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Time for PNC leaders to act

first_imgDear Editor,Great, courageous and selfless leaders are those willing to confront the material anxieties of their people as the occasion arises. There is a great anxiety in Guyana as to the good life for the ordinary man as promised by the government. After three and a half years in office, the Government has spent some GYD$1.1 trillion in four consecutive budgets since 2015, and it is clear that the benefits are not trickling down to the poor and the working class. Thus, it was not surprising that the results the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) clearly reflected the people’s disappointment with the PNC-led coalition. It was an electoral shellacking.Today, the people are faced with a more pressing anxiety. It has been said that the health of any nation’s leader is intricately intertwined with the economic health of that nation. And while we wish His Excellency a swift return to good health, the realities from the last six months have illustrated that the people are being kept in the dark. They are not being told the full truth. It is irresponsible and highly offensive for the PNC-led coalition Government to continue to attempt to play with the people’s intelligence. Their public pronouncements over the last six months on how the State’s business is being handled, in light of His Excellency’s health, shows little respect and empathy for the people. The people are not fools and it is a vexation to their soul to observe the almost Goebel-like statements of half-truths and quarter-truths originating from the Ministry of the Presidency.The PNC cannot abscond from its political responsibility to all the people of Guyana. What is critically needed from the PNC now is real leadership. We are therefore speaking directly to the senior leadership of the party in light of His Excellency’s illness and impending absence from Guyana again. The country is in a semi-crisis state with rumors and invectives swirling from one end of the pendulum to another. It is time for Ms. Volda Lawrence and Ms. Amna Ally, the PNC’s Chairman and General Secretary respectively to end the incessant speculations.What is happening in the Ministry of the Presidency at the highest levels demands a political solution from the PNC, the principal political party in the coalition. The party stalwarts, for far too long, have ignored this issue and it has stymied national development and brought uncertainty to the country. A nation cannot advance in such an ad hoc manner.Those at the highest levels should get out into the fields and reach out to the people so as to understand what is going on in the towns and villages. Those at the highest levels should be making the necessary but urgent decisions needed to charter the course for the good life of the people. Politics is not a game and neither is political leadership.The PNC’s leaders need to be visible, and in these times of turmoil, the nation needs leaders who are capable of making decisions in order to positively reassure the people, especially the youths, that the challenges of the times are being met. Only the leaders of the PNC are politically equipped to perform these functions since they are in Government. They can no longer be in denial and ignore the problems of the day, which remain unsolved. They must fill the political void at the apex of the Government.The country cannot be left hanging and no one’s personal interest should come before the Country’s. That is why we are calling on both Ms Lawrence and Ms Ally to step up and solve the leadership problem. To do otherwise would result in a lack of public confidence in the Government.The PNC senior leaders must apprise the nation of their plans for the near future around this important issue of leadership succession.In spite of His Excellency being ill, they must take the bull by the horns and put forth a clear picture of what they intend to do in these tumultuous times. The nation is in pain and our youths are suffering and are crying out for help. This is primarily because the PNC as a party lacks effective leadership to deal with the issues at hand. This must change. It is time for the PNC senior leaders to step up or get out of the kitchen.God bless His Excellency, President David Granger and we wish him a swift return to good health and God bless our beloved Guyana.Regards,Dr Asquith Rose andSasenarine Singhlast_img read more

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Liverpool survive Fulham scare to go top

