first_imgSTEALTHEDIAMONDS PULLS OFF FRONT-END HEIST AS SHE WINS $150,000 SUNSHINE MILLIONS FILLY & MARE TURF SPRINT BY HALF LENGTH UNDER DELGADILLO, TRAINED BY PUYPE, SHE GETS 5 ½ FURLONGS ON TURF IN 1:01.61RACE IS PART OF THE LUCRATIVE GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2020)–Claimed two starts back for $80,000, trainer Mike Puype’s Stealthediamonds stole away on a comfortable lead and never relinquished command, taking Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint by one half length.  Ridden by Agapito Delgadillo, the 4-year-old California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat got 5 ½ furlongs on the Santa Anita turf in 1:01.61.The Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint is part of the lucrative Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses and is sponsored by the CTBA.Sent to the front from her number two post position, Stealthediamonds enjoyed a 1 ½ length advantage over heavily favored Just Grazed Me mid-way around the turn and looked all a winner every step of the way.“She got away pretty easy an she was just breezing,” said Delgadillo, who had guided her to an allowance win in her most recent start.  “At the top of the lane, I asked her for more and she put it in another gear and we came home easily.”A one length winner of a five furlong turf allowance on Nov. 24 at Del Mar, Stealthediamonds, who is out of the Pure Prize mare No Better Terms, was off as the 3-1 second choice in a field of six older fillies and mares bred or sired in California and paid $8.80, $3.40 and $2.20.“With her speed, we certainly expected to be in front,” said Puype.  “When the favorite made her bid through the stretch, there was some concern because she’s such a good horse, but Agapito kept our filly going.  We claimed her (on Oct. 27) with this (race) in mind, because opportunities like this don’t come along too often.  Her speed makes her dangerous, especially when there’s no other speed in the race.”With today’s race marking her first stakes victory, Stealthediamonds is now 17-6-3-4.  With the winner’s share of $90,000, she now has earnings of $289,875.Just Grazed Me, who was ridden by Geovanni Franco, was gallant in defeat, but could not close the gap on the winner while finishing three quarters of a length in front of Apache Princess.  Off at 1-2, she paid $2.40 and $2.10.Apache Princess, ridden by Flavien Prat, saved ground while full of run at the rail around the turn, leveled nicely through the lane and finished very well to be third, 6 ¼ lengths clear of Lakerball.  Off at 7-2, she paid $2.10 to show.Fractions, set by the winner, were 22.16, 44.73 and 55.81.last_img read more

Former world champion to train J’can boxers

first_imgFormer WBC heavyweight champion American Oliver ‘The Atomic Bull’ McCall will be visiting Jamaica later this month to work with the island’s amateur boxers.McCall, who is most known for his title win against Lennox Lewis in 1994, says that Jamaica has been relatively quiet in boxing internationally. However, he says, he intends to make world champions of young local talent in the future.”I want to spend the next few months working with some of the amateur boxers there, so once they do turn pro, they will go up to another level of expectancy and win titles,” McCall told The Gleaner.He says Jamaica has to ensure it does not get left behind by other countries, especially European nations, who he says are elevating in the sport.McCall has trained with world-famous coaches such as Emanuel Steward and George Benton and he says he wants to pass on what he has learnt from them to young Jamaican fighters.”I want to pass some of this on so we can compete with all the other countries in the world and I believe that really starts at the amateur level,” he said. “As the years go by, it might be two, or even 10, but the ring generalship and the ring knowledge will be passed on, and you will see a wave flow of what I’m able to give that has been given to me by hall-of-fame trainers.”JOY FACTORMcCall will be brought to the island by I-Fight Promotions, led by his friend Chris Joy.Joy’s popularity in Jamaica has grown in recent months as he was the promoter for Team USA in last season’s Wray & Nephew Contender Series, which his fighter, DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley, won.Joy also put together the Jamaica versus Cayman Islands Pro-Am Fight Night, which saw Jamaicans Jermaine ‘Cross Breed’ Bowen and Sakima ‘Mr Smooth’ Mullings in separate main-event bouts.Jamaica Boxing Board of Control President Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones is welcoming McCall’s visit.”Chris Joy has very good connections with the professional side of the sport and the fact that he is bringing the likes of an Oliver McCall to work with our amateurs, in my eyes, can only be positive,” Jones says. “We definitely have the talent here so more and more bouts bode well for the activity necessary to get our athletes to that next level.”last_img read more

