Reporters Without Borders demands an explanation from the authorities after one of Carlos Cardoso’s murderers escapes from prison

first_img Receive email alerts to go further Organisation Reports —————————————27 may 2004Anibalzinho was arrested by Interpol on arrival at Toronto international airport on 25 May. Mozambique’s foreign affairs minister, Leonardo Simao, said that talks were under way with Canadian authorities so that Carlos Cardoso’s murderer could be rapidly extradited. Three Mozambique police officers, suspected of helping him to escape, have been arrested. Prosecutor-General Joaquim Madeira said that once again the security forces had provided crucial help to Anibalzinho.”We are investigating to find out how high up the hierarchy the police are implicated,” he said.—————————————11 may 2004Reporters Without Borders is shocked at the escape, announced by police on 10 May, of Anibal Antonio dos Santos – “Anibalzinho” from Maputo’s top security prison. He was jailed for 28 years in January 2003 for the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso.”It is the second time that Anibalzinho has escaped from Maputo’s high security prison. There is no longer any doubt that he has highly-placed accomplices,” the international press freedom organisation said. “It is unacceptable and the Mozambique authorities, which have undertaken to fight impunity must do everything possible to recapture him and identify those responsible for his escape,” it added.”This escape, confirms the theory already advanced by Reporters Without Borders in a November 2003 report that one or more of those who ordered the murder of Carlos Cardoso are still at large. This case has still not been fully cleared up,” it concluded.Police gave no details about Anibalzinho’s escape. He previously escaped in September 2002, before being recaptured in South Africa, the very day of his 28-year sentence for the Cardoso murder.Cardoso, editor of the daily Metical, was murdered on 22 November 2000 as he was being driven along the Avenue Martires de Machava in Maputo. Two men blocked the road and opened fire. Cardoso, who was hit in the head by several bullets, died instantly. His driver was seriously injured.Before his death, Cardoso was investigating the country’s biggest financial scandal since independence: the embezzlement of a sum equal to 14 million euros from the Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM). In his articles he named three powerful businessmen; the Satar brothers and Vicente Ramaya. MozambiqueAfrica A special court established in Maputo to try Cardoso’s killers delivered its verdicts on on 31 January 2003: Businessman Momade Abdul Satar was jailed for 24 years; his brother, Ayob Abdul Satar, Vicente Ramaya, Manuel Fernandes and Carlos Rashid Cassamo, for 23 and-a-half years. These five were all found guilty of “homicide”. Anibalzinho was sentenced to 28 years in jail and 15 years deprivation of civil rights.On several occasions during the trial, two of those charged accused the son of the head of state, Nyimpine Chissano, of having ordered the murder of Cardoso. At the end of December 2002, the Prosecutor-General of the Republic, Joaquim Madeira, announced that a new investigation had been opened to determine if Nyimpine Chissano had any involvement in the case. In November 2003, during a Reporters Without Borders on-the-spot investigation, the prosecutor told one of the organisation’s representatives, “The investigations are nearer the end than the beginning.” RSF_en November 27, 2020 Find out more News Help by sharing this information The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africacenter_img Follow the news on Mozambique Reporters Without Borders is shocked at the escape from prison, announced by police on 10 May, of Anibal Antonio dos Santos – “Anibalzinho” from Maputo’s top security prison. The organisation urged the authorities to do everything possible to recapture him and to find out who was responsible for his escape.Ler a versão portuguesa July 3, 2020 Find out more May 11, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders demands an explanation from the authorities after one of Carlos Cardoso’s murderers escapes from prison News MozambiqueAfrica Mozambique: Case of missing Mozambican journalist referred to UN News Joint letter to Mozambique’s president about journalist’s disappearance April 28, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

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City & Soul: Getting the best out of what Limerick was…

first_imgNewsBusinessHeritageCity & Soul: Getting the best out of what Limerick was and isBy Rose Rushe – March 6, 2019 1082 Facebook Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Heartbroken publicans call time on their Covid lockdown Twitter Previous article2019’s Limerick for Engineering ShowcaseNext articleBedford Townhouse breathes new life into city’s heritage Rose Rushehttp://www.limerickpost.ieCommercial Features and Arts Editor at Limerick Post Email Love for Limerick as stars line up for St. Patrick’s Day’s video Linkedin Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year center_img Unstoppable Sean shows that all things are possible Patrickswell women get to the heart of the matter David O’Brien, CEO Limerick Civic Trust. Photo: Cian ReinhardtTHE three storey landmark building is heavy with histories, artefacts, cabinets of militaria, the residue of posh Limerick estates and collections such as those of House of Armstrong and the House of Carroll.This is Limerick Civic Trust, its work and props at the sprawling organisation’s principal base, Bishops’ Palace on Castle Street.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up An embroidered dress suit that belonged to Emperor of Spain Joseph Bonaparte –  “one of the most vile and inhumane people who ever lived” – is part of the magnificent lore.In the 21st century Treaty City, the keeper of the dress suit is David O’Brien, chief executive officer of the Trust.In this reclaimed part of King’s Island, Bishops’ Palace fronts the emerging Limerick Military History Museum at St Munchin’s Church, currently being repurposed to have its conversion completed early next year.Active since 1983, the Trust’s  “sole purpose is the improve the environment we live in, which is a very big remit if you think about it.“There were civic societies in Ireland before then but not Civic Trusts. We are the first, the oldest and the biggest and most successful,” David  O’Brien states categorically.“For all the negative things that are said about Limerick, when you pull people out of the milieu … you get the best out of them and get the best that Limerick does.