Kevin Durant considers a world in which the Warriors three-peat, and it sounds awesome

first_imgWelcome to another episode of, “One of the Warriors’ core four said it, so we are obligated to beat it into the earth’s crust.”In this installment, Kevin Durant answered a question from Yahoo’s Chris Haynes regarding the likelihood and/or the fallout of a potential Golden State three-peat in 2018-19.“I know for a fact that we’ll all get our jerseys retired,” Durant responded. “We’ll probably all get statues in front of the Chase Center. We’ll be buried legends forever, meaning that people …last_img

Animal Magnetism and Other Wonders

first_imgWhat is it that so attracts us to animals?  Is it animal magnetism?  Some animals do have magnetic senses that can guide them across oceans.  The more we learn about animals, the more we should admire their high-tech equipment.  Here are some recent examples of amazing animals, some of them suitable for Halloween decorations. Eensy weensy wonder spider:  After cockroaches, spiders are the second most vibration-sensitive creatures, reported PhysOrg.  Researchers at the University of Vienna used scanning white light interferometry and micro-force measurements to measure the strain sensors on a species of wandering spider that detects vibrations on leaves to detect prey.  Strain sensors?  Yes.  Here’s how they work: “Team member Friedrich G. Barth explained that the spider has over 3,000 strain sensors in its body, mostly on the legs and in vibration receptors located near the leg joints,” the article said.  “Each strain sensor comprises a series of arrays of tiny parallel slits in the compound lyriform [lyre-shaped] slit sense organs that detect vibrations and movements. When forces are applied the slits are compressed and stimulated.”  And that’s not all: spiders can see in the dark and sense odors on their antennae.  Remember that when you see spider decorations for Halloween. Giant spider webs:  Some spiders can cross rivers with their giant webs.  The species Caerostris darwini, endemic to Madagascar, builds “the largest known orb webs utilizing the toughest known silk.”  PLoS ONE reported findings of a team who studied the web-building activity of these spiders that were just discovered last year (9/24/2010).  The webs of C. darwini are made of silk combining strength and great elasticity such that it outperforms all other known spider silks, and even most synthetic fibers, in terms of toughness (work required to fracture the silk),” the researchers said; “Furthermore, capture areas of C. darwini webs regularly exceed 1 m in diameter and are suspended on bridge lines that often exceed 10 meters, while the largest capture areas reach almost 2 meters in diameter and are suspended on bridge lines up to 25 meters in length.”  The team wanted to know how the spiders manage to bridge such large distances, and whether the silk toughness co-evolved with this ability.  They watched 32 spiders in action.  The spider starts by spinning a “bridging silk” that consists of several strands that catch the wind then recombine within 24 seconds into a line that gets tangled in vegetation across the stream.  The spider then “reels in” the bridging line, from which it can travel out and start constructing its large orb web above the water.  It drops a vertical line in the center, forming a T structure, from which it creates diagonals up to the bridge line, resulting in a triangular web.  Within hours, the web is complete.  Curious readers may wish to visit the open-source paper for details how the spiders build their world-record webs.  The authors could not do more than speculate on how their specific adaptations evolved.  Citation: Gregorič M, Agnarsson I, Blackledge TA, Kuntner M, 2011. How Did the Spider Cross the River? Behavioral Adaptations for River-Bridging Webs in Caerostris darwini (Araneae: Araneidae). PLoS ONE 6(10): e26847. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026847. Glow in the dark:  What could be spookier than eerie green lights in the dark?  Biological light – bioluminescence – is common among marine and land animals.  Among glowing sea creatures are tiny unicellular animals living in surface plankton called dinoflagellates.  They give rise to the “red tide” under certain conditions when they bloom in large numbers.  During red tides, night-time beachgoers can see the waves glowing with a spooky blue-green light, and every step on the wet sand produces a hundred sparkles.  An explanation for how these tiny organisms scintillate when mechanically stimulated was reported on Science Daily.  Here’s how the article described the “novel mechanism” that produces a “beautiful natural phenomenon in our oceans”— As dinoflagellates float, mechanical stimulation generated by the movement of surrounding water sends electrical impulses around an internal compartment within the organism, called a vacuole–which holds an abundance of protons.  These electrical impulses open so-called voltage-sensitive proton channels that connect the vacuole to tiny pockets dotting the vacuole membrane, known as scintillons.  Once opened, the voltage-sensitive proton channels may funnel protons from the vacuole into the scintillons. Protons entering the scintillons then activate luciferase—a protein, which produces flashes of light, that is stored in scintillons. Ghost sense:  An article on Science Daily is permeated with evolutionary speculation, but the observational part is cool.  Many species of “primitive” fish, including sharks, paddlefishes and certain other aquatic vertebrates, have the ability to “detect weak electrical fields in the water and use this information to detect prey, communicate and orient themselves.”  