Quick hits: Stolen Cacti

Posted On Dec 30 2020 by

first_imgFriends of the Smokies has released their ninth annual Classic Hikes of the Smokies series. On the second Tuesday of each month from March to December, the organization holds guided hikes to raise funds for the Trails Forever program, which supports restoration and rehabilitation of some of the most impacted trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Classic Hikes of the Smokies series announced But sales of cacti in the US and around the world are exploding; the market is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. Because cacti are notoriously slow growing, poachers have taken to pulling them directly out of the ground. While it is difficult to measure the extent of the poaching, major busts point to the scale of the problem. In 2014 (most recent numbers), more than 2,600 cacti were seized at US borders, up from 411 the year before. On the second Tuesday of each month from March to December, the organization holds guided hikes to raise funds for the Trails Forever program, which supports restoration and rehabilitation of some of the most impacted trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hikes feature interpretation of the trail, history, and park projects supported by Friends of the Smokies. The first hike of the year is the 4.3-mile Big Creek trail on March 12. Tickets are $20 for members and $35 for new members. At it’s February meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission directed staff to move forward with a draft rule to protect Florida’s native songbirds from illegal trapping. Illegal trapping of native birds is a long-time concern in the state of Florida, especially in southern Florida, where trapping is believed to be widespread. The public is invited to provide feedback to the proposed rule. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission advance draft rule to protect Florida songbirds From the towering saguaros in Saguaro National Park to tiny cacti species popular as houseplants, the global demand for cacti is driving an underground trade that is difficult for law enforcement to police. To prevent the continued taking of native birds, staff recommended creating a new rule for bird traps. The rule would provide an additional tool to law enforcement to prevent the poaching of birds, while still allowing for lawful uses of bird traps. The hikes feature interpretation of the trail, history, and park projects supported by Friends of the Smokies. The first hike of the year is the 4.3-mile Big Creek trail on March 12. Tickets are $20 for members and $35 for new members. Across the southwest, cacti are being stolen from public lands in record numbers In Saguaro National Park, cactus poaching became so grave that the National Park Service began inserting microchips into cactus trunks, an effort that has since discouraged poachers. last_img read more


Business is cornered in Council Tax crisis

Posted On Oct 20 2020 by

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INDOT prepares to replace structures on US 421

Posted On Sep 24 2020 by

first_imgDECATUR COUNTY, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Transportation recently announced plans for a $1.8 million bridge replacement involving three structures on US Highway 421 between Greensburg and Napoleon.The bridge over Sand Creek located about .75 miles south of State Road 46 will be replaced while only closing one lane of the bridge at a time.Temporary traffic signals will control the flow of traffic.No timeline on the bridge replacement has been set.Two smaller structures between Greensburg and Napoleon will close the highway for up to 14 days each time.The structure at Lost Fork, about 9.25 miles north of State Road 229 in Napoleon will be replaced and is scheduled for July.A structure over Laughery Creek about 1.75 miles north of State Road 229 in Napoleon, is scheduled to be replaced in August.The marked detour for both projects will be State Road 46, State Road 129, and State Road 48.INDOT says clearing at the three sites should begin in the near future.last_img read more


Otis Confident of D’Tigress FIBA Afrobasket Title Defence

Posted On Sep 17 2020 by

first_imgD’Tigress will hope to bury the ghost of their 2015 misadventure where they narrowly lost to host-Cameroon 70-71 in the semifinal under Coach Scott Nnaji.“I know Cameroon have a good history against us. They defeated Nigeria in the 2015 semis. At this level, anybody can be beaten any day, so we are taking all the teams as the same. No matter who they are, we are going to play them hard and tough,” the coach stressed yesterday.Despite exuding confidence about their chances at the Afrobasket holding in Dakar, Senegal, Otis cautioned that winning the title for the fourth time will not come cheap.“It is a round ball, no matter what, it is still going to bounce. We are still going to worry about health and how the chemistry is going to pan out this year because we have not had a lot of time to train together,” he observed.The reigning African Champions went eight games unbeaten to clinch the 2017 title in Bamako, Mali defeating Senegal, 65-48 points to win the title.Nigeria as defending champions are paired with Senegal (host), Mali and Angola. The southern African country of Angola have been tipped as favorites by bookmakers.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Head Coach, Otis Hughley, is confident that D’Tigress have chances of successfully defending their FIBA Afrobasket title when the competition gets underway on August 9, 2019.Following Nigeria’s pairing against Tunisia and Cameroon at the official draw ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday, Otis said the team can mount a strong title defence with the talents at his disposal.Having led the Nigerian ladies to a historic eighth place finish at the 2018 World Cup in Spain, Otis is aware of the buzz already created around D’Tigress ranked Number 2 in Africa.last_img read more