Edwin Allen, Hydel, Holmwood shine at Jamalco

first_imgFans at last weekend’s JAAA/Jamalco Development meet saw a lively battle between Edwin Allen High and Holmwood Technical High in the 1500 metres events. The pendulum swung back and forth with Edwin Allen in charge in Class One and Class Three and Holmwood on top in Class Two. The fastest time came in Class Three, courtesy of Rushana Dwyer of Edwin Allen. Dwyer won in 4:53.34 seconds. Even though, the times were slower in the higher classes, the racing was close. Kara Grant outkicked Chrisanni May of Holmwood to clinch the Class One title in 4:59.54 with May not far off at 5:00.08. The tables were turned in Class Two as last year’s Boys and Girls Championship double winner Cemore Donald of Edwin Allen was beaten in a close finish. Holmwood’s Brittany Clarke got home in 4:56.97 edged Donald by 0.2. Class 1 Tahjay Wilson Bellefield 4:09.74 seconds Class 2 Jordan Jones MHS 4:21.38 seconds Class 3 Jahiel Stamp Mavis Bank 5:12.19 seconds The best sprint performances came from the University of Technology. First, former Garvey Maceo sprinter Tyquendo Tracey covered 200m in 21.68 seconds. Later in the meet, his new University of Technology teammate, Junelle Bromfield, who won four gold medals for St Elizabeth Technical at Boys and Girls’ Championships in 2016, put in a notable bout of speedwork. Bromfield dazzled the field in the women’s 100 metres and won her heat in 12.14 seconds. The best 400m run of the day came from tall G.C. Foster College hurdler Marzel Miller. He circled the track in 48.64 seconds. Off track, the organisers honoured retired Olympians Wellesley Clayton, Garth Case, Byron Dyce, Trevor Dyce and Dennis Dyce. Men Selected results 3000m Jade Jones Hydel 11 minutes 12.15 seconds 400m Class 3 Daniella Deer Hydel 57,87 seconds Class 2 Abigail Brooks Holm 55.85 secondscenter_img SPEEDWORK 200m Girls Class 1 Isheena Belnavis Hydel 24.55 seconds Open Roniesha McGregor Hydel 24.21 seconds Tyquendo Tracey UTECH 21.68 seconds. Boys 1500mlast_img read more

Former Minister to Release New Book on Liberia’s Mining Sector

first_imgLiberian Geologist and former Minister of Lands Mines and Energy, Dr. Eugene Shannon. Renowned Liberian Geologist Dr. Eugene Shannon has disclosed that his long awaited book about the mining sector in Liberia will be release early next month.Dr. Shannon who is also the former Minister of the Ministry of Mines and Energy explained that the new book gives a description of the role the extractive industry plays in the economic sector of most developing countries.The book, titled: “Safeguarding the Environment in Mining Development Projects”, also describes the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) in the mining sector.“Safeguarding the Environment in Mining Development Projects” explores topics ranging from the impacts on the economy, employment generation and mitigation measures to address externalities as a result of improper effluent disposal.Dr. Shannon, who is also a professor of geology at the University of Liberia, holds a Bachelor’s Degree (BSc) in geology and chemistry from Western Michigan University, Kalamozoo, Michigan, USA and the University of Liberia.Dr. Shannon also holds a Master’s Degree (MSc) in geochemistry and Clay mineralogy from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in petrology and Geochemistry from Syracuse University, New York, USA.The book written by Dr. Shannon makes significant recommendations to both the Government of Liberia and investors.“It is equally important that any investor wishing to explore and eventually exploit mineral resources in developing countries should provide a management plan to the state authorities for approval before mining operation commences,” the book states.As an advice to the government, the book indicates that; “The activities of Transnational Corporations (TNC) have made major impacts on the economies and employment generation of most third world countries through technology transfer and mining ventures.”“First, mandatory environmental codes should be set by government so as to control the behavior of TNCs. Second, funding agencies such as the World Bank and other leading institutions should link environmental considerations as a condition to the disbursement of funds to the recipient and, thirdly, the developing countries in cooperation with the appropriate UN agency should develop a regional resource data bank on the environment, conduct periodic reviews of environmental legislations and assist government with an analysis of land use planning.Dr. Shannon’s Safeguarding Mining book also pointed to the House of Legislature indicating that: “The impact assessment must comply with legislation, setting standards for mining as they affect the environment. Such legislation must be specific and must address all relevant environmental issues including solid and liquid wastes disposal etc. amongst others.The book details the Environmental Management Plan which consists of a set of measures to be taken during implementation and operations for both pre-mining and mining operations to eliminate, offset or reduce adverse environmental impacts to acceptable levels.Dr. Shannon’s book is believed to have touched the nerves of several environmental issues including, waste, Health, meteorological, climate, costal and marine resources, mitigations and Cradle-to Grave Management Plan amongst others.Meanwhile, the book is expected to be sold for twenty three United States dollars and can also be purchased online at, or this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –last_img read more