Readers can judge whether they buy the claim that humans evolved from a common ancestor with this sixth sense that lived hundreds of millions of years ago, but it is remarkable that any animal would have electroreception organs and the brain power to use that information. Cookie cutter cats with steak knives:  PhysOrg had an interesting article about the extinct sabre-tooth cats that once roamed North America, Europe and Asia.  Fierce hunters, some were large, sleek animals, some with bodies like cheetahs equipped for pursuit, and others (like California’s Smilodon, found in the La Brea Tar Pits) were more muscular, like bears.  Facial adaptations, such as larger lips and jowls than seen in modern cats, added to their abilities.  Virginia Naples of Northern Illinois University, who owns two cute tabby cats, has a fascination with the large sabre-tooths.  With her colleagues, she has published a new book updating what is known about the various species.  One species they dubbed the Cookie-Cutter Cat “for its ability to chomp a large, clean chunk of flesh from its prey.”  It sported serrated biting teeth 3.5 inches long.  “It had a whole mouthful of steak knives,” Naples said.  Happy Halloween. Unerringly across the sea:  Among the animals that use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate (e.g., birds, Monarch butterflies, sea turtles), inherited instructions somehow allow the creatures to find their targets without ever having seen it before (for a detailed description of the Monarch butterfly migration, see the new documentary Metamorphosis).  In the latest edition of Current Biology (21:20, R843-R846, 25 October 2011, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.09.002), Thomas and Matthew Collett explored how loggerhead turtles follow “signposts in the sea” to navigate their large oval circuits.  In the lab, scientists can alter the hatchlings’ swimming orientation with magnetic fields.  Out in the ocean, hatchlings mature for a few years in the Sargasso Sea, but then must migrate back to the Florida coast; fortunately, “hatchlings come equipped with instructions to provide this active navigation,” the authors said.  When scientists play a cruel joke on them (in the name of research) and put hatchlings far north near the coast of Greenland, they don’t know what to do.  Older individuals, however, can calculate the difference between actual and expected, and find the way back.  “The technique of teleporting turtles and other animals to magnetically defined places, which works so well for understanding the turtles’ inherited routes, is also revealing map-like navigational strategies in older individuals that have learnt or become imprinted on particular locations.”  Similar behaviors have been observed in red spotted newts and lobsters, the authors said. Rudolph’s coat:  Halloween’s passing means Christmas is not far away, with its iconic images of reindeer.  Real reindeer may not fly, but have some cool tricks for maintaining body heat.  “Insulated in a luxuriously thick winter coat, reindeer are perfectly prepared for the gripping cold of an Arctic winter, PhysOrg reported.  “But the pelt doesn’t just keep the cold out, it keeps the warmth in too: which is fine when the animals are resting….”  Problem: Rudolph has to bolt through the snow when Santa cracks the whip.  His body temperature soars.  Now what?  A Norwegian scientist figured out three strategies the reindeer uses: “panting with their mouths closed to evaporate water from the nose; panting with the mouth open to evaporate water from the tongue; and activating a cooling system that selectively cools the blood supply to the brain.”  Like dogs, reindeer have large, wet tongues good for evaporative cooling.  Problem 2: How does Rudolph coordinate the three methods?  Norwegian scientists took measurements by playing Santa and exercising their cooperative deer, and found that “reindeer use… a heat exchanger when their temperature becomes dangerously high”.  Heat exchanger?  Yes; “They began selectively cooling the brain by diverting cooled venous blood – which came from the nose – away from the body and up into the head, where it entered a network of heat exchanging blood vessels to cool the hot arterial blood destined for the brain to protect it from overheating.”  By inhaling colossal amounts of cold air, the article explained, “reindeers were able to inhale sufficient cold air through their noses to keep their brains cool, but only as a last resort once the other cooling tactics were no longer sufficient.”  And that is how heavily-coated reindeer keep their cool. There’s no end of wonders to study in the biological world.  How did they come to be?  By random, purposeless, directionless processes?  A reindeer needs all those strategies in place to survive a lengthy escape from a predator.  Turtles without navigation will never make it home to lay eggs.  Spiders without strain sensors and dark-adapted eyes could not eat.  Even the tiny dinoflagellates have irreducibly-complex systems to produce their mechanically-induced sparkles. Mutations are almost all harmful or neutral.  Beneficial mutations, almost unknown in genetics (the controversial examples often with damaging pleiotropic side effects) could never accumulate fast enough to create any of these abilities described above.  The Creator put into each animal the initial equipment to thrive and the genetic ability to adapt to changing environments, such as those encountered by the Madagascar spiders (no credit to Darwin).  An environment cannot create an adaptation any more than a mountain can create a mountain climber.  Let’s rid ourselves of evolutionary myths and face the facts of nature with humility and wonder.  Science should be a treasure hunt.  Kick the useless storytelling charlatans off the field, and let’s go hunting!(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Brand South Africa calls on all partners to reinforce the investment drive in order to restore business confidence

