MINISTER’S NEW BUILDING CONTROLS DO NOT HELP DIRECT BUILD HOUSES – McGOWAN

first_imgFianna Fáil Cllr Patrick Mc Gowan said while everyone wants to see tighter controls on building standards the Environment Minister’s new regulatory system to maintain a high quality standard of building for dwellings does not take into account direct build houses.Councillor Patrick McGowanThe Ballybofey councillor said nobody wants to see cowboy builders going unregulated or leaving poor quality work behind .However he claims the regulations coming into force will penalize own-build home owners who want to construct their own family home. “Direct build One-off homes will be hit with a regulatory framework designed for large-scale developments in major towns and cities. This will dramatically increase costs and has the potential to damage the local construction industry at a time when it should be supported .“The Minister needs to listen to genuine public concerns. The cost of the regulations will place a hefty and disproportionate burden on one-off housing. local authorities will need extra staff to handle the deluge of information and paperwork that will result from the new system .“Surely the Government should establish a national building inspectorate or fund the Local authorities to enforce a system of targeted inspections, licensing or registration for builders. Information on builders could then be shared among the relevant authorities, with full prosecutions of any designers or contractors who are negligent in their duties.“An open register of inspections and prosecutions and reports of inspections could be made public. Transparency in the system would be of huge benefit and build public confidence.” He added that Minister Hogan’s rush to bring in new regulations such as septic tanks registration, property tax, water charges etc are being fast forwarded without taken into account the level of services available in the Rural West and North west compared to Dublin and the East of the Country .“Setting up these initiatives is costing tax payers far too much because they are not costed and too much is spend on Consultants or setting up new quango to run them..“Hogan will be going before the EU Parliament and EU Council of Ministers before the End of the year to tell them how he brought in all these changes but won’t say anything about all the unfair cost burden and ongoing hardships placed on the people as well.” Said Cllr Mc Gowan.MINISTER’S NEW BUILDING CONTROLS DO NOT HELP DIRECT BUILD HOUSES – McGOWAN was last modified: March 1st, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:housesMinister HoganPATRICK MCGOWANlast_img read more

Warriors’ Stephen Curry could play in upcoming trip

first_imgOAKLAND — Warriors guard Stephen Curry could return as early as Thursday’s game in Toronto after missing the past eight games with a strained left groin.Curry will miss at least the team’s remaining two-game homestand against Sacramento (Saturday) and Orlando (Monday), but the Warriors estimated that Curry will begin practicing with the team sometime next week. Warriors coach Steve Kerr added that Curry participated “in a little scrimmage” on Saturday at the Warriors’ practice facility and …last_img

The Brain Evolved!… Didn’t It?

