The Colombian Navy Captures an Alleged FARC Semisubmersible

first_img“The security forces are improving their capabilities of maritime intervention and strengthening the international cooperation in judicial matters,” Gálvez said. “We have made significant progress in the fight against drug trafficking in Colombia, and drug manufacturing has been declining in the country.” The semisubmersible, allegedly constructed by members of the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), would have had the capacity to transport up to six tons of cocaine if it had been completed. Seizure of vessel hampers FARC’s ability to transport drugs: security analyst “The connection and the critical financial ties between the guerrillas and organized crime are well established, as is the fact that they operate internationally,” said Chávez Villao. “Several of these episodes in the last few years have involved citizens of several nationalities, as well as drugs that were in the process of crossing borders.” Seizure of vessel hampers FARC’s ability to transport drugs: security analyst That progress has international consequences, because the FARC allegedly collaborates with large drug trafficking groups, such as the Clan Úsuga, to transport cocaine out of Colombia. “Most are made of fiberglass and wood, with single or twin diesel engines, but the building materials account for only a fraction of the price tag. The most expensive investment criminals make in these operations is keeping 10 or 15 workers for 30 to 45 days in a secret location, and the silence of these workers can be very costly.” But with support from the Colombian Air Force, Navy land and sea units with the Poseidon Task Force against Drug Trafficking discovered the vehicle’s workshop in a remote area of Nariño on October 22nd. Nearby, they also found a clandestine lab used to produce cocaine paste; there, they seized more than two thousand gallons of liquid chemicals used to process the drugs, as well as a 9mm machine gun and ammunition. “The main sources of financing (for the FARC) are still cocaine traffic and illegal mining, which is why the authorities are in a permanent fight against them,” said Yadira Gálvez González, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “Most are made of fiberglass and wood, with single or twin diesel engines, but the building materials account for only a fraction of the price tag. The most expensive investment criminals make in these operations is keeping 10 or 15 workers for 30 to 45 days in a secret location, and the silence of these workers can be very costly.” By Dialogo November 20, 2014 “The semisubmersible was made of fiberglass and had a length of 18 meters long and 4 meters wide. It was found along with a diesel engine, propellers, rudder and related equipment,” the Navy reported. Semisubmersible seized in Tumaco The Poseidon Task Force against Drug Trafficking is not the first team of Colombian security forces which has seized a semisubmersible tied to drug traffickers: since 1993, they’ve seized 84 illegal semisubmersibles or semisubmarines which were allegedly used by drug traffickers. “The connection and the critical financial ties between the guerrillas and organized crime are well established, as is the fact that they operate internationally,” said Chávez Villao. “Several of these episodes in the last few years have involved citizens of several nationalities, as well as drugs that were in the process of crossing borders.” The FARC won’t agree to submit to the conditions for peace sought by President Santos. The drug business gives them huge profits. I can’t imagine the members of that armed group sitting behind a desk waiting to be paid every two weeks to survive This so-called peace is a deception by President Santos, in complicity with the Attorney General who was the one who made him president. Congratulations to the military forces. This is how to honor our country and show that we really have heroes in spite of the bad elements that make it into and infiltrate but we have to put an end to them no matter what. Congratulations to the Colombian Armed Forces for their efforts and effectiveness, This is my beautiful country that’s how you do it, with courage. It’s good they’re taking the weapons from the criminals. I hope the things they seize are used for the good of the Colombians and they don’t let them rot. The money they seize should be used for the good of those most in need. What a good day to play That progress has international consequences, because the FARC allegedly collaborates with large drug trafficking groups, such as the Clan Úsuga, to transport cocaine out of Colombia. “The main sources of financing (for the FARC) are still cocaine traffic and illegal mining, which is why the authorities are in a permanent fight against them,” said Yadira Gálvez González, a security analyst from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The vessel’s seizure hampers the FARC’s ability to transport drugs – and it relies on drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises to purchase weapons, construct bombs, and fund other components of its terrorist operations. The semisubmersible, allegedly constructed by members of the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), would have had the capacity to transport up to six tons of cocaine if it had been completed. “The returns, though, are huge. A kilogram of cocaine goes from $1,800 in Colombia to $9,000 in Mexico and up to $20,000 or $25,000 in the United States. “The returns, though, are huge. A kilogram of cocaine goes from $1,800 in Colombia to $9,000 in Mexico and up to $20,000 or $25,000 in the United States. In a joint operation, the Colombian Navy and Air Force recently seized a submersible vessel that terrorists were constructing in the Department of Nariño. But with support from the Colombian Air Force, Navy land and sea units with the Poseidon Task Force against Drug Trafficking discovered the vehicle’s workshop in a remote area of Nariño on October 22nd. Nearby, they also found a clandestine lab used to produce cocaine paste; there, they seized more than two thousand gallons of liquid chemicals used to process the drugs, as well as a 9mm machine gun and ammunition. “The semisubmersible was made of fiberglass and had a length of 18 meters long and 4 meters wide. It was found along with a diesel engine, propellers, rudder and related equipment,” the Navy reported. When Colombian security forces seize a narcosemisubmersible, the financial impacts are significant. They cost between US $500,000 and $1 million (USD) to build, depending on the materials and the engine power, according to Héctor Chávez Villao, security expert and researcher from the University of Guayaquil. Drug trafficking organizations usually build semisubmersibles rather than semisubmarines, because they are less expensive to construct. Unlike semisubmarines, semisubmersibles cannot dive into the water; typically, the cockpit and exhaust gas pipes of semisubmersibles remain above the surface. However, some drug trafficking groups have constructed semisubmarines, which can dive deep into the water and are built to evade detection by radar, sonar, and infrared security systems. Drug trafficking organizations usually build semisubmersibles rather than semisubmarines, because they are less expensive to construct. Unlike semisubmarines, semisubmersibles cannot dive into the water; typically, the cockpit and exhaust gas pipes of semisubmersibles remain above the surface. However, some drug trafficking groups have constructed semisubmarines, which can dive deep into the water and are built to evade detection by radar, sonar, and infrared security systems. In a joint operation, the Colombian Navy and Air Force recently seized a submersible vessel that terrorists were constructing in the Department of Nariño. The Poseidon Task Force against Drug Trafficking is not the first team of Colombian security forces which has seized a semisubmersible tied to drug traffickers: since 1993, they’ve seized 84 illegal semisubmersibles or semisubmarines which were allegedly used by drug traffickers. Semisubmersible seized in Tumaco When Colombian security forces seize a narcosemisubmersible, the financial impacts are significant. They cost between US $500,000 and $1 million (USD) to build, depending on the materials and the engine power, according to Héctor Chávez Villao, security expert and researcher from the University of Guayaquil. “The security forces are improving their capabilities of maritime intervention and strengthening the international cooperation in judicial matters,” Gálvez said. “We have made significant progress in the fight against drug trafficking in Colombia, and drug manufacturing has been declining in the country.” The vessel’s seizure hampers the FARC’s ability to transport drugs – and it relies on drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises to purchase weapons, construct bombs, and fund other components of its terrorist operations. last_img read more

