They estimate that over a 30 year period, the reforested area could reduce ozone and precursors in ground-level air by 310 tons. They also note that if fast growing trees were planted, timber harvests could help make up initial outlays and loss of local revenue from agricultural products.The researchers also plotted potential targets on a map of the U.S., highlighting areas where reforestation would likely do the most good—along the I-95 corridor in the northeast, for example, and around Chicago, Detroit and many parts of California. The team concludes by noting that if something isn’t done, the problem of ozone pollution is only likely to get worse in the face of both continued growth and as global warming exacerbates the problem. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencescenter_img Citation: Researchers suggest reforestation around urban areas to reduce ozone levels (2014, September 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-reforestation-urban-areas-ozone.html © 2014 Phys.org Credit: Yinan Chen/public domain Ozone in Colorado mountains surprises researcherslast_img read more


Johnny Manziel attacks some drills in workout video from the comeback trail

first_imgJohnny Manziel announced that he’ll begin his NFL comeback in the Elite D-league, a spring developmental league in Austin, Texas, from March 28 through April 15.The league only consists of four teams playing two doubleheaders, and is designed to provide game tape for NFL scouting departments to review. Manziel also posted a produced video of him going through some workouts on Twitter.It’s more of a music video than anything a scouting conclusion can be drawn from, but it looks a helluva lot better than the tape from Coachella. There’s also a shot of an expensive car for some reason.Can’t stop. Won’t stop #ComebackSZN pic.twitter.com/tDQATrXUyO— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) February 14, 2018 Advertisementlast_img read more


Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson 23

first_imgArizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) First and foremost on Johnson’s mind was playing time.With David Johnson entrenched as the starter in Arizona, Johnson was expected to look elsewhere for an increased role once free agency hit. And he did.Not once did he think about retirement.A couple of teams showed interest, Johnson said, but “this still was the best situation, and at this point in my career not wanting to go in and learn a totally whole new playbook and have to learn a whole new city and all those things, moving and all that, it was just best to be here.”And now that he is, Johnson sounded confident when speaking to reporters that he would get his touches, saying, “this year might be a little different.”Asked why, Johnson mentioned his relationship with head coach Bruce Arians and conversations that the two had over the offseason.Those conversations included offensive sets featuring an all-Johnson backfield, according to Arians.“We’ve always wanted to have some two-back stuff. We’ve had it in the plan every year and one of the two gets hurt all the damn time,” he said. “But, we’ll have some two-back stuff with he and David back there; and the same with Kerwynn (Williams) and Andre (Ellington), all those guys have that position flexibility of playing receiver and running back.” GLENDALE, Ariz. – Returning to the Arizona Cardinals was always an option for running back Chris Johnson. But first, he wanted to explore his other options.And in the end, the Cardinals were the best option, according to Johnson, who this week put pen to paper on a one-year contract, thus extending his Cardinals tenure to a third straight season.“It took some thinking, but at the end of the day, I just felt like this was the best place for me,” he said Friday, after completing the run test. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Last season was a struggle for Johnson. He played in the first four games before suffering a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve and subsequently ended his 2016 with career-lows in both attempts (25) and yards (95).Johnson, who turns 32 in September, enters his 10th NFL season 463 yards shy of 10,000 for his career.“It’s important, but most of all I still get to play football,” he said. “It’s something I always dreamed of doing. It’s always a goal of mine to play over 10 years in this league, so that’s the main thing for me.”If nothing else, the signing of Johnson gives the Cardinals added depth and, perhaps more importantly, some experience in the running backs’ room, which this season is under the direction of Freddie Kitchens, previously the team’s quarterbacks coach the past four years.“I’m excited. I definitely am glad that he’s back,” David Johnson said. “I was hoping that he would come back here just because he’s a great leader and obviously a great player and I can’t wait to learn some more from him.”Lesson No. 1: Don’t be late. Chris Johnson made it a point to report to training camp on time.“I just always knew I was going to make a decision, whatever it was going to be,” he said, “before training camp starts so I can be in training camp and get in football shape for the regular season.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 3 Comments   Share   Top Stories last_img read more


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even picking up an apple from the water surrounding the island and nonchalantly munching on it. But when Santino got within close range,com.

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