first_imgEvolutionary neurologists are so absolutely sure the human brain is a product of evolution from lower primates over millions of years, they are able to talk openly and frankly about problems with the particulars.  But in reading some of their own reviews of current ideas, it is not clear which has been evolving: the brain or evolutionary theory itself.  Here are a few recent cases where Darwinian boldness and anxiety exhibit a kind of left-brain, right-brain split.Disappointed Darwinist:  A book review this month in Psychiatry Online, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, is our first split-brain case study in theoretical Darwinism.  Lewis A. Opler reviewed The Evolving Brain: The Known and the Unknown by R. Grant Steen.  To begin with, he cheered Steen’s knockout blow to the contender, intelligent design:The author of this book, a neurophysiologist in the field of psychiatry, has superbly described breakthroughs in basic neurobiology, debunked “intelligent design,” and both argued and demonstrated the need for cross-disciplinary collaboration to address issues such as consciousness, creativity, and self-knowledge.Nevertheless, when it came to explaining brain evolution, Opler came away hungry:Paradoxically, given its title, the only area that I felt was not handled expertly was in its handling of how and why evolution had chosen us—Homo sapiens, with our large prefrontal cortex and our increased plasticity and capacity for learning and communicating—to be the rulers of planet Earth.  Possible answers include intelligence, language, communication, theory of the mind, and activation of pleasure circuitry because of affiliative behavior—all lead to collaboration and sociality of our species.    But what external changes emerged 50,000 years ago allowing this to give us a selective advantage?  Evolutionary theory itself has evolved, and this is not addressed.  Specifically, whereas early models suggest that individual traits gradually take over because of their conferring an increased chance of procreating by their host, punctuated equilibrium argues convincingly that speciation confers stability, with new species emerging only when external factors throw ecosystems into disequilibrium.  A clear example of this, supported by the fossil and geographic record, is the sudden end of the dinosaurs after a meteor hit Earth rendering it uninhabitable by dinosaurs and giving mammals a selective advantage.  So what factors gave us, the intelligent afilliative communicator, a leg up?  Did a planet lacking an adequate food supply select us because we, by virtue of our ability to collaborate, could hunt in tribes and follow game, as well as develop societies where agriculture and breeding of other animals could occur?  I do not know.  But I had hoped that Dr. Steen’s book about the evolving brain would answer such questions.At the end of the review, the contrast could not be more stark: “Steen unequivocally delivers a slam-dunk victory for evolution over intelligent design.  But I kept waiting for cutting-edge neurobiology and psychology to meet cutting-edge evolutionary theory, and this did not occur.”    Opler joked that “if great science is revolutionary, it follows that good science should be at least subversive—the book is at least subversive” [selah].  What would Opler think of the recent development that his clearest example of disequilibrium producing punctuated change—the death of the dinosaurs by a meteor—is now being seriously challenged? (10/31/2007, bullet 6).  That might subvert the revolution itself.The ancient brain:  A glaring Toumai skull (04/14/2005) decorated two book reviews in Nature earlier this month.1  Dean Falk was so confident of evolution she did not mention any non-materialistic alternatives except as historical anecdotes; nevertheless, both her reviews contained ample seeds of doubt.  Falk was sure that On Deep History and the Brain, by Daniel Lord Smail, had rendered creationist stories to the dustbin of intellectual history:He first describes how the discovery and implications of deep time2 by geologists, biologists and naturalists in the mid-nineteenth century were the undoing of the sacred idea that humankind began relatively recently in the Garden of Eden.  Historians then shifted from a sacred to a secular beginning – the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia.  Thus, laments Smail, the Palaeolithic continued to receive short shrift and still needed to be ‘historicized’.  After all, humans who did not keep records still had a past.  He has a point.But how would we, today, know that humans who did not keep records existed?  This could seem like proposing that the space aliens who once lived on earth, but did not keep records, still had a past.  Would that have a point?  A past must be demonstrated with some kind of evidence, not merely asserted.  Was Smail able to historicize a missing record, to bring a lost history into our cognizance?  What data would he use?Smail examines the rupture that continues to separate prehistory from recorded history, together with the historiographical, epistemological and theoretical obstacles that have kept them apart.  He explores the importance of biology in shaping cultural evolution, offering an interesting take on the nature/nurture dichotomy with his suggestion that lamarckian mechanisms displaced darwinian ones when human culture started to develop.This sounds like a mere suggestion, and a controversial one at that.  As if lamarckism were any help, it seems additionally unhelpful that Smail next proceeded to debunk evolutionary psychology.  Then, he offered only alternatives that “may” have explained evolution: “Palaeolithic societies, for example, may have developed a range of mood-altering practices such as song, dance, ritual, and ingestion of mind-enhancing substances.”  Maybe humans expanded their minds with drugs, in other words.  Students may like this suggestion, but it may not sit well with their parents.    But if our ancestors developed these practices, and by this point possessed the physical equipment for intelligence, could not these practices be considered a form of “intelligent design” that evolutionary theory somehow snuck under the radar?  Where did it come from?  Falk did not explore this paradox, but was disappointed that the book provided so little hard evidence for brain evolution: “Although this is an enjoyable and creative book, it is not quite what I expected,” she said.  “There are no endocasts or sulcal patterns here, no Brodmann’s area 10, or debates on brain size versus cortical reorganization (although Hobbits receive a brief mention).”  Its value was only in its “suggestion” that “neurophysiological underpinnings of moods, motivations, and so on, were important during hominin cultural and neurological evolution,” even if these people left no records for us to ever know.If that book left Falk feeling unfulfilled, the next was even more starved for evidence.  James R. Hurford’s The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution walked into the “intellectual minefield” of the evolution of language.  Falk thought that Hurford did a great job, but problems were evident from the outset.    Chief among them were the reliance on suggestions rather than hard evidence.  In the treatment of animal cognition, “Hurford shows that the seeds are there, and were probably present in our ancestors, providing fodder for natural selection” even if the details are sketchy or non-existent.  The doubt-words may, might and suggests pepper the review.  Did the ability of many animals to infer animacy in objects lead to our theory of mind?  Perhaps.  