Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Asteroid impacts are some astronomers’ answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.Titan as a billiard fusion:  Most collisions break things up and send pieces scattering, but a new theory proposes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan represents a merger of moonlets.  “Did several moons collide to form Saturn’s Titan?” Richard Kerr teased on Science Now.  He heard that rumor at a meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) in Denver:“The Origin of Titan—So Big … So Alone.” That was the playful title of a talk given here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences. The gist? Saturn’s relatively huge moon Titan, which orbits unaccompanied by the usual retinue of similar-sized moons, started out as three or four standard-issue satellites of the ringed planet that ran amok, collided, and merged into one huge moon and a few scraps of debris.Douglas Hamilton got creative about Titan before the crowd because “the biggest mystery is how it came to be in the first place.”  He didn’t see it happen except in a computer model.  Might as well speculate, then: “Hamilton acknowledges he’s not sure how he would ‘prove’ that he is right.”  Contrarily, though, Titan has few impact craters, showing it has a young surface, Science Daily said.  Hamilton may want his new theory to motivate NASA to keep the funding flowing for the Cassini mission.  It makes a nice story at least—kind of like the one that other planetary scientists say created Earth’s moon.Whoops, about that moon theory:  The theory of the origin of the moon by a collision has run into trouble.  Daniel Clery wrote for a Science News focus, “Planetary scientists thought they had explained what made the moon, but ever-better computer models and rock analyses suggest reality was messier than anyone expected.”  So the “Impact Theory Gets Whacked” itself, he titled his report from another scientific gathering.Over the past decade, increasingly sophisticated computer simulations have shown that the tidy scenario clashes with what geochemists have discovered about moon rocks and meteorites from elsewhere in the solar system. As a result, researchers are casting around for new explanations. At a meeting at the Royal Society in London last month—the first devoted to moon formation in 15 years—experts reviewed the evidence. They ended the meeting in an even deeper impasse than before, as several proposed solutions to the moon puzzle were found wanting.Bring in a bigger impactor:  Because of the lunatic problems, some of the modelers are looking for an even wilder theory: the idea that Venus helped form the Earth’s moon.  David Stevenson explained why: “It’s got people thinking about the direction we need to go to find a story that makes sense,” where story is the operative word.Daniel Clery spends some time reviewing all the theories since Apollo that have ended up on the trash heap, the impact theory being the latest.  “The giant impact has major problems,” Stevenson told his colleagues.  “It doesn’t produce the moon as seen.”  So much for all those simple-looking animations on TV.  None of the latest ideas are simple.  Jay Melosh remarked, “The solutions are contrived; they’re not natural.”Also falling onto the trash heap is the notion that isotope ratios vary with radius across the solar system.  Tossing that assumption opens up new plots for storytelling:That explains why at the London meeting, when the session chairs jokily asked each speaker what single measurement they would most like to perform, many said they would like to examine a piece of rock from the planet Venus. Venus is Earth’s rogue twin, and together the two planets contain 80% of the mass between the asteroid belt and the sun. If it turns out that Venus has very similar isotope ratios to Earth, then it is much more likely that an impactor might have had them as well. “Venus is the key,” Stevenson said.Since getting a piece of Venus from its hellish surface is highly challenging, this experiment won’t be done for some time.  Space.com gave the “Wild new theory” good press anyway, giving the impression that the storytellers are “still on the trail of the detailed scenario” with their notion that “Back then, there were still a lot of things whizzing around.”Not the Cambrian explosion, too:  Astrobiology Magazine asks, “Did a Huge Impact Lead to the Cambrian Explosion?”  Needless to say, even if a meteor hit the Earth way back when, it would say nothing about the origin of two dozen new animal body plans.  Most likely, it would have destroyed life instead.  It’s hard to know how anyone could take seriously the statement, “The ensuing environmental re-organization would have then set the stage for the emergence of complex life.”  What if they set a stage, and nobody showed up?  A stage setting is necessary, but not sufficient, to hold an intelligently-designed play.  The notion sounds like an act of desperation to counter the argument for intelligent design that Stephen Meyer presented in his new book, Darwin’s Doubt.  At least NASA got this right: “Animal life on Earth suddenly blossomed, with all of the major groups of animals alive today making their first appearance.”  Almost sounds like Genesis.See also the 9/23/13 entry, “Comet, Asteroid Impacts As the Answer to Everything.”As we have repeated often before, when one’s theory reduces to random actions for no particular reason, one has abandoned science.  If all one can say is “Stuff happens,” one has not explained anything.  The story is no better than one made up by a fiction writer or cartoonist.  What we observe is a smooth, well-differentiated Titan with a young atmosphere, and a moon around our Earth that supports life.  Those are the facts.  The most elegant explanation to be preferred, therefore, is one based on our common experience with ordered systems: that they were designed.  That should be seen as superior to invoking a “wild new theory” that depends on “a lot of things whizzing around” that somehow did a bang-up job of creating an orderly solar system, just because stuff happens, even though the stories are “contrived” and “not natural.”  Now who’s promoting pseudoscience?  Look how long the Mars-sized impact theory for the origin of the moon was bandied about in the media as the scientific explanation for the moon, and now they tell us it has “major problems.”  We don’t want scientists “jokily” asking each other what wild idea is next.  We want them to face reality: the Earth and its moon appear designed for life.  If they want to tell jokes, let them go into stand-up comedy instead.last_img read more