JOB VACANCY: ORBIT SECURITY SEEKING OFFICE AND ACCOUNTS ADMINISTRATOR

Posted On Dec 25 2019 by

first_imgOrbit Security are seeking an Office and Accounts Administrator is to join a busy and expanding business.  Duties will include but not be limited to:• Dealing with customers, suppliers and staff over the telephone and via email.• Reconciliation of supplier statements.• General book keeping and account maintenance.• Organisation of staff expenses and wages.• Processing orders received and issuing invoices.• Debt collection – to efficiently collect money over the telephone.• General office duties and administration.• Reporting to General Manager and Managing Director. Requirements:• Candidate must have experience in a similar role.• Must have professional telephone manner and interpersonal skills.• Must have strong book keeping experience.• Must have organisational and prioritising skills and be able to multi task.• Must have strong computer skills in Microsoft Office especially Microsoft Excel.• Must have strong experience using SAGE and Payroll software or similar packages.• Must be flexible and be able to work on own initiative and under pressure.• Excellent oral and writing skills in English.• Be able to work as a team player and take instruction.Be able to contribute ideas to improve the business.If you’re interested and feel you have the necessary qualifications required then forward your CV to [email protected]  JOB VACANCY: ORBIT SECURITY SEEKING OFFICE AND ACCOUNTS ADMINISTRATOR was last modified: June 4th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Job VacancyjobsnewsOffice AccountsOrbit Securitylast_img read more


Exploration company scrap plans to mine gold in Donegal

Posted On Dec 21 2019 by

first_imgIt has been confirmed that license applications that would have granted an exploration company access to gold mining across 52 townlands in Donegal have been withdrawn. On Monday, a representative from Great Glen Resources said the mining company would no longer be seeking exploratory prospective licenses for Donegal.In a statement, the company said: “Great Glen Resources Ltd. would like to make the community of Donegal aware of their decision to withdraw their application for PLs 3071, 3978, 4548 & 4559 with immediate effect. The Exploration and Mining Division (EMD) have been notified of this decision.” The withdrawal follows days after a large crowd in Glenfinn, one of the areas Great Glen Resources sought to search for precious minerals, came out to oppose the proposal.Cllr Michael Mac Giolla Easbuig, who previously urged the people to object the plans, said while the news was ‘encouraging’, communities should stand ready for further applications from other companies in the future.“The news that Great Glen Resources has decided to withdraw their application is certainly encouraging for the 52 townlands across Donegal.“But, I cannot stress enough the caution the community must take with this news,” he added. “Communities must stay vigilant because just because this company has withdrawn their plan does not mean that other companies will now not apply.“At the end of the day, we are talking about mining companies,” Mac Giolla Easbuig said.  “They are ruthless and do not have any consideration or the best interests for the communities in Donegal or its environment.“I would applaud the communities that have organised themselves and ask them to continue with their resolve because when we as a community come together, it is clear that we can achieve what we want to achieve.”Exploration company scrap plans to mine gold in Donegal was last modified: June 12th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Taking the Mackie

