No feasibility study, consultations carried out for delayed Mabaruma solar farm – Chairman

first_img– as GEA says project to be complete by this year endIt was supposed to have been commissioned since last year, but with its completion date revised to 2019, questions are being raised over how well planned and effective the Mabaruma solar farm will be.Region One Chairman Brentnol AshleyIn an interview with Guyana Times, Region One Chairman Brentnol Ashley noted that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) is unaware of any feasibility study having been done for the project, nor could he recall any substantive consultations with the community on the project.“A team would have visited my office as Regional Chairman and they would have related that they are there to seek the support of the RDC for the land space to construct the farm, because a farm was placed in the budget and an allocation was approved. So they asked for support in that manner, which we supported fully.”“Thereafter, there was no proper feedback or updates on what was happening at the farm, at the level of the RDC. It should have been commissioned since last year. But every time we’re hearing, in the next three months, in the next six months. And there’s no proper information being provided in writing or orally to the RDC.”While questions remain over exactly how the project was conceived, Ashley noted that from his enquiries, the project also has technical issues. According to the Chairman, there are challenges that include the storing of the solar energy, among other things.“We know they have a serious problem with compatibility. We are aware because the generator sets we have, were not constructed to deal with the eventuality of having such a project on board. We’re grateful for the project, but we’re concerned that hundreds of millions would have been spent but it will not provide the services it should to the people.”“Whatever project is being done by Government, any entity within a particular region, the RDC should receive a copy of the contractual agreement and the bills of quantity of that particular project, so we can help in the monitoring of that particular project while its being done. But we don’t have any such documentation. We’re at a loss when it comes to that.”Meanwhile, Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) head, Dr Mahender Sharma, who was at the time speaking at the Turkeyen and Tain talks, revealed that the project is expected to come on stream by this year end.“By the end of this year we would have installed more than five megawatts of new solar, on the rooftops of Government buildings and some hinterland locations and one of our first solar farms in Mabaruma.”However, Sharma alluded to the technical challenges that can be faced when looking to harness solar energy.“Five megawatts is a huge number in just a few years. But what’s wrong with solar? It’s not continuous. You engineers will tell you it’s not dispatchable. Its only there for a few hours and to capture it requires quote a bit of technology. You have to find a way to store it. And batteries are a big problem. They are still very expensive.”last_img read more