Did simple two-way communication among hominins lead to grammatical complexity later?  Maybe.  Was the mother-infant interaction asymmetrical enough to be the focus of intense selection?  Possibly.  Whether these “suggestions” postdict what happened to hominids, they leave unexplained why animals in similar situations did not develop complex language.  It seems all that Hurford was able to deliver was a kind of intellectual peep show, not rigorous explanation:There are some titillating nuggets in this book, such as a discussion of how the FOXP2 gene was mistakenly accepted as the ‘magic bullet’ responsible for language evolution.  Even better is the extent to which academics from different countries use language competitively to show off – guess where Americans rank?It is not clear how these nuggets contribute to the evolutionary savings account.  Many evolutionists have championed the FOXP2 gene as a magic bullet; now, Hurford is yanking that prop.  And if academics are merely showing off with language, what does that say about the reliability of their truth claims?The social brain:  One more example from Science3 (Sep. 7) shows that theories of brain evolution struggle with real-world budgeting.  Advocates begin to sound like the loyal accountant, stuck with a depressing profit-and-loss statement, trying to accentuate the positive while simultaneously staying realistic.    R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz considered social factors that might have contributed to brain evolution, but again, may and might seasoned an article of rampant suggestions and few certainties.  One particularly damaging oversight in the evolutionary budget was admitted early on:….Although it is easy to understand why brains in general have evolved, it is not so obvious why the brains of birds and mammals have grown substantially larger than the minimum size required to stay alive.    Traditional explanations for the evolution of large brains in primates focused either on ecological problem solving or on developmental constraints….    On closer examination, most of the energetic explanations that have been offered identify constraints on brain evolution rather than selection pressures.  In biology, constraints are inevitable, and crucial for understanding evolutionary trajectories, but they do not constitute functional explanations—that is, just because a species can afford to evolve a larger brain does not mean that it must do so.  Proponents of developmental explanations seem to have forgotten that evolutionary processes involve costs as well as benefits.  Because evolution is an economical process and does not often produce needless organs or capacities, especially if they are expensive to maintain, it follows that some proportionately beneficial advantage must have driven brain evolution against the steep selection gradient created by the high costs of brain tissue.  In this respect, most of the ecological hypotheses proposed to date also fail.  None can explain why primates (which have especially large brains for body mass, even by mammal standards) need brains that are so much larger than, say, squirrels, to cope with what are essentially the same foraging decisions.This explains Dunbar and Schulz’ predilection for social explanations for brain evolution instead of ecological explanations: i.e., “The SBH [social brain hypothesis] proposes that ecological problems are solved socially and that the need for mechanisms that enhance social cohesion drives brain size evolution.”  So how do social explanations fare, by comparison?  Can they balance the selection budget, drive brain evolution forward, and make a profit?  Bad news: hoped-for income is offset with rising expenses: “Nonetheless, whatever its advantages, group living incurs substantial costs, both in terms of ecological competition and, for females, reproductive suppression.”    The complexity of any evolutionary accounting just went up accordingly.  The SBH was conceived for primates; correlations of theory with data for other groups have produced “somewhat mixed results,” they admitted.  The relationship between brain size and sociality, if anything, is qualitative, not quantitative.  “These findings suggest that it may have been the cognitive demands of pairbonding that triggered the initial evolution of large brains across the vertebrates” was one proposal.  Another interesting anecdote, mentioned almost as a distraction for faithful couples to flirt with, is that monogamous pairs seem to have bigger brains.  So far, though, all these suggestions are post-hoc attempts to infer causes from measurements of living animals based on circumstantial evidence.  Worse, they merely assume evolution rather than demonstrate it in a way that would convince a skeptic.    Dunbar and Schulz puzzled over why only anthropoid apes and humans have a robust relationship between social group size and brain size.  Is it because there are complex ways for them to bond with one another?  “This suggestion merely adds to the puzzle of social bonding,” they admitted, wondering, “What is it about social bonds that is cognitively so demanding?”  Is it that monogamy is a risky commitment?  Is it that post-natal care requires loyalty by both parents?  As if no other explanations were on the table, they forfeited: “Which of these two has been the key driver for brain evolution, or whether both have been equally important, remains to be determined,” they said.  “It has become apparent that we lack adequate language with which to describe relationships, yet bondedness is precisely what primate sociality is all about.”  Yet it would seem that without adequate language in which to pose an explanation, no explanations can be forthcoming.    They delved into other issues and puzzles, which we do not need to explore in detail here, but fitness advantages for larger brains seem hard to explain socially and neurologically.  They entertained a few recent suggestions about specific neurotransmitters and genes, but then ended in complete exasperation and called for a time out:Each of these has been seen by their respective protagonists as the holy grail for understanding both social cognition generally, and, in particular, for explaining the differences between humans, apes, and monkeys.  There is no question that these are individually important and novel discoveries, and they undoubtedly all play a role in the nature of sociality.  However, there is a great deal more to how and why humans are different from other apes, or why apes are different from monkeys.  We will need better studies of cognition and behavior to answer these questions.  More important, perhaps, is one key point: Species differences in a handful of very small neuronal components do not explain the apparent need for massive species differences in total brain size.  Most of these studies fall into the same trap as the developmental explanations for brain size did in the 1980s: They mistake mechanistic constraints for evolutionary function.  It is unclear why this point continues to be ignored, but we will still have a lot of explaining to do about volumetric differences in brains.At this point it would be overkill to ask what relevance brain size has to intelligence in the first place.  Not only does this hark back to the discredited assumptions of Paul Broca and other 19th-century racists, it seems to be irrelevant based on observations of living people with diminutive brains (e.g., 07/22/2007).  Consider that the world’s largest and smallest dogs were photographed together recently.  Despite the tiny dog’s diminutive brain compared to that of the big dog, both seem to have all the required hardware for dog operations (see Daily Mail).  