first_imgStudents form Loreto with Donegal County Childcare presents for Percy Appeal. Photo Clive WassonMore than 250 children, parents, grandparents from all corners of the county passed through the doors of the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny yesterday for Donegal County Childcare’s Party for Percy! The staff team at DCCC are delighted with the success of the celebration which marks the end of the Presents for Percy Appeal.Children experienced a variety of entertainment and the all-important Santa Grotto was expertly manned by a range of Donegal County Councillors. There was to be no evasion of difficult questions in the Santa Grotto as children asked questions such as ‘Why did you bring me a scooter that was broke last year?’ and ‘Santa can you get me a magic wand because then I can magic anything I want?’ or ‘Do you know where Carn is – what colour is my house?’ Answers were expected and given – some causing more duress than others! Elf McDaid tell Santa what he really wants for Christmas. Photo Clive WassonThe Presents for Percy Appeal has raised just under €20,000 this year for needy families across the county which has now been distributed. We have donated to 20 individual SVDP Conferences which cover all 6 SVDP Regional Areas across the county. In addition, we have facilitated requests from Donegal Womens Domestic Violence Centre, Lifeline Inishowen, and 4 different branches of ParentStop Donegal.Overall, since its inception for Christmas 2011, the Presents for Percy Appeal has raised €82,000. The Donegal County Childcare appeal is unique in that it simply aims to preserve the magic of a Christmas memory for young children living in vulnerable home circumstances.Avril McMonagle, Manager of Donegal County Childcare says she is indebted to everyone who either donated or helped out in any way to make the Percy Appeal and the children’s party a success.Elf Kavanagh has a laugh with the Big Man!‘Particular thanks to those that donated their time or services free of charge especially Cooney’s Home and Garden for kitting out our winter wonderland, the students and teachers from Loreto Convent, Clive Wasson Photography, Bizz Prints, Blue Splat Design, Manna Design, Cllrs’ Michael McBride, Liam Doherty, Gary Doherty, James Pat McDaid, Gerry McMonagle, Jimmy Kavanagh, John Campbell and Martin McDermott. Also thanks to everyone who made a donation to the Presents for Percy Appeal 2015 either large or small – everything was put to good use and made a huge difference!A range of images from the day can be found on the Donegal County Childcare Facebook page of the children at the Presents for Percy Appeal Day.PERCY SIGNS OFF AFTER RAISING A STAGGERING €82K FOR DONEGAL CHILDREN was last modified: December 10th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Presents for Percy Appeallast_img read more


first_imgDonegal has been chosen to kick-start a nationwide series of security seminars after the recent spate of burglaries on elderly people across the county.Organised in response to a growing fear among older people about security at home, the events are free and open to the public.The first seminar, which will be held on Thursday night, takes place at Letterkenny’s Station House Hotel and is expected to draw a large crowd. Over the next 12 months a total of 18 seminars will take place in 18 counties around the country attended by local Community Policing members of An Garda Síochána, security consultants and community representatives and organised by Bluebird Care.Marty Kelly, Director of Bluebird Care Donegal, said there is a responsibility on all of us to take a ‘community approach’ in terms of being aware of older people living around us.“This first security seminar in Donegal comes on the back on a dangerous spate of burglaries targeting older people in their homes and marks a very worrying time for them. We have already seen an increase in calls from family members for overnight care for their parents who may live alone.”Eddie O’Toole, Operations Director of Bluebird Care says, “There has been a 60% increase in calls to Senior Line – a freephone line for older people – worried about security at home. “And this is also reflected in our own network as we hear anecdotal evidence from the thousands of older people that we work with on a daily basis. We are inviting members of local communities, neighbourhood watch schemes, residents associations and other interested groups along.”The security seminar takes place at 7:30pm on Thursday 28th February in the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny.For more information contact Marty Kelly, Bluebird Care Donegal on 074-9129562 or email You can also log onto for more information. DONEGAL CHOSEN TO KICK-START SECURITY SEMINARS AFTER ATTACKS ON ELDERLY LOCALLY was last modified: February 26th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:attacksBluebird Caresecuritylast_img read more