first_imgFulham’s awful defending all season is the reason they are heading back to the Championship after just one season back in the top flight, and the hosts gave Jurgen Klopp’s men a much-needed gift when goalkeeper Sergio Rico bundled over Mane and Milner secured all three points from the spot.Liverpool now hold a two-point lead over City, but the champions have a game in hand.“Average game, sensational result,” said Klopp of his side’s performance.“City don’t look like they will drop a lot of points, so we have to win and win and win. That’s our job to do.”Liverpool completed a clean sweep of four English sides into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a highly impressive 3-1 win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.But they nearly suffered a very costly European hangover against a Fulham side still 13 points adrift of safety.“We had to run a lot in a week where we ran a lot,” added Klopp to justify an at times lacklustre display at such a pivotal stage of the season.Sadio Mane scored his 11th goal in as many games to put Liverpool in front at Fulham © AFP / Glyn KIRKMost of the visitors’ attacking threat came down their left side through Mane and the Senegalese proved the source of the breakthrough on 26 minutes.Mane scored twice in Munich in midweek and took his hot streak to 11 goals in 11 games with a simple finish after exchanging passes with Roberto Firmino.– No excuses –Liverpool started the second half with greater intent to try and put the game to bed.Andy Robertson was the provider as Georginio Wijnaldum headed a good opportunity over at the far post before Rico was called into action to deny Van Dijk.However, as a torrential rain shower swept over the banks of the Thames to make playing conditions hazardous, Liverpool’s slender lead proved a dangerous one.Floyd Ayite was rightly flagged offside as he headed a deflected shot past Alisson before the Brazilian number one got down well to save from Andre Zambo Anguissa.Mane was inches away from securing the points and doubling his tally for the day with a deft header from a corner that clipped the top of the crossbar.Disaster seemed to have struck for Liverpool when Van Dijk’s header back towards Alisson didn’t have enough purchase and Babel stepped in with the break of the ball to tap into an empty net.“I am not giving excuses. I should have handled it better,” admitted Van Dijk.However, the league leaders showed why they are in the running to end a 29-year title drought to get a vital three points with the help of some erratic goalkeeping from Rico.“I saw the reaction of my players and I’m really pleased with that,” added Klopp. “After the equaliser we were much clearer than before the equaliser.”Mohamed Salah’s goal drought continued as the Egyptian has scored just once now in his last 10 games, but it was his shot that Rico spilled before the Spaniard unnecessarily pulled down Mane.Milner took responsibility instead of Salah from the penalty spot and calmly sent Rico the wrong way to restore Liverpool’s lead, which this time they never looked like letting go.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000James Milner (centre) scored Liverpool’s late winner from the penalty spot © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 17 – Liverpool usurped Manchester City to take top spot in the Premier League but needed a James Milner penalty nine minutes from time to see off lowly Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Sunday.The on-form Sadio Mane put the visitors in front midway through the first half, but a rare defensive mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker allowed Ryan Babel to give his former club a huge scare 16 minutes from time.last_img read more

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Comrades honours its ‘forgotten’

first_img13 June 2005The Comrades Marathon has honoured the “forgotten heroes” of the world-famous ultra-marathon – hundreds of black runners and women who had to run the race “unofficially” prior to 1975, when it became SA’s first major sporting event to open to people regardless of race or gender.Up until that time, Natal and South African Athletic Association rules prohibited women competing with men, and – except with government approval – black people competing with white.The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) held a civic reception outside their offices in Pietermaritzburg on 10 June to honour the “forgotten Comrades” – chief among them being Robert Mtshali, who in 1935 became the first black runner to attempt, and complete, the gruelling ultra-marathon.CMA acting CEO Cheryl Winn, speaking ahead of the event, said: “We are going to honour all those who missed out.“Seventy years have passed since Robert Mtshali became the first black man to ‘unofficially’ complete the Comrades Marathon, and we’ve commissioned a bronze memorial to commemorate his run, which will permanently occupy pride of place at the entrance of our Comrades Museum.”The museum’s Forgotten Comrades exhibition, also opened on 10 June, focuses on the many men and women who ran the race unofficially before 1975.Even when the race opened up in 1975, the field was limited to just 1 500 runners, and runners had to prove their qualifying times. That meant that many potential competitors were excluded.After cutting the field down from the 1 686 entrants to the allowed 1 500, only 18 non-white runners and two women were included in the field in 1975.First black winnerThe first black runner to win an official Comrades Marathon medal was Vincent Rakabele, who finished in 20th place in 1975 in a time of six hours and 27 minutes. Rakabele went on to finish fourth in 1976 and eighth in 1977.However, it was a long wait for the first black winner of the event. That honour went to Sam Tshabalala in 1989, when he won the down run in 5:35:51.Sadly, Tshabalala was badly injured in a motor accident in 1991. Only after a courageous battle did he make his comeback in 1992, claiming a silver medal. He has since claimed a further three silvers, and in 1998 was recognised for his contribution to the famous race when he was awarded the prestigious Platinum medal.Jetman Msutu became the second black winner in 1992 when he was promoted to first place after Charl Mattheus was disqualified.Maybe the most recognised and loved black contender never won the race. Hoseah Tjale had the misfortune that his career coincided with that of the legendary Bruce Fordyce. While Fordyce racked up the wins, “Hoss” was consistently among the great men’s challengers, twice finishing second and twice claiming third with his awkward, shambling running style.By the end of his Comrades career, Tjale had won nine gold medals and four silvers.The first woman to complete the Comrades – in an unofficial run – was Frances Hayward in 1923. She took 11 hours, 35 minutes and 28 seconds to complete the distance, which was good for 28th place.Geraldine Watson became the first woman to complete both an up and a down run, first doing the Pietermaritzburg to Durban race in 1931, and then the Durban to Pietermaritzburg run in 1932.Today, the trophy that goes to the last runner to finish is named after Watson.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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The Insulation Empire Strikes Back