Crows and other birds with much smaller brains seem to outperform chimpanzees at tool use.  And the power of computer chips has paralleled their miniaturization – by intelligent design, uncontrovertibly, in this case.  If it’s quality rather than quantity that counts, it would seem the preoccupation with brain size as a marker of evolutionary progress is vastly overblown.  Abort, retry, fail?Given the standoff in evolutionary explanations,4 how about a radical alternative?  It’s not really radical; in fact, it is time-tested, logically coherent and self-evident.  It enjoyed epistemic priority throughout the classical, medieval and Enlightenment periods.  It is the non-reductionist position that the mind is non-material; the brain is an instrument of a spiritual reality that, while constrained by matter, cannot be reduced to its material components.  A new book has dusted off this long-accepted truism and explored it within the findings of modern neurobiology.  Written by neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and journalist Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul is getting lively and enthusiastic reviews on Amazon.com.  Perhaps the soul of science tomorrow will be the science that welcomes back the soul.1.  Dean Falk, “Delving into the ancient brain,” Nature 450, 31-32 (1 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450031a.2.  In his book The Great Turning Point, Dr. Terry Mortensen examined the historical roots of old-age geology.  He provides quotes that Hutton, Lyell and others did not ‘discover’ long ages but stipulated them a priori by overtly discounting from their method any reliance on Biblical history.3.  R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz, “Evolution in the Social Brain,” Science 7 September 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5843, pp. 1344-1347, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145463.4.  Readers may wish to review the 09/09/2007 entry on this topic.There are two arguments you can make right off the bat with a believer in brain evolution, even with no knowledge of neurons or hominids.  One is an adaptation of Gödel’s theorem: a system cannot be proved within its own axioms.  A system, like mathematics, requires external presuppositions for verification.  Any reductionist theory of mind that invokes only particles in motion is doomed to failure.  You can study all the electrons in a cathode ray tube till the cows come home, and never discern that a story is being projected from a writer’s mind to a receiver’s mind.  C. S. Lewis argued that to “see through” something is not the same as to see it.  Similarly, we can study neurons forever in finer detail than ever, and fail to see what is really going on.  Sure, the neurons react in response to whatever is moving them, but you cannot find the mover in the physical components.  Only by inferring the presence of an agent external to the system are you able to uncover the true explanation for the system.    The second argument is that evolutionary explanations for the brain are self-refuting.  Recall the Yoda Complex from the 09/25/2006 commentary.  A Darwinist cannot sneak outside his brain and propose a theory he expects to be taken rationally as something that might be true, if he or she is claiming that the brain is only molecules molded by evolutionary forces.  It matters not whether the forces are ecological or social; as long as they are materialistic, evolutionary rationality collapses under its own assumptions; it vanishes into smoke.  Only by proposing the external existence of immaterial realities like Truth and the laws of logic can anyone propose a rational proof of anything.  Christians, naturally, have such assumptions as their preconditions of argument.  Evolutionists have none, and must be rebuked when caught plagiarizing the axioms of their opponents.    If that point is conceded, the Christian view has its own challenges.  Why are humans not perfectly rational, and why do individuals vary in rationality?  Why does our intelligence and rationality age with our bodies?  Why can an injury, a drug, or dementia turn a rational person into a vegetable?  What is mental illness?  An analogy may help approach these difficult questions.  Picture a wild wolf, roaming free and in full possession of its capacities – the master of its turf.  Then imagine a captive wolf, tied to a tree, distracted by pheromones from a she-wolf, occupied with scratching fleas, catching diseases, and having to sleep a lot and be fed.  Its capacities are constrained from what they could be.  Or imagine a private helicopter tethered to its parking block.  The engines can run, the blades can turn, the instruments will register, and it might even be able to hop a few feet off the ground before its tether pulls it back.  In the same way, our human souls are constrained by our physical ties to the Earth (and Christians would add, to our sinful natures).  Beware, also, any hidden assumption that all souls are created with equal abilities even if they were freed of bodily constraints; we are, after all, finite.  Limited as our rational are, the fact that we respond to social pressures and appetites is no argument that the soul is an illusion, or that rationality evolved from its physical components.    Evolutionary stories about how our brains evolved from animal ancestors are speculative flights of fancy that strain credibility.  We all know that recorded civilization only goes back a few thousand years, yet evolutionists propose that physically modern humans have existed for at least 100,000 years – maybe four times that.  They expect us to believe that something happened around 50,000 years ago that was like the proverbial light bulb over the head, and man suddenly became rational, artistic, and capable of abstract thought.  But even then, they expect us to believe another 20,000 years or more passed before any of these people learned how to ride a horse, plant a garden, write on a piece of pottery or build a city.  Such imaginary eons are multiples of the length of all recorded history, during which time comparably-equipped humans have advanced from grass shacks to lunar excursion modules.  How can anyone swallow such a tale?    Remember, evolutionary biology is searching for natural laws, and laws have to apply to all animals.  How come no other creatures on earth, including those with comparably sized brains relative to body size, and capable of tool use (like crows), developed abstract reasoning, art and true semantic language?  On top of that, they try to ascribe these Eureka moments, in which virtual miracles occurred, to genetic mutations—mistakes!  Anybody who tries to argue that rationality is a mistake should be considered rashly mistaken.    Darwinian explanations for the brain are about as comforting as those of hijackers who, having bound and gagged the pilot and crew, get on the intercom and assure the passengers everything is under control.  They laugh and celebrate their triumph over the flight crew, whom they hated and judged were unworthy of operating the plane.  Almost simultaneously, practical issues assert themselves, and they begin whispering to one another, “Anybody know where this plane was headed?  Do any of you know how to land this thing?”    The solution is obvious: untie the pilot and let him apply his intelligence to a highly intricate, functional, and clearly designed machine.  Then go to flight school like he did.  The interpretation of this parable is left as an exercise.  He who has a brain to think, let him think.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Trade Aid Not a Solution

