University of California system to divest its fossil fuel investments

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The San Diego Union-Tribune:Top financial officials with the University of California announced Tuesday morning in an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times that the school system plans to undertake a major divestment from fossil fuels.The stocks and bonds to be sold off are currently part of UC’s $13.4 billion endowment and $70 billion pension fund.The article — penned by Jagdeep Singh Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer and treasurer and Richard Sherman, chairman of the UC Board of Regents’ Investments Committee — comes after faculty across the 10-campus system held a historic vote in July to demand divestment of the endowment.Teachers, backed by a vocal student movement, have said to the UC Regents that dumping the oil and gas holdings represents an ethical obligation in the age of climate change. They also argued that investing in fossil fuel companies has become increasingly risky because extractive activities will likely, and perhaps abruptly, be significantly restricted in the future to limit damage to the environment.Sherman of the UC Board of Regents has, as recently as August, rejected the second argument, saying that divestment would be in conflict with the university system’s “fiduciary duty.”However, in Tuesday’s article, he and Bachher said the decision to divest was based solely on what’s best for the system financially. “We believe hanging on to fossil fuel assets is a financial risk,” they wrote. “That’s why we will have made our $13.4-billion endowment ‘fossil free’ as of the end of this month, and why our $70-billion pension will soon be that way as well.”More: UC to dump fossil fuels holdings in pension and endowment funds worth $83 billion University of California system to divest its fossil fuel investmentslast_img read more

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Senate panel passes NAFCU-backed MBL provision, others

first_imgThe Senate Banking Committee yesterday passed a NAFCU-backed regulatory reform bill that includes provisions offering relief under the member business lending (MBL) cap and certain Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) disclosure requirements. The bill now awaits action by the full Senate.“Regulatory burden is a huge challenge for today’s credit unions, and we appreciate Senate Banking Chairman [Mike] Crapo and the Democratic and Republican panel members who recognize this challenge,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “Creating a positive regulatory and legislative environment that allows credit unions to succeed is a top priority of NAFCU. We look forward to continuing our work with the Senate on this bill and other transformative legislation.“This bill is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to advocate for the success of credit unions and their 110 million member-owners,” Berger added. continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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1928 Queenslander sold for $510K

first_imgThere’s even a claw foot bath.Located on a 478sq m block, the home is jam-packed with features including the classic entertainment deck — at the rear of the home — separate dining and living rooms, claw foot bath and original fixtures and fittings.“We had multiple offers on it. All locals. We don’t get too many Queenslanders on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Smith said.The home sold for about $90,000 higher than the median price for four bedders in Nambour. This restored Queenslander has changed hands for $510,000.THIS may well be the prettiest house you see today — a four bedroom 1928 Queenslander that’s been restored and sold for $510,000.Original VJ walls, character timber flooring, fretwork, high ceilings and original casement windows make this home the quintessential Queenslander and that’s what drew buyers in, according to agent Grant Smith of Century 21 Sunshine Coast.The property at 11 George Street, Nambour, sold with two weeks of he and colleague Jacqui Dell listing it. It came on the market at $525,000 on January 10 and by the 24th it was under contract. This spot and a glass of lemonade on a balmy afternoon would be bliss.“The charm and character of the property got it up and it’s a small low maintenance block,” Mr Smith said. “We are seeing strong growth in past 12 months, seeing prices go up.”The home was “rumoured to have belonged to the mayor of the 1940s” and marketed as having “rich charm and history, if only walls could talk”. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoThe home has four bedrooms. It looks quite stately in those colours. Spacious and airy kitchen. Loads of room for separate dining.last_img read more

