Moons 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0
27 January 2014Business and political thought-leaders from Africa, Australia, North America and the UK will headline the 20th annual Investing in African Mining Indaba, taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 3 to 6 February.Mining Indaba’s “legendary robust discussions and access to industry game-changers” are expected to attract approximately 8 000 delegates this year, according to the organisers. About half the delegates are likely to be from Africa, with the rest coming from Europe, Australia, the Americas and Asia.The event will feature more than a dozen keynote speakers and over 50 sessions on investment opportunities and the leading mining companies across the African mining value chain.“This reflects accelerated mining interest around the African continent and underlines the essence of the Mining Indaba – this is where the world really connects with African mining,” event managing director Jonathan Moore said in a recent statement.South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu will deliver the welcoming address, while Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans, heads up an impressive list of keynote speakers.Colin Barnett, Western Australia’s minister for state development, will focus on win-win mining scenarios for investors, mining companies and governments. Canadian consultant Phil Newman, CEO of CRU Strategies, will discuss the changing face of world mineral supply. And Paul Collier, director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, will discuss mining and sustainable development.Makhtar Diop’s keynote address will be informed by his World Bank experience, currently as vice-president for the Africa region.Keynote panels will tackle themes such as the current status and future outlook for African mining and the impact of Asian growth on African mining. Participating in both topics will be Frank Holmes, adviser on sustainable development to the William J Clinton Foundation, and David Hale, a Chicago-based economist renowned for his global market research and insights.SAinfo reporter
2 April 2014International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is in Brussels where she is leading a South African delegation to the 4th Africa-European Union (EU) Summit.According to the Department of International Relations, the summit affords Africa and Europe the opportunity to further strengthen political and socio-economic cooperation between the two continents.High on the agenda of the two-day event, starting on Wednesday, will be peace and security, trade and investment, human development and the future institutional and financial arrangements of the Africa-EU Partnership.Leaders from the two continents are also expected to use the opportunity to stocktake what has been achieved over the past three years, as guided by the Africa-EU Action Plan 2010-2013. The action plans was adopted at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit in Libya in November 2010.Issues concerning the financing of priority projects aimed at meeting the developmental challenges of Africa will also be addressed.Agreements that are due to be signed during the meeting include the Brussels Declaration of the Heads of State and Government, which is the main outcome document for the 4th Africa-EU Summit; the Africa-EU Roadmap; and the Declaration on Migration and Mobility.Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to hold bilateral consultations with her counterparts from Africa and Europe on the sidelines of the summit. South Africa’s delegation includes Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.Source: SAnews.gov.za
The 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 material
To create awareness about drug abuse and raise funds for addicts, seven bands from the northeast have come together to raise their voice through songs to bring about change. The bands will tour Delhi too.The music project titled ‘7×7’ will have popular artists, including two all-girl bands, from all the states of northeast. The group will bring out a music album on the theme of ‘Youth and Drug Abuse’, announced NGO BASIC, the brains behind the initiative. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘It is an attempt to take a step towards healing, and to finding solutions to the issues… the album not only unites various bands from different northeast states but also features the diverse music talents that the region has,’ said Elvis Khevito Lee, BASIC project manager.‘We will raise funds to support people in need with special focus on HIV positive orphans,’ he added.BASIC has been supporting an orphanage for HIV positive children for more than two years in Imphal, Manipur. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘Helping HIV positive orphans brings tremendous satisfaction knowing that not only are we supporting the suffering children but are creating a better tomorrow for them,’ said Lee.According to Lee, a concert with all the seven bands will be organsied in Delhi by November to educate the youth.‘Music, being a universal language and one of the most powerful tools to reach out to the youth, will be a great empowering force for the journey ahead,’ he said.