Monkey Raspberries Created Speech

first_imgWhat was this evolutionist thinking when he proposed that human language evolved out of the lip smacking and buzzing sounds made by monkeys?W. Tecumseh Fitch didn’t get any ridicule at all on Science Daily for proposing that “Monkey Lip Smacks Provide New Insights Into the Evolution of Human Speech.”  Nor did he from PhysOrg, which dutifully reprinted the press release from University of Vienna that stated, “Intriguingly, chimpanzees also make communicative sounds with their lips, including both loud lip smacks and lip buzzes (‘raspberries‘).”  The monkey on Fitch’s shoulder in the accompanying photo appears to be knocking on his master’s head, wondering, “Anybody home?”Fitch’s theory is not a hoot, the press release assures us.  “Scientists have traditionally sought the evolutionary origins of human speech in primate vocalizations, such as monkey coos or chimpanzee hoots,” the article stated without describing whose tradition deserved respect.  “But unlike these primate calls, human speech is produced using rapid, controlled movements of the tongue, lips and jaw.”  Fitch did his grunt work using cineradiography to analyze the lip-smacking behavior of macaques.  He found that the lips move faster than they do when monkeys howl.  He did not explain, though, how non-vocal lip movements could be a precursor of language, since monkeys are still smacking and buzzing raspberries without having evolved more advanced oratory, despite having millions of years more time to evolve than their upright primate brethren presumably had.  Didn’t they at least evolve envy?In his paper published by Current Biology (31 May 2012, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.055) with three colleagues, Fitch recognized his hunch has some missing links:Yet, there are striking differences between the two modes of expression, the most obvious of which is that lip-smacking lacks a vocal component (though a quiet consonant-like bilabial plosive or /p/ sound is produced when the lips smack together). Thus, the capacity to produce vocalizations during rhythmic vocal tract movements seen in speech seems to be a human adaptation. How can lip-smacking be related to speech if there is no vocal component? … Our data only address the evolution of vocal tract movements (the filter component) involved in speech production.It also cannot be tested:Because most traits involved in speech—the vocal production apparatus and the brain—do not fossilize, we are left with only the comparative method for investigating the evolution of speech. By comparing the behavior and biology of extant primates with humans, we can deduce the behavioral capacities of extinct common ancestors.The press release agreed, ending, “the origin of the ‘singing’ component of speech, which requires voluntary control over the larynx, remains mysterious.”  Much more mysterious, yet unstated, would be how to evolve Shakespeare from lip-smacking.Update 6/7/2012: Nature reported on Fitch’s hypothesis, giving it no raspberries but a serving of whipped cream.Fitch did not do his job as a scientist.  He should have considered all the alternative hypotheses.  As usual, he ruled out intelligent design or creation from the get-go, but there are other evolutionary theories he could have tested without abandoning the Cult of the Bearded Buddha that requires all observations to be fit into the Grand Myth.He could have, for instance, tested the Raspberry Theory of Language that proposes language evolved from the other end of the digestive tract, another body part that produces buzzing sounds.  Over millions of years, it is just as imaginable that an unguided process would give monkeys voluntary control over the pitch, duration and modulation of emitted signals, independent of the larynx.  Another theory is the Hand-Under-the-Armpit Theory of Language.  This proposes that meaningful signals (also independently of the larynx) made by pumping the arm over the hand inserted into the armpit evolved into middle-school boys communicating with one another.Perhaps it’s good Fitch didn’t consider these alternatives.  We wouldn’t want to find his cineradiography going viral on YouTube.Fitch’s shallow reasoning is evident in that he completely ignored meaning (semantics).  Meaning is orthogonal to signal.  It’s conceivable that certain ordered lip-smacks or raspberries could be controlled to communicate S.O.S.  The meaning of S.O.S., however, has nothing to do with the signalling method.  The message could be communicated with flashlights, telegraph, knots on a rope, skywriting, eye blinks or any number of methods.  Suggesting that lip smacking led to language is like saying that flashlights created Morse Code.Fitch’s hypothesis is also self-refuting.  The language he employed in his paper, if considered seriously, has its roots in unguided processes of lip-smacking and the production of buzzing sounds by his ancestors’ lips.  His readers are justified, therefore, by responding in kind.Save this latest evolutionary tale for the day of Darwinism’s spectacular collapse, when intelligent people will hoot and holler at the credulity of Darwinists.  They may well communicate their disdain independent of the larynx, by rolling their eyes and circling their index fingers around their ear, unquestionably employing intelligent design to convey the purpose of their bodily signals. (Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Overheating from South Windows