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Weird Evolution Tales

first_imgEvolutionary theory leads to some fantastic tales.  Since evolution is often presumed to be a fact that explains everything in biology, and is itself not subject to testing or doubt, everything in biology must be viewed through an evolutionary lens.  This hard-core stance on evolution often leads to assertions and explanations that appear contrived, if not preposterous, to Darwin doubters.  Here are some recent examples of weird evolution stories that made it past the logic inspectors simply because evolution is unquestioned. 1. The incredible shrinking brain:  On the BBC News, readers were told, “Old age…has evolved to help meet the demands of raising smarter babies.”  As if to pre-empt puzzled looks and questions by some readers, the article added, “And it is not such a stretch, Dr [Chet] Sherwood [George Washington U] suggests, to conclude that grandparents’ extended lives are in an evolutionary sense there to relieve mothers from being solely responsible for raising their big-brained, energetically costly infants.”  The Scientist also bought this idea uncritically. 2. The early brain gets the IQ:  Live Science told its readers, “It took at least 3.5 billion years for intelligent life to evolve on Earth, and the only reason we’re able to contemplate the likelihood of life today is that its evolution happened to get started early.” 3. The arctic brain gets the eye size:  Judith Burns at the BBC News told readers, “Dark winters ‘led to bigger human brains and eyeballs’.”  A team publishing in the Royal Society Biology Letters “found a positive relationship between absolute latitude and both eye socket size and cranial capacity.”  But don’t think that means Eskimos make better philosophers: “The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter.”  It just means the bigger eyes need more visual neurons; “It’s just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live.”  Wasn’t cranial capacity, though, the sine qua non of human evolution?  “The work indicates that humans are subject to the same evolutionary trends that give relatively large eyes to birds that sing first during the dawn chorus, or species such as owls that forage at night.”   Astonishing as it may seem, these adaptations occurred rapidly in the tens of thousands of years since humans first migrated into the arctic; Robin Dunbar commented, “they seem to have adapted their visual systems surprisingly rapidly to the cloudy skies, dull weather and long winters we experience at these latitudes.” New Scientist and the BBC News gave this theory a wink and an approving smile.  But did the big-eyed people evolve a resistance to snow blindness?  4. From hydrogen to charity:  You only give to charities across the world because evolution figured out it’s less costly to be nice to every person you meet, even if you will never see them, than to risk offending someone you might see again.  This is the gist of a story on PhysOrg about how generosity evolved.  Tooby and Cosmides had to fit this into evolution because, obviously, “one of the outstanding problems in the behavioral sciences was why natural selection had not weeded out this pleasing but apparently self-handicapping behavioral tendency” to be nice to strangers; “If traditional theories in these fields are true, such behaviors should have been weeded out long ago by evolution or by self-interest,” the article noticed. 5. How irreducibly complex blood clotting evolved:  The blood clotting cascade was one of the prime examples of irreducible complexity that Michael Behe used in his intelligent-design treatise, Darwin’s Black Box.  PhysOrg, by contrast, contends that “Evolution provides clue to blood clotting.”  One of the many proteins involved in clotting, called VWF, is essential.  J. Evan Sadler was aware that “The challenge for the cell is how to build this massive protein without clogging the machinery,” so he “looked to evolution” for “evolutionary clues” about its origin.  He found similarities in key amino acids across species, and then found what happens when he mutated them: they cease functioning.  How this answered Behe’s argument or showed evolution instead of design was not clarified. 6. Bifocal fish:  Some fish in mangrove swamps need to see above and below the water surface simultaneously.  They have eyes adapted to this need, with parts of the retina sensing light coming from below water sensitive to yellows, and parts sensing light above water more sensitive to blues.  According to PhysOrg, a study at University of British Columbia attributed this adaptation to new functions emerging out of duplicated genes: it “illuminates how gene duplication can lead to innovation – in this case each half of the eye gets its own duplicate, tailored to its particular needs,” was the conclusion.  How this represents mutation or innovation instead of tuning existing function was not illuminated. 7. Convergent butterflies:  According to PhysOrg, “Butterfly study sheds light on convergent evolution.”  But the study by UC Irvine on how similar red patterns can be found on unrelated butterflies does not so much confirm convergent evolution  (a term invented after the fact to explain common features that defy evolutionary theory), as much as to describe how innate genetic mechanisms (primarily gene expression) allow for common variations within common environments.  The butterflies are still butterflies.  The authors did not attempt to explain metamorphosis by evolution (see 07/26/2011).  Robert Reed, evolutionary biologist at UC Irvine, said “Out of the tens of thousands in a typical genome, it seems that only a handful tend to drive major evolutionary change over and over again.”  Those must be super-powerful genes.  Reed had more to say about that:  “Biologists have been asking themselves, ‘Are there really so few genes that govern evolution?’” Reed said. “This is a beautiful example of how a single gene can control the evolution of complex patterns in nature. Now we want to understand why: What is it about this one gene in particular that makes it so good at driving rapid evolution?”  Another evolutionist quoted by Science Daily was ecstatic: “Now this group has discovered that a single gene underlies one of the most spectacular evolutionary radiations in nature! Perhaps the genetic basis for diversity will turn out to be far more simple than we expected.”  Reducing evolution to single genes, though, puts more creative responsibility on them, and raises new questions: how did a gene with such enormous innovative potential evolve in the first place? 8. Of panda thumbs and mole investments:  Like pandas, moles have extra “thumbs” that grow out of the sesamoid bone.  The BBC News announced, “Mystery of mole’s second thumb solved.”  Live Science merely claimed that the adaptation helps the animal, but then offered a composite explanation (including Lamarckism) for why other mole species don’t have the extra appendage: they “never developed the need to tunnel underground to the same extent, so never fully developed the outer thumb, or environmental changes no longer required them to develop it, so they stopped investing extra energy into growing them, the researchers say.”  