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — Leaders of farm groups on Thursday showed they have President Donald Trump’s back as he offered them another $16 billion in federal aid in lieu of anticipated higher exports to China.In response to the new Market Facilitation Program rolled out Thursday, farm groups offered praise to the Trump administration for helping offset export losses, but reiterated that a second consecutive year of trade aid is insufficient to make up for potentially years of lost trade revenue.Farm groups praised the $16 billion in aid, though it is unclear exactly how much farmers will be paid individually. Payments will be based on all planted commodities in a county, yet USDA will only pay crop farmers based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total planted acres in 2019. The new MFP payments will be limited to the total amount of eligible acreage a farmer planted in 2018.The payment rates will vary in every county, but USDA is not releasing those payment rates at this time. Payments will be broken down into as many as three tranches. The first set of payments could go out as early as July or August after farmers have provided Farm Service Agency with their crop-reporting data, which is due July 15.American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, who stood by Trump during an event Thursday at the White House, called the latest round of aid “a welcome relief to an economic sector that has been battered by foreign competitors and retaliatory tariffs.”“We thank the president for living up to his commitment to stand by our farmers and ranchers,” Duvall said. “While farmers and ranchers would rather earn their income from the marketplace, they have been suffering during the agricultural downturn and trade war. This aid package will help us weather the storm as the administration works to correct unfair trade practices that have hurt the U.S. economy for too long.”However, Duvall added that a “real, long-term solution to our challenges in agriculture is good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan and the European Union, as well as congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. America’s farmers and ranchers need fair and open access to markets.”National Farmers Union was pleased USDA is covering a broader range of commodities than it did in the first MFP. At the same time, NFU noted that basing payments on 2019 planted acres “fails to help those who have faced or are facing impossible planting conditions.”NFU President Roger Johnson said: “Ultimately, this package is only a short-term fix for a very long-term problem. Farmers rely on markets to make a living. Our ongoing trade wars have destroyed our reputation as a reliable supplier and have left family farmers with swelling grain stores and empty pockets. The very least we can do is provide our country’s struggling food producers with the certainty of a longer-term plan that also addresses the persistent and pernicious problem of oversupply.”Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association and farmer from Clinton, Kentucky, said soybean farmers appreciate that President Trump understands their plight and has looked for ways to ease the burden.“But, farmers are resolute that the only real solution is to take away the tariffs that have hemorrhaged our sales and landed our relationship with China on life support,” Stephens said.Stephens added that the soybean industry needs open trade access. “The key word from today’s announcement is ‘facilitation.’ Trade assistance will only facilitate soy growers’ ability to farm, not make their losses whole or tariff woes disappear long term. Trade assistance will only help in the short term.”Though the payment program will be based on a new county formula for crops, National Corn Growers Association called on USDA to update MFP to consider its view that corn farmers lost an average of 20 cents a bushel from trade from over the past year. The spread recently has widened to closer to 40 cents a bushel, NCGA stated.NCGA is also encouraging additional actions the administration could take to open markets and provide more certainty to corn farmers, including stopping Renewable Fuel Standard waivers to big oil refiners and restoring waived ethanol gallons as well as resolving trade disputes and tariffs.Ben Scholz, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and Lavon, Texas, farmer, said wheat growers appreciate the new mitigation program, but it does not make farmers whole.“The U.S. exports 50% of its wheat, which means we need a long-term solution,” Scholz said. “This includes getting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) across the finish line, completing negotiations with China and supporting our WTO case, and closing a trade deal with Japan.”Scholz said NAWG will work with the Trump administration and USDA on “a relief strategy to ensure that the program works best for wheat farmers.”Mike Tate, chairman of the National Cotton Council and an Alabama farmer, said this round of assistance, like the first one initiated in 2018, will help partially mitigate the impacts of retaliatory tariffs being placed on U.S. raw cotton to China. He said the cotton industry will look to the administration for other avenues of assistance.“While our industry is very thankful for this assistance, we strongly encourage the administration to engage in constructive dialogue with China to address unfair trade practices and barriers,” Tate said. “China traditionally has been U.S. cotton’s top export destination. Resolution of the current trade tensions remains our top priority.”Under last year’s MFP, commodity export groups received $200 million for trade promotion programs.Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, said his group was disappointed USDA had cut the trade program in half for commodity export groups, “despite the fact that it was massively oversubscribed during the last round of trade assistance. As a silver lining, we see this situation as an opportunity to open up new markets for American agricultural products in other parts of the world.”Nassif added that the current aid package remains “insufficient to make the industry whole.“Indeed, it will take American farmers many years, if ever, to recover from the lost trade revenues and, more importantly, lost markets that have resulted from the continuation of trade disruptions with China.”The dairy package will provide farmers a payment based on recent production. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the industry knows USDA is concerned about the damage being done to dairy farmers and called on the first tranche of payments to be “a large segment of the payment” to producers.“We appreciate USDA’s concern for dairy’s needs, and we look forward to working with USDA, Congress and the White House as the department further develops its plans,” Mulhern said.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(AG/KD)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Yammer Opens Up Its Microblog Network To a Much Broader Community