first_imgThese are part of the solar shading plan. The idea is to install the louvers in spring and keep them around until fall, and then take them off and stash them for the winter. These louvers will prevent high-angle light from making it through the window in the summer and heating the interior space. By installing them on the outside, we minimize heat gain inside — hopefully most of the heat that is generated when sunlight is absorbed by these shades will re-radiate into the outside air, rather than heating the inside of the house. Andrea and I recently started sleeping in the house, so some things that I’ve been noticing about the heating profile of the house are starting to become clear.When we finally got the HRV running a few weeks ago, I was disappointed to notice that we don’t have the kind of evenness of temperature between the upper and lower stories of the house that we were hoping for. My first panicked theory about this was that the HRV wasn’t working. Panicked, because the ducts are all nice and snug behind walls now, so if we got it wrong, it’s going to be a real pain to fix.The good news is that I don’t think the problem is the HRV, although I’m contemplating one tweak to the vent layout which we could do without any wall surgery. A recent updateIn August 2014, Ted Lemon wrote the following update on the overheating issue.Over the past two years, we’ve learned that there isn’t a problem with overheating in spring. As summer approaches, before it gets really hot, night flushing is completely adequate to keep the house comfortable.As the summer progresses, the sun gets high enough that there is minimal solar gain. Not none, but minimal. This turns out to be beneficial, because summers in Vermont are humid, but not much hotter than our preferred indoor temperature. With a little solar gain through the windows, we wind up running the heat pump in air conditioning mode enough to bring down the humidity; without the solar gain it would get too cold.There is a bit of an issue with overheating in late summer, when the sun is lower but it’s still warm out. Louvers might help a bit with that, but I think we’re talking about somewhere between two weeks and a month, and as the weather gets crisper, night flushing should start to be effective again.We were having trouble with overheating upstairs last summer, and I started to use a box fan laid flat to push cold air up and basically stir and mix the air in the house. This turned out to be quite effective. So partway through the summer we had Bill Congleton install a Haiku fan in the atrium. This draws about 35 watts on full blast, and we don’t generally run it on full blast because it isn’t necessary and creates too much of a breeze. Once we had the fan in, we haven’t had any problems with temperature gradients — it’s about the same temperature upstairs as down. The fan’s very pretty, too. RELATED ARTICLES Passivhaus Buildings Don’t Heat ThemselvesAll About Glazing OptionsHigh-Solar-Gain Glazing Study Shows That Expensive Windows Yield Meager Energy Returns We specified high-solar-gain glazingWe’re experiencing some overheating. Why is Peter seeing different results? I don’t know, but I have a theory. I think the windows in the houses in Charlotte may not have the same solar heat gain coefficient as ours, and may reflect more high-incidence light, while letting low-incidence light in, so that they gain more heat in the winter than they do in the summer, even if the same amount of light is hitting them. The way our house is set up, we have a heat pump indoor unit on the wall downstairs, right in the center of the house. We have nothing upstairs. So the reason I was worried that the HRV wasn’t working is that one possible interpretation of the data is that we’re cooling the house adequately, but the HRV isn’t doing its job in redistributing the heat evenly throughout the house. If that’s the case, it’s kind of a big problem.But having