Jennifer Carpenter at the BBC News, though, was sure Darwin should take the credit for the five-finger salute, when other numbers of digits are possible: “But evolution seems to have favoured the five-fingered.” 9. On sex in insects:  A butterfly was found with both male and female traits [Earthweek].  Some ant species are sexual, some are asexual.   Is there a law of nature that explains these differences?  The Scientist honored a paper on this as a “tour de force of both field work and lab work” because it can “offer insight into a long standing question in evolutionary biology about what forces cause species to choose sex over asexual reproduction and vice versa,” according to an evolutionary biologist.   The idea is that asexuality should be favored by evolution because it is less costly.  When looking at lineages of ants, though, the evolutionary explanation becomes more convoluted: “Tracking differences in other, slowly mutating genes to retrace the evolutionary history of the ants, the team confirmed that the common ancestor of the group probably reproduced sexually, and that asexuality had evolved multiple times independently.”  How can we check out this idea?  “If you come back in 5 million or 10 million years, there’s a good chance the asexual lineages go extinct, but the sexual lineages are still existing.”  Any volunteers? 10. Evolutionists promote junk DNA to chief evolver:  Bold type tells readers of PhysOrg, “Scientists present evidence for groundbreaking evolution theory,” as if Darwin didn’t break enough ground.  “The popular belief among scientists that certain sequences of DNA are relatively unimportant in the evolutionary process has been turned on its head by two Murdoch University researchers.”  The dramatic proposal by Oliver and Greene is that “jumping genes are actually driving the evolutionary process in some species.”  So sure are they that differences between apes and humans can be explained by this idea, “it’s very hard to see how primates and humans could have evolved in the way they have, without the intervention of jumping genes.”  It appeared necessary to rescue standard evolution theory from the evidence, so Oliver and Greene “further developed their theory into four modes that help shed light on why evolution sometimes occurs in fits and starts, sometimes gradually and sometimes hardly at all. Therefore, their jumping gene theory helps to explain a number of mysteries in biology, including why species suddenly appear in the fossil record, why some groups of organisms are species-rich and others are species-poor.”  But can jumping genes generate a trilobite all at once?  Not only that, they can solve multiple creationist arguments in a single blow: “Lineages with active jumping genes or large uniform populations of them spawn new species readily because they possess a greater ability to evolve, diversify and survive. An example of this is bats,” said Mr Oliver. “But species which are deficient in jumping genes or with inactive jumping genes tend to risk extinction because they lack the capacity to adapt, change and diversify. The so-called ‘living fossils’ like the fish coelacanth and the reptile tuatara are good examples. “It also helps to explain why some species change little over millions of years like these living fossils. And why almost all species do not eliminate this junk DNA from their genomes.” 11. Origin of cancer species: A new view of cancer is evolving in evolutionary minds: that it represents a new parasitic species. PhysOrg advertised the position by Peter Duesberg at UC Berkeley: “Duesberg and UC Berkeley colleagues describe their theory that carcinogenesis – the generation of cancer – is just another form of speciation, the evolution of new species.”  The ghost of Julian Huxley got a cameo appearance on stage. 12. Lego evolution: If individual mutations present a problem for evolutionary theory, maybe more is better.  PhysOrg presented a view of “modular evolution” that allows Darwin to assemble innovations with pluggable parts.  “Evolution seems to use the existing signaling pathways almost like a modular construction system,” the article explained, describing the work of Xiaoyue Wang on roundworms.  He sees cancer as a useful Lego block: “ don’t believe that what we have discovered in our study of nematodes is an unusual exception,” Wang said.  “Similar processes are known to lead to cancer development in humans. But likewise, they can initiate changes that can become subject to natural selection and eventually be propagated in the course of evolution.’” In each of these articles, evolution was taken for granted as the catch-all explanation for anything and everything.  No Darwin skeptics were quoted to challenge the evolutionary stories.  For an encore, consider an entry on Wired News (or should that be Weird?) that “Larger Brains May Have Evolved Due to Sports, Not Smarts.”  Such a claim contradicts 150 years of evolutionary claims about the origin of human intelligence.  The study compared brain sizes across species and correlated it with prowess in physical abilities.  “While their data seemed to hold true for many mammals, it seemed to break down once humans were thrown into the mix,” reporter Brian Mossop admitted, indicating that data to support his headline was futureware: “In other words, comparing humans to other non-primate species may be skipping too many evolutionary steps, so Raichlen said his team are [sic] changing their strategy for the future, to see whether these evolutionary connections are still at work within humans.”  To top it off, they could not provide a mechanism that would explain it: “Our paper makes some suggestions about how this might work on an evolutionary time scale,” [David] Raichlen [U of Arizona] said, “but I think there’s still a ton of work to do to figure out the mechanisms.” Paradigms can be stifling things.  They prevent scientists from thinking outside the box. One can imagine a creationist paradigm ruling biology that might similarly stifle thinking outside its box.  The solution is not boxes, but open doors.  Open the doors and windows and let the fresh air of lively debate enter.  Evolutionists and creationists need each other to avoid intellectual laziness.  Even a true position is sharpened by challenge, so long as the challenge is evidence-based and honest.  The Darwin box is a cylindrical echo chamber, with no openings for non-evolutionary paradigms – not even vent holes.  The inhabitants don’t notice the increasing stench inside, because they have gotten used to it.  Evolutionists seeking understanding in this arena are like the proverbial moron placed into a round room, told there is a penny in the corner.  Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, they pride themselves on the energy spent in their endless quest. Until academia opens its doors to serious challenge from outside its Darwin lockbox, journals and reporters will continue to give scientific explanation the runaround with circular arguments, taking victory laps in a stadium with no contest.(Visited 94 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Canyons on Earth, Mars Reinterpreted as Flood-Caused