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Della Mae McAdams

first_imgDella Mae McAdams, 90, of Moores Hill passed away Sunday, September 30, 2018 at High Point Health in Lawrenceburg.  Della was born Tuesday, June 12, 1928 in Cleves, Ohio the daughter of Elmer and Lillian (Crouch) McMurray.  She married John McAdams August 2, 1947 and he preceded her in death August 8, 2004. She was a member of the Moores Hill Baptist Church. She was a homemaker and enjoyed puzzle books, plastic canvas crafting, crafts, canning, flowers and gardening. Della loved her family and loved life in general.Della is survived by son Dennis (June) McAdams of Versailles; daughter Lillian (Dennis) Banks of Moores Hill; brother Elmer McMurray of Florida; sisters: Shirley Betler of Versailles, Jeanette Collins of West Virginia, Mary Triplett of Ohio and Carolyn DeWitt of Versailles; 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her husband, son Kenneth McAdams, grandson Dakota James “DJ” Craig, parents, brothers: Stanley, Douglas, Melvin and Vernon McMurray and sister Wilma Metcalf.A service celebrating her life will be held 2 PM Thursday, October 4 at Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home in Moores Hill with Rev. Harris Long officiating. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery in Moores Hill. Family and friends will gather 12 – 2 PM Thursday at the funeral home. Memorials may be given in honor of Della to the American Lung Association. Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, 16717 Manchester Street, Box 156, Moores Hill, IN 47032, (812) 744-3280.  You may go to www.sibbettmoore.com to leave an online condolence message for the family.last_img read more

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Soldier walking across Iowa to call attention to mental health

first_imgA soldier from the 185th Air National Guard in Sioux City is walking across Iowa from border to border to raise awareness about mental health. Technical Sergeant Jeff Campbell is on a 20 day, 389 mile journey that started in Clinton and will end back in Sioux City.“Twenty days? Nothing compared to someone who is suffering with depression for six months, someone who is legitimately struggling with a marriage,” Campbell says. “…We need to teach people that these bubbles of time are not permanent. You only do that by talking, by relating, by sitting down, having conversations.” Campbell works as what’s called a “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” specialist for the 185th. He says issues concerning mental health affect everyone, plus mental health is a particular concern during these times of social distancing and isolation because of Covid-19.I’ve had a lot of people stop and talk to me about what I’m doing,” Campbell says. “I had a lady open up to me about a son that had died because of suicide and just the other day I walked with a guy who was Vietnam vet for five miles and he was just talking about his struggles.” Campbell says mental health is a particular concern during these times of social distancing and isolation because of Covid-19. And he says it’s an issue in rural as well as urban Iowa.“It’s actually eye-opening talking to just different farmers and stuff and then just how they struggle in their suicide rate among their own community. You can’t escape it,” Campbell says. “It doesn’t matter where you re in the world, like, if you’re struggling mentally you have to be able to step outside of that…and be able to say: ‘Hey, this isn’t going to be forever.’” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 600-thousand Iowans live with some form of mental illness.last_img read more

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Baines surprised by Hall of Fame election _ many others, too