first_imgJohannesburg, Tuesday 02 April 2019 – Brand South Africa says that during quarter four of the 2018/2019 financial year, business confidence indicators took a distinct negative turn. This analysis stems from the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Business Confidence Index (BCI), which gathers input from 1700 business executives in South Africa.The BER BCI reasons that the weakening business confidence is wide-ranging, and can be attributed the following factors: Eskom and load shedding; strike action in certain sectors; revelations on State Capture from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry; as well as residual concerns regarding policy uncertainty – mainly due to the approaching National Elections in South Africa.The BER BCI covers five economic sectors that are most sensitive to cyclical up and down turns in the economy – namely: Building/Construction; Manufacturing; Retail; Wholesale; and Automotive/New vehicle sales.Dr Petrus de Kock, the General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa says the BER BCI points out that at a total level, strong business confidence in the SA economy was last seen in quarter 2 of the 2017/2018. “In addition to the influences mentioned above that contributed to weakening business confidence, it is apparent that fundamental economic activity indicators weakened substantially – thus contributing to weaker business confidence.“From our analysis, the BER BCI average activity indicators for 2019 are now at a similar level to the first quarters of Q1 2017 and 2009. This is a sobering picture of weak GDP expansion, and slipping business confidence, all of which impacts on the reputation of the Nation Brand negatively,” says Dr de Kock.However, Dr de Kock says that this outlook is expected to improve after the May 2019 general elections. “We welcome these findings as they provide us with guidance on strategic focus areas that we need to improve on. We as Brand South Africa call on all partners across all sectors to reinforce the investment drive in order to restore business confidence – not only among investors but also for our citizens. While there are internal challenges to the economy, South Africa also needs to pay close attention to weakness in the global economy, uncertainty caused by trade war dynamics, emerging economic nationalism in so-called advanced economies, and isolationist tendencies.“Brand South Africa will share with stakeholders a much more detailed analysis and will be working with stakeholders to establish focused efforts to implement measures that address the challenges highlighted in the document,” concludes Dr de Kock.last_img read more