first_img(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Catastrophic floods formed canyons long thought to have been formed by slow, gradual processes.On EarthThe Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth today, but it was the scene of catastrophic floods in the past.  A new paper in Icarus (the leading solar system journal) takes a look at amphitheater-headed canyons in the Chilean desert.  Previously, they were explained by sapping, the failure of cliffs due to springs.  Finding a flood model more appropriate, the geologists extend their finding to the planet Mars:Understanding planetary landforms, including the theater-headed valleys (box canyons) of Mars, usually depends on interpreting geological processes from remote-sensing data without ground-based corroboration. Here we investigate the origin and development of two Mars-analog theater-headed valleys in the hyperarid Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Previous workers attributed these valleys to groundwater sapping based on remote imaging, topography, and publications on the local geology. We evaluate groundwater sapping and alternative hypotheses using field observations of characteristic features, strength measurements of strata exposed in headscarps, and estimates of ephemeral flood discharges within the valleys… Flood discharge estimates of cubic meters to tens of cubic meters per second, derived using the Manning equation, are consistent with the size of transported clasts and show that the ephemeral streams are geomorphically effective, even in the modern hyperarid climate. We interpret that headscarp retreat in the Quebrada de Quisma is due to ephemeral flood erosion of weak Miocene epiclastic strata beneath a strong welded tuff, with erosion of the tuff facilitated by vertical jointing.On MarsA separate paper in Icarus re-evaluated “some of the largest channels in the Solar System” that have been the subject of intense interest since the 1970s.  Some of the narrow canyons in the southern circum-Chryse area have landforms in the 10-meter to 100-meter (football field size) range.  Previous studies proposed catastrophic floods, lava flows, debris flows and even glaciers.  Dates assumed for the canyons were in the 3-billion-year range.  The new study not only weighs in favor of catastrophic floods, but re-dates them far more recent:These terrains include landforms consistent in shape, dimension and overall assemblage to those produced by catastrophic floods, and at one location, to glacial morphologies. Impact crater statistics for four of these surfaces, located within upstream, midstream and downstream outflow channel surfaces, yield an age estimate of ∼600 myr. This suggests that the southern circum-Chryse outflow channels were locally resurfaced by some of the most recent catastrophic floods on the planet, and that these floods coexisted within regional glacier environments as recently as during the Middle Amazonian.We’ve noted in previous entries that crater-count dating is notoriously unreliable (3/02/14, 5/22/12, 4/03/11, etc.).  Still, this re-evaluation forces geologists to consider a date that is one fifth of the previously assumed date.  For more on floods as a cause of canyons, see 5/03/14, 12/19/13 and 5/23/08.Dating a Martian (Surface)Sun: There are other indications Mars cannot be even as old as 600 million years.  For one, Mars is subjected to coronal mass ejections without the protection of a global magnetic field.  PhysOrg discussed how the sun could have eroded the Martian atmosphere over hundreds of millions of years — far less than the billions assumed — yet a thicker atmosphere is necessary to account for surface water capable of causing the catastrophic flooding that the scientists proposed for the canyons at Chryse.  A video animation in the article shows a hypothetical watery Martian landscape drying out into the windy desert we see today, as its atmosphere depletes under a merciless sun.Wind: Another article on PhysOrg discusses the sandblasting effect of constant wind.  “Winds on Mars can be strong and can reach hurricane speed (more than 120 kilometres per hour or 75 miles per hour),” said Francois Ayoub of Caltech.  He added that at the study site (a 15-square mile area at Nil Patera, observed for one Martian year), such winds were a daily occurrence.  “High winds are a near-daily force on the surface of Mars, carving out a landscape of shifting dunes and posing a challenge to exploration,” the article begins.  This was a surprise:But data about the strength, frequency and origin of winds has been sketchy, and many specialists had expected that gusts strong enough to move sand would be rare on a planet with such a thin atmosphere.“We observed that martian sand dunes are currently migrating and that their migration speed varies with the season, which is at odds with the common view of a static martian landscape and very rare sand-moving winds,” study co-author Francois Ayoub of the California Institute of Technology’s planetary sciences division told AFP.The study shows that even in today’s thin Martian atmosphere (about 1% the density of Earth’s), the winds are strong enough to form and move the large sand dunes seen at many locations on Mars.  Wouldn’t billions of years of wind have eroded every landform, including the canyons and volcanoes, into small particles, long before now?  In 2/03/11, we quoted a leading Mars geologist wondering about this: “There’s a good question why Mars isn’t a billiard-ball planet covered by a kilometer of dust,” Phil Christensen said.  To keep Mars old, he proposed an ad hoc speculation that dust formation only occurs in cycles 2% of the time.These questions never seem to faze the astrobiologists.  NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine tried recently to revive interest in possible indications of life in Martian meteorites, just like one dubbed ALH 84001 did when featured at a famous 1996 press conference that gave birth to the new “science” of astrobiology — still looking for pertinent subject matter to scientifically study.Who is surprised?  It’s always the secular geologists and planetary scientists.  Why are they surprised?  Because they are moyboys, wedded to belief in millions and billions of years.  Do you see any actual, empirical, observation, scientific facts in these stories that would lead one to believe in such unfathomably long periods of time?  No?  Do you, instead, see more evidence for quick-acting processes over short periods of time?  Yes?  As you read this, are you sitting within the atmosphere of a beautifully-designed planet filled with life?  Does it look anything like Mars or Venus?  Why do you think that is?  Do you feel that science should follow the evidence where it leads?last_img read more