just spent the morning sitting down next to the windows with the heat pump off, I have a different theory. For most of the morning, it was nice and cool downstairs, but as more sun came in and the day went on, it started to get hot, just as it is upstairs in the afternoon. In other words, the heat coming in from the windows is heating the upstairs and downstairs evenly; the reason that it feels hotter upstairs is because the cooling effect of the heat pump completely counteracts the heating effect of the windows. I’ve confirmed this by turning the heat pump back on.So this gives me some real confidence that when we get around to building and installing the louvers, we will stop experiencing overheating in the south part of the house. I’m still a little tempted to add one more ventilation supply vent (fresh air grille) on the south side of the house upstairs, but that’s something I’m hoping to have a chance to debate with the guys at Zehnder. If it needs to be done, it’s a really easy fix, because I can do it up in the utility loft, which doesn’t have a finished floor.center_img Our original plan included exterior louversWhen we talked with Peter Schneider (one of the two energy consultants on our project) about the possibility of overheating, he reported his experience with some of the houses that Efficiency Vermont has designed up in Charlotte, Vermont. These all have lots of south-facing windows, and Peter hasn’t seen problems with overheating in the summer. Based on Peter’s reports, we were kind of hoping to get away without doing one of the features we’ve got on the plan: active shading on the south-facing windows.If you look at the drawing of the house shown below, which is a view of the south face, you’ll see that the lower windows have what looks like louvers on them. Low indoor humidity during the winterThe bad news is that we’re having problems with low indoor humidity during the winter. We’d originally imagined that because we were sealing the house so tightly, we’d have indoor humidity issues, but that was based on an incorrect understanding of the reason why houses get humid: lack of air exchanges. With the HRV running at 30% or 60% of capacity most of the winter, we were seeing humidity getting down into the 20-30% range, which was uncomfortable.This is the one big failing of the fancy HVAC arrangement so far. It’s actually quite hard to counteract because there are so many point sources of air and so many exhaust ducts that there’s no good place to install a humidifier where it will affect the whole house other than inline with the HRV.We talked with Zehnder about this, but they have had bad experiences with whole-house humidifiers causing condensation in the ducts when customers have installed them, so they strongly recommend against the installation of a humidifier.I think it would be possible to have a very tightly controlled humidification system coupled with an HRV that wouldn’t cause condensation because it would be sensitive to the inner temperature of the house and the humidity of the input air, but that appears to be a product waiting on someone to decide to make it.We can get the humidity up a bit by drying clothes indoors, but we don’t do enough laundry for this to be a complete solution to the problem. So this is our little bit of remaining future work; I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete enough to talk about yet. For the past two years, Ted Lemon and Andrea Lemon have been living in a single-family Passivhaus which they built in Brattleboro, Vermont. Ted Lemon wrote the essay below in July 2012. Ted Lemon lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. He is a computer programmer and network expert who works for Nominum Inc. and is on the administrative/editorial board of the Internet Engineering Task Force. Ted and Andrea Lemon write the Vermont Passive House blog (formerly known as the “Almost Passive House” blog).last_img read more