first_imgI was amused, and maybe a little surprised, to find a snail mail, printed letter from NAIMA, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, in my mailbox recently. This letter, signed by the executive vice president and general counsel, was in response to my earlier post regarding batt insulation. Here is the text of the letter. Please forgive any errors, as it was scanned and run through an OCR program.REGULAR MAILJanuary 17, 2011Mr. Carl SevilleAdvisor to Green Building AdvisorSeville ConsultingRE: Green Building Advisor Article “Should Batt Insulation Be Outlawed?”Dear Mr. Seville:Thank you for your article emphasizing the importance of proper installation of insulation. The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (“NAIMA”) is aware of many qualified contractors who properly install a variety of insulation products, but NAIMA is an advocate of the importance of proper installation in order to achieve full thermal performance. Indeed. NAIMA’s published literature states: “Carefully read the manufacturer’s directions printed on packaging of batt or roll insulation to be sure the material is correctly installed.” In another NAIMA publication, it is stated that “[t]he performance of any insulation product is dependent not only on selecting the proper product but also on installing it correctly.” NAIMA also provides guidance and training materials to insulation contractors.What is true of all insulation products is that when properly installed, insulation delivers significant energy savings. What is also true of all insulation products is that all can be improperly installed. All insulation products must be installed correctly in order to achieve the intended thermal performance. The National Association of Home Builders (“NAHB”) has stated that “you can choose the right insulation, but it will not do the job it’s supposed to do if it is not installed properly.” The NAHB’s statement is directed towards all types of insulation products: batt and blanket, loose-fill, rigid board insulation, spray foam insulation, and others. Therefore, to single out fiber glass batts is unfair and inaccurate. If there is a problem with batts, there is a problem with all batts, including cotton, plastic, denim, rock wool, slag wool, or any other type of batt. Moreover, the rate of improperly installed fiber glass batts must also be weighed in balance with the fact that fiber glass is the most widely used insulation product in North America. Put simply, more fiber glass batts are installed so more are likely to be improperly installed.Many insulation products when incorrectly installed not only fail to deliver their optimum thermal performance, but may cause serious damage or destruction to the building too. Just consider a few of the following examples that effectively illustrate the need to apply equitably the phrase “when properly installed.”In your article, you mention that blown-in products might have been a preferable alternative, though more expensive. As noted above, there is not an insulation product, or any other product for that matter, that is foolproof. Spray foam insulation, which must be installed by experts, can be over-sprayed or under-sprayed. For example, a Maryland inspector reported about an insulation contractor who completely foamed all the walls, roof sheathing, ridge vents, attic fan, and soffit vents. The fan and vents ceased to function. In addition, significant fire and explosion hazards exist during installation of spray foam products. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has identified several fatalities and incidents due to severe asthmatic attacks and fire/explosions associated with the use of isocyanurate-containing materials (which is one of the chemical hazards in spray foam products).Other examples of misapplication of spray foam include under-spraying that leaves gaps and holes similar to those described in your article on fiber glass batts. These gaps or voids will result in decreased R-value. If during a retrofit foam insulation is applied over a 48 inch space using only a two or three inch opening at one side, the foam will begin to expand and cure before it has reached the full depth of the cavity. This would block any more foam from filling the cavity, so random voids would result. Even proponents of foam insulation caution that “spray foam products must still be sprayed correctly.”Most other blown-in products can also be under-sprayed, fluffed, or subject to settling. For example, cellulose insulation settles over time. Third party documentation estimates that settling of cellulose insulation shows an average settling value of 19 percent. Therefore, if cellulose insulation is improperly installed without accounting for settling, cellulose insulation will lose about 19 percent of its R-value when it settles. Therefore, proper installation of cellulose insulation is required in order to improve energy efficiency. The installer must take into account installed thickness and settled thickness, which means additional product must be added to compensate for that settling factor.Too much cellulose insulation above ceilings, however, can impact the ceiling structure of the home. Based on US Gypsum weight limit recommendations for backloaded standard drywall and the installed density of shredded newspaper insulations, there is potential for ceiling drywall to sag at R-values above R-30 for regular cellulose insulation when installed over 1/2 inch ceiling drywall with framing spaced 24 inches on centers. Cellulose insulation, if improperly installed, can cause fires when the insulation is placed near a heat source. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) regulates cellulose insulation as a recognized fire threat. To protect against that fire threat, CPSC regulations mandate the proper installation of cellulose insulation: “Based on available fire incident information, engineering analysis of the probable fire scenarios, and laboratory tests, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that fire may occur where cellulose insulation is improperly installed too close to the sides or over the top of recessed electrical light fixtures, or installed too close to the exhaust flues from heat producing devices or apparatus such as furnaces, water heaters, and space heaters. These fires may result in serious injuries or deaths. Presently available information indicates that fires may occur where cellulose insulation is improperly installed even though the cellulose insulation complies with the Commission’s amended interim standard for cellulose insulation.”‘CPSC has actually issued regulations that mandate proper installation to avoid house fires, yet even a legal mandate cannot stop improper installation as attested to in the enclosed article, “Going Green May Make You See Red.” Improper installation of cellulose is so serious that this warning label must be affixed: Manufacturers of cellulose insulation shall label all containers of cellulose insulation with the following statement, using capital letters as indicated:CAUTIONPotential Fire Hazard: Keep cellulose insulation at least three inches away from the sides of recessed light fixtures. Do not place insulation over such fixtures so as to entrap heat. Also keep this insulation away from exhaust flues of furnaces, water heaters, space heaters. or other heat-producing devices. To be sure that insulation is kept away from light fixtures and flues, use a barrier to permanently maintain clearance around these areas. Check with local building or fire officials for guidance on installation and barrier requirements. Request to Installer: Remove this label and give it to the consumer at completion of job.Reflective insulation must be positioned adjacent to an air gap to be effective; otherwise heat will simply conduct through to the next solid layer that it touches. In other words, if the reflective insulation is positioned improperly, it will not deliver the intended thermal performance.If you are so anxious to outlaw insulation products, would it not be prudent to start with those products clearly identified as threats to life and safety? Certainly outlawing fiberglass batts should be a low priority. Perhaps in future columns you can join with NAIMA and many other insulation producers in advocating proper installation for all insulation products. To single out fiber glass actually does a great disservice to your readers because it suggests that it is somehow a unique issue to fiber glass when, in reality, it is an issue for the entire insulation industry.Sincerely,Executive Vice President, General CounselNorth American Insulation Manufacturers AssociationSo who is NAIMA anyway?According to its website, “NAIMA is recognized as the voice of the insulation industry for architects and builders; design, process and maintenance engineers; contractors; code groups and standards organizations; government agencies; public interest, energy and environmental groups; and homeowners. NAIMA is an authoritative resource on energy-efficiency, sustainable performance, and the application and safety of fiberglass, rock wool and slag wool insulation products.”OK, so we know they represent all insulation manufacturers, EXCEPT cellulose, foam, cotton, wool, and maybe a few others I am not aware of. So, it is not surprising that the letter focused on the dangers of spray foam and cellulose insulation while ignoring any potential problems with the products NAIMA represents. I do appreciate that they thanked me for emphasizing the importance of proper installation of insulation products, but I didn’t really need a lecture on how wonderful their products are and how evil the competition is. I suppose what I find the most interesting is that there was no acknowledgment that the title about outlawing batt insulation was tongue-in-cheek and meant only to get the reader’s attention, which it apparently did.I suspect that NAIMA wishes I had never written the post, and that the whole issue would just go away—but somehow I think that since the letter has inspired me to write about this again, it will have the opposite effect and help promulgate this post even further.last_img read more