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Help us build a better South Africa: Zuma

first_img22 March 2012 President Jacob Zuma, speaking during an event to mark the country’s Human Rights Day, called on South Africans to pause, reflect and roll up their sleeves to help the government build a better country for all its people. “Let us celebrate the right of being South Africans and of living in this wonderful country, whose people defeated colonial and racial oppression, to build a country that belongs to all,” Zuma said at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, Soweto on Wednesday.‘We must never take our rights for granted’ South Africa’s Human Rights Day remembers the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 people were killed during a peaceful protest again the pass laws. Wednesday marked 52 years since the massacre. Zuma said the day should also be used to celebrate the country’s Constitution and, in particular, the Bill of Rights. He urged people to familiarise themselves more with this supreme law of the land and appreciate its liberating features. “We must never take our freedom and human rights for granted,” he said.Progress made on socio-economic rights Zuma said the government would continue to make sure that every South African was able to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Constitution. He said that, since 1994, the government’s national housing programme had delivered 2.8-million houses which provided shelter to 13.5-million people. By December 2011, 87% of rural households had been provided with water, and 75% with access to sanitation. A total of 15-million people, mainly vulnerable groups such as children, older persons and people with disabilities, now received social grants from the state, while eight-million children now received free education. “We have done well indeed in a short space of time,” Zuma said. ‘However, we are aware that, as more people gain access to these socio-economic rights, many more still live in hardship, due to decades of neglect.”‘Second phase’ of freedom Zuma said the government was serious about getting the country working, and it was for this reason that government had to grow the economy and improve the general standards of living in what he termed as the country’s “second phase” freedom, involving the transition towards a prosperous South Africa. “All of us have to roll up our sleeves and get down to some serious implementation work, to produce the platform for development, decent work and growth.” Zuma said the infrastructure project which he first announced in his State of the Nation address in February would lay the foundation for 20 or more years of growth, improved service delivery and jobs. He said the plan would drive back poverty, unemployment, inequality and under-development while responding to the basic needs of all South Africans. “The infrastructure plan recognises that black people are no longer temporary visitors in someone else’s city – they are city dwellers, they have rights. “Infrastructure for development is also about connecting rural communities to economic opportunities through building dams and irrigation systems. It will connect farms and villages to the energy grid and build schools and clinics in rural areas.” Zuma said that, through working with the people, and with the private sector, labour, education institutions, and all spheres of government, the country would be “working smarter” to make South Africa work for South Africans. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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What are the Principles That Make an Awesome Web App?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#cloud#Products Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Web apps are in some ways becoming micro-engines for getting us through our day. They tell us if our flight is on time. We use them to tell people where we are or even the route we are traveling in real-time.The best apps add a bit of value to our lives.So what should the Web developer consider when building an app?Octava Druta of KnowYourNumbers put together a list of what makes an awesome Web app:Profitable (revenues are higher than the costs)Stable (it doesn’t crash)Great customer service (the staff is responsive and helpful)Available (it has a very good uptime)Secure (my information is secured)Attractive (it has a beautiful interface and friendly copy)Responsive (it does what it needs to do quickly)Viral (customers recommend it)Optimized (it requires the minimum amount of resources)Helpful (it helps me solve a problem, i.e: it responds to a need)Easy to use (I can get things done in very few steps, the product features are easily discoverable and self explanatory)Druta also created a visual map that you can see in his post.Does Druta cover the bases? What else goes into making a great Web app? alex williams 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Curfew lifted in Manipur