Posted On Dec 21 2019 by

first_imgIt’s been a while since I’ve hugged and kissed complete strangers at a football match – I could get used to it.Over the past few months I’ve been so accustomed to veering between self-pity and self-degradation in an attempt to find new ways to describe how unlucky/disappointing/rubbish QPR have been, I’m struggling to put Wednesday’s astonishing performance into words.At 2-0 down with 13 minutes left against the might of Liverpool, the relegation trap door wasn’t so much open as swinging off its hinges, with the bookies’ odds of 750/1 for a Rangers victory looking particularly mean.But cometh the hour cometh the man who hadn’t scored a league goal for five years.“The cows won’t be quite so nonchalant the next time Torres walks through a field carrying a banjo.”Shaun Derry might look like he should be sitting in a deckchair on Eastbourne beach with a blanket over his knees and a packet of Werther’s Originals balanced on his lap, but he capped off a man-of-the-match performance by springing like a teenager to give the home fans a glimmer of hope.And when Djibril Cisse, who played his part in the greatest comeback of all by Liverpool in Istanbul a few years’ back, powered home the equaliser with two minutes to go, everyone would have settled for a point.Everyone that is except Jamie Mackie, who like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, suddenly appeared from nowhere to rifle home the unlikeliest of winners.Did QPR deserve it? Certainly not from the way they played in the opening 15 minutes, when the Red Machine was threatening to grind poor little QPR into the dirt as they forced corner after corner after corner, spending so long camped in the Rangers half, Kenny Dalglish must have been tempted to send on some sandwiches and a flask of coffee.Joey Barton was at the centre of the storm as, by his own admission, he had a shocker.The man of the moment.There was a famous old saying that if Stan Bowles could have passed a betting shop as well as he passed a ball, he would have had 100 England caps.Given his current form, if Barton could pass a ball as well as he passes comment, his team might now be sitting pretty in mid-table.But that still doesn’t excuse the cacophony of boos that greeted his substitution – or the “Are you Barton in disguise?” chant that accompanied a wild effort from Stewart Downing.He wasn’t trying to play badly against Liverpool – although perhaps as an Everton fan he was trying too hard (see Taarabt at White Hart Lane) – but you suspect if he kept his head down and didn’t tweet about what a great night out he was having the evening after a defeat, he might have been cut a bit of slack.Mackie’s Balotelli-esque ‘celebration’ of the winner suggested he too was frustrated by the boo boy minority – particularly the plank who verbally assaulted him at Euston – but on the whole the atmosphere was electric. Loftus Road hasn’t rocked so much since that win over Oldham nine years ago.As ‘Bexhoops’ on Twitter put it: “If anyone ever asks you why you bother going to football when you can watch it on TV, it’s for nights like that.”That tweet was only eclipsed by the one sent to vice-chairman Amit Bhatia by ‘EastonMike01’: “Can either of you buy my mate a new tooth? He lost it somewhere in P Block celebrating the winner!”It wasn’t quite so joyous on the Liverpool forums after the defeat all but kissed goodbye to their slim chance of finishing in the top four, summed up by one comment I particularly enjoyed: “ They are a bunch of disgrace!”Beware of the banjo.Chelsea’s dreams of a Champions League slot are still alive, despite the setback at the Etihad on Wednesday night – not that it’s any disgrace losing to the title challengers.Gary Cahill’s opener looked set to continue their winning streak under Roberto Di Matteo but you just knew that the returning Carlos Tevez was going to have a say and after Sergio Aguero had equalised from the spot, it was no surprise when the Argentine striker set up Samir Nasri for the winner.Tevez was warmly embraced by his team-mates as fans sung his name. There is talk that he could yet win City the title – although if he’d bothered to hang around they’d probably already have it wrapped up by now, affording themselves the luxury of putting out the tea ladies against QPR on the final day of the season.Can we sue him if we go down?The biggest news for Chelsea fans was that Fernando Torres actually scored – twice –last weekend, ending a 24-game drought in the 5-2 FA Cup thumping of Leicester.Yes it was only Leicester, but the cows won’t be quite so nonchalant the next time Torres walks through a field carrying a banjo.And fair play to Blues fans for coming up with the chant of the week to mark this momentous occasion: “Fernando Torres – he scores when he likes!”It’s fair to say Fulham have had better weeks after getting hammered 3-0 at home by Swansea.That would have been a home banker at the beginning of the season, but Brendan’s boys are well worth their position of eighth in the Premier League.Although if I hear the phrase ‘Breath of fresh air’ again I might do some serious damage to an inanimate object.As for Brentford…actually it’s probably best we don’t go there, pretend the last seven days was all a horrible dream and start again this weekend.Follow Chris on Twitterlast_img read more