Spiders Play Silk Harps

first_imgSpider webs are so finely-tuned, they are like musical instruments that the creatures can strum or listen to.Here’s an article showing how science can be reported without Darwinese. In “Tuning the instrument: Spider webs as vibration transmission structures,” PhysOrg reports work on spider webs by scientists from Madrid and Oxford. The emphasis is on the fine-tuning of spider webs for sensing vibrations as a source of information to the spider. The article treats a spider web as a virtual musical instrument:Two years ago, a research team led by the University of Oxford revealed that, when plucked like a guitar string, spider silk transmits vibrations across a wide range of frequencies, carrying information about prey, mates and even the structural integrity of a web.Now, a new collaboration between Oxford and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has confirmed that spider webs are superbly tuned instruments for vibration transmission – and that the type of information being sent can be controlled by adjusting factors such as web tension and stiffness….Spiders carefully engineer their webs out of a range of silks to control web architecture, tension and stiffness, analogous to constructing and tuning a musical instrument.The scientists used lasers to measure the frequency responses of webs, even detecting ultra-fine vibrations. Then, they used computer models to relate the vibrations to the web material. The short PhysOrg article mentions “tuning” five times, once saying “superbly tuned” and once saying “highly tuned” of the webs. The spiders behave like tiny acoustical engineers, if not craftsmen of fine musical instruments:These new observations propose that the spider can use behaviour and silk properties to control the function of its web instrument. These control mechanisms could alter vibration filtering, as well as orientation to and discrimination of vibration sources in the web.Scientists are not attributing aesthetic sensibilities to spiders, of course, but they do find it remarkable how spiders can fine-tune their structures to maximize information. One researcher seems to get a little emotionally involved in the wonder of the phenomenon he studies:Professor Fritz Vollrath, Head of the Oxford Silk Group, added: ‘It is down to the interaction of the web materials, a range of bespoke web silks, and the spider with its highly tuned behaviour and armoury of sensors that allows this virtually blind animal to operate in a gossamer world of its own making, without vision and only relying on feeling. Perhaps the web spider can teach us something new about virtual vision.’ Another type of spider doesn’t spin webs, but uses silk ingeniously in another way. It’s the trapdoor spider. Inhabiting North America, Asia, Africa and Australia, these spiders dig crypts with hidden doors, hinged with silk so that they can open them quickly. Special silk “tripwires” help them sense vibrations from passing insects. Though sitting silently in the dark most of their long lives (up to 20 years), trapdoor spiders can sense the vibrations above ground and discriminate prey from other sources. A cricket or ant doesn’t stand a chance with the predator’s quick door-opening and capture action. Good thing these creatures are not human sized! It would be a nightmare scenario to be pulled into the dark by a vicious predator, stabbed and injected with poison, waiting to be eaten.Science Daily discusses the trapdoor spiders of Australia. Because they are so well hidden, nobody knows how many species there are. A PhD student at Griffith University is studying them. He mentions evolution, but not with any evidence or understanding:Mr [Jeremy] Wilson wants to delve further into how the species and its trapdoors have evolved.“If we know why evolution occurs and why different species occur then we can predict how things like climate change and deforestation could affect these spiders in the future.“There’s so much work that needs to be done and it’s important work because these spiders get overlooked. They live in trapdoors and no one sees them.”Though people may find them scary, Wilson adds that trapdoor spiders “have an important role to play in the ecosystem” as the top invertebrate predators in the food chain. We don’t want too many ants, crickets and flies around, do we?Update 9/07/16: Scientists are looking to spider webs for new materials that can attenuate sound. PhysOrg reports that European scientists noticed how the concentric rings of the webs absorb different frequencies. Here’s how to design a new, lightweight soundproofing material:The acoustic advantages of the spider web arise, at least in part, from the concentric circles, or “rings,” of the web. These rings resonate at a particular frequency when exposed to vibrations. Based on this natural architecture, the researchers designed the acoustic metamaterial to have square units containing resonating rings with supporting ligaments that radiate outward from the center of the rings. The design could be incorporated into many diverse man-made structures.Five parameters would allow acoustic engineers to finely tune the materials for best absorption. Their “bio-inspired design” could apply from the small scale to large scale, including attenuation of seismic waves.Does anyone need to hear a story about how these creatures “evolved” their skills? Would that add anything to understanding? Look, biologists: just study the phenomenon, describe the design and its function, and help the world learn more about these amazing creatures. A scientist doesn’t have to mention God or creation or even get rhapsodic. The listener can draw his or her own conclusions. What’s useless and harmful is to spin stories, blow fogma, and force-fit observations into a secular materialist ideology. The first article set a good example. The second was OK until the researcher started talking in Darwinese propaganda. (He probably needed to mention evolution and climate change to get his degree.)(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