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A Pioneer of Low-Energy Homes Since 1973

first_imgAlex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. Always a renegadeI’ve known Bruce since the early 1980s, having met him at various solar conferences. I can remember getting into arguments with him back then about some of his ideas. I recall, for example, him arguing that caulk is a bad idea, and he has always shunned heat-recovery ventilators.Bruce’s strong opinions turned off a lot of people, I think, including editors of the periodicals we all read. So his houses haven’t received a lot of attention. But he keeps at it, and his track record is certainly impressive.Bruce is still building much as he was in 1975, though with a few refinements over the years. And his houses seem to keep working — really well. He’s done informal monitoring of hundreds of these homes, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has done more in-depth monitoring of a few of them.Occasionally, weather events have tested his houses. Bruce told me recently that when a 1988 snowstorm knocked out power for three weeks, some of his homes served as refuges, with the owners’ friends or family moving in. The same thing happened with the January 1998 ice storm that knocked out power for up to six weeks in parts of the Adirondacks. What’s ahead?While most of the rest of us, including the building science community, seem to shift their recommended building practices on a fairly regular basis, Bruce’s Adirondack Alternate Energy keeps at it with a system he’s tested for decades. Bruce is getting older, and I don’t know whether others in his company will carry on his vision of low-energy houses when he retires.But his completed projects present a larger and larger collection of case studies of a simple system that seems to work well.While I haven’t always agreed with Bruce, I admire his tenacity. He is indeed a visionary. Bruce Brownell, of Adirondack Alternate Energy, has been creating low-energy, largely passive-solar-heated, resilient homes in the Northeast for forty years — and he’s still going strong. Since 1973, Bruce has built more than 375 homes in 15 states, a third of them in very cold (over 8,500-degree-day) climates. Most require just a few hundred dollars of heat per year.He told me that he’s done enough monitoring to know that even in very cold climates his houses will never drop below 47°F if the power and supplemental heat is shut off. The fact that these houses will never freeze makes them popular as vacation homes; they can be left closed up with no heat all winter without worry.I’m surprised that Bruce isn’t better known. While a few of us hold him up on a pedestal as one of our leading low-energy pioneers, most of today’s low-energy designers and builders have never heard of him. I’ve pondered why that’s the case, and I think it must be that Bruce just rubs some people the wrong way. What makes Bruce’s homes perform so well?His houses are all wrapped with four inches of polyisocyanurate insulation — using two layers with overlapping joints and all seams taped. All six sides (walls, roof, floor) are insulated with this system. Bruce claims this achieves about R-36; I suspect that it’s no more than R-30 — and probably a bit less that than. But because it’s a continuous layer of insulation, not thermally broken by wall studs or rafters, and because it’s fairly airtight, the performance seems to be very good.A big part of the performance comes from passive solar design features (augmented by fans). Adirondack Alternate Energy houses are oriented with a long wall and much of the window area facing south. A small fan pulls air from the peak of the house down through an air-shaft and into a network of pipes buried in a bed of 70-100 tons of sand, providing thermal mass.Heat from this thermal mass radiates upward into the house. Backup heat can be supplied by a wood stove, domestic water heater, boiler, ground-source heat pump, or air-source heat pump.This house air is filtered using a moderately efficient (MERV-8) filter, which removes most dust and other particulates. Bruce doesn’t believe a heat-recovery ventilator is required, and while I don’t agree, it seems from anecdotal evidence he reports that his approach is keeping occupants healthy.Keeping all the wood on the interior of the insulation allows it to dry out, and it sounds like there have been virtually no moisture problems over these four decades. Ice dams never occur, he told me.last_img read more

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Tamil Nadu Assembly passes Bill making ban on entry of people wearing dhoti in public places a punishable offence