“The membership of the Civic  Trust has constantly been there for the executive, taking up the cudgels for what needs to be done and just given it all.”Work undertaken by LCT is categorised across  the environment – architecture, streets and heritage; and the education and cultural environment.“The example of that is our lecture series every year. It is designed and directed towards bringing people into Limerick to talk to us, not talking to ourselves, on key subjects and issues that will impact on the environment.”Members have welcomed past speakers such as Web Summit’s Paddy Cosgrave; prominent peacekeeper Colm Doyle and top European urban planner Peter Bishop.Autumn 2019’s series will be held in St Munchin’s Church, Kings Island. “Our opening speaker this year should be Richard Thornhill, deputy editor of The Financial Times. He will be moderated by an old friend of the Trust, Quentin Peel, formerly of Chatham House.”The urbane O’Brien invokes the duty to “gather, protect and hoard… the papers and documents that support Irish history.“The great tragedy of Irish history is the pages that are often torn out and what we try to do is put them back in where we can.“The beauty about Irish history is that there is no black and white. We have a fantastic kaleidoscope of colour and to see a black and white history of ‘us and them’ is to deny yourself the opportunity to know the facts.”The various missions of Limerick Civic Trust go back to the late, great Denis Leonard as founding executive. He got together with Seamus Gubbins, Paddy Hoare and others to buy The Bishops’ Palace, then a derelict home that the Council wanted knocked, for £1000 punts. They set up shop.“This place was roofless” and now, gracious floors are weighted with cultural riches. Book a walking tour online of Trust sites to appreciate the architectural finesse and the stories they house, as with No. 2 Pery Square. The building formerly known as Culture House will be leased to LCT for a €1 annually by Limerick Council.Working on these current projects are 75 people, “69 individuals on the Community  Employment Scheme, the backbone of LCT, the Trust’s heroes.” Supervisors, administration and management make up the numbers.It’s a tight ship. Nearby, there is much laughter and storytelling going on in the Church worked by experienced artisans.“Our CES workers are here, not as an alternative to being unemployed but because this is what they want to do. They don’t want to sit at home watching ‘Oprah’.”There are smaller teams at Limerick FC grooming Markets Field, more at the three bridges, others on the Wetlands.How is the Trust funded?“We have 150 contributing members who give whatever they can and 300 full members who pay and who are asked to contribute to different things. People give what they can and longer serving members give an awful lot more, their time and expertise to committees and so on.”“We have far too little funding, there is never enough.” His point is made time and time again as the organisation is active in multiples such as the maintenance on 14 historic graveyards, the Milk and Potato Markets,  St Patrick’s Festival, Team Cleanup Limerick, Markets Field and street by street power-hosing weekly.More than 30 volunteers are core to works and donations are essential at https://www.limerickcivictrust.ie/make-a-donationThe custodian of times pastTHERE is a bugbear: “The proliferation of plaques around town.”David O’Brien wants to introduce specific criteria to ensure that a plaque is imbued with due respect for heritage.He uses the analogy of Keith  Wood’s legacy to explain why.Given his way, the Civic Trust chief executive would erect a plaque for the rugby hero’s carrying of four Englishmen over the line to score a try for his country. His young son would have the plaque put up for Killaloe’s Clarisford Park which Keith has helped develop for sporting and community activities.Ideally, the new terms for a plaque would be?“That someone would be dead for 30 years first. That they would have been born about a 100 years ago or more. And hopefully, that the place where the plaque is sited would have a meaningful connection to them. “Working variously in publishing and print in the 1990s, David O’Brien went on to lead the Scottish Holdings takeover of some of the bastions of local Irish media, including Limerick radio.“It was an awful lot of fun,” he recalled.School was St Michael’s NS, Pery Square and St Munchin’s.Today he has a 21 year-old daughter in Strathclyde University and two children at home in Killaloe.He has the cut of the ‘huntin’, tootin’, fishin’ class about him, bounding up and down Georgian tiers at Bishops’  Palace to showcase the prime collections. Among them are objects from historian James McMahon’s estate, and signed guest books from Dromore Castle: “You would not believe who was staying around Limerick then.”Everything he communicates about Civic Trust and worthy works in progress lights him up, stuff like the donated boxes of military regalia in the attic.Downtime in Limerick?Long pause. “I love the Milk Market. That really is the weekly event, the must-do.” For eating out, “Wood and Bell in Killaloe. I love Sash in Pery Square.”Kitesurfing is a new sports figary.Bringing Limerick history to life is his greater story. At the church/ museum, he tells the story of the only World War artefact given by Britain to Ireland, the winding oak staircase that made with Castleconnell oak, had found itself built in to a Cirencester hospital. Today it is polished eloquence, a hardy survivor supporting history’s joists, as is the case with Limerick Civic Trust. 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Guests from the cruise will be transported by low-floor buses to Pila