3 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. For tech companies, there was a confounding juxtaposition in the news this week.On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission announced a joint effort to assure that businesses are safeguarding their customers’ data. The FCC sent a letter to mobile carriers, citing “a growing number of vulnerabilities … that threaten the security and integrity of a user’s device and all the personal, sensitive data on it,” and asking how carriers address those vulnerabilities.The FTC simultaneously ordered eight manufacturers of mobile devices to respond to a detailed set of questions about how they update the devices’ security protections and keep customers informed of those updates.Meanwhile, on Wednesday, as Julia Harte reported for Reuters, FBI Director James Comey said in press briefing that he expects to keep litigating to force companies like Apple to help investigators access their customers’ data.Terrorist groups rely on encryption, Comey said, suggesting — as the government argued throughout its attempt to compel Apple to help crack security on an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter — that law enforcement agencies believe they are entitled to assistance from tech companies.So, one set of government agencies is pressuring mobile companies to keep customer data secure while another segment of the government is pressuring the same companies to help investigators access data.And on the criminal front, we are not talking about an incidental number of customers. Comey told reporters Wednesday that the FBI has examined about 4,000 devices since October, but that’s just one aspect of the government’s data excavation.In a must-read essay published Friday on the website justsecurity.org, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith of Houston estimated that state and federal courts may be issuing a half-million secret surveillance orders every year.Apple, Microsoft and other mobile companies have been pushing back against government data demands. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation publishes a handy scorecard, Who Has Your Back?, on the compliance policies of 24 social media, telecom, mobile device and Internet companies.)In response to Apple’s opposition, the Justice Department accused the company of putting its business interests ahead of national security. According to the government, tech companies know their customers are worried about keeping their personal information private, so the companies put on a show of opposing court-authorized investigative requests.Now Apple and fellow tech companies can point out that the federal government itself, via the FCC and FTC, is pestering them to prioritize the protection of customer data.Is there a perfect balance between data privacy and law enforcement? It seems elusive in these relatively early days of the mobile revolution, with Congress so far reluctant to define the responsibilities of the private companies we entrust with our personal information and courts muddling through case-by-case facts. And as we saw this week, the executive branch is of at least two minds about the primary obligations of tech companies.For lawyers (and reporters), the double-sided squeeze on tech companies makes for interesting work. But as mobile device customers and citizens, we’d better hope for consensus to emerge.(Reporting by Alison Frankel; Editing by Alessandra Rafferty.) This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global May 13, 2016 Register Now »
November 28, 2016 How Success Happens Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. This story originally appeared on Reuters Anticipating a more protectionist U.S. technology visa program under a Donald Trump administration, India’s $150 billion IT services sector will speed up acquisitions in the United States and recruit more heavily from college campuses there.Indian companies including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro have long used H1-B skilled worker visas to fly computer engineers to the U.S., their largest overseas market, temporarily to service clients.Staff from those three companies accounted for around 86,000 new H1-B workers in 2005-14. The U.S. currently issues close to that number of H1-B visas each year. President-elect Trump’s campaign rhetoric, and his pick for Attorney General of Senator Jeff Sessions, a long-time critic of the visa program, have many expecting a tighter regime.”The world over, there’s a lot of protectionism coming in and push back on immigration. Unfortunately, people are confusing immigration with a high-skilled temporary workforce, because we are really a temporary workforce,” said Pravin Rao, chief operating officer at Infosys, India’s second-largest information technology firm.While few expect a complete shutdown of skilled worker visas as Indian engineers are an established part of the fabric of Silicon Valley, and U.S. businesses depend on their cheaper IT and software solutions, any changes are likely to push up costs.And a more restrictive program would likely mean Indian IT firms sending fewer developers and engineers to the United States, and increasing campus recruitment there.”We have to accelerate hiring of locals if they are available, and start recruiting freshers from universities there,” said Infosys’ Rao, noting a shift from the traditional model of recruiting mainly experienced people in the U.S.”Now we have to get into a model where we will recruit freshers, train them and gradually deploy them, and this will increase our costs,” he said, noting Infosys typically recruits 500-700 people each quarter in the U.S. and Europe, around 80 percent of whom are locals.AcquisitionsTrump’s election win and Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union are headwinds for India’s IT sector, as clients such as big U.S. and British banks and insurers hold off on spending while the dust settles.In India’s IT hub of Bengaluru and the financial capital Mumbai, executives expect a Trump administration to raise the minimum wage for foreign workers, pressuring already squeezed margins.Buying U.S. companies would help Indian IT firms build their local headcount, increase their on-the-ground presence in key markets and help counter any protectionist regulations.Indian software services companies have invested more than $2 billion in the United States in the past five years. North America accounts for more than half of the sector’s revenue.”We have to accelerate acquisitions,” said Rao at Infosys, which in the past two years has bought companies including U.S.-based Noah Consulting and Kallidus Technologies.Jatin Dalal, Wipro’s chief financial officer, said his growth strategy is to buy companies that offer something beyond what Wipro already does, or new, disruptive firms — such as Appirio, a U.S. cloud services firm.The chief executive of Tech Mahindra, C.P. Gurnani, said his firm, which two years ago bought network services management firm Lightbridge Communications Corp., is on the look-out for more U.S. acquisitions, particularly in healthcare and fintech — financial technology firms that are disrupting traditional banking services.Offshoring and automationIn a broader shift from labor intensive onsite projects, Indian IT firms are also turning to higher-tech services such as automation, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms.With better technology and faster networks, IT firms are encouraging Western clients to adopt more virtual services.Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka says he has focused on automation and AI as growth drivers since 2014. “The AI platform is 5-6 percent of our revenues,” he told Reuters. “Three years ago, it was zero.”More automation would mean fewer onshore developers.”The ‘Plan B’ would be to accelerate the trend … to reduce their reliance on people and increase their focus on delivering automation, leveraging the cloud for their clients,” said Partha Iyengar, Gartner’s head of research in India.(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Euan Rocha in BENGALURU and MUMBAI, with additional by Arno Schuetze in FRANKFURT; Editing by Ian Geoghegan) 4 min read Listen Now