first_imgThe Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill making enforcing dress code and banning entry of persons wearing ‘dhoti’ in public places a cognisable offence punishable with jail term.The House adopted the Tamil Nadu Entry into Public Places (Removal of Restriction on Dress) Act 2014 after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa moved it for consideration and passing.It empowers the state to cancel the licences of such clubs, recreation associations, trusts and company or society denying entry to any person wearing a ‘vesthi’ (dhoti), traditional attire of men in the state.The legislation, enacted against the backdrop of denial of entry to a Madras High Court Judge and two advocates recently by a prominent cricket club here, also seeks to declare any regulation or by-law made by any organisation imposing a dress code as null and void.The violators of the act will attract penal action, including cancellation of licence after notice, besides punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with a fine upto Rs 25,000.No dress code restrictions can be imposed for entry into public places– recreation clubs, hotels, theatres, malls, halls, auditoriums, stadiums and such other places as may be notified by the government, where people including members congregate in connection with any function, event, entertainment, sports or other activity.The imposition of restriction on persons for entry into public places on the ground that their dress does not conform to Western culture would amount to continuation of the Colonial imperialistic attitude, one of the provision of the bill stated. At the height of the controversy over denial of entry to the Judge last month, Jayalalithaa had asserted that a bill banning such dress code would be introduced and passed in the current budget session of the assembly itself. advertisementlast_img read more

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Justice Patnaik on CJI Gogoi sexual harassment case Will probe conspiracy after

first_imgJustice Gogoi had said some “bigger force” wanted to “deactivate” the office of the CJI.ReutersIn a major development, a former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice A K Patnaik, who is probing an alleged conspiracy against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman, will start his inquiry only after an in-house inquiry against CJI Gogoi is completed.The apex court had on Thursday (April 25) appointed Justice Patnaik to head the probe into an alleged conspiracy levelled by advocate Utsav Bains in his two affidavits. The top court also directed the Directors of the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) besides the Delhi Police Commissioner to cooperate with Justice Patnaik as and when required.The court gave the directions during a hearing on an affidavit filed by advocate Utsav Bains, who has alleged a conspiracy against the Chief Justice after a former Supreme Court staffer alleged sexual harassment.Justice Patnaik, after completing his probe, shall file the report before the bench in a sealed cover, the top court said. It said the case will be listed after J Patnaik files his report.The bench also said that the inquiry by Justice Patnaik shall not affect the proceedings of the Supreme Court.While ordering the Justice Patnaik inquiry, the court said Bains would be bound to disclose all documents. Earlier, Bains had claimed that he had sensitive information that cannot be disclosed.Senior advocate Indira Jaising, while speaking to reporters after the order, said the Chief justice cannot be the master of the roster anymore and that his administrative and judicial work should be suspended till the sexual harassment allegations against him are looked into.She added that all the former staffers of the SC are witnesses in the case and questioned how the Chief Justice, being their ex-boss, could continue in this scenario.Earlier, during the hearing by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, Jaising asked the court to probe the credentials of Utsav Bains, saying people who come to court, must come with clean hands.She said the bench is heavily consumed in probing the defence of the Chief Justice who is facing allegations of sexual harassment.She contended that such influence on the investigation would prejudice the complaint by the former staffer of the top court against the Chief Justice.The bench assured her that the investigation would be independent.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta intervened by recommending the formation of an SIT, but Jaising protested and requested the court to conduct a judicial inquiry.As per the Solicitor General’s suggestion regarding the formation of SIT into the matter, the bench said: “we can look into this aspect of the investigation.”The court also clarified that this probe would not prejudice the complaint made by the woman against the Chief Justice.The bench told Mehta that this is a very serious matter, and “we want to get to the root of this bench fixing issue, and the issue is so serious that we cannot divulge the details.”The bench observed that some fixer who claims to be a relative of the woman, who levelled sexual harassment charges against the Chief Justice, approached Utsav Bains for removal of the Chief Justice.”We don’t know the identity of this person….we need to find out the truth,” said the bench.The top court said some rich and powerful people want to control its functioning and asserted that the “fixers” must go.”People with money power are trying to run the registry of the top court…this is a really serious matter…people can be killed or maligned if the truth is brought forth…,” the bench said.Justice Mishra said, after learning about the alleged network that is trying to manipulate the Supreme Court, “we are in anguish”.He added that the bench has come to know these fixers are usually represented by senior advocates in the Supreme Court.”We want to tell the rich and powerful of this country that they cannot run the Supreme Court,” said an agitated Justice Mishra.(Inputs from agencies)last_img read more

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Research shows bees might create cognitive maps