first_imgHarold Baines (AP Photo/File) LAS VEGAS (AP) — Harold Baines answered the phone and learned he was a Hall of Famer.“Very shocked,” he admitted.So were many others around the baseball world.In fact, in the hours after his selection by a Hall-picked panel was announced Sunday at the Mandalay Bay resort, a lot of conversations at the winter meetings started the exact same way: “Harold Baines?”No one doubted Baines was a top player — a six-time All-Star with 1,628 RBIs, 384 home runs and 2,866 hits.“I had a great career. I’m very proud of it,” he said.But a couple other numbers stood out, too. Baines never drew more than 6.1 percent in five elections by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, far from the 75 percent required. In the key WAR stat compiled by baseballreference.com, Baines’ lifetime total was tied for 545th.Yes, 545th.Behind the likes of Placido Polanco, Jim Sundberg and Rafael Furcal in wins above replacement, not to mention Gil Hodges, Dick Allen, Don Mattingly, John Olerud and dozens more.The vote by the Today’s Game Era Committee was sure to spark renewed cries of cronyism at Cooperstown. Especially because the 16-member panel appointed by the Hall board included longtime Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.“I’m glad he was on that committee this year to help to get into the Hall of Fame,” Baines said.Baines spent nearly all of his first 10 seasons with the White Sox and currently serves as a team ambassador in their community relations department.“So happy for Harold. He’s a great player and a great human being,” Reinsdorf praised in a statement. “I am so honored that I was a member of the committee. He deserved to be in long ago. I am just so excited.”“Not only was Harold one of my favorite players to watch, but I have nothing but admiration for him as a player and as a human being,” he said.Tony La Russa, Baines’ first big league manager, also was on the panel that elected him.In the past, Phil Rizzuto and Bill Mazeroski were among the players who benefited from friendly faces on Veterans Committees to reach the Hall. That panel has been revamped over the years, and the Today’s Game Era group was created as part of changes in 2014.“The era committees were established as a sort of a court of appeals for an opportunity in the event that over time it was felt that maybe somebody slipped through the cracks,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said. “And in the case of someone who received 6 percent of the vote in the BBWAA election, the reason that may have happened could be for many, many reasons.”It took 12 votes for election by the panel — longtime reliever Lee Smith was unanimous, Baines got 12 and former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella fell just short with 11.George Steinbrenner, Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel all received fewer than five votes.Baines, now 59, had a smooth, consistent, left-handed stroke. But he never finished higher than ninth in an MVP vote, and never was among the top five AL hitters in the yearly batting race. His single-season high was 29 home runs at a time when lots of players hit more.As this vote approached, his name drew little-to-no buzz in debates over who might be selected.“I wasn’t expecting this day to come,” the career .289 hitter said.Baines became a designated hitter after knee trouble ended his days in the outfield, and DHs have struggled to gain backing from Hall voters.Baines joined Frank Thomas as the only players in the Hall who spent more than half his games as a DH.“Everything I hear or read is DH is really not part of the game, I guess. But I disagree. But maybe this will the open up the doors for some more DHs,” Baines said.Both closers and DHs could see the numbers increase again very shortly.Mariano Rivera is eligible for the first time and big-hitting DH Edgar Martinez will be back on the ballot when results of the next BBWAA election are announced Jan. 22.Induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 21 at Cooperstown, New York.Between now and then, there’s certain to be more discussion about who else should be in the Hall. Drug-tainted Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are on the upcoming BBWAA ballot, influential players’ union head Marvin Miller has been denied seven times by various committees, and steroids user Mark McGwire wasn’t among Sunday’s candidates.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more

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Prisoners from all sects, official says

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week And government spokesman Laith Kubba defended the Interior Ministry, saying all the detainees were legally arrested and most were referred to courts for prosecution. They were kept at the detention center in the Jadriyah district because of a lack of jail space, he said. “The Interior Ministry is doing its job at a difficult time and some mistakes happen,” he said. That did little to assuage Sunni Arab anger, with Sunni politicians saying the Jadriyah center was not the only place where detainees are tortured. Sunni leader Adnan al-Dulaimi said he had complained to the government about abuses at three Interior Ministry compounds. He and several other Sunni politicians demanded an international inquiry. Some alleged that Shiite-led security forces were trying to intimidate Sunnis from voting in the Dec. 15 parliament elections. Many Sunnis saw the hand of Shiite-dominated Iran, which offered sanctuary to many Iraqi Shiites during Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime. “Some government officials want to keep the Sunnis away from the next elections by terrorizing us,” Saad Farhan, a Sunni merchant in Ramadi, said, adding that his brother and cousin had been held in Jadriyah. “We believe that Iran’s agents are behind it because normal and genuine Iraqis never do this.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – A top Interior Ministry official said Wednesday the 173 malnourished prisoners found by U.S. forces last weekend included all Iraqi sects, playing down allegations of a campaign by Shiite-led security forces to suppress Sunni Arabs ahead of next month’s election. The Shiite-led government sought to dampen Sunni outrage over revelations Tuesday by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that the detainees, some showing signs of torture, were found by U.S. troops at an Interior Ministry lockup in the capital. Most were believed to be Sunni Arabs, the leading group in the insurgency. But the deputy interior minister, Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, said the detainees also included Shiites, Kurds and Turkomen. He gave no breakdown. President Jalal Talabani said there was “no place for torture and persecution in the new Iraq” and that anyone involved “would be severely punished.” last_img read more

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Cassini Skimmed Over Enceladus at Close Range

