Science in the spotlight

first_imgThe theme of this year’s Insite exhibitionwas the role of science and technology inthe developing world. (Image: Sci-Bono Discovery Centre) A scale model of the MeerKAT prototype telescope was on view at Insite 2008. (Image: Square Kilometre Array)Janine ErasmusThe International Science, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (Insite) 2008, an initiative of the national Department of Science and Technology (DST), is the Southern African region’s premier platform for developments on the science and technology front. The theme for this year’s event, the third edition, was the role of science, innovation and technology as key drivers of economic growth and development.The event ran concurrently with the world conference of the International Association of Science Parks, held in an African country for the first time. The conference was hosted by South Africa’s first fully-accredited science park, the Innovation Hub, and carried the theme The role of Science and Technology Parks in accelerating knowledge economy growth – contrasts between emerging and more developed economies.The international scientific body has announced that it plans to open an African chapter in the near future, as members from the continent continue to sign up in their numbers. Science parks are seen as significant contributors to building a culture of technology and entrepreneurship – an area that poses major challenges for many developing countries – because they stimulate and manage knowledge flow between universities, research institutions, and business.However, while the establishment of science parks could assist emerging countries to become more competitive in the global knowledge market, the high cost of establishing these was often a deterrent, especially for young economies.Addressing delegates at the conference, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa praised government interventions, especially in the development of strategic economic infrastructure, for contributing to the growth of the Gauteng economy.“The Innovation Hub was launched as part of these interventions in April 2005,” said Shilowa. “It is Africa’s first science park aimed at nurturing and growing enterprises in the knowledge sector of the economy.”South Africa, and other developing African countries, hopes to participate more in the 21st century in terms of science and technology, said Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngquka, as this would ensure that economic growth had a beneficial impact on citizens.Embracing open sourceIn addition, Insite featured a strong focus on open source software, with a number of companies – including Microsoft – presenting their views on the way forward for the open source sector. The event also commemorated World Software Freedom Day, which was launched in 2004 with the aim of educating and boosting awareness among the global public of the benefits of using top-quality open source software, both at work and at home. Software Freedom Day fell on 20 September.In South Africa, the DST has embraced the open source platform and is currently migrating software already in use to the open source equivalent. The department will also only install new applications that are based on open standards. This is in line with national government’s grand policy to implement open source solutions, which was approved by Cabinet in early 2007.“We promote open source not only because we want to use high quality software and the latest technology,” said science and technology director-general Phil Mjwara, “but because it is an excellent platform for scientific computing. It gives scientists access to the tools they require to perform their work no matter what area they decide to specialise in. Therefore you will find open source software in our bio-chemistry projects our astronomy projects, and our HLT and access programmes.”The DST’s National Advisory Council on Innovation runs entirely on open source software, using Kubuntu Linux as the operating system as well as OpenOffice and Firefox for productivity. The DST also runs open source software on its web servers, firewalls, PABX, proxies, mail relays and network tools, among others.Speaking in July 2008 at the opening of the GovTech 2008 conference in Durban, Minister of Public Service and Administration Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi named open source software and open standards as key components of efficient IT in government. Moloketi is known for her support of the open source platform and said that government IT providers must not dismiss open standards.Sport and biofuels also a focusAnother focus area at Insite was the role that technology plays in sport, with the Science and Technology in Sport conference also taking place during Insite. Here, the role of sport and recreation in demystifying science and technology amongst youth was examined. The conference also spotlighted the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and opportunities for the national development of sport participation in previously disadvantaged communities.Topics of discussion included a strategy on uniting African broadcasters for 2010, and the creation of home-grown models for producing winning sports stars. Respected sports scientist Tim Noakes and former Springbok coach Jake White, who guided the national rugby team to their second world championship in 2007, were guest speakers.The Bio2Biz SA 2008 conference, highlighting the resurgence of biofuels, tackled the need for alternative sources of fuel versus the need to judiciously use the earth’s cultivatable land. South Africa, as a developing country, could benefit from the positive spin-offs derived from biofuel production, such as job creation, economic upliftment of rural communities, and a closer relationship between the first and second economies. The country’s draft biofuels legislation is, however, sensitive to the issue of food security as it advises against the use of essential food crops and productive land to make biofuel.A variety of exhibitorsExhibitors at the event included, among many others, Breadbin, marketers of the Freedom Toaster, Microsoft, Carl Zeiss, Robotics SA, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site, the office of science and technology in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, and the Council for Geoscience. A model of the MeerKAT prototype telescope was also on display – this is part of the Karoo Array Telescope, which will be used in the core of the Square Kilometre Array telescope should South Africa win its bid to host the giant apparatus.The One Laptop Per Child project showed off the latest release of their low-cost laptop and demonstrated the machine’s capabilities.Insite 2008 also featured a strong international presence – the China pavilion showcased almost 40 exhibitors across a range of fields including medicine, nanotechnology, higher learning, science and technology exchange, research, agriculture, and engineering.A German pavilion featured the latest and best from this technology-savvy nation. A number of higher learning and research institutions were present, including the Universities of Stuttgart, Duisberg Essen, and Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel, and the German Development Institute Bonn.Visitors to Insite were also treated to the Madrid pavilion, which hosted the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, PromoMadrid Desarrollo Internacional de Madrid SA, and the Madrid Region Parks and Clusters Network, a network of six science parks located in the region.Other major pavilions were hosted by Japan, the International Association of Science Parks, and Open Source for Business, which featured open source pioneers Red Hat, Novell, Obsidian, Sita and Sun Microsystems.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus on janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesScience and technologyAfrican eyes on the universeUseful linksInsiteDepartment of Science and TechnologySci-Bono Discovery CentreInternational Association of Science Parks 2008 world conferenceBio2Biz conferenceSoftware Freedom Daylast_img read more