first_imgAt the end of last year, Dubrovnik took the right step in the context of reducing the excessive influx of tourists into the city from cruise ships, and agreed with cruise companies that a maximum of two cruisers would sail into the most desirable cruise destination in the Mediterranean, bringing a maximum of 5000 visitors. The plan to introduce the so-called cruise fees were presented to the new president of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Adam Goldstein, and his associates at a working meeting in Berlin during the ITB trade fair in early March. “They expressed full understanding for the introduction of the fee and thanked us for informing them of this intention in a timely manner. I would like to point out that CLIA are our true partners in our project “Respect the City” because they, like us in the city administration, want the best destination experience for their guests, or we want satisfied guests regardless of arrival, but also satisfied citizens. Only through balance and through cooperation can we achieve this”Says Franković. One of the measures and novelties is the introduction of cruise guest transport to Pila and back by low-floor articulated buses. This will take over the shuttle transport from JGP Libertas, which will significantly reduce congestion on city roads. As the Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mate Franković, points out, these measures will establish full control and organization of berthing of vessels on cruises, all with the aim of achieving the highest level of service provided. “We are pleased that in cooperation with the Association of Cities we managed to get the possibility of collecting the sojourn tax from one-day guests included in the proposal of the new law and that the Ministry accepted it. It was agreed that the payment still goes by ship, and talking to our partners from the CLIA, they also agreed that this is the best model. ” points out Mate Franković, the mayor of Dubrovnik. The City of Dubrovnik has recently harmonized the rules with the representatives of shipping companies and the CLIA association for season 2020. which will include additional improvements in terms of the number of guests visiting the City at the same time, all with the aim of achieving the highest level of service provided for guests and citizen satisfaction. Also, at the initiative of the City of Dubrovnik, the Ministry of Tourism, when amending the Law on Tourist Tax, introduced the collection of tourist tax for passengers on cruises. center_img Its introduction will be decided by the destinations themselves, ie local self-government units, and will be implemented at the beginning of 2021. In Dubrovnik, a sojourn tax per ship will be introduced from 2021 onwards, although the first considerations were that a sojourn tax be charged for each guest on a cruise ship. From 2021, tourist tax for cruisers as well Finally, Franković points out that the additional income from the sojourn tax for cruisers will be spent on improving the city’s communal infrastructure. “The funds will be spent on investment maintenance of roads and transport / communal infrastructure in order to increase the overall communal standard, the development of which, unfortunately, in recent decades has not followed the development of tourism and it is up to this city administration to change that.” Thus, throughout the week, from Monday to Sunday, a maximum of two cruisers a day stay in Dubrovnik. This year, there was only one problem with the blockade of the entrance to the City, due to the mooring of the MSC Sinfonie in Gruž earlier than planned. As the MSC reacted in a statement, the omission occurred as a result of unfortunate and unplanned circumstances. “Due to the earlier arrival of the ship in Dubrovnik, the unfavorable weather conditions at sea were the main reason for it, due to which Sinfonia missed the berth in Mykonos on the way from Venice and headed directly to Dubrovnik.”Stressed from MSC Cruises apologizing that this event was an exception caused by external factors.last_img read more

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What Darwin Does to Psychology – And Humanity

first_img“Traits that we may find unsavory are nevertheless also products of our evolutionary history.”  This quote stands out boldly in a call-out from an article by psychologist Jerome H. Barkow (Dalhousie University) in a review of evo-psych (evolutionary psychology) in PNAS.1    Barkow acknowledged controversy about the premise that the evolutionary history of our psyches produces a deterministic picture of human behavior (e.g., 05/02/2008, 06/06/2008), but then embraced it, based on a paper in PNAS by Sell, Cosmides, and Tooby on the evolutionary history of anger.2  Those authors claimed 11 predictions confirmed by the “welfare tradeoff ratio” theory of anger, in which strong men tend to be angrier and women are more attracted to them: “This theory proposes that anger is produced by a neurocognitive program engineered by natural selection to use bargaining tactics to resolve conflicts of interest in favor of the angry individual.”  In other words, they justify anger as an evolutionary virtue – the ability to get one’s own way by inflicting costs on others.  Barkow began,Let us not ask whether the brain is “really” a biological computer.  The more productive question is whether it is useful to think of the brain as a computer, one designed by evolution to solve problems of adaptation via specialized “circuits” and “architecture.”  Does this biocomputational approach, pioneered by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby and then developed and expanded by them and others [such as David Buss, Geoffrey Miller, and Steven Pinker] lead to theory and research that further our understanding of human behavior?  Critics notwithstanding (e.g., ref. 7), the evidence of the article in this issue of PNAS,2 indeed, of the myriad books and research papers produced by the Cosmides�Tooby school of thought, is “yes.”  But, of course, there are caveats.Barkow put the engineering terms (computer, circuits, architecture) in quotes because those words usually imply intelligent design.  What, though, are the caveats he had in mind about evo-psych?  To find the answer, the reader has to wade through his discussion of controversies about intuition, welfare tradeoff ratios (WTRs), the levels of consonance between predictions of evolutionary psychology and folk wisdom, and whether competing schools of thought are contradictory or complementary.  Barkow reasons that whether or not evo-psych is true, it is useful.  “It is leading to theory, hypotheses, and data that are broadly compatible with other evolutionary perspectives rather than developing into an encapsulated and self-perpetuating citation circle,” he said.    What makes evolutionary psychology controversial is the unflattering picture it gives of the human psyche.  According to the theory of Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, for instance, “the strong and attractive, the people who are presumably winners in life, use anger to improve their bargaining position with those less strong and attractive.”  This would tend to promote anger as a Darwinian virtue.  It produces fitness.  Barkow remarked, “what we have here is one more rip in the romantic portrait of our species that many nonevolutionists would prefer to continue to enjoy.”  