first_imgThe Cassini spacecraft made its closest-yet flyby of Enceladus July 14, skimming just 109 miles above the surface.  This was the closest approach to any object thus far in the four-year mission.  It was nearly three times closer than the earlier record, the March 9 Enceladus flyby (see encounter map).    Enceladus has long been one of the most intriguing moons in the solar system because of its extremely bright surface, and its large uncratered regions riddled with cracks and ridges (see photo gallery).  The BBC News summarized some of the puzzles regarding this Saturnian satellite.  Is it a source of E-ring particles?  Does it have ice volcanos and geysers?  Is there an ocean below the surface?  The biggest mystery is the source of energy to drive resurfacing processes.  Enceladus has a very nearly circular orbit and is not in any known tidal interactions with other moons, or with Saturn.  No ammonia has yet been detected in the spectrum (ammonia might allow a lower melting point for the water ice that makes up the bulk of the moon).  How, then, could melting occur, especially in recent times?    A beautiful picture of the little moon Prometheus shepherding the F-ring was released by the Cassini team this week: click here, and also the first tantalizing look at a moon that looks like a sponge: Hyperion.Update 07/15/2005: The raw images were posted at the Cassini website late Friday.  New and improved images of Rhea taken from 182,000 kilometers were posted first.  Later, the Enceladus data stream came in.  Wide-angle views revealed a bizarre set of tiger-like stripes near the south pole (a region never before imaged), and a huge canyon on the eastern limb (example).  Distinct boundaries between cratered and resurfaced regions were clearly visible.  Closer in (example), the stripes began to look like four nearly parallel canyons emanating from a rough highland across a smooth plain.  From 9,000 miles (example), they are seen to intersect earlier canyons in complex ways.  The two highest-resolution images near closest approach (narrow and wide angle), slightly smeared due to the speed of the spacecraft (over 18,000 mph) at such close range, reveal a somewhat fluffy-looking region of hills and valleys.  No clear signs of volcanos or geysers are apparent, either at highest resolution or looking back along the limb during the outbound leg (example).  To first order, the topographic features appear tectonic rather than fluvial.  Data from other instruments, such as the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS), will assist scientists in interpreting the images.  Here is the BBC News post-encounter report, and check out the photo gallery on the Imaging Team website.  The Planetary Society also did a full page spread on the flyby sequence and posted sample images.    The Cassini team has pulled off another resounding success in a string of spectacular encounters during the spacecraft’s first year in orbit (see 07/01/2004 story).  The rapid-fire sequence of images of Enceladus today, along with those from March and February this year, have brought sudden fulfillment to years of yearning since Cassini was first designed in the early 1980s, with dreams of Enceladus at close range part of the plans.  Interpreting the new images is sure to keep planetary geologists busy for years.Note: dark lines cutting across the right side of some raw images are due to the lossless compression algorithm used.  The software estimates the compression ratio in advance because of the constraints of time during the encounter.  Interpolation can reconstruct the missing pixels.Update 07/20/2005: New Scientist quoted some scientists puzzling over the bouldery surface seen at highest resolution: “That’s a surface texture I have never seen anywhere else in the solar system,” said one; said another, “This is just strange.  In fact, I have a really hard time understanding what I’m seeing.”  The boulders seem to avoid rather than filling in the cracks, and there are no small craters.  Neither is there hoped-for evidence of liquid flow on the surface, and Enceladus, being six times smaller than Europa, seems too small to maintain a subsurface ocean.  “Trying to figure out what is going on is going to take a lot longer than a weekend of swapped emails,” said one member of the imaging team.Update 07/26/2005: a JPL press release says that the south pole looks younger than the rest of the moon.  The region has no impact craters and has been carved into hills of house-sized boulders by unique tectonic features.  This was unexpected; the south polar region appears to be distinct from other parts of the moon, and is being called one of the youngest surfaces in the solar system.  “Young terrain requires a means to generate the heat needed to modify the surface,” the report says.  More interesting facts about Enceladus may come to light when data from the other instruments are combined with the visible-light images.  JPL also provided a dramatic zoom-in movie (also on the imaging team site) showing where the highest resolution image was taken in context to the moon as a whole.Update 07/29/2005: Another press release from Jet Propulsion Laboratory has announced the discovery of “ice volcanism” near the south pole.  The heavily cratered north pole is very different from the south, where the temperature is significantly warmer, and there are no impact craters.  Scientists believe water ice is erupting from cracks that crisscross the south pole like tiger stripes.  If so, Enceladus becomes the smallest moon to exhibit cryovolcanism.  The previously-reported atmosphere turns out to be localized around the south pole, where it leaks away and is continuously replenished.  This eruptive activity, however, is not the source of the E-ring particles.  Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer has confirmed, as suspected, that micrometeor impacts against the moon eject particles that become distributed into the broad, diffuse E-ring.  To find such activity at one of the poles was a big surprise; one scientist said, “This is as astonishing as if we’d flown past Earth and found that Antarctica was warmer than the Sahara.”Scientists find the temperatures difficult to explain if sunlight is the only heat source.  More likely, a portion of the polar region, including the “tiger stripe” fractures, is warmed by heat escaping from the interior.  Evaporation of this warm ice at several locations within the region could explain the density of the water vapor cloud detected by other instruments.  How a 500-kilometer (310-mile) diameter moon can generate this much internal heat and why it is concentrated at the south pole is still a mystery.    Another Cassini Press Release from July 29 provides more of the pieces to the cryovolcanism puzzle.  The atmosphere earlier detected by the magnetometer turns out to be lopsided; eruptions of material are not coming from the northern hemisphere, but only from the south polar region.  The UV spectrometer also detected this asymmetry during an occultation.  One of the infrared instruments showed the south to be warmer than the north, and the visible-light cameras observed many tectonic features near the south pole.  The cooperative activity of multiple instruments onboard Cassini each contributed to the interpretation that cryovolcanism is occurring.  Why, and how, this should happen on a tiny moon subjected to insufficient tidal stresses, and with insufficient radioactive heating in its interior, is unexplained.    Since this moon is turning out to be one of the big attractions of the mission, Enceladus will probably be a front-runner for additional close flybys during any approved extended mission.  The next extremely close flyby is scheduled for March 12, 2008 at only 97 km (58 miles).  Several others before then are in the 80,000 km range.Enceladus illustrates several processes going on at Saturn that appear unlikely to be sustainable for billions of years (see 03/10/2005 and 03/04/2005 entries).  The BBC news article, for instance, mentioned that E-ring particles can only survive for hundreds of years, not billions.  This means that to maintain belief that the ring is ancient, planetary scientists must find that Enceladus has been continually replenishing the particles for over four billion years.  Recall, however, that a huge explosion and loss of mass from the E-ring was observed in early 2004 (see 07/02/2004 entry).  It is unlikely that event was atypical.  Such destructive processes do not add to the ring; they erode it even faster.    Regardless of one’s interpretation of the images, one thing all can agree on: the Cassini team deserves congratulations from around the world.  To be able to glimpse this kind of detail on bodies that are mere specks from Earth telescopes, to be able to navigate a ship 880 million miles away with such precision, and to be able to send streams of ones and zeroes through empty space and reconstruct them into photographs on Earth, is truly astonishing.  With the extraordinary becoming so commonplace in our technological civilization, we tend to forget that we are living in a historic period of discovery.  Early astronomers could never have imagined what we saw today.  Had they been told it would one day become possible, how they would have longed for a chance to share this experience.  Catch the drama of what is happening.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Anthropology: a Science in Crisis