YouTube star rises for young Capetonian vlogger

first_imgVlogger Mark Fitzgibbon makes videos about a subject close to his heart – his community on the Cape Flats. The UCT student’s language is certainly not suitable for work, but he brings laughs to his many followers, and is earning growing fame and fortune for himself. Mark Fitzgibbon, a student in Cape Town is making name for himself on YouTube by “educating” his fans on Cape coloureds. (Image: Screen grab via YouTube)• Young South Africans pushed to take a stand • Beading and computer programming a way out of prison • South Africa’s born-frees talk about life • Recollections of 16 June 1976 • Teen campaigns organ donation through social media Melissa JavanHe sees his vlog as an online CV and hopes that someday he will get a job offer from Good Hope FM or Heart FM. At 21, Mark Fitzgibbon is making a name for himself on YouTube with his vlogs about the Cape coloured community – and insights into student life, gossip, consumerism and more, all with strong Afrikaans slang that’s as colourful as it’s not suitable for work.Originally from Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats, Fitzgibbon later moved to Parow Valley. He is currently a fourth-year student at the University of Cape Town, reading applied biology, ecology and evolution. Science is his biggest passion, he says. “Vlogging comes in at a close second.”A video blog or video log, shortened to vlog, is an increasingly popular form of web television that, on sites such as YouTube, also help the vlogger earn an income.A friend introduced him to YouTube vloggers in 2013, Fitzgibbon says. “Up until then I thought YouTube was only about music videos and funny cats playing the piano. I was immediately hooked and started watching vlogs every week. I found them enjoyable, but they were not very relatable to me as a South African.“The popular channels all belonged to American and British people. I thought that making a South African one would be interesting and relevant to many others like me who enjoy watching vlogs but would relate to more South African language and culture.”And his friend encouraged him: “He said ‘Mark, you have so much stuff to say about the Cape coloured people. You should totally start a YouTube channel!’ I thought this was a brilliant idea … I was bored one afternoon and thought ‘Okay, today is the day!’ My first video got about 200 views in the first day – which was a lot for a South African back then – so I continued and remained consistent until today.”So far, Fitzgibbon has made over 100 videos and has more than 8 000 subscribers to his channel.Note that this video contains language that some may find offensive, and is not suitable for work. Watch at your own discretion.His themesHis videos are about his community – Cape coloured people, their slang and their mannerisms. “The stories we tell and the way we explain it, makes us special,” says Fitzgibbon. “We are people who say it like it is. The manner and the way we talk are so funny and not a lot of people know of this. I want to get it out there.”Inspiration comes from his friends and family in Mitchells Plain. His audience is mostly this very community, although he says his videos are well-known among whites as well. “It educates them,” he laughs.He chooses topics by keeping an eye on social media. “Usually I go to Twitter and look at the tweets my audience sends me. They usually ask me questions or bring up topics that they would like me to speak about,” he says.“Recently I have enjoyed speaking about elements from my childhood years as a Capetonian.”Note that this video contains language that some may find offensive, and is not suitable for work. Watch at your own discretion.Negative commentsFitzgibbon says the worst part of having a YouTube channel is that controversial topics are met with negativity or contrasting opinions. “I usually read all of the negative comments I get; some of them are actually helpful.“When someone disses my lighting, video quality or speaking ability, this usually means I need to up my game. Yet I do get some very horrible comments.”Fitzgibbon told Son, a local newspaper, In the beginning his mother didn’t like his videos, he explains, especially as he uses the word “tief” (coloured slang for “bitch”) in all of them. “She said I must stop making these videos, because it is vulgar. Then she would say: ‘Mark, did you have to say that again?’”But she supports him now, because YouTube has brought him opportunities such as radio interviews and master of ceremonies jobs. He even interviewed comedian Casper de Vries for Gareth Cliff’s online radio station, Cliff Central.“The popularity also helped my personality. I used to be extremely shy and didn’t like public speaking. Now with all the eyes on me, I have more self-confidence.”And he earns a small income out of the advertisements that YouTube puts on his videos. “It’s not much yet though. You begin making more money the more popular you get.”Last year, he was sponsored by the cellphone app WeChat. He just had to mention the name of the app to make an extra few rand.Fitzgibbon shoots and edits his own videos. “It is very easy. I just need my room, lighting and a bed.”Note that this video contains language that some may find offensive, and is not suitable for work. Watch at your own discretion.The role of young leadersAs the news coordinator of the university’s radio station, Fitzgibbon needs to be on top of events on campus. He was active in the Rhodes Must Fall movement. “This has reminded me that we as the youth should not forget the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us.“It has also reminded me that racism, gender inequality and homophobia are still real problems in society and that the youth of today can fight against it,” he says. “Young leaders are those who make a tangible difference in today’s society – those who look to the future, without forgetting the past, but not dwelling in our past grievances.”Young people should not lose sight of their dreams based on their current financial status or standard of living.Speaking of reaching for your dreams, he has some advice for aspiring vloggers:Stay consistent. Making videos to keep your audience updated every week or month assures that they will want to subscribe to your channel so they can be updated of future vlogs.Find your niche. Having a specific theme or genre is important.Planning is everything. For example, having a script is helpful.Edit your videos.Have fun and be yourself. Don’t expect greatness, rather make videos because you enjoy creating and sharing memories with your audience.last_img read more

Apple’s War on Tinkerers Continues With the Retina MacBook Pro

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Steve Jobs never wanted anyone to tinker with the machines built by his company. That’s why Apple’s original Macintosh required special tools to open it up and even then, it used proprietary parts and lacked extra slots. Today, that closed spirit lives on in the company’s newest laptop, the retina display-equipped MacBook Pro. This week, the new, high-end machine was crowned “the least repairable laptop” yet seen by iFixIt, a site that specializes in creating do-it-yourself repair guides for products. Much like some of its ancestors, the new MacBook Pro – which starts at $2,199 -requires specialized tools to gain access to its electronic innards. Once opened, only a few of its components can be safely repaired or replaced. Others are inaccessible or too risky for users to mess with.“It’s clear that Apple did not design this computer for the sake of repair-conscious customers,” reads iFixIt’s blog. “That said, a number of components can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools.” For example, the laptop’s battery can be removed, but it must be done with extreme caution lest it be inadvertently punctured. In iFixIt’s tests, the team managed to wreck two batteries trying to swap them out. Apple evidently prefers that its customers have a trained technician perform the task, a process that can run customers several hundred dollars. Other components, such as the device’s signature high-resolution LCD screen or anything packed underneath it (like the FaceTime camera), are also probably too risky for most customers to tinker with themselves. Future Apple products may be even harder to crack open. The company is reportedly working on a screw with an asymmetric head for which no tools exist currently, according to a photo posted anonymously to Reddit. Of course, if these new screws ever see the light of day, it won’t be long before third parties will start selling matching tools. The specialized screw rumor remains unverified, but it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has used creative hardware engineering to keep users locked out of its devices. Update: The asymmetric screw story appears to have been a hoax. More information here. Macbook Pro Retina photo by Photo by Eliot Weisberg/ReadWriteWeb.Board photo by Chris Sinjo. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… john paul titlow Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts Tags:#Apple#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more