This provided the context for that bold call-out quote:From the unsentimental perspective of evolution, however, not just anger but sexual jealousy, male sexual insistence, infidelity (on the part of both men and women), sibling rivalry, preoccupation with one’s relative standing, nepotism, and individual and collective aggression are not pathologies or even errors to be corrected once and for all by morality and religion or at least proper child socialization, they are strategies that have often, at least in the past, been biologically adaptive.  Like socially valued traits such as love, loyalty, cooperativeness, and forgiveness, traits that we may find unsavory are nevertheless also products of our evolutionary history.Has Barkow just sanctified male chauvinism and nepotism as evolutionary virtues?  Has he destroyed the whole corpus of romantic literature?  Apparently so.  He also pointed out that evolutionary psychology gives the death blow to notions of human perfectibility, whether through the sermons of preachers, or through Marxists hopes of utopia via the distribution of wealth.    At this point Barkow mentioned some of the promised caveats.  Some criticisms of evo-psych are valid.  Contrary to the “biocomputationalism” that “unabashedly locates our ‘failings’ in the architecture of the human brain,”  some work on infants finds enough variability and contingency in human brain development to cast doubt on the apparent determinism of evo-psych.  Barkow excused this failing on two fronts: evo-psych can tolerate variability, and any useful theory is bound to be oversimplified.  “Even if the Cosmides and Tooby school of thought is indeed guilty, at times, of simplification, that is only to be expected: theoretical models necessarily simplify, and when predictions nevertheless receive empirical support it is difficult to argue that a simplification is excessive.”  Earlier, Barkow had acknowledged the fallacy of affirming the consequent: “accurate prediction can make a construct useful but is not, in my opinion, sufficient for one to be as certain of its ontological status,” he had said.  Usefulness of a construct is not the same as validity.  Ontology notwithstanding, evo-psych is a program on the move.  Examples he cited are part of a “broad enterprise of research and theory that, while not yet ready for full integration, is at least on its way.”  Spoken like a Kuhnian.    In passing, Barkow made a remark that may raise the hackles of critics of evolution.  He said, “Antievolutionist attacks have waned, in recent years, as Darwin’s insights have gradually spread from field to field and now, in an often lamentably simplified form, are part of popular discourse.”1.  Jerome H. Barkow, “Steps toward convergence: Evolutionary psychology’s saga continues,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 1, 2009, vol. 106 no. 35, 14743-14744, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907723106.2.  Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, “Formidability and the logic of human anger,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 1, 2009, vol. 106 no. 35, 15073-15078, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904312106.Preachers, theologians, philosophers and any man or woman with a sense of decency should be outraged at this commentary, for numerous reasons.  Let us first dispense with any claim to validity by Barkow and his idols (to show that our righteous indignation is not an artifact of ape in our past).  Reason: the whole premise of evolutionary psychology is self-defeating.  Anything that is self-refuting, remember, is necessarily false.  Why is it self-refuting?  Because Barkow’s own brain is determined by his evolutionary past.  Within his world view, he cannot act as an independent spirit taking control of his biocomputer from the outside and trying to run logic programs on it.  It comes pre-programmed.  He is inside his computer, not outside of it (according to the evolutionary view).  Everything he just said, therefore, has no ontological basis; he wrote all this because Darwin and his ape ancestry told him to.    By appealing to logic (something that refers to truths that are timeless, eternal, and immaterial), he just played the Yoda card.  His comments can be therefore summarily dismissed as nonsense.    Barkow, of course, and all the other evo-psych charlatans, cannot live with that realization.  Their innate createdness as beings made in the image of God forces them to talk as if Christianity is true.  Notice how this works.  “Perhaps there are ways in which the tendency to use anger as a negotiating tactic may be mitigated, just as good parenting can mitigate sibling rivalry,” he said.  “From the perspective of Sell, Tooby, and Cosmides, however, tactical anger is part of our biology and cannot be definitively eliminated by, say, a change in the distribution of wealth.”  Here’s the question to ask him: why should it be mitigated?  That’s his created conscience speaking.  How did such a thought even enter his head?  From whence did he get a notion that the inexorable march of evolutionary change needs mitigation?  How does he judge “good parenting”?  What angel whispered these notions in his ear?  If Barkow is a pawn of the evolutionary game, this hint of self-identity and conscience has no justification at all.  Notice that our criticism here goes beyond a possible comeback argument that evolution somehow produced elements of romanticism and virtue in addition to anger.  No; the point is that his position is self-refuting.  The very act of employing logic and morality as a disembodied Yoda on a higher plane of consciousness refutes the very notion that the human mind is a biocomputer produced by irrational, amoral processes of natural selection.  Don’t let him get away with it.  Evolution is what evolution does.  Any hint that we “should” mitigate it or alter it is, therefore, pointless.  It’s not only foolish to even try to alter evolution, it is impossible to conceive the thought of altering it if one is consistent with that world view.  The only way Barkow could have conceived those thoughts was by reaching outside his presuppositions into the Christian world view, where anger deserves to be suppressed, women deserve to be treated with respect, and righteousness has ontological validity – because there really is a righteous God who created us with that knowledge.    Make sure those points are well-grounded in your head.  We have just unplugged the black light creating a false mystique around Barkow’s intellectual pronouncements and shown him to be wearing a lycra Yoda costume, like some spiritualist fake.  Now he no longer looks like a wise man, but a clown.  This gives you the basis for strong opposition to evolutionary psychology – indeed, toward all the Darwinian baggage that has been a hodgepodge of illogical, irrational, self-refuting ideas, rationalizing the worst of human sin and producing the worst evils the world has ever seen (e.g., 11/30/2005).  (Note: If Barkow tries to say Mao didn’t realize that Marxism is based on a false premise of human perfectibility, penalize him for using Christian notions of reason, and say to him, “There you go again.”)    Regarding the paper by Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, it is predictably full of evolutionary nonsense and storytelling: e.g., “what (if anything) was anger engineered by natural selection to accomplish?”  Such a statement is completely nonsensical when they get outside their Yoda costumes and stop pretending to be Wise Ones above the human condition.  They spoke of “neurocognitive programs in social species [that] have been designed by selection” in another place.  Poppycock.  A bad case of equivocation trying to Darwinize ID language.  Their view also depends heavily on controversial views of kin selection and game theory.  They spoke of “selection pressures” which, as we have stated several times (e.g., 07/14/2009 commentary), are mindless constraints powerless to design anything.  Why is no one pointing out the illogic of their premises?  As would be expected for a theory built on generalities about human beings, their paper is filled with Darwin-style just-so stories.    If you want a world in which it is pointless to fight evil, in which men can commit any brutality against women they darn well please in Darwin’s name, in which might makes right, in which the angriest gets his way, a world in which there is no recourse to justice, then go ahead and embrace evo-psych.  If not, then understand the folly of what he just said and recognize its potential for horrors without end.  Any preachers reading this should feel a sermon coming.    Get righteously angry also at his suggestion that antievolutionist attacks have waned, and that now, in an often lamentably simplified form, Darwin’s insights are part of popular discourse.  “Darwin’s insights” – what a lamentable oxymoron.  This is time to wax, not wane.  Wax eloquent with well-placed whacks against waning myths that masquerade as reigning facts.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Habitable Planets Just Got Much More Rare

first_imgIf this scientist’s theory about the origin of magnetic fields is correct, habitable planets will be few and far between.Earth has a magnetic field sufficient to support life. Venus does not. Why does “Earth’s twin” lack this protective shield?According to secular geophysicists, a magnetic field is generated by a dynamo in a planet’s interior. The dynamo is generated by convection of molten material in the planet’s mantle. (Whether this theory is defensible is dealt with in chapter 7 of Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers.) Granting, for the sake of argument, that the theory is adequate to explain Earth’s magnetic field, a problem arises: as a planet cools, its innards should become stratified. A layered structure, however, is not conducive to convection. Without convection, no magnetic field. Without a magnetic field, no life. At Universe Today, Matt Williams explains the conundrum:Recent studies on high-pressure mineral physics and on orbital dynamics have also indicated that planetary cores develop a stratified structure as they accrete. The reason for this has to do with how a higher abundance of light elements are incorporated in with liquid metal during the process, which would then sink to form the core of the planet as temperatures and pressure increased.Such a stratified core would be incapable of convection, which is believed to be what allows for Earth’s magnetic field.Williams points to a new study by Seth A. Jacobson of Northwestern University and colleagues from Europe. To get convection started on the Earth, they surmise, the alleged Moon-forming impact stirred the mantle and core sufficiently to instigate convection.The significance of this study, in terms of how it relates to the evolution of Earth and the emergence of life, cannot be understated. If Earth’s magnetosphere is the result of a late energetic impact, then such impacts could very well be the difference between our planet being habitable or being either too cold and arid (like Mars) or too hot and hellish (like Venus).It also means that exoplanets around other stars will be unlikely to have habitable planets.Looking beyond our Solar System, this paper also has implications in the study of extra-solar planets. Here too, the difference between a planet being habitable or not may come down to high-energy impacts being a part of the system’s early history. In the future, when studying extra-solar planets and looking for signs of habitability, scientists may very well be forced to ask one simple question: “Was it hit hard enough?”Not just any impact will do. Jacobson’s open-access paper at Earth and Planetary Science Letters says, “Late, giant impacts may mechanically mix the core, removing the stratigraphy.” Many planets show scars of numerous impacts, but according to current secular thinking, the Earth took a wallop huge enough to send enough debris out to form the Moon. How often does that happen? And how long can the stirring last while life is trying to get a foothold? (in evolutionary thinking, that is).Fans of Spike Psarris’s DVD on the solar system will recognize the materialists’ all-purpose explanatory tool at work here (sound the bugles! another impact!). Even secular critics may see the impact requirement as a new epicycle to maintain a consensus theory that already suffered defects, such as maintaining the field for millions of years. Measurements show Earth’s field has decayed at 5% since Carl Friedrich Gauss measured it in 1835. Dr Richter explains the significance of this decline:Let me tell you, a decrease of 5% in the earth’s magnetic field strength represents a huge energy change. The earth’s magnetic field stores an immense amount of energy. To have this amount decrease by 5% in a little over 100 years represents an enormous loss of energy in a relatively short period of time. Calculations on this rate show that the field’s half-life is 1400 years; in other words, in 1400 years the field strength will be half what it was. Some day in the future—should the earth remain and the decay continue—the magnetic field will effectively vanish.The dynamo theory, Richter explains in chapter 7 of Spacecraft Earth, fails to account for this empirically observed decline, and argues against millions of years (note that the decay concerns the strength of the field, not its polarity). If Richter is correct, the Earth would have been uninhabitable a few thousand years ago (because the field would be too strong), and will become