March Moon Madness

first_imgMoons of our planetary system are supposed to behave themselves.  They were expected to just quietly orbit their host planets like nice, cold, frozen, inactive chunks of rock and ice.  It seems like whenever we get a close look at them, they are madly at work destroying theories – just like their planets have been wont to do.Io, Io, It’s Off to Work I Go:  “The results are surprising because no theory predicted upstream spots.”  Belgian researcher Bertrand Bonford was commenting on a press release from American Geophysical Union (AGU) about the volcanic moon Io, and how its eruptions create auroral spots on Jupiter.  “The finding of the leading spot puts all the previous models of the Io footprint into question,” the article said.Tethys Ocean:  The “surprisingly ordinary” moon Tethys at Saturn may have, or may have had, an underground ocean, according to National Geographic News.  The energy required to create the monstrous rift called Ithaca Chasma must have melted the ice below.  Where did the heat come from?  Since Tethys is largely ice, there would not have been radioactive elements sufficient to produce internal heat.  This leaves tidal flexing to create the rift – but only if there was liquid underneath.    The thought of water quickly led to thoughts of life.  A Cassini scientist told NGN, “This makes the exploration of icy satellites and their interiors even more important to understanding possible habitats for life in our solar system” and for how common life is in the universe.Do you want your Mars with salt?  Sodium chloride – good old table salt – may be common on Mars, said the BBC News and EurekAlert.  Because the salt may have become deposited in channels and lakes, some scientists immediately visualized the salt as a preservative for life.  Salt is a double-edged sword, however: “Water is the first sign that an environment might have been habitable, but waters that precipitate table salt on Mars would have been much saltier than any waters known to support microbial populations on Earth,” said Andrew Knoll of Harvard.  Salt is also a poison to organic soup (09/17/2002).Titan clash:  Titan isn’t rotating like scientists expected.  When they went to focus on a spot identified from a previous orbit, it was 19 miles off.  The only way they can explain it is by modeling an ocean under the ice, according to a paper in Science.1  If the crust is decoupled from the interior by floating on an ocean, it also means that Titan’s zonal winds can alter the rotation of the whole moon.  See explanation by The Planetary Society and press release from JPL.    The ocean-and-wind hypothesis is only a partial answer.  Christophe Sotin and Gabriel Tobie, writing in the same issue of Science,2 said, “However, the observations and model predictions do not correlate very well.”  Some are proposing a periodic wobble in the spin, or a large impact that might have sped up the rotation.  No impact basin large enough to record such an event has been found.  “There’s a fundamental difficulty with Titan global circulation models right now — all of them,” said lead author Ralph Lorenz, “–which is that they predict that the predominant winds at low latitudes near the surface would be easterly, from east to west.  Yet all the sand dunes point in exactly the opposite direction.  There’s something we do not understand about Titan’s circulation.”Back on earth, scientists are also scrambling to explain the origin of the home planet.  Science Daily, PhysOrg and National Geographic News all reported that a “new study is challenging the long-standing notion that the whole solar system formed from the same raw materials.”  Isotopes in meteorites don’t match those on earth.  To get around this problem, scientists are having to imagine that materials in the solar disk that supposedly gave birth to the planets got sorted somehow.    In addition, a news item in Nature News about the Genesis solar-wind collection experiment “raises more questions.”  The finding that “the Sun is relatively richer than Earth in oxygen-16, the most common oxygen isotope, contradicts the conventional wisdom that Earth has the same oxygen isotope composition as the Sun” the article said. “Everybody would have bet that the Sun had the same composition as Earth and the meteorites,” a French cosmochemist remarked.  “In fact, Earth is not like the Sun.”  Scientists are scrambling to model what process might have “sucked out oxygen-16 while the gas of the proto-Solar System condensed into solid grains that coalesced into the planets.”  If so, the article said, it would have had to happen early on.Footnote:  We’re still waiting for word about the Enceladus flyby results from March 12.  Expect more surprises.  Whatever is found will have to comport with findings of Roberts and Nimmo in the April Icarus.3  Their calculations show that neither radioactive decay or tidal forcing are adequate to maintain a liquid ocean under the crust for more than 30 million years (6% of the assumed age).  Heat is removed from the surface faster than it can be generated in the core, and tidal heating is far too low at the present orbit.  The only way they could rescue a long-lived ocean was to propose an ad-hoc scenario: perhaps the obliquity of Enceladus is pumped up from time to time.  “A transient ocean could exist beneath the ice shell today as a remnant of an earlier epoch of higher heating,” they said.  Such a phenomenon is beyond observation.1.  Lorenz et al, “Titan’s Rotation Reveals an Internal Ocean and Changing Zonal Winds,” Science, 21 March 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5870, pp. 1649-1651, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151639.2.  Sotin and Tobie, “Titan’s Hidden Ocean,” Science, 21 March 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5870, pp. 1629-1630, DOI: 10.1126/science.1155964.3.  James H. Roberts and Francis Nimmo, “Tidal heating and the long-term stability of a subsurface ocean on Enceladus,” Icarus, Volume 194, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 675-689, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.11.010.Science marches on – sometimes in disciplined ranks, sometimes in scatter formation.  The latter occurs when observation bombs drop in on theory playgrounds.    Remember, the consensus theories that have been blown away by new discoveries were textbook orthodoxy a few years ago.  Only a devout logical positivist would think this could not happen to today’s accepted ideas.  Just wait.    Evidence does not exist in isolation.  To make sense, it must be incorporated into one’s web of belief by a number of auxiliary hypotheses and assumptions.  Planetary scientists interpret what Ithaca Chasma, Titan’s rotation and Earth’s oxygen-16 ratios mean through the filter of assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses that are rarely considered or questioned independently.    One of their most sacred assumptions is the A.S.S. (age of the solar system).  The accepted value of 4.5 billion years is written in their genes.  All evidence is viewed within this major structural component of their web of belief.  The web itself stretches and distorts as new evidence bombards it, but it would take a mighty big impact to break it.    Too much is at stake for secular planetologists, bent on finding life and evolution at every water hole, to allow that to happen.  Like predatory spiders, they snag the evidence, wrap it in theories spun out of their own selves, and suck the juice out of it to feed themselves and their young.  The dried up hulk that once contained structure, organs and connective tissue is discarded to blow away in the wind.    If you love and respect science, make like a bee instead.  Get busy and gather nature’s nectar far and wide.  Digest it carefully.  Transform it into something sweet to benefit others – something that will nourish the heart and bring delight to the eyes.  (Thanks to Francis Bacon for the metaphor.)(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ivory Coast take on ice bucket challenge helps fight Ebola