first_imgStudents memorize the different -ologies of science – geology, biology, paleontology and others – often without knowing the history of the fields.  An impression is sometimes given that each branch of science has equal validity.  Some recent articles indicate that anthropology (the study of man) is struggling with internal squabbles and external credibility.    Anthropology includes a number of subfields, such as paleoanthropology (fossil man), cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology, but it also overlaps with psychology, sociology, evolution, political science, economics, history, and more – making it distinct by having roots in science and the humanities.  Perhaps that is a source of its struggles.  By including too much in its big tent, with varying degrees of epistemic support among its sub-branches, anthropology has always been poised for controversy.Inside out:  “Too simple” and “not so fast” were complaints made about alleged human ancestor fossils by biological anthropologists from George Washington University and New York University.  According to PhysOrg, “the anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors.  Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils’ place in the Tree of Life.  They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the fossils more likely belong to extinct distant cousins.”  Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison chided fellow paleoanthropologists for their jumping to conclusions: “to simply assume that anything found in that time range has to be a human ancestor is na�ve.”    Their article is published in this week’s Nature.1  It should be kept in mind when evaluating the latest claim about human ancestry, such as the claim that a foot bone puts “Prehuman Lucy on a Walking Path” to humanity (e.g., Live Science), or that Lucy, a “human ancestor,” was no “swinger” but walked like us (National Geographic News).  Even in the most favorable possible light (e.g., that Lucy did walk upright), Bernard Wood says it is na�ve to jump to conclusions that Australopithecus afarensis had anything to with human ancestry – an assertion the media invariably make (cf. 06/22/2010).Upside down:  Science Daily’s coverage of the Nature article included a picture of an orangutan as an instance of false identification of human ancestry.  “Ramapithecus, a species of fossil ape from south Asia, was mistakenly assumed to be an early human ancestor in the 1960s and 1970s, but later found to be a close relative of the orangutan.”  A mistake like that could certainly not be made today… could it?    The debunkers do not question human evolution itself, but their own more “nuanced explanation” requires believing that sister groups acquired human-like characteristics in parallel.  “The authors suggest there are a number of potential interpretations of these fossils and that being a human ancestor is by no means the simplest, or most parsimonious explanation.”  That would seem to leave a lot of room for speculation, to say nothing of upsetting textbook explanations that have been like gospel truth for decades.In their own blurs:  The paper in Nature1 behind the above two entries contains a strange mix of confidence in human evolution with diffidence about the details:The relationships among the living apes and modern humans have effectively been resolved, but it is much more difficult to locate fossil apes on the tree of life because shared skeletal morphology does not always mean shared recent evolutionary history.  Sorting fossil taxa into those that belong on the branch of the tree of life that leads to modern humans from those that belong on other closely related branches is a considerable challenge.A gaping question, though, is how, if the fossils cannot easily be sorted into a tree-like pattern, that one could know that a tree of life exists, without assuming it.  Subtitles in the paper indicative of trouble include Shared morphology need not mean shared history, Simplicity or complexity in phylogeny, Scale in phylogeny reconstruction, Cautionary tales from South Asia and Tuscany, and Implications for palaeoanthropology.    Moreover, in the conclusion, they stated, “There is no reason why higher primate evolution in Africa in the past ten million years should not mirror the complexity observed in the evolutionary histories of other mammals during the same time period,” thus casting the same doubts on other evolutionary stories as well. The Geico fallacy:  Another PhysOrg had a paradigm-debunking headline, “Earliest humans not so different from us, research suggests.”  The subtitle reads, “That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species.  This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables (the GEICO Cavemen being a notable exception).  But is this assumption correct?  Were the earliest humans significantly different from us?”  The rhetorical answer is: negative.    Indeed, John Shea of Stony Brook University says his colleagues have all been wrong about the measurement of “behavioral modernity,” the assumed identifier of when Homo sapiens emerged from animal to thinking man.  “There are no such things as modern humans, Shea argues, just Homo sapiens populations with a wide range of behavioral variability,” the article ended, casting doubt on the epistemic foundations of human evolution theories.  “Whether this range is significantly different from that of earlier and other hominin species remains to be discovered.”Demotion from science:  In a kind of manifesto, Anthropologists, unite!, an appeal went out from Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks to rescue anthropology as a science in last week’s Nature.2  They were responding to a change of mission announced in December:In December 2010, The New York Times reported that the term ‘science’ had been dropped in a new long-range plan of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).  Where once the association had dedicated itself “to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects”, it now promised rather “to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects”.Clearly, Kuper and Marks did not like this development.  “Anthropology isn’t in the crisis that parts of the media would have you believe,” Nature assured readers in damage control mode, “but it must do better.”   One internal memo stated, “we evolutionary anthropologists are outnumbered by the new cultural or social anthropologists, many but not all of whom are postmodern, which seems to translate into antiscience.”  So it appears the evolutionary anthropologists are the most concerned about appearing to be scientific.  Within the ranks, some are asking all over: “What is anthropology?”  The authors observe that “anthropology is a nineteenth-century discipline that fragmented, spawning a variety of specializations” with “relationships [that] are often distant.”    The evolutionary anthropologists are miffed at their postmodern cousins: “Some do seem to feel that if only they could spare the time they would be able to knock some evolutionist sense into cultural anthropology,” Kuper and Marks complained, “But they are too busy.”  Busy doing what might be a good follow-up question: busy doing science?  The authors’ roster of embarrassing studies, from Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) to later questionable depictions of the Yanomami as sex tyrants, and ostensibly racist theories about intelligence, have marred the field.  Recent interdisciplinary efforts, they said, have left anthropologists in a “sadder but wiser default position,” in a “head-down posture,” afraid to embarrass the field further.  Human evolution suffers the most: “Only a handful still try to understand the origins and possible connections between biological, social and cultural forms, or to debate the relative significance of history and microevolution in specific, well-documented instances.”Man is undoubtedly a dauntingly complex subject of study.  “To be sure, it is not easy to make general statements about human nature, or even to define it,” Kuper and Marks said, especially when human biology has been “co-evolving with technology for millions of years.”  “The most fundamentally hard-wired human adaptations – walking and talking — are actively learned by every person, in each generation,” they noticed.  “So whatever human nature may be, it clearly takes a variety of local forms, and is in constant flux.”  Maybe anthropologists should study fluid dynamics or chaos theory if they want to be scientists.1.  Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison, “The evolutionary context of the first hominins,” Nature 470 ( 17 February 2011), pp. 347�352, doi:10.1038/nature09709.2.  Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks, “Anthropologists, unite!”, Nature 470 (10 February 2011), pp. 166�168, doi:10.1038/470166a.Kuper and Marks made some pretty damaging admissions in their piece that was intended to shore up the scientific status of anthropology.  They thought that interdisciplinary programs might help; but can shared ignorance rise above ignorance?  Look at what they admit:The obvious conclusion is that interdisciplinary research is imperative.  Yet too few biological anthropologists attend to social or cultural or historical factors.  A minority of cultural anthropologists and archaeologists do apply evolutionary theory, or cognitive science, or adopt an ecological perspective on cultural variation, or play about with the theory of games, but they feel that they are isolated, even marginalized.  And they do not feature in the front line of current debates about cognition, altruism or, for that matter, economic behaviour or environmental degradation, even though these debates typically proceed on the basis of very limited reliable information about human variation.So where is the science in anthropology?  Is there anything in the above articles that points to something objective, true, and credible?  No; it is a hodgepodge of debunked ideas, ignorance masquerading as explanation, embarrassing episodes, and complex questions evading simplistic answers.  It is clearly a fallible human activity prone to category errors and misplaced priorities.    If anthropologists were consistent, they should study themselves as a cultural tribe in evolutionary terms.  That would lead to a quick implosion of any pretences to being objective scientists on some higher plane than the rest of us.  To gain credibility, they should ditch evolution, which tries to explain walking and language emerging by mistake (01/26/2011), and study the Anthropology chapter in a good text on systematic theology, as long as it is consistent with the Operations Manual that came from the Manufacturer.(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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SA processes 5 000 land claims in one month