uninhabitable within a few more thousand years. For the sam reason, exoplanets would also have a brief window of habitability that would be far too short for Darwinian evolution.Imagining UtopiasSuch problems are rarely considered in confident-sounding news articles. For example, Fox News states, “‘Super Earth’ is discovered and it has perfect conditions for aliens.” There’s no mention of a magnetic field at all. Also ignored is that this ‘super Earth’ orbits a red dwarf, which makes it a poor candidate for habitability.Red dwarfs are the most common type of star, reports Phys.org. But they are also the most deadly. In the article, John Greenwald says, “Blowing in the stellar wind: Scientists reduce the chances of life on exoplanets in so-called habitable zones.” Strong stellar winds tend to sweep away the atmospheres of planets orbiting red dwarfs. They are also subject to emit deadly flares that would quickly sterilize a planetary surface.The habitability of Spacecraft Earth is a big subject in Richter’s book. Check it out! Now available on Amazon.com.(Visited 627 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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SA’s mobile mass market embraces web

first_img18 May 2012 The number of internet users in South Africa accelerated dramatically over the past year, driven by both smartphones and ordinary mobile phones, as the internet “finally arrived in the hands of the mass market”. This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study conducted by consultancy World Wide Worx. The headline findings, released last week, showed that the South African Internet user base had grown from 6.8-million in 2010 to 8.5-million at the end of 2011 – no less than 25% growth. World Wide Worx forecast that this strong growth would continue during 2012, taking South Africa’s internet user base past the 10-million mark by the end of the year.Demand for online content ‘set to explode’ “These findings are a powerful signal that the demand for online content in South Africa is likely to explode in the coming years,” said Justin Zehmke, executive producer of howzit MSN, which backed the study. “The spotlight will not only be on online media, but also on social networking and electronic services in general,” Zehmke said in a statement. “As the market grows and matures, we are likely to see a diversification in the landscape that will create space for successful niche media, a greater choice in information sources and a maturation of online services.” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said the internet in South Africa had “finally awoken, fully. Penetration is now approaching 20%, and for the first time we can see the mass market embracing digital tools on their phones.” According to the survey, 7.9-million South Africans access the internet on their mobile phones. Of these, 2.48-million access it only on their cellphones, and do not have access on computers. The remaining 6.02-million users access the internet on computers, laptops, and tablet computers. However, 90% of this number – 5.42-million – also access it on their cellphones. This means that almost 8-million South Africans sometimes or regularly access the internet on their phones.‘Huge implications for media, social networks’ “This has huge implications for media and social networks,” says Zehmke. “It means that, in the coming years, all services offered online will also have to be offered on cellphones.” While smartphones are the main driver of internet growth, the cost of data use is being driven down by the proliferation of undersea cables connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the world. The study shows that undersea cable capacity to South Africa at the end of 2011 was 2.69 Terabits per second (Tbps), and due to rise to 11.9Tbps by the end of 2012. “That capacity will double again in 2013,” said Goldstuck. “While the industry position is that it won’t affect prices, such an excess of supply must result in falling prices, which in turn will further drive up demand. The rapid growth we see this year will therefore be maintained through 2013.” The Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study was conducted using multiple methodologies, including primary research, interviews with providers, and market intelligence. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Interview: Animated Advice from Films to Comics with David Avallone

first_imgWe talked to filmmaker-turned-comic-book-writer David Avallone about what filmmakers can learn from the comic book industry.Cover image by Dave Acosta (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment).David Avallone is an editor and a director who’s been working in the film industry since the early ’90s. Most recently, however, he’s been working in comic book writing. We sat down with David to discuss the two fields and what aspiring filmmakers (and comic book writers) should know about breaking in to their industry.Image by Dave Acosta (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment).PremiumBeat:  There is so much awesomeness to unpack with you, but since you are a comic book writer, let’s start with your origin story and your parents, Michael and Fran Avallone. How did being the son of a pulp fiction novelist and feminist activist shape your art and politics?David Avallone: It shapes everything I do. I freely admit that. My adult life is split between my father’s occupation and my mother’s, and I have no regrets or shame about that. If we want to veer into psychoanalysis and pretension I could break it down further. My father was a great storyteller and — without trying — he taught me the power of that. My mother was a committed activist, and never wavered in her dedication. For her it was a full-time job, and that’s not a thing I can do, but I think art — storytelling — has great power to change minds and move hearts, often without them noticing. So in addition to doing activist work with A Is For, it also informs my writing.I should add that there are people who imagine that any “social justice message” in art has to be artificially added, tacked on. But that’s nonsense: all art is political. The story you choose to tell is a political choice, very often an unconscious one. I always sit down to write or make the best story possible. I am who I am, though, so what I believe and how I feel about the world is always going to be a part of the stories I tell.Michael and David Avallone (courtesy of David Avallone).PB:  Another fun fact about you is your invention of a new religion! Could you explain “Kentism”?DA: There’s a whole essay, but it struck me a few years ago that while I enjoyed “Christmas,” and