The Brain as the Computer Robots Need

Posted On Dec 19 2019 by

first_imgA mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially once you realize how incredibly powerful it is.  In some ways it’s like a computer that needs maintenance; in other ways, it is too powerful to describe in machine language.  Here are a few mind matters to mind because it matters:Reboot to clear the ringing:  Many people suffer from various degrees of ringing in their ears, called tinnitus.  For the first time, there is hope for clearing this condition (which ranges from annoying to debilitating), by “rebooting” a part of the brain responsible for it.  PhysOrg reported on studies with rats that showed tinnitus could be drastically reduced or eliminated by playing certain pitches while stimulating the vagus nerve.  Instead of just masking the ringing, it actually eliminates it: “Similar to pressing a reset button in the brain, this new therapy was found to help retrain the part of the brain that interprets sound so that errant neurons reverted back to their original state and the ringing disappeared.”  New Scientist called it “brain training” that reverses ringing in ears.  Incidentally, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has also been effective in treating epilepsy and depression.    Another article on PhysOrg explained that tinnitus is much more than a hearing problem.  A neuroscientist said a part of the brain involved, the corticostriatal circuit, “is part of a general ‘appraisal network’ determining which sensations are important, and ultimately affecting how or whether those sensations are experienced.”  Science Daily called tinnitus “the Result of the Brain Trying, but Failing, to Repair Itself,” indicating that mechanisms are in place to keep the brain in good working order.  But when they fail, maybe a reboot is the last resort.Why music is beautiful:  When sound is organized by intelligent design in music, instead of being an accidental malfunction like tinnitus, it makes us feel wonderful and satisfied.  Why is that?  Science Daily explored why music gives us chills.  “Scientists have found that the pleasurable experience of listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain important for more tangible pleasures associated with rewards such as food, drugs and sex.”  Even the anticipation of favorite music can start the chills, the researchers at Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University found.    According to the article, “the results suggest why music, which has no obvious survival value, is so significant across human society.”  But did it evolve?  While it may be uncontroversial that dopamine is “a neurotransmitter vital for reinforcing behavior that is necessary for survival,” suggesting that music evolved to help humans survive and pass on their genes leaves many questions hanging.  How did music get associated with dopamine release?  If it merely a physiological response of sound impinging on eardrums and nerves, why don’t all animals respond in the same way?  How do non-musical people and the deaf survive?  How can different people have different reactions to the same sounds?  Can the sensation of pleasure and chills be understood apart from a mind?Robot see, robot do:  A new “mimic-bot” was reported by New Scientist that can watch a human and learn to imitate what it sees.  “Developed by Ji-Hyeong Han and Jong-Hwan Kim at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, the system is designed to respond to the actions of the person confronting it in the same way that our own brains do,” reporter Helen Knight explained.  “The human brain contains specialised cells, called mirror neurons, that appear to fire in the same way when we watch an action being performed by others as they do when we perform the action ourselves.  It is thought that this helps us to recognise or predict their intentions.”  We can only hope these designers do better than Mickey Mouse did in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in Fantasia, by ensuring the robots know the meaning of “Stop!”New Scientist intimated that robots work better by evolving.  Describing tests at the University of Vermont, where a robot learned to walk after first experimenting with crawling, reporter Paul Marks said, “Virtual robots learning to walk are steadiest on their feet when they start out with no legs and are allowed to evolve limbs over time.  As well as helping to design more stable robots, the implication is that creatures whose body plans morph as they grow may have an evolutionary advantage.”  But doesn’t that describe the stages every baby goes through? Evolution has nothing to do with these stories.  Marks made the mistake repeatedly of using evolve as an active verb or infinitive, “to evolve,” as if the robot was making a purposeful choice:Virtual robots learning to walk are steadiest on their feet when they start out with no legs and are allowed to evolve limbs over timeto seek out a virtual light source and evolve a walking gait to reach it.A third type of virtual bot had four upright legs to start with and lacked the ability to evolve its body plan.Each bot used a software routine called a genetic algorithm Movie Camera to evolve a slithering or walking gait that would best get it to the light source given its current body plan.Evolution is not an active verb.  It is the passive effect of random variations doing whatever they do, if not killing an organism.  You cannot choose to evolve any more than you can choose to grow a new sense organ by hoping that the right cosmic rays cause fortuitous mutations that produce some new sensation you cannot now fathom.  Algorithm and evolve do not belong in the same sentence, unless “evolve” is defined in the mathematical sense of “unfolding.”  Evolutionary algorithm is an oxymoron, like dishonest truth or aimless plan.    Then Marks stumbled further by confusing evolution with child development:In terms of biology, evolving behaviours like locomotion may be easier if the animal progresses through body plans that allow for gradual learning over time, says [Josh] Bongard [U of Vermont].  “This is what human infants do: they progress from crawling to walking gradually, even as the bones in the legs and feet change to accommodate the change in behaviour.”Child development is not evolution, for crying out loud.  It’s the outworking of an intelligently designed program.  This kind of equivocation over the meaning of evolution should long ago have been exploded out of the territory behind Darwinian rhetoric.  Then Marks followed that groaner with this: “The results are useful for engineers….”  Please don’t advise engineers to use evolution (in the Darwinian, biological sense) for their programs.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Brand South Africa launches Play Your Part School Activations