Feeling Sick? Tweet It And Help Track Outbreaks

first_imgchristina ortiz Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img You know it’s flu season when everyone on Twitter is talking about runny noses, germ-filled subway rides and obsessing over the effectiveness of their Purell.While potentially annoying, these kinds of tweets may help predict and monitor how illnesses like influenza are moving across the country. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (yes, that’s real) from Brigham Young University’s Computer Science department has been able to track illness trends by analyzing the location data of tweets referencing illness. Location, Location, Location…The BYU team did not track any certain sickness during this trial, instead concentrating on location data. The ultimate goal of the study was to encourage the creation of a program that health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and even smaller city-based organizations could use to track the progression of any disease across the nation. This would give health officials a heads up if a outbreak is headed their way.  Other online services track disease too, such Google Flu Trends, which uses search terms and results, as well as data from the CDC to specifically track the flu. Another site, MappyHealth, uses location data from Twitter to track illnesses ranging from pertussis to STDs. While these sites are similar to the work done at BYU, the research team mainly sees them as validation to what it originally thought was possible with tweet tracking.Associate Professor of Computer Science at BYU and lead researcher Christophe Giraud-Carrier said in an email that the method his research team developed can pick up epidemics up to two weeks before the CDC can. “That kind of lead time would greatly help put the resources where they are most needed and in a more timely fashion.”Those two weeks can make a big difference. The influenza vaccine takes about two weeks to be effective at preventing the flu. If health officials were have that kind of lead time, vaccinations could be targeted at areas that seem to be outbreak locations. Why Twitter? With all of the different types of social media, why choose Twitter? Tweets are public by default, which makes them easier to monitor. The site provides independent researchers a way to monitor users without having to engage them, require them to remember anything or take a test. No one was asked to turn on the location option for their tweets, so the location data that is gathered should be an accurate portrayal of the country.The site’s terms and conditions when it comes to its application programming interface (API) also made it very easy for the research team to follow tweets en masse: 24 million tweets by 10 million different users were tracked by the research team. Location data wasn’t gathered from tweets themselves. Only about 2% of users actually tagged their location in their tweets. Researchers found a better option to decipher location: User profiles. About 17% of the tweets monitored had users that provided location data on their profile. While some users had fake locations like “a cube world in Minecraft,” 88% of the time the provided location data was accurate and useful because it provided a distribution of geolocated tweets across the country. This correlated with the overall distribution of the overall U.S. population. Of the tweets tracked, 15% contained specific location data. This may not seem like much, but Giraud-Carrier explained that this percentage is actually very good: “15% is indeed relatively small. But with over 312 million Americans, it still gives us a lot of people to look at/listen to. The fact that the distribution is consistent with the population is also encouraging. We do not want to overstate what is possible, but there seems to be a critical mass here that should allow useful things to be done.”Giraud-Carrier wants the study to serve as proof of the quality and value of geolocation data on Twitter, adding that social media should be used not only as a means of prevention, but also intervention. Image courtesy of Brigham Young University. Tags:#health#twitter A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Why are the Gujjars agitated?

first_imgWhat are the grounds for this?The nine-day-long renewed agitation of Gujjars in Rajasthan earlier this month, seeking 5% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, has again shifted focus on the community’s demand which has generated considerable political heat and disrupted public life several times since 2007. As many as 72 Gujjars have so far died in police firing during the quota agitation. Gujjars, who had initially demanded the Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan, point out that their main occupation is agriculture and animal husbandry and they have been left behind in educational and economic progress because they did not have the clout enjoyed by other influential communities. The caste structure among Hindus excluded them from the fruits of development, as they lived mostly in the remote areas of eastern Rajasthan districts. Though they were included in the Other Backward Class (OBC) list in 1994, the dominant Jat community has taken away the lion’s share of the quota.What is the status of quotas?At present, Rajasthan gives 21% reservation to OBCs, which covers 90 castes of both Hindu and Muslim communities. The Scheduled Castes get 16% reservation and the Scheduled Tribes 12%. This brings the total reservation to 49%, which is 1% less than the 50% ceiling mandated by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney judgment. Gujjars, along with nomadic communities Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya, were given 1% quota in the “most-backward” category, in addition to the OBC benefit, in 2010. The State government has tried thrice in the past to give 5% reservation to Gujjars as a ‘Special Backward Class,’ but the legislation was struck down every time by the Rajasthan High Court, which ruled that the quota had not only exceeded the 50% limit, but was also not supported by quantifiable data.What is the govt. stand?The newly elected Congress government passed a Bill in the Assembly during the Budget session on February 13, giving 5% reservation to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities as an ‘Extremely Backward Class’ and made a “recommendation” to the Centre that the legislation be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to protect it from being challenged in courts. This has resulted in the quota exceeding the 50% limit. The Bill, which amended an Act of 2017, made a mention of the Constitution Amendment Bill passed by the Union government to extend quota to the poor, which breached the 50% ceiling. The 10% reservation for the poor in the general category introduced by the Centre has also been implemented in Rajasthan, taking the total quota to 64%.Are Gujjars satisfied now? Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharh Samiti convener Kirori Singh Bainsla, who along with his supporters occupied the Delhi-Mumbai rail tracks in Sawai Madhopur district for nine days, lifted the blockade after the government gave a written assurance of legal steps to safeguard the quota. Col. Bainsla (retired) says Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has promised the Gujjars that he will intervene if an issue arises later.What is in store? Though Gujjars have been granted the Extremely Backward Class status for the time being, the community expects the State government to effectively implement the special Deonarain scheme for their welfare, fill backlog of vacancies and consider withdrawal of criminal cases registered during the earlier agitations. The fate of reservation will depend on the courts taking a view on the new statute in the light of interpretation of the ceiling under exceptional circumstances.last_img read more