first_img31 July 2014 The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has processed close to 5 000 new applications since President Jacob Zuma signed a law re-opening South Africa’s land claims lodgement process. Zuma signed the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act of 2014 at the end of last month, allowing people who were removed from their land under apartheid rule, but who missed an earlier deadline for lodging claims for compensation, to do within the next five years. It is estimated that at least 3.5-million South Africans were forcibly removed from their land as a result of the Native Land Act of 1913, which effectively reserved 87 percent of land in the country for the white minority. To date, an estimated 1.7-million people have benefitted from the country’s restitution programme. Briefing members of Parliament’s portfolio committee on rural development and land reform at the department’s regional office in Mowbray, Cape Town on Wednesday, Chief Land Claims Commissioner Nomfundo Gobodo said the process had gone smoothly since re-opening. “As at 25 July 2014, the claims captured over the past four weeks increased to 4 917. The electronic lodgement system has been stable and all 14 lodgement sites are fully operational.” Gobodo said it was difficult to anticipate how many claimants would lodge new claims going forward, but that her office had the capacity to facilitate all claims. Most new claims are expected to come from individuals and communities who were left out of the previous claims round – between 1994 and 1998 – but have since become aware of their rights. Claims that could not be finalised during the pre-1998 round would be prioritised, Gobodo said. The department will deploy mobile offices to rural areas to help people who might not be able to afford transport to prepare their claims. The offices will ensure that claimants have everything they need to lodge a valid claim – including information on the people on whose behalf they may be claiming – to insure their claims are not disqualified for technical reasons. Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila, the chairperson of the portfolio committee, said the MPs’ had decided to visit the Mowbray centre in order assess the lodgement process and the progress made since the second phase was opened. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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Hay farmers don’t need to visit a casino to gamble

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest No matter what crops they raise, all farmers are dependent on the weather to make a living. Planting and harvesting both have to be done in a timely manner within a fairly narrow period of time and sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate.Unpredictable weather is a problem that all farmers face, but lately I have been feeling particularly sympathetic toward hay farmers. Rain can often be a blessing for farmers, but some of the recent rains have been a thorn in the side of some local hay farmers as they are constantly are faced with the gamble of whether or not the weather will stay dry enough to bale hay.Just last week I was taking a drive through Knox County when I saw first hand several hay farmers that had gambled on no rain and lost. An unpredicted rain pounded down on their freshly mowed hay fields. We all have witnessed rain falling from the sky on days when no rain was predicted; normally that rain is only a slight inconvenience, but it was a pretty large problem for these farmers with mowed hay fields.Hopefully this hay season will turn out to be a good one with more hay farmers winning rather than losing the battle with mother nature and her unpredictable rains.last_img read more

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ReadWriteWeb Events Guide, 10 October 2009