first_imgIce-cold, soapy water … Ivorian Twitter celebrity Edith Brou’s Lather Against Ebola campaign encourages participants in the soap bucket challenge, an Ivorian variation of the ice bucket challenge, to donate bars of soap and bottles of antiseptic instead of cash. • Mobile phone boost to African internet • #BringBackOurGirls shows the power of social media in Africa • How Africa tweets • So this giraffe walks into a restaurant … and the video goes viral • Africa refocused: images of GhanaNdaba DlaminiIvory Coast is giving the global sensation of the ice bucket challenge a new – and educational – meaning as a way to spread the need for hygiene in the face of the deadly Ebola epidemic affecting its neighbours.A brainchild of one of Ivory Coast’s most prominent Twitter users, Edith Brou, the Lather Against Ebola campaign encourages participants in the “soap bucket challenge”, an Ivorian variation of the ice bucket challenge, to donate bars of soap and bottles of antiseptic instead of cash.The original ice bucket challenge was a hugely successful viral campaign in which people challenged their friends to film themselves pouring ice water over their heads. It has raised millions of dollars worldwide to fund research into a fatal degenerative nervous disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The Lather Against Ebola campaign, with the French hashtag #MousserContreEbola, has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook in the West African region, helping raise awareness about a disease that has claimed thousands of lives in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.With 1.4-million Facebook users in Ivory Coast, the internet has played an increasingly important role in politics and society in the country.Brou kicked off the campaign in August this year, posting a video of herself standing on a balcony at her workplace in Abidjan. “Against Ebola, you need good hygiene,” she says in the video before a bucket of soapy, ice-cold water is dunked on her head by a friend.For her efforts, Brou’s video was an instant hit on social networks, garnering 4 000 hits. She then challenged three fellow bloggers including Nouho Bamba, who goes by the pseudonym La Rigueur Bino. Bamba claims to have 150 000 followers on social media.Subsequently, Bamba came up with his own soap bucket challenge video. In it, Bamba gets a little quirkier in his approach and throws himself – fully dressed in a business suit complete with suitcase in hand – in a swimming pool. The video got more than 52 000 hits.“I knew that jumping into a pool would create a buzz,” said Bamba. “Today, even children need to understand what Ebola is.”Besides being a critical tool to educate and raise awareness of Ebola, the soap bucket campaign is a good example of the power of social media to bring people together for a just cause, and also an opportunity for bloggers to showcase their popularity. One blogger, Israel Yoroba, has composed a song entitled “Stop Ebola” that is being used a waiting tune by a local phone operator.Bloggers have been able to put key issues onto the public domain, and good examples include highlighting the negligent death of a young model at a hospital in Abidjan earlier this year and keeping people informed about the New Year’s stampede which led to the death of 61 people outside Abidjan Stadium in 2013. Social networks also proved to be a powerful tool during the violence that followed the disputed election in 2010, when more than 3 000 people were killed in five months. A hashtag #CIVsocial was used on Twitter to help coordinate relief efforts and share information.last_img read more