first_imgThe Manipur government lifted curfew from Imphal East and Imphal West districts and restored Internet connection on Wednesday shortly after the Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die without passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.Chief Minister N. Biren Singh while lifting the curfew tendered his apology to the people for taking “such drastic steps”. He said they were preventive measures required to protect precious lives and maintain law and order.“Now that this Bill shall not come up in the near future, we should focus on the developmental works in the State with the same zeal and support the people gave in the last two years,” he said.Mr. Singh said the credit for the Bill not getting tabled in the Rajya Sabha should go to the people of the Northeast in general and Manipur in particular. Back to businessNormal life was restored within minutes of lifting of the curfew with women vendors, who have been on strike in the main markets in Imphal city, resuming their business immediately. Women activists in Imphal West district demanded immediate unconditional release of some youth taken into custody by police on Tuesday night. The activists announced that since the controversial Bill was set to lapse, they were relaxing their agitation to some extent.However, they said they are keeping an eye on the Bill. They also demanded that the Manipur People’s (Protection) Bill, 2018, which was passed by the State Assembly, should be given assent by the President now. Manipur has no Inner Line Permit system to protect its people from being swamped by migrants, they said during a press conference in Imphal. Thousands of men and women took out night processions, staged sit-in protests on Monday and Tuesday against the Bill. They also burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Singh. Some of them were injured in the firing of tear gas shells and mock bombs by the security personnel.The activists also demanded that the State government should foot the medical and other bills of the injured persons.last_img read more

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India and Pakistan to start three-Test series