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org) —How do bees find their way home? Until now, scientists thought bees navigated by calculating their position relative to that of the sun. Randolf Menzel of the Free University of Berlin and colleagues tested this hypothesis by disrupting bees’ circadian clocks. They found bees were able to navigate successfully, despite being unable to use the sun as an aid, suggesting that bees create cognitive maps. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Explore further Citation: Research shows bees might create cognitive maps (2014, June 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-06-bees-cognitive.html To get to the store and back without getting lost, you use a cognitive map. Mammals, and possibly all vertebrates, create cognitive maps, which they update constantly, by remembering landmarks and storing information about their locations in their brains. A cognitive map allows you to point toward your home, even when you’re in a windowless room.Creating a cognitive map is a complex mental task. Scientists believe we form cognitive maps in a part of the brain known as the hippocampus. Bees have tiny brains and nothing resembling a hippocampus. Therefore, scientists thought they must not use cognitive maps and depend on the sun to guide them instead.To test this belief, Menzel’s team tried tampering with bees’ sense of time, so the bees wouldn’t be able to use the sun to calculate their position. The researchers anesthetized a group of bees, leaving them unconscious for six hours. This meant when the bees awoke, they didn’t know what time it was and the sun appeared to be in the wrong position in the sky.The researchers then released the bees in an unfamiliar field and radar tracked them to see if they would be able to find their way back to the hive. If the bees relied solely on the sun to navigate, they would be lost. The bees did start out by flying in the wrong direction, but they soon turned around, getting back to the hive as quickly as a control group of bees the team hadn’t anesthetized. This meant the bees used something other than the sun to get them home. The researchers think this is probably a cognitive map. They believe that in addition to using the sun as a compass, bees create a mental map of the terrain they fly over by looking for landmarks, such as rows of bushes.Menzel and his team say scientists studying the mammalian brain should bear in mind that bees might be able to create complex mental maps despite having brains many times smaller than the hippocampus of a rat. © 2014 Phys.orgcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map, James F. Cheeseman, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1408039111AbstractMammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass–referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees. Bees dance the light fantastic Similar flight speed and accuracy of bees with (red) and without (blue) clock-shifting. Credit: James F. Cheesemanlast_img read more

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Painting Hope

first_imgArtist Ekta Jain is soon going to display her solo painting exhibition with the theme of her exhibition titled Hope and Never Despair. The exhibition which will begin on 9 May will display her abstracts which are reflective of hope and faith and of assurance and conviction. Ekta Jain is a promising star on the horizon of art and artistry. Ekta’s artwork is autobiographical and bears a close resemblance to her never-say-die spirit and cheerful demeanour, finding vivid translation in her aesthetically pleasing formations and fabrications on the canvas.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The core theme of Ekta Jain’s portrayals remain Hope and never to despair which cannot escape the on-lookers attention. The illuminated niches , ray of dance lighting in the dark crevices; beam of radiance dispelling the gloom- are subtle statements occupying the focal point in her creations.There is a symmetrical oneness in her apparently diversified expressions like her name which implies unity, uniformity, solidarity and  homogeneity. Her interplay with splashing colours started at a tender age till it metamorphosed into emphatic narrations.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHer journey to urban spaces is punctuated by her desire to discover layers upon layers of soul’s responses to civility or lack of it. The innate desire led her to formulate and execute her concept without any formal exercise in art.Her arches link urban space to traditional architecture. Her paintings are like palimpsest. Elusive at times and evasive too, one thing that is sure is that Ekta Jain’s work never fails to impact, impress and inspire.last_img read more

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Your toddler is already a tech pro says study

first_imgBabies as young as two-year-olds are adept at using touch screens, and can swipe, unlock and actively search for features on smartphones and tablets, a new study has found.This level of interactivity is akin to play, the researchers said, suggesting that the technology might have a potential role in childhood developmental assessment. They base their findings on 82 questionnaires on touch screen access and use, completed by the parents of children aged between 12 months and three years. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Nine out of 10 parents who owned a touch screen device said their child was able to swipe.Half of them said their child was able to unlock the screen, and nearly two-thirds felt their child actively searched for touch screen features. In 1999, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommended that screen time be discouraged in children under the age of two. However, the researchers involved in the study suggest that these recommendations were made before the advent of touch screen media, which might have a different impact on the developing brains of toddlers.“Interactive touch screen applications offer a level of engagement not previously experienced with other forms of media and are more akin to traditional play,” they wrote.The findings were published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.last_img read more

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