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 11 – 12 November 2009: Denver, ColoradoDefrag 2009 ConferenceAs online data is growing and fragmenting at an exponential pace, individuals, groups and organizations are struggling to discover, assemble, organize, act on and gather feedback from that data. In the largest sense, we’re all looking to augment the pace at which we achieve insights on raw data — to accelerate the “A-ha” moment.Defrag explores the intersection of topics like:Business intelligenceBusiness process managementSocial computing and analyticsNext-level discoveryEnterprise 2.0Next-gen emailThe semantic Web Tags:#Events Guide#web andrew lobo Social Networking World ForumEnterprise social mediaSocial TV World ForumMobile Social Networking ForumThe event features key speakers from global brands, organizations, social networking publishers and developers, pioneering social media leaders, top agencies, content producers, and more.Full workshop program within exhibition areaEvening networking receptionPre-show online meeting planner for delegatesFree pass for exhibition only 4 – 5 November 2009: Raleigh, North CarolinaInternet Summit 2009Internet Summit ’09 will feature over 75 speakers, including representatives of major Internet brands such as Twitter, Pandora, Google, Salesforce.com, Digg, Technorati, CBS Interactive, Huffington Post, Blogger, Tree.com, and many more.Topics will include social media, blogging, real time, mobile, video, search, online advertising, e-commerce, analytics, the cloud, and more.Join over 1200 entrepreneurs, senior marketers, and executives in the conversation about the future of the industry and how to capitalize on the shifting dynamics of the Internet and tap into its unlimited business potential.5 – 6 November 2009: SydneyMedia140 Sydney: Future of Journalism in the Social Media ageNews broadcasting is evolving. Citizen journalists are coming to the fore, saving lives by tracking brush fires and changing the course of history at elections.Media140 Sydney addresses the changing face of journalism. Partnered by ABC, we bring together Australia’s leading lights in journalism, broadcasting, blogging and citizen journalism. Are Twitter and the real-time Web truly shaking up traditional media?Tickets from $165. Register at www.media140.com/sydney using promo code “readwrite” for a 20% discount.6 – 8 November 2009: Savannah, GeorgiaGeekend 2009Geekend 2009 is an interactive conference that brings together geeks from all walks of life for three days of cutting edge speakers, expert panels, afterparties, networking and mash-up opportunities. Speaker highlights include Major Nelson of Xbox Live, renowned designer David Carson, Eric Snowden of Atlantic Records, Joey Hasty of Disney, and Matias Corea of Behance, among many others. Get your geek on and enter “RWW” for $30 off the full price weekend badge. Related Posts 23 October 2009: Durham, North CarolinaThe Social Media Business ForumThe Social Media Business Forum will feature national and local speakers from marketing companies, technology companies, and social networks discussing ways in which business communications have changed because of social media. Sessions will look at internal and external communications methods for both B2B and B2C companies and provide actionable takeaway items for attendees to immediately implement in their businesses. The forum targets business owners, executives, business communicators, key organizational stake holders, and anyone interested in gaining practical knowledge about social media.Early bird registration is $125 until September 18, and $250 thereafter.26 October 2009: LondonMedia140 LondonThe need for brand transparency is here. Engage your consumers and share best practices and case studies of social media engagement at Media140. With award-winning speakers from AKQA, Unilever, easyJet, BBH Labs and Innocent Drinks, we explore together what works and how to do it in this burgeoning sector of marketing strategy.The real-time Web is revolutionizing communication with consumers. By pushing products and services as soon as they become available to market and monitoring direct instant feedback on your promotions you can become head of the game.Social media tools like Twitter, Flickr and Facebook are disrupting and changing traditional media and advertising. Media140 strives to understand and progress the potential of disruptive real-time social media. Share with us at [email protected] or @media140.Go to www.media140.com/brands and use discount code “readwrite” for a £95 ticket.27 October 2009: San FranciscoFailConFailCon is the first of its kind and will be one of the most relevent events ever designed for entrepreneurs and startups! We’re bringing major founders and investors in the online world to talk about mistakes they’ve made, failures they’ve experienced, what they learned and how they recovered. Topics will include founding team communication, design mishaps, investment mistakes, how not to build a viral app and much more! These talks will leave you inspired and excited to be an entrepreneur today and get you prepared for what lies ahead. More information is at snapsummit.com, and get 15% off your ticket by clicking here. 10 – 13 November 2009: Las VegasPubCon VegasPubCon Las Vegas is a multi-track educational conference hosted by SearchEngineWorld & WebmasterWorld. PubCon events are for thought leaders and professionals in search engine and Internet marketing to gather and to share best practices in the design, development, promotion and marketing of their Internet businesses and brands. PubCon London 2009 is a social networking event. The Supernova Conference is the thought-leadership forum for the network age. It brings together over 500 business, government and technology influencers to understand how decentralization and pervasive connectivity are changing our world. It’s the only conference to focus on how networks have become the main instruments of change from both business and social perspectives.An ever-evolving network itself, the conference has become the place for highly interactive and spirited debates, making significant business connections and revelations on new innovation.ReadWriteWeb readers get a discount of $700 off the regular price when registering by 16 October 2009. Use code “RRW09”. After October 16th, the discount changes to $200 off the regular price. Register here.15 – 16 March 2010: London, England2nd Annual Social Networking World Forum — LondonThe 2nd Annual Social Networking World Forum takes place at the Olympia Conference Centre in London. The two-day event features four dedicated conference streams: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Our month of special coverage on the real-time Web culminates with ReadWriteWeb’s very first event: the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit, a day-long event of conversations about the real-time Web, including its current state and its pressing challenges and greatest opportunities.Topics will include:The potential and pitfalls of real-time for social networking, media, financial services, humanitarian work and political advocacy.How will ubiquitous real-time information delivery change the web in the future? What will it make possible? How will it change user expectations?How can real-time information overload be dealt with, technically and culturally?How can small organizations use the real-time web to challenge market incumbents? How can market incumbents continue to thrive in a real-time environment? Register here.22 October 2009: London, EnglandCloud Computing World ForumThe Cloud Computing World Forum is the perfect event for professionals to learn and discuss the future development and integration of cloud services. This one-day conference will provide a focused platform for the global cloud computing industry.The Cloud Computing World Forum is the place to meet all the key decision makers from all of the cloud service providers in one place. Show highlights include:Hear from leading case studies on how to integrate cloud computing into working practices,Learn from the key players offering services in the cloud,Benefit from pre-show online meeting planner,Evening networking reception. 