Posted On Dec 18 2019 by

first_imgTshwane, Atteridgeville, 15 May 2018 –  Inspired by the need to promote active citizenry amongst South African Youth, Brand South Africa – the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s Nation Brand reputation, is launching nationwide school activations.Brand South Africa in collaboration with the renowned comedians Goliath and Goliath, who are also Play Your Part ambassadors, will be running a series of masterclasses aimed at grade 11 and 12 learners. The objective is to promote innovation and entrepreneurial culture under the theme “Play Your Part, turn your ideas into currency”.The Play Your Part masterclass will promote entrepreneurship in order to culminate a spirit of business minds at an early stage. Commenting on this initiative, Brand South Africa’s General Manager of Marketing, Ms Sithembile Ntombela said: “This initiative comes at a time when the citizens are hopeful of a new dawn, when a spirit of contribution is the new song, particularly post the state of the nation address speech by the honourable President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, now known for its call to action #Thumamina which means send me”.The county’s vision articulated in the National Development Plan speaks of a South Africa we have remade, a South Africa that is economically prosperous and, a South Africa that is admired globally. This vision will come to life when each and every one of us play our part especially the youth, who are future active custodians and contributors to economic growth.The digital campaign launch will take place on 15 May 2018 and the actual activation will take place at Dr WF Nkomo Secondary School in Atteridgeville, 16 May 2018 from 12- 3 pm.Follow the conversation on #PlayYourPart #GetInvolvedlast_img read more


The Last Days of Desktop: Chrome Welcomes Third Party Extensions

Posted On Dec 17 2019 by

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Developers can contribute to the project by uploading creations to the Developer Dashboard here. If you need ideas, a good place to start would be to look at the “Most Shared” in the Firefox Add-ons Gallery and think about how you can port some of those gems over for the Chrome experience. Google Chrome has begun taking submissions from third party developers. In a blog post written earlier today, Google is asking developers to contribute to the Chrome extensions gallery – an act that will put third party applications on both the Chrome browser and eventually the operating system. ReadWriteWeb covered the company’s first official extensions in the Spring. Since then Google announced the Chrome OS. As explained in the Chrome OS launch, “Every app you write for the web is a Google Chrome OS app.” By embracing 3rd party extensions, Google is one step closer to rendering desktop operating systems obsolete. As extensions replace traditional desktop applications, users will become more accustomed to syncing their data to the cloud. The success of Chrome will depend on whether or not the extensions affect the speed that users have grown to love. The company will open the Extensions Gallery up to “trusted testers” in the near future. dana oshiro Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more