SME Indaba calls for business investment in South Africa

first_imgThe first SME Indaba organised by AHI South Africa discussed why big and small businesses should work together.Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas (left) and AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel. Jonas was a speaker at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. He says bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanPay invoices on time, AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel challenged owners of big corporates, the government and members of his organisation. “Think small [businesses] first. Consider the effects on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”Swanepoel gave the welcoming address of AHI South Africa’s first SME Indaba, held in Centurion on 5 April 2017. The theme of the one-day conference was “Creating jobs against all odds”.Swanepoel’s second challenge was that his members commit this year to creating two entry level jobs. “Take your business and create a job.”He added: “If there is no growth in your business, it will die. You cannot stagnate as a business… Invest in your businesses. Invest in the future of the country.”Businesses, get involvedFormer deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas was the keynote speaker. He said the future of the country was in South Africans’ hands. “We need to strengthen leadership.”There was a need for the business sector to be involved in and to collaborate with government programmes, especially when it came to training emerging entrepreneurs, he said.Jonas also urged businesses to invest in doing research so that relevant training could be given to students. Businesses should go to where students who needed relevant industry training were, in colleges and universities.Members should not underestimate the power of an organisation such as the AHI, he said. “[An organisation like this] can provide a stronger network of enterprises. Bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool.“You can see how you can use the supply chain to promote growth – you enhance growth where there is an organisation of big and small business.”The AHI is a national multisectoral, inclusive business organisation consisting of corporate, medium and small enterprises and affiliated business chambers. It represents more than 100 business chambers, more than 4,000 businesses and has trained 740 entrepreneurs, it says.The AHI’s mission is to promote the economic and business interests of its members and to facilitate networks and interaction between businesses and the government.DowngradeAsked about South Africa being downgraded to junk status by ratings agency S&P Global Ratings on 5 April, Jonas said: “We will bounce back as a country but it will require that we become more robust. We need to boost things such as our agricultural programmes and other programmes that are working.”He added: “We need to do more about scaling.”A national dialogue was needed so we could talk about where we should be going as a country. “I fear that if we don’t have a national dialogue we’ll be replacing the white elite with the black elite. That is not right.”Chief executive officer of AHI South Africa, Dr. Ernest Messina, Prof. Edith Vries of the Department: Small Business Development and Ashraf Adam of the South Africa Local Government Association are panellists discussing “How national and local governments enable or stifle SMEs” at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. (Image: Melissa Javan)SMMEs’ challengesBusiness Unity South Africa (Busa) had found the number one barrier for many SMEs was access to skilled staff, said Tanya Cohen, the organisation’s CEO. She spoke about the challenges SMEs faced.Skills training and relevant transformation was necessary, said Cohen. It was important that the South African economy was open to all. “We need to do this; [South Africa must be] inclusive of black people, women, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.”Cohen also spoke about the country’s minimum wage and its effect on SMMEs. A quarter of small, medium and micro enterprises were able to afford the minimum wage, but three-quarters of SMMEs “are going to struggle to pay [it]”.Negotiations were ongoing to exempt SMMEs from paying the minimum wage. “It’s something that we will have to continue to motivate for.”It was Busa’s mission to secure conditions so that business could thrive, Cohen said. “Our focus is what we can do for business.”Other discussionsEntrepreneurs on the panel “Negotiating the minefield of regulation and bureaucracy affecting SMEs”, had advice for businesses:Paul Marias: “My best investment advice is read, read and read. Also comply with the legislation.”Octavia Motloa: “A lot of people think that if they are a small business they can do mediocre work. No, it shouldn’t be. The quality of your work must be exceptional. As you excel in that it creates opportunities.”Annie Malan: “Continuously ask yourself ‘how do I re-evaluate myself?’ You have to stay ahead [of the game].” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