first_imgCompanies can use the new service, or not if they prefer to remain with the Yammer service as it is without communities. Admin controls allow a business to set permissions for employees. Admins may also control who can sets communities and what extent they can use them.Yammer says the service is available on the iPhone and will have a desktop client. It will be available March 1.We wonder where Yammer is heading. it has that quasi-business/consumer quality to it. It feels in some ways like an application that would be applicable to any number of groups, be they civic organizations or tech communities.This is a good next step for Yammer. It extends its real-time capabilities. It’s focused. It’s similar in some ways to Chatter but with constraints. And we don’t mean constraints in a bad way. Yammer has decided to go deep with its core capabilities instead of trying to add services that are not part of its DNA. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts Tags:#enterprise#news#NYT#Products Yammer is opening up its microbogging platform. In “Yammer Community” people may now create a community without the requirement that an email address be associated with a particular domain.This is a big change for Yammer. Many companies do not have their own domains. Opening up the platform means that the service is open to a much larger audience – and has created a much wider place for itself in the enterprise.Yammer has done what any smart service does these days: open the network. Communities can be created internally and are associated with the overall company network. They may also be set up with people outside the company, be they customers or partners. alex williams 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…last_img read more

Williams wins at US Open to stay in No. 1 hunt; Konta out

first_imgCelebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ The No. 9-seeded Williams overcame a mid-match lapse to pick up a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium against Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, a 19-year-old qualifier who is ranked 135th.It was the first tour-level, main-draw match of Kuzmova’s career, and the 967th for Williams, who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, in addition to her five Wimbledon championships. Williams is in her 19th U.S. Open; she reached the final in her 1997 debut, about eight months before Kuzmova was born.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“I had no idea what she looked like, who she was, anything. But she played amazing. She played well, served well, competed well. Definitely a match I had to earn,” said Williams, who at 37 is the oldest woman in the field. “I definitely wasn’t expecting or planning on dropping sets today. But things happen. That’s why we play the match, because you have to win the match. So it’s just all about regrouping. It’s the first round. You figure out what’s going on.”She was up a set, plus a break in the second at 2-0, when she faltered. Kuzmova broke for 2-1, then pulled at even at 3-all before taking three games in a row to force a third set. But Williams righted herself there, breaking for a 2-0 lead, then digging out of a love-40 hole with five consecutive points for 3-0 and was on her way. MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Venus Williams, of the United States, serves to Viktoria Kuzmova, of Slovakia, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)NEW YORK — Venus Williams stayed in the crowded hunt for the No. 1 ranking — even though she had no idea that she has a shot at that spot.Johanna Konta, a Wimbledon semifinalist just last month, dropped out of that chase with a first-round exit as the U.S. Open got started Monday.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Williams entered the U.S. Open as one of eight women with a chance to rise atop the WTA rankings by tournament’s end.Not that it was foremost on her mind. Indeed, she said she was unaware of that possibility.“I just want to win, and if you get the win, you get the ranking,” said Williams, who was already at No. 1 in 2002.Before the American’s match was over, that number of ranking contenders was reduced to seven, because the No. 7-seeded Konta was bounced by 78th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.“I don’t take anything for granted,” said Konta, who was a semifinalist at Wimbledon just last month. “I think it would be quite obnoxious of me to come in here expecting I have a right to be in second week.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Konta, who lost to Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals, figured to be Britain’s best chance for a deep run these two weeks, because the country’s top male player, Andy Murray, withdrew on Saturday with an injured hip.Instead, she was among a crop of seeded players on the way out the door at a tournament already missing several top names, including the biggest in women’s tennis: Williams’ older sister Serena, who is expecting a baby.“We always coach each other, pretty much,” Williams said.While the most anticipated matchup of Day 1 was scheduled for Monday night — five-time major champion Maria Sharapova’s first Grand Slam action since her doping suspension, against No. 2 seed Simona Halep — the afternoon was filled with quite a few seeded players joining Konta on the way out.For every victory by someone such as Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza or 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, there was a surprise or two.The men’s seeded losers included No. 21 David Ferrer, who was the runner-up at the 2013 French Open, No. 25 Karen Khachanov and No. 32 Robin Hasse. On the women’s side, there as No. 21 Ana Konjuh, No. 24 Kiki Bertens and No. 32 Lauren Davis.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Canelo-GGG to MayMac fans: We’ve got a real show for youlast_img read more