Uddhav Thackeray faces acid test as he charts new course for Shiv Sena

first_imgWith the Maharashtra governor inviting the Shiv Sena to stake claim, Party chief Uddhav Thackeray now faces the biggest test of his political life to form a Sena-led government in the State, if the Congress and the NCP decide to support him. Mr. Thackeray, 59, a regional leader, stood up and held his ground against a national party (BJP) over a tussle for sharing power, a political analyst said on condition of anonymity. Now, he will have to prove his credentials as a leader who can navigate a new political path with parties like the Congress and the NCP, which are ideologically different, he said. “The tie-up will be with a national party and it remains to be seen how he will convince [Congress president] Sonia Gandhi to support him. Will he soften the fiery Hindutva stand, which the Shiv Sena espouses, or will that be an obstacle, the coming days will tell,” the analyst said. Another challenge for Mr. Thackeray will be whether to accept the post of Chief Minister, though there has been a clamour from some segments to project first time MLA and his son Aaditya as the Party’s Chief Ministerial face. “There could be a crisis in the Party if someone else is made (CM). There could be differences if another leader is appointed the Chief Minister,” the analyst said. While Mr. Thackeray has shown political sagacity and maturity, the BJP will not sit quiet and may try to topple a Sena-led government, he claimed. “Uddhav will have to keep his flock of MLAs together,” he said. Twenty years ago, Mr. Thackeray was seen as a reluctant politician, living a cosy life with his wife Rashmi and sons Aaditya and Tejas. The Sena leader, for whom photography is a passion, had set up an advertising agency called ‘Chaurang’. Like Rajiv Gandhi, who started out in politics by helping his mother Indira Gandhi, Uddhav Thackeray began assisting his father Bal Thackeray at a time when the firebrand Sena patriarch was aging and the party’s sphere was expanding, the analyst said. Amid new developments in the State’s political arena after the recent Assembly polls, Mr. Thackeray’s ability to lead his Party with its traditional street-fighter aggression would now face an acid test, he added.last_img read more