21 human rights all South Africans enjoy today

first_imgApartheid laws were designed to segregate South Africa’s population in terms of race. The majority suffered discrimination in terms of education, economic rights, social standing, and eventually even citizenship. Today, the Bill of Rights enshrines many rights denied in the past.The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, an apartheid law, specified the use of many basic amenities such as parks, benches and entrances according to race. (Image: Wikipedia)Priya PitamberMost South Africans were denied many basic human rights during the apartheid. As the country celebrates 23 years of democracy, we shine a light on some of the laws that existed back then, and how things have changed today.“The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.” – Bill of Rights1. Then: Black Land Act of 1913This law stopped black South Africans from owning or even renting land that was outside the reserves.Now: It was cancelled by section one of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991. This meant that anyone could own or rent any land.2. Then: Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940Under this law, only white South Africans over the age of 18 were allowed to vote.Now: Every person who has a valid South African identity book, and is over the age of 18, can register and vote. “Every adult citizen has the right to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret,” reads the Bill of Rights.3. Then: The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949When the National Party came into power in South Africa in 1948, it implemented various apartheid laws. This act banned marriage between any white person and a person of another a different racial group.Now: Everyone has the right to marry the person of their choice. The Civil Union Act of 2006 also allows same-sex partners to marry.4. Then: Immorality Amendment Act of 1950This law made it illegal for people from two different race groups to have sex. It also prohibited other acts considered illegal under the Christian government of the time, such as adultery or attempted adultery.Now: All South Africans are free to choose their sexual partners, and the number of partners they have.5. Then: Suppression of Communism Act of 1950This act outlawed the South African Communist Party (SACP) and all communist propaganda. It also authorised the punishment or banning of anyone participating in communist activities.Now: The SACP is part of the Tripartite Alliance with African National Congress (ANC), which rules the country, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).6. Then: The Group Areas Act of 1950This law made residential separation by race group mandatory. The government set up different areas where blacks, coloureds, Indians and whites could live. It led to thousands of people being relocated to designated areas based on race alone.Now: People are free to live where they want to live. “Every citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in, the Republic,” states the Bill of Rights.7. Then: The Population Registration Act of 1950This act divided South Africans into different race groups; these groups determined an individual’s economic, social and political rights. It used methods such as the ‘pencil test’ – a pencil was placed in an individual’s hair to determine the kink. If the pencil did not easily fall out, then the individual fell into the black population category.Now: While South Africans are still classified according to race, it is solely the basis for collecting population census information and addressing the inequalities of the past.8. Then: The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951The government set up areas known as homelands for the black population. Each operated independently under a leader, but they were still subordinate to the South African government. A map shows the homelands set up by the apartheid government. (Image: Wikipedia) Now: The homelands are all a part of South Africa, which is a single republic divided into nine provinces.9. Then: Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act of 1952Under this act, the old pass book was replaced with a reference book containing a person’s image, place of origin, tax records, employment details, fingerprints and encounters with the police. All black men were required to carry this hated document, colloquially known as a dompas, and failure to produce it when asked by the police was an offence. When the system was extended to black women, they protested by marching from Johannesburg to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in 1956.Now: There is a standard identity document for all citizens of South Africa.10. Then: Bantu Education Act of 1953Under this education system, black children were taught a different curriculum from white children. The aim was to provide them with skills to work in manual jobs only. “There is no place for the Bantu in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour,” said Dr HF Verwoerd, the prime minister and prime architect of apartheid. “Until now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him green pastures of European society in which he was not allowed to graze.”Now: All schools fall under a single, national Department of Education. “Everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education,” reads the Bill of Rights.11. Then: Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953This law stated that there should be separate facilities such as toilets, beaches and parks for different race groups. This was indicated by signs seen throughout the country. The act also stated that the quality of the amenities should be different. A sign in Durban, from the apartheid years, indicates the beach is for whites only. (Image: Wikipedia)Now: South Africans are free to use any toilet, or play in any park, or swim at any beach they prefer. “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement,” states the Bill of Rights.12. Then: Natives Resettlement Act of 1954This act allowed the removal of black people from the area next to the magistrate’s court in Johannesburg. It made it legal for the removal of the black population out of Sophiatown, in Johannesburg, to relocate them to Soweto. Sophiatown was renamed Triomf, meaning “triumph” in Afrikaans, after the removal.Now: The suburb was eventually renamed Sophiatown in 2006.13. Then: Natives (Prohibition of Interdicts) Act of 1956This law made it illegal for blacks to apply to courts for protection by means of an interdict, or use the legal system to protest against any apartheid law.Now: All South Africans are able to use the legal system and everyone is equal before the law. The Bill of Rights states: “Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum.”14. Then: Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956Gathering in public spaces was illegal if the Minister of the Justice deemed it to be an endangerment to public peace.Now: South Africans can gather en masse, even if they are protesting against government policies, although they do need permission from the police for large gatherings. “Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions,” reads the Bill of Rights.15. Then: Extension of University Education Act of 1959Different tertiary institutions were set up for different races and ethnicities; for example, the University of Fort Hare was set up for isiXhosa speaking people and the University of the North was designated for seSotho and Tswana speaking students.Now: All universities are open to anyone who makes the grade and are able to pay the fees. “Everyone has the right to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible,” states the Bill of Rights.16. Then: Unlawful Organisations Act of 1960Organisations that threatened public peace were declared unlawful, which immediately affected the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).Now: Everyone is free to form any organisation because the Bill of Rights ensures “everyone has the right to freedom of association”.17. Then: Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act of 1968This law invalidated any marriage that took place outside South Africa between a male citizen and a woman of another race.Now: South Africans can love and marry whomever they choose.18. Then: Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970Black people became citizens of their homelands and were denied the right to South African citizenship.Now: All South Africans enjoy full citizenship of the country. “No citizen may be deprived of citizenship,” states the Bill of Rights.19. Then: Black Laws Amendment Act of 1973This law sped up the process of removing blacks from their places of residence, to a homeland. If they refused to move, they were no longer allowed to appeal the decision.Now: South Africans are free to live anywhere in the country. “No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances,” reads the Bill of Rights. “No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.”20. Then: Newspaper and Imprint Registration Act of 1977This meant that newspapers had to be registered and conform to a code of conduct.Now: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and other media,” states the Bill of Rights.21. Then: Internal Security Act of 1979The law allowed the government to declare any organisation illegal and meetings of more than 20 people were illegal unless they had received permission from a magistrate.Now: People are free to form an organisation and meet when needed.Sources: South African History Online and the Constitutional Court websiteWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Examining factors behind long term corn and soybean prices