Study Over TwoThirds of Americans Still Read Print Magazines

first_img Perhaps of concern to print-dependent publishers is that digital-only consumers are growing older and wealthier, up 20 percent in age and 15 percent in average household income, according to the study. According to a new survey by Mequoda, the “American Magazine Reader Study & Handbook,” 70 percent of adults in the U.S. read a print magazine in the last 30 days, and 51 percent read at least two. In what may come as something of a surprise, those figures are almost completely flat compared to the same study last year, in which 70 percent of respondents also reported having read a print magazine in the past month. The multiplatform consumer is typically older and more affluent than the digital-only consumer, according to the study, and 1.67 times more likely to spend $100 or more per year on digital magazine content than the digital-only consumer, although only 1.8 percent of respondents reported spending that much on digital magazine content in the last year, and 76.1 percent said they spent nothing at all. Advertising budgets may be abandoning print for digital media, but most adults still prefer to consume content across both sides of the digital divide. The findings seem to indicate that digital magazines — in the study, defined as “magazine content distributed via electronic means” — still have work to do to catch up to their print counterparts; 41 percent of respondents reported having read at least one digital magazine, but that’s up from 37 percent a year ago. Multi-platform consumers are also growing in number, up 32 percent since last year, according to the study, although it’s not clear how many of those consumers were previously print-only, as opposed to digital-only. In general, print-only consumers are 1.76 times more likely to be female. While not explicitly addressed in the study, there is certainly significant overlap between magazine brands’ print and digital audiences, and the findings lend credence to the common industry maxim that publishers should attempt to reach consumers across any medium available to them.last_img read more

Macaulay Culkin stays Home Alone again for Google Assistant

first_imgThe modern version of Kevin McCallister is much more laid-back than the original. Google got former child star Macaulay Culkin to reprise his most famous role for an ad for Google Assistant. Review • Google Nest Hub review: Still the smart display to beat Dell Online The video ties in with Google Assistant’s launch of a bunch of Home Alone-themed Easter eggs this December. At least this time, nobody gets hit in the face with an iron. 0 2019 movies to geek out over The video is both a nostalgic revisiting of the 1990 hit Home Alone and a clever way to show off what Google’s voice-activated devices can do. Culkin once again finds himself at home alone around Christmas time. He uses a Google Home Hub, Google Home Mini and his phone to check his calendar, set reminders, order pizza and adjust the house temperature. The narrative this time plays out very differently from the movie. The thieves never make it inside thanks to a Google-triggered “Operation Kevin” that activates the front door’s smart lock and sets a whole sequence of house-protecting events into motion.  CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Best Buy Turns out it’s a lot easier to defend your house from bandits when you have the Google Assistant. Take it from @IncredibleCulk. #HeyGoogle pic.twitter.com/9OifLkJHOP— Google (@Google) December 19, 2018 How To • Google Assistant, Android Q, Google Nest Hub Max: Google’s big plans for the rest of the year Walmart $99 See it Tags See Itcenter_img Mentioned Above Google Home Hub #heygoogle Have you ever wondered what Kevin McCallister is like as an adult?  Me neither. But just in case you’re curious you should totally watch this #ad pic.twitter.com/uO9qMPrUT3— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) December 19, 2018 See It Google Nest Hub “Turns out it’s a lot easier to defend your house from bandits when you have the Google Assistant,” Google tweeted on Wednesday.Culkin dropped an arguably snarky remark on Twitter, saying, “Have you ever wondered what Kevin McCallister is like as an adult?  Me neither. But just in case you’re curious you should totally watch this #ad.” Share your voice $99 $99 See It News • Get the Google Nest Hub for just $67 Preview • Google Home Hub joins the fight to put a screen on your countertop 77 Photos $79 Post a comment Google Assistant Googlelast_img read more