India vs Sri Lanka final: Zaheer Khan starts brilliantly, but loses plot in the end

first_imgHe had almost exorcised the ghost of his faltering start at the 2003 World Cup summit clash with a splendid beginning today against Sri Lanka, but ‘rhythm’ deserted Zaheer Khan in his last spell, which hurt India’s cause quite hard, yet again at the big stage.The complexion of the match and statistics of Zaheer changed drastically in the last five over when Sri Lanka opted for final batting powerplay.Zaheer, who has done exceedingly well in this World Cup, had conceded just 16 in his first seven overs but when he came to bowl at the death, the old follies resurfaced and his bowling was ripped apart.He was slammed for 17 runs in his ninth over by centurion Mahela Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara, who swung the left-arm bowler over mid-wicket for a six before being dismissed off the last ball of the same over.Later, in final over, Zaheer was again carted for 18 runs, mainly by the bludgeoning blade of lower-order batsman Tissara Perera and after a very impressive beginning, the Indian bowling spearhead had to return with poor figures of 2 for 60.As a result, Sri Lanka, which was struggling at 211 for five after 45 overs, went on to score a challenging 274 for six in the end.Eight years ago in the Bull Ring of the Wanderers’ Stadium in South Africa, a nervous Zaheer’s first over cost India 15 runs and Australia never looked back from that flying start provided by the left arm paceman.The first over eight years ago included a spate of no-balls and wides against the great Australian pair of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden and India’s rivals rode on that disastrous over and captain Ricky Ponting’s pulverising 121-ball knock of 140 to make an imposing 359 for 2. Zaheer ended up with none for 67 in only seven overs.advertisementIndia went on to lose that contest, only their second entry into the tournament’s grand finale till then, by 125 runs.This was in sharp contrast to today’s splendid beginning by the left-arm pace spearhead, who went into the match with 19 wickets under his belt – two less than topper and Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi in the tournament – against Sri Lanka.He not only bowled three maiden overs, but also picked up the wicket of left-handed Lanka opener Upul Tharanga before conceding his first run of the match. His first spell read a superb 5-3-6-1 and he conceded his first run off the 20th ball he delivered.Zaheer was plagued by injuries and even lost his place in the Indian squad after the 2003 final before storming his way back into it after a stint with Worcestershire in the English county circuit.Since then the 32-year-old bowler, who has grabbed an identical 271 wickets in both Tests and ODIs, has been absolutely superb with the ball and the leader of the fast bowling pack.– With PTI inputslast_img read more

WITH WORKIN MOMS CBC RAISES THE BAR FOR CANADIAN TV

first_img Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement I never thought I’d say this, but CBC-TV is on a roll. It began in 2015, with the debut of Schitt’s Creek, a quietly amusing sitcom by Canadian Jewish father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy. In 2016, CBC introduced Kim’s Convenience, a fluffy story of Korean shopkeepers that has proven to be, if not gut-busting comedy, at least a cute, polished family comedy pushing minority representation across the country.Then came 2017, when Workin’ Moms walked in the door, and elevated CBC-TV to a whole other level.Unlike its saturated siblings, Workin’ Moms adopts a sharper tone, mixing adult themes with blunt swears. Showrunner and star Catherine Reitman has created a firmly 21st-century feminist series on par with other great contemporary, women-led televised series, down to the main character baring her breasts in the pilot episode. (My wife pointed out this bizarre trend to me: the leads of Girls, Orange is the New Black, GLOW and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel all appear shirtless, not throughout the series, but pointedly in the pilot, as if complying with some unspoken rite of passage.) WORKIN’ MOMS Twitterlast_img read more