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Zim author publishes chiShona sci-fi

first_imgZimbabwean author Masimba Musozda isadvancing chiShona, with the publicationof the first sci-fi novel in that language.(Image: Dread Eye Detective Agency)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lion Press marketing department+44 784 985 9804RELATED ARTICLES• Young writer to publish 18th book• The Axe and the Tree• Local author gets top sco-fi award• Giving Zimbabwe’s diaspora a voiceMark ReidZimbabwean literature has taken a step forward with the publication of author Masimba Musodza’s book MunaHacha Maive Nei?, the first science fiction novel in the chiShona language.ChiShona, one of Zimbabwe’s two main languages, is Musodza’s mother tongue.The novel, also described as a horror/thriller, is the first in chiShona available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon.com’s Kindle store.This achievement is expected to promote, not only chiShona, but all African languages in the modern world of information technology and new media.The print edition is due for imminent publication by Coventry-based Lion Press Ltd, an independent publishing house that focuses on Zimbabwean and African literature.Young talentBorn in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known then, in 1976, Masimba Musodza developed his interest in the written word at an early age, as both his parents encouraged him to read. He honed his skills by writing in the school magazine, youth magazines and other outlets.Musodza moved to the UK in 2002, and is now based in the Yorkshire town of Middlesbrough. He is the owner and CEO of production company Oriit Films.A member of the Rastafarian faith, Musodza published his first book in 1997, a short story collection titled The Man who turned into a Rastafarian, and is perhaps best known for his Dread Eye Detective Agency series which feature a Zimbabwe-based Rasta brother and sister.Although only recently coming to public attention as an author, Musodza has gained a reputation for his film and television screenwriting, having sold his first screenplay in 2002. His writing covers many genres, reflecting his diverse influences and his own interest in the world around him.He uses science-fiction, drama, horror, mystery, and satire to explore issues close to his heart. These include social development, history and politics, religion and spirituality and the human condition in general.Musodza lists the Dune books and film, the Star Wars film series, and the 1993 South African comedy There’s a Zulu on my Stoep among his favourites.Blending the modern and traditionalMunaHacha maive nei? is a thrilling tale that blends African folk beliefs and the modern world of globalism, sustainable development, genetically modified agricultural produce and political manipulation.Chemicals from a research facility conducting illegal biological experiments contaminate the local ecosystem, causing birds and animals to mutate. Soon a child is attacked by a giant fish, but the villagers, not having the remotest concept of chemical mutation, believe the creature is a mermaid – in their tradition this is the guardian of nature.Because the guardian is obviously angry, they try to appease it according to their traditional beliefs and practices – but in vain, and the situation gets worse.Boosting marginalised languagesAlthough Africa is scattered with hundreds of traditional languages which vary widely from country to country and community to community, the colonial languages of English, Portuguese, French and Spanish – and localised variations thereof – are still the dominant forms of communication in many nations.The promotion of endemic languages is a controversial subject throughout Africa. Some academics are opposed to it and prefer to conform to western standards.Others think it’s time for Africans to promote their cultures and languages without apology and be proud of their heritage. South Africa, too, is one of these countries, with its national Department of Arts and Culture embarking on a drive in the mid-2000s to promote the use of the mother tongue in writing and publishing.The department also launched a multilinguism campaign in 2010, to strengthen the situation of all the country’s official languages.Musodza is a supporter of Kenyan academic Ngugi wa Thiong’o‘s Decolonising the Mind, and firmly believes that African authors need to use their own languages in order to advance their literature rather than the language of their colonial legacy.He says that his target audience is anyone who finds the time to read, and dispels the notion that it is impossible to write “complicated stuff” in a language that is often shunned by the educated back home.last_img read more