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The recent decline in farm prices have underscored a question that has existed throughout the recent period of higher prices, has a new era of farm prices emerged? As is usual among economists, disagreement exists concerning a new era. This article joins the discussion by using market history to identify key factors that have helped shape current corn and soybean prices.A key question confronting the outlook for U.S. corn and soybean prices is what is their long term equilibrium? In considering this question, it is important to acknowledge that U.S. corn and soybeans exist in the broader world grain and oilseed markets. These broader markets must be understood.A review of world grain and oilseed supply and demand over the last 40 plus years suggests a key factor determining future corn and soybean prices will be which increases faster: world grain yield or world grain consumption? The answer will determine if more land is needed for grain production or if land in grains can be shifted to meet the growing demand for oilseeds.Here are some thoughts to consider.• While future growth of grains as a source of biofuels will be a key factor influencing world consumption of grains, a more important factor likely will be whether the increased growth in world consumption of grains for feed since 2010 can be sustained or whether it is a temporary increase that returned world feed consumption back to its pre-ethanol growth path.A decline in crop yields is a widely discussed concern. This review finds no clear evidence that the growth of aggregate world yields of grains and oilseeds is slowing. Evidence is found that suggests the annual variability of these yields, in particular grain yield, may be declining.Another key question is: what is the normal level of stocks? Ending stock-consumption ratios have increased for world oilseeds, likely stabilizing the annual growth in world oilseed consumption. Has this ratio now reached a normal level and no longer needs to build? For world grains, have changes in world transportation infrastructure, an apparent decline in world yield variability, and the recent growth of corn production in the Southern Hemisphere lowered the normal level of world grain stocks? Or is the market understating the risks of production and other supply chain factors? In short, is the normal world grain ending stock-consumption ratio closer to the 1981-2001 average or the 2002-2010 average? Your answer to this question and the question posed for oilseed stocks profoundly changes your interpretation of the current level of world grain and oilseed stocks.A factor that compounds understanding long term corn and soybean prices is the recent decline in input prices. Lower input prices, everything else the same, increases profitability and thus either increases supply or dampens the downward pressure on it. While exceptions are common, input prices in general follow crop prices during large crop price moves. Thus, it is important to ask how much can current input prices decline and how will crop prices react to their decline?Rent has increased during the current crop price pullback. Will rent eventually decline? It declined by double digits during the two other large crop price pullbacks since 1973?The lack of decline in rents raises the question of how widespread is the current stress in U.S. agriculture? Raising this question does not mean stress has not increased, particularly for individual farmers. But, for the sector as a whole is the current stress about adjustment to a more normal supply-demand situation from a very prosperous situation or is it a deeper stress? An early indicator will be how many acres of corn and soybeans, more broadly crops, do U.S. farmers plant this year? The higher the number of acres planted the lower the indication of aggregate stress.The strong evidence that input prices in general decline when farm output prices decline raises an important question with farm policy and management implications: How risky is farming?While a historical trend does not always continue into the future, it is important to consider it and to have a rationale for why it no longer applies. Otherwise, a reasonable guess is that the historical trend will reassert itself. It is thus useful to keep in mind that the 2001-2005 real price of corn and soybeans adjusted for inflation since 2005 implies a crop year price for corn and soybeans of $2.70 and $7.20, respectively. To be more specific, unless world grain consumption continues to grow faster than world grain yield or unless world consumption of oilseeds grows faster than its historical rate (such as via biofuels) it is reasonable to expect that over time real corn and soybeans prices will work their way toward these real price levels. Note, this is not a price forecast for the coming crop year. It is what history suggests the underlying price pressure over the longer run could be.In summary, the sharp decline in corn and soybean prices since 2012 may be coming to an end and higher prices may be ahead as the string of good world weather is replaced by more normal or stressful weather, or demand growth accelerates. However, history suggests it is also possible that further declines are ahead. This article has not attempted to answer which scenario is more likely. Instead, it has pointed out key relationships and questions that a historical review of world grain and oilseed markets suggests you should monitor as these dynamic markets answer which scenario emerges. However, because further declines are potentially possible, this review clearly implies that effective management requires attention to the possibility of this outcome and thus aggressive management of costs and input productivity is in order.last_img read more