first_imgVictorious World Cup team: Psychological advantageA cricket series between India and Pakistan is probably the closest thing to a war between the two countries. The emotional involvement of 765 million people on both sides of the border with the 22 gladiators in the arena makes the traditional Ashes series between,Victorious World Cup team: Psychological advantageA cricket series between India and Pakistan is probably the closest thing to a war between the two countries. The emotional involvement of 765 million people on both sides of the border with the 22 gladiators in the arena makes the traditional Ashes series between England and Australia look like a friendly contest between two teams of clergymen. Next fortnight, the fever will strike again when Zaheer Abbas, the bespectacled new Pakistani captain flies in with his team to do torrid battle with the recently-crowned World Cup champions led by Kapil Dev.Somehow, with the hangover of the World Cup celebrations still to recede, the coming series has not generated the usual fever-pitch excitement. But that is neither an indication of complacency on the part of India nor that the series will be any less hotly contested than before. Both sides have too much at stake for that.India have to prove that their sensational World Cup win was no flash in the pan while Pakistan’s drubbing of the Indian team during the last series, which they won 3-0, should give Abbas and his team the required determination to attempt a repeat of that performance.Formidable Batsmen: Admittedly, the absence of Imran Khan will be a major psychological loss to the Pakistan side. “Without Imran, I don’t think Pakistan can pose any major problems for our batsmen,” says Dilip Sardesai, the former anchorman of Indian batting.But even without the feared fast bowler, Pakistan’s formidable batting strength and the slow wickets they will be playing on must surely cancel out any advantage. In Pakistan during the last series and on similar wickets, that line-up succeeded in restricting a majority of the matches to single-inning affairs. Between them, Mohsin Khan, Mudassar Nazar, Javed Miandad and Zaheer Abbas are capable of tearing any attack to shreds.But again, without a bowling attack capable of getting the other side out twice, huge totals can only result in dull draws. Of the 30 Tests played so far between the two traditional rivals, only 10 have ended in results, including the three Tests won by Pakistan during the last forgettable series. That series also gave Pakistan a lead over India in terms of the number of Tests won by each side. Pakistan has now won six while India has won four.Contained in those statistics, however, is one factor that gives India an edge in the coming series. All four Tests won by India have been on Indian soil while Pakistan has won five of the six Tests on their side of the border. India, as both Kapil and Abbas admitted to INDIA TODAY (see interviews) has a definite psychological advantage by virtue of their World Cup win.Judicious Combination: In that context, much will depend on the composition of the two sides. Says former Indian cricket captain Ajit Wadekar: “We should remember that the World Cup was one-day cricket. We have the edge provided we have the right balance in the team.” Wadekar advocates the same combination that India fielded for the World Cup team but adds: “It is essential that we have at least two spinners since this is going to be a five-day game and Jullundur and Nagpur have pretty slow wickets.”Though the team will only be announced next week, it is not difficult to pin-point the certainties. Gavaskar, 33, Yashpal Sharma, 28, Mohinder Amarnath, 32, and Sandeep Patil, 26, are the four specialist batsmen who are obvious choices. With two spinners in the side, that leaves a requirement for only one more bat and the toss-up will be between the mercurial Krishnamachari Srikkanth, 23, and the elegant but unreliable Dilip Vengsarkar, 27. advertisementSarfaraz Nawaz (left) and Iniran Khan: Conspicuous absenceVengsarkar has been far from his best in recent Tests but his obvious talent makes him a difficult player to drop from any Indian side. Srikkanth’s impetuosity is his only drawback since he has proved that he can dominate any bowling attack in the world with the right mental application.In a recent interview, Srikkanth admitted that his inherent impulse to go for the bowling had introduced an element of rashness in his play but the World Cup had matured him and taught him the value of curbing his natural instincts.Srikkanth’s selection also solves the problem of an opening partner for Gavaskar which is why it is more than likely that he will get the nod for the first couple of Tests and Vengsarkar will be brought in only if he fails.Bowling Line-up: The opening attack poses some problems. Kapil’s partner in the World Cup, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, 26, performed creditably enough but so did Madan Lal, 32, and Roger Binny, 28, and it is difficult to see all three medium pacers in the side for a five-day match.advertisementMadan Lal is a great trier but Sandhu has more deviation and swing in his bowling while Binny’s fielding and comparative youth cannot be ignored easily either. However, it seems fairly certain that Madan Lal will stay on in the side with either Binny or Sandhu jockeying for the third medium pacer’s place.Kirmani, who has redeemed his reputation after an indifferent series in the West Indies, will definitely don the wicket-keeper’s pads which leaves the awkward question of the two spinners. As Kapil himself admits, none of the candidates is of adequate class. Maninder Singh showed initial promise but seems to have faded out since. Ravi Shastri, 20, has a similar career graph and has obviously not worked hard enough on his game to deserve automatic selection.The Tamil Nadu spinner Sivaramakrishnan was sidelined during the World Cup but this could be his chance to get into the side. Kirti Azad’s performance in the World Cup qualifies him for serious consideration since he is also an excellent fielder.The selectors are obviously going to be faced with a difficult choice from among the four and it is not easy to predict which two they will opt for. Shastri, however, has improved his prospects considerably with a century last fortnight in Madras. That possibly could tip the scales in his favour.The other element of uncertainty is the venues. Both Nagpur and Jullundur are untried grounds for five-day Tests, with the more traditional Test centres having being ignored for populist reasons.Jullundur is of course more accessible to Pakistani cricket fans but considering the new stadium is named after Bishen Singh Bedi it is possible that the national selector twisted some arms to have the Test there.The Board has also taken the unusual step of appointing Bedi as manager for half the series while former Test player Ashok Mankad will take over for the other half. What effect this will have on the team and its performance is still to be viewed but it is hardly a healthy precedent.Pakistani Side: The crucial uncertainty, however, rests with the team that Zaheer Abbas leads. It is obvious that Pakistan cricket is passing through a transitional period – five members of the World Cup team have either been dropped or are unavailable – and the list of 25 probables released by the Pakistan cricket board offers little indication of the final composition. Zaheer, Mohsin, Mudassar, Miandad and leg spinner Abdul Qadir are the only sure bets with the possible addition of wicket-keeper Wasim Bari.The omission of Sarfaraz Nawaz, the controversial opening bowler, leaves a major question mark hanging over Pakistan’s opening attack. The list of 25 contains three new medium pacers in Azim Hafeez, Asif Afridi and Atiquar Rehman of whom very little is known.advertisementThe three other pace bowlers in the list, Tahir Naqqash, Sikandar Bakht and Jalaluddin have represented the national side often enough to realise that they are hardly in the class of Imran or Sarfaraz.Kapil says that the Pakistani bowling attack will be more or less on par with the Indians which would mean two out of the six being selected with Mudassar coming on as the third medium pacer. The spinner who will assist Abdul Qadir could possibly be off-spinner Nazir Junior who was not in the original list of 38 probables but has been included now.Surmises: Based on the laws of probability, India starts the series with a clear edge. Kapil’s captaincy has flowered and he is hardly likely to make the kind of mistakes or errors of judgement he did in the West Indies or Pakistan. Zaheer, on the other hand, will be playing his first series as captain and though he has vast experience he still has to prove he can handle the rigours and the responsibility.India will also have the decided advantage of playing on home grounds and home crowds which undeniably make some differrence in a five-day match. With the bowling attack on both sides more or less on par the crucial factor will be in the batting. Pakistan batsmen have proved over and over again that when one batsman clicks the rest do too but they are highly susceptible to pressure. Zaheer, the best of the Pakistan batting lineup, had a miserable series in India during the last series and that should be weighing heavily on his mind.India, on the other hand, has shown that their batsmen are in rare form with the exception of Gavaskar, Amarnath, Yashpal, Patil, Srikkanth and Kapil have all been among the runs and much will therefore depend on Gavaskar.After his string of poor scores, Gavaskar seems to have recovered his voracious appetite for runs with scores of 81 and 174 against the Tamil Nadu President’s Eleven in Madras last fortnight. If Gavaskar is giving warning of his return to form, then Zaheer Abbas and his men should have plenty to worry about.last_img read more