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Busy week for South Africa’s anti-poaching units

first_img15 April 2014Last week was one of the busiest on record for anti-poaching units in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, with three heavily armed groups of suspected rhino poachers being detected and eight arrests being made.The eight arrests included those of two South African National Parks (SANParks) employees. According to spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli, the two SANParks men appeared on Wednesday in the White River Magistrate’s Court, where their case was remanded to 16 April for a formal bail application.Thakhuli said most of last week’s incidents took place in the southern part of the park, in areas such as Crocodile Bridge, Kingfisherspruit, Tshokwane and Stolsnek.On Thursday, he said, rangers from Crocodile Bridge arrested two suspected poachers, believed to be Zimbabwean nationals, as they were leaving the park, recovering a G3 military type rifle along with a silencer and ammunition.On Friday, rangers from the Kingfisherspruit area apprehended another two suspected poachers, arresting one while recovering a .458 rifle, silencer, ammunition and poaching equipment. The second suspect managed to escape arrest.Tshokwane rangers apprehended a further two suspects on Saturday, making one arrest and recovering a .375 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment. The second suspect managed to escape back to Mozambique.And on Sunday, in Stolsnek, rangers apprehended a group of five suspected poachers, arresting two of them with the help of SANParks Airwing and canine units. Thakhuli said the hunt for the remaining three suspects, who managed to escape, was still on.“This is a clear indication that resilience and patience pays off, and we are grateful that no lives were lost during an encounter with these heavily armed suspected poachers.”He said the anti-poaching units are ready for the coming long weekend, with many deployments routes, particularly in poaching hot-spots, being plotted out.“We will be ready and waiting for them, and we would like to request the support and cooperation of all members of society in identifying and reporting suspicious behavior that could lead to the apprehension and conviction of these criminals.”The public can report incidents of poaching and give tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime Line on 32211.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Tibco Offers Real-Time Service For Optimizing BPM Software

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts alex williams Tags:#enterprise#saas IT + Project Management: A Love Affaircenter_img Tibco is offering a real-time service called iProcess Spotfire that allows business users to manipulate data and produce reports from their business process management (BPM) software.Tibco’s do-it-yourself (DIY) service represents one of the promises of the real-time enterprise. The task of updating and fine tuning BPM software usually requires the help of IT personnel. It’s reminiscent of how the web has made the most complex tasks fairly doable by people with little expertise. Tasks that once required experts now can be performed by people with few technical skills.The Tibco service is designed for all levels of business users. Professionals can use it to understand the operation aspects of the process performance. Executives can use it to get a broad look at the business.iProcess Spotfire features:Personalized process reporting and analytics: Gone are the static dashboards. Custom templates display reports that are tailored to specific users. Better Context: Tibco provides the ability to extract process performance data generated by the BPM and combine it with business information from other applications. This provides the business manager with a broader context than if the data from the BPM environment was all that could be accessed.Self-service: Instead of relying on IT to create custom reports, iProcess Spotfire enables business users to customize their own work and analyze the metrics themselves. By empowering the business users directly, companies can save time and money, while simultaneously ensuring that changes in the business process performance can be identified and acted upon by the most appropriate people, in the most efficient manner.Due in large part to the faltering economy, BPM software is proving to be one of the hottest growing sectors in the enterprise IT market. According to Gartner, the BPM market will increase 5% over the next year. Companies that make the investment now in BPM will see better growth when the economy rebounds.The Tibco offering optimizes BPM software even more by making it a DIY product. Efficiencies are maximized and business managers get to make better customizations that in the long run could have a real effect on the bottom line.Disclosure: Tibco is a sponsor of the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit to be held October 15 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Ca. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

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The 4 Categories of Client Relationships