have my whole life, I have never emotionally connected to the religion it rises out of. Add to that . . . I think the great weakness of religions is placing the fairy tale story above the message, and the need to believe the fairy tale is true. My idea was . . . what about a religion where we agree, up front, that the fairy tale is just that: a tale? We elevate the message above the “text.” Well, I find Superman to be an excellent messenger for, and symbol of, morality.So for the past five years or so, my wife and I — and now some of my friends — celebrate December 25th as the day Kal-El’s rocket arrived from Krypton. Kentmas. (Earlier in December, we celebrate Kryptonukah, an eight-night celebration of the culture that gave rise to Superman. But that’s another story . . .)Artwork: Joe Benitez (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment).PB:  Coming from the film world, what is the greatest challenge when writing in the comic book genre?DA: I’m not the first to make that transition, of course, and the boilerplate answer is “It’s easy! Unlimited budgets!” Except that’s false. A crowd scene doesn’t mean feeding 400 people . . . but some poor person has to draw them all. That takes time and energy, and I’m learning to keep all that in mind, too.The greatest challenge, initially at least, was reading comic books and understanding how they work. (Scott McCloud’s excellent series of books on that helped enormously.) As a film person, I’ve spent my life watching movies and — even as a child — trying to understand how they were made and why they work. I had never looked at comics that way. I had always read them uncritically. As an example . . . when I started this process, I went back and reread a lot of my favorite comics. I picked up Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘s Watchmen. Almost every page is a nice panel grid. I had never consciously noticed that before. Darwyn Cooke’s masterpiece, New Frontier, on the other hand, is mostly three panels of widescreen cinemascope art on every page. Why? And what difference is made in those approaches? And when they break those patterns, what effect are they going for?I was about 49 when I started writing comic books, and this radical career shift at that age was exhilarating. Learning a new medium, from scratch. I recommend it. And I love it now.Artwork: Scott Chantler (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment).PB: You’ve scribed the steampulp adventures of Vampirella and gone retro with Doc Savage, The Shadow, and Bettie Page — as well as ghoulishly sexy with Halloween icon Elvira. Do the publishers determine the story, or do you pitch them?  What’s the process like when building an issue between publisher, writer, and art team?DA: Here’s the whole process . . . setting aside original, creator-owned projects, which we’ll cover below.I am contacted by the editor (for Dynamite, Joseph Rybandt is the senior editor, for example) who says (paraphrasing), “Elvira comic. What are your thoughts?”Sometimes I ask for more clarification on what is wanted. In the case of Elvira, they just wanted something they felt accurately reflected her character, her brand, her style. So I go away and think about that. In this case, early on they got me the artist I wanted (my frequent collaborator, the amazing Dave Acosta), and he helped me out. He sent me covers of old Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis comics, which reminded me that Elvira is at least a little bit more of a comedy character than a horror character.Given that Elvira started out introducing horror movies on TV, I thought about how you reflect that in the story . . . which led me to the time travel idea: Elvira meets the people who made the legends that have lived forever. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, etc.I wrote up a brief pitch, and it went to Dynamite and Elvira (aka Cassandra Peterson), who gave me the green light to proceed. Wrote the script and built up a bunch of photo reference for the artist, shared on Pinterest. I am fine with giving room for invention, but I have ideas about how I want things to look, and most artists appreciate the guidance. (For example, I thought it would be fun if Mary Shelley looked like Elsa Lanchester — who plays her in Bride of Frankenstein – rather than the historical Mary Shelley. So I uploaded a few photos of her from that movie, and Dave Acosta brought her to life, beautifully.)First Sketch (Courtesy of Dave Acosta).Dave sends me his penciled pages as he finishes them, just to see if things are tracking with what I wrote. 99 percent of the time my only response is “fantastic” or “perfect.” He then moves on to inking the pages, which I also get as they’re finished: sometimes a thing was vague in the pencils and takes shape in the inks, and I can see if I want to adjust it. After the inks are done, I invariably do another pass on the dialogue. Less so on Elvira than usual, because I’m writing it “tighter” on the first pass. Largely because it all has to be approved by Elvira, so I’m trying to get the jokes “right” the first time around.Then comes letters (Taylor Esposito) and colors (Andrew Covalt), which I look at and “approve.” And that’s a comic book being made.Artwork: Dave Acosta (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment).PB: You are a huge research guy. Do you go to painstaking effort for historical accuracy, or is there wiggle room for the fun/fantasy factor?DA: A lot of the time, the research is the thing that leads me to the story. When the Doc Savage job came up, I thumbed through a history book for “interesting stuff in the thirties that Doc Savage might have been interested in,” and it reminded me of Amelia Earhart. Doc’s cousin Pat was a female aviator, and those were rare enough in the thirties that she would know Amelia. I made them more than friends, in fact, because I thought that was a particularly interesting story to tell. Had I not picked up that book, the series would never have been about Amelia Earhart.Then I read an Amelia Earhart biography while working. In it, I found a poem she wrote, called “Courage,” which I used in the climax of the story to — I think — great emotional effect. Research gave me the story, and it gave me the meaning of the story, and it gave me the end of the story.So . . . long story longer . . . I try to be as accurate as possible. I am allowing myself more wiggle room with Elvira, because it’s a comedy. (See above about Mary Shelley and Elsa Lanchester for a good example of that . . .)Artwork: Dave Acosta (Courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.)PB:  The newest project with Kevin Eastman (Ninja Turtles) was