28 – 30 October 2009: AmsterdameComm FallThe Emerging Communications Conference & Awards is the world’s leading-edge event, spanning telecom, mobile and Internet-based communications. It’s designed to showcase and accelerate both technology and business model innovation.There is not a migratory way for telecom operators and media outlets to the future; emergent social practice is increasingly clashing with their very structure and desires. This means unprecedented opportunity for those ahead of the curve. The emerging transformations require big thoughts and big bets. eComm the venue for those thoughts and bets to be shared and heard.ReadWriteWeb readers save 10% off general admission by using the discount code “READWRITEWEB.”29 – 30 October 2009: San Francisco, CaliforniaVirtual Goods SummitThe virtual goods market has exploded as developers and publishers dive into this new opportunity. The third annual Virtual Goods Summit in October 2009 will bring together thought leaders in this space from Asia, Europe, and the US to talk about what’s changed and what’s working and the key challenges facing the industry. If you’re active in virtual goods — or thinking of jumping in — the Virtual Goods Summit is a must-attend event.New for 2009 is VGS University, a half-day seminar designed to provide a comprehensive overview of how to succeed with virtual goods. Hear from experts on topics such as why virtual goods are effective and the ins and outs of managing a virtual economy. Whether you’re new to virtual goods or seeking insights and lessons from the leaders, we encourage you to join us for the day and learn from some of our industry’s leading-edge thinkers.ReadWriteWeb readers save 15% off general admission by registering here using the discount code “READWRITEWEB.”2 – 5 November 2009: San FranciscoEnterprise 2.0 ConferenceThe Enterprise 2.0 Conference is the largest gathering for people ready to connect teams and harness collective intelligence with social tools and 2.0 technologies. Enterprise 2.0 includes visionary keynotes, informative sessions, case studies and an Expo Pavilion featuring the latest technologies. Register today and save 20% (code: CNGXES07) or get a free Pavilion Pass (code: CNGXES01). 18 – 19 November 2009: San FranciscoVentureBeat presents GreenBeatVentureBeat, the leading innovation-focused business blog, will host the seminal conference on the smart grid. GreenBeat 2009 brings together the nation’s 500 leading entrepreneurs, investors, utility and technology executives, policymakers and press to accelerate development of a leaner, more efficient electrical grid. With participation by Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner; John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins; and industry leaders, including from Cisco, Tendril, PG&E, expect lively discussion and power networking. The program will highlight new technologies and explore the opportunities afforded by the stimulus package.Also, we’ll be looking for the biggest, boldest ideas entrepreneurs have to change the way we think about, build and use the existing grid. To spotlight these ideas, we’re holding an Innovation Competition to find the best disruptors in the business. Early bird registration ends this Saturday, 10 October 2009, so get your tickets now at www.greenbeat2009.com.19 November 2009: Mountain View, CaliforniaUnder the RadarFeaturing the most cutting-edge mobile startups from around the globe, Under the Radar will get you dialed in to what the 2010 mobile innovation marketplace will look like. It’s a must-attend event for dealmakers from global carriers, brands, media companies, and handset manufacturers responsible for helping their companies leverage new mobile technology and innovation in the fast-evolving digital landscape.Save $200: book by 2 October 2009, and get the early-bird rate.1 – 3 December 2009: London, EnglandOnline Information & IMS 2009Online Information and IMS together create the largest event dedicated to the information industry. Consisting of an exhibition delivering over 9,000 visitors from 70 countries, a conference and a show-floor seminar program, the event provides an annual meeting place for the global information industry.Online Information is once again set to play host to thousands of information professionals, information end-users and publishers from around the globe, meeting suppliers of online content, e-publishing, and library management solutions. IMS provides a forum for IT, business, and information management professionals to find unlimited, relevant advice, educational content and compare solutions under one roof. Attend IMS and meet suppliers of content management, search solutions, and Web 2.0 technologies.1 – 3 December 2009: Boston, MassachusettsGilbane Conference BostonJoin us at the sixth annual “Gilbane Conference Boston: Content, Collaboration and Customers.”Your content is your business, and you need to make your Web content part of an integrated platform forcustomers. You need to know solutions and technologies that are ready to be implemented today. Gilbane Conference Boston is built around the four major areas of how enterprises use Web and content technologies:Web business and engagement;Managing collaboration and social media: internal and external;Enterprise content: searching, integrating and publishing;Content infrastructure.Visit www.gilbaneboston.com for conference details. ReadWriteWeb readers, use the discount code “GILBANE” to save an additional $200. Register today!1 – 3 December 2009: San FranciscoSupernova Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Download this entire events calendar in iCal format. 9 – 10 November 2009: Santa Clara, CaliforniaSocial Networking World Forum — CaliforniaThis event taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center actually consists of three conferences: two days dedicated to social networking, one day dedicated to enterprise social media, and one day dedicated to social TV. Key speakers include social networking publishers, advertising agencies, industry analysts, software developers and equipment manufacturers, pay-TV and network service providers, mobile operators, and more. Joint exhibition combining social networking and enterprise social media formatsPre-show online meeting planner for delegatesDiscount for early booking (expires September 25th)Free pass for exhibition only Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… We’ve added a bunch of great events to our guide this week. The one we’re most excited about (of course) is our own ReadWrite Read-Time Web Summit, which takes place this coming Thursday in Mountain View. You can download the entire event calendar in iCal format or import it into your Google Calendar. You can also import individual events using the link beside each entry. This events guide is a weekly feature here on ReadWriteWeb. We publish it every weekend, as good a time as any to review your conference plans.Know of an event taking place that should appear here? Let us know in the comments below or contact us.15 October 2009: Mountain View, CaliforniaThe ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summitlast_img read more

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