Meet Emma, the wearable that helps people with Parkinson’s

first_imgMicrosoft has unveiled a prototype watch that helps those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder that affects over 10 million people worldwide.The wearable, codenamed Project Emma, is designed to reduce the uncontrollable shaking, one of the early Parkinson’s symptoms. Small vibration motors inside the wearable stop the brain from creating as many tremors.Microsoft Research Cambridge innovation director Haiyan Zheng worked on the watch for Emma Lawton, a friend and graphic designer with Parkinson’s. In the video above, Lawton shows how the wearable stabilizes her hand, letting her draw for the first time in years.A Windows 10 app allows Lawton to change the rhythm of vibrations.“I’ve been chatting with Emma, Parkinson’s researchers and experts to put together a deeper piece of research on how AI and wearables can better support people with Parkinson’s to manage their symptoms and medication intake,” said Zhang. “This would be an extension of the original Emma Watch project but could be quite an impactful piece of work. At the moment, it’s still only in the proposal stage.”See Also: How the Azure Stack brings the cloud to youMicrosoft will start initial trials of the device in London, but has no set plans for a full rollout. In a blog post, Zhang remarks that she didn’t design the device for the health community, but simply for her friend to be able to write again.The wearable was introduced at Microsoft Build conference, the company’s annual conference in Seattle. How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… FDA Extends Collaboration on Living Heart Proje… David Curry Related Posts center_img Tags:#health#innovation#Internet of Things#IoT#Microsoft#Parkinson’s#Project Emma#smartwatch#wearable 8 Unusual Ideas for a Dentistry Business Can IoT Bridge The Gaps In Modern Mental Health…last_img read more

Collecting laurels

first_imgThis award was received by Sudhir Sobti, Chief Manager (PR and Publicity) on behalf of Delhi Tourism, from Lalit Panwar, Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, in an elaborate and ornamented award ceremony on 25 November, at JW Marriot Hotel, in the Capital.Now thrice in the row, this endowment recognizes the fact that Delhi offers the most comprehensive and satisfactory stay to tourists from around the globe.Delhi is aggressively coming out as a tourist friendly destination, with its increasing cultural hangouts and improved infrastructure. Delhi, a city with numerous heritage delights, is a unique destination for the modern day explorer. Delhi Tourism has been making consistent efforts to make Delhi as one of the most lively cities in the world for tourism. Cultural initiatives taken by Delhi Tourism have persistently been driving local as well as international tourists in the city.Reader’s Travel Awards by Conde Nast Traveller India has been recognizing the best of travel experiences to deliver the most prestigious award in travel industry. The worthy of this accolade is decided by the readers of Conde Nast’s publication, who vote based on their own personal experiences with the contestants.last_img read more