Aphria names special committee to investigate allegations by shortsellers

first_imgLEAMINGTON, Ont. — Marijuana producer Aphria Inc. says its board of directors has appointed a special committee of independent directors to review the company’s acquisition of LATAM Holdings Inc., which has been criticized by short-sellers.The company says it remains confident in the deal, but in the face of what it called “inaccurate and misleading accusations” by the short-sellers it is undertaking the comprehensive review.Quintessential Capital Management and Hindenburg Research have alleged that the cannabis grower’s acquisition of assets in Colombia, Argentina and Jamaica totalling $280 million from Scythian Biosciences were “largely worthless.”The special committee includes John Herhalt, Shlomo Bibas and Tom Looney.Herhalt, who is the lead independent director and the head of the audit committee, will lead the special committee.Shares in the company, which plunged in the wake of the allegations, were up about 32 per cent or $1.63 at $6.63 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange today.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

BCCOS is reminding people to have a safe and responsible long weekend

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS)would like to send a friendly reminder to be responsible and stay safe while recreating outdoors this long weekend.The BCCOS is reminding British Columbia’s whether you are boating, riding, hiking, or camping, to plan ahead and bring the appropriate safety equipment. As spring is in full swing, bears are active and it is important to manage food and other attractants by locking them in bear-proof containers or keeping attractants out of reach from wildlife.Campfires need to be monitored at all times and ensure all fires are put out completely before leaving shares the BCCOS. If you witness any poaching, polluting, or other environmental violations taking place please give the Report All Poachers & Polluters (RAPP) number a call at 1-877-952-7277 read more

Zidane keeps options open for outcasts at Real Madrid

first_imgMadrid: Zinedine Zidane has offered a way back for Gareth Bale, Isco and Marcelo at Real Madrid as he prepares for his first game against Celta Vigo on Saturday since being re-appointed as coach. Bale, Isco and Marcelo have all endured difficult seasons under Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, with Bale heavily criticised for his form while Isco and Marcelo have been dropped. Zidane’s return puts Bale’s future in further doubt, given the pair’s relationship became strained last season, before the Welshman said he was considering his future at the club. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”I am not going to talk about Bale’s season, I only talk about the 11 games we have left,” Zidane said on Friday. “We all know the player that Gareth is. I am counting on him like everyone else, we are ready and Gareth is ready.” Whether Zidane’s words come with a place for Bale in his first starting line-up at the Santiago Bernabeu remains to be seen, as Madrid look to rebuild following a turbulent few months. Isco never started a single La Liga match under Solari while Marcelo increasingly found his place at left-back taken by the 22-year-old Sergio Reguilon. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery”Isco wants to play and nothing else,” said Zidane, who added on Marcelo: “He has also not played much but he is a professional. We have to respect everything the previous coaches did, it is not easy, but I am happy to see Marcelo again.” Madrid are 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona and Zidane now has three months to assess his squad ahead of potential changes in the summer. “I am not thinking about that, we have to think about finishing the season well,” Zidane said. “You do not have to be thinking about who stays or goes, everyone has a contract here, then we will see what happens.” Zidane replaced Solari on Monday, returning to the club that he left only nine months ago after winning his third consecutive Champions League trophy.last_img read more

WhatsApp NASSCOM to impart digital literacy

first_imgNew Delhi: In a bid to curb fake news during the general elections, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation on Monday came together to impart digital literacy training. As part of the partnership, WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation will train nearly 1,00,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp. The co-created curriculum, which includes real-world anecdote tools that can be used to verify a forwarded message and actions that users can take like reporting problematic content to fact checkers and other law enforcement agencies, will be disseminated in multiple regional languages. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “We are excited to expand our partnerships with civil society to advance crucial digital literacy skills that can help combat misinformation share on WhatsApp,” Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp, said in a statement. “This training educates people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding,” he added. The training will be imparted by volunteers from NASSCOM Foundation who will launch the “each one teach three” campaign that mandates every volunteer to share their learnings with three more persons leading to a network effect. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India These volunteers will post their takeaways from the workshops on their social media handles to increase the reach of these safety messages. The first training will be on March 27 in Delhi and will be followed by more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with roadshows across numerous colleges. “The use of technology platforms like WhatsApp are inherently meant to foster social good, harmony, and collaboration, but are sadly being used by a small number of miscreants to entice anger and hatred by spreading false and doctored information,” Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said. “I would like to urge all the connected citizens who want to join this fight against the spread of fake information, to come and help volunteer towards the cause,” Pamidi added. Aspiring volunteers can register at www.mykartavya.nasscomfoundation.org NASSCOM Foundation is the social arm of the industry body, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).last_img read more