AL wins in Rajshahi Barishal BNP ahead in postponed Sylhet result

first_imgAHM Khairuzzaman Liton, Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, Ariful Haque ChowdhuryThe Bangladesh Awami League (AL) mayoral candidates were unofficially declared elected in Rajshahi and Barishal city polls marred by boycotts and widespread rigging while the announcement of election results was postponed in Sylhet, reports UNB.Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) mayoral candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury ahead of his rival AL’s Badar Uddin Kamran by 4,626 votes, with the balloting in two polling stations suspended.The authorities suspended the announcement of the polls result as the number of voters of the suspended polling stations is higher than the lead Arif has taken.In Rajshahi, Ruling Awami League mayoral contestant AHM Khairuzzaman Liton bagged 165,096 votes to defeat his nearest rival Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul of BNP who polled 77,700 in all the 138 election centres.Returning officer Syed Amirul Islam announced the results around 11:45pm.In Barishal, AL candidate Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah came out victorious getting 107,363 votes while Mujibur Rahman Sarwar of BNP received 13,135 in 107 centres out of total 123.Returning officer Mujibur Rahman announced the results around 11:50pm.In Sylhet, the announcement of the results was postponed as the number of votes in two centres where voting was suspended is higher than the difference between the two leading candidates’ tallies.BNP mayoral candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury bagged 90,496 votes in 132 centres out of total 134 while AL’s Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran got 86,870 votes.Ariful was leading by 4,628 votes while the number of voters in the two centres is 4,787.Under such circumstances, returning officer Mohammad Alimuzzaman postponed the announcement of the results around 11:45pm.Earlier, voting in the elections to Rajshahi, Barishal and Sylhet city corporations was held amid election boycott, allegations of rigging, ouster of polling agents and other irregularities.The balloting that started at 8:00am continued till 4:00 pm.Bringing various allegations of irregularities, including driving out of its polling agents and stuffing ballot boxes, BNP said the ‘naked vote rigging by the ruling party got exposed in Barishal, Sylhet and Rajshahi city corporations.”We’ve been talking about the government’s blueprint over the elections in the three cities since the beginning of the electioneering, and it got exposed nakedly today,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi at a press conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office.In Barishal, BNP mayoral candidate Mujibur Rahman Sarwar, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) contestant Abul Kalam Azad and Islami Andolon Bangladesh candidate Obaidur Rahman Mahbub boycotted the polls, alleging widespread vote rigging and other irregularities.AL candidate Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah cast his vote at government Barisal College Centre at 8am, while BNP candidate Mujibur Rahman Sarwar at Sayeda Mojidunnesa High School at 8:15am.Sarwar, however, boycotted the polls bringing the allegation of vote rigging. He announced the decision at a press conference at Barishal Press Club at noon.Besides, Islami Andolon Bangladesh candidate Obaidur Rahman Mahbub and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) contestant Abul Kalam Azad pulled out of the election race citing the same allegations.Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal candidate Manisha Chakrabarty and Jatiya Party candidate Md Iqbal Hossain turned down the elections.Manisha said her polling agents were driven out of the voting centres while votes rigged at many centres.They demanded the Election Commission to postpone the polls due to vote ‘rigging’ by ruling party men.Sarwar claimed that his polling agents were obstructed from entering at least 70-80 centres.He alleged that ruling party men stuffed ballot boxes in most centres with the help of law enforcers. “The government has destroyed the country’s election system. This can’t continue.”The BNP candidate said he called upon the Election Commission to postpone the polls, but it did not pay heed to it. “We condemn the Election Commission’s role and we’re boycotting election.”In Rajshahi, Awami League’s AHM Khairuzzaman Liton cast his vote at Satellite Town High School around 8:30am.BNP mayoral candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul refrained from casting his vote protesting irregularities in the city corporation election.The BNP mayoral candidate took position in front of Islamia College polling centre in the city’s Binodpur area protesting the ouster of the party’s polling agents from different polling stations.Bulbul also alleged that BNP supporters were obstructed from casting their votes.He also demanded the presiding officer make public how many ballot papers were there at the centre and threatened not to leave the place until he gets the account of the ballots.Replying to a question from journalists, Bulbul said, “It’s pointless to cast vote in such a country where there’s no democracy. I don’t want to create any problem. Which centre will I visit? Where can I resist rigging? So, I’ve taken a position right here and seeing the irregularities silently.”In Sylhet, BNP candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury cast his vote at Roynagar Government School at 8:30am and AL’s Badar Uddin Kamran at Government Pilot School Centre under 18 No ward at 08:45am.Councillor candidate and Jubo League leader Rimad Ahmed Rubel along with his supporters allegedly captured the polling centre at Khasdabir Government Primary School at 50 No ward around 9:45am and stuffed ballot boxes locking the door. Then voting in the polling centre had been suspended for an hour.Besides, voting was suspended at Shahjalal Jamia Islamia Kamil Madrasah polling centre at Pathantula for 15 minutes following a clash between the activists of Awami League and Jamaat-e-Islami, said presiding officer Jamil Ahmed.Meanwhile, police fired shots in the air at Kazi Jalal Uddin High School centre in 18 No ward around 11am as the supporters of two councillor candidates captured the centre.The voting came to a halt following the incident. A vehicle was also vandalised.BNP mayoral candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury alleged that his agents were kicked out from two polling centres.He came up with the allegation after visiting Chandu Shah Centre around 9:45 am.The two polling centres are Chandu Shah Dakhil Madrasah and MC College Shishu Biddalya under 21 No ward, he said.The city elections are the last major polls before the next general election expected to be held in December this year.last_img read more