An Inside Look Into Boxee’s Systematic UX Overhaul Process

first_imgAnyone who has been using Facebook for a few years knows that even minor changes to an interface design can cause a wide variety of reactions from a loyal user base. When the popular social network has made design tweaks in the past, there is always some portion of their users that are upset, if not enraged, by the changes made. A couple of weeks ago, we told you how your registration process could be driving potential users away, and a large part of that has to do with the design.These days, the look and feel of a website or product is just as important as the features that it provides. One product with one of the hottest new interfaces available is the new Boxee Beta software which allows for streamlined local and Web media viewing. Whitney Hess is the user experience (UX) designer behind the framework of the Boxee interface, and recently on her blog Pleasure and Pain she described the systematic process she went through to design it.When Boxee hired Hess to overhaul their UX, she began by interviewing eleven people, some of which were current users of the software, and others who weren’t. She asked them a variety of questions about their use of multimedia, including “Have you ever played music at a party you were hosting?” and “Have you ever displayed your photos on your TV?” among several others. Hess then held usability tests with five participants and gauged how they navigated around the software when asked to complete a series of tasks. Tags:#start#startups From this process, Hess was able to uncover what current users needed to make their experience better while at the same time discovering what potential users would find attractive. Her work led to the inclusion of several UX features and her wireframe submissions certainly influenced the final UI’s look and feel. The screenshot below demonstrates how the final design compared to her wireframe shown above. “Overall, we wanted to provide users with greater ability to discover content across sources, easier ways to sort and ?lter lists, and quick access to their favorite programming,” writes Hess on her blog.Boxee’s set-top product, aptly named the Boxee Box, was one of the most popular new products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. One of its most distinguishing characteristics is its beautiful interface design, which was raved about by reviewers on blogs and in the press. The design owes its positive reception to the framework it sits on, a product of Hess’s systematic approach to the redesign.“As more and more living rooms borrow content from the Internet, they’re going to have to borrow the web’s focus on user experience as well,” Andrew Kippen, Boxee’s VP of marketing, told ReadWriteWeb. “Websites rise and fall based not only on the content but also on the experience they provide, soon connected TVs, BluRay players, and Set Top Boxes will do the same.” A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts chris cameron Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Remember the Heroes

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now The time to protest a war is before it begins. If you disagree with the war on whatever grounds, you should call your Congressman, write the President, and march in the street holding up signs. You should make your voice heard (and as loudly as possible). That is your right and your duty.But once the war has begun, the time for protest is over. You have to support the decision and work to end it as quickly as possible (something we in the United States aren’t at all very good at). The decision is made, and the soldiers in harms way require your support to complete their missions. Protests only show a weak resolve, poor intestinal fortitude, and increase the horror of war.Today is a day to remember heroes who did what their country asked of them. And more.The soldiers who served and died didn’t want to go to war. They wanted to be home with their families. But they did what we asked of them.The soldiers who served and died didn’t want to put themselves in harm’s way. But that was their duty, and their honor and their responsibility required it of them. So they marched into the fray.The soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice didn’t want to make that sacrifice. They didn’t want the medals. They didn’t want their family to receive a flag in their place. But they gave all.The soldiers that we lost gave themselves out of the love they had for the soldiers standing next to them and out of the duty they had to their country.You are a beneficiary of their sacrifice. Be grateful to the heroes who were asked to do the unthinkable and did so out of duty, honor, and the love of their country. Your country.last_img read more

2 Al-Qaeda supporters arrested

first_imgTwo supporters of the Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were apprehended by the police in J&K on Saturday, while six other terrorist supporters were counselled to resume normal life. A semblance of normalcy returned in the Valley after six days.A police official said Rafiq Ahmad Dar of Awantipora, a member of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was apprehended in Pulwama. “One hand grenade, which he was about to lob upon security forces, was also seized,” the official said.According to the police, he helped identify the group’s another supporter, Abid Majeed Shiekh, alias Raj Gada, of Dadsara. In a separate initiative of the police, six youths were handed over to their families after counselling, in south Kashmir.last_img