crowdfunded. Can you tell us about the process — both logistically and artistically — of making it happen?DA: I met Kevin at Emerald City Comic Con, and we became fast friends. A few months later, at San Diego Comic Con, he pitched me this thing he’d been working on forever, and I came up with a new title for it: Drawing Blood. We actually developed it as a TV series idea . . . and I wrote a pilot script . . . but we both decided it would make a great comic book, and that was a thing we could do without having to ask anyone’s permission. So we did a Kickstarter, figuring that Kevin has a million fans, and I have a dozen, and between the two we’d raise what we needed to make the comic. As it turns out, the artist we hired — Ben Bishop — is significantly younger than us, and his fans, and his energy and understanding of Kickstarter and social media helped us enormously. Couldn’t have done it without him. We raised everything we needed and a bit more. The trade paperback of Drawing Blood should be at the printers sometime in late July.Artwork by Kevin Eastman and Ben Bishop (Courtesy of David Avallone).PB:  For someone starting out and dreaming about working in comics, what advice would you give them to get their foot in the door? Any general industry advice from your time in Hollywood?DA: Always do your own stuff. For starters. Comics don’t require anything but your time and talent. Do a web comic. Do something original. Don’t just draw Batman. Show people that you can invent, too.And then . . . come to conventions, and meet people. I guarantee there’s one near you. There will be pros at that con. Don’t be a stalker, but if you hang out (particularly in the closest hotel bar to the con) you WILL meet people who work in the industry. Be cool. Don’t push. Talk about things you like, things that excite you. Don’t talk entirely about their thing. They get that all the time. Kevin Eastman and I didn’t talk about the Ninja Turtles the night we met. We talked about old World War II comics from the ’70s we both grew up on. The odds are good that a creator you admire will share some enthusiasm you have. Make friends. Be pleasant and kind. It’s not a job interview: if you make them feel like it is, you’ve already lost them.Image courtesy of David Avallone.People complain, often, that industries like comics and movies are “all who you know.” Damn right. People like to work with their friends. Don’t you? So be a good friend. Support other artists and writers (and colorists and letterers and actors and filmmakers.) No one does it alone. We all grow out of a community. Find your people, be good to them, and it’ll all flow from that.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Filmmaker Wendy McColm on the Meisner Technique and her Feature BIrds Without FeathersGo Behind Pulp Fiction’s Gimp Mask with Steve HibbertRound Table: Scream Queens on What Every Horror Director Needs to KnowInterview: Keeping Score with Film and Television Composer Nathan BarrInterview: The Editor of “This is America” on Building the Iconic Videolast_img read more

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Incentives for winning medals at Asian Games

first_imgThe countdown for the Asian Games has begun.With the quadrennial extravaganza set to kick off from November 12, Samsung India announced its incentive programme for the medallists at the Asian Games during a felicitation ceremony on Wednesday.The extraordinary performers will get goods worth Rs 2.5 lakh from the company. The Commonwealth Games medallists also received the cash prizes for their efforts in Delhi.The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Randhir Singh eulogised the CWG medallists and exuded confidence that India will come up with a similar performance at the Asian Games.” Indian athletes performed exceptionally well in almost all the events they participated in the Commonwealth Games.They won medals in some of the most competitive events and performance was good even in new sports like netball, lawn bowls and rugby sevens. I am looking forward to witness more of such performances from our athletes at the Asiad,” said Randhir at the event.Randhir also praised the government for sending the largest ever Indian contingent to China.” I am happy that the government approved a contingent comprising 609 athletes which also includes 249 female athletes. This will surely motivate our athletes to give their best at the Games,” he said.Brimming with confidence after their successful run at the Delhi Games, hockey captain Rajpal Singh and boxer Suranjoy Singh sounded confident of winning medals for the country.Rajpal said that there are certain areas where the team still needs to improve but the players are really motivated to do well.” We are satisfied with our performance as we played well against the top teams in Delhi.advertisementYes, there are certain areas where we need to work, but we expect to go there with a positive attitude. We are pitted against Japan and Pakistan in our pool.Both the teams are strong so let’s see how successful we will be,” Rajpal told MAIL TODAY . ” We will also focus to qualify for the London Olympics to be held in 2012. The team is trying its best to reduce the errors as the penalty corner conversion needs to be improved if we want to win big matches,” he said.Discussing the newly introduced Global Positioning System ( GPS) in hockey, Rajpal said the use of technology would surely help in improving their game.Commonwealth Games gold medallist Suranjoy feels that India has a very good chance to win more medals at Asian Games. ” All the boxers are training very hard. I hope to win this time as well as after the Games I got enthused to improve my record. The competition in China is surely higher than the CWG but all the boxers are working hard to win medals,” Suranjoy said.Akhil, who is not part of the Asiad squad, backed Suranjoy and said that the pugilists have been through a tough training regime which leaves them with a good chance to bag some medals in Guangzhou.” India won a gold at the 1998 Asian Games and we want to repeat the feat in this edition. I feel India has produced some of the best boxers in the recent past and boxing is becoming a popular sport in the country. Good performance by our boxers has really helped the sport grow faster,” Akhil said.World Champion wrestler and CWG gold winner Sushil, who has pulled out of the Asian Games due to injuries, said the wrestling team is capable enough to do better even in his absence.” Wrestling team is in a great shape. All of them are working hard and let’s hope they get some medals too,” said Sushil.last_img read more

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