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Adrienne Shelly Foundation Launches 7th Annual Celebrity Auction

first_imgThe Adrienne Shelly Foundation (ASF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the memory of actor/filmmaker Adrienne Shelly (Waitress), launched its 7th annual Celebrity Auction this week with support from prominent celebrities across the entertainment, literary, sports, business and political arenas.The auction is open to bidders internationally from January 22 through February 11 at www.charitybuzz.com/AdrienneShellyFoundation. Proceeds will support ASF’s mission of supporting women filmmakers through production grants.“It’s truly an honor to have so many wonderful people pitching in to help us raise money,” said Andy Ostroy, ASF’s founder and executive director. “We’re very grateful for their support.”“The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is an important organization with a critical mission,” said Keri Russell, star of the FX Network’s The Americans, Adrienne Shelly’s hit film Waitress, and a member of ASF’s Advisory Board. “This auction is a major source of funding in its support of women filmmakers and it’s a fun thing to be a part of.”More than 60 exclusive experiences are being auctioned. Bidders can: • Have lunch with Paul Rudd, Salman Rushdie, Michelle Williams, Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Mark Cuban, Keri Russell, Bill Hader, Rosario Dawson, Sarah Silverman and Jeff Ross, Melanie Griffith, Cheryl Hines and Jeremy Sisto and many more • Join Alanis Morissette for a paddle boarding class and tea • Receive a birthday call from Bones stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz • Hit the town with David Arquette at his club Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood • Visit the set and meet cast members of TV shows such as Community, Cougar Town, Dallas, Mad Men, The Americans, The Good Wife, Law and Order: SVU, Dallas, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Good Morning America • Score VIP tix to Two and a Half Men, Letterman, Rachael Ray and The Colbert Report • Enjoy walk-on roles in TV shows like Drop Dead Diva, Workaholics and films • Experience movies like never before with VIP access to the Tribeca Film Festival, LA Film Festival and Nantucket Film Festival
The Adrienne Shelly Foundation supports the artistic achievements of female filmmakers through annual grants distributed through partnerships with Women in Film, IFP, Nantucket Film Festival, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Columbia University, Boston University, Rooftop Films and American Film Institute. It has awarded forty-eight grants since its inception in 2007. For more information and to make a donation, please visit www.adrienneshellyfoundation.org.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

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