The Warriors Were Ready For LeBron

For now, the chatter around Christmas Day game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors is about its lousy ending, thanks to lousy instant replay rules. The Cavaliers held a lead early, coughed it up in the third quarter, and hung around for what should have been a stirring finish before two no-calls on LeBron James drives derailed the game. Our loss. (Cleveland’s, too.) But underneath the dramatics was a game plan that saw the Warriors’ defense negate the Cavs’ best asset: LeBron’s driving and dishing.The Cavs were 6-for-21 with a 38.1 effective field goal percentage off of passes from James on Monday, according to data from Second Spectrum. On James’s 21 drives, he shot 4-for-6 but generated just one assist against three turnovers. Those numbers are uncharacteristically bad for one of the most effective driving facilitators in the game. Because the Golden State defense could switch so effectively — trading Kevin Durant for Draymond Green or Klay Thompson doesn’t exactly give LeBron the mismatch it does against other defenses — and could recover to shooters so well, the drive-and-kick game got itself into trouble.Sometimes, this led to turnovers by James when he was trapped or by his teammates when they received a pass under tighter coverage than they’re used to (one bad turnover by Kevin Love on the right wing comes to mind). Other times, passes from James were a little farther off-target than usual, requiring a shooter to gather and reset before firing, or they sailed out of bounds entirely. (LeBron is usually so precise that he can focus on whether teammates want seams or no seams when they receive a pass — high, low or midsection.) And even when things went to plan, the open shot at the end of a kick-swing-swing sequence sometimes fell to a non-shooter like Dwyane Wade. Often, the Warriors’ defense discouraged the drive altogether — a large chunk of James’s passes to shooters came above the free-throw line, to a shooter who’d flared on a pick-and-pop or a simple screen, far from the deadly help-defense-obliterating machine that usually powers the Cavalier offense.Here are all 21 shots created directly by James’s passes:James hasn’t always struggled to generate offense against this Warriors team. Even in a one-sided series like last season’s NBA Finals, the Cavs tended to shoot much better when James was passing to them than otherwise. But on Monday, they were miserable on plays LeBron set up and only very slightly less miserable on the ones that he didn’t.Maybe the Cavaliers can make enough gimmes to get back to their game in future matchups — they did miss a lot of open shots, too. And perhaps Patrick McCaw, a strong defender who is getting extra minutes while Stephen Curry is out with an ankle injury, changed things up a bit — McCaw probably won’t play quite the same role down the road. But those late-game no-calls aside, Durant’s defense on LeBron (and backup point guard Shaun Livingston’s on Wade) fundamentally changed the way the Cavs offense usually works.It was just one game, and the personnel should look vastly different when they play again just a few weeks from now with the returns of Curry and Cleveland guard Isaiah Thomas, who was in uniform Monday but glued to the bench. But what happened on Christmas in Oakland didn’t look like a one-off: It looked like a plan.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Adam Silver Rides A Bear And Five Other Perfect Ideas For Fixing

Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed 4.) Bruce from Maryland suggests:The first 10 picks are assigned by placement in an essay contest for basketball fans in ~4th grade to ~8th grade. 500 words or less on an appropriate subject (not necessarily sports related) that would be announced at the All-Star break. All teams eligible, regardless of standings. The rest of the picks are in the order of finish from worst to first.The kids send their essay to a judging panel along with which team they would like to have the draft pick if they win (so no team gets more than one of the picks). The chosen 10 kids are invited to the draft order revealing show that replaces the lottery show, and they all have envelopes revealing their favorite team (not necessarily by geography). They are all called up in reverse order of finish, which they do not know at the time, and reveal the team they chose.I’m still unsure whether this is an earnest proposal or not. I choose to believe that it is. This would be wonderful. That’s the only con I can think of, too. Seeing Daryl Morey on a trampoline would be pretty fun. 3.) Adam from Madison, Wisconsin, suggests:If you miss the playoffs 10 years in a row your team moves to Seattle. 76ers fans would definitely start getting nervous after about year 5. Forces teams to attempt to be good or at least plan on being good quickly. Oh, man, I hope Seattle gets a team back sooner than this. But I like the idea of fans in the Emerald City actively rooting for a random team to be awful. 5.) Dave from Toledo, Ohio, suggests: Get rid of the draft. Actually, get rid of the NBA. Boom. No more tanking.It’s been right in front of us this whole time! For the last 10 days, our sports podcast, “Hot Takedown,” has been running a crowdsourcing project, soliciting ideas for ways to change the NBA draft and prevent teams from deliberately tanking their seasons in pursuit of better picks. Almost 7,000 people have submitted their ideas thus far, and I am slowly working my way through them. It’s pretty intense.We’ll announce our winner on next week’s podcast — a winner chosen from among the many very serious and thoughtful proposals. This is not an article about those. This is an article about our six favorite weird ideas.The proposals, in reverse order of how much we like them: 6.) Aaron from Spokane, Washington, suggests:To fix the tanking problem, I propose a system where the GM of every NBA team participates in a round-robin HORSE tournament. The GM with the most wins gets the first selection in the draft, followed by the GM with the second most wins, and so on. If more than one GM finishes the tournament with the same score, the tie will be broken by a trampoline dunk contest judged by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.Pros:Removing the teams’ regular season performances from the equation eliminates tanking.GMs would have an incentive to become ballers. Also, there would be a great incentive for former players to become GMs.Whoever picked up the TV rights to this event would enjoy a ratings bonanza. Cons:Larry Bird and Magic Johnson might be busy. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. 2.) Andrew from Sarasota Springs, Florida, suggests:The bottom three teams would be relegated to English League 2 Football where they would have to play a year of soccer in towns like Accrington and Morecambe. Upon their return from a year in the (lovely) English wilderness, they would be guaranteed picks 1-3 based on their finishing order in League 2.Pros: hilarity of seeing NBA players play soccer; more media attention for League 2 matches; arguably players would gain new forms of fitness and stamina; Carmelo Anthony adopting an affected English accent; more demand for Brazilian players in trades.Cons: may stunt development of early career players; Maroon 5, Keith Urban, and Billy Joel would each need to play approximately 75 more stadium shows a year to make up lost revenue. Andrew has thought it all through perfectly. 1.) Bob in New Orleans, Louisiana, suggests:Each team is required to bring a fish to the lottery ceremony. Each one has to be a different species (salmon, tuna, etc), and release it into a pool. Then, Adam Silver will ride a bear into the pool, and the fish that the bear eats first wins the lottery. If the bear eats Adam Silver, then it goes by worst-record first.I would watch what should be called The Tank Tank in an instant. It’s simple, it’s elegant, it has a hint of danger. Bob doesn’t even mention that some bears would be ravenous, having recently emerged from hibernation. But has he really considered all the implications? What kind of bear? Who gets what fish? Do teams get to select or is it randomly assigned? If Silver is riding a grizzly, the team with the river salmon would have a much better chance of winning. But if your team is represented by an Arctic char or fourhorn sculpin, everyone knows you’ll want Silver to be riding a polar bear.Keep listening to “Hot Takedown” for updates, and next week we will announce our (real) winner! By Jody Avirgan read more