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now What level are most of your client relationships now?What can you do to move these relationships to a healthier place?Whose help do you need?How many of your prospects look like Level 4 candidates to you now? Ever wonder what you get in my Sunday newsletter? Here is an example.I’ve been looking at all kinds of different client relationships. I’ve dropped them into four categories as a way to make it easy to explore what you need to do to improve those relationships—for you and for your clients. As we walk through them here, take a few notes on where your clients fall.Category 1: Not good for you, Not good for your client. These relationships are not good for you or your client. If there is no way to create a healthy, value-creating relationship with a prospective client, then any category 1 deal is only going to cost both of you time and energy.But that’s not where most of these relationships come from. Most of the relationships start out at some higher level and decline to reach this category over time, normally when both parties have become complacent.What are you doing to prevent your relationships from slipping to this level?Category 2: Not good for you, Good for your client. This is where most weak salespeople and weak sales organizations live. They take deals where they can’t command the price they need to deliver, and so always deal with customers who are getting the better end of the deal. These are not relationships of peers, these are subservient relationships. These relationships make you resentful, and in the end, you probably underserve your client and make them resentful.How do you move these relationships to a better level?Category 3: Good for you, Not good for your client. These are not deals where you do good work. These are deals where you do well and your client or customers don’t do well. That is never good.When you create value, you are entitled to capture some part of the value that you create. When you create massive value, you can capture massive value. These are relationships that are all value capture. Ultimately, these will destroy your relationships, your reputation, and your revenue.What do you need to do now to create the value that entitles you to what you are capturing?Category 4: Excellent for you, Excellent for your client. This is the sweet spot. These are the relationships you need to grow and sustain a business. This is where you build customers for life. You create massive value. You capture massive value. You bring growth initiatives to your clients. They challenge you to grow with them.You have to create these relationships by calling on the clients for whom you can create massive value. You have to discover the people within those companies who are mature enough as business people to seek category 4 relationships. You have to develop the initiatives that deliver, and you have to accept the challenge to grow yourself.last_img read more

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Maharashtra to develop eco-tourism circuit

first_imgMaharashtra is in the process of developing an eco-tourism circuit connecting nearly 350 locations to a common grid for providing better facilities and development of popular destinations in the State. Maharastra Minister of Finance, Planning, and Forests, Sudhir Mungantiwar, said 43 destinations under the grid will be taken up in the first phase and the remaining ones in the second and third. The government has set aside ₹351 crore for the development of the circuit.The Maharashtra Eco-tourism Board has already taken up the project, which will include Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park. “Maharashtra is the best State for all types of tourism including forts, coastal tourism, forest safaris and spiritual tourism. Tourism is a plus point for the State to create employment opportunities for locals. The Eco-tourism Board implements various initiatives considering all these aspects, and this will be one of the major projects of the board,” said Mr. Mungantiwar. Senior officials said the circuit will include and connect 124 forest gardens, 43 historical forts, six tiger projects, 33 wildlife sanctuaries, 52 religious destinations, 55 eco-tourism destinations and five hill stations. The first phase will include development of 43 eco-tourism destinations, while the second phase will include another 139. Mr. Mungantiwar said draft plans for 189 out of 347 eco-tourism destinations in the State have been approved. The project will encourage employment opportunities for local people through home stays, being tourist guides, providing vehicles for tourists and doing odd jobs. Local people are also being provided with training and basic facilities. “It will be possible to provide better facilities to tourists if buffer and corridor areas of forests are developed from the perspective of tourism. Adventure sports will be encouraged in the forts of the State,” he said.The Maharashtra Eco-tourism Development Board was established in 2015 to provide tourists with better facilities. The board encourages eco-tourism considering economic, social, and environmental aspects of a destination. Under its initiatives, zilla parishad and ashram shala students are taken on a one-day jungle safari. They are given information about forests and wildlife, and are made to participate in conservation and growth of forests, officials said.last_img read more

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Aussie cricketers, board at loggerheads over IPL pay

first_imgAustralian cricketers and their Board are heading towards a bitter stand-off with the former threatening not to sign their contract for next year over the latter’s attempt to snatch 10 per cent of their Indian Premier League salary.The IPL Governing Council, in its recent meeting to discuss the rules and regulations of its fourth season next year, had ruled that 10 per cent of players’ salaries would go to their respective boards.The decision was taken as there has always been a pressure from Boards like Cricket Australia over their lack of earnings from their players’ involvement in the lucrative Twenty20 league.A fuming Australian Cricketers Association said the CA has gone behind its back to secure a cut from the BCCI.ACA Chief Executive Paul Marsh said he has told CA that the players would not sign contracts for the next year if the Board cut 10 per cent from their IPL salaries.”The Australian Cricketers Association has made it known to Cricket Australia that any attempt to take 10 per cent, or any other amount for that matter, from the IPL salaries of Australian players is completely unacceptable and will be opposed in the strongest possible way by us,” Marsh said.”CA simply has no right to effectively charge a commission on income earned by players from outside their employment to CA. This is akin to an employer trying to take 10 per cent of an employee’s wages from a second job he works on weekends,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Australian’.advertisementMarsh asked CA to refuse the arrangement with the BCCI or face the consequences.”Regardless of the decision made by the IPL, we would hope CA would act in good faith to its players by not taking this proposed 10 per cent,” he said.”Should they seek to do, so we would expect players to give serious consideration to either not signing an IPL contract that contains this deduction, or not signing future CA contracts,” he added.last_img read more

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